Sunday, June 27, 2010

Something in the Middle

I've been sewing a lot this weekend and yet it seems like I have nothing to show for it. Everything I tried to work on broke. First I was going to do the June blocks for the Fussy Cut Bee but I ran out of materials so they are going back unfinished. I hate when that happens. Then I started making flying geese and I tried out a new tool. The first set of 4 worked great the next set not at all. Then I tried again and still nope. I had this problem once before and I think I might have warped the fabric when ironing so I will take that apart and try again a little later. Up next I worked on July Blocks for Bee Stitched. Lynette sent along some Lantern Bloom fabric and asked for wonky stars. She left it up to us to make a little something special in the middle. Humm there's that creative improv thing again. This time though I am very happy with the results. First I decided since I have become boarder line obsessed with these paper pieced hexagons (that's why I haven't seen my machine in awhile) that was the obvious choice for my fist block.

The one thing I would have done differently is removing the basting stitches and papers sooner. I was hard to take it out after the block was together but I was afraid I was going to take them out to soon and the hexagons I had cut would loose their shape.

For the second block I had planned to make a pinwheel for the middle, but when I was laying out the pieces and saw the diamond in the middle it reminded me of this block which is a favorite of mine. And no I don't know why it reminds me of it since I realize they are nothing alike but it does. So I thought maybe it was meant to be and left it as a diamond. Overall I think that gave a good effect because now it looks like some of those points are really extended. I hope Lynette likes them. I think overall these might be some of my favorite blocks I have made to date for my quilting bees. They are getting harder as the time goes on and everyone is becoming more confident in what can be accomplished but I think that might be a good challenge.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fried Mayo

Well I'm back from Omaha and while the trip was a lot of work it was not without it's moments of fun as well. I didn't have a lot of down time as the convention kept me really busy but on Friday night I did get to have dinner with some amazing women. I had the opportunity to meet up with another online quilting friend, Debbie and her daughter Keira. My boss thought it was a little strange to meet people I hadn't even talked to on the phone but that didn't keep her from tagging along. I love to meet the friends I make through our online quilting community in person. It may seem strange to everyone else but I feel like I do know all you guys. I mean lets face it we share our experiences with quilting regardless of if they turn out great or need some improvement which is a risky thing to do, we share the joys and the sorrows of each others lives in the safety of our online bees and groups, we know some really important stuff that is going on in each others lives, why not meet in person if you ever have the chance? They were wonderful to meet and we had a great time. Since it was so late when we were able to get together Debbie took me to the only fabric place in town that was still open, Mangelsen's, which is a lot like a really big Michael's Craft Store. There was a small cafe attached to the store and while we were browsing through the fabric the sales lady proceeded to tell us about all of the things we should try. I couldn't believe she was telling us that we should be sure to try the deep fat fried pickles. Well we did eat at this little cafe and while I skipped the pickles I did take her up on the other recommendation for no other reason then to be able to say I ate fried mayo. What you don't believe me, lucky for you I brought the menu home and here is the exact description of my dinner in the menu:

"Cheesiest of Frenchees Basket: 3 thick slabs of deli cheese and
mayonnaise on thick slices of freshly backed FarmHouse bread,
dipped in our special recipe batter, coated in flakes and fried."

I had mine with Sun Stix which are sweet potato french fries. It was actually really good. So what about you, any strange local favorite foods that anyone else would think was nuts? While in Omaha I also got to check out the pedestrian bridge so I can also say that I walked to Iowa. I know that sounds impressive right. Really it is just a short bridge across the river and while there is a park and river walk on the Nebraska side when you get to Iowa there is nothing. Development coming soon I am sure.

I am glad to be home and looking forward to getting some rest this morning before heading back to work this afternoon. So that I can get back to my sewing machine soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can you Remember?

Can you remember when sewing was a therapeutic thing you did to relax after a long day of work? Or something fun you looked forward to doing on the weekends in between chores and all of the hustle and bustle of life? Recently I noticed that my to do list wasn't getting any shorter and that I was starting to get stressed out about sewing. Remember the crazy list of to-do's from last weekend. I happen to have today off because I am going to Omaha next weekend for the GFWC convention for work and this morning I missed out on sleeping in because of the dogs so I thought I would sew for a little bit. The laundry was started and the dishes are drying in the rack and I thought of all the other chores I needed to do and realized that I had put sewing on that list. Maybe it is because when I decided to join a bee I joined 5, maybe it is because when I see a new quilt a long I like I sign up, maybe it is because I join in swaps, maybe it is because my list of I want to try that is longer than the number of days I have. But whatever the reason I realized that sewing wasn't all that much fun anymore. So I sat down at my machine to work on the next chore on my list and I picked up the easiest bee block that I had, a double pinwheel for Heather. I made a stupid mistake at the start and ended up having to take it apart. I found myself frustrated and I got up and walked away for a minute thinking why did I make a commitment to so many groups. I sat back down and started over after giving myself a time out the block went together like a dream. The fabric was super soft, it didn't warp when I ironed it, the seams all laid flat, it lined up like I wanted. Now the block isn't perfect I'm sure but I was happy with it and it reminded me that I do like sewing. I joined the bees because I wanted to try new things. I love quilt alongs and swaps because of the amazing people I've gotten to meet. I would never have meet such wonderful friends who send me such wonderful gifts and listen to me talk about my frustrations not just with sewing but life in general if I didn't. So next time you find you have put sewing on the chore list instead of the fun things to do list take a minute and remember why you do it.

One of those amazing friends I met is Corey, look at these amazing hexagons she sent me. If you haven't checked her blog out by now you are missing out on some amazing talent. Be sure to head over there and see what she is up to.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Starflowers in Red and Aqua

For June, Sherri asked us to make two starflower blocks following the tutorial found here. She sent along red and aqua fabrics and Kona Snow to make the blocks. In my packet I received two canvas weight prints and two quilting cotton prints. I haven't worked with this heaver weight fabric before though I know a lot of the Japanese Imports that are so popular in blogland and on flickr have a bit more weight to them. I found it to be a bit of a challenge. In her instructions Sherri mentioned that it might be easier not to use the heavier weighted fabrics in the same block so I followed that advise. However I found that the heaver fabric still pulled on the lighter weight quilting cotton a bit and made it hard to get nice flat seams when pressing. Overall I think the blocks turned out well despite the extra bulk in the seams. The middle point of these blocks was a little difficult to maneuver and I'm wondering if any of you who have worked with the heavier weight fabrics have any suggestions for the next time. I'm glad I got this challenge though because it was fun to work with something a little different and try to figure it out.