Thursday, December 29, 2005

zig zag or ric rac what ever you call it, call it done!

This is obviously not an Amy quilt (although I am known to add in stripes and plaids & those tonal blues and yellows would be welcome in a blue and yellow quilt any day....) but I have been "stretching" myself artistically. So this is my all Robyn Pandolf quilt. It is a zig zag quilt (click for free directions.) My size was based soley upon how many nickels I could get out of my 1 piece of background fabric. It took me a while to figure out how to get the units top actually zig-zag. I am sure some of the people I asked were thinking, "How dumb is she?" But I could not "see" it. (Its the way the two rows go together & I was convinced that each row would zig or zag.) I hope you enjoy the close up as well as the back. (These aren't my fabrics, so I wanted to use it up!) I actually wrote my label on the stripes on the back. This might also be my first piano key border. The binding is not shown here, but it is scrappy as well. :o) Aren't those free hand feathers great? I was so happy with that choice. I thought I wanted straight zig-zag lines for the quilting... (My friend thought I was ill when I showed her my "Sweet" quilt. I like it, but I am glad to have Robyn out of my system.
By the way, I also have one Thimbleberries quilt (unstarted but I know the pattern...), a couple Civil War Reproductions (2 UFO's - partially pieced) and a couple 30's reproduction quilts in me.....


ME! (and my jacket)



This one is for DebR who graciously shared an 80's photo with the world. (I will NEVER be that brave!) And whose baby photo made me say, what a cute baby & to wax poetically about my own baby photos. I was a cute baby, bald but cute nonetheless. (My grandmother will vouch for this!) I actually like many of the photos of me up til Kindergarden..... This one was taken in December & I actually like it.... (Big shock as I usually do not like my picture...) I hope my wedding photographer can capture me in a similar light come February 19th.

"Did you make that jacket?" is a common question and my answer is, "No, but I could have." (It was made by a vendor at a quilt show, sorry I lost her name, etc.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

As promised....

Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to share one of my earliest and most favored quilts. Well here it is! I uploaded it from a disk. (Yes they are still around!) To begin, I found this pattern in a Christmas magazine (No idea what publication/issue number or date). The original used 3 fabrics, red for the large triangles, green for the small rectangles and white for the background. I was such a novice, I have no idea why I did not mimic the three fabric selection in blue, yellow, and white.... (Boy am I happy that is didn't this is my first of many scrappy quilts.) That year (2000-2001) yellows were hard to find, at least for me - where I was looking. By then I had found a LQS or two, Seminole Sampler & Bear's Paw, both in the Baltimore area. (I was still new and did not have a stash, nor did I know how to buy fabric....) Most of the blues I got in a swap. In theory, the blues should have all been dark, but as I have mentioned previously, I like to use as many as possible from the color instead of worrying about the value. I think it worked, don't you? This is only a small portion of the quilt & it definately shows my best piecing. Back then I thought 1/4 was "optional" and I did not know about trimming all of your blocks to 1 size. So there are areas where the points definately do not match... It is quilted Stitch in the Ditch (I wanted something "different" but my piecing skills or lack there of negated that!) by our very own JudyL and unfortunately the binding is the backing rolled over.... (I used extra wide muslin on the back)
For the blue triangles, I used the EZ ruler like Lucy. Scroll down to "geese block." The yellow triangles were made using thangles. There is no "border." There are enough block & to me it was not needed. Sometimes borders are not needed.... How would you have bordered it? (I still ask myself that question & I am still happy with my decision - no border.)

I still like this quilt. I love the way it "glitters" & all of those wonderful fabrics still make me smile.

blog etiquette?

How does this work? Is it really very individualized? If someone comments on your blog are you obligated to reply? Do you reply via e-mail (if that is possible)? DO you reply as another comment? Do you reply as a blog post? Do you go to their blog and thank them as a comment on their blog (becasue the e-mail option is not redily available or becasue you are goignt o comment anyway?)

What does it mean when someone doesn't reply to your comment? Do you keep visiting a blog where the blogger does not reply to your comments?

Can someone fill me in on the rules? I am not assuming that "tit for tat" or a reply to every comment is necessary, but... (I also know that not everyone is able to check regularly and that a reply that is not timely is sometimes not made at all...)

Am I taking it too personally? Should I just do what I want and not worry about wether or not I get comments or replies to comments?

P.S. - thanks for all of the kind comments regarding my "sensitive" post.... (I need to remind myself that not everyone is me - so that do not do as I do & I should quit expecting them to.)

Thanks for letting me vent.... (again!)
Confused in DC

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

dead scanner & a different quilt

I am 1/2 way to be caught up on my blog reading - just as well as the after holiday realities of work are fast approaching. But the photo I promised will have to wait until (tomorrow - if my co-worker remember to scan it at home tonight and e-mail it to me so I can post it...) becasue the antique scanner has officially died!

However, while I was reading Leah's blog I was reminded of an "African" quilt that I made once upon a time ago. Here it is: "I Dreamed of Africa." Background story (becasue there is always a background story...) I started and finished this quilt quickly! I saw an episode of Simply Quilts where the lady made the border while piecing the blocks.... The blocks are on-point - that is the secret.... I wanted to try it! I had an idea in my mind - you see I purchased tow sets of Ami Simm's Mommy's fabric line - the natural & the bright. I really wanted to piece them together and make "Some like country, Some like Rock & Roll." That NEVER worked, but I did use 1 bright on this quilt - the "special" border..... (If you look closely you will see blue in the 9-patches on the edge. Go ahead, click on the hyperlink again.) I also tried to do some funky half light, half dark thing.... I think my major mistake was using the border print as alternating squares..... (You see I wanted to use some of each of the fabrics from my "set." I was scrappy when scrappy wasn't cool...) I only noticed the border boo-boo after the fact..... But it was donated to a great cause & someone got a GREAT deal on a quilt.

Also donated to charity..... This started out as a table runner. (Yes, you can click on the elipsis - the official term forthe series of periods that I OVER USE!)

And Twisted Kitty - Poor fabric choice, but equal opportunity for the cats! I still cannot believe that one was sold for so little.... But it went to charity...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Later....

I am going to read first today. Later, I will post a photograph of one of my favorite quilts. (Also one of the first!) But it has to be scanned first - by a co-worker who knows how to scan & after it scans - a long time on the antique scanner!

I wish all of my friends were quilters. Apparently I gave a PERFECT Christmas gift. A bundle of wonderful fabric. My GF is pleased as punch & we are painfully honest with each other. Like when I asked where my "gift" came from (laced with "what were you thinking?"), so told me that the Critter Works lady (her friend) let her dig through the "reject" pile of blocks. My friend pulled both cat blocks out for me. :o) She said that she is almost done with the hand work on my "real" gift. My friend is also good friends with Ellen Anne Eddy - I wish she had the chance to dig through her reject pile.... (If you saw Ellen on SQ, the praying mantis quilt is owned by my friend Kathy.)

Anyone intersted in doing a round robin? I have no idea how to use those cat blocks - I have the same issue with another cat block that I made myself....

In the meantime, if you haven't already, please join my frapper map. Or just check out where we all are located!
Amy

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An item for my wedding


For your viewing pleasure, here is a table runner that I made to cover the challah at my wedding. (Those fabrics were used in the quilts that I made for my Brides Maids.) It is an older Atkinson Designs pattern. It will be bound with the fabric that was used as the narrow inner border.

At my wedding reception, this will be used to cover the challah. Which usually leads to the question, "Why do you cover the challah?" Here are two accepted reasons:
The first explanation comes from the time of the Israelites' wanderings in the wilderness, when God sent manna from heaven each morning to feed them. The loaves are covered with cloth, like the manna was covered with morning dew.
There is also a perceived ethical lesson in the practice. Since we bless the wine before the challah, we cover the challah so that we do not hurt its feelings. In The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living From Our Timeless Past (Harper Perennial), Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis writes: "Obviously, challah does not have feelings, but our sages wanted to impart a lesson to us. If bread, which is inanimate, must be treated with such care and consideration, how much more so must we be on our guard not to embarrass or hurt a person." (BTW Both of the blessings are to thank G-d for providing the wine or bread rather than actually "blessing" the item.)

And occasionally, "What is a challah?" From the dictionary: A loaf of yeast-leavened egg bread, usually braided, traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath, holidays, and other ceremonial occasions.

Just wanted to share. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah & I'll catch up on Tuesday. Now I am off to sew on some cat blocks. :o)

Happy Chanukah & Nickel Quilts (a discourse on my style) SCRAPPY!



If you know anything about me and quilting, you know that I do not care for paper piecing. However, Judaic designs are few and far between so I bought this one from paper panache. (There are a lot more available now, but this quilt is several years old.) Click on the hyperlink for one of my favorite resources for Judaic quilting, she has several patterns (if not all) available for sale. I own +90% of them! Another great resource for reading about and seeing quilts that others have made is Judaiquilt.

I was going to add another "mini-photo" of a bed-sized Hanukkah quilt, but the photo is TINY and only 1/4 of the quilt shows..... (It was photographed hanging over a clothes line....) However, I can describe it...

To being this will suprise a bunch of you but I used a Nickels Quilts pattern, "Millenium Stars" as my pattern. I luckily found a multi-colored Hanukkah print & a "goes with" star print. (VERY RARE - 90% of the Judaic prints offered are blue & white or Blue & yellow - not a problem perse as I like both of those, but...) So I pulled nickel charm pairs to go with the print. For the background, I found a light that looks like it was a kitchen countertop back in the 50's. I only had one 2.5 inch strip left when I finished the quilt top. I was sweating bullets on that one, because while I love scrappy, if 99.9% is 1 fabric and then you add in 1 more to finish the project - it looks like an oops instead of scrappy! (I changed a bit about how the block was pieced...)

The suprise above is that I used a Nickel Quilts Pattern.... Apparently, I use Pat Speth's books a lot and freely suggest them to people who want to do scrappy quilts but need a nudge....

From Pat Speth's two books, I have done.... Jacob's Ladder (similar to that shown in the book), Beach Party (Rather different that the one in the book) , & My pinwheel from More Nickel Quilts. Only the 1 photo so far. Unlike the first book, there are not any photos of the quilts in the book on the website. All three of mine are just tops. Also from the second book, I plan to do the cover quilt "Woodland Clover" in Orientals, & there is at least one that I want to do in Batiks.

Caveat.... The following hyperlinks are of photos from the book Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth, not my quilts - so if you have the book, you don't need to keep clicking on the links....

From the Nickel Quilts book, I have started Paducah 9-Patch (very similar coloring) & Shaded 4-patch (mine is Autumnal - sky blue background - and may be pieced more randomly - I only have it cut out not sewn - so my options are still open!) I plan to do Morning Star & Autumn Stretched Star with my novelty prints! I also plan to do Arlington Square, but the coloration is still up in the air(I am thinking black on white for the lights & brights for the rest...) Finally, the last three quilts I plan to do "Kitchen Sink" style - everything goes! They are All that Glitters, Tillies Treasures, & Sunny Lanes.

You might have noticed that my style varies (I mentioned a reproduction quilt, an Oriental quilt, some novelty print quilts, some batiks, and several bright quilts) This may be a bit misleading. You see I really like brights, novelty prints, batiks, & Oriental prints. But then I would see a quilt that someone else did & want something similar - so I have done a 100% Robyn Pandolf quilt (her style is too sweet for me...) and I am persevering through two repro. quilts in addition to a few other "Non-Amy" style quilts all as an exercize in "Stretching" myself....

Besides my "Main" thing is scrappy and when I want to do a blue & yellow quilt, I want a lot of different blues and yellow prints, not just the bright ones!

Happy Holidays

This is an old cartoon, but a favorite of mine! And the little singed kitty reminds my of my little boy cat, RB. You see he has actually singed his whiskers on a candle flame!

(Over the years, I have collected little tidbits of information that made me say, "that explains that rather well" but I did not save the credits. So as a disclaimer, some of this is my original text/thoughts and other parts are from an assortment of sources, not limited to but including jewFAQ.org.)

Chanukah, known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is lunar which is why the dates float on regular calendars. (Just like the moon.)


The history

The history of Chanukah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.
More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group who became the Pharisees. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
At the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.

Traditions

Chanukah is not a very important religious holiday. The holiday's religious significance is far less than that of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, & Passover to name a few. It is roughly equivalent to Purim in significance.

The only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. The shammus candle is lit and three blessings are recited: a general prayer over candles, a prayer thanking G-d for performing miracles for our ancestors at this time, and a general prayer thanking G-d for allowing us to reach this time of year.

It is traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukah because of the significance of oil to the holiday.

Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday. It is extremely unusual for Jews to give Chanukah gifts to anyone other than their own young children.

Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel. The traditional explanation of this game is that during the time of Antiochus' oppression, those who wanted to study Torah (an illegal activity) would conceal their activity by playing games with a top whenever an official or inspector was within sight.
A dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters: Nun, Gimmel, Heh and Shin. These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham", a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of the oil.

If you made it this far, thanks & I hope I did not bore you too much....

I'll post my Hanukkah quilt tomorrow.

Many of you will recognize this pattern.... Lucky Stars
If I had it to again, I'd have used the white as the background, but "Done is Better Than Perfect." You might notice the multi-colored binding - that is the back as well and it is a funky Noah's Ark like print. The animals (including a pair of dinosaurs) are in pairs but there isn't an Ark or a Noah... Which is just as well becasue with the repeat you end up with several Noahs and several Arks. Sorry no back photo and no close-ups - I have already "pushed my luck!" It lives in my office which is why I have the photograph, one of my suite mates (Co-workers) took the photo with his digital camera for me! :o)

It is 100% flannel and I quilted it (You can resume breathing!) on my friends Pfaff. It is only SID, but it is flat! & Done! & brighter in real life. & A pretty good representation of my style. (No cats, but there are cat foot prints.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

round robin photo....


This is a UFO of mine that I really would like to finish... But it is not "big enough." I have several ideas on how to grow it bigger, but have I gotten a "roundtuit." Heck no, this photo was taken several years ago & it is in the same state on undone.

This was a mini-group project.
I did the twisted tails block in the middle - the only fabric repeats are in the triangles. (My only rule was to keep it scrappy.) My friend Kathy added the braid on two sides - and repeated the fabrics..... (At which point I wish my "rules" stated that the round had to go all the way around) Genie followed my ruled to a "T." no repeated fabrics & several different blocks. My friend Deborah does not care for cats - so she added the red round and the mice and cheese. Finally, my friend Nancy used her cat and black collection on the final border.

I wish I had photos of what I did to their quilts, but alas.... I know I did Baltimore Applique on Genie's quilt, I did piano key on Kathy's quilt, Drunkard's path on Nancy's quilt and a funky border on Deborah's quilt. (I appliqued a doily onto muslin, then cut it in quarters then used those "hearts" as the corners for a variegated blue border.)

My idea for adding to it is to do a narrow border of this fabric that I have that has balls of yarn on it. Then a piano key border useing my cat fabrics (They are cut out and waiting). Then my idea gets muddy, but I am thinking that maybe I'll use some swap blocks ("Hole in the Barn Door" blocks with cats in the middle) on the top & bottom - thinking rectangle is the shape I want....

And for the rest of my day.....

Will this darn training ever stop? This one promises to be a sleeper - my supervisor chose it... I don't even want to know what it is about, it is bad enough knowing that it will last all day long!

Monday, December 19, 2005

quilting.... A blog about the actual process of quilting

Once upon a time ago, in 2000 or 2001 I started to quilt. I just made that decision and stuck with it... No lessons "just do it." I also was going to do it all by hand.... I joined a guild just becasue, really.... I thought I could learn and do - I took my first class with Karen Kay Buckley - not a beginers class. (She came to teach at my guild - as a newly joined member, I promptly signed up for all of the classes being offered.) I did not even know that the needle stayed on top of the project... (I had been a cross stitcher) There were so many things that I did not know(like how to chose fabric), but I did not know that I did not know so I trudged along.... (I never finished the block.... & it no longer lives with me to remind me of that fact.)

Then a gal in my guild gave me her old sewing machine - circa 1960's Kenmore - top of the line back then & she kept everything even the Consumer Reports magazine write up on sewing machines. Very cool & I did not know any better about how much sewing machines changed in the mean time.... It was in a cabinet - I took the whole kitten kaboodle to the repair shop.... :o)

My first pieced project was also "advaced." It was a kaliedoscope by Bonnie McCaffrey she was also hired to teach and to give a lecture at my guild. (She taught right before I joined, but lectured and sold patterns on my first day...) I bought one & went to town.... I finished it, it was paper pieced, I did not remove the paper... remember I was in "Just do it" mode and did not know what I did not know. Apparently, that was an unwritten instruction that someone buying that pattern should have known.... (I have no idea what happened to that project - but it did look awful!)

Where am I going with this? (I am getting there!) My next project was a stack and whack.... Again, I did not know anything about buying fabric & did not bother to read what Bethany Reynolds had to say about it. Instead, I was working from the "I love that fabric" point of view! (I chose a pink and lavendar bows on cream print with gold accents- I liked gold back then.)So the piecing turned out pretty good for a novice, aside from the fact that it did not look like a stack and whack - no contrast between the bad choice in stack fabric & background fabric (cream with gold speckles). I was happy that it also did not look like a bra. However, the quilting "RUINED" my top! (I used a gold metalic thread.)
My second & last attempt at S&W was a Stack and Oops. I forgot to unfold the fabric before cutting it. So while the first three repeats looked great the last three did not... Since I cut-out enough triangles (Yes, I got that far before figuring out my mistake!) for a king sized bed quilt I tried to match what I could - make lemonade out of my lemons..... "FUGHETABOUTIT" I set them aside & started on something else.... The birth of a UFO! (Since then I trimmed the triangles, all 1 billion of them, into squares for a scrappy Irish Chain. Thanks Bonnie for the inspiration.) BTW My fabric selection for the second S&W was 100% better than the first!

Back to my story.... around the time that I messed up royally on my attempts at quilting, a friend introduced me to Sunshine Quilts. I have been using a long armer ever since... Even on tops that should not have become tops & that definately should not have been sent out to be quilted.... GEESH, what was I thinking? (My cats love their quilts though!)

Finally, what have I been getting to... I did not quilt the cats... Our very own JudyL quilted them. As well as several other of my quilts. I use other long armers too & I still try, on occasion, to quilt my own stuff & I still HATE it....

With all of that said, my fiancee is giving me a sewing machine that is younger than me (Brand New, unless there is a very nice "trade in" available! Lets be realistic....) & I promised to try to quilt on it.... I am currently sewing on a Featherweight - so my new sewing machine is older than my old sewing machine.... (my current excuse for using a long armer....)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Another big picture & replies

I posted about this The Calico Cat: cat quilt'>cat quilt earlier.

However, if you want to hyperlink to a free online quilt pattern, a favorite online quilt shop, etc. you can type something to hyperlink "Equilter" as an example (Open equilter in another window and copy the URL) once the equilter is highlighted, click on the "green dot" near the alignment guides then paste the URL for equilter in the box (make sure thet the http:// is only there once.) then click ok. equilter (or what ever you highlighted) will the show up underlined and in a different color. (FYI If you do not highlight something and still use the green dot and clcik on o.k. the URL will appear in your blog.) I hope that makes sense, if not drop me an e-mail and I'll try again.

The baby Panda was wonderful! He was playing with a milk crate (new toy) when we were there. The milk crate is a favorite toy of his dad. Mom & dad were eating while we were there. Dad was more active - climbing on some of that available wood. Mom was just munching on her fruitsicle.

BTW The stars on the The Calico Cat: The day after & my wedding canopy'>wedding canopy do not represent anything (I just like scrappy quilts and that was a good way to use a lot of scraps. The quote is "And I betroth you unto me forever in righteousness and in justice, in loving-kindness and in compassion." Hosea 2:21. I talked all about this back in November, but my pictures were tiny....

I am now off to see if the wedding rings that we ordered fit....

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tomorrow....

Tomorrow I get to go see the baby panda. (I did it Barbie!) Boy now I really do feel like an idiot, that hyperlink thing is easy-peasy! I only tried for 3 hours the day that started to issue tickets to get 11:30 on Friday. So I have to leave my apartment at 9a.m. to catch a bus to the subway to walk to the exhibit 1/2 hour early - to get my 10 minutes in the Panda exhibit. Hopefully Tai Shan will be active and visible... Afterwards instead of trekking back to work, we'll (My girlfriend Vanessa also got the day off) go to Amazonia - an indoor exhibit also at the zoo.

My swimming lessons are over until Jan. 7, 2006 - so I am not sure if I will drop ny my office to blog on Saturday or not.... (weather, degree of laziness, whether or not I am in a sewing mood)

If I am quiet until Monday.... Those are my excuses.

Many thanks! (Old quilts new pictures!)




















Thanks for all of the wonderful comments about my Trip Around the World!
As you can see, I figured out how to post big pictures.... I chatted about this quilt, my wedding canopy last month. BTW I still need to add 4 hanging sleeves....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to use a fabric that you just can't cut.

A big picture & a close-up! (YAY!)
This quilt is titled "The Tabbies Take a Trip Around Tokyo." (in the close-up below you can see that the cats are wearing kimonos.) The title is written into the top inner border with thread as part of the quilting, with my name, the date, and location quilted into the bottom inner border. (the sides have leaves.

I took this class with a local teacher, Norma Campbell (twice). My guild hired her to teach the class & I signed right up. I knew I wanted to use a cat print. At the time I also found Asian prints. So when Tokyo Tabbies was printed - I bought a lot....

I needed 24 half yards for the class, so I pulled from my stash & made some purchases from equilter.com. Then I took what I had to my local quilt shop and finished purchaseing the 24. (That is why I have a big band of rust....)

I got to class and there were a lot of fabric selections that "made sense." (you know light to dark purple and green, all Robyn Pandolf, Americana, etc.) and then there was mine... I had to show my "inspiration piece" for my fabric to make sense for my fellow classmates. In the class we made 1 quadrant..... And I stalled.... not sure why, but I signed up for the second go around (our guild had a lot of interest in this class.) so that I could get going again. I finished it soon after the second class.

Norma, has an unusual way of putting the quadrants together, but she also has you making loops - yes this is strip pieced - my earlier forays into Trip Around the World used squares.... And she shows you how to make the quilt rectangular - mine is square. (I gave the left-over loops to a friend who makes funky bargello quilts.)

The quilting is Stitch in the Ditch and some leafy "rounds." The leafy design was chosen becasue in addition to the Asian feel, this quilt alaso has an Autumnal feel. But the cats were treated like appliques with stipples in the background and tracing around the actual cats. I LOVE IT! (Quilting by our very own JudyL.)

Oh yeah, back to my original post idea.... I used 10 inch wide strips of the cat fabric in the border - so I could see the cats. If I had tried to piece with them, they would have been all chopped up & that would not have please me very much at all.

Other idea for using fabrics that you just can't cut....
There is a book, "Just Can't Cut It" by Pamela Mostek that I have not read....
There is a pattern that I purchased, "Just Can't Cut It" by All Washed Up.
Here is a free pattern from Quiltmaker magazine: Animal Crackers
http://quiltmaker.com/patterns/patt56/
that uses a big square of fabric.
You can fussy cut the fabric and piece with it in traditional quilt blocks like Attic Windows and Hole in the Barn Door.

I am sure there are other ideas floating out there..... Care to share any with me?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

fixed

I fixed my sidebar issue (Thanks Judy) I had to shrink a URL... I need to read my hyperlink instructions again.... Anyone know if there is a "Blogs for Dummies" book, or something similar?

A big case of the lazies hit me last night.... And I really need to bind. If I have mentioned it, I hate to attach binding. I pay my long armers to attach it for me.... In quilting, the only thing I like less is paper piecing! But I was watching Fons and Porter & they were doing "Art Quilts" and one thing they showed is fusible binding.... I am going to try that on a wall hanging.... One that I finally gave myself permission to fuse. I am a recovering hand applique snob! I just have far to many "want to do's" to do them all by hand. And some just do not deserve the hand work... (Know what I mean?)

With that said, my littel brain keeps wandering back to the "I want to hand piece" theory.... I know that is a UFO waiting to happen! Then I rationalize with. "Well I only want to do a few 'Quilted Diamonds'." "Just a wall hanging. (http://www.lindafranz.com/)
And these "QD's" are right up my alley....
http://community.webshots.com/album/390864149nLvQhQ
http://community.webshots.com/album/395473665cDzMAu
As a matter of fact, a lot of my piecing looks like that... cats interspersed throughout....

Also as a gift I got two sets of the die-cut wheel of mystery:
http://www.fonsandporter.com/storefront/wheelofmystery.html
and based upon Linda Franz's books "Quilted Diamonds" and "Quilted Diamonds II" I am led to believe that hand piecing curves is easier that piecing them by machine....

What is a gal to do?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Did I forget....

I must have forgot to mention that Michael & I are going to Australia for our honeymoon trip. We are going several months after the actual wedding so if it sounds like we are doing too much touristy stuff and not enough honeymoon stuff - don't worry!

I finally got caught up with reading blogs! :o) You gals have been busy!

P.S. I don't know why my name & picture are at the bottom of my blog, nor do I know how to put them back where they belong.....

I'm back

Grab a beverage - mine is hot water....

Run down on my long weekend away....
1. We had more snow & I did not fall down, but I forgot to bring shoes to change into after weraring snow boots out side. My feet do not like my snow boots, so I was walking funny & now I have a compensation injury in my thigh (After pulling the muscle on the botom of my foot!) It is just a few sore muscles....
2. I passed my test 90% - don't tell the teacher was not supposed to grade it in class. And again I thank hime for coming in early so that I could take the test. The test was originally scheduled for 8:30, but that got pushed back to 10:30 becasue of the snow. The teacher and I arrived at 7 - with our traffic that was for the best for both of us. Add the gal who arrived close to 8.
3. I did my "dry run" hair and make-up for the wedding & I am satisfied. (No amount of make-up & Hair spray will make me look like Cindy Crawford!) The roads were only wet when I drove to the make-up lady & when I left they were drying out!
4. I went to Baltimore to run an errand at the bank and then stopped at CVS to get "Bathroom Basket" goodies. (Do you know what that is? It is a basket with feminine products, harispray, mints, asperin, cough drops, nail files, first aid kit, etc. - Just in case! I know I only carry a tiny bag to weddings & many of those things do not make it into my bag...) I also finally got my passport photos taken. :o) (Have I mentioned that I have a procrastination issue?)
5. Made it to my girlfriends house - took her dogs for a walk, and waited a few minutes for her to get home so we could go get a manicure.
6. We got dressed & had some time to kill, so we played with the fabrics that I brought to audition for a "Window Pane" jacket. (It is hard to describe - so you'll have to wait for a photo - don't hold your breath!)
7. We went to her offices holiday party & a good time was by all. The food was even edible. Open bar was a treat, but 3/4 of the things that I would have liked were not available. They had free tarot card readings.... Not something I would pay for, but it was fun to do for free! I don't remember the specifics, but it was all good!
8. On saturday, I added borders to two small tops (The 30's charm, that grew out of its charming phase - like a teenager... & The new baby quilt that is charming, but not in an all 30's way... All novelties though!) Then I came to a crux....
9. I CUT & SEWED THE TABLE RUNNER IN ABOUT 3 HOURS! Why did I procrastinate on that?
10 I packed those 3 and the stars quilt off to be quilted - quick! :o)
11. Yesterday was my mini-group day to sew-n-tell. I finished piecing my "Bricks" blocks ("Bricks" is a rail fence variation.) Now to do the math for the setting triangles and to piece the top. (We also ate and exchanged gifties.)
12. That is where I have been and what I did!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Yesterday.....

(Waxing Poetic on the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death...)
I was too young to understand, but I do remember listening to The Beatles as a child, teen, young adult, middle adult.... (Thats' where I am now.) Any thoughts.... Anyone else a fan?

Anyway yesterday evening, I got back into the "sewing of things" (thanks for the well wishes). We are expecting more snow this evening - which would not be a bad thing if I did not have a test tomorrow for my class, a hair & Make-up "dry run" for my wedding and a really nice/dress fancy Holiday Party with my GF. (She is single, but did not want to go stag to her office party.)

I trimmed the small pile that I needed to trim and then I started to sew the squares together - no plan just grab two & sew. 150 squares into a 10 x 15 layout. Once again I ended up with a skinny rectangle.... I guess the fact that my charms are 3.5 inches is throwing my little brain for a loop... So I added 30 more squares & now have a suitable quilt top. (Luckily, I have novelties for days! & not just cat prints...)

Now I need to work on my table runner... I have procrastinated on it for long enough. I have finished a few languishing tops instead of working on it... I have started & finished two gift tops (3 times) - the bigger all 30's will go into my gift pile... I have sorted my entire nickel collection (so I could donate the extras to a good cause - but still I did that instead of working on the runner.)

Why am I procrastinating on it? I doubt it is particularly hard.... I have the fabrics selected.... I have enought fabrics.... It is a small project.... (Please remind me of these when I get home and decide to trim the pile-o-scraps instead....)

Off to class....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

mini blog

Well, yesterday we got out first taste of winter.... I fell twice walking to my busstop - my pants legs were soaked and I was mad! (I pay too much rent not to have clean sidewalks - PERIOD!) But I am in training, so instead of turning around and going back to bed (Which would have involved walking uphill anyway) I continued. By the time I got home, I was sore and miserable, so no sewing for me. (I did not even play with fabric or trim the pile-o-scraps.) I heated some leftovers & rested with my cats.

By the time I woke up this morning the stiff sireness was/is worse, but I must persevere because of this class.... (Which is o.k. - I have defiantely had worse.)

And with hot H2O being a dime or free - I think I am charged based upon the cashier lady's mood! I am drinking more water.... (An my snack was a banana....)

Here's hoping that I have more to report tomorrow and that you all have productive days... I am off to class.

Anyone have a "Diet" cake recipe? I heard that there is something that is made with fruit cocktail....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tales from a bad blogger...

Well my current training location does not have PC access for the registrants - so once a day for about 1/2 hour is all I have to blog... (I don't have internet at home otherwise I would not get anything done....)

On the diet scene, I am eating plain oatmeal for breakfast & I drank two large hot water's yesterday after my hot tea & that is my goal again today. (Maybe a caff free diet coke with my turkey pastrami sandwich) Got to get that water into me...

Sewing update... I planned to do a 30's charm quilt for my cousins future baby.... I "finished" piecing it last night 11 x 20 (3.5 inch squares) ended up being a big rectangle! :o) - you gals knew that tough didn't ya? So I pieced a 5 x 20 rectangle to add to it to square it a bit... Also it is too big for a baby, so I am starting over and focusing on novelties with a 10 x 15 layout instead....

Anyone like to see how a few long arm quilters choose to quilt the same quilt? I do... (There is a germ starting in my head on this idea - more to come!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

replies...

Thanks for the great comments. The only cats on the Purple & Orange quilt are the real live ones when that quilt graces my bed. :o)

I have to find more Diet Rite - I am happy with the actual number of Diet Cokes that I drink... 2 or 3 (M-F) More on the weekend.... They keep me sewing.... I have had Diet Rite before, I think the relative cheapness of Diet Coke keeps me coming back... Drink more Water.... (After my hot tea)

Sewing update... I finished the pieced border for my pink Star Fling quilt! YIPPEE! (I want to deliver that one the day of my wedding, Feb. 19, 2006.) I also finished piecing my summer quilt and it's "Bonnie Back." (Well mostly Bonnie Back - I ended up adding a border and some of the scraps from the front to get the back big enough...)

I met some quilting friends on Sunday at a local quilt shop - Cathi from Ireland and my local friend Kathy (One of my bridesmaids - I did not blow the suprise... Luckily I had the other two tops to help me keep my secret.)

BTW I am in a different training session this week at a different location. Right now, I do not know the PC availability... So my blogs (reading & writing) may be far & few between.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Purple & Orange



As you can see here is yat another tiny photo... I am posting this to show my purple and orange quilt. I found the novelty print (Koi) in the sale bin at a LQS and loved it, couldn't believe I missed it when it lived on the full price shelves... Then I got lucky and found several "go withs" also in the sale bin and rounded those out with a few from the regular priced fabrics.... I am not sure what my original plan was (Probably YBR) but I ended up doing Billie Lauder's Faux Log Cabin. Mine is an off center barn raising. The backing is a Laurel Burch flannel that goes perfectly with the top as is is one of the blotchy ones whose blothches are orangey on purpley... This is an anomoly quilt for me - no cats and no Judaica prints...

News & Advice - & A photo!


Again sorry about the small photos. This are "close-ups" of a quilt that I made for Michael last year. He is a Jets fan, so the theme of this quilt is Jets - whose colors happen to be green & white. I call this quilt a "bricks quilt" and it is a good candidate for scraps. You might be able to see the bricks pattern in theses photos. (Picture the green as a brick & the white as mortar.) I set mine on point - hence the dark triangles that you see in the left picture. The bricks are 2.5 x 4.5 rectangles while the mortar strips are 1.5 x 4.5. They are a rail fence variation. I am currently working on a batik one with 1 black batik as the mortar and scrappy - hopefully none alike - for the bricks. I don't know why I originally bought the black batik, but I have enough... (You use quite a bit of those 1.5 inch strips... I need to cut a few more so that I can finish my blocks and start assembling them into a quilt top.) You can do this 100% scrappy with 1 mortar color, or you can do a two color combination - blue bricks with yellow mortar strips, 30's with white, florals with green... It is an easy pattern and it feels good to use your scraps!

News... I still have not purchased the fabrics from HoP (see below), consequently I have been rethinking my plan of attack... I still need the Oriental, I still want the two cat prints, I still need the binding fabrics. I will wait on the 30's... It is not like I don't have a zillion other projects to keep me occupied in the mean time...

Advice... Thanks Laurie for some great advice on dieting. No more Diet Caffeine Free Coke for me... (O.k. less Diet Caffeine Free Coke for me.) I am taking swimming lessons - I just need to get to the pool more often & while I am there I should consider using the weight room.... I need to come up with some incentives... (The kind that do not involve spending money.)

Final Thought, I was going to share an engagement photo, but my computer can not read the DVD format...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Diet....

I need to go on a diet..... The wedding is stressing me out and so food is finding my mouth.... Any advice? I guess sitting and sewing isn't muh help either.... With that said, I worked on an older project during my time off today. (Yeah, after I finished my test at 11:30, I was off for the rest of the day.) It is a "Summer" quilt - the background is 1/3 sand, 1/3 water, & 1/3 sky with brights... The pattern is similar to Pat Speth's "Beach Party" quilt in More Nickel Quilts - her title gave me the idea. I now have my 1/3's pieced together - just need to join them. I had the "blocks" done for quite a while. BTW The back will be a "Bonnie back" - 10.5 inch squares sewin together - all of those squares are "beachy" novelty prints.

My signature quilt

http://www.fonsandporter.com/storefront/57mj05kits/slantedstars.asp

Since I looked it up for someone else, here is the pattern for my wedding signature quilt. However, is made with batiks. The darks are all scrappy with 1 light - & boy was it lucky that I found a nice light for signing.... If you are familiar with batiks, you know that there are not too many lights out there.....

I also got a nice batik for the border and backing.

Were Talking Turkey

Do any of you cook a big turkey more than a few times a year? I am going to start to. It is such a warming experience.... On the first day you get the crunchy skin & a great meal with all of the fixings. For the second day you usually get nice sandwiches and maybe make a soup from the carcass. This goes on for a few days with only two people and two cats..... But last night I finished using the turkey by making this great casserole:
Turkey and Rice Casserole

Turkey and rice casserole recipe, made with long grain and wild rice, chopped vegetables, and an easy sauce.
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups long-grain and wild rice mixture
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cans or jars (approx. 4 ounces each) mushrooms, drain and reserve liquid
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 cups cooked turkey, diced
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted*
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
buttered bread crumbs
PREPARATION:Cook the rice according to package directions. Saute onions over medium low heat in butter; remove from heat and stir in flour until flour is disolved. Drain mushrooms, save liquid. Measure mushroom liquid with the half-and-half and chicken broth. If necessary, add more water or broth to make 4 cups. Place flour mixture back over heat and gradually stir in the liquid mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Add rice, mushrooms, turkey, toasted almonds, parsley, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 13 x 2 - inch casserole, top with buttered breadcrumbs, and bake at 350° for about 35 to 45 minutes. This may be prepared the day before, or frozen.**To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown and aromatic. (serves 6-8)

My fiancee is eating this for lunch today & we have enough for another meal or two.

It has been so nice to have my cooked turkey at the ready for quick and easy meals. (We even added some to spaghetti sauce...)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanks, Thanks, Thanks

As you might have noticed - my math is often off.... Thanks Evelyn AKA Starfishy for setting me straight on the size of the alternating squares.... I invariably make those kinds of mistakes.....

So after reviewing several comments and my own list I have come to the following purchasing guideline....

My stash is lacking backgrounds..... I am thinking that the 30's solids can be used in 30's quilts and with other novelty prints, something I have a lot of.....

2 yards of a gold/gold Oriental for a Jacket... It goes perfectly with the body fabrics & the fabric that I already got for that purpose will look better as a background for piecing or applique anyway - too creamy for a yoke.
4 yards of each solid 30's - so I can make blue/pink and yellow/green stars, & borders
about 9 yards of the eggshell 30's for the Irish Chain background, border, & binding
2 yards of the black & white cat stripe..... :o)
1/2 yard of the black & white Escher cat print :o)
2 yards of a black & bright print for binding on a HUGE quilt Black and bright Jacob's Ladder quilt. (Mine is similar to the one in Pat Speth's Nickel Quilts book only by background is scrappy too.)

That really sounds like too much...... In reality I will probably purchase a lot less.... Who knows.... This isn't an order form. & aside from the cat prints, they are backgrounds or they have a specific project lined up for them....

Update on the current star quilt... I cut border pieces last night - I am going to do the piano key border very scrappy and fairly pink.

I also cut 30's last night - so I can use some in this border....