Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fence Weaving

Fence weaving - the act of weaving fabric strips into chain link fence.  Related to the concept of "yarn bombing" however it is less in yo face and more elementary school tangram-ish.

I like to have a plan.  This semester I took a class where there were no plans.  I rolled with it as best I could, and while I wouldn't necessarily like to repeat the experience, it has turned out pretty swell.  Prompted to dream up whatever we wanted, I chose log cabin blocks.  We were supposed to explore our idea using two non-loom techniques and weaving (okay, so maybe there was a little bit of a plan).  I did some knitting and some weaving, and somehow managed to avoid crocheting (I want to like crocheting, but I just hate it).

After the trip to Houston, I needed to present a proposal as to what I was going to make for my final project.  Running on limited sleep, patience, and time, I was lost.  I was in the backyard with the dogs, watching them like a helicopter mom because the fence is wimpy, the bunnies are so slow the dogs can catch them, and the squirrels are everywhere.  To top it off, on the other side of the fence is a playground, so between rodents and children, there are too many distractions for the dogs.  BINGO.  Weave the fence.  Create a visual barrier so the dogs won't kill any other living creature.

My proposal was less than convincing.  I hadn't even really convinced myself.  After a few weeks avoiding the project for fear that it would be a complete disaster, I finally gathered my materials and got down to it.  WOW.  I want more chain link fence.

The beginning.  Word to the wise, fence weaving is better suited to the warmer months.
One block done...

It glows!

More blocks done...must keep going.

Also yawned on Maybe's face and it was scary.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving: A Time for Crafts

As could be expected, I spent a lot of my Thanksgiving time off working on various crafty projects.  And when I wasn't doing that, I was eating.  It has been a glorious weekend.  

I swore that I was not going to participate in Black Friday activities.  As a general rule, I like to support local businesses, but even the best of us get sucked into capitalistic greed.  I went to Target at 9:10 on Friday morning.  It was not even busy.  I bought a black shirt.  It was not satisfying.  As the bargain filled weekend continued, tragedy struck on today when I ran out of black thread in the midst of my final project for class.  I headed to Joann's, one of my least favorite places, expecting the rush to be over.  WHOA.  I was totally wrong.  I had to park like three rows away from the front door.  There were hundreds of people in the store.  The cutting line wove throughout the entire store.  The check out line was everywhere.  I went to the thread section, where I discovered "Buy One, Get One Free."  How could I resist?  I nabbed 12 spools of thread and elbowed my way to the cash registers.  During the 25 minute wait, I discovered I could get an additional 25 percent off.  This was exciting for about three seconds until the child in front of me started screaming.  His parents were practicing the ignore method of dealing with him.  This continued for about 20 minutes until his dad totally lost it.  I am not sure if it was due to his psychotic child or the abundance of fleece in all the other patron's carts.  So even though I am kind of excited about the thread, I am trying not to be because shopping at Joann's is gross.  

On Thanksgiving morning there was a minor disaster because our Trader Joes Thanksgiving meal did not come with gravy.  After debating between buying a small bird to roast only for the drippings or buying jar gravy, we picked jar gravy.  MISTAKE.  Gross. Thankfully Winter Woodchuck was about as good as real gravy...

Whoa.  It looks so good...

Without being asked (or trained) the dogs spent the Thanksgiving meal sleeping on their bed.

Sneak peak of another project I started.  Will I ever finish it is another question.

I am in graduate school.  I am weaving nylon strips into this fence for a final project.  I don't know what to say. 
In an attempt to legitimize this project to myself, I spent many hours zig-zag stitching the edges of the nylon, even though it is ripstop nylon.  That's dedication.

The cheap ass thread.
Maybe modeling my new scarf.  Her good looks are so editorial. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Football. Dogs. Quilt.

My three passions in life: sports, dogs, and quilting.  Not really the sports part, but you sure can't live in Nebraska and not at least pretend that football is the reason your heart continues to pound.  I am pretty good impersonator of a Husker obsessed local.  I have a Husker sweatshirt and red car, so that helps.  Unfortunately the Huskers had to experience the hard reality of losing when Michigan schooled them on Saturday.  Fortunately, I was watching at a sports bar with beer and curly fries, so that helped temper the despair.

Also continues to make progress towards becoming the dog she once was.  Today she ate some garbage and harassed Maybe.  This is a positive given what she was doing last week...

As far as the quilting goes, I am making somewhat slow progress on a quilt for my Grandma.  I am not loving the fabric, but I am still hopeful it will come together.  Also, Grandma is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to crafts.  She assigns grades to the maker's workmanship, so the pressure is on the match up my corners in hopes of an A+.  I think I have her convinced of my knitting, but some crazy rotary cutting this summer probably has her questioning my quilting.

Living the life at Risky's Sports Bar.  Seven is my favorite number and it seems to be the right number of TV's to witness a Husker game on...

Look, she's totally normal.

I have been wanting to make a plus-sign quilt for a while.  The vintage calicoes look nice, but it isn't my favorite.  Yet...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The dogs (more specifically Also) have seriously tested my patience as a mother figure over the past week.  Also has displayed some serious separation anxiety, which according to many online resources is actually my fault.  Apparently treating the dog like a small child and letting her do whatever she pleases does not create an environment where I am regarded as the "boss."  On top of her anxiety, she has a wound on the tip of her ear that was bleeding for several days.  Via an abundance of head shaking, there are reminders of the bloody ear everywhere.  Fortunately the beast has been tamed somewhat.  She has a classy bandage on her head, and she survived two short sojourns in her kennel today. I don't want to celebrate too soon, but this better be the end.

The more Also stressed me out, the more I wanted/needed to quilt to calm myself...The walking foot is amazing. I quilted a whole quilt in three hours and there is only one really obvious tuck in the back (maybe that can be my signature?).  In an effort to use up my fabric stash, I am forced to use fabric I don't really like.  Tastes change, so I have remnants of the days when I thought there wasn't a huge difference between Joann's fabric and real fabric.  HA.  I also have an huge collection of vintage fabric from my Grandma.  While I love this fabric, the small scale prints aren't really my fav.  So, I am making a quilt for my Grandma with all her old fabric.  Goal: Finish this quilt by Christmas.

Also over accessorized this ensemble.  Fake sherpa Ugg-esque dog coat, Husker red collar, and purple camo head bandage that reads as a scarf.  Too much.

But from this angle she looks like a thugged out street lady.  Most dogs couldn't pull off the one ear look...
Patches quilt.  Little patches with nine patch quilting.  Must bind. NOW.

Pile of squares for Grandma's quilt.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Late Adapter...

Trendsetters are often referred to as early adapters.  In terms of using a walking foot to quilt, I could be considered a late adapter.  Quilting in general never really interested me.  I am a piecer.  But, with a crate full of quilt tops, quilting seemed like an inevitable outcome.  I spent the summer mastering the art of wrestling bed size quilts through the Bernette.  The first few attempts were nothing to write home about, but by the end of the summer I was making do.  A much wiser person and quilter mentioned that a walking foot might make quilting easier.  Now, several (probably more than six) months later, I finally got one.  Wow, she was right!  The walking foot is amazing. 

Quilting is a necessity as the weather gets colder here in Nebraska.  Not only will I be spending more time in the sewing room sewing, but due to falling temperatures and dwindling funds, I moved my bed into the sewing room.  Consultation with Black Hills Energy revealed that heating this uninsulated shanty was going to cost many pretty pennies.  Further consultation with furnace repairmen confirmed that moving downstairs would save lots of money.  I have been constructing all sorts of fabric curtains to strategically block doorways.  My seemingly large house is being whittled down to a studio apartment.

The first floor palace. Sewing, homework, and sleeping all in the same room.  Sounds like a disaster...

The walking foot.  Stationary because it moves so fast a camera could never catch it.

Very expensive Aurafil thread that Also tried to eat.

Also also ate other things.  Like banana chips, Bonash (the bonding agent featured in a past post...it appears to be safe for moronic dogs), pin cushions, granola bars...She might possibly have a mild case of separation anxiety. 

The brand new spool of Aurafil that Also attempted to swallow was salvageable, but it can only be used for bobbins because it doesn't spin right on the spool holder.  Gah. 

Good thing I bought this Sulky blendable thread in Houston.  And good thing I kind of like it better than Aurafil...I should be thanking Also for wreaking havoc.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Binding Tool

I am not a tool user.  I am not very good with hardware tools.  Drills confuse me.  I own one quilting tool called the "Cut Around," and we do not have a successful relationship.

However, I think I found a tool for me.  "The Binding Tool" joins the two binding ends PERFECTLY.  By the time I am binding a quilt, perfection is out the window.  My joining point is usually a bumpy mess.  But whatever, the quilt is done?  That's what I try to convince myself.  Now I don't have to play games with myself to legitimize my imprecise quiltmaking.  I can be perfect too (at least my bindings can be...)

Check out Susan's website that includes links to tutorials.  Not only is the Binding Tool great, but so is Susan!

Here's Susan Brown demoing the Binding Tool. 

Quilt Fesitval: All the days we were there...

After a two day break in Austin, I returned to Houston thinking I was ready to tackle Festival.  Boy, was I wrong.  Market had taken a toll on my lazy student body and soul.  Within minutes of entering the George R. Brown Convention Center, I was overwhelmed.  Half vendors, half quilts, and people everywhere.  In the vendor area, you basically joined the sea of people moving as a unit throughout the aisles of goodies.  If one stopped, you all had to.  In the quilt area, it was slightly more sane.  The crowds congregated around the winners, and my taste led me to the quilts with less of a following.  Here are the highpoints:

View from above.  This was on Saturday afternoon, a somewhat slower day, so you can't quite sense the degree of craziness on Thursday afternoon...

The back of the vendor area had rows of chairs set up for tired quilters.  There were motorized scooters everywhere...and I was tempted to get one by the end despite the $70 rental fee.

Great quilt by Timna Tarr.

Another awesome quilt by Timna Tarr.  I saw this at the Vermont Quilt Festival last summer and it won second place in the Art Quilt-Large category at Houston.

Bottle cap art is one of my favorite things.  This quilt by Deborah Herring and Judy Kreihn was appealing, however the beer brands they used were not.

Pictorial quilts aren't usually my thing, but something about this bicycle is just perfect. Additionally, the maker Pamela Druhen is from Northfield, Vermont, a short distance from the little town I grew up in.

Hexagons are the focus on an exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum where I am a student...Cathy Miller's piece is worthy of a place in the show.

This is another quilt I saw at the Vermont Quilt Festival last summer.  I totally love it.  And this lady, Patricia Delaney made it!  Note the white gloves, she must be a history buff. 

Are these dinosaurs trying to kill each other or hug each other?  This was the most sparkliest quilt I saw at Festival...made by Ellen Anne Eddy, thread painter extraordinaire.

While this looks like thread painting, Mary Pal actually uses cheesecloth to create the faces.  WOW!

This was one of my favorite quilts on display.  Maker = Emiko Toda Loeb

If I had to guess, I would say that Sheila Frampton-Cooper would be a great detasseler.  This quilt reminded me of the cornfields...

This picture does this quilt no justice, but Mechelle Currie-Walker knows how to create texture.

This is cheater cloth.  The patchwork is printed on the fabric.  Ewwww.

The cheater cloth was set up for people to hand quilt on.  Tacky.  This is a quilt festival, get somebody's UFO...

Quilting is nothing if not totally gendered.  At least somebody has a sense of humor.  The husband's lounge had comfy chairs and a football game on.  If they had beer, I would have joined.

Quilt Market: Day Unknown

Differentiating between days was hard enough while they were happening in Houston, but now looking back from afar, it is simply not possible.  Market seems calm know looking back post-Festival.  Note all the open space that days later was stuffed full of scooters, bags, and frantic energy...

Bandana fabric can only be better with some Husker accessorizing.  This stand also had a quilt made of tractor fabric featuring my favorite McCormick Farmall.  Check it out here.  There is some scary stuff too.  Licensed fabric = scary, but sometimes in a good way (ie. Huskeriffic bandana).

Minke Mary!  Check out minke at Shannon Fabrics.   

I am a yarn snob who became a thread snob.  Aurafil rocks...

Aurafil's thread spread.  On a side note, we stared at this spread for a long time waiting for someone to help us.  At a surprising number of booths, we were able to stand around fondling objects with no one making any attempt to help us let alone sell us on their product.  Granted we wouldn't have bought it anyway, I was expecting some sleazy car salesman types and instead it was closer to work-study students at the UNL gym front desk.

Decorated booth rails at Starr Design Fabrics. All hand dyed, reminds me of Vermont. 

I loved the display at Moda.

At the Clover booth they were demoing a new product used to make flowers.  Fabric flowers are all the rage on all kinds of cutesy handmade things, but sometimes it is a hot mess.  Clover has six different plastic templates that help users make perfect petals in different shapes...

Other than our Halloween costume, this one was pretty good.  Its Brandon Mably with a spider on his head.  Also, Kaffe Fassett was behind him, so I did spot him in Houston!

Madeleine of Papago Studio became overwhelmed with all the opportunities to start her own business.  From this wolf fabric to a mushroom themed fabric store, she was all ideas!