Monday, April 27, 2009

Paducah - revisited

I went to Paducah for the second year in a row and once again, have to say... BEAUTIFUL WORK!

I oohed and ahhed, then I looked at detail. Marvelled at the workmanship and lamented at my own limitations. Mostly, I just said one of the following.

"That's gorgeous." "That's beautiful." "I'd take that home in a heartbeat."

And the most uttered phrase, "Insane, these women must have ended insane if they didn't start that way." (Referring to the hand pieced & quilted as well as those teeny tiny miniatures. -and yes, in a good way.)

You can see the winners off the AQS website here. Just beautiful work.

I had a mishap in the am which delayed my morning departure so didn't get a chance to go to the Nat'l Quilt Museum and see the best in show winners of years past, but I still enjoyed myself.

Oh, and my tote worked like a charm. I purchased what I needed and wanted but managed not to overspend. I'm very proud of myself for that.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled quilting...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My secret... the tote is complete

I completed the tote yesterday. I didn't use a pattern and don't normally make purses/totes/bags so regardless of the errors in this (and there were a few the pics won't show- lol) I'm pleased.

I put some thin cardboard in the bottom to hold it open wider and help distribute weight once I put things in it. Also, instead of a strap long enough to go across the shoulder, I ended up making shorter to hang more like a purse. This is what I get for not measuring and deciding it was more important to go out to dinner with DH rather than keep cutting! Hey, a gal's got to have priorities and steak and potatoes won! -wink-

So, without further ado, here it is!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can you keep a secret?

I promised myself and family I'd finish the kids' bed quilts before starting a new project but, I want a bag to take with me to Paducah. I learned last year a tote was a good idea but I hadn't really found any fabrics I was happy with.

Well, at Wal-mart last night, I found a roll of 8 FQs which were the colors and styles I'd been envisioning for a bag for a while.

Well, $10 later and with this afternoon sitting in front of me, I'm about to start another project. Nothing fancy, just a tote with a long handle so I can sling it over my shoulder, diagonally across my body.

So please don't tell my secret but check back here tomorrow to see how it turned out. :) I love being on vacation!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm off on vacation! Paducah here I come...

I'm going to be offline this week. Off to see hubby in Clarkesville, TN and then to Paducah on Fri. and Sat.

The kids are parceled out to others, I'm off work and I get alone time with hubby. I cannot wait for it to be official tom. am!

I plan to sew, browse more blogs and stories about those favorite quilts and go to a live quilt show...

"Heaven... I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When I'm browsing quilting blogs from week to week.

Heaven... I'm in heaven,
And the cares that hung around me through the week,
Seem to vanish like a gambler's lucky streak,
When I'm viewing quilts piece by piece.

Oh, I love to climb a mountain,
And to reach the highest peak.
But it doesn't thrill me half as much
As when foundation piecing points always meet.

Oh, I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek.
But I don't enjoy it half as much
As when finishing a frogging leap.

Quilt with me!
I want to hear your presser foot click.
The charms of all our fabrics
Will carry us through every stitch .

Heaven... I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When quilting pushes me through the hours of the week."

Hope you get a chance to enjoy your week this week, too!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

My favorite quilt - Virtual Quilt Festival

I'm joining the Virtual Quilt Festival hosted by Amy over at Park City Girl. A fabulous idea and I've spent hours so far this weekend browsing favorite quilts and the stories behind them. I had a difficult time choosing but this is mine.
"J's Quilt"

The short version is, this was a spur of the moment, complete in one afternoon, quilt and was born of the vision of a 9 yr-old child and his mother. J sewed and I cut and ironed, we both crawled around the floor (my design wall) laying strip blocks this way and that.
Because it was worked on together, hand-in-hand and becuase J must have it on his bed every night before sleeping or tucked around his legs if watching some movie, I know it's loved. Creating the quilt created a memory together and for that (and because it's so loved), this is my favorite quilt.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


First and foremost, let me show you a picture of Ms. Midge and Mr. Sumo Wrestler.

Second, that quilt top you see, has fleece on the bottom, part of the reason I had an extra seam bulk but that is only one long line and not throughout the whole quilt back or I’d have taken it off long ago!

Finally, the site I’m about to link to, and this lady who thought to post a nice little tutorial, are a GOD SEND! As I have been having fit after fit after fit with my attempts at quilting, I decided to try a different method with a new design. HOLY MOLEY! It gave me a freedom I didn’t have previously.

You see, I realized I had wanted to do a good job for my son so badly I was inadvertently sabotaging myself in the process. I saw every little mistake and dwelled on it as I went, causing more mistakes. My attempts were getting worse, not better, with each stitch. I couldn’t follow my stenciled line.

Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it…

I gave up on the pattern DS and I picked out and DS understood my need to find something that would get his quilt completed and on his bed so we set off to searching for a new pattern. I was thinking an E2E and we found a loopy goose pattern. I didn’t want to buy the stencil, however, until I was sure I could 1) do this and 2) it would look okay on the top. So I printed a copy of the stencil picture off, traced it on tissue paper per this blog’s instructions ( and set about trying it.

Here’s the first attempt.

I started moving way too fast so the tension is off at the beginning and then, when trying to get the goose right, I actually think it turned out looking a bit drunk. I called it my “drunken goose.” DS got a kick out of that. But look! My second goose is near perfect.

I was feeling pretty good about the pattern and the tissue-paper method (“TP method”) until DS said, nah, not really. He didn’t like the loops & geese. Phew, glad I had a mom’s instinct to test the pattern first. He chose another pattern, not E2E.
Here I go again.
Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it…

However, I’m feeling so good about this method, I chug away. Here’s my first attempt on the new pattern with this TP method. It’s a bit wonky.

Here’s an attempt at the pattern without tissue paper.

Here’s my second attempt with the TP method. It's not great but today's work is even better and DS has given me the "yes, mom, I understand it will have squiggles and blips in the lines." So now I can get back to just enjoying the process and practicing (which was really was why I have been working on family quilts in the first place.)

Now, after working on this a few more times, I’ve gone ahead and taken care of the border. Notice how I actually can manage a straight line once I get into the quilting groove? I’m so happy!

This is reason one for my giddiness, I truly was feeling sorry for myself for a while. The second and bigger reason for my giddiness (and why I am praising Grace to all my quilting friends today) is b/c the tissue paper doesn’t allow me to see the little blips and errors in my quilting. It keeps me looking forward so one or two errors don’t set my mind behind where I’m moving Ms. Midge. I didn’t realize how much that affected me. And of course, the more I get into a groove, the smoother and nicer the designs all come out.
YES! Giddy, giddy, giddy. That describes my mood right now. Stay tuned, I’ll post completed top pictures soon. Oh, and don’t forget, for tonight at least, let’s forget President Obama…
“All Hail Grace!”

Thank you, Grace, for posting your tutorial!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meet Ms. Midge & Mr. Sumo Wrestler

Why don't I listen? I've said it before, I'll say it again, my kids' habits don't differ much from mom's. -sigh-

I've read on various message boards I'm on about tryig to quilt with bulky seams. Since I've made quilts that have had the occasional bulky seam, I've read all the frustrations with a little bit of incomprehension. I mean, I've managed to quilt over my few okay. But still, I have tried to be neater in my whole sewing process to try to avoid these.

Nonetheless, when participating in a mystery quilt challenge, instructions were to press open. It led to a nice discussion about where/why/machine sewing/quilting vs hand. Very imformative and one I probably would have recalled when making this top.

Well, one I would have recalled when making this top IF I hadn't already made this top prior to the discussion! This top, with seams all folded in one direction or another.

Yes, all those triangles.

Considering, I thought it wasn't bulky at all. That is, until I loaded it up on my frame and started to run my mid-arm sewing partner (Ms. Midge) over it.

Yes, you read that correctly and that's because I feel like I am trying to drive a little Honda Civic over a fallen pine tree in some places! I SWEAR the seams were NOT that bulky.

So I stop with needle up for a change and my middy partner rolls away from me all by itself. Uh hello? That bitchy girl is supposed to stay in place. It's the least she can do for all the patience, understanding and acceptance I have given her for all the thread shredding mood swings she's had!

But NO. Apparently, unbeknowst to me, she was a little miffed I had take such a lengthy hiatus from her and hadn't shown her any attention since before Christmas and therefore, struck a pact with the frame. I didn't realize my frame was waiting to choose sides but now that he has, he is officially named the "Sumo Wrestler."

I know, odd name but hear me out. It's appropriate. His CONSIDERABLE weight had to shift the carpet fibers and enable the flooring underneath to settle just so to become uneven. I leveled him off when I set him up so this, this was deliberate. (Now that I'm thinking about it, I really believe there's more going on between Ms. Midge and Sumo Wrestler. They are awfully good partners...)

Anyway, back on topic. Between the seams which sometimes were slightly bulky and Ms. Midge's & Sumo Wrestler's designes, this top is NOT in good shape. I was hoping to be able to quilt the design my son and I picked out together (since it's his quilt) but after 4 tries and 4 required frogging sessions, I have resigned myself to it not working.

I need to level the frame, for one thing, but right now, with the seams also part of the problem, I've decidide a stipple in the large red triangles, some sort of geometric (manly-looking) border design and a shadow SID in the geese triangles is the way to go. For the red squares in the sashing, a simple design. Now to tell son.

Bottom line, I'm still my inner child and I must do it my own way, incorrectly, instead of learning well from others' mistakes.

Of course, that also means I can have ice cream for dinner as any lovely child would want! -wink-