Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out …

I have a tendency to NOT really follow a pattern or have the whole plan for a new quilt, and most of the time, I think it works out, more or less. Granted, this approach often means that I’m making adjustments throughout the course of construction, and sometimes things aren’t exactly the way I envisioned them, but it’s my process, and I’m comfortable with it. It’s how I work, and it really isn’t all that different from a garment sewist who uses a dress form to pin and/or drape fabric to get their start on a new project that they have imagined.

But sometimes, even the best intentions don’t work out. Case in point, I decided a few weeks ago that I’d really like to have a patriotic quilt to use for the months of June & July (or at least through the 4th of July). I pulled out several red, blue and cream colored fabrics and began planning my layout. I thought that maybe a log cabin would be nice, but when I put together the test blocks, I just didn’t like it much. So then I decided that maybe I would do a rail fence type block. I put together a few small test blocks and decided that it looked good, so I got down to business making more blocks.

I put the blocks on the design wall and played around with them a bit, then decided on a layout and put it together, sashing blocks as I went. Once I got it together and put the whole top on the wall, I saw the problem. It’s a pretty big problem. The entire quilt looks like rows of swastikas … I’m not impressed with it, nor myself at this point. I could take it apart and redo it, but right now, I’m just disgusted and irritated with it, so it’ll go on a shelf or in a basket as a UFO. Maybe I’ll pick it up this winter and fix it but for now, I’m done with it.

So, to soothe my psyche for now, I’ve turned back to the Wishes Block of the Month from last year. I know it was supposed to be done in 2014, but I had other things going on and I never got around to it. I did get five blocks done last year, so that means I have seven more to go. Well, six, actually, because I got one block done earlier this week. I was showing my Mom the five blocks I had finished when she was over on the 4th of July, and she really liked it, so it inspired me to complete it. I told her that my intention was to sash the blocks in white, but she thinks that would be a mistake. She thinks yellow, grey or black would look better. She may have a point, and I am considering using a light grey for sashing. My design wall is light grey, so what do you think? Forgive the angled look of the photo – it’s not the picture, it’s the positioning of the blocks on the wall!

Wishes BOM in progress

Wishes BOM in progress

Obviously, this isn’t the final lay out I’ll use, because there are six more blocks to be made. I’m really hoping to get the quilt top done this month, so that maybe I can finish the quilt and use it as a Christmas present for someone this year.

And on that note, I suppose I should move on for now. I do know I need to get better at blogging, so I’m setting myself some reminders to write more often.

See ya soon!

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Wishes Block of the Month Quilt, January

Last night, I began cutting the pieces for the Wishes BOM Quilt‘s January block. Today, I finished the block. I decided to use the yellow, grey, white and black fabric I’ve been collecting.

Wishes BOM Quilt, January Block

Wishes BOM Quilt, January Block

To be honest, this is the most difficult block I’ve put together in a while. I quit quilting for a while, and then came back to the art in earnest last year. Most of what I’ve been making up until this point has been simple quilts, but I decided that I really need to expand my skill set, so when this BOM came up, I thought it was a great way to do just that. Although I’m not a big fan of sampler type quilts, I believe they are great skill builders, so I fully intend to complete several of them this year to give as gifts.

I’m really hoping, though, that the resulting left over fabrics from the cutting will be used at some point down the line in this quilt, because I have quite a lot left. If it doesn’t for some reason get used, I’m sure I can find something to do with it.

That's a lot of fabric to discard, so I'm hoping there's an opportunity to use it later in the year.

That’s a lot of fabric to discard, so I’m hoping there’s an opportunity to use it later in the year.

I’m pretty happy with the way this block turned out overall. I didn’t cut off any points, everything lined up fairly well, and it measures about right. Further, I really like the color combination on this one. Surely someone I know would enjoy receiving the quilt once it’s completed … right?

In the Studio – Labor Day Weekend Edition

Last week, I decided that I am really sick of my current clothes and I want some new stuff. Now I am working to lose weight, and I am making progress – slowly. However, another season wearing all the same stuff just about put me over the edge, so I decided that I should take a look on the internet and see what kind of clothes are trending right now. Of course, after seeing some of the prices, I decided the better idea would be to pull something nice out of my stash and throw something together for the office. A skirt, maybe (although I haven’t worn one in about 10 years) or a pair of pants … I just think that skirts and dresses look very professional, and I think it’s time I start wearing them on occasion again. And as they say, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. My wardrobe could use some work for the job I have, and I don’t know what job I want but I do believe that I should get some new stuff in my closet. It’s just that I’m unwilling to spend $200 for a single dress that’s supposed to be “career wear.” For that price, it better make me look damned good AND pack my lunch for me every day. Since I know it won’t … time to turn to the sewing machine.

There was just one problem – I don’t particularly care for the look or feel of unfinished seams, and I didn’t have serger, having sold mine in the Great Denial Movement of 2012. But I knew someone who DID have a spare serger, just sitting around, doing nothing. So I called my mom and told her I was on my way to liberate the serger and her quilting machine & frame set up and she said, Sure, come on over! I’ll have it all ready to go when you get here. Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr … I might not have mentioned the quilting set up when I said I was going to liberate the serger. I can’t really remember, but I do know that I hopped in the car with my husband and son in tow (who wants to drive through Houston rush hour traffic on a Wednesday evening alone?) and we set off to grandma’s house, through bad traffic and over passes, or something like that. When we arrived, my mom had pulled out the serger and some foot attachments and the owner’s manual. She even let me bring them home with me, but she wouldn’t even let me go LOOK at her quilting set up, probably because she was afraid I would abscond with it. She’s a pretty smart woman sometimes, my mom.

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And then we sat around and talked for a little while. My “little” sister came in while we were there, and we sat around and talked and laughed a bit. She accused our mom of being mean to our dad and pretended to take up for him, and we laughed some more, and then I realized we had left a roast in the oven, and we still have more than an hour’s drive to get back home, so we left. It wasn’t until we got home and brought the serger into the house that I realized … Mom didn’t give me the FOOT PEDAL and power cord that goes along with it!! So on Saturday, I had to go over and pick it up. I figured since I was going to be over there anyway, I might as well go check out my two favorite shops in all of Houston – the Painted Pony in La Porte, and Sew Contempo down in Clear Lake. I don’t know if Clear Lake is really down from anywhere, but my entire life, we’ve always said “down in Clear Lake” about anything that is in that general direction. I lived down in Clear Lake for a year! It didn’t seem any further down than anywhere else I’ve ever been, but you know, who am I to question it? It’s a bit like asking a Southerner “How far is it?” Let me just tell you, if you don’t already know … It’s ALWAYS going to be “Just over  yonder” or “just over the hill.” I spent my entire childhood going “just over the hill” with my aunt during the summer, even if it was 100 miles to wherever we were going.

Anyway, I saw lots of stuff in both places, but I really only purchased some Isacord thread from Sew Contempo because I have enough fabric for about 15 quilts right now, and I was only interested in some autumn fabric that no one seems to have locally. I bought four spools on the recommendation of Leah Day at the Free Motion Quilting Project. She said it’s what she always uses because it doesn’t break as easily as cotton, so I thought I’d give it a try. I mean, why not, right? I’ve had the problem several times with Ricco, so I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try it out. I was pretty impressed because there’s about a bazillion colors, and I am all about color. I also went to JoAnn’s to buy some serger thread because, duh! Stupid me, I gave all of mine away to the woman who bought my serger last year. I bought all sorts of colors because JoAnn’s had it on sale for $1 each, plus a 15% off coupon. So I got $3 cones of thread for $0.85 each. I mean, who can argue with that??

I didn’t really get a lot of time in the studio because I was busy with other things, but I did set aside all day Monday to work on Heather’s quilt and I have to say that I’m pleased with the progress. Most of the large squares are done – I think I have two more left. Then a couple of corrections to the first set of squares I put together, and the nine patches that are being used as setting squares need to be done, and then maybe I can start putting together the quilt top and have it done by next weekend. That might be a bit ambitious, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll post photos of my progress so far and a discussion of a problem I encountered for WIP Wednesday.