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.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kaffe Fassett FTW! Sunday Stash #10

Secret Santa......(AKA) Yankee Swap......(AKA) White Elephant........

That is at least if you watch the TV series The Office.  And I would randomly say to Tish....mmmmm Yankee Swap, just like Steve Carell's character Michael Scott on the Office.

I went to the local Guild's Christmas Party.  Clearly there was a sort of secret santa thing going on. So funny.....Tish and I sat next to each other, naturally and we drew the number which indicated the number order for picking packages...She got 8 and I got 9. What are the chances of that happening????

Her turn came, and then came mine. I walked up to the table and picked a very small least compared to the other bags (most of the gifts). I saw the one I was going to pick, and thought it might be a charm pack, but was not sure.  However, being new to the guild I figured I would pick something small.

Drum Roll.......opening the package and this is what I see first....

This was the first charm square I saw inside a plastic wrapper that had not been opened.  I re-looked at it and knew within seconds.....I HAD HIT THE MOTHERLOAD!!!!!

I leaned over to Tish and said "I got Kaffe"  She said what, I picked up the package and looked at it and sure enough it was marked "Kaffe Fassett". I leaned to her, repeated, and showed her the label. She said "Just put it down and don't make a big deal out of it".  Knowing that these were the exact words that were going through my mind, even before she said it, I just put the fabric down and waited.

I am a person that has the mindset of "what you think about you bring about"....or for the more religious minded, you reap what you sow.  I wanted these fabrics!!!!

As soon as it was over....and yes I did....I retained the fabrics. I verified who the secret santa was and she ended up with a big thank you hug.  I even had another guild member come up as I laid the fabrics for others to view.....they wanted to see it after I issued my hug.  This other guild member said that they had another charm pack of the exact same that they would give me. I advised I would purchase it, and they advised that was not needed they would just give it to me.

I can not say how excited I am.  The pictures I took DO NOT do the fabric color saturation justice. So without further is the quilt fabric porn.

To quote Veruca Salt...."don't care how, I want it now"!  I want all the Kaffe Fassett I can get.  I have no idea what I will do with this fabric, but I am excited. I also now want the Red/Orange set of the fabric that complements this set.

Now that you have heard the story of the little boy that got what he wanted for Christmas....he got one of the main things that he wanted related to quilting.....I need some help.  I need to know what year and what line this is from.  I need to be able to buy more and not knowing which line it is from will make it more difficult. Also, open to a suggested background color for when I start using this.

This marks my 10th Sunday Stash post.

I will soon be doing a blog on my sister's "Add it Up" quilt that I just finished week before last....she loved it, and it is my first true quilt/quilt (bed sized) that I completed by myself, from beginning to end.

This evening I am linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Stash-Looking Glass 2.0 revisited...again, and the Muddy Mess that is Meadow Mystery Quilt Along.

Keep Moving....nothing new to see here. Well, not alot anyways. 

Here's the Rub!!!!

The new.....more batiks for my Looking Glass 2.0

I am not 100% sure I will incorporate this into LG 2.0.  I really liked the colors plus, it got Tish a discount on other stuff she was buying. The bottom color looks orange but in reality it is a copper color.

Next, my sister's add it up quilt.  So, here is the question.....basting 1.0? How do you baste your quilts? Do you baste your quilts?  If you don't have a long arm with a frame, how do you complete this process?  Tish and I have fought 3 different large quilts.  Hers and Mine Snowflake Shimmer and now my sister's quilt. The Snowflake Shimmers have been temporarily put away till we figure out an acceptable process that will lessen the chance of having bad lumps/wrinkles. We found on larger quilts (full size) and larger it is best to have no less than 4 people to complete the process. We have found carpeted floors to be less than optimal for the the process.  I have some ideas possibly using water/pvc pipe to roll it up on and do it a little at a time, but I have to give it some thought on how I am going to put together an "apparatus" that will allow allow this to be done with ease.  Maybe if I can come up with something, I can market the plans or process. Either way, tomorrow I will be starting the quilting process on her quilt (which we sandwiched yesterday) and hopefully I'll have it done by the time she comes in around Thanksgiving.

Up Next, Christmas Tree Skirts.  I am thinking I may try my hand at making one.  Any suggestions? Anyone out there with a pattern on Craftsy?  I am willing to buy one and have seen a few simple ones that I can to.  For that matter I could make a scrappy one and cut it to fit.  Tish has talked to me about WIPs and something she is doing in which she made a list of projects to finish/complete. Once I get my sister's quilt done, I am aiming to get LG 2.0, at a minimum, into completed chassis/flimsy.  I do want to make a skirt, I am looking at doing a class through our Quilt Guild Friday, but I have no fabric that I have picked out to do that one, and last but not least, I am thinking about doing the chihuahua quilt for my buddy. I have a few projects in mind, but don't know that there is enough time.  I will have approximately 2.5 wks off over the next month, but am not sure that is enough time for all the projects. What do you think?

Lastly for tonight, let us talk about the Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt...Quiltalong.  I was excited for this and picked out some...what I thought was some AWESOME 30's reproduction fabric.  I still love the fabric, but after the first process I found out that I am fairly certain my fabric is a Polyester/Cotton mix.  I was shocked to find this out too, because it was Robert Kaufman fabric. I am thinking that I mentioned this fact before.  Well, needless to say, I fell behind on the quiltalong, but tonight I caught up.  I am still having a bit of problem with the softness of the fabric and things not coming out exactly.  To be honest, I really wasn't looking forward to completing the quilt along once I found the discrepancy with the fabrics.  However, knowing that it needed to be done and having the "type A" personality that I have, I jumped back into it early this afternoon and started completing the hour glass and half hour glass pieces.  I was tired when I finished.  I think I had completed a few of these before on another quilt.  My first true hour glasses though on this one, were the last to be completed.

I have a really bad habit of forgetting to use the lines on the rulers to do my alignments and trimming so a few of these are a little off.  I guess that my ability to commit these processes to memory will come with more and more practice and more and more quilts.

Then I worked on my first ever Flying Geese pieces.  It was an interesting process, which I initially thought would waste alot of fabric. However, It really was an efficient use of the cut pieces, and I quickly became satisfied with the process.  I can assure you that the next time I go to do flying geese it will be a slow and re-learning (for a lack of better words) process. I really didn't mind these and I think they are a nifty design. I have recently seen several quilts that are basically all flying geese. I may give one of these a try, or maybe even design a quilt myself revolving around the block. So without further ado, here they are along with the Square in a Square blocks.  I didn't use the more technical process on the SiS blocks this time. I "eyeballed" them and they turned out pretty nice.

After I completed the two aforementioned processes, I pulled out my already completed blocks and looked at them.  I was initially very excited by my color choices, and now.....well it looks and feels like a muddy mess...hence the blog title. It may not look like it in the pictures, but the colors close together tend to blend and have a muddy look. Under artificial light it is much worse when you are further away from the fabric. Tish tells me not to get to bothered with it as it will likely look better when the process is completed.

I am a blue type of guy. Matter of fact, my favorite color is navy blue, but I think this pick of fabric really is too much blue.  There is not enough least that is how I feel.

In Closing....I have pretty much caught up on what I need to.  However, this was a tough week for me. I found out my supervisor  Randy Perdue  is stepping down from his position. I can not....repeat CAN NOT say enough good things about this man.  He has been, by far the best supervisor, leader, mentor, friend, boss, and father figure (for a lack of better words) that I have ever had. He will be sorely missed and I feel like a piece of me is already missing. Though he is not gone, I will in-fact miss him deeply.  However, a man of his stature deserves to move on to bigger and better things. Please check out the link I shared. It is an honor to have worked with and learned from him.  I doubt that there are many finer individuals on the earth than this man. To him I say Semper Fi and Oorah.
When you are blessed with people like this in your life cherish and savor all the moments for you know not when they will come to an end.

Today I am linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Vintage Stash and Other Things

After a long...yet short weekend of working on my sister's quilt chassis (top),  I talked to Tish about doing a blog post.  However, I really didn't have a stash post and Tish reminded me that it didn't have to be a stash post per-say.  I reminded her of Mollie Sparkles giveaway on his 200th post. She encouraged me to do a post on our vintage stash we scored at the QBIR that was hosted by Julie at Pink Doxies.  I said "Oh Yeah, I guess I could", and she said take the fabrics with me, take pictures and do a post.  She also reminded me that I could do the MainCrush Monday with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.  So, I will be linking to them both.

Now that I have said all that, I want to say this.  Tish and I were talking this weekend about Quilter's Market and how you can win stuff by making a few posts and hash-tagging.  I told her I wasn't going to do it...and I didn't.  I also didn't give a whole lot thinking on trying to win with Mollie's Sparkles link up, and aside from linking up, I probably won't do any of the other things. I am just not lucky like that, so I don't typically "waste" my time with the extra processes. I am a terrible blogger in that I am busy through the week, and my weekends are short with family stuff and catching up on things that I had to miss. I try and read when I can, but don't always get to. I try and "heart" the things I want to read and I try and comment on the ones I read.  I also try respond to comments on my own blog posts. But alas, I just have never taken to blogging nor have I found that it is as useful as what many have.  And please understand, that is not said to slight or belittle anyone here or any of the posts.  It is just not a me thing.  Tish and I talk about blogging somewhat regularly and we talk about how often you can sense or feel the personality of the bloggers.  With most people you can, and I feel fortunate to have made some close friends here.

Now THAT being said here is why I am posting.  I feel that I am lucky to be in connection with some pretty great people that blog some of them mentioned above and many others that are unmentioned at this time.  But, today I received a follow request from Mollie Sparkles on Instagram.  To me, that was an honor. I find alot of his thoughts and ideas, as well as his color choices fascinating.  Being a male quilter, you look to fit in, especially with so few male bloggers out here...or at least I haven't ran into them.  The bottom line, I am in-fact doing this out of respect and thanks to Mollie Sparkles.  Thanks again for the inspiration.

I am going to now post gratuitous stash/remnant/pieces porn.

This one has some weird feeling/textured materials

This is how we purchased them and we didn't know what all was in them. If you look at the prices they are ridiculously low and the fine lady that owned the established wanted us to go back and pick more.

Yes that is the price we paid and that included the awesome find in the second Turkey Call. She gave us a discount on all of it... the turkey call is a true slate with corn cob striker.  I am betting you could could not buy it local in WV for under $40.  So it was a steal.  This store is WELL worth the effort. Julie can give you the details!

So, that is the stash. All the fabrics are pre-70s according to the store owner, some as old as the 50's-40's. I would LOVE to go back!!!! So here is to you Mollie Sparkles for inspiring me to go ahead and post, though I don't find myself having something to say.

My MainCrush Monday is my sister's quilt top.  I am taking suggestions on how to quilt it.  It was a hard piecing project both on layout of my colors as well as looking at the technological layout of blocks and figuring out how to piece it together so that everything lined up properly. I promise this will get its own post later because there are some very special things about it...both meaning something to me and something to her. Stay Tuned!!!!

My wife and daughter helping hold it down.  I always finish my tops on the windiest day of the month.

I also want to throw out my first finished tablerunner. I free-motioned it myself and it turned out horrible, but with help from Tish I was able to get it bound this weekend also. So there were my two "finishes" of the weekend.

In conclusion, I have no delusions of grandeur of winning the giveaway...I am just thankful to have people that I look up to in the quilt world, that are inviting me into their world. I am honored. Lastly, I am linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash and Cooking Up Quilts MainCrush Monday.