Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

On the GOOD side
It's DONE.
The pattern is easy -- thanks Jan.
It went together quickly.
My binding is great and hand stitched.
The back is a nice design.
I used up my hand dyed fabrics, the ones I dyed myself and could never trust not to bleed, so I paired them with a black background.
I had LOTS of machine quilting practice and I made pretty good swirls with almost-even stitches.

BAD side:
TOO many stars
Too much color
Too many designs in the stars
NOT cozy
Black is difficult to see when machine quilting - I kept losing my place.

Black stitches on the many-colored stars. (I'm not sure what else I could have used but ... maybe invisible thread?)
I bet this fades the first time it's washed.

OK, we all have some quilts we like less than others, and this one is my current UN-favorite. But it's done. And I'll bet there are folks you would love it! AND, I am a true believer that we learn from our mistakes - boy, I should be getting pretty learn-ed!

However, the pattern is good, it was my strategy that was not the best for me.

This starts with a star, made up of 9 equal-sized squares. Then, the star points are all free-form, quick corners. That's all there is to it - a great idea. I pushed the limits and added sashing, about 2 inches wide, and made quick corners at each end of the sashing, so that made ANOTHER star. Then I couldn't leave well enough alone, and decided the center of ALL the stars needed to be fussied up more. And since I had 9 colors, I wanted to use them ALL, in most of the stars. End result is overkill.

However, wouldn't this be cute in softer colors? and not so many colors? and not so many unique centers?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Row by Row Quilt

Several of you asked about Row x Row Quilts so I thought I would show you one that guild members made for me. This is my most special quilt.

If you've never made one, this is how we did it. The coordinator grouped 5-7 of us in a group. Each person participating (the owner), starts with a box with 1 yard of focus fabric and 1 yard of background, and then leaves a note in the box expressing preferences, or theme, or a poem, a song, whatever, for inspiration to each person along the way. The owner makes one row to equal 42 1/2 inches wide, and at the next guild meeting, passes it to the next person on the list; at the same time, she receives a box from the previous person on the list. You make a row, hopefully related to the theme, adding fabric from your stash as needed. Timeliness is important, and each person is encouraged NOT TO BE LATE although life has a way of getting in the way!

At the end of the time period, the owner gets her box back with 5, 6, or 7 rows completed. No one tells during this time - all is secret. What excitement to open that box! Now, it's a bit of a challenge for the owner to put it together, in a cohesive manner. Usually, you add the sashing, or maybe another dark row, or light row, whatever the owner feels is needed, as necessary. Some of the rows will end up longer or shorter than 42 1/2 inches, even though we all try to be accurate. It's surprising that an odd conglomeration of rows and colors will end up so beautiful.

My theme on this quilt was "Farm Memories." (I was very lucky to have grown up on a farm, yet have a large city nearby!) I remember what each person said about the row they made and the quilt became very personal. I added a wide border on mine. Because I LOVED it, I decided it just HAD to be hand quilted (not yet quilted in this photo). What pleasure to handle it for 3-4 months for the finished product to appear, loving every step along the way! I may bore you with the story behind each row, but maybe you will read between the lines and hear how dear this quilt is to me.

Top row, by Alice. "Since you lived on a farm, you HAD to have a tractor." Alice put a John Deere tractor in her row -- I never told her my Dad rolled steel for International Harvester tractors!

Tree Row - I actually HAD these in my stash, and needed a place to put them. This represents the orchard and many trees I climbed as a girl.

Hen and Chickens - This was my starting row. Note the extra HST on each end to bring it up to size. My focus fabric was a sweet blue floral.

Paper pieced row, by Sydney. My barn, my house (with the lights on), trees, my walk to school (7 miles, through 9 feet of snow, of course!), and the church next to the school where I was supposed to be changing the hymn numbers, but occasionally played the organ. One time I played boogie-woogie on that humongous old fashioned pipe organ - holy smoke it was LOUD -- neighbors made sure I didn't do that again! I got in Trouble!

Windmill - with ME feeding the chickens, in the center, made by Sydney. And YES, I DID feed chickens. Sydney was a new quilter at that time, but she progressed rapidly.

Hole in the Barn Door - by Vickie - not sure if you can see the details, but in the center of each block is a fussy cut motif or picture, "Some of the things you probably saw looking out that barn door." My gosh, I practically grew up in that barn! How sweet is that!

Garden Walk, by Bonnie - for all my Mother's efforts at gardening on the farm.

An extra checkerboard row by me, just for fun.

Block is called, "Going to Chicago" - by Laura. But I came FROM Chicago, so she changed the direction of the block. Clever?

That's me on the left. 8-) Happy day thinking of those times.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Word! -- YOUR Words!

Forever more! Thank you, ALL of you, for teaching me! Just goes to show, if we stick together, we learn more! You (collectively) all are brilliant! I just love learning new things.

I am a happy clam today.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blogline Mysteries

I have 52 Blogs listed on Bloglines, LOVE visiting you all, and have enjoyed many of your comments on MY blog. Occasionally I receive over 20 comments for which I am most grateful – who would’a thought anyone would be interested in my feeble efforts at showing off humble quilt projects?

On Bloglines, there is an indication of how many people subscribe to each of the blogs listed. I was heartbroken (well not quite heartbroken but ...), there are only 4 subscribers to mine, and one of them is me at my office.

This is another mystery, because often, I will post something and within a short time, I receive comments, many more than 3, so you all know I'm here! So I wonder about that “number of subscribers.” Some of you bloggers have over 100 subscribers! And others, that I remember as being the subject of frequent discussion, have only a few.

Can anyone explain this mystery? Some of us are on the earlier version of a Blogger, and some later (beta?) Blogger, and some post from other systems.

So, now I’m studying all the blogs, and looking at style, photos, etc., and started wondering what draws visitors to various sites. Well, I’m worn out thinking about it, but still am curious.

This is where I should again ask for another Computer Geek. (I wish I wasn’t so curious about things that I know nothing ! – I DO wear myself out wondering.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone!

This year I purchased tulips for DH - he looks forward to spring so much! The vase came from Paris, when my parents traveled there. Mom gave it to me a while ago, to give to my DH. The tulips were closed so tightly when I bought them, I was somewhat disappointed. But in a matter of MINUTES, when coming into the house, they opened up. I wish I had been watching them! And after this photo, they drooped down gracefully, but at night, with the lights off, they stood straight up! I never expected such activity from tulips.

See those envelopes in the photo left corner? One is a gift certificate from the LQS 8-))) Lucky me!

Block of the Month - Lady of the Lake
I LOVE this block, and have done it previously in country plaids or country blues. It works up fast.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Building a Row by Row Quilt

I cannot claim to all these rows as mine - I just happen to be the caretaker for a short time until the rest of our group gets together.

Such fun! If you are a quilter who gets bored easily with making the same block for one entire quilt, this is a great project for you. We each had a scrap of the same fabric which was our focus fabric. I made the house roofs out of that focus fabric. Every window and door on the houses has a different print in it -- toooo tedious, but that makes it interesting. The houses had no pattern and I didn't take the time to make one up -- a big mistake -- as my accuracy was greatly reduced. The checkerboard row will replace the purple/green flying geese row -- we had too many flying geese. I especially like the clever off-kilter flying geese below the houses.

We are trying to balance the light and dark rows, and there is still one more dark row to be turned in. The tan color is my carpet - most of the rows will be separated with 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch creamy/pale stripe strips. Then we will border it with a lavendar strip of 1-2 inches, and a wider border (5-6 inches?) of a cream print with small lavendar flowers in it. The rows should equal 48 1/2 inches. A few need to be lengthened, either with more blocks, or a plain background.

This will be donated to a worthy cause for a raffle.

Geek Wanted, Hoar Frost and Eagles

Regarding wanting a computer geek ... I've not solved THE problem, but I HAVE learned it's not MY problem. Apparently Yahoo has made some changes. Thank you to those of you who suggested solutions.

Saturday, DH and I decided we couldn't stand being housebound any longer, and set out on a 2 1/2 hour drive to a dam, where eagles are found in large numbers this time of year. We've talked about viewing this spectacle for years, so Saturday WAS the day. Roads appeared dry, it wasn't too cold, although it WAS a bit foggy.

Two hours into the drive, we noted the temperature had dropped from 31 degrees, to 23 degrees, spots in the roads were a bit 'iffy', and there was a good amount of snow in the ditches - more than what we had at home. We are among the dinosaurs who do not have a cell phone, and as I mentioned in the past, once outside of town, we really ARE in the boonies.

These are some photos of the trees -- the fog was getting thicker, and freezing. This is called Hoar Frost, and it was huge -- there is almost 2 inches on every surface. I've never seen frost so hair-y!

With temperatures falling and ever-thickening fog, we began to reconsider our safety, but pressed on, wanting to see those eagles. It was possible, that if we slid off the road, we'd be lost in the fog, and may not be found for some time.

Finally, it dawned on us. We couldn't see 100 feet down the road. How on earth could we possible see eagles? Duhhhh. So, back home we went -- disappointed for not seeing eagles, but glad to be safe and sound, and still had time for some sewing.

Home again, home again -- a pleasant, AND SAFE, Saturday drive.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wanted: Right Now - One Computer Geek!

Sometimes a person has a problem and has no idea who to ask, so I'm throwing it out to Blogland - you are a bunch of clever people.

Yesterday afternoon, I published and e-mailed my Quilt Guild Newsletter, 8 pages, converted to a .pdf file. Same as previous months, sending out 6-8 per bunch, so as not to overload whatever it is that might be overloaded.

Tonight, every single one that went to a address came back with the message, "connection with is broken". None of the other addresses came back. It told me not to resend, they were still in a queue.

Now, what's that all about? Did it have something to do with that computer hacking thing we heard about recently where 13 of the major servers in the U.S. (World?) were hacked? Including a military location? Comments anyone?

(Inquiring minds want to know!)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

More strings - am I using up fabric or creating more?

Mary, of coordinated a group of string-quilt enthusiasts from the Stashbusters Internet group and organized a group called Heart String Quilts, the idea being we would use up some of our stash, and make useful quilts for various causes.

This is my second version -- the first turned out so surprisingly attractive, I had to admit my sin and admitted it needed to stay with me.

These blocks are addictive! They are sewn on a muslin foundation, using almost any color strings (this was somewhat selected), then trimmed to an exact size and put together. If you want to use up scraps, this is the quilt for you. By using one strong same color down the diagonal center, the quilt takes on that color. For more info, check with Mary, at the above link.

Again, I opted to separate lights and darks, like a half square triangle. Also, when this quilt got to be this size, I decided it was done - the pattern dictated "finished!" This is about 60 inches square. Several weeks ago, I posted an earlier String Quilt - the one that I kept, so I DID feel obligated to make another. I think I sewed all the strings down in 2 or 3 sessions of several hours each. My strings were already cut. It still needs quilting.

Row by Row Quilt, in progress

Our local quilt group meets once a month and we work on various projects. This time we decided to make a Row by Row, and donate it to a local charity. We liked this project on the front cover of this book, although we didn't use the colors.

We actually have MORE rows laid out on my cutting table but I will save that for another post, when it's closer to done. Row by Row quilts appear so disorganized until they are all adjusted to one size, and then when the sashing and borders are applied, they take on a wonderful life! My friend Jody made this amazing row of appliqued flowers, leaves, vines, yo-yos and buttons, and look at the string she left on the buttons - doesn't that add even more fun! She sent it to me early when I was in a funk, hoping that it would perk me up (it did!)

I opted to make traditional houses, but was somewhat dismayed that the house pattern was not included in the book. How strange? It wasn't hard to make a pattern, but still ... The plaid roof fabric was our color pallette. The little house pieces were tedious, not very precise, and filling the doors and windows took a lot of time! Too much playing, and searching for just one bit of cutesy something or other!

I DID try the Wonky Houses, ala Tonya, but decided I needed more practice. Also, mine turned out too large in scale for this project. But they WERE entertaining to put together.