23 June 2011

March, April, May...

Ah, finally!
I filled in the new May background squares and attached the whole strip with the March and April finished blocks. The May packet came with more strips of background colors—medium dark and dark. In April, the lower right corner started some of the dark which will spread diagonally over the entire lower right of the finished quilt. When I think about how many pieces make up this top, well, it just boggles the mind. It's 68" x 30"—almost 40% of the top built!

June's block (22" x 22") looks to be pretty straight-forward. It's one big pattern block, a small pattern block, and simple strips of light background. This is a digital composition of how it looks. Of course, I'm already chompin' at the bit for July's packet!

I am glad to be getting back to my magnum opus. Last Saturday, while taking a class at Sooner Quilts, I saw their three long-arm quilting machines—ooh, aaahhh. Once I'm finished this biggie, I'll be having it quilted somewhere. It's much too large in size and investment to not have done professionally. This BOM finishes in December so I won't have a completed quit until at least early 2012. That sounds so far away but I also know it will be here before I know it. This super-sonic acceleration down the back side of middle age is astonishing.

Speaking of Sooner Quilts' Free Motion Machine Quilting class, I had a great time. In addition to learning and practicing some free motion skills, and sitting next my friend Becky, I had the chance to visit with two gals I worked with several lifetimes ago. (Okay, it's only been 12 years, but what a 12 years it's been!)  We all worked together at OESD, Oklahoma Embroidery Supply and Design, in Edmond. Martha was teaching the class and Bobbie was taking the class and sat to my right. When Martha announced two of her former co-workers were in the class, and nodded my way, I turned quickly to look at Bobbie (in a completely different hairstyle—really cute) and was thoroughly surprised. She had been the owner's secretary/administrative assistant. Martha was in charge of the illustrators and digitizers. I was hired in late-1997 to produce their first and successive press-printed catalog of embroidery software designs. I was only there for 16 months, but Martha and Bobbie were there much longer. Several years later, OESD was absorbed and mostly dismantled by Bernina.

Back to free motion—we practiced our technique on this Skillbuilder patterned fabric (36" x 44/45"). Additionally, I learned about quilting spray adhesive (light tack to hold a quilt sandwich together); the need to RELAX (dammit); mistakes are okay; and that we couldn't criticize anyone's work—ESPECIALLY our own! Oh, yeah, I remember—this is supposed to be fun! Ha ha! After class, I had a chance to shop a bit in the store. What's really blown me away is their HUGE variety of batik fabrics. Shivers!!! I stayed a little while to chat with Becky, bought three fat quarters, said my goodbyes, and then was on 25-mile trip back home. I must get back there someday. Hmm, was it accidental that I left my clip-on sunglasses so I have to return soon? Martha emailed me later that day with a link to some incredible free motion examples all in one place: Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project. And because I want to practice all over again, or remove any trace of not doing it perfectly the first time (me?), I ripped out all of my old stitching, put a new backing on the practice piece and am ready to start again! Evil grin!

Expecting a busy next few days. There's a quilt show at the fairgrounds; a wedding (absolutely great couple—can barely wait to post about the gift I made for them); a marriage retreat; and photographing folks to be baptized. Come Monday (btw, long-time fave song), I'm either gonna be exhausted or energized—maybe both!

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