Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Sleep with a Quilt and a Gun

While at retreat, I finished a quilt top for a friends baby. I still need to sandwich it together, quilt it, and bind it; so it really isn't done yet. I wanted to make sure that it would be O.K. to give to a girl or a boy. I hope that I made that happen. I have always wanted to do a plaid churn dash, so here was my chance. I ran to my nearest friendly neighborhood thrift store and bought up an arm full of men's button down cotton plaid shirts. Then I started cutting away. I liked it so much when I got the top done, that I decided that I am going to make a replica for myself; except with appliqued plaid flowers around in the brown area. Working with men's dress shirts is kind of like working with batiks. They have a tighter weave and a crisp feel to them. The thing that I love the most about them is that you cannot find these in a quilt store. I don't have anything against quilt stores (of course!), but it is sometimes a little bit of a downer when you see that the lady that sits up front at all of the guild meetings is now showing off an award winning quilt starring the same exact Moda currently in your quilt that has not even seen the quilting frame yet. All right, this never happened to me...but I wake in cold sweats all of the time worrying that someone out there is stealing my Hoffman idea right out of my sleep. Really, what am I worried about anyway? It isn't like the sweet ol' quilter down the way is now parked in my driveway with binoculars trying to get a glimpse of my quilt. I think that I would have to win a ribbon or two before I get all hoity-toity with my 'rare' churn dash design. Maybe a double-knit polyester Baltimore album quilt would be the way the gotta admit it...who the hell else would take on such a moronic, foolish, and pointless endeavor?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Staring at a Not-So-Blank Wall

This is one of the corners of my sewing room. I finally got one of my flannel walls up this week. I will eventually have 3 in all. Two of these smaller ones and one big one. It really helps to have one, even if it a small one. I still rely heavily on my EQ6 for auditioning ideas, but I really like this small area for throwing a block or two up. The diamonds that you see on my wall are from the 1940's. They used to be in a Texas Lone Star quilt by an unknown maker. When I acquired it, I laid it flat, or at least tried to. It had more ruffles than a square dancer's skirt. I took every piece apart, picked, ironed, cut and sewed the diamonds back together by hand. I am about half done now with these. Since I am not working on these as a deadline project, they have been getting done in spare time over the last few years. I am planning on applying the diamonds to a muslin background in the pattern that is shown here so that I can do some hand quilting in the star-shaped pieces.

I love the Picasso picture in my room too. It has a quote by him on it that says "My mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you will be a general. If you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope.' Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso." What a wonderful way of saying that you can be great just doing what you do best.

I also tried to edit out my big screen T.V. so that I would not make any of you jealous, but I would have ended up cutting out part of the picture. Someday I may even upgrade to something frighteningly a 19 inch.

I Drink I Will Have a Think and Iron Some

Now this is not really what I would call 'top shelf' vodka. Actually, it is pretty cheap...and let me tell you why it is on the top shelf in my sewing room, and not empty on the floor under my sewing chair. First of all, when it comes to vodka, I have acquired a taste for more distinguished brands. I am perfectly fine lowering my snobby standards; however, if the lower quality alternative is mixed into a Mexican Martini. Secondly, my 'good' bottles are not the size of Napoleon. What I use the vodka for is to mix into my spray bottles with distilled water (and lavender if you so choose). This is a much cheaper alternative to those expensive brand-name linen sprays that you keep around your iron when pressing all of your lovely blocks. Vodka is usually made with potatoes, wheat, rye or similar grains. It has a light starch to it for this reason. Vodka is also colorless, and odorless for the most part, so it is the perfect thing to use on your laundry, linens, or fabric when you are looking for a nice, light crisp feel to it. As always, I highly recommend testing it in an inconspicuous area before spraying away. (CYA) I have never had a problem with any of my fabrics bleeding when using this spray. Or maybe I just can't see the fabric any more after a few blocks. Two sprays for me, one for the churn dash, Two for me one for the durn chash. For those who want to throw Carrie Nation back into the closet where she is the chemical solution:

Monica's Linen Spray and Quilt Room Refreshment
  • 2 Cups distilled water
  • 1/4 Cup Vodka
  • 10 drops of lavender essences (optional, and whatever scent you like)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Carol is worth every stitch

I have posted before about this quilt top. It was initally supposed to be a round robin quilt top, but the sweet gal who got this top back at the end of the rounds got the short end of the deal. Her top only had the center, the sawtooth border and the applique border, with the 'plaid' border being incomplete. Carol is an excellent piecer. When I look at her work, I just can't believe that it was made by human hands and not a robotic machine. The back of her work could just as well be the front because of how perfect her seams lay. They are trimmed of any flyaway threads and the dang blocks actually measure a square shape. I love knowing people like her because it makes me strive to make my blocks better. With all of this being said, it was sad to see her quilt had been returned to her in the state that it was in; especially after she had put so much work into everyone else's borders. When I saw her at my last retreat, I wanted to just cry when I saw it. I was disgusted with it. I asked Carol if she would let me fix the plaid border and add an extra one. I told her that I was not sure how long it would take me but I would work on it as quickly as possible. She was happy to let me take it. The only way I could fix the plaid border was to take each little piece of fabric apart, pick off all of the little threads, press them, cut them to the correct size, resew them together, then reassemble the blocks. I designed the final border to compliment the prior borders and center, keeping in mind that she may want to add extra borders past mine. I hope that all of her patience with me is worth it in the end, because it was definately worth it for me to do it, knowing that she will finally get the quilt that she very much deserves.


I see that I haven't been blogging since December...I have been knocked into a social coma for a few weeks. It has been so long that when I ventured out to get groceries the other day, my neighbors stopped me and introduced me to the neighborhood, again. I really like disappearing every once in awhile. It gives me a break from the 'rules of etiquette'(not that I ever read that book). Also, when I am able to climb in a hole, I get to work on projects that need to be finished. Playgroups for Connor, ladies night out, and other social gatherings go on hold too. Every now and then one of these groups will drop-in on me to see if I am O.K. and I will just tell them that 'The U.F.O.'s are attacking me!'...and they usually quickly disperse and leave me alone for a long while. It also helps if when you are walking out to your mailbox everyday, you mutter to yourself (out loud) your 'quilts of the undone' list. Shoot, go ahead and wear your bunny slippers, too. Midway through my leave of absence, a dear friend of mine named Delona, called me to ask if I wanted to go on a quilting retreat with her to the Compass Centre this weekend. I really don't know how I was able to pull it off, but here I am, quilting with a bunch of sleep-deprived, coffee-and-chocolate filled, crazy ladies. I will be blogging again in a few hours with pictures of the festivities. It will give me a chance to re-touch the photos to make us look like Stepford Housewives instead of Twisted Sisters.