UnChained Melody

Picking the binding took longer than deciding how to quilt it!
Most of the quilts I make I make for a purpose.. I make them for me or my home. I feel free to do with them as I will since I  don't give a shit ( or "flip" for you with delicate ears) what others think about them since I am making them for personal reasons- this is very freeing.

My quilts spring from a thought or a memory or a synesthesic experience ( an excellent reason to get your groove on if there ever was one!) In practical terms this means I sew, piece and quilt in a way that pleases me without a care to what a quilt judge might think. 

I might even be so bold as to add a second back or God forbid a ruffle instead of binding around my quilt both of which in most cases would get my quilt tossed from a lot of competitions no matter how amazing the front was.

I happily share the steps of my quilting adventure, showing photos and techniques, mess-ups and glories - I love to share and have been told in no uncertain terms that I should not be doing so if it is going to be a " show quilt".

I also tend to hide symbolism in my quilts.. in both the piecing and the quilting. Some of it very endearing like the six  hearts scattered in Roy G. Biv to represent my six children  but some of it  rather rogue  like the sexual reference in my newest quilt. While some judges would find it funny I am thinking that others - not so much unless they too are` platinum level customers at Good Vibrations.

The Grand Experiment 

 With this knowledge in mind I entered the quilt show world with a good bit of trepidation and an idea.. my ~grand experiment  6 quilts or shows to see how I felt about things. To see what I could learn and see if it was a good fit for me. 

 Since lets face it none of the reasons cited above make my quilts or me  ideal for the show circuit and even during my short time of this ~Grand Experiment~  I have determined that show quilting is not the life for me.

Even with this creeping realization  and against my better judgement I decided to make one more quilt just for Quilt Con.  In creating this last piece for just this show I was stumped, stymied and doubted my choices at every turn. I weighed each choice against what I thought the judges would want to see.. and it made me sad.  

It came to me that I did not want to quilt that way.. to quilt for the sole purpose of trying to win, to quilt not for someone or something.. but to win. I have never been competitive in that way.. I detest sports so I am guessing in that way quilting to compete feels no different to me.

 I stepped back and started again - The result is UnChained Melody-  this time creating it with a person in mind and no care to what the judges think. - that feels right to me.

This quilt as well as  What Stella Knows and Roy G. Biv's Dresden have made application for jury at Quilt Con as part of my experiment. In my mind I am already discounting  Roy since he was already Juried into The Road to California quilt show as part of my ~Grand Experiment~ so I don't think I want the stress of getting him back home and then off to another show. ( Heck I might not even send him to R2CA since I would really like to get him hung up in my home where he was made to hang.)

Has it been worth it?
 I would say yes, my time and money to check out the world of quilt shows has been worth it from the standpoint that I feel a lot more clarity about who I am as a quilter and what I want to do as part of the quilting world.

In total ( not even counting fabric and personal labor costs) I can say that the quilt show world is expensive, shipping quilts back and forth, insurance, packing, boxes and the time to do so take its toll. This is time I wold rather spend on something else.

Yes it is amazingly flattering to be jurried in and I was quite excited (shocked) when my quilts made it into shows but almost as soon as the excitement  subsided I realized I felt uneasy and out of place. I came to the choice that at the end of this Grand Experiment that I would not be quilting FOR competition anymore.

Yes, here and there you might see one hanging in a quilt market booth or just to be seen but my days of competition were short but happily done.

If you like it...put a Pin on it!

For that reason my newest quilt is titled UnChained Melody... unchained from the never ending and always changing expectations and rules that govern quilt shows. Unchained from the judgement of if I do or don't bury my threads, use matching top and bottom threads or what makes something an art-quilt vs any other type of quilt.

Please don't get me wrong.. if you love to compete, please go for it. I will cheer you on I will jump up and down for you or even give you a shoulder to cry on if it does not work out the way you want. I love the folks I have met from this world, I just don't love the rules of engagement that come with it. .

In the mean time I am going to work on expanding  my idea that celebrates quilting without competition.  I am not sure if it will fly...but I am ready to give it a go and that feels very right to me.

The Hurried Birth of a Quilt.

UnChained Melody in repose as she blocks

Quilting against a deadline makes for some some tense moments or high speed fun depending on how you are bent.

It seems I am equally bent in both directions since while creating this was fun it also was a bit more stress than I would like to put on myself again and with a little luck I will keep that little factoid front and center the next time I think.. " ohhhh a whole week.. sure I can do that" - Doh!

With a little luck UnChained Melody will be dry by morning and ready for final squaring and her binding by Tuesday night. Photoshoot on Wednesday and submission to the QuiltCon on Thursday. ( I am going to QC in Feb so it would be fun to see it hang there)

Now this all seems almost reasonable except for the fact that I am scheduled to spend the whole morning in the dentist chair on Wednesday - payers will be accepted in advance.

I have been sharing the process of this quilt over on Facebook on both my Domestic Anarchy page and on my new venture The BadAss Quilters Society  if you would like to follow along!

So what say you... do you like being privey the quilt making process or just like the big reveal at the end?

Turduckens in Anarchy- The Cross-Bred Fowl Adventure

Love them, hate them or have no idea what they are I bet someone you know made one this holiday season.  The Turducken is a tasty if not excessive display of three meats and three dressings popularized by the Chef Paul Prudhomme but where it originally came from before that point is a bit sketchy. 

The Anarchy estate  history with  this culinary  wonder dates back about 10 years to my first foray into boning a turkey  a duck and a chicken (T-D-C) plus making three separate stuffings.. it was a huge production and while it  did make for fine eating I was so tired by the time it was all done that I needed a nap!

From that time forward  I have done the sensible thing and ordered  my bird-of-plenty from one of the many places you can get them these days.  This year since we were having only a small family get together I ordered a smaller totally boneless  version from my local butcher at Fresh Market- not as pretty for sure but it does not leave me with so much meat that we eat Turducken for a month!

While the more expensive route for sure..  my $40  boneless turducken will feed 10+ people and I am cool with that price given there was NO work needed on my part. The ultimate in holiday lazy!

Large Turduckens can weigh well over 30 pounds and feed at least 30+ people. With few to no bones you are talking all edible.. so even at $100 it is rather a bargain given the time savings.

Our Turducken looked like this!

It was delish!.... and on that note I leave you with this since  it so reminded me of the lady who asked me how they bred all those birds together to make a Turducken!


My little Secret. - Clip in Bangs

Anybody remember this ad campaign.. Does she..or doesn't She?  That is a bit how I feel about my new bangs. Clip in bangs do feel a bit like cheating but I am having a lot of fun with them that is for sure.

They have also made me feel much more comfortable with the idea of getting my actual bangs cut so that is also a good thing.

The trick to clip in bangs is attitude and a dead match to your own hair.  Attitude I had so getting a perfect match was next on the list.  

Honestly I was lucky, while I had looked online I also stopped by my local Ulta and found a color that was such a good match as to be scary.  ( I am not sure what this means about my hair ~ given some time to think about it I might be insulted)

Generally it is best to start with clean hair styled generally to match your clip-in. For me that meant blowing out straight (1) .. me no make-up

After that get your bangs ready. The first time you put them on they will need to be trimmed, do this while you are wearing them for best results. Keep them some place safe (2) on your lamp is not the safe place. When not wearing them store them back in the hairnet and box that came in for best results and so that your cat does not attack them and drag them around ( ahem!)

Putting the bangs on is a bit of a trick but easy once you get the hang of it- I watched the following videos for guidance - 

More clip in Bangs

If you have them in correctly  they will be totally comfortable and then you can style the rest of your hair like normal.

So.. would you be willing to try clip in bangs?

p.s. I have been told that these make me look "hysterically" young... guess I will have to suffer that fate :)

Wearing Bangs Past 40

So the other day I posted a silly photo of me playing at my dressing table trying to decide if I should get bangs or not.  Bangs are sort of the "Sophies Choice" of the hair world, once you have bangs cut in there is long road to being bangless once again.

I took the photos since I often see things in photos that I can't see otherwise ( great quilting trick to check color and composition).. I posted the photo on Facebook, since let's face it I am usually willing to make a fool of myself to make you laugh.

Holy moly do you people have strong opinions on having bangs! With over 45 comments the views were  polite  but very strong with opinions being pretty much evenly split down the middle.

Some thinking it a tragic mistake for the "older woman" to wear a hair style that can sometimes be considered  a bit young and others thinking it a dandy way to cover up a forehead that has seen some years.

While I do have some impressive furrows on my forehead.. really- you could plant a crop in them.. a by product of being rather expressive I should think, I am not worried about them and don't feel the need to cover them up.

But I was looking for a change and bangs seemed interesting if not a bit dangerous and possibly a bit of an F.U. to turning 45 in a very short time.  While she is long gone I can still hear my MIL in my ear saying that at my age I really should be thinking of cutting my hair short.

I have had my hair short.. very short.. it was fun, so is long hair. I really think that you can be any age and have any hair you want so making this change was not earth shattering but I did not want to end up looking like an idiot either

So what do you think I decided on????


Yep...  bangs after 40 and I am loving them.

Of course I do have a small secret.....


Come back tomorrow and I will talk more about it!

Thinking Big with your Quilting- Using Block Poster

I have a tendency to think big.. way bigger than seems feasible at times but I have found a wonderful program that makes thinking big with my quilting possible. 

Block Poster is a wonderful free site that lets you take images and create tileable and home printable pages that you can then tape together to make an image as big as you can dream it!

This has been an amazing way to create large images without the need of a large wall space or projector. Just create - size - print - tape and get on with your project. 

I am even playing with printing straight to fabric! 

Just remember the higher the resolution of your image the better it will print to your poster. 

Step 1 - Pick the image you want to use and edit it for clarity. I converted the image of my pup to a graphic line image for the purpose of creating a quilt pattern from his fine sweet face.

Step 2 - Upload the image at Block Poster

Step 3- Fiddle with the printing and the orientation of the paper. Make is big or REALLY big. Just remember that this is going to take LOTS of ink. 

Step 4 - Print or save you image in PDF format.

How easy is that??

What can you think to do with this great program?

p.s. The Block Poster people don't know me from Eve  I just like to share resources that I like and since it's a free program what does it matter?

Stand Back I am Not a Professional!

You know those video where they start by saying.. " Kids don't try this at home" ? I often feel like that when I post things here on the blog.

I get a fair number of questions about the projects I do .. both questions left here in the comments section and sent to my email and I try to answer them to the best of my ability with any knowledge that I have gleaned in my own experience.

This does not mean I am always right.. in fact sometimes I am so wrong that it is stunning given that I should know a least a bit about what I am talking about.  ( These sorts of mistake often remind me of the time the Mythbusters  shot a cannon ball through the home of a sleeping couple on accident- it could have been tragic but luckily no one was hurt)  These guys know their stuff and yet they made a mistake.. it happens!

But here is the deal.. I am all about trying new things, stepping out of my comfort zone to try new projects and then I share with you when they went right and when they went wrong. I speak from my experience and that is all I can give you. Well that and a smart-ass retelling of why you should never try to deep condition your cat or some other such big time fail on my part such as:

Fail 1 

Fail 2

Fail 3

I could go on but it is getting sort of embarrassing...

I Believe in Unicorns

I believe in unicorns.  This might come as a surprise to some since as a general rule I am rather sensible and no nonsense but on this I believe.

And as long as I am going to believe in unicorns I am going the whole way.. magic beans, pixie dust.. the works, it just seems easier since really I have no choice.

You see if I believe in these things I can also believe that the scary long hair I found on my neck  had not been growing there for weeks if not months.

I found it this morning as I ran my hand over my neck during the hazy moments of waking.. only to sit bolt upright in bed as I stretched it out to a length that one could only call shocking.. truly shocking. In fact had I had two more of the same strength and length  I could have braided them up and had something worthy of Rapunzel.

But instead of having to think that this hair has been on my neck for virtual eons  for all to see and wonder why I have not "taken care of that" I have decided that it grew magically over night, much like the story of the bean stalk and the magic beans or unicorns appearing out of nowhere.

So you see it really is a very sensible decision on my part.

You will have to excuse me now..  I have to feed my unicorn some pixie dust so that I can then leave to go buy a much higher powered as well as lighted makeup mirror since there is only so much magic a girl can take in one day.

This Week in Anarchy- Quilts, Bricks and Rare Beauty

The coloring is almost complete on this wonderful top. I still feel like it needs more orange to the center but I might have to accomplish that with thread instead of ink.. we shall see.  ( Want to see how this all started? Waking Sleeping Beauty)

I have been using Copic Markers for this project and have been very pleased with the way their color blends so well with the batik fabrics. There are some tricks to using them and I tried to do a video the other day only to have my camera run out of batteries... so maybe I can get that done  later this week.

Of course all of this quilt play is just to avoid the fact that I have finally pledged to finish the kitchen remodel that we started..ummmmm 7 years ago?.. maybe 8 ? ( hangs head)

Do you like how I tidied up for you?- after breakfast realness. 
First project..  bricking in the extractor vent sack!  Does that sound like fun or what?? The opposite side of the kitchen has the actual 100 year old brick  kitchen chimney  and I want to bring that look over to this side of the kitchen so brick I shall use!  Alas this actually means moving that  5 burner monster stove to get back there .. no fun!

So to keep my mind off of that I started a new series of quilts! ( A.D.D. much Maddie?- ummm yes!)

The first is Rare Beauty 1...  and yes... while it is an orchid for sure it is also what you think it is. This series ( I think there will be three in all)  explores the idea that as women we tend to put negative words around sexual organs and our sexual nature and yet each of us is gorgeous and unique. 

I don't think that we would ever look at the colors of an orchid and think that they should not be that way. That they should not be mottled, or deep and dark, or ruffled or smooth, or wild and untamed and yet we are not near so kind to ourselves in embracing our own beauty. - Think about it.

I have only just cut the appliques for this  RB1.. next up is shading and then the border and then quilting.. at this rate I might never get the kitchen finished!

What about you?.. what are you working on?

Waking Sleeping Beauty- Fixing a Quilt with Color

Quilt Top by Lorraine C.

Sometimes for all the hard work you put into a quilt top, the picking the fabric, the sewing,the ripping,  the angst, you stand back when it is all done and go.. "Oh".

Sometimes "oh" is good.. that sort of take you breath away moment and sometimes "oh" is.. Oh I wish I had picked a better fabric.

The second sort of "oh" is the heart breaking sort that I am familiar with so when Lorraine contacted me about working with her quilt I knew what she was talking about when she talked about hating it at this very moment.

Lorraine did a fasmatstic job at piecing this quilt..she is one hot stitcher. Her issues with this quilt started way back at the fabric shop when she pulled fabrics for this Judy Niemeyer quilt pattern called Golden Harvest.

Each fabric she picked is a gorgeous  batik it just so happens that some of them are too close in color as to make a striking distinction for the spiky areas of the quilt and that is where I come in.

You see Lorraine is a brave woman.. she has sent her quilt to me and I will be adding color with both pencil and thread in order to bring some pop to this quilt. I say Lorraine is brave since this can be somewhat dicey and yet when it works the results can be amazing!  ( We are shooting for amazing- just so you know!)

Today I am just testing colors on scrap fabrics under the careful supervision of my studio kitty ( no fool is he , sleeping on a stack of insulbrite to keep warm) , tomorrow I start thinking about thread colors as I start in on the transformation... wish me luck and keep up with mini-updates by joining the Domestic Anarchy Facebook Page