Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's New

Well, I finished destroying that quilt. I took the blocks I removed and made a new quilt around them. Then I quilted it using my own style. It worked out much better the second time around. I'd show the quilt, but it's on its way to Quiltmaker Magazine to hopefully be included in their Jan/Feb 2011 issue. More on this at a later date.

I haven't blogged for what seems like a long time, but it's only been two weeks -- a lifetime for some. But I have a good excuse -- my advance copy of my book, ORPHAN BLOCK QUILTS, finally arrived unexpectedly in the mail. It was quite a moment in time when I realized what I held in my hands. I stopped breathing for a second and then I started screeching, I think. It seemed to take an eternity to rip open the package and to pull out the two copies of my book.

I shouldn't have been so surprised -- it's not like I didn't see the book as it developed, but to see it all put together and in one place was a feeling like no other. I've never given birth, but I think I can liken it -- at least somewhat -- to holding your newborn infant in your hands for the first time. This book is my baby -- it's part of me. I couldn't wait to crack the binding for the very first time. I had tears in my eyes as my heart pounded in my ears. Well, I'd better move on before I bore everyone with the details.

A few days later, after I'd had to chance to accept that I was now a real author, I had the opportunity to attend a quilter's picnic for another quilt guild in the area. It was so much fun! We had make and take projects all day long, but you weren't made to feel like you had to do any of them if you didn't want to. We sun dyed fabric (which I'd never done before), made several different flower pins, tried sashiko, and even made fiber scarves. It was a great experience -- and I got to try some new things. There was, of course, lots and lots of food, too. We snacked all day during the mini projects and then had a potluck dinner at 6 pm. It was like a mini quilter's holiday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quilt Destruction

Have you ever destroyed a quilt on purpose? I know, this sounds like a really evil thing to do, but sometimes you just don't have any choice.

I made this great quilt top and was very happy with it. I wasn't sure how I wanted to machine quilt it so I went against my better judgement and tried to do someone else's design, not only that but I tried to do it "their way." If you are a machine quilter who does your own work, loud sirens are probably going off in your head right now as you read this AND you already know how this story turns out, I'm sure.

I'll just say that the quilting did not go well, but I gritted my teeth and kept quilting it, even though I was beginning to hate the quilt (actually not the quilt, but the quilting). I finally made myself stop quilting it when I was more than half-way done. I just couldn't go any further, feeling the way that I did. At tis point, I gave myself a few different options:

1) rip out all of the quilting and requilt it
2) throw away the quilt and start over.

Option one was not a good idea -- it was already over half-way quilted and I was afriad to inflict damage if I tried to rip out the quilting. Option 2 seemed like my only choice except I was loathe to throw away the 16 vintage (irreplaceable) quilt blocks that were part of the design. OH, what could I do??????

I actually came up with an alternate solution that was a combination of Options 1 and 2 -- I decided to remove the vintage quilt blocks from the quilt and then remake the quilt. The vintage blocks had the least amount of quilting but it would take some time to free them from this bad quilt.

Finally, after a week of ripping, I freed the vintage blocks and removed the outer border (which hadn't been quilted yet. This is what is left of the quilt:

As sad as it is, the new and improved quilt will be much better. And, I learned the hard way to quilt my own way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

History Came Alive

On the Fourth of July, my family went to an "Old-Fashioned" Fourth of July Celebration held at the Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs, PA. The Riverside Inn is an amazing and graceful lady from the days of elegant women in flowing dresses and men in suits and hats. It was built around the turn of the century to house vacationing folk seeking the waters (sulfur springs) at Cambridge Springs. The hotel is magnificently decorated with Victorian furnishings -- it's like taking a step back in time.

Anyway, we went to the "Old Fashioned" Fourth and it was great! It was truly like taking a field trip to a simpler, less complicated time. There were Civil War reenactors and an encampment. The ladies even hosted a cotillion and taught some dances. Old fashioned fun included games, pie eating contest, seed spitting contest, hot dog eating contest, as well as a bar-b-q with all the fixings. Yum! One thing that I really liked about the reenactment was that inside the tents, on the cots, were quilts! Of course!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What I've Been Working On

I'm very happy to say that I've actually been getting quite a bit of quilting time as of late. I've actually flip flopped my routine and instead of quilting late at night I am now quilting in the morning most days for 2-3 hours. In the evenings I'm now working on hand work and binding. I can't believe what I've been able to get done. Here are three things I've been working on:

This tablerunner was just featured in the Quiltmaker magazine special feature about small quilts. I loved the colors and fabrics and knew that I had similar fabrics. I had never tried English paper piecing so I thought I'd give it a try. It was definitely challenging, but not impossible! It took me three weeks to finishe the hand-piecing and then another week to machine quilt and finishe by edges by hand. I am very proud of this project -- it was great trying something new. I'm already planning another one using Christmas fabrics but in a hexagonal shape (like Grandmother's flower garden).

This quilt I call "Scarppy Charm." It was a practice piece that I whipped out a few mornings ago. My primary reason for making it was to practice a twisted ribbon quilting design that I am going to use for my quilt that is going to be in the magazine, Quiltmaker, in Jan/Feb 2011. I wasn't quite confident about the design so I also quilted the next quilt too, using the twisted ribbon design.

As I said above, this quilt was my second practice piece for the twisted ribbon quilt design. I had made the top a few years ago, but had never completed it. I pulled it out and decided that I could use it to practice the design, too. I call it "Candy Ribbons." It's not often that you get to see the back of a quilt, so I included a photo to show you the quilting. I'm pleased with how it turned out and I'm now ready to quilt the magazine quilt -- not only did I quilt two quilts in the process, I even finished a UFO!