Monday, March 23, 2015

Scribbling like a kid again

I think I fell in love this weekend...with a quilting filler.  I love taking classes on Craftsy.  It is a site where you can purchase all kinds of online classes...not just quilting...drawing, knitting, cooking, cake decorating, woodworking, gardening and so much more.  It's crazy!  You can access them 24/7 and post your questions and read others questions as you watch the videos.  I posted a question for the first time this weekend and was quite impressed that the instructor responded within 12 hours.

My love affair was sparked when I watched Cindy Needham's class called Design it, Quilt it: Free Form Techniques.  I'm not sure why I waited so long to take this class.  I knew she would be talking about stencils and I have never used them, so I was not sure how relevant the class would be for me.  All I can say is I wish I had downloaded it before now.  One of the topics she covered was shadow and sunshine with in the quilting.  This was something I had never considered before...creating shadowing.  It's easy to look at a painting or drawing and see these techniques, but I had never really thought about it in quilting.

In the beginning, if I needed a background filler I would have just tried stippling, because it was what I knew how to do.  As I felt more comfortable moving the fabric under the needle I added other fillers to my list and learned that some fillers would make things stand out better.
I used loops as a filler in this boarder to create diamond shapes, though I would not say that it creates much shadow.
I used back and forth lines in the in the white blocks of the 16 patches to make the unquilted pink squares stand out more, getting slightly more dense and more shadow.
I used Kathleen from Kathleen Quilts tutorial on doing these flying geese to create quilted blocks in the sashing of this quilt.  My lines are closer together and creates even more shadow, making my little birds stand out as they fly.

Now to meet my new best friend...scribbling.  
Honestly, it's not that pretty to look at on paper and it breaks all the rules, which makes it pretty easy to do.  WARNING: YOUR LINES WILL CROSS.   I played around on some scrap sandwiches before I actually tried it on something I was working on.  
 I note of advice if you are using a thread color matching the fabric...
 I marked around my line of echo stitching with blue water soluble pen so that I didn't go crazy and quilt over it.  Sometimes when you are zooming around, it's easy to get carried away.
 This is the center of the mini quilt I'm working on and I still  have quite a bit more to do, but I love the effect of all the dense quilting.  I'm not sure if the pictures do it justice, but it almost looks like a delicate lace in between the feather plums.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Accountability of the Accountant

Slow down 2015!  Time is passing to quickly and there is not enough hours in one day to complete everything that I need and want to do, and there seems to be big differences in the things I need to do and want to do.  I need to work, those stinking adult responsibilities just won't seem to go away.  I want to quilt 24/7 and somehow those two things are getting in the way of each other.  My long term goal is to find a way to bring them into balance...oh, crystal ball where are you??

The other fail on my part is to embrace healthy living.  I love my family very much and I want to be around a long time to make them miserable and drive them crazy.  It's a free service I provide to those that love me.  I realize with 40 sneaking up on me that maybe I'm not 20 anymore.  Things effect you differently, though I do not want to easily admit that.  Things like blood pressure and cholesterol must be taken into consideration because they do exist.  I need to take them even more seriously because heart disease runs wild within my family and I'm hoping my choices have not lead it to my door already.  I lost my father in 2011 to a massive heart attack and miss him everyday.  I do not want this for my daughter.  

So after a doctor's appointment on Monday I find myself looking forward to finding out my cholesterol levels...oh goody...and needing to lose at least 10lbs by May.  BLAH.  I can do this, I know I can but I must find a way to balance my life.  I thought by making an announcement of this information maybe the fear of public shaming will scare me into the changes.  No one wants to admit failure.  So check back in with me in a month and see if I've succeeded.  

I have be wanting to try my hand at quilting feathers ever since I started free motion quilting.  I try to draw them everywhere to get the muscle memory down.  I've watch videos, read books, and searched on Pinterest (or the black hole of time as I like to call it) about drawing feathers.  Finally, I think I have it down!
I also spent a little time playing around and ended up with this.
I have not been brave enough to try combining fillers yet but I think I'm ready to give it a try.

I needed a break from a bigger quilt I have been working on and Pat Sloan revealed the next Aurifil Designer Mystery Mini quilt this week, so I decided to piece it last night.  I love it!  It may be my favorite so far.
 I just finished watching Cindy Needham's class called Design it, Quilt it: Free Form Techniques on Craftsy and hope to incorporate some of the things I learned in this class.  Will feathers finally make an appearance on this little top?  Stay tuned.

So I will close with this (and it's more for me than anyone reading this);  if you can free motion a feather after all the hard work, you can lose 10lbs, so please shut up and just do it :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fate or Chance...You Decide

For the most part I do believe that most things do happen for a reason.  Most of the time we do not understand things till much later.  And I 100% believe in listening to that little voice deep down inside of you, or your gut feeling.  I think the story I'm about to tell is a strong argument for fate...but maybe I'm just a romantic.

Though I come from a ridiculously huge family, I am an only child.  Lots and lots of cousins but no siblings.  So I like to think of my closest friends as the siblings I never had.  I met my friend Jackie several years ago but it wasn't until the past few years that we have become very close.  I jokingly refer to her as my wife.

Really, I like to think of her as my parenting mentor in this crazy time of raising kids.  She is one of the strongest woman I know, and by herself has raised three of the most amazing kids I've met.  She loves my daughter and several other children as if they are her own.  Her heart is huge and full of love.

Now that I've introduced my main character (and in our town she's kind of a celebrity...ex-hairdressers tend to be that way), I will start my story.  A few months ago, we stopped by a local pizza place to pick up an order.  I ran in while she stayed in the car.  I chatted with the guy working, got our order and off we went.  The next day at work I was telling a cousin of mine about going to the pizza place.  He inquired about the guy working and when I described him he laughed and said that's our cousin.  I assured him that, no, we aren't related to his guy and he explained to me we where...practically drawing our family tree all over the wall at work.  After that I never thought more about it.

Fast forward several months.  I text my friend to see how her Monday was going and she sent me a picture of a guy.  My thoughts were "who is that" and "why does he look familar?"  She proceeds to tell me she met him through her work and that he manages the pizza place.  What?? What??  I call her immediately to say, I'm pretty sure I'm related to him.  What a small world.

They have been seeing each other now for a few months and I could not be happier for them.  I have not saw my friend this happy and it looks great on her!  Plus I'm getting to know someone in my family better that I really hadn't met before.

Jackie has carried around the top half of a dollar bill in her wallet forever.  The other day she and her man had went to dinner and she pulled out her money to leave a tip.  The half of bill fell out and he asked what it was.  She told him it was kind of a joke to say she always had fifty cents even if she was broke.  This morning he sent her a text of a bottom half of a dollar bill taped to a wall...THE OTHER HALF OF HER BILL!
The serial numbers matched.  Turns out the bottom half of her bill was taped to the wall at the place he works waiting for it's match to show up.  According to a note on the bill it has been on the wall since 2013.

Is it complete chance or fate that has brought this bill back together?  I'd like to think that fate has something to do with it.  This dollar bill didn't bring them together per say, but it adds to the story of their journey where ever it may lead, and I think that it is beautiful chapter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is It Cheating/Why Do I Feel Guilty?

Four days into March and I am completely caught up on my BOM that I'm working on.  I'm absolutely in love with my bitty blocks for the Quilty Pleasures Bitty Blocks BOM .
The block sizes are either 3" or 4" and it will be a row quilt.  Sometimes its the small things that make us happy.

So why do I have a guilty conscience? 
The answer is this note.  I wrote the names of all the quilt tops I have that need quilted and taped it to my desk at work.  It's my daily reminder to get on the ball, my motivation to make the list go away.  So last month I pulled out the Jelly Roll Race Quilt, its backing fabric, batting, an issue of Quilty Magazine, went to the fabric store...and promptly pieced thirteen of these blocks...
Wait!  That is not how that was suppose to go.  Too many distractions!  Now my pretty little strawberry blocks are just waiting to be joined together with sashing and setting triangles to become a finished quilt top.  What's the problem?  It then becomes another name on my list.  By opening that magazine I allowed myself to cheat on my list of UFO's.  So will I finish piecing together the strawberries or pull out the brand new spool of thread and quilt a quilt top?  I'm thinking the best thing to do is take a deep breath, go home, open a new bottle of wine and figure it out then :) 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chubby Churn Dash

I'm not sure where the rest of February went but it seems like I blinked and the entire month was gone.  However, I didn't let it sneak past me without finishing Pat Sloan's Aurifil Designer of the month challenge.  February's mini quilt was designed by Jonanna Figueroa at Fig Tree & Co. and is called Chubby Churn Dash.  With a name like that how could you not love it??  With Valentines Day in the air and that word "chubby" in the title I couldn't help but think of cute little cherubs and soft pinks and blues. With my goal being to whittle down my stash of fabrics my mind instantly went to some charm packs of Papillon by 3 Sisters that I have been saving FOREVER.  But of course as soon as I pulled out my totes of charm packs other fabrics caught my eye.
I almost changed my mind and grabbed the bright batiks in the middle.  But it was the month of love and my original plan was to have softer colors in the quilt so I kissed the other two charm packs good-bye-for-now and opened up the beautiful blues and pinks of Papillon.  
I had two different thoughts on the color for the sashing.  Even though there is no yellow in this color line, I thought a pretty soft yellow might add something or I had some yardage of a light blue from the Papillon line.  

In the end I decided on the light blue.  Something about the yellow didn't flow for me.  Then it was time to get this thing sewn together.  I was itching to quilt something!
Next came possible thread choices.  My first thought was to quilt the center square with a matching thread color, but I decided to stick with the light pink and gray Aurifil threads and keep it simple.  The only thing left to do was decide on the quilting.  
 I auditioned 3 different possibilities for my blocks.  One of my favorite things to do is very dense quilting around something to really make it pop off the quilt.  I really wanted the churn dash blocks to stick out so that is the quilting option that won.
So after a weekend spent relaxing with Netflix I finally finished the mini quilt.  Not a bad way to end the month at all.  Now it's time to catch up on all of the new BOM for March that should be out.

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