Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Road Trip and Other Miscellany

Yesterday was my first opportunity to sit down and review my packet for my guild’s upcoming retreat.  While we’ll have the opportunity to do free sewing, we’ll also have the opportunity to take workshops from nationally-known quilters.  I’ve signed up for both … one taught by Mickey Depre (no surprise, given that I love hexies and English Paper Piecing) and one taught by Pat Speth.  Mickey’s supply list includes scraps or some fat quarters if we want some consistency in our blocks.  Well, I’m way too OCD to go with scrappy, so I grabbed some Kansas Troubles fat quarters and am good to go.  But my stash isn’t developed enough for me to pull fabrics for Pat’s workshop … for the quilt (Labor Day Stars) I’ve chosen to make, I need nine sets of six 5” squares (a total of 54 squares) … a mix of dark and medium fabrics.  I have plenty of darks and lights but not so many mediums. 
The blocks where there’s more contrast between the triangles are more appealing to me, so I wanted to find some mediums that weren’t too dark so they’d provide a nice contrasts to my darks but not so light that they didn’t contrast with the light background.  As I looked though my stash, I noticed that it was very heavy in blues and reds (no surprise), and I want to expand the color palette in my quilt to include something besides just reds, blues and neutrals (not that I don’t love that color combination, but occasionally I’d like to branch out a little ).  Since I really didn’t have enough darks and mediums in other colors, a road trip was in order … off to Peace and Applique I went.  Luckily the weather cooperated and it was a nice drive up there.  I couldn’t find nine different darks and nine different mediums that played together nicely (remember, I’m too OCD to go with scrappy, so I want my medium and my dark in each of the stars to work together well … can I do anything else to make fabric shopping more difficult?  Now you all know why I generally stick to my tried-and-true red/blue/neutral combination – ha!).  I focused on the mediums since I knew I had plenty of darks at home in my stash (including a few greens, browns and blacks) … I didn’t find as many fabrics as I’d hoped, but I left with a nice collection that I was sure I could easily supplement at home.  Wrong!

It took me several hours to pull out and audition various fabrics … but finally I gathered enough that I’m pleased with.  There are a couple that I am just not crazy about, but they’re good enough.  And when it comes to choosing fabrics (for me anyway), good enough is … well, good enough.  And as if choosing the fabrics wasn’t difficult enough, then I had to cut them into 5” squares (this is where an Accuquilt charm pack die would have been helpful! … but I don’t have the time to order one and wait for it to be delivered and it’s not a size I’ll probably use again).  And the background fabric had to be cut, too … into a total of 108 pieces, including some 2-3/8” squares and some 2-3/8”x4-1/4” rectangles. 
Boy, was I glad that I’d sprung for my Itty Bitty Eights Square ruler!  I can’t even imagine trying to cut those pieces otherwise.

There’s not a lot of natural sunlight coming in that room right now, so the colors are off a little.  And I wasn’t keen on picking up and laying back out 18 stacks of squares in the hopes of getting a better photo (after all, my photography skills leave a lot to be desired even under the best of circumstances). 

I have all my fabrics and supplies ready to go … all I have left to do is to load up my van next Thursday morning.  I can’t wait!

Not that I won’t be busy between now and then.  I’ll be watching 3 of my 4 Ts tomorrow.  T#2 turns 11 tomorrow, and she and her mama are going to make a day out of it.  I know her mama is going to do her best to make this day special for her since she’s unable to do any of the things she’d really like do – like swim or go horseback riding.     Saturday will find us spending the day at my dad’s.  Monday I’ll be back at DD’s, watching all 4 of my Ts.  Tuesday I have a dental appointment.   And Thursday morning, I’ll head to retreat. 

You may remember that last month, I participated in the inaugural Block of the Month hosted by the Hand Quilting Facebook Group I belong to.  May’s BOM will be revealed tomorrow, so I can’t share my block just yet … but I’ll give you all a sneak peek at the fabrics I’m using.
The neutral will be consistent in all the blocks, with the other fabrics being selected from my reds and blues.  I inadvertently chose the same blues as I did last month, but that’s ok, I suspect I’ll be reusing some of the reds and/or blues over the course of this BOM. 

Does anyone else use Live Writer to publish their blog posts?  Mine will not communicate with Blogger.  I'm not sure if it's a Blogger issue or a Live Writer issue ... but I certainly hope that it's resolved soon.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


  1. I use Windows Live Writer for my blog (word press) blog all the time - when I contribute to the Celebrate Hand Quilting blog which is in blogger I use it there as well. I do not have trouble with it.
    I don't put near as much thought into selecting fabric as you do! Normally I can tell pretty quickly what I like but I go very scrappy most of the time. Have fun at your retreat.

  2. Sounds like you hit the ground running when you got home from vacation! Upcoming retreat sounds like fun. ~Jeanne

  3. You do have a packed schedule!
    I really like the fabrics you have selected for your Pat Sloan class. It does sound like you needed the Itty Bitty ruler to prep for that class!
    Your BOM is going to be great, if your fabric choices are any indication.

  4. Good morning! Someday I will get myself to a retreat as honestly I can't think of much else I'd enjoy more....I am just LOVING that quilt that you are going to work on! I fuss with fabric for quilting too....BIG time. Sometimes it's easy, but most times I am like you....auditioning fabric and changing my mind. Sometimes I DO like a scrappy look, but most times not so much. Fabric choosing for me remains the hardest part, lol. I am working today on a sewing machine cover, I have needed one since the day I bought it, but somehow I never get around to it. I am going to try and do a combination of embroidery...I found the cutest design....and maybe quilting. Soo much easier I guess if I just followed a pattern, but I never seem to do things the easy way, lol We will see what I end up with. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Hope you have a lot of fun and learn a lot at your retreat.

    I don't even know what Live Writer is, let alone use it. :)

  6. How exciting! Mickey Depre and Pat Speth! I have the same problem picking out fabric! I have spent days trying to decide on fabrics on fabrics for a small wall quilt. Looks like you will have some good T time before you leave!

  7. Gosh you have been busy. I do like what you have been cutting out. Watching what you are doing makes me wish for a little quilt. I have always wanted to do a nine patch. So what is that ruler you are talking about? I have never heard of one.
    You are going to have lots of nice things to do next week. Well except that dentist stuff. :) I hope you all have a nice birthday. And a nice weekend.

  8. Beautiful quilt love those stars and I too never use mediums much cause I like high contrast. I'm jealous that you got to go to Peace and Applique. I have a small four inch ruler that is a 1/8 grid that I use for my minis but it can be bit difficult to read.

  9. Ah, Kathy, we do let our little idiosyncrasies make us even nuttier, don't we? I think your fabric selections will make a gorgeous quilt Can't wait to see it! Have fun.

  10. nice selection...anxious to see the blocks...some are familiar...aka in MY stash too!

  11. All the cutting... wow!!! You are definitely dedicated to your craft!
    I love the neutral colors!
    ... I've never heard of Live Writer - now I'm curious what that is.

  12. I've never heard of Live Writer either but am about to go Google it and find out about it. What on earth did we do before Google?

    You would handle building a house with zero problems. If you can pick and choose and coordinate all these fabrics, you could make all the choices of house building too. I think all our decisions are made, now if the house can just get finished.

    Happy weekend!

  13. Hi there, Boy are you busy! Love your fabric choices, no surprise there. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a wonderful fun quilting time next week.
    Hugs, Noreen

  14. So glad you made it home safely, and from the sound of this post, I can tell you're staying busy :)

  15. The star quilt pattern is wonderful. I'm sure you will love putting it together!

  16. I've taken a class from Pat Speth - she's so sweet :) Love the fabrics you finally ended up with. I tend to stick to my favorite colors too and have to force myself to choose something outside my box once in a while. I have actively enhanced my stash in colors I'm low on, and especially lights. I love deep, dark colors, and go for them first. Then I'll choose mediums, but the lights tend to leave me flat. A couple years ago I made a rule for myself - for every dark fabric I bought, I had to buy a coordinating light. It really helped plump up my stash with a nice variety that works well when I need to pull for a quick project :)

  17. Oh my goodness you are busy. I have never gone to a retreat, but the amount of prep work seems daunting to me. I hope you enjoy it and get a whole lot done. I am looking forward to seeing those quilts.


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