Monday, November 10, 2008

A Free Quilt by Camille Roskelley

Posted by Strlady at 10:33 PM 1 comments
My daughter just brought to my attention that Camille Roskelley creator of Thimble Blossoms designs is giving away a quilt. She was originally brought to my attention by Brenda (my sister) a while ago when she had a similar giveaway.

My daughter just fell in love with her quilts and made me give her patterns a second look. The designs are simply and the quilt pieces draw your eye to them.

Her blog is filled with great photos of her, her family and her work. My sister Brenda says she reminds her of my daughter, Nyshma (she goes by Andrea or Dre for Short). I don't see the similarities but when I was reading her blog the other day Camille was talking about how her mother tells her she scrunches her face in her pictures and I almost fell off my chair laughing because I tell Dre the same thing all the time!! LOL!

If you haven't explored Camille's designs, head on over to her site at Simplify and while you're there sign up for the giveaway.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Runaway Stash

Posted by Strlady at 4:38 AM 1 comments
I recently went back to New England on a business trip and had a chance to visit with my sister, Brenda. I love New England this time a year and I had not seen my sis for close to two years since she didn't visit us last Thanksgiving.

I hadn't been to her house since the day I left New Hampshire for warmer climates in Tx. She was just starting her Quilt shop business and had purchased her first inventory. BTW: My sister is owner of Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shop - If you haven't had a chance to discover her great shop you are missing out!!!

So when I got to her house and discovered the treasure trove of fabrics and patterns it was a little freaky. I don't know where I thought she would hide the goodies she has on her site but all of a sudden they were everywhere. Needless to say I wanted to take it all home with me (except for that funky line of patterns with the bunnies).

The thing is that this is her business and guilt was riding hard when she was generous enough to offer me some stash enhancers and started cutting. It was even worse when she just wouldn't stop cutting. Well, guilt go to hell because I still took home all she wanted to give and then some!

I arrived with a duffel full of clothes for her and left with a duffel full of beautiful flannels, charm squares galore and a few jelly rolls too!

Don't you just love it!! She has the best packaging and the work she puts in making every kit is incredible. I don't know where she gets the energy and the time!

Well, I couldn't just walk away from her house with all these goodies and not offer something in return so I promised her that I would construct the pieced background to a quilt she wanted to make. It is heavy on the appliqué but the background is pieced so she was not going there. Since she loves appliqué and I love piecing - it all evens out in the end. So some of the stash will go into making the background in question.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time vs Accuracy

Posted by Strlady at 2:27 PM 1 comments
Making Alba's Quilt has made me wonder about some of the techniques we piecer's use to speed up our work.
The quilt uses many half square triangles to make the pinwheel blocks but also for the posies. With today's innovative thinkers we have choices as to how to approach the construction of these blocks. But in each one you still have to sacrifice something.

Time: I don't know about you all but the statement time is money is always accurate in our house. I have a short attention span and honestly, if it's going to take me too long to make, it sits in a UFO pile.

Don't get me wrong, I will do very time consuming things - like edit a video to make sure the subtitles on it pop up at just the right time, or tweak with a digital image until I can see no flaws in it, or change the color on an html script over and over again - but I hate doing something that is mindless over and over again.

But some quilter discovered that you can skip rotary cutting a square into triangles so you avoid working with bias edges (now that is a nightmare on itself). All you need to do is draw a line where you would have cut (across the square diagonally) and sew the light and dark square together by sewing a quarter of an inch away from the line you drew. You do this first on one side of the line and then you go back and sew again on the other side of the line. When you are finished you cut the square on the line drawn to yield two squares constructed of half square triangles.

Are you confused yet?

The problem with this method is that it is soooo time consuming drawing those dang lines on each of the 212 square you might have. And if you have small squares it's even worse. So you think, forget this crap, I'm just cutting the dang things and winging it, choosing to sacrifice something precious to most quilters...

Accuracy: When you cut the squares and 'wing it' you still need to align each triangle with it's mate and pull the small triangles (if you think the square were small - think of the size they have after you have cut them in half) across the feed dogs of your machine and then pressing them open. Results: You end up with squares that have a seam more curvy than Marilyn Monroe.

I know, I tend to over think things but when I keep procrastinating working on the quilt I get to a point that I ask myself why? Just like the dress that never made it into my sisters closet because I HATE to hem.

So the question is do I sacrifice the Time or the Accuracy?

If you know how anal I am you don't have to even think about my response. I would rather spend 10 hours of numbing, mindless work than have a seam out of place.

These are my blocks all cut and ready to go with the damn line across each those ivory squares. This is just the fabric for the pinwheel blocks.

These are the pieces for all the posies that will be on the quilt and if you can't distinguish the ivory fabric in the little ziplock bag, I'll tell you there are over 200 - 2" squares, all with a fucking line through them.

~~~ Off to sew some squares!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Shopping We Shall Go

Posted by Strlady at 10:32 PM 0 comments
On Labor Day weekend I took advantage and scheduled my first ‘expedition’ to the quilt shops of the area. A co-worker of mine could not stop raving about The Cabbage Rose Quilt shop and since it’s just 30 minutes away, this was my first stop.

I was quite surprised with the location of this place. This quilt shop was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting’s Quilt Sampler and I had certain expectations on it’s layout that really were not met when I found the place. Maybe because I visited on Labor Day the location looked deserted and the street actually looked like an abandoned warehouse should be there. The outside was dirty and the inside dusty but that is where the disappointment ended. The place was packed with fabrics. It had fabrics that you didn’t know you wanted to buy. It also had one of the largest batik selections I have seen in person.

Now I will clarify that statement with the fact that it had a lot of fabrics and there was something for everyone. This is not necessarily a good thing if you are looking for something in particular, but if you are not sure what you are looking for, it’s heaven.

I tend to compare this with an avid reader of Romance novels (like myself) walking into Barnes and Noble looking for a title. The B&N next to my house has soooo many books but their Romance selection is poor, while Borders has a better selection of paperbacks and the Audiobook selection is terrible compared with B&N.

I was looking for some Ivory prints with a more yellowish undertone than grey. Very specific. I was also looking to see if I could enhance my pastels but again with a particular undertone. I took a good sampling of what I had at home and with my sister, Jessica’s help I did good and found myself something to get me going.

Here is what I had at home:

and also:

I picked up these two for the leaves and the border (love the stars on the border Tan):

The Ivories were weeded down from about 6 to these that complement each other:

and then I ran into a line from Buggy Barn (love, love, love their stuff) and a few other ‘pastel like’ colors:

In total the prices were not bad for a quilt shop ( $8.00 – 9.00 / yd) but not as affordable as some shops you can find online. The thing with buying online when you don’t know what you’re looking for is that you cannot really appreciate the colors and with so much out there you can spend HOURS looking at all the shops. But if you do know the line you like (like me and that Buggy Barn line) you can drop by your favorite online store and pick it up and more affordable prices.

Well now I have the fabric in hand but before I even contemplate starting that project I need to fix some pants for Jessica.

She leaves for hurricane alley (Florida/Bahamas) with her friend Michael on a Disney cruise Thursday morning. Hopefully Hurricane Ike has cleared out by then and they can enjoy themselves.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Remembrance of a Quilt

Posted by Strlady at 10:23 PM 1 comments
I recently went to Puerto Rico after 11 years of absence to visit my grandmother. My parents live there but they visit often (once or twice a year) and so I don’t feel the need to visit the island. My grandmother is up there in years and I felt it was time I stopped procrastinating and head on out for a visit before I regretted not going sooner. Now the thing with visiting is that when you visit one person you need to visit them ALL. When you come from a family where each set of grandparents were quite prolific in their breeding, the visiting process can take a VERY long time.

One of the people I visited was my aunt Jeannie. My aunt was more like a sister to me because she was my same age and I spent a lot of time playing Barbie’s with her as I grew up. She was the first person that made me interested in sewing. She would sew her own clothing for her dolls and they looked so awesome I felt the first nudge to pickup a needle and thread. It was only just, that when I started quilting, one of my first completed quilts went to her daughter. Alba is disabled and when just a babe she flew to the states for treatment. I made her a quilt designed by Lynette Jensen from Thimbleberries and took it to her at the hospital.

When I dropped by her house recently, my aunt asked me when I was going to make Alba a new ‘blanket’. I had no clue what she was talking about since I did not recall making her the quilt at all (this is 12 years later). Then my aunt takes me to Alba’s crib and pulls back the sheets to show me the small baby quilt I made so many years ago. It was in tatters. I swear I felt like crying. I never saw something so used and so loved. She had it on the bed for goodness sake!

So obviously I came home with a mission. Time to make Alba a new quilt. At first I wanted to make something simple and fast so I thought I’d just make her a rail fence quilt but that quickly changed to something fast, simple and pretty. So I decided on a pinwheel quilt. Now it’s moved to something simple and pretty. Fast is good too but mostly I want to make her something to grow with her, something big enough to serve her well, and something that is girly.

After looking at ALL my stash of magazines I did find what I was looking for. I found it in American Patchwork and Quilting's Aug 2000 issue.

I have most of the fabric for the piece but I need some Ivory for the background. This gives me the perfect excuse to get to know the local quilt shops and maybe the ones not so local. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Secret Pieces

Posted by Strlady at 4:47 PM 1 comments
So I started a quilt last summer and as most projects it has fallen into that huge UFO pile.
My layout was simple and promised a quick return on investment (time investment that is).
It was a simple rag quilt that didn't need much quilting because I was using Flannel as the backing.

Here is one of the blocks

Some of the other blocks had some button hole appliqué on them and each block is 17.5 inches yielding a decent full size quilt.

Goal: To finish the piece by Christmas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Blog for my crafty things...

Posted by Strlady at 10:20 PM 0 comments
I created this blog to test Dre's blog elements but now that it's out there I think I need to put it to good use.
I haven't done many crafty things in the last few years but I have an arsenal of things to share so I guess the Blog can be put to good use.

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