Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One person's fabric therapy is another person's insanity...

I had an epiphany over the weekend...tiny, fiddly, insane piecing is NOT my strong suit, although crazily KEEPING tiny pieces of fabric for later projects IS my strong suit.  How crazy is that?

I have been sorting through my reproduction scraps for tiny bits and strips to make into blocks for my attempt at Sue Garman's properly named "Ohmigosh!" quilt.  The smallest pieces are 1/2 inch finished.

Sue Garman scrap quilt - Omigosh - 1/2" finished squares make up the nine patch units.

I have been watching others work on this project out in the blogosphere...some at an amazing speed...and my hat is OFF to you!

I finally decided I needed to stop and put one of the two block types in this quilt together to see if I have the right stuff to make this.  OMG...those four patches are tiny!  And the nine patches? Wow!!!

That shoo fly block will finish at 4-1/2 inches...SERIOUSLY, Ohmigosh!

I find myself cutting up every repro scrap...even this cheater find tiny bits and pieces to use in this scrappy quilt.

I am SOOO much more comfortable with teeny, tiny APPLIQUE pieces, which I know most of YOU find insane!

Clearly, one person's fabric therapy is another person's insanity...and vice versa!

I will not give up on "Ohmigosh," but I am definitely more comfortable...and faster...with the fiddly hand applique!  I so admire my friends who can just whip out the intricately machine-pieced tops.  But for me, it is like trying to speak another language that I am not that comfortable in speaking!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Something else checked off the "family" insanity list...

So proud of my high school senior, Riley!  Big IB research paper due today and she made it!

"Just keep swimming...,"
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Going nuts and squirreling away nuts...

Oh, the fluff has been flying in the quilt cave lately!  LOTS of playing with scraps and scrap management...I feel like the scraps have been taking control of the cave!

I have my reproduction scraps segregated into bins, and I can't close them any more!  I considered throwing some out, but couldn't bring myself to do it...the scraps are so beautiful.  Guess I need to start chain piecing something...

So I have been cutting one inch strips from whatever size chunk I pull out of the bins in neutral and medium-dark prints.  I match them up in length, one neutral and one print, and chain piece them together.  

Some I leave as just two strips sewn together, one neutral and one darker print.  With others, I add an additional neutral strip or darker print.  I press all seams toward the darker fabric.

Then I slice those multi-length strip sets into one inch little strips and make either tiny nine-patches or tiny four-patches.

These nine-patches will finish 1.5 inches square and the four-patches will finish 1 inch square...see?  That's where the "going nuts" part comes from...fabric therapy!

Here are some of my scrappy strip sets awaiting slicing...

I started with scraps from THIS container...

...and I cut my one inch strips and actually put scraps too narrow or too short in THIS container (NO IDEA what I will do with THOSE).

So, where is all the insanity leading?  I am going to start working toward making Sue Garman's "Ohmigosh!" quilt.  You can find the pattern here on her web site.

Here is Tazzie's version that she just is getting quilted now (you can see her blog here).  She pieced hers in a matter of weeks...unbelievable!

Here is another version that Sue Garman shared on her blog made by her friend Marsha.  She incorporated applique baskets blocks into the pattern...hmmm...

Here is Sue Garman's original version...

And now for the other nuts...the ones I am "squirreling away." Even though family matters around my parents' estate are still being ironed out, it is becoming more and more clear that we will be moving south from SE Michigan to NW Alabama next summer.

The monumental task of moving the quilt cave is beginning to dawn on me (kind of like a ton of bricks falling on my head).  We have been in this house for 20 years and my stash was so much smaller in 1995.  (Along with my quilting circle of friends, which will be the hardest thing to move away from...)

There will still be a quilt cave, but I need to go through EVERYTHING and only take what I will really use (which will still be too much).  Our fabric tastes change over time, so some fabric will be bagged and tagged and sold at a "quilter's garage sale" in the spring with my two buddies, Ola and Mary.  They are also paring down their stashes to make things more manageable. This will be the "2nd Annual Quilter/Crafter's Garage Sale" as the three of us did this last fall...much to the delight of local quilters!  

It was hard whittling down the stash last year, but now I've got to be brutal and serious.  I've started the process and have been stashing bags of "bagged nuts" in the attic, using quart, gallon and 2-gallon Ziploc bags.

At some point I will re-adjust my remaining bins to use some of the empty bins I am producing...that way what is left won't be bursting out of their bins and will have a little more breathing space.

I meant to post this last Monday so that I could tag Jill of the Happy To Sew blog.  She continued the "Around the World Blog Tour," and you can click on the link to check it out!  She directs you where to go next Monday to check out the blogs she tagged.  

This has been such a fun blog tour!  I had a 48-hour stomach bug at the beginning of the week and was beginning to think "ebola."  I feel MUCH better now!

Anyone else out there wanting to take on the "Ohmigosh" quilt? We could work on it together!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour...

Welcome to the "Around the World Blog Tour!"  I was tagged by Karen of Quilts...Etc., who posted last Monday.  The idea of the tour is that featured blogs take turns posting and answering four main questions.

1)  What am I currently working on??  I have been a little distracted the last 5 months and my work is ALL OVER THE PLACE!  My design wall is cluttered with multiple projects, all wanting my attention.  

I always have multiple projects going so that I don't 'sit and spin' (sit idle while I am stumped...).  I simply jump to something else for a while.

Most recently, I have been working on "Miss Emilie's Garden" by Lori Smith.

I have just recently finished appliqueing the twenty-five 5-3/4 inch blocks and setting them with sashing and cornerstones.  So far, I have been a good girl and have not deviated from Lori's pattern.  

But now I am in a state of 'sitting and spinning' with this project as I decide to either finish it with her outer border design or come up with something original.

I have a bad habit of changing other people's patterns sometimes...bad, bad girl...

I call my blog Fabric Therapy because handling beautiful 100% cotton fabrics is therapy to me.  When I am in the most need of therapy (like the last 5 months), I like to use up scraps and do some mindless chain-piecing.

I have been fascinated watching the projects others have created using selvages and thought I would experiment a little myself.

The selvages from bright fabrics are so cheerful, and some of the fabric lines have fun names...I even got my name into the block below (thank you to Teresa Kogut, a fabric designer).

And thanks to Riley Blake, I got my daughter's name in the following block...

Some people use strictly the selvage edge with the little color dots, but these bright fabrics selvages are fun to use with a hint of the rest of the colorful and happy...

SO much fun...

I am working on an outer border with even more selvages...CRAZY!  I am sewing them onto foundation paper to create my strippy borders and corner turn-arounds.

Another mindless scrappy, happy project involves some leftovers from a previous finished project (I save everything...).  I started with these leftover crazy-pieced strips...

Then I combined them with some leftover bright strips to make crazy 6-1/2 inch blocks.  I have not decided whether to sash between them yet, so while I am 'sitting and spinning' about that decision, I'm off to think about another project...

It never gets boring in the quilt cave...

I've got quite a nice stack of blocks finished, with the makings of a few more waiting patiently for their turn on my therapy merry-go-round way of working.

But as most of you know, hand applique is my favorite thing to do. Now that "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" is finished and appearing around the country in shows, I have been thinking about other music blocks.  I'd like to make a smaller quilt containing four blocks employing music clefs and fermatas, the symbol for "hold."

Or maybe I want to make individual one-block projects with them...

The bottom two blocks, the F and G clefs,  are actually two of the first music blocks I finished.  Then I added the tenor (or alto) clef and the crocus block with fermatas.

I am at another 'sit and spin' point with this project as I contemplate whether to sash or not, and if so, how, or even decide if I like the four of them together after all.  Then there are outer borders to dream about...I hope my design mojo comes back SOON!  I miss it!

And "Belles and Blossoms" is still asking for the outer borders...

Yes, there is no shortage of things to work on...even some scratchings at something new...

2)  How does my work differ from others??  As I mostly work on hand applique, I would say the biggest difference in what I do centers around my chosen method of hand applique.  I use freezer paper on the right side of the fabric as a guide and the temporary use of glue to turn edges under and glue baste to backgrounds (which is soaked out later).

I find it much easier than needle turn and I get some great results. It is also portable at several stages of the process, which is important for me at this time.  This method also works great for me as I have started to design a lot of my own gives me a lot of freedom.

Here is some of the prep I did on the tuba block for my "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" quilt...the "right" side...

The wrong side (with edges turned under and glued with a glue stick)...

Part of the assembly process...

These are some of my favorite tools for doing this method of applique...

Freezer paper, Elmer's disappearing purple glue stick, Elmer's washable school glue or Roxanne's Glue Baste, good Karen Kay Buckley scissors, a Clover stiletto, tweezers for handling tiny pieces of paper and fabric, pattern weights, and YLI silk thread and good needles for hand stitching.

If you are interested in more about this method, there is a 3-part tutorial accessible from my tool bar above.

3)  Why do I create??  I love quilts, especially antique applique quilts and I feel the call to make them.  I like doing things with my hands...I cannot stand to just sit or watch TV without DOING SOMETHING!  I love touching the 100% cotton fabrics and putting the colors and patterns together.

As I find it hard to make fabric decisions, I love to use a scrappy palette in my applique and piecing.  I like the way the scraps interact with each other and cause movement over the surface of the quilt, the eye darting back and forth, being distracted by this piece or that piece.

I also have OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) so I get satisfaction out of using saved little scraps and working with fussy, hopelessly TINY pieces.

I sort some of my small scraps by color into small containers that are easily accessible when working on a project.

These little boxes are so much easier to deal with than getting out bigger boxes with really large pieces of folded fabrics.  I handle and sort through the scrappy giblets with my beading forceps, so my clumsy hands don't slow me down!

My Grandmother was a quilter, and I was a tomboy.  Even though I sewed, I never really thought to pay attention to what she was doing.  Then she asked me for some of my floral scraps when I was in college.  I thought I was just donating to the next quilt, not knowing it was for ME!  

She was dying of cancer, and she hand-pieced a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt for me, FROM MY SCRAPS, and the ladies in the community hand quilted it.  It was her last quilt.  I was 22 and I swore I would learn to quilt and carry on her tradition.  I've been quilting and creating for the 21 years since receiving that precious gift.

4)  How do I work??  Well, lately it seems like I work out of either a baggie of pieces or a small project box.  I have a fabulous quilt cave, in the basement, that calls to me, but I can't seem to spend much time in there ever since my parents' accident in early May.

Hand applique is so portable, and that has been great as I have been back and forth between Alabama and Michigan so much lately.  It has also allowed me to get things done as I have waited in the car for a teenage daughter.

When I get time to do some mindless machine piecing, I fill about a dozen bobbins and just let the machine go crazy!  I keep a "leader and ender" project by the machine (thank you, Bonnie Hunter!), which helps me reap better scrappy rewards for minimal time in the driver's seat of my sewing machine. 

Due to my OCD, I like things organized.  I hate spending quality sewing time looking for stuff...THAT makes me nuts and is super frustrating.

Because I flit around from project to project, I have to keep ongoing projects in boxes, labeled, and with a lot of details (like when I started it...).

And, I have to have the company of my constant quilting companion, Weasley.  He generally seeks out my warm chair when I stand up and I just roll him out of the way and grab another chair.

Next Monday (Oct 13) you are in for a treat, as Jill from the Happy 2 Sew blog will be posting on the "Around the World Blog Tour." She is always up to something interesting...piecing and hand quilting, costuming, knitting exciting golf club won't want to miss it!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)