Monday, March 31, 2008

Am I made of money?

I saw this on the "New Things" rack at my LQS -- My word -- $30.00!!! Wow, who buys these things? This is really too much, all these rulers, new fabrics, more books ??? am I made of money?

... so I bought that ...

and the little yo-yo maker looks intriguing ... and a few more pieces of 30's fabric (is "30" stuck in my head?)

And look at the templates inside that package - aren't they interesting. Even better, when I started using them, that GREEN has a certain irridescence that makes the edges GLOW - here on a wood table, and on a green cutting mat -- and is very easy to see.

... a little bit tedious, finding a middle on the sides, but really not difficult sewing, going slowly and using a pokey thing. I used a pin for the start and the middle, and sewed slowly, using my knee lift a LOT, to keep adjusting. If you try this, I would suggest having a NEW blade. My 45 mm cutter worked just fine but I DID use the smaller one also. Work on the corner of your table so you don't have to move your fabric. Directions included cutting for FQs but I ended up using strips, to be more economical. The finished blocks look a bit 'rough' at this stage.

I'm doing about the same on my "fabric/quilting stuff" diet as I am on a "food" diet.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Turned out just fine!

Well, finally, all the corners are done, matched well, and mitered properly! Whew! I knew what I was doing all along, sort of. The diagonal borders met the inside border very well - I had to unsew enough seams to make up for about 1/2 inch. A small matter indeed. The dimensions are about 62 x 78 in. The outer border was added because my outer triangles are cut with bias on the outside. I know better but when you are strip piecing, that was the easiest to think about.

I LOVE it, and so does my DH! I was up and wide awake at 4:00 am Sunday, eager to start the hand quilting.

Funny thing - Taniwa has been working on her When-oh-When handquilted project for a long time. Months ago, she put on a border that I even remembered commenting about - it was so fresh and clever. She just recently finished the quilt and posted her lovely finished quilt and coincidentally, my border just made in the last 2-3 weeks is just like hers which she started a while ago. I'd like to say "Great Minds Think Alike." I don't think I gave it a thought when I made mine but that clever design must have implanted itself in my feeble brain. Or, it may be that we've both hit upon a generic beautiful design. Thanks Tanya! Love that Eye Candy and all the inspiration from ALL you quilters!

Have you ever seen a quilt hoop like this?

I won this clever little quilt frame years ago, and at the time, I planned to give it good use. However, after several years of seeing it standing unused in the corner, I realize that my personal hand-quilting style is sitting on the couch, feet up, holding a round hoop in my lap.

So, trying to declutter, I want to advertise it in my Quilt Guild newsletter, but have no idea as to its value. There are no names, or identifying marks on it. It's quite ingenious, with 3 different places for adjustments, plus the hooped item can be rotated without removing it from the hoop - very clever. The hoop is 17 inches across and is not heavy duty, but perfectly adequate for less than a full size quilt. The base and frame are quite sturdy and the wood is smooth. It can be easily de-assembled.

Even a non-hand-quilter might like it as room decor -- it would be cute as anything, with a quilt in the hoop, wouldn't it?

Anyone have ideas of suggestions as to value? I plan to ask for FQs as payment. How many FQs is it worth?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wanting to be Incognito

I LOVE to read all your blogs, and LOVE to comment, to help keep you (and me) inspired, but can someone tell me, is there a way to Comment, without leaving my name all over the Internet World? I just did a Google Search and am dismayed at the plethora of 'connections' to my blog name, by a multitude of search engines, that have absolutely nothing to do with me, etc.

Do I need to comment using only personal e-mail?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Don't listen to me

(mmm something different has happened to Blogger, but it explains some of the comments I've read over the last week. Also, it's taking some patience to find my way around new screens.)

Despite my obtuse directions that no one understood about making this border, and even I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THEM several days after writing them, and after cutting my strips, according to my peculiar dimensions, my corner is meeting just perfectly. My apologies to anyone wondering where I was coming from .... Venus perhaps?

My directions which were clear to me at the time, are a perfect example of something I've admitted publickly, "Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees!"

Any way, when you do this border using strips, one end of that border is miter-able, but the other? nope - you have unsewing to do. Also, strip method causes another problem on the outside, namely I cannot trim off that extra triangle tip and now MUST add another straight-of-grain strip or it will stretch. Now, I KNOW that -- where was I that day? Oh yes, Venus! I DID remember to stay stitch. Well, I've always said I like to learn things - that personality test I posted reconfirmed that! LOL

But on the positive side, it really DOES flow around the corner well. Happy Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who Are YOU???

A very bright friend and I promised to give serious thought to this subject, and describe and/or identify who we thought we were (ourselves, not each other). Surprisingly, we became so uncomfortable -- it was near impossible to look at ourselves in an objective way.

Am I the only person who feels uncomfortable thinking about, "Am I Strong?", or weak, or boring?" “What am I really like?” “Would I like myself if I met ME on the street?” How would people describe me, when I’m not with them? And come on now, it’s kinda embarrassing to ask another person, “Who am I? - really now, TELL me - be honest - don’t hold anything back!” RRRRIIIGGGHHHTTTT – If you ask another woman, we all know it will depend on THAT particular day SHE’s having, and she’ll be polite and try to say ‘the right’ thing! And I, for one, DON’T want to lose a friend over the question! LOL And if I ask a man, - oh no, no, no, I don’t want to ask a man! who would I ask, my DH? – he might actually tell me, or question “why on earth is she asking such a dumb question,” which would likely introduce other uhhhhmmm issues. LOL. I don’t have great hang-ups about people talking about me, but I DO wonder how I come across to other people. And most of us would like to capitalize on our strengths, and minimize the weaknesses.

Occasionally, I like to fool around with these commercial personality tests, and sometimes, they provide excellent clues to owns own identity. This link:

was an enjoyable test, interesting, and took a little time (30 minutes) to consider my answer, which I consider a ‘plus’. I didn’t have to give an e-mail address to take the test. You can print out the results. I was actually strengthened by what the results indicated - they just phrased personality traits with a positive attitude.

Have fun! Will you agree or disagree with the results? I would love to hear your comment about what you learned or if you thought it was a useful tool.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two fast gift bags

I needed to make gift bags for a Guild project, and these are what I came up with. I like the soft feminine one best, but options are endless. The first one (black with stars) took less than an hour, and the second one (pale blue and pink) took less than 25 minutes. But I spent 40 minutes looking for fluffy batting to stuff them with, so I could take the photo! LOL Once I made just one, they are like potato chips, you can't stop. Make them from burlap with wine inside, or kids theme with little gifts for the car, or out of jeans leg lined with handkerchief fabric, terry cloth lined with ? with bath gifts inside. Of course, they are meant to be recycled and passed on.

Why I cut strips at 1.91 inches for that border.

A few of you asked about my strips cut at 1.91 inches for my current border on Easy Peasy Scrappy Spools. I began to question myself, thinking I was under the influence of caffeine, but there is a method to my madness. Maybe I should have explained my strategy. It's hard to tell if the questions were real questions or just smiling inquiries and friendly comments, but here goes.

I calculated the sides of my quilt with a number that was divisible by 2 inches. Therefore, I wanted the diagonal of the small squares in the border to be 2 inches. Now, remember the lesson about "to find the diagonal of a square, multiply the size of the finished square by 1.414." Yes, it IS in many of our quilt books. "And if you know the diagonal of your square (which I wanted to be 2 inches), DIVIDE that 2 inches by 1.414, then add .5 for seam allowances" and that is the reason I got 1.91. Simple! LOL

2 inches divided by 1.414 = 1.4144271 plus .5 for seam allowance = 1.9144271. (Dad would be proud of me!)

The corners are a little tricky - I have to sew some of the strips going UP and some going DOWN. No matter which way I plan it, the ends of each side border will be fiddly.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A great book - and talking a lot

A few of you have asked questions about how to do this border. First, remember that this border is on the diagonal - handle with care. I will stabilize the inner part along a straight-of-grain border and stabilize the outer edge with stay stitching. And note that matching the corners will be a teensy bit fiddly! No mitered corners, darn it!

I used 5 strips of WOF at 1.91 inches, sewed them together and then cut the strata in half. This makes them easier to handle. Half are pressed up, the other half pressed down, to help butt them neatly.

Then I cut them in 1.91 inch strips. If you lay them together, face to face, and off set them one step down (or up) they will already be together for sewing. One strata of WOF gave me about 40 inches of border.

Now, you are probably thinking this is taking a LOT of time -- NOT. I cut my 5 strips of each color, sewed all of them together, and recut one strata into 1.91 inch strips, sewed them together, and had 40 inches of border, in about 2 hours. Also, this is NOT difficult, nor tedious. Just cut carefully and each square fits neatly. I am a casual sewist - NOT a perfectionist, and this is EASY and accurate sewing.

This particular book is really EXCELLENT for border ideas - you can't read it all at one sitting, and Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey are detailed technicians. The border illustrations go on for many pages, and include squares, rectangles, triangles, flying geese, etc. Your head will be spinning with new ideas. My favorite part are the illustrations, showing how the blocks travel gracefully around corners.

Below is just ONE page and you can see the plethora of just squares. I heartily recommend this book. And, even though she gives templates, there are also cutting instructions for strips. Reading through it all is an accomplishment in itself! The complexities for the triangles and dog-teeth are amazing! You can find something easy or difficult.

Now, on the subject of squares for borders -- A long time ago, when just starting my blog, I included this border idea. Note that these squares are NOT on the diagonal, although the design is. Sometimes the simplest of ideas can bring amazing results!

And just LOOK what you can do with squares for a border! I made this border after learning how to do Bonnie's scrappy bargello! My, my, ideas flow, don't they?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Remembering Geometry for Spools Border

I spent 2-3 hours calculating today, working out a border on the diagonal for my Easy Peasy Scrap Spools Quilt - and my idea was to carry on with the 'diagonal' plan. AND, I actually figured out the inner border plans - you know, when your top is NOT a regular size and you have to add different widths to side inner border than on the length inner border? Once a person figures it out, it's like uhh duhhhh - what was so hard about that? But my eyes have always glazed over reading the instructions. Somehow, just having a pencil and paper and calculator in front of me made it easier than reading it. And then, since I wanted to put a diagonally pieced outer border on, that made some added complications, but hey, I like it! It's SUPPOSED to fit - we'll see! LOL

Just to show that I DO have a clean ironing board cover, occasionally. And someone was asking about irons? I am convinced the manufacturers build in a life expectancy of less than 2 years for ALL irons. Expensive or cheap, they all quit. Won't turn on, won't turn off, won't steam, won't get hot enough, too hot, cord broke, etc. So now I buy CHEAP, and use a spray bottle. No iron has lasted me more than 2 years. You may notice I've clipped out a photo of 'someone's wonky houses. It doesn't look like Tonya's colors but ???

My Spools are all sewn together, and I'm pleased with the colors. Again, all stash fabrics - will only purchase the batting, and will hand quilt this one.

Those strips for the border were cut at 1.91 inches. That number was carefully calculated - again, we'll see! LOL

Spring 2008

A pitiful photo, but 'something' new and exciting is peeking out of the mulch. As a guage, we don't plant tomatoes until June 1 here, so seeing something growing, is a BIG deal this early.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Lesson for Today - Thanks, Mary Ellen!

I'm still working on my Easy Peasy Scrappy Spools, started a week ago, and I'll post a photo hopefully Sunday evening. It's looking so darned comfy and nice. The next part is thinking of a good border - can't just have any ole border, you know! This one will definitely be hand quilted.

Lesson: This melon colored 12 inch block was made for a friend, but the color is just too, too, uhh uninspiring. And I DID put some white behind it hoping that trick might improve it, but NO, it did not. Do you remember Mary Ellen Hopkins (It's OK to Sit on My Quilt) saying, if you have large pieces, your fabric needs to have some oomph (or something to that effect). The blue one has 'oomph' and is much nicer (IMHO) than the melon.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I've been tagged, and a CHALLENGE

Carol of Giraffe Dreams has done me the honor of tagging me. I'm not sure there is much of interest (to me, anyway) but I'll play, partially. I say partially, because I HATE to ask people to do things for me -- is that weird?

But before I do this, I want to CHALLENGE a LOT of you out there. Many of you have NEVER shown your faces on your blogs, and for me, it's hard to 'connect' without a photo. I'm going to show you ME, now YOU show me YOU! This was before attending a recent "Western Theme" event. Note the barbed wire wall hanging! Now THAT's weird!

But thank you Carole, for thinking of me. I'm in good company because you also tagged several others.

Let's see ... 7 weird things

1. I was born in a big city for had the very good fortune to grow up on a farm, NEAR the city. That's not weird, that's just darned lucky. Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate my good fortune.

(My DH should be saying what's weird about me ...)

2. When I was 16, and other girls were getting cars for their 16th birthday, my Dad gave me an International Harvester Manure Spreader! AND, I tell you, I was HAPPY!!! (Hey, I had a bunch of horses to care for!)

3. If you tell me I HAVE to do something, I won't do it. I even warn people ahead of time, 'please don't tell me what I HAVE to do!

4. I worked for many years in the Radioactive Waste Industry.

5 I take power naps -- yep, 5-10 minutes, or even less, and I'm ready to go again!

6. When I was 53, I rappelled down a mountain.

7. Monday is my favorite day of the week. I've always LOVED going to work! DH says THAT IS WEIRD!)

Easy Peasy Scrappy Spools

OK, since we're (most of us) all quilters and sewists, how many of you think you should have a Spool Quilt somewhere in your life? I've wanted to make one for a very long time, and the Spool is perfect for a stash project. Also, this block is about as easy as it gets, especially if you already have strips cut. My pattern is the same as many others. I wrote up my own directions, but really, it's pretty hard to NOT appear 'lifted' from another source. Mine is NOT -- it's just a VERY easy and effective block. Try it!

I made 58 on Friday and Sunday, without breaking a sweat. They are on (where else?) my living room floor and I'll show them in a few days, hopefully. I'm setting mine diagonally - size yet to be determined. I suppose, the size is determined by when I get tired of making them! LOL

Eazy Peazy Scrappy Spools
6 in. block finished
Skill level - EASY
You will need Lights (background) and darks (spools)

If you have 2 ½ in. strips already cut, you are already well along in the process, which is EASY. Then, it will take about 4 minutes to sew and press each individual 6 ½ in. block. That’s less time than a TV commercial!

Make these 6 ½ inch. blocks in groups of 4 for a 12 ½ in. larger block (like first photo), or set them individually. Set then straight, or diagonally.

For One 6 ½ in. (Raw) block, you must have at least, the following amount of fabric.

Dark (the spool): 2 ½ x 16 ½ in. dark (minimum per 6 ½ in. block)
Light (background) 2 ½ x 13 in. (minimum per 6 ½ in. block)

Cutting Directions:

Dark: Cut one piece 2 ½ x 6 ½ in. for spool center
Cut four 2 ½ x 2 ½ in. squares of same dark fabric for spool corners

Light: Cut two pieces at 2 ½ x 6 ½ in. for spool background

Method: With the 4 dark pieces, place at each end of the light background piece. Sew diagonally from corner to corner, as shown below - I call this a Quick Corner. Sew just a hairline to the outside of that diagonal line. Trim the outer fabric and discard. (This time, I am NOT saving the discard for very small HSTs, but if that’s your thing, have fun. They would make a great border!) Press seam to triangle.

Both the background pieces with the Quick Corners are the same.
Sew background piece to center dark spool on each side. Press seam to the dark spindle . You’re done with that block.