All posts by Angry Quilter

the truman show

So those fabrics that I picked up with my mom ended up sitting for a few weeks before I got my act together.  (during that time I was in a car accident too – not my fault! – and my car was totaled. sheesh!)  But I gathered up my supplies and attended Sew Hut‘s September Quilt and Dine and got started.
unpacked and ready to rock
unpacked and ready to rock
I had come across an easy, but interesting pattern in a “fresh quilts” magazine, and decided to do a spin on it for my nephew, Truman.
the magazine quilt had an applique that I decided to ignore
the magazine quilt had an applique that I decided to ignore
All my fabrics were little monsters or jelly fish, or rocket ships – anything I thought was suitable for a kid receiving a gift from their angry uncle;)
I didn’t realize it when I got started, but my quilting buddy Patsy explained to me that this was a quilt-as-you-go pattern, and although she suggested I disregard that part of the instructions, I figured, “what the hell” and decided to see how it turned out.
i love this iron.
i love this iron.
quilting as I go...
quilting as I go…
quiltblog-2366
quilted as I went, ready to trim…
Not too bad as it happens.  I had some problems with the flannel backing getting tiny folds sewn in, but I only tore out a few stitches and then decided to live with some very small ones. (Truman won’t care).  Overall, I’m very pleased with how this quilt turned out. I took some short cuts on the edge binding, and that could be better (it was an experiment in not wanting to hand-stitch), but I really like the effect of the quilt-as-you-go.
just finished!
just finished!
i machine stitched the binding on the back side too...
i machine stitched the binding on the back side too…
it didn't look as good on the front as I'd hoped
it didn’t look as good on the front as I’d hoped
I really like the flannel back - nice and soft for my wee nephew
I really like the flannel back – nice and soft for my wee nephew
finished!
finished!

I just mailed the quilt out to meet little Truman at his grandmother’s house (my mom) and hope to get some pictures of him enjoying it (puking on it) for Thanksgiving:)

Have a great Thanksgiving! and I will leave you with this:

wrong holiday, dog
wrong holiday, dog

Mom’s vist postscript

An addendum to my mom’s visit:
She’d been working on a quilt top for herself for some time and when she learned her son is into quilting what does she do?  She brings the unfinished top 2,500 miles to show me:)  It is pretty damn amazing!  IIRC it is a pattern called “bears in the woods”.
mutha fuckin bears in the mutha fuckin woods
mutha fuckin bears in the mutha fuckin woods
We also visited another quilt shop close to my house – Rosie’s Calico Cupboard.  It was literally overwhelming.  SO. MANY. FABRICS.  We wandered around in a color induced stupor for at least an hour.
i don't think i've ever seen that color before
i don’t think i’ve ever seen that color before
I picked up some fun fabrics for myself (no idea what I’ll do with them yet) and some fabric for a quilt I’m going to do for my nephew.
some for me
some for me
some for the nephew
some for the nephew
Also while my mom was here i damn near cut my pinky off doing dishes.  The doctor says I’m not allowed to do dishes anymore (the wife’s not buying it).
Tune in next week for another exciting quilting adventure!

towel interlude

**I actually made this project before the “Academy” quilt, but never got around to typing anything up – enjoy**

Contrary to popular belief, I have a few friends.  Or at least my wife does.  Some of them have babies, and some of them buy houses.  In addition to some booze, I suggested to my wife that some custom dish towels might make a nice, useful house warming gift (I had just read an online tutorial about them!).  So off to Joann’s we went and the wife picked out some fabric she felt would appeal to our friends.

fabric selection
fabric selection by the wife.

Turns out terrycloth sheds like a bitch! (and by “bitch” I of course mean the horrible little furry piss-monkey of a dog that I love quite fiercely but who sheds constantly) But aside from that it was a very straight forward project. Cut this, cut that, sew this, turn inside out, iron, repeat.  Check out the tutorial for REAL instructions – I thought it was well done.

finished towel
finished towel ready for filth

I put a ribbon on the towels and off we went to a house warming party.  There’s nothing quite like knowing the project you put your time and effort into is going to end up a filthy rag;)

San Diego Quilt Show 2014

My mom is a fantastic quilter…  She also happened to be visiting at the same time as the San Diego Quilt Show…    So off we went!
I had only a vague notion what to expect but this was not my mom’s first rodeo, nonetheless, both of us had a great time:)  I will say, I was one of only a very few men, and probably the only one under 50;)We saw some exceptionally nice quilts.  Anyone could enter a quilt, but the level of craftsmanship did not seem to suffer from the open policy.  Not every quilt was something I would want or do, but EVERY quilt was well done – my compliments to all participants!

SD Quilt Show-1230
SD Quilt Show-1199
SD Quilt Show-1115
SD Quilt Show-1114
The theme of the show was “It’s a Zoo Out There” and in fitting with that, the organizers had the San Diego Zoo bring some animal ambassadors out to visit with the quilters.  My mom and I pet an armadillo (caption – not carrying leprosy), and got to see a North American Porcupine:)
I was assured that this type of armadillo did NOT carry leprosy;)
I was assured that this type of armadillo did NOT carry leprosy;)
"let me sing you the song of my people!"
“let me sing you the song of my people!”
The special guest was Sue Rasmussen. Being new to quilting, I didn’t know who she was, but her quilts were amazing. AH. MAZE. ING.
Sue Rasmussen telling a story of hiding from her parents;)
Sue Rasmussen telling a story of hiding from her parents;)
My mom and friend Charlotte in front of Sue Rasmussen's quilt display
My mom and friend Charlotte in front of Sue Rasmussen’s quilt display
other quilters investigating Sue Rasmussen's work
other quilters investigating Sue Rasmussen’s work

Sue gave a short presentation of humorous quilting anecdotes that everyone (even me!) found entertaining.  But perhaps that was because there was also complementary wine being drunk by most of the attendees;)  My mom and I were not able to take any of the classes offered by Sue, but I can easily imagine she is a talented and engaging instructor.

Another highlight was watching my mom test-drive a $20,000 long arm quilter. This thing was bananas. Roughly 12′ long and 4′ wide and smarter than I am.  Particularly impressive to me was the speed control when free motion quilting.  The needle speed accelerated and decelerated depending on how fast you moved the arm!  Maybe I’m easily impressed, but I thought that was pretty damn sweet.
just like driving stick
just like driving stick
As we left the show, we were treated to a beautiful view of my wonderful city…
you stay classy, San Diego
you stay classy, San Diego

(I took more pictures – you can find them HERE)

When last we left our hero…

I’ve been a bit busy and have gotten woefully behind in my blogging, also, I was in a motorcycle accident 2 weeks ago, and it’s taken me a while to be comfortable to type at my desk…

i was pretty lucky, but the tank won't hold gas anymore:(
i was pretty lucky, but the tank won’t hold gas anymore:(

Anyway, to pick up where I left off – I DID finish my quilt by the deadline I set myself. Because I’m amazing.

Pinning the 3 layers together was no big deal. Then I trimmed it a little and began quilting.  I had read the instructions for how much open area was too much for my particular batting, and decided to ONLY stitch-in-the-ditch.  I soon discovered that stitching in the ditch was not as easy as I thought it would be.  You have to be MORE patient and careful about making straight lines since there is a seam you’re following.  I did pretty good, but had some misses -nothing to make me tear out any of the quilting.

ditch stitching, sometimes not quite on the ditch...
ditch stitching, sometimes not quite on the ditch…
It would have helped too if I had used a more color matched thread, but I used the same grey I had done all my other sewing with…  live and learn.

Lastly, of course, was the edge binding.  I had discussed this with my fab instructors because I’m not a fan of hand sewing.  It’s so damn time-consuming!!  But Patsy and Charlotte suggested (not altogether gently;) ) that I had done everything “correctly” up to this point it would be a shame to not finish like a champ.  So I sucked it up, put some terrible movies on the computer and hand-sewed the last of the binding on.  yes yes, hold your applause;)

hard at work hand sewing
hard at work hand sewing
sometimes i don't think my fingers were made for such fine needlework...
sometimes i don’t think my fingers were made for such fine needlework…
binding: the machine sewed side
binding: the machine sewed side
binding: hand sewed side
binding: hand sewed side
I took it out to the “Quilt and Dine” at Sew Hut on June 27th and got to show my finished quilt to my instructors:)  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
my quilt and quilting ladies
my quilt and quilting ladies
Charlotte, my quilt, and me
Charlotte, my quilt, and me
Too bad it’s too warm to use it!  (there are rumors of Charlotte and Patsy teaching a more advanced quilting class…  I’m on the list if they do)

Freshman Year

[friend] Going to a couple breweries tonight to pick up a few things and maybe taste a few. Interested in coming?

[AQ] Can’t, leaving for quilting class right now.

[friend] That’s an excuse I will probably never hear again in my life.

I’m sorry to disappoint you but this blog is not dead. [yet]

For the past 5 weeks I’ve been taking a beginning quilting class through Sew Hut, taught by two lovely, but incorrigible, ladies: Charlotte and Patsy.  I’d say Patsy is the feisty one, but they’re both pretty damn feisty.

feisty ladies
feisty ladies

First off, let me mention that the class is based on the book “Quilter’s Academy, vol 1” by Harriet & Carrie Hargrave.  A fact I failed to realize until the night before the last class session even though I had bought the book on my teacher’s recommendations – Note To Self: Pay Better Attention.  Second, while the book has some great information in it, I can’t express how fantastic Patsy and Charlotte were as instructors.  The book alone might have gotten me pretty far, but C&P were invaluable with their extensive personal quilting experience, practical explanations, demonstrations, and help – especially when I fucked things up.

One of the most interesting things I learned during this class was about straightening fabric and tearing to get on grain orientation – important for maintaining precision with your piecing blocks.  It was actually kind of fun tearing the fabric and showing it who is boss…

who's your daddy?
who’s your daddy?

Until I got into my batique fabric.  I was definitely not the boss then.

Why do you hate me?!
Why do you hate me?!

Side Note: Before this class I didn’t know what batique was.  I had run out of time to buy my fabrics for the course, so I hurriedly selected some fabrics at Sew Hut solely based on color.  Little did I know that although they are pretty, batiques are like the Siamese cat of quilting fabric – attractive, but evil.

I had a hell of a time straightening the batiques.  Honestly, those were the only times I freaked out and wanted to stab something with my rotary cutter.  Thank goodness for C&P – I’d bring in my batiques to class and they helped me sort that shit out.

Aside from the fabric squaring, everything else was pretty straightforward. I was introduced to chain stitching, proper ironing and pressing, etc. It is a fairly simple quilt, but I’ve been surprised at how long some of the steps take.

testing widths of 1/4" foot and pressing (sample block NOT good)
testing widths of 1/4″ foot and pressing (sample block NOT good)
For Patsy - she emphasized precision;)
For Patsy – she emphasized precision;)
sewing my strips
sewing my strips
Patsy showing proper technique - sass was optional
Patsy showing proper technique – sass was optional
it's clobbering time!
it’s clobbering time!
63 blocks ready to go
63 blocks ready to go
chain-stitching blocks
chain-stitching blocks
starting block assembly at home
starting block assembly at home
continuing to connect blocks under close supervision from C&P
continuing to connect blocks under close supervision from C&P

Last night was the final class session and the goal was squaring of the pieced block panel, and sewing the border on.  I’m not usually one for tooting my own horn (keep your euphemisms to yourself), but when we checked my top for squareness it was DAMN NEAR PERFECT.

I am god damn amazing. Charlotte is speechless by my perfection.
I am god damn amazing. Charlotte is speechless by my perfection.

I blame my innate stupendousness (and my wonderful teachers).

At this point, the quilt top is complete.

vury pretteh
vury pretteh

I need to piece the backing together, pin the 3 layers together, quilt the thing, and bind the edges.  No problem right?;)  My goal is 98% finished by June 27th (next Friday) – I’m planning on taking it to a Sew Hut social gathering to see my feisty teachers and show them my progress…  They said they have a few tricks left up their sleeves and I’m a sucker for magic.

heart warming

A little known fact about me is that I’m a large man (some might say “Viking” sized).  However, I’m often cold. Which is odd because you’d think my rage would keep me warm (it doesn’t).  I also have a dirty, rotten, blanket stealing wife…

I know I have to get moving on my third and final baby blanket, but I found myself thinking, “To hell with the little babies, I need something for myself!”

I’ve been setting aside older, ill-fitting t-shirts that I don’t wear, but can’t get rid of for a while now. And I don’t really need any more shirts (the ABC shirt just had too perfect of a logo for sewing).  Solution? T-shirt blanket. BOOM.

This was certainly no masterpiece.  I picked up a 10″x14″ (pre-cut) piece of acrylic at Home Depot and used it to cut all the designs out of my t-shirts.  I then stitched them (a double layer of the design and back of shirt for a blanket 2 layers of fabric thick) together with a stretch-stitch and called it a day (almost a day – I also cut strips out of the scraps to make the blanket longer – it’s about 80″Lx44″W).

progress
progress

Sewing-1873

I put this together pretty fast – basically as fast as my machine would go;)  It’s not perfect, but it is sturdy, and INCREDIBLY timely.  Not 8 hours after I finished this I found myself loosing a tug-of-war with my sleeping wife over the blankets.  No problem!  I busted out my new blanket. BOOM BABY.

airhead

I’m not much for motorcycle clubs, but I do love the Airhead Beemer Club.  It’s a club for vintage air-cooled beemers, and I’m fortunate that San Diego has a fantastic chapter with amazingly great members.  I owe these guys a lot for the help they’ve given me over the past few years…

ANYWAY, I shrunk my Airhead t-shirt. (or I got fatter, shut up.) But I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the shirt.  Next best thing? Cut up the old shirt and sew the graphics onto a new shirt. BOOM BABY.

Got myself a $2 shirt from Joann’s, and carefully cut out the logos from the shrunk shirt and sewed them on the new one.

simple, beautiful, airhead
simple, beautiful, airhead

I took this opportunity to try a new stitch! a stretch zig zag.

never zig when you should zag
never zig when you should zag

This was a god dam fantastic idea.  the shirt/logo combo retains its t-shirt stretchiness and I don’t have to worry about ripping the seams out:)

This was a big hit at the most recent tech day!

dirty pillows

dirty couch pillows are a serious concern of mine. I know for a fact the dog drools on them, and I suspect she’s not the only one (cough*wife*cough cough).  So I decided to make pillow covers for some pre-made 16’x16″ unfinished pillows I bought at Joann Fabrics…

I still have oodles of fleece left, and some ideas kicking around, and I came up with these yellow on yellow bubble minky pillow covers.  they are very similar, so they match on the couch, but unique so I don’t get bored…

The first is just alternating stripes of fleece/minky with 3 buttons and a flap:

pillow #1 - stripes
pillow #1 – stripes
back of strips #1
back of strips #1

pillow #2 came about a week later and I played with using more scraps and trying some free-hand quilting of the fleece.

piecing scraps together
piecing scraps together

I think I over sew.  I kind of do a double stitch. these pillows will never come apart…

pillow #2 free hand quilting
pillow #2 free hand quilting
pillow #2 - buttons with the flap less flappy
pillow #2 – buttons with the flap less flappy

I consider these a success! and the dog thinks they are adequate.

dog tested, dog approved
dog tested, dog approved