Saturday, February 20, 2010

My first quilt - chapter 7

We left off on the quest to replace the cheddar.  Aww come on, you knew I'd be visiting my local quilt shops!  Let's just say I did a fine job growing my stash.  It came down to these last 6, and any one of them would have worked.  (Yes, I really did pin the blocks to these candidates and lay it on my couch in this struggle to decide.)  But in the end, there was one that spoke to me. 

Ta da!  Did you guess right? 

There was more drama as I finished piecing the top.  My faithful friend - my seam ripper - helped me out of a few "accidents", without judgement.  My other faithful friend - Bella, our dog - caused a real accident.  See? 

Fortunately, neither the dog nor the machine were hurt.  Bella is a Newfoundland.  She caught the cord with her leg, and luckily the machine didn't fall on her.  It emphasized the need to find a permanent spot to set up my sewing.  The dining table won't work for what's clearly more than a passing interest (as in, I'm loving quilting!!). 

The machine?  It's built like a tank... all metal and nothing broke. 

Here's a couple more shots.  I worked on it last night.

It's been a good test of my sewing skills.  There are a few points that got chopped off and it's about a 1/4" bigger than it's supposed to be.  But none of that bothers this perfectionist. 

Here's a full shot.  The top is done!!  I love to run my hands over it and feel all those seams. 

Oh yeah, I'm hooked!

I've selected the next pattern and purchased fabric.  It's 51" x 51", so I'm moving up in size, but it does seem a bit small for a lap quilt.  I've been doing the math on increasing it to 51" x 59 1/2" or 59 1/2" x 68".  (If you have advice on the best size, let me know.)  I need to get more fabric if I increase the size, and because the fabric line was released nearly a year ago it's getting tougher locating it, but I think I found a source today. 

(I also purchased a beautiful, cross stitch sampler, linen and silk thread.  I'll share that soon.) 

Of course the little top isn't a quilt until it's quilted.  I'm going to give hand quilting a whirl.  Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes.  Thanks for everyone's encouragement and words of wisdom!!!!  You're the best!


As promised, here's a couple neat winter shots.

The snow on the railing slid off, but it was solid enough that it stayed this way all day!  Pretty wild!

Winter is quiet.  The snow muffles and absorbs all noise. 

Winter is clear.  The air and sky are so clear this time of year. 

Winter is white.  That's obvious. 

But winter is also blue.  The whole world turns beautiful shades of blue at dawn and dusk.  I took this shot early one morning.  It really was that color. 

Enjoy your weather wherever you live!  And may your hands stay busy and happy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sign language

See my hand waving to you?  That's my first "sign language", letting you know I'm still here.  I know I've been "gone" for awhile.  Lately sewing, and blogging, has come in fits and spurts.  I'd love it if it were more even and steady, bu reality is that my job can have demanding stretches, and combined with life's obligations, sometimes I'm left with little time - or energy - for those pleasures.  

I have managed to make progress on my little quilt, but I've been trying to hold off showing it until it's together.  I'm "this" close!  See my hand with my finger and thumb nearly touching?

I've joined tonight's Friday Night Sew In again.  Fingers-crossed that the top gets finished tonight.  I think it's doable.

Here's some visual shots of the word accumulate.  My thumb is pointing down.  I don't hate winter, but at this point I'm looking forward to it going away.

All the lovely evergreens that were in the pot are buried. 

That's a 48" metal ruler shoved into the snow pile near the door. 

Looking out the front to the left down the street. 

Looking up the street.  The sun came out!

You can almost make out the steps leading up the back yard from the house. 

These icicles are a big thumbs down.  When I was little, I thought they were so cool looking.  Now I know that the damage they can cause to a house.  (Ice forms along the roof edge, called ice dams, and when the snow melts, the ice can block the water from running off the roof.  With no where to go, the water can leak into the roof.  The ice was removed shortly after these pics.)

(I've got a couple other shots to share next time, showing a couple neat things about winter and snow.) 

For those of you who stopped by, a high five to you for paying me a visit.  I will try my best to post more regularly, and I hope you'll be understanding if I fall off course from time to time. 

These fingers are ready to sew, click and type.  TGIF! 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My first quilt - chapter 6

Chapter 6

The plot thickens. 

(This is the point of tension in the story, where something happens to throw everything off balance.) 

As the pieces were laid out, there was a problem. 

The cheddar-y blocks just weren't working for me. It looked promising when it was a pile of uncut fat quarters, but now... not so much.

I can't explain it. There may be some of you who don't see a problem. I don't mean to offend anyone. But it's got to feel right.  And it didn't.

There's also the pressure of the being the "first quilt".  (Picture those words in blinking lights, recited by a deep, reverberating voice... firrrssstt quillllttt....  lol.) 

Rise to the challenge!  I can overcome. 

I think I can... fix it with a different color for the blocks.

I think I can... try a different layout.

No, no, no, stick to the original design, missy! 

I think I can.... keep pulling out the stash.

That's only some of the things I tried.  Through the process I took the pics for my benefit, as a way to step back. Of course there's also the squint-your-eyes technique.  Do the beginning quilting classes teach that one?  :-)

I have one more idea I'm picturing in my head.  If I'm lucky, it's waiting for me on the shelf of my local quilt shop. 

If not, I'm going to go with one of the above and call it good enough.  (If I told you which one, that would be cheating, now wouldn't it?!)


Thanks for sashaying with me down the square dance memory lane yesterday.  Wow, what fun memories that brings back.

Writing this little story reminded me of other things I learned long ago, like plot and climax and resolution.  Remember protagonist and antagonist?  (Oooo, found those words in a dusty back corner of my brain!)

Of course, I'm the protagonist. 

My son has taken an interest in this quilt, which is surprising and sweet.  He's 17, that age when male communication is often scattered words and gutteral sounds that require an interpreter.  (He's used to me teasing him about it.)  Anyhow... he looked at some of the ideas and asked questions.  So, what did he think?  When he found out this was only going to be a little quilt, he said I should keep going and make it into a big quilt.  You know what that makes him? 

The antagonist.  (LOL.)

(No siding with him!  I'm tryng to get this done!) 

Meanwhile, I saw this quilt on the cover and had to buy the magazine.

Makes my heart beat faster.  Me and complicated quilts... moth to a light, like moth to a light.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My first quilt - chapter 5

Chapter 5

370 became 144.  (On their way to become one.)   

In every moment of free time, I'd stitch some more. I was on a roll. Took about 3 days. Excitement was building. No seam ripper. Yay!

(This is the happy part of the story where you get to know the characters and things are going along so well.)

I kept thinking about doing square dance back in grade school while doing these guys. 

Grab your partner................ and bow to the ladies..............  and promenade right....

Okay, maybe it's just me. lol.


Next chapter, rising tension and crisis.  :-)