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Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Letting go… when it’s time to let go

Lately, all of my free time I’ve devoted almost entirely to piecing my latest creation together.  After feeling under the weather at the beginning of the week I was almost manic about catching up I guess.  Though the race is with myself, I have the funny notion that I can’t get behind.  In a very real sense this is true because I have a tendency to slack off if I don’t put pressure on myself.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of visiting one of our long arm quilters and dare I call her a friend.  Every time we visit with her and see the quilts that she has laid out, stuffed in a cubby, or draped on one of her beds, it makes me want to go home and quilt myself into oblivion.

We have five quilts out being quilted at the moment and of course have them staggered to arrive back home over the course of the next two months.  At home however, we only have three quilts large enough for our bed with a few lap quilts and minis thrown in.  Four of the five are large enough for at least double to queen size.  It got me thinking though… how many quilts should I be keeping and how many should either be sold or given to friends and family?

We haven’t discussed it really.  I’m sure Kay wouldn’t think I was funny if I told her we needed to have a hundred!!  I suppose because at the moment I feel that we don’t have enough for ourselves and every quilt that goes out the door represents literally weeks of work that we won’t personally see the benefit of.  I know that the ones we’ve given out were very much appreciated, but have a difficult time letting go of them all the same.  I would say that I’ve even given blood for some of them (I really have to watch where I’m putting my needles sometime).

Yes… even the ones with obvious mistakes I have difficulty letting go of and provides no end of amusement for Kay.  I don’t know if people realize the care, joy, love, frustration, time, and angst that goes into each step of making a quilt.  Quilts made by hand and not an assembly line, with quality fabrics and personal attention are worth far more intrinsically than anything that a store could put up for sale.  Which brings me to the other facet of why I have such a difficult time letting go… will it be appreciated?

This is not an easy question and for me is a difficult thing to get past.  In the end though, I can only hope that what I’ve made and given finds a good home and is well-used by the recipient.

I wanted to go a little farther than dittencraft and say that after quilting for two years, I still consider myself a beginner. Although I agree with Sandi on a lot of the points made as well. As a beginner however, I do try and stretch myself and may not learn a new technique as fast as expected. I find myself doing pinwheels until all points line up every time I make them. I don’t want to just know a basic technique, I want to master it before I move on to the next. I bet dittencraft’s moms friend can make a garter stitch better and faster than anyone else around. Rather than blocks as Sandi suggested, i use mini quilts to try out new techniques because I do want to stretch myself, just not too fast.

Piecemeal Quilts

EDITED TO ADD:
1. I am not calling “you” dumb. I don’t know you.
2. Nor am I calling your quilts dumb.
3. Please read the second and third posts as well, linked at the bottom. There’s a bit less snark.

Anyone who is easily offended, please stop reading.
Anyone who believes that Sew, Mama, Sew! is the be-all and end-all of fabric crafts, please stop reading.
Anyone who thinks bloggers should always write nice, happy posts, please stop reading.

If you’re tired of seeing the same seven quilts on every blog you visit, keep reading.
If you’re frustrated by lopsided log cabin blocks being called “adventurous,” keep reading.
If you’re able to disagree constructively, hey, welcome! I don’t mind healthy discussion.

So what set me off today? Sew, Mama, Sew’s blog post about sewing trends: What’s New?! I agree with the trends listed, I think they’re spot on. Pinwheels…

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Joann Fabric Persian Plum Block 7

Block 7 was a real challenge and I almost took it completely apart and put it back together.  The quality control for my cut pieces left a little to be desired.  I would say that 80% of the pieces were cut to the proper dimensions, but it was the 20% that gave me fits.  When I started to put this block of the month quilt together however, I promised myself to use what was in the kit only and see how the quilt turned out.

The pieces supplied had me scratching my head for a little while… as a guy I tried to see how everything would go together without looking at the instructions.  I think that is hard-coded into our DNA!  After looking at the instructions though, I quickly started putting the block together.

It was at this point that I realized that the pieces where going to be a little off-center which I tried to correct.  It didn’t turn out bad, just didn’t go together as seamlessly as the other blocks had.

And here is the block in comparison to the picture of it

A Garden Quilt and finished projects

Towards the end of yesterday while I was feeling better I managed to finished binding my “Spools and Dreams” mini quilt.

It looks a little off kilter because of the positioning when I took the picture, but it turned out real nice.  All of the edges are straight and that can’t be said for some of the spools in the quilt!  I also finished  my new Sage Garden quilt and it goes off to the Long Arm today.

Work in Progress

My new work in progress has been delayed, as I was lucky enough to get the flu over the past two days… yea me!!  The pattern is called Arcadia, by Mountainpeak Creations and will be reviewed once the quilt is completely together.  I love the whimsical nature of these fabrics.  I have to say that I found it difficult determining what pattern to use with these fabrics… they are not your ordinary run-of-the-mill patterns.

After three days of searching, I found one that I thought would work and have made the first panel.  Now, I did end up created three squares roughly 11 1/2″ X 11 1/2″ as test squares to find that I needed to sew my seams a little different.  The strips needed to be sewn with a scant 1/4″ seam, while the block needed to be sewn with a full 1/4″ seam.  That to me is very frustrating to have to remember while sewing.  Sewing it any other way and I ended with rectangles instead of squares.

Rather than wasting the fabric I have planned to of course make a throw or a mini with the strips  that have already been sewn and just throw in a border to compensate.  The queen size pattern I tested,  was tested with the first complete panel.  As I put it on my bed and looked at it, it is definitely large enough to be used as a queen sized quilt and gave me a preview of the completed quilt.  WOW!  is what I was thinking as I imaged what it will look like when finished.

Have you ever picked a fabric without regard to actually having a pattern for it?  I’ve done this before, but never had such a difficult time as with this one.  My biggest issue was that I liked all of the fabrics and didn’t want them to “disappear” into the quilt, but stand out individually.  Speak out and let me know struggles that you’ve had!

Weekend Fun

Have you ever started and stopped so often on a project that you felt like for every step forward, you took two steps back?  That is how my weekend felt while trying to get some of my work finished.  It didn’t help that I was also doing some IT work from home as well this weekend.

I did accomplish a lot of what I set out to do, but as I was struggling to finish everything on my unfinished list, I lost my way (became disinterested) in them.  This isn’t because they weren’t interesting projects, they just went wrong and at the time I didn’t have the energy to correct them.

Last night I started again with a full head of steam on some fabric that I wanted to do something special with.  Wouldn’t you know it, I (once again!!) failed to set the stitch to ¼” and the square came out all wonky.  I LOVED the look that I will get once I get it worked out, but fell into a funk and had to put everything away for the night.

The highlight of the weekend though was that I’ve finished the Amish mini quilt, the spool of dreams is quilted and just needs the binding now, and the nursery quilt is ready for the long arm.  Hopefully this week will be better for getting things done right the first time and keeping up with my writing.  Happy Quilting everyone!!

Another Winner!!

And the winner is…

Seapunk2!!!  If this is you, then you are the lucky winner of the black and white give-a-way!!  Please email me at txmlawrence@bistroquilts.com

And for the rest of you, I’ll be having another giveaway in two weeks.  Stay tuned and as always keep quilting!!

Eat your Vegetables

Work has been very tough on my schedule lately, but I’m back to writing again and have accomplished a lot in the last few days.  I’ve wanted to start… okay, I’ve been dying to start a couple of new queen size quilts that I’ve already bought the fabric for.  After telling Kay about this, she not so politely said that I really needed to finish my other projects before starting on new ones.

 

Let’s take stock… I finished my Arbor Lane quilt and even washed it!  I needed to deconstruct my “Spools and Dreams” mini and then sew it all back together.  I needed to start and finish the hand quilting on the Amish mini quilt and then bind it.  I have another Sage Garden quilt that needs to go out to the long arm quilter after I sew the sashing on it and get the backing sewn together.  But what I really wanted to do was to start the two new quilts that I had in mind.

My wife’s response was a little like “Eat your vegetables and then you can have desert”.  Well, as much as I hated to admit it, she is right.  With all of those unfinished projects hanging over my head, I really needed to finish them before I started my new projects.  I’m eating my veggies now in anticipation of desert.

Here’s the “Spools and Dreams” mini with the backing fabric I chose…

Your Opinion Matters

Okay, so I took the night off… sort of.  I have a couple unfinished projects, or more correctly projects that were started and went horribly wrong so I stopped where I was at.  I had finished the nursery blanket but havent cut the batting for it yet.  I cut out all the white squares for a beautiful blue and white quilt and they are languishing in the closet right now while we talked about our next weekender quilt.

So last night I watched television while doing nothing.  I actually felt a little out-of-place and guilty knowing I could have been hand quilting my Amish mini.  Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break?  I must admit my mind has been on work a lot lately with quite a few projects on my plate.  We also have the 4th of July holiday coming up which I have off and my wife is working.

Send me your encouragement and let me know which project I should finish first:

Re-sew the messed up mini, hand quilt the Amish mini, piece the blue quilt, or start a new “quick quilt”.  I’d be really interested to have your opinions.

Persian Plum Block of the Month 6

I did everything I promised myself I would do this weekend.  Yes!!!  The Arbor Lane quilt is finished and I’ll post a pic of that one tomorrow along with the nursery quilt that I also finished.  I even had time to start the week out right by finishing and being able to post this morning the Joann Fabrics Persian Plum block of the month quilt block #6.

This was an interesting block of flying geese.  I will mention right now that no matter how I sew this together I’ve never quite go the hang of having the finished size come out good.  The length is always correct, but the height is off by 1/4″ almost every time.  We persevere though, don’t we?

It came complete as has all the blocks to this point.  The measurements were correct and the instructions clear.  The colors I will still say are the most striking aspect of this quilt and flying geese is the motif.

Then we just sew them in the correct configuration for the block

Le me know how yours turned out.  Mine ended up being about a 1/4″ off, but I’ll fix that when I go to put them all together.  Here’s the comparison to the way it’s supposed to turn out.

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