Sunday Stash and InchieSee Playtime

Last week I made a quick trip to my LQS to pick up my Pfaff 1475 with its brand new motherboard. Ouch on that. The machine is probably nearing 20 years old and it’s been packed up in the original box for about five years. When I took it out a few weeks back hoping to use it when my Bernina needed repairs, the Pfaff was DoA on the sewing table. It was NOT a great week to try to sew anything! :-(

Despite being essentially a backup machine these days, I decided I should go ahead and repair it now since it’s a really wonderful machine (one of the older Pfaff machines that was made in Germany before Husqvarna Viking bought Pfaff out and moved production to cheaper areas), and if I didn’t have it repaired now it wasn’t likely to get done at all as the parts for it are no longer manufactured. And who knows? One of my girls might eventually decide to sew and need a machine… maybe… okay I’m reaching here I know!

While I was at the LQS, I did the mad dash through the fabric in hopes to pick up some more of that yummy Kate Spain fabric that I ran short on, and maybe a couple of bluesy aquas to go with it. Continue reading

Beginnings…

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement I received, both here on the site and via email, after my last post. It’s heartwarming to know that others do understand and that I’m not alone! Looking back a bit, the irony of this post following hard on the heels of this one is not lost on me. I still feel quite ambivalent about it all really, but at this point any decision seems better than no decision at all and if it turns out to be the wrong one later, so be it. I can live with that, because it’s not like it hasn’t happened before, right?

Onward! When I look at all of this “stuff” I have in my studio, I find it rather sad that it’s all sitting here in the dark, not being loved and used and inspiring. It was all inspiring to me at one time; a piece of beautiful fabric could (and did!) inspire whole quilts, and the texture and color interaction of embellishment materials could be the start of entire sets of Inchies. Just because it isn’t inspiring to me anymore doesn’t mean that it should sit in the dark until the end of time however. These lovely bits and bobs should be getting used and loved by someone, and to that end I’ve started creating bundles for my shop. Continue reading

When life hands you scraps, make quilts…

Pfft—where did that come from anyway?

I’m not a “scraps” kind of gal, preferring to work with big chunks of fabric when I make quilts, instead of the little oddly shaped leftover bits and pieces filling up the many assorted containers all over my house. When I start a new project, I first go big stash hunting, pulling out at many yardage sized bundles as I can find to create the perfect palette for the idea in my head. When the Big Stash has produced it’s last hopeful candidate, I go to the Little Stash of fat quarters stored in tubs and the process begins all over again. If the palette is still lacking in sufficient variety of color or pattern or amount, I head to the local quilt shop, dragging whatever I’ve already chosen hoping to add to it from the vast selection usually on display there.

Whoever wrote [that] may have intended it as a metaphor of life, but it’s not my metaphor.

Then come the Google searches, and the email and phone calls to friends near and far, in an ever widening and more desperate search for just the right fabrics to make the project successful, let alone make it sing. Way, way down on the list of possibilities are the boxes, bags, buckets, bins and baskets of scraps that bear silent testimony to the quilting projects of the last 18 plus years.

During (infrequent) moments of decluttering and purging unused “stuff” from the house and our lives, I consider taking these space hogging fabric bits straight to the local youth center or Girl Scout camp, secure in the knowledge that the leftovers would be put to good use. Perhaps it’s an unconscious, perverse desire to make a true scrap quilt someday, maybe it’s just a completely unreasonably fear that a fabric depression will soon envelop the entire quilting industry, or possibly when I open the containers to see what’s inside, I see the scattered bits of projects long past and just can’t bear to part with the last little bit of the perfect fabrics, but the bits and pieces of quilting fabrics always end up finding their way back to their secret locations in the house, there to remain forever crumpled. Continue reading

Resisting the paper stash temptation

Creativity takes many forms around here, and it’s not always quilting. Today LittleOne and I spent most of the day scrapbooking and making cards at the Gussy Goose. Beside the two pages for her scrapbook featuring some pictures from Girl Scout Camp, she made these cards so that she could write thank you notes to family for Christmas gifts:

Handmade Cards

I made some of my own, with some bits of papers and lace I already had, and the only piece of really cool floral paisley paper with glitter that the store had left:

Handmade Cards

I could have made more (I should hope, since we were there for five+ hours!) but I did help LittleOne a bit with her cards, and I’ve also come to a conclusion about this scrapbooking/cardmaking thing: It’s just about the same as quilting in a certain way, when it gets right down to it. Quilters have huge stashes of fabric and other supplies at home (at least all the ones I know anyway), and I have a feeling scrappers are the same with their papers.

I’ve never been able to walk into any quilt shop and purchase all the fabrics for a quilt all at once, because the shops never have all the fabrics I need all at the same time. Whether this is because I’ve never lived anywhere that had a quilt shop that constantly carried an enormous number of bolts of fabric (thinking of 7,000 to 10,000 bolts as enormous here), or whether it’s just because Continue reading

More than one way to skin a … UFO!

Hands All Around block

(I purposely did not say “skin a cat” because we don’t skin cats here! And where the heck did that saying come from anyway?) I sent one of my creative works in progress into the wild yesterday, with everything needed to finish it included: pattern, cutting and piecing instructions, and necessary fabrics (except batting and backing, though I can donate those too when the time comes and not even miss them out of my stash!). Other members of the Black Forest Quilt Guild will finish the quilt, and the Guild will raffle the quilt at the Quilt Show next April. I had a quilt plan for this project at one point, and then when it came down to it, realized that I didn’t have enough of the print fabric to make that plan happen, so I had to call in reinforcements to redesign the thing yesterday, when it’s already partly done. Nothing like designing under pressure!

Hands All Around is a block that I just love, though I don’t think I’ve ever finished a quilt with the block in it, now that I think about it. Piecing-wise it’s a bit difficult; I would call it intermediate, but I’ve been told that’s putting it mildly. The curved seams in the middle have to be pinned every step of the way, and then there are bunches of three way, “Y” seams around the outside edge. I can deal with it and most of the time enjoy the precision sewing, but some folks (students in years past when I taught this block in quilting classes) think I created this block as a torture device just for them. Just for the record, I didn’t design the block, I just modified it to look a bit prettier, and at this late date I can’t remember where I saw it first. Continue reading

The Quilt That Refuses to Be

Every time I try to work on this Feathered Lone Star quilt with the bird embroidery, I am forcibly reminded of Candy Goff’s Misery Quilt. You must go read that story. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Now, my quilt started innocently enough, really, about three or four years ago. I wanted to make something different, but small-ish, to enter into the AQS show that year. Life got in the way, and the pieces are still sitting here waiting for me to put them together. I pulled it all out earlier this year to see what I could do with it, and maybe finish it up for the Houston show this year. I wanted to do something a little different with the setting, and the only fabric I had that I liked, I didn’t have enough of. (How this could be, when I have this much fabric in my house, is beyond me!) I carried all the parts with me to the States when I went to the Diane Gaudynski workshop in Paducah, and looked in every quilt shop we could find between Nashville and Paducah, but couldn’t find any more of what I really wanted, nor could I find something else to substitute that I really liked.

After I came home and I started thinking about selling my Pfaff embroidery machine so I could get the Bernina 440, I had a sudden inspiration about this quilt, and decided I wanted to put machine embroidery in the setting squares around the star, which meant that if I sold the Pfaff, I’d have to get the embroidery unit for the Bernina 440 right away if I wanted to do this quilt. I made that happen, and did test stitch outs of all the birds I wanted to use, purchased more thread, and things were just clipping along, except for the missing fabric, of course. I did finally settle on something else that’s a different color, but it gives the same effect so it’ll probably work out okay. I got all the birds done, and I put the whole kit and kaboodle up on the design wall to see if it was going to really work. I had cut the curvy pieces to fuse to the outside edges of the bird blocks, and thought I liked the way it looked. I fused all the pieces, then had second thoughts. And third thoughts. And then I didn’t like it at all. Continue reading