"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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quilting Just for the Love of Quilting

We have a pair of roadrunners who have nested nearby and the daddy roadrunner is huge.  Honestly, he is as big as a chicken.   In fact, I have been calling him my yardbird.  He is flirting, these days, and expands his tail so that he looks like a turkey. 

On warm, clear days at mid day, he races up and down the back pasture where husband has mowed it down and frequently jumps the fence into the backyard, proper.  I have tried everything I know to get a picture of him on the birdcam but am beginning to feel like Wiley Coyote.  He thwarts me at every turn.   I turn the cam this way, and he goes that way.  I turn it that way and he goes this way.  I had the cam set at roadrunner eye level and he went around the cam and jumped into the yard.  I turned the cam to face the yard and, I kid you not, I watched him not ten minutes later walk up to where the cam USED to be and peck it.  It would have been a perfect shot of his face.  So I gave up and took a picture of him through my bedroom window.

I've been in a quilting funk and although I have a lot more time on my hands, I've gotten less done.  When I was working such a stressful job, quilting was my therapy.  Now that I am getting enough sleep and have been able to decompress, I don't feel such a need for an emotional outlet.  

I enjoyed being in my sewing room, the past couple of days.  Sometimes, I want to pinch myself because I love that room so much and feel so fortunate to have it.  Here are some pictures:
I've been meaning to straighten it up so don't look at the clutter.  I have frequently had a cluttered house but I like my sewing room and office to be tidy. 
Note Pearl coming into the room:
I love my ironing station.  It is 2 X 4, which is wide enough for me to lay out length of width strips.  I have it on risers and it is just the right height for me.   I've been meaning to either hang a quilt on the wall to look at, or more likely, put a shelf there for easy access of tools - not that I need a lot of tools at the ironing station.   I could put some chocolate up there, though.  And a place for my candles.   Maybe a picture of Jezebel.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been working more on art quilts.  I am convinced they use a different part of the brain than traditional ones.  With art quilts, there is a real focus on problem solving, color and thinking outside the box.  If you mess up, no one sees it or realizes it.  Having started with traditional quilts, that still seems a little like cheating. 

With traditional quilts, for me, it is more about discipline and mastering the fabric so that it does what you want it to.  Any mistake you make is glaringly obvious.  I think traditional quilters tend to take more pride in the workmanship than even the result.  My mind wanders more when making a traditional quilt, especially when I am experiencing a sense of satisfaction at how a corner or a point turned out and I'm stitching a relatively mindless seam.  In contrast, with art quilts, my mind doesn't really float away.  It remains on the particular task at hand and is less useful as an emotional release.   It might just be that I am still working so hard on the learning curve. 

I plan to take about a week and camp out at the barn to finish up quilting a lot of my UFO's on the longarm sometime in the next few weeks.  I think it would be good for me.  I tend to stay in the house BLOGGING if I'm not careful and just being in the barn is practically the same as going to work since I am on my feet and not vegging.

During the rain and storms we've had the past couple of days, I decided to go ahead and do a quick lap quilt and used a design I saw online as inspiration.  Here is what I came up with using my EQ5. 
I went with reds and rusts with a neutral background and here are some pictures of the progress.  I paper pieced some parts of it because paper piecing is my life.
I really should have paper pieced the whole thing.  It is pretty rough.
Here is my beloved block of wood that I use to flatten the blocks:
I haven't put on a border, yet, and may or may not go with a piano key one.  I will look at my border books to see if anything looks interesting that won't overly tax my short attention span. 
Right now, it is 41 X 41. I suppose I could make it into a full sized medallion quilt but doubt I will. I rarely make a quilt with repeating blocks like this one because I start feeling like I am just running an assembly line. I think you can do them quicker if you do it in stages because you aren't reinventing the wheel on every block as you try to remember how you did it, plus, your measurements tend to be more uniform and the tools you need for each step are right there.

For those of you who use commercial patterns, that probably sounds pretty weird. 

But for people like me, who kind of make it up as they go along and don't like delayed gratification, doing all the blocks at once in stages takes too long to get a finished product and it starts feeling like you are NEVER going to get a block done. 

As it turns out, I didn't follow the design I made, exactly.  I ended up adding some background to each block so that they are 11.5 inches square instead of 9 inches - I liked the notion of having the stars "float" a bit more and a couple of them were a tad on the small size and I needed to make them uniform. 

The workmanship on these blocks is not my best.  I missed more corners than I got but they aren't bothering me enough to redo them.   In my more stressed out era (i.e. back in the Old Dominion), I would have been embarassed to make such crappy blocks with gaps and clipped corners.  Here?  I'm thinking, "Wow, that is such a pretty color!"  I am not sure what that says about what is going on in my psyche. 

The girls helped me piece, today:
Pearl is having one heck of a time with the thunderstorms.  The last two nights have been spent with her up on the bed and down, and up and down, and up and down, nonstop.  And when I say, nonstop, one rotation lasts about 5 seconds.  This goes on for about 2 hours or until the storm has passed us by.  I ended up putting the poor little darling in the bathroom because she couldn't see the lightning and it is more quiet.  I expected her to want out so lay awake for forty-five minutes listening for a scratch on the door but never heard anything.  So even though she wasn't up and down and up and down, etc., I was still awake.  Husband insisted that he was awake the whole time but since he was gently snoring, throughout, I think he was dreaming.  The night's activities probably contributed to why Pearl was snoozing in the picture, above.

If we have another storm, tonight, I have a benadryl waiting for both of us. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Mary said...

The sewing room is looking great your blocks look very nice. Do you press your blocks and then put them under the wood block or what? I have never seen one before. Be sure to stop by my blog and enter the EQ7 give away.
Mary in AZ

Dee said...

Penny - I LOVE that quilt you designed and the colors are just beautiful. Kudos!

Penny said...

Mary, I spritz the blocks with water, press them to create steam and then immediately put the block on top of them. They go flat in seconds and stay that way. Magic, I tell you. Or physics, one or the other, I'm sure.

Infinity Quilter/Knitter said...

Love your blocks! The boys are the same way. If their outside when it storms, they'll run around barking "at" the thunder. Silly boys.

Kerstin said...

You have a really wonderful blog!

Liebe Grüße

Cathy said...

I love quilt. Would you share the pattern for the larger block? I think I need to purchase the EQ software