Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Making Handkerchiefs

I set out last night to slay another dragon.  I’ve always love the handkerchief, though I haven’t always carried one with me.  I’ve thought about making them for some time.  When I had gone to the Dallas quilt show I picked up some civil war era fabric.  I must have only purchased five fat quarters which really isn’t enough to make into anything, but I really liked the look and feel of it.

After work I headed to the sewing room with a purpose… Kay was as usual embroiled in one of her wonderful craft projects but saw I had a head of steam going and asked what I was planning to do.  Out came the implements of destruction: iron, ironing board, cutting mat, rotary cutter, and fabric… actually it was some test fabric that although it’s nice, I wasn’t worried about how it came out.

It turned out to be a good thing I did use the “test” fabric.  I cut the fabric 12″ X 12″ and ended up with a too small 10″ X 10″ hanky when done.  I had also sewn a couple up for Kay and measured that fabric 8″ X 8″, which turns out to be big enough for a coaster not a handkerchief.  It wasn’t a total loss however, as I was able to perfect (in my humble opinion) my technique and get the stitches to look exactly how I wanted.

Out came the civil war era fabric and I stitched it all up.  On a side note, the 10″ X 10″ fabric turned out to be the perfect size for Kay’s handkerchiefs and she’s going to use the 8″ X 8″ fabric for another of her projects.  I’ve determined since they came out looking so well of monogramming them with hand embroidery, or finding someone to machine embroider a monogram to them!  Happy Quilting!!

Shopping and Other Sins

I have purchased fabric for my next six large quilts over the past couple of months.  I’m also thinking about which projects that I would like to make for Autumn and after that for Christmas.  So, why did I find myself at a fabric store yesterday afternoon on my way home from work???  I normally do not buy my backing fabric for any of my quilts until before I drop it off to the long arm.

I don’t know if this is common throughout the quilting community, to buy the backing while buying the rest of the fabric to ensure color coordination, but I like to live on the edge!  There have been a couple of times where I was stressed for not finding the “right” material to go with the rest of colors that I had in the quilt, but it’s always worked out for me.

My wife and I like a lot of the same color schemes, but when it comes to what colors work well in our quilts it becomes vastly different.  We’ve learned to accept our differences of opinion when it comes to each others’ quilt material selection.  At times we jokingly try to steal a piece of fabric from one another.

So, back to the store where I’m standing there looking for a reason to buy more fabric… I come across one that would be perfect for the persian plum block of the month quilt I’m in the process of making.  It wasn’t on sale and I almost bought it any way… that’s when you know you have a problem issue and probably need to just… walk… away.  I feel very good about myself because I did walk away and will wait until at least the 1st before I shop again!

I think we’ve all felt this was at one time or another, but it’s like Melissa we continue on, rip out what we’ve done and try it again that makes us better quilters and people.

Crafting My Life Away...

I am an utter and complete failure.  While making the quilts for kids quilt, I’ve totally screwed it up, and I’ve taken out lines upon lines of quilting, only to make it worse.  If that isn’t bad enough,  this is week four, and they asked that they be returned in three to four weeks.  Now I am trying to get it finished, but it isn’t quality enough to send back…  I don’t know what to do.  Do I just send   them some money?  Do I make some quilt tops and send them in with backing and batting for someone else to make nicer quilts with?  I suck.

So yeah, that’s where I am today.  It’s hot, I have no will to work, and I’m worried about the quilt that I’ve mussed up pretty badly.  *sigh*

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Careless with Pins

I really haven’t talked to much about the person in my life that is such a large part of everything I am and do, my wife Kay. She has nurtured my creative side from the first time we met and has only gotten better after 16 years. We both like to discover our inner artist and support each other in all our endeavors.

I am not being coy when I say that I wish that I had as much talent as she does, but what I don’t have in talent I make up for in patience and sheer tenacity. I will do something and have it turn out wrong 10 times and once I’ve finally got it right do it a couple more times to ensure I understand why I have to do it a certain way.

Along the way, or as I like to think of it, on my path to creative enlightenment I create messes of epic proportions. Think for a minute what a guy does to a garage and calls it “neat”. Our sewing/living/dining rooms sometimes look like a cyclone has blown through and deposited neat (and sometimes not-so-neat) stacks of fabrics, thread, scissors, and yes… pins everywhere.

I do not even pretend that this doesn’t happen and I’m actually really good about cleaning up once I’ve finished a project. I have to give credit to my wonderful wife however for knowing that this is part of my ‘method’ of creativity.

I also, in smaller circles, talk about this amazing but often invisible cleaning fairy. The fairy comes by after me when I’m not looking and deposits items back where they belong. If I wait long enough, the fairy will clean the entire room while I’m not looking. This joke came about one time when I caught my wife cleaning up after me. She was picking up some items that I had left out because I was still using them. Instead of making this fact clear, it came to me as a funny moment when I stayed her hand from picking said object up and said “You don’t have to clean this up Kay“. She informed me that it wasn’t going to clean itself. I then told her that if we wait long enough, and leave the room the cleaning fairy will come and do it for us.

She game me that look like I was crazy until I explained that it had happened earlier that same day already. To which she replied that it was her and not some ‘cleaning fairy‘. It was then I saw the light go on and got smacked! We have joked about it ever since.

Joann Fabrics Persian Plum Block of the Month Setting Kit

For all my friends…  I normally don’t post in the middle of the day but had to let everyone know that Joann’s has re-stocked the persian plum line in stores and online.  This means that if you are missing any blocks or the setting kit, now is the time to get in on this so you can finish this project.

You are more than welcome however to continue to follow my blog as I put one block together each week.  Check out my posts as I take you through putting this beautiful quilt together.  I have currently finished block 5, with block 6 getting completed next week.

Until next time!!  happy quilting…

Persian Plum Block 5… almost half-way there!!

I’m so happy today that I was able to get accomplished the behemoth task of working late today and still managing to get the block finished and sew on the binding for my Arbor Lane quilt. Of course I’ve probably stayed up a little later than I normally would to make sure I could finish this. So here it is:

This block had a little more assembly, but went together fairly easily and finished 12 1/2 x 12 1/2.

And underneath was the fabric I used to bind the Arbor Lane.

Then a little trimming and some more sewing

and finally…

Ironing out my problems

Ironing is a chore made more so by trying to iron 10 different fabrics over three yards each, all in the same afternoon… but as you may know by now, that’s how I do things!!  My back was breaking, my neck was stiff, and my dogs were barking by the time I pressed my last.  Looking back on the four hours that I was there at the ironing board I realized today that it may be the reason I wasn’t able to complete the binding on all three of my quilts.

I know many people hate ironing, but it’s the neck down work that I love so much about it.  I work all day long, solving computer and server issues. By the time 5pm rolls around, my brain is fried. It’s nice to come home and while away a few hours with something that I don’t have to think about.  I think that’s why I love the piecing process as well, it’s the creating, cutting, and assembly that you really have to think about (neck up work) that makes it so challenging.  And then you have these wonderful activities that allow you to zone out.

Now, I’m not saying that I want to volunteer to do someone else’s ironing, but I really do like how the fabric feels after it’s been pre-washed.  You can tell how it will feel in the quilt as well.  It’s that time again, happy quilting!!

Almost but not quite!

If you’ve been following my attempts at quilting then you know that binding the quilts is one of my favorite things to do.  It is the ending, the completion that seems to make the whole process worthwhile.  I am by nature ambitious and set out this weekend to cram finish three quilt bindings in one weekend.  That was the plan…  I even had the hubris to say that I might try to do something else, like put one of the nursery quilts together as well.

Binding a quilt the way that I’ve chosen to bind my quilts is a stately process.  You really can’t hurry it along as I was trying to do and if you did, I don’t know that I would like the finished product at all.  It is a methodical, beautiful, measured, process and if I can be so bold as to quote one of my quilting friends, “neck down work”.

I started with the Christmas quilt since I had finished piecing it back in March, the my green Sage Garden Quilt since I am to surprise a friend with it tonight!!  EEEEK!!  The Arbor Lane quilt, which is by far the larger of the three quilts will have to wait until next weekend.

I didn’t even create the binding yet, let-alone sew it to the quilt.  It’s still on the couch mocking me for my overly ambitious plan.  I did take out one of the nursery quilt kits to see what I will have in store for me this week.  My plan (don’t laugh) is to try to finish it by the end of the week.

On a side note, I never did finish the mini quilt for the swap due to the fact that I sewed the first half at 3/8″ and the second half at 1/4″ seam…  but that’s a different story.  Until next time, happy quilting!!

I’ll do “Nothing” when I’m dead.

I’ll do “Nothing” when I’m dead..  I loved the look of this project!!  What a great idea to put in your assorted sewing things.

Binding the weekend away

A friend of ours that’s been there for us throughout the last three years is going to receive a quilt on Monday that she knows nothing about.    This will be the first time we’ve given a quilt to someone outside our immediate family.  This means though that I’ll be binding all weekend since I plan on finishing the binding on a Christmas quilt that was put together in March.  After that quilt is finished, I’ll bind our friends quilt and finally the Arbor Lane quilt.  Not bad now that I see it in print… binding three quilts in two days!

If you are interested in the how to of binding, check out this link Crazy Mom Quilts.  This is more or less the method that I’ve used since I started up quilting again two years ago.

If I can squeeze it into the weekend, I’ll also finish the mini quilt that I started and maybe piece one of the nursery blankets together for my nephew.

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