Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I'm not dead, yet!

It's been nearly two months since I blogged, and much longer than that for a proper post, but I'm still here! I'm spending most of my time working on commission pieces and getting set for the big move to Australia in June.

Part of the move prep is touching every piece of fabric I own, sorting it by color or into the sell pile, then folding it properly. I'll be taking a suitcase full of fabric and other quilting supplies to Oz; I only get two suitcases and a carry-on to transport my whole life and these items will be essential to my well-being. (Shipping is prohibitively expensive for anything over four pounds.)

First, I had to be honest with myself and pull out all the fabric I've purchased in the last year and haven't bothered to put into my stash. I then sorted it into color family.

Then, I started folding it (as previously discussed in a guest post on the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild blog).

Looking better!

I'm quite pleased with the stack of blues I've set aside to sell or donate.

Of course, I'm still working on my commission piece, King of the Cuttlefish (the one with all sorts of lovely purples). I've made it through all the half-square triangles, creating a fade from dark to light. It's getting closer!

I'll be very busy getting things squared away, here, but hope to check in periodically. Upon arrival in Oz, I plan to regale you with all the goings on and adventures, quilty or otherwise! I'm looking forward to...

the farmers market...

interesting creatures...

the beach, and my guy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winner, winner!

Well, it seems several of you could do with a laugh or a snort. Without any further ado, I used Mr. Random to decide the winner:

auntiemern said:

I could not agree more.

Unfortunately, auntiemern is a no-reply blogger. If you're reading this, mern, please send me an email to claim your prize.

Should I not hear back from her within a week, I will choose another winner.

Those of you who weren't lucky enough to win a copy of the book from me or any of the other neverending blog tour participants can pick up your very own copy either in paperback or electronic form. Read it in good health! Remember to use the restroom, first, and do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt a sip of anything while reading. You have been warned.

Edit: auntiemern didn't contact me, so Becca is the new winner! She has already responded via email and should see her copy of Quilting Is(n't) Funny in her mail box, soon.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Quilting Is(n't) Funny!

Let me start by saying I absolutely stink as a blog hoppee. I was supposed to post this little stop yesterday and it totally blew past me, as work has been hectic, and I've just been falling onto bed face first every night. Megan, I apologize for being tardy, but I'm here, now!

With that mea culpa out of the way, I must tell you about the lovely Megan Dougherty, or as you may know her, The Bitchy Stitcher. I first found her blog more than three years ago. I worked at a job I hated and to make myself feel better, I would peruse blogs from time to time. Hers made me snort with laughter. I'm not kidding you. I snorted. At my desk. In a gopher farm. The first time she dick-rolled me (you know what I'm talking about), it was love. A fan was born.

I admired her from afar, thinking she was a really cool chick and probably wouldn't give two snaps about me. And then it happened. We joined the same vulgar quilting bee. I got to know her through the camaraderie of the group online. I was up close and personal with her tender heart, her snarky wit, and her beautifully creative self. Turns out, she farts just like everyone else, though she'll tell you she farts rainbows, so that must mean they smell like Skittles. (I told you I'd do it, Megan!)

Of course, that doesn't make me admire her any less. I love her even more!

When Megan said she was self-publishing a collection of some of her essays including new material), I KNEW I had to get my hands on it. I ordered a signed copy for my mom for her birthday. Last week, as I was home visiting her, she began reading Quilting Is(n't) Funny and was literally laughing out loud, just as I knew she would.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of your very own. I'll choose a winner on Monday, January 20.

If you'd like to snort, or laugh out loud, or choke on your coffee because you can't stop reading to even take a sip, this book is for you. Go here. Buy one for you, one for your best friend, and one for your mom. You won't regret it.

And while you're at it, get a copy of the Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Calendar. It's sure to brighten up your studio and all proceeds go to a good cause.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I'm pouty. There are a couple of beautiful quilts for wonderful people that I'm trying to finish before Christmas arrives and two AWESOME commission pieces I need to work on, but all I want to do is tear into some new fabric.

Like this.

Modern Bliss FQ bundle
Modern Bliss and coordinating Bella solids

Or this.

Lush F8th
Lush reprint

Or this

Valentina jelly roll

Or this, for which I even have a plan, I think.

Florence FQ bundle
Florence and Michael Miller yarn dyed Essex Linen

Or this awesome pattern that I just bought on sale (even though I don't normally go for patterns).

Geese in the Forest Quilt Pattern PDF - Click Image to Close
Geese in the Forest by Twiddletails
Instead, I'm working on this (when the cat isn't sitting on it).

Someone thinks I ought not to be working on my quilt... #catsofinstagram
Positively Batik

And this (which was fun until I pieced all the strips and now I'm perpetually stuck in the fussy bits of cutting the strip sets, positioning them, sewing them together again, and pressing - OMG the pressing).

Beautiful Dawn WIP
Beautiful Dawn
And trimming these. (Have I mentioned how much I hate trimming HSTs?)

King of the Cuttlefish WIP
King of the Cuttlefish HSTs

I also REALLY need to be going through things for the move to Australia.

Still, all I want to do is play. Not sort. Not list things for sale. Not finish pretty quilts I should, and at one time did, love.

I know, I know. You're wondering what's wrong with me. Those projects are wonderful and I just HAD to work on them when I started them. Finishing them should be exciting, too, and not tedious. I'm even dreaming of putting together a bunch of granny squares from a swap we did at my guild (and I'm not even in love with all of them)!


...Or maybe you're NOTwondering why I'm defective. Please tell me I'm not alone.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Luring Another to the Dark Side (EPP)

For Thanksgiving this year, we went to North Carolina to visit my guy's family, or, as I like to call them, the out-laws.

I must be the worst blogger in the world, though, because I took very few pictures. There was welcoming family, delicious food, season 4 of Downton Abbey (I am NOT going to spoil it for anyone, so don't even ask), and kittehs.

Indy was the most friendly and always looking for love. Since most of the furniture is black, he was also camo-cat!


Lilly was slightly timid, but did come around for pets occasionally. She looked like a cute, plump teddy bear. Here she is trying to join us for pie.


Mawly hid under the bed nearly the entire time we were there, but I managed to snap this poorly-lit pic of her peeking around the door jam.


Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic of Ushi, the sweet, shy black and white kitty, but I did get to love her a little.

Since I was away from home (and $carlett), I took my EPP travel pack.

Car Kit

After watching me for a few hours, the sister-out-law asked me what I was doing. Nibble, little fish, nibble away! I showed her a little and later told her I would be happy to take a trip to JoAnn to help her pick out what she needed. BAM! Got that fish on the line!

We jetted over to JoAnn Fabric for a cutting mat, rotary cutter, ruler, needles, thread, and a few fat quarters while she tested the waters.

L's setup Yes, let the EPP flow through you!

In no time at all, she had some hexagons basted and had already looked into different EPP shapes and layouts.

After our return home, she sent me a pic of what she'd been working on.

L's first EPP

The little fish had gone to buy more fabric AND experimented with another shape! I'm so excited for her. I showed my partner his sister's handiwork and he replied, "You've created another quilter."

Of course, our kitty was quite happy for us to be home.

happy lap cat

And then, we broke out the big Christmas tree. We've had a small table-top tree for the last two years, but I thought we should put up the big one this year, since it will be our last in the states - for a while, at least.

Christmas Tree 2013

I haven't spoken about it much, yet, but now that all the stars have aligned, tees have been crossed and eyes crossed dotted, I can tell you;

We're moving to Oz!

That's Australia, for the uninitiated. A wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has presented itself, and we'll be calling Brisbane home for the next four years. My guy needs to arrive in January, but the daughter and I won't follow until June. I'm very much looking forward to all my adventures, which I will try to share here.

Now, back to gift sewing! I've got plenty to do before the fat man arrives.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oh, hai!

You know it's bad when your partner, who loves you dearly and enjoys seeing the fruits of your labor, but who also only pay cursory attention to your blog says, "You really haven't blogged since October 29?!" Um. Yeah. I'm overdue.

I've been working like a crazy person, both at the J.O.B. and in the studio.

First, I have a great new commission piece. I pulled some solids after viewing her home and space, and when she came for the follow-up, we pulled some prints together.

Fabric Pull cool Fabric Pull warm
It's the first commission for which I actually wrote up a solid estimate that totaled $830. That's right, $830. Proudly. Unabashedly. Unapologetically. I'm so thankful for Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio. Not only is she an awesome lady and a good friend, but she also gave me (and anyone else who wants them) the tools I needed to write up the estimate properly with her $ew Worth It movement. If you're a crafter who sells your wares, or just someone who enjoys the work that crafters create, you really need to read her series of blog posts on charging better than poverty wages for our expertise. Go ahead. (Read here to find out about the worth of crafting, here for the bigger picture, and here she gives you the tools you need to put it into practice.) I'll wait here while you do.

Are you back? Isn't she awesome?!

I've been working on another commission piece, this one for my sister-outlaw. She sent me an inspiration pic that I absolutely love.

King of the Cuttlefish

Isn't that cuttlefish cute? And those colors instantly sparked a design in my brain. You'll have to wait until I get it together more to see some of the more interesting points of the design, but I've been working on piecing the background.

Please excuse the crappy cell phone pics to follow.

I started with a lot of purple squares, sorted by value.

King of the Cuttlefish purple squares

Using Amanda Jean's trick for randomization, I sewed them together in strips of 5 in 5 different value sets: light, light & medium, medium, medium & dark, and dark.

King of the Cuttlefish strip sets

Since it will be a king-sized quilt, I had to lay it out in sections; my design wall just isn't big enough to lay it all out at once. I started with one quarter of the strips on the design wall (in value sets) and took a pic on my phone. This is a great trick I've discussed before to help in your design process. It helps me see what stands out and doesn't belong where it is.

King of the Cuttlefish design wall 1

After a few small switches...

King of the Cuttlefish design wall 2 King of the Cuttlefish design wall 3 King of the Cuttlefish design wall 4
...the quarter was good to go and I pieced blocks together (usually 5x5, but one set is 5x6), leaving the bottom-most value set for the same process with the darker value sets that didn't have room on my design wall.

King of the Cuttlefish design wall 5

There may have been a little wine involved...

New Age wine

Of course, as soon as I was done with one half of the blocks, I had to lay them out on my bed, which is still too short to do them justice, but gave me a tickle.

King of the Cuttlefish half-way mark!

Then, I went through the whole process, again, with the other half.

King of the Cuttlefish design wall 6 King of the Cuttlefish design wall 7
I'd worked for quite a while on another project (to be discussed later) before turning to this one, so after getting all the purples together, I decided to clean my machine. I may have been a bit tardy...

PSA: clean your machine
PSA: Clean your machine. She'll thank you for it - by not making horrid noises or dying an untimely death.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2013

If you're a follower of my blog, you have already heard this story. If not, welcome! Let me tell you the tale of my Fall 2013 Blogger's Quilt Festival entry.

Long, long ago, in a church basement not so far away, I offered a custom quilt to the highest bidder in a silent auction to benefit a choir in which I (then) sang. Sarah, a dear lady who has been most supportive of my avocation, was the lucky bidder to win the lot. She came to my house to discuss what design she would like and we settled on one inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian.

File:Mondrian Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow.jpg
copyright Estate of Piet Mondrian, used only for illustration purposes
And there it sat. And sat. And sat. For nearly a year, I didn't make headway on it, at all. You would not believe how intimidating it is to even attempt to imitate his work. One would think it is easy, being black, white, and primary colors all in straight lines. I was afraid of not doing his iconic work any justice, whatsoever. Finally, I kicked myself in the rear and checked out a reference book on Mondrian. I studied that for months before putting pencil to graph paper.

Once I had a design, it was constructed in very short order. I had originally planned to do a small piece, but since Sarah had been waiting so long and so patiently, I made it into a large full/small queen quilt top.

It languished, again, as I tried to come up with a quilting design. Six months later, I knew what I would do, but I also knew it would take me a long time. I sent a note to Sarah so she would know I was doing something very special with it, as though I were keeping the quilt myself, and that it would take a lot more time. Bless her, she didn't even bat an eyelash.

Each white block is quilted with straight lines approximately 1/2" apart.

And one more! Only two gigantic squares of red to go, then a thread change.

All the colored pieces, no matter how large, are quilted with pebbles.

One more down, four to go! Also this was my first time quilting on my home machine with Aurifil and all I can say is, "Oh, myyyyyyyyyy!"

Mondrian Dream took me a year to quilt, working off and on, but it was worth every single minute.


I even entered it into the Minnesota State Fair and was very pleased to see it displayed near Frank Lloyd Wright inspired stained glass.

I love how the quilting looks from the back, too!

Mondrian Dream back WIP
As always, a big thank you to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Be sure to pop over and nominate your favorite quilts in all categories.