Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Things I've learned ...

The sort of directed sewing  I am doing for the Crumb Along using my scrap heap with no fixed result in mind has taught me some interesting things and reminded me of others that I had forgotten. I talk about some of the design considerations and things I am contemplating with this quilt in the design wall post yesterday, but here is a list of things I have learned, in no particular order...

A sampling of blocks on the design wall. 
1. I have a LOT of blue and green in the scrap pile and very little of the red in the pile is true red; there is rust,
    maroon, burgundy, wine, claret (I am sensing a theme here in the names of the not-quite-reds!)... You get 
    the picture.

2. There are lots of leaf prints in my scrap pile too, and they are not all greens.

3. Whereas I seldom actually follow patterns, I usually have an end in mind when I begin and am a fairly 
    traditional piecer - this project is pushing those habits into a newer, open ended, free-form space unfamiliar
    to me but not altogether uncomfortable.

4. I tend to tilt things to the left more than the right. This is a problem when you are trying to get things to look 
    random... everything tilts to the left! I am making a conscious effort to correct that now.

These are my tiny gems, just 4" big, they are so CUTE!
5. I can completely ignore the passage of time, thirst, aches and pains (the house burning down around me 
    most likely) when involved in sewing/creating. I knew this of course, but I don't often get to experience it 
    anymore. The first time I remember it being quite clear was in college. I was going to stop by the sculpture 
    studio for an hour or so on my way home following an science lab. The next time I looked up the guard 
    was there telling me to leave so he could lock the building. It was 1 am. Most often now I go upstairs to 
    sew after the kids are asleep for 'just 30 minutes' and it rapidly becomes 2 am. My husband knows about 
    this time warp problem I have and doesn't expect to see me again until morning (and then I'm asleep!). Of 
    course, now that the sewing room is also my 11 year old son's room I can't really do that anymore except 
    when he is gone camping, like this weekend. Of course when the kids are awake there is no chance of 
    sewing uninterrupted for long periods. They are persistent little beggars those children.

I like this star built around a bird school house.
6. I have a linear editor in my head that can be muted, but not turned off completely. My stars can have uneven points, some sharp, some not, the centers don't have to be square and the 'valley's' don't have the touch the center square... But the corners of the center square MUST line up with the edges of the adjoining star points, or come very close to it, or the whole thing looks wrong to me. What's up with that? Similarly the hearts can be uneven, skewed, funky shapes... but the valley between the heart lobes must make a nice point and there is a certain shape to be achieved with the outer slant or the whole thing lacks pizazz. I suppose it is the same part of my brain that used to cause me to straighten the pictures on other people's walls when they weren't looking and can tell if they are off 1/8th of an inch from across the room. It's pathological. Oh, and to add an interesting twist, all this only applies to MY work. I can admire and appreciate all sorts of wonkiness in other people's work, I just can't do it myself with satisfaction. How's that for a double standard? This is also a realization that is not new to me.

7. I really need to move the ironing board closer to the sewing machine... I am wearing a track in the carpet.

8. Crumbs produce a massive amount of strings and little bits of thread - I have taken to keeping a lint brush 
    on the ironing board to capture them before they breed.

9. I may have enough blocks for two quilts and I definitely have a second color family happening (clear, 
    brightish pastels) in a few blocks that might have to become a small quilt of their own.

sample layout of both large and small blocks together
10.Last but not least, I still have lots of sewing to do and it will be a massive task to get them all up on the board and move them around to get just the right arrangement of blocks. I have some new ideas, maybe an on point setting? Maybe staggering large blocks with sets of two smaller blocks... LOTS of possibilities.

I have been adding four patches to my blocks for a few weeks, so I am ahead of this week's lesson over at the Crumb Along. I will use this week to make more of the blocks I need more of to balance my layout. I also found another use for cute little crumby hearts that don't fit with my color scheme which I will post more about later in the week, so come back and check it out! Happy sewing!


  1. It's fun to watch your progress!

  2. Your work is just incredible. I love quilts and the creative process that goes into them is fascinating to me.

  3. Boy it helped to see what you had done. Thank you

  4. If you give up quilting (perish the thought) you could do stand-up comedy at quilt retreats. After I spewed coffee out my nose, I wisely set the mug aside to keep reading. Seeing all those blocks is awesome. There's a cohesiveness that is very appealing. Fantastic work.

  5. Fun post and I love all your blocks! I am curious how it is that your sewing room is in your son's room. When my son was young we had a two bedroom place, so my sewing was also his room. He did not wake up if I sewed during his naps. I guess he got used to the noise or was comforted by it because I was nearby. The two places we lived it was in our room. Now I have separate room only because our kids are grown.

    Thank you for stopping by!


  6. I LOVED reading your post...It's amazing that when a person is crumbing it's more creative and your mind has time to relax. Sometimes when I am power sewing through 600 half square triangles all I can think of is how many more are left....Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I am loving your blocks!!

  7. Loved your post and your blocks. You have a TINY little heart and that is just adorable!!! I like how all your blocks just work together. Very pretty. Have a great weekend.

  8. What a great post! I enjoyed reading about your learning :)