Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The gray quilt

The gray quilt got finished and handed off to it's owner with only a couple of rainy days in between. So, I have only a few indoor shots of it to share.

Which is a shame because the quilting was soooo much better than my previous attempts. In fact, I wasn't even embarrassed by it!

I did a much better job of keeping my stitch lengths even and there was no eyelashing - of course, that might have been the extreme thickness of it. It has one layer of cotton batting, one layer of wool batting and is backed in flannel:

He's a long distance truck driver who sometimes sleeps in the cabin of his truck. He says he's had to seal with temperatures in the 20's before, so he wanted something extra warm. Hope this fits the bill.

So, I have to ask, does anyone else move their mouth from side to side while they free motion quilt? I've tried to stop myself, but apparently my mouth must go in whatever direction my hands are going. I'm sure it's comical to watch. I'll probably never be on TV quilting because of it - it won't be my complete lack of talent, just the mouth think keeping me from being on TV:)

And here's my daughter, shamelessly wanting to be the center of attention:

I let her.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Ugly Quilt

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been commissioned to make two quilts, one of which was out of fabrics that just weren't my style. Even though I like the pattern, I tended to refer to this one as "the ugly quilt" while referring to the other as the gray quilt. Well, maybe Ugly Duckling is a more apt name, because check it out:

To say it exceeded my expectations is an understatement.

I'm hoping to get the back made today, the basting done tomorrow, and start quilting it this weekend. I still haven't decided, though, whether to do straight lines or some type of free motion.

The other quilt, the gray one, is also coming along well. I'll hopefully have some pics of it next week.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for Work in progress Wednesday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Night and Day

After taking it fairly easy for many months, my sewing life is about to really vamp up as I have two commission orders!

These two orders, were as different as night and day. The first was from an old high school friend who accepted the first pattern I showed him and the only color direction he gave me was to include some red, something rustic. I'm still waiting on some of the fabric to arrive, so I don't have anything to show yet, but I'm making it out of the same pattern I made my grandson's:

He's a long distance trucker and wants it for the sleeping area in his truck, so it's going to be a narrow twin size. After some thinking, I got to wondering if he had a heat source in his truck, and he doesn't. So I'll be adding a layer of wool batting to the standard cotton batting plus using a flannel backing. Here's hoping I can quilt all that! I figure if other people do, I should be able to.

The second order was much more typical. I think we looked at a hundred fabrics, which is not a statement of complaint at all. Let's be real, we probably look at fabric some portion of every day anyway. She had a teal and green rug that she wanted to coordinate with, plus the recipient was a nature and animal lover. We ended up with various selections from various designers within the Free Spirit design family. The pattern was slightly easier than the fabric selection, and she chose a Jacob's Ladder in the style of this one:

Isn't that lovely! I'm going to be honest here and admit that her fabric choices are different from my usual taste. Both in color and design - just not the type of fabrics to make me rush for my wallet. But I do want to show you what the backing is going to be:

How cute are they?

And finally, I'm going to leave you with my new mantra.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I have still been sewing

Some. Not as much. But just because I haven't written anything at all doesn't mean I haven't sewn anything at all.

The biggest sewing accomplishment is that Salt Air is finally a flimsy.

You know how when you first become a mother and everyone showers you with the advice to lower your standards when it comes to housekeeping? Well, that's my advice for making this quilt. Lower your standards. No matter how much thought you put into it, or how many pins you use, you are just not going to have perfect seams. I'm not telling you to consider this good enough:

I'm telling you to consider it GOOD!

Part of the problem is having three sides to a block, rather than four, makes it impossible for seams to always alternate. If you iron to the side, you are going to have times where you have to sew pieces together that have seams ironed the same way. If I ever make this again - and I can see that happening. It's a very pretty quilt, and I can totally picture the day, 12 or so years from now, when this little girl

(Seen here modeling hats for her very victorian vampire costume)

tells me she'll go to college, but only if I make her a quilt out of the Hopscotch pattern. Then I'll make another one. And I'll give completely up on nestled seams and iron them all open.

Now that I've got my complaints out of the way, I will say that I'm very happy with the end result. I'm very glad I separated the colors the way I did. I would have an entirely different quilt if the sides of the triangles weren't limited to the cool colors and the starts limited to red. And for all my agonizing, most of my starts turned out really well:

These colors are so very pretty to me.

And I'm going to add the next shot just because I can. It wasn't my intention to make a shot like this today, but in looking for someplace to hang it for decent shooting, it just happened. Very pretty I think.

In sharp contrast to the difficulties with Hopscotch, this quilt is coming together exceptionally well.

Because finishing one quilt before starting another just doesn't make sense, does it?

I bought a jelly roll of Kensington from Riley Blake from Missouri Quilt Company. Have you ever done business with them? Because I love them. Every day they post a new special and I've gotten two beautiful jelly rolls from them for just over $20 each! They also have tons of tutorials posted, plus weekly specials. I think my favorite aspect of doing business with them is their fun attitude and sense of humor. This isn't a paid endorsement - just one quilter telling another quilter where to get fabric.

Anyway, this was strip pieced and I'm over half-way to a flimsy with it and I've only been working on it for a week! I started Salt Air in JANUARY, for crying out loud.

And finally, because working on one project at a time makes no more sense than finishing one before you start another, I have a crochet project going.

Just a simple ripple stitch. I have a friend with a daughter born with multiple birth defects. The poor girl is only 6 and she's had that many major surgeries so far, and she's about to have her 7th. And they have to go to Philadelphia for their medical treatments for her. And it's being done at Christmas. She's a very sweet girl, and despite all this, the whole family seems to be in really good spirits. One thing this girl has requested several times is a blanket like her sister's, and knowing I crochet, her mother asked me to make her one. Who could refuse that?

I'll be linking up to Freshly Pieced work-in-progress Wednesday, and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How I'm spending my non-sewing time

Sewing has been somewhat of a back burner issue for me as we settle into a new school year and enjoy spending ALL THE TIME WE WANT with our daughter who recently moved back to this area after living in Hawaii for 9 years. She left right out of high school and while we had regular phone calls, it's just not the same as sitting in the same room with her and talking for hours. To say this is a blessing is an understatement, and I do recognize the value of the word blessing. I'm guessing, after the birth of our daughter, this is the 2nd best thing to happen to us. She's been here for 5 months now, and it still seems too good to be true. Not only are we loving having her around, and of course her husband and kids, but we're loving the fact that our daughter and her kids are playing so very well together and getting to know each other. Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was even more regretful of the distance between us, knowing that Mandy would be an only child and wanting her to at least have her nephew (the niece had not yet been born) to play with and consider a cousin.

Here they are playing in a blow up pool on Labor Day:

Yes, yes they are playing right next to the garbage can. And can you see the white, furry head poking out from behind? That's our husky who loves water as much as the kids and requires his own pool. Fun dog:) And the gentleman in the far back is our son-in-law, a computer genius with a great sense of humor.

Another time consuming issue for me has been food. At my age, I remember when virtually all packaged food was less appealing at best, and downright unpleasant at times. It was a last resort option when "real" food just was not available for whatever reason. But times have changed, and flavors have improved, and over the years I developed an attitude of almost inferiority, despite having perfectly acceptable cooking skills. Why should I compete with Betty Crocker and Pillsbury? They were the experts, weren't they? I heard some chatter - a friend told me one time that if I'd just watch Food, Inc., I'd never want to buy pre-packaged again. My thought process at the time was that I just wouldn't watch it then. I'd grown pretty comfortable with my quick and easy meals and wasn't eager for that to change. Even when I watched some of Jamie Oliver's shows - somehow I pigeonholed that information as relating to school lunches. That didn't mean there was anything wrong with the bag of chicken nuggets I had in my freezer. I'm not sure what made me buy the book Salt, Sugar, Fat last fall - I think it was on sale or something, but it started a revolution in our house that is still ongoing. I've learned the impact of artificial dyes on kid's behaviors, at a time when my daughter's teacher was encouraging me to get her tested since she just couldn't pay attention. I've learned not only what a GMO is, but just how prevalent they are in our food supply. I've learned more about the addictive properties of sugar, and just how much of that is in our pre-packaged foods. I knew her favorite cereal was high in sugar, but after you learn that it is 75% sugar, you just can't give it to her anymore. You would never pour a literal bowl of sugar for your child to eat, but we are doing the equivalent without even realizing it.

But the important thing, the really important thing I've learned is that we can survive without pre-packaged foods. I am a good cook, as anyone can be who cares about it, and preparing all your own food can still be done by a working mother. I'm actually quite shocked at the things I didn't think I had the time or skills for. Perhaps I just fell prey to marketing? Take pancakes for example. What is the time consuming part of making pancakes? It's the wet batter on the griddle, cook, flip, then cook some more. It is not the mixing together of about 7 ingredients. The same with cookies or biscuits. I'm not sure just how I came to the point of thinking I couldn't possibly do these things without a mix. A mix that I still have to add 2 or 3 measured ingredients to. Seems crazy to me now. And I'm just as shocked at the things I didn't even know I could make - like granola bars. Somehow, I had gotten to the grandparent stage in life not even aware that these could be made from home.

So I am spending more time in the kitchen. I don't at all mind. I am enjoying some new recipes. I feel very good about what my daughter is eating. What we're all eating. The downfall, the only negative really, is dishes. Oh my word at the dishes! I'm so sick of doing dishes that I dreamed about disposable pots & pans one night.

I'll have something sewing related to show you soon, or eventually. In the meantime, I'm loving seeing all the things you have made!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Athena's Flowers 2

During my apparent blogging hiatus, I've been working on a second version of Athena's Flowers. The comments I received on that quilt were the most complimentary group of comments I had ever received, so I decided to make one for the shop.

This time, I quilted it the way I wanted to quilt the first one, with stipples in the background, but not over the flowers. 

With this being only my second attempt at stippling, it's not exactly perfect, but it is sooo much better than my first one. I'm very happy with it. 

Poor Athena seemed to get very confused at seeing a quilt like hers at my house:)

The stats are the same - all Kona cotton, 50" x 60", Warm & White batting. 

And the shop has been updated if you're interested. 

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Friday. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ready for Tommy

I finished the binding on Tommy's quilt late last night. But of course, this: 

happened in about the last six inches. I think the next time I bind a quilt, I'm going to get smart and put a bandaid over that thumb before I even start. I don't think I've ever bound a quilt without jabbing my needle right there at least once. In fact, do I even see scar tissue in this picture? 

Anyway, in a very uncharacteristic move, I've completed this quilt a full week before I had to since Tommy won't be here until next weekend. I'm loving this quilt!

I love the design, I love the colors, I love the feel of it. I quilted it in an all over meandering pattern and that gives it such a different feel from my straight line quilted quilts. It feels sturdier, heavier. I love it, and can't stop touching it!

So, did you pick up on anything? Did you notice how very calmly and casually I just mentioned that I have FREE MOTION QUILTED MY VERY FIRST QUILT!!! Yeah, I couldn't remain calm forever. In my last post, Malini from My Quilting Journey suggested I check out Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project. So I did. She gives lots of helpful tips and one of the first things she says is if you want to learn how to stipple, just stipple a large quilt. You'll be good by the end. So my thought process changed from, "I have to find the time  to practice & waste a bunch of fabric and batting until I'm good enough to quilt an actual quilt" to "just do it." So I did. 

Badly. Huge variation in stitch length, lots of "eyelashes" on the back, lots of jerky movements and times when I cross over previous stitching. But I did it. And I do think I finished better than I started. And, maybe the most important part, I really, really enjoyed it. I'll show you some of it, certainly not the worst of it:

A real quilter would cringe, but I'm very, very proud. The only thing I'm disappointed in is that in my excitement, I failed to start in the center. This caused some minor puckering in the center of the quilt. It hasn't been washed yet, so I'm hoping it will be less noticeable in the final product. Such a basic rule of quilting - I'm upset with myself for failing to remember it. 

But, I'm on my way to learning a fun new skill, and I've created my first pattern as well. Overall, a success!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series. It seems she was also doing some late night stitching this week:) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Not so much work in progress Wednesday

I started quilting Tommy's quilt last night.

But once again I'm wishing I could do something, anything, other than straight line quilting. I played with my free motion foot once, but, as expected with only one practice session, I'm nowhere near ready to actually free motion quilt. Not sure what I'll do here.

The teacher appreciation gift was delivered Friday and I received the sweetest note on Monday.

Wow. Kinda makes me want to whip out a baby quilt for her! Not that it would be smart of me to do with one deadline already on my plate. I knew she was hoping for a pregnancy, so I was very excited to learn it happened for her.

And today this boy:

is at the vet's getting his teeth cleaned. I think I'm just about as nervous as I was when Mandy had her tonsils out. Anesthesia is just always scary. I feel silly worrying about such a routine procedure, but I'm telling you, I had a hard time dropping him off this morning!

Hope you're having a wonderful week. We're having perfect spring weather here and are very much looking forward to the end of the school year.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Teacher Appreciation

If you read my last post, you know I had in mind to make this for teacher appreciation:

My friend Mandy accuses me of making everything harder than it has to be, and I'm beginning to suspect she's right. I decided I wanted them in a circle, like a dresden wedge. Perfectly cute pattern as it is, and it's not like I just had a ton of time for this project, so I should have left well enough alone, but I didn't. I made 20 pencils, put strips of white down each edge & proceeded to try to make a dresden out of them. It wasn't pretty. There's a reason there is no picture of them included in this post.

But in explaining my project to Mandy, she had a much better idea & even sketched it out for me:

I wish I'd had a bit more time on this project, because there are parts I'm not quite happy with, but overall I think the design is absolutely adorable.

I stitched in the ditch and around the "pencils" with gray to make stand out more:

And then I did some organic outlining in white thread.

And finally, in honor of its designer, I bound it in pink polka dots.

 If you knew Mandy, you'd know nothing else would do. And if you knew me, you'd know that despite spending hours on this, I never once considered what I'd wrap it in. And in fact, forgot completely about it until after I had my daughter buckled in her booster seat.

So, a minimalist ribbon it is...

I hope she likes it. And I hope I get to do another one, more slowly and carefully next time.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pattern rights

Maybe a year ago, I saw this adorable quilt on Pinterest and pinned it.

A couple of days ago I got a reminder in my daughter's backpack of Teacher Appreciation day and re-visited my pin. The pin takes you to Better Homes & Garden's blog where they mention this as a pattern in an upcoming issue. After some googling & reading of comments, I did find out that the pattern was expected to be in the Spring 2012 issue of Quilt Sampler, but I could not locate the pattern anywhere on their site, nor could I find any place to order a back issue on their site. Which I don't want to do anyway - I can look at the quilt and tell what to do. I just don't know what the legalities, or the moral issues are for this. Since a pattern was published, am I obligated to either purchase that pattern or not make it?

I mean, I'm sure if I looked at some pictures of popular patterns, like Swoon for example, I could figure out the construction easily enough, but I wouldn't do that. If I wanted to make Swoon, I would purchase the pattern just out of respect for the person smart enough to design it. But how much effort am I expected to put into that? If the pattern was in an old magazine that I no longer have access to, am I ok to just copy it by sight?

Maybe since I'm a graphic designer by trade, I'm a bit more careful about creative rights than the average person. Maybe because I have a better than average idea of what the creative process entails or maybe all the class lectures surrounding what all someone can get sued for - you'll never see a picture of Mickey Mouse on this blog!!

What would you do?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not what I should have been doing

Monday is my biggest sewing day here, and this Monday was no exception. What I *should* have done was baste Tommy's quilt, but we were all recovering from a stomach virus that hit our house last week - well, they were recovering from a virus. I was recovering from three days of laundry and just didn't want to crawl around on the floor basting a quilt. I wanted to sit upright and do something less taxing.

What I did instead was make some great progress on my neglected Salt Air Hopscotch blocks. I wouldn't describe this as quick and easy - not if you want those points to line up - but I'm just loving this pattern:

I am having better luck with my seams lining up - that would be an absolute kill joy to me if I kept having all the problems I was having with the first set.

Don't you just love the colors in Salt Air?

I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday. That's usually worth an hour every Wednesday, seeing what everyone is creating this week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Preparing for Tommy

You know Athena has a brother, right? His name is Tommy. He and his dad will be joining us after the school year ends.

My original plan for his quilt was to copy some zig zags that my friend Mandy made for her boys. I'm not sure why she never posted these on her blog, because they are awesome quilts. In looking for my notes on how to make hers, I ran across a pattern I had been playing with last year and decided to go with it instead. When I was working with it then, I all but abandoned the idea as I couldn't quite figure out how to make it work. Whether it was taking my eyes off it for a while, or an extra year of experience, it clicked with me almost as soon as I opened it.

So, it's with a little bit of apprehension, and a whole lot of excitement, that I present my first original quilt design:

And I did it with no partial seams. It's curious to me that I've only made 3 quilts completely out of solids, and all three have been for this one family. Odd, huh?

Meighan and Athena are settling in nicely. Meighan had a heck of a week her first week - she had to buy a car, get insurance, find a pre-school, buy some new work clothes, get her drivers license, and take the drug test for her new job. Doesn't that just make you tired to think about?

I'll be linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.

Friday, April 12, 2013

In the nick of time

Still warm from the dryer, here's the finished quilt for Athena:

Do you remember my proclamation last fall, the one where I swore I would never quilt a quilt in concentric squares again? My exact words were: "I will not squeeze, push, pull, tug a quilt of any size thru the throat of my machine 2 complete turn per square EVER AGAIN." Well, I did squeeze, push, pull, and tug plenty on this, but it was circles rather than squares. Not sure why I thought that would make a difference. 

I tried repeatedly to come up with any other design, but those flowers just wanted circles around them. They just wouldn't have it any other way. And then I got the idea of more circles in the negative space creating those orange peel-like shapes around the flowers. So, turn the quilt we did. 50 times. I think I was in too much of a rush to notice how unpleasant it was. 

I bound it with leftover fabrics from the front. I just picked the ones that went the best with the colors on the back. 

I really like everything about this quilt, and I can easily see me doing another one someday. Just not in 2 weeks:)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear Kona,

Please change the name of the following color from Lagoon to the more descriptive "Water Soluble Pen Blue".

Sincerely Yours,
Wish I could have found the gray pencil

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's a wonder I function in society

I had it in my mind that Meighan was coming home this Saturday. Maybe because she originally planned to and then changed her mind? Maybe because I'm in a hurry to get her here?

As I thought about Meighan's little three-year-old daughter, Athena, leaving behind her daddy and brother (just for a couple of months while the brother finishes the school year), and the only grandmother and home she's ever known, spending a whole day traveling, and coming to a strange place with strange people, I started wondering if there was anything at all I could do to make the transition easier for her. My first thought was to have my daughter pick out a toy to give her when she gets here, but of course, I also thought of a quilt. I tried for 4 days to talk myself out of the incredible rush of making an entire quilt in about a week, but as I was driving Friday, I remembered this quilt I'd seen on Pinterest. Such a simple quilt as that could be made in a week, couldn't it? It wasn't long before I was in Hobby Lobby gathering a small stack of solids, plus some flannel for the back. Not only is our climate much cooler than she is used to, but they will be sleeping in our den which is cooler than the upstairs. Plus, when it comes to something comforting, you just can't beat a flannel backed quilt! 

So I spent all day Saturday making the background blocks, and making the petals with Wonder Under attached. Then I spent all day Sunday attaching the petals with a machine blanket stitch. Then I spent all day Monday putting the little yellow circles in the center of the flowers, assembling the top, and making the back. (In the interest of simplicity and time, I decided to forgo the stems and leaves you see in the original.) 

Meighan sent me a message Monday morning that said something about Friday, so here I was with a quilt that had to be basted, quilted, and bound and I was going to have one less day to do all that than I was expecting! Plus, since I quilted absolutely all weekend, my house was a disaster, I still had some shopping to do before they got here, and Tuesday - Friday are my work days. Panic was setting in. 

When my husband got home, I mentioned that Meighan was going to be here this Friday at noon and he seemed surprised. He said "I thought she was going to wait until the middle of the month." I said "the 12th?" He said, this Friday isn't the 12th. That required a quick check of my phone to verify, and sure enough, this Friday isn't the 12th. During my extreme relief at having a whole other week to complete my project, I decided to re-read her message to make sure I got the date right. Wanna read it? 

"Plane tickets booked! I'll be leaving here 4/12 at 3:00pm, and arriving in Chattanooga 4/13 at 11:53am."

Not only did I get the week wrong, I got the day wrong as well - she is getting here on a Saturday. And that, ladies, is what happens when I try to process information before taking my ADD meds. 

But you don't care about all that, do you? You want to see the quilt top!

Isn't that adorable! I just love it. I think, especially for such a young child, that I like it even better without the stems and leaves. 

So. The back. It was supposed to have been an ice cream cone print that used a lot of purple only slightly lighter than the purple I intended to bind this with. 

Except I somehow cut it wrong! I bought 2 yards, which was just enough for the 50" x 60" top. I cut a piece big enough to go across the back, and then I was to cut the rest lengthwise and sew them together to add to the bottom. Somehow, I got confused and cut it width of fabric so the resulting strip was about 5" too short. 

Then, and only then, did I remember some great flannel I had picked up on clearance last year. And check this out, it matches better anyway!

They're not super noticeable from any distance, but it even has blue dots as the center of the flowers that go great with the blue in the quilt: 

I managed to cut this one correctly, but will probably change my binding plans since this backing doesn't have any purple. I've already cut purple strips for the binding, but I guess I'll just find another use for those. I somehow cut out extra blocks of every color & white anyway, so maybe they'll go with those. I consider the backing a happy accident because I'm much happier with this backing anyway. 

But this, ladies, is one example of what happens when I quilt after my ADD meds have worn off. I'm telling you, I don't even know how I've come this far in life without them. 

What are you working on this week?

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday, Quilt Story for her Fabric Tuesday, and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Friday. Lots of fun linking parties! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

She's coming home

I am already reeling from the events of this week, and it's Tuesday. It's one thing if a week kicks your butt by Friday, but Tuesday??

You see, my step-daughter, the one I made Tetris for, was in town this weekend. That sounds innocent and normal enough, doesn't it? Except she was in town from Hawaii. And due to this great distance, we haven't seen her in 4 years. And, it gets better - she was here on a JOB INTERVIEW, as in, if she gets the job, she moves back here!! And guess what - she did!!

Meighan moved to Hawaii to study the Korean language right out of high school, but then she met a nice native, married him and had 2 babies. We haven't even met the youngest one (yet). We never did like her moving so very far away, and we've liked it even less since the birth of our daughter. One of Meighan's is a year older & one is 2 years younger than our daughter. How wonderful, we've said a thousand times, if we could raise them together, like cousins.

I married Meighan's father when she was 13, and she left us when she was 18. So I think it should tell you something about her that I decided she was one of my favorite people during what is arguably the least attractive phase of a person's life. I'm not saying she didn't have any typical teenage attitudes, but I could see it - the kindness, the gentleness, the acceptance of people different from herself, the strength. Then, and even more now, she's someone you really want to just spend time with, someone you want to talk to over a cup of coffee. I'm so very happy to know that I'll have that opportunity on a regular basis from now on. It was so nice to see her as an adult, calmer, and without all of the insecurities that plagued her as a teen.

So, that was the good of the weekend. The bad is that my daughter chose to celebrate all this by waking at 2 in the morning throwing up, and continuing to throw up for 16 hours. On Meighan's last day here, I was operating on 3 hours of sleep and just not good for anything. We had intended to take her to one of our family's favorite restaurants for dinner, but when we found out it was closed, I just didn't have it in me to plan or cook a celebration dinner. We ended up with Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I just had to laugh. This huge, life-altering event, and we're celebrating with KFC. I've promised her a proper dinner either when she gets back in a couple of weeks, or when her husband joins her in a couple of months.

For now, I have to find it in me to concentrate on life as normal, get my work done, and hopefully scout out some housing options for her.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Salt Air Battle

Did you ever have a batch of fabric just wear you out? You bought it innocently enough, knowing you loved it, but when it came time to decide what to do with it, you met roadblocks at every turn. Salt Air has done that for me. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to have it, but other projects kept it on the shelf until just recently.

The whole time I've had it, my plan has been to make the pattern Wedding Bands by Judy Martin:

Salt Air has such beautiful shades of peach and what I call seafoam green that I could just picture the background in 4 shades of one of those colors with the stars made out of the other colors in the line. The day came for me to get serious about ordering some solids, but when I pulled out my Kona card I could only find one or two coordinating colors, finding 4 peaches or 4 greens (or blues, or grays, or reds, or creams, or golds) just wasn't going to happen. I tried googling to see what solids other people used, and that's when I learned that Moda Bella solids are designed to have matching solids for any Moda line. So I ordered a Moda Bella color card, but honestly, the Kona colors matched better. (Still glad I have the Bella card for future use.)

So, I abandoned that pattern completely and went off searching for another. Judy Martin has so many beautiful quilts in her book, Stellar Quilts, and I struggled with a few of those patterns, trying to make this fabric fit, but I finally accepted that it just didn't. Which left me absolutely at square one.

I googled obsessively, and saw some fabulous quilts, but most people treated this line "scrappy" and I just couldn't let go of the fact that I didn't want to do that. One aspect of this line is the huge range of value within each color. I seemed to prefer when the different fabrics of one color line were together to show that off, rather than all the colors mixed together. With all the colors, you just don't notice the shading as much.

(See - aren't they gorgeous?)

Based on that, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to decide to limit the color palate and let go of the idea of using all the fabrics in the bundle. Once I did that, I instantly thought of the hopscotch pattern I bought last year and very happily settled on the grays, blues, and greens for the triangles, and the reds for the diamonds that make up the stars. (The pattern uses blue & white for these diamonds, so the star is not readily visible.)

So excited was I that I immediately settled on Kona peach for the center of the triangles and, wanting a little extra just in case, bought 2 1/2 yards instead of the 1-3/4 yard the pattern called for. Wait, did you notice the dash? Because I obviously didn't. The difference between 1-3/4 yard & 1 3/4 yard is a whole yard, because the first is telling you to buy one 3/4 yard piece of fabric and the other is telling you to buy one AND 3/4 yards of fabric. So, what I have is one AND 3/4 yards too much fabric. Good thing it's pretty.

And in case you think Salt Air is through kicking my butt, the seams come together at an angle rather than straight on, so they don't nestle. It's the same issue I had with the Pam Kitty Morning quilt - without nestled seams, getting perfect alignment is based on nothing other than your degree of accuracy in both cutting and sewing. My results with Pam Kitty Morning were pretty darn close, but since Hopscotch is all biased edges, it doesn't matter how careful or accurate I am, something is going to stretch or wobble and throw me off. I did starch my fabrics very well, but a biased edge is a biased edge. I spent several hours on this yesterday, and while I have some really decent blocks to show for it, it was too much work. There has to be a trick - some way to insure decently matching seams.

Lucky for us, well, for me anyway - maybe you're smart enough to not get caught in this position - there is a trick, called a positioning pin, and Connecting Threads cared enough about us to explain it in great detail.

All of that to say, I think I'm going to win the Salt Air battle after all.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.