Work in Progress: From the Depths of the UFO Cabinet

I had an idea the other day that sent me digging through my UFO stash. Years ago, and I mean a LOT of years, I made a bunch of Jacket Jazz jackets. Remember those from the books by Judy Murrah?? I started making those in 1993 I think! I still have the jackets I made, except maybe one or two that I sold instead of keeping for myself. I LOVED making them, and I even taught a bunch of other folks to make them when we were stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. Heck, these jackets were my transition from sewing clothing and evening wear like this: Continue reading

Another Type of UFO

So I have this other little UFO problem. I have all these domain names that I’ve bought over the last few years during moments of excess web development creativity, and I’ve come to the conclusion finally that, though these websites would have been really cool if they had ever come to be, I’m never going to have time to do all of these projects. Time to cut the losses and move on.

If anyone is interested in purchasing any of the following domains, leave a comment and we can go into it further. I’m not trying to make money on these things here, and I did get them for a fairly decent price to begin with, so they can all be had for something that won’t break the bank.

I have: (including and; package deal, only available together)

That’s a lot of creative projects that will never get done, but I’m okay with that. I’ll leave you to wonder what kinds of websites I had planned to make for all of those creative names. :)

A bit of this, and some of that

Valentine’s Day came and went rather peacefully here. ITMan and I shopped for a couple of things for the girls between house viewings on Monday, and then when GuitarGirl put her guitar in my trunk on Tuesday evening before her lesson, she said “Way to hide the Valentine’s presents, Mom!” I’d forgotten all about them by the time we got home Monday night, and I never took them out of the car!

At that point, I said to heck with it and left it all there, since nobody else was going to be peeking in the trunk again before Thursday. The girls liked their little “I ♥ you” presents, and ITMan came home from work with a balloon bouquet of flower-shaped balloons for all of us. He’s such a sweetie!

We tried to go out to dinner at our current favorite restaurant, but they were closed for vacation, so we headed for the mall to have pizza and hit MediaMarkt for a few electronic-type purchases. Since we now know we’ll be here in Germany for another 3-5 years, we decided it was safe to buy a new cordless phone, electric toothbrush, toaster oven, and hair trimmer, and then ITMan decided he should have a new iron as well to replace all of the hand-me-downs he has received from other people when they move back to the States. Nothing like a mad dash through the electronics store to get the blood pumping and lighten the wallet! 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

Another bit of creativity finished

Way back when (like 10 years ago), some members of the Black Forest Quilters banded together to do an Around the Block Round Robin quilt swap, with guidance from Round Robin Quilts: Friendship Quilts of the 90s and Beyond. My quilt is finally finished as of today, and I mean really finished, with the label, hanging sleeves and all.

Around the Block

I remember when we started this project, that I had a really hard time figuring out what to do for the center block, which had to be 16″ square. I actually made three center blocks (or was it four?) and I still couldn’t decided which one to use. The first one I started turned into the little quilt with our old kitty-girl CB rendered in appliqué (years later, obviously). The second one was a watercolor sort of thing, with 1″ squares that I cut out of a fat quarter with fruits on it and arranged them in a heart shape (this block is still sitting in the closet waiting for me to figure out what to do with it). The third and fourth ones were nearly the same; the pattern was a variation of a paper-pieced little girl in a kimono from a magazine, but I made some improvements to the fourth, adding three-dimensional sleeves:

Center block

The Japanese characters on the left translate to Long Life, Love and Happiness. I printed them onto the fabric with a laser printer, and colored over the printing with pigma pen; this was before the advent of Bubble Jet Set! The idea of the Round Robin project was that each person who worked on the quilt would add six 4″ squares to the quilt, in keeping with the theme: two “feature” or more detailed blocks, and four “spacer” blocks.

Pagoda and Lantern blocks

Lots of lovely little blocks were added to my quilt while I was busy adding blocks to everyone else’s quilts. This type of project really stretches your boundaries, and exercises those creative muscles. Every quilt had a different theme, and we had a month to work on the blocks. Sometimes, the night before that monthly deadline was a bit stressful!

Crane, Heart and Butterfly blocks

I loved all the wonderful blocks that my friends added to the quilt. They’re all so unique and creative!

Rose and Fan blocks

Some of the blocks are embellished with beads and embroidery, and some have special fabrics like silks and lamé©.

Fish, Flowers, and Bird blocks

I started the quilting by hand thinking it would be easier to get around the beading and such, but I did finish it up on the machine, figuring it would never really be done otherwise! A journal traveled around with the quilt as it was made, and I made a pocket behind the label to hold the journal pages and some photos of everyone else’s quilts that I dug up earlier today. I sat here for a while trying to think of what to call it, and then decided it had to be Long Life, Love & Happiness, of course!

On a “Finishing Roll”

Flower Block

After finishing the Dresden Plate Drama quilt (by the way, it’s been claimed by Guitar Girl for her bed, and christened “Rosette;” I was somewhat surprised that she liked it that much!), I still didn’t have my rayon thread in hand for The Misery Quilt (Grrrr!), so I pulled out another large work in progress and just kept going. I realized that this other quilt may be even older (!) than the Dresden Plate quilt. :sad: Ouch. Anyway, there was surprisingly little to be done, relatively speaking. Two or three easy days of quilting and then binding saw it done!

Did you know that metallic thread can tarnish?? Yup, it can…

I started making this one for my bed way back when. It began as a pattern from a book, and I modified the flower block and changed the border. I hand dyed the fabrics for the Log Cabin blocks with my friend Carla. I quilted most of it with silver metallic thread, and what I learned from that was “never again.” Did you know that metallic thread can tarnish?? Yup, it can, and even though Sulky America swears that’s not true, I have the proof sitting right here on this quilt. Aside from the tarnishing issue, machine quilting is difficult enough at times without throwing sensitive, difficult to manage, breakage-prone thread into the bargain. I finished up the outer border in cotton, thank you very much, since the floral fabric had silver overprinting on it anyway so why torture myself? At this point, done is more important than perfect!

Garden Quilt Center

There was a contest sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens at some point, and I thought I would finish this up and enter it, and even though I didn’t get it done in time (obviously), in my head it’s always been called “Homes and Gardens.” Now I have to come up with another name! Continue reading