Monday, February 23, 2015

Encaustics and My Happy Place

I'm playing catch up with the work I've done this fall and winter.  Here are my most current encaustics...

Stazi's Garden

Liedel West

 And my happy wall! :)

Getting out of my Comfort Zone

Trying my hand at clay...

Had fun getting out of my comfort zone creating these adorable toad abodes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Overconfident Quilt

After completing two lap quilts for my two daughters for Christmas, then returning home from England with a mere four days to finish a baby quilt for a cousin's shower, I admit I was confident that I could complete a queen sized bed quilt for the wedding gift for the daughter of a very close friend whose nuptials were a whole four months away.   After all, once you finished the top, the rest was a piece of cake, right?

Not only would this be an easy and gratifying endeavor, I was going to design this one myself based on a modern quilt that caught my eye.  I would incorporate a few design additions and the brides favorite color, purple.  I figured in a month or two I'd have it back from the long arm quilter and wrapped well before May.

Then I got a reality check.

My inspiration
How had I forgotten that I hated math?  How had I not noticed that this design required a lot of math?  Nevertheless, armed with my pad of graph paper and my organized, if OCD personality, I was guided by my mentor, Mary at Quilting Seasons

My plan on paper
I did manage to complete the top after a month.  But when I lay it over my queen size bed there was a definite problem.  For some reason, after all my calculations, the pattern did not lay correctly.   There was not enough fabric on the top and the design was lost on the sides.  So I set it aside...for awhile.

Eventually, I pulled it out, and after returning to the shop for more advice, I began taking the top apart.  I added additional white fabric at the top and shortened the areas re-figuring things by the seat of my pants.  Forget the math!  Then I made myself pull out all my leftover fabric because, Oh that's right!  It needs a back! 

The back actually was the fun part.  I used no design book, and simplified the process by using 12"x12" blocks alternating the white with blocks of the purple that was used on the front.  (I hate to admit it, but I love the back more!)

See!  Isn't it cool?
 By this time, it is fall.  Obviously the wedding was back in May... Well, as soon as I finished the back, in a day, mind you, I hustled that baby over to the quilt shop to send it off to be long arm quilted. 

When I got it back, I suddenly remembered that I had to attach binding.  All.  The.  Way.  Around.  It.

I set aside for awhile.

The next thing I know it's January, then February.  The joke had been, "As long as they get it by the winter."  Not funny. I wanted that thing done.  Finished.  Out of my house!  Plus I felt super guilty that these patient newlyweds were going to start believing that I was not a woman of my word.  That got me moving.

At that point a most fortunate thing occurred.  I got sick.  Really sick.  I almost didn't leave my house for 3 weeks.  When I was better, but still not up to normal life, I took advantage of my home boundness, pulled out my beginner quilting books and studied how to create, attach, and blind stitch the binding.  Once I got moving, it all came back quickly, and I remembered how relaxing the blind stitch was for me.  I love sewing that stitch!  So I hunkered down and had that binding finished in 3 days!  Whoo hoo!

 Then I remembered.  I had planned to embroider their names and the date of their wedding on the quilt.  Shoot!  Was I supposed to do that before it was sent off to the long arm quilter?  Should I add a tag?  What were my options?  I mean I just finished the binding!  And as much as I enjoy the blind stitch, I did not want to remove the stitches I had just so lovingly put in.  I wanted this thing out of my house!!!

Ok, deep breath...Off to the internet to research my options.  Much to my relief, there were a lot of options.  However, my friend was planning to visit her daughter and son-in-law the very next weekend.  I opted for a more personal, and YES, a faster solution.  I do have to state for the record that everyone who knows me, knows how much I treasure the writings, handwritten notes and recipes from family past.  So in the honor of heirloom treasures (and speed), I signed their names, the date of their wedding and my name in my handwriting... but in purple of course!

With a sigh, I handed this completed journey to my friend on a Sunday, relieved that it was still winter, when she informed me that she wouldn't be seeing them until Easter.   So much for in time for winter!  If I hadn't wanted it out of my house so badly, perhaps I should have presented it to them in May, on their first anniversary!

Ah well, live and learn.  So I'm starting to design the wedding quilts of my grandchildren.  No, I do not have grandchildren yet.  In fact, my children are not married, but I learned my lesson about procrastination!