Monday, June 24, 2013

So many quilt tops....

Happy Monday moring, superfriends!

So many quilt tops, so few finished quilts!  (I SHOULD be working on Boston Molasses Flood... instead, I seem to have fallen into working on the next top... Bat Flight.)

It will be a throw sized piece... I just want to see how it will all go together.  This, by the way, is only a test piece... the fabric is not speckled.  :)  No leopard bats!  D is still piecing hers, and rather than leave her in the forge alone for hours at a time, I started piecing the next quilt.  So... Bat Flight.  There will be multiple bats, of course.  One would be silly.

Last year we went down to the Hill Country here in Texas and went to a bat emergence.  It was... impressive doesn't really cover it.  The sight of all those millions of bats zooming around the ever-darkening sky in a loose trail was amazing.  If everyone was quiet you could hear their wings fluttering.  They made elegant swirls through the air, circled a big tree, and headed out for their night of bug-eating.  I wished them the best at the time, and thought that I would love to make a bat quilt.  It has taken me a while, but now I am getting there!

Working on Bat Flight does mean that the previous quilt top is done...  yup.  Here it is...

Ninja!  The gold almost glows in the sunlight - next time I will put it more in the shade!  :)  The border will have ninja throwing stars  quilted into it, and there will be at least one ninja in the main body of the quilt.  Masters of concealment!  It'll be a "find the ninja" quilt.  :)  Mostly because I can, and because it's practice for another quilt I want to make that requires a lot more detail and a lot more effort.  So Ninja is my test piece.  If I can make a ninja appear in the quilt, I will be happy.

And yes... we had class!  It was a small class, due to illness and lots of other things going on.  We'll have a make-up day, so it will all even out.  Even with the small class, much was accomplished, and I cannot wait to see finished projects!

The weed garden is almost gone - we will finish it up this week and get the tarp over it to kill what we can.  Hopefully the Texas summer will do the rest and by fall we can get containers in there to have a nice little kitchen herb garden going!  More pictures once we finish that off...

Tonight we might get our hanging chairs up so we can lounge in comfort  - in the hot Texas summer.   (No, really...we're fine.  There's plenty of shade.  I can lounge outside and read with no problems).  And then... maybe I will get an arbor to put outside the forge... once I figure out how to anchor it to the concrete.  My goal - make the outside pretty!!  I'll do it, too!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Progress in many things... and still working.

Making progress in the weed garden!  (eventually we will finish chopping down the wild greenery and lay a black tarp over it to kill off what we can).  This will be converted into a container garden area... herbs, etc.  And not a place for yellow jackets and feral cats to hang out.  We're making progress.

Also making progress on the green wall.  It doesn't look like much right now, since there's still a ridiculous amount of honeysuckle.  We'll have to trim that back soon, too.  Anyone want some?  Lord knows we have it to spare!

Our neighbors on the honeysuckle side - we had to borrow their lawn clipping bin this week to get rid of the remains of greenry and the leaves hiding underneath - were so happy that we're keeping up with the green wall.  The house was empty for a couple of years, so it got a little out of hand!  But we're quiet and tidy and try to be good neighbors. 

Also making progress of the next quilt top: Ninja.

These - currently untrimmed - are the four corners of the outer border.  They will be throwing stars.  :)  Because I can.  I should finish the top by the end of the weekend.    It will be all in shades of brown and gold, with bamboo print.  Tonight it will be the thin gold inner border, and then the outer border!  And then I REALLY need to sit and work on quilting instead of piecing!

Progress has also been made on class prep - I made samples for the steps last night, so I'm ready there.  A bit more clean-up and we're all set.  Got fabrics, instructions, and ready to go.

The one area I am slow to make progress in these days is my own personal outlook.  While I generally strive for positivity... sometimes it isn't so easy.  (Duh).  I look at other quilters' work and wonder why I am such a terrible quilter.  (Generally, I know this is not true.  But there are days....).  I have a perfectionist streak in me.  And if I see something in my head, I want it to look like that picture.  Unfortunately, the ADD tends to get in the way of that... and I am never Dis-satisfied with my end projects... I just fall prey to the "why can't I be better??" 

But the truth is... I am getting better.  I am working at my skills, accuracy in measuring, cutting, stitching, etc.  And everything I quilt gives me that much more experience!  So I AM getting better.  That's progress.  It's just slower than I would like.  (Well, OTHER people get better faster!)  There are days that I don't like my inner voice.  It is very critical.  That's a given - most of my friends have the same issue.  We know what it feels like, so there's no need to belabor that point.  (And it's not just about quilting, either.  It's quilting, costuming, writing, etc. etc.  If there's something I do that's creative, there's always someone I know personally who is better than me.). 

I come from a stubborn family.  It's got its benefits, certainly.  My parents today are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.  That's a good kind of stubborn!  I earned my stubborn... and it's serving me well in this area.  I am not quitting.  I still write.  I still piece and quilt.  I do things and I improve when I do.  My costumes are - I think - getting better each time.  And the time I spend angsting over the fact that I am not as good as I think I should be is getting less. 

So that's progress. 

PS... "Angsting" is an interesting-looking word.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hooray! Top Done! The sequel!

Well, kinda, anyway....

It's only throw sized - about 60 x 60.  And it is big chunks of fabric, so it's not as though it took forever!

But anyway...

Here's Crop Circles.

It's very basic, as stated.  When quilted, most of the sections will have parallel lines - rows and furrows.  However, a few lucky sections will have crop circles quilted onto them.  It sounded like fun when I drew it out!  So, we shall see!

Like Molten Glass, it's a very simple pattern.  Dimensions are easy to work out, since it's all basic math.  Now all I have to do is quilt it.  And then, if I think it will work, turn it into a pattern as well.  :)  Build up my stock of patterns!  (Get good drawings of crop circle designs to offer a variety of fancies!)

So, get in line, Crop Circles... at this rate, you have some time to wait!

And... because I said I would, here are pictures of the Weed Garden of Doom.... it's actually a lot better than it was.  That bare area was all overgrown, too.  I pulled up a lot of low-growing cedar of some sort, and lots of treelets.  Now to tackle the monster in the middle!  (We are intending to plant an herb garden here if we can conquer it).

And the Green Wall - the part that we tackled and removed trash trees from.... yeah, the driveway is still a bit messy.  We're getting to it.
(Yes, that's the neighbor's roof.  We're on a hill)
And the part we haven't gotten to yet.
Scary, huh?  Lots more in the tree department.

This is turning into a very GREEN post... good thing I like green!

Enjoy yourselves, and hopefully I will have more to post soon!


Hooray! Top done!

Good morning, superfriends!

I've finished another top!  This time, it's Molten Glass.  I mentioned it a little before, and put the hammer to the forge and knocked it out.  Here it is, sprawled out in the yard outside the forge, relaxing after being put together.  It had a hard time, you know, being wrestled around the forge between the layout board and the machine!  When I laid it all out in the sun, the batiks looked like damask, and made the entire thing look almost shimmery - which is fabulous! 

The black offsets the red corner squares nicely and gives it a little separation that it needed.  It's all of 123" x 123".  Should provide plenty of drape for my bed once it's all quilted - having an 18" mattress can sometimes be a pain!  When I am done with Boston Molasses, this one will go on the hand-quilting rack to be done.  It's too big for Frank!  Besides, I am going to quilt phoenixes into it - that being a theme with me.  So hopefully I can get Boston Molasses done faster than a snail laying tracks and get this one on the rack. 

In addition to Molten Glass, there was yardwork this Sunday, trimming down the great green wall to allow some breeze through.  We left the honeysuckle alone, but took out a lot of the trash trees that are growing up through it.  We've still got work to go in the weed garden, but we made a good start.  (Oh, golly, the weed garden... low growing cedar that's in terrible shape, some kind of monster shrub that just eats up everything, a few small oaks, a few small pecans, and lord only knows what else!)  If the light is good later, I will try to take pictures. 

Today it's all rain and storm - the sun is usually up by now, and it's as dark as night right now.  Rain is a good thing in Texas during the summer, though, so no complaints from me!  (Does make me want to be out in the forge, doors open, working away).

This week will be working on the next top - Crop Circles - and trying to start work on Bostom Molasses Flood again.  And trying to track down quilt pattern publishers.  Or go to etsy.  We shall see.  Etsy might be the first and easiest way to go. 

And - on the 23rd - Class #3.  So there's prep for that to do still.  I am always excited about the classes!

Oh!  This past weekend we made a few more quilt stores we hadn't hit before, too - those that are a little further afield.  And most of our travel was backroads, which was nice.  Saw lots of horses and cows, and a handful of goats.  Found some goat fabric - been looking for some for a while, now, and was thrilled to get some finally!  And took a few pics.  If I'd remembered to upload them, I would post them!  (So, tonight, then!  Along with pics of Crop Circles layout, at least!)

Until later, superfriends!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quilting Class again!

So, it's getting on to time for another quilting class...  Time to start thinking of the next thing to teach our lovely group of ladies who are of all different levels.  (I love it).   Fortunately, the thinking is the easy part.  The planning of the rest of it - not so much.  (The when, the fabric, the writing out of instructions for those who prefer to have written cheat sheets, the step-by-step versions to put on the design board....)

This time, we're going to cover quilt as you go projects.  Starting with a nice basic one.  Table runner/bed runner...

Here's a little sample I whipped up tonight: the semi-kinda-patriotic-colored thingamajig!

It's dirt simple and not bad looking for something I didn't spend too too much time on.  An hour, maybe?  And a little time for the back binding by hand?  The ones we will make in class will be bigger, but the technique will be the same.  An easy-peasy project!

Obviously I spent time in the quilt forge tonight.  It felt good!  And in addition to this little sample, I worked on Molten Glass.  I've got half the rows pieced together.  Just need to finish the other four rows and then add the sashing between the rows, and I will have the top done.

Which I guess means I REALLY need to finish Boston Molasses, so I can bind it and then get Molten Glass on the rack.  *sigh*  And so on.  (I need to quilt faster, or piece slower).

Here's the first four rows (well, some of each row, anyway).  There will be horizontal sashing in black as well, to separate out the red blocks a little bit more.  When done, it will be just over 10' square.  So far I am greatly liking it... and hope that the trend continues!

While stitching, I have been watching/listening to/laughing at Japanese giant monster movies.  Right now I am working my way through a three-disc set of Gamera movies.  Giant flying turtle, anyone?  (Which is great fun... although makes me want to make a hexie quilt of Gamera, complete with jets coming out his legs).  It certainly passes the time well, and keeps my brain occupied on several levels.

Now I curious, though, and will have to check: did Gamera ever fight Godzilla?  Seems like they should have... I will poke around and see, and post later.

Here's Molten Glass lines from the side.  It shows a bit more of the size, if nothing else.  It's only 64 blocks, but with the sashing, it's big. As mentioned before. 

 At any rate... wanted to give first looks at Molten Glass.  I like it.  And ultimately, since it's for me, that's the main thing.  I get to make it to MY desires, and I like the flame and heat and warmth of it.  The black in no way diminishes it - just breaks up that large chunk of red. 

I look forward to seeing this one done.

Guess I better get busy, then!

See you later, superfriends!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What HAVE you been up to?

Hi, folks! 
The above is me in the months that I've been away - photo is courtesy of Ron Wheeler, who takes FABULOUS pictures of our faire.  That is my character, Penelope Weaver, Weaver of course, who was bright and cheerful and of an exceptionally sunny disposition.  And more than a little silly.

There are scads of other pictures of Penelope - which makes me happy, even if the best thing you can say about my face is that it's... flexible.  Capable of many silly expressions.

But the skirts, the bodice - all of those had to be sewn.  Which meant two bodices (because last year's no longer fit), and three skirts (I was going to do more, but it didn't happen).  And repairs to all of the same. 

Combine that with the Quilts for Kari (for our friend with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), I've been a busy busy person.  So....  that's what I've been up to the last few months.

Also me, in the living chess match.  This was a substitute fight, since my normal fight partner was out that day.  But I like this shot!  (The harpoon, by the way, is Penelope's "largest weaving shuttle ever.")  THis shot - Arianna Berdy - who also takes amazing pictures of our faire.

So that's what I've been up to.  Long days at faire, portraying a weaver in Scarborough, England, in the year 1533.  Silly and fun, and strangely educational!

Hereout, it's back to quilting for a while.  I have another character hanging out waiting to come play, so she needs an outfit by October-ish, for the Texas Renaissance Festival - I can take her down there easy, just to see how she plays.  I've got SOME of the fabric, and the rest shouldn't be too too difficult to get, since it's a test.

That gives me "plenty" of time to play with quilts, right? 

Currently on the schedule:
Quilting: Boston Molasses - still!
Piecing: Molten Glass
Prepping: Bat Flight and Crop Circles

Until next time, superfriends!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Three Month Hiatus??

It feels like I've been away forever.

Well, in a way, I have!  Scarborough Faire started up, and so my sewing time went down the drain.  Any evening time was eaten up by the day job, where we had testing to do.  Lots of testing.  New costuming, and then add to that the fact that I made a chemo quilt and 5 quilts to raffle for fundraising for the friend for who the chemo quilt was made... there wasn't much time for doing other stuff.  We spent last weekend cleaning up the forge, and now we're back at it.  Finally. 

If anyone out there is stuill reading this, I apologize for the long period of silence.  If not, no biggie.  :)

I've managed to get all 64 blocks pieced for my next (Personal) quilt.  For me.  Hah!  For my bed, no less!  It's based on the same pattern as Sea-Glass, but it's in phoenix colors.  And will have black sashing - that's my goal for tonight, cut out all that blasted sashing!  And start sewing again!

And since the forge is now clean again, we can start gearing up for the next class.  We're going to do a quilt as you go project, to introduce new skills.  Hooray!

This is one of the quilts made to be raffled off.  It is made of every kind of material and every weight, backed by a silver-gray moleskin.  The blocks are from costumes from Scarborough Faire (because it's all for one of the women out there).  The back contained more blocks that weren't quite the right size and would have been hard to adapt. 

The woman who won the quilt wanted it VERY badly - and I was thrilled she got it.

The other quilts were less spectacular, but no less wanted by people.  My Binary quilt went - quite popular, which made me smile, as well as three log cabin variations in several colorways.  Those were pieced by a friend who said "Here.  Add these in."  So I backed, quilted and bound them.

I was greatly pleased to do it, and I hope it helps out my friend.  But it SURE did take up the time!!!

So now I can get back to the normal updates, and back to the quilting and designing!  And tonight I will pull Boston Molasses back out and see what I can get done.  And start looking at other people's blogs again.  I feel like such a slacker.