Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finished in August!

Posted by Strlady at 11:42 PM 9 comments
I was cutting it close but I put effort this weekend and finished my Charming Girls August project.

This one is called The Red, White and Blue because my daughter kept saying she had 'issues' with it being Red, White and Blue. I completed this quilt with one Jelly Roll, two Charm packs, 3/4 yard of the Red border and the Blue border fabric as well as 1/2 yd of a light cream for the sashing. Made with Sandy Gervais Zippity Doo Dah Moda line, it finished at 68 1/2 inches square.

I actually lost alot of the love I had for this one while I was piecing the blocks (remember my commentary on cutting and then auditioning the fabric on my design wall) but when I finally put on the borders...

It won me over. Now I have to baste it and get it quilted. Maybe I can call it my September project too!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Year of Schnibbles

Posted by Strlady at 9:08 PM 1 comments
I love love love Carrie's quilts. I think she designs just for me because her quilts are pieced and many have stars. On top of that, they are pieced in a way that makes them look like the quilt has several dimensions. She is quite a talented lady.

Well wasn't it a surprise when I was reading Carrie's blog and she mentioned that two other bloggers have a little project they are starting up and suggested we go and check it out.

Of course I needed to go and take a peek. Shinta from Pink Pincushions and Sherry from A Quilting Life have created a Schnibbles club! The project is called A Year of Schnibbles and the goal is to make one of Carrie's Schnibble patterns every month for the next year. I was on the fence about joining since I am not quilting fast enough to get everything I really want to make and also do a Schnibble a month but honestly, I think I just need to jump in head first and see where it will take me.

Also my favorite quilt shop owner told me that I needed to join so I can give her all the Schnibbles I make! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Technology is a wonderful thing

Posted by Strlady at 1:19 PM 3 comments
I've been busy but not sewing. I ran into a road block when I had to put together the borders for my latest quilt, I had been waiting for some fabric so that I could move forward but wanted to get doing while I waited so I started doing something that I had put off for a while. Scanning my magazines.

I have so many quilting magazines it's ridiculous. I have been subscribed to American Patchwork and Quilting since 1998. Through the years I have been subscribed to McCall's Quilting (a hit and miss for me), McCall's Quick Quilts (in my early years) and Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (Not great for patterns but great to keep up with the Quilting world) and I don't get rid of any of them. I have quite a collection of old magazines that have one or two nice patterns and I refuse to throw them away. On top of that, many years ago I bought a batch of older 1990's QNM issues that had some series that I really wanted. I had decided that I would scan in those older titles so that I would not need to keep 8 magazines to make one quilt.

Yesterday I tackled that project and scanned several of patterns I was hoping to keep. QNM actually put out a CD several years ago with all the patterns from 1995-2000. Unfortunately they didn't continue to make their back issues available on CD and the CD they did release didn't have all the quilts I wanted to have, like the quilt on the left (Bear Hollow) which was a series in their 1994 issues. The quilt on the right is called Heritage Medallion and even though I don't like the center I love the layout.

The next two I scanned are from late 2000 (not on the CD though) and 2001. Fall Harvest (on the left) is very popular and just a peek will tell you why. It's gorgeous! The one on the right, Antique Rose Sampler is different enough to make it interesting.

So now I have these four quilts in PDF format (adobe reader) and can save them to a CD and keep safe until I'm ready to make them or until I die and Nyshma inherits all my quilty stuff (hey, you never know!).

I wish other magazines would publish their back issues on CD, on the same vein I wish QNM would continue to release their other issues in the same format. My next scanning project will be to create a pictorial index of my American Patchwork & Quilting magazines. I have so many back issues that it's a pain to look for the precise magazine that contains that special pattern. If I had a PDF per year that has the pictures of the projects I loved, it would be easier to find the issue I'm looking for. I know it seems like a lot of work but it's all up front and then after the scanning is done, I can really use the back issue without dreading having to go through them all.

But for now... I'm getting back to piecing since I got the fabric I was waiting for yesterday afternoon! Yeah Me!

Do you save your Quilting Magazines? What do you do to remember where you saw what? Maybe you'd have a less time consuming suggestion.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Design Wall

Posted by Strlady at 8:06 AM 2 comments
Have you ever had something that you never knew you needed until you didn't have it? That something that you took for granted and never really put much worth until you found yourself missing it and wondering how you got along without it? In quilting, that would be my design wall.

What is a design wall? It's a surface that you can put your quilt blocks on so you can visualize how your quilt will look after you sew the blocks together, This preview allows you to see things in a final perspective and gives you a chance to rearrange the quilt in the most pleasing manner possible. Have you ever put on an outfit that you thought looked great on you but after seeing a picture of yourself in the outfit you cringe? Same concept. You just get a chance to test drive all the possible outcomes of your quilt before settling on the best one for you.

When I lived in NH (just a few years ago) my dinning room had the most wonderful bare wall on which I would drape a vinyl tablecloth and stick my blocks on it to 'see' my quilt come to life. In my current home there are no bare walls and I have been lying my pieces on the floor to get a peak at the quilt as it grows but this method just has not been working for me. I find that I cannot really step back to look at the quilt or look at it from different angles. I really was having an issue with this.

So the problem had to be researched and resolved.

At first I thought about getting some cardboard to do a mini design wall but it really didn't resolve the problem. I wanted something that I could put up most of my project and I tend to do lap quilts and not wall hangings. The other option was to buy a portable wall but I couldn't really afford one, so that left me the option to build one.

It's amazing what you can do with PVC pipes!
I bought 6 PVC pipes (I had the sales person at Home Depot cut one of them in half), a few couplings and headed home to put it all together.

I cut down the pieces that had been halved because the back of the wall stuck out too much and I realized I didn't need that extension to give it support. I bought some flannel at Walmart and sewed a sleeve to insert the top and bottom pipes, a bit of Velcro to secure the sides to the PVC and my design wall was open for business.

I found that the flannel was a bit too flimsy to hold up my blocks without resorting to pinning them in place (which defeats the purpose of easy rearrangement of the blocks so I draped a piece of batting and that did the trick.

Here's my current project on my wall ready to be fiddled with.

Do you have a design wall?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Fear of Cutting

Posted by Strlady at 9:12 AM 3 comments
There are a few things that really worry me about constructing a quilt but one of them is cutting into fabric. At times it's an easy thing, like when the fabric is cheap or when you have an over abundance of the fabric in question, but other times you have a REALLY hard time getting that rotary cutter to touch the fabric.

This was something I really never thought much about until this past weekend. I recently bought a jelly roll and two charm packs of Sandy Gervais Zippity Doo Dah Moda line. I hadn't notice the line until I visited a local quilt shop and they had a quilt made from the jelly roll and they had the line on sale. Now, to find anything Moda on sale is a prize but this line was just so darn cute, I had to buy it. I later realized two things a) the line was on sale because it was retiring and b) when you buy fabric without a project in mind you will drive yourself crazy!

I spent over a week looking at the thing thinking I wanted to make a lap quilt out of it but it had to be a larger lap quilt (over 65"). I could not find a pattern for the life of me. Then when I finally found a design I could make and I made my measurements, I could not bring myself to make the first cut. What if I measured wrong? (I was not following a tested pattern but converting it from a picture I saw), What if I didn't have enough fabric? What if I cut the pieces wrong and THEN run out of fabric? I definitely could not afford another trip to the quilt shop.

Yeah. I spent all Saturday walking by the cutting table staring at the fabric. I cut and sewed a few 'test' blocks with scraps I had at hand to make sure my calculations were correct and still no cutting into the darn thing.

Finally, on Sunday I woke up early and just did it. I set aside the light colored fabric from the line to serve as a framing border and cut into the mediums and darks. I'm still not sure that I'll have enough to finish the top since it needs a few borders to reach the desired size but I know that I can make all the center blocks. I tend to have to cross a mental threshold where I say to myself, Screw it! I won't die if it ends up a royal mess!

The quilt has (16) - 13" center blocks composed of (4) smaller 6.5" blocks and a sash. I have completed 40 of the 64 smaller blocks needed. One way or another I believe this will be another 'finished' project by the end of the month.

BTW: The other great fear I have is chosing the right colors for the quilt.

What about you? Is there anything that ties you up in knots when it comes to tackling a project?

Monday, August 3, 2009

What is up for August..

Posted by Strlady at 1:23 PM 0 comments
August is a special month for me. Two of my favorite people celebrate thier birthday in August. My sister, Jessica will be celebrating at the end of this week and my daughter, Nyshma will be celebrating at the end of the month. Obviously the first impulse is to make them a quilty something but in reality poor planning leads to no results, so they both will get store bought items unless a miracle happens and A) I get about 3.5 yds of blue flannel dropping from the sky AND B) I get one of those little hudidoos that Hermione had in the 3rd Harry Potter book that allowed her to rewind time giving her an extra few hours during the day to get everything done.

In any case, I do have some quilty stuff planned for the Month of August. For my Charming Girls Challenge I plan to add the borders to my Mariner's Compass quilt seen here.
I also started a project this weekend on the down low with a couple of charm packs and a jelly roll I bought while quilt shop hopping with my daughter a few weeks ago. I already have 10 of the 16 blocks made but it still has a bit to go (more on this later). It would be a nice b'day present IF I had more time to finish it.

I have a guild meeting this week but I'm debating whether to go since Vera Bradley is celebrating a b'day too and the store next to my house is having a celebration with some door prizes. Hmmm...

I'm also planning a trip to the Barnes and Noble in Dallas to see Sherrilyn Kenyon. For those that don't know I'm a big reader and I love a good romance with a bite... Kenyon definitely delivers with her Dark Hunter series. Her newest book is released this week and she will be in Dallas for a signing, so my daughter and I will be heading down there to see her!

Last but definitely not least, my daughter's fiancee will be visiting from Massachussetts for her b'day before he heads up to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) where he will be completing his degree by March. She is a bit excited by the visit as you can imagine.

August is promising to be full of fun if the first week is anything to go by.

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