Monday, 31 March 2014

Show & Tell: Jumping Ahead to Borders for the Pixel Quilt

I have to apologize for not getting Show & Tell posted yesterday. My ex-husband is home and I've been "hostessing" for the past couple of days. He's a truck driver and when he's home, he generally spends most of his time at my place visiting our daughter and grandson, who live with me. As I've mentioned before I have an amicable relationship with him, so I'm fine with that. Except that I feel obligated to do the hostess thing, cooking and entertaining, and therefore don't get much quilting or blogging done. To me, it would be rude to disappear to the basement and quilt while he was here. So that's my excuse. 
I honestly may have to take a hiatus from quilting and blogging anyway. I am hoping to move back to Ontario, my home province. I have been thinking about it for nearly a year. Last fall when I visited Ontario, I didn't want to come back to Alberta at the end of my vacation. And the desire hasn't left me. I told my church family that, like the song "I left my heart in San Francisco," I left my heart in Ontario. I am in the process of reinstating my registration as a nurse in Ontario and have applied for numerous jobs already. If and when I finally get a job there, I want to be able to put my house on the market immediately. That means I've got lots of cleaning, de-cluttering, organizing, painting, etc. to get done so that my house is in saleable condition. In addition, I'm having to use quilting time to job hunt. Plus I've still got my income tax return to complete and file. That requires going through a lot of paperwork because I claim part of my vehicle expenses since I use my truck for work. I've got to round up all of my gas, maintenance and car wash receipts for that. I really need to discipline myself to keep those things better organized. You know how everyone loses things in a divorce. Well, I seem to have lost my personal organization skills. I used to be so super organized about that stuff and now... <sigh>
So, I've really got too much to do. I wanted to get the pixel quilt done and mailed, but I'm not sure if I should drag it out any longer. 
I did manage to get one more block for the pixel part done this past week, but that's all. I've lost my enthusiasm for this project.  I'd like to at least get row 4 done before I pack it away. Since I'd finished the four corner blocks for the border, I decided to work on the border. I got the left side done, but it's too long to show in one picture without having the distance to shoot the picture from. So here's the top part:
 And here's the bottom part:
Even with these two pictures, it doesn't show the whole border. In addition to the top and bottom row with the corner blocks, there are 7 rows in between. 
I love both of these fabrics that I'm using in the border: tropical fish and seashells. Those are 9 inch squares, so I'll have an 18 inch border on each side of the pixel part. My sister only has a double bed, so I didn't want the 18 inches on the top and bottom or that would have made the quilt too wide for her bed. So, I opted for a 12 inch border. In order to be a little more consistent with the sides, I decided to continue with the 9 inch blocks, adding 3x9 inch blocks on the outer edge, but I haven't done those sections yet. It looks kind of funky to me right now. I'm not sure if I like the corner blocks in with the other fabric. I guess we'll see what the overall effect is when the quilt top is done. I don't intend to change my plan now...

Photobucket
<a href=’http://catscrossing-laura.blogspot.ca/p/show-tell.html'> <img src=' http://i1331.photobucket.com/albums/w583
/september59/CatrsquosCrossing_zps2b7e332e.png ' style='border:none;'> </a>
Show & Tell Guidelines 
1. Link up any recent post that features your current creative project. And it can be a work in progress as well. 
2. Please remember to link to your actual blog post, not your main blog page, so others don't have to search. 3. Somewhere in your blog post, you must link back to my blog or put the 'Show & Tell' button in your sidebar. 
 4. Please don't just add your link and go. Check out a few of the other links and comment. The best idea is to check out the 3 or 4 links just previous to yours. That way every link will get visited. And maybe you'll pick up a few new followers along the way. 
5. You don't have to follow me to post your link on my blog, but that would be much appreciated. 
6. Have fun. This is a party after all.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A Sailor's Delight in a Storm at Sea is a Lighthouse Tower

After I got over my "baditude" about the Lighthouse Tower block, I decided to assemble it anyway.
Lighthouse Tower Block
It's far from perfect, and I know it would have been much better if I'd used the templates, but I don't like to allow anything to defeat me. And I managed all 16 of those Y-seams, though I've done better with them before. So it's finished. And I will probably include it in the quilt. Remember the Amish deliberately add at least one error to their quilts to remind them that only God is perfect. Well, there are plenty of reminders in my quilts!. 
Here are the three blocks that the title of this post is based on:
Sailor's Delight  -  Storm at Sea  -  Lighthouse Tower
And here they all are, the four nautically-themed corner blocks for the Bluenose II Pixel Quilt:
Sailors Delight - Storm at Sea
Lighthouse Tower - Ocean Waves
Now I need to get back to work on the pixel part...

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Show & Tell: Lucky Clover Block

I'm of Irish descent on my father's side and as such, I have an affinity for all things Irish. (Well, almost all things - as an abstainer, I have no affinity for their hard-drinking ways). So when I found McCall's Ireland Quilt Block of the Month, I knew it had to be in my future. After my rather unpleasant experience with the Lighthouse Tower block, I decided to take a total break from the Bluenose II Pixel quilt and do one of the blocks from the Irish quilt. 
This is the Lucky Clover blockOn my monitor, the background fabric looks rather yellowish, but it is a light green. I have to admit it's a fairly easy block that works up quite quickly, but there's also a fair amount of fabric wastage. I'll see if I can work any of it into the remaining blocks. If not, maybe some crazy quilt potholders?
Anyway, I felt like I accomplished something and it turned out well. Otherwise, one of the most creative things I did this past week was give my grandson his first haircut. And I saved most of the hair so that my daughter can preserve it in her mementos. 
I'm writing this on Saturday night as on Sunday I'm planning on being at an APQS roadshow. I'll let you know how that goes if I make it. Tonight I am feeling really congested, sinus headache, tickle in my throat. Sophia and Damian are supposed to go as well, but Damian's still fighting something like I've got, so don't know if Sophia will want to take him out or not. He at least was not feverish today and ate reasonably well.
And in honour of my Irish heritage:
This song really stirs my Irish soul. Very sad to learn of the death of George Donaldson, one of the singers in Celtic Thunder (the bald one). 
It's your turn to show and tell about your week's creative endeavours.
Here's my button:
Photobucket
<a href=’http://catscrossing-laura.blogspot.ca/p/show-tell.html'> <img src=' http://i1331.photobucket.com/albums/w583/september59/CatrsquosCrossing_zps2b7e332e.png ' style='border:none;'> </a>


Guidelines for Show & Tell

  1. Link up any recent post that features your current creative project. And it can be a work in progress as well.
  2. Please remember to link to your actual blog post, not your main blog page, so others don't have to search.
  3. Somewhere in your blog post, you must link back to my blog or put the 'Show & Tell' button in your sidebar. 
  4. Please don't just add your link and go. Check out a few of the other links and comment. The best idea is to check out the 3 or 4 links just previous to yours. That way every link will get visited. And maybe you'll pick up a few new followers along the way.
  5. You don't have to follow me to post your link on my blog, but that would be much appreciated.
  6. Have fun. This is a party after all.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Storm at Sea is not a Sailor's Delight

I finished a couple more blocks for the corners of the pixel quilt. 

I thought I was going to get all three of the remaining blocks done. Do you see what colour I am typing in? Red, as in "I was so angry I saw red." Well, maybe not angry, just frustrated. But right now I'm not sure where the line is between angry and frustrated. I wanted 4 quilting blocks with a nautical theme for the corners of the pixel quilt. I had already chosen Ocean Waves, Storm at Sea and Sailor's Delight, but wasn't sure about the fourth one. Then I found Lighthouse Tower on Jinny Beyer's website. Jinny does some incredibly complex quilt blocks, but I guess I just didn't look carefully enough. I think it might even beat Lena's Choice for complexity. No, on second thought, I do believe Lena's Choice was even more difficult. I think it's just that with everything going on in my life right now, I really wasn't patient enough for a block this complex. I got this far:
But when I started assembling it, it just wasn't going together well at all. Sixteen Y-seams. Yes, that's right - 16. And I didn't want to do them. Add to that the fact that I hadn't bothered using the templates provided, except for one. I'd rather just measure and cut than fiddle with templates. And that had worked fine for the Storm at Sea block. But the problem was, most of the measurements for the Lighthouse Tower were rather bizarre, like 'not quite' 8-1/4", or 'slightly over' 1-7/8". Really hard to be precise unless you use templates. And precision is very important with a block like this. I was so frustrated that I fed the template printout sheet through the shredder. Well, now that I've had a chance to cool down, I realize that it really was my fault: first for choosing such a complicated block to begin with and second, for not being more careful with cutout and assembly. Maybe I shall try it again some day, but not now. I don't need the extra stress. Meanwhile I've decided to try the Time & Tide quilt block from 365 Fun-To-Stitch Quilt Blocks. And this time I intend to use the templates!
Time & Tide is similar to Cynthia Ann Dancing, a block I drafted from Jinny Beyer's book, The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders, and then created templates for it. It only required 2 templates and that was great. And it turned out much better than Lighthouse Tower! LOL!
I also used 365 Fun-to-Stitch Quilt Blocks as my guide for the Storm at Sea block.
Like Lighthouse Tower, I only used one template - the one for the diamond because it was too difficult to get the right size and shape without one. I have so many funky-angled quilting rulers that I didn't figure I needed templates. I even have one with the correct angle for the end points on the diamonds, but trying to get a diamond shape from a triangular ruler was more than I wanted to think about. Storm at Sea was my consolation prize because at least I'm happy with how it turned out. 
I'm not so happy with Sailor's Delight:
Sailor's Delight is a block from Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class. I am happy with how it looks, but, because so much of it is bias cut, I ended up with a wavy block. And I don't mean wavy as in ocean waves, but wavy fabric. And that in spite of the fact that I used spray starch on each section before I assembled the block. 
Sailor's Delight Sections after Starching
Maybe I should have starched the fabric strips before doing the paper piecing. Hopefully I can quilt the ripples out. In spite of the waviness, I'm quite happy with this class so far. In addition to this block, I also completed the Dreamweaver Quilt for my daughter.
Well, it's time to head for bed. No more quilting for tonight.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Show & Tell: Ocean Waves

Ugh! I hate the time change. And the older I get, it seems the longer it takes me to adjust to it. It doesn't help that Damian's been fussy and not sleeping well lately. I don't have a shade on the window in his room, but have added that to my "to do" list. We hung a blanket in his window and that seems to have helped him settle down at night, now that it's lighter later. As for the cough/cold/sinus thing that's keeping him awake at nights, Sophia and I are wondering about a possible allergy: dairy milk or cats. Well, the dairy milk thing will be much easier to solve than the cat issue because I'm not getting rid of the cats. It might help if I brushed them, but since Damian and Sophia moved in, I put the cat brushes somewhere and I cannot recall where. 
So between the time change and Damian's restlessness, I've been very tired. Too tired to feel like contending with the one inch squares in the pixel quilt. My Kona nautical fabric arrived, so I made one of the blocks I intend to use for the corners on the Bluenose II pixel quilt. For the border, I selected two ocean-related fabrics, but wanted something different for the corners. I decided to do four traditional type quilting blocks with a nautical theme and use Kona solid in the colour "nautical" as the background. For the piecing, I chose 4 different prints from my stash that bring out some of the colours from the border fabrics. Since the pixel part of this quilt top is primarily monochromatic in various shades of blue, I wanted to add some more colour. 
Today's block is Ocean Waves. You can find different variations of this block both online and in books. You can complete it using half-square triangles, templates or paper piecing. I opted to use paper piecing, as found here: http://www.quilterscache.com/O/OceanWavesBlock.html In printing out the templates, even when I clicked on Actual Size, I found the templates still slightly small. Since I have a tendency to end up with my blocks smaller than intended, I definitely did not want to start out with the templates too small. Fortunately, my printer is a multi-function centre and I copied them at 104%. Just that 4% made the difference. 
Once I had them the correct size and all cut out, I arranged them in the right order. 
Once I had them laid out, I colour-coded the sections with markers so that I could keep track of which fabric went where while sewing. I used the strip piecing method as taught in Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class.
I also used a dry iron and freezer paper on the ironing board. This protects from ink smudges from the copy paper. Once I'd removed all of the paper, I pressed again using spray starch. This will help retain the shape, since many cuts are on the bias.
Ocean Waves: all sections finished
With the sections all finished, I then sewed them together in three pieces.
Finally, all three pieces were joined to make the completed block. 
Traditionally, this block is done in blues and white, but I have plenty of blues in the pixel section of this quilt top. And, as I said, I wanted to add some more colour. 
By the way, I've been using 60 weight in my bobbin and it's not stitching tight enough. It caused some problems when I was pulling the paper off. Anyone else experience anything similar?
Damian's been pretty clingy to his mother and me since he's not feeling well, so I'm not sure how much more I'll get done...
How has your week gone? What have you gotten done? Share your link here.


Photobucket
<a href=’http://catscrossing-laura.blogspot.ca/p/show-tell.html'> <img src=' http://i1331.photobucket.com/albums/w583/september59/CatrsquosCrossing_zps2b7e332e.png ' style='border:none;'> </a>

Guidelines for Show & Tell 

  1. Link up any recent post that features your current creative project. And it can be a work in progress as well. 
  2. Please remember to link to your actual blog post, not your main blog page, so others don't have to search. 
  3. Somewhere in your blog post, you must link back to my blog or put the 'Show & Tell' button in your sidebar. 
  4.  Please don't just add your link and go. Check out a few of the other links and comment. The best idea is to check out the 3 or 4 links just previous to yours. That way every link will get visited. And maybe you'll pick up a few new followers along the way. 
  5. You don't have to follow me to post your link on my blog, but that would be much appreciated. 
  6. Have fun. This is a party after all.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Doublespeak

Recently, due to budgetary constraints, the organization that I work for had a re-structuring in management. They were supposed to be eliminating some of the top (and apparently unnecessary) positions. But, not to worry: eliminating these positions was not going to cost anything in severance packages, because the individuals involved would be re-deployed elsewhere in the organization. What? Their positions are unnecessary and being eliminated as a cost-saving measure, but they're going to be given different positions within the organization. How is that saving any money? Did I miss something here? Or am I just thinking too hard and I'm not meant to recognize the inconsistency in this re-structuring? 
That's not the only example of this inconsistency, but probably one of the most glaring ones. I'm beginning to feel like I walked into a George Orwell book. "All employees are equal, but some are more equal than others." (adapted from Animal Farm). And, of course, it's not just my place of employment that's guilty of this "doublespeak." Many corporations do it, governments do it. Even churches do it. It's not outright lying. It's just twisting the truth in such a way as to make it say something other than what it really means. 
And if you try to dispute a decision that's made in the upper echelons, it's impossible because no one takes responsibility for making that decision. Nevertheless, you must implement it because the "powers that be" said so, even if you believe it to be one of the stupidest decisions ever. There's no accountability, no transparency, and for the "average joe," no recourse if you believe things should be done differently. And the management wonders why they don't have an "engaged" workforce...
Who do you trust? I, personally, do not have a whole lot of faith in people at the top, no matter what organization. As John Dalberg-Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It's my observation that, as a general rule, the more power someone has, the more he/she tends to think of him/herself as infallible, above question. But I do question. God gave me a brain and I intend to use it. I see things that don't add up and don't make sense and I question why. But vocalizing my questions and concerns doesn't usually change anything. Instead, the "powers that be" get angry and defensive and accusatory when they are questioned. Because what the "powers that be" fail to understand or accept is that they are not infallible, their judgments are not beyond question. They are not God.   
And only God is absolutely infallible. And only God is absolutely trustworthy. Because only God is absolute Love. And God is never threatened in any way if we question Him. There's no doublespeak with Him, because He is also absolute Truth. 
I place my faith in Him because He has proven Himself to me over and over. I don't always understand His dealings in my life, or in the world, but I can question Him without fear of recrimination. And because He has proven His love for me, I know I can trust Him even when I don't understand. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Craftsy Course Giveaway!


Craftsy Logo
I love Craftsy. I love to share my projects on there. I love to see other projects on there. And I enjoy the classes. It was their free 2012 Block of the Month Class that helped get me back into quilting. I work full time and live in a small rural town, so not much time or opportunity to take classes. But the Craftsy classes are available to me when it's convenient for me. And I can go back and review them any time I like. I can ask the instructors questions and get input from other "students" in the classes as well. And there are so many different classes that I have actually enrolled in a few that aren't quilting classes. 
Now Craftsy has given me the privilege of offering you the opportunity to win a free class! Just click on the link: 
and follow the directions. 
This giveaway will be open until 6:00 a.m MDT March 16. The winner will be selected by Craftsy. Good luck to you all!