Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I just had to share this with you.

Dyslexic Quilting.

Red and blue, who would have thought?
I don't know if any of you have dyslexia or know of someone with, I do have a really mild form of dyslexia. It's never been a real problem for me either in school or in daily life, I have a hard time telling my right from left, my mind will take letters and rearrange them into different words or put words in the wrong places, I transpose numbers, etc. Now I am sure that some of you have done this yourselves, the difference between you and I is I actually see these things as real, my mind doesn't think it's a mistake and double checking doesn't always change it.  I've gotten to the point in my life where I've basically auto-compensated for the mental confusion, there is sort of a secondary warning system hard wired into my mind that lets me know if I am not looking at something right. It's strange but true :D. 
My dyslexia reared it's ugly head while making the quilt top pictured at the left. I had completely forgotten that red and blue absolutely confuse my mind, I haven't had a problem with them since I was in elementary school. It's not the colours themselves, I can use red no problem or I can use blue no problem, but put them together like I did in the quilt and the confusion begins.
My best guess as to the reason why that happens is all to do with optical illusion ( example ), the two faces and candle stick picture? I don't just see one or the other, I see both at the same time, together. The most disconcerting one is the brick wall illusion, the one that looks crooked but isn't, try to imagine it moving like a wave and not just a little movement either but actual wave like motion, that illusion is the most pertinent to my problem. The contrast of the squares look like they are moving to my brain, and the colours actually switch position. (Who would have ever thought you could get motion sickness from a motionless quilt?)

How many mistakes can you find? :D
The pattern of the quilt is a bit random but the gist is is alternating red/blue and breaking it up with blocks, hence the name 'building blocks'. I was fine and dandy for the first 4 rows but as more red and blue got added the harder it became for me to process the pattern even though I had it written down. If you look at the last 4 rows the mistakes are very visible, the yellow blocks are not positioned correctly and broken up, I have to tell you that I pulled those 4 rows 3 times to try and get them right and I simply could not do it. 
I was absolutely without a doubt positive that I had the blocks positioned correctly that 3rd time and when I had sewn them on the right way (I did it upside down the first time), I just had to leave it be as it is now. I would have kept trying simply because I am that stubborn BUT I doubt I would have had any usable material left ;).

I don't want to bore you with step by step details but I do have to say that every strip except the top 3 have had to be pulled apart at least once because I did something wrong to the strip and I am certainly excited to start quilting this quilt but at the same time I am not looking forward to it, I think alot of caution and an extra set of eyes is called for :D.

Hopefully by Sunday I will have an update of how my progress is going and I won't have a headache just looking at it! 

Passion in Creation! (or just plain stubbornness..)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Entering a New Era

Right or Wrong, it's time for Change.

Probably not what you'd expect for a Sunday UFO blog but it has been a hell of a week and it's not going to get better any time soon. It's ironic how adversity makes us sit up and take notice of what is going on, whom we have to deal with and the influence they have on our lives.  

I am sure you've noticed the changes I've made to my blog, it's a personal reminder of change and that sometimes you have to embrace change with all it's faces in order to grow emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  
I am facing some difficult choices that will bring about change, at this moment it all seems very negative and draining on my emotions and spirit, but looking into the past years I realize that the situation I've been dealing with always has been, it's like standing in the hangman's noose waiting for someone to push out the stool from underneath your feet and wondering what's taking so long. 
I also know from past experience that there is an end to my frustration and anger I just have to start dealing with the situation instead of hoping it will get better on it's own. 

Anyway just a few quick updates on my progress, obviously there has not been alot but I have made some...
My first official UFO? :D  The building blocks top for my youngest daughter is complete and has been for nearly a week, I am backing it with the snowman fabric:

I couldn't find anything else that was Boo approved, she is adamant that she will have the snowman backing because in her words "no one else will take care of my snowmens the way I will." Ahh, I said and realized that it really didn't matter, it's hers and she is not going to love it any other way, sometimes I don't get the point right away, but I do eventually get there!

My blocks are all completed and waiting to be sewn together, I did have to stop and pull apart some of the blocks because I wasn't happy with the seams. It's a bit fussy of me I know but I really do want to start seaming my blocks correctly and because of the obvious contrasts with the white and yellow, I felt that well matching seam lines was imperative. 
Speaking of contrasts, without thinking ahead, I discovered that only 4 of the charm squares were going to stand out like sore thumbs because there wasn't ANYTHING  tone them down: 
Very dark!

I did think about pulling them out and changing them with something else, however I had a fit of inspiration and decided to use them as part of an over all pattern,
I also played with the idea of putting the blocks on point.
I quite like the on point style, I just really do not have any other fabric that would match well and pull it all together.
My next step will be piecing the blocks together, I've grouped them into 4's to make this easier and make patterning them easier once I've got the chance to get to the design wall.

You know I did mention repeatedly that my hand work is something less than spectacular, as a matter of fact it is bad enough that my Mother laughed at me :D. So here is a special treat for everyone, just so you can never say I didn't try lol.
My hexie caddy:

Yep, visible seams everywhere, rather less than stellar seam management, and it's saggy all over. I believe the inner caddy part is suppose to look like a hexagon, mine is a rounded triangle! I love it though, it's huge in the middle and will hold over 100 pinmoors (yep I broke down and bought some!), I don't have to worry about losing my pins and I have over 100 in the caddy in the picture and still have a second half to fill up!

It's been filed under the 'endearing' category!

Until next time! Passion in Creation!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Did I mention....?


Yes! I love vintage!  LOVE it! I can't express enough how much I love to collect older fabrics, original feedsack, even old sheets and vintage clothes. 
This ballerina fabric was given to me by one of the ladies at the guild and it is 70's make, soft as butter and it snaps! I love hearing that snapping sound, you know you've got good quality when it snaps. 
No clue what I am going to do with it yet, I think I need sometime just to absorb the feel of this sheet, it will eventually tell me what it wants to do lol.

I also got another piece from Gwyn, a good couple metres or better of butterflies & flowers on a periwinkle background, it's gorgeous! Problem is I think it's a linen or a cotton linen blend, I don't have much experience with linens or linen blends, I do know that the hand of this material is significantly different than cottons and is meant for garments BUT that just makes it a challenge to apply to a quilt, I've already had a couple of different ideas pop to mind, an applique piece or some strip blocks. Should be a worthy experiment ;)

I have decided to call this panel quilt "Constellation Bear" and it's complete! I found a interesting navy blue stripped fabric with little white dots that look like falling snow for the binding.
I sure had some trouble binding this quilt, I think I must had been drinking when I wasn't looking or something because I cut some of the strips wrong and then I kept twisting the strips when I tried to finish it... 2 hours I spent last night trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and finally just ended up walking away from it for a while.
I refreshed myself this morning on how to finish binding a quilt (Yay YouTube!) and FINALLY got it right after another hour. 

 This is the quilt top I've been working on at the guild, in previous postings I mentioned that my blue blocks had gone missing for it (Still no clue where they went.) and as you can see, losing the blue blocks was definitely a major setback lol.
I found some blocks that are similar in color to the original blue that I was using, thankfully and I can continue on.
I've had a few problems putting this top together, first the pattern is specific. If I mix up the order of the blocks I have to pull them apart and then put them in proper order. I've done that twice now.. or stitched a strip on upside down :D
Secondly, I have 4 blocks that I had cut a 5 1/4" rather than 5 1/2", Ummm... oops. Obviously I had a strip that was waaaaay to short, more pulling apart and making of new blocks!
And lastly I've run out of red blocks.. thankfully I have more fabric downstairs to make a few more. 
Things I have left to do: 1.) Measure the finished part of the quilt top, obviously my math is completely out to lunch since adding another 4 strips is going to make this quilt really, really, really long.
2.) Cut out more red squares, perhaps my math is on vacation since I can't count either.
3.) Find a backing that is Boo approved, if I remember I'll post a picture of the backing she really wants from my stash, it's cute... but not with this quilt top. (Mint green with skiing snowmen)

Last but not least.. My sunday project: 
You were right Renate!
Last week
I did some jumbling around of blocks since they were not quite up to snuff, these are the 2 that I pulled apart and redid, not perfect but a heck of a lot better!
I left off last week with blocks pieced together similar to the disappearing 9 patch, once I have a few put together I was unhappy with the look of the white blocks, I wanted them to be more prominent since the fabric was so beautiful and I ended up with this:
I am not sure what you would call this pattern, frankly I am just winging it at this point and working this out as I go.
This week

Right now I am just doing the block sashing so I can bring them to the guild and use their design wall to figure out where I want the blocks to go when I start putting it all together.
I have to tell you I am consistent across the board this week when it comes to math. When I had originally worked up my pattern, I had only counted half of the blocks I had made... oh yeah.. you know what that means, I spent a whole day cutting up more fabric for the other half of the blocks LOL. 
The other half.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Double Shot!

I swear it has legs!

Bright and bold... Beautiful!
Yes.. yes I mean my camera, it disappeared on me for a couple of days just when I was getting everything prepped and ready to make another blog.. I am swearing that this is a Murphy and Sod's law week, if I need it I can't find it and if I was looking for it months ago and no longer need it, it shows up. 
Anyhow, here's how my current Sunday project is going; my little charm squares just love this yellow fabric, which just happens to be vintage, as well as the white squares, and oh I wish you could touch them!! They are buttery soft and a delight to the senses! Did I mention I love vintage?
Auditioning block centres
Here's the other block that will be in the quilt, I didn't have enough of the white fabric to make the whole quilt with the white border. The original intention was white border with yellow blocks all through it. 
The red corners are scrap from a blouse with a funky pattern, it has almost every color found in the charm squares and matches the yellow border to a T, although seen in the picture it doesn't make much sense. Once I've put it with the yellow it will make more sense but you are going to have to wait for that :D
2nd Audition
3rd audition
I obviously have a few 'blah' squares that have to be placed carefully or they are going to stick out like a frog at a princess party. Which is why I decided to audition the squares before I put them all together, save me a lot of time and hassle in the long run. 

Hopefully I will have more progress for next Sunday and a camera that isn't playing hide and seek... 

Abandonment Issues.

Finding UFO

It's been another busy week, I hate to admit it but I am glad the kids are in school again. Those last 2 weeks of summer holiday just get the kids completely wound up no matter how you try to get them to blow off steam, and I get the wonderful job of trying to manage and maintain sanity in my household while I am getting primed for a hug me jacket, oatmeal and a padded room, I guess you could say this Mom appreciates her quiet time ;)

I did however make it to our regularly scheduled Tuesday guild night and got 2 more strips of the quilt I am working on there done. I think I would have gotten the whole thing done but my blue fabric squares and extra blue fabric completely disappeared... I've been searching all of the nooks and crannies around the house and I still haven't turned up anything... I have all the yellow pieces and the red pieces so it doesn't make sense to have the blue go missing.
(/headdesk I think Murphy or Sod has got it out for me lately.)
While I was searching the shelves at the guild to see if my fabric had gotten misplaced through misadventure or accident I discovered this poor, lonely and abandoned teddy bear panel. It was already sandwiched with batting and backing and just needed to be pinned to complete the quilting preparation. 
I have to have a chuckle at myself, I was so offended that someone just left this project unfinished and unwanted to collect dust in a back corner of a shelf. Then I was confused that I was so offended... then amused and well you get the idea ;) 

Anyway back to the story......
I promptly laid claim to the bundle and packed it home to finish up the prep work and then quilt it, this project was begging to be quilted! I couldn't leave it be until it was done. 
First thing I did was I put shaped scraps of batt under the center and under the plaid border with the bears in the corners.  To make centering the batt easier I used washable glue stick on the panel & batting to keep the batt from slipping before I had it pinned. Glue stick is really great, it's much less sticky than something like fusible web or other types of quilter's glue that I've seen. The only problem I had was it didn't want to stick to the extra fluffy poly batt I had.  It does work well on thin poly and natural batts. 

The backing fabric that came with the bundle is great to work with even though it is a cotton/poly blend. I was a little shy of it at first since I've heard and read about the pains of trying to quilt anything other than cottons. 
I did not have any problem at all it moved well under my machine, I had less in the way of nesting and puckering than I usually do. I don't know if it was the fabric or if I am just getting better.... :D
It's finished already.. took me just a few hours to complete, this project was literally begging me to finish it, to the point where I left housework undone so I could get it done. I also had to throw another monkey wrench into the works, I quilted it with Wonderfil 100% egyptian cotton variegated thread, of course I didn't take a picture but you can find it here I used Serenade (TU09). 

 All I can say is WOW, I was blown away by this thread, it was so easy to handle and to quilt with (at $9 a spool it better have been!). Definitely not what I was expecting, the only problem I felt with that particular type of thread is it didn't have the same sort of 'bounce' and give that I find I have with poly threads, I bent 2 needles out of shape, as a matter of fact, because of that difference.

You can see that I outlined all the shapes where I had double batted to really make it stand out and then quilted the white and the denim edges using loopy line and mixed in hearts. (Quilt along #29.. I just had to try it).

The really interesting thing that happened was with the back, the outline ended up looking like a constellation in the stars. How cool is that!

Hopefully I can get it bound on Tuesday, I don't have a big enough table at home to square it up so I have to wait for a guild day.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Epiphany's and Evolutions

Another Busy week....

 Part I

All I can say is I am as tickled as a tom cat with the end result of the Butterfly Garden, using the dark green binding really made the whole quilt come together, so it is totally complete!
 I meant to make this posting about 3 days ago when it was completed and as we all know, this came up and that came up... etc :D 
Between getting all of my girls ready for back to school this week, I've had to pull apart my kitchen cupboards, reorganize all of them, find some shelving that would substitute as a pantry. Clean out the porch area (we call it the landing since everything lands there lol), take out and recycle the half dozen extra large recycling bags, grocery shop, shoe shop, clean the basement, clean my quilting area, reorganize hubby's shop/tool corner and do fall cleaning on the rest of the house (Which of course is still not completely done yet...) and then to cap it all off I had to explain to my dearest hubby why I was so tired and cranky.  Oh yeah, and Banana's are bad.. very bad and that's all I have to say on that subject ;D
A close up of Cucumber Vines

Back to quilting.. so while I was having a mental meltdown as to how I was going to draw out my lines so I could finish the quilt on the dark side (a little Star Wars humor lol) I quilted the light side on the left and realized that I had not drawn the lines there either, then everything fell into place for me. It was a total epiphany in FMQ'ing: the movements, the size and scale all fell into place in my head and I didn't even have to think about what I was doing any longer. I think I fell into the FMQ'ing Zen space. Even my travel stitching snapped into shape, it's hard to explain the exact feeling that occurred when it happened, a sense of relief followed by relaxation and a sense of complete rightness. To steal a line "I love it when a plan comes together."

One more thing, the suggestion of using washable markers to mark lines actually worked, I will eventually be getting a set of really good marking pencils (Thank you Leah for the Sewline/Fons suggestion) but at $20 a pop plus shipping they are definitely on to the buy later budget list. I only used them in the corner area's where the flowers are on the dark side (Nope you can't see them unless you are up close), and I ended up using a dark green that actually showed up on the fabric much to my surprise.  The scariest part was the first time I got it wet, the marker dye bled all through the batting and on to the white flannel back, and yes I had a minor heart attack, but.. but! I used a small amount of liquid soap and a soft toothbrush on the wet area and that got rid of the excess dye immediately once I rinsed it off in the sink. I am assuming I could have thrown it directly into the wash with no fear but at that moment I did not want to mess it up by making a mistake. 
The test pieces I used were not batted or backed (silly me) so I had no prior tests or experience to measure against. Next time... I will batt and back :D

Part II

During all of my usual hullabaloo I always.. ALWAYS make it to my Tuesday quilting night at the guild, it is my escape from insanity. This Tuesday I ended up with some bad news, my good friend, my piecing Brother machine died an inglorious death, I did spend a day attempting to revive him but alas and alack, nothing worked.
My poor Brother was falling apart at the seams 
The best tension I could get at maximum tension.

The top tension just totally kicked it, I checked the bobbin tension and it was fine, tried different threads and nothing changed. Mind you I have had this machine for just about 8 years and it was a Wal-Mart buy so I think I got excellent life out of my $100 machine.  I am going to jimmy around with it some more and see if I can get a little more life out of it so one of my daughters can play with it a bit and become more familiar with sewing machines. 

There is of course a silver lining to my dark cloud.... I get to buy a new machine! I am eyeballing up another Janome whilst mopping up the drool from the floor but I am foiled ere I begin, budget does not allow for large purchases that are not absolute necessities like a new roof on the house... dang roof.
I could indeed buy this little beauty which for me is a great upgrade to my old Brother XL-2600. This is the XL 3750, Wal-Mart reduced the price by $100 so it became affordable for me! YAY!  It has 10 extra stitches, an extension table (Which is a first for me) and sews even better than my original brother did AND.. AND! It came with it's own walking foot! 

I know there are bigger and better machines, I love my Janome SUV 1122  like a sister but since I am on a budget I have to make do with what I can afford and what is available.  I believe patience has to be a virtue, since evolution's sometimes have to happen on small scales rather than large ones, all I need is 5 years out of this one and then I can upgrade to what I really want!

Part III

Now for my small progress on my Sunday project, seeing as I did not have a typical UFO I decided to use of my charm squares and scraps that I have had kicking around my stash for awhile. 
I had taken out all of the strips, started sorting them into piles and then got so boggled by the different styles and colours, promptly put them back in the bag for now. Really I just didn't have a whole of of time to sort them out in to some semblance of order, 3 days and counting until the kids are in school... I should have time then lol.

Instead I decided to focus on piecing the 1930 charm squares together. I have done a simple 4 patch and only got about 1/3rd of the squares finished.  I basically just whipped them out of the package and started randomly stacking them into similar color or pattern sets to be pieced.
I think the result is very fun and eye catching, although I was enjoying the patterns so much that my brain went into over drive and has concluded that I should be able to get about 5 different projects out of the patches if I mix in some of my stray stash bits and a bit of denim. Definitely a project without a clear goal in mind!

Yep that is my ironing board ;)

This is what I have left to piece, I had way more than I originally thought, so I just might be able to stretch them out into a couple of quilts ;)

More to come, keep tuned in!

Passion in Creation!