Welcome to Sew Mama Sew Visitors

faced-binding-front

Today at Sew Mama Sew, Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table has rounded up fifteen binding tutorials; my Faced Binding Tutorial is one of them.  *Here’s a link* to that complete list, which has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of making a creative binding for the edge of a quilt.  I used her compilation as sort of a mental checklist of techniques I had tried. . . and some I hadn’t.

Binding Samples

I’d encourage you to take a new look at what’s going on at the edge of your quilt by exploring these binding tutorials.  Maybe you’ll try something new!

Colorwheel Blossom is Finished!

Colorwheel Blossom_front

Colorwheel Blossom
Pieced, Appliqued and Quilted
48″ square
No. 140 on 200 Quilts List

Colorwheeel Blossom_quilt top

This was the quilt top in April 2014, held aloft by my husband.  Then it went AWOL for a while, as I’ve mentioned before.

Colorwheel Blossom_quilting

Realizing it was do-or-die time, I printed out several of these “faded” photos to doodle on, to try out quilting.  I thought about quilting it all in lines, a la “the hard-edge industrial look,” but I wanted it to represent garden, blossom, flower, soft, and fragrant more than I wanted it to look like it had been scraped by a saw.  I’ve read lots of print articles about how to quilt a quilt.  What they don’t tell you is that starting to quilt a quilt takes massive doses of courage.  Gigantor-sized, even.  Sketching it out helps me visualize what I’m doing and sparks that bit of courage to get going.

Superior Threads Colorwheel Blossom

I have good success with Superior Threads’ line of threads called So Fine, but I filled in with Gutermann, which also works well for me. Yes, I kept filling bobbins to match all the quilting in the flower part of the quilt, but for the rest of the quilt, I used  a neutral-colored Bottom Line (in this case, white) in the bobbin.   Bobbin Statistic: 10 (in other words, how many bobbins it took to get this thing quilted)

Thread Matching

Matching the colors, section by section.  Where did I get this idea?  Look on your iPhone home screen for the Photos button.

Colorwheel Blossom_drawn featheries

I needed to draw on the feathery components with my marker.  That’s called Finding More Courage.  I don’t know why I thought you had to just go at it without marking anything.  Marking (in blue for longer time and purple for shorter time) is my new best friend.  Just keep it away from the iron and out of the sun.

Colorwheel Blossom_inner quilting

I loved seeing the quilting in the last light of day, the deep shadows calling the stitching into relief.  Another Courage-Enhancer.

Colorwheel Blossom_detail2

Colorwheel Blossom_detail1The last two pictures are shots taken outside, for its formal portrait.

Colorwheel Blossom_back

The backing fabric is Wild Garden by Dan Bennett, for Rowan/Westminster Fibers.  Now you can see my hanging system!

This quilt was a turning point for me, in terms of gaining skills for free-motion quilting.  I learned about marking, about when to mark.   I slowed down, remembering what my teacher this summer used to say when she’d watch me: “Elizabeth.  Be more deliberate.”  It helped to repeat that often as I stitched, and helped me avoid many of my earlier mistakes.

I learned to depend on the wisdom available through social media.  Two quilters on IG, Linda, of Flourishing Palms and Leslie, of PlainandFancy were always there with tips and tricks.  But without all the lovely likes and happy face-emoticons and positive comments from all the readers, I wouldn’t have been so courageous, I’m sure.  It was if after every quilting session, all the fans in the bleachers around my sewing room would stand up and cheer me on.  So gratifying, especially as I felt like I was on thin ice most of the time.

Colorwheel Blossom_DadsNote

One day in the mail, a card arrived.  It was my father’s stationary, my address written in his bold Montblanc pen, which in this note he called his Meisterstuck.  My father has been one of my best cheering sections in my life, right along with my mother and my husband. I’ve written about my father before, his courage in renting himself a studio after he retired and pulling out paints and brushes, a good example to all his seven children.  His brief, descriptive note now hangs near my sewing machine, reminding me that my work extends sometimes far beyond my little room, far beyond my own little place.  And, on this day in December, I honor him: Happy 89th Birthday, Dad!  You are a treasure.

Because of you, Dad, because of so many people, and because the creative urge is made manifest in me through quilting, Colorwheel Blossom is finished, and is hanging in my hallway.  It’s a nice feeling to walk by, letting my fingers run across the soft trellising, the vines and flowers.  It brings a smile to my face as I pass by this garden.

 

Christmas Tree Skirt

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014
Quilt #141 on the 200 Quilts List
(Well, it feels like I made a quilt!)

Comparing oldnew Christmas Tree Skirt

Here I laid out the old Christmas Tree Skirt on top of the new one;  it was made in the early 1970s out of pre-quilted fabric with a tricot backing, and homemade bias tape.  It has served me well, Obi Wan Kanobe, but now it was time for a new skirt.

Christmas Tree Skirt wo Binding

I pieced a little more onto one length of KONA snow in order for the skirt to measure 52″ in diameter, then used Steam a Seam II to cut out shapes.  I was inspired by Betty’s skirt that she made last year, as well as others.  The original inspiration was a tree skirt from Fat Quarterly 2013, but since I didn’t have a pattern and it was all proportional squares, triangles and rectangles, I just started cutting. Here I’ve laid an embroidery hoop so I could judge how the center circle would look.  It took me about two days to get all the houses and trees arranged, partly because I wanted to use my stash and it that necessitated some color and value balancing.  I have a piece of fabric from my first quilt in here, as well as some scraps from dirndls made from German fabric (which I love).  I even have scraps of fabric from cotton I’d purchased in Rome, Italy some 14 years ago, as well as some Japanese fabrics, also purchased on a trip.  Build your stash, everyone.  It’s a fun place to visit.

Deciding on Binding

Binding was interesting.  I thought I’d use a large red/white dot, but when I cut it on the bias, I got this effect.  Nyet!  So I went with a narrower stripe than the one shown, cutting it on the bias so it would go around the curves.  I pieced it, then folded it in half.  A trick I learned in Clothing and Textiles was to press the curve into the bias tape.  It went on like a charm.

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014_detail1

In working on this, I zipped through two books and am in the middle of one more.  The two I couldn’t wait to listen to were both Inspector Gamache mysteries, set in Canada:

Still Life novel

Fatal Grace novel

The Snow Child novelAnd I’m halfway through this one.  Fitting, isn’t it?  I need another project!

Christmas Tree 2014 w new skirtWe finally finished decorating the tree, and I’m enjoying the new tree skirt!

 Bobbin Statistic: 5 (in other words, how many bobbins it took to get this thing quilted)

QuiltCon/Quilt Show Fun

Road Booths1I’ve been entering quilt shows since about the time I moved here to Southern California.  The closest one was Road to California, and in those days, I always was accepted.  Schooling interrupted my quilting, and when I got back to my craft, the ground had shifted underneath me.  I couldn’t get my quilts accepted any more.

I felt pretty badly about this the first time it happened, especially since the quilts I saw at the show seemed to be all spangle and sparkle and glitz and flash, along with quilting that was perfection, due to the advent of the longarm-quilted piece.  To say I was discouraged would be an understatement.

Grading Research Papers

I kept trying, and kept getting rejected. It felt a lot like grad school, where I’d write up my short story, or poem, and take it into workshop and they’d get out their figurative knives, blades, guns and other weapons and slash my pieces to bits, then shoot holes in them.  I think I cried all the way home that first time, but it got easier to separate myself from my work, and take the critiques in stride.  Some were helpful.  Some were NOT helpful.  I had to know that my writing still had value and worth, and to keep going.  It was the work that mattered.

Fast forward to this week, watching the feed blow up on Instagram as people cooed or moaned about their acceptances/rejections to QuiltCon.  Whether the organizers like it or not, they have created a couple of problems and I was watching the fallout happen in realtime, in people-time, as comments started flying.  The problems most prevalent appeared to be:

Sign Quilt Show

1) Too many entries.  This came about because there was no limit on how many quilts could be entered.  I haven’t checked every show, but the ones I’m familiar with limit how many quilts you can enter.  Because QuiltCon had 1300+ entries, and maybe only space for 400 quilts, well. . . you do the math.  But the odd thing was this line in the rejection letter (yes, I got rejected on all three of my quilts): “Please do not be discouraged. We received more than 1,350 quilt submissions and the jurors had to make many difficult decisions.”

This was weird how they commented on the recipient’s emotional state and then flipped it around so that the person being rejected should feel sorry for the jurors and their difficult work of wading through over a thousand quilts in order to chose the ones they wanted for their show.  Just the facts are necessary: “You didn’t get in.  It was a good effort.  Try again next time.”

TarrSnapshots
Timna Tarr’s Valley Snapshots

2) The perception that there is a mysterious criteria that determines who gets in and who doesn’t.  The key word is “perception.”  And the perception, judging by what I read on IG, is that this mysterious set of rules is not given out to mere mortals, but only those in the inner circle, the claque, the clique, the friends and buddies of those running the show.  I can hear the snorting going on now.  Yep.  But this problem persists because the modern quilt movement can’t figure out what it thinks is a modern quilt enough to be able to describe it, or communicate it to the masses.  People like me.  And then they hold a contest in which we are all supposed to submit, which feels very much like going to the top of a busy freeway overpass and throwing our quilts over the edge, watching them sink down into the morass.

On top of that, there seems to be an overabundance of graphic artists at the helm, or with some graphic arts training.  Might this not mean that the graphic punch, that visual snap, the elements of high contrast off the grid have become ascendent?  Maybe.  Then put that into the judging/juror criteria and disseminate it.

When I entered, I was surprised to see there were really no categories to select into.  Yes, there are categories, but I didn’t get to nominate my entries into any of those; the assumption is that those on the other end of my internet connection will do that for me, further confusing the experience.  So I don’t know if my quilt was judged against other similar quilts, or if it was thrown into the pool of 1300+ entires, with bleary-eyed jurors watching quilt after quilt pass by their eyes, until the whole thing collapses into Let’s Get This Done, sort of like I feel when I’ve graded too many papers in a row.  I have total empathy with the jurors, but perhaps there are some solutions that might rectify this difficult situation. I hope they find them.  And I hope the show I’m about to see in Austin in February will put aside some of my concerns and be a great experience.  I am happy for those who got in, and can’t wait to see the quilts.

Sol LeWitt's Patchwork Primer_finalone of my rejected quilts

But in the end, what matters?  Are you only as good as your last rejected quilt?  Or are you the sum total of your work, the cutting, the sewing, the creating?  Given the number of times I’ve been rejected, I could have melted into a puddle on my floor.  But my training in grad school, although sometimes painful, gave me stories like this one:  a famous author used to mutter to himself “I’ll show them this time,” every time he started a new novel.  And the knowledge that I am more than just my latest quilt.  And that I won’t melt if someone tells me “no,” although it feels really good when they tell me “yes.”

colorwheel blossom beauty shotanother rejected quilt, soon to appear here on the blog for the first time–stay tuned!

One lovely side effect of all this sturm und drag (storm and stress) is that I have loved the reading on the #quiltconreject and the #rejectedbyquiltcon hashtags on Instagram.  I’ve been introduced to some fine new quilters, and fallen in love some new works from familiar quilters. It’s been quite the wild ride.

JosephCampbellBigQuestion

Yes, the modern quilt movement may or may not survive the problems I mentioned above.  But it’s not really my concern.  My concern is to get going on the next quilt, to say a hearty yes to this creative adventure.

Mini Sew-Together Bag

Mini Sew Together Bag_1Woohoo!!  It’s a Mini Sew Together Bag! A Mini Sew Together Bag has two pockets and is smaller than its big sister.

Mini Sew Together Bag_2 While I love my regular-sized bag, I really wanted one that was just a bit smaller.  After I hatched this idea, I wrote to Michelle, of SewDemented, and received permission to write about this on my blog, as I thought others might like to make a Mini Sew Together Bag. Mini Sew Together Bag_3

(Two Regular Sew Together Bags and Four Mini Sew Together Bags)

But how to do this so I don’t “steal” anything from her stellar pattern?  I made up a worksheet that will help you convert the measurements of the big version to the small version. Yes, you’ll have to use your calculator for about 2 minutes, but then you’ll be able to charge ahead.  And, yes, to make a Mini you have to have the original Sew Together Bag pattern, found *here.* Worksheet Visual Mini STBag Before I give you a PDF of the worksheet, please promise to not print out bunches for your neighborhood sewing group, but instead send them over here to print it off this blog.  Likewise, feel free to link over here for others to print off the worksheet/pattern, but don’t embed my worksheet in your blog.  Many thanks.  Here’s the downloadable PDF worksheet: Sew Together Bag Worksheet_updated Mini Sew Together Bag_4 open

(What’s that shiny thing in the mini on the middle left?  Keep reading!)

I was able to crank out four Minis in about a day and half; I think it went so quickly because I had already made a couple of the bigger bags. I still referred to The Quilt Barn’s Tutorial when I became stuck. SewDemented’s pattern and that tutorial are made for each other. Mini Sew Together Bag_4b end pattern To begin, make two copies of  the pattern for the end piece, then flip one over, overlapping the pattern and making sure that the two dotted lines match up.  The piece, from lower tip to lower tip should measure 12.”  Align the top and the bottom; tape, then cut out.  I ended up tracing this new smaller pattern onto a manila envelope, making sure I transferred the dotted line markings. Mini Sew Together Bag_4d Marking After you sew together the side piece and its lining, as per the pattern/tutorial, lay it back onto your pattern and put pins at the dotted lines mark, as shown.  Go the ironing board and iron in a crease on those lines. Mini Sew Together Bag_4e zipper Pocket Zippers:  Buy the same size zipper you normally would, but shorten it after installation by doing a thick zig-zag stitch at the end, as shown.  Cut off zipper evenly with the edge of the pocket pieces.  If you have the pattern/tutorial, this step should be apparent.  Again, these photos are not meant to replace the pattern/tutorial, but simply to show you places where I deviated from the pattern slightly to accommodate the smaller Mini. Mini Sew Together Bag_4cZippers are in both pockets (yes, I am showing about three different Minis, with three different fabric sets). Mini Sew Together Bag_4e1 Attach the side pieces, lining up the pockets with the ironed-in crease on the side pattern.  Refer to the tutorial for more information. Mini Sew Together Bag_4f zipper

(Tab end of zipper)

The long zipper’s placement is 4″ hanging over each side of the Mini Sew Together Bag.  If you have a light colored zipper, you can mark the zipper with pencil at the stop end (below) and then do that thick zig-zag to secure the end.  You can use a 16″ zipper, but I just cut down my 18″ zipper. Mini Sew Together Bag_4g zipper

(Stop end of zipper)

Mini Sew Together Bag_4h zipper end

I sew the zig-zag stop, then attach the side binding, THEN cut off the zipper.

Mini Sew Together Bag_tab end

For the tab ends, I didn’t necessarily slide them all the way to the end of the zipper before I sewed them on (and by the way, refer to the pattern for an easier way to make them, rather than the tutorial).  Instead I played with the tab ends a bit, sliding them up and down the zipper, seeing how big of a “handle” I wanted.  Most of the time I placed the zipper about halfway into the tab end.

Mini Sew Together Bag_5 That shiny thing?  For those of us teachers who use white board markers, you know what a mess the eraser makes in your tote bags. (QUESTION: Why do we community college proffies carry our own white board markers?) Mini Sew Together Bag_5a I made a clear vinyl pouch, sewing a self-binding fabric strip around the top to hold my eraser.  The dimensions were 7″ by 6 1/2″ of clear vinyl; sew two folded strips along the 7″ sides, then with WST, sew the side seams.  Yes, I did a tiny “boxing in” of the bottom corner to accommodate the eraser.  (ANSWER:  Community colleges are broke out here.  They give each of us our own personal set of markers at the beginning of the term, but we buy our own erasers.  If you leave yours in the classroom, you can kiss it goodbye, so we carry them back and forth to class.) Mini Sew Together Bag_5b stuffed Mini Sew Together, fully loaded for school.  But this would also be great stacked with hexies, or other smaller hand-sewing projects.  Because the Mini is a smaller size, it will fit into, um, smaller places! Mini Sew Together Bag_8 Mini Sew Together Bag_8aI also made a matching tote bag to go with this for a gift, as California will be phasing out our plastic grocery bags.  I used my Grocery Bag Tutorial, found *here.*  The usual request applies: don’t embed the pattern on your blog, refer your friends back to OPQuilt.com to download their own.  And if you Pin anything from this post, please use the correct post address. Many thanks! These little Minis are fun to make and fun to use, and sew up quickly for a cute and fun Christmas gift!

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Circles Block #6 duo In case you are looking for the Circle EPP Quilt-A-Long, because I gave you two renditions of the block in November, we are taking a vacation in December.  Merry Christmas all you EPP-ers and we’ll see you in January.

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I get my zippers from ZipperStop in NYC.  There are other places to locate good quality, inexpensive zippers mentioned on other quilty blogs and in the comments (so check them out), but I can highly recommend Zipperstop, having placed several orders from them.  The zippers arrive quickly, and in the color range I like and I like the prices!

Lora’s Quilt

Lora Quilt_frontTo Lora, with Love
Quilt #139

Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond, Quilted by Lisa J (Lora’s niece and my friend)

Quilt for Lora_quilt top

This was the quilt top, and it measures 54″ tall and 43″ wide, before quilting and binding.

Lora quilt with bow

Lisa was headed up to Utah to see her Aunt Lora, so after she finished the quilting and binding…

Lora Quilt Label

. . . she sewed on the label I made, wrapped it up and took it over to Lora’s assisted living center to present it to her.  (More about Lora’s situation can be found *here.*)  Lisa and her two daughters arrived the same time as a lot of other cousins, so the room was full.  As soon as Lisa brought out the quilt, Lora began to weep.  Lisa read the label to her — more tears — and by the time they unfurled it and showed all the signatures, nearly everyone in the room was crying, too.

Lora receiving quilt

A few days later, after Lisa finished telling me the story, she gave me a big hug and thanked me for thinking up the idea of the quilt, but really, we thought of it together.  I’m really glad we did, as it obviously brought the message to Lora that we loved her and cared for her.  And we do.

AdcockLora

Lora

Nice to See You, Christmas Quilts!

Christmas Quilts on Bed1

We have a tradition that nothing Christmas happens until after the Thanksgiving meal.  In the Old Days, when I had children at home, we’d sing Christmas carols that afternoon, a cluster of us at the piano.  Now, we turn on iTunes and listen to the songs while we do the dishes.  This is Christmas Star, #80 on my 100 Quilts List, in case you want to read more about it.

Christmas Quilts on Bed2

This morning I got out all the Christmas quilts that have been in the cupboard for a year.  It’s nice to see them again.  This is Star Mother’s Youngest Child, #108.

Christmas Quilts2Christmas Treat, #111.

Christmas Quilts1

This was about the first Christmas display quilt I made and I called it Christmas Wall Hanging.  It’s label-less, but is #15 on my 100-Quilts List, having been made twenty-two years ago.  I have made other Christmas quilts, but they’ve been passed on to others.

Wide Mouth Pouch1

I also found time to make a little pouch for a granddaughter, at her mother’s request.  It’s Noodle Head’s Wide Mouth Pouch, but I made it a little bit taller.

Wide Mouth Pouch2

Wide Mouth Pouch3I also added a tab at the zipper closure end so it’s easy to grab.  Her birthday is coming up this week, so I popped it in the mail the day before Thanksgiving.

Hope you enjoy getting reacquainted with your Christmas quilts, too!

 

Home Stretch: an Illusion

final inner corner

I finished up the quilting on the inner white field (background to the petal part) and thought–“Good!  I’m in the home stretch!”  Au contraire, mon ami.

narrow inner border

The next morning I got up and marked the swoopy quilting on the narrow inner border.  Yes, I’m pathetic enough that I feel like I want to mark every stitch.  At this point I’m watching millions of hours of longarm videos, as well as domestic machine (DM) quilting videos and everyone makes it look soooo smooth when they quilt.  I am really trying, but marking also just in case.  I stitch this and as I round the final bend, I realize that my stitching is more fluid and even that in the first foot or two of where I started.  I stop, unpick that section and re-stitch it.

crochet hook trick

Migrating threads can be taken care of by inserting a teensy crochet hook in between stitches in a seam, and pulling the thread out the side.  I’m successful at this about 70% of the time.  When I try this, I vow to study the quilts at the quilt shows a little harder.  Do they have this problem?  Do they worry about it?  I go back to studying longarm photos, seeing how even their stitches are, if they have wobblies.  They do, just fewer.  Is it fair to compare?  Not really, but I do it anyway.

quilting Colorwheel Blossom

I like it best when I can just go and go and the thread whooshes through and the machine hums and the TED Radio Talks are on in the background, not making me concentrate on anything.  I hate it the most when the thread breaks, or the bobbin runs out, or I bobble too much and feel like I need to unpick it and restitch it.

Quilting outer border

I take this photo before I go to bed that night and think “I’m done.” “Not so,” a little voice says.  Something’s just not right.

overlaying paper for ideas

I put that photo up on Instagram (IG) hoping for some feedback and the answer came back: the density of the quilting doesn’t match the inner field.  I knew that.  I just didn’t WANT to know that.  I overlay some transparent paper on the quilt and sketch in what’s been quilted, then try out some more bits and pieces.  I like the simplicity of the grid the best.

marking quilt again

More marking.

quilting done outer border

A ton more sewing.

colorwheel blossom beauty shot

And I finish.

Road Acceptance 2015

Somewhere in here I found about the acceptance of my quilts in the juried show of Road to California.  I’m dancing around on the bed, jumping around the house in complete and utter happiness.  For the last few years I’ve not gotten any quilt in and then to get all three??  I’m over the moon.

removing blue marker2

A very helpful Leslie, a quilter on Instagram, coaches me through the next step of getting out the blue marks.  I find a video on YouTube where the quilter uses a sponge and a cotton swab to get out the marks.  I follow her instructions.

removing blue marker

I’d done a teensy bit of grid right in the middle to tie into the outer border.

different between marked and not marked

As I take off the marks, I can’t believe how different (and better) the quilting looks!  I’m smiling as I swab. And then. . . of course.  I see all the areas where I’d missed stitching–there is one to the right of the vine in the photo above.

Colorwheel Blossom Drying on Bed

I checked my other expert I turn to for help: Linda of Flourishing Palms, and both she and Leslie suggested laying it out and putting a fan on it to let it dry.  So I put down my two cardboard cutting boards for a stiff surface, layered it with towels, then smoothed it out to dry.  Next up is finding and fixing all those missed sections of the quilt, and then the age-old question: how to bind this?  One of my quilty friends suggested a faced binding, and I’m leaning that way, for sure.

I’m pretty pleased with my work thus far, as I see it laying on the bed in the other room.  And I’ve really benefitted from a lot of encouragement from all of you here on the blog and in Instragramland.  But as I said to a friend today, why is it that I see all the mistakes?  And do I need to unpick them and re-stitch them?  I had the same experience with my Lollypop Trees quilt–and my uber-observant husband also found all the wobblies on that quilt (I’ve asked him to not do that again–one of me is bad enough!).  Leanne suggested living with it for a while before deciding, and after a couple of months, I didn’t notice the problems.  As much.

I’ve complimented others on their quilts and in return I get a litany of all the mistakes and the problems.  I don’t want — as Benjamin Franklin said — to look for the worm in the apple of my eye, nor do I want to see those flaws that others point out in their own work.  (BTW, my father always said the correct response when someone compliments you is”Thank you.”) So what is it about human nature that only sees the flaws?  Do you do this too?

All that being said, from the vantage point of the above photo, and my forays into the next room to check on the drying, I’m enjoying this quilt.  And happy to be at this (almost) home stretch.

 

Colorwheel Blossom in Progress

Colorwheel Blossom Quilt_in progress1

Because of all the wonderful and encouraging comments from last post, I kept going.  This is an in-progress update.  Inner blossoms quilted.  Inner background quilted.  Moving on today to small border, then final large border.

Making a quilty knot

Some asked about how I knot the threads to bury them.  When I begin stitching an area, I pull the bobbin thread up to the top, hang on to them and start stitching.  When I’m done, I need to deal with these threads. Before, I used to tie a square knot and then thread the tails through a self-threading needle and bury them.  There is a better way that I learned from Sue Rasmussen.

But first, there are two kinds of self-threading needles:

self-threading needle 1 self-threading needle 2The top kind, where you snap the thread into place, is a more reasonable cost, but occasionally it will shred your thread.  The side-threading needles retail for about seven dollars each (coming in a pack of three), but those who have them swear by them.  I did a search on “self-threading needle” on Google to find these.

But now I tie an overhand knot leaving the knot about a 1/4″ away from where I want to sink it into the quilt.  I grab the tails, put them in my self-threading needle, insert the tip of the needle where my threads originated and come out about 1″ away, pulling on the thread to pop in the knot.  If your knot is too far away, it will come loose.

Thank you again for all your encouraging comments.
Linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

 

Don’t Let the Process Overtake the Purpose

Narrow Mountain cliffside road

So here’s a dream story. I was driving someone home on a cliffside road, maybe it was the side of a dormant volcano or something–things are awfully hard to pin down in dreams.  The road was carved into the side of a mountain and kept getting more and more narrow until I felt I had only about two wheels on the road, but somehow didn’t fall down the mountain.  I could see the village in the valley below, and the person in the front seat kept yakking on and on like there was nothing unusual, and I’m like, “Hey! There’s no road here!”

Leap of Faith Indiana Jones

And as only dreams can do, it suddenly got worse when a car was coming the other way and I’m like “Are you nuts?  I’m not pulling over. . . I’ll grind right into the mountain.” And the oncoming car got closer and closer and I was sure I was going to be killed–because it was a dream, and that’s how dream things go.

crusades1

I woke into that lucid dreaming sleep place, where you are half in and half out, and thought of that scene from Indiana Jones, where he had to take a step of faith, and then discovers that the land bridge is there, only he couldn’t see it.  I focused on that, trying to stop being so frightened about there being no road, when it suddenly dawned on me that this was all about The Quilt.  The one that has been done since MAY and the one that’s been hanging in the closet, as I was too frightened to start quilting it.  I just didn’t know how, didn’t know if I was up to it.  I had already purchased all the thread in two separate trips up to Utah’s Superior Threads, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have my supplies.

Colorwheel Blossom Quilt Top

I did this-and-that all morning, still avoiding The Quilt.  And at lunch I was reading the New York Times and found an interview with Janet Elkin, with the words from this post’s title: “Don’t let the process overtake the purpose.”  She went on to say that when she motivates her employees, instead of focusing on the negative, she says “Let’s talk about how we’re going to get better.  Let’s get started.”  I ripped out that article and went right upstairs and pinned it to my design wall where I could see it.  It was time to get started.

Quilting Ideas

When I’d taken my class this summer at San Diego, Sue Rasmussen, the teacher, recommended finding ideas even in clothing.  I had drawn up a small sketch of an idea some time ago, and in another “ah, ha” moment, recognized it as being from the skirt I was wearing that day.  So I pulled out that skirt, traced a quarter of my quilt onto tracing paper and started sketching some ideas in pencil, going over them in ink when I liked them.

Colorwheel Quilt_sketch

Although it took me a while to realize this, a lot of free-motion quilters use drawn shapes to help them get the quilting done, so I made some templates of repeated shapes and laid them out on my quilt.  I used a blue wash-out marker to trace them, as I wanted them to stay on the quilt for while, giving myself a road map. I kept saying to myself that I had let the idea of quilting this quilt — the process — get in the way of my vision of a finished quilt — the product.  The universe had delivered two strong messages to me, so finally it was time to get going.

Colorwheel Quilt_petals1

I drew on the design with a purple disappearing marker for the inner petals, found the threads, and stitched those.  Big breath. Keep going.

Colorwheel Quilt_petals1a

I have NO confidence whatsoever in my ability to free motion quilt feathers, even though I have drawn them out about a billion times.  So I drew on that next set of petals, found the threads and quilted those and before quitting for the day, I buried all my threads, using the new method taught to me by Sue Rasmussen.

Colorwheel Quilt_petals2

I matched up the colors for the outer petals this afternoon, but even though I’d made a sketch of what I wanted, I needed another road map.

Colorwheel Quilt_petals template

So I made  another template, and drew that on.

Colorwheel Quilt_petals3

Tonight before I stopped, I had finished up all the colorful petals of my Colorwheel Blossom.  Of course, I’m not out of the woods yet, because I feel like another cliffside road is coming up for the quilting of the white part, but I will go forward in faith, trusting that I’ll figure it out as I quilt.  I appreciate all the encouragement I’ve received from the IG crowd; their enthusiastic comments help to propel me forward.  Lastly, I don’t know if any of my quilts  will ever be “show-quilt” worthy, but I will have tried something hard for me, and traveled down a new road.

driving into the sunset

Sometimes that’s enough.