Thursday, January 6, 2011

First and Second Blocks: # 11 and # 49

What a week!  I promise that I meant to start making blocks and updates much sooner than this but its been such a crazy first week of the year!  I live with 3 FANTASTIC housemates and we were slowly regathering ourselves from our Holidays away and are now back as the 28 Calvin Family.  Tonight was our first night having everyone back together and what fun it was!  M & S were both cooking very different and pungent dishes, C and I were at the kitchen table working on sewing and getting ready for work tomorrow, and it felt like 4 close siblings spending a night together.  I wouldn't trade my housemates for anything in the world!

I also got knocked down for a couple days with Strep, not an experience I would recommend to anyone.  But after 2 days of antibiotics and Nyquil, I am back to about 70% voice and strength.  All my excitement about this blog has just been building and tonight I pulled out 2 blocks!

First block of the blog is actually block # 11, as pulled from our vase by my housemate, C!  Block 11 is "Broken Dishes," a rather easy block to assemble as it is all half-square triangles.  All the blocks will be 6 1/2" raw, which translates to 6" finished.  With that in mind, making four rows by four rows of half-square triangles to make 6" almost made me chicken out at first simply because of the math involved.  (I hate math, with a passion...)  However, there is a fantastic website that makes figuring out cutting measurements so easy.  "" and its article "Calculating Half-Square Triangles" breaks it down like so:
  1. Determine your finished block size.
  2. Add 7/8" to that block size.
 And that's it!  It really is that simple!  So I needed 1 1/2" finished half-square triangles, so I cut (8) 2 3/8" squares of both color fabrics, drew the diagonal across the back of the lighter fabric, sewed a quarter inch on either side of the diagonal, cut down the middle, ironed and voila!   I had my 16 two-toned half-square triangles slick as anything!  For a first block, it came together rather quickly and easily!
(By the way, did I mention this project is FANTASTIC for cleaning out those hideous fabrics in the bottom of your stash?  I have a milk crate filled with fabrics of the same general tone that for the most part I have no idea how I ended up with.  But this is meant to be a scrap project as this quilt was designed and inspired by farmer wives who used anything and everything they had on hand.  I'm also trying to keep everything mostly 1880's to 1920's fabric tone, which I happen to have a lot of!)

Block #11 also has a bit of advice from Mrs. J. R. F., of Canadian County, Oklahoma: "Husband and wife need to come to an understanding, the first thing that she needs (are) new modern implements as well as he.  Also the "chore" question should be settled early in the action.  I have never milked a cow.  Why?  Because I told my husband I wouldn't and he doesn't expect it!  I count my hands more valuable to me as a pianist or quilter than as a milk maid.  My husband and I are partners in this farming business but we each respect the other's rights."   This quote makes me chuckle a bit, as I picture our Mrs. J. R. F. saying this point blank but with a bit of a smirk!  I will remember to tell my fiance that I will not marry him if he expects me to milk cows!  But I find Mrs. J. R. F.'s advice very practical, true, and necessary, especially as today I heard from two very good friends that they each are now engaged to their girlfriends!  I work days in a law firm that specializes in family/divorce law.  It can be a bit depressing working in our firm after seeing so many couples, who have everything going for them, fall apart because a small issue went unaddressed for so long that they can no longer stand being in the same room with each other.  All it takes its just a bit of respect, patience and communication and so much heartache can be avoided!

The second block, block # 49, I cheated on just a bit.  I love to paper piece or foundation piece, whatever you like to call it.  Block #49 is the "Honeycomb" block consisting of 8 trapezoid pieces with triangle corners.  I am sooo picky about my corners meeting that, whenever possible, I will break down a block into paper piecing and make sure my corners are exact!  This one was easy as it broke into 8 nice pieces, probably added on about 20 minutes to my time, but it was well worth it. (The block had not yet been ironed when I took the picture - our kitchen is only so big and with 2 fantastic chefs needing counter space, well, the ironing got postponed until next time.  Better pictures to be posted a later date!)

Mood: Recovering
Music: "Symphone Pour Horloge Cassee'" by Dionysos (French)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Guten Abend!

After being inspired by many important and close people to me, I have decided to start a blog of my own!  I hope you all enjoy and check back in every so often, it will be fun to share this journey with others.

I have been told many times over that I am a walking conundrum - that I have far too many interests and hobbies, it is impossible to keep track of me.  I'm the type of girl who always falls in love with the villain in movies and roots for the underdog in sports.  I love going to concerts that blow out your ear drums and love moments with Mozart and a cup of herb tea.  I love sailing, surfing, motorcycles, muskets (well all firearms, really), costuming, dancing, cooking, sketching, tattooing, running, history, traveling, fashion and the list could go on forever.  My philosophy is that life is far too short, that we cannot live with regrets, and if an opportunity for something new comes our way, we should by all means take it!

But way up on the top of my list is quilting, something that has been near and dear to my heart since I was 7.  It is a bit of a family tradition that I completely love.  Most people are surprised and laugh a bit when they find out I quilt - I've heard all the Amish jokes, but I'm always ready for a new one so lay it on me!  I have recently gone through a few very harrowing personal experiences and more than anything, quilting has been my way of coping and recovering.  This world can, at times, be a bit daunting and frightening and we need time to regroup and a chance to make things right in our own way.  At times when I was so frustrated or upset that I wasn't able to handle any more chaos, I'd close my door to the outside world and quilt.  I mean, who in their right mind would turn down a warm, fluffy quilt?  And I needed the time on my own to think and let out the good in me to the World.  Part of that "recovery" has become this blog - I'm going to track myself - my projects, my music, my life - and welcome feedback and advice, creative, practical, emotional, anything you've got to give - and watch how good life can be after the bad!

For Christmas this past year (2010) I was given a quilt book from my mom.  Well, actually, she was given this book and I borrowed/commandeered it from her for the purpose of this blog.  It is "The Farmer's Wife - Sample Quilt" book by Laurie Aaron Hird.  (DISCLAIMER - I have no connection what so ever to Ms. Hird and give her all complete rights and honor for this beautifully published work - I am just a devoted fan and nutty artist!)  There are 111 different blocks in this book, plus the personal stories of several of their original designers from the 1920's.  So I have decided to make this quilt for myself.  I have the numbers 1 through 111 on pieces of paper in a vase.  As the year progresses, I will randomly pull a number and make the corresponding block, take pictures, write about what happens to be going on at the time, etc...  But thinking my plan over recently, I thought - how boring and unoriginal.  "Julie and Julia" covered this idea already and in a much better fashion.  Rather than just remake someone else masterpiece, I'm going to create one of my own.  I will make the original block in reproduction colors and make a variation of the block for myself in bright batiks - when I'm finished, I will have 2 King-sized quilt tops and will donate them to charity.  To which charity, I'm not yet certain.  I have a couple in mind (Susan G. Komen, UNCF, projectRed, etc..) but I am also open to suggestions.

In addition to the "Randomized" quilts, I'll be posting about other quilting projects I've undertaken.  Right now, I have 2 in the planning stages and a 3rd in the sketch phase with (miraculously) only one UFO (UnFinished Objects)!  I am hoping for some creative and constructive criticism - I openly admit that I am an amateur and would love any sort of direction!  With this now said, I bid you a good night and until later....

Mood: Exhausted
Music: "Handlebars" by Flobots