Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Web pages and 9 patches

Worked on the block of the month web page for my guild this evening, after our meeting. Everyone seemed to like the idea of a nine patch swap, so I hope there's good participation. Here's a sneak preview:

April 2006 BOM

I put some graphics I made in EQ5 on the web page - it works so great for quilty illustrations! Also put four sample quilt layouts on the bottom. On the right's one I left out, because I decided I don't want the page to be too full of graphics and slow loading. Maybe I'll point people to my blog to see more. :)

Tomorrow, I'll sew a sample strip set, for the folks who need instructions on how to mass produce 9 patch pairs. We decided to make the blocks 6 inches. Those should be useful in either borders OR the body of a quilt.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Machine Quilting

I've decided that I am NOT going to do any more quilting on this old Kenmore. I'll just fold my tops, tuck them in a drawer, and save save save till I can afford to get a new machine that will do free motion quilting. (And at least half the other stuff on my list of things I need a new sewing machine for.)

With the Kenmore, I can only quilt straightish lines, slow outline... and in the ditch... this would have looked so much better with a stipple, I think. But I'm not going to pick it out, I'll just put a binding on it and learn from my mistakes. Maybe it was meant to be a kitty blanket.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What's next?

Trying to decide on my next quilted project.

Of course, I'm totally ignoring my big king size sampler ufo... and my Christmas wallhanging ufo. And the camo baby quilt ufo, which may never get finished.

I'd started it for a friend who was told she was having a boy (the ultrasound tech thought she saw a 'dangle') but two months later, they decided it was a girl after all. So now I have three stack and whack blocks made from camo print, and a big chunky army truck in camo print, and drawings for a tank and 'copter. The title was going to be something like 'Too tuff for a girly quilt' since her hubby is in the Army and was insistent that the nursery not be done in pastels. :) Now he's totally google-eyed with his red-haired little daughter, who got a yellow and blue windmill quilt from me instead.

But I digress.

I'm always playing and designing in EQ, and have 3 I'd like to do as small throws or wallhangings. Here's the first:
This one and the next were done as one of their monthly virtual challenges. I might try it as a mini quilt, maybe paper piecing the V shaped blocks?
I left the sashing out of the second version, and colored it from the inside out. Doesn't look like the same design, does it? Maybe if I do it as a set of two companion mini wall hangings.

And here's the last design - I'm not sure how to figure out the sewing on this one.
I'd strip piece the long wedgies, rotating them and putting 4 together to make the diamond shape, but... not sure about all those teeny little slivers of fabric in the center - would I have to combine them into one fabric and have a solid center? that's an awful lot of seams coming together.

I'm not positive about the colors either - this one reminds me of a carnival ferris wheel. But what about all in shades of blue? I'm not going to buy any fabric though. I promised myself... and I'm getting low on blue, so as much as I prefer blue, I ought to deviate from my normal picks.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Heart Wallhanging

Here's what I'm working on now - this was kind of an impulse wallhanging, done over a weekend. I was surfing on Bonnie's site again, and really loved her easy pineapple blossom block. What caught my eye was the line made diagonally thru the center of the block, by the triangles and squares.

I redrew it in EQ, made the block smaller, and sorted thru my stash of fat quarters and found three pale pinks, a good deep purple, and three hot pinks. The hot pink with the white in it isn't as contrasty as the photo makes it look, it blends in better than that.

I'm REALLY trying not to buy any more FQ's till I use some of them up. It's just so tempting to see them on e-Bay for less than $1, including shipping. The delectable mountain quilt used up my favorite forest green fabrics, as well as most of the teal, turquoise, and navy blue. Making all those sawtooth triangles let me use even the smaller scraps.

Think my next big purchase has GOT to be a sewing machine. My heavy old cast aluminum workhorse of a Kenmore (from the early 70's) still sews great, straight, zig zag, and reverse... but even though I found a walking foot for it online, there's no darning foot, so I can't do free motion quilting. I can do straight lines, verrrrrry slow stitch in the ditch, and big swoopy curves, but no stipple. Nothing where I have to change directions, no fans, feathers, etc.

My problem is, everyone I know has a different brand of machine, and they all swear by whichever one they own. Even when I ask specifically for drawbacks to the machine they have, nobody wants to admit to any. I guess it's like buying a car, nobody says "Gosh, I wish I'd paid $500 more and gotten the automatic sliding doors," even if they really wish they had. So do I go Bernina? Pfaff? Husqvarna, Singer, Brother, Janome? There are so many models out there, like cars, do you want the Luxury Edition, the Sporty Model, the Basic324a, the Max582b?

What I'd like is one machine that does everything.


I want one that I can hook to some sort of frame and do quilting, small stuff, not king-size. Would you call that a shortarm? :p I'd like one that I could hook to my computer and program it to do embroidery that I draw myself. Heck, let me draw a pantograph pattern and program the machine to quilt that too. I want it to do freemotion script, so I could do things like sew quotes from those little candy conversation hearts around the borders of the heart wallhanging. Some sort of attachment to let me do smocking and tucks would be fun. And let it all cost under $1500, plz. Oh, and don't forget a stitch regulator too. And superb customer support. And make it light enough to tote to quilt retreats, but heavy enough to not slither or bounce when I sew with it.

Not asking much, am I?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Delectable Mountain quilt

I first got this pattern from Bonnie's site, Quiltville. She has some wonderful scrappy quilt patterns.

Since I don't have room at home for a design wall, I took all the blocks to work, at the library, scooted two tables together, and laid them all out, rearranging them till I was satisfied that no two turquoise were touching, and the navy were spaced out, and there were no two of the green in the same lantern shape. I took a couple of pictures, in case things got mixed up. Then I pinned them into rows to take back home and sew.

Those big tables in the library are great for cutting backing too, I just go in half an hour early, before we open, and I can do a lot in a short amount of time. Nice and quiet and NO kitties to jump up and send things flying. Libby, especially, likes to tunnel under the fabric and play "If you don't see me, how do you know I'm this siamese sized lump in the middle of your layout?"

Here's the quilt as it is now. I'll add one more border around it, a smallish white one, to contain all those sawtooth edges, then send it off to be quilted. I'll bind it in a navy blue marbled fabric I'm backing it with. It's got tiny scattered white dots, kind of like stars on it.

I'm not sure how I want it quilted though. Allover meander? Diagonal lines following the zig-zags? Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Signs of Spring

Cloudy and cold today here in Memphis, but in the front flowerbed, the first signs of Spring.

I found a small patch of these bulbs out by the compost pile behind my childhood home, when I was about 10 or so... it was only serendipity that I happened to be walking around when they were in bloom.

I picked one, took it in to mom, and we both wondered where it had come from. We marked the clump, and waited till Fall, when we dug them up, separated them, and put them around the front of the house, under the windows, along the property line.

About twenty years later, I went back home, dug a couple of clumps up, and moved some of them to MY new house. Now they're all over the place - there's a particularly dense patch of them around the mailbox that needs to be separated again. The mailbox ones aren't blooming yet, but there's lots of buds!

I also brought some branches of forsythia from that house, and now there's a small bush growing in my backyard. We called them 'yellow bells' growing up, and I love seeing the blooms.

Now I can hardly wait till all my iris and daylilies are blooming. If I were into applique, I'd make a flower quilt, with a block for each of the flowers in my yard.

Some pictures

Trying to post the logo here... :)
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