Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{WiP} and Bullies ~ Week 43/52

(Could that title be right?? Only 9 more weeks in 2012?? Holy cow!!)

I'm really hoping November isn't as busy as October has been. This has just been crazy!

Quickly, about my {WiP}s. They're plentiful (bee blocks, galore!). I think I mentioned the TumblerPartyToo swap last week. It's a Flickr swap inspired by sweet Yolanda, hosted by Leona. We'll send Leona 12 fat quarters in aqua and orange (Yolanda's favorite color combo), and she'll use an Accuquilt Studio cutter to cut them into 6 1/2" tumblers, shuffle them around do we all get a good variety, and send them back to us.

This is my stack. I bought most of them from Sew, Mama, Sew because they had a great sale. :) The only one I'm disappointed with is a new Kona called Alegria. It's way more blue that what it looked like on my computer screen (which is precisely why I needed the new Kona solid insert...which Kristen sent with my order, thankyouverymuch.)

Ready for the Tumbler Party Too, in memory of ~Yolanda. #tumblerpartytoo #accuquilt

I also drafted my pattern, and I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about it. I can't share it, but when you see it, you'll be like "Yup, that's Melissa, alright." :o) I just wish I could (a) speed time up and get my tumblers rightnow, and (b) stop time so I could get my quilt made to submit to the modern quilt show next spring. The good news is, I'm sure there will be more opportunities to enter it. :o)

I was going to sew last night (bee blocks, anyone?), even turned on the light in the sewing room. :o) But I went into the other room to do something very quick on the computer and spent the rest of the evening supporting a quilty friend who was being bullied via her blog.

Can we camp out here for a bit?

Online bullying. Have you seen this? Have you been a victim of this? I've definitely seen online bullying outside of the quilt circle, but have been really surprised to see it among modern quilters.

We're QUILTERS, for Pete's sake! Can't we just be nice? Polite? Respectful??? Is that too much to ask?

I've actually been on both sides of this - bullied and accused of bullying. By quilters YOU KNOW and think are super sweet! Which, to be fair, they probably are super sweet, but their actions were very NOT sweet.

I'm going to tell you a story, but, like Law and Order, this is inspired by a true incident, the following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event. :o)

It's 2011, the Infinity Scarf is wildly popular, in part, due to the scrumptious voiles by Anna Maria Horner. Not wanting to shell out $25 at the LQS for one, I decide to make one for me, but can NOT, for the life of me, find a tutorial I can understand. There were some out there, but they just don't make sense to me, and they don't make the scarf like I want. So I grab my camera and set about writing a tutorial for how to make a true infinity scarf where it twists, AND the seams are hidden. I hit "publish" on my blog, and immediately the positive comments start flooding in.

All is happy in HappyLand until SewSnide* leaves a snarky comment. You all recognize the name. She's got a following, but she's not THAT famous. She hasn't written any books, she doesn't design fabric (yet) and is just hoping to get the call from Moda that will change her life.

(*"SewSnide" is a pretend person. If there IS someone out there named SewSnide, I've never heard of her, and I apologize to her!)

SewSnide's comment says "Hey. Love ❤ your new tute. Looks a lot like the one for a voile scarf I posted 3 months ago. Here's the link. So happy I could inspire you! You know, it doesn't hurt to link back to the person who inspired you. :)"

And with that, SewSnide has simultaneously punched me in the gut AND told everyone that I stole her idea and couldn't even be courteous enough to link to her blog.

Not only that, but SewSnide hops on over to Facebook and Twitter to broadcast to all her faithful followers that I stole her idea.

Except that her tutorial isn't for an infinity scarf at all! It's for a circle scarf, and the seams aren't hidden. Sure, it's a good tutorial that I know took her time to write up, but it's NOT identical, and the only way it "inspired" me was to show me what I DIDN'T want to do!!

She's insisting that I put a link to her post on my blog, her friends are commenting on her tweet and facebook post about how much better her tutorial is, and all the while I'm just spinning.

What the heck just happened here??? I posted a tutorial on my teensy blog about making a scarf! I'm not selling anything, nor have I copied anything published or sold! People have been making and wearing scarves for centuries! And the concept of infinity was invented by the Greeks in about 490BC, and the symbol (\infty) was invented by John Wallis in 1655!! Scarf + infinity = nothing new under the sun.

I understand feeling like someone stole my idea. Y'all know that!! ((wink)), but the REAL problem here is that SewSnide didn't send me a polite, and private email. She broadcast my alleged theft all over this little modern quiltiverse! She isn't shoving me into a filthy corner in the girl's bathroom, she just gave me a big ol' shove via the internets. She is trying to force me to do something that isn't right by telling all her friends how wrong/rude/impolite/callous I am. But the truth is, she's the one who is wrong/rude/impolite/callous.

In the real world, if SewSnide HAD TO make her comments to my face, I highly doubt she would have the courage to say anything, much less say it the way she did. But because she simply left a comment on my blog, she feels safe. And by posting on Facebook and Twitter, she feels bolstered by her faithful followers, who, no doubt, would be disappointed if they really thought about her actions.

Bullies are cowards.

Now, back to last night. My friend had to deal with pretty much that exact scenario, and it was really frustrating to think that this is happening in the really sweet, really wonderful, really small modern quilt world. But SewSnide forgot something. There is a real person behind the blog she just smeared.

It's easy to forget that there is a person behind every blog. She has a name. She has feelings. She has an email address, which is a significantly more appropriate place to address her "theft" than by posting a comment on her blog, and then following up with a tweet or a Facebook post.

My friend responded in a very polite, very professional, very unemotional way, and didn't back down. She didn't link to the tutorial, and all evidence of the bullying conversation has been deleted. My friend took the high road, and I'm proud of her for not responding in kind.

But let's not be rude, folks. Let's behave in a manner that is above what we're seeing on the commercials and in politics. Good manners go a long, long way.

Now, I'm off to dress my little candy-mongers and go trick-or-treating.
Annual kids-in-the-candy photoshoot.

(Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for her weekly WiP Wednesday party.)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Is Finished (WiP Wednesday 42/52)

I haven't really done much sewing the last week. Well, no. I haven't done ANY sewing this last week! :)

The Front Range MQG made about 50 "Angel Baby Wraps" (a.k.a. Fetal Demise Pouches...but we detested the term!) as our outreach project. Alex at Teaginny Designs wrote up the tutorial, and we had a little assembly line set-up so we could really maximize our sewing time. We had at least 10 members involved in the cutting, ironing and sewing of these, and they turned out really cute.

Angel Baby Wraps getting made

One of our members, Kelly, is a Labor and Delivery nurse at a hospital in Colorado Springs, so she'll be taking these to give to parents whose babies were born in heaven, those "angel babies" that don't ever breathe air on this Earth, the babies who didn't get to stay in their mommy's womb long enough to be born alive and healthy. (I just can't say it, but you all know the babies I'm talking about, right? And you can understand why we changed the name from "fetal demise pouches"...)

Angel Baby Wraps

Anyway, they sewed up really quickly, and Kelly said they sometimes need larger ones for babies who died closer to term, so we modified the tutorial to make medium and large wraps. A few of us took some of the supplies home to make more, and this time we'll give them to Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock to give to the hospital in Denver where her sweet, and perfectly healthy, twin boys were born.

And then I got all ready to have my bible study group over so we could square, trim, and then tie fleece blankets for Restore Innocence. We are part of a group of people making 100 blankets for the charity, and our little group was charged with making 16 of them. I got out my rotary cutter, and my large cutting mat so I could square them up, and then my group got to work snipping and tying.This picture only shows 4 that were trimmed and ready for members to take and tie at home, but just imagine this times 25!

Bow-tie Blankets - Ready to Tie

100 fleece blankets are going to take up a HUGE amount of space on the stage at church! :)  By the way, this is the organization that the {Faith} Circle of do.Good Stitches is making the Butterflies and Rainbows quilt(s) for.

We do the ties a different way. I saw this in a quilt shop outside of San Diego, and don't know why it hasn't taken off like wildfire! Instead of long ties, you make little bow ties. They're incredibly sweet, tie up SO fast, take up less fabric, and we thought they would really be a good choice for the girls who receive these quilts.

Bow tie blankie.

Our little group has 5 more to make, and I know other groups are doing theirs now, too. 100. That's such a blessing. :)

Not that you need it, but I hope to post a tutorial for this method soon.


I haven't been sewing much because I'm sad.

As some of you know, a good friend of mine, Yolanda, passed away last Friday. You may know Yolanda from one of the multitudinous Flickr swaps she did, or one of the many bees she participated in, or just her overall incredible creativity, or sincerely overwhelming generosity.

She started feeling poorly in February (2012), but the doctors couldn't find out much. Then in May, after continued problems, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 biliary cancer (Bile duct). There's a super long name for it, and you can read about her journey here, if you want. But that was May. It's October. 5 months. And it's not like she never went to the doctor, or anything, biliary cancer is just a fast-moving sonofabitch.

She was the president of the Orange County MQG until she resigned because she wasn't well (before her diagnosis), she was a cherished member of our Bee Happy Bee, as well as the founder of the Mod Mosaic bee. She started the Hexie Swap, the Circle Swap, and the Tumbler Swap. She participated in a number of fun quilt-alongs. And she made quilts for pretty much everyone she loved.

Here are some of my favorites of hers from Flickr:

Yes! It's done

Etchings Wovens - Floating Squares

All Quilted and Bound

(she made this for the woman who donated her kidney to Yolanda 4 years ago)

Jack Claims the Quilt!

This was her Tumbler Party quilt.

In her memory, Leona has started the TumblerPartyToo. If you're interested in joining, the details are here.

Liberty wrote a really poignant, really personal memorial about Yolanda here. Go read it.

Yolanda had the dream of making quilts for all her nieces and nephews, but early in the summer, she realized that she wasn't able to sew as much as she wanted, so Liberty promised her that the Bee Happy bee would be her hands and get these quilts made. We enlisted the help of some other ladies who loved Yolanda, and together made 14 (or more, I think!) quilts for her loved ones. Yolanda and Liberty went through her beautiful and well-apportioned stash and got the fabric into the hands of some very skilled quilters who were very glad to be able to do this for her.

You know, we all just wanted to help. To do something, anything for Yolanda, and we quilters want to quilt. So it was a great opportunity to do what we love for someone we love.

And Yolanda really didn't know what to say. She knew that we were making her dream come true, and she was always SO very thankful. She knew she couldn't repay anyone, but I think she also knew that we weren't doing it for the recognition or reimbursement. We were doing it because we loved her, and because it is what we would want done for us. And like I said, Yolanda was overwhelmingly generous with everyone, so it was nice to be generous back.

Now, to be fair, I didn't have much to do with many of these quilts. I was only able to sew a few blocks, and to donate some batting, but I did reach out to our friends who I thought might want to help, and they came through like you've never seen.

I love that her family will always have their quilts to remember her. She led an amazing life, a colorful life. One filled with challenges and successes. One filled with love and laughter and more love. She cherished her fiance, her sons and grandchildren.

She passed away one day shy of her 48th birthday.

48. It's just not fair.

But...I do know that Yolanda loved God, and that she trusted Him to be in charge of her days on Earth. She knew that God has a plan, and she asked Liberty to create a graphic with this verse from Proverbs 31:25:

Unafraid - Made for me by Liberty!

"...she laughs without fear, unafraid of the future."

I hope I can grow to be more like that. To be like Yolanda and live life unafraid. And carry her legacy with me.

God's work in Yolanda is finished. I am thankful she is no longer in pain, but I'm sure gonna miss her.

(linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 40/52

I think I'm only capable of blogging once a week. It seems like every time I participate in the Instagram Friday link-up, I can't manage to post to the WiP Wednesday link-up! Ah, well...I'm sure you're all bored enough with my posts, you don't need more in your feeder!

First up, after much ado about very little, I FINISHED the grand Fruit Stripe quilt! Hallalujah!!

Fruit Stripe Quilt ~ Front

Once again, it is the Travel Quilt pattern from Oliver+S, in their book "Little Things to Sew." It's a really lovely quilt when it's finished, and it's not complicated at all. I will say (again), however, that I think the instructions for cutting could have been written a little more clearly. I've made it now, twice, and instructions for sewing are pretty clear, but the cutting instructions leave a bit to be desired. It is quite probable that I'm easily confused, though, and that no one else has this problem. :)  I love the way it looks when it's finished, though!

Our friends, James and Natalie and their adorable little muffin, Baby G, are moving, and were coming through town, so I had the opportunity and impetus to get the quilt for Baby G finished. Nothing like taking it out of the dryer 45 minutes after they arrive... :)

But all three of them loved it. :)


In the picture above, you can kinda see how the quilting ended up looking. After my myriad tension and quilting issues. I finally figured it out, the last 5 inches of the quilt!! Hah! I will say, though, that most of the little "eyelashes" that I had did come out in the wash. Other than that, you really had to search for them. My greatest hope is that the quilt doesn't somehow come unquilted, but I doubt it will. :)

You saw the back (below). Thank you to all of you who encouraged me to go with this for the back. It's 800 kinds of PERFECT!!!!  And a zillion times better than a pieced back could have been!

Fruit Stipe Quilt ~ Back

You can see the quilting again here, as well as my mostest favoritest binding ever in the history of bindings. (Yes, more favorite even than the Calypso Ovals in Blue for Kelly's Travel Quilt!).  I am now out of that fantabulous rainbow fabric (bought at Joann's at least 3 years ago), but I'm SO superdy duperdy glad I still had enough for this quilt. There isn't a more better fabric out there.

Baby Feetses

You can also see Baby G's sweet little footsie and her nummy nummy knees. :) She's adorable, really.

Oh, and here's another thing to be proud of...every stitch of that quilt is made from my stash. Every solid, every scrap, the white, the batting, the binding. Even the thread! If you recall, I went out and purchased some AURIfil, but my machine did NOT want to quilt with that! Anyway, I'm still super proud that I made this quilt for "free". :) 

Now. Back to my sewing's what I need to be sewing right now!
    Natalie's Wonky OrangesFaith do.Good Stitches ~ Butterflies and Rainbows
  1. Natalie's Wonky Star ~ I've got it figured out, I just need to cut and sew. And mail.
  2. Yolanda's (can't tell you) ~ My dear, sweet friend, Yolanda (who many of you know from Flickr swaps and bees) is celebrating her birthday in a couple of weeks, and so, we in the Bee Happy bee are making something for her. I'll tell you about it later in case she reads my blog. Which I doubt she will, but one never knows! :)  **If you DO know Yolanda, I encourage you to click the link on her name and go read her blog. Prepare to spend a bit of time there. She isn't in the best of health these days, and could really use all our prayers and encouragement.
  3.  Mod Mosaic for Susan ~ Chewing through our Mod Mosaic bee, it's Susan's turn, and I need to get busy.
  4. Butterflies and Rainbows Quilt ~ I love how it looks right now!

    (Yes, I have a problem. I'm afraid someone will stage a Rainbow Quilt Intervention...but they're just SO doggone happy!)
  5. Grayson Quilt ~ Yeah. Hmmmmm...about that...I'm just not motivated right now! :) It's low priority, though. Well, lower than the Butterflies quilt, and my bee blocks, at least. 

Other than that...(ahem) is really busy around here. We went to the pumpkin patch yesterday, then played with friends, we hiked part way up a mountain on Monday, we had fabulous and dear friends over on Sunday, I celebrated a new baby on the way with more dear friends on Saturday, I went to a Tastefully Simple party on Friday, my father-in-law came for a visit, and arrived late Wednesday night, so there was a lot of baby holding and tea parties and such on Thursday. :) And the rest of this week looks to be about the same speed! TOO FAST!

I hope you have a great, and crafty, week!

Since most of this post is about my Fruit Stripe quilt, I'm linking up with Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday.
Fresh Poppy Design

And then I'm also to link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for her weekly WiP Wednesday party.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And also to Megan's {Sew} Modern Monday's linky party. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 39/52

Oh, Tuesday. Why must you be so chaotic? And Wednesday? And Thursday, too? This explains why Fridays are Jammie Days around my house.

I haven't been up to much this week, just trying to finish my Fruit Stripe quilt. Last week, I told you I'd finished the top and chosen the backing, but not the quilting.

Well, I decided on the quilting. I really wanted an all-over design that wasn't straight-line or waves, so I figured out what I wanted to do. Practiced a bit on my little sample quilt sandwich and got it all right, squared up my shoulders and commenced to...not getting anywhere.


Yup. This has been such a stressful quilting week for me. I just can't seem to get the tension right, I had multiple incidences of the thread breaking, of skipped stitches, rough language, head pounding...

I tried and tried and tried and tried. I asked my Facebook friends, and acted on their advice. I went out and bought some (overpriced) AURIfil thread (it's $4 cheaper online!). I came home, and it broke as much as my Gutermann! I put in a new needle. I bought a spool stand thingy that goes at the back of my machine. I fiddled with the tension. And fiddled some more. I've gone slow, I've gone fast. I've used my automatic speed button on my machine so I couldn't blame it on a foot twitch. I've used my foot so I couldn't blame it on a non-stopping stop button. I've unpicked and unpicked some more. In fact, here's a picture of the thread I've pulled off the back over the course of the last week:

Overall, I would say I've got between 15 and 20 starts. That's 15-20 thread knots to bury. That's 15-20 times of starting over and going slow enough to get the pattern right, but fast enough to get the stitches right.

And I just can't get the tension right.

Here's a picture of what is very random on the back, 3 stitches here, 2 stitches there...not enough to pick them out and sew over it again, but enough to worry and pray they kinda get sucked up in the crinkles and grooves of the washed quilt.

Tension Issues

This is just so frustrating.

While I haven't taken my machine to be serviced this week (had it done less than a year ago), I hesitate to do that because my little sample quilt came out perfect. Every time. Slow around the corners? Fast around the corner? Smooth like buttah. Put in the actual quilt, though, and my machine just doesn't behave the same way.

Other than that, this week has been about getting family pictures taken (waiting on the disc), cleaning house (my FIL will be arriving momentarily for a week), not getting enough sleep (this dern quilt!), and chillin with my homies (Buzz can sit up now) (and roll over both directions, but doesn't know he can get places, yet!)

For WiP Wednesday's sake, here's my active WiP list:
  • I've still got to make Natalie's wonky star block.
  • I LOVE receiving butterfly blocks for my Faith Circle do.Good Stitches quilt! I've got 4 sets on the wall right now, and I am SO tempted to redesign it so that I can make 2 or 3 quilts instead of just one! :) You know me and do.Good Stitches...why make one when I can make five, right? :)
  • I need to start the Grayson quilt. And I'm pretty sure I'll be taking it to the long arm and doing it there. This...whatever I've been doing this week...I can't take much more of it!
I hope y'all have a great week, and get some of your WiPs done! :) Hopefully next week I can show you pictures of this thing I've been working on! :)

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for her regular {WiP} Wednesday post -- with Guest Host Debbie from A Quilter's Table.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced