Monday, September 28, 2009

Hi, My Name's Jayne, and I'm a Fabri-holic

There. I said it. I've admitted my addiction. The great thing about this kind of addiction, however, is that I don't have to stop any of my current behaviors. I can continue to hoard, increase the size of the stash, and it's all in the name of planning future projects.

This is a pic of the early stages of my Kaffe Fassett collecting. This picture was taken in May of '08, and pretty much shows all I had of his fabric at the time. Today, we'd have to have a mighty wide lens to see what I've added to this particular stash. I have it all neatly folded and stacked in a gi-normous clear plastic tub. It is so full that I cannot lift this tub, and the lid will not attach, as I've overflowed the top.

I remember a time when I wouldn't even take a second glance at his bright and gawdy creations. For example, in September of '07, on a weekend quilt outing, a quilting girlfriend bought a book and some fabrics of his, and I barely gave it notice. She was all excited to do some particular project, but I wouldn't budge from my firm traditional quilt fabrics. My how I've come around!

I've not forsaken the traditional, however! I still collect reproduction fabrics - to excess! - but I've branched out to romantic florals and batiks, in addition to the Kaffe. This quilt on my design wall is of fat-quarter batiks I collected over the course of a few months. I have since finished this top and it is ready to be taken to a long-arm quilter.

As for the romantic florals, what do you think of the "shabby chic" quilt above? It is a Carrie Nelson pattern called Tag Sale. I had a large pack of fat quarters with no intended purpose, so it went into this quilt. I needed to augment just a bit with eight or 10 additional fabrics from my stash. So this is truly a quilt made entirely from fabrics I had on hand. See, there is a reason to hoard! This quilt came together super-fast. I was so into it! It is definitely a pattern that begs to be made again and again.And I think I will!

Okay, I'm going up to the sewing room to take a picture of the overflowing tub of KF fabrics. It will illustrate to all just how far I've fallen into my fabric-collecting addiction. Will add shortly...promise.

Here it is! The heaviest tub of fabric in my sewing room: the Kaffe Fassett tub. It's sitting in the middle of the floor because 1)  as I said before, I can't lift it, and 2) the closet is full. Of fabric. Yeah, I know. I already admitted to the addiction.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Update and Variety

Work continues on the 2nd baby quilt. I have the most lovely callouses on my fingers. I managed to do about 3 hours of stitching yesterday, and I will do more this afternoon while watching football. My guess is that I'm awfully close to having just the borders to go - very good progress, I do believe.

I have a variety of things on my mind, right now. In reading over some of my previous posts, I realize that there are several stories I need to share here to fill in blanks that were left from those posts.  I will do a bit of that now.

First, I will explain more fully why it has taken me nearly 2 years to make 2 baby quilts for my twin neices. I am notoriously slow at completing projects, but these quilts would have taken priority if I'd been intending to do the entire job myself. You see, my "plan" was to stitch the tops and then turn them over to Grandma for hand quilting. As referenced several different places on this blog, Grandma is 92, and has quilted since she was a girl. That would be 80 years or so!! She has always had a project going, and often has several in the works. Typical quilter fashion: have one in the piecing stage, another in quilting stage, another in binding, and so on.

About a year and a half ago, after a rather rough time with her health, she just up and announces that she thinks she's done with quilting. She said she simply didn't have the desire to do it anymore. Now, she and I go way back with our shared hobby, and she's had episodes of this before, but she would always come around after a bit and get back into it. I would tempt her with a stack of fat quarters in  her favorite colors or invite her to join me on a trip to a beloved quilt shop, and voila! she'd be hooked again!

Well, this time, she's sticking to her guns, by gosh. I have taken the two quilt tops over to her, and she declined. I tried playing on her emotions that these would be so special to the babies having come from the hands of their 92-year-old great grandmother. I tried to play on her sense of economy, telling her that they were baby quilts and she'd be able to finish them so fast. Time and again, she flatly declined! At last I came to accept that she really does mean it. She is done with quilting. Makes me sad to think of it.

When I got out of school in May, I decided that I'd make it my job to finish them in time for the girls' second birthday in October. Grandma would have had both quilts done in a month, if not sooner, but I am a slow quilter, and I did have other projects, both quilting and otherwise, that I focused on as well. Now here we are in the homestretch. The big birthday is October 11, and I feel confident that I will meet my deadline.

I will try to find a picture of Grandma to include on this blog, and I will definitely look for some pics of the girls, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby Quilt Progress

I have very little time this morning to say too much, so I will give you a picture of my project of choice. My twin nieces will be 2 on October 11, and I am working furiously to get these finished up in time for the big celebration. Most people get baby quilts done more quickly than I have done on these, but there is an extenuating story to explain the long completion time. I will go into that when I am not so pressed for time.

I am still working on taking good-quality  pictures. I am not particularly happy with this photo as I think it is too dark, especially in the lower right corner. I will have to practice with lighting and flash options.

When I give the girls their quilts, I am sure that cameras will be involved. I would love to feature them here. Of course, they are adorable.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Out of My Comfort Zone!

It has been over a week since my last post. There are a couple of reasons for this long gap. First, the return to the work world is taking a bit more of my attention than I expected. My little job teaching English at the local branch requires more prep time, mostly of the reading variety. With 3 sections of 2 different classes, I've got a total of 4 textbooks to read and study. So that is one reason my quilting and blogging is lagging behind.

Another reason is that I severely sprained my right wrist a couple of weeks ago. Being a lefty, this has not interferred terribly  much, but hand quilting does require my second hand under the quilt. The wrist is mostly healed now, with only minor irritations these days, so I am getting back to work on the baby quilt and the applique row of my UFO, Row-A-Month quilt.

I am terribly out of my comfort zone when it comes to hand applique. I love the beauty of these quilts, and I think I can learn to become adept at this, but right now I am very clumsy and all thumbs. This, in turn, makes for slow going and that over time becomes discouraging. I have committed to the completion of it, though, so I know that this practice will lead to improvement eventually. The most recent additions to the panel are a bird which is to perch on the vase, and a butterfly floating above the vines and flowers.

Here are some of the very basic "rules" I am following: I have used thread that matches the object being applied. I have traced the design lightly onto the background. I have attempted to use the freezer paper method, but I don't know if I am doing it in the accepted way. I worry a little bit about the tiny little berries that are coming. I have seen demonstrations of small bits like this done with saturating starch on the object, so I will probably go that route. See that bird? Notice that it has no beak? Well, after stitching the body down, I realized that the beak should have gone in first, layered under the body fabric. So, I am learning as I go, slowly, stitching my way through the panel.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shopping Trip

There's almost nothing better than a trip with quilting friends to a fabric shop. And when the fabric shop is one that is new to you, then the excitement is even greater. Here's a little peek at 2 fabrics I bought from a "finish the bolt" sale - $4.50/yard! I think these will do nicely for backing or, in the case of the green floral, a gorgeous border. The bottom piece is already represented in my stash, so whatever I decide to do with the previous piece will now for sure get a backing!

The store we visited is about 2 hours north of here in Marion, OH. The Good Wives Company is a treasure, and I am surprised that I wasn't familiar with it. Their specialty is reproduction fabrics, kits and patterns, along with primitive decorating items. The store smelled more like a bakery than a fabric shop! And, I discovered that the aromas were due to more than candles and potpourri: sugar cookies and coffee were available for shoppers to enjoy.

Back to the fabrics . . . I studied my purchases very carefully. I do like reproduction fabrics, but I have lately branched out to soft florals and, of course, my beloved Kaffe Fassett. Since I didn't have a project in mind or a quilt on the must-do list, I followed my first shopping rule: get one fabric of several basic colors. So, I looked for a great red, blue, yellow, green and neutral. I found the following:

Then I followed my other shopping rule: when I'm not looking for specific fabrics, get fat-packs. So, this one waved at me, looked at me with big, hopeful eyes, and I gave in...

So, my stash continues to grow, my wallet shrank just a bit, but best of all, I had a great day with new friends and discovered a great new store. Finally, here is a picture of the day's haul.

Tonight my dear Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Trojans of USC. I will have the quilting frame set up in front of the tv, and will work on the remaining baby quilt as I root my team on to a victory! O-H! I-O!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

U-Turn Anyone?

Well, my retirement didn't last long. I promised myself that I would not work for 2 years. I was determined, too, to keep that promise! So what was so good that I couldn't pass it up? That, my friends, is the U-turn...
A week ago, I got a call from the local regional campus of a major state university. They were desperate for English teachers - more specifically, freshman comp. instructors. I found myself (surprisingly) very excited by the offer, and a day later accepted. In the rush to prepare for 3 classes, I have had to put my quilting on hold.
Why would I give up my hard-earned retirement and the freedom that goes with it? Well, it pays very nicely. And since I have been bitten by the travel bug, this little gig will pay for the 2 trips I am taking next summer.
Now even though I have not quilted a bit this week, things will look up in the morning. My new little quilting group is going on an adventure! We scheduled it several weeks ago, and how glad I am that my new job didn't interfere with this! I teach only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so a Friday outing to shop for fabric and explore a new shop can go on as planned!
Okay, so since I have no new projects to share, I dug out these pictures of a quilt I made a few years ago. Here is the story on it:
Our son, a cross country runner, was in college and we (his parents) were able to travel to only a few of his meets, since he was so far from home and they usually interferred with his dad's races (dad coaches; son runs). Anyway, we were going to make it to one particular meet, and I needed a project to stitch while in the car. I have always like the churn dash block, so I dug out an assortment of reds and beiges, and proceeded to hand stitch my way to a quilt top. My best guess is that I spent about a year at odd and sundry times piecing this quilt top. Then I added mitred corner borders, and waited to see if my dear Grandma would quilt it for me. She said YES! So, it is hand pieced and hand quilted. Isn't that a nice thing?

I have enjoyed getting a few comments from some new blog friends, and even a shout-out from one follower! This cyber community is really fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The quilt guild in Circleville is having its quilt show today through Saturday. For about a month, I have been planning to go on this date, early in the day, get back home and get on with other things. Well, that plan was put in some serious jeopardy when a meeting I was to host last Thursday was postponed and moved to this Thursday. The question became would I be prepared enough for the meeting (house cleaned of clutter, flowers watered, dusting, sweeping, etc.) to allow for a couple of hours out for a quilt show? Dear husband could easily document the severity of my tendency toward procrastinating, so this was a true challenge for me. I tried to trick myself into thinking that the meeting was Wednesday night, so that I would spend that day in cleaning and prepping mode. However, I was not very productive, so it turns out that I had much more to do today than I'd hoped. BUT!! I did kick myself into high gear, and managed both after all! I started in on the work as soon as Kevin and Emma left for school, headed to Circleville at about 11:30, was back home by 2 or so, and actually had time to fix Kevin dinner and relax with the news before the ladies arrived.

And now I have a really clean house for a long holiday weekend!

How was the quilt show? Very nice. It has been a couple of years since I've made it over to that particular event. It's a small quilt show, but surprisingly for a town the size of Circleville, it is a very nice show. They had a good variety of vendors, and the quilts were quite nice. I particularly liked the one row of quilts that were all done in the same main block, but very different in their fabrics and placements. I have always been fascinated with the diversity of a block when it has been set together with just minor changes.

Now, at day's end, the quilt show is behind me, the last of the ladies has gone home, my house is neat and tidy, I'm ready to pour myself a glass of wine and relax with my sweetie. He's got the Browns game on dvr, so we can watch it.

Pictured above are 3 quilts I saw today.