Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why I blog (long)

I was recently asked to write an article for our state guild newsletter, with the theme “Quilters and Connections.” As bloggers, I believe my story is probably similar to yours. I post it here and wonder how the rest of you feel. Yes it’s kinda long. I was honored that it appeared on the front page. For those quilters who still wonder why we spend precious time "blogging," maybe this will explain. The last paragraph is the most important to me.

As an enthusiastic quilter, I believe Quilt Guild meetings are absolutely the best day of each month. During Show and Tell, we proudly show our projects, speak for a few moments about the particulars of the quilted item, and then we sit down, and, and ... and that is the end! Hey, that isn’t long enough! Does anyone know the struggle we each experienced in the creation of our amazing project?

For years, I was a dedicated ‘fan’ of a certain web page/blog, featuring quilts, photos, blocks, machine quilting, tutorials, more quilts, more inspiration, more of everything quilty! How I loved each new creative post. The quilt photos inspired me, and her energy fed my own creativity. Could I create a similar page where my projects would remain visible for months?

My quilting friends complimented me on my projects, and I loved to give guidance, directions, or explain when they asked. Some days I would repeat the same information for several people. Would it be possible to explain it all in one place and have THEM come to ME? Would those friends experience similar enthusiasm as when I visited my favorite quilt blog? YES, I decided I would develop my own quilt blog. What’s the worst that could happen?

Off I drove to town, checkbook in hand, and returned with a new-to-me digital camera. My husband and I spent several evenings learning it’s intricacies. Next, I clicked into Blogger.com and began filling in the blanks, choosing options, and after several weeks of floundering about, choosing a template, asking seemingly stupid questions, studying the FAQs, I accidently clicked the correct button, and OMGosh, I had a BLOG! I felt so powerful! "I Am Woman!" But, would anyone visit?

I focus my posts primarily on quilt subjects, processes, tutorials, ideas, the latest concepts, designs, projects, and Nebraska life. Other subjects might include a vacation, historical visit, joyful experiences, or a quilt retreat. And yes, occasionally, I might gripe about an annoying or irritating subject. Almost always, photos are included.

Blogger.com offers every sort of option, bells and whistles, opportunities for page design, but the most amazing and totally unexpected aspect of blogging is that this method of communicating connected me to quilters all over our planet – from the U.S., Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, England, Kuala Lumpur, Russia, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Maori, and Japan. Who would have known? Never in all my dreams had I guessed that so many quilters would visit, comment, and read my humble posts, or write to me about their quilt projects as well as their personal lives. It has become my own journal, as open to the world as I choose. We have become "blogging friends" who support, commiserate, congratulate, and sympathize with each other. I have been uplifted following a message from a blogger who thanked me for something I said, or did, or explained, and I have wept, reading about another quilter struggling with health issues, or family disasters, yet continuing with her quilting, needing to feed her own creativity in order to stay strong. We ALL feed, connect, and inspire each other. Who knew?

It took courage to reach out to blogging quilters and perseverance to continue. These new connections give me satisfaction and pleasure and I, in return, give pleasure and assistance to others. I was cautioned that I might become physically drained by the time needed to connect with these quilters. On the contrary -- I am not drained, I am inspired, strengthened and nourished by my quilting and blogging friends.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birthday Tree and DONE K. Quilt for Luca

I had a birthday recently, and in addition to a nice gift certificate to a LQS, TOGETHER, we bought a small leafed Linden Tree to celebrate. This area is not kind to trees but we've noticed Linden Trees do well. I wanted to stand next to the tree each year to see how quickly or slowly it will grow.

Sentimental here ... we recently had the front porch railing fabricated and installed that you see behind me, and we put HEARTS in the railing! Is that cute or is that cute for two old fogies? The very talented iron man whipped them up along with the railing.

If you can stand any more Kaleidoscope photos ... here is the last border, in black. I wore myself out, thinking what would be suitable, and finally, with impatience, just started drawing/sewing lines, and this is how it turned out (Control + brings it up larger)-- mostly triangles (a few boxes which would have been great also) and I am very pleased! It is one continuous set of STRAIGHT lines, variegated bright thread - no curves - from start to finish. I will ditch stitch in blue thread between the blue and black border. Below is the back - I didn't have enough of anything, but definitely wanted to use the Bears. And I had a limited amount of another that would be kinda similar, but due to inability to count to 49 ( !!!!! ) ran out of that also, and had to find yet a third dotty fabric that is OK. These squares are cut at 10 1/2 inches and I like this method a LOT. A person could go through a lot of stash and just cut squares for backings.

Yes, there are the extra 4 blocks at the bottom I added to make 49.
DONE - and all quilted in swirls, all going clockwise. I really HATE to give this one away.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Deserve this Gold Star

Now ladies, none of you wants to hear this, and please don't cringe, but I have reached an amazing milestone.

I have discovered that it is possible to suffer from the flu with a temp. of 101, machine quilt, maintain a conversation, and live through a hot flash all at the same time! Talk about multi-tasking!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Will wonders never cease?

I don't believe it???

My Kodak Easy Share P850 camera has been acting up. First, Review was 'sometimes'. Then over the weekend, I took over 20 photos. Since my Review Mode hadn't been working, I didn't bother looking at them in Review Mode.

When I downloaded my photos, uh oh, not all were there.

hmmm - we've all been there - what is wrong? who to call? where to turn?, is this junk already? should I buy another? Hey, this one was $300.00 (an enormous amount for me!) and is just 2 years old. I am using an additional memory card and have tried another memory card, and tried Internal Memory - all are acting squirrelly. Was the battery needing replacing?

I went to Kodak site, many times, trying unsuccessfully, here and there, searching, and to add another issue, my User's Manual is nowhere to be found. (BTW, KODAK makes a LOT of stuff!) When you don't know what the problem is, it's difficult to find the right SEARCH term.

OK, contact Kodak (live!) and type my message. Wow - this is amazing technology! Bjorn V. was my contact and happily, he spoke/typed excellent English. I didn't wait more than a minute to connect with him. We exchanged info and he said I had to format my memory card. Huh? what is that about? I can feel the panic rising up my spine, but he said this is a fixable problem and easy ( !!! ) to do. "It's NOT the battery - it is a memory issue." Yikes - I know I cannot do thissssss!! wahhhh! 8-(

He directed me to a PDF file (enormous) for the User's Manual and lo and behold, there is something mentioned about "Review Mode - No Images," but doesn't give me instructions. Hmmmm now what????

Finally, gathering my courage, I started pushing buttons on the camera and found myself deeper in it's menus than I've ever been before. And there, right in front of me it says "Format". After considering the warnings (nothing of interest to me) I hit "ENTER" and something made some noises, and ... "DONE." Yep, I think that does it. I took a bunch of photos, they are all visible in Review Mode.

My mouth is still hanging open in disbelief - I actually DID fix it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kaleidoscope Workshop

Not all my photos are on my camera! Dang it! I hate posts that start out that way ... it means my camera has some issues ... 8-((

Our first business meeting of the year was in the morning, and is always too long, but necessary. A week before the meeting, the location was changed but we were fortunate to find a suitable location.

Here are some of the gals working on their blocks. Almost everyone agreed, this block turns out, no matter what colors you use! Finding enough electrical sockets for the Workshop was a challenge but in the end, everyone managed, rearranged, doubled up, and strung extension cords, and naturally, we had a great day!

(Note to anyone wanting to know what to bring to a quilting class. Make up a bag with an extension cord, a multiple plug power strip, masking tape, and several adapters, put your name on each item, maybe an extra iron, and KEEP IT DEDICATED FOR SEWING CLASSES ONLY.)

Thanks gals, for a wonderful day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad Boy Blogger

Bad Boy Blogger!

Thank you for comments that assured me my Blogger Counter misbehavior was not my own imagination. Apparently, there has been "a move." It seems to be working now, but who knows if it is accurate? I know that the counter increases by about 1000/week, but it should NEVER decrease.

Just a question here ... when something gets messed up, do you all FIRST think, "Oh, it must be my fault!" Do all women think this way?

Quilt Guild this weekend - we resume our monthly meetings after the summer. I am teaching a workshop on - can you guess? - these Kaleidoscope quilts I've been making! I'll post the blocks these gals design.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cry Baby Me

Wahhhhhh! Hey - a lot of things get past me on this Internet, but I have been closely watching my blog "counter" as it reached 170,000. When it reached that number, my interests were geared in another direction, and I forgot about it for a time.

Now I look and the number is SMALLER than it used to be and when you click on the symbol, it goes to another, new location, obviously some kind of tracking/advertising site.

Now, I know we can't have everything our own way since this activity is free, but ... at least they could keep the same number on the counter! I was kinda proud of that milestone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Admission - My Fabric Diet

2008 Fabric in 161.12 yds
2008 Fabric used -172.65 yds
2008 $ spent for sewing related supplies and activities $1,878.19
2009 Fabric in 87.50 yds
2009 Fabric used -70.20 yds
2009 $ spent for sewing related supplies and activities $1,333.72

hmmmm - seemed like I used more than that! The year is not over yet.

Top done; and I smelled something burning

Top is DONE - I LIKE it -- especially the triple border that is mitered. Each miter turned out well, but I do have a little cupping at the corner. I can live with it.
You see how the bright, 'in your face' contrasting fabrics kinda blur the normal circular features of a regular Kaleidoscope quilt. Your eye just does NOT know where to look.

You know how you like to vacuum up threads, etc., between projects? It's been a LOT of projects since I cleaned this vacuum cleaner, and only because I smelled something burning!

This unplesant job always reminds me of a uh hemmm, an unpleasant medical procedure we gals already know about! (Sorry, I think of that each time!) My word, how can my trusty old Hoover even function? And what is all that orange thread - I don't remember an orange project? Who's been sewing on my machine?

Tomorrow, Monday - it's off for more batting and quilting thread - a dusty lime green should do. And I DID cut all my fabric for the backing into 10 1/2 in. squares. 8-))) I had 2 possible fabrics, but both were too small, and by cutting each of them into squares, the backing will be just right! I deserve a gold star for using stash on my backing!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bright Kaleidoscope Quilt

Hah - is this bright or is this bright? I used various fabrics already in my stash, but purchased the white with stars and the border black with dots.


This next option (below) has a very pink block in the center that I didn't like very much, at least for a boy. It's going to be an 'extra'. (Funny -- it doesn't look bad in this photo.)

And here is my sloppy inner and border audition, with a lime green and light turquoise corner option. I'm liking it a LOT. You will see the kaleidoscope effect (I hope) when the medium value corners are sewn together.)

While the maker can mix up the wedges from block to block, I kept all 8 wedges together from one strip set. (Notice how I avoided getting confused again with the term strata/stratum!) 8-)

I used 6-7 strips in each set, making the first and last strips wider -- 2 1/2 inches. This gives you some leeway in how you place your ruler. The strip in the middle of your strip set frequently appears circular and stands out.

And I DO have enough wedges left over (you get 9 wedges from each WOF strip set) to actually make another row, including the unloved too-pink block. However, this is for a little guy and he doesn't need it larger. Size is approx. 62" x 62".

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

For our Military Museum

We took 3 trips around town this afternoon, watching for this WWII tank to make it's appearance for our Military Museum. Here it is, safely parked for the night in one of the vacant lots and will be installed in the morning. When you live in a small town, these kinds of things are important. We have numerous WWII soldiers in our town, and almost everyone knows who they are, and how they served. The tank (no longer functional) was donated by the town of Millard (Omaha area) because they no longer needed it, and the transportation and additional costs were donated my local residents. It will be transferred to another vehicle, then taken off THAT vehicle with a crane and set up on the new pad. I hope we can watch part of it's installation in the morning.
I would have liked to see this as it was on the Interstate! I'll bet a lot of drivers were looking!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Kaleidoscope for Luca

Luca is my a nephew, and will be 1 1/2 years old when he gets this. On the left is my focus fabric, and I pulled the colors to make another Kaleidoscope Quilt. Each block will have the same colors, but in different order - that will be interesting. As is often the case, the focus fabric may not be usable on the front as a border -- I'll have to wait and see -- but will be perfect on the back.

How could any block have more color? This should keep him active! LOL
FYI - Any time one uses 5, or 7, or 9 fabrics (an odd number) the middle fabric (red/orange strip) will almost make a circle in the block, and or become very prominent. However, one can cut blocks for several wedges and mix up the wedges to add more variety.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Furrows and 4-Patch - DONE

I've finished this after the photo was taken -- had to purchase more quilting thread for the final border. I ended up NOT quilting the ribbon at all and like how it appears to be laying on the surface of the quilt.
And this is my pieced backing, having promised myself to use what I have, rather than buying NEW.

I may try cutting my backings at 10 1/2 inch or 12 1/2 inch squares from left over fabrics, and see if that type backing might be more attractive. But let's face it - ONE or two large NEW pieces are MUCH less work than piecing 48-64 squares for a backing ... (Elaine, be strong and stick with that plan!).

Friday, September 04, 2009


I just found out I won 12 FQs at http://alyciaquilts.blogspot.com/. Alycia is in Colorado, not too far from western Nebraska, and makes and coordinates QOV (Quilts of Valor) for soldiers wounded in Iraq. I've wanted to contribute to this cause but had not gotten a "round tuit". This should get me started! Thanks so very much, Alycia!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

How much thread?

I just ran out of quilting thread - dang it!

Does someone have a table for estimating how much quilting thread is needed for various size quilts, when quilting light, moderate or heavy?

(One gal I know, who quilts for show competition, put 30,000 yds in one quilt! OMGosh!)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Border quilting solution

This is my solution to the border. One quilting line was not enough - this is a wide space - 3 inches - so I went over it a second time, deliberately NOT on top of the previous line, as the thread was variegated. I kinda like it. The outside will most likely be the same, and I'm not sure if anything needs to be quilted on the ribbon itself. This goes FAST! (The seam ripper is there for scale.)

One of the disadvantages of machine quilting on a DSM is that there is more 'poofiness' for lack of a better word, while the work is in process. But when completed, and blocked, it will be fine.

We have another week ahead of absolutely gorgeous days of 78 degrees - I'm planning another basting project this weekend, since this particular quilt should be done. Oh yeah, Saturday, there is that sale at one of my LQSs. 8-)

I pieced the back - wish I had NOT. Somehow I don't have the artistic flair for piecing backs - it always looks like patchwork! LOL

BTW, my SIL LOVED her small "Mother Earth" quilt - it arrived safely in Wisconsin.