Monday, September 29, 2014

Easy as 1, 2, 3...

Well, my big machine (I bought a longarm, see here!) collected dust for 10 days while the anxiety levels rose. This is how I am with technology. I am not one to jump right in. My husband Mark, an IT professional, had to practically hold my hand while I figured out the On/Off switch. Yup, that's how averse I am.

First quilt quilted was a lap quilt / charity quilt I partially inherited from my friend Liz, who offered it to me for quilting practice (she did the center, I did the borders). I quilted it in an allover meander pattern. Here it is on my weather-beaten picnic table.

Second quilt quilted was the Paducah nine-patch for my cousin in Arizona. Also quilted in a meander. It has arrived safely (in a rainstorm!) so I can write about it and not ruin the surprise!

The third quilt quilted I actually had to make! My dear cousin Laura, matron of honor at my wedding, welcomed her first granddaughter into the world last week. Laura has four sons and one grandson, and I know from her attentions to my foster daughters over the years that she has lots of impulses pink, glittery and otherwise girly stored up to share with this precious one, "Penelope." I wanted to add a quilt to the mix.

I chose the delicate rose backing first. Remember Dear Mrs. Emig's fabric stash? (see here)

This dictated my choice of pink: rose pink, not princess pink. Greens I knew would be welcome, as the color of the mother's eyes... Finally, the pattern: I made 16 half-square triangles, and tried them out in all combos:

(Interesting, but too scattered. I wanted something like centerpieces.)

(Cool, but how does this push-me/pull-you relate to the sweet delicacy of new life?)

(Again, interesting, but the box seems so... geometric.)

Aha! There were others, but this was the winner. With white on the outer squares, its boxiness retreats on a white background to become somewhat rosette-ish.

My favorite part is the binding. It is sage green, left over from the Arizona quilt's back. I likely would not have planned on it, but there it was, lying on my table. It is amazing to me how the sage green looks like the faded green from antique quilts, the pinks like faded reds.

Tra-la! Happy me. And, for fun, I quilted in hearts rather than meanders. My first actual "pattern" quilting! I still have a long ways to go in mastering the machine. But then again, I still have tons (yes, probably literally) of fabric in my stash...
stitch by stitch

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

One year ago (plus a couple days), I started my blog (here) with a post about driving out to Sioux City for S's birthday. Well, last Saturday I did it again, with no Greta-made clothes in hand, but (even better) with longtime friends and admirers of S., Bob and Franny. (I love the colors in this photo.)

Then, on Monday, I drove with my husband out to eastern Iowa and bought this, and he set it up in our living room!

That's right, I now own a long-arm quilting machine. My quilting blog is 1 year old. And this is post #50. And I just turned 50. So, a big "Happy Blog Birthday" to me. Welcome to middle age! Let's make it a quilty season of life!

Perhaps that's why I've been so frustrated with this darned crazy quilt I've been piecing. I have two other quilts to machine quilt, but irrationally, I want to quilt this one first. It's inspired by this amazing decorator fabric that I bought on ebay at a ridiculous bargain, $3 a yard or so (yes, this was during my supposed "fabric fast"--oops!). So many colors and so much fabulous artsi-ness.

The inspiration was mixed up with a dream in which I gave three books to an unidentifiable friend's three children, but she gave them back to me because the inside binding was covered in tire tracks. Something needing resolution. When, in the early stages of creation, I sensed beauty in the offing, lo and behold I discovered I'd been using this fabric:

That was a "high." After many downers and hours of painstaking revision, here is what I came up with. As a 36" x 36" centerpiece, it's okay; it will do; it's not hideous. I'm going to slap a big wide border on it and call it a day.

Actually, it's not that simple. I've had a very specific idea of what kind of border I want on it all along, and it looks something like this:

Who can explain these irrational mandates? I sure can't. I just can't wait to use my big machine!