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Monday, July 20, 2009

Rachel's Star - Part Two

So, for those up to the challenge of following this saga ... I determined that it was more than one fabric which I did not like in my first attempted Rachel's Star. Nice though these fabrics are, they just weren't producing the visual effect I was looking for. Thus, a repeat trip to the LM store for more fabric resulted in more muted (some would say muddy) teal colours to replace the lovely brown, and a new bright blue.
So, once again my weekend was spent arguing with the pieces of this complicated pattern (at least for me). Armed with all the lessons I learnt in the first rendition ..... I got the
Star together. I think I did a better job matching this time around, but still need some minor adjustments. For me the log cabin side units now visually recede where they should and the bright blue does not overpower the entire unit, hoorah! Now the big decision ...... which version should I use?
I might just have to complete both versions in order to decide .... YIKES. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Saga of Rachel's Star . Part One

So folks, the saga of Rachel's Star begins. I tell myself, and others, that I'm dyslexic. Officially undiagnosed but there's enough familial history and loads of daily situational examples to convince me this is probably true. It helps explain why I'm always accused of being impetuous and can't follow directions well ...
Anyway, it's a convenient label to use to explain away all the stupid annoying crises I can get myself into, especially in sewing where I all too frequently do as much un-sewing as sewing!
So, given this why the heck would I take on the challenge of paper piecing such a challenging wall hanging? Well, because I love a challenge, because many of my quilting friends keep reassuring me that paper piecing is a "piece of cake" and because I really want to make this for my friend and colleague who is retiring.
So, last post you were introduced to the pattern (above) and the fabrics I carefully chose. Now I know I didn't get exactly the same fabrics (how could I- the pattern is 7 years old ...) but I thought I had done a pretty good job, especially since these are not really my colours ... Anyway, off to a pretty good start, cut the centre hexagon and sewed the alternating dark/bright gold pieces to it. Mistake #1. I'd like to blame poorly written patterns for most of my un-sewing adventures but this one was just plain ol me being a dullard ... instead of sewing the long edge of the trapazoids to the hexagon I start off by sewing the short sides. I quickly figure out that this is wrong, unsewed it and looked more carefully at the pattern (a picture is waaaaay better than 1000 words, especially when there is a paucity of words). So, sewing the long sides makes the instructions leave the first seam half done (as in partial seam) a whole lot more meaningful!

OK, now on to step 2 ... This involved making the 6 Star Points units and attaching 3 to the centre. Ok, how hard can that be? Well, I made the star points, all the while wondering why the heck the B**** who wrote this stupid pattern would tell me to cut a strip which is obviously not big enough to make the centre triangle in the star point and have ANY seam allowance .... Mistake #2.The pattern, if I had read/reread and then read again ... did tell me to cut a strip big enough .... Duh! Step 3 was to attach 3 of the 6 Star Points to the Hexagon ... but to which side???? (Hint = Mistake #3 not discovered until much later!)

Ok, so I'm well on my way but something doesn't look quite right - I wonder what it is??? Step 4 is to create the side log cabin units. Now one of the fabrics is supposed to visually recede, but I don't like my first choice of fabric (too muddy) so elect for another rather lovely teal/blue green batik. It matches wonderfully when you're working up close. Mistake #4. Now the log cabin blocks appear as a BIG BLUE thing in the centre. Not the look I was hoping for..... But I carry on (Mistake #5!)

So the centre section of Rachel's Star is all put together, but ... there's something wrong ... What is it??? YIKES, the Star Points are attached incorrectly therefore the interweaving effect of the 2 different golds isn't happening ! ARGH! So, late at night I hop into bed accompanied by Iris the cat, the ill-fated Rachel's Star and my seam ripper. Some bed mates eh? Anyway, approximately 30 minutes later (why does it take 1/10th the time to un-sew that it took to sew in the first place???) Mistake #3, remember it? is completely undone.

Onwards and upwards .... everything is sewn back together again and the interwoven effect of the star now shines through. YEAH! Triumph, no wait ... I still don't like the BIG BLUE thing in the centre of the log cabin side units, but I carry on, Mistake #6 .

Next I proceed to the Star points in the outer side units. I make the one on the right first, looks good doesn't it? Mistake #7 .... the colours are A--backwards, so I proceed to throw the thing across the room and make another! Let's see if I can get this one simple unit right! But in a fit of momentary insanity (momentary ha!) I decide I must correct Mistake #4 and exchange the lovely teal/blue green batik from my original choice (oh, why didn't I just leave things alone in the first place?) Mistake #8 results below.
OK, it doesn't look too too bad. Except for the 8 mistakes so far, and I'm only half way through ! The BIG BLUE thing is still way tooooo prominent for my liking. What to do, what to do?
I give up totally. First I consult with at least 2 colour experts then return to the fabric store and, while retaining the focus fabric of the centre hexagon, choose all new (muddier) teals. This should fix it...

Stay tuned for Rachel's Star part two .....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Arrested Adolescent ?

Somewhere along the line I developed good eating habits. Let me rephrase that, nutritious eating habits, at least better than they were for many years. As a single person it is often very difficult to motivate yourself to cook nutritiously, and frequently much much to easy to just stick something in the nuker and be done with it, or better yet, pop some popcorn! Yeah, that's the ticket! Anyway, back to my original point. I have developed the habit of taking lunches to work (BTW, this is also a nice frugal way to save $ and still look like a goody goody;)) and since I LOVE apples, I usually include an apple in my lunch - you know, an apple a day keeps the Dr away ...

So, as I pulled out my apple today I went into my usual routine (I have a routine?) of twisting the wee stem and mentally reciting an alpha list of male names - you know the routine, you go through a list of male names until the stem breaks off - and that's the name of the man you're going to marry! OMG I can't believe I still play that silly game!! I can't believe I'm still subconsciously waiting - hoping - expecting to get married (re-married that is). Does this make me an arrested adolescent (I meant "arrested adolescent" in terms of adults who still covet adolescent-like things/act like an adolescent)??? BTW, I hate that terminology - not that I don't hate all labels - they're so denigrating ... Oh yuck!!! I really can't bear myself today ... how could I? I reallllly thought I was further along the evolutionary line of independent women to have stopped all this silliness!

See what a wee apple can do?


Monday, July 06, 2009

Rocky Racoon ...

Simone's latest pose ... upside down on her back!
I think she's relaxed!

So, last week was unusual in that Wednesday was Canada Day. I was scheduled to work Sat. July 4th and missed our customary Friday dinner out. Consequently mother and I chose to dine out on Sat. Later that evening whilst approaching my front step I noticed both Iris and Simone in the front window. Now this is unusual for both cats to be in the window at the same time .... so, what's going on ??

Sadly, I have to report that a deceased baby raccoon was lying in the front garden against the side of my front steps, gently nestled under the leaves of my hosta plant. Where did this poor baby come from ? I don't know, but I think I've had enough adventures with wild life for awhile. So, after doing the eeewww thing for awhile, I retrieved my shovel, garden gloves and a plastic bag and maneuvered the wee thing out of the garden. Now I can't approach the garbage pail as I know what's there lying in state!
So, needing a project to take my mind of the poor wee thing, I determined to finally, yes finally do something about my summer purse. I really like the purse, it's just small enough for me that I can't carry too much (bad for my wounded shoulder) and somewhat stylish. Only problem is it does not close and things were forever falling out! So I scavenged in my batik stash and located just enough matching fabric from the same batik as my necessary bag, to make a closure. Above is the before, and on either side are my after pics! Tada!!!!

What else did I accomplish on my one day off? I got the fabrics cut for the Rachel's Star wall hanging referred to in the last post. I have to admit the instructions were very poor . Personally I like better instructions than "cut some scraps" ... hello ..... pattern author .... didn't you get paid to write a pattern ?? A pattern, by definition, means exact measurements, at least to me. Grrrr! So, this is what I have cut, wish me luck!!!


Friday, July 03, 2009

New Project !

So, while waiting for my friend L to complete the quilt top she wants hand quilted, I decided to take a quick stab (pardon the pun) at the whole cloth wall hanging kit I got cheap, cheap cheap at an auction at my other guild. I'm almost half way done when I discover that one of my work colleagues has accepted an early retirement package. He's a good friend, Jewish and has a daughter named Rachel, so I thought the wall hanging above, called Rachel's Star, might be a nice gift. OK ....
Quick - lay aside the whole cloth 'cause I've got a NEW PROJECT!

Of course, I couldn't find exactly the same fabrics, but did manage to get a great brown, blue and teal paisley ... so co-ordinated the remaining fabric choices from there! It's a Quilter's Newsletter, 2000 paper pieced project, something I've only tried once before .... so wish me luck!

And, as I was shopping in our local LM store, didn't I run into - ohhhh, what's her name ???? We ended up talking in the aisle for approx. 45 minutes, neither of us referring to the other by name, obviously neither of us could remember the other one's name. DON'T YA JUST HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS?

As I drove home the mantra kept running thru my head - not Wilma, not Wilma, not Wilma - shades of F Flintstone. Of course it hit me once I got to bed - NORMA!

P.S. Speaking of wildlife ... I can now add a baby rabbit, a chipmunk and a hummingbird to the list of wildlife in my back garden... WooHoo!