Obsessing Again

Thanks to my friend Miranda, I was inspired to try sewing a La Passacaglia rosette a few months back, and stitched it using the EPP (English Paper Piecing) method. It took some real time to get it done. I really liked how it came out and wanted to make another, but felt there had to be a better, faster way.

I had the *oh-so-original* idea of tracing the stitch lines from a template on the back of fabric and using a running stitch and no paper pieces – this worked really well. The only two negatives were:

  1. The running stitch doesn’t seem as strong as a whipstitch.
  2. Tracing the shape and cutting took almost as much time as EPP method.

After some research, I found out that many people use the running stitch, and if you’re really good, sewing the 1/4″ Y-seams comes naturally. For the rest of us, we need to draw in those stitch lines to know where to sew and where to stop for the corner of the Y-seam – and that is some seriously tedious work. So then, I had the idea of screen printing those shapes with cut and stitch lines on the back of solid fabrics to see if I could cut some time.

While we have a screen printing business, there is still some time and cost involved to create a print. After I design something on the computer, I send the final to a camera-house that outputs a piece of film-positive (opposite of a negative) that we can use to ‘shoot’ a screen. Once we have a piece of film-positive, we lay that onto a screen that has been coated with photo-sensitive emulsion and shine a light on it to ‘burn the screen’. The light hardens all the exposed emulsion, leaving the part under the opaque black of the film to stay soft, and after washing it out with water, there is a hole or ‘open’ part of the screen where we can push ink through and onto the fabric. read more

Since screen printing is quite a process, I wanted to make use of the time spent.
Then Fabric Depot ran a sale on Kona solids for $5/yard and I knew it was time to try this crazy plan.

I purchased 3/4 of a yard of fabric in 21 different colors – one of the biggest fabric purchases I’ve ever made… so it’s a little scary not knowing how this will all work out!

My husband printed 4 different layouts for me, using as much of the fabric as possible in printing, while leaving good cut lines. I appreciate him taking the 2 days in set up and printing time to print for me…  he likes my idea and has always been completely supportive! The part I wasn’t planning on was the cutting. I’ve been cutting fabric pieces for 2 weeks on and off. I can only cut for an hour or two at a time without hurting my wrists. I honestly did not think that the cutting would take so long…  but I’m close to having all the pieces from all 21 fabric colors cut and ready to sew!

I have a few patterns, and my idea was of a kaleidoscope – so the colors are bright and contrasting. I started with the La Passacaglia layout, but wanted to try my own layout. I think I have enough pieces to do a full sized quilt and still have some left over! I even have an idea of possibly selling these pieces in kits for smaller projects so people can try hand-stitching for a small project. I’ve been playing with a decagon layout that would make an awesome pillow cover – here are 3 versions:

There are so many possibilities!! My goal this next week is to try to do enough layouts to use up all the pieces we printed… or all in one quilt – not sure just yet how I’m going to use these, but it will come! It looks like treasure on this table right now… part of me wants to throw them all up into the air and roll around in them – but the organizer in me wouldn’t allow me to make a mess of this. 😉

Have you ever hand stitched using a running stitch? Do you have any tips to share?
So excited to have finished all the cutting for all the pieces we printed.  I think that’s why it hasn’t been done before – the cutting has to be done by hand to work with the printing… and that is extremely labor intensive.

This whole project is a learning process, but I also think it’s going to make a kick-ass quilt! I’ve been having a hard time keeping this to myself… I wanted to be done with the cutting before sharing. Or maybe I should say I’ve been totally obsessing on the cutting and so haven’t spent much time doing anything else!

I’m so excited to start sewing on this… but I need to finish some layout plans first. Time to practice a little patience and focus on the designs.
THEN I can jump in 100% and sew to my little hearts content. 😉

Giveaway Winner!

I’ve never done a giveaway before, I was able to use a plug-in that did the automatic drawing (I always wondered how those worked!) and a friend from my guild won! You win a Jellyfish pattern, Denise!

That was fun… I really appreciate the people who follow me! You keep me inspired to keep this blog rolling.

 

Fire and Ashes

I have never been as close to a forest fire as we are right now. Currently the Eagle Creek Fire is at Multnomah Falls, threatening to burn the lodge there. The smoke and ash here in Portland is heavy, the sun is orange through it all. We are about 35 miles away from the actual fire… which is only one of many in the Pacific Northwest right now.

We are heartbroken.

So many trees, animals, parks, trails, homes, businesses along the Columbia Gorge and throughout the PNW – one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen (and hence my move here) currently looks like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. We are sending positive energy out to all the firefighters risking their lives to try to stop this devastation, as well as wishing for some real rain.

I’m currently sitting in our closed-up house trying to deal with its stagnant heat. The air quality outside is terrible and my throat/lungs hurt. Wishing we had air conditioning right now, but at least we don’t have to evacuate as so many others have.

accumulation of ash on our clean car this morning

Meanwhile, hurricane Irma is set to hit the East Coast, and people in are still in dire need after Harvey. Can we just agree that climate change is real – and start actually doing something about it?

I do have a small quilt project in the works that I’m looking forward to sharing… but for now, all my energy is spent. Love to all – especially the firefighters and others who risk their lives for the rest of us.

Hexie Patterns – Ready!

I’ve been working hard over the last month or so to create patterns for all of my hexie quilts and projects, and I finally finished them all! I have them up at Craftsy.com where they might be seen a bit more than here. I’m really happy with the work I put in, I think they’ll be good.

It was interesting going back in time and looking at my notes to how to do certain things, and how those things evolved over time. I really do love working with the hexie shape!

Do you EPP? Which one would be your favorite? Leave a message below telling which pattern you’d choose and why.  I’ll do a random drawing for a winner who will get the pattern of their choice in a digital .pdf format! Drawing will be on September 5, 2017.

Never Again.

This is a political post – and one I think is extremely important.
After our president gave speeches which supported Nazi movements after the violence in Charlottesville, I felt so frustrated – and overwhelmed by the numbers of people who are fighting for ethnic cleansing, and by our supposed national leader egging them on. I’m not surprised at all… but definitely on watch.

Then 2 days ago I saw an image online that really spoke to me. I kept going back to it all day – then I decided I just had to make a quilt of this image… so I did! It’s entitled: “Never Again – or – No War, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and I quilted the words: never again all over in the background.Never Again Quilt

 

It was cathartic and felt great to do something… even as bitty as making a little quilt. I made it in one day so I could take it to my Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting last night where it met with great support! (I love my guild!) I posted it on IG and FB and I started getting compliments on the design – and I realized I need to do due diligence to find the original artist and get approval before trying to enter to shows, …or in case it goes viral.

Luckily for me, a friend knew who created it and I was able to contact him and he gave approval to share as much as I like. His name is Mike Mitchell and is an amazing artist – please go see his work and be supportive – that is one clever guy, and really sweet too. I’m so thankful – I should have asked prior to making it… but I was totally caught up in the moment.

I’m thinking that the ACLU really needs to re-evaluate standing up for fascist movements having free speech. Any speech that pushes the idea ethnic cleansing – should never be protected. When the fight is murder vs. humanity – the lines should be clear and simple. No one should have to fear extermination due to their sexuality, the color of their skin, where they were born, or for what they spiritually believe (unless that belief entails killing others).

To be tolerant of all things – one must never be tolerant of intolerance itself.

Heat Lag

It’s been warm here in the Pacific Northwest over the last few weeks. Some days made it into the 100’s even… luckily we don’t get any real humidity here, so it can be tolerable – but just barely.

I think the heat affects my motivation in a big way. It makes me swell up and get tired, so I just want to sleep all the time. Plus, this is our busy time of year for work, so I haven’t done much sewing lately – except for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month project. It’s been really fun so far! I just finished #7 of 9. Only 2 blocks left, so I get to practice my patience while I wait for the next two patterns to be released.

I posted on IG and FB yesterday and got a lot of great feedback on my color choices. I’m thrilled because I’m trying to use up my stash, and didn’t allow myself to buy anything new for this quilt. Since it finishes at 76″ x 76″ – there is a lot of fabric to pull. I had a vague idea of how much I needed for the background squares, and I knew I wanted a night sky… so I pulled all my dark blues – which wasn’t much. I had to amend with greys and light blues, and the mixing of these seemingly un-matching colors really makes it sparkle!

Another thing I’m working on right now is making patterns for all my hexie quilts. The Dragon and Squid were done in the past, but I’m re-vamping them to match the newer patterns for the Jellyfish, Hummingbird, and that little placemat. I’m almost done, and when I am, I think I’m going to try to do a give-away. I’ve never done one of those before, but I think it would be fun, and I’d love to share my work that way!

Good Photos Matter

Manipura final

I was able to get a good photo of my Manipura quilt this week and I’m so thrilled with the results!

Manipura final

This is the photo I had taken before. You know the kind, where you plead with your husband or partner to stand on a chair and hold up the quilt all nice and straight… and this is the best we could get:

Manipura Quilt Front

See the difference? Wow! Lighting is very important – indirect is best, and having a stand to keep things flat really helps too… and a good camera! I’m lucky I have a friend who helps me with all this, because people only look at photos when they pick quilts for quilt shows – so it really matters that it looks as good as possible.

The more I look at this quilt, the more I love it. It is charged emotionally for me. The story behind the quilt is as follows:

I was doing my nightly yoga practice and a thought popped into my head. It was the realization that it has been 30 years since I’ve seen or talked to any of my 3 younger sisters. I was kicked out of the family home due to religious differences, and they have avoided me ever since. This thought brought me to tears. I cried through my whole yoga routine, it was a deep, ugly cry – you know the type – where you wake up the next day with a puffy face and tired body – that kind of cry.

I knew I needed to process these intense emotions, and I thought of making a quilt, of course. For the next few weeks, I started dreaming about yellow quilts. Yellow fabric, yellow thread, wearing yellow, eating bananas, sewing in the sunshine… all yellow and bright. I also knew I wanted to use triangles to symbolize 30 years / 3 sisters. While these thoughts were bubbling around in my head, I saw my massage therapist who told me about the Manipura Chakra which governs our self-esteem and uses an inverted yellow triangle as its symbol. It also governs all the physical organs that are giving me health issues. That was all I needed to be motivated to create this design!

I wanted to use both green-shade yellows and red-shade yellows in the same quilt – to really show how seemingly very slight differences of opinion can be so glaringly different from each other. The only way I could do that was to add in some neutrals (browns and greys) and I made them look like tears to represent my sadness. What’s interesting is those darker colors really make that center triangle pop out, almost 3-dimensionally! The whole time I stitched on this quilt, I repeated the mantra:

I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this reality effortlessly.

I would say this quilt is my statement of independence from both the prescribed religion and family I was born into. I have found myself, my people, and my spirituality all on my own and this quilt reflects that nicely.

Quilting for therapy is probably the best thing I’ve ever stumbled upon… it’s such a great way to process emotion: cutting pretty things apart, then putting them back together to create something completely new and beautiful in a different way. It is so much better than the way I use to deal with emotions, which was to drink them away. Now I have something to show for my time instead of daily hangovers!

Sisters and Sleep

I was super lucky to be able to go to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last week! What an amazing show – I’m so thrilled I was able to go see it!!

This trip was a self-test. I have some health issues that prevent me from going too far away from home, but I wanted to see:

  1. If I could drive the whole 3.5 hours there and back through the mountains.
  2. If my exhaustion levels would hold up through a day of seeing many people.
  3. If my digestion could tolerate the time changes and food options.
  4. If I would swell up in the heat.
  5. If I could hold my anxiety in check.

I have to say that I did much better than I expected – even through massive traffic on the way down making my trip closer to 5 hours in the car, I made it there with only a bit of anxiety on the road (steep mountain curves with strobing sunlight through the trees). I would have ridden the bus down if I didn’t have such bad motion sickness.

The best part of the trip was getting to know a few of my guild friends a little better – they were great fun! We sewed together and ate together and laughed a lot. It was really sweet. Everyone had a project and it was nice to discuss the thoughts behind the quilt making. Sometimes our guild meetings are so big, we don’t get to hear about the whole story behind the quilt, so I really enjoyed getting to know these ladies a bit better through their creative process. Totally fun!!

However, I forgot all my nighttime pills/suppliments so I did not sleep well, and we had plans to meet more friends around 7:30am, so I was up early – and if you know me, this is much earlier than I’m used to. Since I wasn’t sleeping well anyway, I decided to enjoy the morning – and it was beautiful! It was even a bit chilly, so it was an easy, gorgeous drive into Sisters. Once I was there, I was happy we left early – the temperature was warm in the sun, but not bad at all!

The show was great, I saw a lot of inspirational quilts! Our PMQG section was beautiful too – many of the Row by Row quilts made last year were on display. I was able to see many people there and meet a few new friends too! I really enjoy meeting people in real life that I’ve only ever met online. It’s part of the reason I really wanted to go – I usually feel a little left out when my body does not have the allowance that others’ have. So I had a lot of fun talking to people and meeting new friends… and seeing some amazing quilts to boot!

Around noon my body started to give way a bit – I started getting tired. Exhausted tired, the kind where you could just fall asleep in the middle of the road if the sun wasn’t glaring down on it right now- kind of tired. Then I started some swelling from ankles and elbows down, and my feet started to have nerve pain, and I knew it was time to go.

It was only 12:30-1pm when I left… and there were a few more people I wanted to see and talk to while I was there – but I was fading fast, and I knew I had a long drive ahead of me, so I decided to leave. I was a little tired while driving, but I got to a rest stop about an hour out of Sisters and stopped and ate some food, drank some water, and stretched… then laid down on the grass in the shade under a tree and closed my eyes for a bit. That little pit stop allowed me to get home without stopping again, so I was home by 5. I said hello to my husband, ate a little and fell asleep.

That was Saturday, it is now Tuesday, and I’m just starting to feel like I can keep my eyes open, and have a desire to eat. While I did well on the trip, it really knocked me out physically. I’m still fairly exhausted, but I’m able to write, so here I am…

There were so many people in Sisters who seemed older, or with health problems… or both. I always wonder how much planning goes into their trips, how do they do it? Is it weird to be so jealous of an able body? I don’t feel I’m that feeble, yet these events are really hard to recover from, so maybe I am…? It certainly colors my future a certain way – and is a little saddening.

So… onto some more positive thinking! I’ve been working on some hand work – La Passacaglia to be exact. I’m only doing a few rosettes for a charity quilt. This pattern is really intense using a pentagon for a base shape rather than a hexagon. There are a lot of small pieces –  I did one that was English Paper-Pieced, and one where I traced the shapes on the back of the fabric and stitched them together with a running stitch and Y-seams. The one without EPP went together really fast, so I’m trying another that way using a different size. I have some ideas that are still incubating for this kind of piecing… I hope they lead me to something cool! I’ll be sharing more soon!

 

 

New Project!

pmqg2017bom mar

After spinning a bit, I finally decided that the my next project will be the PMQG Block of the Month quilt!  I’ve never done one before, and of course… I’m 5 months late to start with the rest of the group – but better late than never!

Now that I’ve started something, the ‘obsession’ has set in and I don’t want to stop. It’s the way I’m wired – but it’s also the reason I chose this project to work on right now. Up to now, I’ve never really followed a pattern before, and I’m not so great at making Half Square Triangles, so it’s a real learning curve for me… and I’m really enjoying the challenge of it!

I’ve made a block each day this week and just finished the block for March. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

pmqg2017bom jan

pmqg2017bom feb

pmqg2017bom  mar

It feels really good to have something to work on and get lost in for a bit. It’s also going to be a really pretty quilt when it’s done, and kind of large. It is supposed to finish at 72″ square, but I think I’ll be adding a border so none of the star points are minimized being right up next to the binding.

I have a sneaking suspicion that once I’m caught up here in June, that I’ll be going crazy waiting for the last 3 blocks – sort of like reading a series of novels only to catch up to the author before getting to the end of the story. We’ll see how that goes!

The sun is out right now and I have another block to work on, so I’m going to go and enjoy both!

Meditating on Direction

I’m very ready to start a new quilt.
However, I’m a little lost in the direction I’d like to go. Does this ever happen to you? I have so many ideas, but I’m always unsure which to run with first. Since quilts take a chunk of time, I want to be sure before I start.

Right now my top 5 ideas are:

  1. Throat Chakra Quilt – (blue with yellow and purple) to go with my chakra-series quilts
  2. Scrappy Rainbow Unicorn Quilt – an idea given by a friend, and I’d love to use up some of my scraps
  3. PMQG Block of the Month – I’d like to catch up on this project with my guild
  4. Word Quilt – for PMQG group show next year… still haven’t figured out which word(s) I want to use
  5. La Passacaglia quilt test – instead of EPP, I’d like to try printing seam lines on the back of fabric and just sew together without papers. This is something that if it works, it could be an amazingly fast way to sew one of these together!

 

I may need to make the Throat Chakra quilt first – I’m still working on some healing and this Chakra seems rule gut-brain connection and the Vagus Nerve. I think completing this quilt will be a therapeutic boost to help me muster the energy to work on these other ideas.

The other big thing on my mind is working on trying to create a good well-written quilt pattern. I don’t use patterns myself, but I make one for every quilt I’ve sewn. I just would have to write it so it’s understandable to others… which is a lot harder than it sounds!

I’m open to suggestions for my next piece… I plan to start one new hand-pieced project and one machine-pieced project. I like the hand work for traveling, or even in front of the tv, however, the pace of creating and finishing a quilt on a machine is extremely satisfying – so I like to have two projects going at a time now (instead of just one).

 

Mindfulness

quilting hummingbird No2

Lately, with all the horrible news and hate-filled, ignorant people running rampant – I’ve been a little overwhelmed. I know I’m not the only one, and I know this is nothing new… it’s just heavy.

To stay out of a downward mental spiral into utter depression, I’ve been practicing mindfulness. Really it’s just finding the positives out of the negatives, and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Even still, I’ve been crying intermittently all week due to the terrorist attack on the MAX – the same train my daughter takes often… it hits really close to home. The reality is is that I will never understand the white-power nationalistic ideals – just can’t relate. Their whole base is that they are better or more human than others. I’ve seen this in my own parents, and it’s just sad, and there is nothing you can do to help them understand that all humans are equal… so what can we do?

This is what I’ve been meditating on: What can we do to help people unite and save our planet? I’m just one little spec of a human on a spec of a globe in a spec of a universe… however, if I can think of the larger picture like that, it does help. It reminds me that each atom is positively or negatively charged. Each person is positively or negatively charged. Right now, almost everyone I know seems to be negatively charged… but: if enough people are positive, we would automatically make more positive changes as a global organism. It’s a little woo woo – but it’s one of the few things that keeps me going at the end of the day: the fact that if enough of us little specs of humankind take on a positive charge, we will make positive change.

While contemplating this and trying to stay positive, I’m working on my Hummingbird No.2 Quilt. I just finished all the hand quilting and it has such amazing texture now, I can’t wait to finish it! One binding – coming up!

quilting hummingbird No2

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say… We have a lot in common.

I saw this saying on a shirt recently and it hits the nail on the head. I’ve actually written about 2-3 blog posts a week over the last month, but haven’t posted any of them because there’s not a lot of nice things to say right now. Between the current administration, and things like Fukushima… it becomes difficult to lead a contented life.

I think I’ll leave it at that. No need to fuel any more flames in my heart. So… I want to get back to quilting! Sewing always makes me feel better. I think it’s because the making of something tangible gives me a little sense of accomplishment.

Right now I’m currently hand-quilting Hummingbird No. 2. I quilted the body of the bird with almost invisible silk thread, and I’m using #12 perle cotton thread to stitch vertical lines with larger stitches. I’m really loving how it’s turning out.

I want to add at least 3x the amount of lines I already have… and in different blue thread colors. I think I’m just going to put French Knots in the centers of the flowers and leave them alone otherwise. They might puff out a little more once I quilt more lines into the background.

This is a slow project. I’m just not motivated to push myself to go fast… partially because I’m not ready to start another project just yet. Close, but not quite.

I also just finished my SIBO diet ‘cleanse’ and have some positives and some negatives from it. I did a lot of research into the subject and learned a lot. Mostly what I learned is that there are 2-3 differing viewpoints on how to treat the bacteria overgrowth – and that they are learning as they go. Hopefully more solid information will be discovered as more and more people are having gut issues. (have you seen all the acid reflux and constipation commercials recently??)

Mostly what I’ve learned is that most of the food-like product being sold to us as edible food, should be questioned. Who knew there were so many ties between lobbyists, the FDA, Monsanto, big Pharma, big Ag, the EPA and our government. I learned that a company like Merck or Monsanto can do all research on their own product, show their findings to EPA or FDA (filled with people who used to work for Merck/Monsanto/Bayer/ etc.) and get the “Okay” to make big profits off us… based on their own findings!! There is no real oversight, and that frightens me. It frightens me because almost everyone I talk to 100% believes the EPA and FDA are legitimate agencies for our benefit, when in reality, they are the stamp of approval needed for larger companies to poison us for profit.

Maybe my next quilt needs to be food-related…?

Quilt Finish!

YAY! I finished the quilt I made for my friends 50th Birthday, and he now has the quilt so now I can speak and share freely! He was totally surprised and happy with it, and it really made me happy being able to make it for him. Giving is always such a good feeling, and I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like.

I made the quilt to be 68″ x 96″ for my friend (pictured on left) – I wanted it to be long enough for him to sleep with – being tall has challenges! 😉 I’m a little bummed I won’t be able to show it at quilt guild, but I’m happy I was able to give it to him on his birthday!

I used the Trip Around The World block, and named it “50 Trips Around The Sun” which I thought was pretty punny! I used a piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric as my focus fabric to choose the other colors. I wanted it to ‘sparkle’ so I used different shades of solid grey and blues, and yellow-greens. I LOVE how it turned out!

This is my scrappy back – I didn’t have too many scraps for this one so I used an Allison Glass piece that I adore along with this quilt back with “love and blessings” and poetry written all over it. It was perfect for my friend. I used wool batting and did straight lines on the diagonal for quilting. I quilted it on my Juki, and it came out great!

I have a long list of people I’d love to make a quilt for… but the next one will be another ‘healing quilt’ – or a quilt that I make purely for my own need to cleanse and express. I’m starting to think I should go to school to be a counselor and then use quilting as an art therapy. It’s helping me so much in these very dark times.

Speaking of healing… I’ve been on a new health regimen that hopefully will bring me closer to being healthy. I was diagnosed with SIBO a few years back and did a couple rounds of heavy antibiotics to treat it, but they did not work. I’ve adjusted my diet to deal with this, but things have been getting worse, so I took charge and bought a whole bunch of necessary suppliments and am on a Low FODMAP/SCD diet for the next 3 weeks.

I really hope this will help. My nausea keeps me from doing so much. I just saw that Craftsy is having a quilt designer fellowship contest – if you win they set you up with a new sewing machine and a booth at Quilt Market, which would be my dream… if I didn’t get so sick every time I travel. I get sick just going out to eat, I don’t know how I can try any new directions in life until this is figured out. I feel so held back it’s frustrating. I’m lucky that I work at home with my husband who takes care of me when I need it. I really don’t think a job would let me sit in the bathroom for half the day… or would be so lenient when my brain fog causes me to check out completely.

It’s almost like having an autoimmune disease… the kind you can’t see. I don’t look sick, just pregnant (swollen belly from SIBO) and full of acne due to my lack of liver enzymes. However, sometimes I feel like all I want to do is lie down (where ever that may be) from being SO exhausted, sometimes I get nauseas from the most simple things like air fresheners and detergents (definitely from things like shoes/tires/carpets/plastics/perfumes/colognes/anything scented), sometimes I get so swollen my skin itches, or my tongue swells up and it’s hard to talk, my ears ring constantly and loudly -to the point it’s hard to hear anything else, and my head is usually pounding. Plus every joint aches almost all the time. If I happen to eat something ‘bad’… it all goes South from there… think food poisoning – full on with fever sweats – that lasts 2-6 days.

I’m not wanting to complain necessarily… I just wanted to share where I’ve been at. Sometimes sharing helps, and it connects me to others going through the same thing. (Thinking of you, Cath!) The more we share, the more we realize we are not alone. 🙂

 

Jellyfish Prints

 

Hey… just wanted to put out a heads up that I added my Jellyfish Hexie Quilt as a print at Society 6.
Today they are having a limited sale of free shipping plus 20% all items if you use this link: SOCIETY 6 SALE

I just finished a quilt too! I’m washing it tonight and giving to its recipient soon, there will be pictures for sure very soon.

Getting Through

The last few weeks have been tough on my body – my pain levels are running high and it’s been rough to ‘get through’. I’m not sure what’s causing the increased inflammation right now, but I’m feeling all my nerve endings today. All. Of. Them. Especially around my teeth – which is worse than any other pain IMHO!

I was recently tested for Degenerative TMJ. I have it in my spine – and recently found out my mother had her whole lower jaw replaced due to DTMJ… so it’s not looking good genetically. I’m trying not to think about this too much, however when your spine and mouth are throbbing, it’s hard to think of anything else.

On that note… I’m trying to keep myself super busy (take my mind off my body) and I’ve been working on a new quilt top that I’m just loving! It’s for a very close friend for his b-day… so I can’t post on FB and I’m really hoping he doesn’t read my blog 😉

It’s a Trip Around The World Quilt. A lot of chain piecing, so I got the top done pretty fast! I’m still adding a 4″ border all around in darker grey – I want to make sure it’s big enough to actually use, and my friend is pretty tall. I’m naming the quilt: “50 Trips Around The Sun” as a play on the block name.

Today I hope to get the back completed as well – I have a 1 yard of awesome backing fabric, and I’m going to piece the rest. I want to use up some of these scraps! So I better get to it! What are you up to this weekend? Better yet… what is your number one pain-reducing go-to plan?

Hexie Layouts

Last night I did a trunk show at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting along with three other amazing quilters! I brought a mix of things to show how I work with color, and two of the quilts I brought were Hexie Quilts. The question I was asked most was: how do I layout my hexie quilts.
So I thought I’d repost a video from a couple years ago when I was working on the Jellyfish layout. This shows only 4 days of about 30 that I spent on the layout. It was the most time consuming part of the whole process!
Hexie Jellyfish Quilt – 100% hand stitched
I use a ‘design board’ made from rigid foam insulation with batting wrapped around it and taped to the back. It’s very lightweight and can be moved – however, I tend to leave my layout as is
until I have completed all the sewing. Yes… that means that thing hung out on my dining room
table for about 4 months.
It was such a great night, I received so much wonderfully supportive feedback from so many people, made me feel all super special!  I love my quilty friends!!

I’ve also been working on a brand new quilt! I’m super excited about it – I’m about halfway done with the top – hope to have the whole thing finished in a month for an upcoming birthday. It’s going to be tough time-wise for me, quilts take a long time for me to finish!
The block I chose to use on this one is called Trip Around The World – a few years back there was a tubular technique I found here at Quiltville.com by Bonnie Hunter that makes the sewing go a little faster – I’m using that technique and it’s really fun!
fabric pull
This is a partial fabric pull – this is my main colorway, or the colors I plan to match to.
After cutting strips of fabric, this is a pretty pile of scraps I had – I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt!
I have all the strips sewn together, now it’s time to cut, press, and then back to the machine for a bit. This is my project for the weekend, along with doing some plant love in the yard (I hope it stops raining for a bit). What are you up to this weekend?

A New Shirt Design

I’ve been having fun playing with designs lately, and I just made another that I like enough to offer to others!

My husband hand-pulls all the prints out of our screen printing studio – I love that it’s so hands-on and low-tech. When we set up to print this shirt, I’ll try to take a video.  I put a link to our store here on my quilt blog – I figure, my world is mixed between screen printing and quilting… so I think it’s okay to mix them in cyberspace too. 😉

On the quilting front, I finished my #cannabis pillows! I think they came out great!

This is the front and back of one of the pillows – they are both close to the same, a few differences to make them unique. The cannabis print was done using discharge ink. Discharge ink is actually more of a chemical reaction than an ink – it releases the dye of the fabric leaving the base fabric as the ‘print’. This means the print is a part of the fabric and can be ironed over and is just as soft as the fabric – no layer of ink! It’s a fantastic print method for fabric.

I have a few print/quilt related ideas in process right now to see which, if any, may pan out to push further.  A work in progress!

Another Kind of Busy

applique

I’m always a little overwhelmed with the quilting projects in my mind that are in que. This year with all the political turmoil, I feel even more scattered. Right now I have about 10 quilt ideas and it makes it difficult trying to figure out what to do next. Not knowing makes me ‘spin’ or not be able to focus on one thing at a time. Luckily, Cannabis can calm my mind when I need it to – and I’m so thankful for that.

I’m feeling very pulled toward making a political quilt. Or more. Unfortunately the ideas come quickly, but they go just as fast. I’m not sure that quilting is the best ‘voice’ for making change in the here and now, but it’s fantastic as a historical documentation.

Beyond sewing, I’ve also been very busy with our printing business. This time of year is slow for us, so it’s a good time to re-organize and prepare for the upcoming year. Usually this is the only time off we get, so we try to enjoy the down-time, however it’s always a bit rough when finances are tight.

This year I completely redesigned our website during this lull period. I’m pretty proud of myself because I didn’t need to sign up for Lynda.com for help this time. I feel like I did it pretty quickly (3 weeks) plus, I just got confirmation that all the forms work, and if you’ve ever worked with code, you might know the level of satisfaction that gives! If you’d like to see my handy-work, check out Phantom Chicken Screen Printing.

After looking more closely to this blog, I think I’ll be redesigning this site soon too.  applique

I’m still working on my Hummingbird No.2 Quilt – it’s now all appiquéd to a backing fabric, basted and ready for quilting. I just bought some Superior Kimono Silk Thread and special needles for my machine. If I can get this thread to quilt on the machine, I might machine quilt the whole thing – or I’ll hand quilt the bird and machine the background. Decisions, decisions!

I’m also planning a commissioned quilt design that should be really fun. I want to plan it well enough so that the actual time to create goes very quickly. I can’t share until finished, but then I’ll post all about it.

In the meantime, I’m cleaning my sewing room and getting ready to bust out some pillows and other smaller projects I’ve been thinking about so I can make room for some bigger projects.

Slacker

Hummingbird Hexie No2

Been feeling a bit like a slacker lately when it comes to working on this blog, but I am getting closer to being able to focus on it. Right now I’m working on a big website overhaul for our business site – I like to keep it updated, and the new version of Dreamweaver I’m working on is pretty sweet… at least so far. We’ll see how well it goes when I test links and usability.

In the meantime, I started some Cannabis Pillows – I have two tops made and the backs are cut, zippers in house, all I have to do is sew them up!

cannabis Pillow Tops

I think they’ll be pretty sweet when I get them finished up. The other project is my Hummingbird #2 Quilt – I’m appliquéing the bird down now, I’m about halfway done. For this one, I’m going to add some flowers so the bird can be in the garden!

Hummingbird Hexie No2

I’m still working on the placement of the flowers. I’m going to sew the whole bird down first then I’ll work on the flowers. They are so cute!

What are you working on this month?

Sew The Seeds Of Resistance

Oh my! What a predicament we have gotten ourselves into here in the US. I have to admit, I’ve been a little beside myself as to how to move forward in a positive light.

Luckily, I have great friends and family! One of my friends recently wrote this statement on FB and I loved it – so much, that I designed a shirt based on it!

This one I made specifically for my quilty friends… at least the ones who are all about human rights for all human beings. We set Feb. 22nd as our print date and we’re taking pre-orders until Feb 15 for T-shirts, Ladies T’s, and Hoodies. If you’re interested, here’s a link.

All for now, and I promise my next post will be full of quilty-goodness again. 🙂

Another Snow Day

Orbital Spotting Front

We are having some weather here in the Pacific NW – we’ve had more snow here than I can ever remember, and this week it stayed cold, so it stuck around – and now icy rain is falling over the snowpack. This city is not prepared for snow, and neither are most people who live here! I grew up in Minnesota and learned how to drive on a frozen lake, so driving on icy roads comes pretty natural to me… but I highly doubt others on the road have such experience.

So I’ve been staying indoors and doing a lot of paperwork (end of year accounting) and brainstorming. I’m brainstorming ideas for quilts and other projects for the year. One thing I really want to re-visit is printing on quilts. Gregg and I worked on this quilt together a couple years ago and I love it more and more as time passes and it’s becoming more used.

Orbital Spotting Front

I also want to follow through and make all the chakra quilts! So many ideas… I hope I can process them all.

My camera and my computer are currently not speaking to each other so I haven’t been able to access new photos here in my blog. It’s a little irritating, and part of the reason I haven’t posted much lately – but it will be remedied as soon as I get my new computer!

 

Hummingbird Step

I just finished piecing together my second hexie hummingbird for a new quilt… and while it’s not the greatest photo, I just had to share!

It’s on my design wall right now – time to pick a background fabric to appliqué it onto. I was thinking something on the darker side, since a lot of the fabrics are pretty light – but seeing it on the light background here is making me rethink a little. I guess it will depend on what I have available!

This has to go on hold for the moment as I ready the paperwork for the annual major accounting for our business. It was a difficult year for us. There are many t-shirt printing companies online that use direct-to-garment printing or have automated equipment that can crank out t-shirts faster than we do on our manual press… and fewer people are considering quality as an important factor in their purchases. So it’s time to re-think the plan and see what we can do to increase the right type of sales. I have a feeling my time will be spent with these thoughts more than with fabric over the next week, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Nothing grows unless you nurture it.

Quilt Costs

There is a little meme going around FB right now with the title: Why Do Quilts Cost So Much.  I’m not sure who created it or when, but the math on it is wrong:

If you add $159.88, $768.26, and $120… it adds up to $1048.14, not $888.26.

This was irking me a little, so I laid out an updated version:

I used all the same values as previous, only made the hourly rate $15/hr, because none of us should be creating for less than that. I kept the $11/yard of fabric, even though some fabric is more expensive… this seemed to be a good average cost. I tried to make it easier to read and added a bit about added cost of education, maintenance, and utilities too.

For an example, on my last quilt, I kept track of all my time and I spent over 91 hours on it and over 9 yards of fabric for the top.  Even more time is spent because sometimes I piece my backs too… and this doesn’t touch time for design, layout and fabric choices. I do what I do because I’m driven to it as a creative expression, definitely not for the money!

A quilt will always be a treasure to its’ maker.

**AMENDED 1/5/2017**
I made another chart based off my Manipura quilt where I kept track of time to the minute.

Entering A New Year

hand For Size

Going to start this year off with some positive intentions towards better health and relationships. I have a tendency to spiral into a depression this time of year, so this year I’m actively working towards staying sane. 😉 It might be hard with the political arena we’re currently entering, but I’m going to do my best.

My quilting plan includes working on more Chakra-based quilts, which is like therapy for me. The Throat Chakra is what I’m thinking about working on next – it’s all about being able to voice opinions and speak out – I think it will be a great project! There are 7 main Chakras, and I’ve worked with two of them so far in quilting. My goal is to work on the other five and create a full quilt series.

I also want to finish my Hexie Hummingbird No.2, and a friend of mine is thinking about starting a group to start a La Passacaglia Quilt – have you seen those? Wow! They are amazing… and it would be fun to have a new hand-work project!  I just have to think about if I want to do that, or if I want to design my own pattern for something different to work on. I guess we’ll see.

For now, I’ll keep stitching on this Hummingbird project. Here’s a photo with my hand for size. The hexies are 1/2″ – just so cute!

hand For Size

Positive Strides

I have to stay positive mentally, or my mind goes into a downhill spiral real fast. This time of year is hard to not get a little down, and this year especially – I think it has been tough with everything that has been happening in our world.

As I reflect over the past year, I realize there has been a big shift for me. In some ways, I’ve grown a lot… but in other ways, I feel like sometimes it’s 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I feel like I’m learning so much, which makes me feel great, but because I’m learning so much, I’m exposed to some realities that make me feel extremely nihilistic.

This feeling is very similar to when Reagan was in office. I have always considered myself a ‘damaged Reagan youth’ because when he was in office, I was afraid of an atomic bomb going off at any minute. So much so, that I was afraid to go to sleep. My dad moved us close enough to a nuclear silo so that, in his words: “if there ever was a nuclear war, we would be the first to go, and we wouldn’t suffer”.  It was meant to be calming. Also, being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, we were constantly being prepared for the end of the world or Armageddon… I remember a couple times when we thought it was the beginning of ‘the end’.

This fear ‘of the end of the world’ turned to anxiety and now, many years later, I’m experiencing the same phenomena of being so scared of dying at any moment, that I can’t sleep. I know it sounds silly – especially reading this out loud – but it’s my reality right now. I feel safer now than ever before in my life… but I still have this fear, and it frustrates me to no end, because I know better than to succumb to it.

The best thing I can do is keep busy. Keep my mind off spinning inside my own thoughts. I’ve been cleaning and re-organizing, and I’m also making progress on my Hummingbird Quilt No.2. Here is a picture of the backside so far:

Backside of the Hummingbird Quilt No.2 in progress- 1/2″ hexies #hummingbirdquilt #hexiequilt #hexies #pmqg

A photo posted by Gail Lizette Weiss (@gweiss23) on

Today also marks the last day of the #31 Day Blog Writing Challenge. I know I missed a few days through the month, but overall it was a fun challenge to take part in. Thanks again to Cheryl Sleboda for the push!