Sunday, April 29, 2007

Being busy!

Two 2 weeks ago I went on a Guild Bus Trip! Fifty of us headed north to South Dakota, into the Black Hills area for stops at 3 quilt shops. THAT takes one long day, but recovery took me 3 days. I didn't overspend, but purchased some nice stuff! Also, I discovered an incredible bead shop in Rapid City - next to the quilt shop -- how handy! Gals, I don't dare get started on that hobby/vice! Too gorgeous for words! I only spent $10.00 for beads, that I don't know what to do with ...

Last weekend, DH and I (along with 50 other quirky folks) took a bus trip sponsored by NET Public TV/Radio, to see the Prairie Home Companion Radio Show (Garrison Keeler) at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul. Taking the bus, rather than driving, took the edge off of driving in strange areas, the show was great, the additional tour of the Guthrie Theatre for Performing Arts was incredible, a drive around U of Minnesota, as was a tour of the Gold Medal Mill, now closed, but so interesting! Our hotel/rooms were wonderful. We also stopped in Mason City, Iowa, to see some history on the production of The Music Man.

BTW, what happens to your body on a bus, that your feet and ankles turn into elephant legs? Whew - glad THAT condition went away!!!

OK, as far as quilting. I've been working on my Karen Stone Star, a WIP, so I'll post something I did several years ago.

This was a class taught by Donna Lynn Thomas and was my first introduction to bias squares. My gosh, how did I manage not knowing how to use that technique earlier in my quilting? I LOVE the colors in this quilt, and especially like the colored binding, but using black fabric comes with it's own set of problems. And black is not particularly 'cozy.'
It is hand quilted - and in the border and blocks I used black thread. My stitches turned out pretty good, but I see evidence of bearding. I don't remember what batting I used.

The plain setting squares are also hand quilted with spider webs. The quilting is OK, but again, bearding is happening. I don't use this quilt often. (The photo looks gray in color - effect of the camera.)

I thought this quilt looked like stained glass in an old church. The spider webs seemed to be in keeping with 'old' and the border has a vine going round. The last black border is quilted in a brickwork pattern.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Moving right along ...

I'm making progress. See the two fabrics on on the right? The lighter one is for the side triangles and corner squares, then there will be a 2 inch dog tooth row, then the darker eggplant color. All of the diamonds are done, and most of the 8 diamonds are together, with a few of the large segments also together. Some of the paper is even gone!

I like it!

(But I DON'T like that carpeting! It looks worse than it really is! LOL)

Our quilt guild challenge in July is "Diamonds" but unfortunately, this is too large for the category! That's OK, I'm having fun. So much fun that I've already picked out the next project from Karen Stone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A little bite of CROW

Well, what can I say -- regarding my comments -- OK, they were whining and complaining, about two different visual descriptions of this star I just posted? When all else fails, Elaine Adair, "READ THE INSTRUCTIONS" DUFUS! Right there in the instructions, the designer, Karen Stone, says, "There are two different options to your design." And I also have her gorgeous book, and she says something similar "There are two different options to your design."

Chomp, chomp ... doesn't taste like chicken ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Maintaining My Wits

I've been working on this project for several months - taking my time. It's a Karen Stone pattern - and I LOVE her designs. Her color sense is exquisite! This one is called An Unusual Lone Star.

I've seen this design made up in total scraps -- very effective -- each diamond being 3 strips of one color and 3 strips of another color. All the strips are pre-cut at 1 and 1/2 in.

It is paper pieced, and the sewing is not difficult. Actually I was getting a little bored with the piecing part, as there are only 2 blocks. The pattern itself is wildly chaotic, and for my fabrics, I chose purple-y browns and pinks and muted green, with some beiges, corals. If I did it again, I would rethink my choices of fabric location, and might make them radiate from from the center rather than what I did.

I made 4 of each color choice thinking that when I laid them out I would space one of the 4 in each quadrant. Looking at my nearly completion project, I believe that added to the chaos, but then I DO like the wildness of it. To me it looks like a Canadian Thistle that my Dad paid me one cent each, to chop down!

There are 128 diamonds, so I have a way yet to go, as far as laying it out. My diamonds are mostly made, just not arranged. The arranging part drove me up the wall, especially when I stepped on the arrangement, misplacing my methodically placed diamonds, and then panic almost took over!

The corner fabric (yet unchosen) should help 'hold' it together. Then there is another narrow border (dogtooths teeths?, using scraps from center diamonds) and a final border. I think the borders will calm it down a bit.

One problem to watch for, if you make this design. My DH and I had argued an hour over deciding how to lay it out per instructions, and we finally had to call it a draw. Funny, HE absolutely could NOT see any color order, and I absolutely could NOT see architectural format!!! (talk about Men from Mars, Women from Venus!) However, to our surprise, we noticed the two illustrations were NOT the same! The cover photo of the project is NOT laid out the same as the included instruction drawing, and we were each looking at our separate illustrations! And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure it mattered since the design is so over-the-top. And my careful balancing of colors? Again, I'm not sure it makes any difference, and several times I was lost in the layout, and was tempted to just plop anything anywhere, but after a glass of wine, I was able to calmly relocate the pieces to their 'proper' location.

Also, if you make this design, and if you want to maintain a particular order, you will definitely need a space to lay it out and leave it in place until you get each of the 8 diamonds assembled.

Monday, April 16, 2007

9 Patch Puzzle

Several of you have asked about this block. I have several photos - hope I can do it in one post.

Start with 2 9-patches, 6 1/2 in. raw. One positive (5/4) and one negative 4/5. Use one light and one dark, with high contrast.

Orient them on the diagonal, and add corners. I cut 2 light 6 1/2 in. squares on diagonal, and 2 dark 6 1/2 in. squares on diagonal. Sew to opposite sides. This is slightly oversized. Press to the outside but do not trim.

Again, orient them with the 9-patch on the diagonal, with dark corner on each to upper left. Keep them in same position, i.e., 5/4 on left, 4/5 on right.

Carefully, lay ruler on the vertical of each block, and cut. Be exact as possible.

Take right half of each block and exchange with the other. Keep them in same orientation.

Sew together, matching seams, then press that seam open. Use care because these seams are on the bias. You will lose the points - do not fear!

Reorient them back to the 5/4 on left, 4/5 on right with the new seam vertical.

Can you guess next - yep! Lay ruler on horizontal and cut. Again, be exact as possible. Take the top half of each block and exchange with the bottom half ot the other.

Sew together, press that seam open. There will be some bulk - you can trim away some of the 'snibbles' if you like.

OK, NOW you can trim. I left 1/2 inch seam allowance on each corner, so it 'floats'. Yes, there are some 'snibbles left - if that bothers you, trim closer.

Now, instead of slicing vertically and horizontally, I think you could slice diagonally! I've not done it in these examples, but what the hey! Will it work? If you do it on the diagonal, send me a photo! That's how the 'bars' showed up on my friend Sydney's quilt (the blue one, with the cat).

If you make a bunch of these blocks, it is easy to get mixed up. That's why I was careful to make 2 stacks during the process, and keep them oriented the same way.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sydney's (and Cat) 9-Patch Puzzle

Some of you have asked for instructions for how to piece this peculiar-looking 9-Patch. I promise to post them next, but in the meantime, here is a quilt my friend Sydney made using some of those blocks, and of course, where there is a quilt, there is usually a cat - hers.

Note that some of the blocks are looking ever MORE 'different.' When I gave the class to the quilt guild, I also demonstrated blocks that ended up different than what I had planned -- ostensibly an error, although, in reality it was just another option. Sydney included some of both types of blocks, all of them starting with a 9-patch with corners added, then recutting. Her 'error' blocks appear to have rails --I wish I had thought of using the 'error' in my sample. I think it's just wonderful!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Original Block

This little quilt is the result of whacking my 9-patches. There are 9 blocks in this little quilt. Although it's difficult to design an original quilt block these days. I think it MAY be an original! Since I designed this block, I've seen more ideas in print, based on making a large block and then recutting it.

The second quilt is also the same pattern. I showed it at Guild Meeting and so many people asked about it, I gave a class, which produced an abundance of MORE ideas. As a sample, I brought in some of my 'mistakes' and some of the gals ran off with that idea and made even better blocks!

With the second quilt, the first two rows are set correctly. The last two rows have several of the blocks set in the wrong order. I did not even SEE that now-glaring error until AFTER the class, AFTER I had class-flyers priinted up, and AFTER it had hung in my living room for months.

The back is simply using up, what else, scraps, in a large log cabin design. I like it!

Done - I Spy

This baby is DONE and will be in the mail Monday, on it's way to Wisconsin! I quilted in the ditch along all the sashes. No puckers on the back! Yeah! This was an entertaining project, wishing I was with the child who I hope will be playing "I Spy." The back has several family photos on fabric - a technique that I wanted to try out. I'm not expecting the photos to hold up as well as the front fabric, but it was nice to learn that technique, which WAS quite easy.

I always give away my kids quilts, and sometimes I wonder if the colors hold out, given reasonable care. Comments anyone?

On to the next project.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wrong name on that block

I should know better -- that block I used on my "sign" -- (previous post) -- that's not a Flying Dutchman, that's Dutchman's Puzzle. The Flying Dutchman was a ship. (This is the type of little error that keeps me awake at 3:00 am! )

Hope you all have a nice Easter. In Western Nebraska, we received 5 inches of snow yesterday.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

How do other Quilt Guilds do it?

Every Quilt Guild meeting, we have a Show and Tell. Show and Tell is so popular - we line up and give our speech and explanations about our latest projects, amidst oooohs and aaaahs from the audience, and a few photo opps. This takes about 1-2 minutes per person, depending on the chattiness of the speaker, then the project goes back into the pillowcase, back to the seat, and by the time Show and Tell is over, no one can remember who brought what, and we miss the opportunity of closer inspection, if the owner says it's OK.

I tried to solve part of that problem with this sign. I have to admit it WAS fun to make. My original plan was a folded cardboard arrangement, but by the time my DH and I got finished, it began to look like the entry gate into one of the local ranches! Anyway, I put this sign up on one of the unused tables, and remind the officers to remind the speakers to leave the quilts on this table, but I've been nagging -- uhhh, reminding a long time, and it still isn't 'taking' .. those lovely project just go back to the pillowcases, and we cannot admire them close up.

Suggestions anyone?

If you wonder how this was done ... really, I am not much of a painter, but it's a base coat of acrylic white, washed with water. The Flying Dutchman (my DH is Dutch) triangles were painted twice, and I chose similar values so as not to compete with the lettering. I had planned to paint on the letters, but got as far as printing them on fabric, then loosly cutting them out and gluing them on the wood - yes, there is some see-through. The 'stitches' were drawn with a Pigma Pen. The sign is loosely swinging on cup hooks. It was important that it be sizeable, to be seen about piles of quilts on the table.