Thursday, April 28, 2011

the Manifesto Of Creativity

My Manifesto Of Creativity

1. I like what I like. You like what you like. They may or may not overlap. And that's okay.
2. Perfection is not required, but I personally like to take some pride in what I've done - to do it reasonably well. And then see if I can do it better. (Note Rule #1: my 'reasonably well' is unlikely to be your 'reasonably well' - see "inexact seams" in previous post. And that's okay.)
3. Take shortcuts whenever possible (and where it doesn't interfere with Rule #2). Time is one thing humanity always runs out of faster than we think we will.
4. Perfection can wait. Done is the engine of More. Get it Done. (Full text: Cult Of Done manifesto)
5. Creative endeavour is (mostly) a hobby to me. It should be enjoyable wherever possible. If a part of the process is a chore, then it's not fun anymore.

tl;dr: Everyone's different. Don't be a hater. It's more important to Do than to Be Perfect. And the Doing should at least be Enjoyable, if not outright Fun.

Small technical issue

I'm sorry if I don't respond to your comments. How on Earth does one respond to comments on Blogger? I'm used to blogs like LiveJournal which allow threading of comments, as well as emailing individual replies to the people who are being replied to. It's much more convenient for holding conversations with people who respond to your posts or your comments in posts, and allowing them to be publically viewable. Sometimes people other than the questioner are interested in the answer.

Do I have to email you all individually or something? Or do I just respond in the comments?

Usually, I'm an "ooh, what does this button do?" kind of person with technology and applications. But I have the feeling I'm looking for a functionality that doesn't exist on this platform. (Technobabble translation: "Blogger doesn't have it.")

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday!

The supernova quilt top is this close to being completed! Extra-long weekends are awesome for getting a move on projects!

So here's a look at the 4x4 sewn together, and the borders laid out but not sewn on.
4x4 block with borders

Borders are going to be a mite tricksy, because my seams are...well...inexact. Sounds so tactful, doesn't it? "Inexact." Frankly, I reckon they'd make any of the bloggers I follow throw their hands up in horror...and they don't even have to sew them!

*coughs* So, inexact seams. Which means the distance between the starburst verticals varies between 15" and 15.5" according to the individual blocks. (I did say they were inexact!) So I'll have to do some careful pinning and probably some sewing-on-the-run to make sure the seams actually meet up where they're s'posed to.

I've only just begun contemplating the back and whether I'd like to do some piecing on the back. I have a bunch of fabric lengths from the top that should probably be used - although I'm thinking about making another postage stamp quilt with them.

The truth is that my backs are usually a plain cotton sheet, with edge-to-edge computer-patterned machining c/o Thirroul Custom Quilting. They do lovely work, and I adore the designs. Jo, who runs Thirroul Custom Quilting, has been awesome to speak with about patterns and designs, and I love looking at the quilts her other customers have brought for her to work on. Before I discovered the quilting blogosphere, her workshop was the place where I was most heartily reminded that I'm a beginner at this and have many miles to go!

I know there's a fair amount of disdain for sending quilts away to be quilted, but the truth is that the joy of quilting for me is in the design and piecing. I love the colours and fabrics, the patterns and geometry of piecing; the 'will it, or won't it' of putting it together and the problem-solving aspect of how to make it as fast and efficient a process as possible.

I've machine quilted my own quilts, and hand-quilted a couple of baby-quilts. It took forever, looked clumsy, and was a deeply unsatisfying experience.

The truth is that if I had to quilt my own quilts, it would become a chore and I wouldn't enjoy quiltmaking. And I wouldn't get the lovely works of art that computerised machine quilting produces, because I can't do that with either hands or machine myself - I don't have the time, the hands, or the equipment to create that kind of artistry.

And isn't that why we're in this hobby? To have fun and be artists - each in our own way - and incidentally to make something useful that will function for years and possibly even decades or centuries?

Or maybe that's just my humble beginner-quilter perspective on quilting?


Other WIPs
1. S and V's quilt binding
2. C and K's quilt binding
3. AD's Sanctuary quilt
4. My own quilt binding

...I should probably face it that the binding is never gonna get done...

Monday, April 25, 2011

easter/anzac weekend consideration

For those of you that celebrate the Easter story, I hope it was a weekend full of memory and thankfulness.

"But they took him and they nailed him to a cross made of wood,
And they raised it on the stony barren ground where it stood,
And the blood that flowed to the ground below
Brought forgiveness to a world that had treated him so."

For those of you that don't, I hope you had lots of hot cross buns, eggs, and a good rest!


ANZAC Day is a kind of Australian Memorial Day - chosen for the doomed stand by Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (the ANZACs) at Gallipoli in WWI, on April 25th, 1915.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

an actual WIP Wednesday!!

Mostly pics this week:

The Supernova Quilt - 9 blocks!
supernova - 9 block layout format

Since I'm doing a 4x4 layout, there's another 7 blocks still to be pieced together. Luckily, I have all Friday off, and plan to make some serious inroads then.

Two more of the blocks:
two more supernova blocks

I went through The Fat Quarter Shop today and picked out all the fat quarter bundles I wanted to buy, just to see how much they'd cost all together. Final total? $500+

I didn't. But it was a close call there for a few moments...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WIP weekly!

Right, so we have a lot of projects in place right now.

Supernova Quilt Along

Still putting together the supernova blocks - there simply hasn't been time to do them before this.

supernova - four finished blocks!
It's a little pedestrian compared with the other supernova quilts featured on the Flickr photostream, but the stark colours work for me.

I've decided I like the monocolour ones best - the blue and the pink blocks. The contrasting colours isn't bad but...the contrast is a little stark, without enough gradation for my tastes.

Using the different white fabrics worked very well - good decision, there!

The corners may not match up as precisely as a master-quilter would have them match, but they're adequate to my amateur sewing skills!

Sanctuary Kaleidoscope

Sanctuary Kaleidoscope - layout finalised!
I've only managed to sew together the octagons of the bottom row, and I'm making my way up the quilt. The hole in the 2nd-last row is where I've collected the wedges to sew together. I really like this design (even if the sewing is painstaking!) and I hope that the recipient does, too! *gnaws nails*


Okay, so this is just a small scrappy project that I was hoping to do for a gift swap. However, the gift swap is supposed to be in the hands of the recipient on the 20th and...I'm not sure I'm going to make it. :/

potholder attempts
They're supposed to be potholders, although I don't like the one with the white and coloured blocks interleaved.

The paper pattern was the pattern I was hoping to quilt it with using my brand new quilting food. Within about ten minutes, I realised I was hopelessly outclassed, and instead found myself giving up and just unpicking all the work I'd done on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, I ended up quilting the potholders with the coloured stripes with a simple stitch-in-the-ditch along the white bars, and a swirly 'bumblebee trail' pattern over the coloured bars. I gave up on the quilting food and just ended up using my usual sewing foot and doing wide turns - sometimes with rather odd-length stitches!

They're not masterpieces of handiwork, alas, but I shall consider them on my learning curve. A new skill to master in small before I even think of trying to work with a full-size quilt!

Does anyone have any recommendations for sites that help beginners on quilting with a quilting foot. The simpler the better!

plans for this weekend

1. Finish putting together the Supernova blocks. All of them. PIECE ALL THE THINGS!
2. Get through another two rows of the Sanctuary Kaleidoscope blocks.
3. Finish the binding on the quilt for Suds and Vern because it is WAY WAY OVERDUE:
Sud's quilt

Thursday planning post!

So, um...not my WIP Wednesday post. (Up tonight after I sew together the Supernova Blocks - promise!)

I've been eyeing off a couple of FQ sets from FatQuarterShop for a while now - the Serene Tea Garden:

and the Tranquil Tea Garden:

And now they're on special at ~20% off! And they're so pretty and bright and modern - I bet I could make some spiffy totes from them!

Except that I wasn't going to buy any more fabric this quarter...

My only planned fabric purchase in the next couple of months is the Robert Kaufman Valley of the Kings in the Jewel Colourstory:

And I am hanging for that to come out so I can start a quilt for a friend of mine who's a big Egypt-fan - Jo Graham, author of the three books Black Ships, Hand Of Isis, and Stealing Fire, all set in or around Egypt.

Current intended recipients of quilts for 2011:
Mum: I've promised her a quilt for several years now. Have the fabric (RK Imperial Collection 6-ish in Blue), think I have a design (fussy-cut disappearing nine-patch), need to get it done.
Alli S: might like the Red-White-Blue Off-The-Rails modern railfence? Or else the Penny Patches postage stamp quilt?
Sue: a scrappy mountain magic in harvest colours (June project when I get back)
Bec&Wes: something in a traditional style with modern colours
Amy: a traditional pattern, darker colours?
Lola: whichever one Alli doesn't get?
Ali C: traditional pattern, brighter colours.
Simone: Birthday quilt - perhaps the railfence?
Lara: Wedding quilt.
Jo: RK's Valley of the Kings series in Jewel...and I haven't worked out a pattern yet.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

bits and stuff and pieces

1. Have started sewing together the octagons of the Sanctuary Kaleidoscope. It's looking pretty good. Design photo will go up on WIP Wednesday.

2. Am working on a couple of quilted potholders as a gift. It's new territory for me, so I don't know how that's going to go in the end! I should really try making one of those extremely neat tote bags that people are always putting out patterns for.

3. A friend got married on the weekend and I'm going to see if she wants a quilt for her wedding gift. Or if she wants one of the quilts I've already made.

4. Last night, I just realised how much material I really have in my stash when I went looking for a plain backing for the quilted potholders. And winced.

5. Still haven't pieced any more sub-units of the supernova. Maybe a couple tonight?

6. Will get WIP Wednesday in on time this time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

WIP weekly

I admit, I feel like a complete slacker when it comes to comparing my quilting efforts with the quilters whose blogs I follow. My quilts make infinitismally small progress from week to week, while y'all seem to whip up a complete quilt in a matter of hours. I really don't know how you do it!

Anyway, it's WIP Wednesday Thursday Friday and I have made a leetle progress this week!

Got my half-yard of each fabric in the Berry colour-range of the Sanctuary collection for my Sanctuary Kaleidoscope:

Sliced and diced them over the weekend and during the week, and started laying them out:

Click on pic for bigger version

I'm thinking that I either need more browns or more whites. The problem is that there's essentially no 'middle ground' when it comes to the browns: it's either completely brown or mostly brown, but no half-and-half the way there is with the pinks, or even the orange or yellow fabrics, which makes them stand out very starkly in the midst of the pattern. *scratches head*

It's presently 8 blocks long by 9 blocks wide, and I'm wondering if it should be 9 blocks by 9 blocks...except that would mean needing another cutting spree to get the requisite number of blocks. Cue Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Maybe I could just make a border for it? *looks hopeful*


In the meantime, WIP #2 is the Supernova Quilt-Along from over at Freshly Pieced. Which got to four sets of subunit blocks and stalled.

4 down, 12 to go. 6 down, 10 to go... If I were doing the 9-block, I'd be mostly done! Damn my large-size quilting ambitions!

I did spend a great deal of Sunday watching Fringe (great TV show) and drawing diagonals on my white squares, though, so that's one less thing to do for that. Now I just have to get a move on with the other blocks...

But they do look very nice when laid out!

Click on pic for bigger version


Still to finish the binding:
* Suds and Vern's quilt - bali popboxes.

Still to bind:
* Chris and Kate's quilt - Double Irish Chain.
* Shaz and A's quilt - Sunshine And Lollipops in North Wind.
* my own quilt - stack-and-whack "cathedral windows"

In the works:
* an engagement gift for my stepbro and his fiancee: a set of prettified sheets

Just received from the Fat Quarter Shop:
* Old Denim Kona Cotton Solids FQ pack! (blues)
* Hot Spice Kona Cotton Solids FQ pack! (reds/oranges)
* 3 yards White Kona Cotton Solids
* Lumiere de Noel FQ pack!

I can really understand why people go gaga over the Kona Solids series. This is some very nice fabric!

Unfortunately, still waiting on the People Eater Kona Cotton Solids FQ pack (purple). Will contact them if it hasn't arrived on Monday next week.


I also have a 'new' camera, bought from my stepfather who's purchased himself a new model. I love new tech, but I'm not one to go out and buy it the instant it comes out - I'm what they call a "late adopter". My stepdad's an "early adopter" - he usually has it in his hands the month it comes out. Boys and their toys, I suppose! At any rate, the new camera is smaller, with a bigger display screen, and I have to learn how to use it, so the pics may not be as clear as usual - at least, not until I work out exposure times and how to take photos without the flash and whether I need to hold it steady or what.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First On the 1st April?

Okay, well, it's not the 1st anymore.


Oh well. I'll only do this once: this is the first quilt (one of two) I made for my sisters' 21st birthdays. (They're twins.) They received them when they turned...oh...about 26.

I was brand new to quilting, and everything I knew about quilting had been imparted to me from my aunt, who did some beautiful show quilts back while her children were in school.

Well, I had to start it it started there.

She explained about cutting with a board and a roller cutter, how to sew the strips together to make a tube, and then how to cut the tube into further strips, and unpick at a different seam each time so the pattern emerged when the strips were sewn together.

I quilted this quilt myself, mostly because I didn't know that there were people who'd do the quilting for me. It's straight lines (zig zags) because that's all I could do on the sewing machine I had at the time!

So it's a very simple quilt. But they were started, oh, some 15 years ago now, and my sisters still have their on their spare beds. :)

I really should look at making them new ones...