Love Letters to Friends, As Well As Very Important Musings on Earth Shattering Matters:
Thread Count, Powerlifts, Quilting, Karaoke, Lemon Cookies, and Graphomania

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Imperfect Quilter

 ...wherein it transpires that sometimes the process really IS more important than the result.

So the last few things I've made have been for Other People, and that is an honorable and worthy pursuit, and one I will happily continue.  But I do find myself stressing a little about making something worth giving away, and that slows me down (as it well should.)  However, with as many theoretical-quilts as I have floating around in my brain, and with as much fabric as I've amassed over the past year, it behooves me to whip out something small and meaningless from time to time, both as a sop to my increasingly loud and insistent quilt-muse, as a skill-building venture, and a reminder of the pleasure to be had in making something practical, but not perfect.  Sometimes I just itch to do, without thinking too hard about what I'm doing.  In fact, that's pretty much the story of my life.

So I'm usually quite comfortable with perfection as option, rather than necessity, but this time it wasn't even a secondary or tertiary goal.  This time, the goals were simple -  make something fast; test the use of double gauze as a backing in case of any oddities requiring different sewing techniques for "real" projects down the road; and use one of the hundreds of patterns I've dog-eared (digitally speaking) to work on values as a design element.  This is the result, evidencing varying degrees of success - it's about 60" x 70" or "napping size," in the vernacular:

Sort of a crappy picture of the result, but you get the gist.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Twenty-Eight Years and a Million Little Pieces least, that's what it felt like.

I'd mentioned that I'd sent two quilts out last week. The other has arrived, so Now It Can Be Told  - no thanks to USPS, who told me it'd be there last Thursday, the swine, and then somehow got it to Kansas before sending it back to Illinois before it progressed to California. I know Americans aren't supposed to be good at geography, but jesus christ, people.  KANSAS. All you had to do was keep going in a straight line.

This assumes no detours to, say, Corpus Christi or Bozeman

So E, my good friend and long-time comrade in meat-eating, being mesmerized by radio plays, bookishness, aversion to talking on the phone, and general snarkery, moved her fam out to the west coast some years back, leaving miserable Midwestern winters and high-quality restaurants for the tolerable climate and subdued surfer-student vibe of the O.C.  We met in high school when I trilled an alarmingly friendly, "Hello, person sitting next to me!" at her on the first day of sophomore honors English, only to be chastened by her icy, basilisk stare of dismay; but all was forgiven later, when I sneezed into a Kleenex and she wanted to see the result. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Drunk Babies

I sent two quilts out today, both started a way back in 2013.  The first was this here baby quilt for a former lifting buddy of mine, Mags, who has since gone back to greener pastures in WI and has just last week spawned her very first infant, Anne.  Hooray Mags!

The proud parents didn't find out the sex of the baby until she was born, though, so Mags gave me free rein to pick colors and do whatever.  I started with some wonky stars but didn't like them, so I gave this one a shot: a version of Julie Pickles' Mod Pop.  I say "version" because I didn't buy the pattern, since I already have a Drunkard's Path template that I could use for this sucker: lord knows I needed the practice on curved seams, but also it amuses me to make something for a baby called Drunkard's Path.

So this is the basic block, using my giant pile of thrifted men's shirts as the grays.  The plan for the color part, since I was not tied to anything gender-specific or nursery colors, was ALL the colors:  a colorwash quilt.  Exciting!  Turns out, though, that the best way to do a colorwash quilt is NOT to start with something that is yellow, orange and green and work out in a circle from there.  Bad plan, for not the least of which reason is that it turns out I didn't have all that much green in my stash to begin with and should have husbanded its use a little more carefully.  As it is, "green and pink" ended up being one of my color areas, to confusing effect.  To wit: this ended up in the middle -

Monday, January 13, 2014

OCD Crafty

Mostly, I want to put up a year-in-review type post, but looking back, I was pretty lackluster in the Make Strides Towards Happiness and Fulfillment Department.  I blame my job, of course, because that's easy.

So instead of going forward, I went on a tangent, and the tangent was: quilting.

This happens to be right up my alley, personality-wise: something that I can do by myself in my apartment, in a sort of mindless fugue state from which I surface 12 hours later to discover I have created a functional thing that I can give away and start over?  Sign me up.  I had zero sewing skills prior to fall of 2012, when I took an Intro to Sewing and then an Intro to Quilting class at Lill Street:  Art Classes for Adults.  Most of the way through the ItQ class, I made the Shades of Gray one below, and it was off to the races.  And so the following are what I finished in 2013.

Shades of Gray was made out of thrifted men's shirts in, uh, grays, and Kona charcoal, I believe, was the solid.  I didn't use a pattern, but it's basically a sashed brick layout.  I still have this, but I don't actually use it much: a lesson in useful sizing and also the relative value of a cozy backing.