Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Next?

Ever feel that let down after you finish a big project? Hannah's quilt was quite a challenge...my biggest, my first pieced binding, plus that extra pressure of wanting it to be my best cause she's such a great kid. It's like getting that adrenaline rush and then the big crash...mentally and physically. I can't seem to get my brain working or those creative juices running. I started the day with a plan to whip up some extra squares from this quilt. I'd made them into half square triangles awhile ago. The plan was to be pinwheels, but my machine couldn't handle the bulk of the polyester sheet in the center of that pinwheel, so I fractured them. I offset the half square triangles by about an inch, sewed them up, trimmed and came up with this. I think the block is nifty, but that happened weeks ago when I was merrily humming along. I only had a few (15, I think) so I needed to add either setting blocks or frame them...something to make it baby quilt size. I'm on my 3rd attempt. I tried this ugly green (way too overwhelming), then this bubble gum pink (what was I thinking?), and I framed a few in some Kona snow like in the picture. (the pic is cruddy...it's raining and dark) I guess I'm ok with that, but it needs something. I've held up every fabric in my closet. The studio looks like a bomb dropped with all the piles of fabric everywhere. I did all that folding yesterday, for whose benefit? I've rescued these blocks from the trash can once already. They may be heading that way again. I'm not sure I can face that seam ripper again. Does your seam ripper look at you with an evil grin? Mine does.






















So, with grim determination I turned my focus elsewhere. I have to make a treehouse block for Betty in the Common Threads Virtual Quilting Bee. Applique will be involved which I've never done, so I thought...how about a practice session. I thought I'd make some little houses and turn them into Christmas ornaments. Working small is not my strength. They could be ornaments on King Kong's tree. So, I used fusible web for the first time and fused these houses. Now what? I have no idea where to go next? Do I sew around the edges now? How? I wonder if my little machine can do this? It sure can't handle anything fancy. Wendy said something about stabilizer? Am I too late for that?

Hubby is out of town for the rest of the week. I think I'll open a bottle of wine. Drinking alone in the middle of the afternoon...it's come to that. Hope your day is going more according to plan.

46 comments:

audreypawdrey said...

Don't throw those blocks away! Maybe just put them down for a little longer. I would have thought the green would work well with those pinwheels-I like the snow but maybe a blue or pale yellow?
I love the little houses! I have no idea how to applique, so I can't help you with that but that would make such a cute quilt.
I hope your day gets better!

Lynn said...

Your houses are really really cute! I think they would make a cute little quilt.

As for the actual applique, looks like you're doing fusible raw edge applique. You have a few options, the easiest is to do zigzag stitch around the edges. Yes, you're at that step, and if you want stabilizer, you add it now. I use tear away stabilizer, and I just kind of put it on the back and sew through both layers.

Here are a couple helpful links: First one does satin stitch applique http://laquiltworks.bizland.com/my_tips.htm

Second goes through different stitches.
http://www.quiltmaker.com/tips/tip14/

Hope this helps! It's really not too hard, I promise!

MelissaS said...

Drinking in the afternoon isn't a bad thing, is it?

Ravenhill said...

I just love the house blocks! They are really colorful and wonderful! Quilting is such an adventure isn't it! You have ideas but you never really know what you will end up with...
~Emily

nettie said...

the houses are adorable.

I have wanted to toss many a quilt block...sometimes I just put them away. I guess that's why my list of to-do's is so big.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I would laugh because I know how you feel but that isn't nice. I hate when I hit a wall with a quilt. It is frustrating. Please though. NO TRASH. I love the houses, they POP! The stabilizer is put on the back when you machine applique so yeah its too late for that but they look great without it! I LOVE them. As for my day? I'm here wasting sewing time! But it is good for me and seeing what is going on perks me up.

Linn said...

Oh, dear. Quilting woes. I'm not much help, but I love your idea of fracturing the pinwheel. Great solution.

Qubie said...

Sounds to me like you might be due for a new sewing machine if yours is not sewing pinwheels.

As for throwing out blocks, I have done that a few times. Maybe I should have kept them for a rainy day, but there comes a time when you just have to much. Enough is enough. I say do it and don't look back. Go for it girl.

Applique is something I don't do often. It ranks right up there with that h word. H word? What H word? NO, not Hell - Hand.

ellen said...

I am sorry Jacquie, but I am having a bit of a giggle over your post. I have never made a quilt, but I am well acquainted with that mean looking, snarky seam ripper. Having said that, where would I be without that sharp little guy?
I think your houses are super. Do not throw them away. There is so much joy in them and such jauntiness.
(p.s. I am alone and have just opened up a bottle of wine and it's just past 4:00. To add to that, I was even thinking about taking a picture of my wine opener and blogging about her. I know, you don't have to say anything about THAT, but I probably will one of these days.)

Anonymous said...

Oh Jacquie, ye of little faith. By tomorrow you will come up with an amazing fix for your pinwheels. Maybe some of those neat little polka dots tucked in somewhere. Seems to be your signature. As for the houses why not try a little blanket stitch around them. Black embroidery floss or pearle cotton would really make them pop.
I seem to remember that you have a special day coming up soon. Why not hint for a new Bernina.
Take care and keep on stitchin.

judy said...

I'm sorry you're at an impasse and you're having troubles continuing.. or even finding that elusive sewing mojo.

I'm having a bit of a "lost" or "where do I go from here" feeling to, having completed the quilt for my mom almost too fast! It was a complete adrenaline rush to get it all pieced, quilted and hand-bound in a week and I did it! And now? What the heck do I do? I've dabbled in a few little things here and there... even trying to make myself a small quilted purse, but I'm just not 'feeling it' right now.

I'd drink with you for sure. It's been one. of. those. days!

Exuberant Color said...

Tearaway stablilizer keeps the zig zag (satin stitch) from rippling. If you are in a pinch you can just use junk mail paper like we did back before there were stabilizers available. Just place it under your block, stitch, and then tear it away. As long as the houses are fused you don't really have to do a tight satin stitch if you don't want too. If you do a looser zig zag (about 1.0 length) you don't need any stabilizer.

I have the big let down after every really successful project. That is why I have so many things going at once. I can just jump in on any of the "in progress" pieces and sew a few seams until I decide what I really want to do next.

Joanna said...

OK girl, I have the easiest way to sew down those blocks. Do it a-la McKenna Ryan style...http://www.pineneedles.com/Company/help.asp ...and just sew a straight stitch on the appliques as close to the edge as possible. Like 1/16th of an inch. They will look fantastic! I am TOTALLY in love with your houses and so inspired to make some King Kong ornaments too!

MichelleB said...

Well, I love your fractured blocks. I say DON'T throw them away. If later you decide that you don't want them, give them away. The houses are adorable. I love hand work, and do my applique that way, so I'm sorry I can't help you there. I can help you drink though! :) Cheers!

MichelleB said...

Oh, yeah, and I'd say you were definitely due for a new sewing machine, too! You know how nice those Berninas are! ;)

Rebekah said...

I think you're supposed to sew around the edges of the applique. I'm a novice with applique and totally nervous about making Betty's block too, so I'm probably not too much help for you :)

Kieny The Dutchlady said...

I hear you, your story sounds very familiair to me. Don't throw anything away who knows what your blocks may look like to you next week or next month. Sorry can't give you any advice on the applique; applique always scares me! I'm pretty sure better days are ahead of you.

Meagan said...

I'm seriously digging the fractured pinwheels. So don't throw them away--you never know when you'll be shopping for fabric and the perfect inspiration will hit.

Sarah said...

oh my, can't wait to see what you do with those houses!

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

You've gotten so much help with your applique! I haven't ventured into that territory yet - but I really like it . . . it's on my list :)

Your fractured pinwheels are great! Just put them aside until they speak to you again - they will come around. Have a good night :)

Sew Bee It said...

Oh, those split pinwheels are DARLING! Love 'em. I know that doesn't help, just sayin! And I've never done applique... Um, not being what one would call handy with a needle has something to do with that:)

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Love both of your blocks...and as for the red one for Hannah...just so stunning Jackie I am sure she will be thrilled..

Stephanie D. said...

Just put those blocks in a baggie for a later day. Not everything has to be finished right away. Sometimes it has to simmer on the back burner of your subconscious awhile, and then Bingo!--the solution just pops right up.

As far as fusible applique, you need to do some stitching to keep the edges from fraying or curling up, which means either a straight stitch all around, or a zig-zag stitch. This is the time to put something on the back to stabilize it, and it really does make a difference. I find old telephone book pages are cheap, easily accessible, and work fine.

And this I learned just recently--you can trim the backing about a quarter to half an inch inside the outline of the appliqued object to cut down on the bulk when it comes time to quilt it all.

I really like those off-set windmills,

Stephanie said...

Darling houses. You can blanket stitch or zig zag stitch around your little houses using a coordinating thread or something constrasting to make them really stand out. If you're not confident in your stitching use a thread that blends then any mistakes won't STAND OUT. Can't wait to see what you do. You can do the stitching by machine or hand. I like machine...quicker for me.

QuiltedSimple said...

Don't throw away those blocks - they are cute! You can either blanket stitch or zig zag (or even straight stitch) around the houses - they are going to be fabulous. And if you want to drink a bottle of wine virtually, let me know and I'll be happy to join in!
Kris

Janis said...

I'm thinking after a good night's rest you'll come back to these and have a whole new perspective.
Seriously - your updated, fractured pinwheels are cute and a great creative solution and your houses are fab!!!

I've done a lot of fusible applique but always using a satin stich. I'm intrigued with these comments about a straight stitch finish. Gonna have to try that.

Heidi said...

So you tried that light blue color of the small flower in the print for the border. Or maybe red. You could always go with black too. That would pop out the pink. Yellow might work too :)

I have done some applique and most of the previous comments cover what I have done too. Your houses are great. They will make great ornaments.

Madge said...

I love those little houses. I'm so anxious to sit down and do some sewing, but just can't get to it this month. wwaaaahhhh.

em's scrapbag said...

Your little house are adorable. Your pinwheel blocks are nice you probably need a break from them. And if they are taking too much of your time and you just can't stand them later, give them to a friend. You'll feel good to be rid of them and she'll be thrilled to have the gift.

Kellie said...

I think your houses are fantastic! I am looking forward to seeing more of your applique!!!! Much more fun than piecing!!!!!

Amy said...

I don't think you need any more advice here, just wanted to say, "I LOVE the little houses!"

Victoria said...

Your blocks are sweet, don't feed them to the garbage!
As for the houses, they are wonderful! And I will just repeat what has already been said...all you need to do is iron on some tear away stabilizer, (I like the Sulky brand) and zigzag away! Easy-shmezy! Enjoy your wine!

Dawn said...

King Kong ornaments, mountains of fabric choices and a bottle of wine!?!...actually sounds like the beginnings of quite the party.

I'll be right over.

KateKwiltz said...

Project Letdown can be disheartening, but I've found that copious amounts of wine help replenish those depleted creative juices! I've also found that the little break allows me to get reacquainted with all those neglected appliances around my house, like the vacuum and washing machine...

Lovin' the wonky little houses, don't pitch 'em! Check out Frieda Anderson's art quilts for some inspiration...she doesn't sew her edges down so much as just quilts over everything. Also Laura Wasilowski, Dean of Corrections for The Chicago School of Fusing:

http://www.friestyle.com/index.html
http://www.artfabrik.com/gallery.html

CalicoDaisy said...

Great little colorful houses! I have always love whimsy art.

Sara said...

You do such awesome work - its just great! And I love that pinwheel type block

Tine said...

I like your pinwheel-ish blocks! Don't toss them...

The appliqué I have done on my machine have been with fusible web too. I sticth the pieces all around the edges in a close zig-zag stitch. If your machine can do a buttonhole-stitch, that looks very nice too -mine can't..

amandajean said...

sorry you are having a bummer kind of day. can i come and drink with you in the middle of the day? it sounds really really good right now. really good.

your cute cute cute houses made me think of this FAB quilt I found on flickr today. I hope it cheers you up and makes your day just a bit better. I know it made me smile.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/krom_mama/2809132260/

chin up. :)

upstateLisa said...

AAACCCKKK! I loooove those houses!!!!!!!! they are great, jacquie!!!!

Valerie said...

I love your quilt for Hannah. Oh my goodness, you deserve a break. This is just beautiful!

Colleen formerly of South Africa said...

Cute houses. Love the polka dots.

Levin (and Emily) said...

i can't help with the colours - i'm terrible at making colour decisions.
i love your little houses - and i had to laugh at your comment about doing little things. my hands don't do little either - i'm just not an intricate person.
good luck finding your crafting mojo again - i'm struggling a little at the moment too.
l
x

nicolette said...

Love the house blocks!
You’ve received lots of good advice.

Sometimes you just need a break fro quilting to come back with a fresh focuss!

MightyMom said...

late coming by...and you probably won't like what I'm going to say....but I'm gonna say it anyway.


You need a soft-ish purple to off set the pale pink in those blocks and bring out the colors. I love the look of the block. but you need contrast and purple is the best for pink. I'd take off that wide border..put one about 2/3 that size on in a pale or muted purple and see what it looks like!

I can lend you some if you need purple to see.

susan said...

sorry your creative mojo is on vacation. those blocks are so ingenius. i love them and i think they look nice with the white. what do you not like about them?
i love that this is how you started your houses, not knowing what you were doing!! they turned out fabulous of course.

Clare said...

I love those houses - they are so cute.