Just Say No

It's been a frustrating 24 hours in the sewing room. I suppose my first mistake was sandwiching "A World Apart" for top-stitching. The top-stitching for this quilt also serves as the quilting.

And, just to be clear, I didn't actually spend 24 hours in the sewing room...but you know what I mean. So here's what happened:

Remember yesterday I talked about how I shouldn't have used such large pieces in the sky? Here's what I said, which in retrospect, seems prophetic:

[W]hen I did the sky, I did it in three pieces...the lower light blue section was cut in one large piece from one side of the whole to the other. Then I did the middle, darker section as one, and the upper lighter section as one. Doing them as a whole made it more difficult to get the "leading" flat and straight. If I were going to do this again, I could have made them half as wide and done each section in at least two pieces. 
After I had it all pressed and fused down, I realized that one of the pieces was a little short in the lower right hand corner and there was a gap between the colored fabric and the "leading". The "leading" had become a little distorted in the process, and I wasn't able to straighten it or stretch the colored fabric enough to close the gap.

I was talking about a different section of the quilt there, but I had the same problem when I started top-stitching the sky, and I ripped and I pulled and I pushed and I swore and I cried (well, not really...there's no crying in quilting). No matter what I did, I could not get that stitched down properly. I even resorted to turning the hand crank and stitching one stitch at a time, and still, I ended up with a little gap.

And now I've torn all my hair out and I'm bald in spots, which is annoying to say the least. On top of all of that, now I've got a bad hair day to boot.

And the trouble with all of this is that the more you rip and stitch and rip and stitch, the more that black fabric wants to fray, which just makes the problem worse. Finally, after I'd had all I could take, I painted the whole section with Fray Check and then satin-stitched it, effectively building up the black fabric with thread and then stitching back and forth until all of the fabric was caught up within an inch of its life. Do not mess with a determined quilter.

And then I used a Sharpie pen to fill in any spots that weren't completely black. You can't tell, can you?

Just say no. Seriously.

And don't ask to see the back, if you know what's good for you.

And I'm going to hang this up high on a wall away from peering eyes and prying fingers.

And I'm not going to show you the back.


(That's my new typed symbol for "And I really mean it, so don't test me.")

And now I'm going to walk away passively and never discuss it again.

I went to a guild meeting last night. Connie Sue Haidle from Apple Blossom Quilts was there with a trunk show. She is teaching the hand applique class that I'm taking this Saturday. Recall that I'm going to learn to make this block, which is one of her own designs:

Here are pictures of the quilts that were on display. She says this first quilt is a "beginner" pattern. If I like the technique she shows us, I might consider purchasing this pattern. I really like the quilt, and it would be a good one to learn on.  

A lot of her quilts contained irises, and she does a lot with those saw tooth style borders.

She explained that some of these designs were cut from one whole piece of fabric, I'm guessing a lot like the "leading" in my stained glass applique. For example, in the quilt below, (from left to right) the 2nd and 4th blocks in the top row, the 1st and 3rd blocks in the second row, the 2nd block in the 3rd row...you can probably pick them out from there. Then she uses a technique she called "back basting" (I think), which she will teach us on Saturday. 

Here's another example. She said that the stars in the quilt below are paper-pieced, but the remaining designs are cut from one whole piece of fabric. It looks very tedious to me, but I'm withholding judgment until I see how it's done.

Here's a little close-up. She does quite a bit of machine embroidery in her work as well.

She explained that her husband recently retired, and they are now traveling to Alaska in their motorhome, a trip they had planned to celebrate his retirement. Along the way, she is teaching classes at eight guilds. She made herself a memory quilt, which is pictured below.

The block in the bottom left corner is Mt. McKinley, representing Alaska on her memory quilt. The block to the right of it (middle block, bottom row) is the block to represent our guild. It's hard to see, and unfortunately, I didn't get a detailed image of it, but it has clusters of grapes (this being Oregon wine country) and our state flower, the Oregon grape. (To be clear, the Oregon grape is not a grape at all, and it has nothing to do with making wine.) The remaining blocks represent other guilds where she will be teaching. She listed them all out, but I've forgotten now what they all meant.

Nevertheless, I did want to point out the middle block in the top row of the image above. That was for a guild where the woman she was speaking with said something about all of the guild members being "well endowed". I'm sure there's a story to go along with that. In any case, look carefully at the block and you'll see that those are not flowers. They are purple hats sitting on the heads of women in profile...and they are all well-endowed. Pretty cute, I think. I hope you can see it.

And then the rest of these images are details of the quilt above. She has quite a talent for texture and detailing in her blocks.

The meeting was running 45 minutes late when I decided I needed to leave. I have a long drive home on dark country roads, and so I get a little anxious when I'm out past my curfew. The meetings are going to need to run on time or I'm just going to have to leave early...or on time, depending on how you look at it.

Now that I've seen Connie Sue Haidle's beautiful work, I'm looking forward to attending her class on Saturday.

Finally, I want to link up today to:

Val's Quilting Studio

Today's categories are "Chevron and Christmas Quilts". I don't have any chevron quilts, but I have made a couple of Christmas quilts. I think I'll link up with a quilt I completed way back in 2011...the Winter Wonderland quilt from Crabapple Hill Studio. This quilt is the one that got me hooked on embroidered quilt blocks. Here's their version:

I saw it again and again in different fabric stores, and I so wanted to make it. I hadn't done embroidery in decades, and I was certain I would start on it, then put it aside and never finish it. And that's exactly what happened, until I took it up as a UFO Challenge. I committed to embroidering one block per month and making two stars per month. Dividing it up like that was enough to take me through a whole year. Surprisingly, I found I really enjoyed embroidery, and the rest is history. If you read this blog regularly, then you know I always have at least a couple of embroidery projects going at any given time.

I ended up doing my version of Winter Wonderland in blue, and here's my finished quilt.

You can see details of all the blocks and the quilting in my original post when I entered this quilt in the Christmas Quilt Show.

So today I need to go to the grocery store. I think I'll take the day off from swimming today. I attended Zumba yesterday, and I plan to go tomorrow since next Monday is a holiday. The sunshine has returned, and so I'll need to get out and water my annuals. We got a little rain break on Sunday, but not enough. I kind of like being out watering the pots at this time of the year...and I know Smitty loves having people outside. Sometimes he goes charging around like a galloping horse. It's pretty funny.

And that's about it from me. Time to get on with my day...and I'll just say that I think I showed that quilt who's boss, don't you?

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sher S. said...

You are definitely the BOSS!!!! Rock on! I love the appliqué quilts, I find them relaxing but my stitches tend to look wonky so I don't do much of it. I absolutely LOVE your blue Christmas quilt. You do such lovely work. I'm jealous, wish mine looked as good as yours. Have a fun time on Saturday.

Judy H. said...

I can't wait to hear about your appliqué class. I love appliqué, and back-basting is my favorite technique, so I'm looking forward to your comments on it.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

!!!!!....giggle....message received.

I'll be watching to see what's new in applique and to see how you liked the class. I'm having way too many senior moments now to try to take a class again.....:( :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Tee Hee - don't mess you Ha!! What a great memory quilt and thank you for sharing all the details (story and embroidery). Oh, so glad you posted your early blue Christmas, just love this one.

Dasha said...

That "beginner" quilt looks pretty difficult to me! I would love to do that class, shame you are 1/2 a world away. LOL
The memory quilt is truly lovely.

crazy quilter said...

Hi Barbara, so sorry you had the struggles with your quilt, but I think your fix is genius! I don't think I would have thought of satin stitching , but what an idea! It looks awesome. I know you will love the back basting technique, I learned it several years ago when I worked at the quilt shop part time. In my opinion every block calls for the way you think accomplishing the appliqué works best for you. I don't back baste everything but I do use it regularly. Recently I took an appliqué class from the wonderful Sue Garman and learned yet another way to do appliqué. The first appliqué class I took used freezer paper so I have lots of techniques in my arsenal . Also I know you are Glad to have Big Bertha back in the sewing room .

quiltzyx said...

Nope, I don't see it. That's my story & I'm stickin' to it. I think it is wonderful! ("...walk away passively..." Heeheehee! Are you a Bill Cosby fan?)

Sometimes it's hard to keep the guild meetings on time, especially with trunk shows & questions. But I understand your dark country roads time limit. The quilts are lovely - I bet you'll have a fun time on Saturday. :)

Cathy said...

Love it in blue! Absolutely beautiful work.

Diane Wild said...

Sometimes you just have to get tough with those quilts that don't want to behave. But, there is usually a solution and you found it with that one. Those applique blocks are wonderful. Hope you like the class. Looking forward to seeing your versions.

Celtic Thistle said...

Glad you managed to bully that rogue quilt into submission Barbara!

That beginner applique quilt certainly doesn't look like a beginner quilt to me either! Have a great time at the class.

Dana Gaffney said...

I looked closely and couldn't tell, honestly.
There's no crying in quilting? Next you'll tell us there's no pitching a fit, cursing and ripping something to shreds.

A Nudge said...

No, I couldn't see it! What a neat recovery job you did. Love all of Connie's quilts. I want to make the first one you showed,too. Thanks for a great post, Barbara!

Kate said...

Great rework strategy! Done is definitely better than perfect. It looks great.

Your posts on Winter Wonderland got me back to embroidery. It's a gorgeous quilt.

Jacque said...

Nope! Could. Not. See. It.
Oh you have me drooling over that quilt for the guilds....so much three dimensional "stuff" and you know I love that!

Brown Family said...

Beautiful handwork. I love how she depicted each guild!

Valerie Reynolds said...

Oh Barbara I too hate days like this....but on a happy note...your red and blue Christmas quilts made the perfect addition to our Christmas Archive link up AND I absolutely love your memory quilt. I found myself staring at every detail!!

Valerie Reynolds said...

Serious, I just went back and looked at your entire post again...inspiring work lady!! Thanks again!