Friday, June 15, 2012

True Story of an Everyday Hero who Squared a Quilt!

Okay... This is going to a little difficult because I don't have actual pictures from the event. But I think it's important to document for anyone else out there who might be trying to figure out how to get a reasonably square quilt at the end of the process.

First of all, when I was making the strip quilt for my son, none of the rows were the exact same length. The way I worked the cutting of the strips was to make them all the same height, but I didn't do anything to decision the length. That was determined by the fabric and how much shrinkage occurred in the wash. Because all fabric shrinks differently and because I used embroidered panels, which were all different sizes, and because I did not want any seams to line up, the edges of the finished quilt top were very uneven.

At the point where the quilt had been quilted and it was time to sew the binding on, I absolutely had no idea how to proceed. I read every blog entry, watched every You Tube video, and checked out every available book from the library. I researched for a day and a half to no avail. No where could I find an honest discussion of what to do if your quilt top isn't magically square. Now I realize that not everyone has my inability to get the seams to line up, but come on! I don't believe for one minute that every quilter hasn't struggled with edges that are out of square at least once.

And if there is a good discussion of it, I could not find it.

Graduation is looming and I'm beginning to freak out. Though my husband doesn't quilt or sew, he is the handiest person I know and has an abundance of common sense. Sometimes I find that just by talking in through with someone else I can arrive at the solution and I was hoping this was the case this time. So I say to my husband "I need some help trying to figure out how to get this quilt square." "Ok." is his reply.

Several hours later, I'm hanging out the back door yelling into the looming darkness "I really need some help trying to figure out how to get this quilt square or square-ish". There is an element of frantic desperation in that phrase.

He comes in, looks at the quilt, I explain what needs to happen and what my thoughts are. (My plan was to tape a piece of yarn to each side of the top of the quilt, eyeball it and cut. He says why don't we just run some painters tape all the way down each side. Okay! So we do that. It doesn't look even. I adjust by picking the tape up, moving it a little and sticking it back down. My youngest strolls through, looks at it and says it isn't straight. He adjusts. I look at it - it still doesn't look straight. Hubby looks at it, adjusts the tape and then we both look at it. It just doesn't look straight.

Now, I'm going to tell you the truth, though it ain't pretty... At this point I'm on the edge. We are standing there looking at this thing, it's the night before graduation and by now it's 9:30 at night. I've been working on this quilt for two solid days and it was HOT! I can feel the tears welling up and I hear myself saying "I just need to suck it up and cut it." I'm not sure, but I think I might have stamped my foot in frustration. My husband lays a hand on my arm and says "Well, hold on now. We just need to think about this a minute because I'm sure we can get it lined up."

He begins talking about pinning the corners & measuring diagonally and I start crying in earnest. He may as well have been speaking a foreign language for as much of that as I understood in that moment. But, as I have no ideas and I trust him with my life I say okay. I took a minute to blow my nose and drink some water, then asked him to explain again. And this is what we did.

We put a pin in each of the top corners of the quilt. Measured that distance (68"). Then we measured down the side of the quilt to the same distance on each side (78") and put pins in the bottom corners at the same width as the top measurement. So the pins were marking the quilt at 68 x 78. Then we took the two diagonal measurements and compared the numbers. Because they were not the same meant we had a parallelogram, rather than a rectangle. By moving each of the top pins over an inch, measuring the two diagonals again, moving the pins another 1/4 inch, we ended up with a rectangle. Once we were sure of the pin placement, we moved the tape to the inside of the pins and cut.

I was afraid, but I'll be darned if it didn't work. Even after sewing on the binding, those quilt corners all meet up. I hope I've explained this fairly well and that even without pictures it can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation!

And that is the true story of an everyday hero who made a quilt square and saved his wife's sanity ♥

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another garden project

Have you noticed my obsession with garden art? I don't really know why, and I'm not sure that it matters, but I love unexpected stuff in the garden. This little project, completed much the same way as the bowling ball, now hangs in a walnut tree. Things hanging in trees = ♥. To the baseball covered in stones, I added an eye screw and some jack chain.

Have you ever seen a more beat up, well loved baseball? Me, either! I decided to try gluing to it and it worked out fairly well. There are a couple of pretty large gashes that were tricky to cover, but with enough glue all things are possible ;)

You can still see the baseball through the gaps and while I could have added another layer to hide that, I prefer it this way. The color of the baseball is a perfect backdrop to the creamy white stones and being able to see the stitching gives it humor and that makes it even better!

With graduation surrounding me, I've uncovered some wonderful quotes, which can be applied to your life at any time whatsoever...

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary... Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun in the garden!

Seriously... Pinterest.

I discovered a photo of a bowling ball covered with pennies set out in a garden on Pinterest this week. In love. I was totally in love. Off to the thrift store I went and found this green ball. Because it was green, I thought of these flat marbles that have been in my studio for years (yes, years.) They are a milky green color and I mixed them with some clear ones. I used E6000 glue to adhere them. After some trial and error I found that if I put some glue on the ball and some on the marbles and let them sit for about 3 minutes, it improved the 'stick' and I had less slippage. Keep in mind though there will be slippage as you are trying to glue stuff to a round surface. It's fairly labor intensive. I glued on about half, let those dry before attempting the other half. I periodically checked on the marbles adjusting as necessary any that slipped out of place.

Funny story about this is that I thought I might be on the cutting edge as far as gluing these flat stones to a bowling ball, but no... After I began the process, while waiting for glue to dry, I started looking on the web. Lots of people sticking lots of things to bowling balls. On my list to try: pennies, marbles, buttons, sea glass.

Anyway, I love garden ornaments. I have all kinds of things in and around the plants and flowers, hanging from trees. This is the finished project in it's new home under a blue hosta. My goodness doesn't that look good! Wait, that looks like it needs another or 5 or 17 more. Now to find those bowling balls... ♥♥♥

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2nd Graduation this year!

We've celebrated our 2nd graduation this year. My youngest graduated from High School just this weekend. Amazing! Simply Amazing. He is bright, passionate, artistic, articulate, deeply compassionate and in my totally biased opinion, completely adorable! I, of course, cried. There are just so many emotions going on all the same time that it just wells up and spills over.

The ceremony was great. Not too long, not too short. The variety of the speakers, involvement of the students, songs by the senior choir members - all contributed to a 'just right' event. The weather was beautiful as well. We couldn't have asked for more. I'm one proud mama. Now it's off to college! Sigh, sniffle, joy.

I was re-reading this post and the two or three previous to it and realized how often I used the word amazing. Of course, these most recent posts have been about my sons and to be quite frank, they are amazing. They are not perfect and sometimes they drive me crazy but the truth is they are two of the most incredible, complex, loving, unique people I've ever known. At this point I feel I need to justify what others will read as bragging, but I'm not claiming their amazing-ness is a direct reflection of me. I totally get that who they are and who they are becoming is all about them and the miracles that God set in motion the day they were born. So yes, I feel pride for, but not ownership of, their accomplishments. I know I am one lucky woman to be here to witness these everyday miracles!