Sunday, June 21, 2009


I am well into my Labyrinth quilt, having not punched a hole through a wall or curled up under the sewing table in a fetal position after my dumb ass mistake. The really stupid thing about it was that I had chosen all the colors directly from the pattern, which was supplied by RJR Fabrics, and I obtained the correct shade of white to go with the black and white print as specified in the instructions. However, when I got it, I refused to believe that it could possibly work, since it was CLEARLY an ecru, a cream, an oatmeal, if you will. So I stuffed it in a stash box and bought several shades of white from Joann, one of which would surely work.

(A brief aside here: when you go to Joann and get fabric cut - that is if you GO to Joann - I know some people would rather eat dirt than buy fabric from The Evil Place - does the person cutting the fabric always ask you what you are making? I always want to answer something like, "my death shroud," or "thongs" or something, but I never have the nerve.)

But, of course, white is deceiving, and the one I chose was completely wrong. It was bad enough having to go back and cut so much fabric, but have I mentioned lately HOW MUCH I HATE CUTTING FABRIC? On my weekend with my sister, she taught me a couple things about rotary cutting, and I really thought as I was cutting my strips that I was finally making accurate cuts. Except for I forgot about the fact that I'm severely disabled and could not cut a straight line if you paid me (I'm very motivated by cash).

So these were all made with strips that are about as straight as Sigfried and Roy, yet they still look pretty good from far away:

For my next trick, I will cut strips blindfolded and sew them with my feet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banging my head on the table was part of the victory dance

This weekend I spent every available moment cutting the 432 pieces of fabric necessary for my labyrinth quilt.

Once I started constructing the blocks, I realized that, though everything was cut perfectly and fit together like something out of a kit, I used the wrong color for about 2/3 of the pieces.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Squint as you approach. You may be blinded by my beauty.

Every once in a while I get a bug up my butt and I become obsessed with something ridiculous. I am powerless in the thrall of my own futile ambitions, and many other, more worthwhile pursuits—such as showering and cooking—get shoved aside during my mania du jour.

This week it was quilt designing. Harper was fascinated by the process of making our last quilt, though she was a bit disappointed in the result. I had plotted the squares out on graph paper, using solid colors representing the background colors of the prints we were using. And even though she saw the prints, she still thought we were going to end up with something that would look more like the picture than it did, so I promised her we would do it again with solids.

In the meantime, I have two marble solids that I was going to use for the border and backing of my last quilt, but which I ultimately decided were not quite the right shades. I was thinking of using them to make a 2-color quilt, using the disappearing 9-patch pattern, and I used my graph paper to see what kind of arrangements I could make with the blocks.

THAT got me thinking about the disappearing 9-patch method - where you deconstruct a block and rearrange the pieces to make something new. I wondered what other kind of block I could cut up, and so I drew a sort of nine-patch made from half-square triangles, cut that up, and started messing around with it.

So, I started with this:

and cut that into 4ths and rearranged them to make this:

Then I tried several different arrangements of those blocks to see what a whole 2-color quilt might look like:

Now, lets ignore for a moment the question of whether these designs are even remotely attractive or appealing. because when I am in the throes of my obsession, I can't see the ugliness that's right in front of me. I always figure that I am too deeply involved in the project to see it objectively, so I may as well keep going. So, despite the fact that the above pictures are HIDEOUS, I went ahead and tried it in fabric. Since I'm now all expert-y with the triangles and all.

Miraculously, my seams lined up nicely, but my sewing machine just hated all those intersections, and the whole thing ended up wonky in a way that would cause later blocks to, I don't know, turn inside out or something. There's a reason this isn't a common design method.

Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

need sleep...can't snark

I have been trying to get to this post all day, and now that I have a free moment I can barely keep my eyes open. So, sorry so bland, but here's a pic of a quilt top I made with my 5-year-old daughter this week. We plotted out the arrangement of the squares on graph paper and she was in charge of putting everything in the right order and creating stacks of squares for me to sew. She did a perfect job. It's about 50x50, and I'm still trying to decide if it needs a border, and if so, what color.


Friday, June 5, 2009

The email I woke up to this morning

OMIGOD!!!! I am so happy I read these tonight, when I have the flu and feel like excrement. You made me laugh, and I didn't think that was possible this week. I've sent them to my other editors, Mark included. If they don't laugh, they've got to be dead inside. Thank you for making my night and I'm sorry it took a few weeks to read these. You are a very gifted writer and I'll let you know what the others say. BTW, were you sitting in my guild meeting/shopping cart/sewing room when you wrote these?

Jake Finch

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thanks, Wendy

I have received many wonderful answers to my blogging questions, and I've had the chance to visit more blogs as a result. I visited Sewing in the Wendy City, and saw that she has an Etsy shop - and I can't resist an Etsy shop. She had these cutie little can "coozies," foam drink can insulators decorated with fabric and ribbons and ric-rac, and she even said that they were perfect for Dr Pepper! How could I resist? I bought one, and that sweet thing sent me two:

One of them is exclusively for my canned drinks, but the other has been re-purposed:

Cute, huh? Thanks, Wendy!

On another note, I have sent another article into Mark Lipinski at Quilter's Home. It has now been about a month since I sent 3 pieces to the managing editor, Jake Finch, after she requested more to replace the one they couldn't publish. I decided to send this piece directly to him - and just casually mention that I sent Jake 3 pieces 4 WEEKS AGO. I'm hoping he loves what I sent (who could resist an article called Zen and the Art of Crappy Quilting?) and gives his managing editor a poke about the others. This piece even made my husband laugh, and that's saying something.