Sunday, November 25, 2007


If you are looking for more details about this ruler, Easy Angle, and others, check out the web site ( There is a lot of clear information about various rulers they have, as well as tutorials, and patterns. Lots of ideas, for your next shopping trip.

Toys, tools, tricks, tips, and a New Quilt

After living for YEARS with dull scissors, and NOT wanting to purchase another, I broke down and bought a scissors sharpener -- that funny looking yellow thing, AND a knife sharpener (not shown). I sharpened ALL my scissors, as well as my almost-useless and dull knives, cleaned out the kitchen drawer, and polished the flatware! Isn't it amazing how a small improvement gives a person incentive for more improvements? I can't guarantee I've done the sharpening correctly, but EVERYTHING works a LOT better.

Next, I had recently purchased that scissors leash - another nifty tool that eliminates that stupid question, "Where did I leave my scissors?" It hangs at the right length so you can use it at the machine, and still snip threads, etc.

But my new favorite tool, is this Easy Angle, by Sharon Hultgren, that I've had for years and never used.
This tool eliminates the need for the 7/8 measurement for making triangles - you just cut the strip the same size as needed - in this case, 3 1/2 inches. One end of the ruler is blunted, the other end pointed. I layer the fabric strips same sides together. The 3 1/2 inch line is the business end - don't worry too much about the blunted end, although it SHOULD end up at the top edge of your strip. Of course, turn it around 180 degrees for the next cut, and on down the strip. I've had excellent results with this ruler - better than doing the 7/8 inch thing -- those pointy ends always have a tendency to stretch for me. Using this Easy Angle method, I put the blunted fabric end in the machine, and it works for me. (I still have not taken the time to actually understand the marks on the ruler so don't try to figure out those numbers from my photo.)

Next, after seeing this quilt idea in several places, Bonnie Hunters site, a Better Homes and Garden quilt book, and a photo from "Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts" by Lynn Roddy Brown, I started this stash buster over the Thanksgiving weekend.

There are two blocks - one made of 4 4-patches and one pinwheel. The 4 patch unit can have either a light in the upper left corner, or a dark, depending how you turn it, and the pinwheel spins one way in one row, and the other way in the next row (must be sewn differently each row). To me, the most interesting effect is shown here. I liked the dark piece of the 4 4-patch, to meet up with the dark pinwheel. This sound confusing, until you start putting it together, and compare several versions of patterns. (Hooray for digital cameras!)

This quilt takes in excess of 169 blocks -- but it IS using up a lot of scrappy pieces. Hopefully, it will be queen size when finished.

Once again, thanks Bonnie for the incentives and inspirations.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blue Lemonade - Another 'New Best Favorite'

I've named this "Blue Lemonade" .. reminiscent to 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade', but of course this is blue. And again, it was almost all scraps from my stash.

My friend, Anita, of Prairie Creations quilted this little string project, that I started at our Quilt Retreat. The entire quilt was posted November 4. I actually cried a bit when I saw how beautifully she did this. Not an easy quilt to make beautiful in my estimation, but she managed it, exquisitely!

The back ...
And again, Thank You, Anita!

DONE and Ready to Go!

Truly, in reality, this is NOT as PANK!!!as this photo, but hey, it's done, and two days ago, I wouldn't have given you a plug nickle for it -- today, I kinda like it! This is a Project Linus Quilt, and I machine quilted it on my DSM.

This is the back - more Stashbusting!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quilt Guild Day and a Presentation

Quilt Guild Day is better than Christmas, and this meeting we made it even better with an extra Holiday Gift Exchange, and a fantastic Pot Luck! Attendance was excellent -- about 55?, we had 4 visitors, and several of them joined the Guild. As you may remember, I live waaaaay out in the Nebraska Panhandle. While this meeting is in our town, most members drive a good long way to attend meetings. A round trip of 120 miles is not unusual. I was also honored to be asked to make a presentation of "String Quilts and their Units". Returning home, my head is spinning, my mouth is going non-stop to poor DH, and my brains are trying to decide on which of 20 new projects I should zero in on. Who needs drugs? - I am on a HIGH! Just can't sew now, so I'm blogging!!!

This is a flannel board on an easel I used to help show some individual units made for creating string quilts. Many gals want to use their strings, but the overall idea of "using strings" was too-open ended for those who need a little more guidance or clarification.

(Incidentally, flannel boards do NOT hold quilt blocks that still have paper foundation on them.)

Below, is the beginning of organizing my presentation in the right order, planning so I wouldn't trip over the stage and break a leg. Keeping things in the right order going TO the car with DH helping, unloading a lot of things out of the car, carrying up the steps, bringing food, the easel, flannelboard, purse, notebooks, Show and Tell, camera, etc, is as difficult as making a quilt!

Look at all those dear listening ladies - today was a GOOD day. The flannel board was an excellent teaching tool. I only did a presentation/short trunk show, and not a class. I think having the units clearly visible, in several possible steps, was a GOOD idea. Then I followed up the units with quilts that used those units. Sometimes it's hard to decipher the blocks in an entire quilt, so that's why showed step-by-step units. It went well, but the best part were the positive comments afterwards. I LOVE this Quilt Guild!

Below, another of the same, but what I'm noticing how clever that'ordinary' little quilt looks from far away. (Thank you Jody, for taking the photos!)

A Thank You Quilt

This is a Thank-You Quilt that a group of local quilters have made, in appreciation for a working space we've been using for the past few months. I don't want to go into details because it's not yet presented.

This was quilted by my talented friend, Sydney, whose skill is growing by leaps and bounds. The quilting is just marvelous -- my photo skills are not.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Limerick

There was an old woman from Lenore
Whose mouth was as wide as a door
While attempting to grin
She slipped and fell in
And lay inside-out on the floor.

(Hey, ya can't be clever EVERY day! LOL)

Monday, November 12, 2007

OMGosh - It's PINK!!!

This last weekend I took part in a Virtual Retreat discussed on the yahoo mail list for Heartstrings Quilt Project. For several years, I've made quilts for Project Linus, both for fun, and for consideration of some ill child. In addition, for each quilt/blanket donated, two of the local quilt shops offer a chance to win a very nice sewing machine. Last year, my friend Jody won the machine!

I have really, really, really TRIED to make something soft and gentle, sweetsy, cutesy, and gentle, but color, for me, has a way of getting out of control -- I'm 'over the top' with this PINK quilt! LOL. But I can imagine some little 8 year old girl just LOVIN' it. There are a lot of little figures images, characters in some of this fabric.

It is foundation pieced on fabric, and I have poly batting, so will tie it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strings and More

This is my favorite piece of furniture, an old cherry and oak rocker that actually TALKS! It said "buy me, buy me", so I did. The carved back, (not pressed) is especially appealing. Can you guess why? (I should have dusted it before the photo!)

I'm playing with more strings, making some samples for a presentation at our guild. Every time I make a sample, it wants to be made into yet another entire quilt.

I pulled all my browns, tans, forest-y type bits and pieces, sewed them will-nilly onto phone book pages, then sewed the pages together, and ended up with a nice roll of fabric. The advantage of sewing them onto a foundation is that there is NO MEASURING. But they DO need some type of foundation. The process looks very messy, but the end result, after trimming, starts to look promising. The width on this roll is trimmed to 4 1/2 inches. Of course, you will have to remove the paper after sewing it on another piece, a messy but not difficult project. These can be used as HST, or a piano-key border, or Flying Geese, or cut down the center for narrow border or sashing - the possibilities are quite endless. I love reminiscing with my favorite fabrics, remembering when I purchased them, where the quilt is, and also take pride in being frugal and recycling. I like to use a palette of similar styles, or colors.

This little 9 inch Churn Dash sample block is so darned appealing.

My Rocky Road to Kansas is finished, done, complete, ta tahhhh -- hand quilted. Since it is partly a string quilt, this will be another sample for the presentation.
Now, this photo is an excellent example of what doesn't work! Maybe if my seams were straight, not angled, and perhaps the strings should be thinner. Oh well - nothing ventured, nothing gained! But hey, the center seams meet perfectly!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sunrise on the Bluffs

My photo from Quilt Retreat -- sunrise reflection on the bluffs.

I CAN do it!

Thanks Nadine, for giving me a gentle PUSH to do this linking thing -- it wasn't hard at all.

Next assignment for ME is to give my page a little more warmth. My blog looks like a government document! (I used to prepare government documents and procedures - no wonder my blog looks so ultra-structured!

OK, now what will I do this weekend? -- concentrate on blog improvements (but first I have to read these books) I want it to have a clever look equal to the technicalities of Darlene's (but first I have to read AND UNDERSTAND my Photo Shop book), or should I post the photos from my retreat 2 weeks ago, or finish the Virtual Retreat I want to do and agreed to do, or actually FEED my DH something good (first I need groceries, but first I should balance the checkbook, and oh yes, I forgot, the dishwasher is waiting for parts, maybe I'd better finish that sample quilt and practice for a quilt demonstration, laundry (oh yeah, first I need detergent from the grocery store that is after I balance the checkbook), or just take a nap ???? Is this something like the old song, "My bucket has a hole in it"? This is how my mind is flitting about for the last week. Awful, isn't it? Does senility come all at one time?

Now, we have the ever-ambitious search for knowledge -- compliments of on-line book stores -- "thank you very much." I just wish my brain or short memory could take all this in ...
Maybe I should have a glass of wine first ...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Retreat project - almost done!

Last weekend, I was at a 2-day quilting retreat - naturally having a wonderful time. Our rooms were great, and the meeting/sewing room was bright, spacious, next to the kitchen, which was overloaded with wonderful food. I believe there were 28 of us.

I brought more strings, having learned to sew something less demanding while at a retreat.

By 11:00 pm, I was nearing a finish to the quilt center, and very kindly, my friend Colleen, who was sitting next to me, offered to sew some of them. She made a good dent in them and by 1:30 am, it was altogether. That's when I happily went to bed. Odd, I normally am dead to the world, by 9:30 pm. Funny how enthusiasm works, isn't it?

The only fabric I purchased was that thin strip of red and the plaid next to it - about 1/2 yard of each. All the rest was in my stash. Sometimes I think that ANY combination of these strings might be just fine! I'm pleased with this one. They are so addictive!

This last week I worked on the border, and this is what I came up with. Now I need to remove the telephone book pages -- it comes off easily.

Now, about this border, for some months, I've been admiring glimpses of a quilt border on Fons and Porter, during their "Tips" section, in the 900 Series. They never spoke about it, and 4 e-mails to them did not result in any explanation to how the border on the quilt was made. One day, (oh dear, I don't remember who) one of you Bloggers made something like it, and gave me some idea of how it was done. (Very simply, by the way!). Once again, thank you to all, for all the ideas and enthusiasm. In case I need to mention it, NO seams are matching, on purpose.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Life

... and some people think leftover strings should be thrown away!

The name, "My Life" is what quilters know -- this is what you get in your life, make something beautiful with what you have.

This project was put together about February, and destined as a donation, but I posted a photo of the unquilted top, mentioning "old brown strips, and leftover pinks". One of you commented about my "chocolate and raspberry" quilt, which raised my appreciation of this humble project. (So you see, it's not my fault I kept it!)

The single pink strip in that one light block is there on purpose - just to make the viewer wonder! The rest are truly scraps, placed with very little thought, using lights on half the square and darks on the other half. Perhaps the intense brights help to hold it together. I did use a dark brown strip (not the same brown) down the center of each block, for some measure of continuity. It's about 60 x 80 inches. I don't remember if my foundation was fabric or paper, but it was started after I joined the HeartString Quilt Project. I had the best of intentions for a donation but this was just too dear to me. I made others.
This was professionally quilted by Anita of Prairie Creations, a nearby quilter and friend. I'm just thrilled with the end product - this is my new best favorite!