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. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And soon, a pillow

I had quite a few scraps of Pam Kitty morning left, including a couple of kitties from the panel, and some nice edging that was on the panels. So, I'm making my daughter a rather large throw pillow. Here's the front:

And here's the back:

It was my first time for a mitered borders:

And my first time doing reverse applique:

I used the same process for the patchwork that I used in the bathmat I did last fall.

I'm loving all of it so far. I can't wait to get it quilted up and sewn together!

See what others are working on this week at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pam Kitty is finished!

I've been getting more & more frustrated with my limited quilting abilities, and this quilt put me over the edge. I very badly wanted to do something, anything, other than a simple cross hatch, but there we were. Me & my walking foot had to make do with all we knew. I have since picked up an embroidery foot for my machine, but do you know I haven't even taken it out of the package. Why is free motion quilting so nerve wracking? I'll push through at some point, because I'm getting more & more eager to have options when it comes to quilting.

The main reason it bothered me on this particular quilt was because I wanted to bring out the diamond shape arrangement of the kitties. So, instead of fancy quilting, you can see I added some blue trim to outline them. I'm very happy with that trim. My intent upon entering Hobby Lobby was red ric rac, but their red was too dark. Now that the quilt is finished, I think the smaller blue trim is better anyway. It seems to show up much better in person than in these photos.

The other thing that is very different in person is the color of the kitty blocks. They look almost yellow here, and when you're looking at the actual quilt, you don't at all notice they are not quite as white as the background. Maybe it's operator error on the part of the photographer?

The back is a pink tonal I picked up at Joann's. I didn't have a lot of options, oddly, as nothing seemed to go well with this. You would think with so many different colors going on, I'd have plenty of options.

 The binding was part of the Pam Kitty line.

My daughter has slept under it 3 nights now, and we both just love it.

Now that it's finished, I've been eyeing my bundle of Salt Air. That's what I really want to cut into next.

Edited to add: Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday