Monday, February 29, 2016

More little Repro Madness blocks...



More fun 6-inch blocks are done!  I made three of the first block, for swaps...




...and I will probably not be making more than one of each of these...




Another bunny!



I am still trying to come up with a design for a central medallion block for my quilt made from all these little applique blocks (and pieced little treasures from my friends), and there are certainly more little blocks to come.  Right now I am working on pet blocks for each of us (a cat for me, a lab for Ola, and a wiener dog for Mary).

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Before...and AFTER...the Quilt Cave is coming together...


I have spent the past two weeks really working hard to transform my step-Mom's stained glass shop into a combination glass shop and quilt cave (that is why I have not posted...).  As you all know, my family moved from Michigan to Alabama late last summer to be caretakers for my parents' house and property after their fatal car accident of May 2014.  I co-own the house and acres with my six siblings.

Mom's shop was a dedicated work area exclusively set up for her beautiful stained glass windows and for storage of her glass collection.  My dad had been making fixtures for her...a 4 ft x 4 ft light table, a 39 x 99 work table, a table fitted with her lead came stretcher, and a table mounted with her curve cut glass cutter.  Dad had also built large rolling storage bins for her big pieces of glass and mounted racks on the wall for her glass ordering samples.


They had adapted a recycled piece of kitchen base cabinet with a sink for washing glass.  Dad had paneled the room with good quality plywood and finished it with a light stain and varnish. There is a beautiful large window with plenty of natural light and a scenic view out one end of the house.


The whole move-in process has been hard and sad as I have methodically worked through the house the last six months.  I knew their shops would be sadder still, both with unfinished projects laid out on tables and equipment (my Dad had a wood shop).  I keep thinking about what it would be like in my quilt cave if something tragic and unexpected were to happen to me, God forbid.  There are UFO's everywhere and so much of my spirit and personality are represented there.


Some day I would like to learn enough about stained glass to finish the projects that Mom had started...there were windows for the house and a couple of projects for my sisters.


So I knew I couldn't just remove all the glass stuff from the room.  I needed to find a way for the glass and fabric to co-exist.  This worried me because I pretty much had the run of the basement in the Michigan house (there are pictures of that set up in the tool bar under my blog header...no judging).  I did cull the stash pretty seriously before our big pre-move quilter's garage sale in Michigan, but I did wonder just how much treasure I could get into this new room and keep the glass in place.  I hate working in a cramped and cluttered environment.


It helps that I am also establishing a sewing area in our bedroom upstairs as well, but more on that later.



I started by removing most of the sample rails from the walls and storing the little glass swatches carefully in a box (there were strips of white poster board behind the samples to show off the colors properly).  And there was quite a bit of glass grit to vacuum up and extra debris and unused fixtures to remove.  There were even packing crates with new glass that she had not even had the chance to unbox and put away.  God, that made me so sad...



Well, there is definitely tweaking left to do, but here is my progress thus far...ta da!!


We placed the heavy work table and light table against the inside wall.  I put the curve cutter away and am using that heavy table for my sewing machine and storage for six big bins of fabric.  We moved this table, built by my dad, under the window so I can enjoy the view and the occasional deer wandering by (I need to hang a curtain or blinds to help with the late afternoon sun...and remove the sheets of porch lattice that are leaning up against he house, LOL...).


I have some of my UFO project boxes in the corner, along with half of my little draw units containing tiny tools, etc.  I stacked two of those drawer units by the window and brought the other two upstairs to our bedroom.  It was complicated trying to segregate all the little drawers between floors...what would I use downstairs and what would I need upstairs...I'm still not sure I have that all figured out!


I moved two of my filing cabinets from Michigan and my old door (that I have had since college!) to put between them.  Then I have my larger plastic drawers for storage of tools, etc. against the wall, on top.  And of course, more storage bins of fabric underneath.  

I find myself still moving all this stuff around, so I'm sure I will tweak this area more.  It is a work in progress.  It took 20 years to get my quilt cave to the state it was before moving...


I moved two little carpets from Michigan and now I need to go to Lowe's and get one or two more.  The concrete floor is hard and cold!  If it was just a quilty area, I would install nice carpeting. That is not practical when I will probably do glass in here at some point.

Some day, this may just be a glass shop again and I will adapt another space in this huge house for my sewing area.  I still pin pictures in my Pinterest account of lovely sewing spaces and dreamy sewing areas.  One step at a time. This may not be very pretty or fancy, but by using fixtures and storage things I already had, I spent no money on setting things up (except for the little carpets I will buy).


The black plastic shelves by the door to the rest of the walk-out basement hold more project boxes and small containers of fabric and scraps.

I like labeling my fabric containers, which are all opaque or see-through, with index cards placed INSIDE the container.  That way, I don't have to use sticky labels or tape and can change the labeling and contents very easily.  




I do use my label maker to label drawers and hanging file labels, but I am obsessed with the label makers and the labeling tape peels off the plastic drawers fairly easily when I change things on a whim.









With drafting original applique patterns, I'm sure I will use Dad's homemade light table as a light table at some point, but with a cutting mat or so to protect the heavy glass top, I can also use it as a work surface until needed for it's real purpose.


The working surface on the big project table is recessed by a quarter inch, so we have cut plywood pieces that span the top to enclose the large transom window that is in progress.  Some day I will work to finish that window, but it will be safe, protected and out of sight until I can face it.  I have placed two cutting mats on top of the plywood and will use this taller table as my rotary cutting station.

The large glass rolling storage bins are still housed under the table.
I am using Mom's little colorful foam squares on the floor between the carpet and the table to save my joints.

There is a large wooden crate of glass in the corner, to the left, out of the way.


There are more black plastic shelves of fabric containers against the outer wall...


...and more shelves hiding the skinny table mounted with the lead came stretcher (this long, skinny table also holds drawers and shelves of glass tools. lead came, soldering supplies, and small glass storage...when I want to do glass, I will just move these two shelves 90 degrees, up against the other shelves, so I can access what I need).
 

I have cleaned up the  kitchen base cabinet for storage.  I am not sure I will use the sink...right now the water is turned off to it.  I may get Steve to cut me a piece of plywood to fit around the faucet so I have more work surface.   I also need to hang a small quilt on the wall above the sink!


And here is the view toward the back of the house...the door to the rest of the downstairs (great room, bedrooms, bathroom, and wood shop on the opposite end) is on the left, and the door to the outside is as seen.


GEEZ, there are a lot of UFO's in this room!  No judging...



Now, don't hate me...this is what is through the heavy outside door...a back patio under the wrap-around upper porch, leading to the pool and the woods, and beyond the tree line, the 30-foot drop-off into the valley.  There was a chilly rain on the pool cover today...definitely NOT swimming weather.


And slightly to the right up the hill, the barn...


...and out the end of the house (what I can see out of the window)...we are deeply fortunate to live in this magical place that my parents built with their bare hands.  :o)


I don't know what to call this quilt space now, especially since it is locaed in a walk-out basement.  In Michigan, "quilt cave" fit because I was, indeed, subterranean, underground.  In Michigan, there was a sump pump and a hole in the floor in the corner and roly-polies/spiders everywhere.  Oh, and the laundry...calling my name...

I need a new name for the space now...any ideas?

This is the view, through the door from the patio, back into the quilt cave.  


I still have some more things to fit into the room in places.  Maybe then it will feel more like home.  It's too new and too shocking...and too clean, LOL!  

And too disjointed.  Some things are upstairs...like my entire quilt book library, Grandmother Rawson's sewing table, my Singer Featherweight (for mindless chain-piecing and mending when my husband is whining about me not being upstairs...), my computer and scanners, and all my drafting/drawing/applique/mending stuff. 

Right now, beading, buttons and general crafting stuff are downstairs in the quilt cave. Scrapbooking and photos/archiving are upstairs.  More big bins of fabric will be in another storage area downstairs (backings, etc.)...things that don't fit into the cave. Maybe some day I will get everything where it is supposed to be...and actually know where it is!


I will still store patterns and other paper media (8.5 x 11) downstairs in the filing cabinets in the cave.  I love office supplies...can you tell?  Sheet pocket protectors, hanging files, and proper labeling make me very happy.  As Ola always tells me, I am a complete whack job...and she is right!


And my design wall has no home yet.  Stay tuned!

I'm sorry this post was so long!  There are still quilty things in the great room downstairs which need to be sorted out and stored...my 3rd sewing machine, my patterns awaiting shipment, tubs of quilt backings, etc.  But it is definitely better...last week it looked like a quilt store exploded down there.  I still remember what a quilt store looks like...

Now I need to finish setting up the bedroom sewing station...and the large flatbed scanner next to my computer, which I need to make my music patterns available for digital download.  I have found the missing musical pattern masters, which was worrying me to no end!  

Have you ever put something really important somewhere for "safe keeping," only to totally forget WHERE?!?  Moving cross-country is so disruptive!  

I have finally gotten the most important elements in place...somewhere to sew and to receive my fabric therapy, which I have missed desperately.  I am a much more centered person when surrounded by 100% cotton.  

When I am losing it, I just run downstairs, open a fabric bin and breathe deeply!  Now if I could just transport all my quilting friends down here...I miss them so much!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Taking a longer view...


I found part of my design wall!  I just slapped blocks up in a random, alternate order...it will change.

I can only get seven blocks across on this piece of the design wall...one setting I am toying with is an alternating setting, nine blocks by nine blocks.  I would need forty-one applique blocks and 40 pieced blocks.  I think I have all but 3-4 pieced blocks, but I am really behind on the applique blocks.


I am having a hard time getting good pictures, so I will present them in sections.


All the blocks will finish 6 inches.





Should I sash between blocks, should I not?

I am also considering a medallion setting with a larger applique block in the center.  And some interesting alternating borders would be fun...hmmm...I have a lot to think about as I applique away.

Here are Mary and Ola's blocks in all their glory...all 6-inch blocks. I am so lucky!  They are WICKED good piecers!







































I have glued up two more blocks.  The holly one seems OK, but I might put a lighter "twig" in the squirrel block so that I don't "lose" the tops of the acorns...

Yep...I will definitely tease out that little twig and make a light brown or light green one...



In stitches,
Teresa  :o)