Sunday, September 21, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

P. at The Way I Sew It, invited me to join in the Around World Blog Tour.  Once an avid quilter, after a long hiatus, I am trying to again give quilting a prominent place in my life.  So I was happy for the opportunity to participate!  Thanks P.!

What am I working on?  The Pansy Quilt - named after the pansy focus fabric.

I'm currently quilting the outer green border and will soon start on the butterfly border.  This quilt was the result of a block exchange.  We sent each participant a piece of our focus fabric - in my case the pansy fabric - and watched as the blocks rolled in.  A block exchange is loads of fun.  First of all, there are blocks in the quilt that I would have never created.  This appliqued and embroidered Sunbonnet Sue is a good example:

Or this paper pieced spiky beauty:

The other fun aspect of a block exchange such as this is it forces you to work outside your color comfort zone when making blocks for the other participants. It also provides a low stress way to try a new technique because you are making only one block, and not committing to a full project.

Why Do I Create?

Interesting question.  Um...., because I enjoy it?  It's fun!  Seriously, I feel like I am supposed to have some deep philosophical answer, kind of like in literature class when the instructor asks you to find the underlying meaning, and I'm wondering what is wrong with the apparent meaning.  :p  Teenage angst?  No, I'm 50, so that won't work.  Because a box of 64 Crayola Crayons wasn't enough for me as a child?  I have at times found quilting a way to relax and decompress, but I enjoy it even if I don't need to decompress.  Heck, I'm going with my original:  Because I enjoy it.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of It's Genre?

Differ?  Not sure my work is all that unique.  My quilts tend to be scrappy - even when color controlled.  Scrappy is kind of my hallmark. I enjoy the tones and textures, and so even if I am making a color controlled quilt, it will sport a lot of different fabrics like this one:

The thing I like most about quilting is the colors and textures.  Fabric is like my paint pallet.  I also enjoy the geometry - which may be why I tend more towards pieced blocks than appliqued.  Applique tends to be more organic.  A beautiful genre - but I only rarely enjoy creating with applique myself.  And since biting the bullet and buying the Juki, I am learning to enjoy the actual quilting.  What a cool way to create texture!  I aspire to these examples from the Common Threads Quilt Show, held every other year in Wichita, KS:

For years, I didn't have a machine that was adequate to the task.  Consequently, I have a backlog of tops waiting to be quilted.

My Creative Process?

It usually starts with, "Ooh! Shiny!  I want to make that."  Unfortunately, I do have a propensity for starting new projects before I get the others done.... Then I reacquaint myself with my stash, piece by piece, as I search for the widest variety of suitable fabrics.  I often find much loved pieces that I forgot about, or revisit a piece that's simply lovely, but has proven to be difficult to incorporate into projects.  This is a much enjoyed ritual.  Then it's on to cutting and piecing. I'm not much for strip piecing, often preferring templates.

Now to pass along the quilting baton to the next round of bloggers!

I have been following Karen of Quilts....etc., for a number of years.  Karen often hand-pieces, and hand-quilts.  The results are nothing short of incredible!  And she's FAST!  I do not know how she manages to get so many projects completed.

Next up, Elzaan of the blog Huisvlyt.  Elzaan lives in Mauritius - making this a truly Around the World Blog Tour - but was born in South Africa.  I like visiting her blog because her work is distinctly different from mine, utilizing techniques that I do not - such as applique and embroidery.  Sometimes she blogs about her part of the world, which I find incredibly interesting.

Lastly, also from Mauritius, but born in Norway is Astrid of Grandma's Red Needle.  Astrid is a woman after my own heart with multiple projects going at the same time.  You can count on her site for some lovely eye candy.  She seems to be in Christmas mode at the moment.  Smart to be working on it now.  I always seem to start with the Christmas theme too late to actually complete it in time for Christmas. (Unfortunately, I have not heard back from Astrid.  I am wondering if I caught her at at time when she is on vacation.  Deciding there were no quilting police, I tagged her anyway, figuring whenever she posted - it would be okay.)

Thanks for including me in the fun P.!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2 Minutes Quilting; 30 Minutes Ripping

I saw a really lovely border design I wanted to try - the one at the bottom of the picture:

(courtesy of Green Fairy Quilts)
(Check out her blog; it's awesome!)

Yeah...., Although I did trying drawing it on paper first, and really wasn't able to consistently emulate her beautiful consistency, I decided to give it a shot.  My quilting didn't look any worse than my drawing, but I discovered my brain really balked - a lot of "duh..., which way now."  Spastic!  I like free motion quilting, but wasn't enjoying trying to make this design.

As with anything, my first thought was to keep going; I'm bound to get better.  But I am working on an outer border.  There is going to be too much time spent finishing it to do a design I don't enjoy.

Next up, the nestled circles above it!  :D

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A UFO to the Rescue

The thing of it is, no matter how long it has been since I last quilted - my quilting has been very minimal and sporadic the last several years - there is still that same pile of UFOs that was there when I last looked.  They didn't magically get done in my absence. Overall however, that has been a good thing.  It has been nice to re-acquaint myself with the various project stages by way of those UFO's. So while a part of me is eager to start something brand new, mainly I am glad to simply ease back into the process.

It's not been without its complications.  A few weeks back, I posted about the new sewing room painted in purple and peach.  I was thrilled with the natural light from the big slider.  However, as far as functionality..., well the room simply wasn't big enough.  Too many windows and doors, and not enough wall space.

The sewing room went back to the basement where there is plenty of room for any configuration.  I am really quite pleased.

Sincerely enjoying those purple walls, I decided to move my bedroom into the former sewing room.  I am really liking it.  But I need a new quilt - and like yesterday.  I don't really have anything that coordinates with the purple.

An old UFO came to save the day.

Even better, it was nearly done when I stopped working on it back in 2011.  I am down to quilting the outer green border and the butterflies.

As to the one peach wall in the purple room?  Well, it's soon going to be a lime green.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dresden Done!

Looks good against the purple wall, doesn't it?

This one was a long time in coming.  P of  The Way I Sew It sent the center Dresden to me in early 2010.  I'd finished the piecing before moving from Nevada in November of 2010.  I got it sandwiched in 2012.  And FINALLY finished quilting it a couple of weeks ago. It measures 23" X 23".  Only 4 years.

My intention was to bind it in black.  But being determined to utilize something from the stash I've been dragging around from place to place - and adding to along the way - black was not an option.  Hence the zebra stripe.  I'm quite pleased with the effect.

The Dresden itself is quilted with stitch in the ditch to make it pop.  The center has an organic spiral (read as imperfect). The black background is stippled.

I've discovered I really do not like stippling. My brain does not do random.  I have to make myself be random.  And if I'm concentrating on making no pattern is that really random?  (There's your philosophical question for the day.)

The wall hanging resides above my computer - the one I use for blogging and gaming.  :)

So for the first time in years....,

I'm linking up on Sarah's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Sewing Room

When I first moved into my condo, I decided to put the sewing room in the basement.  After all, it was a nice big space; plenty of room to spread out.  Only one problem:  I found I never really wanted to go down there.  It was dark and uninspiring.

After I moved my office out of the small upstairs bedroom on to the indoor balcony (yes, my place is a little quirky), I quickly came to the conclusion that the now empty bedroom would become my sewing room.  But first I needed to take down the ugly curtains and paint:

I rather liked the purple, but was not fond of the tan.  Additionally, the place hasn't seen new paint in awhile, so it was time.  

While logic told me a quilting room ought to have neutral paint, I'm afraid my taste in paint is rather like my taste in fabric:

With the outdoor balcony and the door connecting directly to the bathroom, I believe this is supposed to be the master bedroom.  However, it is rather small.  The place was built in 1973.  And if you look at the bathtub, you'll soon realize it still sports the original harvest gold that was such a popular color at that time.  Not my favorite.

Finally got the sewing essentials moved in:

There is still a lot of fabric to be moved up from the basement, but the room is now functional.

And now I'll leave you with this:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Thing Leads to Another

So it's like this. I moved into my condo August 1st and started a new job August 5th. There was not a lot of time to commune with the new place and get a feel for it before deciding what would go where. My brain was filled first with tests, and later with learning the job itself.  And yet I became increasingly aware that a couple of rooms just weren't working for me.

The first issue was the room I was using for the office.  It would technically be the master bedroom I suppose as it has a door directly into the bathroom and sports a balcony overlooking the golf course.  But the room is smaller than the secondary bedroom, so I used it for my office.  Beautiful view!  Problem was I have an L shaped desk.  I usually put in a corner.  Oddly this room has no corners with enough wall space to accommodate the desk.  Two corners handle part of the slider leading to the balcony, one is shortened by the presence of the bathroom door, and the other corner leads to the bedroom door.  I boldly put my desk so the neither side sat against any wall.  I had perfect view out of the slider window.

(Please forgive the crappy photo.  It's the only one I have of the office before I moved it.)

Over time, despite the great view, I became disenchanted with this arrangement.  Having my computer cords exposed seemed messy, and it didn't help that the cats found it fun to dive among them.  I was certain that one day I would come home to find my monitor in pieces on the floor.

The condo came with a quirky indoor balcony.  A space less than 5 feet wide that overlooks the living room and has a direct line of sight to a second story picture window.  I have been fascinated with this interesting architectural anomaly, despite having no clue to its purpose - other than the aforementioned quirkiness.  One of my neighbors told me that her condo had no indoor balcony as the previous owner had closed it off, made a bedroom bigger, and added another bathroom.

I began to wonder if my L-shaped desk might fit on the balcony.  The more I pondered it, the more I knew I would have to try it.  I have been thrilled with the results:

The only problem now is that the cats like to walk across the balcony railing between the desk and the filing cabinet, like some high wire act.  I try not to watch.

So what am I going to do with that room now?  Fix another problem area - move my quilting room from the basement.  I need light!  Natural light!

First, I will paint though.