Help me finish these WIPs

So, last time, I wrote about my new process pledge, and I’m very sincere about it. More posts, more often, far from perfect, but I hope they will give you some insight into the design process — mine or anyone else’s.

With some quilts, it’s all about the design and the shapes a quilter can create with the fabric. But I think for most of us, it’s far more often about the fabric. Here’s an example:

Mod SnowmanI finished this top probably 18 months ago, maybe longer, and it’s only been in recent months that I saw how back then I started my progression toward a more contemporary style of block and overall design.

When you have negative space, like the white and the black, it gives you an opportunity to do some really cool shapes, but on this quilt I’m stuck. Here’s why:

mod snowman3I adore this fabric; it was the inspiration for the entire quilt. But I don’t want to just quilt around the snowmen (been there, done that), and yet I don’t want to quilt it too heavily either (likely cutting through the faces) because then you’d miss what’s special about it.

Here’s the red, which could handle an all over pantograph more easily than the snowmen, but again, I don’t want to quilt it too heavily. (The photo is from my new iPhone 4; definitely doesn’t do as good a job as my Android or Nikon D7000 that I sometimes can borrow from work, but the price was right — only $.99.)

photoI finished this queen-sized top several months ago, a combination of four-patches and single blocks from Moda’s “Figgy Pudding,” by Basic Grey:

mod ChristmasIt’s ginormous, so it was tough to get a good inside photo of it. I think one of my problems with this one is the size. I’m too old to get on my knees to baste this and too cheap to pay a longarmer. Since it’s such a blended quilt, it could definitely handle a layer of stitches all over, and the solid blocks would give me the opportunity to try something fun.

So what do you think? Any suggestions to help these quilts become whole? Do you run into problems like this and let projects sit for months? I’d love to hear any feedback or ideas you have.

XOXO,
Sandra

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All about the process

In general, when I start a craft project, I really try to finish it before moving on to something new. I think it came from my Mom, who instilled the fear of God in me when she taught me to knit, telling me that if I stopped in the middle somewhere, my work would develop a ridge between rows.

Sorry, Mom. So not true. And nothing that a good block and press can’t get out. Even after years and years.

For the most part, I’ve tried to keep to my mother’s rule, though I admit, I do have about half a dozen projects in various stages of completion at the moment.

I’m much better with my cross-stitch projects. Currently, I have two, “And They Sinned” and Teresa Wentzler’s “Fantasy Sampler.” I abandoned the Wentzler long ago when I lost interest in the Celtic/dragon thing, but I looked at it awhile back and decided I might like it again enough to finish it.

However, with quilts, I seem to throw all sense of completion out the window. There are three quilt tops on my guest bed waiting for some quilty love and at least that many tops/blocks in my sewing room.

And sewing projects? Don’t get me started. I still have a jacket I cut out in 1977 that never got finished.

Turns out, I’m more of a process person than I realized. But after years of beating myself up for not finishing more, I’ve decided I’m ok with it, especially with quilting and this blog. Rossie, on her blog, wrote a great post about this that you can find here.

process_pledge(She also created the cool button above that I’ve added to the right sidebar. I was thrilled to master installing a custom widget!)

One of the things she said that resonated with me was that craft bloggers seem to be in such a rush to post a finished project, rather than reveal the inspiration that went on behind it. Kind of like making sure your house is spotless before company arrives.

In reading this, I realized part of why I don’t post more is that I succumb to the pressure to have picture perfect projects, beautifully photographed, like I see on many of the blogs I follow. And it also seems like some of these bloggers can quilt/sew at the speed of light.

Here’s the deal. That’s not me. For whatever reason(s) I’m kinda slow at this. I like to take my time. I get a little ADD between quilting, cross-stitching and knitting. Some days, I’m just not in the mood.

Still, over the years, I’ve managed to finish quite a few things, and I’d rather enjoy the process, even if it means I finish fewer of them, than feel I have to rush to meet some arbitrary deadline.

So, expect more posts with unfinished works, but hopefully ones you’ll still enjoy. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have people from around the world who follow this blog, from as far away as South Africa to a couple of coworkers nearby. It is such a privilege to be able to share this journey with you.

One thing I did finish today, I finally posted my Finished Quilts page, which you can see just under the header photo. I hope to have pages for my knitting and cross stitch soon, but like the rest of this, it’ll be a process.

XOXO,
Sandra

New labels, header and bag holder

I’m a little late posting for last week or I’m early for this week, depending on how you look at it. To be honest, last week was a little rough at work. A massive deadline that can’t be missed put all of us in my office in kind of a cranky mood.

And, when I would have much preferred to be home Saturday sewing in order to have something to show you guys, I was there writing. Whine, whine, fuss, fuss, as my mother used to say.

But one of the few good things to happen was getting my new labels in the mail, which I bought from the LillaLotta shop on Etsy. Run by the very talented and kind Anna, these came all the way from the Netherlands.

I am so excited about them; I just think they look so cool, and they made the perfect header for the blog.

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia45

What’s lovely about these is that they were very reasonably priced compared to quite a few of the websites I checked for labels. And since I don’t need 1,000 of them, Anna’s handmade version works perfectly for me. I also love the idea of supporting a fellow crafter.

One of my goals for these labels is to use them on quilts/products for my own Etsy shop. Currently, the shop is work in progress (meaning I don’t have anything in there yet, it just sounds better to say you’re working on it), but hopefully a little later this summer I can get some fun items in there for you.

One of them is very likely to be this cute bag holder. I had made a larger version awhile back to hold my grocery bags, but wanted another one for produce bags, which have a ton of uses, but mostly I reuse them with my juicer.

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia43 Here it is with its bigger counterpart:

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia44I made both of these from the wonderful tutorial on In Color Order. If you’ve never visited Jeni’s site, I highly recommend it. She has great quilt/sewing ideas and is a talented fabric designer. I hope to snag her latest line, “Nordika,” soon. Plus, there’s a cute bunny named George!

Thanks so much for stopping by. This week should be a little easier, so I hope to have a couple of finished quilt tops to show you soon.

XOXO,
Sandra

The defining block

Today we have our first meeting of the Louisville Modern Quilt Guild, and our assignment was to bring a block that represented our tastes in modern quilting.

Of course, I couldn’t do something easy, and I put it off till the last minute, so I had to scramble to get something done.

My vision was to create a series of magazine blocks to tie in with my job as an editor. I took the magazine I work on and made some measurements, rounding up or down where necessary and came up with a block that would be like the cover:

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia39Unfortunately, this didn’t really work for me. The part with the blue with the glasses and pencils (known as the banner) just doesn’t stand out enough in the sea of letters. I do like the selvage standing in for the title, but it gets lost in the letters, too.

I debated on and off, and as usual, way over-thought it. Finally, I remembered my recent purchase of “Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Blocks” and decided to look there. Though I started out with one of the rectangle patterns, I thought one of the squares would work better with the fussy-cut typewriter.

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia40I’m much happier with this block than the one above.The focus is more intriguing and the text fabric doesn’t overwhelm anything like it did in my first attempt. I also love that it wasn’t perfectly symmetrical, either.

I’ll certainly attempt to design something in the future, but for now, I think I’ll stick with the experts. If you’re interested, follow the links to learn more about the Louisville Modern Quilt Guild or the national organization.

XOXO,
Sandra