Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Behind the Scenes Update -- You heard it here:)

A lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes right now. Not a lot of sewing is going on. I had my foot surgery almost a week ago. By mid-day three I was off the pain pills. I'm now able to get around with the help of my knee scooter (for downstairs and getting out) and a rolling walker (for upstairs).

Most of my time has been spent on the sofa. While I love my relaxation moments, there are certain moments I go absolutely nuts. That's temporary and normal. But I do know for sure that I'll never take my mobility for granted. I've got three weeks to go for non-weight bearing (I hope) and can get the go-ahead for the boot (I lovingly call my "telephone pole").

I got my bandages changed yesterday at the doc's office and it all looks fine. Just some bruising at the heel and a 1.5 inch incision on the side of my foot where he inserted the screw. Swelling isn't too bad. I know that will take a few months to go away.

I have been working on my Diamonds in the Sky english paper piecing (EPP) kit. I'm in the middle of row #9. Getting into the homestretch on this project. It has 13 rows of stars and hexies, and two rows of just diamonds. So I've got 9-13 rows to complete, along with the one row of diamonds. Not too shabby!

I'm really finding a zen in this piecing method. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if/when we decide to retire and move, I may just keep a small machine for general use and concentrate on EPP. I am really digging the portability of it.

Yes, you heard it here.

For this row I started using a fabric glue stick to secure the fabric to the papers. I'm really liking that. it's much quicker than sewing. It's really helping me assemble things much faster. I'll be using this going forward and adding the stapler on my next project (for the yarn dyed/homespun stuff).

Speaking of next...

Actually hubby and I have been talking a lot about what's next in our lives. Nothing earth shattering is happening, but it is something that came up when we explored the "what ifs" about my broken foot/losing mobility, and all. Plus, every now and then you need to revisit that discussion as a couple to make sure you both are on the same page.

We absolutely love it here in Washington. If I had my druthers I'd move my entire family up here and live on a huge farm compound in the Skagit Valley. But alas, the land is expensive, my savings aren't that great, and I don't play the lottery. So it's just a dream.

I miss my silver baby!

Isn't this just peaceful? 

We've been exploring hubby's "retirement".  To know my hubby is to know that retirement is just working on a much lighter level. I think we've both decided that as of now, we will head back to TN.  And if the kids still want us, we will live on the farm in our RV. Yes, that involves selling stuff here -- lock, stock, and barrel and living the minimal life.

(If my fiends that knew me during the 1980s-90s heard me say this out loud, they'd think I flipped my noodle).

You heard it here.

I'll check in again when I finish the row. That will give me some accountability. In the meantime enjoy the week and the blessings it brings.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Feedsack Dreams

This morning had me dreaming about feedsack prints from the 1930s-50s. I had a quilt made from them. It was made by a relative from a kit she received over fifty years ago. Funny part was that most of the dream was true. I do own two quilts likely made by my great aunts. Both from either old feedsack prints, or an old feedsack kit from long ago.

In the dream one of my cousins was looking at this quilt and pulling out the quilting on it much to my chagrin. Evidently in the dream, the quilting was done with a clear thread (not like my old quilts) and the backing was some sort of foam. The muslin and the fabrics were deteriorating ahd she was slashing the top in various places (yes, somewhat of a nightmare)

I was explaining to my cousin, who was obviously not aware of the treasure she was destroying, about the history and value of vintage feedsack quilts. I was explaining to her that flour, sugar, other staples came in printed cotton sacks, and that these sacks were used for dresses, quilts, and other home-sewn items.

I explained to her that I'd be restoring this vintage quilt carefully by using the correct batting/backing, and redoing the quilting with cotton thread to keep the fabric and the whole sandwich stable. I explained to her how much it costs to have this done professionally and how much I could save by doing it myself.

When I dream about quilting, I have piles and piles of finished projects ready to be gifted (versus the same amount in UFOs). I also dream about owning several unique sewing machines, this one fancy  sewing machine being inoperable from the moment I got it. I also dream about that elusive quilt shop I cannot visit because I can't get across town.

Does quilting invade your sleep world?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning to Love Your Stash, a year later

One of my guildmates, Linda,  posted a short fabric stash survery to everyone via email. This was her survey: 

So, which of these styles, or combination of styles, of fabric do you use most often? Which ones are your favorites? Why? (to both questions):
  • solid neutrals (gray, black, white, cream)
  • solid colors
  • tone on tone (example: blue print on blue background) -- prints, batiks, handdyes, 
  • multicolored batiks -- 
  • analogous colors, 
  • complementary colors, monochromatic colors
  • multicolored prints with a lot of blank background -- analogous colors (nearby on the color wheel), complementary colors (opposite on color wheel)
  • multicolored high density prints with no discernible background -- analogous colors, complementary colors
  • multicolored handdyes -- analogous colors, complementary colors
  • fabrics with metallics or ssparkle
  • nontraditional fabrics - velvet, silk, tulle, flannel, fleece, ultrasuede
It's ironic she mentioned this. I've been looking at my stash as well! You remember last year that I visited my stash in the series Learning to Love Your Stash

I need to do a better job at "curating" my stash. Last year I did a stash analysis and discovered several things. This year I took another look and discovered the following: 

  • I have lots of FQs. I need to change that to larger cuts -- 1/2 yd for scrappy fun (versus FQs),  1 yd if I like it  and would like to have it for a project, 2 yds if I really-really like it, 4 yds if it works for multiple projects or for part of a pieced backing. I have made better strides this year in buying more mindfully and and buying larger pieces. 
  • I tend to buy mediums and darks in terms of value. (I'm a color girl versus more neutral tones). I'm a more modern girl, so I buy monochrome/near monbochrome prints to use as blocks of color. In my traditional fabrics, I'm a color girl. My civil war collection is bright compared to traditional muted palettes. Cheddar and poison green draw me, along with the brighter reds, blues and purples. 
  • The funny part? I'm not a blue color person. Guess what color I have the most of in my stash? Blue! I know that is because I love orange so much and I prefer complementary and split-complementary schemes. 
  • My buying pattern is to pick up bundles, whether they are one-liners or random. I'm a huge sucker for bundles. Those are impulse items for me... The fabric version of candy bars at the checkout lane. Yup, I'm still doing that. 
To add to Linda's question, how do you store your stash? I break up my bundles and store by color. I do keep several stashes -- my usual, more modern fabric is stored by color and I store my traditional fabrics in another section of my shelf. It's funny, I just can't put my civil war stuff with my more modern stuff. I'm quite OCD about that. I also keep my Marcia Derse fabric in another section as well. Same with my solids.

What about you?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oh my gosh!

My book and piecing kit arrived lickety split on Monday. The folks at paperpieces.com ship fast!!!!! Y'all, I ordered this on Friday or Saturday (can't remember through the fog of excitement)!

Here's what I got. That  book is simply lucious! Pure English paper piecing (EPP) Porn! I ****SO**** need to finish my current project so I can start this one. Thank goodness I made the trip in November to Daiso to get some zipper cases.

EEEP! I'm sew excited!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bad Girl

I'm a bad girl. I mean really bad girl.

You know how I get these little "obsessions" about projects. Well, I picked out my next hand piecing project. I know, I know. I'm not even near finished on my Diamonds in the Sky project. I get it! But I've been looking and wondering about the next step.

I've been hearing a lot about this book. Had to have it. Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein. Beautiful quilts that resemble the well known glass-making technique. I can't wait until it arrives!

I also bought a set of the papers for one of the projects from Paper Pieces.com (my preferred source for EPP supplies). This quilt from the book is entitled, Made by Restless Hands. Yeppers, I'm a glutton for punishment. But honestly, I can't wait. My initial thought is to make this quilt using my collection of Japanese taupes. I think the different textures and subtle coloring will make this truly an heirloom piece. I could have chosen the more popular one, La Passacaglia, but I liked the more random quality of the above pattern.

Let's face it. It is definitely a lesson in patience. Something of which I extremely lack.  Or do I?

One of my guild mates has an unusual method for English Paper Piecing. I think for this go-around, I'll try her method. She uses a stapler to make her fabric/paper shapes. Then after she sews them together she removes the staple. She said it doesn't ruin the fabric any more than sewing through it. Good thing is that you can still re-use the pieces. I'm game. If worst comes to worst, I can use glue. Can you say easy?

I'll let you know as soon as the book arrives. I can't wait!

I'm hoping to get some work done on the Diamonds in The Sky quilt. Now that I have a new project waiting in the wings, I have incentive. That plus, the fact I'll be off my feet for a few weeks following surgery on my broken foot.  I think I'll have some time on my hands.

In other projects I started the New Year's Day Mystery quilt by Heather Spence -- Morse Code. I freaking love it!!!! I made a few cutting errors, So I've gone back and "audited" my pieces and will be fixing those. Hopefully I'll have a quilt top to show you next week. I'm crossing my fingers for that. I had to make a fabric change or two due to my errors. You'll love it.

Last week I paid Lisa a personal visit to the stockroom of her online shop, mymodernquiltshop.com. Oh my gosh, I was in fabric/color heaven! It was one of those moments I really wish I had my camera. If you are looking for a good assortment of stashable color basics, man oh man -- she has it! Last week she just got in Priory Square and Wild and Free. Both lines are just yummy! I also saw a beautiful rainbow assortment of a new basics line sitting by the sidelines.

Well, I'll keep y'all posted and let you know that stuff arrived.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Day Mystery Quilt

These are the fabrics I chose (plus white for the background).

Happy New Year... albeit a day late.

I will embrace randomivity and leave them as they lay... Maybe. LOL!

I've been sewing away yesterday. I'm a slow sewist, so I only got partway into part two of Heather Spence's New Year's Day Mystery Quilt. That, plus having to make dinner. I stopped where I could lay out the squares to start making rows today. That is my first sewing task for today. I have a few more steps to go.

I'll be honest, I'm really liking how the quilt is coming out.  After seeing a few finished quilts, I discovered I need some more of the brown pearl bracelet fabric for a border idea. I'm hoping my friend Lisa at My Modern Quilt Shop has some in stock. The quilt had an extra top and bottom border that I liked. I'll be dropping Lisa an email this morning and crossing my fingers. It's handy having a good (online) local shop nearby.

Heather's pattern can easily be cut and sewn in two days (cut in one, sew in the other). In fact, I may do another in this pattern. It's really a good stash-buster and is very FQ-friendly.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of the Year Madness

Christmas came and went. I did get a really cool gift that surprised the heck out of me. In fact, it made my Christmas. My oldest brother and his family got me an easy bake oven! I had posted a poll on my Facebook page before Christmas about the childhood gift that remained elusive year after year... The easy bake oven was mine!

I was un-boxing it with them through Facetime (a modern miracle) and you couldn't wipe that smile off my face! And not only was the oven mine, it had a sewing theme to it. Yes, my sweets, it makes button-shaped cookies! How cool is that????

My stepmom unknowingly bought a book on my buy list, Kathy Doughty's latest book, Adding Layers. It turns out that Kathy's parents are her neighbors. How small of a world is that! I love some of the quilt patterns in this book! I can't wait to delve into it!

I'm in the process of choosing a color palette to work with for Heather Spence's New Year's Day Mystery Quilt Project. My brain is totally stumped on what to do for this. It's a good stash-busting project. The link to the Facebook Group for that project is here. I've been scrolling through my Pinterest board on color schemes. Nothing is really standing out to me yet. I need to go through my sewing room to see what I have available for the groupings above. So far the soup and beaded garland photos grab me.

Speaking of sewing room, I attempted to do a deep clean. I'm still not finished, but I'm a good ways into it. Been re-working my space planning, pitching old ratty stuff that isn't good enough for donation, and I have a good sized donation pile going. I'm going to shake up my area by setting up my Juki and my Quattro. I think I'll switch out the two machine locations and keep the Quattro set up for embroidery and fancy sewing.

My foot surgery is scheduled for late January, so I'll have ample time to prepare this room for working with one foot. And I have software books pulled for some education time. I'm hoping to learn My Decorative Quilter and EQ7 while I'm down. Luckily, it's not my sewing foot being operated on, so I'll likely be able to sneak in some sewing as well.

That's about it. Not much sewing is going on, It's mainly behind the scenes stuff.

I'll probably check back in when I nail down some fabric choices for the quilt. In the meantime, feel free to shout out which scheme from above appeals to you. The kicker is that I need two colors that are high contrast and unrelated for the two main background fabrics. As for the others, anything goes.