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37.3 Finishing the old inspires the new

April 7, 2015

One major benefit of my annual March-A-Long is that often times to help fulfill my self requirement of 15 minutes of sewing a day, that I dive onto Quilter’s Cache or into EQ7 and start looking at new quilts, new blocks, new ides, new patterns.

Also, working on the long-ago formed Weave Quilt last month, made me think about other quilts that I have been close on. Figuring out what steps need to be done to finally finish those that are close or “oh so close” that sit in the corner unused, unadmired.

I have been wanting to get back to work on the longarm again, but to do that, I needed a quilt that was ready with a finished backing. I end up piecing like “all” of my backs for some reason or another, I don’t like buying backing fabric.

And I have been about 16 inches short on a back for my samurai Sudoku quilt for a few years now. So close. I have the pattern for the quilting picked out, I have the hours prepaid for renting time on the long arm.

But my aversion to phones & appointments, and the not finished back has kept me down, kept me from getting another bed sized quilt done.

Until this past weekend. Whoo! The back of this monster is done!

samurai sudoku top

This does not fit in my living room.

Luckily, I just had to make the backing a little larger. I hope it is square enough.

samurai sudoku backing with zippers

I even sewed the zippers on because I knew I wanted to quilt this one next.

As much fun as it would be to do custom quilting on this quilt, I don’t have the time or energy to do so, I have a large pantograph for this quilt that I bought a few years ago when I finished the border.

And finally I had an open day off with nothing else planned, and so decided to call to rent time on the long-arm.

Thanks to the guild for having a long-arm panel this last month and opening up the conversation to getting quilts done that way.

And I have an appointment for friday. I hope I remember it all! I think I will!

And then since I was on a “finishing up borders kick” I decided to stop where I was on the gemini sky quilt, which in my mind I had been wanting something else on the borders than what I had already done.

gemini sky with one border

And I finished pieces for the backing on this quilt too. since I was thinking about backings.

So I have another quilt ready for the quilting stage. :)

And then thought of 2 other things to do to other quilts, other ideas for new quilts. Neither of which are matched up yet, and I misplaced something I need for one thing.  My hand appliqued hot air balloon has the perfect backdrop once I figure out where I stashed it.

I am excited to get these old items done & done. Then I can say I completed more than like 1 quilt in 2015.

I would like to do more of these. Maybe as a series.

turquoise single tumbling block

And since I wanted a “dice bag” for my carcassonne tiles. I made 2. One for me and one to sell at the quilt show. 2nd one is the same, but not pictured here.

dice bag drawstring

Anyway, wish me luck. I am heading friday to quilt the samarai sudoku quilt, and then saturday to play tabletop games for tabletop day. Looking forward to my long weekend of fun!

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37.2 Silent March-A-Long almost finished

March 30, 2015

So, how did you do in the 15 minute a day sewing challenge for the month of March?

Did you let the stress of every day get to you, or did you challenge yourself to do a little bit of sewing each day?

It is hard to “see” the results of my sewing, a lot of my 15 minutes were closer to 5 or 10 minutes hand stitching applique that has been glued for a while.

hot air balloon glued down stitch line

So I have gotten past about half of the hand stitching on this section of the quilt.

This applique will migrate to another project from my original plans I think.

Geesh, I noticing that I have a lot of projects I started back in 2011 (the date for this quilt’s start).

Anyway, I did the weave quilt early in the month.

Circular ends

I have made appointments with two long arm quilters during the month. For the first time ever.

I have been trolling around Quilter’s Cache lately. I made the cutest Galaxy Star from that site.

galaxy star pattern via quilters cache

I hand stitched some batting that wasn’t quite big enough for a smaller project, I basted with spray baste, and am now starting to ditch quilt the borders on my domestic machine.

I also made a few small items for the guild’s boutique for the quilt show.

5pointedpincushiontwo

A few pincushions. This uses 5 squares of each fabric type. I found the tutorial online. I skipped the adding the paper step, but I had to hand stitch the middle closed on the pieces because there are several seams that stop at the quarter inch corner.

And I made 60 degree coasters from another pintrest link. These were easy, but I added batting just below the piece at the bottom of the coaster.

60degreecoasterafterflip

That is the finished project. Without top stitching anyway.

Here’s how they start. Pretty easy.

60degreecoasterstart

I bought my 3 day ticket for the quilt festival in June, and I signed up with a class/lecture by a quilter I was impressed with that is in a nearby guild, with one of the twilters, Carole!

Since changing my computer around, I never reinstalled photoshop (over 10 years old), so I have been using PicMonkey website to edit my photos. Very similar to Picnic that I reviewed a long time ago. Not bad, gives you plenty of free editing options.

Anyway, that’s me checking in with you! How have you been? March-A-Long! Good work getting those projects done!

 

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37.1 Not Exactly as I Expected

March 17, 2015

I am an admitted perfectionist.

So, I have a hard time resetting my mind to “growth mindset” when I do something that doesn’t quite work as well as I would like.

And yes, I realize I should not like this trait. I don’t always.

But it explains why I am slightly disappointed in the results after firing my glazed pots from a couple of weeks ago.

I know now why not many pots start off with the dark colors as the base, it’s hard to tell if the glaze is done “thick enough” to be dark.

Some areas of these pieces I did well, but mostly I am disappointed with the coverage of my coating.

Which the lady at the shop told me would happen.

Anyway, here is my plate after glazing & firing.

dahlia plate after glazing

It’s not so bad, but just not exactly as I expected or pictured in my mind. I did the design great. But I did not do the coverage of the glaze great.

That’s okay, I can use this plate & be reasonably happy with it.

The mug I am less happy with, I should have stopped at one item that day.

Here is the flower side:

glazed mug flower side

And here is the border side:

glazed mug border side

Learning experience, yes I know. And now I can have a flower vase for the next time I ever have flowers.

I think the dark just doesn’t work quite as well because it’s so hard to tell if you have a good coating.

Actually I could tell I was getting tired of sitting there, and wanting to go while I was painting the mug. The wide brush strokes I was doing on the mug and the warning that using a little goes a long way I convinced myself at the time it was fine.

The right thing to do to keep on painting until I also got the mug done.

Actually, the right thing to do would have been to plan the mug better and go back another time.

Luckily, it’s not all that expensive, it’s just a tiny bit challenging to get off work, get all my food stuff done and then drive there to go out & paint.

But I still have the dream of the red & black mug that matches my King’s Puzzle quilt.

So I will plan to go & do that sometime.

My 15 minute a day March-A-Long challenge isn’t going quite as well either, but I have been working on hand applique about 5 minutes every day. And I cleaned up some stray fabric I had out & about in my sewing room that was starting to drive me nuts.

How’s your month? Better?

 

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37.0 Twilt On My Last Round Robin Quilt

March 13, 2015

Between the month of January & February, I was frantically running around trying to finish the very last Round Robin quilt I did for my #twilter group A.

At the time of this writing, I still have not received my own round robin back, but I hear it’s coming, delayed by fabric selection.

Anyway, I had looked at an idea on Pinterest while searching for something else, and this border idea kept sticking to me as a great way to finish off a quilt.

First, the picture of the end, then we’ll discuss the process.

Round Robin Dianes Twilt On quilt with Darla borders

The idea I had seen was a strip style quilt with white borders, an accent color, and then multicolor strips outside extending to the end.

I had punched this into EQ7 and no matter what I saw there, I just couldn’t decide that they were any better than the strip idea I had seen on pinterest.

This was the quilt as I had received it.

dainesroundrobinsquareoriginal lightened

It was so lovely pinned to my design wall (it was heavy, needed pins to help keep it up there).

The whole quilt was so whimiscal & fun. It needed a whimsical & fun last border on it.

Anyway, I had been doing bargello quilting for a while, my Royal Red King’s Puzzle quilt is a bargello style, and so was another quilt I was working on (not shown yet), and so my mind was doing strips anyway.

Lucky me, the math worked out fantastically and I could make 12 inch blocks.

So I drew it up in my sketchbook, abandoning all these EQ7 variations I had done during Nov-Jan.

sketch of quilt borders smaller

I can divide easy numbers easily, and I first was thinking I would do a plain inner border and maybe inset some applique swirls on it, which would have also have been really nice too.

the original drawing and some math smaller

But then I started laying out fabric for it, and I found I had a really nice light green that looked like a good compliment to Daisy’s white & green disappearing four patch round.

I was thinking the green was like the grass for the birds, Daisy’s round was like a white picket fence, and then I decided to do a pathway & some sky, using the pathway as the contrasting color.

The pathway & the blue sky border are actually pieces I purchased for Laura’s neutral round robin that didn’t exactly “go” with her quilt, but were close. Well the pathway I bought & the light blue/grey that I used that I bought were for her quilt, and then I tacked on the bright blue butterflies to the order for ME, but they looked really good next to the blues in the birdhouse round. So decisions I thought I was making wrong earlier, ended up being good decisions now.

And then I decided to change the green fabric. Why? Because the green fabric I originally picked (not shown) was a lower quality. I could tell. It would have worked well for me, but not for a friend. It was perfect though in shade & lightness. So I had to substitute.

trying out borders in strips

Which lead me to the lightest seafoam green fabric I have in the quilt.

But the fabric was “too plain” by itself. It was a good shade of green, the closest to what I was searching for, but it was too plain by itself.

But then I also saw the next lightest green at the fabric shop that mirrored Daisy’s fabric just exceptionally, even though it was darker than I wanted. I decided to do both in the quilt and then just layer them next to each other.

THEN I had the even darker batik sitting next to my computer. And as the week went on, it kept taunting me, telling me to gradate the greens into 3 levels of dark.

Which I did! And I love it.

redrawing to accomodate fabric changes smaller

And as you can see from the picture above, I had a fairly easy time of making the blocks once they were figured out. Each half was only 7 strips of varying widths.

Strips of green & strips of blue & brown. The blue & brown I made easy and made a base unit, then tacked on the extra blue to the base unit for the different lengths of the strips.

The greens I had less of a defined base unit, but that was ok.

various strips

Bargellos are a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but there is an ease to them. You sew the strips into sets (base units) and then cut up those sets to the widths you need.

The hard part is going back to the ironing board for all these seams.

And here I could see it was going to work!

trying out the corner blocks

The corners were actually the trickiest part, trying to decide the order I would quilt them in. Part of it is like a log cabin block, and part is strips.

I snuck in the focus fabric into the little part of the border in addition to some of my pretty pink fabric as a nice compliment.

closeup of corner blocks

My only regret is not bringing in some of the cream into the quilt. I love it, but I think cream sitting right next to the pathway fabric would have eased some of the green we see here.

I calculated about 2000 pieces in total for the entire round of the quilt. Not to brag, again, bargello easily lends itself to having lots of pieces with less individual sewing sections in it.

That did lead me a few thoughts about my quilting insecurities. 1) Did I go overboard? 2000 is a lot of pieces. 2) Did my sections of the quilt overshadow the other sections of the quilt. 3) Did I try to show off?

I had the realization that not only did I do my best job for a quilt for a friend, but I did a style of quilt that was pleasing to me in a style that I was comfortable doing, something that I was familiar with, and also shows my style enough for others to know just by looking at it that border was mine. I did my best to match the other’s sections, and perhaps there is a little bit of overboardness, but even though it took a lot of 2 full days of 2 full weekends, it meant a lot to me to make something that I am proud of that can go to my friend Diane, who had to put up with all my insecurities with the Round Robins along the way.

And with that, I am done with my section of the Round Robin quilts. Once I receive mine, I will see what pictures are in the flickr group and put together a roundup for the round robin in its own post. I hear mine is outstanding, I can’t wait to see it.

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36.9 Weave On took over March-A-Long

March 10, 2015

I am not certain how or why, but possibly when I was doing the ceramics last week on my day off, I woke up the following day with a solution to a 4 year old problem. Well probably a 2 year old quilting problem.

weave border top completed with weaved borders

Four years ago, I, on a whim, made a quilt with 3 main colors, blue, red & yellow. I improvised a pattern that I saw online, but I couldn’t have told you who or what then, all I know is I made what I called a Weave quilt.

Then I came up with a variation on borders that I have seen several places that involved paper piecing & bias tape. I made lots of these border blocks using 3 fabrics for the borders that I also bought on a whim.

It turned out that I didn’t plan ahead on borders, I was originally when I bought the fabric, thinking I would do inner, middle & outer border in plain sizes.

This often happens, I was starting to run out of red fabric in the borders, but I wasn’t all the way around the whole quilt.

So then I decided to well, stop making the weave borders that I had planned & already started. And then I needed to come up with a clever end to this pattern, this quilt.

That was 2 years ago. I am certain I talked of this quilt before on this blog before at least once or twice.

Any event, the ephiphany happened and now I suddenly gotten taken over by this quilt, a desire to finish it before guild (tonight) pushed aside plans on both Sunday and today (my day off this week instead of Saturday).

It still took a good chunk of time on Sunday, and I did some unsewing of blocks once I figured on size, and measuring, and drawing what to do both on paper & EQ7.

weaved ends close up borders

I had figured out the two corner blocks a while ago, but hadn’t made them.

connected corner on border

The ends are little applique circles of the fabric I had stored with this quilt.

Circular ends

The biggest compromise I had to make with myself is not floating the border in blue fabric. I still wish I could have done it that way, but I completely didn’t have enough of the same blue, and I do like that the red just trounces off the edge of the quilt while the yellow stays connected.

Wow it feels great to get this done. My March-A-Long which I was only going to work for 15 minutes turned out to be another full weekend of mostly quilting. That is both good and bad.

I could feel an urge to get this done before the guild, to finish it off before my mind was tired of working on it. It really only needed the bordered finished and then attached.

More borders, who would have thought? I wonder if any more quilts only need borders on them? I could get a lot of these UFO’s to the next stages.

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36.8 Translating quilting pattern to Ceramic

March 7, 2015

Hey!

I have started to look at EQ7 again with my March-A-Long goals. Later today is the day I meet with the quilter for the Royal Red King’s Puzzle quilt.

So I have been doing some quiet quilting, even a little applique at the car oil change place!

Yesterday I had a unique art experience I had to share at Sunfire Ceramics.

There is this cute little shop in Lawrence KS just downtown off to the side a little bit. And they have all these unglazed pots, bowls, cups, teapots, figurines, etc.

And they have these little tables and whole bunches of glaze that people can come & paint onto their ceramics of their choice.

I have had a coupon (groupon) for like ‘ever’, even bought a 2nd one before using my first.

I have been thinking I was going to paint a teapot. But I like mugs.

And a few months ago, I was planning on going on a monday day off, but they’re closed Mon & Tues. So I decided to take a quilting pattern, one I quilted on the Dancing Ribbons quilt with corners to put on either the teapot/mug.

When I got there, I looked at the shapes of the items, and I decided to make 2 objects, neither of them a teapot.

Finished photo first, after several hours of listening to their music, chilling out at the studio.

Dahlia in ceramics painted

The dahlia is one I quilted in the background on the Dancing Ribbons quilt:

quilting corner tricord colors

Which almost shows up in the picture above, but not exactly.

Anyway, the dahlia had 10 points, so I wasn’t able to divide it into 3 colors to match the tricord colors.

So I put the blue in as a 4th color & alternated rows & colors. Then decided dark teal for the lines & the outside instead of the dark blue.

How did I follow the pattern?

Pencil marks. You take the pattern, trace it over with pencil.

dahlia drawing from pinterest

Then I flipped it over pencil (drawing side) down on top of the plate. I originally tried rubbing with eraser, and that was leaving a little bit of a mark, but not a full mark.

Then I decided to trace the back with pencil, thinking that the pencil on the front would rub off with more pressure on the back. And it worked. The lines on the ceramic were thinly there, but they were there enough to go back & retrace again on the ceramic itself with pencil.

dahlia pencil marks on ceramics

And then after that point I didn’t get any more pictures until the end except for my inspirational art deco pictures I found in a book that was at the shop.

art deco border inspiration

And the setup of the whole table picture.

scene at the ceramics place before painting

The glazes are in the size of the little paints bought at michaels, walmart, etc, and the pallet & paintbrush are there to hold them. It was like going back 20 years to my ceramics class in college.

I also painted a mug as well, with 2 sides. This one also with the same color family to “match”.

painted mug with flower stamp

This side was from a stamp. I had to help enhance the stamp a bit & I  sorta like it, I wonder how it will look when finished.

painted mug with borders

The other side I was using some swoops and dots to make borders. I am a right handed person, so this will be the side I will see the most.

I think I am less happy with the mug because I didn’t have a plan of attack on it, I just wanted to do something nice with borders. I had forgotten to bring my drawing borders book that I own for further inspiration. I never found a book at the library before coming that was perfect inspiration either.

Anyway, next time (I have to come back sometime & do a bargello style mug, I have decided) I will do something different, maybe I will make a red & black one to match my red & black quilt too. I imagine for the bargello mug I will use a stencil or ruler to draw straight lines with.

I wish I would have planned the mug a day ago, I have a picture in my mind to match the red & black quilt, I think that would be nice on a mug!

I used a dark teal as the base of these items, I hope it’s a good enough color combo. We’ll see in a week when the thing gets fired. They put a top coat glaze over the top that is shiny to make the ceramics able to eat off off.

Anyway that’s my non-quilting/quilting adventures for Friday. A lovely day off!

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36.7 It’s March, Is There a 2015 March-A-Long?

March 1, 2015

March-A-Long Swirl 15 minutes

 

In March, I have traditionally “hosted” a March-A-Long”. It’s my way of encouraging people to sew/quilt for 15 minutes a day during the month of March.

I picked March because International Quilting Day falls in March, and it happens to be my birthday month. And because we’re just starting to fall off of New Year’s resolutions by this time of year. And because we need something to motivate us to keep it together before spring hits.

This year, I don’t know where my marching ant file is, I have no space to set up a quick video like last year. I am not even certain I can post once a week, given my recent track record. I am not even sure I actually gave away anything last year for participation. And I really think maybe I needed a break from all the “hard quilting” (aka pushing myself pretty hard to get deadlines done) that I have done since the fall.

So I’ve been thinking I will scrap March-A-Long, and just move on.

But.

There is a quiet power to lots of little steps. I have learned many times that lots of little steps towards a goal gets you right up to that goal, even if it takes a while.

I may not cheerlead, nor podcast, nor video, nor inlinkz, nor even post, BUT, I may just do my own little 15 minutes toward quilting every day for the month anyway.

I may or may not check back every week, or even the end of the month, but I think I will “March-A-Long you little quilters. Drop & give me 20 … stitches.”

Feel free to join in the quiet power of doing lots of small steps to gain traction for a big goal!

March-A-Long

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