Agony and Ecstasy

One time I was speaking to a man while waiting in line at a restaurant. He was telling me about a classic car he once owned and the vanity plate he bought for it. He was from California where seven letters or numbers can be used. This was his plate:


Agony-Ecstasy: that was my day in quilting yesterday. First, the agony.

You may recall that I seriously need to have my head examined for attempting to quilt Vintage Tin with cotton thread on top and monofilament thread in the bobbin. My biggest problem has been getting the bobbin wound smoothly. It works fine until I get to the more interior parts of the bobbin where it has sort of tangled up and folded over on itself. When the monofilament gets to the inner reaches, it starts breaking....every couple of inches. I was bemoaning this fact before we left on vacation. Not surprisingly, nothing had changed when I returned and started quilting again yesterday afternoon. I spent hours trying to finish this block.

Since I need to finish the quilt within the next two weeks, I finally gave up and unwound the remaining monofilament from the bobbin. Then, I took great pains to rewind it with new monofilament and to get it on smoothly. I've come to the conclusion that the secret of working with monofilament in the bobbin is to wind it very slowly, and to wind only a small portion of the bobbin. At least that way, there won't be so much waste if you need to start again. With those two pointers in my brain, I've wound two more partial bobbins and had no problems with it. Quilt and learn. 

Now for the ecstasy. I was thinking I only had this one more pieced block to do in the center section of the quilt...

which I finished, only to realize that I still had three more of the smaller embroidered blocks to do. Oy.

So I went ahead with those. The route sign got some swoopity-woopity doo-dah stuff (caution: technical quilting terms ahead).

Then I outlined along most of the map lines, mainly to give it texture.

Then I outlined the outside and the inside of the license plates and stippled around the numbers and letters. (This is the same thing I did with the other block of license plates.)

And then it was getting to be time to go to my guild meeting, and so I stopped for the day. 

The entire center part of the quilt is finished now, and I'm ready to start on the sashings and the outer border. I've decided, for the sake of my sanity, to switch to a black cotton thread on top and bottom now. Just to be clear, I haven't given up on the mono filament thread for good. For this quilt, however, I think I've driven myself to the point of insanity, and it's best not to go any further. 

Smitty would like it if I never finished any of the remaining quilts in the quilts-to-be-quilted pile.

At my guild meeting, we were treated to a program from Mary Shiffer who claims to be as crazy as her crazy quilts. She certainly kept us chuckling with her sense of humor and speaking style.

Mary told us that she'd been sewing since she was a child, but got interested in crazy quilting later in life. This was her first crazy quilt.

It was made from her wedding gown and some bridesmaids' dresses.

She's also made some beautiful tea cozies.

Mary described the many places she's purchased fabric, lace, and other embellishments, including fabric stores, antique shops, and online, especially eBay. This next quilt was made from some fabric she purchased in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She calls this quilt "Crazy on Bourbon Street".

She's also made up some quilt kits, also elaborately embellished.

This is a four seasons art quilt.

She told us that her favorite fabric to work with is kimono silk and explained that it is hard to find kimono silk in yellow.

Crazy quilt blocks start with a pentagon in the center and then the pieces are added going in a clock-wise rotation.

In this next piece, however, she started in the upper left corner and worked across.

Mary's family enjoys her tradition of making Christmas ornaments, gift card holders, and bookmarks for Christmas gift exchanges.

She also makes small pieces suitable for framing.

Creative and versatile, she's also made toys from her crazy quilt pieces.

Some of her pieces are maps of countries. The next two were made using Aboriginal fabrics.

She calls the next quilt "Crazy Down Under".

The next quilt is one she is making for herself, including blocks that represent herself and family members.

Her own block in the quilt includes the beaded hospital bracelet from when she was born.

Mary explained the process of obtaining kimono silk sleeves online. Each quilt sleeve is 14 inches wide, and has the potential for three fabrics. Kimono silk is a woven fabric and can be used on either side.

They are also faced, and so Mary can deconstruct the sleeves to obtain her three fabric possibilities.

Here are some examples of some of the pretty kimono silk she obtained in a recent purchase.

And here are some details of Mary's beautiful hand work.

She brought a sampling of her collections of embellishments.

Mary will teach a class for our guild on December 12th, and she'll be sharing some of her beautiful stash with class participants.

All in all, an interesting and informative evening at the guild. Makes me want to get crazy too. 

On the other hand, I can just continue quilting with monofilament. That ought to get the job done.

Today I need to make a quick trip into town and I need to pick up this week's CSA share. Other than that...quilting, quilting, quilting. Hopefully, things will move along a little more smoothly when I move to the cotton thread.

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

MoniqueB said...

There is an online shop whose newsletter I subscribe to called KimoYES. http://www.kimoyes.com/ They sell beautiful Kimono fabrics as well as the kimono's themselves. They often have good sales! Thought you might enjoy knowing for any guild members that might be interested or just for yourself if you decide to venture into crazy quilting.

Vicki W said...

You are a brave woman. I've never tried using monofilament in the bobbin, only in the needle. What a fun guild program!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

MoniqueB has my thanks for the link to Kimono land of fabrics. I may not be back for a bit. Love your Mary-speaker. What fun you must have had.

Good luck with the quilting today.

Lee said...

How'd I miss your post from yesterday...I must be losing it! Oh, way back in the '70s I worked with a young man, nice, attractive, and he drove a car of which the license plate read something like XTCY. It seems it was a little MG convertible. The gals in the office would practically fight to use the phone he'd used after he left because his scent remained on it. He wore Aramus and it was so nice on him.
Love all the crazy quilt pix, something I've wanted to do for a long time, but haven't gotten to...ok, there's a LOT I haven't gotten to. I think I'm right alongside Smitty's thinking right now.

Kate said...

What beautiful crazy quilting. I want to try that one day too. Glad you got over the hump on your quilting of the Vintage Tin.

quiltzyx said...

I've made one crazy quilt style block at a guild workshop a NUMBER of years ago. It was fun, but more fun to look at than to make for me. Your speaker showed some beautiful things, and I always enjoy the funny ones too!