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Sunday, March 6, 2016

PQ 7.5 The Bery Scary Topiary

When my youngest was three we worked together to make some Halloween topiary.  We still use them when we decorate for the season. They were styrofoam balls on sticks in flowerpots.  He drew the faces and they are adorable.

The challenge for this week was to use children's art as my inspiration.  I (finally) decided to make a table runner based upon those Bery Scary Topiary. 


 The quilt is approximately12 x 30.  It is uneven and has a raw edge instead of a binding.  The topiary are raw edge applique.  They may faces some day but, given that I woke up at 7:30 this morning determined to start and finish a project, and that I was taking pictures by 9....  well, we'll call this one done. 

Project quilting is the brainchild of Kim Lapacek  The challenges are thought up by her evil genius mother-in-law Dianne.  You can check out all of this weeks quilts at Persimon Dreams

Saturday, February 20, 2016

PQ 7.4 I Need a Vacation: Cutastrophe

This week's quilt is called Into the Forest.  It is in response to the Project Quilting Season 7 week 4 prompt, I need a vacation. Just taking the time to make a quilt was a vacation for me.  I have been working flat out designing and making plushies and badges for the Spring season and really needed the excuse to put that all on hold and just make a quilt.  

My initial purchase was just a third of a yard of each of three fabrics.  I had resolved to learn to use the Thangles for pieces half square triangles I had acquired years ago and never had time to play with.  Given any choice at all, I will never make HST's any other way ever again.  No fancy cutting.  No bias edges to manage  Sew two seams... well two kind of funky seams, cut on the lines and voila, HST's in multiples.  No trimming needed.  Wow!

Having made the triangle blocks, I was ready to cut the focus fabric, stitch it up and be done on Wednesday.  Ha!  The focus fabric wanted, no deserved to be fussy cut.  So I did.  I had to make a cardboard pattern but I did.  I felt a strong connection to my grandparents who would sit at the dining room table for hours tracing blocks around cardboard patterns and then cutting on the lines with scissors.  Yep.  That is what I did.  All 12 blocks and most of my fabric. Lovely, perfectly centered 3.5 inch fussy cut blocks. Yay! Me.  

Except that the pieced blocks, well, they were all a lovely 4.5 inches.  

Another day.  Another dollar.  Literally.  By the time I cut a few blocks of the correct size and stitched a bit together, it became clear that the quilt not only wanted blocks of the proper size but it wanted borders and enough fancy fabric to do the back.  A trip back to the shop.  An hour auditioning border fabrics.  A sizable bill and the quilt had both its backing and its border.

But it wasn't done with me yet.  It didn't just want a border.  It wanted a MITERED border.  A MITERED DOUBLE border.  Turns out it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it might me.  I really love the clean look.  I'll probably be adding them to more of my quilts in the future.  

So all in all, this was a great learning quilt.  And I quite like the results.  

 The details:
The fabric for this quilt was all purchased at Barb's in Huntsville.  She has a small but eclectic collection of fabrics that appeal to me.  The main fabric is from a collection called Gentle Forest by Tea and Sympathy for StudioE.  

It measures 34 x 26... a good stroller quilt size.  It is made from quilter's cotton with warm and white batting.  It has free motion leaves in the (mitered) border and stitch in the ditch around the (properly fussy cut and thangle pieced) blocks.

Oh, and the real vacation link... I love going to the woods for vacation!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Easy Tumbling Blocks

I need to save this video.  It shows how to strip piece tumbling blocks.  This is a quilt pattern I love but...  without inset seams I just might try it.  It isn't as easy as she makes it look. There are plenty of places to mess it up. However it certainly looks doable.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

PQ 7.3 Challenge Thread

This post is long and rambling, something I wrote late at night and then had to wait for the sunlight to get a decent photo of the quilt.  Unfortunately, the sunlight hasn't added much clarity to the post.  So I am adding my pictures to the top and leaving the rest for perhaps a more clearheaded edit at a later date.

My last stitches, once I got the hang of allowing the machine to move the fabric rather than trying to control it myself 
My notion for this quilt was to start learning how to use the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.  I've played with them before and had enough experience to know that they are challenging.  Mastering these stitches is the first step in learning how to do heirloom sewing.  Besides I bought a fancy machine not a doorstop.  It is about time I figured out some more of the bells and whistles. 

Early stitches full of jumps and skips and do overs.  See the hearts and bells?   Neither do I.  That is what happens when you try to move the fabric rather than guide it. 

The project started out poorly.  I was trying to push and pull and direct the fabric.  I had to learn to guide it. Really I was just trying to keep the edge of the pressure foot parallel to my guide lines.  Even slight corrections on my part would throw the whole thing off.  I also learned to rip back to the start of the repeat, reset the machine to the start of the pattern and set my needle at the end of the last pattern in order to start again after a thread break.  I also learned to use a water soluble topper to keep things moving smoothly.
The whole quilt.  Lovely to me only because it represents my learning process and my steps towards mastering an intimidating style of sewing. 
Finished quilt is 18 inches square.  It is made of muslin with a poly/cotton backing and binding.  The batting is warm and white.  The thread is an assortment of Sulky and Isacord embroidery threads.  It was sewn on my Babylock Ellegante 2.  The binding is machine stitched with another fancy stitch!  The colors are turquoise and red because I always wanted to make a quilt in those colors 

OK.  Read on for some quilting philosophy if you wish...

I love Project Quilting because of challenges and the deadlines.  Well, I like most of the challenges.  I find myself thinking of Diane as the evil Diane or the diabolical Diane as I am trying to figure out what to make or as I am trying to finish a project that fits the theme but is way more than a week can hold.  I am quite sure that Diane is a lovely lady and I do hope some day to meet her in person.  I only hope when that day arrives I don't slip and call her names.  But even if I do, they are meant with best intentions.  It like a student of mine who was fed up with me pushing him to do his best.  He turned to me and said "I hate you.  You make me think."  It was the best compliment I've ever received relative to my teaching.

So  I love most of the challenges and I really like the deadline.  Deadlines are good for procrastinators like me.  But I also add my own twist each season.  I try to add my own goals to the project.  I want to stretch myself, learn something new, develop my skills.  A couple years ago, my personal challenge was to make large quilts.  That was a wonderful year and I have have a stack of great quilts to wrap around family and friends.

My challenge for the Focus Through the Prism off season challenge was to work on my piecing.  I think that the quilts I produced represent some of my best technical work.  Even better, the time and patience I exerted working on seam allowances and matching have paid off in terms of my continued improvement.

I know, you are all thinking what is up with the woman who penned that famous quilt anthem "Corners Don't Match and I Don't Care"?  Well I will always say that a finished quilt is warmer than a perfect UFO on the shelf.  If it holds together in the wash it is good enough for me.  Yes, I can hear some of your appalled voices telling me that it has to be perfect.  It has to be better.  It has to match.  And I ask those of you saying that to please revisit your first quilt.  If it was perfect (without hours and months of ripping and tearing and re-cutting) then I bow down to your superior skills.  If however, you tore your hair out making it perfect or if you had a few wonky seams here and there, remember the feeling when you finished it  It was a thrill.  You made that and wrapped your baby, or your mother or your best friend in its warmth and love  And they didn't care about the corners.

We all have to start some place.  It is far better to encourage new quilters to get to the wrap them in warmth stage.  How many would be amazing quilters have been shut down by unkind words or unnecessary rules and ripping?    So I am a firm believer in finish it up and move on, Dearie.

But I also think that working on the fundamentals is not a bad thing.  We can all use practice on those seam allowances and there is always room for improving technique...  IF you want to.   Matching seams and perfect points should be a thing to celebrate when they happen.  And if you want to make them happen more often then that is wonderful.  To each her own.  Lets all find our best path to wrap the in warmth.

oh... better step off my soapbox and tell you about this quilt.  I invoke the galloping horse rule for this one.  This was one of those 'evil' Diane challenges for me.  I did not want to make a thread quilt.  It did not help that my husband suggested it would be easy.  Just make a whole cloth quilt and do amazing quilting in bright colors of thread...  Arghhh.

So, I made a whole cloth sandwich and stared at it all week.  Finally I decided what I needed to do was practice working with the built in decorative stitches in my machine.  It would definitely take a lot of thread.  And I definitely need the practice.  It started pretty rough.  I was crooked.  The thread broke.  The fabric stuck to the foot. The satin stitches bunched.  The spacing was random.  The stitches did not look even remotely like the picture.  But, eventually, I started getting the hang of it.  I used a water soluble topper to solve the sticking and to keep the stitching crisp.  I learned to let the machine to the walking and to stop trying to guide it.  I learned which stitches I actually liked.

So while the project is far from perfect.  It is finished.  And it represents my own personal growth in sewing and patience. And that is really why I don't much care when my corners don't all match.  I'll just continue to celebrate the ones that do. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Project Quilting 7.1 Confetti Challenge

Tiny but finished.  My PQ challenge quilt "After the Party is over: Under the Couch.  It is made of black Kona and satin ribbon.  This one measures 8 x 8 inches.  It has a knife edge instead of traditional binding and is machine quilted.

Not what I started out to make but finished is always better than still in the imagination.

If you want to see all of the quilts check out Project Quilting and Challenge quilts on Facebook  and flickr or drop by Kim's blog for all the details and links. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How Much Stuff Do I Need to Make???

As much as time and resources allow.
If you don't take it, you can't sell it.
As much as you can fit in your car.
A cash value greater than the dollar amount you want to sell.

Yes, those are the standard answers to the eternal question.  How much stock do I need to have available at a large show.  Of course you are going to make as much as you have time for.  Of course the amount of money you have available for raw materials is going to affect how much you can make. Of course it has to fit into your vehicle and you have to be able to carry it in and set it up in the time allotted.  And, of course if you want to walk out of the show with $3000 you need to walk into the show with more than $3000 worth of stock,

The next question, the real question is what does that actually mean?   How does that translate to my products at any given show?  How can I even begin to figure out what to expect to sell, how much to expect to earn?  How best can I prepare for my show?

There are several ways to estimate numbers that will help you determine what to make and bring.  I find it useful to try and estimate the maximum number of sales I can possibly make over the course of the show and work backwards from there. There are two different ways that I do that.  One is to calculate it based upon the amount of time it takes to complete a sale.  The other is based upon the number of expected attendees. Both methods give me a high end estimate of what could happen if absolutely everything is working to my advantage (weather, booth location, fit with customer base, turnout...). 

First, lets talk about the time constraint on the maximum number of sales you could make during the course of a show.  How long does it usually take you to interact with a customer from the time you first engage with them to the time you hand them their filled shopping bag and receipt? 

My sales tend to be pretty quick.  I estimate that my average sale takes 2 minutes.  That means that at the very most, I can make 30 sales per hour.  If I have help, which is a must for me at a big show that number could be as high as 60 sales per hour.  That is clearly nuts.  In addition to working with individual customers, I need to consider the logistics of moving that number of customers (plus their friends and kids) as well as an even greater number of browsers through the booth.   Taking all of those additional factors into account, my best estimate for a busy show is about 5 minutes per sale. That translates to 12 sales per hour.  Multiply the open hours of the show by this number and you get a number equal to the greatest number of sales you can possibly make during the show. 

If the time you spend with a customer is 10 minutes then you cannot expect to make more than 6 sales per hour of show.  You don't need to make enough stock to handle 20 sales per hour because you simply are not able to interact and make that many sales.  Also keep in mind that most shows are not going to have full capacity traffic so you really can't expect your maximum sales per hour over the course of entire show.  You will have rushes and down times.

One good place to look for real data is your Square sales report.  It tracks sales per hour over the course of the day.  You could use it to get all fancy and make a bell curve but we are into quick estimates around here.

If the show you are doing has huge numbers of visitors you may want to plan your layout and staffing to increase your capacity for making sales.  How can you move people through your booth?  Is there a typical bottleneck you can eliminate?  Can you bring in some one to take the money and package the goods while you move on to interacting with the next customer? Anything you can do to increase the rate at which you can make sales will increase your maximum sale potential. 

Once you know your maximum possible sales, you need to multiply it by your average items per sale.  This may even vary for different products as well.  Let's try some simplified examples here to make it easier to explain...

Maximum sales per hour 10  x 10 hours of selling time at the show = 100 sales
That is, the most sales you can physically make over the course of the show is 100.

If you sell pink widgets then you need to make 100 pink widgets.

That is pretty simple.  Particularly if you only make pink widgets.  If however you make pink widgets and blue gizmos you need to do some more estimating.

Lets say that by looking at your sales book you see that half of your customers buy pink widgets and the other half buy blue gizmos.  Then you need to make 50 pink widgets and 50 blue gizmos.

But as well all know, customers are never that simple. Some of them, let's say 10% buy a pink widget AND a blue gizmo.   That means you need to make an extra 10 of each.   If your average customer buys 3 items then you need to make 3 x 100  or 300 items to be sure you can cover the potential number of sales.  And so on.

If time and resources allow, you can make 100 of every item in your inventory to cover the potential sales at this show. Look at your receipts from previous shows or do your best to estimate what percentage of sales is represented by each item and go from there. (OK.  I know that it is a total crap shoot as to what is going to sell today versus what sold yesterday.  But most of us have a general idea of what our best sellers are.  This simply gives us place to start thinking about prepping our stock.)

Another way to figure out how many sales you might be able to make is to estimate the number of potential customers.  I do this by estimating what percentage of actual attendees end up buying from our booth.  At one show we do on a regular basis we sell to 5 - 10% of of the people who come to the show.  While that sounds pretty cool, don't get too excited it is actually a VERY small number.  For several reasons, it is an extremely high number and one I only use to estimate stock for that show.  At most shows the number of sales is to  0.5% - 1% of the show visitors.

For a 10,000 guest show that means I would expect to make between 50 and 100 sales.  (10,000 x 0.005 = 50) 

As in the first method, you take that estimate of number of maximum sales and multiply it times the number of items per sale and/or your estimate of the percentage of those for each item.

You are going to have to track and estimate your ratio of sales to attendees to get the best number for you.  If you have a niche product (i,e.targeted toward new mommas, or middle-aged men) you will have to base your estimate on the likely number of attendees that fit that description.  A show with 10,000 guests may only have 500 new mommas.  That reduces your potential customer pool to 500 but also increases your likelihood of selling to them.  You may make sales to 20% of the new mommas who visit your booth.  My products seem to sell across the board so I use the general attendance number. 

Going back to the pink widgets, if they are generally appealing then you can expect to sell them to 50 customers over the course of the show, thus you need to have at least 50 widgets made and ready to go to cover that potential.

I have to emphasize again that both of these methods give you an estimate of the BIGGEST POSSIBLE number.  Rarely are you ever going to meet or exceed that number.  You are going to have off days.  Green whatchamacallits may be the big thing at this sale and you only have 2.  The audience may not turn out.  The weather is bad.  And I can't say that I have ever done a show where the traffic was steady and at capacity for the entire time.  Yes, it can happen. Yes, we all dream of that day.  But do NOT stress out if you don't have the time and resources to make 50 pink widgets. This is where you fall back to the position of as much as you are able to make and transport.  Use these estimates as guidelines and targets.  I make them to keep myself motivated to make the extra stock when I might otherwise slack off and write a blog post or something.

Hopefully this gives you a place to start thinking about your inventory and a notion of what sort of data you might want to collect as you go about your shows. 

Update:  You can also use these numbers to estimate the amount of money you might make at a show.  Simply multiply the number of sales by your average sale dollar amount.  That is a high end estimate.  If that isn't enough to cover fees and travel costs with a tidy profit it is probably better not to apply. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The #TravelingChicken Story

WaggonsWest first started making chickens many years ago as a decoration for Easter.  She loaned the first batch to the youth group for their pancake breakfast.  Much to her dismay, the Mr proceeded to give every last one of them away after the meal was complete.  Of course, that meant that the kids expected to get a chicken every year.  And that meant that ole WW had to make chickens.  Lots of chickens. 

Spud 3, is the arbiter of all things aesthetic.  (Yes, he has that good of an eye.)  He thought the little chickens were OK but he really wanted a BIG one.  Made of
cammo.  So WW dug into the stash and pulled out some fleece, enlarged the pattern and made a big chicken.  More and more chickens were made and donated and gifted and thrown at a brother or two.  Many ended up roosting in a certain room. 

It wasn't until Spud 1 was cherry picking the WaggonsWest stash for his table in the dealer room at Archon that the chickens hit the big time.  He and the Kineticraft crew decided to throw in some chickens for giggles and grins. Let's just say that they were a bit of hit and the saga of the traveling chickens began.

It seems our unruly little chickens become the model traveling companion once separated from the flock. They are friendly, tiny and pack well.  They travel light and offer just the right amount of listening power to support any weary traveler.  And they are photogenic.  They have been seen at breweries, chocolate shops, JFK, Nepal and elsewhere.  Rumor has it that one went to Guyana but the pictures never made it out.  Perhaps some day we will hear that story.  You can check out #
travelingchicken for yourself and once you have one of these fine feathered friends you can add your own photos to the mix!

Traveling chickens are made out of quilting scraps, remnants and some
upcycled clothing.  Because of that each one has its own personality.  We will have many to choose from at the Strange Folk Festival.  Be sure to check for the BBQ chickens, because as always, we make what amuses us!  Look for us in #falconforest on the second floor.

strangefolkfestival  #chicken #birdsofafeather

Friday, July 31, 2015

Georgia's Cabin

It is a quilt.  
It has three layers.  
It is held together with stitching.  
 It is made using the red Cherrywood fabric.
It is 20 inches on each side.
It is a log cabin.

It is simple.  I don't particularly like it.  But a finished quilt is always better than a pile of fabric on the shelf.

My sister made me finish it.  She wouldn't let me get out of the car at the beautiful beach until it was done.  The beach was beautiful.  I am very happy to have been able to get out of the car.

This is my entry in the #focusthroughtheprism off-season challenge for Project Quilting.  I could write more but I am tired from a lovely day at the beach and a mad spate of stitching.  Be sure to check out all the really amazing entries at Project Quilting!  Believe me.  They are more than a quilt with three layers stitched together and finished so that the maker could frolic in the waves. 

Oh, and it is called Georgia's Cabin.  I will leave you to puzzle out that reference!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

PQ 6.6 D9 Finally Finished

 This is my finally finished quilt for Project Quilting season 6.  The challenge was charm pack. 

I was slow finishing this one.  But it is finally done.  It is a disappearing nine patch, thus the completely uninspired name.

In addition to the one charm pack, I added in 5 inch squares of linen to give it a bit of texture. 

The backing is flannel.

It is tied with embroidery floss and measures approximately 24 x 36 inches.  Perfect size for a stroller or to cover a car seat.

Photographed it on my nephew's truck.  So you get lots of pictures and little description.

Project Quilting is the brainchild of Kim Lapacek and her evil genius mother-in-law Diane who dreams up the weekly torture challenges.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hayduke's Cabin (PQ FTTP: Challenge Monkey Wrench)

There is an off season challenge for Project Quilting.  PQ, as you may recall is the brainchild of Kim Lapacek and her evil genius Mother-in-Law Diane. Fortunately, the off-season challenges go for an entire month instead of just one week!  This year the dynamic duo has teamed up with Cherrywood Fabrics to drive us all over the quilty edge!  Their plan:  create a batch of rainbow colored hand dyed fabrics and have us choose only one each month.  Then we have to be inspired by the block design they choose. The final quilt must read as one color.  It must be precisely 20 inches on each side.  It must have a hanging sleeve.  And it all has to be done in one month.

When I heard the block for this month was Monkey Wrench, I immediately thought of the slick rock of Canyon Lands.  I had the great fortune the camp and hike there in my youth.  It was the perfect time and place for reading Edward Abbey.  In particular, it was the perfect time for reading "The Monkey Wrench Gang".  It tells the stories of a band of eco warriors (before there was such a thing) led by George Hayduke.  Hayduke is a beer drinking, Jeep driving, wilderness surviving sabateur with grand plans to blow up the Hoover Dam.

Of course, my quilt this month had to be orange, although my stash was more driving into Vegas neon than sunrise on the slick rock orange.  I used the log cabin blocks to represent the order imposed upon the environment by the developers Hayduke so despised.  The quilting is done is straight orderly lines as well.  The monkey wrench block  represents the disruption caused by the Monkey Wrench gang. The blue color represents the water in the rivers that Hayduke wanted to set free.

The quilt measures 20 x 20 inches. It is made of quilter's cotton.  It is machine pieced machine quilted with invisible thread (a new thing for me).  The binding is machine stitched and hand secured.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Got Nuthin'

Pretty much nuthin'. I finished Project Quilting with a whimper.  The last project has all of the blocks made but not sewn together. I officially finished 4 of the 6 challenges. Oh well.  Maybe I can work on the off-season challenges to make up for it. 

Instead of doing sewing, I've been doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  Looking for a missing 40 yard dumpster full of tires and adding up tons of trash.  This past weekend was the seventh Annual Confluence Trash Bash and I had the pleasure of heading up the team that organized it.  AND I get to do it all over again in a couple weeks when we roll out the 12th Annual Mission: Clean Stream/GM Earth Day.  Yep.  Hundreds more volunteers and tons more trash. 

In the meantime, I am making my costume for the Seventies Disco Murder Mystery party I'm attending this weekend.  Sewing on modern shiny knit, which is a huge improvement over the Quiana of the past, is a graphic and tactile reminder of why people gave up sewing in the seventies!  If the fabric didn't blind you, sewing the fabric would send you screaming into the dark!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PQ: 6.4 Unchained Heart (The clock is ticking)

Whew! That was close.  Two minutes to spare on this week's challenge. I'll be fixing this post as soon as I catch my breath....  (OK, a few details finally added!)

Well, that was a challenge! I know, it is supposed to be a challenge, but I don't think I've ever cut it as close as this one.

I decided on Sunday what I wanted to make.  I made this quilt  several years ago.  My mom asked to have it so, of course I gave it to her.  She then turned around and gave it to my niece for her wedding present.  Apparently they've had a thing about hearts forever and ever.  Sneaky mom!  I always loved that quilt and wanted to do something to replace it.  So for this challenge I was bound and determined to make a quilt that used similar elements.  Tick.  Tock.

But I dithered around forever and ever on it.  Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.   My first plan was to do a quilt as you go piece. It would have the hearts in the middle and each block would be surrounded by the red blocks.  It was all good until I started thinking about the edges.  I was going to have to do something funky with the number of blocks.  Probably not an issue but it hurt my head.  Tick.  Tock.  Tuesday.

So I thought about the quilt I made for the spuds' teacher when she retired.  I like the Irish Chain pattern.  It i one of my favorites. I figured it would work for the project.  But then I had to decide how best to do it.  I did not want to cut individual blocks.  I thought about it and finally came up with a plan. But then it was Wednesday (Tick, Tock, Tickety, Tock) and the quilt was going to be too big to finish in the remaining time.  So I pondered for a bit longer about plan B.  There was no plan B.  Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Late Wednesday night I pulled all of my red fabrics, selected 20 and cut strips.  About the time I cut the last wee bit of red with white hearts wonky, I gave up and went to bed.  There was no point in messing up anything else.  Tick. Tock.  Ticktockticktockzzzzzzzz........

Thursday I started in with the white fabric.  All 20 strips were cut.  Then I cut each WOF strip in half.  In order to make sure my nine patches would come out right, I figured that I would sew three pairs (red to white) and then add the third to each before moving on.  Two would get another red.  One would get another white.  Worked!  I ended up with exactly the right number of strip sets.  Well, except for the wonky heart strip which only made on set and I had to pull one more fabric and cut one more strip.  


The next question that deserved a long session of pondering was how to iron the seam so it would all work out.  (Tickety. Tockety Tick.) Of course, any experienced quilter would immediately know that you press them all to the red and it will be fine.  Took me a while to get that worked out.  But they were ironed and ready to cut.  

If you don't have this June Tailor shape cutter ruler, you need one.  It is the best.  You line up your strip set and then cut several at one time.  No moving the ruler.  It is big enough that it doesn't shift.  It is great for squaring up HST and QST blocks as well.  

Strip sets cut, blocks made.  More challenges with the rotary cutter.  Who knew it would be so hard to cut 60 - 6.5 inch blocks of plain white fabric.  Give up and start again on Friday. OK.  It wasn't really that simple.  I gave up after I realized that I just cut through one of my finished blocks and had a major panic about whether or not I would have enough blocks to make the quilt AND after another futile search for plan B.  Finished piecing on Friday night.  (Ticktockticktockticktock)

Tock. Tick. Tick. Tock.  Where ever did Saturday go?  Mostly done but OH My it is 2:39 am! Ticktockticktockticktock...

 Brrrrrrrring!  10 am!?!!  Tick. Tick. Tick. Two hours to finish.  Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick.
 11:26 am.  TOCK.  Where is the camera?  What? No charger?  Just enough battery for a couple pictures.  TICK.  EEP.  Too windy.  Quilt moved.  TOCK.   WHAT????  TICK.  Processing?  TOCK.  Who set the camera on raw format? TICK. TICK.  Where is the phone?  TOCK.  Email. Refresh.  TICK. REFRESH!!!! TOCK.  Upload. TICK TICK TICK.  Posted!  TOCK.  LINK.  Done. 11:58.  Breathe. 

The details:  This quilt measures 60 by 72 inches, machine pieced of quilter's cotton,  It as a polyester blend batting and is machine quilted with walking foot and embroidery unit.  There are precisely 12 hearts! Not saying there won't be more in the future, but I kind of like the band of hearts across the top!  The binding is machine sewn.

This quilt is my entry for the Project Quilting Season 6, challenge Have Heart.  Project quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek who blogs at Persimon Dreams.  The challenges come from the strange brain of her mother-in-law Diane.  You can view all of the quilts on here and follow along on the Challenge Quilts Facebook Page. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I Do Not Like This Sam I Am. I Do Not Like This Pillow Sham.

I do not like this Sam I am
I do not like this pillow sham
I made it from a scrap of stash
I made it in a great big dash
I did not applique it with a fox
I think I'll put it in a box
I think I'll put it on the floor
I'll do better with challenge four.

I did not like this week's Project Quilting Challenge. It was Orphan blocks and WIPs.  I have long maintained that WIPs are WIPs for a reason.  Mine are that way, not because I don't like them or I am bored with them.  They are WIPs because I have a vision but I don't have the knowledge or skill to complete that vision.  And I am unwilling to compromise that vision.  So I set it aside and mull it over for however long it takes until the quilt speaks.  Or until my skills are up to the challenge.

So I wondered through my stash of WIPs and my very few orphan blocks.  And I rejected them all.  I knew I couldn't complete the wonky house quilt and did not want to break out the tree blocks for something else.  I'm still not sure how to finish the ruffled quilt.   I don't feel like squaring up the rest of the halloween blocks.  My quilt club blocks are samples of a wide variety of techniques and I want to be able to refer to them.  And on and and on

So I started through my scrap bag.  I vaguely recalled that there were some orphans in there.  I didn't find any orphans but I did find this strip set. It was from an unfinished project.  On that I did not start with a vision but with a vague goal of making money... that is a long story for another day.  Needless to say you can quilt for love but not for money.  The strip set was free for me to mess with.

Thus is born the completely unnecessary pillow sham.  It has an envelope back from the red fabric in the picture.  It is some what loosey goosey in the picture because I don't have a pillow form that fits it.

I am sure I will love it on the porch for the 4th of July but for now... I do not like this!  Oh well.  It is a finished quilted project.

Project Quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.  The weekly challenges come from the evil genius of her mother-in-law Diane.  You can see all of the projects HERE.  If you vote for mine, it will be a mercy vote and completely undeserved.  But you should go visit and see all of the amazing quilty goodness that have appeared over the course of the week. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

PQ 6.2 Land of the Midnight Sun

Voting for Round 2 quilts is now open.     Scroll down the post to the pictures.   Click on the gray heart in the upper right hand corner of the picture to register your vote.   Mine is number 56.

I was fortunate enough this past summer to travel to Alaska with several members of my family.  It was a wonderful trip full of fishing and taking in all the sights.  I had been warned that it would be difficult to sleep with the near round the clock sunshine.  In fact, I found I adapted to it quite nicely.  I was very happy to have that much sunshine.  And I appreciated having only near dusk dusk darkness on the middle of the night walk to the restrooms at the fishing camp!  I am quite certain that I would not do equally well in the darkness they have at this time of the year.

Our primary goal was fishing.  However, I did my research and identified the ONE quilt shop in Anchorage that I did not want to miss. We worked out a plan and I ended up in Alaskan quilt shop heaven.  There was everything there from Russian influenced applique to Alaskan themed novelty prints to Alaskan batiks.  Oh my... the Alaskan batiks.  Oh mine... the Alaskan batiks.  I was restrained.  I knew how much room I had in my suitcase and how many pairs of socks and underwear I could reasonably abandon in order to stuff a bit more in. I did pick up a bit of fabric for the pattern Delectable Dog Sled by Lisa Moore. 

When I read that Project Quilting Challenge was sunrise sunset, I immediately thought of my trip to the Land of the Midnight Sun and decided to put together my Alaskan Souvenir.  I pulled out my dog sled batik and the matching swirling stars and started to look at the pattern.  There was one problem with that picture. I neglected to even consider, let alone purchase any background fabric.  The pattern has a beautiful swirling stars in complimentary colors.  What was I going to do?  A quick panicked look at the quilt shop website showed that they had the fabric in stock. But seriously, there was no way it would arrive in time for me to finish the quilt in time to meet the challenge deadline

I went to my stash and started looking.  Front and center in the batik tray was this strange gray and black and orange and gold piece of fabric.  It is completely not my style or color choice.  I don't know where I bought it or for what project it was intended.  It was however the perfect complement to the colors in my Alaskan prize fabric.  More importantly, there was enough of it to complete the background and the binding.  What are the odds?

The funny thing is that while I knew the colors matched, I just wasn't sure it would work.  But given the deadline and my determination to use stash material I went ahead and got started.  This is probably the only quilt I've ever worked on where every time I put two pieces of fabric side by side I marveled at how well they went together.

This pattern is based on the Delectable Mountain block.  I could easily see the musher's dashing through the dark mountain side.  But as I worked, I could also see the hints of the Aurora and perhaps the looming season of sunshine peeking out from behind those mountains.

This quilt measures 19 x 50 inches.  It is the pattern Delectable Dog Sled by Lisa Moore.  The fabric is batik from Alaska and parts unknown.  The batting is cotton and the backing is black quilter's cotton.  It was machine pieced and quilted on my domestic sewing machine.  The binding was finished by hand.

View all of the lovely quilts submitted for Project Quilting season 6 Challenge at Persimon Dreams. You can also follow the quilter's project each week on the Challenge Quilts Facebook page. Project Quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek.  The challenges come from the evil genius of her mother-in-law Dianne.

A couple of side notes about this quilt.
 1. After many years of telling my quilty friends they could part from the pattern and free themselves from the chosen fabrics I followed a pattern using the fabrics in the picture.  Well mostly.

2.  I departed from the pattern a bit.  Mine doesn't look entirely like the picture.  That is my fault and not the pattern's.

3. I think this is technically the best quilt I've done.  That leaves a lot of room for improvement but I am very happy with my progress on stitching even seams and on making consistent and straight cuts.

4.  I love my June Taylor shape cut ruler.

That is all.  Now go view the quilts and vote for yours truly if you are so inclined.