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…?

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?

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!

Happy Holidays

The holidays can be a somber time for me, but this year we’ve been keeping the obligations very light and so far this has been a great period of time for us. I’m using the down time to sew and spend time with my daughter who is living with us and has some extra time off as well.

I’ve been working on my Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Quilt. I have all the hexies sewn into rows, and now I’m starting to sew the rows together.

I used the ladder stitch for the individual hexies, but now that I’m sewing the rows together, I’m using a whipstitch. I hold the piece flat and work from the backside:

whipstitching

I work from one side of the quilt to the other so that each row I sew onto the main piece is easier to manipulate and work with. Here is an illustration of how I sew the rows together:

Sewing EPP Hexie Rows Together

Using this technique, I usually don’t get any stitches that show on the front of the quilt. I also don’t remove any papers until the whole piece is complete.

piecing Rows

I’ve missed a few days this month for the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge, but I plan to keep up this last week!

One Day At A Time

rows12.17

Yesterday I said I would show what I got done in on Hummingbird Hexie No.2 in a day, and this is it – five rows:

rows12.17

I try to stitch for 2 hours a day. Sometimes I can’t get to it because life can sometimes get in the way! 😉  But if I shoot for 2 hours as my daily goal, I know I will finish anything in a timely manner.

Here is my layout currently in process:

Hexie Hummingbird No.2

You can see two of the rows lined up on a “hexie-roll” at the bottom of the photo. I have a few more rows to do after I finish these two, then it will be onto sewing the rows together and starting to pick out a background fabric!

 

Another Cold Day

sewing tools

It’s been pretty cold here in the PNW. Snow has been on the ground for days and I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors, and in sweaters! We had a family visit last week, and it took a while for me to get caught up with work after they left – so my daily blog post was neglected a few days.

I did get a little time to work on Hexie Hummingbird No.2 – I’m still sewing the individual hexies into rows. It will probably take another week or so to get to the next step, which is sewing the rows together.

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 in Process

You can see the missing sections… they are ready to travel in a hexie-roll. I can take this project on the go by rolling the hexies into a batting roll, and using a small plastic container as a dispenser. As you pull the batting, the hexies ‘pop’ out in the order and placement you need them. See more about how I put that together here.

sewing tools

This is my current sewing ‘kit’ situation. I have my hexie-roll, and all my tools and thread in a cardboard box (with lid). I always need a scissors, needles (which you can barely see here – they are on their side next to the scissors), a thimble, thread and thread conditioner. I have silk thread here for piecing my hexies, and the other threads, along with the clothespin and grey grip are used when I bind a quilt. My nephew drew a neat piece of art that makes me happy, and he left it there for me… so sweet!

So I’m off to get some more sewing done today, I’ll show my progress tomorrow, since I still want to keep up with the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge!

 

Hexie Piecing

piecing hexies

I’m currently stitching another Hexie Hummingbird Quilt (No.2) and right now it’s at the piecing stage. Instead of making flowers, I stitch individual pieces into rows then sew the rows together. I made an illustration of my stitching:

Making EPP Hexie Rows

To sew the individual pieces together, some people sew with right-sides together. I was taught to do it a little differently by sewing with wrong-sides together! I also switched my thread up to a fine silk thread (Superior Kimono Silk #100) and the needles used are John James #10 Sharps – it’s what works for me.

piecing hexies

I use a ladder stitch, and start in the center, work my way to one side, then back to the other side, then back to the middle. I try to stay on the ‘inside’ of the paper template.

This means it’s double stitched and I can easily ensure no large spaces between my stitches – they are tight and hard to pull apart. And when you “open” the row to see the front, you see no stitches at all.

piecing hexies

My Sunday will be filled with more sewing while watching my nephews play with Legos and watch all the Star Wars movies. I think I’ll be able to get a lot of sewing done today!

One Full Week

hexie Rows

Today marks a full week since I started the 31 Day Blogging Challenge, and I’m really happy I committed. The prompt to write really keeps me active in this process, which is great. I know that some people view blogs as a bit out-dated, but for me, it’s a great reference tool to check back on my work and the thoughts I was having while making each quilt. Very much like a journal.

Like a journal, my writing is a little personal – but sharing is important. I think we are all so similar, and when we read personal things about a someone, it helps us realize we are not that different from each other. We may have very different backgrounds and ideas… but emotions and stresses affect us all the same. Finding common ground is what we need right now, in more ways than one.

Yesterday I wrote about Cannabis, and I lost a couple of my very few followers. I realized that there will always be a stigmatism around that plant as long as people keep their minds closed. So… good! I don’t have time for that type of negativity, however… my goal is to cull more readers, not lose them.

hexie Rows

Last night I did get a little sewing time in, and got a couple rows of hexies put together for my Hexie Hummingbird No.2. I stitched while watching the Ink Master Finale. Yeah… it’s a bad habit, but I do love tattoos, art, and social studies! It didn’t hurt that Ryan Ashley broke the glass ceiling in that regard, and became the first woman Ink Master! It was fun to watch with my daughter, who also loves tattoos, and looks up to strong women.

 

 

Hexie Hummingbird Quilt Finish!

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

Super excited to share my last quilt finish – the Hexie Hummingbird! This was a super fun project – especially trying to make-do with the fabric I have on hand. It’s a smaller quilt, finishing at 34″ wide x 39″ tall, perfect for a wall hanging.

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

When I last blogged about this project, I was trying to decide on a background fabric to appliqué the Hummingbird to… well, I think I found the best thing hidden in my stash. This is Petals in Violet by Alison Glass, and I think the hand-dyed nature of it makes the Hummingbird look magical. I also thought it was neat to use a hand-dyed fabric for my hand stitching work!

I had a small piece of Tula Pink’s Free Fall backing fabric that just barely covered the back of this piece, it was very dreamy to hand quilt. I only hand-quilted the Hummingbird itself – the background was free-motion-quilted with my Juki. I really loved how the hand quilting made a neat pattern on the back.

BackHandQuilting

The hummingbird idea came to me while I was having cranial sacral work done, and I feel it has a deeper meaning than just an idea for a quilt. I know it’s a sacred totem for certain native tribes, but I do not know what exactly it symbolizes to them. For me, right now, I’m just seeing it as a good sign that I’m on the right path forward – where ever that may lead me.

Finish Closeup

I was able to finish up the binding at our PMQG monthly All-Day-Sew yesterday, which was really fun! I got to meet up with a quilter-fried from Minneapolis who is here visiting – we have many mutual friends, so it was really sweet to catch up. It also felt a little like worlds colliding, talking about people and experiences from years ago, all while happily quilting the day away. It was really grounding for me, and that is a good thing.

Yellow-Fabrics

Lately, I’ve also been thinking and dreaming of making a yellow quilt, so I recently came up with a new design. At first, I wanted to try to make it monochromatic, but I decided it needed a little grey, white, and cream to make the yellow pop. The design is done and ready to go, but my yellow fabric supply is looking orange. Funny how yellow is… and then isn’t – as soon as you change the shade! I think it’s one of the hardest colors to work with, but I’m plugging forward. More about this quilt to come!