Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An August Bit of Play With Adhoc. Improv.

I often feel like I'm flittering and fluttering from project to project, much like a butterfly, never sticking for the long haul. Then, slowly but surely I begin to see things start pulling together and wowsers! Why should I do things any different when it's mostly working out for me? Besides, it's so much fun to play, don't you think?
Testing out a center applique idea
This summer-y looking set of pinweels is a result of starting in on another one of Sujata Shah's block sets in her 'Cultural Fusion' book. I haven't gotten very far. Mostly because I mixed things up and am working with 5 fabrics per block set, not 4. Which incidentally makes balancing the colors a challenge. Not sure where it's going or how excited I am with it, but I'll say it's growing on me. I absolutely love the addition of the vintage floral fabric. Trust me when I say that it does add depth to these funky blocks.
Wonky Pinwheels
And then I just couldn't resist any longer. This strings project has been nagging at me for literally months, so what's a girl to do? I went back to my book 'The Improv. Handbook' by Sherri Lynn Wood and refreshed my memory on how string sets might be formed. Yah, yah. Recommended to use the complete width of your yardage....
Improv. String Sets
Oh, I just balk at trying to cut 42" strips in any freehand sort of way. {Pretty amazing that I even had anything larger than a fatquarter!} But my mind sort of freezes up and says 'no!' Not enough room at my cutting counter and I do so hate moving fabric while in the midst of cutting. So I simply folded the fabric in half and then once the 21" length was cut, I sliced the narrow end off. There. That took care of the {worst of it} weird ripply off-bias result quite well and no time lost trying to maneuver partially cut fabric masses.

I made sure to add enough strips on the horizontal {me thinking ahead for once} so that each strip set would result in two 8 1/2" string blocks. Which I promptly stuck on the wall and admired as a potential basket. Oh yeah! First part of this particular mission accomplished--just as soon as I sew them all together. And all the leftover strippy pieces can be revamped into the basket handle too. What's a basket without a proper handle? Sorry about the bad color in photo below. Too much direct sunlight I suppose?
A new large basket emerging
And because I know you're all wondering, here's the all-sewn-up version of my Chunky Crossroads quilt--yet another set of blocks sewn from the Cultural Fusion book. Plain and simple but with so very much spark.*sigh Believe me, I was a teensy bit worried about that concrete gray dulling everything down! Love the imperfect matching up of each crossroads blocks in the corners and those limey greens--just yummm....
Chunky Crossroads quilt top
But you know it's not finished until the applique genie has made the final decision. hehe  Yes.... that's right. I'm contemplating adding on a border with some, gasp! applique details. 'Cuz that's the way my mind operates and really, it makes me happy in a folksy, primitive, quilty sorta way.

Okay. That's my Adhoc. Improv. wrap up for the month of August! I had to smile at Ann's mention of the 'need to quilt'. Such a real thing for so many of us! And taking off on that theme, have any of you read the latest installment of the derivative work discussion going on in blogland? I am personally enjoying the refreshinglyfrank look at how all of us {as whatever genre of quilters we happen to be} inspire and are inspired by others--regardless of the increasing dictatorial narrow view of the current 'modern' quilt leaders. Playing with fabric is what we do. There's bound to be some crossover and eventually, if we're dedicated and serious about our passion, a bright new spark of originality!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Lengthy Post About Summer Finishes and Other Stuff

Okay, wow! This is exhausting trying to learn a new photo editing program. I'm not very good with new techy stuff at all. Or change. In fact, I think this is probably going to be a new chapter in my life all the way around. The new normal is well, just a bit different. My family keeps urging me to continue on with my quilty blogging in spite of the fact that I feel it can't possibly be done 'right' these days.
Some new finishes..
So I'm going to try and lower my expectations, just blog when I can. Not worry about how consistent I am or who might be disappointed. If I disappear for two {or three} weeks then that's just my present life--c'est la vie! Maybe there'll be times I can surprise us all and get in a couple posts a week too. 
Low Volume Scrappiness
Or maybe I'll combine several posts into one, like today. Three finishes this summer! Wowsers. And I thought there was little to no quilting going on. But here they are. The scrappy 'make-piece' quilt was a fast one. Relatively. The quilt top was finished a couple years ago, but the sandwiching and machine quilting only took a couple days. The blocks were all  made strictly out of my scrap bin in a low volume experiment. Then I was scratching my head trying to figure out what to do with them. Aha! Put more color with them obviously! And I adore the country, happy look to my quilt. The organic straight line quilting looked better towards the end of the quilting than the beginning. For the first little while I was gritting my teeth and feeling positive I had made a huge mistake. Thankfully it worked to the good and I'm happy as can be about the end result.

Very snuggable, huggable and lovable....
And I'm just thrilled to have my own bow-tie quilt finally all completed and being put to use. You remember all that was left to finishing this one was the binding? This Bow-ties quilt is all hand pieced quilt block and then machine sewn into rows. Sacrilege to the earnest hand piecers but it's what made sense to me at the time and I don't regret it. Here's my original inspiration for those who have chided me lately about not giving credit where credit is due. As if any quilters anywhere {no matter how famous or art school learned they are} ever truly come up with brand new ideas without years of quilty influence. Seriously folks, we don't have to defend their precious creativity. It really should be able to speak for itself if it's truly original! And most of us homegrown quilters do link back quite a lot actually....
The Bow-Tie quilt is done!!!
I did see some bad hand piecing areas when I was doing the hand quilting tho. At first I thought to fix them as I went and then decided, no. Not necessary. This is the first hand pieced quilt I've ever made. and I'm gonna love it, mistakes and all. Besides, working on this quilt helped give me the confidence to make....
Hand quilting texture is the best....
This quilt--my Cactus Basket quilt. I would never have had the courage to sew so many of those diamond shape pieces before the bow-tie quilt. Once I figured out how much simpler some piecing is with hand piecing, well, I was raring to play with a long loved block.
The Cactus Basket Quilt
Learning, growing and trusting in our desire to create takes us many places in quilting. I was able to finish this one quickly even with the chaos in my life because, drumroll.... I first machine quilted in the ditch to stabilize it! Yep, I'm learning to ask first if it's even possible. Honestly I'm not terribly thrilled about the details of where the 'in-the-ditch' stitching meandered out of the ditch, but it's just what it is. This folksy quilt feels so very 'me' regardless. Sometimes I get away from those quilty elements that speak the loudest to {and of} me in my pursuit of something I can't even properly name. Taking this blogging {and piecing} break has given me a much needed new perspective once again.
Loving the lollipop flowers so much.....
It's actually quite refreshing to come back and look through the different quilty projects in all their odd stages. What was I doing here or there? Do I still like it? Does it feel important. Worthy? Will I love it even after it's finished? Am I excited by it or possibly challenged? That can be enough sometimes.
Finally believing --If I can see it, it can be made.....
This break has been good for me in a lot of ways. I'm sure things will be different from here on out, but hopefully not in a negative way. No quilt shows this summer, not a one. I'm still a process quilter at heart and I want to focus more on the in's and out's of  how it all comes together--sometimes magically and sometimes not so much. Working with color and fabric really makes my world a happier place. How about you?

Monday, August 1, 2016

August Quilty 365 Linkup

August Quilty 365

Well here I am again with another months worth of circles. Pretty much decided I'm done with the black backgrounds for now, but it sure was fun while it lasted! It's been a summer filled with so much visiting company, a beautiful wedding for my niece {which included out-of-town family and friends hanging around for most or part of a week} and then surprise, surprise, my husband and I got to go for our little anniversary jaunt. Loved seeing the charcoal sand on the northern California beaches and those incredible redwood trees we drove through on hwy 101. Quite a memorable experience and one I will treasure forever.

I have also been quilting just a bit. Nothing too major, just enough to make me want more. These circles are very demanding in their own way. So little, but if the time isn't taken then they stack up and start shouting 'work on me, work on me!' I'm too close to finishing up an entire year to want to quit now that's for sure. And yes, I'm still choosing fabric out of the scrap bin!

And in other news, my 9 year old computer finally crashed beyond fixing. Yeah. It finally happened. We're looking into a replacement but the timing isn't the best. Is it ever? And I'm the queen of computer illiteracy so I am so dreading learning a new set-up. Just about to break into hives over the horror of having to actually. In the meantime, I'm trying out my husbands computer and desperately missing my Picasa program for fixing my lousy pictures. Can't even get blogger to work right on this computer which is sooo... frustrating. Hopefully we'll get something figured out soon {fingers and toes crossed} and I can get back to a little more regular blogging. It feels wrong not to document whatever small bit of quilting that does get done around here.

If you're still sewing circles with me, please feel free to join the linkup below. I haven't been getting around and visiting other blogs very good lately, but I have a feeling that's just the summer break thing. Had a critical comment awhile back that I've been thinking about addressing and well, quilting is calling my name louder and louder these days. I'm starting to dream about quilts again. That's a good sign. In the meantime, I love seeing all the interesting versions of this project and hopefully we'll have a good turnout for the entire years' wrap-up post. Which might be a dilemma of sorts deciding the end for most everyone keeping up. Perhaps December? I'm trying to figure out a giveaway too. 366 finished circles and perhaps a stitched quilt top would merit a giveaway, don't you think?

Please link up with us!  Link a thumbnail picture to a current post on your blog detailing:
  • What particular day you  happen to be at now {such as 'day 230'}
  • A picture of all your July circles whether they are stitched to the background fabric or not
  • A link back to this post
  • Any thoughts or introspection you might want to add about this particular project


Friday, July 1, 2016

July Quilty 365 Linkup

Yeah! I am completely, totally caught up with my circles this month, all the stitching included! It's cause I have slowed waaaay down with my quilting and these little guys don't take much of my time. The greens and blue circles are surprising soothing, even against the black background. Love how they seem to sort of 'pop' and have my fingers crossed they will be a great spark in the final quilt.
All of the June circles for Quilty 365
It's interesting to me how the circle idea seems to hop into other quilty projects as well. {Uh huh, I'm combining a Quilty 365 post with a link back to Adhoc Improv.}  I hemmed and hawed and questioned my sanity, but finally left them in the border to one of my latest projects. Just feels like a circle sort of year and that's okay. We start in one place and sometimes bring ourselves completely back round to that starting place, tho perhaps with a better perspective at times?
My latest Adhoc Improv. quilt top--
An unexpected direction from my starting thoughts
The light was dreary on the day I took these photos, but this quilt feels very charming in a homespun sort of way. And oh, so very me on a very base level. I'm thinking this 'make-it-up-as-you-go-along' style is quite addictive. It works very well for making the sort of imperfect quilts that make me smile the biggest. The ones that I'm almost sheepish about showing people because of what it might accidentally reveal about this silly 'ol side of me.
Happy little applique flowers to make me smile
My enforced time off from intense quilting sessions has made me very reflective. Am I really as in love with quilting as it feels? Is it part of me, who I am, what I do, how I think? Or is is sort of a routine and more of an escape from life's difficulties? If it is, I've decided that, frankly, I don't care. Fabric love is good. What I've discovered is that my eye is constantly gravitating towards the quilts in my life. Studying them and enjoying them. Loving when I see a family member using one I gave them or displaying it on the back of a chair. It brings me great joy and what could be negative about that?
Not going to work for a larger project, but perfect for making me think!
And yes, it's more Adhoc Improv. play...
That feeling of resentment when I don't get enough quilting time. Okay. There's that. And I've been making a conscious effort to dial that back. Be more present and joyful with all of my life. Which means I'm going to continue to be a slow blogger this summer. Taking a step back from unimportant deadlines {and social media} is helping me feel more relaxed about everything. For instance, I spent about two hours working on those crazy improv. drunkards path blocks above. Whoa! Not much to show for two hours worth of work and what is it with the puckers?*wah! I am sooo not good at this!
The real project in the initial phases
I'll admit that I miss {quite dreadfully at times} the on-line journalling of the quilting process, but I just can't do it all right now. So I'm making a conscious effort to take what time there is for quilting and trying to use it more wisely. Those two hours of play were very contemplative and oh, so peaceful. Working with fabric and color  that spoke to me--just because-- felt amazing. Not worrying about the end result or how long it might take. Diving into things that felt 'right' and not stopping to consider the end result. Enjoying the moment more fully and not stressing over wasted fabric bits. And then deciding it wasn't the project I want to work on after all, completely guilt free. No remorse allowed! Instead I cut out squares for yet another Sujata Shah project that's been percolating in my brain for months on end. One that I had previously decided needed solid fabrics bought for. Nope, not happening! I'm jumping in feet first and will figure out the pesky little details later.
Finally have 100 blocks sewn together and, gasp! even trimmed.....
'Cuz that's the sort of quilter I really want to be--the way that seems to work the very best. If you're still reading, please feel free to link up with yet another Quilty 365 linkup. It's simple but slow work we're doing here. A bit tedious at times, but oh so interesting in other moments. It's a journey isn't it? If you're still traveling along with me, then thank you, thank you, thank you for putting up with my absence this summer. Quilty friends are the very best!  And in case you're interested, I, personally am at day 249 now {hallelujah} and well on my way to making it to day 366 some day in the future.....

Please link up with us if you haven't given up and gone on to something more interesting! Link a thumbnail picture to a current post on your blog detailing:
  • What particular day you  happen to be at now {such as 'day 200'}
  • A picture of all your June circles whether they are stitched to the background fabric or not
  • A link back to this post
  • Any thoughts or introspection you might want to add about this particular project

Monday, June 20, 2016

Catching Up

So I've just about completely lost my rhythm when it comes to quilting. That lovely, lovely calming routine of quiltiness I love so much is shot all to pieces these days. I might possibly get to my stitching a couple days a week at best. It's so pathetic.
Bow-ties quilt
It's looking like that's the way my entire summer is going to be. Ugghh... I did finish the hand quilting on the hand pieced bow-tie quilt and am now waiting on impetuous for binding work. Honestly, I'm not feeling it right now. But I do have the Cactus Baskets quilt in the hoop and since I'm quilting with perle cotton there is progress being made. Slow progress, but you know how it is. Every single stitch counts.
Cactus Baskets
I was guilted pressured into asked about making a block for my nieces wedding quilt, one of those sampler block quilts where everyone gets a small chunk of fabric to work with. I was feeling deeply resentful if you want to know the truth of it, having so little time to work on my own lovely quilting and then having to use specific fabrics? It was a tough one, but I persevered and it's done now. So much character building, these types of projects. I did add some of my own fabric to the mix--of course. How could I not? There simply was not enough contrast with what was given and I could feel the hives about to break into a happy dance. It only made me want to dive head first into my fabric totes and start sniffing fabric or something equally weird. I am {obviously} deeply missing my quilt room bonding moments. Ahem! Obviously.
Quilt block for a wedding quilt
A reader and fellow circler sent along a picture of the circles quilt top her sister has recently made. This quilt top is made by Carol from Oregon and what a beauty it is! So much color in this quilt, you can't help but smile. Loving those nifty pathways of color background and the way some of the circles pop! And yes, I am still working on my circles, sometimes the only quilty thing I touch all week. So. Very. Pathetic.
Carol in Oregon circle quilt
And here is my husband and I, soon to be married for a whole 25 years. Woohoo us! Hoping to take off on a vacation and celebrate without any children around. Started without them and will end up rattling around our house without them some day in the future. Right? Not that I'm feeling anxious for that day. No sirree. Love those kids to pieces. The vacation however? Very much needed.
Almost made it 25 years together...
It's time. Just hoping things work out and it doesn't get cancelled like every other fun thing we try to do together. I think it's just that time of life, don't you? Taking care of other people and trying not to take each other {too much} for granted. Okay, that's it for a quilty post until the next circles linkup the first of July. Thanks to everyone who once again took the time to link up! And a metaphorical quilty 365 fist bump to all my fellow circlers. Lovely to see so many still hanging in there with me!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June Quilty 365 Linkup

Yes I'm here. Just a quick post for the Quilty 365 journey! And to say 'hi'. I'm back for a post, but not for regular posting just yet. I do lurk on a rare occasion, but no time for anything else. My circles are starting to take a slightly different road, but May's circles are all here and accounted for. Woohoo! I haven't given up yet.
May Circles
For a little while I'm planning on doing a series of green {and possibly blue} circles on black backgrounds. Mostly for a background change and a little more consistently happy colors. I feel like this is needful right now. I like black, but I don't like choosing black for my mood color when quilting is supposed to be my happy place. And yes, you'll tell me it's okay to choose black, it's honest and real, yada, yada. but it just depresses me. And I'm not depressed, just stressed plus very limited with free time. It all goes together.

So I'll get black in the background color, love it as a change-up and call it good. After I get a good stack of those,  I plan to return to the normal color choice per day. I've pre-made a stack of scrappy green circles already just so I have one to choose from every day or as usually happens, every third or fourth day. I always catch up with my stitching eventually and this way the circles do continue. I'm sort of chanting that in my head these day. They. Are. Going. To. Continue! I feel very determined to not let them slide.

I do, however, feel quite {hopelessly} lost in the world of non-regular posting and quilting. It won't be forever though. Why would it be? I'm still quilting, just in much more random slots of times than normal. The other day I even came up with a plan to use exactly 366 circle blocks in this quilt. Which I'm pretty excited about. It's probably not going to be amazing, but however it ends up will by my year. All reflected in circles, for a total of one quilt. I like that. Please feel free to link up with a picture of your current circles too. I'll no doubt be very late checking back in and yes, commenting, but I'd love the links just for the record and wonderful camaraderie!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Blogcation

So here's the deal. I have a lot of things going on in my life right now and something needs to give.
A quiet corner and the book I still haven't found time to read after
three plus weeks. 
It's going to have to be the blogging, at least for a couple weeks. Maybe even until the first of next month? And honestly I'm not even sure if that will work out because I'll barely be getting back from our annual church camp-out on the 30th and then my daughters senior graduation is the 6th of June. Busy times as I'm sure many of you have similarly experienced. I'm feeling completely overwhelmed and overextended. A lot frazzled. Just to put it out there for my quilty friends to sympathize and say 'there, there', in a bit of a panic the other day, I almost shut down the entirety of this blog. Like permanently. Why is it that women have less opportunities where they feel comfortable saying 'No, I can't do it all. I'm not superwoman nor do I want to be.' And yet, most of the time we do this to ourselves. Because we are mothers and wives, friends and just plain 'ol good people.

So... while still plugging along with the tiniest bit of quilting, mostly hand quilting and applique, it's not exactly convenient right now to take pictures and get it up on the blog. {Yes I did get back into my quilting room after exactly one week if only to sigh fondly and grab scrap bin fabric for more circles.} And if I can't get back by the first, I'll try to find someone to guest host the June Quilty 365. Because I'm not giving up sewing my circles after making it this far! Until then, happy stitching.....
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