Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Okay, I'm Irish

I've got a funny story to tell you about being Irish.  So, growing up my father always told me we were Irish.  My maiden name is Purdy.  Not very Irish sounding but I never questioned it.  And, once I saw it in the Book of Irish Surnames.  Good enough proof for me.  So, I grew up identifying as Irish.  Irish this, Irish that.  If I lost my temper, my Irish was showing.  I went so far as to write an Irish poem on the wall in my sewing room.  It explained my skin color, etc.
When I asked my mom what her family ancestry was for a school project, she also said Irish.  Irish from both sides, that must mean I'm 100%... But, she added that it wasn't the same as my dad's family.  The Bradley's were "black Irish".  Okay, so you have to understand, I'm from southern California.  We were living in West Covina, which was a very culturally diverse area and I was 5.  I thought my mom was telling me that I was part black on my mom's side.  Like African American, black.  This did not help me understand why I was so dang white and my friends had skin like chocolate!  I did, however, understand why she could tan so easily.  This all made sense to me.  And, I was PISSED when no one would believe me when I said I was part black.
It took me into my late teens to realize that she was referring to the color of their hair.  Which was black, as opposed to my dad's family's tendency towards red.  I know.  I'm super smart.  Looking back, I feel super smart.

Mind you, either way, I'm still Irish. Until I get connected to my cousin who did the Purdy family's genealogy.  I'm in my mid to late 30s by this point.  She was wonderfully generous and sent me a copy.  I'm like, hey, where's the Irish?  She's like, nope, no Irish.  We're English/ Scots.  The woman was thorough.  We started in France but got kicked out.  So, we went to Germany, and got kicked out.  Off to England, guess what, kicked out.  Then to Scotland, back to England then kicked out again (or something like that).  Then, on to America.  We're like, 14th generation American.  Basically, the only people more American are the actual Natives.  Yeah, so why is it so important that I identify with anything other than American?  Who knows, it makes no sense...

So, I got this major complex about my heritage.  My whole life had been I lie.  I was super uncomfortable being attracted to anything Irish.  I stopped celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  I felt like that white chick who identified with being black and basically lied to everyone so they'd believe she was black.  It was embarrassing.  I was super embarrassed that my father basically appropriated Irish culture with no reason to believe he was, indeed Irish.  Totally weirded me out.  This coming from someone completely comfortable with being part black...  I know.  Ridiculous.    
So, then Rich and I had our DNA tested by  Turns out I'm 59% French/ German, 13% Irish, 12% British and 11% Danish.  All white.  Shocker.

LOOONNNNGG story, long.  I now feel fine with identifying with Irish culture again.  So, I started a Triple Irish Chain last year and I make it green, to boot.  Yes, you can make one without being Irish but it just made me uncomfortable.  Don't judge me too harshly...
I've had the base of the quilt done for quite some time but I stalled out when it came to the border.  I wanted it just like a picture I'd seen but didn't really know how to get there.  The instructions on the pattern I saw basically said, now make the border.  Add leaves.

All the pictures are a small tutorial on how I did the 2-tone border.  I started by cutting an 8 inch border in dark green and a 6 inch border of light green.  Overlapped them by 2 inches making them a total of 12".  Then, used my walking foot to free hand a wavy vine down the center of the 2" overlap.  You can feel the edge of the bottom layer with your finger, also I knew that my pins were 2" long.  As long as I didn't go above or below the pin, I stayed in range.  When I was all done, I trimmed the top layer to about 1/4".
Then, I mitered the corners.  Danged if one end wasn't too short.  So, I added on, then mitered.  This corner turned out pretty good.
This corner was a disaster.  I tried to avoid this awkward meet up but shit happens.  A lot, apparently.
Then, I made a bias tape vine.  This is just zigzagged on with invisible thread over the basting stitch and open edge.
Then, I added around 200 leaves along three sides.  These are zigzagged using my free motion foot.  Kind of interesting.  I set the machine to do zigzag but I had complete control over the shape, speed and size.  You can go backwards, forwards and sideways without having to constantly re-adjust the quilt as you sew along.  I'd say it was about 2 hours of  stitching for 200 leaves.  Much better than what I expected.
The finished quilt.  I love it!  It'll be awhile before I actually quilt it.  I plan on using it as a learning tool for my free motion quilting.  Dare I say, with a celtic design.  But, that's okay, because I'm Irish.  I can do that now.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Roberta Anne with an "E"

I'm finally done-ish with Roberta Anne, With An "E".  It's not quilted but the top is done!  I thought I'd do a little recap of the months only to realize I never  posted a couple of the blocks to begin with.  The pattern name is really Bertie's Year but my mom's name was Roberta.  So, I imagined that I convinced my mom to wear a silly hat every month for a year.  However, she wasn't what you'd call a silly woman.  I was known to convince her of a lot of things that weren't in her best interest.  Like pink carpeting.
I couldn't get May to post in it's proper slot, so just pretend it's all in order...  May was one of my favorites.  I can just imagine convincing my mom to wear a flower hat on her head.  Incidentally, I had a hat like that for Halloween back when the kids were in pre-school.

Mom was married 4 times, so being courted wasn't that far of a stretch for her.

March was the whole reason why I wanted to do this quilt in the first place.  I just LOVED this bee stripe & hive.  So, cute!
Honestly, who hasn't worn bunny ears.  You know you did.

I love anything with a strawberry on it.
Mom was a tomboy, so I can totally see her challenging her boy cousins or brothers in a watermelon seed spitting contest.

Here's where I lost interest.  I just couldn't get into the pear and bandana.  Also, dark orange was never a favorite color.  And, why no cute hat?  It took me a couple months to get up the interest to finish when I got to it.


September perked up a little.  I like the acorn hat.  I also like the funky teal leaves.

October was supposed to have a jack-o-lantern face but I hated it.  So, I kept it as whole pumpkins.  Major kudos for the candy corn hat, though!  Another thing I like about the pattern is that each month has a different format for the 1/2 square triangles.  Reminds me how much can be done with a triangle.

November is sweet but I should have given her a Pilgrim hat.  Mind you, I can't draw for crap but I might have managed.
Why no Santa hat??  And then, I realized I used the same reds in December as I did in July.  Dang it.

My original plan was to get more of the background fabric and do the sashing with it.  Then, the stars were going to be all different colors.  But, they were out of the background fabric and replaced it with an almost identical print.  It was larger and less detailed.  Close but not the same.  So, I cut up the fabric I was using for the car embroidery quilt and used it for sashing.  Then, platinum stars.  I thought the different outer border was fine, as long as they did't touch.

I'd like to get it quilted before I go back to work but I don't think I'm going to have time.  At least I have an empty project box now!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hey, Cupcake

I managed to custom quilt Hey, Cupcake.  It took the better part of 2 days.
 I experimented with lots of different ideas.  I did meandering hearts.

These are supposed to be flourishes.  Not quite as successful as I'd like.

I loved the little crowns but my transitions need a lot of work...

Daisy petals.

I really like the fleur-de-lis and hearts.

I loved the bows.  I've done them before, so it wasn't really new.

Same goes for the meandering daisies.

Cross hatching in the checks.  Loops on the inner border.
I really like the look of these corner loop flowers.

Every time I quilt something, I become a little more confident.  There's a whole lot of room for improvement but not as much as there used to be.  For 1, my Pfaff is fantastic.  Anytime there was a problem, it was 100% user error.  Also, it doesn't like my cheap thread.  I've switched to Aurifil for quilting and I think it's also made a huge difference.

Lay-off is almost over.  Sad face.  But, I've still got some things to finish first.  So, I'll see you again soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Fell Off My List Wagon, A Little

Brace yourselves.  Lots of pictures this time around.  It's been a busy week and a half.  I kind of fell off the wagon with my short list.  But, not too bad.

First, let me introduce you to Kenny Kangaroo.  You can't really tell, but he's on a light blue background.
I took out the bee and flower of my crazy quilt block and replaced it with Lilies.  I'm much happier with it now.

It was the week for lilies.  I made this floral arrangement for my new sewing room.  However, it's too tall.  So, now it lives in my living room.  Naturally, my photo cuts off the peacock feathers...
 The big news is, Rich finished painting my sewing room.  It used to be bright yellow/ Mary Englebriet inspired.  Now it's a little more mellow and dare I say, classier.  
This is a terrible picture but I thought it was funny that he was so joyfully planning my demise.  I don't remember now what made me angry with him.  But, he only agreed to paint because he felt guilty about being a jerk.  Whatever works... I made new curtains.  It's actually outdoor fabric but I LOVED it.  My peacock quilt is just to the right of this window.
 I bought some book plates and framed them for art work.  I'm still waiting on one more to arrive.  Cleaned off the tops of my cabinets and took down some design boards from the long cabinets.
This was where the new flowers were going to be...

Then I bought a mirror frame to house my old tiny mirrors.  I couldn't convince Ethan to take down the Hamster Xing sign...
 Found a home for the quilt block cross-stitch that I made last year.  Left up my larger design board.  And, changed out the quilt hanging above the stairs.

All in all, I'm really happy with how everything turned out.  Rich likes it a ton more as well, the bright yellow was too much for him.
Then I did a couple blocks for the Art Nouveau quilt.  The pansy.
I worked on a crazy quilt RR I'm doing with my local CQ group.   I added some lace that I hand dyed in one of Kathy Shaw's classes.  Did some spider web roses and wove some ribbon through the bottom.
 I did a "J" for Judy.  And, some more lilies.  They're really easy to do and I think they look really elegant.  Although, I'm a little afraid they're too subtle for that background fabric.
I don't think I'm done with this part. I think I want to add a pearl in each of the little domes.  I really needed a break from it.  The metallic thread is awful to work with.

I also got some quilting done but I feel like I've taken up enough of your time!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winter Lay-off, Week 2

Man, these first 2 weeks flew by!  Between Christmas, New Year's and the mega flood, I kept a little busier than I prefer.

However, I didn't let little things like major holidays and Acts of God keep me from my stitching!  A girl has to have her priorities!  I kept my goals for the week of Christmas pretty light.  I managed to quilt and bind the baby quilt.  I did a really simple star meander.  I was out of spray adhesive and pinned it instead.  Big mistake.  I've got several puckers on the back.  Honestly, don't know how people have so much success with pinning!  I'm terrible!  Hopefully, the baby won't mind.  At least the front is super cute!

I also finished piecing Twisted Mystery 2011 but forgot to take pictures.  I'll try to include them next time.  I got to the end and found that I was missing the final instructions.  I emailed the designer but she hasn't gotten back to me.  Not sure if she will, so I may have to guess at the assembly instructions.  We'll see what happens.

Fred was having his picture taken and I accidentally got a quilt in the background...

On the second week, I had a little more time.  I quilted & bound the State Flowers quilt.  I had my spray adhesive this time!  Not a pucker to be found!

There was a definite learning curve on this, however.  It was my first free-motion feather quilting.  I'm calling them "Heather Feathers".  Not quite right, but she had good intentions.  I used the seam as my spine.  Not bad.  Not great, but not bad.

I thought I'd taken a better picture of this.  It's my first CQJP block.  I waited until midnight New Year's Eve.  By the time I went to bed at 4:30am, I was totally delirious.  Delirious, but mostly done.

The bee and flower over here on the right really bother me.  I think I may have to re-do.  I think the rick-rack seam looks great.  Actually, I like everything else.  The flower is too bulky for the rest of the block and the bee is really "abstract".
 Not to be forgotten, I also worked on my Art Nouveau quilt.  This is the first alternative block.  She's releasing more but so far, I've restrained from buying them.  We'll see if I cave or not.  This month's is a daffodil and SOO pretty!

I used binding clips to hold the fabric to the pattern for tracing this time.  It made all the difference!!!  Thanks, Pat K. for the tip!
 These panels were such a pain in my rear!  I know if I'd had those binding clips when I did these, it would have been tons easier.  Making the seams line up was pretty awful because I'm so inaccurate all the time.  So, I fudged here and there and replaced a piece or two to make them line up.  Then, I found a picture of the new layout I'm using and realized I only need to make one.  Uggh!  Maybe the other can be a table runner?

Isn't it fantastic???!!!!  You can find it at Morning Glory Designs if you're interested in making one for yourself!

Goals for this week are quilting the Hey Cupcake quilt and possibly getting Roberta Anne with an "E" pieced.