Spinning Seams

In my last post I talked about spinning the seams on the billion and one four patches I’d made as part of Bonnie Hunter’s 2016 En Provence mystery quilt. I’ve watched other quilters do this and it does make for a much flatter intersection. I just don’t do it with the flair that they do. 

 What I’ve seen is a flick of the wrists in opposing directions resulting in a few popped stitches and a spun seam. Easy, right?Except when your ‘flick of the wrist’ results in wrecked seams and distorted fabric. 

Apparently I don’t know my own strength. So I spin seams the way I do lots of things…at a snail’s pace. 🐌 
You can YouTube videos ’til the cows come home, but here’s my pictorial version of spinning seams.
Here’s the back of my four patch. Notice three of those seams spin in a clockwise rotation while the fourth is playing the rebel.

Here, let me point ’em out to you.
Clockwise…

Clockwise…

Clockwise…

And the weisenheimer…obviously not clockwise.


You want the rebel seam to flip the other way. If you have your own four patch, take a moment and feel it up dead center where those seams meet. It’s lumpy. It’s the muffin top of quilting. Muffin tops (unless they’re blueberry) are bad.
Take hold of that knotty seam allowance and pull it over to the opposite side.


You’ll notice that the stitches start to pop loose. That’s okay, this isn’t a facelift. This is what you want. You’ll wind up popping two, maybe three stitches. Nothing’s going to fall apart.

Keep pulling in the opposite direction until the seam allowance is fully pulled to the other side…like this. See the tiny four patch in the center? That’s what you want.


Now it’s time for some heat.


And voila!


Check out Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville site.  She has an awesome tutorial there.  YouTube is another good source if you like videos instead of still shots.

Happy quilting!

En Provence Progress 

En Provence isn’t my first Bonnie Hunter rodeo (that was Double Delight…ugh and it still isn’t done), but it is the first one I’ve participated in at the time the clues have been coming out.  

I’m so glad Bonnie included paper piecing options for clues 2 and 4 as I’m a little intimidated by that ruler and paper piecing makes my perfectionist heart go potty pat.  Maybe someday I’ll use that ruler.  And add in the fact that these block pieces aren’t tiny like Double Delight and I am one happy quilter.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up kinda-sorta pretty well.  Clues 1 and 2 are completed and I’ve spent the weekend working on clues 3 and 4.  In fact, Clue 3 is finished except for the pressing.  That’s close enough to finished, isn’t it?!

  

I love batiks.  I pulled all the magenta, purples, pinks and greens from my stash and barely made a dent.  I’ve had to buy neutrals by the bucketload because there’s nary a one to be had at my house.  The LQS doesn’t carry many batiks and definitely no batik neutrals so I opted to use whatever non-batik neutrals I could find.  I reasoned that if I ordered fabrics, I’d have to wait and be behind when everything got rolling.  Also, I’m cheap.  Just ask The Co-Defendants.

This weekend has been perfect for sewing.  A cold front blew in Saturday dropping the temperature to an overnight low in the 20s.  And I didn’t cook…all weekend long (until tonight anyway).


Perfect weather for sewing, chugging coffee by the gallon and letting the dachshund in and out (and in and out) to chase imaginary squirrels.  I never convinced her the squirrels were holed up somewhere toasty.  Crazy dog.


His Awesomeness and I did get out some yesterday (he’s practicing for his upcoming driver’s license test) and I managed to convince him to take me by a quilt shop I spied on the way to his girlfriend’s house.  It’s a lovely shop I never knew existed because they don’t advertise at all.  I guess that’s how you miss something for four years!  Anyway, look what I found.


Neutral batiks and some pretty flannel plaid ($6/yd from Benartex…be still my heart)!  I’ll definitely be back.  Himself just cringed at the mention of my finding a new place to drop some dough.

I’ve started spinning seams on some clue 3 blocks I’ve actually pressed and cranked up some T. Swift while readying my paper piecing templates for Clue 4.


My children didn’t appreciate head-bopping and I suffered through plenty of head shaking and looks of horror before the day concluded.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I’m hoping to be fully caught up by the debut of the next clue.

Happy quilting!

Keep swimming 

First, a plethora of gratitude for those who offered up words of encouragement following this week’s profanity-laden meltdown.  Y’all are awesome and appreciated.  Thanks for sticking around.


Mama got the rest of her staples out yesterday (double knee replacement) and ‘celebrated’ by doing the laundry and ironing today.  Weirdo.  Oops, I mean…love ya, Ma!  😘   I did a verbal vomit all over her and got some sound advice about things.  Hey, it’s not as if the woman can move very fast yet.  There was no chance of escape.

I even found a bright spot in going to the DMV to renew my license.  In and out in…wait for it.  Guess?  Guess how long it took me?

Fourteen minutes!  Fist 👊🏻 bumps all around!!

Post-meltdown, I’ve tried to devote a little bit of time every day to getting something creative done.  Yesterday, it was writing Christmas cards.  I’m not a wordy person, blog wordiness notwithstanding.  But I tried for a bit of wit.  If you get a card and it’s something goofy sounding, just know it’s coming with the best of intentions.  Falalalala 🎶 😳

I’ve also been working on Clue 2 for Bonnie Hunter’s En Provence mystery quilt.  I like to think I’m leading from behind because trying to hurry and catch up only serves to freak me out.


I’ve opted for the paper-pieced version for this clue.  My perfectionism is stroked and soothed by the power that is the absolute guarantee of awesome that is achieved by this method.  Does that make sense?  Put another way: anal-retentives rejoice!  Everything matches; all points meet…can I getta hallelujah?!


The flip side is my perfectionism doesn’t at all appreciate ‘scrappy’.  Everything must match and scrappy does not match!!  Pretty soon I’m going to have to breathe into a paper bag.  Onward I trudge.

Today has been especially good weather for sewing…cold, windy, overcast.  Even Ziva the Diva appreciated her sweater today.


Although I have to say, I’m over the overcast already.  Where’d the sun go to anyway?

Inside, there’s a fire and a vintage sewing machine waiting to be fed.


I love my Featherweight.  He asks no questions, he tells no lies and he has zero expectations.

Onward.

Ugh

According to the statistics provided by the ever-helpful WordPress gnomes, my last post was in October.  Hmm…my, where hath the time doth flown? 

I started blogging back when His Awesomeness was a wee-ish tot as an outlet for frustration and angst (and whatever else you’d like to call it) on the parenting front and it morphed into an occasional commentary on life, marriage, and quilting liberally sprinkled with my native tongue, sarcasm.  

Mostly it’s fun.  Who doesn’t like kvetching about offspring, stretchy pants that don’t stretch, and parent teacher conferences where you’d really like to pull a Rhett Butler and ‘frankly, my dear…’ but don’t want to be that mom?

I have a sense of humor:  morbid at times, definitely off color (because vulgar is my second language) and occasionally totally inappropriate for the moment.  So be it.  Or should I say ‘fuck it’?  And yes, I spelled out the entire nasty word.  No asterisks today for you in blog land.

I haven’t felt funny, upbeat or remotely human in ages.

I could point at any number of things, all of which most of us deal with at some point in our lives, so it’s not as though I’m saying I’m special.  I’m just…done.  It feels achingly familiar to the post partum depression I had the pleasure of experiencing after the arrival of the spawn minus the plan to do myself in.  And yes, at that time I gave it serious study.

All in all, things are going swimmingly for The Co-Defendants.  Hurrah!  We are passing with flying colors (grades, not gas…well, both, but gas involves glitter because my little snowflakes are special), getting along (at school, at home not so much) and one of them has even found amor.  So it isn’t them.  I haven’t had to bury a body so you know it isn’t Himself, bless his heart.

It’s me.  I admit to being a Type A personality, as near to anti-social as one can get without garnering the crazy cat lady moniker and not getting in the least that whole human contact thing.  The humor has fled.  I don’t feel funny; I feel angry.  Angry me is unpleasant.  It’s seething and simmering.  Hell, I don’t even like me.  

So if you all will bear with me while I figure it all out, I’ll come back and be kinda-sorta-mostly funny.  And if the f-bomb has run you off, well, I guess I’ll wish you well and you exit stage right.  Watch the last step though…it’s a doozy.

If there’s anything funny about it, just know I’m typing this on the toilet and trying to wrangle a phone and a needy dachshund at the same time.  There’s a visual…and maybe some humor.

Until then, I’m afraid I am one giant stagnant soup of fuck-it-all.

Chasing the Sun: Revealed

I’d just as easily be able to title this post ‘Holy crap, I’m done; Isn’t it Fabulous; Pass the Liquor!’ because one title can’t possibly cover all the emotions I experienced and am currently experiencing over this finished quilt top.

Today’s Clue #7 was It: the finale, the hoop-de-doo, the tada and I was determined to see it done by the time my head hit the pillow.  Now I’m too wound up to sleep!

If this is your first visit to the blog (um, where ya been?), I’ll give you a rundown of where it all started.

It started with a call for quilters to participate in a mystery quiltalong by a lady I am blessed to call my friend.  You’ll see her in a later picture.  Hold yer horses.  

Where was I?  Oh, yes, my friend, Deb’s, quiltalong.  

Our mission: find an inspiring sunset photo and pull all the luscious reds, oranges, yellows, etc. from said photo to be used in the mystery.

It was That Word that did it: mystery.

Ugh.  Me no likee ‘mystery’.  Know what happens when there’s mystery?

Bad decisions, bitter heartache and exes you’d rather run over with a Mack truck than lay eyes on ever again.

Sounds like my sophomore year of high school.

But then this happened.  And yes, I’m well aware it isn’t a sunset.


Andy and his Instagram account.  Look at those colors.  Sigh.  How could I not want to put that into fabric form?

I couldn’t.  And so, it was off to the LQS for fabrics because, obviously, I had nothing suitable in my stash.


I added my name and, boom, it was on.


Let me say now, the clues were simple and easy to follow and if it weren’t for work and dachshunds needing constant coddling, I could’ve had each one done in a day.  But, you know…dachshunds.


The arrival of the first clue was all about cutting.


And all the extra fabric hung on the coat rack in the entryway.  Isn’t that what it’s for?


As each clue progressed, the excitement built. Except for those flippin’ Unit As.  I still loathe them.


Yes, I labeled everything with a post-it note.  You say anal retentive like it’s a bad thing.

These units were just too weird.  And that purple.  Like a turd in a punch bowl.


On and on it went…block after block, seam after seam…to the point I started to feel like I was part of a Salt ‘n Pepa song.  Here I go, here I go, here I go again!  🎤



What is up with that purple?!


That, my darlings, was a screwup.  Whew, but this next shot looks way better.


Thursday arrived and Mom and I hopped in the mommobile and headed for retreat.  Yay, no dachshunds to coddle and I can pee alone!!



I finished up Clue #6 and waited patiently for the next.  Hahahahaha!  No, not patiently, but I was gifted a sneak peek of Deb’s finished CTS quilt.  Gorgeous!

I was caught up and waiting for Clue #7…but not for long!!

Throughout the day, I worked and toiled, like a fabric industry hooker.


Sew, sew, sew!  Do.  Not.  Slow.  Down!


Until, omg!, one last seam!!


And, boomshakalaka!, it’s done!!


That’s me in the pink tshirt, grinning like a loon, next to quilt designer and friend, Deb.  She’s a heckuva lady!

I have NEVER…never, ever, ever liked a quilt I’ve made.  I’ve come close a time or two (like contemplating committing a homicide).  This one I love.  And it’s mine.  All mine.

Thank you to Deb for the time it took to design this and for sharing it, free of charge, to all of us.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.  And thank you for being such a sweet friend and awesome cheerleader.  One more seam!!

Thank you to Andy for letting the pushy American talk you into letting her use and post your photo.  I want to take pictures half as good as yours when I grow up.

I’ve consumed my celebratory liquor, gotten comfy and am ready to head back to the sewing room for more fabric fun.

Until next time.

Blogging, Quilting and Griping (and possibly cursing)

Do you know what happens when you go almost an entire month without blogging?  I do.  But you knew that right, that I already had the answer because, naturally, if I’m going to pooch screw something I’ll immediately get on here and tell y’all all about it.  Because why writhe about in angst and shame alone, amiright?!

For the love of Pete, all I wanted was to update about my progress on the mystery quiltalong.  Hey, I’m ahead this time!  And then, boom, there’s the payback for my chutzpah. 💥. The entire post was written and all I had to do was hit publish, but no, I had to go back and correct that grammatical error and poof, the entire thing swirled the bowl and was gone with a resounding flush. 🚽

So, here I am trying for Blog Post: The Redo.  Wish me luck.

Tomorrow is the day for another clue reveal in the Chasing the Sun mystery quiltalong of which I am taking part.  You can find the page on Facebook and join in…it isn’t too late!


This past clue is the only one I’ve managed to finish ahead of time, never mind that they’ve all been bite-sized and really manageable.  With me, there’s just no telling what’s going to happen.  Kind of like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, only without Gump.  Or the chocolates.  Sigh.

At any rate, I’ve stitched up a heap and wound up with some bits, pieces, strips and even some blocks.  Some of the bits I can’t explain, like four strips of one inch blocks…🤔

And four of these purple thangs…🤔🤔

And one itty bitty square in a square…🤔🤔🤔


Best not to think on these things too long.  I need all the brain cells I can muster.

The first block to be completed was the Children’s Delight.  I’m still questioning the wisdom of the deep purple, but the instructions called for black, so…dark purple, black…same difference.


Golly, I love the orange Grunge…so much, in fact, that I went back and bought the rest of the bolt.  Hey, it was lonely in that shop!

Each of the clues has involved what the designer called ‘Unit A’.  After dealing with sixty of them over the course of virtually every single clue, I have renamed the little turds.  No, that’s not it.  I could tell you, but the sound of my mother’s voice enunciating not only my first name, but my middle name as well in That Tone that all mothers use, is the only thing stopping me.  Little bastards.  No, that’s not it either.

Don’t ask me what my problem with them is because I can’t tell you.  It’s like the adage about trying to define porn: ‘I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it’.  I hate Unit A almost as much as Brussels sprouts and every sport except hockey (go Red Wings!)

In the end, what I’ve got (so far) are 4 Children’s Delight blocks, 16 Courthouse Steps and 60 eff…, I mean Log Cabin blocks.


There’s still a truckload of fabric left to be cut. Better hope no one comes to visit because there’s no where to hang a coat.


While I bide my time until tomorrow’s reveal, I’ve pulled out Double Delight by Bonnie Hunter again and am in the process of piecing 130 3 1/2″ nine patches.  Yes, that’s 1-3-0.

At least they aren’t Unit As.

The Quilt Front

Labor Day has come and gone and with it another clue in the Chasing the Sun mystery quiltalong.

The clues have been easy to start and finish in a weekend thanks to Deb the designer, who obviously knows what she’s doing.  However, I’m feeling a bit apprehensive because when Clue #3 hits the interwebs, I’ll be at work.  Yuck!  How I wish I could get the next clue early.  At least I wouldn’t feel so far behind by the time I get home Saturday afternoon.  But, no matter.  So far, I’m still caught up and that’s a great feeling.


These truly are gorgeous colors if I do say so myself.


The dark purple (in lieu of black) is throwing me off a bit and I’m trying to beat down that slight whiff of nausea that comes from thinking I may have made a terrible mistake in choosing it.  I guess we’ll see what we see, eh?

I even have a sewing companion guarding the foot pedal.  Or maybe she’s just trying to get in my way so I can’t sew and turn all my attention on her.  


Yeah, that sounds about right.

Happy quilting, y’all!

Getting a Clue: Labor Day weekend 

Unfortunately for me, I have to work on Monday, so in an effort to get as much done on the Chasing the Sun mystery, I’m really putting the cutter to the fabric and the pedal to the metal.

I got up this morning and discovered Clue #2 already posted.  Fortunately, the sub-cutting went very quickly and I’ve been a stitching and pressing fool for the remainder of the morning.


Unit D went together lickety split.


I’m really loving the orange Grunge. 🍊

Now, I’ve moved on to adding strips to last week’s Unit A and am sewing al fresco.  Is it really cool enough to be out here?  Negative, Ghost Rider.  But the hummingbirds are keeping me company and I’m out of earshot of whatever annoying Disney Channel drivel The Diva is watching.  We both win!


What are your weekend plans?

Chasing the Sun

After much preparation (read as: angst over choosing a photo and fabric) and anticipation (equal parts dread, excitement, and nervousness…I never said I was normal), the day finally arrived for the start of my friend, Deb Singer-Hayter’s, mystery quilt along.  Find her blog here.  And you can find the Facebook group at Chasing the Sun Quilt Mystery.  Why keep the fun to myself, eh?


I did all the responsible adult crapola Friday afternoon so there’d be no distractions come Saturday morning.  Clean floors, clean toilet, clean underpants.  Check, check, and check.  

No distractions, with the glaring exception of the dachshund, of course.  I’m pretty sure she’s plotting a revenge poo for being ignored this weekend.  Don’t let the face fool you.


I started out with ten yards of luscious fabrics, colors I pulled from an equally fabulous photo by Andy at @andymapp on Instagram.  I hope I take pictures half as good as his when I grow up.


Over the next hour or so, I stripped like a pro.  No bills in my g-string, though.  Just one tired fanny.  And the fabric yardage became this…


Then became subcut pieces…


That eventually, twelve hours later, became ‘units’.


There are three units in Clue #1.  Am I done?  Nope.  Although, I do have units A and B finished; unit C is almost there.  I’m seriously considering skipping meet the teacher night tomorrow just to get them done. 😬

Here’s a look at Unit A.


Unit As here under the watchful gaze of one very spoiled dachshund.


And Unit Bs on their way to completion.


This morning, the mojo had fled and I am one pooped mutha.  I figure I have until next Saturday when the next clue arrives, to get this one done.

Then again, with all the canine ‘help’ I’m getting, I never know when I’ll get finished.


Yes, that’s a dachshund on my dining table.  Don’t judge.

Until next time…