Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vacation is well and truly over. Downloading the pictures from the camera makes it official. It was a great week and a half, and of course it was much too short.

The main event was a trip to Iowa to spend time with my friend Amy working on the double wedding ring. It was a day and a half on the road to get there, even without exploring interesting places along the way. I always knew there was a place on this earth where I would fit right in:
On the way home I stopped here to get gas. I got to see the Peculiar Bank and the Peculiar Lion's Club and the Peculiar Pharmacy. Clearly these people are proud of the place they call home. The countryside in Iowa was very green. It reminded me a lot of Alberta except for the terracing of the slopes. Mostly it was planted in corn and beans, just like home. But one thing they do have, that we don't have here, is barn quilts. I saw three or four different ones in our rambles around the countryside. Makes me wish I had a barn.

The best part was getting to spend time with Amy and work on the quilt. It seems like we hardly made a dent in it in the 5 days we had, but it was great fun. There were visits to quilt shops, and routine checks for sale yarn. There was good cooking and good eating. And lots and lots of talking. You'd think we never talk to each other.
Now I'm back home and have to rely on the quilting assistants here. Princess is doing a good job of keeping the quilt from lifting off the table while I work on it. Bart patrols the floor in case orange yarn drops from the sky or a ball of mohair strays from the drawer mohair lives in. I wish one or the other of them would learn to use a thimble and help with the stitching. But meanwhile they do what they do very well. You take what you can get.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The good news is that the studio storage wall has gone from looking like this:

to looking like this:

Yes, it's a shelf piled high with boxes, but the boxes are all similar in size and shape, and they are LABELLED. The labels are even somewhat color-coded, although I ran out of one color and had to switch. Projects that were lurking in other places have been pulled out of hiding and are now assigned to a storage box. The scrap bins have found another place to live. And I pretty much know what everything is.

The bad news is that every one of those plastic boxes represents an unfinished quilt. Some have completed tops and are just waiting to be quilted. Others have a block or two completed. And I wish I could say that's the lot of them, but I can't. There are other projects I don't have boxes for at the moment, and they are just being shuffled off to a corner for the time being.

Still, it's progress. The shelf got dusted as the boxes got taken down. A couple of projects were declared abandoned and the fabrics put back in stash. A couple of others have moved up the ladder to completion, since it doesn't seem like it will take a lot to finish them. And in the process I've created enough new storage space that I don't think I'm going to have to move in extra shelves after all, although I haven't completely resolved the problem of where to store my dying equipment.

Next to tackle the notions and embellishments.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The baby is at the longarmers to be basted. The house feels kind of empty, like when one of the kitties is at the vet or something. A being that should be here isn't. But then very soon Baby will be leaving for good, so I guess this is a good time to get used to the idea.

I really need a name for this quilt, other than "The DWR" or "The Baby." I need a name that says it is this particular DWR, not just any one. It's going to James and Crystal, but it's not really "James and Crystal's DWR." I need a name that describes the unique beauty of this quilt. Something to ponder during the quilting phase.

Meanwhile I am giving the studio a major makeover. At least in terms of pulling stuff out of cubbyholes and seeing what space can be used for what. Right now it's the UFO's in various stages that have me scratching my head. These are the kinds I have identified so far:

1. There are fabric collections and scraps from finished tops. I know as soon as I put them back in stash and use them up I'll want them for something, so they need to stick together until the label goes on the quilt, or at least until the binding goes on. But maybe if they have their own storage area I can more easily monitor those tops and move them along toward being quilted.

2. There are tops in progress. These have at least one block sewn. I'm including in here collections of blocks I've received in swaps, even though I haven't really figured out what to do with them. This group has blocks, fabrics, scraps, and hopefully a pattern. Again, having them all together might help keep this group from getting any larger than it is.

3. There are quilts that haven't been started yet, but for which fabrics have been collected. Some of these are just a collection of fabrics that need to go together into a quilt, without even a design yet. Those right now are living on the narrow shelves under my main fabric storage. There's room enough for everything and I can see what's there. I'm also putting fabrics that have sufficient yardage for backing there.

4. And there are scrapbuster projects. These have no completion goal, they are just things I work on whenever I want to just sew without thinking. There are pieces cut to size, some finished blocks, maybe some directions. These need to live together so they don't get mixed up with other projects that I really do have a completion date in mind for.

I started with putting projects in plastic storage boxes on the shelf over the fabric storage. But I've run out of room, and the boxes are rather untidily stacked, and I just need for it to feel like more of a system. Labels will help. Maybe color-coded labels?

I'm pondering on all of this while I'm finishing up the Sprout quilt. I finished the machine quilting yesterday, and today I will sew on the binding. Just a few more hearts for handquilting, and it will be ready to send off to the new baby.