Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Heat outside; cool quilting inside

When I'm not doing my rain dance or watering my sunburned plants, I am happily working on my quilting.

I find that quilting has become my favorite past time of late. Whenever I hear of about a fabric sale at Fabric.com, my favorite online shopping venue or Connecting threads, which is now tied for that distinctive preference, I can't help myself. I simply have to peruse those delicious marked-down fabric lines. That always leads to ordering a couple yards here and a few half-yards there. Fresh, new cotton fabric is addictive. I'd like one of each of everything I see. I just can't afford that kind of a habit.

I love new fabric. I love the way it feels; I love folding it, sorting it, and stacking it into piles with like colors. I like to use it in a project, but most of all I like to squirrel it away, like saving for a rainy day. It is such a treasure to me.

I am currently awaiting a visit from either the mail man or UPS guy with a recent online purchase from Connecting threads. It will contain all kinds of goodies, some thread, marking pencils, a new needle threader, leather thimble pads, and of course some really reasonably-priced fabric from a great sale they just ran. When I hear the doorbell ring, I will be five years old again and it will be Christmas morning.

STARTING MY DAY

Every morning, I dutifully check my email. Each day there is an email from Quiltingboard.com, a quilters bulletin board I belong to. It is a very happy and useful place where quilters from all over gather to share stories and pictures of their latest projects, as well as come together as a community. Quilters from all skill levels are members. We all learn from one another, provide feedback, and answer questions. I know I have learned so much from these quilters. Some of them make the most incredible, artistic, beautiful quilts.

I joined the quilt of the month club on the board. So on the first day of each month, I get all excited to see the latest pattern for that month. We are making a calendar quilt with blocks related to each month of the year. When it is completed, we will sew them together to form an entire quilt top.

This months's block, and they are always picked by someone with lots more experience than I have, is the "exploding star" block. It is done using the English paper piecing method, whereby a pattern is printed out and actual scraps of fabric are sewn onto the paper and then trimmed to fit. Instead of paint by number, it is sew by number. I am new to the technique; I've attempted it only a couple other times before. It is supposed to be an excellent way of keeping points sharp and seams well matched.

I call it English paper torture.

This is the block I just finished. It is supposed to represent August. I can't decide if I like this method or not. I do know that it is one that requires lots of practice to be good at it. I noticed the seams did appear to be easier to match.

I also participate in the Craftsy block of the month, a free class that offers instruction for things I have never done before. It is a little more of a contemporary take on the traditional quilt blocks. It includes two blocks each month. The class is taught by Amy Gibson, a wonderful young woman whose website Stitchery Dickory Dock is an inspiration herself. Amy is one of those people that just exudes happiness. Everything she does is perfection. She is so pleasant and just so happens to be pregnant with twins.

This month's blocks were 'star' blocks--the Ohio star and a Star in a star. I am making all of my blocks in shades of purple. I love monochromatic quilts and purple is one of my favorite colors.

I really enjoyed creating these two star blocks. I think they turned out pretty well. I am getting better at matching my points, which makes me really happy.

Of course I am still working on my yellow quilt. Here the top is finished. I've been doing the hand-quilting for what feels like forever. I work on it for a few days, take a few days off, and then get back to it. Hand quilting takes lots of time, but I think it will be worth it. I am really loving this quilt. I wonder if it will be done by fair time--in September. Something to think about.

I'm already looking forward to September so I can work on the next quilt of the month blocks. By the way, they are always a surprise. We never see what they will be until the first of the month. What fun!

I'VE ADDED A QUILTING PAGE TO CH MUSINGS

I have consolidated all the quilt-related posts in CH Musings onto one page, (see the above tab). The posts are still in the blog as written, but there are now links to each of them. It can be so frustrating to look for something, know it is there, but not be able to find it. Hopefully this little housekeeping trick will help. I just have to remember now to keep it updated. It will be nice to have all my sewing posts in one place.




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