Sunday, March 4, 2018

Quilt Challenges and A Change of Pace

In just a couple of short months, I have accomplished a few things quilting wise. This weekend I took up making doll quilts for a good cause. Spread the Love, Quilting for Kids. My wife, told me about it and had been "squirreling" on these little projects.  So, I took a soft reusable shopping bag full of fabrics and began.

A little backstory on the fabric I used. A friend's grandmother, who happen to be a fabric artisan and quilter, left a bunch of fabric when she passed. About 4-5 months ago I spent several days sorting fabric and found bunches of pre-pieced swatches of fabric and I separated them out into this soft bag. With the aforementioned project I decided what better way to honor the memory of this special contributor to the stash, than to use her pre-pieced selections along with other of her fabrics and make scrap-tastic baby doll quilts. I ended up with four.

The lighting is terrible, but it is what it is.

The interesting part about this little project(s) is that I am not accustomed to working with odd shapes and sizes.  However, this is scraptastic right???!!! I just started putting them together.  Once I got started on the first one, I realized I would have to do some trimming to get them squared to make the process a little smoother. I was able to generate these four pretty fast.  It was good to work out of the comfort zone.  That also means that at some point I am going to have to give applique a shot.  I may do that when I start of a special operations seal that I plan to work on sometime in the near future.  One other issue I ran into with these projects was seams. Lots and lots and lots of seams. However, I usually press all my seems open, and with premade pieces most seams were already pressed (mostly to the dark side).  This allowed me to work with nesting of seems, which I found to be somewhat pleasant.

As mentioned in the previous post, I started a quilt for a buddy to "auction" off for his private/home school group.  Tish finished it by doing a simple meander and a binding job.  She will be posting pics soon. Needless to say, this was a pretty easy top to piece and a quick finish. I would certainly do the pattern again. It was called Cabin Fever.

The top photo is the completed top, the second photo is what was suppose to be both pieces of binding, however after consideration I decided to do a traditional instead of flange. The main binding is the predominate blue. and the last photo is the backing...a pieced civil war vintage fabric that I found at Classic Quilt Shop in Clarksburg, WV.  Once done, I "cabbaged" as I call it, the remaining fabric after it was finished, for a possible future project.

Then I took left overs a created a block, I have two more laid out, but not finished.

I will finish these up and offer them for-sale at a local boutique.

I also have a few more complete blocks on A Bee Sampler Quilt-a-Long.

I may or may no get another block done tonight. This quilt along is a great one if you need practice at HST. I want to do the next one, however, as of tomorrow my life has become quite a bit more hectic.

I also assisted in creating some blocks for the LQG for our raffle quilt this year.

With that being said, I am preparing to embark on a new adventure.  I knew that I had a new temporary assignment, and through all the nervousness and tension, the time has finally arrived to take on the process.  This week I have something additional to complete (that relates to my temp assignment).  This will be a training process for me that will allow me to be a further asset to my agency, in a different capacity. I have a week of training next week (I will be helping in delivery of training that week).  I am looking particularly forward to that week as it relates to special operations.  Special Operations is a brotherhood that few will understand and even fewer will ever be a part of.  Then the following week I start my 6 month temporary journey. This should make me much more promote-able. It will expose me to an upper level management/administration type position. Nervous as I may be, I am looking forward to the challenge.

Back to the quilting front....I am looking forward to my next projects.  I have several projects on the burner....Fabrics waiting to be used....

This from my Leadership Training in NC.

And this which was a more recent purchase. This fabric spoke more to me than, I think, any other fabric I have purchased.

The following pictures are of the most recent project that I completed.  It is for a close friend of the family/(actual) family.  The colors ended up working well together and a simple Turning Twenty pattern that I stayed true to (this time).  I can't wait to finish this one and get it to it's owner. It will be backed in Purple Moda Grunge and have a pretty bold purple binding. The "favorite" color was purple.

I went through probably 19 lay outs before I came to rest with the bottom one. The "squares" are actually a pretty vibrant violet, that didn't really show up as pretty as they are.  I had one  block that I put together in the second row wrong. I couldn't stand it, so I went back and fixed it. I really am happy with the final product.

Last but not least is a new semi-planned project. I had a student in my most recent class, that touched me personally.  I don't feel at liberty to speak of details, but let us just say that there is a commonality that touched close to my heart.  A wonderful soul entered my life and showed that people can and do change.  Without a clear commitment, this person persevered through a tough situation and found a duty-full calling to persist and achieve graduation. They also found a respect for the duty to the job and to all people effected by the job. This person proved that they have potential as a leader and I rarely saw the person, not reading or studying something suggested during training.  The unfortunate part is that they are not in the most desirable location to work. However, true leadership knows no bounds, and that success can be had/made anywhere.  So this person, asked me about making a quilt. I try and commission as many projects as I can stand to work on, but this one is special in another way.  If anyone is following WV, we are in the throws of a major state budget/wage increase battle. This particular location, though not a part of state, deals with my agencies "trusties" to speak euphemistically. The pay at this location is even worse. I felt compelled to make this one as a gift also....With that being said....let us examine the fabrics....

This was a new purchase!

Aside from the ones labeled as a new purchase, the rest of these are from the stash...the very back blue, in almost every picture is a shibori style dyed fabric that I made myself, that will make this quilt extra personal. I made it at last year's Quilt Bloggers International Retreat.

The reds will add a splash of color.  I am thinking an overall HST theme or one like a cascade pattern I found.  I have to research the cascade pattern to see if it will be big enough and I want this to be a large Lap or smaller Twin/Full for quality "Snugglishness" or Snuggle Factor. The Snugglish factor is probably one of the most important in a least in my opinion.

I will likely, on my new experience, take a small HusqvarnaViking machine with me to work on this project and hopefully have it complete in short order.  I know it will be received well and will be worth the investment of time, labor, and fabric.  

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank

As I approach my new mission, I approach it as humbly as possible, knowing that any changes for the positive are because of what others bring to the table, I just "pray" that I am the vehicle to cause the change to come about.  I also know that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make an impact.  I enter this project not expecting or trying to change anything. I am just there to observe and report my finding....make suggestions when reasonable, and provide a service as more of a consultant than an "evaluator" of sorts.  

Those that read this, when you have time, over the next 6 months, send thoughts, prayers, good vibrations out my way to help me be successful.

In the meantime.....I will serve and protect!

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi
As a hopeful leader for the future, I don't know where my life will take me, per-say....However, I do have a vision and a mission....and that is to be a leader that provides people with motivation to find their own vision and mission in the world.....Doing this in a way that does not harm or interfere with the rights of others....and make a lasting legacy... that my life will be remember because of the impact that I made on others.  If quilting and teaching remain a part of that, then that is wonderful also. In my now almost 2 years of quilting, I have recognized that so many others have major talent that I'm not sure I can honestly reach in the quilting world.  I enjoy developing blocks, making quilts, and giving them away.  I am wonderful at color coordination too and enjoy the wonderful friendships, both locally and on-line that I have developed as a result of quilting.  However, personal speaking engagements related to leadership and helping others... is where my passion lies.

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
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You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Read more at:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Read more at:

Have a wonderful quilty week all.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Catching up.... a terrible blogger still alive.

Greetings and Salutations!

That is how I start an email when it is addressed to multiple recipients. I went back and looked and the last time I posted was back in October 2017. Since then, I have been quiet busy.  I attended leadership training at a location in Greensboro, North Carolina called the Center for Creative Leadership.  Since my mentor, Randy Perdue, retired I knew I needed to get some quality food for my soul and career goals. My sister, Terri Stemple had advised me of a location that she had been given reference to, by someone she had business connections with. She sees something in me and naturally referred me that direction.  After a decently long application process, I was awarded a scholarship. It still cost us a decent chunk of change out of my pocket, but the ball was rolling.


I began a journey that my mentor had not taken, so this was undiscovered territory.  I jumped in and felt extremely successful through the process. I stayed with my sister just a few days and determined that over a week, the trip plus class was taxing/tiring. My sister, the kind and beautiful soul that she is, used her reward points to put me up in a nearby hotel that was much better than I deserved. I owe here a word of gratitude because this opportunity would never have come to fruition had it not been for her.  Thanks Terri! Love you big sis.

I am thinking about making a quilt and donating it. This was a highlight experience in life and I bought fabric to commemorate it. The two purple/blue I bought afterwards.  If you are ever in the Cary North Carolina area, I recommend you visit Elegant Stitches. They have a HUGE selection of batiks, are a certified Bernina dealer and have a great selection of other fabrics including but not limited to Kaffe and Cotton & Steel.

So, I took the class and did quite alot of reflecting as well as reviewing the results of various surveys that helped me along the process. I found several books I wanted to read based upon this training and I have purchased several. The good news was the evaluations that were done by peers, direct reports, family, and bosses reflected exactly what I figured it would.  I have a pretty acute sense of self, so change, when I am willing, will be quite easy.

Quilting......yes please, and then again siiiigggghhhhh!  I am a perfection so as much fun and relaxing as quilting can be, it is also stressful and sometimes frustrating when I make mistakes.

And, if that isn't enough, as I began to write this, I realized I hadn't posted half of my recent work. Tish assured me that she was keeping people informed that I was still alive and on with the pictures

The above carpenter's star was from a pattern Tish had and I decided to make it with Civil War reproductions. I ran out of the tan and was panicked.  Luckily the shop in Summersville, had some left over.  We made an emergency run and landed in the middle of the "Potato Festival"  I liked how it turned out....this one for sure is a keeper. One of my favorites that I have made to date.

This was a kit of 30's reproduction fabric that Tish got me as a holiday gift from Fat Quarters Shop. I used the white in the big squares that came with it, but I didn't think that was quite enough. We had been to Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop in Parkersburg, WV and they had adorable kitten fabric with a gray tabby cat drinking out of a blue cup and a same sample with pink cup.  They got added in!!!!

Tish had me make this block to....don't ask me why but she did....and I made it.  The fabrics are batik-esq from Bolt and Quarters also. If you ask her, she may remember why she had me make it.

One of our favorite stores in Morgantown, WV..... Country Roads Quilt Shop
 had this new line of Moda Fabric and I fell in love with it.  Tish wanted me to use a red center, but I felt brown.  I did ALL kinds of layouts, but landed on this one.  My first attempt at log cabin was....ok.  The print probably was no the best choice and the repetition was tough, but I did enjoy the process. I would do another, but would be more choosy on my fabric.

I posted the pattern for this group on my previous post.  I have yet to find weather to get this quilt top out and get it photographed, but this is my version in Tula Pink Chipper, with coordinating solids. I ended up having about a third of the fabric left over along with a whole other jelly role of Chipper. I may actually try this with all  chipper and making the solid white center squares out of the coordinating solids... I don't know, that is aways off, if it does happen.

This was the last day of November. Out of respect for this man I will not post his name. As with Randy Perdue,  this man changed my life.  I look to him as a mentor also.  A fine individual, that knew our line of work inside and out, and knew more about basic patrol rifle techniques and everyday management/supervision than almost anyone else I know.  It shook my world also, when he retired.  I miss him dearly and aspire to do as much for my people as he did for me in helping them be better as supervisors and the career.  I miss you my friend.  He has a quilt on the is in its last stages now.

Blue was his favorite color and this is a revised version of Turning 20. I think I may have posted it before.  Tish is quilting this for me as we speak.

Christmas rolled around this year and upon me being off for vacation we...meaning mostly I decided to clean up our back room which contains most of Tish's stash (she says it is mine, but less than 10% is actually mine).  I found my tree skirt I started and decided it was time...finished or not to get it under the tree. I tried a different binding strategy and got it done. Tish has pebbling to may and may not get finished in her UFO projects this year, it looks good regardless.  During that time Tish also got me started on Mister Domestic's woven ornaments. She made one and I did also.. My first was a flop, and once I made the strips longer it got much that I made a bunch!!!! I like the traditional feel of the tree with the home made ornaments.

This was one of my random  patterns I drew up and decided to use some random fat quarters I picked up several months ago at Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop.  I think it turned out decent. I love the citrus-y look of these colors!!!!!

At the new year Tish asked me about getting into a Quilt Along. Please forgive the orientation of the picture. I saved it the correct way, but when I uploaded it, it flopped it. I wasn't sure I wanted to get involved in the quilt-along, but the fabric (top pic) was some of the first fabric I bought for myself.  A complete set of fat quarters from Moda line Bee Creative. I am wanting to try and get through my back (stash) fabric in order and this was next. So, I made my first block and decided the background......well it was way too bright.

I made the first one revised after I made it through the second two and decided it didn't match.. I may still yet revise the first one, because I am just not sold on it.

How it was coming together as of two weeks ago. The picture just about and below here are also save in the correct orientation, but when I uploaded them "Blogger" flopped these also. I apologize.

And last but not least, I have started a second first actually dual project going least I am pretty sure.  One of my friends is wanting to do a raffle to raise money for a Christian School/home school group of kids to get them a field trip/ vacation. So, Tish and I opted in. I am piecing the top and she is going to quilt it.

 Needless to say, I am very much still alive and quilting.Recently, I learned that my services to my employer were, at least temporarily, needed elsewhere in the agency. This occurred just prior to my training in North Carolina.  To date, the paperwork has not yet come through, so I have not started yet.  I will be busy with that job, though I am going to try and quilt in my off time.  I plan to do ALOT of reading during that time also.  However, the quilt along, will keep me going on the weekends for sure.  I have not even really had much time to read blogs, though I do get around to them occasionally.  I guess what it boils down to is that being a male have to have a niche to get recognized....I don't have that. Even though I  "feel" I am a better than average quilter and definitely a designer, I have made a couple attempts to get recognized, and have failed (ego aside). Quilting is pretty "in" right now and is very competitive, especially in the non-traditional/modern quilting venue.  I like the traditional, orderly and balanced, looks of the older that is what I typically make. To each his/her own and let everyone make what they like. Anyway, quilting is more of Tish's arena anyway.  I will help her in every way  that I can, to make her successful. But, for me it will have to be just be a hobby.

I hope everyone is doing well. Tish and I have talked about combining forces and that is still up in the air.  But, I will be continuing to quilt, blogging and reading blogs somewhat less. For those that bought our first pattern we thank you very much and would love to see your  final projects.  Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Have a wonderful day, week, or what fits your observation of time.