Friday, July 18, 2008

Days in limbo

Photo: I enjoy this refreshing view of my garden out the double doors of my studio each morning. On first awakening, I go out to the Hideaway and sew for a couple hours before breakfast. Since the garden bunny is now mostly discouraged from destruction by the chicken-wire fencing put up by Dad, her presence as she hops lazily by the doorway seems sort of comfortable and right.

Week's items:
  • Zucchini plants beautiful, waist-high, producing 6-8 squashes per day. I eliminated three of the plants, leaving me with six.
  • Corn ten feet tall, ears sizing up and almost ready to eat.
  • Redwood camp meeting starts next week. This will be my first experience there. I think most of the corn will be eaten by someone else while we're gone.
  • Mom and Dad move the following week. It's still hard to imagine what it will be like without them here.
  • I feel like I'm in limbo; as someone said - stuck between what has gone before and what is yet ahead.
  • Limbo isn't all bad, though. My days are glorious. I revel in my schedule, doing what I want (gardening, quilting) in the morning hours when I feel fresh and energized.
  • Note: If you have Ticketless Travel Funds held by Southwest Airlines (that's the airline that lets you have two pieces of checked luggage and a carry-on, all for free), don't lose the confirmation number from your canceled flight. I wanted to apply funds from a flight I canceled in April, but not finding the number as fast as I wanted, I called Southwest, thinking they'd easily find my excess funds and apply them to my new flight. No deal. The rather unhelpful telephone person had no record of my canceling any flight since 2001, though it was only last April we were talking about. Hung up and searched, and sure enough, I had the number after all and was able to use the $ for one of my August flights.
  • I read somewhere that if you use a photo taken by someone else as inspiration for a quilt, you should ask the photographer for permission. It seems that would apply if you use the photo with hardly any changes, but what if you make significant alterations so that even the photographer would have difficulty recognizing the source?
  • My goal of completing my current works in progress will not be realized, so my downsized goal before the summer's travel begins -- because I don't want a stray breeze or child making any changes to the block order while I'm gone -- is to finish putting together the loose tumbling block blocks that are on the ping pong table. The design wall is not wide enough for this one - and that's a whole 'nuther problem to consider, what with the window in the way. I think a hinge is in my future.

Monday, July 14, 2008

African Safari

I named the finished one-block wonder quilt "African Safari," because the original fabric includes prints of lion, giraffe, gazelle, zebra and hippo in a variety of unnatural colors (green, salmon, gold, black). It took awhile to figure out how to do the hollow cube blocks the right size, but the basic concept of how to create them is simple.

I am having troubles with my camera making rectangular objects look rounded.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Week's quilting progress

Photo #1: "Benediction" is almost completed. This week I did the quilting and binding. It is unique in that the background strips are lapped like roof shingles. I spent a bit of time unraveling the raw edges of the overlapped ends. The three tree trunks are primarily fused, but their edges are likewise fringed by my spending some time pulling threads, unraveling. The glittery falling leaves are fused to the edges and not raveled. All the quilt needs now is a hanging sleeve and some final finessing, leaf stems, for instance. Approximately 45" x 70".

P.S. Raveled and unraveled mean the same thing. Ain't English interestin'?

Photo #2: Next week I plan to border and bind this practice block (currently stuck on my shop wall with blue painter's tape) I made from Ruth B. McDowell's Piecing Workshop . I loved working through the exercises in this book -- excellent practice for what I want to do. Every bit of the piecing is done by machine - right up my alley, because my mantra is, "If it can't be done by machine, it doesn't get done." I think this is about 15" x 15".

Photo #3: Great-grandma's block: My mother is going through her things, getting ready to move back to Colorado. She gave me this block (approximately 17" by 17"), explaining that her mother remembered sitting and watching her mother stitch this block. Every stitch has been done by hand. The block doesn't lie flat, but is rather mounded in the middle. I am trying to figure out what to do about that.

One of my friends wants me to make two quilts for her, bed quilts, I assume. I have no idea what to charge. Does one charge differently for bed quilts than for art quilts? I've been working at quilting as if I were getting paid for it, so I might as well go the next step!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Works in progress

Photo #1: Starting playing around with the layout of tumbling blocks on my design wall. Sewing these together will be similar to sewing the One Block Wonder quilt, i.e. very repetitive.

Photo #2: Block of the Month blocks from Beverly's. The color combinations are becoming interesting.

Photo #3: One Block Wonder. I added the border yesterday; it took five hours, due mostly to the addition of the hollow block cubes in the left border.

Photo #4: "Benediction" - I designed this one myself, and sewing it has been more rewarding for me than sewing the traditional blocks above. I like the freedom of inexactness, I guess. Today I added the dark border and painted some of the dark markings on the aspen trunks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

624 triangles!

Photo: The back of my One Block Wonder quilt, lying over my ironing table (take old wooden table, cover with a mattress pad, silvered ironing board cloth, and a stretchy fitted sheet, and there's your ironing table).

Last Tuesday I did the majority of the cutting (648 triangles, but I didn't use them all); Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I sewed them together in sets of three, played around on the design wall with layout, then sewed in strips. Once the strips were finished, I noticed I had to have another row (originally had thought I'd leave the hexagon points on), so added that, though it throws off my color design a bit, since I had to make do with the sets that were left. By then I was so zonked that I didn't want to pick anything apart, so I didn't.

Today I sewed the strips together, then spent two hours ironing them open. Now I've decided I will cut off the hexagon points.

The original fabric, which I should have taken a picture of, was a print containing black and orange zebras, gold elephants, green giraffes, and rectangles containing leaves and various gold, black, green, gray, orange, and fuschia-pink geometrics.

I love the results so far, but must admit that I have hated the construction process. It is too repetitive for me. Not to mention that I've been pushing myself so hard to get this done (no reason, just want to get on with the next quilt) that no wonder I'm tired!

A quilter learns...

A quilter's stash never shrinks.