Always in Stitches

Location: Algonquin, Illinois, United States

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Few Good Days

Ever had one of those days were everything went smoothly? You know the kind of day where anything you attempted came out better than you imagined, the last bit of glue in the bottle magically stretched itself to be just enough to finish your project, that one special item that you have to have and can’t remember where you put, appears in the first place that you look. Then suddenly you are done, and you look at the clock and your wonderful, glorious project has taken no time at all and now you even have time to bake up a bunch of brownies from scratch… oh and you just happen to have all of the ingredients that you need on hand for that as well. You know the kind of day I am talking about? Well the last few days for me have been the complete antithesis. Nothing has gone smoothly at all.

Here is the update on things finished since my last post. The binding and sleeve is done on the second StarBurst Delite, my March Journal quilt it now officially done, the cartoon for April’s is done and I have started work on it and I have just managed to complete three postcards. These are going to the Artisan Center of Virginia.

If any of you have had a few good days, could you pass along the ordering information to me? I am starting to get a big bump on my head from the continual contact with hard objects.

Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality. —Jules de Gaultier

Friday, April 21, 2006

StarBurst Delite Redux

I am not really sure where the time has gone this week. Something about a holiday always seems to get my schedule off track. And Easter just seems to go on and on for weeks.

Anyway, I have managed to load and quilt the next in the series. That process alone seemed to take all week. For some reason that I don’t really remember, I made up a second mystery quilt in different colors. This one is very spring-like. I really like the yellow.

As usual the binding has been slow progress. This one still needs to be finished on two sides. Halfway there I guess.

I am also finally almost done with my March Journal Quilt and the cartoon for April’s is nearly finished. The work on these journal quilts has been very slow, but these are a bit of a departure from my usual style. As a result it has taken some extra time to figure things out. So far I like what I have got done and I even have an idea for May’s Journal. Finishing these is the goal for the weekend.

Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. —Plato

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Binding Bane

I have been working my fingers to the bone…quite literally. Seems that all I have done in the last week is sew bindings, sew bindings, and sew bindings. And when I am done sewing bindings I get the incredible pleasure of sewing sleeves. Can you tell that I am not particularly enamored with doing bindings? Truth is, I detest doing bindings. While I was doing is mind-numbing work I had plenty of time to consider why I do them. The bottom line seems to be that I like how they look when they are done.

The good news is that the three pieces that I completed last week now all have their bindings sewn on and they all have sleeves attached, except for the tile quilt. I am still looking at which way that one goes.

I thought I would be smart and load a small wall hanging and get that quilted. By small I mean that this quilt measures 43.5” square. This top is one that I put together a couple of years ago. I was acting as a guinea pig, ah, or should I say pattern tester, for my friend Jon in Oklahoma. She had worked up a pattern design she calls StarBurst Delight as a mystery quilt. The pattern worked up great as you can see.

This top represents a lot of things that I don’t normally do. First and foremost, it is a mystery quilt and I don’t normally do those, but then I will do anything for Jon. Then it is low contrast, it has a LOT of purple in it and the fabrics are busy. Even with all of those strikes against it, I like the quilt… must be the wine.

The thing that I forgot about is that when I got done quilting it I would have another binding to do!

Remember this-that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life. —Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Monday, April 10, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

The binding is done and I need to put the sleeve on, but I can’t figure out which way it is supposed to hang. Help!

I went to the big IQA show in Rosemont on Friday. Boy did I have a blast! I kept running into people that I know but haven't seen in ages, I got to meet some people face to face that I had only previously known on-line and I even made some new friends. Oh! And I saw some quilts! The quilts were awesome.

While I was at the FFAC booth I could only find 3 of the 13 postcards that I sent in to Virginia. Later that night Virginia announced that so far they had raised $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. WOW!!! is all I can say.

Can you tell I am still "up" from the show? Need to go and finish those darn bindings so I can move on to more exciting things.

What we have to do is to be forever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions. —Walter Pater

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cooking With Gas

It is amazing what can happen when I am allowed to work! I had planned to spend some quality time with the monster downstairs and I finally got my opportunity. So, here is what I have managed to get done in the last couple of days.
This piece is a pre-printed panel that was lying around. It was obvious that some of the quilting lines will never wash out, but it made a good practice piece. I practiced some of my stippling on this one. The binding is sewn down on the front, just need to finish sewing it to the back.

This piece was nothing more than a bunch a scraps from another project that I sewed together. In keeping with the theory that done and ready to go to a new home is better than unfinished and taking up room on my shelf, I loaded this and just did some easy quilting. Again, the binding is sewn to the front and still needs to be sewn to the back.

This piece I have been calling my tile quilt. The inspiration for it came from looking at a bunch of Mexican tiles. Here is the thing. I really like the designs on Mexican tiles, but I don’t really care for the colors. The little voice in my head told me to make them in colors that I do like. What an inspiration! So this got loaded on the monster and quilted too. Well mostly. The center of this piece is hand quilted with some metallic floss and some shiny rayon thread. The binding on this one is mostly done. I only need to finish sewing down one side on the back.

This leads me to a dilemma. In all the time that I have had my long arm, I have not named her. I know that many people name their long arms right way. She is a bit of a monster; the table alone is 14 feet long. But somehow, calling her a monster isn’t really nice. I thought about calling her Bertha the Behemoth but she is not really a Bertha and that name just seems rude. Suggestions?

I have big plans for the rest of the week. There is a quilt show to visit and work to be done on the never-ending to-do list. Today’s plan is all about bindings.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. —Peter Drucker

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring Break

Spring Break and other people’s agendas have had a negative effect on my list of things to do this week. They don’t seem so to understand that this is not play or even work that I need to do. Somehow this thing I do, transcends those nice descriptive words. There seems to be some forceful hand planted firmly between my shoulder blades. It drives me forward. Driven. There is a word. I seem to get mighty testy with these annoying pit stops everyone says I need to make. Even so I have managed to make some progress. I am just not where I expected to be by today.

The fabrics in the pictures are what I have been painting this week. One of them is the piece that I started last week and didn’t like. I was about halfway though the painting process on the other pieces and I had a glob of paint on my pallet that I didn’t’ want to waste. I saw the ugly thing lying there and decided that I couldn’t make it any worse so I wet it down and applied the remaining paint. The funny thing is that final layer did the trick. I now like it much better.

One of the pieces you see will be the background fabric for my March Journal quilt. Speaking of the March Journal quilt, I figured out what the image is going to be on Wednesday night. Just as I was falling asleep it came to me. I grabbed my sketchbook that was lying on the bed beside me and flipped on the light. I laid down a rough sketch and made some notations. I don’t even remember turning out the light before I was asleep. The next morning I was rather taken aback… the drawing was 90% there. It only needed a few minor corrections. I think I need to draw in my sleep more often!

One of the pieces that I painted will end up being skin. I did that on the spur of the moment without a lot of thought and I am pleased with how it turned out.

In my last post I talked about the work that has been banging around and pushing at every corner of my brain. It desires to be released. Another of the pieces pictured was an experiment that has allowed another puzzle piece to fall into place. I think I need to place a fabric order and run through the list of paint colors that I will need and get those ordered and there are some other supplies I will need. Time to make a list I see. As soon I can clear my list of a few more things I will start work on the cartoon.

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. —William Blake