Monday, 27 January 2014

Quilty Stiches Sampler



It's funny how as soon as I start something I almost immediately made a mistake. I decided to participate in Little Miss Shabby's Quilty Stitches Sampler Along and was so excited. I used my daughter's sweater as my inspiration for the colors, and when the kids were lying down for bed, I used the light from the hallway to start my Swoon block. Then I got back on the website a week later (when I finally finished the first block) and saw that the layout was four blocks by four--each 25 stitches wide. But when I planned it out in the beginning, for some reason I only thought it was 3 blocks wide!!! So, my Swoon block is too far towards the center to fit 4 on a row.  So now, I guess I will only be making 15 of the 20 blocks (oh my gosh, I read it wrong again!!! I will be making only 9 of the 16 blocks!). But how will I choose? Look at all these cute blocks...




If you want to participate, there's a flickr group or you could post on instagram #quiltystitches.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Positively Quilting

So the story goes, (or at least as well as I remember it) the first time John Lennon met Yoko Ono is when he showed up at her art gallery. In the middle of one room there was a ladder, and hanging from the ceiling was a magnifying glass. John climbed up the ladder and grabbed the magnifying glass, and when he looked through it he saw on the ceiling, in tiny letters, the printed word "Yes". And that impressed him. One simple positive word stirred a feeling in him, which started an attraction, which created a romance, and then ultimately resulted in the Beatles' demise...but maybe I shouldn't mention that right now, for the sake of this story:) 

The plus sign is the symbol for "yes" and expresses certainty, and lately I've been crazy about quilts with plus signs on them. Maybe my Word of the Year should be "positive".  It's so easy to catch yourself saying "this is just my luck" when something bad happens, or anticipating the worst possible outcome of a situation before anything has developed. Do you ever find that you can't sleep because you're worrying about  something that "could" possibly go wrong?  So maybe if we surround ourselves with "positive-ity" (or wrap ourselves up in a quilt with plus signs) we will sleep better, and won't have to take daily medications for our heartburn that is triggered by key words like "family reunion" because you are immediately imagining the crock-pot casserole that is probably going to get thrown at someone's head over a game of monopoly.  We really can't be sure what this year's family reunion will bring, so why worry about it? Maybe this is the year that everyone will get along and sing Kum-ba-ya...but anyway, back to quilting...




My plus sign obsession kind-of started with Danielle Burkleo, of Take Heart Designs. She is the amazing graphic artist behind this blog design.  I gave her an idea of what I liked and she did the rest. I was actually pretty amazed how quickly she came up with something that I loved 100%, especially since her and I have such different tastes. She's completely modern and trendy, and probably doesn't have to call her sisters to ask what people are wearing nowadays.

After she designed the blog, she contacted me and asked if I could make her two twin-size quilts for her boys' rooms. And of course I said yes. She knew exactly what she wanted and I just followed orders:) She even chose the black-and-white striped binding. To know what size I needed I quickly drew it up in the Threadbias design tool.




The quilts are entirely made of 12 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles and 4 1/2" squares. Each plus sign block is 12" and the quilt finished at around 68" x 90".

The quilts were a breeze to piece, but I the quilting took longer than anticipated because I basted and quilted each line of the diagonal criss-cross pattern individually. The tiny threads from the black kept somehow escaping from underneath the plus signs and showing through the white fabric. So I took the very long route of trimming the back-side of each plus sign, basting a row, and quilting one line-at-a-time, to ensure that there was no possibility of any random threads making an appearance.




Even though the black and white is a little too contemporary for me, it hasn't stopped me from obsessing over the plus signs. It motivated me to finish the quilting on my Glamping in the Spin Cycle quilt (post coming soon)




and I made a couple of X's and +'s blocks (and yes, I meant for all those strings to be there)--I've decided to try it with all red fabrics, and I am hoping I can finish it by Valentine's Day (and because I'm now a more positive person I'm not going to imagine how my husband is probably going to forget that Valentine's Day is a holiday we do, in fact, still celebrate).




I asked my Aunt Deanna (who I have been promising to make a quilt for) if she wanted a plus-sign quilt and she flatly replied that it reminded her of Band-Aids, so I guess I won't be making a plus sign quilt for her...hahaha. But I'll still send some positive vibes her way, and keep the band-aids for myself:)



Friday, 17 January 2014

Picture Perfect


This is the worst time of year for me to try to take quilt photos. It's dark when I leave for work in the morning, and dark when I get home. Usually I take all of my pictures on the weekend...that is, if it's not rainy, wet, dreary, or cloudy. But I had to take these pics today, because I needed to get this quilt into the mail for a charity raffle and I had only just finished it last night!!! So I grabbed the quilt on my way to work, ran around base on my lunch-break looking like a crazy quilt lady, and with the help of a few friends I was able to get some almost great photos:)

Today was a rare sunny day, so I thought everything was going to work out perfectly.


First I had my friend, Merv, help me out. He's a tall, crazy, opinionated "older" man and had no idea how to hold a quilt. I couldn't stop laughing because he kept holding the quilt every way but the right way. First, he just grabbed it on two random points and yelled "take a picture!". 

"I can't take a picture like that! You have to hold it where I can see the front!" I yelled back.

He started wrestling with the quilt (and cursing under his breath), flipping it sideways, upside-down, and every-which-way possible, and by the time he got the top of the quilt up-and-forward I was almost rolling on the ground with laughter.

I was finally able to get an almost-decent picture (above) when Merv stood on a bench (so the quilt wouldn't touch the  wet ground). I realized, though, that the quilt was just a backdrop and a perfect frame for the shadow of the basketball court fence that stood between the sun and us.




We then tried to lay the quilt across the bench, but, again, we couldn't let it touch the ground (the ground is ALWAYS wet here), so Merv held one end of the quilt while it was draped over the back of the bench. You can see Merv's end was much higher than the bench, and I thought the poor guy had probably had enough, so I didn't gripe about it, and graciously took the picture.




I got back to my job, and asked my friend Jasmine if she could help me try again and then she became the victim. She's tall for a female so she could almost just hold it up high enough, but the wind was whipping the quilt around like crazy and most of the time it looked like she was wearing a quilt suit. 




She has scrawny little arms and I was afraid she was going to tire out too fast to get a good photo.  I was no help, because I had broken out in hysterical laughter again watching her struggle with the quilt and fighting the wind. It is so funny the sounds people make when they're trying to hold a quilt. 




Fortunately, she is very good-natured, was laughing too, and didn't seem to mind that I was almost in tears.




We were able to get this action shot (above) that almost looks good except you can see the far-end is blurry.



Finally, in between gusts of wind, I was able to get the photo above--probably the best of them all, but really it's my least favorite. Sometimes the best pictures don't tell the best stories. The other pictures I took today mean more to me than most of the other ones I have taken of quilts. They weren't the prettiest, or most artistic, but they will always remind me that I'm really lucky to have friends who are willing to go through some trouble to help me out. 

Thanks Merv and Jasmine!!

(that hump in the picture below is where Jasmine had thrown the quilt over her head when she finally gave up :)


This quilt was made from the Cherry Pie quilt kit from Fig Tree and Co. and was quilted by the ever-amazing Asta.



Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Stash - Rapture

Before I get started, I just wanted to thank everyone for your responses on my "Small Town Girl" quilt. All the positive feedback really put me on Cloud 9 all week:) After that, it seemed like good things kept happening; I got a job position promotion (of sorts) and in the mail I got some new fabric!

While the rest of the world goes on a fabric fast, I buy it like I'm storing up for the apocalypse. I think what should happen is all the fabric manufacturers take a break from printing fabric instead. That way we wouldn't be tempted to even do any shopping!


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This is Pat Bravo's new "Rapture" collection. Isn't this fabric amazing?! Have you seen the Rapture Look Book? You have to check it out...everything is phenomenal!! The tiny flower prints are my absolute favorite--it's adds a country flair that makes me want to run barefoot through a field of flowers in Texas in the summertime...


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Realistically though, running barefoot through a field of flowers in Texas in summertime would not be as glamorous as it is in my head. Too many things would be jiggly, and sweaty, and Texas is covered in stickers. So I guess I'll just stick to making a quilt with it for my bed. Much more practical and pretty:)


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When I was taking pictures of the fabric, I looked over at my yarn shelf and noticed all these colors together that complimented the fabric beautifully, so I thought I'd share the pic with you. Maybe I could make a matching afghan one day. I have only finished one crochet project in my life, but I keep collecting yarn hoping that one day I'll have more time:)


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But I'm sure that I'll never have time for crochet. Not with all the beautiful fabric prints that keep showing up. I'm drowning in UFOs, WIPs, and have fabric bundles lying around every horizontal surface available.  I decided to get organized before my kids went missing underneath the piles of fabric, so I bought some file boxes from IKEA and started getting it all sorted.



And this is where I am today--not running through a field of flowers, not working on a fun project, just trying to finish the overwhelming and boring task of organizing my life.


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Hope you're having more fun than me today!! Linking up at Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:)


Molli Sparkles










Thursday, 2 January 2014

"Small Town Girl" New Year's Finish

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I think I have had blogging writer's block--as soon as I start trying to type something out I get stuck on what to say exactly. So I'll just start with the basics...

This quilt was designed for the Threadbias quilt contest back in June and the design was inspired by my visit to my hometown in Texas. I  wanted to make a quilt block that looked like a flower with layers of petals. Each block finishes at 16.5" x 16.5" and the size of the quilt is 57" x 75". The fabric used was "Wallflowers" by Allison Harris.

After quilting what seemed about 10 gazillion lines of loopy L's, I finished the binding up yesterday. I think finishing this quilt was a good way to start the new year because it really represents this last year of trying to face my fears and just throw it all out there...do you know what I mean? 


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My biggest problem, I think, is doubt, or negative self-talk or whatever you want to call it. I have an almost insane fear of rejection or failure, and usually try to stay away from situations which cause me to get that scary-vulnerable feeling. But I know that I can't sit around do nothing because I'm afraid of failing everything.  So this year I pushed through my anxiety, started a blog, and entered the design contest. I can't say I'm completely over my fear but I'm taking baby steps. 

So my continued resolutions of 2014 are to stop doubting myself, stop worrying about everything, and just try to create things that I love.


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Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and
Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts