Monday, July 28, 2008

Siggies with Grandma Vivian's Tatting

I sewed Grandma Vivian's tatting to the siggies I made out of the fabric she sent me. I think they turned out really great! I have sewn six of the eight tatted pieces she gave me: three circles, two angels and a heart. I particularly like the tatted angels, especially the red one. I really like the pink one too; it's so delicate and airy.
gave each of the "girls" a french knot halo to make them look even more celestigated. (I just love that word, "celestigated" and it's a shame how seldom you ever get to use it!)
I made one too few of the pink siggies, so I still have one pink tatted circle that doesn't have a home yet. I really liked how the pink tatted circles turned out, which is good because I have three of them made up already. I'm not sure if I'm going to use all three of these identical siggies in the same quilt. They may be happier in different homes. 8-)
I'm also not too sure about this smaller tatted heart. I don't think I finessed it into being heart-shaped enough. It takes a little bit of imagination to see it as a heart.
The next time we go to Shreveport I'll bring these siggies, along with a selection of Pigma pens and some fine sandpaper so Grandma can sign them properly. Also, I think Grandma was right, the large red tatted heart is just too big for a standard sized siggy. I've found a website that I'll be talking about more later on, where very small quilts are auctioned for Alzheimer's research money. I think the large red tatted heart would make an excellent centerpiece for a little jewel of a quilt. And since Ellie (my DMIL and Vivian's DD) had frontal lobar dementia before her fatal heart attack in 2005, it would be a highly appropriate memorial.

Friday, July 25, 2008

International Siggy Swap - Femija Arlt

I keep telling myself that I'm not going to use the words "darling" and "adorable" to describe the siggies I get anymore because it has gotten really tired and trite. Then I get a siggy in the mail like this one. And it's got sparklies on it, and it's so... adorable and and... darling, that I just don't know how to describe it any other way! It looks like the centerpiece was cut out of another fabric and machine stitched to the muslin with a very fine zigzag. I like it; it reminds me of the Shrek movies, which were lots of fun. This siggy came with a nice letter from Femija in Altenbeken, Germany. Google Maps is amazing, I was able to plug in some numbers and letters (that don't even look like an address to me) and see a picture of the houses on her street! Altenbeken is a small village near the city of Paderborn and is about 100 miles due north of Frankfurt.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sheila's Project Linus Blankets

Recently the quilting group I'm in at work decided that, at least for the duration of the war, we wanted to focus more on quilting for the USO rather than for Project Linus; however, we didn't want to abandon Project Linus completely. I somehow found myself agreeing to become the Project Linus coordinator for our little group, with Virginia as my able assistant.
So far that has meant very little as we didn't have any blankets or quilts to donate; however, that changed last week when Sheila Hill donated these two lovely fleece blankets specifically for Project Linus. Since I have formally renounced working with fleece for at least the remainder of 2008, I am very grateful that Sheila has picked up the slack with these two darling blankets. My job now, is to contact the Tarrant County Project Linus coordinator that I plan to drop the two blankets off at The Berry Patch quilt store so she can pick them up. Won't some little boy love to have his own "Hot Wheels" blanket! Way to go, Sheila!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fantasy Pony Top Complete

I like the way this quilt turned out. It's nice and big and square! I used as many of the Sally Collins Precision Piecing tools and techniques as I could, and I have to say they helped a great deal. This is by far the most accurate strip bordered quilt I've ever made. Even the inset squares on the outer corners came out nicely. Doing it her way was a little slower, but I avoided all the angst by catching my errors when they were still small as she suggests. I was worried that I had made the green cactus inner strip too wide (I was trying to make the quilt bigger, while still avoiding that extra fourth border fabric.)
I had to jump through some hoops to make the small turquoise border show up at all between the cactus border and the inner panel. I should have purchased six squares (length) of inner panel instead of five. That would have given me additional turquoise all around the inner panel, which would have been nice. I wasn't thinking so I came up a little short, but it came out all right in the end. I'll remember next time and buy 2 rows more of the inner panel than I'm going to use.

Now I just have to figure out how to quilt it; I'll have to see if I can set up a poll with my options. I've never done that before.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fantasy Pony Quilt - All Cut Out

I started working on the Fantasy Pony quilt; I got all 12 strips cut. Since I'm making a slightly different quilt from the pattern (one less border) I put the dimensions in EQ6 so I wouldn't make any stupid mistakes. I'm not planning to cut any of the strips to length until they're attached, so that should be ok, but I've already messed up once on this project. I should have read the instructions before pre-washing the fabric. Ellen Edith says in the pattern: "I don't pre-wash, but if you do, dip in water, then line dry and press." Oh really? And after that gentle treatment, the fabric won't ever shrink again? Perhaps that's the "Fantasy" part of the Fantasy Pony quilt. Give me a nice hot dryer to stabilize fabric any day. Unfortunately I didn't read it, so I didn't sew the edges on the panel fabrics. They ravelled an unbelieveable amount. I'm probably not going to have any turquoise showing around the inner panel unless I sew very scant seams. Darn it! I hate it when that happens. At least it's not like the Baby Fats quilts. We washed those fat quarters and suddenly they were too small to cut the fabric the way it was designed. Sigh. I really need to start reading patterns before cutting fabric. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Tools and One Slightly Wrecked Car

I know, I know, when are you actually going to make something, Susan? Soon, soon, I promise! I've even got the Fantasy Pony fabric all pre-washed and ironed and ready to go.

I watched the Sally Collins dvd again and decided to buy an Ott Lite (40% off Hobby Lobby coupon). I replaced my Tacky Glue too. My last bottle must have been 10 years old. When I tried to use it, the inside had congealed into a moist blubbery mass. I got two more Omnigrid rules too (4x4 and 3x8), a craft knife for cutting templates, a 1/16" hole punch, and a nice metal sewing gauge, just like Gramma used to have, to replace my plastic one.
It's been a crazy week. Larry and I got rear-ended Wednesday night. No biggie (no one hurt, both cars driveable - just a bump). But the lovely young (very young) woman who smushed us was anxious to pay cash and avoid an insurance claim. I think she also was eager to put off telling her Dad! We really wanted to file a claim, especially when the dealership couldn't rule out hidden $$$ internal damage. We also really wanted to talk to a parent, or at least someone who wasn't actively weeping.
Fortunately, by last night, she was much calmer, and had been instructed by her Dad to call her insurance agent; so all is well. Poor thing. What was a minor annoyance for us, was a superhugebigdeal to her. With age comes perspective, I guess. I felt sorry for her. While Larry was copying down her insurance info, I tried to console her as she sped through all five stages of grief in about 45 seconds.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Siggies from Friends - Sheila and Bea

Today I received two absolutely darling siggies from a friend at work and her Mother. A while ago I asked my friends from the U.S.O. quilting group at work if they would each make a siggy for me. I handed out pre-cut muslin squares and instructions at the last "Make a Blanket Day." These are the very first two dividends I've reaped. It doesn't surprise me one bit that Sheila and her Mom were the first to return their siggies. Those two are the MOST productive sewing team I have ever seen. For the Pat Tillman challenge they stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, completing ALL FOUR of their challenge quilts in ONE DAY! Impressive.
Bea's siggy has lovely embroidered pink flowers on it. Her workmanship is exquisite; the back is as pretty as the front! One of my non-quilting co-workers just couldn't get over how she got her lettering so nicely curved. I told her that perhaps Bea's hand-quilting expertise might be helpful in that area. Bea quilts like the Amish. Seriously. She could put on a bonnet and quilt among them. She told me that she doesn't mark her quilting patterns, she just uses pins as a guide. I would love to be able to quilt like that! I love the way Sheila has done her siggy too. She has appliqued a coordinating flower to the center of her siggy, which gives it a nice structural look that you don't often see. We're both engineers so I guess we both appreciate good solid design elements. Her workmanship is awesome as well. The apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree!
Funny story. I called Sheila by the name of "Gail" for the first 6 months that I knew her. After I finally realized my error, I couldn't think how I had gotten so confused. Then I found out that Sheila has a sister named Gail, and of course, I initially met Sheila and her Mom together. Sheila and I laughed and decided that her Mom had probably called her Gail by mistake and I had picked up on that. As someone who's been called "CindiSueIMean" all her life, I can certainly see how it happened!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I have declared independence from clutter!

I have not been getting much needlework done lately and I blamed it on the clutter. We got home from vacation to a mostly clean house, except for my sewing room and big cutting table. Both were disaster areas, heaped high in an ugly configuration of old junk and new shop hop purchases. I'm sure my beloved cleaning lady (Mrs. "G.") had trained herself to not look at these two train wrecks. "How can I possibly work in this mess?" and "No wonder I'm not getting anything accomplished!" I told myself. This cutting table was a particular mess. There was so much stuff on it that I was afraid I might damage something by accident while rotary cutting.
I should have taken "before" pictures, but it was too shameful. Instead of getting some real quilting or design work done this weekend, I decided to put my OCD to good use and actually tidy these areas. A foreign concept for me, I know, but I wasn't able to work through my needlework block any other way, so why not? The end result is not nearly as impressive as if you could see the way it used to be, but it was just too embarrassing. I don't know what's up with the wire mayhem below the computer; I've never even noticed that mess before. The angle must be bad (or good, depending on how you view it) to see snarl.
The bed is now officially cleaned off. Gramma Ann made this quilt in the 1980's. It's not nearly as bright as it looks in this picture. I was messing with the saturation levels and, well, I failed. The above picture captures the colors of the quilt much better. But never mind all that. Notice how there is not one single thing atop the bed besides the quilt. You could actually sleep here! And I'm not even expecting company. This is a first. I'm afraid this is my primary dumping ground for all things hobbyish and they tend to take root right here among the maple leaves.
I didn't organize this closet this weekend. It's clutter had been throttled by a previous bout of OCD (BTW, that stands for "obsessive-compulsive disorder". I try to channel anxious thoughts such as "Is the stove really off?" and "Was that noise our foundation cracking?" into sublime Container Store fantasies. What can I say? I find see-through boxes very soothing.) Anyway, this has been the Trish Suhr Memorial Closet for quite some time now. This weekend I merely added a few of the larger boxes to house the shop-hop treasures, and the three smallest boxes, which are perfect for storing siggies and Dear Jane blocks. The best part is that if company were to come (and my Mom is engaged to be married after all, perhaps they'll come visit on an post-nuptual tour) the hangers can be easily shoved to either side, leaving plenty of room for her clothes.
These little darlings need a thorough re-org, but that's trouble for another day. When you find yourself sorting the pins in the pincushion by pinhead color, it's time to stop. I made another trip to the Container Store (I really need to buy stock in that place) for two more large boxes to store the unwashed fabric you see stashed by the Laurel Burch bag. We can't have that stuff just laying around or it will levitate to the maple leaf quilt and take root there!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

International Siggy Swap - Grazia Moro

I got this little cutie in the mail today all the way from Italy. Very few of my siggies so far have been done with plaids; this makes a wonderful addiiton to my collection. I love the little angel stamp too. Grazia told me a little bit about herself in her letter. (I love it when they send letters!) She has 5 sons and 4 grand-children. She says she keeps the little letters she gets with her siggies. I'm doing that too. If the letters are still being kept with the siggy quilt in 200 years, the future incarnation of The Antiques Road Show will find the quilt much more valuable. lol