Monday, December 29, 2014

In Which Rowenta Loses Bladder Control, and Pees All Over My Ironing Board

How Can I Potty Train My Leaky Steam Iron?!
Good Monday Morning, and Happy 5th Day of Christmas!  As you can see above, the offending Rowenta is not a family member (thankfully!), but rather the latest in a string of household irons to have failed and disappointed me.  She was expensive, but she was German-engineered, she came highly recommended, and she was supposed to be worth it.  I followed her instruction manual to a T, emptying her tank between uses and filling her only with fresh water from the tap.  I have never dropped her.  I have never abused her for Craftsy DIY purposes for which she was never intended, and I haven't had her for even a full year.  And yet she has started intermittently peeing on my ironing board, and worse, all over my projects -- currently paper piecing.  Now, paper is pretty strong when it is dry, but not when it is wet!  Today, this caused a tear in my paper foundation that was fortunately near enough to the edge of an almost completed block, so it didn't result in ruined work.  Next time, I may not be so lucky.  I keep making excuses for Rowenta, like "I should have let her heat up before I refilled her tank," or "I must have tipped her sideways when the cord got caught on the ironing board," but deep down, I know her days are numbered.  Considering that her little sister, the Rowenta travel iron, nearly started an electrical fire a couple of months ago, I am no longer feeling the warm fuzzies about this brand!  If anyone has a recommendation for a reliable, potty-trained steam iron for quilters, please share that with me in the comments.

But it's Design Wall Monday, isn't it?  So enough about leaky irons -- let's check out that design wall:

Design Wall on Monday, December 29th, 2014: Pineapple Log Cabin

The biggest change to the wall since the last photo I posted is that I have taken down all of the bear paw blocks and the applique block so I can focus on just this one pineapple log cabin project until it is finished.  Now that I have 12 finished blocks I am officially a third of the way finished, if I stick with the original plan to make a California King sized quilt (6 x 6 layout of 17 3/4" finished blocks, about 106" before quilting and laundering shrinkage).  However, currently we have a Queen bed and my 6'8" husband is not 100% on board with the idea of getting a bigger bed, even though his feet stick out at the bottom of our bed like that Ned dude in the Dr. Seuss books:
Unlike Bernie, Ned Does NOT Like His Little Bed

A California King bed is 12" wider than a Queen, as well as 4" longer to accommodate those feet that have been sticking out from the end of the bed all these years!  Bernie's objection to the King bed is that "he likes to snuggle," but snuggling is not nearly as nice when one of the snugglers has a raging, sweaty fever and is a swarming flu hatchery.  I know I promised to be there "in sickness and in health," but scooting 12" away from a sick person gives you a fighting chance to stay healthy enough to take care of Mr. Sickie.  Plenty of couples who are smaller than we are manage to share a King sized bed without growing estranged from long distance!  Have you ever heard the saying, "If you build it, they will come?"  That's my philosophy with this quilt.  I'm making it California King sized, and once I've spent a thousand hours or so piecing and quilting it, I'm pretty sure the California King bed will come.  ;-)

Back to the main topic of this post, which was supposed to be the design process: I read somewhere online recently where a quilter said she "didn't like scrappy quilts."  I don't understand that at all.  I have certainly seen a lot of scrappy quilts that I did not like, but what I didn't like about them was the color or value choices (light/medium/dark, not morals!) made by the quilt maker, or something about the overall design of the quilt that didn't appeal to me.  I admire many quilts with more limited palettes than what I typically use, but I can't imagine making a whole bed sized quilt using only a few fabrics.  I would get so bored without the constant design decisions that happen throughout the entire piecing process with a "scrappy" quilt.  With my pineapple log cabin blocks, the paper piecing process is so smooth and easy that I can carry on conversations with my family, supervise homework, or listen to cartoons on television (Anders' favorites are the old Tom & Jerry cartoons) while I'm piecing without worrying about making mistakes.  What keeps the process interesting for me is the challenge of combining all of these different fabrics in a way that creates a unified look for the quilt as a whole even though every single block is unique. 

12th Block Completed

Each of these pineapple log cabin blocks contains 97 patches cut from 37 different fabric strips, and I have used a total of over 150 different fabrics so far for the twelve blocks that I have completed.  I have other fabrics waiting "in the wings" to be sliced into strips if needed.  ("Need" is when I look at the strips I have already cut and none of them look exciting, not when I run out of strips that have already been cut).  I select each fabric strip individually as I add it to the block, checking my design wall to make sure my new block doesn't look too much like any of the ones I've already finished.  The process of making the quilt is much more enjoyable for me when I'm using many different fabrics, and I love that the blocks make a dramatic impact from a distance, but there so many details to notice up close due to the interplay of so many different fabrics.  Anyway, that's enough blogging for today -- on to Block 13 of 36!

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times and Esther's WOW: WIPs on Wednesday.  Have a wonderful week, everyone!

25 comments:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have been told by some quilters that they do not like to use scraps because they have so many colors and so many prints that they do not no how to arrange them - they can't let loose and just go with the flow. I love scraps and I love your pineapple blocks!! I would get the bigger bed if I have room for it and hubby would just have to get used to it. I once bought a new mattress and had it delivered and the bed made before hubby got home and yes he was surprised but after the initial shock that I purchased it without him being on board he was ok with it because he knew we needed it but he is a procrastinator and just didn't want to deal with getting a new one.
As far as irons go I only use cheap ones, I have had it with expensive ones - I don't care what brand it is or what they say about it - if it comes in my house I know it won't last a year.

Sue Daurio said...

wow!! I LOVE your pineapple blocks, what size are the logs? They look so tiny. 97 pieces in each block, goodness, that is amazing! I've never been happy with the three rowenta's that I had, they all started leaking after a while. The problem is that I've yet to find a replacement. Still trying to find one that gets hot enough but doesn't spit and sputter....

Libby in TN said...

Your pineapples are gorgeous. The overall effect is not scrappy at all because of your color and value choices. That's what makes scrappy successful! Don't feel lonely; no one I know is happy with their Rowentas. I go with the $20 variety and don't feel bad when I have to part with them.

Kate said...

oh I love love the pineapple pattern - great little 'boards' and a big bold center block... its fabulous ! Please, where did you find the paper pattern??? thanks, Kate

Rebecca Grace said...

The blocks finish at 17 3/4". The foundation pattern is available as a free download from Fons & Porter here: http://www.fonsandporter.com/articles/Pineapple_Log_Cabin_quilt_foundation_piecing_scrap_quilt_International_Quilt_Study_Center_and_Museum_quilt

It's a reproduction of an antique Pineapple Log Cabin quilt in the International Quilt Museum, but the original quilt appears to have been pieced by traditional methods (seams do not meet up as nicely as they will with paper piecing).

Ramona said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous blocks. Thank you for sharing the link to the blocks. I just replaced my Rowenta iron because it leaked. Mine had fallen off of the ironing board, so I figured that was the reason, but maybe not??

Jane in Wales said...

Wonderful pineapple blocks!
I have had a Rowenta dry iron for years, and that is fine, but then I still live in the middle ages...;o)
Some of those steam irons seem so heavy! Who knows, one of these days, but I shall not get a Rowenta!

audrey said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous blocks! So much work!! I think you're right to be optimistic and make the larger quilt. It will be fabulous at that size.:)

Podunk Pretties said...

Great looking blocks! I went vintage on buying irons a few years ago. The old girls last longer, get hotter and I don't need to use steam nearly as often.

Terri said...

It's one of the patterns on my bucket list... Yours is so inspirational.... How can I resist starting one?
Hugs

Barbara Sindlinger said...

I've had so much trouble with Rowenta's in the past that I gave up on them. I just buy the cheapest iron out there. Right now I have a Black & Decker. Good luck finding one you like.

As far as scrappy goes, I love scrappy quilts. They have so much more character.

~Kris~ said...

Pineapples are definitely some of my favorites and yours is terrific. I love your color choices and those red squares really make the setting striking. Scrappy works for me.

Karen said...

I don't know why the Rowenta spits like it does but I have had a problem with that. I cannot recommend an iron as the brand and model I have now is no longer available.

Zenia Rene said...

LOVE this! I'm also making a scrappy log cabin for my king size bed...though not a pineapple paperpieced one. Sorry to read about your leaky iron. I also have a somewhat leaky Rowenta. The panasonic 360 iron looks pretty darn cool, it's cordless...but it is pricey too. When you find one that doesn't leak, please let me know.

Alycia said...

What a great quilt project... I love the - if you build it - they will come theory. Hope it works!

Alycia said...

What a great quilt project... I love the - if you build it - they will come theory. Hope it works!

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

I used to be a fan of Rowenta irons, but the company was sold several years ago and the quality is not the same! Unfortunately, I have not found a decent replacement brand. Your pineapple log cabin blocks are amazing! I am not a fan of paper piecing, but I sure love the results! I am visiting from Tuesday Archives.

Mary Huey said...

great quilt -- good luck on that king size bed!!

Kate said...

I've only heard good things about the Roweta, so sorry yours didn't live up to the rep.

Your pineapple blocks are looking great!

Barb said...

I agree with you Rebecca. I HAVE to piece scrappy. Working with only a few fabrics would bore me to death! I think many quilts made this way are lovely but I just can't do it. I buy small quantities from fat quarters to half yards. And I have lots. For me the most fun is pulling fabrics and choosing the ones I'll use. The only time I buy yardage is for the backing. Even then I piece them.
I've had several Rowentas and am ready to give up. The latest is so far working ok, but I suspect it will fail. I haven't decided to try Reliable or go with cheap irons and just toss them when they don't give good service.

Ann said...

We bought a California king bed a couple of years ago and love it. DH no longer "unmakes" the bed overnight. But it is a lot of bed to quilt.
What a delightful pineapple quilt. Love the colors and the width of your strips. Thanks for sharing.

Mary in Tennessee said...

After dealing with leaky steam irons, both expensive (including a Rowenta) and inexpensive, I quit using water in them at all. If I want moisture, a spray bottle does the job. My current iron, a cheapie Black & Decker, has lasted several years. No spitting, no messes, no staining. The pineapple blocks are wonderful.

Tasha D said...

For the last year I have been using a Reliable Digital Velocity iron. It has never leaked, and really pumps out the steam. My only complaint is that I don't press vigorously so the motion sensor sometimes thinks that the iron is not in use and shuts off.

Priscilla Nullet said...

I love your pineapple blocks! Also, going from a queen to king bed is actually fabulous. I got tired of drippy steam irons and finally got a Laurastar system. It's pricey, but really great. Here's the website: www.laurastar.com

quiltfool said...

Hey, Rebecca. Still love your blocks. You know I love scrappy. I went totally unconventional when I replaced my iron; a $25 black and decker with a retractable cord. If it dies in a year, I won't care. But, I've had it about three months and I'm very, very happy so far. Lane

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