Cotton + Steel’s Good Fortune Quilt Progress

Okay everyone, I feel like I’m on a good flow with quilting.  Finally, my head is back in the game!  Maybe I’m getting inspired by creating craft rooms in every house I tour, or maybe it’s just playing with fabric.  I can easily see myself becoming a fabric hoarder just like my momma.

Taking the Disappearing Four Patch class last week with Miss Ashley really helped me get a feel for working with fabric that isn’t backed with paper, but I have to admit I really just love paper piecing.  It’s math in a quilt form, and makes my little calculator brain so happy.  I’m sure once I keep working with traditional quilting methods, I’ll be just as pleased, though.  I keep scouring for classes to take across the metroplex, because I really enjoy sewing with other people and hearing about other projects too.  It’s a solid community for sure, and I’ve already met some lovely people.

I wish I had been able to take advantage of these Dallas snow days to whip out all sorts of blocks, but the joy of technology is that you carry you laptop with you and still get to work 🙂  I did squeeze in some things during lunch breaks and evenings, though.

I started working on a paper piecing kit I picked up at Urban Spools a few months ago, and I love it so far!  They actually still have a few still available, so just click right here to check it out.  The pieces are large enough that the copies are made on 11×17 paper and the fabrics are beautiful.  I hit a good flow cutting everything out and it’s coming together nicely.

Cotton + Steel has quickly become one of my favorite fabric companies, and I love their modern and fresh take.  They have a group of designers that also collaborate together, and it’s some pretty cool product.  This particular group is designed by Rashida Coleman-Hale, and you know I love the bright colors and hits of metallics.  PIIIIIIINK!

The cutting process was actually pretty easy, and the fabric is VERY generous.  I didn’t even mind ironing.  Generous cuts and plenty of scraps is one of the fun things paper piecing, and this would be a good first project for anyone.  I have oodles of scraps right now to stash for future projects, or maybe a coordinate throw pillow or two.

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Look how big these blocks are!  Just four pieces of fabric on each large piece, and then joining the two halves together.  Easy as pie.  You can see my big stack of coordinate fabrics piled up too.  I’m definitely keeping a copy of this pattern for other projects I’m thinking about – looks complicated, but allows you to show off great fabric and isn’t as challenging as it looks to pull together 🙂

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Did I say easy as pie?  It should have been, but I was super distracted the night I started this project and couldn’t line up pieces to save my life.  Ooops.  Thank goodness for seam rippers, but I will tell you, ripping out seams set at a 1.5 is a giant pain in the tush.  The beautiful thing about paper piecing is that your sharp angles line up perfectly, so if you aren’t getting that right, you’re missing the whole point.  Hey Christina, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

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I was able to course correct this week, though, and now I have two gorgeous blocks finished.  Only fourteen more to go!  I think it’s fourteen, anyway.  We’ll see.  I’d like this to be at least a queen size, so if I end up picking up a bit more fabric to enlarge it, life will go on!

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I noticed my pinks aren’t quite as sharp as the grey/aqua blocks, but short of ripped out the seams and rearranging, I think that’s just life.  I’ll tinker around with it this weekend and see how I feel.

I can’t find many pics of the completed project online, but here’s an idea on how it’ll look when I’m done!  Happy and cheerful, just like me 🙂  Thanks, Craftsy!

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Reality Checks

Ah, weekends. I had a great one, even with big old reality checks, level sets, priority checks and a boatload of sleet. Dallas, stop it. I’m being serious.

Remember when the fat envelope was a good thing? I was finally willing to walk down to the  freezing cold mail room to catch a few days of pile-up, and I had two big old envelopes from UT Southwestern. I assume kids today get an email or tweet or some other digital bullshit when they’re accepted to college, but we always looked for the fat envelopes. Skinny was a wait list or rejection for sure.

Well, these fat envelopes aren’t cool. Here’s my first reality check – the hematologist is at the oncology clinic.  Harold C. Simmons Cancer Clinic, to be exact. God that header is big.  HUGE!   I know cancer is a slim possibility with all this mess I have going on, but it’s still there. It’s almost like this letter is telling me, “Hey girl.  You probably do have Lupus. But at least it’s not cancer! Buck up, buttercup.”

And let’s be honest – we’re all hoping I’m in the 15% that have bad labs but nothing is wrong. Not having any reason my numbers are off is scary in its own way, because then there’s no treatment and all of the risk is still there, but I’ll deal with that when I have to deal with it. Inflammation is not a nice thing to have in your body, but again, it’s not cancer.  Even just thinking the word reminds me of the person I was once close to that died a couple years ago, and my heart just skips a beat.

I’m pretty good at shoving emotions aside and just using my head and logic to work things out, but I slip sometimes. I’ve joked that I’m emotionally dead inside, and honestly, sometimes it’s the best way to deal. If it isn’t going to hurt anyone else, fake it ’til you make it.  I enjoy a winning strategy.  So I’ll whine and freak out on my little online journal, and maybe some more to my mom, and otherwise I’m going to pretend it’s not happening until I have to. Most of the time I’m totally fine.

Happy, even.  There’s so much good stuff in my life right now, and I just need to count my blessings.

The second envelope is for the “Digestive and Liver Diseases Clinic.” You’d think my liver would be the issue if you’ve spent any bar time with me (just kidding mom! I say these things for humor!) but my liver is a-okay 🙂 I’m not even sweating this one anymore, even if shoving a tube down my throat to see why I throw up so much will probably just make me throw up.  Good grief. Sorry for the overshare, but it really is ridiculous. I’ve been good the past couple weeks, but I’ve been soooo careful and haven’t had much of an appetite anyway. Guess it helps.

Speaking of no appetite, though, I’ve been taking little chances here and there with my diet while I’ve been out and about this weekend. I know my blood reacts to gluten, dairy, soy, etc., which is why I stopped eating it. But I had some cheese and a couple bites of pita Friday  night, and the world didn’t end. I had some naan with my chicken tikka tandoori and masala sauce last night, and the world didn’t end. It did knock me the hell out though, holy smokes.  I slept for over ten hours last night!

I haven’t been sleeping well from all this stress, I guess, but that did the trick. Too bad I can’t take bread instead of a Tylenol PM. Reality check number two – bread isn’t worth the belly bloat and skin breakouts. I could feel my cheeks start to flush. Definitely not something I’m going to make a habit of, so don’t worry Mom!  I’ll get back to always carrying beef jerky and almonds if I get stuck somewhere without food I can eat. Fortunately I can eat the masala sauce without naan next time I’m craving Indian 🙂

Reality check three – I can eat my average of 1600-1800 calories a day, but throwing bread in the mix will put a pound of fat back on my ass. I actually only averaged 1400 calories the last couple days, and I still feel like I’ll have gained five pounds when I weigh myself in the morning. And I know I should have eaten more, especially since I worked out, but when you’re not hungry you’re not hungry.  And having six hour quilt classes really keeps you distracted 🙂

So this is me, casually freaking out. I quilt, I have cider, I break all the rules for a couple pieces of cheese and some naan.

Did I mention this was a great weekend? So fun going out Friday night, sleeping in, taking my quilt class, catching up with an old friend over takeout and a mani pedi today. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some sun. Please come back, sun. I miss you.

Here’s the quilt top from Saturday’s class – super cute “Playful” layer cake by Cotton + Steel in a disappearing four patch quilt class taught by one of the gals in my paper piecing class. I was so excited, and this will be a great piece for me to learn how to quilt on a bigger piece! More classes to take 🙂

Laying out the nine blocks so I can evenly distribute the prints.

Finished product!

And I’m Instagram famous! Wish I had put some lips on 🙂

Cheer!

Quilting Woes and Wins

I’ve made some truly beautiful blocks over the past few months, and I am going to keep reminding myself until quilting and sewing starts going my way again.

My bobbin woes started about a month ago during my Speed Quilting class. I’ve had my machine looked at and a bobbin tutorial, but they continue to load up bottom heavy. I’ve googled tips and tricks, but hopefully my Lucky Stars teacher and the awesome gals in the class will have some advice for me. (And since I drafted most of this post before class, I’m happy to report that they helped a bunch!)

In the meantime, can’t decide which of these suits me more:

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Seriously, though. Here is Monday’s bobbin and thread explosion. Ridiculous.

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To get myself back on track, here’s the plan:

1 – Box up Modern Building Blocks and give it to my momma. She’s trying to get a class going in Springfield and I’m just not ready yet.

2 – Enjoy my “Feathers” class in March. I bought some vivid Alison Glass fabric and I really like the instructor there too. It’s paper piecing, but a start to finish project so I’ll have a quick reward 🙂

3 – Find a non-paper piecing quilting class for advanced beginners . Most of what I’m finding right now is during the day in the middle of the week. I somehow don’t think I can take three hour lunches to quilt. Why I haven’t I won the lottery yet? Side note – I bought tickets and was not one of the Texas winners 😦 Also, the fabulous Ashley from my Lucky Stars class is teaching a four patch at the end of the month! So excited to take a class with her and now I just have to find some fabric.

4 – Keep plugging along on my jelly roll quilt when my machine allows it. It’s a lot of stripping, so just a couple hours at a time a couple nights a week will get it done by the end of the month.

5 – Keep doing my Lucky Stars. I have two sets of fabric going and 11 more blocks to finish between the two. Here’s the block I started on Tuesday night:

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6 – Start my awesome Cotton and Steel paper piecing kit if I get antsy and need a break from the stars. It’s gorgeous and the spring colors will put a smile on my face.

Sounds like I’ll have my hands full. I really love this hobby and want to keep it up, so I’ve got to find a way to keep it going and not bite off more than I can chew 🙂