Sunday, July 31, 2011

I KNOW I Shouldn't, BUT-----

I know I said I was going to finish this UFO BEFORE I started another quilt---but now that I have gotten started, I am having so much fun making these things, I want to keep going.

As I mentioned before, I saw this quilt on the web and haven't been able to find the pattern. I have this "thing" for rulers and templates so I have a LOT--many I have never used and frankly am not sure why or when I purchased them. I know their purchase had somehing to do with a quilt---but---. I looked through my many rulers and found several that are perfect for this project.

Anyway, the name of the quilt I am trying to reproduce is "Garden Party". It was created (with another quilter) by the owner of the blog "Material Obsession". I purchased two Material Obsession books, but of course the pattern isn't in them. The only place it looks like I can get them is by ordering them from Australia, and that is a LONG way away (and the money exchange is different)---so I decided to make my own version.

The original has stems and leaves appliqued on the top that join the "flowers" into a "garden". They are appliqued on scrappy backgrounds that are very varied, based on the pictures I see on the web. I originally was going to make a JR quilt from a neutral JR I have and use that as the background, but decided that all those seams might be difficult to quilt (although there is a quilt on the web that has that type of background). I have decided to do a different one, still scrappy, but with bigger blocks. I am still undecided about whether I will put the stems and leaves on, but I am definitely going to put these "flowers" on by machine. I really have no timetable to get it finished, so I can take my time about the specifics, since I have at least one baby quilt, and a guild challenge to complete (plus the UFO I am working on). At any rate, I am enjoying making these blocks (Dresden Plates actually) and like putting unusual combinations of fabric colors together. The really large pink one was made with a different ruler. This one has about 80 "blades" and the center will be huge. Not sure I am going to make another one quite like that since it is also going to be a little more difficult to get a nice smooth edge to applique, but I am going to to try to have some continuity. Even if I don't decide to make another one, I am going to use the one I made, since that one circle took two whole FQ's to complete. The others use a different wedge ruler and so although the resulting "dish" is almost as large, it takes less fabric. I decided to peak my edges since doing so results in a finished edge, which will be much easier to applique down.

Anyway, this is what I have going! Hope your Sunday is a wonderful one. "See" you around the web!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Quilt!

I am still trying to stay focused and work on the quilt on my wall----but this one is in my head and I can't seem to get it out---so I have to at least start it. I saw it in a magazine, but it didn't have directions included, so I am making it purely from memory since in spite of Google, I can't find the pattern. This is the first of the blocks (gosh I have a LOT of strings on my design wall--I need to take it down and wash it), and I am sorta "winging" it, but I think I will figure it out soon. I have a lot of FQ's, but not a lot of yardage in the colors I want--but given the size of this one block, I am going to have to make smaller ones if the fats are going to work.

Oh and just to clarify----I hope I didn't offend anyone and certainly didn't mean to imply that followers don't think for themselves. This is my blog, and just like others can do, I have a right to say what I feel. It isn't hateful or vengeful and in the whole scheme of things, really isn't that important anyway. It is a way for me to share selective thoughts about myself and my art, quilting, that will hopefully be of interest to others. There are wonderful blogs out there that share so much more than my little one, including Mary's which is why I link to hers (and why she has hundred's of Followers). Just like she didn't mean to offend, but to express her thoughts and feelings---I did the same.

Now back to my own little blogdom! Hugs and have a wonderful evening! "Talk" to you later!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do You Think This Quilt Is Ugly??????

This is a Jelly Roll Quilt. I posted about it a couple of weeks (maybe months) ago. I made it at my guild retreat and really enjoyed making it. It is shown without the faux piping binding I put on it---but I think it turned out nicely, and I planned to make more. It is perfect (I think) for those quick quilts, and would be "sweet" for a charity quilt for a teen.

Why am I posting it again with this title---I read the blog that Mary has daily. I think she lives a interesting life---she is a nurse (she no longer practices), and creates quilt patterns I really like. Her husband has a fantastic job (I don't know what it is), but she gets to travel all over the place and doesn't have to work (certainly one of my goals). Her dog is even cute!--like mine. Her family seems loving and she seems to enjoy her time with them tremendously. Get to the point you say---well a couple of days ago, she blogged that she couldn't help it but she hated jelly roll quilts, in fact she said they were ugly and asked for comments. Of course, she got lots of comments (she has a LOT of Followers) and the majority of them (of course) agreed. Now understand, I still like Mary---will continue to read her blog, and believe that everyone has an opinion. I also know that if anyone has an opinion, quilters will.

I (of course) disagreed. I think that the JR makes the quilt. I have seen some that I think would have benefited from a different fabric choice or a border, but then I have felt that way about other quilts as well. What I found though particularly interesting was the "blog phenomena".

  1. The "band wagon" was evident. There are some people who will always agree with the person they feel is the leader, celebrity, "big boss". I dare say that some of those people "I agree with you Mary", "yes, ugly"...hadn't even thought about whether they liked the quilt or not, but because someone they consider important (for whatever reason) said they were ugly, they did as well.

  2. People who had thought about it, but were afraid to mention it. These people were just waiting for someone to initiate it and give them "permission" to say what they really felt. How wonderful to finally get to express the feeling they had been holding in for upteen guild meetings!

  3. Blogging comments allow you to say whatever your little heart desires, even mean and be assured that no one will know who you are. Sorta like "throwing the rock and hiding you hand". You can go to a guild meeting and oh and ah over that JR quilt, while you know that it was you who posted on Mary's blog--"I think they are butt ugly". In some instances that can in fact be freeing since don't we always have to smile and say, "how nice" at someones creation when really you might want to run screaming from the room.

I still like my quilt. Quilting is like art---nothing is really ugly, because it is someones interpretation. It may not be what I would do, but I don't think I should ever devalue someones creative interpretation of anything. Some of the comments were unnecessarily personal and spiteful (I think), but then maybe I felt that way because I like JR quilts and I sorta took it personal.

Oh well, I am not losing sleep over it. Will still make them (I just bought a new JR to make my DH one), and do so knowing that no one will ever to my face say my quilt is ugly. As long as I don't hear it, they think it is beautiful!!!! BTW, Mary's son agreed with me---he likes them---so there!!!! :c)

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stash Additions!

Yesterday was the annual Tennessee Valley Quilters Association Meeting. In addition to a really entertaining speech and truck show by Janet Jones Worley ("Quilts for Chocolate Lovers" author)---I will from this point on, smile when I meet a quilter named Barbara--there was some really good vendors present. Above is part of the stash additions I brought home. I also got some yardage for the Guild mystery day, but I am not going to show that---a few members read the blog. All in all it was a good day! As you can see from my fabric choices I am back to my "bright" self (although Diane says I never left). I have that quilt floating around in my head that will come to life in these brights. I am going to visit our oldest son in Silver Springs, Maryland in a couple of weeks and I am really looking forward to more fabric "research".

Well, gotta get back to finishing that quilt---I have a bit of a headache and needed to stop for a minute. Take care and have a wonderful, restful, creative Sunday!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

An Epiphany!

I love the word, "epiphany", I like how it rolls off my tongue. Well I had one this morning! I am admitting the type of quilting I love and have decided to not do anything else. I went through a period when I was trying to "quilt outside the box". For me that meant using CW fabrics, really planned quilts, even some simple applique. Although the quilts looked okay and some even got nice comments, I really didn't like them. I am now over that! I am a spontaneous sort of girl---okay I have said it. My everyday life is planned and there isn't a lot of room for "just doing", so I am going to use my quilting for that.

I love bright colors---lots of strings---things that don't really match---fabrics that make your "eyes jump"---what a Guild member said about the back of my string quilt. I am not really a "modern" quilter per se. I think it is interesting that "modern" is springing up all over. Have you had a look at antique quilts, the Gee's Bend quilt----those were made years ago and were done so from what was at hand. They were made to be used---now you can get a Gee's Bend Kit (pattern) to make a quilt that is suppose to mimic "spontaneous". Those type quilts are now considered "modern quilting". I think what makes them modern is the fact that many are smaller--more wall quilts/paintings. They are beautiful---but I always smile when I hear, "modern" used to describe them.

Those two words, "pattern/kit and spontaneous", seem like an oxymoron doesn't it. Anyway, I am going to go back to what I love. Sorry if my quilts will make your "eyes jump" but they make my "creative mojo" jump, and after all isn't that what "art" is all about. I am still going to make "big" quilts---the practical side of me will not allow me to make "wall" or throw quilts, I want them to be used. But I am going to do what I want and really not care so much rather I "get outside of the box" unless it is to expand the use of brights etc. in "traditional"patterns (whatever that means).

I don't know why I had the urge to put all of this in writing. Maybe because as I looked at my Guild Challenge in comparison with the others, it was so different to me. I felt a unusual feeling, and I didn't like feeling sorta "left" out. And then I started to wonder, what was wrong with having something different---and decided, not a "dog-gone thing". So I just recommitted myself.

Now---I am going to finish my current quilt---it fits the build for my "new" thoughts. Actually, as I look at the other UFO's except for a few, they are all "Patricia". Those that are not, are going to be either cut up to make something else, or the blocks will become a back. I am not going to even attempt to finish a quilt again if I don't like it.

My next quilt is simmering in my head and I am excited about it. I have seen one like it in my on-line searches and can't find a pattern, so I will create from scratch. I purchased some rulers completely by mistake years ago and rather than take them back, I kept them. NOW they are just what I need. Maybe in my subconscious I knew they would play a role in the creation of a quilt one day. I just have to figure out how to use them :c)! Unfortunately, this quilt will have some applique (which I hate), but I will do it by machine so----

Well, I feel better! My GS is in the Little League World Series and I am going to the first game at 12 noon! The heat index today is to be around 105 degrees! My daughter and I are taking the canopy--lots of cold drinks---a straw hat (for me)---sunscreen--and showing our love. Sure wish a miracle would happen and the game would be delayed until Fall :c)

Happy quilting!

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Step, Stack and Spin": Guild Challenge

During the design "process"--

Hanging in the show:

Tonight was time to "unveil" our Guild Challenges. We picked a bag that had a crayon, picture of a quilt block and a alphabet tile. My crayon was orange, the block was the Oak Leaf and the tile was "S". I used the Karen Combs technique to interpret the challenge. The title of my quilt is "Step, Stack and Spin" which addressed the S. I didn't win, but the challenge was fun! The Guild members did a great job interpreting their challenge.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Okay---So I did Start AND Finish A New Quilt!!!

I know I said I wasn't going to start a new project, but I remembered I needed to make a baby quilt. There is a young man that works at the hospital where I use to work and where I take my students for their clinical rotation. His mother also works there and they are really nice people. He is expecting his first baby soon and although I don't give gifts until the baby is born (what my mother always said to do---), I still wanted to have it ready. This is a really fast pattern. You need 6 different fabrics and a yard of a border. I know the trend now is really bright modern baby quilts, and I like those as well. But it is just something about a soft pink quilt for a baby girl, so I got some 30's and put it together. The background is pink gingham and and I think it is such a sweet quilt. I will load it tomorrow and probably quilt it in a heart panto. I plan to put on the faux piping binding so I can put it on by machine. I finished it in a day, so I think I am still "sorta" keeping to my commitment---I didn't create another UFO!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Current Project!

I am keeping to my personal commitment to complete as many UFO's as possible before starting a new project. I have given up posting my progress on Judy's blog since I have a really hard time linking for some reason and rather than continue to be frustrated, I will just post my progress here.

The quilt above was started in March of 2010. It was an on-line quilt along at one of my favorite blogs (oh fransson). I purchased a jelly roll and raided my stash for the prints. Although the original block was to be 6.5 inches unfinished, I misread the directions and my blocks are 7.5 unfinished. It is really fine since, remember, I don't do "small", so the added inch will mean I don't have to make as many blocks (hopefully). As I figure it, with the sashing, which I will make 2.5 inches unfinished, I will need a setting of 10 x 11 to get a nice queen size. That is 110 blocks. I have enough sets for 115, which will mean I will have the ability to switch out ones I don't particularly like, and put the remainder on the back of the quilt for a nice backing. I currently have 36 blocks, so I don't have "too many" to finish :c) The original quilt along had you making 8 blocks a week. They go together rather quickly (although I am obsessive and have to press each seam before going on to the next which slows me down a bit). Again, I am going to try though not to get hung up on how many I finish per day/week, but just that I work on it daily.

Hopefully, I will have this finished within the next couple of weeks (at least the top), and then maybe (?) I will give myself permission to start a new quilt. I have just the quilt in mind and every day I have a struggle to keep myself focused on keeping my commitment----BUT I shall prevail.

On another note, my Guild meets on Monday night and we will submit our challenge quilts for judging. I looked at my quilt again and even if I don't win or place, I am pretty proud of myself. I think I have met the challenge and am anxious to see the comments. I really enter "contests" to get the feedback and work really hard to take any comments constructively, even the positive ones. There are so many talented quilters in the group, I am as excited to see their interpretation as I am to hear what they have to say about mine. I will be able to post the picture on Tuesday, so it will be fun to read what "strangers" have to say (please do comment).

Well, gotta go---I bought a big basket of fresh peaches, so I am going to make a peach cobbler (the old fashion way with a pie crust). Don't know what has gotten into me. Oh yea---everyone loved the blackberry cobbler, but I am not so sure I really liked this recipe. The crust, was actually more like a cake when it baked, so it was a bit like eating a blackberry shortcake. It was good, but I still think I prefer the kind our mothers made with traditional crust.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Dinner!

Although I didn't grow up in the south, this is now my home. There are still a lot of things I don't understand about the south (nor do I necessarily want to), but then again, this is my home now, so I keep my comments (and thoughts) to myself (usually) and quilt! Although not all black citizens of the US came from the south, many did in fact have roots here. My parents weren't any different, and along with many customs, my maternal grandmother brought "southern" cooking with her when she came with her family to Oklahoma. It was a little different since she came from the New Orleans area (at least her mother did) and although my grandfather was Native American, I really only know the style of cooking my mother learned from her mother, with some "low country" variations. I have always thought it was interesting how people defined "soul cooking", associating it with the ethnicity of the cook. Diane (who is as close to a sister as one can get) makes chicken and dumplings that only a "soul cook" can make, but she isn't of the ethnicity that is associated with soul cooking, so I have come to the conclusion that "soul cooking" has nothing to do with ethnicity, and everything to do with the "soul" you put into your dishes---but I digress.

A couple of days ago our neighbors gave us some fresh blackberries. It was clear they weren't grown on a formal farm, but from someones garden because of the size and fragrance. I personally don't particularly care for blackberries, but visions of my mother came rushing back just by my smelling them. I knew they had to be put into a pie, but I don't know how to make a cobbler, so I went to my cookbooks. I had just seen "Julie and Julia" the movie on TV so I guess I felt particularly ambitious. Anyway, I went through my collection of cookbooks (when I traveled a lot I tried to get a cookbook of local recipes) and the one pictured above was first on the shelf. I went to cobbler and found a really easy recipe. I didn't even have to make a crust, roll it out and fit it around the pan. You made a batter and poured it on---how simple! The ingredients were not fancy and I had everything already in my pantry and refrigerator.

The recipe instructed you to put it in a 13 x 9 inch pan. My family is small now and that seemed like a lot of cobbler for us. In addition, although I had at least 3-4 cups, it seemed like it would make for a "thin" pie, which I hate, so I put it in a dish instead. Rather than 1/4 cup of butter on top, I only put in half as much. I hope it isn't going to be too thick----

I cut the amount of batter to 1/2 and it was enough to cover the berries. The batter was made with 1 stick of butter! Wow---in addition to this being a southern recipe, it must also be French, since in French cooking don't you use a lot of butter? It looked like it was going to be a thick enough crust.........

It smelled wonderful cooking!!! Again visions of my mother came back! If it taste half as good as it looks I am gonna get lots of hugs once my family gets back from the baseball game. I am cooking a roast in the crock pot, will make some rice and veggies (the neighbor also gave me fresh cucumbers) and think of my sweet, feisty, "way ahead of her time" mother, who would smile, wink and give me a big hug for cooking a "Soul Food Sunday" dinner for my family.

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Buyer Beware!!!!!

I really love to dye fabric!!! It is very time intensive, but the "rush" I get from creating more than makes up for the labor. Today was a perfect day for dyeing---in the garage it was probably 130 degrees, but that is PERFECT for dyeing fabric. I put on some old clothes, raised the garage door, and although it was raining (which brought the humidity up to 500%), I began the process.

Every book I find that gives the procedure for dyeing fabric I usually purchased, so last winter I purchased the "dictionary" of fabric dyeing that contained the "recipe" for over 900 colors. In reading it I got very excited, especially when I saw a "kit" that advertised it contained the dyes to make EVERY recipe in the book! Who wouldn't buy that---right? Well, I did, especially when I saw it offered in the catalog of a person who has a weekly sewing television show that I had watched for years. Surely this person, who has such a personal relationship with sewing/quilting, wouldn't sell something that wasn't really "for real". Anyway, I rushed to my computer and ordered it! In doing so, I saw that it was actually $10 more than where I saw it advertised on another site, but by then I had already ordered it, so again, given my belief and longevity I had with this company, I said "oh well" and waited for the dye to come.

It did, and right away I took out my book and began to go through the recipes to make sure all the dyes were in fact there. Right away I noticed a couple of things. First, the jars of dye were miniature---how could you have enough dye for every color---and a green that was called for wasn't included. No problem, probably a packing error, so I called (about the green). The person I got on the telephone, although not really rude, made it was clear that the problem was mine and not the company's. Finally, she blamed it all on the author of the book, it was her fault "for not being clear" in her instructions. She said she should have said, you could use one or the other green, not both. I pointed out that the recipes clearly said "equal parts of BOTH", but she wasn't impressed and again said the problem was with the author and not the company. To date, I haven't seen a correction or clarification anywhere from the author and the fact that the advertising for the dye kit was misleading, didn't mean anything. I debated about sending it back, but since it was winter and I wasn't dyeing anything, I forgot about it.

Fast forward to today. Now mind you, the advertising for the kit says that it contains dye for every recipe in the book. I intended to dye some more blues and greens and a "rainbow". As soon as I began to mix the dye, it was clear I had been misled again!!! The first jar is the size that you get when you order them by color from two on-line companies. Both companies sell the same amount per jar although the jars are a little different from each other. The second jar is the "largest" jar in the kit (only one); and the others are the sizes of the other colors in the kit. In following the recipe, each jar only had enough dye in them to make that ONE recipe!!!! There is no way you could use the dye in the kit for more than one recipe! The little jars hold about 2-3 T and the larger one about 4-5T, while the largest jar holds 4 oz. (by weight).

What is my grip----if only enough dye is packaged to complete one recipe, then say so! Don't mislead and give the implied impression that all you need (in way of dye) is in these kits!!! I absolutely HATE dishonesty!!!! This kit was $50, I could have purchased at least 10 jars of dye for that price from either of the on-line companies and had enough to make probably almost all of the recipes! I am NEVER going to order from this company again, but will definitely do more investigating. BTW, there was NO fine print on any of the descriptions of this kit that reflected reality.

My suggestion-----do NOT buy dye kits unless you just want to try something out and see how you like it....then buy regular. You will save money!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lots of Sewing (quilting) Going On!

I finished my string quilt. I am really liking this one. The strings are from both my stash, Diane's stash, and from an exchange with my Guild sisters. I put a light strip down each block so you get a nice triangle. I am really proud of myself since I didn't obsess about making sure the colors are balanced. I just pulled them out of the bag and as long as I didn't have the same fabric in the same block next to each other, it was fine. Some of my triangles don't match up exactly, but that is okay as well. I am putting a yellow and red check on the back and will load it on the frame today and do a simple stipple. The blocks are on a muslin base so this will be a nice heavy winter quilt---useful on cold TN nights. It is a nice 80 x 80 before quilting, perfect for my queen size bed.

I decided I wanted to do some garment sewing after reading about Lane's adventures with making shirts. I once made absolutely all of my clothes and my children's (especially my daughters) when they were little. When my granddaughters were small I did the same thing. Given all the discount stores and the price of patterns and fabric (and my obsession with quilting) I rarely sew garments now. My youngest granddaughter (she is 7) though thinks Mai (what my grandchildren call me) makes the "best" of everything, and is particularly happy when I make her something. I decided then to make her a play outfit. She choose the material (remember the cupcake fabric) and I choose the pattern. All the fabric is from my quilt stash. I even found cupcake buttons. What is funny though, see the back of the pack---how can you have buttons that shouldn't be dry cleaned OR washed?!? I am going to go ahead and use them and suggest to my DIL that she wash the top by hand---but isn't that weird? Why would you make buttons that couldn't be cleaned? I have a pair of jeans that are too short for her, so I will put the ruffle on them tonight. Isn't the outfit cute though? I have material (again from my quilt stash) for another outfit I will cut out this week-end. T his time the pants are polka dots--too cute!

I did wash out my "singing" dyes, and although they aren't as loud as I would have liked, they are in "harmony". I am going to dye one more batch since I want an even brighter group. They really are brighter than the picture shows, but this afternoon, I will try again! I still think they came out pretty good though. Depending on which is the best batch, I will send some to my blogging friend.

Well, I think I have brought you up to date. I am going to sit for a minute try to find a book on the Internet (see the comments after my last post) and then try to fold some of the clothes piled on the pool table. Do take care and thank you so much for stopping by to "chat".