Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Problem With UFO's

I finished the hand quilting on the All Skate quilt. Now I just have to sew down the border which I will do by machine. Then it is on to the dreaded binding. I'm hoping there's enough backing fabric to make the binding. One of the things about finishing a UFO three years after you start it is that the fabrics you used in the quilt are probably not available anymore. Fabric manufacturers don't keep making the same fabric year after year. Fortunately, this quilt has lots of fossil fabrics. If all else fails, I can probably still find some fossil fabrics to make the binding. Why didn't I buy enough binding to begin with? That would have involved some advanced planning on my part.

I am not looking forward to trying to trim up this monster and then wrestle with it under the machine to get the binding on. Once again, I have to ask myself what possessed me to make such a big quilt. Obviously, I was more ambitious or had too much time on my hands three years ago. That girl had no clue what she was in for.

Monday, March 17, 2008

If I knew Then What I know Now

I don't know. There must be something in the water or the planets have aligned or I'm delirious from the kazillion infections I've had over the last few weeks. But I've decided to finish my UFO's once and for all. This is a reversal from my previous stand that it is perfectly acceptable to have projects that take 100 years. But what would an election year be without a little flip-flopping?

It started with the "All Skate" quilt which I am currently hand quilting. I have also decided that the piecing on the coffee quilt has come to an end. I put the blocks I have so far on the design wall. There were supposed to be a lot more blocks in this quilt - it was going to be much bigger. (I know it doesn't look like a lot of blocks, but it's all hand pieced). I don't know what I was thinking back then. I don't have the same interest in making big quilts anymore. That's one of the interesting things about working on these UFO's. It's like the me now is different from the me then. Today, I would make different choices than the ones I made when I started them. I like to think this means I've grown creatively and am able to critique and edit my own work. I actually think my original idea for the coffee quilt was quite uninteresting.

Seriously, this was it. But I've had a flash of insight about this quilt that I'm excited about. I'll share that after I actually figure out how to do what's in my head.

Once I get the coffee quilt off the design wall, the blue quilt is next. That was also supposed to be a big one. We'll see.

Now here is what I think is happening. I've been on a spending diet for Lent. I've been trying to learn the difference between my wants and my needs. So that means I've only been spending money on things I need to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. There have been no trips to JoAnns or the quilt store or the art supply store. I've weaned myself off Borders/Barnes & Nobles. Don't even get me started on Starbucks. So there hasn't been a constant influx of new materials to play with and new ideas. But I need something to DO. And that leaves the UFO's. And I'm in no way disappointed that I've basically been forced to work on my old projects. I like the fabrics, I like the ideas I had when I started them. The only reason I haven't worked on them is because I got distracted by new projects. So I've learned to make do with what I have. I've learned to focus. I've learned to commit. I think I may have learned a little discipline. Lent is awesome.

Also - does anyone know how long it takes to get over this cold? The pink eye is gone but I can't shake the other bug and it is awful. It's like the colds I used to get when I was a kid, and I thought all of my stuff was going to have be burned like the kid in the "Velveteen Rabbit" because I was so sick. That's how bad I feel. Velveteen Rabbit bad.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

When It Rains...

Did you ever have a really crappy week? Sure you have. And when it rains, it pours. I'll spare you all of the grisly details and just say this; it is not a good idea to catch pink eye from your toddler when you already have a cold from said youngster. On top of spreading infections, he's not sleeping. Thank you very much Daylight Savings Time. I'm pretty sure he thinks we're messing with his head, and since he's my kid, he's not going quietly. Since I've been gross and infectious, I haven't been going to the chiropractor about my neck. Did I mention that my neck is still bothering me from the accident? There are also issues with the accident and issues with money, yadda, yadda, yadda. And so it goes.

Maybe he'll treat me for free when he grows up.

Fortunately, during the brief moments when my eyes stop watering, I've been able to slip into a happy place with a little hand quilting. I started quilting this piece a few years ago. It is really big but I had finished most of the quilting when I stopped working on it. When I got pregnant, I would fall asleep under it while trying to quilt it. I pretty much slept through my first trimester. So I put it down and it became a UFO. Now seems like a good time to pick it up and try to finish it. When it rains, it pours, so you might as well quilt.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Year's Resolution Quilts 3

I finished the third New Year's Resolution quilt. This one is called, "Buy A New Broom". In my family it is bad luck to bring a broom from your old house to your new house. You should buy a new broom or, better yet, someone should give you a new broom. This is because you don't want to bring the dirt from the old house into the new house. I think this is my favorite family superstition. Something about acknowledging the transition from the old to the new, and the idea that you can leave the "old dirt" behind you and start fresh.

Anyway, the background is machine pieced and the broom is needle turn applique. Most of the quilting was done by machine. The detail on the broom was done by hand. And of course, the beads were applied by hand. The edges are finished by hand with a blanket stitch. I really like the red thread and purple beads against the greens and browns. That red thread on the broom was vexing. I think the overall angle of the broom may be off, which is why the thread never looked quite right no matter how I angled it. After the third attempt I decided to just call it quirky and move on. This quilt is 100% from my stash.

As I was working on this quilt, I got to thinking about how we really are in a partnership with our materials. We will only gain so much control over them, no matter how much we practice. Sometimes it is not worth fighting. Sometimes if we step back and let the materials do what they want, we will be pleased with the results. Keeping this in mind, we should look for the same qualities in our materials that we look for in good partners. Things like quality, flexibility, and endurance. How about sparkle and wit? It helps if you share the same sensibilities. But it also helps if they challenge you to look at things in a new way.

On to number four. It is waiting to be quilted but I don't have the right thread. Number five is also challenging me because it needs to incorporate text. Stay tuned.