Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sticky Mess

I entered a giveaway offered by Laura of slice of pi quilts and won a package of quilting templates designed by urban elementz. Laura included a note and asked me to let her know what I thought about the tear-away pantograph paper. Well... since you asked...

The directions said to use spray adhesive such as 505. I had a little bit left in a can, so perfect. The tissue paper was the right length, it fit my project perfectly, and I used up the last of the spray to adhere the paper to the quilt. I didn't want it to slip around and get weird. My little quilt is 31" x 47." I used iron adhesive batting as well, so that I wouldn't have pins under the tissue paper. It quilted quickly, in less than 30 minutes. I got to practice my FMQ, which was a little trickier than I thought it would be. The pantograph kept me from spiraling into smaller curls. I recall looking at this when I entered the giveaway, thinking "well that looks easy. Who needs a pattern?" I'll tell you who: people who don't practice their FMQ.

So, next the directions said, "once quilted, rip the tear away sheets off the quilt. Note: use tweezers to remove any small bits of tear away paper that might be left under stitches."

I used my seam ripper and found it helped with slicing the paper inside the loops. There was very little ripping of tissue paper because it was stuck to the fabric very well. It took me over 3 hours to remove all of the paper in a very tedious process. I tried using tweezers and my finger nail to remove small bits of paper, but was worried that I'd disturb stitches. Side note: the fabric was sticky! Well, duh.

The paper was sticky. My hands were sticky. The whole process was sticky. It didn't want to let go into the garbage can. By the end of this process I was a teensy bit tense. I figured that I would rinse the quilt and the rest of the tissue paper under threads would dissolve. Wrong. And, the fabric was still just as sticky. So against my better judgement and usual practice for a quilt made from vintage blocks, I used spray wash all over the quilt and washed it again with detergent. Twice. Finally it was not sticky. But the tissue paper was still hanging under threads like Al Gore's chad's in Florida election booths. So I finished picking out the tissue with tweezers as I thought about how to do this differently next time.

My sister Pam, who does custom long arm quilting entirely FMQ said just practice and toss the templates. Sure, but I wanted to try this product. So other than practicing, which is for losers, I thought of using dressmaker's carbon and a tracing wheel. The templates could be reused that way, as well. The quilt would still need to be washed.

The little blocks that had seemed dingy and boring really sparkled after the triple washing. Major bonus. And the quilting, very different for me, was a nice amount for this little baby quilt.

 I used lilac and orange for the flanged binding.

Here is the backing, repro vintage red and white. And my little label with my thimble insignia.
This is one of the finishes for /finish-along-2018-round-2. It will be gifted to a niece who is expecting a baby girl in July.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place

Hope's Nova Star is ready to quilt. I added prairie points within the borders for the baby's textural interest and I love the effect. It is super fun, and adorable. Just like little Nova (or Ralph, as baby's brother Aries likes to call it.)

Here is a little tidbit about the brown border/sashing. I was originally going to set the blocks without sashing, but at retreat my pal Leona suggested sashing to add definition to the stars. So I tried some grey scraps first, just to see.

Hmmm, We were on the right track but not grey. Jody suggested a very dark sash, and picked something black with tiny violet flowers. Not even worth a photo, I said NO WAY.  I had just received a care package at retreat (yes, can you even believe it? at retreat!) from Pam. It included some lovely fun camel brown Moda fabric with childhood primer text on it. I had sent that to her a while back, sharing the love, and she boomeranged it back. And as a sashing it was perfect, made my heart leap.

It pushes the neutrals, a concept Mary Mashuta wrote about where the contrast brightens the colors.  Kind of like the cheerleaders inviting a dull girl to join them in the mistaken idea that they will look better. Well, the neutral is the key, the element of interest. The neutrals are not overpowering but they are absolutely vital to the whole. Because they are true to themselves. Which is what I need to remember when I have self doubt.

In a world where you can be anything, be self confident. What does a lack of confidence come from? Comparison. And where does comparison come from? Old, very old, ancient tapes saying that we should be more like (fill in the blank) or why can't we be more like (fill in the blank.) What do you think all of the fashion magazines sell? SELF DOUBT.  Where was Mr. Rogers when I needed him? Thankfully I can figure it all out with some daily writing. Just be true to myself and screw the self doubt. Screw your courage to the sticking place, as Lady MacBeth said.

And, here is my other quilt top finish:::

The center butterfly is huge. 38.5" x 29.5" huge. The details on this big fat mama are a surprise for the recipient so I won't talk about them. The three center butterflies were sewn by my sister, Pam. We are collaborating on a get well quilt for my cousin Angie who has battled lymphoma into remission with 6 months of grueling chemotherapy. She had asked for a butterfly quilt as a commission for a wedding gift a while back. I pfffft'd and said we wouldn't accept pay. Then with her diagnosis, I told her that the only good news about cancer is that you get cuts to the front of the quilt line.

Here is the complete quilt top, all 84.5" x 84.5" of wonderful colorful loveliness of it. Lots of the fabrics are scraps of favorites from my stash. And lots of my stash is from Pam.The large upper right feller is all bird fabrics with a few of my  most favored china dishes fabric. The fabric that looks like my beloved china that I lost in the divorce. Lower left wide blue feller is tropical beach fabrics to remind Angie of her days being a beach bum in Mexico.  There are flowers, polka dots, stripes, Kaffe, Cori Dantini banners, Lots of Moda, and every color under the rainbow.

It is off in the mail to Pam for long arm quilting magic. She does the most lovely custom work.

I am linking to Let's Bee Social.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Wanting to be Above it All

I have been dividing my time between gardening to get ready for planting, taking care of the house,  sewing epic quilts, and cooking. I have recently been working to learn new cooking and eating with much lower sodium. The goal being to stay under 1500 mg a day. I know about processed foods, but for example I had no idea flour tortillas were so full of sodium! I have been instructed to lose some weight for my blood pressure. This is no small feat. I am well versed on the science of weight loss, and know about exercise and metabolism. It is not easy at my advanced age of 61 yrs and 11 months. My body fat is about 27%. I saw a meme that said "I want to lose weight and I want to eat." yep. And age gracefully. And be natural. And also above it all and self actualized.

Hope's Star baby quilt is coming along nicely. I still want to add a row of dimensional prairie points and another camel colored border. I like the cheery, scrappy, colorfulness of this quilt.

The light brown sashing fabric is a sampler of sayings and childhood primer writings. Sweet.

Here is part of the Big Beautiful Butterfly quilt. I have since finished the giant middle butterfly that is 38" x 29", and a yellow side middle butterfly. One more side middle guy and two bottom bigger butterflies and then I can piece the top together.  It is so fun seeing the quilts come together.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Finishing What I Started

I have worked to become more of a finisher rather than indulging my impulses and being mainly a starter. Starting new quilts and projects is so fun and exciting. Getting past the middle part of questioning whether the project is really worth it is the tougher part, and the finishing has often been under the pressure of a deadline. That whole procrastinating thing got tiresome to me, because of the lameness of shoddy workmanship and making excuses.

So... I am joining a "Finish Along."  Three months to finish, no consequences if I don't finish, prizes to some lucky quilters (Including, hopefully, yours truly,) and new friends in the interwebs.

Here is my list, ready, set, go!

1. Bugs in the Rosegarden. This small quilt is 44" x 57." The blocks were from my quilt club. I added sashing and borders. The back is pieced pinks, mainly a lovely rosy fossil fern. It is ready to quilt.

2. Thrifty Thirties. These old blocks were found at a thrift store by my sister, Pam. She gave them to me knowing that I love the challenge of turning straw into gold. The quilt is 32" x 47." I sashed it aiming for a woven look. The back is red 30's reproduction.

3. Butterflies. This is a get well quilt for my cousin, Angie, who is in treatment for lymphoma. She asked for a butterfly quilt for her bed, and I told her that the only good thing about cancer is that it pushes her to the front of the quilt line. I made #12 blocks and sister Pam made #5, including one huge butterfly. There are a few more blocks to make. I am going to finish the top as my goal, and Pam is going to longarm quilt it. It is an Elizabeth Hartman pattern called, Lepidoptera. It will be 84" square.

4. Hope's Star.  I blogged about this a few days ago. this will be about 32" square when it is finished. It is a baby quilt for my cousin Hope who has 2 young adult children and is surprisingly expecting a baby later this summer. It is made from 30's reproduction prints in pattern called Original Star by Fons and Porter. I want to finish it soon so I can enter it in the Council Qult Show in June, as the theme this year is stars.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Catching a Boomerang

Once upon a time a quilter received a boomerang gift of 30's reproduction fabric and some quilt books. (Ainsley's declutter meets my fabric vortex.) These were my fabrics before they were Ainsley's and in my new style, I don't just want to let them collect dust, but rather use them and challenge myself to something creative and different.

 I took one of the books to read in bed and found a pattern I had not seen before. The book is Scrap Quilts by Fons and Porter, published in 1995. The pattern is Original Star. After brainstorming with sister Pam, I created these blocks using some solids for contrast. I sewed strips before I cut the triangles to use scraps and add to the overall charm.

I chose white background for sparkle.

I have a bag of soft, pastelish 30's prints and only bits of solid in 30's colors, so I am going to make do and push the neutrals. I hope I can do some good trading with my local fabric collectors for more solids. Here are some auditioning blocks:

The text is fun retro catalog print from Moda.

I am heading to retreat in a few days, and having the prep work done will mean I am ready to cook up a quilt top as soon as I unpack. Yay for Camp Trinity Pines in Cascade, Idaho. The forecast is for rain and snow, so all the better for lots of sewing.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Quilt Hospital

Some people help others by adopting, counseling, healing, laughter, friendship, sharing, mentoring, well, you get the idea.  My way of helping is to run a quilt hospital.

This quilt top was made in 1992 by my daughter's mother-in-law, Nancy,  for her husband Bill. The quilt top gathered patina in a box until this winter. I offered to finish it for Nancy and Bill. He is now in a rest home, but back in 1992 he coached kid's baseball. The quilt is covered with compliments and signatures from kids Bill coached.

The back of the quilt is flannel. It will be a nice, cozy, snuggle quilt. They are all Boise State University fans, and my son-in-law Tj was a foot ball player there.

I love flanged bindings. They are a great way to frame the quilt, and if the colors are well chosen, your eye is drawn inward to the quilt.

Here are the kind words Tj wrote to me about the quilt. This is why I love to finish and restore quilts: Jane, what you created was an absolute masterpiece for me and my family. It makes me so happy that I will be able to wrap him up in that quilt before he passes on. His life was all about coaching me and many kids that didn’t have the opportunity to have a dad to coach them. These memories were his best and brightest moments of his life and what you made brings me to tears. I can’t thank you enough for all the work you put into that for me, for him, for my family. Truly special and know I love you!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy to have the Holidays Behind Me

   I did a lot of holiday sewing. Various pillowcases and a couple of minky quilts, some tote bags for hauling quilts, and then pillows, quilts, and more quilts. One project was a cross stitch patchwork angel pillow, the embroidery done by a friend:
I made it to accompany a quilt my aunt asked me to make, using some of the left over fabric. She sent me a Henry Glass flannel quilt kit, and wanted double thick washable wool batting, which made it super fluffy but was like quilting a sleeping bag on my domestic machine, lol.

The individual pictures are very cute.

I then made Mr. Thimblepie a flannel pillow with a pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts. I chose a critter that lives along our Salmon River, a big horn sheep. I used black pleather for the eyes. The pillow fits our cabin home decor perfectly.

And then, I wanted to make something fun to acknowledge the Fiona the hippo craze I have shared with my daughter, Ainsley. Fiona is a baby hippo who was born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo last summer to mama Bibi. Fiona is very friendly, having been bottle fed and reared by zoo keepers. When animals interact with people they develop interesting communication skills.

I asked Lorna, of SewFresh Quilts to adapt her hippo pattern to make mama and baby, and she did! Here is my finish, with some tweaks. I added 3-D flannel ears with tiny tucks so that the hippos would have wiggly ears, and again used black pleather to give the eyes shine.

I posed my little Steiff toy hippo with the pillows, and tucked it in the gift bag. That toy is 55 years old and was one of my favorite toys as a child.

This week I am in Seattle. I went to the Seattle Art Museum and spied this hippo mask in the African mask display.

Another fun finish was 2 grizzly bear quilts, each 60"x70" from a Moda Big Sky kit. I had some extra Big Sky fabric, and managed to get both quilts from the combination. I quilted them in wavy lines with my domestic machine. The eyes are appliqued. I gave one to my cousin Marc, as a surprise. He loves to photograph grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park, and has followed one mother bear for years who had 4 cubs a few years ago. The other bear quilt is for my daughter Diane, who chose the name Ursula for her SCA (historical reenactment) persona.
pink and brown minky
NE Patriots, a commission
T shirt quilt, 80"x 90"
 These chintz bags are from an old pattern. I especially like the 2nd bag, with the puppies and kittens on the fabric.

I am still not a wild fan of kits or T shirt quilts, but they each served a purpose, and the recipients were all thrilled. Phew! The holidays are over, and now back to some selfish sewing.