Sunday, February 17, 2013

No pattern, no problem!

I swear I wasted years of schooling in which I could have enjoyed art class, definitely should have at least tried my hand at it after those miserable attempts in grade school, but alas, I shrunk away, claiming that I would never be able to draw a stick figure that was remotely recognizable. Having both grandmothers who taught crafting professionally, everything from sewing, quilting, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, even ceramics, I should have known better. Since the talent skipped my mother, perhaps I believed it also skipped me? Or perhaps it was that horrid experience in paper mache, making a distorted blob that discouraged me? 

I admit, I am no artist, of the traditional type, anyway, but I did discover during my fun employment at Mud Bay that I can look at something and do a fairly decent job of recreating it. I think my second favorite thing about working at Mud Bay, next to playing with the puppies who shop(lifted) there (out of the cookie bins!) was getting to play with colored markers and pencils to make signs and tags. Perhaps I was too good, for they don't allow the copies of logos and such there any longer. Nah, I still don't think I am that good, but I certainly did enjoy it! 

Anyway, I have discovered that I am not without talents, having gotten really good at things like knitting, crochet, needle arts, and machine embroidery. I have dabbled in sewing, yet although I have an amazing sewing machine, I have not used it like I thought I would. I have always wanted to try quilting, as I love fabrics, and am so happy that I have started!

I just finished my second The Dog Is Hungry wall hanging & sign, this one all by myself! This is also a gift, for another Tracy, ironically, and at the moment it is proudly hanging in the Blue Collar Doghouse in Edmonds, where I teach dog classes on Saturday mornings. I love teaching there, it is a great facility, with great people and great dogs.... BTW, Thanks Karen for bathing and grooming Boomer and Dancer! They are very handsome and smell delightful again! 

So, is it confidence or craziness that makes me jump right in to these quilting projects, without a pattern, without learning and forge ahead, learning as I go? I found a charm pack on sale online and bought it because I liked the colors. It was not by Moda, who has 42 charm squares in each pack, but by Fabric Editions, in Citrus by Fabric Palette and only had 20 squares. Had I realized that, I would not have thought it such a great deal. However, I like the fabrics and decided to make a couple of throw pillow shams for a friend.. The friend who I thought of when I saw the fabrics. After an intensive search, I could find no other Citrus fabric of the same collection, but I did discover a gorgeous soft peach at Keepsake Cottage, my LQS, that looks gorgeous with it for backing. So, again, without a real pattern that I could go on, I whipped out a couple of nine square blocks.  That left two unused squares, which I thought would be cute as accent corners... Which they are, but I certainly learned a lot in figuring out how to get them there! Thank heavens for my very sharp, high quality Clover seam ripper! I could not have done it without you! As ye sew, so shall ye rip! 

Last night, I got as far as quilting the first block. I realize now that I failed to square them uploaded before adding the trim pieces, but I am learning and I hope that the fluffiness of the pillow will disguise some of the mistakes. They are not too bad, and I am proud of how well most of the corners align! I have only ever quilted once before, with my Grandma Crofoot, when I was probably ten years old and it was by hand. I started off with a simple stitch-in-the-ditch technique, but it wasn't long before I was having fun! And I was having fun! I can hardly wait to see how I do when I have a pattern to tell me what to do, the sizes to cut, what order to do it all in. Makes me appreciate You Tube and everyone who makes tutorials. I really should watch a few and learn the right way to do it. I have decided that I am going to take a quilting class. I figure that after all these years, I am long overdue and perhaps I can learn to make things that don't look like a 3 year old made! Happy stitchin'!