Friday, April 29, 2005

Playing with the Straight & Narrow

I couldn't sleep last night, so instead I played with ideas for the QuiltArt Straight & Narrow Challenge. The new threads I recently purchased were calling to me, as was some Marjorie Lee Bevis pebble style marbled fabric, so I played around a bit and came up with this silliness - 8 Squares & Some Wiggles.

The piece is 8" wide x 40" long, and I plan to mount it on a wooden frame (have left an extra 6" all the way around it for wrapping around the frame). I used some Sari silk yarn to edge it, and to add a little more drama. Mostly I'm just having fun being quilt liberated - the squares were fused on, the free motion quilting has pointy bits, and the yarn was machine couched. Hah! I just broke three of my (old) quilting rules!

If DH likes it, I may make a few more in a similar vein, and place them as a clustered piece. However, if it is too bright for him (quite possible), it may end up in a closet. Gotta say, it really doesn't fit in with our decor - but if it is to be viewed as art, not decor, anything goes, right? Sigh. Oh well, it was fun to make, no matter where it ends up.

8 Squares & Some Wiggles. Posted by Hello

Detail - coloured squares are 2"x2". Posted by Hello

My studio - workstation area. The quilt in process on my design wall is something I dreamed up, and am calling "Not Askew". I used the quilt as you go method (stitch & flip), and now regret that (as my FMQuilting has vastly improved since I started that quilt). However, I absolutely love the colours and the fabrics, so will finish stitching it together. It may end up hanging in my studio permanently, as a reminder of lessons learned. And, I will most likely make it again, 'cause I absolutely love the way the Not Askew blocks look together. And because I'm drawn to things with squares. And bright colours on black. And regular block arrangements that look irregular. Etc.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ahh, the Stupidity (aka Phantom Hair Panic)

I truly, truly, truly am an idiot. This morning confirms it. Okay, the details...

This morning I was checking things out in the bathroom mirror. You know the drill: is my nose still in the middle, do I still have two eyes, are my ears still attached, is the dry skin next to my mouth getting better, etc. And, while still doing the close up inspection, I noticed a HONKIN' HUGE HAIR! In a NOT ACCEPTABLE place! There, growing out of a (tiny) mole on my left cheek, was a wiry ginger hair! Excessive use of exclamation points aside, I was in "Holy C@#p! How long has that been there?" land.

So, in a panic, I reached for my trusty tweezers, and proceeded to undergo an emergency face-hair-ectomy. I grasped and I grabbed, I cursed and I moaned, but I just couldn't get the bugger! Frustrated by two futile minutes of unsuccessful tweezing, I tossed the tweezers into the corner, leaned back for a deep breath, then went in again for another look.

And, low and behold, realized that for the past few minutes I had been (a) in a major panic about, and (b) mangling my face with tweezers over . . . a stray hair from my head, growing where it is supposed to grow, that just happened to have been slept on at an odd angle and was sticking out sideways. A little dab of gel or a hairpin, and all could be saved.

Apparently it is time for NEW GLASSES!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just thought I'd share this. This is a slush formation on the driver side wheel of our car. It formed while we were driving from our home town to a nearby center (1.5 hour drive). The temperature was a bit below freezing, but the roads were wet from use, and there was freezing rain for the entire trip. Who knew that slush could be so funky! Note the gentle curves of the ice spines - curved in the direction the wheel was spinning. Posted by Hello

Fractured Creativity

Okay fellow Artful Quilters Webring members, and other creative types - here is a question for you. How many of you suffer regularly from days of fractured creativity? You probably know what I mean - those days when you pick up a project, work for half an hour, get distracted by something else, find yourself pulling fabric and embellishments for a new project that hasn't gelled in your head yet, work on some WIPs, drop everything to zone out at the computer, etc.

I had one of those days today, and am very frustrated. I hate getting nothing productive done! What I have noticed, however, is that those days really seem to be more common when I am close to completeing a project that I have spent quite a bit of effort on. Could I be suffering from separation anxiety? Or is it just procrastination? Aargh!

On the positive side, those are usually the days when email gets answered, the house gets tidied up (somewhat - not too much - gotta keep DH's expectations of cleanliness good and low, don't want to set a clean precedent), and a nice dinner gets made, usually with dessert.

These are also days that are generally followed by insomnia, which I both enjoy (get lots of net surfing done and find cool stuff) and dislike (can't sleep, can't get comfortable, grumpy the next morning). Ah, the addled brain of a creative person on a fractured day.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I have been ordered to Blog this, so here it is. This is a sample of my current Doin' it with the Dogs Down. On the left (the red and black areas) I was using 60 weight Bottom Line on top - I wanted the quilting to be consistent all over, but not to be a feature in the black and red areas. The heavier quilting is 40 weight Rainbows - it glows, but I couldn't capture that in a photo. Boy, has my FMQ improved! It's fun to do, too. Posted by Hello

Doin' It with the Dogs Down

Had a great evening of free motion quilting last night - DH was watching Zatoichi (Japanese film - remake of old B&W television series - rent it if you like martial arts movies and grand scale tap dancing - really fun) and I was doin' it with the dogs down. I must say, my G'nome is getting better and better - must be the great new varigated poly threads I'm feeding it! Sadly, they don't show up well on photos taken by a putz like me, so I won't be posting a picture yet - but Caryl Bryer Fallert look out! Yeah, right. Tee hee.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

It's a Great Day here in Allergy Season

I spent a big chunk of yesterday in the yard with Darling Husband - he looked so adorable pulling dandelions that I had to join him. I hand thatched the grass for a few minutes, but decided that was too hard on my Quilting Hands, and had to stop (yes, I am a wimp). He then assigned me the oh so fun job of rooting out and removing the rotting onions and carrots from the garden. We bought the house last year in the autumn, but apparently the family that lived here previously had left earlier in the summer, and we did not know that there were root veggies lurking amongst the weeds in the garden patch. Gotta love picking mushy onions.

Anyway, after a bit of effort we turned over a patch of garden, now ready for the planting of raspberry canes (or whatever else DH wants). Today we are both suffering a bit with itchy eyes, headaches, and general malaise. Who knew that after years of not suffering from allergies, I would finally join the ranks of red-eyed and sneezy. Bummer.

Pin basted the second of DH's home office window coverings last night - will quilt today. These are fun to quilt, as they are only about three feet wide (easy to manage with my Janome 6500 - nicknamed G'nome), and have a polyester batt which is really easy to machine quilt. The only black batting I could find at the time was poly, and he insisted on black as the window coverings were requested primarily to block light - he is tired of fighting computer screen glare. Will post photos once they are hung up.

Abstract Challenge group theme for this month is Your Theme Song. Am playing with Natalie Merchant's "Motherland". Also working on Straight & Narrow Challenge Round 2. Also putting final touches on purse pattern for selling in stores & online. And, it is the last week to submit taxes in Canada - I have a busy week ahead of me. Aargh.

So, back to the trenches, itchy eyes and all.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Green Light

I started a new small (10" x 8") piece today, and it might be the false and misdirected start of the beginning of a series. It was based on the last lines of F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel, The Great Gatsby.
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eludes us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther..... And one fine morning- "
Originally I was planning to call this piece "Gatsby the Goldfish and that elusive Green Light." On further consideration, however, I had to admit to myself that the only reason I even knew those lines was because of John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire, which is hands down my most treasured and often re-read book. One of my favorite parts is when Lilly expresses her grief and frustration, crying "There's always going to be an It--and It is going to elude us, every time. ... He's going to keep going after it and it's always going to get away. Oh, damn it! Damn it! Damn it!"

Okay, not properly quoted (it has been a while since high school and proper use of quotations), but you get the idea. So now, I think maybe it is time to start on a small works series based on The Hotel New Hampshire. I will have to decide where to begin, though, as there are so many poignant moments and amusing scenarios to choose from. But no more Asian style fabrics - they clash with the barely functioning American family theme of the book.

Anyway, here is the false start, along with the thoughts that went with it. It will likely end up in my scrap pile, or worked into another piece later down the line.

The threadpainting doesn't show up well here (I suck at picture taking), but you get the jist. Commerical quilting fabrics, 100% cotton, appliqued by machine, and free motion quilted with polyester & rayon threads. Not bound - fabrics wrapped to back and covered with a finishing fabric.  Posted by Hello

Gatsby is on the left, Nick is peeking in from the top (observation, as always), and that's Daisy's tail you see just out of Gatsby's reach. Even Quilters use literary references upon occasion. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bean Everywhere, Eaten Everything

A recent violent gastrointestinal illness by my intrepid feline Studio Assistant, Bean (scroll down for photos) has had its source traced to her new habit of eating fusible interfacing. Yuck. All of the (obviously yummy) offending material has been removed to a safe place out of her reach, and she is expected to recover soon. The only longterm effect of her dietary digression is that I can now use her to quickly determine which interfacing is fusible when faced with confusion about unmarked pieces, as she only licks the coated ones.

So now that you know me . . .

Okay, I have introduced myself (somewhat), and a few of the many people that feature in my daily life. There are others, and I love them too. However, I don't have photos of them doing anything embarassing, so they don't get a photo posted!

Back to my reason for Blogging - quilting. I am having fun working on Dear Hubby's most recent request (other than ice cream and a glass of scotch), which is a two piece window covering for his home office. Have completely quilted one of the panels, and had fun with my new Rainbows thread and Bottom Line in the bobbin. You can quilt for a heck of a long time with 60 weight in the bobbin! Have to sandwich the other panel yet, which has been put on hold until I can pick up more Spot Shot to remove the remnants of Bean's latest hurking session (middle of my layout & basting area). I guess she figured I needed a break from pin basting.

Am also currently working on a few other projects:
- Chris & Rhea's wedding quilt,
- finalizing the pattern for the small purse I just designed (to be in stores soon - or at least available in a few places)
- ignoring the Trauma Quilt in the hope that it will go away or at least become less traumatic
- embellishing a reversible wall hanging to make it even more desirable to cats that like to chew on beads / eat attached fibers
- hand couching yarn to my silk couch throw (my first foray into working with silk)
- etc. etc.

Mostly I am working on procrastinating. And Blogging. Fun.

Me, handpiecing (what I do when my sewing machine cannot travel with me). I believe I am in the middle of saying "Take a picture and die!" Posted by Hello

My Mom, quilting (with her Studio Assistant, Seamus). The quilt is for my favorite little guy, Noah. Yup, Mom quilts too. We started around the same time, and are having fun exploring quilting together. Posted by Hello

My Dad, windsurfing. He has WAY more balls than me. Oh, wait - I sense me getting out of that one on a gender based technicality. Posted by Hello

My favorite little person - Noah. He is (hold your breath for this) my Mom's husband's son's son. Technically that makes him - oh who cares. He's adorable. Posted by Hello

A shot of our comfy leather chairs - his is the black lazyboy with the crazy patch plaid quilt, mine is the wing chair with the batik quilt in tarnish and rust. My studio is behind the chairs. The glass door leads out to our patio that looks out on the mountains. Posted by Hello

Side B of Dear Hubby's nap quilt. These blocks are done in flannels, so it is extra cuddly. Note the Janome 6500 behind the quilt - my studio area is open to the den so I can quilt while he watches the History Channel or Discovery. Posted by Hello

Side A of Dear Hubby's nap quilt. He wanted plaids. Sun is shining on a quilt in the background - design by Jennie Rayment. Posted by Hello

Dear Hubby, reading something technical. Posting this photo to show off three quilts at once - details to be provided later, with closeups. Posted by Hello

That Logan Chick in her studio. Okay, yep, that's me in all my puffy glory. I'd like to say the camera adds 10 lbs, but in really it is chocolate that added 30. AND EVERY BITE WAS WORTH IT! Posted by Hello

View from my quilting studio, circa sometime in November 2004 (note the sad lack of leaves).  Posted by Hello

Another finished quilt. Yup, that's my bed - no rude comments now please. This is a Double Dutch Rose (aka Carpenter's Wheel), made really big, with LeMoyne Stars in the border drops. Note the sad lack of a headboard. Sigh. Posted by Hello

Bean again. Apparently she can read (Cat box - get it?). Duh. Left the evil glowing eyes in - goes really well with the dorky open mouth. Bean would hurp a hairball on me if she knew I was putting her most embarassing moments online. Posted by Hello

Full version of miniature Storm at Sea. This was my very first completed project! Posted by Hello

Bean expressing her displeasure that I won't let her loll about on my newly finished miniature Storm at Sea quilt. Posted by Hello

My First Official (Blogged) Mouth Off

Only doing this because I was goaded (or is it prodded?). So here goes . . .

Sometimes I am a mouthy piece of work. This generally occurs when in public, and attempting to not Fishslap someone who desperately deserves a Fishslap. Not generally a violent person (okay, terrified of pain and having my hair pulled), I instead choose to (a) stay in the comfort of my own home, unless absolutely necessary; and (b) keep company with others that come armed with fish and attitude. So, rather than becoming a public nuisance, I hereby promise, armed with crossed fingers behind my back and heartfelt lack of enthusiasm, to Blog instead. Tee hee.

I am a Quilter by choice, and an Engineer by trade (no longer practicing - now devoting my full time to quilting, napping in the sun with my two cats, enjoying the mountains that surround my town, and avidly scouting the net for new and interesting tidbits about Quilters and quilting. I am also a wife (occasionally referred to as "Best Wife in World" - usually after bringing DH a chocolate Sundae with pecans & bonus caramel sauce), a daughter (two proud parents, both thrilled I grew out of some of my more annoying phases - or is that settled into a more steady one?), and a sister (middle child - two large, confident, smart, and scary looking brothers). Nope, no kidlets - not all of us are lucky enough to be able to procreate. Probably a good thing, given my anti-social tendencies and belief in The Great Karmic Fishslap.

Given time, and getting the hang of this Blog thing, I will add more info, mouth off, and post photos. For now, this is me - and now I'm live and online. Woo friggin' hoo - ain't technology grand!