Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Annotated Bookmarks

ADD post.  Apologies to those who are easily distracted--this is a dump from my very own distracted brain.

I was having trouble with slowness on my computer, and battery life on my phone.  Umm, yeah. Apparently, having a dozen webpages open at a time will do that.  So here is my list: Bookmarks that are currently open on my phone and my computer

Saw these awesome shoes on a customer in line at the store; asked him about them, and he proceeded to sing their praises.

Lifestyle blog that I occasionally peruse.  Can't I just set a bookmark for that?  Or better yet, put it in my own feed of blog posts that regularly come before my eyes? 

The Momentum Optimization Project List (They're rules, not guidelines)
Another blog.  I want to go and read all her posts on "Momentum Optimization", since I seem to be battling the same motivation/get-going-already issues she talks about in this post.  Also, I think some of her ideas, maybe not from this particular post, but on this theme, have gone viral.
The blog is narrowbackslacker.com

White America's racial illiteracy: Why our national conversation is poisoned from the start
april 10, 2015 post by Dr. Robin DiAngelo, the good men project

Not even sure how useful this is...

A design blog about "living a stylish life and transforming the so-so".  Again, how useful is this link?  (And why do I collect useless information?  Oh wait: new & shiny.)

vintagerevivals.com Tagline: "fearless DIY"
I think this was me trying to get our large blank walls filled inexpensively and yet stylishly.  A post on upcycling thrift store art looks useful.



google search: house hunting quilt pattern
Every now and then I get the itch to make this quilt; BOTM from 2010 maybe?

A progressive exercise regime from Redbook Magazine
21 days to "Get in the Best Shape of Your Life"  I just love promises like that one!

Climbing Monkeys Winery
Want to take Sweetie there sometime; but you have to make a reservation because they don't have regular hours, just by appointment

Monday, July 13, 2015

Borrowed Design Wall

Had a "finish-it-up" sew-in at the shop, and I made use of their design wall to help me along.  Didn't finish (this is meant to be part of a larger project), but made good progress.

Me at the start of the afternoon.  I had put together 4-1/2" squares into a design based on a tutorial found on Freemotion by the River's blog.  That was as far as I got on this project while at quilt retreat camp in May, and I knew I needed space to lay out the next step...

Using the Twister Tool from CS Designs.  My mom had this tool; she was gonna use it to sew up some pinwheels at this year's retreat, so I decided this project would be done with her in my heart.


Me at the end of my sewing afternoon.  All rows are completed.  I was warned that the pinwheels should be cut and sewn one row at a time, to avoid utter confusion, so that's what I did.

And then I pinned each row, as it was completed, to the design wall.  So inspiring to see it coming together like that.  I know I can sew the rows together at home without the design wall's assistance.

Here's a close-up of the design wall, as seen from one of its edges: made from insulating boards, 4 ft x 8 ft, that have been screwed into the drywall.  Multiple boards butt up against each other to cover the entire wall.  Then you just use straight pins to attach your project.  Not the same as those flannel or fleece or padded design walls that don't require any outside assistance to hold up your project, but it so worked for me!

Next "finish-it-up Friday" is the last Friday of the month in Berkeley, California.  If you're in the Bay Area, you might consider dropping by to use some design wall for yourself.

Patchwork Times

Linking up with Design Wall Monday, hosted every week by Judy over at Patchwork Times.  Always fun to see how some folks use a resource that I merely covet... or borrow, in this case.

What do you use for a larger-scale design space?  Is it permanent, or fleeting?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Circling the Stash

Circles.  They have been going round in my head recently (pun intended)--but I reserve that blog post for another day.

"Boule" 2008 vintage

So, with the knowledge that I've been circle crazed lately, lookee what I found!  Gold bolt end tells you it's Alexander Henry.  Price told me it's an older fabric.  And a customer at the shop said, "When you find an Alexander Henry that you love, buy it!  Because you won't find it again."

Well, what could I do but start shopping for coordinating fabrics?  I do follow orders well (it's those 10 years in the Navy).  Here is the advantage of working in a quilt shop... auditions!

The teal group, left to right:
  • Clothworks, Hey Cupcake, Sky
  • Studio e, Just color, Slate
  • Felicity Miller, Charleston Farmhouse, Dahlia Leaf

The chartreuse group, left to right:
  • Timeless Treasures, Fun, Citron
  • In the Beginning, Painted Summer, Color 2
  • Joel Dewberry, Bungalow, Empress

The brown group, left to right:
  • RJR, Pomare, 0668
  • Kaufman, Quilter's Burlap, Cocoa
  • Free Spirit, Lilliput Fields, Ancient

The cream/tan/ecru group, left to right:

  • Timeless Treasures, Sand Wave, Cream
  • Kaufman, Doe, Natural
  • Quilting Treasures, Studio 8, Soho

Late addition: the only gray I liked was Quilter's Burlap, from Kaufman

WAIT!!!  What am I doing?  I see this ONE fabric that I adore (the circles, the circles!) and suddenly I'm ready to buy enough fabrics to make a whole quilt--with no pattern, no plan, no room in my already-stuffed UFO/WIP black hole for another project to come in and take over.  Aack: ADD = low impulse control (betcha didn't know that they were related, but they are).

The voice of reason prevailed.  I bought one yard of the Alexander Henry (instead of the 5 yards that I envisioned--go big or go home), and left the other fabrics safely on their bolts, in the shop, where they belong.

But I felt so guilty about where my inner hoarder was taking me, that I had to come home and de-stash in order to feel better about myself.

There: 5 1/2 yards of unloved fabrics  I could save them for bag linings, or muslins, or rag rugs... Or I could donate them to the children's charity quilt bin run by EBHQ, and they could be used.  And LOVED.  I really think the Universe wants them to be loved.

(Plus, my goal of using up or donating 100 yards of fabric in 2015.  There's that, too.)

Molli Sparkles

Following in the footsteps of Jen at A Quarter Inch from the Edge, I am linking up with Molli Sparkles over at Sunday Stash--to crow about both my acquisitions and my de-acquisitions.

I don't do enough quantity sewing to use up those 100 yards by myself.  How big is your stash?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Guild Life

Having said farewell to all my Oregon friends (miss you guys!), moved to California, and gotten a job at a quilt store, it behooves me to check out the local quilt guilds in my area.  Lo and behold, there are four to choose from.  Such riches!

I am committed to visiting each one, just to see what they are about, but I may have already fallen in love with one group--they were just so welcoming.

African American Quilt Guild of Oakland
They meet on the 4th Saturday of every month, 1-3 pm

Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild
They meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month, 1-3 pm

East Bay Modern Quilters
They meet on the 4th Tuesday of every month, 6:30-8:30 pm

East Bay Heritage Quilters
They meet on the last Monday of every month, 6:30-9:00 pm

One might think, since East Bay Heritage Quilters (EBHQ) is so closely tied to the shop where I work (we are a drop-off site for their primary charity children's quilts: raw materials, pieced tops, and completed quilts), that I would be drawn to their vibe almost immediately.  Not so.  Granted, I visited during a meeting that featured their silent auction, so I may not be able to generalize, but I just wasn't sure that they are the group for me.

Is this love?  After attending one meeting of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland, I made up the assigned charity block so I would be ready for next month's meeting.  And I didn't even have any orange left in my scraps, after having gone a little to the orange side in my recent Sew Together Bag; bought 2 fat quarters to make up this block.

What made me fall in love with this guild?  Well, I said before that I felt welcome from the minute I walked in.  The first twinge of "this is my vibe" came when I found out that each member has to make their own nametag.  And we're not talking
Clever, but pretty generic
Oh no, these are my kinda nametags: individualized, kooky, loaded with personality and creativity.  A window into each member's core of fabric-crazed being. 

I have two ideas already brewing for my nametag (see? and I'm not even a member yet)  Patterns I already have on hand...

pattern from Fabric Depot in Portland, OR
Teeny-tiny 3" blocks: see the crayons!!!
I will report back on the other two guilds, when their meeting times and my schedule finally line up.

For now, I am definitely going back to AAQGO--bringing my charity block with me.

What would be on your nametag?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Finished: Technicolor Star

Woot! A quilt finish in less than a year.  Since my previous quilt finishes have taken approx 3 years each, this quilt was lightning fast.  Of course, it helps that this pattern contained only 41 pieces (as originally drafted--I complexified things into 81 pieces by adding the fussy that I thought was missing).  Many of my other quilts have contained upwards of 1,000 pieces.  So I guess speedy makes sense in this case...
Technicolor, true, but this is the back, darling...
Dropped the quilt off for long-arm lovin' back in February, but then I moved out of state.  So I can be excused for not getting it picked up for awhile.  Then there was that pesky binding...

Technicolor Star, a design inspired by Bright Sky
Ta-Da!  Don't you love it?  It is not afraid to be loud, to announce its presence in a most bold manner (oops--do you call that a pun?)  Somewhere along the line, its name got changed from Technicolor Sky to Technicolor Star.  As I am not in the habit of naming my quilts, I'm guessing the quilt itself changed the name in my mind--no matter.
Close-up of allover quilting
Due to a miscommunication with my long-arm quilter, I did not end up with the more modern, geometric, custom quilting that I was hoping for.  I fretted for just the tiniest of moments--less than a day, if you must know--but then I remembered something

Perfect is good;
done is better.

And so it is: done!  This was an experiment, a way to use long-stashed fabrics, and a distinct departure from my intricate, fussy quilts.

I hand-stitched the binding myself, since Ginger-the-binding-angel did not follow me to California to do my bidding.  Had to watch my favorite binding tutorial video, from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  The key point that I keep watching every time comes at 8:30 in the video (it's 16 minutes long, so being able to skip ahead will help when I have to watch it again.  Which I undoubtedly will.)

Yardage Used: 7 yds (and all from stash!)

And since it's Friday, I get to link up with TGIFF

hosted this week by Quilt Matters.  So proud to have a finish to show off.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

T-minus 4 Days

Sweetie is getting ready for a big trip.  Plane takes off 4 days from now.  And she's all packed already!

Pre-packing--last week! Making sure all clothing was washed, patched, and would fit in the duffel

Maybe you aren't astounded by this level of preparedness, but I am flabergasted.  Granted, she will be gone more than a week.  And she's leaving the country.  And lots of specialty and technical equipment is involved.  But still... how???

About 2 weeks ago the technical bits were getting checked & prepped
I need to take note of this process, because I, too, am traveling in the coming month--a week-long trip that involves me transporting several boxes and bins to different places.  No opportunity to "just pick up another one at WalMart" if I forget something important--and lots of important is in the bins.

  • It's really never too early to start getting ready (that extra bedroom holds pre-pack items very nicely)
  • Packing checklists are helpful--especially if you actually check the items on the list
  • Once you are done packing, you can relax until it's time to leave for your trip
  • Murphy's Law operates less maliciously for those who plan ahead

Bon Voyage, Sweetie!! I promise to get ready for my trip before the last possible minute.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bags, bags, bags

Customer came into the shop with a super-cute bag (it had frogs on it!!!) that her friend had made.  I asked the name of the pattern (since we sadly don't sell patterns--just books and magazines); was able to find that pattern on Craftsy when I got home. (The Convertible/Reversible Bag by cozy nest design)  Now I'm Jonesing to make that bag.


I've been looking for a bag pattern I might teach at the shop.  I feel like zippers are a source of stress for some people, so I've been especially keen on bag patterns that include zippers: which one(s) have potential?
(And if you can mix a lot of fabrics within a single bag, that's a bonus!)


Triple-zip bag
A zippered pouch I found on Debbie's blog, A Quilter's Table.
Pros:  free pattern; online tutorial; extra construction tips from a 2013 sew-along; uses 3 zippers; innovative hiding of the zipper endings; and lots of cool fabric mixing is encouraged.

Sew Together bag
A compact bag to hold your sewing or crafting stuff when you go off to stitch with friends.
Pros:  multiple uses for all the pockets--could be a gift for anyone; pattern is from an indie designer; online sew-along/tutorial plus extra tips for making sense of the pattern/directions; uses 4 zippers; main zipper cleverly becomes handles and allows bag to open fully;  fabric-mixing on this pattern can be addicting.

Bionic Gear bag
A more-specialized-but-incredibly-similar bag to the Sew Together bag.
Pros: pattern is from an indie designer (and was a 2014 Craftsy pattern winner!); has a whole host of YouTube video tutorials to help make sense of the pattern/directions; uses 5 zippers; fully open bag features a "tray" to corral your unruly notions; several bag accessories are available for more personalization and further stitching fun.

Winner: Sew Together Bag

Made up this pattern at Something To Crow About spring retreat, while several other campers were stitching the Bionic Gear Bag at the same time.  We did some compare and contrast to the steps, the helpfulness/thoroughness of the directions, and individual preferences for tweaks we might make (e.g. hand-stitch vs. machine-stitch the bindings; use an even-longer main zip.)  We all agreed that video and/or classroom assistance was pretty much mandatory in getting either project put together with minimal hair-tearing/cursing.

Love that my bag was made entirely with scraps and fat quarters.  Love that it makes use of the last of a long-stashed vintage-looking Hula Hoop fabric.  Love how well my machine handled both the zippers and the heavy layers of binding.  Love how useful this bag will be!!!

And I'm already pulling fabrics for my next Sew Together Bag.  I want to try a sexy zipper for the main zip (the one that becomes the handles).  And really want to teach this bag at New Pieces... stay tuned! 

And another bag detour...

Row by Row bag

Ya know, I am never satisfied with minimizing my multi-project involvement.  Row by Row Experience started this past Sunday, and I saw this tote bag as a way to incorporate one of those cute license plates I have been coveting.  No zippers, so it's not a candidate for me to teach as a class.  But I pulled out some fabrics to see what might look good together.

Hmm, Sweetie thinks it's a bit much...

Couldn't resist.

Fabric Destash accounting. Used on the Sew Together Bag:
Yardage Used: 3/4 yds