"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Facing My Demons

I have been quilting for several years, now. All I've ever done is straight piecing. The thought of applique and piecing curves sends me into an emotional meltdown. Applique involves being able to see (which puts me at a disadvantage), and a sharp needle is likely to cause significant injury. Piecing circles involves doing weird gathering of the fabric and, frankly, I just haven't felt like I could do it. That is for "real" quilters.

I am not proud of this. In fact, because I am well aware of my ineptitude, I bought two books on piecing curves. They haven't been used. It just looks too intimidating. I have WANTED to learn to piece curves but not enough to do anything about it. I even bought a Winding Ways template intending to learn about curves - but haven't followed through.

So anyway, this morning when husband's alarm for some reason went off at 6:03 - On Sunday, I might add - I lay in bed thinking about piecing curves. Yes, this is what I have been reduced to. And the truly pathetic part of that is that Husband has been out of town for over a week and when he gets back, I lay in bed right next to him thinking about doing things with freezer paper and fabric. Stuff that has nothing to do with him.

Quilting is a sickness.

So anyway, this afternoon, I retreated to my quilting room with my books, freezer paper, fabric scraps, iron, my pressing pad (finally put to use) and my beloved glue stick.

I began by fusing two pieces of freezer paper, together.

I used one of my wide mouthed pen holder cups as a template for the circle.

I then cut out the circle from the center.

After fusing the outer edge to the backing fabric, I cut out the center, leaving about a half inch edge. I just eyeballed it.

I clipped the center towards the circle part, then glue sticked it down.

Kind of looks like a sunflower, doesn't it?

So then, I pressed it down and here is how it looks from the front:

I then smeared glue stick over the bent back seams and placed it so the fabric that I want to be the center shows through. I pressed it down to set it.

After slipping out the freezer paper, I stitched around the circle on the sewing machine. In this picture, I am using my quarter inch pressure foot but that is not the one I actually used. I ended up using my open toed foot and moved the needle closer to the left, and eased it around the circle.

It should have been closer to the center and next time I'll make sure it is.

I mean, honestly, this would be unacceptable on a real block - but it isn't a real block. I agree that "perfect" practice makes perfect but am so utterly impressed with myself that I did THIS much, that I am still giddy. With any luck, it won't be long before I so improve my circle stitching skill that I will think back on this post and frantically remove that picture from shame. But as of THIS day, I am satisfied to have taken the first step on this practice piece and pleased that I now know some of the pitfalls so I can adjust.

I finished up by trimming the seam allowance to 1/4 inch and pressed it flat.

Ta Daa!!

I stitched a circle. Yes I did!! There is no stopping me, now.

Evelyn was astonished!

Yes, this was a highly productive day. Not only did I stitch a circle, I figured out how to do continuous shooting (burst mode) on my digital camera. When I bought the damned thing, the manual was in Spanish which tended to put me at somewhat at a disadvantage. Yes, I knew the manual was surely online but I've been too busy fantasizing about quilting circles to spare time to look it up. Today, however, I bit the bullet and downloaded the manual. I ran a simple search term and, voila!, I was clicking like a high fashion photographer in minutes!

Yup, looks almost like a movie, eh? I think the shut eyes are cute.

Oh, look at this precious face!!!

We are definitely in the countdown for Baby Pearl to come home. We are refreshing our understanding of house training by crating; arranging our schedules in anticipation of a new baby in the house; doing a thorough puppy proofing of the house (especially my sewing room with its thread and pins!); making sure there are no low spots in the fence; making the deck and steps safe; making sure we are in good shape on the baby's food; penciling in vet visits for vaccinations and spaying; transferring funds to pay for the little darling; stocking up on paper towels and cleaning supplies; and trying to sleep while we can because with an 8 week old baby in the house, there won't be much sleeping going on for a couple of months.

Please god, no ice storms during early morning bathroom runs ... please, please, PLEASE!!!!!


Anonymous said...

A circle indeed! I have never done this method...but it does seem like it has potential!

Now, applique...I LOVE! Hand applique that is. The machine applique gives me fits!

Give it a try!


Linda Schiffer said...

That is quite a nice circle you did. If you used clear thread (I like Monopoly myself) and a blind hem stitch you would have officially done Machine Applique. :)

If you take that circle and cut it into quarters (in a 'plus sign' way), you have four 'Drunkard's Path' blocks. :)

You are on a roll, woman!! Persevere -- it's no where near as hard as house-training a dog!!!

:) Linda

Anonymous said...

Uhhh, Penny? I don't think you're a figment of my imagination. That makes you a real quilter, whether you do circles or applique or not. But some day you need to try applique - you might like it! It's way easier than piecing.

If you're ever in upstate New York and need a lesson, let me know.


Anonymous said...

You're too, too much! LOL

Love this post and Evelyn's beauty shots.

Congratulations on both your accomplishments.


ranette said...

Penny! If you can piece a circle on the machine (you really did reverse applique by machine) you can do anything you want!!! Way to go...

Evelyn looks soooo pretty.

Linda said...

Evelyn looks like she's just laughing at you early in the blog! She's such a sweetie pie! You've done a phenomenal job on your circle. Good for you! I keep telling you, the winding ways template is much, much easier than you think! Keep on counting days--I remember puppiedom!!!
Lurking Linda

Paula said...

I agree...you're a real quilter or a figment of my imagination!! And will you ever get tired of hearing how beautiful your dogs are? Nah, I didn't think so. Good!! Keep the pictures coming. The one of Evelyn's astonishment is priceless. LOL


Thearica said...

Penny...You did great! Now, it is my turn...I have always been stand off-ish of the things that were daunting to me. You are inspiring!

bingo~bonnie said...

you have acomplished so much that I think is impossible for me to do.. I'm sure you will do great at curves :) and you can bet we will be to cheer you on ;)

oh - and I saw this blog for the first time today -with the post of a Pie BOM.. and thought of you and your new curve project. Take a look :) http://honeysucklecottage.typepad.com/

Love from Texas! ~bonnie

Sherry said...

You know...instead of flipping the material up to stitch to the circle...or whatever. After you've pressed your clipped edges and laid it on top of the circle material, you could just do a machine (or hand) applique stitch, aka blanket stitch. Or even just a straight stitch right on the edge of the perimeter of the circle. Hmmmm.