Sunday, May 13, 2012
In between everything here I just had to take time to do another little block for my Jubilee Quilt from Randy's sew-a-long!
Lots of little pieces in a 6" block!
Sophia handled it just fine!
This one is "Union Square."
Linda has announced the winners of the Double Wedding Ring Shape Collection over on her Inklingo page!
As you know, it started with one prize but we doubled it. The two winners were announced on the blog this morning, but Monkey is SUCH a softie that everyone wins!
How? We have made the Double Wedding Ring Design Book FREE until Friday May 18 at midnight (Eastern). It is a $20 value, normally $10 or free with the purchase of a shape collection.
We also put the DWR shape collection on sale for the same time.
Click the Double Wedding Ring Icon below to get to Inklingo!
First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day!
If you are a mother, had a mother, mothered anyone else's children, cared for other creatures be they two legged, four legged, or winged ---this day is for you! Mother’s day is not even gender-specific in my book.
If you have ever put the care of another above your own needs, you qualify. Thank you for all you bring to this world! You certainly make this world a gentler place to live. Thank you for sharing part of your life with me.
This next quilt I want to show you was SO fabulous – and again, not for its perfection, but wow…what a lot of WORK went into this beauty!
Paper cut applique is started much like the paper snowflakes we made as children. The paper is folded into fourths, or eights as in the case of this quilt, and the design is cut out to make the main block pattern. The cut out paper design is then traced onto the fabric, and either appliqued to the base fabric in a cut-away process where the fabric is trimmed as the needle turning progresses, or the whole block can be cut out, basted to the base block, and appliqued by needle turn. The red flower tufts and buds are tucked in and added as well.
The maker did all her applique work with a white/cream thread. her stitches are fine, but visible ---and how happy I am to see them!
Would you believe this blue fabric was once green? Green wasn’t a stable color at this time, and blue fabric was over-dyed with yellow to produce green. The only problem was, over time – the yellow would wash away leaving a teal blue.
The winding vine border is adorned with a pair of birds at the center of each side of the quilt…..look at those skinny legs and the open beaks! The background area up to the border was filled with elongated clamshell shapes….it looked like they were “finger” size, meaning, she could easily mark around the tip of her finger as her “template” to fill in the background quilting. I guess that way you never wonder where your template ran off to!
The block corners are filled with a really pretty leaf spray ---the applique itself has no quilting in it.
Oh, another interesting thing that you can probably barely see here because of the blur --- the corner vines ---- they are of a different green fabric! Evidently the borders were appliqued in long lengths before joining to the quilt, and then the corner vines are added after the borders have been joined to the quilt center…she must have run out of that “Main” green for the quilt center….because all 4 corners have this different green where the corner turns. LOVE IT!
Without that green being different, we wouldn’t know the order in which she built her quilt top!
Though it was a rainy day, we ventured out to go take a quick tour of a couple of the old stone houses on the Historic Huguenot Street ---I also found a virtual tour of the houses HERE so you can see what I missed!
The old stone houses are WONDERFUL to see. This one was built in 1712 by Jean Hasbrouck, and it is furnished inside much like it would have been in its day.
LOVE the wide floor planks! and the table set close to the fire place for warmth ---
Another drawing room with antique furnishings of the day.
It was fun to see how they set it up..it even looks like there are ashes on the hearth!
I really liked the heavy hardware on the split door, and the mustard color of the paint.
The most amazing thing of all was the LOOM in the attic…this thing was gigantic ---and I can’t imagine all the hours spent weaving coverlets and cloth to provide for the family’s needs.
Susan told me about a photo she had of some residents in the early 1900s posing right out front of the house – and what is fun is that the house has not changed at all – take a look:
If that isn’t enough of a draw into history for you ---the diaries of Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck are being deciphered and presented as a blog, as if her life were unfolding through her journals as blog posts. FASCINATING!
You can get to know Julia through her words HERE. I signed up to have the updates delivered to my email so I wouldn’t miss an update ----be sure you go all the way to the BEGINNING: January 1, 1840 and then read forward to catch up. Be sure you grab a hot cuppa something and plan to spend some time with Julia and what life was like in New Paltz, NY in 1840.
The blog is entitled "From My Pen & Power" and is presented from Julia's diaries by Susan Stessin, the sweet gal who invited me for my special tour.
And with that – I’m off to have the men folk pamper me with a Mother’s Day breakfast --- enjoy your Sunday, everyone!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve found anything free to post anything free, mostly because I haven’t had surfing time!
This one just came across my radar and I wanted to pass it on to those of you who like mysteries and thrillers.
Revenge by Mark Young is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 49 customer reviews.
As I post this, the book was free on the Amazon website, but please check to make sure it is still free before you press the “Buy” button!
Category: Mystery & Thriller
When a trained killer threatens ex-cop Travis Mays—and those Travis loves—he finds a skilled adversary and an unexpected fight.
After a high stakes gamble ends in personal tragedy, Travis walks away from years of training and a highly successful law enforcement career. Determined never to look back, he starts a new life and a new career, teaching criminology at the university and building a cabin in the idyllic Idaho Mountains.
He hires a beautiful river guide, Jessie White Eagle from the Nez Perce tribe, to guide him safely down the Lochsa. The turbulence of the whitewater, however, is just the beginning of his troubles. Travis finds himself in the crosshairs of a killer—calling himself Creasy—bent on revenge.
This fast-paced thriller takes readers on a wild ride down Idaho’s whitewater rivers, along the historic Lolo Trails once tread by the Nez Perce nation, and onto the city streets of California. Tighten your helmet. This ride never stops until the last shot is fired and the final body falls.
I’m headed to Idaho for a family reunion over 4th of July! Eldest son, Jason is going to come with me ---Younger son Jeff is to a point where he can’t miss the days of school, so he’ll stay behind and keep his dad company. My mom and stepdad live up on the side of a mountain about an hour’s drive north of Boise, and white water rafting is a common tourist draw there. Because this book falls along that theme…I just HAVE to check it out!
I’m headed upstairs to put myself in a recliner and finish the hanging sleeve on the Midnight Flight quilt I’m teaching in Illinois next week….CAN NOT WAIT! And I guess I’ve pushed the sleeve sewing off long enough too.
Enjoy your evening, everyone!
Do you remember my run-in with Mary at MQX in Providence, and how she gifted us with her wonderful stilettos, and then gifted us ALL with the tutorial to make them?!
The woman is a wealth of inspiration and knowledge.
Yesterday when I was bemoaning the exorbitant cost of that package of 5 strips of purple stuff “for marking seam allowance” ---she emailed me right away to tell me what she uses!
Scotch Reusable Mounting Strips. Yep! She uses these to stick to her machine bed to mark her 1/4" for patchwork!
I didn't know how to send the picture by facebook or the comment section, so here it is.
I use these reusable mounting strips for my seam guides. They leave no residue. I can move them when I need to. They don't mush in like the foam mounting strips, or leave that awful residue.
And I can cut one in half lengthwise and double stack them. Just make sure you get the strips, not the tabs.
How's the stiletto?
Enjoy you time home.
I can get these at Staples for $3.49 for a pack.
Someone tell me WHY things triple in price as soon as you market it for quilters? Do we look THAT DUMB!? Like a bunch of chickens that will buy anything at double to triple the price just because it is quilt related?
I just added these to my list the next time I go to town. Dunno if Walmart or Target or anywhere else has them, but if Staples does, I’m sure other office stores do to.
And while I’m there ---I’m apt to find myself in the storage bin aisle ---my other favorite place in the world.
Thanks for the hint, Mary!
I’m digging myself out of email jail.
Things pile up when I’m gone, especially things that need more lengthy replies, and things that I can only do from the main computer at home were I keep…you know…STUFF!
As I’m digging through, I found this email that I flagged to remind you earlier – and OY! It’s about run out – so I’m sending this now so you have a chance to get in on the deal.
I wrote about the Inklingo Double Wedding Ring Shape Collection giveaway HERE!
My friend Linda Franz of Inklingo fame is giving away a set of the double wedding ring shape collection. And before you think it’s just your every day ordinary double wedding ring quilt – check again. You’ll want to go over to the All About Ink Lingo Blog to see the new video with over 50 Double Wedding Ring designs and variations.
Click the image below to get to Inklingo!
This is the info direct from Linda and Monkey:
Update on the Give-Away on the All About Inklingo blog.
- New video (2 minutes) posted on the blog yesterday with at least 50 DWR designs.
- TWO prizes now! There will be at least two winners!
- Winners receive both the Double Wedding Ring Shape Collection and the Double Wedding Ring Design Book.
- If the winner has DWR already, the prize is a $40 Inklingo Gift Certificate.
This way, we have included everyone and there is no reason to wait to buy or leave it to chance!
- Comments must be submitted by Saturday midnight 12 May (Eastern Time) ON LINDA'S GIVE-AWAY POST. (not here on my blog or other blog posts).
- Winners will be announced on Sunday (Mother's Day).
Wouldn’t winning this be the best Mother’s Day gift?! Go click to enter and win ----and Good Luck!
I still have more of the quilt collection from New Paltz to share --- and believe me, we have not even begun to get to the best ones!
This hexagon just HAD to come out of the box ---the fabrics in it are DELICIOUS ---and it was also not a “PERFECTIONIST” quilt…..while the patchwork is very precise, the maker made choices with her fabric placements that add motion and delight for the eye.
The quilt also has an interesting finish – it’s bound not with fabric, but with a woven tape. Early quilts often had “other” elements used as binding, as in the fringe found in the JBV quilt that I posted the other day.
Some thought that the fringe must be a later addition, but in fact, it is keeping to the time period that the quilt was made. Coverlets and quilts often had fringe as a finish ---as well as the canopies for the ever popular 4 poster beds….so the woven tape on the edge of this hexagon beauty is right where it should be as a perfectly acceptable way to finish a quilt in that time period.
It wasn’t a very large quilt ---but it took my breath away. Look at that floral border….and the corners are precisely mitered.
There are a few different brown prints used for the path around the flower motifs, and yet they are not symmetrical, the way we would force ourselves to do it today. All that mattered to her, evidently, was that it was BROWN and she had enough of whichever brown to do the job.
She didn’t even scramble them the way we would force ourselves to do….”can’t have the same one touching the same one”, you know? There is no rhyme or reason to the way her brown chains flow. And you know what? I’M GLAD!! If this were perfect, with only ONE BROWN throughout the pathway --- would this be as fun to look at? I don’t think so…I think the perfection would suck the life and interest right out of the quilt.
Sorry for the blurriness of this photo – those dang white gloves! Next time I’ll only glove my left hand and leave my right hand free to shoot better photos! What I wanted to show here was how the half flowers have only 4 petals and the background ends with the half diamonds to give the center a straight edge before adding the border.
There was SOME perfection going on here…look at the placement of the stripes in that corner block unit!! She MATCHED the stripes!
Bottom left corner. Check the mitered seam, and the tape used as binding ---
I’m happy that the quilting detail showed up in this one. Do you see the fussy-cut center in that flower?! This quilt was not so heavily quilted, but she did impose a hexagon on each round…can you see it there in the brown flower? And then it echoes into the muslin, and finally into the brown path. This gave the quilt a very soft feel, and the quilting crossing those seam lines helps anchor them. The stitches were beautifully even and fine.
And yet --- there IS some “frugal piecing” going on….that center hex has a seam in it – making good use of precious scraps! If the piece isn’t big enough, add to it until it is!
And there is my white gloved hand….just to show you the size of the hexes. They are about 1” per side. From the stitching it appears to be English paper pieced ---the joining stitches are tiny, almost invisible, but very closely placed whip stitches vs a traditional hand piecing running stitch.
It makes me SO WISH that I could have seen what papers she pieced on! Old letters and correspondence? Handbills and other scrap paper? I remember seeing one in the Charleston SC museum that was pieced upon discarded sheet music. Maybe that maker really HATED that song, and rid it from the repertoire by cutting it into hexes for her piecing! Oh – I wish I knew the unknown stories!
I’m still floating on air that I got to examine, handle, and dream upon these quilts. The makers have long since passed on, but they left this legacy ---I hope they were smiling and felt the kindred spirit of those of us who just KNOW each other ---by needle and thread and the love of fabric.
Friday, May 11, 2012
I just had to give Sophia a try!
I chose the simple fruit basket block---and it went together perfectly, coming out at just the 6.5" I need!
More blocks await--I'll use them as rewards for myself as I tackle other items on the to-do list.
I'm done for the night---time to hit the sack---
This is my first ever time actually sewing on a Necchi.
I knew it when I saw it that if this machine RAN at the antique mall—that I was going to buy it, justification or NO justification, just because of what I’ve heard from other vintage Necchi owners ---- They run smooth, they run quiet ---they run fast – much like an Italian sports car!
Besides – Y’all! She is AQUA!!
And then when DH told me the price of a dozen golf balls…..and the price of that ONE BOX of golf balls was about $10 more than I paid for this aqua girl…..it was NO CONTEST.
This afternoon in between everything else, I found a manual online, printed it out, and got right down to the cleaning and oiling diagrams. She’s purring now!
Do I feel ridiculous with this many machines? Not if I can keep them in good working order and adopt them out to homes that need them at some point. I'm saving them from the landfill. It's a noble calling! :c)
I really firmly believe that for good patchwork all you need is a nice straight stitch, a reliable machine that doesn’t eat triangles ((And I know some expensive brands that eat them regularily!)) and a machine that holds its tension.
You also have to be able to get a really good 1/4” seam--- and that’s what I want to talk to you about.
Because I sew on lots of machines, and use many machines for the same project, I’m often asked how I manage since people have been told this “Old Wives Tale” about how a project started on ONE machine needs to be finished on ONE machine.
Think about it. Why would that be? What is your answer?
I can hear you thinking it in your head --- even if you aren’t moving your mouth, I can hear you! “Because not all 1/4” seams are the same.”
Think LOGICALLY here. 1/4” is a finite measurement. That seam either is --- or isn’t --- a 1/4”. The 1/4” itself does not change.
What DOES change though --- is the foot. And I NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER trust a 1/4” foot to give me a 1/4” seam. There are too many variables. The thickness of the thread, the thickness of the fabric, the direction you press your seams, etc. YOUR CUTTING!
Another culprit I’ve found – is the position of the needle within the foot. The 1/4” seam is measured from the needle out --- not from the foot to the needle. So if the needle bar position is a bit off --- and you are sewing by the edge of the foot…you can’t blame the foot, right?
For instance --I used the same 1/4" 37 foot on my Bernina 1080 and my Bernina 1008. The seam is chunkier on the 1008. I think the needle position is a bit off to the left. It's the SAME foot -- but not the same seam.
I also find that many feet with the black 1/4” guides make it hard to see the edge of the fabric, and because we can’t SEE the edge of our fabric, we can over shoot the 1/4” by making SURE it is up against that guide so we get a nice straight seam. The fabric can even curl up a bit against that guide, making it wider than the 1/4” we are looking for.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because. I need a benchmark to be sure that no matter which machine I’m sewing on, I am going to get the same seam allowance consistently from machine to machine to machine. To do that ---I need to measure from the needle OUT, not from the edge of the foot IN.
How do you like this ad?!
This is Ms. Sophia Loren draping her sexy self over a pink Necchi Supernova Ultra! Circa 1956-58 Cool! SO guess what I’ve named MY new Supernova Ultra? Say hello to SOPHIA!
And you see a bit of my Sew Adjustable table fitting right up against her box…I took the back wrap around portion off ((Cuz I can do that – love that table!) so I can just fit it up against the box she is already in.
Sophia doesn’t have a 1/4” foot yet – I have to order one ((Anyone have any ideas on sources for me? Is this just a regular long shank machine? I want one WITHOUT that dumb black guide!)) so I need to be able to sew a 1/4” seam with the regular foot on. It’s pretty easy to do. You can use either an index card, or –find a nifty guide like this one at a local quilt shop. It’s got needle holes for 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”, and if I turn it around, I can measure 1/8” seam with it just by putting the needle in the proper needle hole.
((I do sell these in my classes for $3 to students, but I don't do them mail order...it's too hard to keep them in stock! The guide says "Sewing machine seam guide" with no brand name listed. The postage would double the price of the item, so I haven't offered them for mail order ---plus the added order filling isn't something I have time for right now with being gone so much.))
I set the needle in the hole….used some of that purple sticky seam guide stuff right up against the edge of the guide…. (($5 for a 5-pack of this? Ridiculous….is there anything comparable on the market that won’t take us to the cleaners? I’d rather spend the money on FABRIC!)) Then I removed the guide from under the needle and did a test run.
**Note** if you are using an index card, trim the margin off of the card first. Use a rotary cutter and ruler because scissors are not so accurate and accuracy is important here. Now, sink your needle in the 1st line….the edge of the card will be your 1/4” to set your tape. You might have to monkey with it a bit to get it right.
I sewed two 2” leader/ender squares together with my “new” seam allowance --- and then here is the tricky part:
What a dirty finger nail! Can you tell I was busy cleaning this machine?!
Don’t measure JUST the seam allowance! Measure your unit across the top from side to side. These 2 squares sewn together needed to give me a measurement of 3 1/2”. IT DOES! Good Girl, Sophia! She’s ready to be sewn on ---but which project first?
Several pages of book editing have been completed. One load of laundry has been done. I ran a load of dishes. But there is so much else to be done in this house that I don’t think any sewing will happen until after I mail out all the mail order tomorrow morning!
Oh, and I still have to finish the pattern instructions for Midnight Flight BEFORE TUESDAY. Maybe there won’t be sewing time yet. *SIGH* But I’ll be ready when there is!
Ah! Bella Sophia!
On my way out I was offered some "Adjustmints". Too fun!
When asked if I was enjoying my winnings from last time I had to fess up that the jelly beans are now half gone--
And that DH had used my new gifted trowel to dig holes in the back yard to insert golf cups and flags! Oh well, if it makes him happy--
And remember that Necchi machine I found Wedneday?? My justification is that it cost way less than a dozen golf balls----ha!
Yes, it did come home with me!
I'm on my way to pick up "joe cool" from being rewired, and picking up a couple belts---the machine that Gae gifted me needs one before I can give her a test run--
Oh, it's good to be home!
How difficult would it be for you --- if you were/are/wannabe a perfectionist in your quilt-work---to let it go? Meaning …no matching of seams, no pinning, no precision cutting, no matchy-matchy fabric choices. Could you do it?
This was a topic of much discussion, teasing and bantering within yesterday’s Love Shack class in Greensboro.
I told the class to imagine they were making 3rd grade art ---and let it go.
And you know, it’s easy to “nudge nudge” those who are totally uncomfortable with having things be “WRONG” according to them ----and I hope they took the good natured cajoling in stride, knowing we were laughing WITH them, not AT them…because I’ve had the shoe on the other foot, and sometimes it pinches when we are being pushed outside of our own comfort zone.
For instance --- if your self esteem is built on the “as close to perfect as humanly possible” nature of your patchwork…….chopping off the points of a star may really go against every grain you’ve built up for yourself.
This has been a topic of deep thought since I have been posting my Nearly Insane blocks and getting comments like “Ooops, I see some unsewing in your future” “Asymmetry drives me nuts, please fix that” “Did you mean to do that?” “It would look better if you turned the triangles RIGHT”. ((It also always amazes me how vocal people can be in posting a “you sewed it wrong” comment to a blog post!))
To me – the most important thing about yesterday’s class was EXPANDING BOUNDARIES. There may have been one or two things in class that can add some more tools into your “quilt knowledge tool box”. And it might not have been the chopping off of the points, or the mismatching of the seams. It could have been the freedom to explore more fabric choices that gave some more breathing room. It could have simply been spending the day in the company of other guild friends that was what the mind, body and soul needed.
Sometimes --- the things we learn in class are the things we can cross OFF our list as things that are not of interest to us….but I hope yesterday’s students had a great time, because I sure did!
A couple of great Aha moments:
Lettuce containers from Sam’s Club are a great way to store and sort crumbs and bits by color!
A beautiful painted piece of Polish Pottery can provide inspiration for a GREAT color combo for a future quilt! ((Say “Painted Piece of Polish Pottery” 3 times fast, I dare ya!))
Thanks to many suggestions for other slide show alternatives, today’s post is brought to you by SMILEBOX! Let’s see how this works, shall we?
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I’m home for a few days - - I don’t leave again until the 15th. Today will be full of final edits with a phone session ---this is how it works. I print PDFs and go through them with a fine toothed comb, marking up my copies with needed changes. She does the same….then we phone conference and go over them all. It’s getting CLOSER to being done! And as soon as I have a cover --- we will start pre-orders! YAY!
Have a great Friday everyone!