Monday, January 20, 2020

Found it!

 It's amazing what you will find when you clean up!

I don't do this much so things go missing all the time.

I was desperate enough to clean this time.

You read the poem in the last post so you know what I'm talking about
If not, go read the last post
An "Ode to my lost Muse"

SO anyway, I found the sketch my daughter drew, for the "Balloon Field" below, under my ironing mat

and was inspired to make it            (Yay! she's back!)

its made on 2/3 of a fat quarter of black background
with double sided steam-a-seam and lots of scraps.

 Many, so many scraps.

 After 2 years of trying to get rid of them all I still haven't managed to make more than a dent.


I then proceeded to have so much fun,

         I decided to do it again,

                              only easier this time,

so I could maybe teach this technique to others.

the daisy balloon took about 2 hours for me to do
What iz u doing?

I have to keep in mind,
I have had practice 

so as I made this,

  I explained to the cat what I was doing.

I don't think she understood.

now for the hard part sewing around all the raw edges

so they don't wander off when the quilt is handled

And just to make it take longer and be more tedious

I'm doing it for all three quilts I've made so far

the two above and the Hawaii 6 panel quilt,

So many peaces!

al least the snow has stopped

                    and it's started to rain again.

back to normal

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Where did it go this time?

Maybe I can start some small things. Everything I pick up lately gets put down and kicked under the table. I don't have the energy, motivation my head is full of blah.

I cant seem to find my Mo-jo,
It's wandered off and left me.
bereft of all my creativity,
I sit on the couch and mope.
I've cleaned the house twice hoping to find it,
but the couch cushions stubbornly will not relinquish
any hint of it's whereabouts.
Is it under the bed?
did I leave it in the fridge?
I'm looking in all the silly places now,
desperate to reacquire the mo-jo that keeps me sane.
maybe the freezer in the garage,
the trunk of the car?
It' must be somewhere.
I can't have lost it.
it must be there.
My Mo-jo has taken vacations before,
off to the beach or out to the store.
but it has always come back to me,
ready to go, flowing with energy,
crackling to become some new thing.
Where did it go this time?
Maybe it went to France and found a better lover,
a creative who doesn't need so much pushing, 
or maybe a better temper.
Without you there is nothing for me,
The mediocre piddling amateur  at best,
is now a plagiarizer, a tracer, a copy-cat.
I haven't checked the garden yet,
Are you hibernating up a tree
The wood pile, a wheelbarrow, a pot, maybe ?
but it's been raining,
today has grown cold,
I am weary,
the grass is wet.
I will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Build up

So! You know how things have a habit of building up in your brain, just waiting for the perfect moment to strike?
This is where I'm at right now.
That's not to say any of it is bad, These are just things Ive been putting off thinking about for a while.
To start
My youngest has moved out leaving me childless for the first time in 28 years.
Empty-nest syndrome is a thing folks!
On the one hand I'm thrilled she is venturing out into the world to make her own way in it, slightly less thrilled she moved in with her boyfriend. He's a lovely boy and  I love him to pieces and she needs a room mate BUT. Insert attack of the mommy "what if's" here.
On the other hand I miss my baby-girl! She's too young ( no she's 21, really Flora?) Now what do I do?

Apparently ferry My MIL around to do her shopping and various doctors as her health and fitness, doctor shopping and general care and maintenance, since she moved here from Chicago, has been taking up a lot of my time lately.
She needs a cardiologist and a dental surgeon and new glasses and, and, and.
I don't mind all this it just cut into my sewing time, as in I don't get much, anymore.
I have finished a bunch of hand work things, since I have been populating the waiting rooms of several different facilities lately And will probably finish a few more as we aren't done yet.

I am missing the long arm/quilt guild work but I haven't had the head space for it.
All in all not earth shattering things, just mess up my routine things.

Dad at the Lincoln park conservatory 1966
As everything is changing on me, pent up feelings about my dads death, 19 years ago, are roiling around my head.
He and my mother divorced when I was 2.  He went back to live in Lacrosse, mom and I stayed in Chicago and because of that, we weren't close. 
We were just starting to connect more after my children were born but I find myself sad that we didn't get to know each other better.
Since his death I have gotten to know that side of the family a little more. I correspond with my step-sister, one of my uncles and a couple of cousins fairly regularly.

What caught me off guard was not knowing that my father loved Gnomes at christmas time. Then I started to think of all the other things I didn't know about him, everyday simple things one should know about a parent, how he liked his steak, favorite color, season etc.
Dad & I 1986

I got sad for a while. Then I talked to my sea-star (step-sister) and we talked, Through her I am getting to know the kindhearted gentile man who was my dad.
Steak-rare, with a good scotch or an old-fashioned. Thanksgiving and Christmas, he was a sneaky present giver, Things hiding in/behind things.
He liked Jazz and classical music, the color blue and going for long rambling walk and talks.
I take solace in knowing all the things I missed out on, my sea-star got to enjoy because I wasn't there.

 At least someone loved him back the way I couldn't

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Meet the dolls

 I've been wanting to do  post on all the dolls I have been making lately

they are such a relief from some of the projects that I do that take me forever to finish

Some of them you will have seen before Like this lady with whom I made a tutorial


Witchi-poo for whom I've made a new skirt

I gave her old skirt to candy corn as it fits her better

There is Springtime, who was my first dolly and a little lumpy but I didn't know about using a fusible on her parts to prevent that.
I also made the mistake of using black thread to sew her together, oops.

There is sugar plumb who was last years Christmas doll And the wearer of the first hat

And the Patchwork girl

I used a bunch of my leftover pieces from other quilts to make her.

She turned out quite well don't you think?

And then there are the mystery legs.

I haven't quite decided what to do with these yet but something will come to me eventually

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Scrappy appliqe

 It takes a long time!

I started on this pattern in April

 I liked it because it combined applique with embroidery

 And got the sunflower and the birdhouse done first

I also added more bees and ladybugs
to it

there just didn't seem to be enough!

Then the bird on a mushroom

The frog & butterfly

not to be mistaken with the Heart song


Why is it

Applique seems to go so much faster at the beginning of a project, than at the end?

Is it because I picked the easiest panels to start with?

To be fair we traveled a lot at the beginning of this year

what I brought along with me couldn't have too many moving pieces.

So the patterns with the biggest parts, were the ones I chose to take, so I was less likely to loose a piece.

Frog and turtle each went to Chicago on separate trips

dragonfly was done at home between and owl was done mostly in the car on a weekend trip to wine country

I've one more panel to do and that one seems to be going fast this time I may have to design something to even out the whole as things are not quite coming together like the picture on the package

  There are gaps and the whole isn't quite long enough

 but that's ok I didnt follow the directions exacly

Surprise, surprise as I was trying to use all my odd scraps of this and that

I do like a scrappy quilt

And using up your larger scraps in an applique panel like this is fun.

I'm thinking more borders & birds
maybe even a rotten rabbit

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

one hellova month was may

So No pictures here for the moment BUT lots of life, or not, have been happening.
I'll explain.

First, way back in December my MIL requested to come live out by us as she NEVER wanted to live through another Chicago winter! OK. we bought her a very nice trailer in the 55+ park, about a mile from us, in February bUt we had to wait until mid march, when the former occupants decamped, to start to clean it out and fix it up.

So far so good, right? mmmmm, no.
The trailer was a wellspring of turkey-bird engineering and sloppy housekeeping. Ugh!
Think, why vacuum up wood shavings, when we can throw a new rug over them?
Why put actual shelving paper on the fiberboard shelving, when ELMERS GLUING Wrapping paper is so much cheaper.

And my personal favorite, using hot glue to fix the shower and the smoke hood to the stove.
THats right, Hot glue. On the stove. Brilliant.
There was much more, like the hideous color choices on the walls and the myriad nails, staples and thumbtacks that were used to hold up EVerything and the state of the carpets but those were things I could fix myself. The rest we had to call in a contractor for.
Good thing we have a great one, on speed dial, for the occasionally found spaghetti engineering in our own home.
SO. Everything was set to go off mid May for Mom moving in.

Second, in February we also found out that moms 89 year old sister, was dying of cancer and cirrhosis(?). As she has never had a drink in her life, this was a bit of a shock. Aside from the dying thing. So we called her once a week or so to talk and see how she and uncle were doing.

Mom was supposed to go see her in Indiana over mothers day and was trying to ignore her symptoms when she came down with a severe flu. That knocked her out and sent her to hospital for 2 days, the week of mothers day. ugh. A trip out to Chicago to make sure everything is OK and on track otherwise.
Back home to finish painting the trailer.

We had Mom stay in a hotel, as we don't have a spare room, for a few days while she waited for her stuff to catch up. When it got here the move went smoothly and fairly quick, Yay!

AANND Auntie dies 2 days later, ugh. crap.  We were all hoping to get out there to see her before. foo.

Now all go to Indiana for the funeral. and stay a bit to visit Uncle (92!) who is taking it hard.
Not that you would expect anything different He and Auntie were married for 72 years, right out of High school.

Auntie was a quilter so....Yep you guessed it, will be finishing the stuff she was working on. No big there because she used big bright cheerful colors, and after all isn't it fun to paw through someone else's color choices?

Now back home, still sad and exhausted.  I need to sew but can't just yet.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Post show rant explaining my previous rant.

I feel the need to add an addendum to my quilt show rant.

It seems I may have come off as, a self involved snooty know-it-all. I'm not, mostly. I will cop to excessive, research, study and immersion into and of all the various and sundry techniques that I use till I can teach them to others, which I also do a bit of.
I am passionate about CQ though and think it's a shame, when we get lumped into a mega category, that doesn't really adequately cover our craft. Even worse when we have 2 or 3 categories that overlap. It leads to confusion and hurt artistic feelings. (que the swooning, hankie waiving and pearl clutching here.) We end up being pitted against, Perfectly lovely, quilts that use maybe 2 of the dozen or so techniques we would.
Am I whinging? Yes, that could be. To be fair this IS a relatively new (this was their 4th year) show and they probably didn't even think CQ might possibly need it's own category. I also think this show might be open to new ideas, so there is that. They are a baby show, even though they are gaining in popularity and recognition.

I don't mean in any way that, the judges didn't give me a fair shake, they did.
Their comments are invaluable! the quilts they chose were beautiful works of craftsmanship.
But I can't ignore the fact that our little corner of the universe is regularly passed over for consideration, And this is my opinion, garnered over many years from many quilt shows from many people who know.
I think its because Crazy quilts are such a niche art and those of us who practice this art are in a constant state of learning and research. We challenge ourselves, constantly, to new exciting techniques to throw at our "hobby" (I know I do!) so that our pieces are not only crammed full, of visual goodies but they end up being very personal and intimidating.
I don't think the average judge has an adequate frame of reference or time to spend to look deeper at one piece, with completely different criteria, when the vast majority of work can be more easily assessed.

Notice I say average. Real judges tend not towards the average BUT, and its a big but, when you have 300+ quilts to judge in a day how much time can you really spend per piece? Then there is the the fact that 95% of quilts in a show are some flavor of, mostly traditional quilt, you begin to see the conundrum.
My quilts were the only CQ in an international show of 300+. I get the getting picky about the flat and the straight. I will know better next time.
Doesn't mean I'm not chafed my babies got passed over for some perfect, beautifully, pieced, flat, straight ( I could have cut myself on the corners!) but ultimately Machine Embroidered (!!!!) nicely quilted in all the accepted ways, quilt.  I admired it for its perfection.  It deserved the ribbon it got. 
I'm not chafed at all, we got passed over for MACHINE EMBROIDERY, (humeh!) no really I'm not. 
OK, maybe a little. 

The more we get out there the more CQ gets recognized as it's own special, Individual craft, The more opportunities to show what we can do, and be rewarded for it, the more people will put their stuff out there. why show it, if you get lumped in with an amorphous blob of a category, that overlooks what you want looked at in the first place? There are places that do this much better than other places. Here at lest one does have to hunt-and-peck shows. We are lousy with them but they all have their quirks.

Am I being unfair to the judges? I don't think so. I do truly appreciate the comments that they left me.  I needed that constructive criticism. That was the point of having my pieces judged in the first place. I do need to take more time making sure my quilts are flat and straight. ALL my quilts. 
I don't do a great job there at the best of times and by the time I get to the binding, I'm sick of looking at it and having it done is better than having it perfect. So yes, more attention paid there if I'm going to waste someones time, having it judged.
Do I think shows need to have a specific category for CQ, weather or not they get any? Yes, yes I do. 
Do I understand, that if I bring this issue to the attention of the committee, I will be volunteered for the position of CQ inspector? Maybe, there are more qualified people out there surely, there have to be! I'm just some opinionated schmuck from po-dunk Washington.  Though I am willing to go get training, to be qualified. DO I want to be that somebody, there's the real question. I'm an introvert by nature, I think I deal well with others but I'd rather not have to. I just don't like crowds.
I know the time effort and skill, that goes into coordinating this sort of thing, has got to be enormous! And goes largely unappreciated when it goes off without a hitch, which this one did. Impressively.

I do think we need to get more out there, take the chance, put our precious CQ pieces on display, in all their overworked dripping in embellishments, visually overwhelming glory! 
Even if they are not perfection, even if they (the judges) nitpick over the unimportant (my opinion) Flat straight parts of our quilts. Even if, our pieces are just, a tiny square. Hey, we put months into that square!
We need to advocate for our craft. Even though we are but a tiny % of the community. 



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