Sunday, March 24, 2013

Losing Control!!!

I hereby am declare that I need a REAL vacation!! 

This week has been competing with my own version of  the 7 levels of Hades!  It started with the S.O. finally going back to the hospital for basically the same thing as he did in Jan. but without the pneumonia.  Of course this day,  the Mother Nature decided to be a "redheaded witch" with wonderful lake effect weather...NOT!!!!  After 8 hours in the ER, they finally decide to admit him, now we what for another hour for a bed and getting him settled in for the night; I  FINALLY get to go home.  Now the weather hasn't improve by much since we went in.  It's just about dark, the temps are falling, the wind chill has dropped from what felt like  9*F from earlier in the day to almost 0*.  The winds are screaming across the flat empty fields and howls around the corners of buildings. Combine those with fishtailing on the slicks of black ice roads and suicidal deer and oh what fun to be had as I travel the pothole riddled, back roads to dirt of my driveway. 

The stress of driving at top speed of 25 to 30 mph has combined with the happenings of the day that the Tullamore Dew is shouting my name as I rubber-leg it down the dark hill to the house.  The oh-so-sweet Irish Whiskey Siren calls to my Irish Blood.  This is the last bottle of the coveted Tullie that made the journey from Pennsylvania when I moved back to Michigan '09.

Meet Tullie
I had been "tiff-ing" (as he puts it) with the S.O. about the trip to the hospital for a week already and now that happened I just need a mental break so me and Tullie pick up the phone to call our super supportive Canadian friend -- Ms. D. -- who joins the venting party as she listens.  This "Pour Me 3 Fingers" meeting was just the thing after such the day. 

On the flip side - the rest of the week was an OCD nightmare!  The house looks like it might pass one of my mother's white glove inspections -- and she wasn't even the military parent!!!  The cats keep watching me as I'm running the vac multiple times a day, and taking a couple of old toothbrushes to various things. 

But when the cats watch as "Mom" broke out 30 large brown grocery bags to sort scraps of fabric they thought is was a great game!! That was until "mom" realized what she doing, she stopped - emptied them all out, stopped counting, re-sorted to 3 bags for her Farmer's Wife Sampler (FWS) Quilt blocks.  Dang it !!  We kitties loved to tip the bags over while she was sorting into all of them.  It was kind of funny to watch "Mom" try to keep them all upright; although there was a lot of  colorful language being tossed about along with all those bits of fabric.

The "3 Brown Bag" system
Well "Mom" is back and have chased the kitties out of the bags and off the 'puter.  For my FWS I decided to do two things.  I'm keeping a separate journal just for this quilt so that hopefully my future generations of my bloodline might be interested in the story behind the history of the quilt by leaving the journal to answer the "why's" & "whatnot's".  I'm kind of expanding on others have done with other similar quilts... but from my "day in a life of " point of view.  I think it would be nice to do and besides maybe in a 100 years this quilt and this journal will be on display somewhere in a museum! 

Why am I doing this quilt? Well I joined in with some of the girls in my "The Quilt and Needle" online group.  Each week on Mondays, we get a new block drawn and posted from a randomness system.  We aren't doing these in order so it's a bit of a weekly mystery to see which block we get.  I have been looking at this quilt online & in pictures for a couple years now.  I hope that one day I might be brave enough to tackle the Dear Jane quilt but the shear size of that one scares me with all 225  - 4" finished blocks and triangles and it seems that one has 5602 pieces in it.  Wow... Really?   So yeah .... soooo not ready for that one yet but with FWS it has 6" finished blocks. That tp me seems to be a little more mangable. Considering this will be a "learning" quilt as I go on. I've not done paper piecing yet and there are some of those in this quilt.

So what is the "3 Brown Bag" system?  Well as you can see in the picture above, you sort out your scraps into the 3 bags accordingly.  For me, a scrap is under a partical remenant of a FQ and smaller.  Now with this system, I developed my own rules.  Once I have decided what block I'm going to be making;  I reach into the bag of said desired fabrics.  There is No Peeking! and there is No Trade-ies!! What comes out must be used!  Frightening isn't it?

This permits me to do a completely "uncontrolled" scrappy verses what I call a "controlled" scrappy. What those are is you controll the scrappiness to a point.  You decide you want a Batik quilt using your scraps or to do it in shades of colors (ie: blues and tans). You are controlling an element within the quilt. 

Now as you might figure out with the other method, it is just blind luck.  I know that it is a really scary thing not to have "control" but on the other hand -- it can be freeing!!  The hardest part is giving up the "control", 'specially for a person that has OCD issues.  But on the flip side is that people that have tried my "crazy" method and they find that taking that whole decision precess, they relax quite a bit.  And then that is the quilt becomes on of the thier most favorite quilt that they sometimes have to "fight off" other family members and/or friends for it ... LOL. ;) 

Okay so you still aren't convinced with this system.  Trust I sooooooo understand!  How about we try it on a smaller scale?  Try to get you hands on 3 brown lunch bags and start out small.  I know that most quilters hae that "scrap" drawer or pile or basket that needs to be sorted, maybe ironed too.  Let me help with that.... mark the bags like I did in the picture above. All pieces!  Rather they be CW, 30's, modern, batiks, big prints, little prints..... just those 3 bags.  Now that they are all sorted.... found the bag tops down a time or two and give them a good shake.  Shoot!! If there is a little person somewhere about the house that has two thumbs.... hand them the bags and let them go to town by causing a mini fabric earthquake in the bags for a minute or two.  It's a great way to get them involved.  Okay now choose your first block.  Decide light, meduim, dark.  Unroll the tops, reach in, pull the bit out and then use.  Oh if the wee ones wants to "help" let them do the grabbing.  Who knows maybe this might end up being a bonding project and/or you inspire them to take up quilting too.  Nothing like being a mentor and pass on a useful skill and art form.  Remember there is NO PEEKING & NO TRADE-IES!!  This is a challenge of honesty with yourself when it comes to the fabrics that are being drawn.  So are you up to the challenge? Well ... follow me.... 'cuz here we go!

I got my first 3 FWS blocks done.  And so far I have ended up with 2 blocks that I really like and one so-so block but I'm sticking to my guns on this!  In the 1st picture is block #4 Basketweave and #33 Farmer's Puzzle.  I have been trying to make these 2 blocks for the past week as I'll dealing with all that is currently going on with my S.O. and my OCD.  So when I finally got the 2 of them to some what resemble the picture... I called them done.  With their points that will actually get whacked off  as they are assembled later and the "weak" differences in #4 block.  Sticking to the Rules no matter how much I want to break them.  Now for this week I actually wandered off and did my own choice for a blocks as I really wanted a block that didn't need lots of thought behind it. So in the 2nd picture you can see my pick of #56-Maple Leaf.  Again I got lucky on the fabrics for this block. And I was glad I was able to do this block in the 1st effort with the week I had been having.  Wheeeewwie ... join me as I wipe the sweat off my brow. 

Bet you thought I was done with sewing .... right?  Nope ... once I finally got settled down yesterday pushed on.  I managed to quit fighting the urge to take my 4 Schnibble blocks completily apart and put they back together as is.... mess up's and all.  There was a plan when I started this since I had 2 matching "Antique Fair" charm packs that I wanted to use in this wonderful pattern that my other quilty friend - Ms. P.  has sent me.  Now I have the center done, this week I'll cut & attach the border to finish it off for a while. 

 A Work In Progress.

I also had started a couple little "chicks" mini quilts as one was for the giveaway from last week.  But I fell behind on those.  I only got the fusing stage done, 'though I think think their cuteness is starting to show.

I'm going to do something special for each of the 4 persons that had entered my little giveaway last week.  Everybody WINS!!!

Kris from QB was the prize package winner. 
Ms. Pat  wins the 2nd chick mini. 
Ms. Midge of Q&N wins a Fabric pincushion
and last but not least Ms. Debbieann wins a Knitted pincushion. 

Ladies do know that there is a slight delay in the making & sending of the prizes but they are coming ASAP!  as thing are going to be backto normal here shortly as I was just told that S.O. is ready for release and the oxygen man has been here to set up the machine, tanks, instrustions for running the oxygen equipment aand B-PAP machine that is coming home too.  It also appears we are gearing up for another round of "Pass the Patient Around the Specialist Circle" again.  Well nothing like hand work for waiting rooms.

Ohhhhh good news in the e-mail box.... I just found out I was able to sign up to take part in the "It's for the Birds" blog hop.   Hosted by Madam Samm of  and has Ms. Mary of . This hop is scheduled for May 7th -15th and I already have a couple things that I can finish up for this one and IF I'm really lucky I'll have a new project for the hop too!! YEAH!!!

 Sew we quilt


Wow ... I know super long post this week but I sure hope you made it to the end and might consider leaving a comment or two for me.  Now it's time to go get the Mister from the hospital.



  1. Being a fellow Michigander, I certainly understand your weather problems. But this go round we got nothing in our neck of the woods. Yeah! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet comments and following. I am using your journal idea from the forum but not the the brown bag idea. I have been collecting fabrics for the quilt for so long I plan to know what I am putting with what. You are a brave soul and your blocks came out great! Really love the Antique Fair fabric, wonder how I have messed it. Hope you S.O. is better soon!

  2. Hi, I hope your SO is doing better. I love your brown bag idea, I will have to give that a try. I like the blocks you have done so far. I hope this week will be better for you.

  3. oh lucky day,,,,,looking forward to my pincushion. So glad S.O. is doing better. The kitties will help you keeping him busy or entertained.

    hugs and stitches