Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It Isn't My Favorite Thing To Do

Lately, I have been trying to do some finishing work on two quilts that have a deadline. Finishing work is definitely NOT my favorite thing to do. I like the designing, drawing, playing, figuring things out, putting things together, and bringing the ideas I have in my mind to life. 

First, there is trimming and squaring up the quilt. I looked for a good video tutorial on squaring up an art quilt and couldn't find one. All the videos I DID find were either terrible or they used straight seams in the body of the quilt to line up the ruler for squaring up. For my art quilts, those videos don't help me, because my art quilts do not have blocks with straight seams. I did find that Kathy Loomis has a good blog post (with pictures) on the topic of trimming and squaring up a quilt. You can check that out at Art With A Needle.
The next thing is to either put a binding or a facing on the quilt. My facing strip looks a little weird in this picture--I had to piece it. I only had a little of the purple hand-dyed fabric left. I needed to use that, so the facing would be less visible. I didn't have enough of the purple fabric to make the facing, so I had to piece it. This pieced facing is an experiment. We'll see how it works.

It is easy to find videos on binding, but facings seem to be less common. A friend of mine (Debby Cresanto) often uses facings to finish her quilts. She always seems so comfortable doing it--she makes it look easy. By the time I am ready to put a facing on my own quilt, I'm a little rattled. I have put SO much time into the quilt that I don't want to mess it up at this point. One time, I noticed I was literally shaking (and my stomach hurt) before I started putting on the facing. I told Debby she should make a video to show people how to easily put a facing on a quilt (and so I would have a video to review and reassure me). She had never done a YouTube video, but she decided to do one for me (because that is just the kind of friend she is). If YOU need a brush up on how to face a quilt, check out Debby's video. You can do that here. I refer to it each time I need to put a facing on one of my quilts. (While I was doing research for this post, I found a facing video made by Joe Cunningham. It is a down and dirty, quick and effective method. If you would like to check out his video, you can do that  here.)
Putting a sleeve on the quilt is the next step (if the quilt is to be hung up on a wall). (In the picture, I'm getting ready to hand stitch the sleeve down on my butterfly quilt.) I don't know why I dislike this SO much but I do. A good while back (2012 to be exact), I wrote up a tutorial for how to make a sleeve and how to attach it to your quilt. I wrote it, because I always seem to have to review how to do it before getting started. This is my go-to tutorial for putting a sleeve on my quilts. If you would like to check that out, you can do that here.

I'll be working on hand sewing the facing down on my hurricane quilt this week. (I don't mind the hand stitching!) Then, I'll have to make a sleeve for it and hand stitch it down. Once that is done, I can get the quilts photographed and the exhibit paperwork done. (I don't like doing the paperwork either!)

I didn't want to forget to mention that the last step is to put a label on the quilt. This is a really important step. Again, it isn't a step I love, but it IS a step that is necessary.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Catching Up

Last week, I was reading my SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Journal and was pleasantly surprised to see my quilt, Scorched Earth, in the magazine.

As I looked at it, I realized the quilt is printed upside down. Oh well, I was excited to see it in the magazine, and I like how it looks both the way I oriented it and the way it was printed in the magazine.

I also finished a quilt top that has been in the works for awhile. This quilt is called "Go With the Flow."

I'm a BIG scrap quilt fan and love the way the blocks in this quilt are made. They are each made of columns of scraps cut at different widths. It was a fun and easy quilt to make. I used Grunge fabric for the background. I just LOVE Grunge. 

In my last post I mentioned that I was in the process of sewing some blocks for a postage stamp quilt. I couldn't find the picture I had taken of the blocks I had already put together. Well, I found it.

My Zoom meeting with a group of quilting friends is this afternoon. I alway look forward to that. It gives us all a chance to get caught up and is the next best thing to physically getting together for now. I'm thankful we can do that.

I guess celebrations for the 4th of July will be really different this year. I know WE will not be having any big get-together. There will be four of us (my daughter and her family) here for a cookout. I'm really glad we can be together. (I have decided the risk to be with my family is worth it to me). I have some cooking and cleaning to do before that can happen. Cleaning is something I haven't done much of since this pandemic hit. It is probably a good thing I'm having a little company since it "forces" me to clean (at least a little bit). Anyway, have a great holiday weekend. Let me know what you all will be doing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

It Has Been a Long Time

It has been such a long time since I posted to this blog. After Nate (my husband) died, I had a hard time concentrating--getting started on anything. Now, with this COVID situation, I find myself in much the same mindset. I have more time, but I am having trouble concentrating on anything. Are you having trouble too?

I have been sewing--"mindless" sewing. I have been collecting used dryer sheets for some time. I wanted to make a scrap quilt using those saved dryer sheets. (I've used all I have and could use more.) I used them as a foundation to make these "blocks." I am playing with them on my design wall right now. This is one of the options I'm looking at.

I have also been working on a postage stamp quilt. I've always wanted to make one of those. I have my sewing machine set up in my living room, so I can sew a little bit on these blocks whenever I have a minute or two.

Some of my quilting friends and I have been having virtual quilt meetings every Friday via Zoom. I suggested we do a quilt together, and some of them decided to do it with me. Well, I got carried away and finished my top early. 

It was an easy and fun quilt to do and seemed really appropriate for these times. (I've said my home feels like my sanctuary. My neighbors have made this "isolation" bearable.) It is free pattern offered by Moda and Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. called Village. If you click on the link, it should take you to a copy of the free pattern for you to download if you are interested.

I'll show you some more of what I've been up to in subsequent posts. What have you all been doing?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Isn’t He Cute

Isn’t he cute! He also has a story. 

He comes from the Fish Museum and Circus on-line shop owned by Deborah Fisher. She hand makes all the little ceramic curiosities in her shop. She puts out an email newsletter in which she lets the subscribers know when her on-line sales will become active. If you are interested in getting one of her pieces, you have to know this because her pieces sell out in minutes. (Of course, I didn’t know this when I was first trying to get one of her pieces.)

Anyway, she posted pictures of the next pieces that would come up for sale on Instagram. I really liked this little guy with the red sweater (who was behind another piece in the Instagram picture) and sent her a note that read, “I’m loving the little red-orange sweatered guy behind him. He makes me smile. That isn’t easy these days. I’m at the hospital with my husband who is in hospice. Thank you.” She wrote back, “Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear that. Sounds like you need a little extra love. When that guy comes out of the kiln, he is yours. Send me your address.” Well, I didn’t see her reply until after Nate died. When I saw it, I immediately answered her and sent her my address. I was thrilled that I’d get one of her pieces, thanked her SO much for putting one back for me, and asked her how much I owed her. She told me he was mine—for free—and just asked that I “pay it forward.” THANK YOU DEBORAH!

Needless to say, that made me cry (happy tears). He makes me smile whenever I see him. He traveled with me to my last quilt retreat and will be making appearances at ALL my retreats. (I have made him a special travel box.) I’m working on some more kennel quilts and more charity quilts for my “pay-it-forward” portion of the deal.

I can’t tell you how much these special “acts of kindness” mean to someone going through “life changes.” Think about someone in your life who might need a little “pick me up,” think about what might make them smile, and make someone’s day.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Retreat—Nashville, Indiana

I just got back from another quilt retreat. This one was in Nashville, Indiana, at the Cornerstone Inn. The participants of this retreat come from a lot of different places—Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida. I only get to see (most of the participants) twice a year, so I would hate to miss this one. 

This is the first time I’ve seen these girls since Nate died. I’m was a little concerned about how hard it would be for me and how I’d react during this first contact, but the support and love I felt from everyone was truly heartwarming. I managed not to get too “weepy” and had a really good time. (This is a hard week for me. Our anniversary was on the 16th, and my birthday is on the 19th.)

I worked on my butterfly migration (as usual). I got over 250 pieces for it drawn, fused, and cutout. I added several of those to the background fabric. (In the picture, it is fused to my “Goddess Sheet” and will be fused to the background next.)

I DID begin the hand blanket stitching around the outside of one of my other pieces. I also cut along the edge to be sure I could cut the piece away from the background. Once that is finished and it is cut out, the problem will be how to hang it without it “flopping” forward. 

Here are some pictures from the retreat. This is one productive bunch of girls (and I didn’t get pictures of everything).

It is SO nice to have good friends. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The “Girls”—Nashville Retreat (August 2019)

I just completed a retreat in Nashville, Indiana. This particular group of women meet twice a year at the Cornerstone Inn for five days and four nights of fun. We manage to talk a lot, eat a lot, laugh a lot, and make some progress on projects we want to get done.

I can’t say enough about how supportive this group of women are to one another. I am a relative “newbie” compared to many of them; but even during the time I have been there, we have been through many “life events” together. Since Nate has been gone, I haven’t been “out” for too many things; it isn’t always easy. I am trying to say “yes” when someone asks me to do something or go somewhere. These ladies showed great love, compassion, and understanding. I’m thankful. 

Here are pics of the girls. (If you look closely, you can see some of their projects.)

I’m looking forward to our time together next January.