Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Metro Scope Blocks Done

Excuse the "design wall."  I took down the pictures on a wall in my breakfast room to be able to hang them as they were being made.  Caught the edge of the countertop.  I'm looking forward to the Cottage where there will be a real design wall.

Since I lost one of the dark blues due to my cutting error, I'll have to rethink the layout.  It's okay.  The blocks are done.  I can figure out the rest of it.

But not today.

I'm heading to the Pacific Ocean in a little bit.  I have a bucket list of things I want to see or do before I leave SoCal.  This was one of them.  I have a friend who has a place in Dana Point, and I think a day or two of reflection while sitting on the beach is just what the doctor ordered.  Saw him yesterday.  He said I needed to relax and get rid of the stress in my life.  This will do it!

Speaking of the Cottage, I'm trying to figure out a time I can zip home for a week or so to plan the move from that end.  Between doctor appointments and meetings, it'll be tough to work out.  I think I need to get perspective from the other LA to make this LA work itself out.  LA2LA -- that would make a good license plate!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cotton + Steel

Cotton + Steel has landed at the LA Quilter joint.  I'm anxious to break apart these packages to see what all the fuss is about!

All of the pictures posted of projects really peaked my interest, especially the one that Carrie of Miss Rosie's did.  I've always wanted to do a kaleidoscope quilt and I think this will be the one.  Think there's enough fabric here?

Thursday was my last day at my company.  I am still working one day a week for my late boss' wife until I leave town.  But I will have a lot of time to pack, get some sewing in, and generally relax after 43 plus years of working at two really stressful jobs.  One habit I need to break is automatically waking up at 5:00 a.m.!

Another thing I must do soon is move all the tubs of fabric from the offsite storage to my garage.  That will take many trips in my QuiltMobile, or one or two trips in a pickup truck.  Why-oh-why have I collected that much fabric?  I always joked that I was buying for my "retirement," that nebulous thing off on the horizon.  Reality has slapped me in the face and the time is now.

So what do I do?  Buy more fabric!

Seriously, I was considering getting rid of a bunch of it, but I decided to move it all with me to Louisiana.  I know myself well enough to know that I would be searching for the one piece that I no longer had and would be scouring the internet to find it.  Once I get there and fill up the stash closet, then I will make a decision on whether to get rid of the rest of it. 

On a nostalgic note, I wandered back in the plant earlier this week to watch them forge one more time.  It's such a fascinating process.  As I told a friend, I can't believe I got teary-eyed over titanium and steel -- or in quilting parlance, Titanium + Steel! 

I had to cancel lunch with a friend today.  My garage door decided to quit working, and the repairman is coming this morning to hopefully fix it.  I can manually open it, but it's hard for me to do that with a bum back.  Certainly don't want to undo any of the good works by the surgeons.  Yesterday morning I had to unlock it, open the door, pull my car out, go back in the garage to close and lock it, go through the house, out the front door and around to my car.  (sigh)  Penny was confused by it all.  Heck, I was confused by it all.

I am going to clear out my sewing room of some boxes of fabric, and then sit down and work on the Metro Scope quilt.  I love making those blocks, and have decided not to be discouraged by the miscut of one piece of fabric.  I'll just substitute another blue and forge on!  ("We're not building a piano here!")  I took nine or ten quilts to the quilter last weekend, and I'd like to get a few more to her before the move.  It's easier to move finished quilts than bits and parts, so UFOs, watch out; here I come!! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Don't Like Today

I had an up-and-down night, but decided to make headway this morning on something, anything.  I am feeling all discombobulated these days.  After this coming week, things ought to settle down for me some.  However, the logistics of packing is overwhelming me right now.  I will just have to try to take it a day at a time.  It's not like I have to move tomorrow, but I'm looking at the forest - and I should be looking at the trees right now.

I decided to cut out the rest of Metro Scope.  The first block I ended up with having to piece a 1.75 x 5" piece.  I got it fussy cut to where you won't be able to see the seam.

The next block I don't know what I did, but I can't get the arcs out of what I cut and there's not enough left over from the fat quarter to cut again.

This fabric line won't be out until September.  You all decide what I should do:
1- Substitute another piece for this block that I don't like as much.
2 - Try cutting out the rest of the blocks, make those, and then wait until this piece is available.
3 - Put the whole project aside until I get moved and might be in a better state of mind.
To paraphrase a line from "Steel Magnolias," I'm so confused I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Metro Scope Progress

Progress is being made on my Metro Scope blocks.

I decided to make the first few one at a time to see if I couldn't get some consistency.  I think I've worked out the kinks and can proceed to chain piecing component parts for the remainder of the blocks.

A friend suggested not using the Horizon fabric by Kate Spain because I needed more contrast.  Since I've started packing up some of my fabric, and since I had already ironed about half of the fat quarters, I thought I would go ahead and use it.  When I learn a new technique I always call the first quilt made my "learning quilt."  I think she was right about the contrast issue, but to quote my wonderful Dad, "We're not building a piano here"!!

I'm using only two colors in each block.  The outer rings will be dark blue, turquoise and green.  I'll use the purple only as the second accent color.  When I put these up on the wall, I thought they looked real summery with sort of a tropical feel.

I've made some adjustments along the way while making these.  Sewing the curves is easy.  The squaring is the most tricky part.  I need to get an 8" square ruler for consistency in squaring up those center blocks.  I found I needed to use a stiletto -- in my case, the seam ripper -- to hold the bottom end of the curve together as it goes under the needle.  I also found that setting the seams with the iron before pressing the curve helps to make it smooth.  You can tell the parts where I set the seams and those that I didn't.  The puckers came during the ironing process, not while sewing.  I'll repress those seams before I assemble the quilt.  And, finally, spray starching the fabric before cutting was a gigantic help.

Don't know if I'll get much done this week on them except for cutting the rest of the colored fabric, but I'm real pleased with these three blocks.  Making that test block first was a good decision.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Murder and Mayhem -- Update!

I got up this morning determined to work with the Quick Curve Ruler.  I was the lucky winner of a give-away that Thelma had a month or so ago.  I know myself well enough to know that I'd best do a learning block first.  So I grabbed some fabric out of the scrap bin.

Cutting wasn't bad once I read the instructions 6,743 times and watched the video 2,917 times. 

I pressed my fabric and headed to the cutting table.  No matter how I laid down that ruler, I could not figure out how to make the cut.  Heck, I couldn't even see the fabric.  Okay, time for a break.  Walked Penny, took a deep breath, and cautiously approached my cutting table only to find this:

Nowhere -- and I mean nowhere -- in the instructions was I told to take the paper off the ruler.  Honest to Pete, I'm as dumb as a fence post sometimes! 

Okay, I had to laugh at myself on that one!  You have my permission to laugh, too!!

I managed to get the two colored fabrics cut okay.  The background, not so much.

This was my first attempt.  Public service announcement here ... only ONE fat quarter was murdered in the commission of this crime!  Grabbed another fat quarter and cut that one with no further problems.

I wanted to make one component part just to see if I could manage the curves.  I can see chain piecing these further down the line but not now for this newbie.

Then to square up that puppy took me the longest time, another couple of readings of the instructions, another look at the video.

Ta dah ... my first part that I've affectionately named the "4-Hour Part."

Oh, and if you see anything wrong with it, DO NOT TELL ME!  Sometimes I'm happy just to wallow in my own ignorance!
And just so I don't scare anyone off who was thinking about getting this ruler, sewing the curves wasn't difficult at all.  The squaring wasn't hard.  It's just different.  The rest of them will go much faster and better.  Thank you again, Thelma, for the ruler and insisting that I learn how to use it!!  :)

My brain cells feel like they're about to explode.  Seriously, I don't think I've thought about and studied anything so much in years.  But I am determined to make one complete block if it takes me the whole holiday weekend.

Speaking of that -- HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Back to the torture chamber my sewing room!


Another three hours and I completed the block.  Wow, it went so quickly after that first component.  I had to piece together scraps for the center gold, but, hey, it worked!  I'm hooked on this ruler now.  I'm going to quilt up this block and use it in the fall on my little black round table in the kitchen in Louisiana!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changing

I've been talking about my future quilting studio for some time now.  I spent a long time thinking about it and planning for it.  I had certain criteria.  It didn't have to be fancy, but had to have enough space to work comfortably, have ample closets, perhaps room for a design wall.  I needed enough space to have a friend or two over to sew, and a bathroom, fridge, and a place to plug in a coffee pot.  Priorities, you know!

Two years ago I decided where I wanted to retire and found a lovely place there.  It has a separate structure that will be a studio for me - or the Cottage as I call it.  It perfectly met my criteria, although there will have to be some minor modifications, very minor.

Do you want to see it?

Gasp, you already have!!!

I purchased the old homestead back in August of 2012.  The next month I posted this picture asking if this wouldn't make a nice studio.  I was bursting to talk about it but decided that I should wait until the right time.

That time is now.  I will more than likely be in the new place by the end of the year. I will be traveling back there one more time before the move to work out the logistics, do some more measuring, and make the decision on how much of the stash I should pay to move.

The main house was built in 1927 and has ton of charm.  I've actually posted a few pictures here and there.  The Cottage was originally built as a pool house.  It burned down in the '80s, I think, and was rebuilt as a mother-in-law's house.  Two bedroom, three baths, full kitchen, screened in porch on the side with washer/drier hookups ..... the perfect studio.

Here are a few more pictures of the inside.  It's not much to look at now but I think I can turn it into a nice place to spend my quilting time. 

The sellers and I agreed that they would leave any furniture they didn't want to move with them.  You will see odd pieces here and there in the Cottage.  Probably most of them will go, but at least I had a place to sit in there while visiting!

The stash closet.  It's really long.  Not much perspective in this picture.  I'll need to get more shelves in there - lots of them!

Part of the open sewing space.  The fireplace is working but the sellers put this temporary board across it.  I may leave it closed up, but will rig up something nicer looking than that.  Decisions!


The stairs to the bedrooms upstairs.

What I like most about this space -- the possibilities.  Kind of like laying out a yard of fabric and deciding what to do with it!  I have tons of pictures but there's not much more to see until I get there and get my quilting stuff moved in.

So there you have it.  Yep, the times are a-changing!

A friend recently said that I would have to change the name of my blog.  Then she thought a minute and said, "No, you won't!"  That's right.  LA Quilter will still be LA Quilter.  Los Angeles to Louisiana .... and, yes, the name was chosen intentionally!

One last picture ... I'll be sewing away on Bayou Teche!  And eating oranges, satsumas, grapefruit, and maybe drowning some worms off my pier.

Laissez les bon temps rouller!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a couple of weeks since I've blogged anything.  Sharon emailed me this morning wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth!  I had the best intentions of posting today but she spurred me on.  Thanks, Sharon!

I've been feeling kind of puny and recently had a bunch of tests done.  I'll get results next week.  While I don't expect anything too dire, there will be some things I'll need to deal with.  He did tell me a couple of months ago that my cholesterol was too high and wanted to give me a prescription.  Nope.  I said I would do it by myself.  He rolled his eyes!  That guy doesn't know me at all.  In four weeks I dropped it from around 250 to about 165 just through what I was putting in my mouth.  He was pleasantly surprised because a lot of his patients aren't dedicated enough to do it without the miracles of medication.  I need to get blood work tomorrow and hopefully it has dropped more.  A pleasant side effect of that is I've also dropped some weight.  I think the weigh-in next week will say it's about 20 pounds.  I noticed my work slacks were all too big, so I went to Nordstrom's and got a size smaller.  I just bought one pair for now.  I'm a realist!  :)

Enough of that.  On to quilting ...

I have two quilts that I just need to piece the backings for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project that I mentioned a couple of posts back. 

This is a older French General kit that was just sitting around.  It went together so quickly.  I could have done it in one day if my back had cooperated.  I might use this pattern again to make more quilts for the project.  The other one is a Fig Tree quilt that I did four years ago.  Here's the blog post that I did about it in 2010.  It's a pretty quilt and the reason it wasn't ever quilted is because I gave the backing to someone who needed it.  I dug around and found another piece big enough and I just have to get it done.  I also have a box ready to mail to Brenda with a kit, some jelly rolls and matching backing, and some other things for her project.  I have a lot of girly stuff but not too much for the male recipients.  I need to go to the storage unit as I think I have some kits there that will work.  So, Brenda, I hope to get that box off to you this week, and the other two quilts off to be quilted the week after.  Someone emailed me and so graciously volunteered their quilting services on two quilts.  I won't post her name here, but hopefully when the finished quilts have been received by Brenda, that she will have given her permission to do so.  Thank you SO MUCH!!!  It's wonderful quilters like you who make these projects so successful!

My friend, Mary Ann, invited me to make a trip with her to M&L Fabrics yesterday.  Since I was clueless where I was going, I met her in Brea and she chauffeured me around.  That place is overwhelming.  I wish I had taken pictures of the thousands and thousands of flat folds.  The fabrics on the bolts went from very cheap to high end quilter fabric.  I didn't buy any of that fabric as the prices were comparable to the Fat Quarter Shop. 

They did have good prices on their Kona solids.  Mary Ann suggested I go with a plan.  So I pulled an older April Cornell tower from the stash room, Nature's Chorus.  I have been wanting to use that for the longest time but I didn't have a clue.  Well, one of Camille's hot new patterns gave me a light bulb moment! 

I thought by using the Kona solids and leaving out the cream FQs, that I could stretch the tower and perhaps get another quilt out of it for Quilted Comforts.  We'll see how that goes.  Anyway, this project is on my to-do list now.  It's about time!!

Mary Ann surprised me with a wonderful gift - a pin cushion.  She informed that I had to use this one and not put it in my glass display case! 

She used wool on the back.  I love it!  I couldn't resist displaying it on the Kona; it matches!!  Thank you so much, Mary Ann! Like Daddy used to say, "You didn't have to do that ... but I'm glad you did!!" 

(Daddy has been gone over 40 years now, and I miss him and think about him every single day.) 

I also picked up some chambray that Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's used as the background on a new pattern about to be released, Harvey.  I think I'm going to like sewing with it.  Thanks, Carrie!  I think .. well, yes, thank you ... I think.  You just keep inspiring me more and more and I don't have enough time to keep up with the inspiration!  (Wow, I can think of worst things in life!)  How much longer until retirement?

So that's it from here.  Too long, I know, but I had to catch up.  You know how that is!