Monday, July 25, 2011

Some like it hot, me, not so much...

Ever let your fingers get too close to the iron when pressing? How about handling those freshly pressed pieces for your block? I don't know about you, Precious, but I am tired of burning my fingerses.

 I remember a Fons & Porter episode where the girls got a tip from a hairdresser. Apparently I have been out of the hair biz too long to not know about this!

It's a glove that stylists can use when working with really hot flat or curling irons. (Not so much for the iron itself, but that hair is smokin' hot when it comes off the iron!)

Now I don't have to worry about my tender little digits! I can't wait to try it out!

BTW, I got mine on sale at Sally's Beauty Supply this week, for $6.99 minus my pro discount! Great deal!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Institute the draft! (of patterns)

OMG! Four & a half inch blocks are really small! Drafting the patterns are very challenging. Not that I am not up to that challenge...I just have to put my mind in it completely.  After drafting several & figuring out instructions, I can't wait until I can get the EQ Dear Jane!

Other ideas are flowing through my brain while I contemplate the measurements and procedures. What if I did it this way? What about this? Question is, how many times will I do the same block until I am satisfied?  I may just start doing a bunch of the easy ones so I feel like I am accomplishing something! 

I'm spending this weekend working on my house. Spring cleaning in July (now that the weather doesn't act like it's winter anymore!) I'm tired of all my sewing stuff gravitating from the dining room into the living room & even the kitchen. So I am putting a stop to it. I am switching the bedrooms around & using the big room as my sewing room. I just have to figure out how to disassemble my IKEA daybed since it won't fit through the door!

More progress next week, I hope...

Piece out!


UPDATE: Disassemmbled daybed with no trouble.  The cabinets on the other hand...let's just say I will need all the ibuprofen I can handle the rest of the day & tomorrow!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pinwheel Gone Awry & Hunter's Moon know how your mind still keeps working when you are asleep at night?  Mine decided it was going to design my Jane blocks last night.  I took some of my printouts from EQ to work with me today & worked on a couple at lunch.  I did my cutting guide for Pinwheel Gone Awry & my inspiration piece, Hunter's Moon.

Since I don't like handwork, I wanted to do the Hunter's Moon using my new favorite technique of folding fabric back to make curves.  I mapped out what I was going to do and it seemed like a solid plan.  I couldn't wait to get home & start working on it!

I guess it's a good thing that I like to do a practice run on some old stash fabric before I do the real thing.  (sometimes it yields a second quilt by doing that!)   I think if I had done it as a larger block, it would have worked, or maybe I have to practice more than once?

As you can see, it's not really curvy or symmetrical.  I may try it again, before I resort to going the more traditional route for this block.

I also practiced my Pinwheels Gone Awry:
I will still be doing it in my color choice, which I think is going to be from my vast stash of batiks.  If I keep doing my practice blocks, I WILL have a second quilt (or many baby ones) before I am done!

They don't look too bad next to each other.

So, on we go!

Piece out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Contemporary Jane or Thoroughly Modern Millie?

I have decided to join Jovita's Patchwork Atelier's Contemporary Jane group. Hurrah! For those of you who know what a Dear Jane quilt is, you know what an undertaking this is. For those of you who don't, let me piece it together (pun intended).

Jane Stickle created a quilt in the Civil War era comprised of 169 squares in the main quilt & 52 triangle blocks around the quilt for the border. Sounds like a fun project, right? Well, the blocks are only 4-1/2" square.  Smallest blocks I have ever made! People have been making “Baby Janes” for years and now it is my turn.

When I decided to join, I thought the Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis would have all the instructions for constructing the blocks. Not really the case. I got the only copy from my local library & started flipping through it. OMG! There are only pictures of the blocks, one at a time & Brenda’s interpretative drawings of the blocks. No cutting instructions, no sewing instructions, nothing but her sweet letters to Jane while she was interpreting the patterns. This presents either a creative opportunity or total disaster for me!

When I got home with the book yesterday, I sat down with my Electric Quilt program, rulers in hand & started my versions of some of the blocks. I worked into the wee hours of 11 o'clock (late for me) and found myself mesmerized by the scope of the project. And that’s just to draft the blocks into the program. I still have to make up my own instructions for cutting & assembling the blocks. (If I had the EQ-Dear Jane program, I wouldn't have to do this, but I am now creating my own. However, if someone wanted to get me an early Christmas present, I really wouldn't object!)

When Jane created her quilt, she hand-pieced & hand-quilted it. I am looking at ways to create the blocks in a thoroughly modern way. As I was drafting the blocks into EQ, I thought about ways to assemble them quickly and by machine. I hate handwork, so I will try to create as many of them as possible by machine. My goal is doing as little appliqué as possible! I know that I will have to do some paper piecing, but I am not excited at the prospect of building appliqué blocks. Some blocks are quite simple, but others are very challenging.

Next problem is deciding fabrics & colors. I don’t anticipate this project going very quickly, so if I buy some fabrics now and don’t buy enough; it may not still be available when I get to the lower blocks. There are pictures in the book of different quilts that contributors have made, using different themes. I could make it completely scrappy & just use stash fabrics. Maybe I will do that, but I am leaning toward doing one in shades of purple (big surprise, huh?). It looks like Jovita’s group is going in order. I may do that or I may randomly pick some squares throughout the quilt so if I run out of certain fabrics, it won’t look so funny.

Under the Willow Tree is already 4 blocks in. I will need to hurry & catch up, in between all the other projects I am working on. As with others in the group, I will try to post my methods & instructions on my blog so that I can keep up.

As I understand, many who have taken this journey find it self-revealing.  I don't know if that is what I am looking for or if I am just needing a challenge.  I may get totally bored with the project after a few weeks, but I am going to try to persevere.  I don't know who I will find in this process, but I hope she is up to the challenge.

Wish me luck!

Piece out!

Contemporary Jane Under the Willow Tree

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My beautiful Gracie Lou

May I introduce to you, Miss Gracie Lou Freebush! 
This sweet petite monster is my baby.  We have been together for about 6 years.  My older cat, Jasper,
was very lonely and I knew he liked playing with younger female cats from when we lived with some friends.  So one day, I went to the Seattle Animal Shelter and she was the first one I saw.  She had just come out of surgery from being spayed so she looked a little worse for wear.  I didn't think they would let me take her since she was still recovering, so I looked around a little at the other cats.  I always came back to her.  When I approached the cage, she sat up & came right to me.  She was so sweet!  I knew I had to have her.  Here she is on our first day at home.
  Kinda scrawny-looking, huh?

Turns out that she & Jasper never really got along too well.  At least while I was around.  They probably had to show dislike while I was home, but secretly, while I was at work, I imagine that they were the best of buddies.  One of the rare times that they were seen close enough together that I could get a picture:

Jasper became very ill and about 4 years ago, had to go live on Mt Rainier (at least that's where the vet told me they were scattering his ashes).  I say hi to him every time I see the mountain.

So, Gracie has become an only cat.  Can't tell if she likes it or not...  Over the last 4 years, I have done a lot of traveling for work.  I was gone for 6-10 weeks at a time and in 2009, I spent more time in hotel rooms than I did at home (285 nights).  Gracie was a trooper, although she didn't like being in the car much.  Then again, I don't know many cats who do. 

Since I could choose whatever hotel I wanted, I only stayed in Residence Inns if possible.  At the RI in Spokane Valley, they loved my Gracie Lou as much as I did & would come in during the day when they were cleaning & play with her!  They would talk to her through the window when she would watch them take out the trash and have a smoke.  I actully think she liked it there better than she liked it at home.
But now, I don't do as much traveling and when I do, I can't take her with me.  I have to fly to my locations and can't afford to bring her, so I have to board her.  Luckily, I found a place to keep her where she gets her own "condo."  It is the coolest place!  This lady has buildings in her backyard that she has set up just for cat's comfort.  Gracie is a favorite there too. In fact, she is on their website three separate times!

She is so cute because she likes to sleep under the covers at my feet at night, especially when it's cold out.  It's hard sometimes to play with her because she doesn't always want to play when I do & vice-versa, but we manage.  When I come home after work, she greets me at the door & then heads back to the bathroom because that's usually where I am headed.  She knows me so well!  She got a little hacked off when I got rid of my futon because now there is only a chair for both of us to share & she can't stretch out when I am sitting in it.  She definitely has a personality!
I love my little, 8-pound rag-a-muffin!  Cat hair gets everywhere and she is quite demanding when she wants something, even though I can't always tell what it is, but I love her just the same.  Life would definitely be different without her.  Much less loving! 

Piece out!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My first blog

I used to think I was computer savvy, but lately, I feel like I am behind the times.  I constantly hear about blogging so I thought I would give it a try.  I don't know how often I will remember to post.  I mainly started this so I have a place to post pictures of my quilt projects and talk about what I am doing.

I have been quilting since my Aunt Cheryl taught me when I was 20.  Granted, I haven't been doing it continuously since then, but she got me started. 

My very first project was huge!  I thought it would be a great gift for the owners of the company I worked for in Houston.  I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. AND I committed to having it ready for a Christmas present.  I gave each of the salons in the company a 15" piece of fabric & told them they could do anything to it but it had to be permanent.  Boy, I didn't know anything!  I got blocks with glued on sequins, blocks that were painted, blocks that were get the picture.  Sewed the whole thing together, hand quilted it & bound it.   (the cutie-pie at the top holding the quilt is my baby sis)

I only finished one other quilt after that, while I lived in Houston.  One for the guy I was dating at the time.  It was very basic and handquilted.  I moved away from Houston and didn't do any sewing for a long time.  It wasn't until I moved to Washington that I really started quilting again.

I made a couple simple baby quilts and one that was beyond my skill level at the time for my then-boyfriend.  ( a quilt to a boyfriend = kiss of death for relationship.  I need to remember that.)

When I started working for my current employer ten years ago, I really started getting back into it.   My friend Jude introduced me to my first Block of the Month (BOM) club and I have been doing them ever since (with a one- to two-year absence for working out of town).  I just recently finished my very first BOM from 2003-quilted & bound too!

This year, I am doing three different BOMs and looking at doing an online one as well.  I may have over-committed myself this time!  Here's one that I just finished last night.  It's called Atlantis.

I finish lots of quilt tops, but it takes me a long time to get them quilted.  I have no idea when I will get this one quilted or how I am going to do it.  All I know is that it will be very cool when I do!

I am sure I could go on forever, but I will save it for another post.  I rambled a bit here.  I guess I will get the hang of this blogging thing sooner or later!

Piece out!  (get it?)