Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dan gets a Quilt

Well, the scrappy twist quilt's gone to it's new owner - my big brother, Dan. Here he is holding it up for everyone else to see:

And a closeup of him:

And of course, I made him read the label for us. I had a few blocks left from that middle border that I used to frame the label:

I don't see him very often, but he generally drives up to Tennessee every year around Thanksgiving. It was great to see him again!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Turkey

Here's a picture of my holiday turkey... lol

Looks like he's saying, "I have your sewing table blocked so you can't sew, I'm sitting on your quilt so you can't bind it, and I have your remote... play kitty games with me or else!"

Twisty Thanksgiving Gift

Just got the binding finished on this Strip Twist quilt. You might recognize the Strip Twist pattern from Bonnie's Quitville site. It went together really quickly, and I've discovered I love rotary cut patterns. You can't really see it, but I bound it in a deep wine red that looks good with the olive green border. :)

My big brother is coming from Texas for Thanksgiving, and I'll give it to him this week for an early present. He reads my blog, but he's traveling tonight, so the surprise should be safe. I'll try to get a picture of him wrapped up in it this weekend.

Here's a closeup of the quilting... I sent it to Ann-Sewsalot and she did it on her neighbor's long arm machine for me. It's a nice all over stipple, which is great for a scrappy utility quilt I hope will be used and snuggled under. I'm almost done with the label then will be DONE done.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone that celebrates it!

Friday, November 17, 2006

EQ6 is HERE!

Ohh, lookie what I got from my friendly UPS man today! EQ6 is here, and it was delivered on my birthday too. How fun to see my design on the back of the box, and read the tiny print with my name and city-state ... ok, I know it's not much, but it doesn't take much to make me happy!

Now all I need is a new computer so I can use the software... :( I was trying to hold off till Vista gets here before getting a new one, seems like I've been waiting forever.

You'll also see in that picture the strips for the newest quilt I'm working on - trying to use up a lot of the floral fabrics I've got. This one is all from my stash of FQ's. The scissors and cutter on top of the strips are meant for cat deterrent. They like to park their little rear ends on fabric, but NOT on a cold pair of scissors.

And a couple more pictures from retreat:

Suzanne Marshall is on the far right in the coral colored shirt, she was our guest lecturer for the weekend. I took an applique class from her. She's a good teacher, and I learned a lot about applique, but I also learned that I really don't like hand stitching. I kept thinking - If I'd fused these bits and machine stitched the edges down, I'd be DONE with this block already... lol I guess I just don't have the patience.

Remember seeing my pieced block I'd done with the challenge fabric a few posts back? We had a lot of blocks entered. I didn't win the viewer's choice ribbons, OR the drawing, but got to see some beautiful blocks! The retreat director divided the blocks that were entered into groups of 12, putting them into categories... this is the pieced blocks that look like stars category, I think. There was also an applique-only set, and two mixed sets. I wanted the picture of these for inspiration. Mine's the second from the left on the top row.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm Baaaack :)

I'm baaaack! What a retreat!

Here's the first few pictures to entertain you though. I had scrounged some election signs after the voting was over last Tuesday, and decided to make a quilty version of the Burma-shave signs:

The last sign said, "Is in the Dictionary!"

I thought I'd gotten a picture of it too, but I was taking the pix as I left the retreat center, in reverse order, just before I loaded the signs back into my van. I'd put them down the long winding private drive, spaced every couple of hundred yards, and as I got to the dictionary one, someone pulled up behind me, trying to get out. I didn't check the camera, just snapped a picture (or thought I did) then snatched the sign, pitched it behind me, and drove forward to a wider place in the road so she could pass me.

They were VERY easy to do... I just used permanent marker to draw the letters on white contact/shelf paper, trimmed to the size to cover the candidate's name. The hardest part was sticking the contact paper to the sign with no wrinkles, sticky contact paper just doesn't like me.

And HERE is my friend Ann-Sewsalot, the longtime online friend that I met 'for real' for the first time at this retreat, with her version of the Onion quilt in oranges. The fabric choices she's used blends REALLY well in this quilt. That's Ann on the left, and Jeanie, the instructor, on the right:

Ann's just as great as I was hoping she'd be, funny and vibrant in person - it felt like we had already been friends for years, and I guess we have! Her friend Mary, that does my longarm quilting, is wonderful too, very sweet. All three of us finished this quilt top during the weekend. Here's Mary's sherbet colored version of it, that's Mary on the right, and Jeanie on the left this time:

The two of them fit into my guild like they'd been members for years! I guess no quilter is ever a stranger - we'll always have something to talk about. Finally, here's my pink and brown version of the onion quilt. Sorry about the two chairs, but they DO hide the fact that I've got one last skinny dark border on the bottom not done! I'm on the right:

Now I'm off to bed to catch up on my sleep! I'm glad I'm off from work tomorrow, whew!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fat Quarter Friendly

Calico Cat asked why 10½ blocks made the quilt more fat quarter friendly... I tried to answer just her, but it was a no-reply addy, then I thought maybe others would be interested in my math. So here goes!

Most fat quarters are 22x18 ish...right?

Sometimes you lose a bit if you prewash them like I do. I fold the FQ in half (making it doubled 11x18, following my math?)and by the time I trim the frayed edges off it's a doubled 10½x18.

I could only get ONE 12 inch square from a FQ, but can get two 10½ inch squares. That leaves me with a nice size hunk (18 take away 10½, and take away the other frayed edge = 7) so my hunk leftover is about 21x7.

21x7 is a good size for a leftover bit... cut that in half longways and you have 21x3½ strips which are a great size for scrappy borders or bricks.

OR Cut it in thirds and you have three 7 inch squares... Throw those together with some background fabric and make half square or quarter square triangle bits...OR cut those 7 inch squares in quarters and you have twelve 3½ squares. If you have several coordinating FQ's you'll have lots of matching squares or strips to use in your border.

See how that can make a fat quarter friendly and fun to play with and easy to use almost all of it?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Red Onion Class

I've signed up to take a class at retreat based on a quilt from the book 'Stack a New Deck' by Karla Alexander that I showed you all earlier. The class is using the Red Onion pattern, and I'm also looking at a very similar pattern called Saturn. I might mix the two almost identical quarter curve blocks in one quilt, because, as usual, I want something different. Instead of 12 inch blocks like her book called for, I'm being fat quarter friendly and using 10½ square blocks.

I've also seen lots of pink and brown quilts being blogged about lately, so that's what I picked as the color scheme for this one ... I'm hoping all the curved lines will make it look like a box of chocolate creams, the pinks like raspberry nougat, the deeper pink like a chocolate covered cherry, and the tan blobs like nuts or caramel. :) Here's the fabric palette I'm using. I've cut 48 blocks to use:

I've really got a thing about wasting fabric and trimming large amounts, so I made 4 test blocks to see how the smaller 10½ square blocks would trim up. I was able to trim these, with 3 cuts and 3 seams, to 9 inches square... her instructions say start with a 12 inch block and trim to 9 inches. Of course, some of my trims were skimpy, but I'd much rather cut off just a sliver than a chunk an inch or more wide. If I can't get them all 9 inches, I'll retrim these first sample ones another ½ inch or so. Some of my blocks will have only 2 cuts and two seams... and I might even make some with only one cut, so with less seams, I shouldn't have any trouble squaring those to 9 inches.

Hopefully, the next post you see from me will be the finished top for this quilt!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Retreat Preparation

One more work week until my guild's retreat! This retreat is extra special to me because I'm going to meet a long time internet friend in person for the first time. I met Ann-Sewsalot playing internet games, on Pogo. We've tried to think back, but can't remember if we first met in one of the Solitaire games or in Poppit (a strategy game where you pop matching sets of balloons till there's -hopefully- no balloons left) and we also can't remember exactly how long it's been. Our best guesstimate is 4 to 5 years ago.

Ann first talked me into getting EQ5, and was there for me when I was constantly asking questions about how-do-I-get-it-to ... ? She pushed me to enter the EQ monthly virtual design challenges and we had a lot of fun sending blocks and ideas back and forth. I found out her neighbor M. is a long-arm quilter, and that's where I send all my bed size quilts to be done. Last year, after our November retreat, Ann started talking about how fun it'd be if she came to the retreat, sometime... so this year Ann and M. joined my guild, long distance, then registered for the retreat a couple of months ago... now we're down to the wire - just a few days left to go!

M. is going to be driving down to Tennessee with Ann this Friday, (deer hunting season begins Friday also, their husbands will both be busy) and I'll get to meet them for the first time face to face! I'm so excited! As long as I've been online, I've never met anyone 'for real' that I first met virtually. I'm such a wimp. What if they hate me on sight? What if our personalities clash? What if I find out that Ann not only quilts beautifully but also ... spits tobacco, or some other weird habit we've just never talked about during our hours and years of chatting? :D

Anyway, all nervousness aside, here's what I worked on this weekend. Our guild does a challenge block as part of the retreat. They pass out an 8" square of fabric, and we're all challenged to make a block using at least a square inch of that fabric. Here's what I came up with:

The challenge fabric was the light khaki color that I used as a background. They let us buy additional squares of it for 25¢ if we needed to, and I did! I'd picked three different colors of blue to use, and ended up using this shade beacuse it more closely matches the little bit of blue in the challenge fabric. Now I wish I'd used the darker blue for more contrast, but... too late now! It still needs to be pressed one more time. The block is called 'Children Take Wing' and it's from Quilter's Cache. I redrew it in EQ because I wanted that center square to be one piece, not 4 triangles. My version goes together like a square-in-a-square, her version was a 4-patch.

Now I'm pre-cutting squares for the Friday night class we're taking. More on that later!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Found a really cool site that quilters and crafters might be interested in:

Ambigram Generator Site

You type in a word, and it will show you what that word would look like as an ambigram, a word that reads the same upside down. I typed in quilting, and here's the ambigram for quilting:

It also does two words... so that upside down one turns into the other. Can you read this set?

Might be fun for a table runner or something... where people would sit on either side... it'd be right side up to everyone. Or a fabric postcard - you wouldn't know which side was up! :)

And I'm wondering how Tonya would use this with her letters too - seems like you could get really creative with ambigrams.
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