Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My First Pattern (design and production)

Main Crush Monday.....Tuesday Edition.

Never done it, might as well get the first of this out of the way too. Fortunately, I have an in-house expert Tish, to explain all these things to me. All the abbreviations and what not....Ya'll have your own dialect.

So, I am really not crushing....per-say on anything.  However, I did start another project. The project is my first personal design.  I designed it this past week (end) and started the project on the weekend. I put a glimpse of it on my Stash Blog.

I designed my block, and decided to color it with colored pencils. I love bright colors and I am a big fan of  contrasts as well as primary colors. I went through scraps and jumped in with both feet.  Being that I feel pretty good with 2.5" strips I figured I would work off that size and she asked me how big the final post would be. Using my design, I figured it to be a 20"x20" block.  I had already done some preliminary designs on some supplemental blocks which are to come.

I picked my colors, and asked a few preliminary questions which lead to about a 15 minute discussion on cutting my original block sizes as well as resizing after HST were complete....(LOOK!!! some of your-alls jargon). I admit...being a guy, I didn't listen very thoroughly, so I had to ask her again already into the process to verify I understood her directions and the measurements correctly.  HEY! At least I didn't just drive on and pray to God it would work out and I would arrive at my goal.

That first picture....that has Tish's new (used Demo) machine that we got for a heck of deal at Elkins Sewing Center . Sue is the owner and she is in the bottom picture with the red vest. Right now they have a slide show on the page and she has a blue vest on in one picture.  She really is a wonderful person and fun to work with. Most likely when we commit to our purchase of a sit-down longarm, we will be buying it from Sue.

"Back to the lecture at hand"- Snoop Dog..... I began sewing and within short order I managed to sew a few pieces together wrong....

I got to "doin" what I do best....deconstructing.  I quickly got back to it...I had to set aside time though as we had to go and take my first big quilt to Morgantown to have it quilted at Country Roads Quilt Shop (some pics in YELLOW here). I will be doing a full post on it later...Especially when it is finished. This took me away from my new project.  A short backstory on me...I am a little OCD and I like to not start things and let them go...Little did I know also that I would be helping my buddy build a metal building for his dad on Sunday...Tish helped too!!!!  But before all this I worked on it Friday and Saturday...

I was regularly reminded to take pictures to document/detail my processes. So, I did....like Forest Gump....

Yesterday, I came home from work and went to the "Quilt Guild" meeting with Tish. I did a show and tell of my two first projects. And felt somewhat out of place, but overall it went well.  Needless to say, when I got home, I finished putting my last three rows of blocks together and started sewing the strips together.

After sewing it all together I found one major mistake....AAARGH!!!! Yes, I am pirate at heart...."Why is Rum always gone?"- Jack Sparrow...and yes I love Rum and Cokes.

So, really all there is left to do with my first designed is to decide....add a black border or just "sandwich" (more of that jargon) it and quilt followed by bind....help me make a decision with comments!!!!

Needless to say, my first design is done.  My original design called for the black to be flopped with the gray and I am thinking I wish I had done that and made the black section white or gray....I am still thinking through that process.

Now that my pattern is complete...and yes there are no instructions written down....at this point (nor did I have them during the build). It is time to go MODA MARBLE in the same color set. As always I used Aurifil to piece this together and will use it for the final set.  Ultimately the other designs are also 20x20 and when I am done...with sashing I am expecting it to be 45x45.

Today I am linking up with Main-Crush Monday and Linky Tuesday

Hope you enjoyed the post.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

First Sunday Stash Post

Welcome to my Sunday Stash post. This is about 3-4 weeks overdo. My wife TishNWonderland has been an enabler when it comes to stash building for me. It started pretty quickly once I decided to make the second quilt from  Sandra of MMMQuilts mmmquilts - blue skies & sunny days

The one on the right is the one that was my second it was inspired by my first one on the left.  I call the left one Dreamsicle. So, I was shopping for the fabric, and the first thing I saw at Classic Quilt Shop (Clarksburg, WV) when I walked through the doors is Moda Fabrics Bee Creative designs.  They had a quilt already made and I fell in love with the yellow/gray motif. As I made my purchases for dreamscicle, Tish stated she saw charm packs of the Bee Creative and I told her that I saw them.  She said it is is your first stash purchase and joyfully threw them up on the cutting table. I unfortunately did not take a picture (apparently) of the charm packs as I can not find them to post.  (Stash #1)

I had shortly there after made the decision to make my third quilt. This time it was also what I felt was a simple enough design called Looking Glass Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs. I was off to buy more fabric for this one from the same shop in Clarksburg.


Quickly turned into this

So the above didn't make it into stash...it went straight into production and I will do a blog post on this one when the professional quilting is done.  It is for my mom and is my first official full size (twin) quilt. So here is a sample of my stash that I got when I picked the above fabric out.
 More Moda Bee Creative

I couldn't pass this up I got one fat quarter of each available bolt of fabric (all in the line) for just over $50.  It felt like a steal so I asked if I could buy, and my enabler smirked and quickly fed the beast. (Stash #2)

My Birthday was around this time....being 41 now....not having any idea that I would ever be a teacher/instructor was kind of a shock/surprise to me when I entered my current profession. Fast forward 5 years and now here I am quilting. Something I really had never even considered or every thought I would be doing...Enter (Stash #3). This was a surprise.  I have always liked civil war quilts (designs and colors)....I have what one might consider a fetish with history as a whole. Stash #3 Sturbridge Village is a move to my civil war quilt.  I have not yet picked a design. I apparently made a comment about loving the colors and designs and Tish didn't forget. Being my dealer, she gleefully added #3 to my stash.

Fast forward a week or two and I received an email from Hancocks of Paducah of a flash sale on Moda Grunge fabric (Stash #4).  I looked and it and it's bold colors.....I was sold...I love bold, bright, and vibrant colors....I had to have it...so I ordered 4 charm packs as well as some "stash" for Tish. I can't remember the final price on the flash sale weather it was 4.99 or 5.99 per pack.

I also wanted to add to my Civil War pallet so I ordered a total of 5 half yard cuts of Sturbridge Village. (I don't know if one would consider it another stash or not...I won't count it as additional, but if you were counting we would be technically on #5). Unfortunately one of the colors I ordered was on back order (Sigh).

Last weekend, I went to visit my mother in Ohio and we visited a small quilt shop called Jacob's Ladder Quilt Shop. For those that don't use Facebook here is another link Jacob's Ladder . I got a really nice pen that she was giving away. She indicated that she had just opened at the beginning of they year. She has a Gammil Long Arm and a small selection of fabric. My wife added to her stash there.

As Tish and I prepared for two quilt alongs, Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer Quilt Along and Cheryl's
Meadow Mystery Quilt We needed fabric of course. I have ordered my Meadow Mystery Fabric from Missouri Quilt Company . It has not come in (Stash #5) so that is a blog for another day...Got one heck of a deal on the fabric and I love the colors I chose. However, Cheryl has some GREAT fabric kits that are offered and I am gonna give a shout out to Cotton + Steel for their vibrant colors. Check them Out!!!!!

Back to Yvonne's...  (Stash #6)  

So, I have been drawing blocks/pattern designs and I was dying to try one out. I got some bright colors and started a "rough draft" of the design here at the house. But, I quickly fell in love with the design and decided to get enough fabric to make 4 different designs I "engineered" and  put them together with sashing. The blocks are 20"x20" so they out to be wonderful. We went and dropped off my mother's quilt in Morgantown, WV at Country Roads Quilt Shop and in the process picking up more Civil War fat quarters.....an excellent selection of "reproduction" civil war style fabrics. The one in the middle is of the original purchase Tish got me for my B-Day. The others are new so I would still assimilate them with Stash #3 (however, if we were doing each as a separate stash/purchase we would be on #7 or #8...I'm starting to loose track.)

On our way back from Morgantown, we stopped in Fairmont, WV at another one of our favorite "little shops". SewChic was a stop in hopes of finding alot of Moda Grunge to make my patterns i spoke of just above. Unfortunately they did not have the very vibrant colors...Only a few. I needed Red, Yellow, Blue, and Orange. So, I settled for Moda Marbled in the colors.  Both Tish and I were concerned with the vibrancy of orange, but to keep with the "theme" of the colors I went ahead.

Last but not Least!

 When we went to Clarksburg and I got my fabric for Yvonne's quilt along I also picked up a set of the Snip Ease on the way back...yes we stopped a second time. I love these scissors. They have curved blade that works well when piecing and actually work decently with seam ripping ( I am getting good at this part).  I also picked up a SeamFix seam ripper. If you have not used one of these...YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!! It is a must have although I wish I had got the small one that the cap fits on the end, this one does not.  And last but not least. Princess Caroline of the Fuzzy Butts got some "stash" of her own. Tish decided she needed some snuggle/play buddies...of which they are neither.

Sorry this was so long..But my stash has compound quite frantically and dramatically.  I assume this certifies me officially as a quilter....whoda thunk it???!!!

Today/This evening I am linking up with Sunday Stash.

Monday, July 4, 2016


Male: a man or a boy : a male person
Pattern: a repeated form or design especially that is used to decorate something
           : the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done
           : something that happens in a regular and repeated way
Baldness: having no hair or very little hair on the head
                 of a part of the body : not covered with hair
               : not covered with trees and plants

MMMQUILTS provided me with the opportunity to "test drive" a new quilt pattern or be the "pattern tester for her Blue Skies & Sunny Days quilt pattern. 

So, the back story.....I had been watching my wife quilt for some time now, and had picked a pattern. -see my previous blog post No Greater Love

Back to the story at hand....so my wife Tish- tishnwonderland was talking to her best friend Sandra about her new pattern and I looked and the design caught my eye.  I am normally a video gamer during my free time, but I get "involved" and take my playing seriously, so my wife often resorts to putting in earbuds and listening to music.  She had been asking me, for some time, to give quilting a shot so, I asked how hard this pattern would be, and she felt that this would be a good beginner pattern.  I had Tish ask Sandra if I could be a pattern tester and so my adventure of Male Pattern Baldness began.

You can read my wife's take on the beginning of the process by reading here A Quilter is Born 
She even did a giveaway with the original post.

So I began the process once I got the color pallet selected and got the fabrics home.  I had a lesson on pressing and proper folding of the fabric, followed by cutting proper 2.5" fabric strips.  I was meticulous as I strive for perfection.  I went with a variety of batiks in oranges, blues, and turquoise colors.

 So with fabrics cut, I received direction on proper "piecing" or building of each block.  You might say that I received the "abc's" of quilt building block building.  So I got to work.  I quickly realized: #1 I need my glasses.  My eyes are not as good as they use to be and when focused on details my eyes quickly became strained.  Most likely culprit is the fact that the eye doctor says my eye issues are related to focus problems and I feel relatively certain that bifocals are in my very near future. 

I wish I had taken more pictures of things that I saw and experienced from my point of view.  #2 You can't worried about super minute details.....like edges raveling or getting stringy....especially when you have to rip a few seams due to sewing pieces on the wrong side, the wrong way, or just plain backwards. (SECRET TIP- Batiks are more forgiving because there really is no wrong side to them....although one seems to be smoother than the other).

#3....Follow the pattern. That goes without saying.

#4....Don't sew into the late hours of the night or when hungry....this is when mistakes start to occur.....like sewing things to the wrong side of the block.  A key for me is hunger...I get grumpy on an empty belly.

#5....When mistakes happen, and they will, don't get to upset.

#6.... Have a good instructor, mine is one of the best.  Patience and appreciation for the beginners process will help the new quilter navigate the minefields that appear on the horizon.

#7.... Don't get to caught up in the look of the quilt process close up....things may look ugly initially, but they come together in the end.  Several people have told me that you will be your worst critic and that you will see your mistakes before others will.

#8....All things come together in the end.

So back to my process. I remember the hours of face to the foot (1/4" guide foot) stitching that occurred and I was meticulous in this process also. I remember say $h!t each time I would stray off line or get away from the little metal guide piece on the foot. I watched the little needle go up and down dozens of times, thinking to myself...."thank the Lord for  a machine as this would take FOREEVVVER by hand".  So, I continued with the due diligence of someone building the first nuclear weapon.  Several times I found myself picking out stitches that were ripped out with sighs of regrets of a less than perfect effort....and unexpected empty bobbin....and of course the typical...male "failure to follow the directions" type of errors.  No "true" "Man's man" completes a job without making this kind of attempt just once.  

Once pieced or blocks built, I learned the fine art of using pins.  I never really understood the process of using pings except for tacking hem locations in pants.  ***Little know fact, I have an untypical inseam at just over 30, but not quite a 32 which makes getting a pair of pants hard.  I have seen my mother sew clothing in the past and use pins.  However, when it comes to quilting, if you have seams that need to line up (due to reoccurring patterns), then pins are a must.  After a brief lesson I got that down. Then came putting blocks in a line and pinning them to form a row. That wasn't too bad.

Then came putting the rows together to make the quilt top...aka: Flimsy....aka: Chassis.

Once I got all of that put together. then came the laying out and planning of the quilting process.  I had a plan....in the first one (rectangular) I was going to do feathers in the colored blocks and lines radiating out from one corner...evenly spaced from the center line....Once, I realized this was going to be a hard processed I changed it up.

These pictures are of the second quilt I did.  I unfortunately did not get many of the first process. The upper picture is of me figuring out the layout using plexiglass.  Tish told me to do this and she used the idea from another quilter too....We achieve greatness by standing on the shoulders of giants. nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
So, I completed this process and it was Boobear (real name Becker) approved.

Tish's Feathers above.

 Added Batting and used a sheet for backing fabric on the second.....Caroline or Princess Caroline of the Fuzzy Butts.

 LOVED this backing fabric on my first quilt...the feathers in the above picture show a variegated  Aurifil thread.  Aurifil is bar-none some of the best thread on the market.

I quilted.....
And quilted some more....
 The quilting was quite time consuming and became tiring. I had to take several breaks and learned the art of "burying threads" when I would run out of bobbin.

Tish bound the 2 quilts for me while I was at work she did an excellent job.  My first quit had binding with a flange and the second quilt was a traditional binding.

Cross-Hatching is a very very time consuming process.
Tish then threw them in the washing machine.

Pretty much all done!

So, where does this all come in at the finish....I feel a pretty good showing....a decent finish for my first two attempts.... #1 Hawaiian Stepping Stones #2 Dreamscicle

Again a big shout out to Sandra for letting me field test her pattern.....

Where does Male Pattern Baldness fit in you ask...
1- Male....I am
2- Pattern...pattern tested...repeat pattern....untried pattern tester...patterns can feel redundant, but the
    reward is worth it.
3- Baldness... At times I felt I could pull my hair out...I wanted everything to go smooth...I do well at
    most things I try...I believe in myself and my abilities...however, I had hiccups, wrong direction
    sewing, tiredness and fatigue, eye strain, seam ripping...and yest CROSSHATCHING!!!!!  I felt at
    times I could pull what little hair I keep on my head....OUT!!!!

This message was furry-friend approved.

Thanks to those out there that have read my previous blogs and commented...It's a moral booster.  Thanks to many of you out there for inspiring me to keep up with projects...I read alot but don't always comment. Thanks Aurifil (Colors- 2000- Light Sand, 1148- Light Jade, 2330- Light Chestnut, 3817- Marrakesh, 2405- Oyster, and 2021-Natural White).


Today I am linking up with Main Crush Monday