Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sweatshop Story

A while back, I was posting pictures of my friend Anne and I working away on our quilts on a Monday afternoon. I must have been feeling whimsical, because I'd been referring to it as our sweatshop and so I put as the location "Glendora Sweatshop." Facebook actually took it and has since sort of made it a real place. Well, a virtual real place!

So for your edification and amusement, here's a current look at it:
(Imagine a photo here!)

Now of course it looks like a normal sewing desk/table setup (except that there are two machines, but any quilter will tell you that you HAVE to have more than one machine!)

But apparently a few people thought it was a real place, especially since the maps tend to put me a couple of streets over from my actual location. So here's the sad truth. It's all in my head. Well, and Anne's too. Plus we've made it a hashtag also.

Back in the day, I did have a job in a real sweatshop, a factory that made electronic parts. Our group made flybacks, which was the little gizmo inside the high-voltage box in your TV set that took your house voltage and amped it up to the high levels needed by TV sets--this was the summer of '59, so you can imagine the TVs I'm talking about! These pieces had to be dipped into vats of hot wax, which I got to inspect as they came out to be sure the heat and the jostling hadn't deformed them. If I passed them, they went to the woman who sat behind me, who ran them through another layer of hot wax to form a "tire" around their middles. With all the hot wax, as well as the steaminess of a factory built on a river (water power), and because a breeze could be disastrous for the wax, it was definitely a sweat shop. As I sometimes say, you can take the girl out of the mill town, but you can't always take the mill town out of the girl!

One more note. This post is actually a second experiment. I have another post, with 4 pictures, that I can't upload. The error message says to check my connection--which is working as well as it ever does. So this post has one picture, and I'm going to see if it posts. If you're seeing it, well, you'll know that it works with one picture! (I might also try an upload from the local coffeehouse.)

Edit: So far, have failed to upload on two platforms. You may have to go to my Facebook or Instagram pages to see it. Still working on it...

Now, back to work in the Sweatshop. Those tumblers aren't going to sew themselves!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'm Back--I Think!

It was rather an extended hiatus, caused mostly by the "terminal illness" of my beloved laptop. While it's still hanging on, it's not working for posting. Or, really, for much of anything except playing certain CDs or DVDs that for one reason or another won't play on the Sony player. Now I have a new iPad with a keyboard and as I get used to it, this is one of the things I'd like to resume.

But I digress. I really do want to use this blog to chronicle my ups, downs, travels, quilts, knitting projects, grandchildren, and all that other minutiae of life. The blog format lets me ramble a bit more!

So in the near future--how's that for vague? Could be tonight, could be next week!--I'd like to update with pictures of my WIPs and UFOs and finishes too. Hope you'll enjoy being along for the ride!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Allietare! Mystery Quilt, Part I & An Apology

Well, this is what happens when Life gets in the way of quilting! I had this post all prepped and ready to go--just needed a little text added to the pictures, and then my family got smacked hard. It's not my story to share, but let's just say December was truly a wild ride!
So here's a quick rundown on the beginning of the Mystery Quilt from Quiltville and Bonnie Hunter!
I picked out my fabrics and started working on the first clue. Here's the neutrals I'm using--I sorta-kinda thought I'd match them to the colors they'd be going with.

Neutrals.. white with a touch of color.
The rest of the fabrics.  Bonnie chose colors for her quilt that reminded her of a trip to Tuscany. I like the combo of dark red, gold, black, grey and white so that's what I picked too. There are several of these that have a star print. We shall see how this works out!

The first clue involved cutting a whole lot of squares in grey and neutral. So that's what I did!

Yes, they have become half-square triangles. I took them to class with me as a "something to work on till someone needs me" project. 

I will admit here that I'm much further along, and I promise to try to update the blog with my further progress. I've also got another project going that has taken priority over this one... and yes, I will blog about it!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A Reveal

 For some reason, I don't seem to be able to resist a challenge. When the challenge involves some of my favorite things, well, it's really irresistible. So when Canton Village Quiltworks announced their Charms and Cherrywood contest, well, it was calling to me! Use Cherrywood fabrics and two of Judy Niemeyer's Charm Elements and combine them in a quilt.

So I sorta-planned my quilt and cut out and prepped my pieces on a weekend retreat at Big Bear. (I know, I know, should have blogged about it at the time. But I was too focused on prepping patterns!) 

That was back in August. Deadline for submission of pictures was Nov. 1. My personal challenge was to be able to submit a picture of a finished quilt by the deadline.
Closeup with loose threads!
 I will end the suspense right now. I did make the deadline. Well, there were a few hiccups along the way, but I got it done.

 I should add that I have no delusions of excellence and not a hope in hell of winning the contest. I know all the flaws in my piecing and quilting and while I'm going to resist pointing them out here, let's just say I can see them all. But I did meet my personal challenge goals. I finished the quilt, and I submitted pictures. And, I enjoyed the process.

 So in my own rather limited view, I am a winner on this one. I'm a little embarrassed to have the judges looking at my work, but that was also part of the challenge!
Not quite as close up! Some quilting details
Really,  I'm rather fond of this piece.  I've never worked with Cherrywood fabrics before--they are hand-dyed in small batches and have the look and feel of suede. So learning to handle them was the first part of the challenge. They are heavier than "regular" cottons and the texture is a bit rougher, so they don't iron to the smoothness of a batik or cotton.

 The two elements--the sunburst and the spiky bits--had to be left intact, no resizing or chopping up. So that was another challenge, to fit them together so they didn't look too jarring. Drawing schematics on graph paper gave me some ideas, but really I had to have the units made before I could lay them out and see how they really looked. 

I had taken the completed units with me when my friend and I traveled up to Santa Clara for PIQF, because I had to get all the paper off the back before I could start sewing them together. Laid them out on the hotel bed and... 
I was short one unit. One 6" x 12" piece. I'd used up all my fabric, too, though I had plenty of papers left. So, the next morning, before leaving Santa Clara, we went back to the exhibit hall and I found the Cherrywood booth. And bought another set of fabrics, in colors that kind of went with what I already had. I was able to make enough more blocks to expand the quilt--because I wanted the "new" colors to blend across the whole piece and not just look like one afterthought block tacked on at the end.

, So here it is. Now, I do have a confession to make.
Full view
 In order to get this finished picture, I had to pin the binding in place most of the way around. That's why the edges ripple a little--it's the straight pins on the back.I've since finished sewing one side of the binding (it's devilishly hard because of the heavy stitiching where all those points meet) and it lays flat.  So... my first finish for November!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dog Days and Doldrums

August really has never been my favorite month, but this year it might be a little different. For one thing, I actually live in a house with decent a/c, so keeping comfortable hasn't been the huge problem it was in the past. Not that it's been a record-breaking August, just one more in a drought-stricken state. 

We did have a heat wave, but during the worst of it, this is what I was doing:

 "Camping" at the beach with my daughter, her husband, and their two girls. Oh, and Trooper.

He's such a cutie! And really a very good dog. Likes to hang out with his grandma and snuggle into the quilt she's trying to bind.

Hey, it already has lots of cat hair on it, why not a little puppy love too?
     Just look at that face...

I must say camping has come a long long way from the earlier days! They have a trailer with all the mod cons and even dry camping with no hookups was very easy. Of course, as Elderly Honored Guest I really didn't have much to do except entertain the dog and enjoy the kids.

Then I came home, did a little laundry, petted the cat--she didn't seem to think I smelled like Dog, so that was a good thing--and then back to the ever-present binding project.

Which racked me up another UFO finished this month! This is the one I called Plum Pinwheels, and which was languishing in my "to be quilted" bin for a very long time. It was one I decided to send off to the longarmers' because, well, because otherwise it would have continued to sit there, unquilted and unloved.

Closeup of how they did, with a peek at the back. You can almost, if you look really hard, see that there are two fabrics in those pinwheels. I made this back in the days when I didn't step back far enough to check that there was enough contrast, so the pinwheels aren't as crisp as they might otherwise be.

Too bad. I like the way it came out and the way the other fabrics pick up on the tones in the print.


We had the last day of Camp Grandma and the girls got a good rummage in some of the fabric. They loved the flannel print and wanted it spread out so they could enjoy it. Then they got the red-rose swirly minkee and the black sherpa (I'm going to make at least two throws out of them, with the red on one side and the black sherpa on the other) and made themselves "nests" to snuggle into and play Metamorphabet. Thank goodness for apps that work on the phone and the iPad both! Sneak in a little reading practice and letter recognition while they're having fun.
   Later on, the nests got expanded by using every pillow from my bed, the sofa, and every throw and small quilt they could find. I couldn't get a good pic of that--nowhere in the room to stand.

And yes, all those plastic tubs are holding fabric or projects of some sort. Or supplies--the ones on the far right are all boxes of spools of various kinds of thread. I thought I didn't have to buy thread again, ever, until suddenly I needed black thread--and had none. Black glittery, sure. Shiny black. But no plain old workhorse black. Luckily I work in a quilt shop...

So on a quiet evening at the end of hectic week, I was able to sit in my comfy chair with my comfy cat-buddy and sew a little more binding--this is the Cats All Year quilt, and like a couple of others, it needs to be quilted. But I decided at one point that I'd feel better if I put the binding on all three of them and then finished the quilting.
Look at that sweet little fuzzy head!

One more week of August, although for my crew, summer vacation is over. The grandgirls go back on Monday and the little grandboys have already been back for two weeks. Oldest Denver granddaughter is off to college--Colorado State for my vet-to-be.

Friday, July 31, 2015

July Wrap Up

I guess July has been a little more productive than I have been feeling! These hot lazy days, with my major effort directed to keeping a little more comfortable than sweaty-sticky, leave me thinking that I'm not getting anything done. However, in addition to keeping myself clean, fed, and somewhat orderly, I've been able to sew.

This is a new project--of course. The Quiltville group on Facebook (there's a link to my FB page over there on the sidebar) is doing a year-long challenge with their leaders & enders making Tumbler quilts. You may remember my adventures with tumblers over the last couple of years; it was so much fun making that quilt (later two quilts) that I mentioned to Anne that I wanted to do it again. She agreed, we ordered templates, and as soon as they arrived we started cutting. 

I managed to get 600 cut out of 4 different fabric lines I just happened to have fat quarters of; she used 30x prints. She made 5" tall tumblers; mine are 3". I sewed them all into pairs and then realized... I need 600 PAIRS of tumblers. So here's the next 600 cut. 

I enjoy the cutting so it's not a chore at all. What amuses me is that the Color Council has done its work well--the four fabric lines, from three different manufacturers, all use basically the same colors: orange, teal, navy, and gold.

My little furry friend has been coming out of her shell recently and has decided to take over the job of quilt supervisor. She's not quite clear on the concept, though.

This is another project, sort of an amuse-bouche if you will. The Big Bear Quilt Guild, of which Anne and Sandy are members, has set themselves a challenge goal of 100 pillowcases and 100 baby quilts by Christmas, to be donated to a local charity.

Of course I have to help out... So some baby ragg quilts are in the pipeline. Great sewing for a hot day, and a good excuse to get out the Brother and vroom-vroom a little.

This machine is a lot like my mother's industrial machine--straight stitch only, knee lift, winds the bobbin while you're sewing, no bells or whistles, just fast efficient stitching.
Giant stack of batting squares. Used them all up! Not to worry, found more batting, was given some scraps, so this is all basically "free" since it was leftover from other projects!

Community Quilt top is done and ready to go to the longarmers. This is it spread out on my queen bed--so it will be a good twin size when it's done. I'm really happy with it, but I think the next time I would make it one row across shorter. Not changing it now though!

And then there are the completed quilts. This is where it starts to get really impressive, at least to me! 
First up, Picasso's Puzzle. This is the quilt that was a little box of triangles, which I put together one week on a whim. Sent it to the longarmers with a batch of other tops that I'd made but not quilted.

The backing of this quilt is lime green with bubbles on it, and there are lots of circles in the Picasso print. Hence lots of "bubbles" in the quilting.
Woven Ribbons. Finished sewing the binding on this one down at the beach when my daughter and her family were here.

Ditto with the Shadow Study I quilt. I had wanted to quilt both of these myself originally, but decided that it would be better to have them done, so longarming it was! I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.
And what could be better than sitting on a deck at the beach with a little hand sewing?

Otherwise, I sew binding while I'm watching TV. I got the Hunter's Star Christmas quilt done--after all, Audrey decided she loves it and really wants t o take it home! What's a grandma to do?

And... I just realized... I also finished up the tile quilt, and it's gone to its new home and the spot it was designed for. I'll have to see if I can add a picture of it here!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Beach Interlude

So my Denver family is in town for a week, and they've rented a small place at the beach. It's got all the amenities though--a deck with a great view, indoor plumbing and a kitchen! It's on the second floor and the stairs are a little narrow and steep but it's worth the effort (even with my gimpy knees and healing back) to climb them.

The sunsets have been spectacular this week. There was even a double rainbow on Sunday night, but the phone camera couldn't capture the vivid colors. *This is not a picture of the rainbow!

Finished the binding on this quilt.

Sewing binding and knitting are lots more relaxing when you have a view of the ocean. When it's shady on the deck, it's even better!

Good night!