Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stars, HST, and QSTs

This might be my Challenge "Star" for our Mystery Round Robin. ... or maybe this one. If you are a little shakey about terms called "Half Square Triangle units (HSTs)", or "Quarter Square Triangle units (QSTs)", some of this might help. I remember a time when none of this sunk into my head - it was all so overwhelming!

For a Half Square Triangle - determine the finished size of the unit. My unit above (see the corners) finish at 4 inches. Therefore, I added 7/8 to that measurement and cut one light square and one med. blue square each at 4 7/8. Pair them right sides together, and draw a line from corner to corner. Sew 1/4 inch on each side of that line, cut them apart, press open gently. and voila, you have 2 half square triangles, aka HSTs.

For a 3-color Quarter Square Triangle - Do you see the 4, 4-piece units on the around the blue/red star, surrounding the red center? Determine the finished size of the unit. In this case it is 4 inches. ADD 1 and 1/4 inches (Quarter Square Triangle = add 1 and 1/4 inches) to a dark square and a medium square, and a second dark square and a light square (the two darks are the points of the star, in this case). So each of these 4 squares are cut 5 1/4 inches. Place right sides together of dark & medium, and the right sides together of dark & light, draw line on diagonals, and sew 1/4 inch on each side. Cut on the line, press open gently - you should have 2 HSTs, with different colorations. Now, put them together again, right sides perfectly together, and draw another line on the diagonal. Peek to be sure you have them in the right direction - seams should be opposing, and be sure to get the center matched perfectly. Sew 1/4 inch on each side as before, cut and press open. You're done! So much easier than fussing with little separate triangles!

(If you only want 2 colors, you just pair 2 together.)

It should look like this above (although mine is not sewn).

Desired result on the back - I like to open up that center seam and twirl the seams. The seams on half the units will twirl in one direction, and the other direction on the other half of the units. These turned out completely accurate. I trimmed off the points.

If you are still a little shakey on this technique, sit down and practice. Some of us learn by reading, many of us by doing. I showed this to DH and he was totally amazed - as if it was magic!

(Whew - this took a lot longer to type out correctly than it did to actually sew it!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More snow, and finished Scrappy Star Struck

Ten more inches of snow - at least it's not real cold.

Below - Scrappy Star Struck - DONE. ... and this was the quilt I had almost given up! This should be a lesson to ME, and any UFOs that appear to be unsalvageable. I did NOT like this quilt - not because of the pattern -- but because of being in a pitiful, pathetic, poor-me state, and that led me to carelessness. During trimming/squaring up, some of them are trimmed OFF! However, that little one-inch border definitely perked it up. Then I auditioned at least 50 border combinations and eventually, one combo actually looked GOOD. Does this "issue" of too many small errors explain some of YOUR UFOs?. This is another wonderful pattern from Bonnie at Quiltville.

The back (above) was made of 10 1/2 inch squares, and I used a lot of my blues etc. THIS method of using old fabric DID make me feel frugal and efficient. Additionally, my brain no longer has to deal with looking at the pieces in the drawer , with guilt, "What can I do with this?" "Why did I buy this?" -- wearing myself out with self recriminations.

I quilted each of the 4 borders in a different kind of weedy, leaves, feathers, swirls. Good practice and another area for the owner to enjoy. I used a variegated blue - similar to the center. I don't like the variegated thread in the border because parts of the motif disappear and look disjointed and skipped. Lesson #8,462,729.

Now, here is the worst error and a great solution in this quilt. During my frenzy of careless sewing, too-quick careless trimming, I had a big cut-off point! So, I solved this error by drawing a "point" in the light fabric. I guarantee, it will never be seen - even I have trouble finding it, and I'm looking for it! I am showing it because we all need to remember (to each other) that an "error" is no big deal - it is STILL a great, finished quilt. It is NOT meant for a quilt show - it is a testament to loving and caring for another person - that's the important part. And it's ready to mail.

DH and I "tried it out" during yesterday's afternoon nap. It works! 8-)))

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I wanna win!

Winning THIS wonderful giveaway should send one (or two or ??) quilters into a sewing frenzy! Whew - I don't often mention these freebies, but .... I WANT TO WIN THIS ONE! Check it out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quilting Methods, #2

I was hoping 'someone' could come up with a technique, label, sticker, emblem, etc., or something that would clarify the kind of quilting YOU do. For now, I have a short statement at the top of my links, although it would make more sense to have it show elsewhere - maybe in the profile.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quilting Methods

I must admist, I cannot remember how most of you do your quilting. Do you send it out, hand quilt (not too many of you) or do you quilt it yourself? Do you use your domestic sewing machine or do you have a long-arm?

Would it be helpful to indicate your method of quilting in your sidebar? I just put that information in my links (not the best place but...) my knowledge of the template layout is not so great, so that's where it is now. I'll be there are a number of YOU who can come up with a better idea.

What do you think? Would that be a useful tool?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No excuse

OK - look at your ironing board cover. A new one takes only a few minutes to whip together, and you probably have some fabric. I use pillow ticking - nice straight stripes. Previously I would staple a new cover on the board, but first I had to find the staple gun (not mine), find more staples (not mine), call for muscles (definitely not mine), pull the trigger on the gun while I mashed my 125 lbs against the board base (hah! REALLY NOT MINE - OK, I lied about the 125 lbs!!!) And I know you have cards and cards of bias tape saved from your grandmother, or great auntie or some garage sale. USE it! I DID purchase cording (save your old window blind cord).

This (below) is a stack of 56 10 1/2 inch squares for the backing of my current project. I need 72 in all. It needs to be GONE! Frankly this cutting doesn't take long and I definitely feel frugal, industrious, and amazingly relieved for clearing it out. Sunday we are expecting a warm day and I'll sweep out the garage and baste/sandwich my current Star Struck project.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I wouldn't give you 2 cents for it until ...

What a difference a border makes!

I've been in the pits, looking at this top, getting careless in my sewing, because I could not fathom all these scraps turning into anything useful. I had visions of stashing it in the car trunk for road-side emergencies and not ever looking at it again. Another lesson to ME ... a decent border always gives an 'ordinary' quilt pizzazz!

We are expecting warmer temps this weekend - the garage is full of clumps of mud, horse manure, slop, from our outdoor wedding adventure but I still want to baste this quilt Sunday.

And below is my current Fabric Diet. I have been faithful in logging everything purchased that was sewing-related. Fabric IN is still gaining over fabric OUT, but at a slower rate than in 2008 (sounds like Federal budget conversation).

2009 Fabric in 95.50
2009 Fabric used (83.20)
2009 $ spent for sewing supplies, etc. $1,439.12

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday Wedding in the Country

We were honored to have been invited to a much-looked-forward- "Country Western Outdoor Wedding." The bride and groom are sensible, down-to-earth young couple, and we had been looking forward to this beautiful day. However, the weather was NOT cooperating, but this snow (about 8 inches) and cold 25 degrees was entirely waaaay NOT NORMAL! But we also knew these ranchers, cowboys, bride and groom would not be put off by such a thing as cold, mud, or snow, so off we went, a drive about 80 miles from us.
We were late! We turned off the main highway to follow the "Wedding" signs. The road soon turned to mud and in some places we had to leave the road entirely, and take the field, hoping that eventually, we would find the next "Wedding" sign. Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive! The road seemed to go on forever, with NOTHING in the landscape indicating we were going in the right direction, and we had begun to think of turning back, but there was no place to turn around. We would not have been so late if it hadn't been for these slackers - ya know, ya can't just run them down and we were in THEIR field.

Finally, after slogging/sliding/skidding for 30 minutes, we saw trees and vehicles! Oh, I'm sorry we're late!

Here they are freezing (below) during the ceremony - if you look carefuly, you can see the little flower girl wrapping in a blanket. The bridesmaids must have been freezing also, but each was wearing their western boots. The minister was a hoot, and taking advantage of the cold (IMHO) by being cute, and adding a few little jokes, chit-chat - we are all wanting to grab him by the neck and say, HURRY UP! The guys were each so handsome, and had the advantage of a vest over their shirts (and maybe long johns!) The grounds had been bulldozed flat for the ceremony/chairs, and the site was selected because of the two huge trees, but unfortunately, days before the affair, a storm blew one down, making yet another must-do job to be done by the young men. But these young cowboys are tough and resiliant!

Here they are leaving - we are all hoping her beautiful dress was not ruined by the accumulating mud.

Below, the guys' horses (since we were late I don't now who they belonged to - I am guessing the groomsmen and best man and groom.)

Below, fancy boots, and the bundled up flower girl.
There's the bride's Mom - all happy. She's a first Time Mom-in-Law (oh yeah, and a quilter!, AND my friend.)

The Bride's father, looking handsome and also probably really happy he can get warm sitting on his horse.
Too-close photo (hey, they were moving fast!) of part of the team of draft horses, pulling the wagon, taking the bride and groom away to ??? -- I couldn't see ANYTHING in the distance except more snow and open spaces -- where did they go?

No close-up photos of bride and groom - that was someone else's job. We all headed back to town, along the same muddy route, for a much-needed meal and warmth at the Town Legion Hall!

I would never have made it in my little car - and I can barely recognize our vehicle, it is so covered with mud. We had a great time, this was a unique experience, and we are both pleased to have been invited. I've mentioned before in my posts, that this area in Western Nebraska is still real-cowboy, ranches, and I am thrilled to peek into this way of life, once in a while.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Not ready for this!

SNOW this morning -- I wanted to be outdoors a few more weeks. This weekend we are attending an outdoor, cowboy wedding. The high is supposed to be 31 degrees.

(Below) You are wondering what this is. It's 1 of 4 drawings of a little brown jug, for the Guild Ardis Wannabe (artist want-to-be). I changed it to greyscale, pixelized it, altered contrast, and tried to erase the background. I am foolishly trying something of which I know nothing in Corel Paint Shop. The goal is to reproduce one finished picture of a little brown jug, in 4 shades of the same color. Maybe this drawing will end up my entire project and not make it to fabric. This will involve 4 fabrics - maybe fused and each section cut out and refused to a background. Sounds like a plan but ??? I am posting this especially for Deb who co-chairs our Guild challenge - she'll understand! 8-)))

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Totally Scrappy Star Struck

I am almost totally OUT of 2 1/2 inch scraps, thanks to this project. Happy Day! This project was looking very BLAH, but thanks to Marcie, who suggested I add some yellows and pale melon colors - it's sooooo much better, and it is coming to life. And of course, thanks to Bonnie at for her pattern, although I'm not sure I added much zest to her original idea. If I sewed it a next time, I would decide on a palette, not just lights and darks, although by the time this is finished, I may change my tune. This is 50, 8 1/2 inch (raw) blocks, set on point (so I could brighten it with the side setting triangles).

How many times have you started a quilt and discovered it lacked SOMETHING - and you put it away, unfinished? I must admit this has happened many times to me, only to surprise myself after adding a few bright blocks, or a bright border, or some red or yellow, that the blah quilt has now taken on a new life. DH reminds me of my much-used comment, "This is my new best favorite!", after making changes along the way.

Here are about 108 waste triangles that finish to 1 inch.

I am on the third week of a cough, cold, flu - whatever. NOT swine flu, fortunately. Some things I still MUST do at work, and then come home and take naps, cough myself awake, take another nap, cough myself awake, etc. BTW, the over-the-counter product Musinex works pretty well, but is expensive.

DH pushed me out of the bed because I was coughing too much -- had to go to the COLD downstairs bedroom, where I was thrilled to find the electric blanket still attached, and slept like a baby.