Sunday, June 30, 2013

Scrappy Sunday

I did a typo and almost called this post "Crappy Sunday" lol!
I thought I'd go ahead and throw this up for my (S)crappy Sunday contribution:

These are the hourglass blocks I sewed as leader/enders while I was at my quilt retreat a few weeks ago. I hope it qualifies, as it is relatively scrappy. There are no doubt a few repro fabrics in here, but mostly its just a selection of pretty and/or interesting browns and tans I'd collected over the years. If you squint, you might be able to see my attempt to extend the medallion effect with the first surrounding row of blocks. Can you see it?

The blocks are just loose on the wall for the time being, hopefully they'll stay put while my guests are in the (sewing/guest) room next week.  I admit it doesn't look like much at the moment, but I think it will click in once its all sewed together. Its meant to be a wall hanging for behind our bed, sorta like a headboard, seeing we don't have a headboard. If I end up not loving it, I might use it as a back for something else. Or (yet another) throw.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bless the Bloggers

I'm guessing it was about three or four months ago when my friend Claire happened to mention she has a blog. Claire not only has a great understanding and appreciation of antique quilts and fabrics, but does some amazing things with oddball fabrics and scraps - sometimes wonky, sometimes arty, always delightful. Her Scrap Strategies workshop, which I've had the fortune to participate in, is nothing less than inspirational. So of course I had to check out her blog. Which is also wonderful.

Up until this time, while I wasn't exactly a blog "virgin", I hadn't really found many quilting blogs that interested me all that much. My friend Kay Mackenzie has a wonderful website, but its "All About Applique", and you know how I feel about the "A" word. Still worth a check-out though, as Kay definitely has her finger on the pulse of things. Of course there's Barbara Brackman, who is a constant source of knowledge and inspiration, BOMs, et all.  But it wasn't until I started following the never ending trail of links starting with Claire's blog did I discover the world of quilters out there who not only have the same inclinations as myself (for example old and/or scrappy quilts) but are so wonderfully willing to share their experience with any old person - like myself - who happens to find them on the internet. I've since been like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Anything with the name Antique or Vintage or Retro or Repro or Scrappy or Doll Quilt in the title gets my attention immediately. Just check out my own constantly growing side bar to see who I consider "musts" in terms of  viewing. Which has become an addiction, btw!

Enter my own blog. This was originally intended to be a Quilt Gallery for my friends and family to look at. For example, I "owe" quilts to a couple of nieces, and I'd like to be able to present some visual ideas to them. And since young folks don't seem to look at their email anymore - and I refuse to join Facebook - I thought a website might be the answer. Still haven't gotten any feedback from said nieces, however ~ maybe its time I spent more time updating my Quilt Gallery ?

Meanwhile, I'm so excited to find "like minds" and am so enjoying seeing everyone's creative endeavors, I can't help wanting to share mine. I can't tell you how much I've learned in the past three months - about organizing, sewing tips, and "keeping it moving".  I have gotten three times as much done in the past few months as I would have normally! My sewing room is still a mess, however.

Tomorrow I will morph my sewing room into the intended Guest Room, as our friends are coming from Germany, so no sewing for me next week.

Thank you all, for everything!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Tape Basting Anyone?

Has anyone tried this?

I got lazy.
I didn't bother basting this little quilt, as it stuck well enough to the cotton batting for me to go ahead and machine quilt in the ditch, along the long lines.
That left the borders.
I thought, heck. I'll just tape them down.
I still put this in my pvc frame, which holds the batting and backing.
So far so good!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

as promised - new toy demo

New to me, anyway. This is called the Easy Angle, available at I got mine last week at my not-so-local quilt store.

Good for making half-square triangles without having to add the whole 7/8" which ends up as a dog ear anyway. Works for up to 6 1/2" squares.

I'm not sure why one end is black, and one has the tip cut off, but either end will work, although you may need to either read the numbers upside down, or count backwards. Please let me know if you know more about this than I do, and can explain these things! 

Anyway, I'll demo the 2 1/2" option, which uses 2 1/2" strips, to give you 2" finished triangle squares.

(please forgive the blur and glare - still inept at taking photos)

The numbers are a little confusing. You can use either end of the ruler, but this end with the tip cut off works best for me. Line up on your strips right sides together as shown, then mark the diagonal line.

Next, lay your ruler tip side down alongside your marked line, as shown

This end  has the tip still on but painted black. The numbers make more sense if you use this end, as you can see. Now cut against the straight end.

The length of this unit is 3 1/4". To save time, you can simply cut the units to length first, using your omnigrid or whatever ruler you find easier.
Then use the Easy Angle to mark your line.

Now sew 1/4" from each side of the line, and cut apart.

Open and press...



Monday, June 10, 2013

A Week Of Sewing

I spent last week at a quilt retreat on the northern coast of California. We were on a bluff overlooking Bodega Bay, seven sewing machines and a surger lined up in front of a bank of picture windows. Here's a peek of our view:

I was the sole traditionalist in a group whose work ran the gamut from contemporary to avante garde, art quilts, clothing, and sculpture. It was both exciting and inspiring to watch these talented women work and to gain insight into their process - while I humbly sewed my little squares and triangles together.

I have to say, I got a lot done! While I didn't actually complete anything, I moved significantly forward on five projects, familiarizing myself with a couple new tools and techniques along the way (more about that later.)

I completed 25 Farmers Wife blocks that I had cut and prepped a few weeks ago. Remember my freezer paper tip?

I'm already seeing at least one that may have to be culled. No worries, I have many more to make.

I'm not sure yet how I will set them, but am considering a strippy option.

Isn't this gorgeous?? I found it at The Quilted Angel in Petaluma. My friend coaxed me into buying a semi-large hunk of it, as opposed to my typical 1/3 yard cut. It was something like twelve bucks a yard, but I bit the bullet and got 2 1/2 yds, enough for the strippy (if I choose to go that way) or a border for another project.

I completed all the blocks for my "jelly roll" quilt, which is going in next year's auction, and sewed them together last night. The pattern is Edyta Sitar's "Mosaic Quilt" from her book, Friendship Triangles.

Those black triangles in the middle? Don't ask. I was working from a charm pack, and figured they'd all "go". In retrospect, I wish I hadn't used them. But I was too lazy to unsew and take them out, so I arranged them in the center hoping it would make some sense. It might still, but I need to carry some black out to the edges.  Any suggestions?

Yes, the outside edges of the setting triangles are on the bias. It was either that, or the sashing around the pinwheels, in order for the stripes not to clash. The fabric is all unwashed, so maybe not as stretchy as it might be otherwise? At any rate, I'll have to run a stitch around the edge before proceeding with the border(s).

 I had a pile of triangle squares left over, and am considering a sawtooth border. I'd need to make another 50 or so. This might be the place to add some more of the black toile?

All the while I was constructing these blocks, I had my next leader-ender project going:

I made a big stack of brown and tan triangle squares, which turned into roughly 100 or so hourglass blocks.

By now I was ready for something pure fun. My previous leader/ender bits lent themselves perfectly to the Chinese Coins pattern.

At one point when things got a bit raucous upstairs (read: liberal amounts of wine and disco music) I went downstairs and basted my "Blended Romantic 9-patch".

We also went on hikes every day, and I took lots of pix but I won't bore you with those at the moment. Suffice it to say, nature is very inspiring.

Which leads me to my muse of the day: in nature's palette, nothing ever clashes. What can we learn from this?

Well that's it for today.

Stay tuned for a blurb on a couple of new (to me) tools and techniques for making triangle squares, aka half-square-triangles.