She’s a handy girly whirly

My husband does not have a handy bone in his body, but I do.  The way my siblings and I were raised, we learned to live with what we had and to fix things.  My husband, on the other hand, is a super chef (at home, not as a career), and I am not.  I cook out of necessity, not because I enjoy it.  My husband has a knack for flavors and creating some of the most scrumptious dishes.  As for me, I sew and fix things.  What more could a husband ask for?  And, when I do fix things, my husband says, “She’s a handy girly whirly!”  He acts like he is amazed at the things I fix.  Of course, I am amazed at the things he can cook!  So, anyhow, this is my latest project.

As you can see, we are in the basement – I call it the dungeon.  That is where my longarm quilting machine resides.  I never seem to have enough counter space, so I built this countertop to sit on top of my 2 cubicle bookshelves.  It serves a double purpose as a work desk for me, as I have a drafters chair that rolls right into place in the middle.

Since the bookshelves are 36 inch square, I took a piece of plywood and had it cut at the hardware store to 3 ft x 6 ft.  I then added trim along the sides that would extend a bit along the bottom of the counter to hold it in place on top of the bookshelves. When I added that trim, I left about 1/8 of an inch lip on the top to insert my cutting mats to hold them in place as well.  I then added some measuring tape sticky note tape stuff along the edge that I bought from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts.

It serves its purpose fairly well, but I still don’t feel like I have enough counter space.  I am planning on and saving up to finish the dungeon and have added power tools and hardware gift cards to my Christmas wish list.    Others might think I’m weird for wishing for power tools, but I don’t want to feel like I’m in a dungeon while I work and create.  And, I know my husband isn’t going to finish it, nor do we have the $$$ to hire it out.  So, it’ll be me, on my own.  I think I will line 2 of the walls with low bookshelves or cabinets.  Not only will that provide storage, but it will also provide that much needed counter space.  I can also hang shelves on the wall when it’s finished, and there will be a ledge that will run along the corner, so all of that will help.

My dream is to have a small kitchenette and bathroom down here.  The kitchenette would be a great place for me to dye fabrics.  And, of course, the bathroom would be handy for this handy girly whirly.  But… I don’t have a clue how to do that nor the muscles for doing plumbing.  Anyone know someone who would be willing to do plumbing for charity?  😉

As for my latest quilting project, I wanted to work on curved crosshatching.  For whatever reason (I guess it’s the freedom that comes with it), I love quilting charity quilts.  The fabric can be some of the most God-awful stuff and it may not be perfect, but it’s a cheap way for me to practice, practice, practice.  After I got in to quilting this a bit and realizing how much time it was taking up, not to mention the fact that this would probably go to a male child, I realized that curved crosshatching is not the thing to put on charity quilts.  Ever!  I didn’t want to rip it out, so I continued on my merry way.  This was a beautifully pieced quilt, and I could have done so much more and better with it.  But, lesson learned!  And, as I like to say, “It’s all (life) a learning process.”  We make mistakes and hopefully learn from them, and in the mean time, it’s not as bad as we think.  As for this one, if I hadn’t done custom quilting on it like this, I probably would have just done an edge-2-edge, which would have done nothing to add to the piecing on this quilt.  But, then, I’m not sure this did, either.

Letter Challenge

Have you ever made a craft (in my case, a quilt) that just didn’t “work” for you the whole way through?  You didn’t feel good about it to begin with, but you carried on anyway and then you couldn’t seem to make it work no matter what.  It’s happened to me several times before, but I was beginning to feel a little cocky, thinking I knew how to put together quilts.   And, here I am now, with a piece of crap that I’m going to try to pass for a quilt…  :o( <eye roll and sigh>

One of the guilds I belong to has a “challenge” that is due October 2nd.  The challenge is to make a quilt with letters on it, any kind of letters.  It could be a “Dear John” letter quilt.  It could be a baby quilt with letters of the alphabet on it?  Really… how hard can that be?  Well, teacher of reading that I at one time was… I was stumped!  I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do related to letters.  I almost did not participate.  Then I remembered a pattern by Edyta Sitar in one of her books that I have that I’ve been wanting to use for some fabric strips from a fabric exchange.  It’s a wall hanging called Family Estate from her book Friendship Strips and Scraps.  I had some beige background fabric that looks like cross-stitched letters on it, so I could easily “cheat” and use that and then add EST. 1974 (for “established” in 1974 – the year my husband and I were married) at the bottom.

Okay!  So, I had my idea and I proceeded to look through my scraps for fabric swatches.  I had fabric strips from a “strip exchange” with folks from the forum of “The Quilt Show” with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  I could use those for the logs on the house.  I wasn’t sure about my choice of border fabrics, so I thought I’d look while I was out at the quilt stores dropping off flyers for the Hollis Chatelain event (2 more days now, but who’s counting?).  I looked for my standard basic black background color fabric that should go with my home decor, but I found myself drawn to this brown fabric.  I think it was the red and pink swirly things that look kind of like quilting feathers that sucked me into buying that fabric.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like the fabric.  Just wait until you see the colors I put with it, though.  I got a contrasting fabric from the same fabric line for the thin inner border and started working on the quilt.

This wall hanging would be about 2 square feet, finished.  So, it shouldn’t take too much effort.  Wrong!  I started out fussing over the fabric strips from the exchange.  I wanted reds for the house, but I only had about 3 strips that would work.  And, red is funny with all its different shades, so I had to nix that idea.  So, I started looking at my strips and saw that I had a lot of blues.  Well, blue just wasn’t going to look right with that brown border.  When I looked a little closer at the border fabric, I noticed there were dots of teal in it.  Okay.  I had blues, greens, and teals that would blend together and might draw out that little speck of teal in the brown border fabric.  That should pull it all together, right?




Wrong!  Yuck!  This is the finished top.  I’m a crappy “piecer” too.  Good thing I do quilting for others, because I am much more tolerant of others who do not have perfectly pieced tops because of my own inability at it also.  Nothing was working for me.  The background fabric with the letters on it is barely noticeable as having letters since it is cut up and not one big piece of fabric.  And, how does that “EST.” qualify for a “letter” quilt challenge???  So, I just sat this aside and decided that when I put the layers together to quilt it, I will quilt my first name and my husband’s first name into it along with our last name.  Then I’ll add both our daughters’ names to the stitching.  Although I’m not real happy with this product, it’ll have to do for this challenge.  The letters will be in the quilting and I will call it a day… well, several days… and surely one day that will not end with an award for winning the challenge!

Good grief!  Who would have thought a “letter challenge” could be such a challenge?

She’s “cute as a button” at MQS

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been at Machine Quilters Showcase (MQS) and figured I’d better get something posted before I forget.  I have been attending and volunteering at MQS for the last 3 years and have loved every minute of each show.  I am sad that it will be moving to Wichita, Kansas next year but it’s only about 3 1/2 hours away so I really shouldn’t be too sad.  I just won’t be able to volunteer like I have in the past.

MQS, along with the other big quilt shows, is a chance to take classes from big name quilters as well as the lesser known, but equally talented, quilters.  It’s also a chance to meet friends you have made online such as through Facebook.  For whatever reason, I did not take many pictures at all this year.  I had my camera with me all the time, but only managed to take pictures of the first class I took.  That was with Sue Patten.  She has a lot of energy and is a fabulous teacher as well as a very creative stitcher.  She has variegated threads figured out to a science ~ WAAAY over my head, but I took her class anyway.  I don’t think I will EVER have her talent and knack for figuring out how to get variegated threads to do what I want on both the front and the back of the quilt, but yesterday I did manage to put certain colors of the variegated thread I was using in particular places on the quilt I was working on.  Here’s a shot of Sue with one of her quilts.


I also managed to meet a couple of friends I’d only chatted with online.  Here is Kelly Hanson and me.  Image

Isn’t she cute as a button?

Hello world!

Happy Sunday morning!  We so needed the rain today, a good atmosphere for quilting!  After all the eye surgeries, and working like a cyclops, I am finally finished with my latest quilt.  I was one of 615 participants in the SOTTT (Sisterhood of the Traveling Triangles) exchange.  Edyta Sitar was on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims showing quilts that could be made with fabric exchanges.  That’s when Debbie posted on the forum that she would like to start a Half Square Triangle exchange.  Little did she know the work involved!  Anyhow, it grew into 615 participants from around the world.   I had a lot of fun putting the quilt from this exchange together and then quilting it.   

So, it’s off to get to the rest of  my neglected house and to the quilt guild meeting this week!  Have a super week!