Friday, September 30, 2005

I've Got the Blue and Green Blues....

Yeah, I think it's finally happened. The sight of blue and green makes me queasy. I was all inspired by Sarah's blue and yellow stars and thought I'd use the idea of a bunch of 1/2 square triangles. I didn't figure they would work as stars 'cause there just wasn't going to be enough contrast in the blue and green scraps I had, but thought I'd play with it awhile. But now I am tired of it as the last several quilts have been blue and green- I planned to use it all up, but it seems to be like those brooms in Fantasia- they just keep breeding more blue and green. So, I've made an executive decision. It's going into a two-gallon zip lock bag- what would I do without those things?- and it will hibernate for the winter. After all, Quilting is the great unfinished business. I could push myself to work with it, but where's the fun in that? I'll pull it out in the spring, and say,"That's right! In just a few hours I could have this thing finished and it'll be a great quilt." Doesn't that sound like a better alternative?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

See? I told ya!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sunrise in Georgia Skies...

My brother took this picture with two of his sons, and when they saw it on the computer monitor, they said,"Well, it looked WAY better than that!" Life is like that sometimes. Actually being there does add another dimension, but I think it is a great picture. When I first opened it, I thought, "I'd like to make a quilt like that." Now you know how compulsive I am. Maybe a bargello or a color wash. In creamy yellow, golds and oranges. And soft reds, burgundies and browns, with splashes of bright light and even smoky blues and teales... What colors do you see? My mother-in-law is an artist and she always surprises me by the colors she sees in a simple sky. She always puts lots of pink in her skies and they look...right.

We have beautiful sunsets here in Indiana. I am rarely up for the sunrise (and not in the mood to take in beauty at that hour,) but the sunsets are phenominal. You see, I come from a land of no sunrises and no sunsets. In The West Virginia mountains, I never remember such a thing. And no wind. Here the skies more than make up for the lack of spectacular scenery on the ground, while the wind is always blowing, always changing those same skies. My father can't believe I am happy here- as the mountains are the only place he feels at home, but there is something so honest here about the openness. I don't feel pinned in. I remember my sister and I getting up at 5am to see a sunrise because we had heard on the radio that the time for the sunrise was 5:30am. Well, we still giggle over that one, as the sun didn't show it's face until after 9:30am! We lived in a "holler."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Of Slapping Up And Popping In....

These are the terms my dear husband uses when describing how simple the next home improvement project is going to be. You know, "slapping up" drywall, or,"popping in" plumbing. But I have come to learn, from experience, that even though the concept is simple enough, the execution is often laborious and more involved than ever imagined. There are always complications and obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles are our own feeble-mindedness (How in the world did I ever think that joint compound could be applied after 9pm with any degree of accuracy?) So it is with quilting...

Well, I'm working on this quilt that requires a number of half-square triangle units. It seemed a simple matter of "slapping it up and popping it in." So I decide to do a study on how efficiently 40 half-square units could be made. Now to be fair, I had a bad cold and maybe I wasn't thinking too clearly. ok, no maybe about it. First, I try the bias cut method of two fat quarters. It seemed simple. 3" strips, alternate, sew back together, cut into 3 1/2" squares. Simple. But, bugger it all, don't you know that I proceeded to cut out 40, 3" squares. Not 3 1/2" squares. I'm sure I'll find a use for them. But they won't fit into my current quilt project. I was bummed. Now I can't rest until I make a set that is the correct size. By the way, as for my efficiency test, it takes about 1 hour to make 40 squares using this method. So, I make a set of 40 squares-in the correct size!- and, amazingly, it takes just as much time as the incorrect size. sigh. And I wasn't thrilled with the length of time it took. Half Square triangles made using the "cut a square 7/8" larger than the finished size of the block and drawing a diagonal line, sewing 1/4 inch from both sides of the line and then cutting them apart" method. WOW!! So much faster in only 20 minutes. And a much more pleasant time. (And yes, Sarah, that is your fabric I cut into the wrong size, but, unfortunely it was the only fat quarter I had of the alternate fabric. Maybe fortunately, as I could show it without giving away the challenge. Yes, there are alot of half square triangles.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Under The Tuscan Sun

My cousin Kathy Jane had a rough time of it last winter. She had to have surgery, and then shortly after, had a pulmonary embolism from a blood clot in her leg. She has fully recovered, but she was a long time in bed and with her leg propped up to prevent the rest of the blood clot from breaking lose. I made this quilt to cheer her up- not that I could imagine Kathy Jane as anything other than smiling and cheerful. I called it, "Under the Tuscan Sun," as it reminded me of what I imagine the Italian country-side would feel like on a warm, sunny autumn day. I experimented with the quilting and made stylized suns that meandered across the entire top. The pattern was from the book, "101 Rotary-Cut Quilts." It was a pattern that I had been wanting to try for a while and, though I regret her health problems being the catalyst to getting me to do it, I am happy with the results. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to piece half of the quilts that I want to try. Maybe if I set up a schedule.... Well, I doubt that will happen as I am more of an improvisational kind of person. And my mood plays a big part in it. It amazes me how, one day, I am crazy for a particular fabric or design and then, a few months later- when I finally have a chance to work with it- I am not so inspired by it. Of course this isn't always the case, but sadly it is at times. Which, of course brings me full circle back to the acquiring of fabric. Yeah, it's all good. (If you look closely, you might be able to find the catapillar in the close-up of the quilting. For some reason, the needle broke on my quilting machine and tore a one inch long hole in the quilt top. I was traumatized, but a remedy presented itself, and it gives the quilt whimsy. right?)
Life is funny sometimes...

I had to remove mine and Sarah's picture from my blog because a friend said I looked old and my dear husband said I looked fat... Well, your true friends will always be honest with you. Even if it hurts a little. They were both kind in saying that, in actuality, I am neither old or fat. I haven't been able to find another picture of Sarah and I together where I am not pregnant- in other words, where I am not feeling old and fat!- So the picture will have to wait. Or maybe I could get Sarah to post her picture by mine...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Quilting Buddies...

Sarah and Nines on our big weekend without the kids. We bought fabric and stayed up late. She won't believe Bill stopped by a quilt shop for me on my way home from the airport. And of course I had to get her something. A blue and yellow calico. She loves blue and yellow. I, of course, got something with a goodly amount of orange in it. I just think of orange as a happy color. I haven't unpacked my suitcase yet, 'cause I want to be able to savor every beautiful yard of fabric and not be rushed. Hmmm... maybe, tomorrow, after work.

Look What I Found!!

I found two little elves under my sewing counter, happily munching on raisins. I have such sweet company when I work.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Power in Quilts
I spent the weekend with 410 women at a retreat that used quilts as their theme. You know, topics like, "Life is like a Crazy quilt." and, "Using the materials you're given." There were donated quilts that were auctioned off to help with scholarships for women who couldn't otherwise afford to attend, and I think we all had a great time. At the end of the second day, we had a show and tell for those women who wanted to share a quilt with the other ladies. I was amazed to see how emotional each of them became as they described their labor of love in making a quilt for a grandchild or dear friend or an ailing elderly person. These were tangible gifts of love. One after the other, they would approach the podium and their voices would crack and they would be overcome as they spoke of their loved one and I thought that the old saying is so true- "Those who sleep under a quilt, sleep under a blanket of love." There were even those who shared quilts that someone had made for them and you could see how honored and humbled they were by these gifts. It inspires me to unselfishly share in what small talents I have, because I am sure that not one of these ladies cared that all the seams weren't perfectly sewn or that all the points weren't perfectly matched. This is truly one instance where, it's the thought that counts, and there is no way you can spend the quantity of time that it takes to craft a quilt and not think long and hard on the recipient- even if it is an unknown one. Maybe I get caught up sometimes in the colors and the designs of quilts, but I should never lose sight of the significance of this simple handiwork. Where else can you make some one feel cherished and special with each stitch you sew?

This is a picture of a quilt that I recently quilted for my friend, Kim. I think that she did such a great job and the end results are beautiful- as I hope you can see. It is a drunkard's path block in a medalion setting. Each block is only about 3 inches. I am beginning a drunkard's path block, myself, with some vintage orange fabric that Sarah gave me. With black, it is having a nice Asian look to it. Of course, my blocks are closer to 7 inches. I am longing for a curve master foot, so maybe I'll need to pick me up one, tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sarah's showing of her inherited vintage blocks made me think I should show this quilt. I made it for a friend using her grandmother's leftover blocks and fabric. The kids on the bottom are Becca (mine), Maddie (Sarah's), Eva (mine) and Ian (sarah's).

Monday, September 12, 2005

The sun shines in my quilting room and I wanted to share this picture.My friend, Sarah, assures me that this will work, but I am struggling with entering the 20th century- much less the21st! Posting pictures is very technical business for a simple girl like me! You might think that I would do well to have been born 100 years ago, but please don't wish that on me! I love my rotary cutter way too much! And while hand quilting is lovely, tedious tasks are beyond my patience!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

T-minus 30 minutes...

My Mother-in-law is moving in with us. In about 30 minutes. I have been the good little quilter and have avoided the issue- by quilting up a storm. I have quilted 5 quilts this week and that is more than my average of one and a half. Somehow I managed to fit in sanding drywall, grouting tile, painting walls, and making curtains(which are way cute made of vintage hankies.) Anything other than facing up to the fact that my life is going to change in a drastic way. I have already stopped taking new clients. There are only about 16 quilts left in the hopper and while I am looking forward to getting them done- I hate having things hanging over my head- part of me is kinda sad. It reminds me of childbirth- hey guys, I have 8 kids, so most things remind me of birth. But when we decided to be content with the 8 healthy children that we have, part of me was still just a little sad. And while I am looking forward to having more time to maybe quilt my own quilts, I know I will miss the social side of quilting for other folks. I love the visiting and the creative storming that went along with it all. When you feel passionately about something, like quilting, it is such a joy to have an opportunity to share that interest with others. But now I am moving on to a new stage of my life. I am sure there will be many rich moments in it. I'm a little bit scared.