Thursday, December 29, 2011

BOM block #4...



Here is Block #4 for Jackie"s Blogger of the Month Quilt Along . This one was designed by Pat Sloan and is made up of Kaffe Fassett scraps and yet again more polka dots...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

riley on marketing...




Out of the mouths of babes... Interesting take on gender marketing in the world of toys... Sometimes I wish craft related items marketed to adult women were not so often made pink or purple... What do you think?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

super fast and reversible christmas skirt tutorial...



This post is dedicated to all sewers who leave things to the last minute. You can whip this reversible Chistmas tree skirt up super fast.... I made mine in less than an afternoon.
















Bought this great retro fabric called "Merry Moderns" by Alexander Henry over a year ago. I used about 3 yards of 2 coordinating prints. You need about a 1 yard or less of a colored solid for the trim. 
Cut a yard off each print and then cut this yard in half lengthwise. Sew these together to make a strip from each print and then add them to the 2 yard  pieces to make 2 larger squares. OR save yourself the hassle of piecing and use 2 yards of 2 home dec fabrics that are already 60" wide.To piece accurately, press a 1/2" seam allowance back and then match the pattern from the right side. Use regular gift wrapping tape to stabilize the fabric from the right side instead of pins. To sew just flip the fabric open and sew in the pressed crease of the seam allowance. You get a perfect pattern match every time!




Fold the 2 squares into quarters. Using a ruler and marking pen in the hole used for hanging (you could also use a string, pin and pen) pivot to mark a quarter circle. Cut off the waste.




To keep the skirt very drapey: instead of using batting, use spray adhesive to attach white flannel to one of the printed layers. 




Restack and fold everything into quarters again. Using a compass mark and cut a hole for the trunk of the tree. In my case, I cut a 5" radius to end up with a 10" hole when opened up.




Using a ruler cut a straight line from the outer edge to the inner opening.




Using a glass round the 4 corners at the top and bottom.




Cut 1" strips from the solid join them and then press them in half. (If I were making this again I might cut them 1 1/4" inch or so as the bias in the fabric made the binding narrow a bit as I pressed it).




Sandwich the solid binding in between the fabric layers leaving a 5" tail. Pin everything together with right sides together for the prints and all the raw edges matching.




Along one of the straight edges and leaving a 5" tail, sew with a 1/4" seam allowance in one continuous seam until you end up back to the beginning. Stop leaving a 6" opening.




The solid fabric looks like piping between the 2 prints. Turn the whole thing through the unsewn opening to the right side and then give the edge a quick press.




Join the solid fabric ends neatly, fold back the seam allowances and then sew the opening closed from the right side. You are finished!

I chose not to quilt the skirt but you can. I may tie mine off with white embroidery floss in little bows after the holidays. Am not sure if it needs it. To those who celebrate the holiday... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



Friday, December 16, 2011

bloggers BOM Block #3...


Finally sewed the 3rd block of the Bloggers Quilt Along! This one was designed by Stephanie Dunphy from Loft Creations. I've been asked if the colliding dots in all my blocks bother me. I did toy with the idea of fussy cutting so that the patterns matched perfectly but decided against doing so mainly because that level of attention to detail would kill all the fun of making this quilt. Am taking my cue from past decades of quilters who never worried about such things...

Friday, December 2, 2011

what's up next: lilys quilts fresh sewing day and small blog meet...


Lynne of Lilys Quilts has this generous philosophy of introducing small bloggers to a larger audience and in general encouraging people to check out each others projects. Have grabbed her buttons and will introduce myself as a new quilter by saying that I generally like a mix of clean graphic traditional blocks made up in bright and/or modern fabrics. Inspired by this glorious reproduction of a vintage quilt by Laurie Simpson that appeared in Quiltmania magazine and by Kelly at Pinkadot Quilts one of my upcoming projects is going to be a Lone Star. It will be far simpler than the one above and loosely based on the palette in this almost obscenely cheerful fabric. The trick will be sneaking in the time to sew over the next few weeks...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the good, the bad a** and the ugly...

 


The good is that I finished and sent off my BASICS quilt that I posted about earlier. Hope that the person who receives it enjoys this quilt as much as I enjoyed making it for them.




The bad a** is if you'll please excuse my language is that I received a new sewing machine! My Wedding Anniversary, Christmas, Birthday and Valentine's Day are all clustered within an 8 week period so my dream machine is an early combined gift for all these occasions. While I'm a new quilter I've sewn for a fairly long time and wanted a machine good for garment sewing too. Have named my new machine HAL after the computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and so far love him to bits although he is a bit intimidating.




The ugly is that the snow tires are on my car. In my imagination we live in the same climate as Nedra. Every year I am in complete denial that winter will ever come. Every year my mechanic calls and orders me to bring my car in to change the tires. I always say "but it is lovely out". He is always silent at first, exasperated and finally says "but it won't be in the next couple of weeks". Always feel like I'm making my car wear really hideous shoes...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy you know what...


It seemed appropriate to post a picture of this Turkey Crazy Quilt pattern. I'd like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my beloved friends and family in the US. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

finished top...



Boy the things I've learned making this charity quilt! When learning a new technique and the author says to buy symmetrically striped fabric... Buy the fabric. Do not make your own... If you make your own striped fabric your quilt will look nothing like you intended. Although not an unpleasant result, you may have inadvertently invented something new (at least to you). Also if you want to make a bunch of longarmers giggle hysterically ask them if they have time to quilt something 5 weeks before Christmas. Therefore, the quilting will be rudimentary as I will be doing it and since I am not as brave as Lynne it will consist mainly of straight lines. Then off to BASICS in NYC this will go...

Friday, November 11, 2011

on a less somber note... BOM block#2...


Blogger's BOM Block#2 made with Kaffe scraps and dots, dots and more dots...

remembrance day...



Below is a video in which a very talented musician friend of ours set the poem "In Flanders Fields " to music. It is a beautiful memorial to those who served in World War I... 


Monday, October 24, 2011

photo challenge...



Am a great admirer of Julia Wood. She is a gracious personage in the blogosphere and a superb quilter. A couple of years ago she wrote the book pictured above. While in painting I'm not attracted to hyper realism I am quite fascinated by it in fiber arts. Think it is the technical challenge that is so appealing. Julia's book is one of the most simple and succinct that describes how to turn a photo into an applique quilt. You can see examples of her own work here (scroll down to April 13th and click to enlarge). Am toying with the idea of turning an image of these two into fabric.



On the left is Edith aka QuiltDog who is a supportive and nurturing companion in the studio and on the right BOH aka Beloved Other Half who while also a supportive and nurturing companion is more often found away from us on a film set. Sadly, he may get edited out as am a bit nervous about doing a person. Apart from in JW's work the human eye can look kind of spooky in fabric form in other quilts that I've seen of this kind. Am also realizing on many levels for many different reasons that I need to improve my photography skills. Have any of you made a photo figurative quilt? How did it turn out? Any tips would be most appreciated...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

and i'm back...




Have no real excuse for my absence except that I live in a 4 season climate. At this time of year the days get shorter and cooler. Simultaneously, the days are also busier and busier. In autumn, I am both restless and lethargic and would always like to take a long nap in a nice bowl of pasta... 

Must apologize for the lousy photos. The colors are so off as to be almost unrecognizable. Anyway, work continues on the charity quilt. Due to my ever constant and annoying inability to follow instructions I can't claim that this is Anita Grossman Soloman's technique any longer but the results of my mistakes still have an air of familiarity about them. So without violating anyone's copyright, will say that I have been sewing lots of strips to make these... 



Cutting them twice on the diagonal and reconstructing the pieces to turn them into these...



Am hoping of course to arrange the blocks into something more pleasing. I am not entirely loving this but as a visiting friend so winningly put it: "The colors are very subtle for you. I think a normal person will really like it"... NORMAL?#@!!

Was not quite sure how to take this comment... I did: however, laugh heartily!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

new start...


It is funny when you start quilting how many people offer you supplies from a project that they never completed. When it comes to fabric, I am promiscuous and never say no. As a result, I have a huge hoard of very pretty prints that are just not my thing. Decided to use all these predominantly tone on tone florals to make my own striped fabric to try out the Anita Grossman Soloman technique that I wrote about in an earlier post. The amount of fabric to cut was daunting so I turned to my beloved cutter.
When these first arrived on the scene at quilt shows I was a bit sniffy about them. Didn't see the point and thought they would waste too much fabric. My opinion drastically changed when I received an Accuquilt Go Cutter. It handily cuts 4-6 layers and more importantly cuts shapes that are a pain to cut by hand. I got greedy for more power and bought the Westminster Big Shot Pro by Sizzix which cuts through at least 10 layers like butter. In short in an afternoon I cut an enormous pile of fat quarters and half yards and turned them into this:


I stripped everything into 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" widths. The colors range from green and blue through violet with the cheddars and mustards for accents.  They are all perfectly uniform in size and my wrists are happy. Tomorrow I will experiment with stripe patterns and block size. If all goes well this will be my Basics charity quilt...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

gift suggestion...


Jan from Be*mused found this antique beauty on Ebay yesterday. Am posting about it because if I can't have it I want someone I like to buy it. On the other hand, friends and family if you are looking for the perfect gift for me please go ahead and bid!  Hurry though this auction ends in 12 hours. Is this not the most beautiful quilt? There are tons more gorgeous photos in the item description. Just a warning though, you may want to wear a bib...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

bom block#1


                                                                                                         
Here is my first block of the Bloggers BOM organized by Jackie of Canton Village Quilt Works. The designer list reads like a who's who of the quilting world and I really look forward to seeing the block for each month. The first month was created by Sherri from a A Quilting Life. Have decided to make my quilt out of yellow, orange, hot pink and a bit of red Kaffe Fassett scraps with lots of pale blue or lavender polka dots to cool things down. So far am pleased but my block ended up a bit small. My sewing machine is misbehaving and the feed dogs are grabbing the fabric in an odd and aggressive way. I may redo it but more likely will just fudge my seam allowances at the end of the quilt along. It is is not too late to join this fun BOM and you can sign up here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

across the pond...


Here is the "Across The Pond" fat quarter bundle I so generously received from the Basics Cloud 9 Miscellany Block Challenge. The fabrics are lovely and the prints are abstract yet figurative at the same time. That blue print in the foreground looks very decorative Art Nouveau but up close those curves are made of herons. It is so gorgeous that I may go to the proverbial trough at Fabric.com to buy more as well as some of Julia Rothman's "Miscellany" too. Am not sure what this bundle will become... It may be particularly difficult to cut into. Any suggestions???

Friday, September 23, 2011

i heart harbor freight...


Have tried and bought every gizmo that claims to sharpen rotary blades. At best, these gadgets may extend their life a bit. I've resigned myself to buy new only after a blade is so dull it won't cut the fabric but is still sharp enough to slip and cut an artery or slice off my finger. Inexplicably, I hang on to these old blades in case the next sharpener that comes out that I buy actually works... Am not sure if I'm the last person on the planet to find out about this product as there seems to be a ton of online forum chat about it all dated a year ago. Harbor Freight sells packs of carpet cutter replacement blades regularly 2 for $1.79 and currently on sale for $1.49. Who cares... you say? Well, these blades are exactly like a rotary cutter blade and fit most 45mm models. As someone who is generally thrilled to buy a single blade for $5, this passes for pretty exciting news in my world! Also they ship both domestically and internationally! I can't wait to try them out...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

anita grossman soloman book...


One of my favorite shows to watch online is The Quilt Show. Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims always have such a variety of guests who differ greatly in their patchwork styles from traditional to studio to art. I love learning new techniques and one of the most intriguing ones was demonstrated recently by Anita Grossman Solomon. After the episode, I immediately ordered her book  "Rotary Cutting Revolution". In her Xcentric Quilt (pictured above) striped fabric does all the work. The blocks are basically quarter square triangles. Am thinking for my BASICS quilt I'm going to try my own variation. Am going to scale the blocks up and make my own striped fabric with strips of different widths. Hopefully my take on AGS's technique will be simple to sew but equally visually arresting...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

thank you...







THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Am thrilled... All the entries are fantastic! Thank you so much Victoria, Pat, Julia Rothman and Cloud 9 Fabrics. Thank you for the opportunity to enter the challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The quilting community is such a generous one. Really look forward to seeing the finished auction quilt V makes with all the blocks.  It is going to be a stunner. BASICS is such a great cause. Am hoping to finish my donation quilt on the weekend or the next one. Will post pics of it before it is mailed...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

let's find this...

REPOSTED FROM NEDRA:


Janet Atkins Missing Quilt

Have you seen this quilt?

Craftsy is offering a $5,000 reward for the return of the lost quilt Kaaterskill by Janet Atkins.



Janet has won numerous awards with her beautiful hand pieced, and hand quilted, 4 years in the making Kaaterskill. It was last seen February 16th in the Golden, Colorado office of Quilter's Newsletter after a photo shoot.
The quilt was picked up by UPS, not scanned and now is lost.
It sounds like every quilter's nightmare, doesn't it?
You can go to Quilter's Newsletter's web site to read more about Janet, her quilt and the reward being offered.



Please use what ever social media you are most comfortable with: blog post, twitter, or even make an announcement with your guild to help locate this quilt and safely return it to Janet...


Monday, September 12, 2011

care package...


Here are 2 Kaffe Fassett blocks made and mailed to Sarah for Amy who is going through a very difficult time. I hope these gifts let she and her daughter know how much they are admired and cared for in the quilt blogosphere...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

lost...



A.D.
Our thoughts are with you and yours today... And the others lost with you...

Friday, September 9, 2011

bumble beans basics cloud 9 challenge...




Everyone seems to be posting their entries so I thought I'd show you the block that I made for the Bumble Beans Basics Cloud 9 Challenge. We were given eight 9" x 11"pieces of Julia Rothman fabric. I pieced the background and appliqued the rings. Wanted to pull in a bit of the floral border so I pieced the left over scraps with the scantest seam allowances and sewed this to the fabric before attaching the center ring. Some of the fabrics are close in value which made designing a block puzzling. Kind of like the way the circles fade in and out from the background. I ended up using all the prints. If you look at the minute number of entries on my blog you might surmise that currently I'm in love with all things curvy and all things tile-like. In my real life too I do tend to get a bit OCD. For example I'll eat Japanese food exhaustively for a month and then move on obsessively to something else. My friend's husband describes this phenomenon as someone having "a whim of iron"...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

why quilts matter...



I can't remember where I first read about this DVD set but many thanks to whichever site it was. "Why Quilts Matter" is a 2 disc set of 9 episodes for PBS that is both educational and highly entertaining. It was produced and is hosted by Shelly Zegart. She is a founding member of both The Kentucky Quilt Project and The Alliance For American Quilts. I've only watched 2 episodes so far and have found both fascinating. The series strikes the perfect balance between being scholarly and fun. While primarily about quilting in the US, this series is appealing to anyone who loves quilts. It is the best quilt related purchase I've made in awhile...

Monday, August 29, 2011

on Cloud 9...



Am thrilled to be part of the Cloud 9 Fabrics Challenge. Pat Sloan (who I am now convinced never sleeps) has joined Victoria to help with her ongoing Bumble Beans Basics Quilt Drive. The drives aids a charity that helps people in transitional housing from homelessness in NYC. Twelve participants are designing a quilt block using eight 9"x11" pieces of fabric from Cloud 9's Miscellany collection by Julia Rothman.  You can read more about this artist at Design Sponge. Am particularly excited because I am a huge fan of Julia R's work. She also runs one of my favorite blogs Book By Its Cover which features the most wonderful illustrations by herself and other artists. Looking forward to seeing what everyone creates from this lovely fabric. I am also making a quilt to donate to the Basics cause which I'll show at a later date....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

farmer's wife update...



Have decided to do things differently... Made up a diagram of the finished quilt in 1/4 scale and printed out a physical copy. I found the layout too small to just view digitally on the computer. As I finish each block am printing out a picture and taping it to my mock up. Am sewing 3 blocks with each solid at a time. Also I decided to make the blocks out of order. These decisions simplify balancing all the colors in the top. This method also seems my best shot at liking the finished quilt although it looks yucky at the beginning stages with such a limited palette. It is a less intuitive way of working than I enjoy but it was taking too much time choosing blindly before. Am hoping these changes to my process help me speed up considerably. Am somewhat concerned that I will be posting these FW updates several years from now if I can't streamline the way I complete this project.... Any other suggestions for picking up the pace?

Below are Blocks 72 and 2:





Below are Blocks 42 and 51...