Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire's in Pateros

Hi I'm Liz, Audrey's sister I don't know if you realize she lives in Pateros, WA.

The Carlton complex fire swept through town Thursday night.  Audrey and her family are all safe.  They did not lose their home but it was close.  Many neighbors and our parents lost their homes.  Everyone is OK.  We are so thankful everyone is alive.  

We do not know when power and internet will be restored.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Halfway Through With the Flowering Snowballs

Here's the first eleven Flowering Snowball blocks finished and up on the wall. I started out piecing/stitching real slow and careful, trying to get everything 'just right'. I unpicked when needed and generally just took my very sweet time.
The first 11 Flowering Snowballs
Then I decided it was time to quit dinking around and do some chain piecing for efficiencies sake.  I'm on a schedule don't you know! lol Anyway, I somehow I ended up having to take care of the unit below twice before I got it right. Seriously, the first time I took the right white piece off and sewed it on WRONG. Then I took the wrong white piece off and resewed it on WRONG. Okay, now I'm confused. But if you look at the picture below very carefully, you can see the bottom white piece was once sewed on correctly and then some idiot decided to unpick it and sew it on the WRONG way. I'm still not sure what happened here. You'd think there would be a brilliant excuse to explain things like that away, but sadly, there's not.
How not to sew this unit...
I did finally get my brain corralled and headed in the proper direction, thank goodness.There's really no point to chain piecing if you I can't even get the pieces sewn together properly.
Trying out some chain piecing
After a good nights sleep I felt much more confident about trying to put together sets of blocks instead of one measly block at at time. This time around I attempted sewing sets of four! blocks and surprisingly, it worked out very well.
The next 12 blocks

These blocks look better than they appear in the picture. Really, I was in a hurry, jumping up and down off my sewing chair--slapping the blocks on the wall and getting back to my sewing. When this kind of sewing is going well, it's not the time to be worrying about the photo op.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Another Day of Progress

I've been working on my Flowering Snowball blocks a little here and there. They are just challenging enough to put a smile on my face while I'm sewing them together, but not so easy I get to relax. So exciting that I can actually sew a complicated block together like this without extreme difficulties!
Flowering Snowball blocks
Of course, working on quilts like my Learning Curves is the main reason I can sew Flowering Snowballs together and stay sane. Well, kinda sane. I have to say, all the pin, pin, pinning and fussy sewing in the centers does get tedious after a bit. Nice to have all the pieces finally cut out and ready to go too. I was trying to pace myself with the cutting out so I didn't strain my hand like the last time I was cutting out template pieces. So hard when you want to have it all done!
All the pieces ready to put together
And then in the evenings I try to spend some time with my Worry Baskets quilt in my lap. It's really hot in our part of the state right now, but my husband keeps the air conditioning up high enough that I can usually feel glad to have a quilt hanging around.
Another day with the hoop
I feel like I'm in that wonderful phase where I'm getting nowhere very fast with the hand quilting on this particular quilt. I have to keep telling myself that another frame done is another day of hand quilting I won't have to be spending on this quilt later on. Love the look so very much so I just keep picking the frame up every evening. Eventually I'll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Linking up with Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday where I'll be chugging along with the other slow stitchers!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Progress on the Geese Tracks Quilt

Implementation is often the very hardest step for me. Seriously. I get this idea in my head that seems fabulous, but the details are a little fuzzy. Okay, lets be honest-- a lot fuzzy. Way back when this project was just a great stack of fabric, I knew I wanted black shadow appliqued flowers, especially in and around the border.
The last border, promise....
Then the project progressed. I somehow ended up with a basket border. The baskets wanted to show off my black flowers that had suddenly appeared in the centerpiece. (Huh? how did that happen?) It seemed like a good idea so I went with it. But what about my black flower border? Hmmm.. Got to make sure the center ties in with the outside of the quilt. Which was not done yet, so yeah, a bit difficult.... The details of my quilt were starting to meld and morph and even play a little hide and seek with me. This is the stage that makes me want to chew my fingernails off I if let it get to me.
The bias vine before I fussed with it a hundred more times.
But I persevered. I made another border and then yet another. Some people didn't understand what I was doing or where I was headed because they thought it looked 'really wonderful' at the basket border. Stop! You are ruining your beautiful quilt! {You really can't ignore the elephant in the room comments.} People just want to, ahem, be helpful and stave off what is obviously the equivalent of a normal person driving their car off a cliff on purpose.
The bias vine just before I fussed with it for the very LAST time.
You can see the major improvement from before.*wink
Even I winced as the last border was added. Those super light gray/whites--so drab and plebeian. What was I thinking!!!! What if I was destroying the best part of my quilt?!!! Ahh.... the angst. I made myself cut out and sew together the bias vine and then I folded it all up and put it away. There! I am so. done. with this quilt.
Starting to place the flowers and leaves
Yeah, about that. I didn't put it too far away. That would be quilt project murder. It was in plain sight all the time. Every single time I went into my quilt room there it was. It even had to be moved a time or two to get to the quilt projects around it, but I kept it out where it could taunt me. Haunt me a litte. Beg for mercy. Anything to be put out of its quilty misery. 

So finally, yesterday I hauled it down to the living room and laid it right smack in the middle of the floor. I fixed myself a tall glass of iced tea and threw the bias vine on the border, fussed with it a bit and griped to myself about not planning the border better. You know, so the applique could be put on one border at a time instead of this big unwieldy quilt monster. My husband came home early for work, wafting concrete dust all the way back to the bathroom. Reprieve! Lets put it up and work on it another day. But nope. Just taking a shower and leaving again for a couple hours.
Starting to hack the flowers and leaves into bits....
Hmm... So I visited for a few minutes and went back to work. Pinned the bias vine. Fiddled and fussed. Then I took a break. Fixed some strawberry lemonade. Fussed with the bias vine some more. Started cutting out flowers and leaves. Made Took a few phone calls. Decided to put it all away for a better day when my head was clearer.
All that drama for this?
Oh I was so tired of this quilt. It was draining all my energy away and I couldn't SEE it. You know, that brilliant light bulb map of where to go next? It was eluding me. I still had a couple hours until my house filled up with people tromping around my living room so I told myself to quit being a coward and get on with it. But then I promptly went into the kitchen to do some dishes. lol Good to get the priorities figured out! Uh huh, got distracted by the idea of making a yummy lemon jello, cottage cheese, pineapple, and blueberry salad--never did the dishes. (You can see that the inside of my mind is a very scary place indeed......)

Okay, enough avoidance. Even I was tired of all the wasted time, angst and drama. So I went back to work with a vengeance (haha too much sugar for that) and actually got the last flower in place just before it was time to make dinner. Good thing my husband had called and said he'd be late! I pulled all the flowers and leaves off the quilt and quickly pinned the stems into place for sewing. That part is for later. 

Whew! Can you believe what it takes for me to finally settle down and concentrate on what is basically just a simple little design element? Some quilts. If I didn't know better, I'd think they were a lot more trouble than they're worth.*wink

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Last Basket Block and Some Flock of Geese Play

Still haven't killed off my flowers in the pots by the front door! Usually by this time of year I've forgotten to water at least once and the lobelia dies away until I can't even revive it anymore. 
Enjoying my flower pots
Since I'm determined to start a couple new projects, I thought it would be a good idea to get this last basket from the Baskets Galore BOM done and out of the way. I took one look at the pattern and just cringed. Seriously. Wendy said she wanted to challenge us a little, but wowsers, this one looked tough. Oh I was so surprised when it turned out to be one of my very best blocks! Do I just rush the easy looking ones too much? I would have done a victory dance, but my quilting room barely has room to turn around in, so I had to make do with a very large, cheesy grin.
Block #12
I put all the baskets on the wall together and I think they are fairly well balanced in color. Now to figure out what and how to set them. I'm really leaning toward some alternating applique blocks, maybe in some red and greens?
All the baskets are finished!
Then I got my Flock of Geese and little bluebird blocks out to play. If I use this really toned down brown as the sashing fabric then the flying geese blocks sort of pop--in a confident yet really serene way. I especially liked it when the direction of the flying geese blocks got changed up a bit, making them go every which way. Lots of good energy there! The sashing would have to be 6" wide (the same width as the bluebird blocks) but I've been wanting a quilt with super wide sashing forever. And yeah, I was thinking of a wide sashing all along. It was The Plan.
Flock of Geese layout auditions.....
Always amazing when I stick to The Plan! I usually treat it like a sticky note that gets peeled off and thrown away. lol  Anyway, there would be lots of background fabric to quilt later, but hey, I can probably cross that bridge when necessary. No sense worrying about the stitching pattern until later!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Don't You Want to Make an Eagle Quilt Too?

For as long as I can remember, eagle quilts have intrigued me. They come in all shapes and sizes, but I'm not even sure it's possible to have a favorite! All I know is that every year around the 4th of July holiday, I wistfully think about the possibility of having my own. Then the holiday passes and the idea flits away once again to be lost into the ether.
In their 4th of July posts this year, both Barb of Fun With Barb and Lori of Humble quilts showed off eagle quilts they've made in years past. And I am so drooling! I want one too and this time I'm gonna make me one for real. By this time next year it's not going to be a just a wistful thought, but something solid to touch and maybe even throw across my couch too! You should see me scouring Pinterest and pinning like a madwoman! I have a stack of fabric (or two) that I'm already eyeballing and I've roughed out two possible quilt ideas. Both  of them terrible, but I. am. doing. this. Don't even talk to me about my other UFO's 'cuz I don't wanna hear it.*wink

Angie of Quilting on the Crescent blog has been my comrade this week(end) in dreaming up an eagle inspired QAL where we hope you will join us. It's time. We're tired of just talking about making this particular quilt happen and we know some of you probably are too. We planned a year long QAL where everyone can do their own thing, just showing up on the Quilt Like An Eagle blog (I know, I know, it's a crazy name) to motivate and inspire one another. You know that's how it works. I see your progress. I get jealous. I get to work. lol  Okay, maybe not. But we're still doing this with or without you. Don't you want to make an eagle quilt too?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Feel Loved

I have received the very best presents this week. First off, I wanted to share with you the handmade gift that I won from my friend Clare of selfsewn blog in a giveaway! I picked up the mail on my way to a neighboring town where my son has a lawn moving job. We opened the envelope and I could feel my tummy give a little flip. Nope, not opening this in the car flying down the road. Too special for that!
All the way from England..
No matter how disappointed my son was at missing out, the packaging details were just too sweet to overlook and I knew you'd want to see them too. As soon as I got home and found my camera, I opened it up all the way and. just. stood. there. and sighed. I mean, look at this! Seriously for me? All the many hours of hand work and precision piecing--it's just priceless and I will treasure it always. The little birds? The stripey fabric? The colors? I don't even know what to say other than it's absolutely perfect.
Just look at this bit of sweetness!
Take a look at the back. So silly and sweet. I love that Clare personalized my little quilt. I've been anticipating this gift so much and it doesn't disappoint in the slightest. She has a quote on her blog that reads 'it's not what you have it's what you do with it'. And let me tell you, she does it very, very well! A big Thank You to Clare for my amazing win!! Go check out her blog--all her work is just incredible, always a huge inspiration to me.
I am smiling so very much just reading this....
And then my mom casually hands me this bag this week. 'Oh, I picked up a little something.' She had been to a quilt show last weekend and saw something she thought I (might) could use in my runnings around. Uh huh. It's all handmade to look vintage and shabby chic with several sweet little pockets inside for notions and thread etc. Again. Sigh....
Awww, love the stitching...
I hereby declare it to be my new quilting project bag! Can you believe the details on this side? The bird? The six-sided stars that are on my someday list of quilt projects? People know me so well.
So many sweet details. You would think it was a custom order..
I feel loved. And inspired. But selfish too. I don't think I ever give gifts that are this amazing. I'm going to have to do better, that's all there is to it. The bar has been raised.*wink
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