Monday, June 28, 2010

Cloudy and a chance of falling houses...

I needed to fill a little space in the wordy border corners of my liberated lady quilt and thought I really needed a house falling on a witch.  (I think I will make a witch hat for the opposite corner.)  I cheated!  I tried and tried to free-piece the legs and slippers but it just didn't work out.  (I justified it by observing that some people in my swap embellished their blocks a little with applique...).

MAJOR ETHICAL NEW FABRIC DILEMMA:

To rip or not to rip?!?

I just dropped in on a quilt store in the center of the state (Michigan) this afternoon while running an errand in that particular small town.  I decided to support the local economy by getting some fabric from the shop on the village square (my patriotic duty, after all...), and to my horror, they ripped it!!  I know, I know...some people think that this is the best way to get fabric, but it seems so violent to me.  We rotary cut at the quilt store where I work part time, unless it is double wide stuff for backings.  AND, I always measure with "fat thumbs," which means you never get exactly 36 inches of fabric when I am cutting you a yard of goods.  Maybe I wouldn't have minded the tearing so much if I had known that I got 37 inches of fabric.  I know what the mark-up is on fabric...does it really hurt to be a tad bit generous??  I mean, really!!  I think I made a face when the owner ripped my selection, because then she proceeded to give me a lecture to justify her violent act (like I had not been quilting since 1982...).  Blah, blah, blah...

I do try and cut most of my long boders perpendicular to the selvage, but I also deal with things cut WOF as well.  I "press rather than scrub" with the iron (thanks Mary J. for that quote and reinforcement...), so I don't have much trouble with "squirrel-li-ness" of piecing, even when I cut things on the bias.

After ripping one particularly bad, screwy bolt, she tried lining up the edges to prove that everything would be fine for cutting across the width of the fabric.  She could not get the huge wrinkle out, no matter how many times she stretched out my poor cut  "rip" of fabric and re-adjusted the fold.  I nearly cried, paid for my purchases, and couldn't wait to get out of there with my wounded pieces of fabric.  I drowned my sorrows in a tall diet coke (wanted a milkshake, but got a hold of myself in the freakin' nick of time...LOL).

So, how do you feel about tearing versus cutting with a rotary cutter or scissors when purchasing fabric??  And, how do you feel when you ask for 1 yard of fabric and you get 36 inches exactly of fabric (instead of a smidge more....)??

Bitching, I mean, in stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I need a bigger design wall...or a bigger family room floor!




Weasley likes it enough to take a whole bath on it while I was staring at it and thinking.  Maybe I should have made the letters shorter...they seem a little big.  Oh well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Not bad for my first attempt at these letters.  Of course, Mr. furry britches is lying right on top of the witch, which probably makes you wonder why I picked that particular phrase...how do cats know these things?!?

I need to purchase a little more champagne colored "Fizz" by P&B to finish out the word border...it's amazing how much background fabric it takes to be liberated.  Then I need to think of a small outer border...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Word games...

The words for my Liberated Lady swap block quilt are done...this is just five of them (for those of you trying to make an intelligent phrase from what you see in the picture...LOL).  The rest are sloppily pinned to my too-small design wall...not pretty.

These letters are in the spirit of Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilting.  I intentionally did not read her tutorials...I was trying to be totally liberated!  I probably should have read the tutorials first...especially when I got to the letters S, G, and R.  I've always been bad about reading the directions...

I was battling all day with my perfectionism, which wanted them to be the same height and perfectly spaced.  They look far better in all different sizes and with wonky spacing, which is really easy to accomplish if you loosen up and just let 'er rip!

Because the quilt center is so busy, I decided on one color for the letters and one for the background (I just love the new "Fizz" by P&B!).  Now I want to make more in lots of fun colors and fabrics.

The next step is to decide how to place the word phrases around the quilt center.  I am enjoying the "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" design style.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Darn it, but I've been "dashed" out!


I think I have almost recovered from working at the shop (The Quilting Season, Saline, Michigan) for the Michigan Stash Dash last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I know quilters love these things, but they can be a killer to get ready for and live through for store staffs!  After 12-hour plus days, I came home and didn't go near my stash.  I think I was on cotton overload (I didn't think that was possible!).  Shocking!

I have a few new baskets to add to the others.
I've also been doing a little stash scrap maintenance...washing, sorting, putting stuff away.   Rae Ann was nice enough to ask me to post on Stash Manicure this morning.  If you have not checked out that site, it is a MUST SEE!!!  GREAT ideas for using your stash from all kinds of invited guest bloggers!

Today is my daughter's 13th birthday, and she leaves later in the day for a church youth group trip to New York City.  I will miss her, but I am SO looking forward to some SEWING and ME time!!!!!  Shocking!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Uh-oh...a new crush...

What is wrong with me?  For 7 months, I was a one-quilt-woman...didn't even look at another quilt with lust in my heart while working on the Civil War Bride.  Now that the bride is done, I'm like a drunken sailor on shore leave!  Little houses in a quaint village, Liberated Ladies, a baby quilt, Blackbird baskets, Aunt Clara, Klosjes, Civil War Sampler, log cabins...these are just a few of my on-going projects, some long-term, some with a deadline in mind. 

While at Borders Books with my daughter on Monday afternoon, I picked up this magazine and saw the quilt on the cover.  My heart skipped a beat.  I opened the magazine to the proper page, and there she was...Annabelle.  (Don't tell my husband...)  Has anyone else fallen for this vixen??
The magazine is sharing the pattern, which is nice.  I'm going to hold off on any starts...just daydream about it for a while.

I know, I know...SUCKER!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, June 14, 2010

And the winners are...





A pot of tea and a drawing.  The winner of the neutral bundle is Barb.  The winner of the smaller blue and green bundles is Moramargaritaster.  Congratulations!  Please send me an email with your postal address and I will get this cotton moving!

Thank you to everyone who participated...I wish I had a prize for everyone as you were all so sweet and generous with your comments!

I managed to finish assembling the center of the liberated ladies top.  Now it is on to the borders, including free-pieced phrases.  I stripped out all the ladies with my stash of small to medium florals and bugs/butterflies.  I tried my hand at some trees to fill a few holes.

There were some cool embellishments and "bling" on some of the swapped ladies, which I removed temporarily during construction and quilting.  I will put them back in place when the quilting is finished.

Don't you love the chick in the bikini???
As I was chain-piecing all these strips, ladies, trees and doggies, I was sewing through my "leaders and enders" (thanks, Bonnie!) to make these kinds of blocks.  Here are 4 little blocks that I have done...2 light chain, and 2 dark chain.  It is a great way to get rid of 2 inch scraps!  If you don't know about leaders and enders, check out Bonnie's blog.  Having scrappy blocks ready to piece as I piece another project, sitting in a basket next to my machine, gives me basically two quilt tops for the effort of one.  And I do love scrappy!


And last but certainly not least (should have been first!)...Susi was kind enough to offer templates to make the fabulous scrappy Aunt Clara quilt that she is making here.  I experimented with a small handful of scraps, and now I am totally hooked!!  I need to spend some time cutting out some scraps to keep going on this fun little hand-pieced project.  Here is my embarrassingly feeble start...I have chosen to use scrappy neutrals for the squares then anything goes for the elongated hexagons!

Thank you susi!  This will be another one of my enjoyable little projects on the go in a magic box (along with my spools and little appliqued baskets).

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy Blog-day to me!! (finally, the give-aways!)



Oh no!!  Headless kitty!  No, Weasely is not the give-away...

My blog is one year old this week, and I finally got out and about and found a couple of fabric give-aways worthy of the occasion. 
The neutral fat quarter bundle on the left contains 13 gorgeous pieces of Jo Morton's "Attic Shirtings."

The second give-away contains 2 fat quarter bundles of Jo Morton's "Compliments" line, 5 lovely pieces in each one (blues and greens - my picture makes the green look darker and drab, they are really quite lovely!).

These are absolutely beautiful fabrics!  Leave a comment before Monday morning, June 14 at 8:00 AM Michigan time, and you could win one of the bundles!  In addition, everyone who has already well-wished me on my last post and leaves one on this post as well will have their name entered twice! 

Thank you for visiting my blog and my projects this year.  Your comments have been so warm and nice!  Good luck!  Here's one more shot of Mr. Weasley...(my daughter named him...he's Harry Potter's red-headed friend...).


In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oh Geez, it's my BIRTHDAY!


My blog is one year old!!  It really sneaked up on me!  I'm going on a give-away hunt today to find something fun for YOU to celebrate!  Be sure to check out my next post for a chance to win!

I can't believe it has been a whole year.  I still feel as dumb about blogging "how to's" - I'd rather sew than try and figure out more ideas for making my site look nice.  Thank you for visiting me anyway!

I've been working with no rules for a few days...not easy for me.  I'm trying to put a top together from my fabulous "liberated lady" swap blocks, my liberated doggie and tree blocks, and a tub of small to medium scale floral fabrics.  My friend Jonesy made most of us witches, and that is the focus for my quilt.  My daughter loves "The Wizard of Oz" and "Wicked," so I thought I would finish it along that theme.  Here's the mess that is currently hanging on my design wall (mess in a GOOD way)...   :o)


I'm still in the process of adding strips, making liberated tree spacers where needed, and moving ladies around. 

After the center is together, I am going to free-piece words (a la Tonya of Lazy Gal Quilting) that will say "I'll get you my pretties...and your little dogs, too!"

Things can get pretty nutty going from the wall to the sewing machine, so I thought I would share my SECRET LABELING WEAPON with you.  I take leftover scraps of FREEZER PAPER, cut them into squares, and label them with row and block number (or other info), then press them to the block or chunk of pieced mess.  (I temporarily press them to something else, then peel them off when I am really to use them.)

I like this better than pins, clips, or other bulky row markers that are available commercially.  I don't have to move them before pressing or sewing, they add no weight, and when I am finished, I just peel them off and throw them away.  It's the best way I have found to reduce piecing errors.

I also use this method to label swap blocks with my name or other info.

Or better YET, I use this to label pieces of blocks or kits in case I set a project aside and FORGET what fabric goes WHERE!  (which happens to me a lot...)  I used to use painters masking tape or trust my old brain (big mistake these days...) and freezer paper leaves no residue and keeps me from banging my head against my sewing machine as I try and remember things (or use a seam ripper, God forbid!).

So have fun sewing, and try my method using freezer paper...I sure am glad some butcher somewhere came up with this fabulous stuff!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Momentary slices of handwork - introducing the "magic box..."

Just when I think I'm nuts to work on hand-appliqued projects because someone once said that "handwork takes too long," I find that there are lots of small slices of free time in my life when I can do a few stitches at a time.  My problem seems to be finding bigger chunks of time to sit in front of my sewing machine, with the iron turned on and containers of fabric opened, spread out and ready for action.

At this point in my life, I seem to have more slices than chunks.

When I saw people working on these fun little baskets over the last year in blogland, I knew this kind of project would be perfect for my "magic box."  I spent a few slices of time cutting out freezer paper patterns and some background squares.  Then, in another few slices of time, I ironed the handle and basket patterns to some chunks of fabric and placed them in my magic box, a recycled, paper-covered gift box, along with some scissors (the box belonged to a family member, Betty, who passed away recently...I think of her when I open it to work).

As I went to meetings or while waiting in the car to pick up my daughter, I would open my box and in these stolen moments I would cut out the fabric/patterns.  Upon being at home again, I took the big scissors out of my box and added a small plexiglass ruler, a glue stick, and my stiletto.  Then in other stolen moments away from home, I would glue edges to get ready for applique.  I would peel off the freezer paper and save it to iron on the next set of fabric chunks at another time.  Then I would remove the glue stick, etc. from my magic box, then add the Roxanne's glue baste bottle.  The next time I had a slice of time, it was filled with glue basting little shapes to backgrounds



Then, the tools in the box shifted to thread, a needle, a thimble and small snips.  I think you are getting the picture.  My magic box is always ready to grab and run out of the door with the next step of the process ready when I get a second or two.  I find I can stitch a basket down in 10-15 minutes.  I usually can do one every morning while I drink my tea after my daughter leaves for the schoolbus at 7:00 AM.

I really believe in this concept, and because I also subscribe to the "multiple projects" view of quilting, I have many versions of the magic box.  This little box was "borrowed" (stolen) from my daughter.  It contains my little 3-inch spool project, filled with pieces, thread, needle and snips, ready to walk out the door with me.



This old decopaged purse of my Mom's contains a stitchery project that I am currently working on.

Make a magic box, put a project in it, and make a stitch or two every time you have a stolen moment.  Before you know it, stitch by stitch, you will have something very precious.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Liberated doggies...



These are my first 3 attempts at some liberated pooches to go with my liberated ladies.  This is my hot dog.  I also tried a tan dog with pointy ears, from behind.   DH thinks it looks like a giant version of Weaseley, our wonder cat.  Whatever.

DH and daughter were more supportive of my Toto dog...


Since one of my liberated ladies was a witch (thank you, Jonesy!!) and my daughter loves "The Wizard of Oz" and the musical "Wicked," I've come up with a plan. 

I have ended up with extra liberated ladies, so I need several more doggie companions for my plan to work.   After more dogs, I will finish some Tonya words/phrase for the border.  Here is my original portion of swapped ladies.  I now have over twice this many (oh, the generous nature of quilting friends!).



Stay tuned!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)