Monday, August 4, 2008

The 15-Minute Rule

I have decided to join in on Judy Laquidara's Star BoM, and she wants to see my fabric. Suits me! Here's a picture (click on it to see more detail):

On the left are the pink-oriented fabrics: the top two are from the On My Porch series that Nancy Smith & Lynda Milligan did for Possibilities for Avlyn, then a print from an unrelated line, and the palest one is from my stash (I just love that fabric). On the right are the greens; the darkest one is also a "Porch" fabric, the middle one is a batik, and the bottom one is another lovely soft mottled print. In the middle are the black & blue fabrics, including the blue & green version of the unrelated pink print, and two more from the "Porch" series. Behind everything is the white tone-on-tone I have for the background.

What's that? That's way more than the 8 fabrics Judy wants? Well, that's true. Basically, I'm substituting the white for her Fabric #1, the three greens for her three shades of lavender to purple, the pinks for her greens, and mixing in the black-backed/blue prints as needed so that each star block pops. It's a tight enough range; I'm not so worried about this becoming confusing. And I have no idea where this quilt will end up -- our house is pretty mellow, but it's still 200 years old, and these colors were not dreamt up in 1800!

But I really don't care -- it's just going to be so pretty!

Oh, and speaking of pretty, I got my copy of Sharyn Squier Craig's LeMoyne Stars book. Awesome -- she's got a helpful, step-by-step tutorial (with pictures!) to explain how to do set-in seams (Y-seaming, she calls it), and lots of templates. There's a lovely sampler quilt to make, and it occurred to me that this would be a great use of my new FQ bundle of all (!!) 44 April Cornell Portugal fabrics. Must think on this some more -- but that's many 15-minute segments away!

It's now such a standard piece of advice that I don't think I can find out who first thought of it, but it's still useful: If there's a job you don't want to do, just do it for 15 minutes. If you do 15 minutes' worth, you'll have made a dent in it, and you might even find that your reluctance has faded and you can do a bit more.

Today was my 15-minutes day. It felt like I got at least 15 minutes' worth of work done on each project. I got some long-overdue thank you notes done (no, not wedding presents -- well, one was a case where I had mailed the thank you note IMMEDIATELY, and it promptly came back from Singapore with a handwritten note: Moved; an email elicited their correct address but I still took too long to remail the originally prompt card), I was a lawyer for about 45 minutes, did about 40 minutes' worth of weeding, and finished ironing a lot of fabric. I didn't actually sew anything; that's going to have to be tomorrow's 15 minute effort.

But here now is my 15-minute blog post. (Which could take longer if Blogger continues to mess me about as I try to upload my meager photo... yup, it took until the next morning! -- Ed.)

Saturday Shopping

I avoid like the plague all the challenges to "bust my stash." Maybe it's the genetic remnants of my parents' Depression child thinking, but I love my stash. I love its size, its pretty colors, and its potential. I love to add to it. I'm unabashed in this regard.

On Saturday, I met up with Candy Tucker, a fellow Pickle who drove down from Syracuse to meet her fellow Candy (aka Wizard) and me. We did a mini-shop hop of the three stores in Endicott, Johnson City, and Vestal, NY, and got great fabric. Candy T. scooped up wonderful brights; I scored some more fabrics for my Coral Pink Wip, some mulberry & related brights for a quilt so abstract right now that I've not even decided what I want to do, just some color families I know I might want to do it in, and some watercolor fabrics. I also got a long length -- on sale, of course -- of a fabric I already own. It's a bright green leafy print on black background and was part of a collection put out by Possibilities for Avlyn called "On My Porch." I had scored two fat quarter bundles of the collection (also on sale) at the same store months ago. In fact, that was the second store we went to, but at the first store, I spotted a black-background floral in another room that made me think of the On My Porch fabrics at home. (When I got up close, it was clear they wouldn't have liked each other if they'd met. The Porch fabrics are all Peter Max colors on a black background, and this floral was more Grammy's pajamas on a black background.)

Well, this got me thinking -- always dangerous -- and so I have decided to participate in Judy Laquidara's Star BOM from blog, Patchwork Times. Using the Porch fabric. Here's the irony. . . I pulled all the other fabrics (and this is NOT a scrappy quilt, so she had some real yardage requirements) from my stash. All of them! I was just about to buy some more of the largest of the Porch fabrics (a real dazzler -- it's brilliant yellow & pink hydrangeas on black) on eBay when I realized that I didn't need to because I could just use existing batiks. Amazing.

I might even end up having inadvertently busted a teensy bit off my stash with this decision. But that's only if I offset fabric recent use vs. Saturday's haul. If you include the fabric I bought in the last few weeks, I'm over the top. And I love it!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Coral Pink Wip

I made a couple quilting New Year's resolutions. First, join a quilt guild. Done. Next, make four quilts in 2008. I could, I suppose, count the Harmony Triangle quilt, but I started it last year, and I really wanted it to be four quilts started and finished in one calendar year.

Now, here's where I could trot out all the reasons why I am making such a late start of it. The wedding, of course, and the fact that I'm now working more as a lawyer. Yadda yadda. I'm sorry, I'm not buying it. I have a sweet deal here, and I have no excuse for not quilting more. So, here's the first quilt done from beginning to end on this blog. Starting at the beginning:

These are strip sets for nine patched to go into a very color-specific crib-size quilt for a little girl. This is "Lesson 7" from Gai Perry's book, "Color from the Heart." I actually picked it out because I liked the mildly monochromatic approach to the quilt: you take a focus fabric and use that as the outermost border. Everything inside that border builds off that focus fabric.

Right up my alley, I figured, as I have quite a few larger-scale florals that really deserve to not be cut into teensy pieces. I picked one of those -- to be seen in a future post -- and started to assemble the fabrics to go with it. Gai is clearly a stash-and-sew kind of quilter, because I count eight fabrics before you even get to the nine-patches, and those are supposed to be constructed from all new fabrics. You need 20 nine-patch blocks, and she really doesn't want more than three to be in the same fabrics. So, I have six dark/light pairs pictured. Yup, that's right -- I'm probably going to use two of those pairs more than thrice. But seriously -- more than 20 fabrics all in the right color family? That's a lot. (In Gai's defense, there are several examples of how Lesson 7 can come out; I happened to pick one that is more monochromatic than your average quilt.)

The strips are 1.5", so the nine-patch blocks are only 3" finished. Not big. They get put on point, alternated with 3" squares of the other fabrics, then setting triangles, inner (inner) border, outer (inner) border and finally the outer (outer) border, which is the focus fabric you first thought of.

I'd love to get this done before we leave for Alaska, but I also have to complete an applique block, so let's not get too crazy about this. After all, the little girl I'm making it for is still (probably) sleeping in a crib . . .

The real before and after

I took photos of Harmony (that's just what we call our house) back in February 2006 to email the Starman. That was back when he and I were phone & email buddies. He was prepping his house in Twyford, England to be put on the market, and I guess I thought he'd be interested in what our house(s) looked like. Harmony was a weekend house at that time. And my then-husband (aka Hub 1.0) had a room for his tools and workbench.

Understand, this room has had a few identity-changes in its lifetime. I know that our predecessors used it as a bedroom. They maintained the upstairs bedrooms as guest rooms for the B&B traffic. Even after they stopped running the B&B, they didn't move upstairs. And the people who owned the house before then? Well, there is a proper bathroom in the basement, so I would guess that either of the small rooms downstairs (one's my office; the other is Starman's office) must have been a bedroom at some time.

And then it looked like this in 2006:

Hey, it could be worse -- I forget what the floor was prior to the flood, but it has a nice (enough) vinyl floor meant to echo the proper cork tile flooring in the TV room. Otherwise, well -- you get the general idea. Three-quarters workspace, one-quarter basement storage. Note the drill press on the left and the pachinko game in the middle.

And now:

Yup, that's the same corner as the shot above. Pretty amazing, hunh?