Sunday, April 9, 2017

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle

07 December 2016 was the last time I blogged. I have quilted off and on during this time, but the largest portion of my time is tied up with work. I hit the ground running in January and we started a new training class. This was the last time that we anything near paramilitary in the training environment. For those that may not understand it, we used rank structure in hopes that delegation of activity and decision making is made at the lowest level. In my line of work decision making is a priority and you must be able to communicate clearly at all times. The decision was made to go academic or "collegiate" style training. I am trying to maintain a cautiously optimistic point of view about the change. Law Enforcement in and of itself is a paramilitary operation, yet we are trying to remove it from training. For the younger generation that might often appear to have no concept of responsibility, self-control, or organization/time management, this makes our process of training quite difficult.

Needless to say the past 4 months have been a moderately radical change in processes I feel comfortable in. The good thing is growth occurs outside our comfort zone so I anticipate my abilities and experience to grow.  I want to make sure I maintain the training position of leadership verses management.  You manage time, commodities, and materials.....not people. Last week ended for me and from Friday of the previous week to this past Friday I worked no less than 74 hours. Needless to say I was exhausted and barely functioning by the weekend. Alot of sleep, and early sleep started Friday evening.  I had to make a choice on relaxing...what to do.  Video Gaming is another hobby of mine, but this weekend I opted to get some quilting done.

That all being said, Tish and I getting ready to release a pattern soon. I want so badly to post my first one of the Baby Quilt I did as well as the Lap Size that I completed to, but that is yet to come. I committed to ordering some plastic sleeves to use to put hard copy patterns in to sell at some local stores.  I think Tish plans to release it on Craftsy first.

Speaking of patterns, I have been designing, hot and heavy.  I have quite a few, and several that we may look at releasing depending on how well the soon to be released one sells. I decided  several weekends ago to take a very simplistic pattern that I designed, and turn it into a weekend project.  I completed the first one and asked for input on making it into a lap quilt, but got little to no response. So, I asked Tish and she said I should make it into a lap quilt so that is what I am doing. I got one (1) additional block and a third (of a third one) done.  I had to do alot of HST. I was getting burned out with the process and took a break, thinking that HST are bad ideas.  The worse part was to come with cutting and trimming. Needless to say I got all the HST done, but not the blocks.

This was an impromptu color palette for an impromptu project.

Cuts and chain of HST



This is the measure of my current project.  I have my Kaffe charm packs that will have a project to follow soon. I am anxious for it. I am debating on doing a Looking Glass 3.0 with it. If I do, I will have to buy one more charm pack.  I had picked out another pattern, but I can't remember where I placed it, so it is yet to be decided.

Anyways, these are some other things I did in the past few months, mostly consisting of December and early January.

A paper-piecing class that Tish wasn't able to attend.

A Tree skirt that didn't get finished and an impromptu table mat for my mother-in-law

The pick of colors and the final top for other boss...a modified Turning Twenty because I didn't like the colors in the pattern layout.

My finish to Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt of 2016.  I unfortunately picked out fabric, that I am relatively certain, was a Polyester/Cotton blend. Love the pattern, but my fabric choice made this a killer process.

Impromptu with a new ruler Tish got me for Christmas.  Sorry the picture is sideways, but I could not get it to load right. This fabric is from a stash Tish received from a friend that her family member had, prior to passing away.

One of the color palettes for our soon to be launched pattern. I did two other versions also. I don't think this will or my other larger one will be the ones with the pattern when it is debuted.  However, once it is released I will do a blog post with multiple pictures.

This post was much less about quilting and more about why I have not been around.  I do try and read still, but my time is limited. Needless to say, I don't remember my first post nor when I completed my first quilt, but I am pretty sure I am coming up on the 1 year mark.  I hope that Tish and I will be releasing more patterns and more on a regular basis.  However, I know not what the future holds.

I am linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash.

In closing, I hope this post finds you well and enjoying your quilting projects. Till next time....Time is finite and your most valuable resource...more valuable than any amount of money you can give a person....Money can be made, but when time is given, no more can be is a gift of the highest value.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Big Sis--Added Up Quilt


Boy does time fly.  Just a simple guess, but I figuring that my first blog post came somewhere between May and June of this year. Now that I am 10 "Sunday Stashes" deep into this process, I step back and realize just how far I have come. 

I am not sure that I have said it, and if I have forgive me, my age is upon me....and I really don't care to remember or go on about myself. However, to put it out there I am a Trainer....that is to say I am a teacher....And I guess more proudly I can say I am the Lead Trainer in our agency for our Academy.

As of Nov. 1 I have been doing the training thing for 5 years.  The Lead Trainer gig has been going on for 3+ of that.  Feel free to hop on over and find me on LinkedIn  under David Stemple. As I type, I am mentally preparing myself for an interview that I will be going to in the morning for the Director of Training position. My original supervisor, Randy Perdue, whom I mentioned in another blog resigned from his position. I have to take a second to recognize him and his contributions to my life.  He will be SORELY missed.

This year, after completing approximately 3 projects, including a full sized quilt for my mom  known as Looking Glass by Cheryl Brickey (shameless plug), I decided it was time to tackle a quilt for my sister. I contacted her and let her know that I was wanting to make her a quilt and that I would request she pick a design and give me some color ideas. I told her to go to Pintrest and do some researching and let me know what she came up with.

Here was her first choice

This plays/wreaks havoc with my OCD.

Needless to say, I had been talking with Tish earlier in the year about why the "plus" quilts seemed to be so popular.  One thing you must know about me.  Very few things do I "bandwagon" over. I was late to Breaking Bad, The Office, and The Walking Dead TV shows.  And I really wasn't feeling the plus quilts. Especially not this one.  I have grown much more fond of improptu type pieces like this, but it has taken tempering of who I am and my OCD to get to that point.

I told my sister that I felt this was a little more complex than what I felt comfortable with taking on, being a new quilter.  So, I told her to keep looking.  In the mean time I began looking also.

I found this one that caught my eye.

I really like the color combos used in the first pic I saw.  It really "popped" for a lack of better words. So, I began my wait to hear back from her.  I think it was about 2 weeks....low and behold she came up with the same picture and the magic "sort of" began.  I asked her if she wanted it done like the picture and she said "no". She wanted all reds  maybe a little black and mostly off-white/creams/naturals.

She had an affinity for a "french style" red fabric and she sent me a couple of pics that I no longer have.  But, like a good little brother I researched and found some....Guess what, that $%*! is EXPENSIVE!!!!!

Here is a Moda brand sample picture, needless to say I couldn't find any cheap Moda.  I assume it was discontinued ....average price of what I did find $50-$75 per yard, and much of it is furniture/drape heavy duty material.....3rd row 3rd print from the left is the particular pattern.
I love my sister.....let me repeat, I love my sister, but I won't even spend that much money on myself for that was a big NO GO!

She told me she trusted me.  I told her I would do my best and would also try and have it done by Christmas.  A tall order considering I am still new to quilting.

I began talking to Tish about the pattern....low and behold she had a copy of it in a quilting magazine, Quilty I think.... FREE!!!! SCORE!!!!!!

Libs Elliott  is the pattern designer and she has some other fantastic patterns on her site.

I then began researching Reds.....reds, reds, reds...never shop for reds on line!!!! You can't tell the real color because reds just don't translate well in pictures, that is unless you already know what you want and are familiar with the color. Nothing was really working....but to understand this, you have to understand my sister....she DOESN'T like floral patterns....This through a proverbial wrench in the works as a whole.

Along come QBIR with Julie at PinkDoxies. I won't go back and re-discuss that, but if you want to know a little about a quilting retreat that is MALE friendly, you can read about it at "QBIR" link or check out Julie....Please check out Julie regardless, she is a wonderful person. The important part to the "Big Sis" story is that Julie prepared a day of shopping/travel which would provide me with most of what I needed to get this project going. Thanks also to Sandra  (at mmmquilts) and MacGyver for chauffeuring us around that day. Please give Sandra some traffic too...another truly wonderful and delightful person.

Back to fabrics... At the QBIR in Ohio we ended up in  Amish County and at several locations in which I bought a bunch of fabric.

My sister really fell in love with the taupe color to the extreme right. I have to admit that I liked it well also...but alas I discovered it was polyester. So on the hunt I went, locally trying to find an exact replacement in cotton. Once I got that fabric outside and compared it to other was a no go...and OUTSIDE it turned a pinkish/purple in the sun.  It would later be replaced by Moda Grunge, and the reds would be supplemented by a few picks from Tish's stash. All of what you see here was purchased in Ohio at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost local.

So I sat down with my fabric and plotted it out using the pic in the magazine and a hand drawn sketch.
And a recipe card with abbreviations so I would know what was what. You can see on the fabric in the lower left corner I had my fabric marked to avoid messing anything up...guess what??!!! That didn't help, I still placed a few fabrics in the wrong position at the end of the day.

Cut to size....

If you pay attention in this last picture you see a hunter green and a gray.  I decided to incorporate a little splash of color. The gray is more grunge. The green is one I picked out that made me think of my dad. My sister was very fond of our dad so I thought it would be nice. I decided it still needed some more color so I asked Tish to pic a color, Jen (our daughter) to pick a color and I put my favorite in too.  In one of the last pictures you will see them. I myself am extremely fond of Yellow, but I have to say that my favorite color is Navy Blue. Tish picked a Turquoise, and Jen picked a Royal Blue.  So they incorporated nicely and gave the quilt a hint of Red, White and Blue (so-to-speak). As you can see the strips and pieces are labeled...OCD anyone?

Piecing and Strips....
This was the first "block". Tish and I decided it was time that we made a board so we got an insulation board and cut it in half then we pinned dollar store table cloths wrong side up so that it would stick to the worked pretty well as you can see. The board was an 8 foot sheet. So when I got this block on there, I thought "What have I got myself into?" I knew right then that this was going to be a huge quilt.

The splashes of color were the right decision.  However, at this point I went with the "I trust you" line my sister stated and at this point she was unaware of it.

Strips became what I call sections like piecing a car frame, or on unibody cars replacing interior body frame/structure panels.

Once again "all must be in order"

You can also see an initial construction mistake as there is a section missing at the very bottom right.

So after being pieced and stripped and assembled with Aurifil 2021 (Natural White) it was time to get this baby basted.

EVERY and I mean every stinking time I go to take a Chassis/Flimsy pic the wind blows.  Tish and Jen helped with the pic.

Time to quilt! We took this bad boy to Tish's cousin's house and tied to baste it.  Being that it was for my sister, I wanted it to perfect. Tish and I wrangled this thing and it ended up causing me to (at best) be a horse's ass to her. She sent down her cousin and we did our best. It did get basted, but we ended up having a minor deviation which would translate to a small bunched place when the quilt was finished....Oh well, not like it will be entered into any shows to be judged. I think it is important to note also that quality fabric and consistent fabric is almost a must in this large of a quilt. It may not be noticeable in the pictures but some of my pluses got "out of line" or wonky as I sewed and especially as I made my strips and then putting the strips together because some fabrics were more pliable than others.

Aurifil GOODNESS!!!!!

 Sadly blue in thread does not translate real well in pictures, so I had a major issue finding the correct turquoise thread...Sadly after much searching my resident expert and I was forced to abandon hope of finding Aurifil and instead chose a Sulky Rayon 40WT thread (#942 1252). Though the picture will not do it justice here, it really worked well (actually excellent) with the fabric of Tish's on the quilt.  Tish and I have decided when we order our next batch of thread we will get the Aurifil chart as to avoid this problem again.

I decide to tackle the linen colors first. All linen colors would be quilted horizontal stripes an inch apart. Red would be quilted vertical an inch apart and all accent colors diagonal an inch apart. And so, I got busy. I got all the white done and started on the red. Knowing that my sister would be in, in less than a week, I wanted to knock this puppy out  and quick. (Maybe why I ended up with a pucker)
I got about a quarter of the way into the red and started feeling burnout/fatigue with the process. So I knocked out the diagonal accent colors.  It went fast and gave me a jump start. Little did I know, work was going to make me busy for a week and I had to put off working on it.

When I got back after it, I ended up having some help.

Junior figured he would help. His first appearance as a quilty kitty!

I have one pic of the actual line process

I started off with washable pen marks and realized I needed lines. Penning in the lines would burn us out of pens so I used chalk. It worked so-so. It served the purpose but took multiple washes to get it out and I think there is one small permanent blue spot in the linen areas. My sister did not notice.

Quilt Quilt Quilt.....and on a domestic machine.....Viola finished. Time to bind this baby! I had planned to just do a simple red binding with a print fabric.  However, once done, I knew that wouldn't work, a flange was going to be just what this project called for.  I opted to do the solid red that is in the big plus and use my favorite, a Navy Blue (with white polka dots) for the flange.

 Love that Tag!!!!! Thanks to Tish for helping me design it.

All on a domestic.....YEAH BABY! - Austin Powers

Tish offered to quilt this for me. She also offered to let me use the Sweet Sixteen....That is her machine.  I don't know that I will ever use it...It is something special for is all hers and she deserves it.

Alas my sister wanted it completely and utterly done by me and me only. So, there it is...there you have it.

And a final snapshot from WV to end a perfect project for a wonderful sister

So to summarize. This was a tough project. The piecing of blocks took some thinking.  Because of the odd sizes to each block, it was not one you just threw together you had to look ahead and piece the rows in very particular way. It was a labor of love that I am pretty sure took me approximately a week...and I am thinking in total man hours less than a week. A true LABOR OF LOVE.  I love my sister.  We have shared many experiences together through life, even though separated by miles. I would do anything for her and am sure the feeling is mutual. I am glad that I was able to do this for her in the way and color-way that she wanted. Time shared with others or for the benefit of others is never wasted. For it is the time...not the things that we remember.

And knowing that she and I can still, years later, get on each others' nerves after just a few days together.

My former boss, Randy Perdue told me often (and it is in much of the success and leadership training, books, and processes) that the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of your time.

I could not be more proud of my family! Terri (my BIG sis) is the person in the upper left corner. And as a side note this picture was taken by my Aunt Janet (paternal). She has also been instrumental in our lives and development.  I could not be more proud of a picture I have been in.

Blessings to you all and thanks for reading!

Today I'm linking up to Let's Bee Social.