22 April 2016

When To Say "Enough Is Enough!"


This block is one of those in the "secret project". Hopefully using this one, lonely, example will not get me kicked out of the group, but it has a special place in my soul now. This is the block that has "sunk" my self-esteem and caused me days of frustration. There are small 'v' points on each piece at the center...that are made to form a neat little point on each section. Our leader is an amazing, highly talented, pattern drafter and her measurements are always spot on. I have made the block as directed with picture perfect results all the way as I sewed the blocks together.....until I began to join the sections at the center! I tried hand piecing and machine piecing...with the same results. After making four I decided that it was, after all, just a quilt block and so I decided to "solve my un-ability" problem with a masking circle at the center. I actually don't mind this look...but....

I was still frustrated. So. I decided to give it one more go and try EPP. Again, it all looked perfect , until I went to join my perfectly crafted inner points....

My point being that is is a good idea to know when you have been beaten by a block, a quilt, or design, or , really, anything in life. Perhaps beaten is not the best choice of words....perhaps I should say that it is good to know when to walk away and approach a problem by an alternate method. Time to accept that "done" is better, perhaps, than "perfect". I am fine with my results now. I tried everything that I could think of, checked and rechecked my seam allowances and pattern size, sewed carefully and slowly, read and re-read the directions......it was my "Ah Ha"! moment and I had to accept that for whatever reason this block was my personal "Waterloo". Hey! Being able to say that a quilt block is your downfall is not so bad!
I had been feeling stifled by too many current projects too. I am working on not one, but two copies of the "secret project" (up-to-date), one Applique BOM (I am almost up to date on that), The Farmers Wife 1930's (now 5 blocks behind) as well as my "potato chip" project, Glorious Hexagons. All well and good, but I was not doing anything just for fun and I had no time to make any clothes...which is something that I really miss.
SO.....decisions, decisions. My friend Janet "gave me permission" ...I asked for it....to let one of those projects slide for now and I will pick it back up when, and if, I felt like it. I need to make two small quilts for children and so, to celebrate, I picked Jenny Doan's (Missouri Quilt Company) fun, easy, pattern, "Jack'n'Jill". I have only bought one jelly roll in my quilting life...and, at this point, I had used a few of the strips...but I decided to use them all up for this project since it called for a jelly roll or 2.4" strips. My friend, Barb, had come up with another, similar, pattern using layer cakes, but since I did not have any of those either (well, I have one...but it's not what I would use for kids).
Can I just tell you what a relief it was to just zip through so mole blocks? I spent a couple of hours and almost have enough for a quilt.....love this!
Lessons that I have learned from quilting recently?
  • Know when to back off. Know when enough is enough!
  • Imperfection really is okay and done really is better than perfect (thank you to Brenda Papadakis and Dear Jane for this quote)
  • When it stops being fun - it is time to make decisions that will clear away stress, get you back to your happy place, restore your self-esteem and enable you to move in a positive, forward, direction.
  1. Have anyone had a similar "road block" project? What did you do?
  2. Have you learned any valuable life lessons from sewing and quilting lately? What?
And now...back to my regularly scheduled projects!







21 April 2016

A Lucky Day!

 

I'm am not one of those lucky people who seem to be able to win a things. I'm am blessed, but not in that particular way. So it was with a dollop of incredulity that I read an email from Patricia Beleya (Okan Arts owner and nice person extraordinaire) telling me that I had won a Yoko Saito pattern compliments of Priscilla Knoble and Stitch Publications. I have had my eye on two of Yoko Saito's latest books...but my personal exchequer has, thus far, nixed the idea of adding them to my library.

One of those books is called "Houses, Houses, Houses". Hooray! Wee house designs are featured in this 'Parisian Bag' pattern - and that assuages my desire to have the book - at least for now!

Patricia Beleya - as owner of Okan Arts- sells the most amazing, tantalizing, specialarray of vintage Japanese yukata cloth on the planet. Plus she is a very gracious, talented, and lovely person.

Her friend, Priscilla Knoble, is the owner of Seattle based Stitch Publications (wholesale), while sister company, Willow Lane Quilting Company, (retail) is a purveyor or specialty fabrics, notions, books and all things Yoko Saito.

Thanks to Patricia and Priscilla for breaking my non-winning streak!

 

11 April 2016

Converting Wood Block Stamps To Use On Acrylic Blocks Instead

Not to make anyone have heart failure over my posting twice in two days....but....the siren song called and I followed!
I have tried very hard to stay away from paper-y play...but I always feel so happy when I sit down at my paper play table. Today, despite planning to sew, I have strayed.
Today's simple pleasure is converting my wood block stamps to be able to use them with acrylic blocks instead. Not only is it easier for placement on paper but it is a real space saver. Many of my friends have been doing this recently and I had wanted to try it as well.
Equipment:
EZ Mount Static Cling Foam (if not available locally Amazon and EBay offer good pricing).
Hot Knife, non-stick scissors or hot tool of some kind. Thus far I am having the best luck with non-stick scissors. The hot knife is excellent, but the fumes are not!
Alcohol- not needed really but I have been cleaning the back of my rubber stamp with it prior to pressing it into it new foam home and it cleans as well as removing any stray bits of adhesive residue.
I have noticed that the red foam is easier to remove than grey and also that older stamps are easier to separate then newer ones. The EZ Mount Static Cling Foam offers complete directions and they tell you to gently heat the wooden based stamp in a microwave to facilitate easy removal of the adhesive, foam and rubber....but since I don't have one (a microwave) I needed to try alternatives. Some folks have had good luck with freezing the stamp...I tried it and it does work, but I only needed to do that with one stamp was especially stubborn. If use an Xacto knife to help the process Lang as I did with a few...be VERY careful...it would all too easy to slice the rubber and ruin the stamp. I don't recommend using the knife unless you are adventurous!
The stamp above is removed from it's old foam and the wooden block..now a brief soak in something like Goo Gone easily removes the last of the adhesive. You are left with a clean, smooth, piece of rubber. This stamp is not wavy...but looks that way n the photo for some reason.
Voila! A lot of stamps reduced from the towering pile of wood blocks to the small pile of acrylic block friendly stamps. I will need to get so,e small storage boxes...those slim line flat ones like DVD's come in...but this is really a space saver !

10 April 2016

Stash Fest 2016


My friend Janet gathered together a few friends yesterday, volunteering to be the driver, and we headed to Stash Fest in La Conner. I had wanted to go for several years and I was not disappointed. I was gobsmacked enough that I never once thought to take more photos from inside the venue. Duh!

I am a true fan of Marcia Derse's fabrics and I was especially pleased to be able to snap up a (small) armful. It was like a feeding frenzy! I really should not have bought anything, but I splurged! I seldom have an opportunity to buy her fabrics and see them all in one place so, of course, I was very pleased to also be able to finally meet her. It seems that her fabrics (from Windham) always find their way into my work lately. If I had beaucoup dollars I would surround myself with bolts and make quilts of only her lines...at least for a time! She has a new line coming out in May...so be ready to fall in love!

My only other small indulgence was a quarter yard of marbled fabric from Suzi Soderlund. I have no clue what I will use it for but I just like looking at it.
There was not an overload of vendors but there were enough, and each booth was filled with unique offerings. From amazing hand-made baskets from a local artisan, to specialty clothing and fabrics, air-brushed fabrics, Yoko Saito fabrics and kits to small nibbles and drinks (in a separate area!) - it was a well planned, unique day. We did not stay all that long since there was also a glorious, warm and sunny Spring Day to enjoy. We had a wonderful lunch at a Japanese Restaurant, visited our favorite, more or less local, fabric emporium and then headed to the ferry line to wait in the sunshine, enjoy a cool breeze and do some more gabbing. Welcome Spring, thank you friends, and blessings to all.

28 March 2016

Oh Dear! What Can The Matter Be?

 

I have used the word 'minion' a lot in my life. As a worker bee that's what I considered myself to be. A minion to my employer. I am tickled that the word is now widely used thanks to the whimsical animated characters. The Easter Bunny brought me this Peep Minion! Perfect!

These days I am allows to be my own minion. I get to "work for myself". I have become a minion to almost too many quilt projects for this year. My time is well spent in planning (I am doing much more of that than I am used to), cutting and sewing both by machine as well as by hand (the more hand work I do the more I enjoy it).

I felt that I needed just a bit of a hand sewing break and so I exchanged my sewing needles for knitting needles for a day. It was refreshing! I WILL get my shawl finished before too long! It's almost time to add the blue border.


All is well in my world! The sun is back and the temperatures are rising again, but I am trying to fend off a compulsion....an addiction if you will. Mixed media. I love mixed media, but I had made the decision to focus on quilting only this year. My energy levels are low (thanks to the cfs/fm) and I have managed to fill every bit of of my day with quilt related activities. I have also managed to disregard the siren songs of paint pots, brushes, stamps and assorted ephemera for many months now, but every time I catch a glimpse of those wondrous possibilities sleeping on my desk my resolve weakens. If I yield to my paint pot addiction I will fall behind with one quilt project or another! Oh! The tormenting choices of the retired! What can I do? What should I do? Will I be able to overcome the magnetic pull of paint and brush?

And I suppose that I need to consider a teeny tiny bit of outdoor activity too. I have not really gardened in years, but there is some trimming to do, some raking and tidying. My madder needs to be thinned and repotted. I have some plants that need to go in the ground ....the sun is shining....

In a perfect world all of our decisions should be so pithy and 'important" ! Yes! I am truly grateful to have so many remarkably 'meaningful' choices to make! But there remains the thorny dilemma of what I should do about mixed media.........sigh.

Oh no! There are also two shirts tha I have a strong hankering to make....and make soon! The fabric for them tantalized me.......below is one of them...gently textured, glorious soft cotton...who knew Yoko Saito would design such a wealth of color?!


What decisions are on your horizons?
What delightful choices must you soon make?
  • Taxes?
  • Gardening?
  • Project ideas?
  • I hope that no one has to deal with difficult real life, challenges.
  • May your decisions all be small and delightful...

Happy Spring to all!