Monday, January 30, 2012

Problem Solving

Some of you know that I've been working on my bird quilt for a decade.  Last weekend I finished sewing on the binding and even though I'll add more embroidery and quilting, I wanted to take a few photos.  That's when I discovered the stains on the background fabric behind the Black- throated Blue Warbler.

I tried to wash them out but they resisted my best efforts.  I auditioned some strategically placed leaves but I don't believe in cover-ups.  
Desperate, I took drastic measures.
I unpicked the appliqué, sashing
and quilting stitches.
The stains were very apparent on the reverse,
so I cut them out, nice and neatly,
re-pieced the background,
added a branch and put it all back together.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It isn't Quilt until it's Quilted - Civil War Top

version one
getting warmer
almost there

Fifty-nine blocks and room for only fifty-one.  No two the same.  The center thirteen already sewn into place.  I figured it would take the better part of a morning to arrange them to my satisfaction.  Ha. Morning became afternoon; I took a break.  I returned to the design wall after dinner and finally, about midnight I said to myself, enough is enough. You'll see more clearly in the light of day. 

That's when I wished for a visit from the quilter's elves.  These crafty creatures would sneak into my sewing room and immediately identify the offending blocks, eliminate them and rearrange the others so that each block was exactly where it belonged.  But alas, when I checked in the morning, the only blocks that had moved were those that drooped where the painter's tape failed ( my design wall isn't quite wide enough).  So it was back to work and I am not telling how much longer it took until I was really and truly satisfied.  

the blocks that didn't make the final cut
 my favorite quilting tool is the tweezer I use to remove stray thread 
Just Right - My Civil War Top     64.5" by 82"
I needed coping stripes around the center medallion in order to make the border blocks fit, but when I got ready to sew the blocks to the panel I found I was off 5/8ths of an inch.  I didn't have anymore of the beige background fabric, so I couldn't re-make the strips. Then I realized I could trim and resew the sashing in strategic spots to make it work.  Bet you can't tell where!

Spending a year making this quilt with the Barbara Brackman Civil War Quilt circle of friends from all over the world was a once in a lifetime experience.  The woman I plan to have custom quilt it has a seven month wait so it will be a while until my top is officially a quilt. I think it will be worth the wait. Participating in this group for a year taught me how quickly time can fly.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finishing Up - 2012

As much as I want to start something new, this is not the time.  Life coach Gail Blanke was interviewed on NPR the other day. She's written a  book called "Throw Out 50 Things", which advocates ridding your life of clutter.  She says that by editing our lives and discarding physical and emotional clutter, we find our life.  I've taken her advice to heart, and begun.  I'll discard, repurpose and donate. I don't need to keep count, as it'll be pretty easy to get to 50.

What's harder for me is to stop accumulating.  And as new projects fall into that category, I'm not giving myself permission to start anything new until something is finished. A little motivation alway helps, so I was delighted that Nicky over at mrsssewandsow led me to Quilter in the Gap's 2012-finish-long and lots of like minded quilters.

The pace is just right too.  Not weekly, or monthly deadlines, but QUARTERLY, which sounds just about right to me.

My list is very familiar to many of you as my quilting progress is slow.

#1 -  Finish the Civil War Block of the Week 2011 quilt.  Thirteen blocks set, forty to go and then off for professional machine quilting.  I'm taking vacation next week and staying home to sew.

#2 - One of my New Year's resolutions was to quilt my Bird Quilt for an hour a day.  On Monday, I  did a marathon, and logged 8 hours while I listened to Amor Towle's "Rules of Civility".  I finished quilting the butterflies in the outer dark green border and am outlining the dogtooth triangles ( which you can't see here).  I'm hosting my small quilting group on Sunday, and want their opinion about whether or not I should add more quilting behind the birds and in the light green border.  ( I'm pretty sure the answer will be yes.  The deadline is the third week in April as this is to be my "show quilt" this year.

#3 - Joseph's Coat.  There are a dozen finished blocks sitting in a box.  This is my go everywhere - take along project and truthfully I'm in no rush to finish this, it is the perfect hand project. This photo does it no justice, I'll have to amend that soon. 

Happy Sewing !

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

Barbara Brackman posted the last Block of the Week for the Civil War Sesquicentennial Quilt yesterday.  She is leaving the blog up until mid-year and a book is in the works.

As a token of appreciation for Ms. Brackman, we, the Civil War Quilt blog followers, made blocks for a quilt to be given to Barbara.  She wrote about it on Christmas Day in her post, Thank You Very Much
I was THRILLED to see my block  - Little Blue Basket - in Barbara's post.  Here's what the label says:
" This quilt was made for Barbara Brackman in appreciation of her Civil War Block of the Week featuring a weekly history lesson and quilt pattern. Quilters became a circle of friends as they enjoyed the history, stitched their blocks and shared them on Flickr. The blocks for this quilt came from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Portugal and the United States of America." 
The quilt was coordinated by Dustin Cecil, our flickr group moderator and put together by Becky Brown, who also sewed many ( all?) of the sample blocks for Barbara.  It was quilted by Deb Jacobs.  The quilt is being photographed for Barbara's new book. 

What with the holidays, I had a bit of catching up to do, so on New Year's eve before we went to dinner, I tackled the Christmas Star block.
I am pleased with this one, as I love the green, pink and red together.   I used the macro lens I got for Christmas to take the photo. 

CWQ Week 52 Christmas Star
Resolution # 1 -  Finish the Civil War quilt.  I've set 20 of the blocks, for me the hardest part will be to decide which block goes where.

Resolution #2 - to integrate photography and quilting. I'm taking a beginner intensive digital photography class in February and am pretty excited about it.  I don't know where this is going to go - but  my pix of quilts and quilt making can only improve, right?
Resolution # 3 -  Hand quilt every day until this one is finished too.

I think that is more than enough resolutions, although I have promised my son that I will walk more. So I shall.  Off to put on walking shoes.

Happy New Year!