Monday, May 28, 2007

String Spools, and Dove in the Nest

If it hadn’t been for ALL of you, encouraging me to finish this little quilt that didn’t seem to have much potential, I wouldn’t have this lively little FINISHED project! THANKS! “You don’t know how it will look until it’s finished!” I almost didn’t follow my own advice!

It’s quilted it in a playful swirls, with bright “King Tut” brand, variegated #40, thread. It took a little practice on my Magna Doodle to get the pattern ingrained on my brain, but once started, I couldn’t stop. (I'm still practicing my machine quilting on my domestic machine. The heavy quilting tends to blend the many colors. This was a delightfully entertaining project to quilt, with each border quilted in a different pattern. The binding was finished tonight while DH was watching a too-complicated espionage movie on TV, and I was trying to spend some quality time with him. (Does that count as quality time?)

This little Mama dove is almost totally hidden, yet is 6 feet from my eyes. When I unfurled my quilt for the photo, she flew away - I felt TERRIBLE! But she'll be back, and we can watch her family grow.

Memorial Day 2007

No words needed today.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Know When to Fold 'Em"

Kenny Rogers sang something about playing Poker, and "Know when to hold 'em" and "Know when to fold 'em" ... Sometimes things do not work as planned, and it's time to do some quick finishing on this little quilt and fold it!

I went with the Spool arrangement (the block on the right, below), even though the strips went the wrong way. First error. It draws the eye to all those different directions, making things tooooo jumbled and confused. Also, the strings are each so bright and contrasting -- they don't blend. Recognizing that this setting was not working, I reduced the size of this project. I will finish it up and get on with something else. My efforts at auditioning borders didn't improve it a lot, but I believe that dark purple will make it passable. I won't call it a failure, I'll just call it ... uhhhh Done!

(hmmmm - what if I had used a dark color instead of a white for the half-squares? - should I try that???)

Look at this earlier successful turquoise quilt. I had alternated the light background between white and light blue. My strings were closer in value and they were mostly blue, turquoise, lavender. The quick corner triangles were also softer, and less "in your face"..., also in the same color families.

I was totally mesmerized from 3 recent delicious string quilts at -- couldn't wait to recreate one, but alas (old timey word!) mine didn't work!

I don't mind posting projects that don't work - how else can we learn from each other?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

String Settings

I am playing with my string blocks. There might be too much white so I added the quick corners in purple and turquoise. It gives the block a whole new look, doesn't it? At this point, I'm not sure which one to use -- maybe I should keep playing! I have a LOT left over. Actually, I've made both of these quilts before - can't get enough of those strings!

I really like the second one, kinda 'spool' like, but it would be MUCH better if those strings went cross-wise. Maybe someone out there in blogland will make one -- if so, I hope she sends me a photo.

Did you see this, May 19?

No photo can recreate the amazing vision of the moon with one of our planets, the evening of May 19, 2007. They were brilliant - my photo is not even a fraction as inspirational as this heavenly sight. I need to review my Instruction book for my camera, to learn how to take night shots. I hope you can see whichever planet that was to the lower left of the crescent moon.

Many years ago, I took an interest in astronomy - but frankly, the amazing-ness, if that could be a word, was overwhelming. Some nights I felt like nothing at all, gazing upward. And I can't even comment about the physics of it all - I am totally uneducated in that direction.

Another sky picture -- we are hoping those thunderheads will bring moisture.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Strips and Strings

Once again, I got all carried away by some string quilt photos posted on several blogs, and mail lists. And in truth, I've been wanting to make another one or two for a while. I made 88 blocks, but cut enough strings for 176! A slight miscalculation ... duhhhh.

Anyway, I like to use telephone book pages for several reasons. 1) they add stability to odd shapes; 2) the lines on the pages help to keep my strips straight, if that's what I want; 3) frugality, and recycling, 4) the page/paper is a measured size, so that means I don't have to take the time to measure my strips - I consider this the best advantage. Of course, then you have the thing about time needed to remove the paper afterwards, so if someone argues the point, I'll probably have to agree that using the paper, vs. removing paper, is probably a washout.

Anyway, I DID use up loads of my bright strips, and I'm feeling admirably thrifty. Not sure how I'll set these together, and I'm leaning towards adding purple and turquoise quick corners on the white, just to tone the white down somewhat.

I cut the triangles from the roll. The roll was about 5 inches tall. Then I added the white triangles, sewed, then pressed, and then trimmed to exact size. The block ends up about 5 inches raw. The roll of paper is what is left over, definitely enough for another quilt.

Quilt Guild tomorrow! yeahhhhh! Better get my stuff together!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Regatta Scramble

DH and I were watching yachting races on TV over the weekend, and I was reminded of days ago, when my free time was consumed with sailboats, and not quilting, although I already had a stack of quilt UFOs. Hearing the sounds of those yachts groaning, as they tacked or "came about" made me a little heartachey. I am now 10 years older, and probably cannot skitter about the deck as I once did, but still ... it was fun while it lasted.

The sailing club organized many races, with boats of various sizes, and many of the races would include ALL the sailboats, large and small. The scramble at the starting line WAS exhilarating, frightening and incredibly impressive. A starting line for a sailboat is not a fixed thing - sailboats have to be moving as quickly as possible when they cross that imaginary line. Large sails steal the wind from the smaller boats, leaving a smaller boat suddenly without power or "weigh on" .. and you really must be moving in a sailboat, or else you are powerless. The rules of the road mean that boats on starboard tack have rights over those with port tack, so if you are on port, you must give way to those on starboard - drat! And the wind is sometimes fickle, so the best of plans may not work, but you only realize that when half-way through your strategy. The "dirty air" at the starting line results in surprising wind currents -- there were not a few folks hollering, swearing, yelling, screaming, and even gasping when near-collisions occurred. The worst part about a collision is not the damage, but you would loose points, or have to go a round again - not good. And if you lose a crew member overboard, the rules say you have to pick that crew member up, taking more valuable time. It was a BIG no-no to fall overboard! Never mind that you might actually be in danger - you were in more danger from the captain of the boat from which you fell off! Most of the time, we all survived, with stories to tell, over glasses of wine, and congratulations exchanged later at the clubhouse.

I made this quilt to suggest that starting line, "Regatta Scramble."

I must admit, I'm getting a little bit tear-y remembering those thrills.


Ok, Nellie at tagged me - I'm not yet confident of all of you bloggers out there, to tag any of you, but here's 7 things about me.

1. I am very stubborn. Even when someone tells me to do something I will love, my immediate inclination is to say “NO”. I can’t help it!
2. I know how to sail a large boat. I studied navigational techniques, and sailed in the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and around the Abaco Islands.
3. I overwhelm myself with too many visual images and ideas and then cannot function.
4. I once worked in the Radioactive Waste Industry. It was my job to track and document radioactive uptake to the body of the workers in the plant.
5. Monday is my favorite day of the week.
6. I LOVE the thrill of learning something new - a new quilt pattern, a new design, being surprised, having my brain expand and that marvelous feeling of being drugged with happiness. Sometimes I think this is why I have so many UFOs – I am looking for the ‘thrill’.
7. I finally learned (in my 50s) that men are NOT smarter than women.
(Ok I have a Number 8 Thing).
8. I MUST be by myself on occasion

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tip of the Day

Sometimes, especially in paper piecing, your basting stitches show. And these little stitches are just too teensy to take back out. I thought they were well hidden in the seam lines, and yes, as an afterthought, I should have used a darker thread, but you know how it is when sewing with lights AND darks - there are always times when you wish you had used a different color. Chances are, the darkened stitches might be covered with machine quilting, but just in case, I colored them to make them less visible.

I keep a package of Pigma Pens in various colors, as well as Sharpies, to color those occasional threads that unexpectedly appear. This also works well for machine quilting, when those light 'pokies' show through on a dark background. You will have to be a bit artistic about coloring the threads, you know, a dab of this color, a dab of that color. Go slowly and carefully, a little at a time -- you don't want a solid streak of one color. Be sure you use a PERMANENT pen!

Hey, sometimes you have to cheat a little bit. Better?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Have you benefitted from a pattern?

For years, as a quilter, I renewed my enthusiasm for quilting from a particular web site that eventually became my home page, at both my office and home computers. I’ve copied patterns, carefully punched them, and saved them, and have made many quilts from Bonnie Hunter’s I followed her page as she relocated to new spaces in the United States, and she continued to publish the most wonderful projects to the benefit of many of us -- all free.

Bonnie and her husband Dave, are working to support a cure for Diabetes. If you’ve enjoyed and/or used her tutorials, consider sending in a pledge. It’s easy to do from her web site, and – you’ll feel good afterwards.

(I can't get that 'link' thing to work!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Life Goes On

We have been following a local story about a pair of ducks who had taken up residence in my friend's front yard, and all of us were waiting for the usual spring-type news of nests, etc. Finally, the pair had a nest and the eggs were laid.

Then, one day, disaster -- the drake was killed on the road. However, the Momma duck continued with her duties, and even entertained several interested drakes.

This morning, my friend called me at work to say, the ducklings were hatching! I actually closed up my office, left a sign on the door, and off I went, camera in hand.

This little duckling peeked from under her body. The duckling walked all over and under the mother, many, many times. As it turned out, our local wildlife lady drove by and she said the ducklings pick up the oil from the mother during this climbing activity, so they can swim. There is another little guy somewhere among those feathers, and more eggs under her. They will have to cross that dangerous road again, to get to the lake.

This was a lovely, encouraging sign of new life, good things to come, life goes on.

Monday, May 07, 2007

One of these things is not like the other ... One of these things just doesn't belong

Honestly, a person should know when that person is agitated about 'things' that the person should NOT be doing tasks that require a great amount of thinking, or any amount of reverse visualizing, or anything that requires the person to think backwards or upside down. Can you spot the 'task that I should not have been doing'? Each of those strips of dogsteeth are oriented the way they should be -- dark to the outside, but one is totally wrong! Darn it.

So, back to the drawing board, and this time I had to redraw the length of dogteeth by hand -- I sure didn't want to rip out those little stitches.

Making those dogteeth became a little tedious, especially after my error (if you can find it), so I decided to cheer ME up, and found this little bear to put into my "Star in the Forest" (earlier post) ... Isn't he darling? He was part of a group of scary bears I had wanted to include in an "I Spy" but the bears ended up giving ME nightmares, so out came the bears. I'm so glad, because this little guy is JUST the right thing to light up my spirits.

A quasi solution to a non-thinking day ...