Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--an occasional collection of bits and bobs of events and thoughts that land here. 
  • KonMari * of the fabric and scraps has been exhausting and liberating.  It is intense, this category-centric method of purging, but once each category (or sub-category!) is complete, it is a great weight lifted.   The hard part is discovering how MUCH of one thing you actually own! (*The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo)

My re-purposed tall chest holds fabric pieces that are about a fat quarter size and smaller. Look, there's some empty space! 
I thought I was through with this drawer but nearly immediately afterward I opened another bin and found some extremely yummy sample cuts of CW repros a guild member had gifted me, so now that drawer is pretty full.  Marie Kondo likes things arranged light to dark in drawers.  I did that within each color but generally they are ROY G BIV ordered.

And it is a very messy process--I sorted and chose what sparked joy, and discarded a LOT.  This photo is after I went through all the project boxes in the Hoosier and was going through folded fabric.  All the bags under the sewing desk are going OUT.  Multiple sub-categories of this hobby are yet to be worked through before any kind of "after" reveal.
  • Of course I couldn't do this task alone.  I was closely supervised by the Quilt Inspector, Mini, who spent most of her time trying to stuff herself into whatever box I just emptied..some of which were far too small for her 12 lb body!  She likes these California Pizza Kitchen catering trays I brought home from an office luncheon a few years ago.
  •  Occasionally I still do cross-stitch, which I love.  A finish in the embroidery department was delivered to DD Erica's recently.  
It's a subversive saying, so I had to mark out that part of my photo!  My addition to the pattern I purchased here on Etsy were the dead bees at the bottom.  I struggled a bit with a clean finish on the back, mostly because my design wasn't exactly centered on my Aida cloth, so there was not much to work with at the top of the finished embroidery.  Eventually I did get it gathered and secure.
I had bought a piece of inexpensive felt and traced and cut a circle to cover the back, which turned out as too big.  So then I trimmed it and it was too small.  Naturally this occurred late at night when there were no stores open.  I rummaged around in my stash and found a roll of wool felt pieces just the right size.  A more expensive backing but it gives a good finish! 
  • Traffic Rant:  Again with the bicyclists!  There is a new law that states all cars must stay at least three feet away when passing a bicyclist.  That's fine, I wouldn't want to be closer, but the oblivious bicyclist who is riding three feet from the road's edge pushes drivers into oncoming traffic on a two lane road.  Dangerous on the hilly streets around here.
  • I've been at my current scribe job a year now, and full-time for the past four months.  My doctor boss has been on a vacation cruise for 10 days and it has been wonderful to have this time off.  Tomorrow it is back to work, but a short week.  Gotta love that.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Design Wall Monday--May 30, 2016

On this Memorial Day Monday, my design floor holds a quilt for ME.  High Cotton is a Kim Diehl pattern in her Simple Comforts book series, and I started making the blocks over two years ago.  These project boxes have to be emptied sometime...

Many of these prints are from a fat quarter tower of Bonnie Blue Basics I bought years ago at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach. I sure miss that show and hope it returns to SoCal again someday. 

First run layout.  I didn't like the light block in the lower right.  I had extras for just this happenstance.  Can you spot the "Oops" block?


Amazing that I pieced and ironed this block without noticing the chain break!

Final layout (uh-oh--I see another oops block--lower right navy block is turned wrong! Must remember that).  I pieced several rows and then dug into the KonMari tidying of the sewing/quilting category, starting WITH the project boxes in my Hoosier cabinet.  I certainly feel the constant weight of unfinished projects and unused fabric and excess stuff has been stifling my desire to get in here and sew! Lately I finished three quilts and that has helped ease the block.  I bought the second KonMari method book (Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo) and it has a lot more detail plus illustrations about the category sorting method and choosing what you love.  I happen to enjoy anecdotal stories too so her writing style is pleasing to me.  Sorting by category works!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Design Wall Monday--May 23, 2016

On my design floor today are blocks for a quilt for our second grandson, Hunter, who will be 3 months old next week.  I know, I know, but better late than never, right? I did get the curtains made for his room... 

DD Elaine wanted black and white prints and I bought a bunch at Superbuzzy.  I love that store!  It has a great online presence for Japanese designer fabrics and modern prints and solids, and is very fun to poke around in. A few prints from my stash dresser were added to round out the selection.  
Loved this monkey print and it will be the backing as well.  I found this quilt pattern on Pinterest, it is called Adam's Rib, from Fons and Porter.  The crib size called for 10 fat quarters.  I did note that there are errors in the cutting directions, as it called for cutting the same number of strips as for the next size up.  I only needed to cut ONE strip, not 5, for the center squares, and only TWO strips, not 5, for the smaller squares and rectangle.  I discovered this during the second fat quarter cutting so was able to avoid having a ton of extra pieces cut.  One thing about Fons and Porter--they do not include pressing directions.  I figured out from my test block which would work best so I can nest the seams when I sew the rows together, but I do prefer to have pressing directions in patterns!

 Completed blocks.

 Love that white block that appears between the prints. 

Since this picture I've sewn four of the rows together. the gray looking block is a black print on white. I want this quilt done before Hunter's 3 month photo shoot next week.  His mama has been posing him on a handmade quilt--but not one made by his Mimi!  

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Continuing the KonMari

I started the KonMari tidying method last year (from Marie Kondo's book "The Life Changing Magic of  Tidying Up"), where one sorts by category and not room, selecting what to keep by the criteria of "sparking joy", rather than what to eliminate.  I am currently wading deep in the "komono" portion of the ordered sorting, after completing Clothing, Books, and Papers.  This is a "miscellaneous" category and there is a LOT of miscellaneous around here!  I have done linens, CDs and DVDs, office and stationery supplies, my kitchen, and lot of craft items. Each time I switch out seasonal decor, I've chosen my favorites and given away the rest.  I'm happy to say my drawers and closet are still "sparking joy", and I've not filled up empty spaces. 
 My long sleeve shirt drawer is sporting new liner paper since this picture and I've added ONE shirt since September. Yay me! I was stuck on fabric/sewing/quilting as it is HUGE in my house and decided to move on to decor items.  I have a lot of those too as I like to change things around frequently. 

Candles/candleholders before:
It was surprising to see how many of these items there were.  That is the magic of sorting by category--you gather every single item of the category and truly see the amount you have!

Seems wrought iron is a bit of a theme, no?


 Who needs 4 candle snuffers?  I kept two and DD Erica will get another.

 These are going to the thrift store except some that went to the trash. 

50% purged.  I actually added nearly all the tapers to the giveaway pile after this picture.  Handling each item really taught me that I prefer pillar candles over tapers.  After returning some favorite candle holders to their usual spots, the remainder fit into my sideboard and I have an empty bin under the stairs where the tapers used to live.  Even the potpourri that lived in the bin was re-homed in the sideboard.  Love that.  I've now sorted through other decorative items including trays, statuary, vases, wall decor, display stands, and other knick knacks but have yet to decide where many of these will live.  That is a hazard of this type of purging---waiting until the end to assign everything a home.  But it feels great to let things go that I wasn't using and/or no longer felt any joy from.  Next is art/paintings/prints and I have a lot of those too.  Having some time off this week will help!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Doll Quilt Swap 2016 Finale

Lori of Humble Quilts has held a Doll Quilt Swap for several years and I have enjoyed participating.  It's time for the Linky Party, so here is the exquisite doll quilt I received from Judy Carlson.  So many of my favorite colors and print combos are in these tiny blocks!  I love it.

It's hanging on the wall in my sewing room where I can admire it every day.  Thank you so much, Judy!

And here is the quilt I made for Linda Hayes. 

Goose in the Pond block.  I have always loved this block but never made one before. I want a whole quilt of them now!
I was using gifted fat eighth cuts plus some William Morris fabric for the borders and binding.  I eked out the bar backing out of  the scraps from the block, which was fun. 

Many thanks to Lori for the great gathering of quilts.  See more wonderful quilts HERE.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Memory Quilt and Mother's Day

I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day, we sure did!

Having a deadline is a good thing for a busy quilter, don't you think?  It's practically essential for me these days!  I set Mother's Day as my deadline for the memory quilt for my sister in law, which I've shown  in progress before, made of my brother in law's shirts.

Spray basting set up in the garage by myself worked well.  And I think I got about 500 steps in with all the walking back and forth and around and around as I worked on each layer!  This was the first time I'd used the more expensive 505 spray, and sure felt it was worth the cost.  Actually, I bought it on a show special at Road to California so it wasn't that bad.  I did some very simple quilting with my walking foot and midnight Saturday night I put the last stitch in the machine binding.  On Mother's Day morning I washed, dried, and labeled the quilt before getting the house set up for our 18 adult guests, two toddlers and two infants coming for our annual Mother's Day brunch.  I presented Mariana with her quilt after we ate. 
She shed a few tears but enjoyed pointing out the shirts she had bought for her husband Jan over the years and remembering his favorites.  If you can tell from the picture, there are a number of rows with the same shirt fabric, two vertical and three horizontal.  

I used some of the shirt fronts for the backing, sort of mimicking the block design with the two solid side panels  I left the pockets on, though I stitched all but one closed.  You can see the simple quilting in this shot. 


Wrapped in love. I asked Mariana to send me pictures of the quilt posed on Jan's beloved sailboat, where he spent so much of his free time. She said she wasn't sure if the quilt would live on the boat or be at home with her.  I told her that's the beauty of quilts, they are portable!  I surely have enough shirt fabric to make another quilt--it's surprising how much fabric a shirt gives up.



Grandson Cove with his mom, watching our neighbor train their pointer puppy to hunt using a remote control car.  Cove was very disappointed when the car stopped working after a while and told everyone, "It needs a new battery".


 My brother Kevin charming his newest grandnephew, Hunter.

Me with my three grownup kids!  Love them to pieces.  Maybe we'll Photoshop Dad into the picture and use this for a Christmas card.  He took a good picture.

 A very young Uber driver--I title this "Sorry, I don't take change!"

 Gorgeous peonies given to me for Mother's Day. It was a wonderful day!