Sunday, January 24, 2010

My first quilt - a story in progress

The story of my first quilt... in reverse order. 

Chapter 4

The day ended with 36 little four patches,

and 16 little triangle segments.

Chapter 3

How many times do you think I managed to match the right side to the wrong side? 

Answer:  4. 

(I mean, really, how could I forget one of the first rules of sewing... right sides together... right sides together... say it with me, right sides together!  LOL.) 

(The picture has unplanned irony... notice the word on the iron?  Precision.)

Chapter 2

The old lady managed to do better than I expected. 

Hey now... I'm talking about the sewing machine... not me!

(Did you notice that the thread isn't going through that little loop?  Give yourself bonus points for observation.  I didn't notice it till I took the pic.  I could swear it was there before!)

Chapter 1

Not new, but it works.

It took MANY tries to get the tension adjusted.  After a point, I called it good enough... and it was.


.... story to be continued........................


Here's a pretty pic I took a couple days ago. 

The tulips are now gone.

The snow is not. 

I need more tulips.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sew what?

Show and tell time.  I signed up for the Friday night sew-in.  One minor problem... I didn't sew. 

I cut.  (You need pieces cut before you can sew.  If you know another way, tell me. Grin.)

I'm slow, since I haven't done much rotary cutting before. This is still a fairly new process for me. And I love it.

When the fabric is cut it takes on a different look. I was trying to think how to describe it. Well... it's like a photo that's been cropped.

The change surprised me. And delighted me. I didn't expect it. I've never heard anyone mention it before. 

I probably only cut about a quarter of the strips that I needed yesterday and continued today. I had a light fabric picked out, but I'm not settled on it yet. I need to decide soon because I want to get to the sewing part.

It's really neat seeing all these little pieces lining up. Waiting for the party to begin.

I've also been making progress on prepping my applique pieces for the next two CWBQ blocks. 

Oh!  I was so excited today because I received my first gift from blogging!  Crispy offered to send me a few needles to try and I've been watching the mail for the last couple days.  When I opened the package I was so surprised to see that she sent me a fat quarter of this gorgeous fabric too!  Thank you Crispy!!!  It's so pretty.  And I can't wait to try the needles. 

One last thing... I'll share something that made me laugh the other day.  On the wrapper on a feminine hygiene product it had words.  It said Never Give Up.  Then I looked at another and it said Enjoy Life! (complete with the exclamation point).  What marketing genius decided this product needed motivational phrases?  Funny.   

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Put up or shut up

A while back I mentioned that the I'd finished the cross stitch that's in my header (actually, a few months ago). 

It is one of the first things I decided to finish after my needlework "hiatus".  Out of curiosity I looked for a date on the pattern.  Wow... 1983.  (Thankfully it wasn't dusty blue and pink ducks! lol)  Here's the full shot. 

I'm going to frame it myself, venturing into new territory.  Thanks to the internet, I found lots of info on ways to tackle it.  I think I'll document what I do and share it here.  Call it a tutorial if you must.  If nothing else, it'll be a good reference for me.  It's on this weekend's to-do list. 

Speaking of lists, I have my goals for 2010. 
  • First quilt finish - #1 goal for the year
  • 2 wall hangings - got the bare walls in place
  • 1 lap quilt -  a must when you live with snow 1/3 of the year
  • 2 table runners - so my furniture doesn't feel left out
  • A few small, fun things - such as a pincushions & a bag 
  • Wool penny rug - yeah, I'm on that bandwagon too
  • 12 blocks of the Civil War Bride Quilt - towards a 2011 finish
  • 30 Nearly Insane blocks - I'm afraid a higher goal would be crazy (get it? crazy?... never mind)
  • Hand quilt something - this will be a new skill
  • Something out of Kaffe - I love what I see & it pushes me out of my normal range
  • Finish the "this-is-not-my-burial-shroud" project - a secret, revealed in due time
  • Carve out a spot at my home for my sewing - versus borrowing the dining table
  • Stitchery time > (greater than) time spent blog reading & surfing the net - Last, but definitely not least... can you relate?
As for that first goal, I know, I know... I've said it before. Time to shut up and - to use a popular phrase - JUST DO IT

Number one, I knew this would not be done by hand.  I think my old machine and my old skills are up to the task. 

Number two, needed to pick a design.  I poured through my inspiration books. 

Oh for goodness sakes, the pressure I gave this poor quilt.  Because I kept thinking, this will always be known as my "FIRST Quilt".  When people say, show me your first quilt, this will be "The ONE".

You should be rolling your eyes by now.

At least I found one rational brain cell in all of this... I shouldn't pick something too big or difficult... kind of interferes with the goal. 

Remember the goal?  A finished quilt.

Meanwhile, I was checking out my favorite blogs and spied something.  I really liked the design.

Photo courtesy of Lori

Lori (of Humble Quilts) showed this vintage quilt and offered a quilt-along with the cute name of Cheddar and Crackers.  The catch?  The quilt-a-long is for a little quilt, 24" x 24". 

Does a little quilt count as my first finished quilt?  It felt like I was cheating.  But I don't care.  ;-) 

I think it may be perfect for one of my other goals, hand quilt something.  !

I've signed up for tomorrow's Friday Night Sew In.  Time to put up or shut up.  Just do it.

Show and tell on Saturday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Return to reality

How I spent my Christmas vacation.

Christmas was very nice. This is the quiet Christmas period of our lives. There's a different tempo between the kids-are-little phase and the grandkids phase. (DD is 19 and DS is 17.) It's softer and slower and sweet in its own way.

Christmas dinner turned out good. I learned a few things. They will make the first holiday in years "memorable". 

Homes have an evil sense of humor... and timing.

(The bathroom sink plugged... and the kitchen sink too... DH plunge plunge plunge...more plunging, bringing up water that looks like black dirt... broken sewer pipe?... visions of tearing up the front yard and $$$... DH thinks sewer vent could be blocked with snow... he climbs up on snowy roof (yipes)... not blocked... plunge PLUNGE PLUNGE... may need to haul everything to inlaws... more PLUNGING... until it FINALLY released. Followed by MUCH cleaning.  Eeeew. Dinner was not harmed in the incident. Later, my FIL said this happened every few years when they lived here... a kinked spot where the pipes meet which can create a slow build up... apparently timed to release at Christmas 2009. LOL)

A bare hand isn't a potholder.

(I was making gravy... needed the measuring cup... where did I put it?... counter? dishwasher?... shoot, the gravy is boiling, so hold pan off stove with one hand... now where is the cup?... needed to transfer pan to other hand, so I set it ONTO fingers of right hand. Oh yes I did. Shivery, make-me-nearly-cry pain. My hand spent the rest of Christmas in cold water and ice. And recovered amazingly well within a few days, I might add.)

I don't know turkey anatomy... and neither does my DH.

(Recipe says to check temp in breast... except I don't know where it is... ask DH to do it... oh oh it's too done... seems a little early, but thermometers don't lie... after it rested and DH was carving, it was clear that it needed more time... I will tell you that DH did raise chickens when we lived in the country... and he seeems to know everything... he will tell you that I had the bird upside down... recovery involved slices of nearly-done turkey being microwaved... and it turned out fine.)

Watching a friend disappear in front of you is heartbreaking.

(There is a dear couple that spends many holidays and birthdays with our family. She was lively and talkative and funny. Now, Alzheimers. She's only 62. She is mostly quiet now, and it is deafening.)

I had intended on doing lots of stitching between Christmas and New Years. But it felt like pressure, not fun.  I listened to my heart and relaxed and unwound. Enjoyed taking things slow.  

I did finish the September redwork snowman block, and transferred and began stitching the January block.

I looked at my inspiration books to see what quilt I want to make with machine piecing, and drafted a few possibilities.  I bought fabric.

I went to the framers and they're making a frame for the cross stitch that's in my header.

I started prepping pieces for the next two blocks of my CWBQ.

Like many of you, I have goals for 2010.  I'll list them this week.

It's time to return to reality. I'm ready. It was a good vacation.