Saturday, July 31, 2010

What was I thinkin'?

Well, this is a progress report from the hot box that is East Texas, y'all. It just isn't worth it to venture outside unless you KNOW there is something good in the mail. It is even hot in my sewing room in spite of the central air, and two ceiling fans. I guess I'll carry in the little portable fan and plug it in to blow directly on me while I work.  This is the status of my Mariner's Compass as of yesterday afternoon. The two outer rings are pieced together, but the center star is just sitting on top, which hides the points of the diamonds. I'm not as pleased as I'd hoped to be, as the diamonds are "floating" a bit. However, that's far better than having them cut off, in my opinion. Now to sew in the star w/o chopping off the bottom points of the diamonds during that step! Well, maybe it will all "quilt out" as they like to say. I can pray, anyway. I'm trying to decide if I really want another star in the center, or maybe a fussy cut flower. I'm leaning toward the flower. What do you all think would look best?


It's time for the second month's clamshell report, so here is my total tally for the month. 440. Count 'em. Each of the piles below has 110 identical clamshells in it. Only 80 (approximately) to go. Now all I have to do is figure out what method will allow me to sew them down in the neatest, straightest, least aggravating manner. I think I'll applique the first row down onto a striped fabric. I wouldn't mind appliqueing the whole lot of them in that manner, except I plan to hand quilt the finished top, and I don't know how the extra layer of fabric would affect that process. Any suggestions would be most welcome, as I am feeling a good deal of trepidation at the prospect. Do you think the additional layer of fabric could count as the batting? Just asking.


 

If you are interested in my "method" of choosing fabrics for this, I am making 4 of each fabric I choose, all of them reproduction fabrics. There are some background fabrics, but I am not alternating light with dark, in a particular pattern, as a lot of the participants are. I just want a scrappy look. I like busy.

Needing to applique something "for fun", I succumbed to the newest Kim McLean pattern, Roseville Album. So many of my blogging sisters have been doing her patterns, with such luscious results, that I couldn't stand out against my desire to play any longer. Here is the pattern, with my stash of Kaffe Fassett & friends fabrics. There are a few other fabrics which I thought might work, but only working with the designs will show me what does, or does not, look well. I'm a bit intimidated by the sheer joy, and exhuberance, of these fabrics, and Kim's patterns, too, but I've found the best cure for that is to just plunge in. I used to be intimidated by hand applique, and hand quilting, as well. But no longer, after doing it.  Please wish me luck, and if you have any tips, or cautionary tales, on dealing with recaltricant clams,  I'd love to hear from you. Cheers, Michele

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Oy, what a day I'm having.......................



Could you lovely readers just pretend that these pictures are actually showing in the previous post? You could? Oh, goody, because I seem to have had a brain malfunction, and have forgotten how to move my photo's from Picasa, to my Documents. Hubby isn't available for consultation, so I appeal to the kind, understanding natures that I know you all possess, and throw myself on your mercy.

Above is the panel from Den Haan, which has the nerve to photograph pretty darn colorful.



Here is the Quilts Down Under magazine with Chris Jurd's beautiful Mariner's Compass in it.



And here is what I have accomplished in the last three days. This is a very large center (almost 40") and I want to turn it on point as she has done here. Then the setting triangles will consist of clamshells, finished with a clamshell border. Some other applique motif may find it's way into the design somewhere, but at this point that is unclear.

I really appreciate you all bearing with me while I learn how to blog all over again..........some of us just take longer.  Happy sewing, Michele
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Why I hate paper piecing..........let me count the ways:

You gals are magic! I received my chintz panel the morning after I posted asking for you to cross your fingers. Thank you! Only problem is...............I am not truly pleased with it. Bummer and a half. I don't know if you can tell from my photo, but the color is so "washed out", for want of a better term. I thought the colors would be quite vivid, and clear, as are most of the chintzes I've seen in stores, but they are so muted as to seem faded. With postage from Amsterdam, my half of the package ended up costing me approximately $35.00. I know that isn't the end of the world, but it is very disappointing. I guess I'll set it aside to come back to at a later date. Perhaps when my expectations aren't built up too high, I'll see it in a more favorable light. Do you like it? I would love to know what your opinions are.

That said, I needed to come up with a new plan for the center of my medallion quilt, in which I will use my clamshells as borders, and setting triangles. Now, I haven't done any major piecing in quite a while, as applique has just consumed all my time, but I pulled up my big girl britches and decided to tackle this:

Isn't it gorgeous? This is a quilt, and pattern, by Australian quilter, Chris Jurd. It has the templates for paper piecing...............er, did I ever mention that I am pathetic at paper piecing? Well, I am. I don't enjoy it, and I don't like it, and it doesn't like me either! I have had a remarkably trouble-free time, thus far in the process, but rather than giving me confidence, it just makes me nervous...........like waiting for the other shoe to drop, if you know what I mean. I like how it's looking, so I'll keep at it, and hope for the best. Paper piecing is the only way I know to get something this complicated together, although there are many of you wonderful hand piecers out there who could do it with no dificulty whatever. You know who you are! 

I'm having trouble getting my photos to come up, so I'll close for now, and work on that. Michele

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What happened to July?

Hello friends. Geez, I just looked up to see what was going on around me, and discovered I lost a month! My life seems to be stuck on fast forward, with no pause button in sight. Our two eldest grandkids just left, after spending a week with us. They are 13, and 15, and seem to need the computer in order to breathe properly, so I let them have it. Coleman, via YouTube, has "discovered" Monty Python, and can practically do the routines from memory. On Friday, Kayla and I, braved the heat to go and have Spa Pedicures, lunch, and do a little gratuitous shopping, so that was fun. Their schedules are so very full, that it is a rare treat these days to have them for a visit.

Dear Valentina sent me a box of Dutch goodies from the Netherlands while she was there visiting her sister, and family. There were two beautiful tea towels, made of cotton, with a clever loop in one corner for hanging. I just love them, and you can never have too many tea towels. I sure don't have any others as pretty as these.


There were also a package of napkins, an adorable little address book, a fragrant bar of lavender soap, and photos of the points of interest in Groningen, which is where her sister lives. Thank you so much for thinking of me, dear friend. I am enjoying all of it so much.

 

I rarely win anything in drawings, but I got lucky!! Lisa had a drawing for two potholders of your choice, and I won these two happy churndash potholders. Aren't they cute!! What I do to potholders ain't pretty, folks, they lead a rough and tumble life here at our house, but they will lead useful lives. I thought about showing you my current, dilapidated, stained, burned bunch of pot grabbers, but decided it would depress you all too much. Trust me on this................I needed pot holders!



You know what just happened? I just lost the rest of my photos, and can't find them. Arghhhhhhh. I will just wind this up and post again very soon. I don't have the heart to do over right now. I have the yellow "thing" put together, lacking only finishing the butterfly, and adding pieced borders............but the truth is, I don't want to even look at it right now. I have been waiting for a chintz panel from Amsterdam, to use for the center of my clamshell quilt, and it seemingly will never get here. It mailed on June 23rd, they say, and I fear it's been lost somewhere. It would be not only an expensive loss, but a true disappointment for me, if it doesn't show up. I'm making scrappy clamshells, in a fairly wide range of reproduction fabrics, but won't know for certain if they will look well until the panel either arrives, or I plan a different center. So, please cross your fingers that it will come next week, won't you? It can't hurt, and the quilt fairy might just smile on me. After all, I have prepped 352 clamshells just on "spec"..............some of them will work, won't they?  Michele