Monthly Archives: January 2011

To me quilting is…

An escape while still being reality. It has an exactness while still  remaining fluid. The show stopper quilts, you are afraid to use while the ugliest quilt is also cherished.  We need them all. I am drawn to the Gees Bend quilts. The colors and simplicity inspire me yet to me they can be copied but not duplicated. Every stitch is a signature.

I love to make quilts. Both as an artistic outlet and to impact peoples lives. I love to meet and talk to quilters. They are such a diverse and interesting bunch of people. They make quilts just like I do one stitch at  a time. Some are less experienced than I am but I’m beginning to think most aren’t.

I’m still strengthening my quilting voice. I’m not sure the sound I’m looking for yet. But I know I haven’t hit it yet.

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It was a Good Day!

Got the twin about seventy-five percent quilted.  Got the baby boy quilt cut and half pieced. I’m telling ya I was on a roll today!

Don’t you love days like that?  There aren’t many interruptions and not too many problems. They’re rare, in fact I kept waiting for it (you know, the big snafu). That big *#@*^##@@! something to stop me in my tracks and start “making up words“.  It didn’t! ~~HAPPY DANCE~~

Look at the pattern I ended up with for the border blocks…

Sun & Sand Quilt First sunburst border

Once I got the first one done it was a quick process. I did end up with star fish in the center. I’ll get better pictures once it’s off the table. 

It’s also #2 son’s birthday so we set out to the Cheesecake Factory. It was only an hour and a half wait time. They don’t take reservations. So I didn’t get my blog written ahead of time. 

I hope your day was good, but if it wasn’t and you made up some words for it… that’s productive too!

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Quilting Blogger

I tried playing darts but I really suck.

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What does that mean? Can I only blog about things that have to do with quilting or quilts? What was I thinking!? I’ve seriously not talked this much in thirteen years! It’s only been three weeks! How am I going to accomplish my goal of one a day? FOR A YEAR! I’m gonna lose my mind. Okay I lost that years ago but you get my drift.

So here goes, I’m sitting here trying to come up with my next quilt. I’m completely stumped. Not stumped like I don’t know a pattern. But stumped as in I have too many to choose from.

Do I get one-off my “I’ve gotta make that” list or one that I’ve played with in my mind and hasn’t even made the list yet. Then there’s the other one that I saw some fabric in my stash that sparked. Of course I’ve still got one on the table to quilt. I really need to get-r-done. I also need a boy baby quilt. I hate these decisions, they’re all the right ones so it really shouldn’t matter. But it does!

Maybe I should use the throw a dart at it method! What ever the dart hits that’s what I’ll do! My luck, it would go through the window and I’d have to replace windows instead of quilt.

Okay, I’ve decided! Baby boy quilt and finish the twin on the table! See that wasn’t hard!

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Thread confusion

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Image by gina pina via Flickr

The different threads out there seem almost endless.  Then add in the different weights and I get overwhelmed. I still have some thread left that I should never have bought. I donated a bunch to the local school and they think I’m great. I really need to send some more.

I’m sure you’ve heard of all the different brands so I’m gonna stay away from naming them.  We all have our favorite for a multitude of reasons and lets face it, no one cares which one I prefer.

It took time to develop a feel for bobbin threads and threads for bobbin work. I use different  threads for piecing than I do for the longarm. But when I quilt on the sewing machine I use the same thread.

Once I started down this road I heard so many “rules” .. I’m not exactly a rule person so I learned by trying out the different threads.  I learned quickly some threads were not for quilting at least not for my quilting. I also used invisible thread in the beginning, not so much now.

Then there are the embroidery threads, now there’s a subject! I have a sewing machine that has a lot of embroidery stitches that I use for my crazy quilting. I have used one metallic exclusively after trying all the different brands I found but now I’ve  found another brand and I’m giving it a go, it doesn’t lay quite as nice but is much stronger so I can use it on the longarm for thread painting. I have a little singer 200 embroidery machine I used like a mule.  So I added a Toyota 6 needle to my arsenal.. well they use different threads. Okay, the singer will use anything, it’s the Toyota that’s picky.

So if you’re anything like me you have hundreds of spools and dozens of cones. But wait, which needle goes with which thread… I have a drawer full of needles I had to write a list so I didn’t forget.  So there’s thread needle combinations and with embroidery you’ve got stabilizers, the longarm has different thread needle combinations then add in tension to the mix! 

There’s no wonder I’m so confused!

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When buying fabric…

Bolts of Fabric @ Fashion District, NYC, Novem...

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This is not a post for those “stash busting” people. I hoard fabric. Actually that’s not true, I collect fabric! Yeah, that’s it! I’m a collector! If I need a yard I buy three.. and if I see a fabric that I think is delishous? I buy five yards, just in case I can use it in something! Sometimes I buy just a yard, it’s a just for when decision.

One of those big box stores had a sale on flannel a few years ago. It was a day after thanksgiving doorbuster. BLACK FRIDAY!! Well I went kinda nuts. Well not really, I only bought around 75 yards. The kicker? I had not used flannel before and until a few weeks ago I still had all that flannel. But it was sooo cute and only ninety-nine cents! I still don’t know how I decided how much to buy of each but.. I have some flannel on hand now.

When I start thinking about my next quilt, I decide on the pattern then I shop my stash. I’ve made a bunch of baby quilts lately and I started to use up some of that flannel. Hey, ya know what? Flannel is not just for rag quilts! It’s a lot of fun in a quilt. The texture is fun. Fun is part of funny and anyone who knows me knows  I think funny is important.

So back to my tips on buying fabric. I buy as much as I can and am able to hide. That’s my motto.  

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I AM OLD!!

I’m old, I mean really old.. older than women that have lived more years than me. How exactly did that happen?  Seriously!  My big Sis was born first but you’d swear by looking at us that she was my lil’ sis! It can’t be cuz I raised four kids, my sis raised nine. Was it genetics or environment or the choices I made that did this to me? (you just know my sis is beside herself with this photo!)

Me

Big Sis

 

I’m sure you know the joke about wanting to get to the end of your life used up saying “WOOHOO what a ride” well I must be near the end cuz I am used up! Yall are wondering what on earth this has to do with quilting right? Hang on, I’m getting to it.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the Quilt Index. If you haven’t seen it go there now, I’ll wait. I take that back you’ll be gone for hours! They are undertaking a massive quest to document all quilts. Even our guild has been active in helping with documentation.  If you look at some of these quilts you’ll see they don’t look old. They’re well-kept even some are new looking! Then others are worn and stained.

I’ve started thinking up stories for the quilts that are “maker unknown” The worn and used ones that is. The lives they’ve touched…. that’s why it’s so important to document them so others don’t make up stories for you. We spend our time and talents for people who matter to us. The quilts matter to us. Make sure others know that even a hundred years from now!

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Filed under American Quilters Society, quilt, quilt documentation, quilter, quilts

I love gadgets

Gadgets are intended to simplify something. And they do most of the time. I’ll tell ya when it comes to quilt gadgets, and templates, it is amazing the sheer numbers. Even more amazing is that I don’t own them all! Not even close either.

Most of them if you’ve used them once you remember how. But I’ve got a couple that I have to read the book every time. I don’t know how Eleanor Burns figured out the triangle in a square or flying geese. Her way is quick and easy not to mention less wasteful. But come on! Who thinks like that???

There are a few that just about everyone uses. I can’t say everyone because I have a friend who had never owned a rotary cutter or cutting mat! Yes, it’s true!  Then the new gadgets that come out? I bought two at Paducah last year. I used one of them already to make that quilt you see me standing and holding up. I Love that thing! I wish I had bought both sizes!

 Then there’s the new wedding ring template. I think I own every template to make wedding ring quilts. I even have a couple of paper piece patterns from Judy Niemeyer. But I haven’t made one yet! Isn’t that sad?

I for one am glad it’s not me who thinks these things up! There are some intense thinkers out there in the quilt world. I’m having a good day if I remember to put tape on my ruler!

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Nothing New under the sun…

How do I come up with an origional pattern? Is it even possible? I’ve looked through thousands of quilts listed in the quilt index. There are pictures and history written, so how can I possibly come up with something different?

I just don’t see it happening. But of course that’s not going to stop me from trying. Just like it didn’t stop all those before me.  So many before me did in fact come up with inspiring quilts we are still trying to copy.

What is new? The pattern is not the only thing, though it of itself it does set the tone but the colors chosen say so much. I’ve argued before that the quilting speaks loudest. But without the pattern and colors can the quilting have any room to speak?

Can I find a way to make quilts that when seen, people will know by seeing them it was influenced by me?  Is it colors or patterns or quilting that have the loudest voice for me? Does any of it really matter as long as those who receive the quilt use it?

I really don’t think so. It is the well used quilt that get the most of my attention now. Although the works of art do WOW me and yes I do emulate parts of them but in large part I strive to make quilts people will use and enjoy. I want to be the kind of quilter that makes quilts for people. The larger question is whether I can accomplish that! I sure hope so!

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Insomnia a good thing?

Insomnia = more quilting time!

I have insomnia often so I try to use this time to get more quilting done. But because of the inherent by-products of insomnia are short attention span and confusion I have come up with a few rules.

  • No cutting fabric between the hours of 2am and 6 am
  • No “new” changes to the pattern I’ve chosen

I have difficulty even without insomnia so there is also a sign hanging from the door jamb stating “No talking during cutting or measuring! ” I’m not sure why but my children inevitably come into my quilt room while I am cutting fabric. I once cut out an entire quilt 3/4″ off. Every strip! Yes, I use tape on the ruler so that won’t happen but I even moved the tape.

I have stopped wearing my i-pod too. Did you know that when old women sing along to rap it sounds like they’re being attacked from the other room?  And let’s just say when someone runs into the quilt room screaming at you at 3 am when you’ve got ear-buds in? That’s not a fun thing!

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Someone has been in my Quilt Room!

My quilt room is seriously trashed! I mean seriously! I don’t know how it happened. We moved in here about 18 months ago and it looks like I’m still in a state of remodeling.  

When we first moved here I put the quilting table together and found out the room was not big enough for it! So I did what any rational person would do. I had my DH cut a chunk out of the wall! I still haven’t finished it so it looks right. Then there’s the drywall patch above the electrical panel that was never finished.  In order to use my machine I have to pull it away from that wall or it hits the cabinets! Then there’s no room for the cutting table.

There’s scraps all over the floor. Where is the maid? Oh yeah, that’s me. But I’m on such a roll! I don’t want to stop to clean! It would hinder my creative process! Okay, so that’s a line but it sure sounded good! Yes, all the mess is slowing my creative process too. But don’t go all rational on me now. I had you at cutting the chunk out of the wall! I know I did.

So as soon as I finish my grand-dog quilt I have to clean this up. Maybe even get the new computer desk out of the closet (put there 18 months ago), naw I’ll save that for later. I wouldn’t want to rush into anything!.

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Filed under baby quilt, dog, doxie, fabric, long arm, quilt, quilter, random, thoughts