sur-reality

i don’t even know if that is a real word.

sur-reality

LOL

months ago i sent away the entry form and $20 for the HMQS AdornIT Fabric Quilt Challenge.

they sent me 6 1/2 yards of AdornIT Crazy for Daisies fabric and WinLine Textiles (i think?) batting.

i had a great idea for the quilt.

and as i drew, then made up a sample with other fabrics, i just couldn’t see it in the Crazy for Daisies fabrics.

the fabrics sat there.

on my table.

staring.

at.

me.

it’s discomfiting.

a week and a bit (possibly even two’ish weeks) before the deadline (april 5) i read an article about doris brunettes win with her challenge quilt.

(her quilt was ah-mazing!)

she said she started cutting triangles and…

well, that’s my interpretation of what she said.

it stuck in my brain.

so i pulled out my 60 degree triangle ruler and cut and cut and…

with a rough idea of what i wanted i started laying fabric out (at mystery quilt retreat, no less).

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

after i started laying it out i realized a couple of things:

1) it had to be a certain size and

2) i didn’t know how big it was going to be

so i started sewing pieces into rows.

then i started sewing rows together measuring as i went.

photo 5

unfortunately i forgot to take a picture of what it looked like when i finished piecing.

but i ended up being able to put a strip of white along the top and bottom edges of the quilt.

then i got it on the frame and started quilting.

people…at that point i had days left to finish the quilt.

quilting, binding, hanging sleeve and label.

so i worked.

it took 10 hours’ish to quilt the stars and all the circles.

IMG_5031

then 10 hours to do the little lines.

IMG_5044

i used my channel locks (which aren’t push of a button on my machine so i would stretch over the frame or walk around the back or i did, for a little bit, hire one of my girls to lock and unlock) to make the lines.

each line of stitching is between 1/8″ and 1/32″.

it’s varied because i wanted the texture to be uneven.

when we pulled it off the frame i was beyond thrilled.

IMG_5053

(sometimes there just aren’t english words…)

then my hubby turned it around…i nearly passed out.

it was almost better than the front!

IMG_5056

here are some close-ups of both…

IMG_5050

i used a ruler and a pencil to draw the line that the binding would go along…all those triangle points got cut off.

close-up of the middle…

IMG_5051

close-up of the back…

IMG_5057

and the finished quilt…

IMG_5061

i took this picture, folded it up, stuffed it into a box then ran down to the shipping store.

it was thursday just after 4pm.

UPS had all ready left the store for the day.

but those people are my heroes!

the owner said he knew where the UPS guy would be at 5pm so he would (personally) drive it over there.

plus it didn’t cost me $100…just over $25!

so it went off to utah and i went home.

to wait.

and wait.

i purposed to forget about it.

which wasn’t hard, i’m so swamped with work and life.

then last saturday i got a call from HMQS.

they wanted the name of my quilt and a description.

which was good…it meant they were hanging it.

i didn’t ask…really, we were driving and though i thought about it i didn’t want to be nosey.

i would find out at the right time.

the waiting was harder this time.

and every day that went by i was getting more and more anxious.

what do i do?

with a packed schedule i didn’t have time to just go to utah…

and yet, if i got a ribbon it would be amazing to go to the awards ceremony.

but nothing came.

so i simply accepted the fact that i didn’t win anything.

which was fine.

(really…i was fine with it.)

it was the very first show i ever entered anything.

i couldn’t expect a ribbon my very first show.

then late last night while watching telly i decided, on a whim, to check my email.

i got an email from my friend and mentor, cindy that said,

“congratulations on your win!  you go girl!!”

WHAT?!?

and sure enough…right there in the link she forwarded was the list of winners.

on the third page under the AdornIT Fabric Quilt Challenge under 3rd Place was my name!!

OH.  MY.  GOSH!!!

so though i slept last night (very well, btw) i woke up with this new reality.

but here i sit in my pajamas with my puppy squeaking her ball and my girls next to me (one reading and one with her head on my shoulder) as if nothing in the world has changed.

i’m sure that if i had been at the awards ceremony it would be more real.

but that isn’t my reality (at the moment).

no…at the moment it’s all a bit surreal.

and now it’s 7:37am and i get to lead a “normal” life and go to work at 9:15.

to teach quilting.

personally, my “normal” life is the most wonderful, exciting and enchanting “normal” that i could’ve ever imagined.

and i am thankful.

more thankful than i can express in words.

i’m thankful God hears the song in my heart.

and that it is all His alone.

because if it weren’t for Him, i wouldn’t be here and neither would the song be.

~ h

my mom and i

moms are people we, generally, take advantage of.

we don’t mean to, of course.

they are always there doing what needs to be done.

sure they get upset and angry sometimes.

totally understandable really.

the thing is we know they love us.

deeply.

unconditionally.

and forever.

their hearts are intertwined with ours inexplicably.

it takes nearly losing your mom to realize just how much you love and need her.

IMG_5327

i love you, momma.

a pressing issue

seams.

they are tricky guys.

and, there are two camps with pressing:

to the side.

or open.

so…here’s what i have to say.

both are beneficial.

and there are good arguments (for lack of better word) for both.

i use a combination of both.

i press to one side to match seams.

but i also press open which reduces the bulk of fabric across a seam.

pressing seams to one side is great for stitch in the ditch.

pressing seams open means that seams are less bulky and easier to quilt over.

this is the inside border for my Paris in the Fall quilt.

photo 1

some seams weren’t matching to other seams so those guys get pressed open.

other seams were going to be matched so those guys i pressed to the side.

so…here’s how i press seams open:

IMG_5192

first i lay the fabric right side down.

then i use my finger to open the seam and finger press.

IMG_5193

then i run the hot iron over the seam being careful with all the other seams.

photo 1

and voila!

pretty seam.

:)

photo 3

then i flip the pice over and press the right side of the seam.

(apparently i forgot to take a picture of the front side.)

pressing to one side:

i lay the fabric wrong side down with the seam flat…

IMG_5198

then fold it over, finger press…

photo 2

then press it with the iron.

photo 3

and voila!

photo

*NOTE: DO NOT PULL ON THE FABRIC in either case*

the heat (and steam if you use) will cause extra stretching of the fabric in the spots where you’re pulling.

this isn’t good.

that’s why i finger press, making sure the seam is tight.

so there you go!

:)

almost there…

reminds me a little of star wars when they’re trying to put a proton torpedo down a shaft on the death star.

“almost there…almost there…”

yep…almost there…

IMG_5216

seven out of eight borders: ON!

last border…

IMG_5218

yep…that was all the border fabric i had left.

*head to table*

so what does one do?

head to the internet, of course.

now…i do need to reiterate here that this fabric is almost impossible to find.

so little of it is left.

but i found one online shop that is selling fat quarters.

(yay!!)

in the u.k.

(okay…not so ‘yay!’)

but if that’s all there is then…okay.

i spent about $8.00 on a fat quarter.

i guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

*sheesh*

another good reason why one should keep up with their block of the months.

O.o

“almost there…”

Layer Cake Rag Quilt

the truth is after the first two times i did rag quilts i wasn’t a huge fan.

but, then again, i did use 2″ squares…on a twin size quilt.

and i didn’t use the right scissors.

seriously.

what was i thinking?!?

i’ll skip the long story between then and now but this is what i’ve come up with…

IMG_5155

isn’t it cute??

so here’s the tutorial (and a printable pdf that is two pages is at the bottom of the post):

what you’ll need:

1 layer cake

3 yards of coordinating fabric for backing

about 1 yard of 90″ wide off the roll batting (or scraps…but i would recommend something thin…i used warm & white)

(you can also get yardage…

1 2/3 yards medium fabric for large squares

1 1/4 yards EACH of dark and light fabric for small squares

backing and batting remain the same.)

IMG_4917

next divide your layer cake into two piles of (21) squares each.

i had my blues and reds (these are your lights and darks) in one pile then creams, yellows and light pinks (these are your mediums) in the second pile.

Trim the medium squares down to 9″.

there will be (21).

IMG_4918

Discard scraps and set squares aside.

next cut the lights and darks squares in half vertically AND horizontally.

there will (84) 5″ squares.

IMG_4919

see how pretty they are??

IMG_4920

next is your backing.

first cut (6) 9″ strips then sub-cut them into (21) 9″ squares.

then cut (11) 5″ strips then sub-cut them into (84) 5″ squares.

IMG_4923

right!

2/3 of the way done…

now for the batting.

i used scraps but if you are using off the bolt or out of a bag i recommend cutting the large piece in half then folding those in half to make them more manageable.

for your batting cut:

(21) 8″ squares (yes…that’s right…8 inches)

IMG_4924

(84) 4″ squares

IMG_4925

my piles kept toppling over there were so many!

now for the sewing…get your sewing machine set up with matching thread.

you can switch colors to coordinate with the darks, mediums or lights.

personally, i used a light gray polyester thread.

we’ll start with the small squares (get the big job done first so it’s all downhill after that).

lay out a small backing square, then put a batting square on top of that centering it as best as you can.

(there is a strict no-perfectionist rule for this quilt…it’s the one time i give myself permission to relax!)

IMG_4972

(note: the change in photos happens to be because i was at a retreat in a gym with horrible lighting.)

then lay the medium square on top.

IMG_4973

do you see how my batting is still kind of centered??

IMG_4974

match the sides of the backing and top pieces as best as possible…but if it doesn’t match revel in the freedom of not worrying about it!

then take it to your sewing machine and stitch diagonally from one corner to the next.

IMG_4975

i like to lay the two fabrics one my knees with the batting on the table then stack and sew, chain stitching the whole time.

when finished snip them apart, turn them and stitch diagonally the opposite corners to make a big x on the square.

repeat for the big squares.

(why oh why didn’t i get a picture of the big squares??)

back to the small squares.

with backing fabric together, line up and stitch (1) light square to (1) dark square…

IMG_4978

using 1/2″ seam allowance.

IMG_4980

did you catch that??

1/2 inch seam allowance.

yes…that is correct.

and you’ll see why…

make (42) sets of these guys.

now, stitch two of these guys together by turning one around then with backing fabric together, match seams…

IMG_4983and stitch a 1/2″ seam.

make (21) four-patches.

IMG_4984

it’s really important to make sure that your four-patches are all sewn the same way and

your lights and darks are in the same locations.

you’ll just want to check that you’ve got it right when you finish.

i laid out all of my blocks until i got a lay-out that i liked.

then, using the same 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch (1) large square to (1) four-patch.

IMG_4988

make (21) pairs.

stitch the pairs into rows.

you’ll make (7) rows made up of  (3) pairs.

IMG_5122

well, now…see, isn’t that pretty?

but we’re not quite finished.

next comes the ragging.

i went and purchased rag snips.

here’s what they look like…

IMG_5160

from fiskars.

they have a spring so all you have to do is worry about closing them because they spring open.

now you’re going to clip the 1/2″ seam allowances.

snip close to the seam line but not so close you clip it.

that’s bad.

don’t do that.

IMG_5123

at the “intersections” (that’s what i call them in my head) i like to clip right next to the seam allowance.

IMG_5124

see?

:)

then i clip on the other side of the “intersection”…

IMG_5125

once those are done i move to one of the other two sides…

IMG_5127

and then the opposite side.

IMG_5129

the “intersection” will look like this…

IMG_5130

i like to do all my horizontal seams first.

IMG_5131

then i do all my vertical seams.

sometimes i miss some.

be sure when you think you are done to go back and check that you clipped all your seams!

once the inside is done do a clip around the outside…

IMG_5140

when it’s done being clipped this is what it’ll look like before you put it in the washing machine.

IMG_5152

washing…

these guys can seriously mess up your washing machine and dryer.

consider going to the laundromat.

i always consider it but never actually go (despite the other three items that i need to take…but i digress).

your dryer will look something like this…

IMG_5153

okay, okay…the green things didn’t come from the quilt…but those other little fluff balls did.

here’s the lint catcher…

IMG_5154

that was JUST the quilt.

i didn’t think of taking a picture of the washing machine.

O.o

but once you get it out it’s so pretty!

IMG_5156

have fun with the pattern!

email me pictures and i’ll post them.

because i like it when you share…

xo and happy quilting!

~ h

Layer Cake Rag Quilt Pattern

UFO’s

for all those non-quilters out there…

well, and maybe some of you quilters who just don’t know…

UFO’s are

Un-Finished Objects.

they lurk in the back of your closet and brain silently calling your name in the middle of the night.

they also have babies back there.

i’m sure of it.

three years ago i started keeping track of my UFO’s.

made lists of what i had and what i needed to complete.

once i went through my scrap bin…

they were having babies down there too.

this year i haven’t completed any UFO’s (yet)…but i’m about to mark three off my list.

this one…

IMG_4741

just needs borders.

it’s like four years old.

the only thing i can say is that it took 8 hours to make two blocks.

working myself up to making them was something of a challenge.

the desire to complete the UFO was greater than the lack of desire to work on those blocks.

and there’s these two…

IMG_5143

it’s a client project.

yes…the ‘a’ word (applique) was involved.

i was dreading it.

not the applique itself, rather, all the little pieces.

and then the bunnies were not from a pattern.

i had to make those guys up.

and the client (though really lovely) had a hard time communicating to me what she wanted.

*deep sigh of contentment*

i’ll custom quilt both of them.

the challenge will be to do something other than continuous line curve in the top one…

and something…well…i’ve not a clue for the bottom two.

better get to figuring it out though…those two go on the frame the end of the month!

*applause*

i’ll be glad when they are done and quilted!

beautiful mess

hello.

photo 1

my name is heather and i am a beautiful mess.

:)

somehow, today, in the midst of all that i’ve got going my spirit is at rest.

it is a fantastic thing that has taken place.

it used to be that in the middle of all the chaos would be me, the messiest piece of the chaos.

falling apart into a puddle of tears, yelling…frustrated.

“i just need to finish ______!!”

something has changed.

and i love it.

every little teeny tiny bit of it.

photo 2

now…i can see how my beautiful messiness can be annoying to others.

especially with my business and mystery quilt.

mistakes, problems and disjointedness (is that a word?) all play into it.

and there are people who it just rubs the wrong way.

it rubs me the wrong way.

i have a tendency to be the person who wants to do it all perfectly right the first time.

when it doesn’t then i’m mortified.

embarrassed.

photo 3

i’ve learned, though, how incredibly gracious quilters are.

seriously…you all rock.

so much, in fact, that in the middle of my messiness and subsequent apologies y’all are telling me that i don’t need to apologize.

and slowly, finally, i’m starting to understand that it is the imperfect in us that makes us beautiful.

those are the places that our real-ness is.

where our humanity that causes us to connect with other humans.

for if i never experienced fall-backs and embarrassing moments how can i learn what grace looks like?

how do i extend my hand in love and mercy to someone who uncomfortably shows up in that same spot i once was?

today i talked with a woman on the phone.

she is interested in me going to her home (or her coming here) because she is afraid that her quilting won’t be perfect…

so she doesn’t do anything.

it got me to realizing that if i let myself hang out in my desire to be perfect then i am paralyzed.

but if i manage to embrace both, the desire for perfection and the realization that i am not, it is a catalyst for moving forward.

not just moving forward though…

it creates in me the desire to learn and grow, to work hard and practice.

and that is how a beautiful mess like me ends up being just plain beautiful.

ah…i think i needed that.

thank you for indulging me and reading it.

thank you for encouraging and supporting me.

thank you for being you in all of your beautiful messiness too.

and on a completely different subject…

IMG_5038

meet matilda!

she’s not a three-legged puppy…she just likes to sit on the steps with one leg hitched up.

she’s crazy.

and fun.

and i love her.

she gets me out of the house and out of my head.

she has creeped into my heart.

my favorite thing about her?

when i go to be with her, she comes over and buries her head in my belly so i can rub her head, neck and ears.

she trusts me completely.

i’ve never known such trust before.

it’s heaven.

she’s heaven.

so i’m going to try and keep up with blogging.

i can’t guarantee i’ll be terribly great at it (we covered that all ready).

plus my track record doesn’t exactly highlight my commitment there.

however, there’s some exciting things coming up

(like partnering with Missouri Star Quilt Company and RJR Fabrics for Mystery Quilt)

and you are going to want to know about that.

i also entered an entry into the HMQS 2014 ADORNit Quilt Challenge.

IMG_5055

here’s a sneak peek.

:)

i’ll do a separate blog post when i find out the results of the challenge.

right.

so this is getting long.

and i have to get dinner on.

and finish a client quilt.

and maybe…(maybe) try and clean my studio.

a little bit.

just because I am a beautiful mess doesn’t mean my studio is a beautiful mess.

sometimes, a mess is just that…a mess.

or maybe it’s creative genius…

oh!

yes…that’s brilliant.

my mess is indicative of a creative genius at work.

i’ll keep telling myself that.

you can tell yourself that too.

i won’t copyright that.

have a lovely weekend!

on the wall

i started this project almost a year ago.

in march.

it’ll be one year in march.

a very gracious client asked me to make her a quilt…two, actually.

the same quilt, mirror imaged, with the rabbits in different poses.

Image 1

here’s quilt 1.

the rabbit is just pinned on right now.

i want her to tell me what she thinks.

and the ears!

they look so big!!

in the picture they seem so big, but when i drew them out they didn’t…maybe it’s because they are dark blue.

here’s a close up…

Image

i’m going to put a bee landing on his nose.

what do you think??

contemplations

for several years it seemed that whenever i opened my mouth there was something else “bad” that had happened.

(“bad” usually means unpleasant, really.)

last year was a year of many amazing things happening one right after the other.

the complete antithesis of five years ago.

still, sitting in the quiet of today, i feel a bit of whiplash when i think back on it.

my body, mind and soul is craving rest.

restful quietness.

a life that’s being managed.

please God, no wrenches this year.

or maybe little ones…

ones that i can take in stride.

i’ve forgotten how worn out i am.

~

last friday, after helping with popcorn at the school, i took a few projects up to ben franklin for drop off.

(meeting deadlines and using things up give me a bit of high.)

millie, the fabric department manager, says, “you should make a youtube video for your classes.”

what?!?

um.

right.

*chuckles to self*

i bundled everything back up the hill this morning.

i hate admitting defeat.

we have no video camera.

we have phones.

we have a computer.

we have a digital camera.

we have no video camera.

someone else will videotape me.

watch out world…heather will be on video.

~

today, however, i’m going to play with beth’s quilt.

Image

this was done with the computer.

in reality i’m much further than this…the triple chain is nearly done and there are only two stars left.

it’s the outside border that i’m confused out.

will get there.

that will be good to have done.

*ahead of schedule*

i love saying that, by the way.

~

one of the other things i’m ahead on…

well, okay…technically i’m right on time.

it’s just i’ve been behind so much that it feels ahead of time.

right…any way, the thing i’m ahead on is the mystery quilt.

people…it’s all written.

it’s done.

i’ve even got the fancy bits in here and there.

maybe a few little tidbits to add but, really, debbie (pattern tester) is happy, therefore how can i be unhappy?

here’s my fabric…

Image

10 lights to darks in blue batiks.

i think i’ve got the shades right…

i’m thinking this pattern would be pretty in rainbow colors…

aren’t you dyin’ to know??

i’ve all ready had one gal ask about these particular fabrics.

i’m going to talk to ben franklin to see if they would put together kits and if they would mail them.

if not i’ll come up with plan b so keep checking in.

after i’m done with beth’s quilt i’ll be cutting into my fabrics.

ooo-la-la!

just a teeny, itsy bit excited.

i’m still working out how to make the process work smoothly so just hang in there folks for more info.

have a fun quiltie sort of day.

the cutie patootie bag ~ new pattern!

i know you are in shock.

posting twice in two days!

LOL

honestly i was laying in bed…just laying there…wondering what time it was.

when it became evident that i wasn’t going back to sleep and listening to d breathe and chloe cough i decided to get up.

i snuck downstairs and am now snuggled under a couple of quilts in my chilly house (we keep the temps low at night) with my computer on my lap.

once i’m done here i’ll conquer notes for my pantograph class at the end of the month…plus notes for cutting fabric.

but i realized that, if you missed it on Facebook, this would be the perfect place to chat about my new pattern!

IMG_4666

when we were living in our old house in tacoma we were faced with the notion of trick-or-treating.

i was loathed to buy the cheap plastic pumpkins.

imaginings of cracked plastic, missing handles and buckets that get too heavy flashed through my mind.

really, other than avoiding the pumpkins, i couldn’t tell you what inspired this bag.

i wasn’t taught how to create a pattern.

no one showed me how to make sure the dimensions of a bag worked.

so when i make something like this i’m alway stunned.

(learning to trust myself and the inspirations in my mind is getting easier, by the way.)

now, now…please no lectures.

i’ve struggled with insecurity all my life.

by the grace and with the love of God, i’m getting better.

nothing like security to grow out of insecurity.

but i digress (a common problem in my posts)!

back to the cute bags!

so the original bags i made were with fall fabrics.

Image 1

not the best photo (i just creeped upstairs, over squeaky floorboards) to get a pic of the originals.

i ended up having to pull from my stash because  I don’t think I had four fat quarters…just three.

(that’s why we test!)

not to bad, right?

well, i got busy, the girls got bigger, life took over.

my notes, etc, went into a folder and there it sat.

until last month.

where i resurrected it because it’s going to be a class at the ben franklin in bonney lake.

in march.

really what i needed to do was make sure that:

1) it really does work as a pattern (not just a fluke…which does happen)

and

2) it can indeed use four fat quarters.

so over christmas break while waiting for my new machine to arrive i whipped up this cutie guy…

Image

(once again…not such a great photo…)

cute, huh!?!

and i’m starting to realize the depths of my love for polka dots…

these were all half yard cuts.

but it confirmed that the pattern was good, measurements right…ah yes.

satisfaction.

now for class samples…

IMG_4667

with a few embellishments…

these two little bags really ARE made with four fat quarters.

(yes, there are dots…and chevrons.  oh dear!)

i think i’m going to try some with a rick-rack closure and a big cute button…

and one with some fun lace…

oh my.

i think i’m addicted.

how many little girls do i know?

oh heck with that…little boys like to carry around things in bags too…

so…where can you get it?

at craftsy

or at etsy!

paper patterns arriving soon.

:)