Wednesday, November 30, 2005

time...

When do you blog? (I am apparently one of the very early ones - 7 a.m. EST) I like to start my computer puttering by blogging....

BTW I got my engagement photos DVD yesterday - unfortunately in my training situation, we do not have a way to upload them.... So be on the lookout for them soon - maybe Saturday (I have to go in to the office to try to catch-up since I will be in training again next week....)

Question, I'm in trouble

Question - how much background (Solid 30's) should I get? I want to do a single Irish Chain - so I need several 2 inch squares for the 9 patches and several 5.5 inch squares for the alternating blocks and finally enough for the borders/binding.... (Not to mention the fact that I inherited 5 Carpenter's Wheel blocks, that I thought I would add solid squares too - to finish it....)

Same question for other solids like pink, green, yellow, and blue - only less as I do not plan to Irish Chain them, but I do plan to use them as borders - at a minimum - no idea what size quilts, but mine tend to grow....

I am in trouble - I got my Hancock's of Paducah catalog yesterday. (I did not get it for a while and was a little sad - but in retrospect that was a good thing.) I go through catalogs rather methodically... I go through and turn the corners - gut level... I go back through & make sure that I did not choose black & white polka dots twice & that I like everything after seeing it all.... I then go through with a pad of paper and pen and write down what I would like.... I then look and see - why do I like/want it.... I then scratch out and go back through to see what is still on the list. Then I start to decide on quantities & tally - then go through and rethink the "just because" or "because it is on sale" choices.... Then I try to think long and hard on the things I already have going (FAR TOO MANY!) & how I will use this next bit. I then set it all aside for a day or two - so I can revisit it later.... I am now in the rethinking section of my shopping experience...

Good thing... There are no Asian Prints or Batiks on my list, the only cats are black & white (Two of my collecting categories) A few are selected for backgrounds and a few are selected for binding... Can you tell I am trying to rationalize.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

moose muffins

"If you give a moose a muffin" by Julie Numeroff - childrens lit. Basic premise - if you give a moose a muffin he will ask for jam....

In quilting, Moose Muffins are where you take a collection of fabrics - 30's for example and you start by makeing a quilt - whatever you want - you have a bunch of fabric at this point. Then you trim your scraps into "charms" maybe those are 5 inch squares - where you can either sew them together into a charm quilt or make any variety from either Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth or More Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth. Then you take and trim the rest into some other small bit, I trimmed mine into 2 inch squares (The 1 inch proposed yesterday was TOOO small for me) and mixed with a background, turn them into a single Irish Chain quilt. And finally, with the smaller than 2 inch squares including the funky shaped bits you can make crumb quilts (I don't bother...)

So to wrap up the idea - If you give a quilter a fabric collection, she can make a primary quilt, a secondary quilt, a tertiary quilt, possibly a quarternary quilt, & finally a crumb quilt.

At least that is my take on the subject....

YAY

Yay, I got through the ring... I haven't got to the Maverick's yet, but my class is about to start & I got here an hour early so that I could get through Stash Quilts! You gals keep up the good work!

funny - & replies....

It is so funny how some of us have similar stories when it comes to fabric selection....

Tropical Screamer said, "When I first started picking up fabrics, all I wanted to buy was blue batiks. Then I started buying different colors of batiks. All plain.Now they are my least favorite fabrics. I still love batiks, but now I want patterned batiks. And patterned cottons. The fabrics that I thought were my favorite are my least favorite for quilting.Funny how your taste changes as your quilting style evolves, isn't it?"
To which I reply,
Oh my how true.... & funny how our stories are so similar... I used to only buy solid batiks (Well I bought cat fabrics and other fabrics - but the batiks were solid) I only started to get patterned batiks after I swapped them...

Other people start with solids - fear of the patterns maybe....

When I started to quilt (I am self taught) I lived near Jo Ann's fabric (I was also fairly close to a Quilt Shop, but I gravitated to the Jo Ann's) and I bought indescriminately (to say the least) - I remember getting a selection of sweet calico prints and matching solids.... YUCK! (I never finished that project I started. I also did not hold onto it....)

I know a gal who chose fabrics to go with her decor... I guess that is a plan if you have a decor...

Any stories about how your fabric choices have evolved.....

I now Love Asian Prints.... I have a love/hate relationship with batiks - they are feeling muddy to me right now.... I will always LOVE my cat prints. I made a cat charm quilt with 605 different cat prints, it still makes my heart smile to look at it :o) I can't have it on my bed often as I get in a trance looking at all of those sweet kitties.

There are other prints that I don't particularly care for, but that I use to "Stretch myself." A growing exercize.... Like I did a 100% Robyn Pandolf, I have 1 Thimble berries quilt in my future, I am doing at least 2 Civil War repro quilts, and the 30's quilt that is near the top of my current working list.

Speaking of current stuff - I found what I hope will be the border for the pink star fling quilt last night - a lavendar print with handbags and other "dress up stuff" (some of which are pink...)

Monday, November 28, 2005

slow

& to think I thought my computer was slow.... This one is painfully slow - but apparently adequate.

Fabric styles... Any one have definate style prefrences? I really do not care for 30's (to name 1 style) but I have collected some - they have great novelty prints. & their scale works well for scraps. With all of that said, my cousin is pregnant and we do not know the sex of the baby. So I thought that 30's are generic enough if you mix in enough of the colors. I have decided to do a charm quilt in 30's for the infant. This way I am sure to use a good mix..... My point (other that just babbling) I have over 200 charms..... (Granted several - 50 - were given to me) but still....

So I am going to make the baby quilt, get my novelty charms for my "I Spy" (s) I have enough for several..... and then figure out of to make "Moose Muffins" out of those 30's!

"Moose Muffins" - Anyone care to guess what they are? Any one heard the term before? I think there is a childs book that talks about them.... from a quilting POV they are what you call using us every last usable bit... Starting with your original block(s) moving into secondary "charms", finishing with "crumb" blocks.... Problem... I am not into crumb/mile a minute blocks.....

FYI my main blocks are 5 inch charms, 3.5 inch charms, 2x3.5 charms - finishing with Irish Chain blocks that use 1 inch squares. After that..... (probably rubbish bin... I may donate some of the bigger pieces to someone who uses scraps...)

Sewing update, I finished my star fling blocks last night - now to sew them into rows..... & figure out the border.....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

tada!

For my last blog today, I'd like to thank DebR for helping me with technical stuff like getting my picture on the side bar! And to Barbie for helping me with adding side bar stuff.

And now I am off to a quilt store closing sale.... Quilt-n-Stuff in Alexandria, VA. has had a very nice selection of Asian, ethnic, & batik fabrics & will be missed.
I tried to add this to the saide bar, but I do not know the URL... I even downloaded hello/picassa. Any way this is RB & me in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC Posted by Picasa
You can see exactly where that is on my frapper map. http://www.frappr.com/thecalicocat please do join my map, so I can see where you are as well.

How would you quilt this & where am I?


How would you quilt this? I am thinking concentric circles centered over the pinwheels?

As always I have a story.... (First thanks to all who gracioulsy swapped batik nickels with me, without you this would have been paifully more expensive!) This pattern is in Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth. Her version has a checkerboard background & she mixed regular cottons with the batiks. Mine is all batik and all of those dark background batiks are different. To make the light (repeated a few times - not a lot off light batiks were available in my stash or at the store when I was piecing this) pinwheels pop, I had to sort my charms into dark, medium dark, medium light and light. I then paired dark with medium light and medium dark with light. I am happy with the results. Now for a funny story. You might not be able to tell by the quilts I have shared, but most of my quilts either have cats or Judaic themes. (You have seen at least 1 of each already.) So when I had this top pieced I whipped it ot for my girlfriend who noticed my trend and stated it... Stating. "Here is a quilt with out cats or Judaica." - in my mind it is a batik quilt. Lo and behold - those are cats in the border & there are a few cats in the pieced parts too.... :o) BTW This big picture came off my throwaway camera - I had a Photo CD made when I got it developed.
Thanks to the customers at Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, Maryland who held up my quilt so I could get a photo. The shop had a batik celebration & I got a free fat 1/8 for sharing my quilt. I also go more batik fabric - they had a nice sale that day. I got the back, border & binding for my wedding signature quilt. Those blocks are done - just waiting for the big day for the signatures to be added! I used a pattern that was published in "Fons & Porters Love of Quilting" magazine this past summer.

Now for the where am I portion of this blog.... I am going to be in training for two weeks. My computer time will be limited to say the least. But I will have some access - just not enough for a photo enhanced blog post. (Well may be on the weekend...) I'll still check my e-mail regularly.

Friday, November 25, 2005

maverick


(I'm not an official Maverick, but I did apply...)

Here is a maverick quilt by me... (again, sorry for the small photo)

Once upon a time ago, fabric shopping made me feel better (& you wondered why I joined stash quilts). So I went to a quilt shop that doesn't necessarily fit my style (They are more country & I am more bright) thinking that just looking would be enough.

They had a sweet little quilt pieced and kitted up... I bought it and a matching back/binding print. Knowing that I wasn't going to piece it anytime soon & that the fabric would not be available when I wanted it.

When I finally got around to piecing it (after a long lull in my quilting) I made a YBR that got me back inthe swing of things and then decided that this too was a quick & easy one and so I should do it too.

I read the directions & the first thing that irritated me was seeing that I only needed 6 fat quarters, but that 8 were suggested for variety. (I LOVE Variety & scrappy, but I am not into these colors, nor am I in to collecting flannels) So I pieced the blocks and looked at what was left. I had enought for some more "A" blocks (Light diagonal) some "B" blocks (Dark diagonal) and some "C" blocks (all dark). By the time I finished I had 24 blocks instead of 12 - yes DOUBLE what I was supposed to have. Luckily, that was a good number for quilting (6 x 4) layout. Nice narrow border (It had to shrink since the quilt grew) Yet I still had bits.... Enough to insert some into my back - so it is "Arty" and enough to make a scrappy binding. In the end I had very little left over & I sent those leftovers to someone who asked for flannel scraps. (I feel compelled to help where I can & if that entails passing on fabric that I no longer love - so be it!) I guess origingally this would not have been a stash quilt, but the kit moved with me.... & when I made it I did not have to buy anthing else to finish it....

Unlike Finn's (Sorry I can direct you to her blog - but she is in this ring) 100% flannel quilts, this one has a cotton batting and is machine quilted. It is also in my gift pile... I was going to send it to my future BIL but he is TALL!

Another couple words on Maverick Quilting.... I hardly ever trim my blocks or block units.... I just eyeball the 1/4 seam between the blocks. Some are closer to 1/2 thers are scant 1/4.... And then there is "Value" in my quilts it is overrated... If I am making a blue & yellow quilt - I don't pay attention to the fact that the block would prefer light, medium & dark, I use blues form sky to navy.... I Love the quirkyness of it.

When asked my opinion on wether or not "X" block should eb removed becasue it's value if not "right" I say leave it in. My rationale is that if I got to a quilt show and see a nice bear's paw quilt with really good value placement, I keep walking saying "nice bear's paw" but if there is some "funky" value placement aka "Ghost blocks" then I stop and study the quilt.... I check out the ghost blocks, I wonder why the quilter did that, etc. I'd rather have people quistion my fabric choices that just to walk on by.... (& We haven't even touched the fact that I am a pointless quilter...)

The day after & my wedding canopy

Thanks for all of the well wishes on my Turkey day. The Safeway 2 hour Trukey was only so-so...
Some of it (the bottom) did not fully cook (I am turning that in to a casserole - so it will cook again.) and some of it turned into "Turkey Jerky." I forgot to add the regular potatoes to the sweet potato, butternut squash, and yam boil - if you mash them all together, Mr. "I don't like squash" will eat them. :o)
The worst part - my pecan pie did not set up. It was like ice cream topping..... Any advice on Pecan Pie out there?



Again, sorry that the photos are so small.... This is my wedding canopy. The quote in written Hebrew (If you can even tell there is a quote) is translated into English as "And I betroth you unto me forever in righteousness and in justice, in loving-kindness and in compassion." Hosea 2:21. And a short explaination of what a wedding canopy is.... The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah, a symbol of the home to be built and shared by the couple. Like the tent of Abraham and Sarah, the four sides are open to indicate all are welcome into our home and our lives. As a temporary structure, the chuppah reminds us of the fragility of life.

I had fun making this quilt. I started the center star during Hurricane Isabel. (I did not lose electricity or have any damage and for that I am thankful.) I went OVERBOARD to say the least. as a matter of fact on the back it looks like 1000 pyramids in the center. I knew I wanted to applique the quote (ultra suede by hand) so I glue tacked them in place and started. (And then I started a lot of other things...) Finally I started dating a guy that I thought was Mr. Right - I even moved in with him... and we went to California to meet his mom. I worked on the applique on the plane. (Needle & thread only) & then it sat. And I started a lot of other stuff. I finished a lot too.

Then I met Michael & his mom & brother... and the blissful feeling of "he is the one" over took me again and I started to work on the wedding canopy - I knew once I get engaged I would not have any time - so I wanted it done before hand = one of those hope chest things.
I finished the applique and fell in love with Paula Nadelstern's fabric, so I just bordered the center. I knew I wanted more applique so I added a white border and some celtic applique. I got the bias tape at Jinny Beyer's studio, it is kind of marbled and had an adhesive already on it. I machine zig zaged it. And then I was going to add several other borders, but I came to the realization that it was already big.... So I added the last scrappy border (You probably can't tell it is scrappy but that was partially the point - all the same value. Pat on the back as I am not always the best when it comes to value!) I figured out the stars from the Nickel Quilts book by Pat Speth - she has 1/2 stars as a border on one of her quilts.
And then it came time to get it quilted... I hardly ever have any definate ideas on the quilting (I also figure that I am paying for this professional advice...) But some quilting is directional and this quilt has a top (based on the applique) but if you don't read Hebrew - can you tell? No probably not. So in my "bricks" (That is what I call the 2.5 x 4.5 unit that is in the border in blue) there is a circa 200o print that says "celebrate" in English. I told the quilter that that is the top (I forgot to put a pin the the top - so many of my quilts are not directional). So Judy looked on the interent trying to figure out what Celebrate looked like in Hebrew.... She had an aha moment when she found the "celebrate" brick. :o) Luckily the quilting is not directional - nor is the photograph. But I am sure that I will get a photograph or two of this quilt at the wedding in February.

I decided to post these pictures because "Quilt Granny" (Sorry I do not know how to hyperlink you to her blog) wanted to know what McTavishing is... It is in the background of the center star around the appliques. This is its usual application - background behind appliques quilting, but I think it looks like cat fur, so I had my cats quilted with McTavishing too. From what I understand there is a quilter, Karen McTavish that developed this technique, she also wrote a book on the subject "Mastering the Art of McTavishing." to see some nice examples, you can go to webshots and search for McTavishing. (On the second page you can see my close up - click on it and you can really see it! as well as a cat quilt that I wish were mine... But I do own that cat applique pattern....
this should be the page: http://www.webshots.com/search?query=mctavishing&start=20 ) Now I just need to add 4 hanging sleeves.... (it is bound and labeled...)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I am about to go start the cooking. Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie Crunch are on the agenda for tonight as is some serious sewing on a novelty star quilt.
Star Fling is the pattern that I am using you can get a free copy here: http://www.pbtex.com/html/free_patterns.html bottom of the page. Mine will have a pink background, funky star points & novelty prints in the centers of the stars. More novelties in a/the border. Gift for my cousin's daughter, I hope to have it done in time for the wedding - so she can have something to lay on, lookat, etc. The same cousin is pregnant again - so I am doing a 30's charm quilt that I hope will end up unisex as we do not know if she is having a boy or girl yet. So I may piece that while working on the stars.
Turkey tomorrow - I am going to try Safeway's two hour turkey recipe. I'll let you know how that turns out on Friday. Finally, we will be having cranberry sauce (whole berry in the can), green beans (plain), and a squash/pototo/yam mash. Wish me luck this is my first year to do it all!

cat quilt


Sorry the photo is so small. Also at this time I do not have close-ups. But I can share that the cat bodies are "Mctavished" that just looks so much like cat fur to me. and the background is quilted with "flurry of angels." About the piecing and appliques. My guild hired Margaret Miller to teach her method "Strips that Sizzle." While the directions called for a gradiation of two colors, I had previewed the book and loved the orange quilt that used one color. Also we were supposed to use WOF pieces, I had fat quarters - I bought the gradiation at a big quilt show...
So I had "fun." With all of that... I still had my top completed within a month of the class completion! Only it is small..... So what was I going to do with it? Ad a border?- NOTHING worked. & so it sat & sat. Then my guild hired Sharon Malec to teach her applique method. (If you are an appliquer, you know that there are a lot of different ways to applique. Hers is rather innovative and I liked it a lot!) I had already appliqued the Siamese cat using the freezer paper under method with silk thread. I don't care for the silk thread and the freezer paper under is not my favorite applique method either. So in the class I chose to do the gray cat. Only I tried to get some of the brown tones that are in RB. I ended up making two cats in that class - the other cat is waiting to be the center os a medalion quilt - I think.... The gray one is here. I don't recall what exactly made me think to applique the cats onto the red quilt (Probably a photograph on webshots) but I love it! BTW I had to un-applique the siamese off of a very tame baby blue background - this is definately better. I finally did add a border - very narrow and only becasue the gray cat pattern did not have a backend.... (FYI Our very own Judy did a great job on the quilting!)

wedding/cats


I was going to do a wedding post, but I need to wait for the digital negatives to share an engagement photograph. So I decided to share a photograph of my cats instead. On the left is my boy, RB (Rhythm & Blues) Arb when he is in trouble. Rhapsody is my girl. They are both Tonkinese. The Tonkinese blends the best features of its ancestors into one beautiful, medium-sized cat that is remarkably dense and muscular. Whether appearing in the coat pattern of its Burmese predecessor, with sparkling gold-green eyes, the pointed pattern of its Siamese ancestor, with glittering blue eyes, or the “mink” coat pattern seen in the show ring, with its unique aqua eyes, the Tonkinese is an intelligent, gregarious cat with a sense of humor. These cats are firmly convinced that humans were put on earth to love them; these are the cats that know they belong.
(I got that information from http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/profiles/tonkinese.html)
RB is a retired show cat, so he is "breed standard." Rhapsody is a retired breeder, she has a burmese face & siamese color points - both traits are needed to keep the breed healthy, but neither traits are accepted for showing. I got her when she was 4 so she was not overbred. They are both now altered. FYI pricewise it would have cost more to get a kitty from the local animal shelter.
Later I will share a quilt that I made inspired by them.

replies....

Should I reply like this? I tried to reply to everyone individually - but I might have missed someone..... Should I edit the post that was replied to with an appropriate response? So many questions? (I am also now wondering do I blog first and then go read blogs? - Probably since I am up and at it early) I also need to controll my blogging - I have so much catching up to do!

I'll note a few replies here.... About the quilt - thanks so much for all of the wonderful comments. & The biggest suprise will be that I kept it a suprise! (If I do the wedding is in February, so I have time yet to blow it!) For example I got three sets of PJ's (Oprah's favorite no less by Karen Neuberger - I already own a few - very comfy, excellent for quilting in!) so that we can wear them while getting our hair and make-up done, then we can unbotton and not ruin it! (Sure beats sitting around in undies...) I have already told them & this was going to be a suprise..... :o)

Frapper - thanks for being my pin-ups! Sorry that it takes you out of the ring - I tried to get a button, but only got he computer language to show up..... Frapper is a map - so we can all see where we are in the US so far - but I am reaching out as far as I can! I love frapper - it is so fun to see where everyone is located.

General assistance - THANKS! (I'll check out picassa soon!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

frapper

O.K. so I could not figureout how to get the frapper symbol onto my blog....
I did make my own map http://www.frappr.com/thecalicocat & I would love it if you would join me.

Some of you have seen this quilt already. It is my most recent completion. It is fairly representational of my style. SCRAPPY! (Should closeups be added in this post - any advice on how?) However I ususally use novelty prints. This is a gift for one of my bridesmaids. There is a virtual twin for my other bridesmaid - had to keep them "even steven." (I also have to remind myself not to tell them about my brand new blog so this gift will stay a secret!) The theme of my wedding & the quilt is Black & White and red roses. (The green is for the leaves and stems) I used the pattern from "Nickel Quilts" by Pat Speth. A Nickel is a 5 inch square charm & I trade them - variety is the spice of life! I traded for a few of these, but the majority came from my stash.

I'm blogging

Please be patient with me, this is my first foray into blogging. I have been lurking in many blogs for a while now& have seen some cool things - Not that I have a clue how to do any of them myself.... (I like elipsis, it kind of means I could say more but why bother). I have told many people that I will get a blog after I get a digital camera. Guess what I don't have a digital camera yet! But I have digital photographs from other sources that I can use on my blog! (Serious DUH! moment.) I type in a rather stream of consciousness style - good bad or indifferent, I am trying to give back story while stating what I am thinking, ususally before I have thought it completely through. As an example, when I start with a question - I may end up aswering myself! But you are more than welcome to comment/respond to my questions.... My answers are rarely set in stone. (Especially when we are talking about quilts!) I am a scrap quilter and rarely follow the rules....
While it is my intent is for this to be a quilty blog, it will also be my only blog (And I will have enough difficulty with it, without adding another & another...) so I will invariable chat about my cats & all of their cuteness & other things on my mind... (Luckily quilting is a major thing on my mind.) But so are my fiancee and soon to be wedding! That is normal, I have been told - I am a bit kooky (Colorful) or so I have been told!

Any helpful advice on the blog (does blogger have spell check - my fingers seldom hit the key I tell them to hit - or they hit in the wrong sequence) with my quilts, cats and other stuff is welcome! As are blogging & quilting lessons!