Doing the Same Thing Over – Expecting Different Results!

Well, here it is 13 July 2014………..The time flies when one is having so much fun.  The weather is definitely Summer Time in the South!  We reached 99 degrees and 50% humidity yesterday – Lovely.  This is a good time to stay indoors and work on quilt projects – just like the Cold Winters in the North!

If you follow my Blog you know that I had been working on a Quilt called Enduring Love #270 using Judi Rothermel fabrics from Old Sturbridge Collection called Enduring Legacy.  Being a Type A Perfectionist and OK – Compulsive Obsessive Quilter, this project was doomed from the beginning – I just did not realize it!  After working on it on and off since late April, stopping at one point and redoing the entire quilt, I arrived at the border of 6″ Stars.

I will not bore all with my lovely trip through the vicissitudes of the life of a perfectionist quilter, so here is the bottom line.  Because I am chemically sensitive, all fabric is washed before bring it to the Studio.  I NEVER once thought that by washing this fabric some of the dyed pieces would have faded and that the fabric would have stretching issues.

All I will say is that the left over fabric (and there is a lot) is put up so high on my shelves that I doubt I will ever see it again – maybe the dust will cause it to disintegrate someday and I will never have to “make myself use it”.  Maybe I will give it to a quilter who needs some frustration in their lives!  (LOL) Once the fabric is washed it turned into a thinner more stretchy fabric that I did not realize UNTIL I had made 36 – 6 inch stars for the next to the last border…….So here is what I came up with and I am not pleased with it at all.  Without the Stars, the quilt does nothing for me and I am sure a Judge would run past it, therefore it is going to be a utility quilt.  I think that if anyone has purchased this line of fabric and pre-washes  they will have a mess on their hands.  The fabric fades and becomes very thin and stretchy – a lot of work that will be in vain because the quilt will not last.   Now needless to say, there were some errors I had made when making the quilt, but when I say it was doomed from the beginning it was and it was due to the pre-washing.  Learned a BIG lesson on this one.  (I wonder if I will ever get over the time I have lost in devoting to this quilt?)

Enduring Love #270

Enduring Love #270 – Modified

Now on to more positive things.  I have completed my Stars Across Texas embroidery project – I have decided to wait awhile before I design a setting.  There is something to say about hand work and that is,  “one can control the outcome”!

Texas Wreath

Texas Wreath

 

Texas Armadilla

A Texas Armadilla

Last year I became interested in Reproduction fabric and Australian quilts.   The Australian quilters love English Paper Piecing (EPP) and their quilts really pop and look great.  There is a lot of intense hand work in  their patterns and sooooo challenging!  I cancelled all of my US magazines and only subscribe to Quiltmania.   LuAnn of luannsloosethreads.blogspot.com blogged about a quilt that she was starting that is in Quiltmania Magazine Number 107.  Be sure to go to her Blog – she does some great work.   Here is a picture of the quilt called Brinton Hall by Leigh Latimore (http://leighquilts.blogspot.com)  Check out her Blog also.

Brinton Hall Quilt

Brinton Hall Quilt

I immediately knew that this would be my next project.  So off to the Stash to pull fabrics.  I am working on the Center Medallion now doing the EPP rings around a “fussy” cut Center.  I have missed working with my batiks this last year so I will be using them in this quilt.  Hopefully it will not be a disaster.

LuAnn also blogged about a book that is absolutely great when developing an in-depth understanding of EPP.  The book is called “all points patchwork” – English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts and Small Projects by Diane Gilleland.  Amazon has it on their website for about $12.00.  There are 220 pages of illustrations of “the many ways to use EPP as possible”.  (a direct quote from her Idea Book versus Project Book).  It is a great book!

I love the Blogging world – quilters share so many ideas and projects and they are all inspiring.  So with that, I am now going to go and work on EPP Hexagons.  I have covered up the sewing machine for at least 2 weeks and will be sitting here working on EPP watching some movies and resting my weary mind from the last quilt project that I want to forget.  Doesn’t this look inviting?

EPP Set up

My EPP Sewing Table and a TV – What more do I want?

Have a wonderful week, enjoy life, and always take time to take in some Sun (good Vitamin D).

Second Time Around is So Much More Fun!

Here we are in the middle of 90 degree weather with 70% humidity – and no rain.  Darn.  Summer Solstice is already here on 21 June – 6 months has flown by!  In 4 1/2 months we get our hour back, and as of next Thursday (25 June) Christmas is 6 months away……….Time just flies by when we are having fun!  We missed Mr Bill from the Gulf this time, but I bet the Hurricane Season is right on his heels!   I blame the fast passage of time now on the extra Daylight Savings Time.

Saturday I was able to attend the San Antonio Guild monthly meeting and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the Program.  Charlotte Angotti (http://www.quiltmakersstudio.com)  was the speaker and she provided 1 hour and 15 minutes of pure laughter! I think Charlotte has missed her calling – she should be a stand up Comedian.  She is a pure joy to listen to her share her quilting “stories”.  She is so funny.  She has a book out with Debbie Caffrey called “Surprise Yourself”.  The story behind this book is absolutely hilarious.  Charlotte is the type of quilter that if a point doesn’t match she puts a button over the area to cover it up, or totally ignore it!  On the other hand, Debbie Caffrey is like I am,  the eternal perfectionist and cannot ride that galloping horse without seeing a mistake!  The book is presented in a Compare and Contrast work of art!

Cudo’s to Rebecca Cook (no relation) who is the 3rd VP for Programs with the Guild.  She is a newly Certified Quilt Appraiser and knowing Rebecca, she will be an excellent one.

I have FINALLY finished the remake of my Enduring Love #270 (see 26 May Blog for the original picture) and I changed the fabric in the 2nd border and the technique in making the borders.  The original pattern called for a mitered border, a non-mitered border, then another mitered border and that was a disaster for me.  This time I cut all of the border strips  (# 1-3) the same length (longest length for Border 3) and sprayed each strip with Magic Sizing to prevent any distortion on the last border of the Serpentine fabric.   I then sewed 4 sections consisting of Borders #1-3 together. I marked each corner of the Bird Medallion with a 1/4 inch mark, and sewed a stay stitch on Border 3 to prevent distortion.  Then I carefully measured and pinned and sewed the side border strip on first and then the top.   I used Marti Michell’s Miter Ruler to cut the mitered points and it turned out absolutely perfect!  What a great ruler to have.

So here I am at the point where I “think” I was around 26 May with this project.

Enduring Love Redo

                           Enduring Love #270 – Second Time Around!

I have also finished 2 more blocks for my Stars Across Texas quilt:

Mockingbird Block

Texas Mockingbird

Longhorn Block

Texas Longhorn

Well, tomorrow the Square in a Square borders will go on the Enduring Love #270 (hopefully).  We will see if they have a problem also, or if I have corrected all my “errors” that will provide a great quilt to enter in a Quilt Show next year!

I now have Threads of Memory, Sunbonnet Ladies, Stars Across Texas (almost), and Enduring Love #270 to complete and design settings!  Think I will be busy between now and time to scoot to Arizona…..

Have a great week – enjoy your time quilting!

Stars Across Texas

I thought that I would post something positive that I am experiencing in my quilting life.  I have found that when a Quilter is under stress it is so difficult to find creativity and certainly expecting to have things turn out perfect will not happen!  I am sure that this is why I did not take up quilting until I retired!

The motto for the San Antonio Area Quilt Guild is “Well Done is Well Done”.   The statement has been made many times over within the Guild regarding the judging of the show quilts and the first time I heard it I really had to ponder over its’ meaning.  It is a statement that should apply to almost anything we do in life.  While I really made a lot of “dumb” errors in making my Enduring Love quilt (see previous post), I have found that embroidery work in the evenings is so relaxing and calming.  It is almost mistake proof (unless one messes up tracing the pattern).

So while the world has been crashing down on Clay and I for the past 14 months, I have been able to complete 8 of the 12 blocks for my Stars Across Texas.  Here they are:

The Alamo

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

Texas Our Texas

Texas Our Texas

The Yellow Rose of Texas

The Yellow Rose of Texas

Cowboy Hats and Texas State Rangers

Cowboy Hats and Texas State Rangers

Texas Butterflies

Texas Butterflies – Bigger in Texas

Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets

Boot Scootin' Across Texas

Boot Scootin’ Across Texas

The Texas Flag

The Texas Flag

I have 4 more blocks to finish and then I will design the setting.  I have a lot of ideas on how I want the finished quilt to look.  I used Presencia Embroidery thread for this project.   I wanted a different look for this quilt so I chose a light and a dark variegated gold/brown color for the embroidery.  Presencia thread is wonderful to work with – not sure what I will do with the tons of the other embroidery thread that I have stashed away.  I purchased the thread from Rosie deLeon-McGrady who has a great website – check it out – http://www.redworkplus.com.

It appears that we are in for more heavy rains tonight. We have received almost 30 inches of rain where we live.  I believe that San Antonio has received over 20″.  The normal rain fall for South Texas (prior to the drought) would be on the average of 30 inches.  So you can see we are way above that in our area which is Southeast of San Antonio.

Have a great week-end.  I hope to be able to post more and more this summer.

Making Progress on Projects – S-L-O-W-L-Y

Greetings from a Sunny mild South Texas Day!  FINALLY!  What a winter we have had and those in the North East have really suffered.  Maybe  stable Spring weather will arrive by April and stay with us for awhile.  Of course Spring time brings out the “let’s get with the Spring Cleaning Program”…… OK – done enough of that!  Darryl is still with us and on Good Friday –  3 April – Hubby Clay will have surgery to fuse 2 herniated discs that are pressing on his spinal cord in his neck.  He will be fine.  ME?  I am back up and running at 100% (well maybe a little pain every now and then) but I am walking my 2 miles each day plus more and cleaning the house – so I consider my Radio Frequency treatments, new braces, and correcting the 1/2” difference between my right and left leg a resounding success!  Nurse Nanny will be up and running for the recovery time for Clay.

Then we have wonderful Daylight Savings Time (DST) – something that I have deep negative feelings for.  I am trying to adjust, but it still takes me about a week or so before I do.  I wish Texas would opt out of it.  I have a friend who loves it but then she still teaches so I do not blame her for not wanting to come home in the dark!  I just want to stay on Mother Nature’s time-table.  When we go to Sierra Vista AZ for the winter, we stay on Texas time so the body clock doesn’t become confused.  It is a hoot because we go by 2 clocks since Arizona does not do DST.  If we arrive in October – we go to bed at 8PM and get up at 4AM – according to our body clocks and Clay can talk to his Ham Radio guys – Texas Time!  Then in November we are only 1 hour ahead of Arizona and we get to go to bed at 9PM and get up at 5AM AZ time.  Funny Funny Funny – what nuts we are sometimes.

OK – here we go on quilting projects.  I have moved things around in the main room of my Studio to make room for a 1950’s Singer 401a sewing machine – yup – figured if Uncle Sam needs some money, I wanted to spend some.  I have been monitoring the Vintage machines for sale on Ebay, but yesterday I stumbled on to Etsy and found a great Pristine Singer 401a machine and after 6 hours of debating I bit the bullet and purchased it.  I blame this acquisition on Bonnie Hunter.  I began following her Blog for the last month and one day she showed an extension table for my Singer Featherweight.  That started me on this journey.  I purchased the Sew Steady Table from Furniss Sewing (www.sew4ever.com).  It is an 18″ x 18″ made to fit perfectly with the Featherweight 221.   I spoke with Mitch about the  Singer 301a and the 401a.  He told me that the 401a was a workhorse and one of the great Singers.  So based on this discussion and the information obtained from the Internet – I was sold!  Here is a picture of the machine – I am going to call her Bonnie Brown….

Bonnie Brown - 1950 Singer 401a

Bonnie Brown – Singer 1950’s 401a Slant Stitch with Decorative Stitches

I also have a 2003 Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 and have been using it for the last 2 years.  Today I decided that I had ignored my Husqvarna Sapphire long enough and give the Designer a rest.  Of the two, I really love my Designer 1.  The Sapphire is a little more noisy than the D1 but still a very good machine with built-in stitches.

HV Sapphire

Husqvarna Viking Sapphire

Of course, I cannot forget my 1952 221 Featherweight.  This one has been in the closet for 3 years and when I set it up this morning it is purring like a kitty cat (it will be the only purring around here since our ex-cat gave me cat scratch fever in 2013 and I almost died – on a pet diet – NONE)

1952 Singer Featherweight

My 221 Featherweight with the new 18 x 18 table extension

OK – enough of this.  I have been able to work on my projects since the last posting.  Here are some blocks that I have ready for my Happy Scrappy.  I made some 6 inch blocks and will put them together (maybe) and make 12″ blocks for the 12 x 56 inch side borders I need to have to finish the quilt (not going for a large one this time), or I may spread them out as 6 inch blocks.

Log Cabin for HS

Log Cabin Blocks

HS 12 inch Block 2

More of the Same for Happy Scrappy

 

Card Block for HS

My Favorite – Card Deck Blocks

HS 12 inch Block

More 6 inch Blocks for Happy Scrappy

Here is another block I am working on for my Happy Scrappy.  I started making 6 inch blocks from Jane Austin and ended up putting the block on point and I think that they will be the 12″ blocks in the outer block border.

6 Inch HS block

6 Inch Block for Happy Scrappy

12 Inch HS Block

12 Inch Block for Happy Scrappy

I finally have finished my last 2 blocks for Threads of Memory.  I am not sure that I like the green one – but if it looks good after I decide on my setting it may still be around – otherwise I will re-do it!

Threads of Memory Block 11

Block 11. St Charles Star for Louisa Alexander

Threads of Memory Block 12

Block 12 – Rochester Star for Amy Post and Harriet Jacobs

 

I have also started another project in the evenings and when I could not “motivate”.  The blocks are from a pattern called, “Stars over Texas”.  The Designer is Diana Pelton from Wisteria Quilting Designs 2005.  There are 12 Blocks all embroidery depicting landmarks in Texas.  After 3  years of  this project sitting and ready to be worked on,  I have finished 2 blocks.   The Texas Block needs the “X’s” to make it look like barbed wire!   This is an easy and fun project.   I used Moda Primitive background fabric and Presensia Embroidery Variegated Brown, Gold, Beige thread.  I really like how it is turning out.  I will design a different setting than the pattern.  But I still give the Designer all the credit for the pattern!

Stars Across Texas Block 1

Block 1 – Texas

 

Stars Across Texas Blk 2

The Alamo – San Antonio, Texas

Oh – you ask about my Dear Jane project?  I will be starting this month’s blocks this week-end.  Dear Jane is my challenge project and we know how challenges go… Have great week and enjoy quilting.