Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fractured- A Test in Deviation, From Normal Organization

I woke up this morning about 0500, (or 5 AM) for those non-military type.  This is not unusual for me as I typically start my Mondays at 0445, and I normally wake up at between 0500 and 0530 every day.  I should probably start off by saying I have found renewed motivation in my life. For those that have been following me, you will recognize the name Randy Perdue.  For those that have not been following me, you can check out who he is here. In short, he is my mentor. I was fortunate enough to have lunch with him a couple of weeks ago and found a renewed vigor for life.  On a normal given day, I try and stay humble and realize that I don't know everything, but this meeting allowed me realize that I have alot of experiences and am full of knowledge on several levels.  He encouraged me to recognize that and be proud of my accomplishments.

So far this year, I have been involved with two "basic" academy classes. This most recent one I might have approximately two and a half (2.5) full weeks with them. I have been traveling alot.  I would venture to say that I have been traveling more in the past two months than I have traveled in the past 7 years of my career with my agency.  I am taking on a greater responsibility in the overall organization (in scope) than what I have in my career.  That is not to say training and leadership, my first two true loves, are not a huge responsibility, but I am gaining administrative experience in my current (temporary) role(s).  I have said all of that, to say this. I have been very fortunate in my two basic classes, to see a few extremely talented and motivated individuals.  In the world of "corrections", that is very hard to come by.  Between the Mr. Perdue, and the motivated individuals (souls), I have encountered, my life and attitude have turned the corner......That is why I am writing a blog post so early in the morning. a negative mindset/attitude will not yield POSITIVE results.

However, I have always been more of a morning person. Early to bed, and Early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Moving on to the purpose of the blog. This blog contains a"dangerous" change from my normal processes in the quilting world.  Why would it be considered dangerous, because it is a deviation from the organized and symmetrical processes that Dave Stemple is use to.  As I had posted in my previous post, I took up the challenge of creating a quilt for a prior student.  I don't recall if I had stated it in the previous blog post, but this student experienced a "special circumstance" in training that made me unusually close/relatable to that person.  There is a place in WV that is EXTREMELY, economically depressed compared to other areas and that happens to not only be the place this person is from, but also where my temporary assignment is.  I need to make it clear, that once I decided to take on this mission with this quilt, the person offered to pay me for the work.  I could not accept money knowing the responsibilities that this person had, as well as knowing that at best, this person was working in public safety/ public service at a pay rate much lower than anywhere else in our state. This person was doing the same job that I had done, and the job that hundreds of others were doing, at almost $2-$3 less per hour, because of the geographic location as well as the "situation" in which the facility was being operated. Plus, I had the special bond of the relate-able experience!!!

When I spoke with the recipient of the the quilt they advised that they did not want a traditional style quilt....*que screeching tires noises and the sound of a motor vehicle accident. This person (younger) liked a non-traditional, artistic look (meaning not traditional, not symmetrical, not orderly).  If you have been keeping up in my blog.....THAT IS NOT ME!!!!! I am orderly, systematic/structured, and traditional.  That is not to say that non-traditional is bad, but it is not my specific cup of tea.  I embraced this opportunity...because after all, the quilt is not for me.  This took me completely out of my wheel house.  I was in foreign territory...strange territory, but I began my search on Pinterest for a pattern.  I found a couple that I liked and screen-shoted them to the person.  It was a hit, so I advised Tish and asked about the patterns.  She advised me she could order them, but asked me to wait while she checked on another option.  She came got back with me a day or two later and told me about  a pattern generator called "Haphazard" created by Liz at Savor Every Stitch.  I am so impressed by the talent that created this pattern generator.  With this generator you can input colors and dimensions (block and overall) and determine what kind of quilt you will make.  As soon as I saw it.....I knew that was it!!!! This was what I would do.  I put in my colors, and selected my block size and created several iterations and screen-shoted those off to the recipient.  It was a hit...And I knew my direction. A big thanks and shout out to LIZ!!!! You are an innovator!!!!!

I declined the money and insisted on doing this project.  And so I began..... a few pics of fabric to refresh.....

All of the fabrics above were initial pulls. Some were not used as you will see.  If you did not read my last post, the one fabric that I am particularly proud of is the Shibori  dyed fabric, which is the blue in the last picture that is clearly visible. I dyed that with the help of a friend. IF you want to read about it shoot over to my previous post.

I found these two fabrics at Theresa's Fabrics in Moundsville,WV. That is also where the white fabric came from also!!!!  I ended up not using the one to the left, but LOVED the one to the right.  A little about Theresa's Fabrics.  They have a Facebook page, which I linked just above, and are one of the largest retailers of MODA fabric in WV.  The people there are super nice and super helpful. They offer longarm services and have classes for every age!!!! You can also find them by doing a Google/Yahoo search.  Needless to say they have found a forever customer in me as long as they are in business. 

Moving Forward...the cutting and piecing started.....

I do have to say I deviated from the various layouts created with Haphazard as I went along. However, it helped me create a wonderful layout and it gave me the vision to get the process moving.  As I went along, the random/chaos of this layout was very hard and I was unsure about it. I felt uneasy...this just isn't me I kept thinking.

But, I started putting it together.....

And it continued to grow on me.  In the lay out process, I had help from the fur children. It was a labor of love....But it came together nicely to create.....

This top...or as I still call it a chassis!!!

It was love at first sight, upon completion.  I wanted to get this to the recipient A.S.A.P.  Time for backing fabric... I did a bunch of searching on-line because I knew the LQS didn't have anything like I had pictured in my head. And low and must be the hot color, because EVERYTHING I picked was either out of stock or back ordered.   After some time, I decided I would piece the back with regular fabrics so I could get this beauty done.

I loved the color of this standard sized fabric.  I took the picture with the pins to give an idea of the size of the print.  In the next to last picture you can see where the seam is if you look looks like a dark streak through the center...and last but not least...sandwiched goodness with the help of Tish.

I figured that quilting would best be served with straight lines.  I have to also note that when working with a machine, if something doesn't seem right (or seam right, LOL I made it punny), check your machine. I had noticed the machine was making weird noises when I was sewing my next to last row onto the top. I did not check it and I noticed at the end of the row the thread was balling up weird when I went to cut to start a new row.  I had tension issues when I got about 1/4 of the way through the last row and stopped.  I realized at that point, that I had not set the bobbin properly and the whole last row was wrong.  That is why I also opted to go with straight line quilting because it would secure that area instead of cutting out 2 rows and redoing them.

Note to self*** when using a standard (quilt grade) domestic machine to quilt, use a spacing wider than 1/4" inch.

I quilted and quilted and was exhausting....and the straight lines...well, they just didn't end up completely straight...  It was aggravating and frustrating, as I am a perfectionist...though not perfect. Junior decided to be a quilt kitty so I had to stop from time to time so he could enjoy the quilt too. But onward I went, until it was complete.  A few beers during the process helped with relaxation. They were drank from a cherished glass that I got from a close friend named Ron Casto. He and I went to National Patrol Rifle Conference together near Detroit. I will cherish that day and experience for the rest of my life. I bought a glass and he ended up buying me one also so I have two from Black Rock. They are  my FAVORITE glasses.

Tish helped refresh me with the binding process. I chose red to give it a pop!!!!

Lots of bobbles on my quilting...some worse than others.  I am most likely going to enter it in the upcoming local show.  Not 100% sure, but likely.  I love how it turned out, and that it has my own, personally, hand died Shirbori in it also. A personal touch for a personal quilt.  I added my tag/label to it, which Tish pointed out that I put it on the wrong side. Without further ado meet "Fractured"!!!!!

Needless to say, this is done, and ready for either the quilt show or its new owner.  Is it bad, that a small part of me would not mind if the recipient forgot about it and decided not to claim it???

Oh and among other projects I have in the works...multiple, I started a second version of this.

Samples of what it might look like.....This is for my Sis!!!!!

And I also picked up some more fabric to make a fun one...

Be looking for posts on Fractured 2.0 and 3.0!!!!

I loved this alot, and have already started 2.0. be warned, if you are not a fan of HST, this is not the quilt for you.

However, I have set it to the side to work on a squirrel project for a LQS Helen's Hen House (FB page link, but also can be googled/yahooed). She has a good selection of fabric and this stuff was right up my alley (cat)!!!! (Pun intended)

Once done, Helen will hang this in the shop to hopefully generate business and help people not only get into quilting but see how to use available fabrics to coordinate!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one already!!!!!! For those that don't know I am a silent stalker of Cheryl Brickey and love her patterns.  This is based off her pattern Looking Glass which can be bought on Etsy, Craftsy, and possibly various LQS through Checkers (check availability).  I have done 2 other versions of this pattern and dearly love it!!! It is a simple pattern and is excellent for beginners!!!!!!

Well.....this has been a long post. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did, preparing the quilt and the fun of my new side project. 

Have an OUTSTANDING day!!!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Quilt Challenges and A Change of Pace

In just a couple of short months, I have accomplished a few things quilting wise. This weekend I took up making doll quilts for a good cause. Spread the Love, Quilting for Kids. My wife, told me about it and had been "squirreling" on these little projects.  So, I took a soft reusable shopping bag full of fabrics and began.

A little backstory on the fabric I used. A friend's grandmother, who happen to be a fabric artisan and quilter, left a bunch of fabric when she passed. About 4-5 months ago I spent several days sorting fabric and found bunches of pre-pieced swatches of fabric and I separated them out into this soft bag. With the aforementioned project I decided what better way to honor the memory of this special contributor to the stash, than to use her pre-pieced selections along with other of her fabrics and make scrap-tastic baby doll quilts. I ended up with four.

The lighting is terrible, but it is what it is.

The interesting part about this little project(s) is that I am not accustomed to working with odd shapes and sizes.  However, this is scraptastic right???!!! I just started putting them together.  Once I got started on the first one, I realized I would have to do some trimming to get them squared to make the process a little smoother. I was able to generate these four pretty fast.  It was good to work out of the comfort zone.  That also means that at some point I am going to have to give applique a shot.  I may do that when I start of a special operations seal that I plan to work on sometime in the near future.  One other issue I ran into with these projects was seams. Lots and lots and lots of seams. However, I usually press all my seems open, and with premade pieces most seams were already pressed (mostly to the dark side).  This allowed me to work with nesting of seems, which I found to be somewhat pleasant.

As mentioned in the previous post, I started a quilt for a buddy to "auction" off for his private/home school group.  Tish finished it by doing a simple meander and a binding job.  She will be posting pics soon. Needless to say, this was a pretty easy top to piece and a quick finish. I would certainly do the pattern again. It was called Cabin Fever.

The top photo is the completed top, the second photo is what was suppose to be both pieces of binding, however after consideration I decided to do a traditional instead of flange. The main binding is the predominate blue. and the last photo is the backing...a pieced civil war vintage fabric that I found at Classic Quilt Shop in Clarksburg, WV.  Once done, I "cabbaged" as I call it, the remaining fabric after it was finished, for a possible future project.

Then I took left overs a created a block, I have two more laid out, but not finished.

I will finish these up and offer them for-sale at a local boutique.

I also have a few more complete blocks on A Bee Sampler Quilt-a-Long.

I may or may no get another block done tonight. This quilt along is a great one if you need practice at HST. I want to do the next one, however, as of tomorrow my life has become quite a bit more hectic.

I also assisted in creating some blocks for the LQG for our raffle quilt this year.

With that being said, I am preparing to embark on a new adventure.  I knew that I had a new temporary assignment, and through all the nervousness and tension, the time has finally arrived to take on the process.  This week I have something additional to complete (that relates to my temp assignment).  This will be a training process for me that will allow me to be a further asset to my agency, in a different capacity. I have a week of training next week (I will be helping in delivery of training that week).  I am looking particularly forward to that week as it relates to special operations.  Special Operations is a brotherhood that few will understand and even fewer will ever be a part of.  Then the following week I start my 6 month temporary journey. This should make me much more promote-able. It will expose me to an upper level management/administration type position. Nervous as I may be, I am looking forward to the challenge.

Back to the quilting front....I am looking forward to my next projects.  I have several projects on the burner....Fabrics waiting to be used....

This from my Leadership Training in NC.

And this which was a more recent purchase. This fabric spoke more to me than, I think, any other fabric I have purchased.

The following pictures are of the most recent project that I completed.  It is for a close friend of the family/(actual) family.  The colors ended up working well together and a simple Turning Twenty pattern that I stayed true to (this time).  I can't wait to finish this one and get it to it's owner. It will be backed in Purple Moda Grunge and have a pretty bold purple binding. The "favorite" color was purple.

I went through probably 19 lay outs before I came to rest with the bottom one. The "squares" are actually a pretty vibrant violet, that didn't really show up as pretty as they are.  I had one  block that I put together in the second row wrong. I couldn't stand it, so I went back and fixed it. I really am happy with the final product.

Last but not least is a new semi-planned project. I had a student in my most recent class, that touched me personally.  I don't feel at liberty to speak of details, but let us just say that there is a commonality that touched close to my heart.  A wonderful soul entered my life and showed that people can and do change.  Without a clear commitment, this person persevered through a tough situation and found a duty-full calling to persist and achieve graduation. They also found a respect for the duty to the job and to all people effected by the job. This person proved that they have potential as a leader and I rarely saw the person, not reading or studying something suggested during training.  The unfortunate part is that they are not in the most desirable location to work. However, true leadership knows no bounds, and that success can be had/made anywhere.  So this person, asked me about making a quilt. I try and commission as many projects as I can stand to work on, but this one is special in another way.  If anyone is following WV, we are in the throws of a major state budget/wage increase battle. This particular location, though not a part of state, deals with my agencies "trusties" to speak euphemistically. The pay at this location is even worse. I felt compelled to make this one as a gift also....With that being said....let us examine the fabrics....

This was a new purchase!

Aside from the ones labeled as a new purchase, the rest of these are from the stash...the very back blue, in almost every picture is a shibori style dyed fabric that I made myself, that will make this quilt extra personal. I made it at last year's Quilt Bloggers International Retreat.

The reds will add a splash of color.  I am thinking an overall HST theme or one like a cascade pattern I found.  I have to research the cascade pattern to see if it will be big enough and I want this to be a large Lap or smaller Twin/Full for quality "Snugglishness" or Snuggle Factor. The Snugglish factor is probably one of the most important in a least in my opinion.

I will likely, on my new experience, take a small HusqvarnaViking machine with me to work on this project and hopefully have it complete in short order.  I know it will be received well and will be worth the investment of time, labor, and fabric.  

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank

As I approach my new mission, I approach it as humbly as possible, knowing that any changes for the positive are because of what others bring to the table, I just "pray" that I am the vehicle to cause the change to come about.  I also know that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make an impact.  I enter this project not expecting or trying to change anything. I am just there to observe and report my finding....make suggestions when reasonable, and provide a service as more of a consultant than an "evaluator" of sorts.  

Those that read this, when you have time, over the next 6 months, send thoughts, prayers, good vibrations out my way to help me be successful.

In the meantime.....I will serve and protect!

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi
As a hopeful leader for the future, I don't know where my life will take me, per-say....However, I do have a vision and a mission....and that is to be a leader that provides people with motivation to find their own vision and mission in the world.....Doing this in a way that does not harm or interfere with the rights of others....and make a lasting legacy... that my life will be remember because of the impact that I made on others.  If quilting and teaching remain a part of that, then that is wonderful also. In my now almost 2 years of quilting, I have recognized that so many others have major talent that I'm not sure I can honestly reach in the quilting world.  I enjoy developing blocks, making quilts, and giving them away.  I am wonderful at color coordination too and enjoy the wonderful friendships, both locally and on-line that I have developed as a result of quilting.  However, personal speaking engagements related to leadership and helping others... is where my passion lies.

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
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You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Read more at:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Read more at:

Have a wonderful quilty week all.