Saturday, December 30, 2006

BOM, Flying Geese Ruler, and Book

I am a sucker for each new quilting toy that comes along. At least these toys are within my budget.

This year our Guild BOM was Black and White and Red. The January block was flying geese. I don’t know how others do them, but frankly, I don’t like the quick-corner method at all. They don’t ever come out accurate, and then we are all tempted to do ‘something’ with that little corner we just cut off.

This ruler, by Joan Hawley, was mentioned as a good tool, so I had to try it out and ... I like it! It IS very accurate, and best of all there is no waste. It is a bit pricey ($20.00) but then ... it works well.

I also purchased her book, with myriads of pattern diagrams, and I’ll have to study it more. There are no quilts inside, but a huge supply of new ideas for using flying geese and HST.

Some new quilters have not learned to ‘twirl’ that center seam where they all come together. We try not to have a bump there, so... on the back, along that last horizontal seam that you sewed, release the last 3-4 stitches of the center vertical center seam that you just crossed with the horizontal seam. Release stitches also from the back of the block of that same vertical seam. Then open the block, and open that little center point, fanning it out in one direction, and – smoosh that center flat with your finger. Then press from the back, pressing all the large seams in one direction, clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on how it is constructed. From the front, that center will no longer be a bump, but will lie flat.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Almost to Arruba!

I wanted to tell you about the Limo/shuttle ride back to the airport while I was in Florida. It was really dark at 4:00 am, when he picked me up at my sister’s, and the driver put all my luggage (black) in the back behind the passengers - dark!. We picked up one couple on the way and I asked them their destination -- they said Arruba! How nice for them! Personally, I wanted to get back home to snowy Nebraska.

That couple unloaded first at their airline and the driver unloaded all the luggage onto the sidewalk that he figured was theirs. I had the good sense to look out the limo/shuttle window and noticed how similar all the black luggage was, but then I saw MY little quilt-y TAG! blowing in the breeze, sitting on the sidewalk, on it's way to Arruba! Whew – that was a close one!

Do you have a few extra small blocks? ( duhhh! ) They make GREAT inexpensive and personal, useful gifts. NO ONE will have one like it, and you can pick your baggage out among all the other similar suitcases on the airport baggage carousel. I haven’t figured out how to combine the conventional ID with my quilt-y tag, so I use both. You might have to make a few extra because I have a feeling they occasionally may develop legs – many people commented on mine. You could put them into a greeting card as an extra gift. Who wouldn't like to see one hanging on a door, or knob, or a purse, or keyring? That little tag saved me ... probably $1000 in lost clothing!

Happy New Year 2007 to all my quilt-y friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

I am back home in snowy Nebraska after 2 weeks in warm Florida. The flight home was only 2 days before that paralyzing blizzard that cancelled all flights in and out of Denver. I am counting my blessings!

We endured part of that storm, with 45 mph winds and whiteout conditions, but not as much snow – about 10 inches overall. Some of it drifted high but a lot of it blew east towards Iowa! I discovered it’s not easy to take a photo in white-out conditions! But here is part of our back yard, after wind had abated, and after DH struggled with the snow blower. The snow is piled up like cake icing!

I had forgotten these 2 Christmas Pinwheels I had made for my sister and Mother some years ago. Many of you may have made this pattern before. It’s not difficult, but you have to keep your wits about you, getting each color in the right place. I made one for me, and only after displaying it for 2 years, did I notice one of the pinwheels had a wrong color on the point, so I had to fuse the right color in the right place. (I’m not showing you THAT one!)

This is a quilt I made some years ago, one of my favorites, Birds-in-the-Air. It was my first effort on an appliqued border, and as we all know, we learn a few things along the way. It is hand quilted. The border was made up of scrappy string-pieced leaves. I then made a leaf-shaped template, and cut out a larger than necessary leaf, then faced it with a lightweight fusible interfacing, and sewed with a very small stitch around the leaf shape, and trimmed close to the stitches (a la Eleanor Burns method). The interfacing is slit, then the leaf is turned right-side out, finger pressed, and then fused to the background. Later, I blanket-stitched all the leaves in place with invisible thread. The border could use more quilting, but that’s as far as I went. I love the colors, mostly red, purple, black, all rich, color saturated. One of the fabrics saturated right through to the backing, unfortunately – “ooops, did I prewash this?”

I am wishing all you quilt-y gals a Merry Christmas, Good Health, Happy Hearts, Great Quilting, and Happy New Year for 2007!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Steps in our Lives

Tonight I'm writing from near Tampa, Florida, where I've spent the last 2 weeks on family business. My sister, brother and I have helped to move my Mom, almost 91, into Assisted Living. Florida is a long way from my home in Western Nebraska and how I've loved the restaurants, shopping, discount shops, quilt shops, but how I HATE the traffic and gazillions of people and cars.

This was an emotional and difficult project - we were not sure how our mother would adapt to leaving her own condo, but being gregarious by nature, she seems to be taking it well, and enjoys her new friends. We 'children' were having a harder time than our mother, but are happy with the decisions made.

I can't wait to get back to 'normal', read all your blog updates, and get to my quilting again. I only hit one particularly appealing quilt shop (oh gosh, they are ALL appealing!).

Peace to you all, and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 04, 2006

End of one Project, Beginning of the Next

Diamond Challenge:
I am almost finished with this Diamond, lacking hand quilting in 2 of the 4 corners, and in the border triangles. After seeing it here in my blog, I think it still needs more quilting - maybe a diagonal (diamond) grid. I also will block this project before calling it 'finished.' I am naming this something like Botswana Diamonds, since the Challenge theme is “Diamonds”. There are numerous diamond mines in Botswana, South Africa. I did some unobtrusive machine stitching in the ditch with silver thread, representing diamonds. But Botswana has other ‘diamonds’ – treasures, such as its wildlife. So I quilted a sable antelope in one corner, a baobab tree in another. I have yet to quilt the hyena pup, and lion.

Now, my question ... my center is sewn perfectly, but it also takes up too much visual space, so I want to add ... something. I have wooden beads, hand-made twine, but so far, no other ideas. I cannot find appropriate buttons, – these are some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about to help fill up the large space in the center. Any ideas? Dimensional something or other ... Remember, I live way out in western Nebraska, shopping for ‘just the perfect thing’ is not reasonable – it has to be something I can make myself.

Next project is paper-pieced, from a pattern by Karen Stone. I seem to be working on patterns these days - I am unable to come up with my own original ideas, (due to other things heavy on my mind), but hers are splendid - much more interesting than I could ever devise. I have chosen a pallette of pinks, rose, greens, pinky browns, dark browns, a bit of deep purple.

I am going out of town on family business for two weeks, and want a wonderful project waiting for me upon return.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Credit where Credit is Due

A number of bloggers have asked about "Earthy Stars," a previous post, and I did not include appropriate credit -- this is really a big 'no-no' to me -- but I was so caught up in the nitty-gritty details of posting, I totally forgot.

For few days, I couldn't even FIND the book (am I the only one?) even though I faithfully alphabetize them -- group them in like kinds, but some are next to or under the bed, some in the bookcase, some next to the TV, a few loaned out, some buried in fabric, or a wanna-be project, and one original book, that I actually bought a SECOND COPY because I was positive I had left it at a fabric shop, was found 6 months later under my car seat, where there is NO SPACE, except for one book!

Lo and behold, I found the sought-after book, properly alphabetized, exactly where it should be -- who knew I actually WAS that organized?

I wish I could say "Earthy Stars" was my own idea but NO .. but DID make some minor changes. It is from a book by Evelyn Sloppy, "40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts" and is called "Sew Scrappy," made by Marge Springer, 2003. The book is from That Patchwork Place, and includes a number of neat scrappy quilts. I have another one of her ideas already paper clipped, and fabric purchased -- if I can find where I put it ...