Boy is this true! Quilty Confidence

Gosh I’m having a down day.  I probably shouldn’t blog when I’m down, but maybe it will help others to know that we all have those days.  I’m seeing all the great “Best of Show” quilts coming through twitter and instagram from Quiltcon, and wow…I’m feeling mighty insecure.  Mighty is actually quite the understatement.

Where do I start?   “The backtracking is too obvious in my quilting.  That line is wobbly and those two lines are too close together.  I should have made this concentric swirl bigger and that one smaller.  My thread broke and now I have a start and stop in the middle of the quilt.  REAL QUILTERS would NEVER have those problems!!!!”

Does that voice live in your head too?  Mine goes on:

“No one liked my Facebook page today. There are no new views on my blog.  No followers on Instagram, still???  My twitch livestream only has 4 views.  Twitter? Oh don’t get me started!!!”

Yeah, it’s really bad today.  “I wonder why someone is paying me to quilt their top.  I should give them their top back and apologize for wasting their time.  I’ll just ruin their quilt.  I’m too new to charge anyone for doing this.  I just plain suck.”

Then I walked over to my piano, took this frame down, and took a picture of it:

Remember This!
Remember This!

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy” Teddy Roosevelt.

My best friend Sheri gave me this for my Birthday, or Christmas (I opened presents on reverse days – perils of being a December Baby).  Anyway.  Boy did I – Do I – need this today! My confidence in myself dipped way low…simply because I was comparing myself to the BEST QUILTERS IN THE WORLD.

So, of course I felt inferior.

I’m more of a worker bee at this stage of the game.  Which is fine, it’s just where I’m at.  Maybe some day I’ll be in a quilt show, or maybe not.  I don’t know.  For now I’ll continue to do what I do well, and try to just have fun doing it.

And that is pretty freaking awesome.

 

Exploring Videos on quilting

So I’ve been talking to my hubby and my son, and both are very much encouraging me to take my blogging to the vlogging level.  To that end, I’ve developed a YouTube Channel.  And a Twitch Stream.  So what’s Twitch you say?  (Yeah, everyone knows what YouTube is.)

Twitch.tv is a website for game streaming.  But they also have a cool “Creative” channel, which is just starting to take off.

There are a couple people streaming some sewing, some crocheting, and NO ONE doing quilting.  Well, Until NOW!!!  That’s right, Yours Truly is the FIRST quilt topic in the Creative channel.  (ETA, found someone doing lots of quilting videos, not sure why he didn’t show up in all my searches prior to making my video.  But cool!!!) Interesting, huh?  Will it take off? It’s hard to say.  If you build it, they will come; I hope!

Link to my first Twitch Video

Link to my first YouTube Video

Yeah they are the same topic. I don’t get out much.

Teamwork! Double square star quilt!

IMG_2815I’m so proud of this quilt, yet I can only claim like 1/8 credit for any part of it.  My boss’s wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, so my friend Robin and I conspired to send her a “care package.”  It contained, among other things, ginger and peppermint (not together! ick!) lozenges and teas for nausea, washcloths for having a cold compress, comfy PJs, comfy slippers, chapsticks of several varieties, lotion, etc, etc.  And of course a quilt because Robin is an awesome quilter and because I want to be!

Well, after broaching the idea with Robin, I get a text message that said “Do you trust me?” and then instructions for where to go spend money.  Trusting Robin is EASY because she is simple the nicest, sweetest, most generous person you could imagine.  I simply did as told and several days later a package arrived on my front step.

We then planned a Saturday to piece the quilt top, and Robin ambitiously thought we could finish the top in one day!  In reality it took Sat, most of Sunday, and several evenings during the week. IMG_2814 But by Thursday, if I recall correctly, we met back up in a conference room in my wonderful company and arranged the blocks.

IMG_2816 Quickly we came to realize that the conference room tables were great for plotting world domination, but were not up to the task of quilt block arranging.  So we moved to the floor.

12507650_10153794484164854_4827931145234582403_nWe discussed how to arrange the fabrics, and I immediately jumped at the chance to do a light-to-dark arrangement.  I’ve always loved these quilts, and this set of batiks was just perfect for the chance to make one of our own.  Robin went along with my crazy plan and after lots of squatting and kneeling, we had the layout.

Robin’s fantastic daughter, Rachel, numbered all the post-it notes (as well as wrangled my foster daughter while I pieced with Robin!), allowing us to quickly identify the placement so that Robin could take the quilt home and finish piecing the top.

IMG_2818So then Robin graciously agreed to quilt the top for us, which rocked because she is not only the best quilter I know, she’s also set land-speed records at quilt completion.  Did I mention she’s an AWARD winning quilter? Oh yes, there’s that.  So, ARod was my pinch-hitter, what are you going to do?

12644637_10153801520779854_2068069085341045901_nShe added an awesome border and then quilted it in the most beautiful manner possible:

12644665_10153818473889854_7677283024111887766_nI should have taken a picture of the basket when we were finished it, but it was so awesome.  I’ve heard that the whole thing was well received, though I seriously look forward to hearing how the quilt looks once it’s washed (I love a washed quilt SO MUCH!).

Anyway this is hands down the fastest quilt I’ve ever completed, owing entirely to the fact that I didn’t actually complete it.  But this is also the first Joint project I’ve ever worked on, and it was finished in about 2 weeks? Start to finish?

I couldn’t have done it without Robin.

She chose the pattern, the Double Square Star. She chose the fabric.  She made this happen, and I learned so much.  She was kind enough to offer advice on the mistakes I made in a gentle and encouraging manner, and then she had the audacity to not even take credit for how awesome the whole project turned out!  Am I not the luckiest quilter on the planet?

Thank you, Robin and Rachel, from the bottom of my heart!

Donna

Poe Quilt is Finished!

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So this was a way to kill two birds with one stone (Two Ravens with one stone???).  First I needed to get some practice time on the Handi Quilter, and second, hubby asked me to make him a quilt using the luscious Nevermore fabric Collection by Micheal Miller over at Fabric.com.  Being a huge Edgar Allen Poe fan, this fabric spoke to him on several levels.

 

My first plan was to have this finished by Halloween, but that came and went.  In my defense most of 2015 was spent either sick, or renovating the house I used to rent to my daughter.    10250222_10153745924029854_3110284480386042892_n

I was lusting after some quilts by famous quilters when I chose the quilting patterns for this quilt.  The border is overly complicated and completely lost on the busy background.  I was warned that this fabric wouldn’t be good for quilting, but did I listen? Nope!  In the middle I chose to do a “quill” pantograph, which I just kind of made up, drew on a piece of construction paper, and then referred to periodically as I went.  In the corner blocks I decided to do cute little pumpkins, which you can barely see:943894_10153745754649854_4551106175920388950_n

On the sides, I gave up the extensive geometric quilting design and instead went with a simple horizontal beadboard.  I LOVE the feel of this quilting.10157397_10153748081564854_4098495127345836291_n

Here the quilting is done and binding is being pinned.  By this time, the hatred I have for this quilt had grown exponentially. I just wanted it finished.  10409049_10153799358529854_6127450450437758521_n

 

12642759_10153803885844854_2049033348133128045_nThere are so many issues with it, but at least the binding turned out sweet. I love a good mitered corner!12592221_10153803887119854_9044414767139509214_n

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Above is hubby holding the quilt (sideways) before throwing it in the wash.  Here are the problems with this quilt:

  1. The fabric design is too busy for anything other than a simple pantograph or stippling.
  2. The backing and the top were identical dimensions, which leads to the “phone book effect” when the quilt is rolled up on the take up pole.  I compensated for this by trimming the top several inches off the bottom edge, making the top border and bottom border uneven.  Really this should count as two problems! The backing should be 3 inches larger in all directions.
  3. The tension was off the WHOLE TIME I was quilting and I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t checking.  The eyelashes on the back are TERRIBLE.  I’m ashamed to look at the back.  Frequently check your bobbin thread to confirm stitches look the same on the top and bottom.  Use scraps on the sides to test stitches after changing bobbins.
  4. There are wrinkles in the backing. Apparently I didn’t load it well, or something.  Take care in loading, always check for wrinkles, and learn from my mistakes!
  5. Don’t jump into complex quilting designs just because the experts on youtube make it look so darn easy.  They practice for hours, sometimes daily (apparently they don’t work full-time outside of the house!).
  6. Practice! Practice! Practice!  Especially loading and unloading.  Because it was MONTHS since I’d done the Pinwheel quilt, I’d forgotten the process.  I reviewed the HandiQuilter channel on Youtube for the basics for the next quilt. I wish I had done it with this one.

SO, in retrospect, this was meant to be a learning quilt and to that end, it was a rousing success.  I learned A LOT. Mostly “what NOT to do,” but hey, that’s the story of my life (and title of my soon-to-be-written autobiography).  Hopefully you learn from me airing my dirty laundry here!

On to the next disaster…err I mean Project!!!

Donna