Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's getting there

In between doing a whole bunch of other stuff, I've been working on this one. My machine is being horsey (it KNOWS I'm going out of town and have a ton of stuff to hates not being the center of attention) so any sewing I've been doing is taking twice as long. Even doing those thick satin stitch edges I'm usually rocking along at rabbit speed, but not this time. My Janome baby starts making this weird clattering noise when I run it wide open but it works perfectly if I slow down. I do NOT want to have to up-grade my machine simply because I sew too fast. I like what I have and it's always done exactly what I wanted it to. No idea why it's protesting so loudly now.

Anyway, I haven't settled on the final layout for the doubloons and there are no strings of beads on it yet. I'll probably add some more doubloons too. But for now, this is what progress I've made on it. I'll be back by Wed so maybe I can get it finished this week some time. I still need to replace the final border on the garden one-block-wonder quilt and get both of those quilted. Binding on the Japanese wall hanging. Some bits and pieces of other stuff to do/finish to make sure I have enough to show at the arts in action thing in April.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Long time, no see

It's been a while since I updated the blog, but I had good reason for my lapse. I've been working like a madwoman to get written material, samples, and supplies ready to go to Mobile next week. Most (some, a little bit) of it is done and I am SO excited about being asked to do the workshop. The woman who contacted me is a very nice woman and I'm looking forward to spending some time with her also. I'll be staying in her home Monday night so I'll be bright eyed and bushy tailed for Tuesday morning.

I've also been working on some new Link and Lap (thanks, mom!) quiltlet pieces. None of them are ready for their debut yet, but I do have one to the point I can show what I have. Of course, it will have many more pieces than the 2 shown, but I haven't finished them to the point of adding them yet. Look for a sax (Imagine that! Me using a saxophone in a quilt!) and probably some sequined dubloons. I have an idea for some music across the front too but I'm still wrestling with the mechanics of it. Based solely on the demands of the construction techniques some things that I'd add to a normal quilt with a background fabric can't be done on the Link and Laps because the physical balance (as opposed to the visual balance of the design itself) is so critical. Thank goodness my husband is so understanding of pin and tack holes in all the walls.
Right now the piece is about 30x18. The mask is white bridal satin and everything else is Dupioni silk. The mask itself is 14x18.

The birds for the mobile are on the work table ready for assembly too, so maybe in the next day or so I'll have a mobile to post.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Big In Japan

This one is ready for the quilting now too. The small hexagons in the border will have black silk tassels on them and probably the green for the binding.

Look closely for the faces.

And another one.....

This is from one yard of an Alexander Henry I had. It made 15 hexagons so I'm filling in with those totally cool hollow cube blocks. This one may get some small hexagons in the border with black tassels in the center of them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

And for my next trick.....

About half of the blocks from the black and red kanji fabric. I'll get the hexagon blocks done on this one and then set it aside until I pick up the pattern for the hollow cubes from Dorinda Tuesday and then finish it off after I get those made. Up next: a very bright, very busy wildflower floral. It's interesting the patterns in patterns you can make by assembling each individual hexagon as either a circle (around) or as spokes (out) and I'm wondering how it would change the look of the finished quilt to only use one or the other. I'm guessing you would get a more suble pattern using only spokes since there would be no hard visual "stop" between the blocks. They would tend to blend a little better from block to block.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Peppermint Twist

Are y'all tired of looking at this one yet? So the top is done. I'm out of batt or I'd at least have it sandwiched, if not some of the quilting done. This has been a quick, easy and fun piece to do, and the damn thing just kept GROWING! It's 52x64 finished size. I really like the very wide borders on it, but I would have made them different widths if I had a do-over on it. I'd have also made the inner border seams across instead of up, but habit took over when I put the top and bottom on first without thinking about it. Oh well, it's done now and nobody is going to die because my seams are in the wrong place. It's a beautility quilt anyway, and sort of a practice piece. Doesn't everyone make full-size practice pieces? I'd have also probably made the hexagons a little smaller to avoid the full flowers in the blocks, but my daughter likes them so I'm happy with it. Besides, I have plenty of other fabrics to play with different sizes on.

really REALLY retro

A narrow frame of hot pink chintz and a wide border of the original fabric and I'm done with this one.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

really retro

in more ways than one. Retro fabric, and retro technique for me to go back to piecing after all these years of avoiding it, but I couldn't resist this pattern. I was out at my friend Dorinda's house the other day and we were playing with the placement of hers from this same pattern (done in gorgeous fall colors of orange and rust and green) and it just got stuck in my head. Now, the fact that I have no angle rulers, and really no idea what I'm doing, has no bearing on anything, so off I go to Hobby Lobby this morning to buy enough fabric for 4 (yes, I said FOUR) quilt tops using this pattern. Different size hexs of course, since I'm just printing the hex shape off the computer and then cutting it into 6 pieces, and different settings and colors and such. But the same basic pattern. I'm pretty sure she called it "one block wonder" but don't get me to lying since I'm not positive. Anyway, here is the fabric I'm using and the result of cutting it up and making the blocks.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Garden Granny takes her bow

One more block under the flamingo and then the sashing with the kudzu and the Christmas light border. Those are little watermelons at Granny's feet by the way.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Song of the South

...sweet potato pie and shut my mouth.

I've finally gotten started on the Southern kitsch quilt, and it's turning out to be more Southern kitsch yard art than anything. As everyone who knows me can attest to, I have a long-standing love of pink plastic flamingos (Happy Birthday!) and junk in my yard. I aspire to an old bed frame with a raised flower garden in the middle of it. Get it? A flower bed? Hardeharhar. I searched for 3 years for an old rusty bicycle to stand on end and train my wisteria over, but the wisteria got too big before I found one so it's growing on a cast-off clothing rack from a store that went out of business. Not fancy, but functional. The 6 foot pink wrought iron flamingo and the concrete gargoyles provide the fancy. Fancy is as fancy does? Fancy is in the eye of the beholder? Anyway, I have the pink flamingo and the bottle tree sections done for the quilt. Still to come (I know you're all the edge of your seats wanting to know how else I can tacky this up) is the kudzu, pinwheels and Christmas lights. It will probably have a garden granny on it too. Oh come on, doesn't everyone know what garden grannies are? They are those wooden things that look like the ass end of a fat woman bending over. The panties always seem to be polka dot with lace and she has legs like telephone poles. But she'll fit nicely in that empty space. Kudzu leaf pattern cut out and the appropriate hideous green fabrics picked. The pattern for the strings of Christmas lights are ready too, although the size of those may change before all is said and done. A SEE ROCK CITY birdhouse is another possibility. Too bad I haven't come up with a way to incorporate the 3 crosses you see in the fields yet, but I'm not done either.

One thing I have learned about myself and my design process (mostly from blogging, actually, because it makes me think through what I want to describe) is that I am constitutionally incapable of designing an entire quilt and then just making the damn thing. I do much better and am much happier with the pieces that I start with an overall idea and get one element of it solidly in mind first. Do that part of it and then just sort of intuitively begin adding elements to it. I never realized I designed like that either. The only exceptions are the designs that just come to me full-blown in sleep or something.
Thank goodness this is a quilting blog and not a photography blog.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Random musings

Whew. The Draw Down quilt is finished and delivered and gathering accolades far and wide. Well at least as far as Madison County, where it's hanging in the hall at the school, and as wide as the fat mouth in the front office. Hey, I'll take what I can get and call it a compliment. I've had some terrific feedback on the two collaboration pieces also. I think this is something that both of us are willing to let take its course. If he keeps drawing, I'll keep sewing. (Heeheeee, don't tell him, but I have the easy part of that deal.) No crises with any of the kids this week (so far) so I feel sort of at loose ends. Not that I'm wishing them broken bones or anything, but hey, just how painful can a sprain be?

Speaking of strange conversations with your children (it's my blog, I can abruptly change the subject if I want to) this is one I had last night with my youngest daughter, who is 17.

Her: I'm a virgin.
Me: That's good. What brought that on?
Her: I'd probably be happier if I was having sex.
Me: Um, having sex doesn't make you happy.
Her: No, but if I was having sex it would mean that I was in love and THAT would make me happy. OMG Mother! Do you think I'm a total fool to even think about having sex if I wasn't in love. I'm not some sort of sleazy slut, you know. Give me a little credit.
Me: Do you want some garlic toast with that casserole?

No toast, but she wanted extra cheese. I guess I probably should have sounded a little more....ummmmmm......involved? in that conversation. It's not like we don't have those little heart to heart, mother/daughter stream of consciousness conversations regularly so it's hard for me to work up a lot of angst over that one.

My son called last night, at like 11 pm, to tell me this absolutely incredible story about how his girlfriend had never read The Aeneid (and hell yeah I had to go look up the spelling) and he wasn't accusing her of being stupid or anything, but how did somebody go all the way through school and never read it? Wasn't it on the required reading list for EVERYBODY? Um, no son, that's why we eat casseroles and garlic toast. Because we're broke from all the years of sending you to parochial school so they could make you read The Aeneid. And what are you doing up at 11:00 anyway? And talking on the cell while you're driving? And don't get drunk in New Orleans this weekend either. So, I guess I made up the daily quota of mothering that I missed with the whole virgin conversation earlier.

Interesting assortment of people in my house today. I posted about lebentyhundred things on the FreeCycle list and fielded calls and emails most of the day. But the closet in the boy's room is now clean. Onward ho to the rest of the room. Why does everyone feel it necessary to tell you who they want the stuff for and how they'll use it and why they need it? I honestly don't give a rat's ass as long as they haul it away from MY house and worry about where to store it at THEIR house. Honey, if you want to take ALL the shirts, knock yourself out. You have no need to "leave a few for the next person" to pick over. Take them. Here's a bag. I'll help carry them to your car. I'll hold your baby while you gather stuff up. I'll keep my house horses from sniffing your butt and licking your feet. I'll hunt up a box for you to pack your 'treasures' in. I'll stand in the drive and smile as wave as you haul off my useless crap, even. But DON'T make me listen to stories about why your husband won't wear plaid, or why your mother now has all your Tupperware. I don't care! I want you to come in and act like a burglar, not my best friend. Throw that stuff in a sack willy-nilly and get the hell out of my house. I didn't bother to fold it, why should you?

Anybody need 2 broken laundry baskets and a pair of hockey skates?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the quilt stuff. Little egg shapes drawn off on the WU for what (I hope) is going to be a fish mobile. Wait. Not fish. Birds. I'm getting my ovates mixed up. Birds with wings and beaks and tails and little dangly legs with big ugly beads on the ends. The fish mobile is something completely different. And some rudimentary patterns in mind for the pink flamingo/bottle tree/something/something/something quilt with a Christmas light border. Hey! I said it was rudimentary. I could get all quilt art speak-y and say it was "percolating in my creative subconscious", or that I was "auditioning fabrics" and waiting for them to "tell me what they want to be", but actually, my sewing area looks like the second coming of Katrina and I can't find what I need to actually get started on doing anything. Which brings us back to the the boy's room. WHITE WALLS! Big unbroken expanses of white walls. That I can reach! And no furniture in there now either. Yes, before you ask, both chests were broken beyond repair and the side table was dangerously wobbly, and that other thing in there with the magazines piled on it....well, I make it a habit to never keep a piece of furniture that I don't know what to call it. My big shelf unit with the nice heavy-duty tubs of fabric should fit nicely along that wall. And oh look! The perfect corner for one of my sewing machine cabinets. Exactly enough width next to the closet for the double stack drawer unit too! Isn't it amazing what a coincidence that is?

My husband will thank me for getting my stuff out of the dining room I'm sure. And the living room. And the kitchen. And the bedroom. The bathroom storage and the linen closet in the hall have long since been overtaken with my stuff so that isn't an issue. And he never truly believed that just this one room would be enough anyway. I call it my middle age spread.