Monday, August 27, 2012

Imperial Thoughts

Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are -- you aren't.
Margaret Thatcher

Be sure to check out my Blog Hop Giveaway in the previous post.  
It continues till midnight September 3rd.

This and several dozen like it claimed my attention today and probably tomorrow too!  
More about them in a later post.  Like my staging?

Pear with Dramatic Lighting

I do sometimes do other things besides quilting out of necessity.  Moving on to the important stuff now.

Imperial 4 Patch Blocks

I came across this set of blocks a while back on my UFO shelves.  This is a set of Block of the Month Lottery blocks that I won about 20 years ago.  I tried to find the instructions today so I could share the pattern source but no luck so far.  I have one more place to look and I'll add it if I find it.

I had to look at them for a while to figure out which ones I made.  I finally decided it was these two.

My Imperial 4 Patch Blocks

Then I kept looking at one more.  It looked familiar, I knew I had the feather fabric and maybe I had the purple too.  I know I have it now in a green.  Then I turned the blocks over and looked at the thread used.  Sure enough they matched.  I had stitched them with a blue gray and a pale pink not matching the bobbin but just using what was in the machine. So this one was mine too.

Another Block I Made

Looking at these now gives a good snapshot of the fabrics available 20 years ago.  There are a few calicos, some Jinny Beyer, Benartex and RJR prints that I recognize.  Things have really changed.
I have 27 blocks so I could make one more or eliminate a few of the ones that have issues or don't work colorwise.  I could also split them into 2 groups of 12.  I think a group of 15 would be too long but that would use them all.  These are 12" blocks so with a border they would be a generous crib size.  I will be  donating them.

I love asymmetrical blocks like this.  There are so many ways to arrange them.  Just for fun I did a few in a different layout.  Which layout do you like best?  Do you think the purple one should go away?

Not sure the purple block is playing nicely with the others.

My border selections for my Safari quilt need to be made.

Safari Quilt

Want a closer look?

Border Options

On the left is a gold print that would work but I think it might be a little too light.  On the right side is a light rusty orange that looks good.  The gold could perhaps work as an inner border and the zebra print could be cornerstones.  The strips of 2" squares are still hanging there but I still don't think they will work.

Here's a couple of closer shots.  Yes, they do need pressing.

Love the lion's face

Cute little cub!

What choices do you like?  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quilter's Blog Hop Party

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
Gloria Steinem

Quilter's Blog Hop Party with Giveaways  

August 26 - September 3

Quilter's Gallery is hosting a CELEBRATE BACK TO SCHOOL DAYS Blog Hop Party!

I just found out about it as I was scrolling through my Google Reader this morning so I rushed downstairs to pull some goodies for the GIVEAWAY.  Yes, ALL the blogs participating will be giving something away.

Welcome!!!  to all of the blog hoppers who are stopping by this week!!!  Let me introduce myself a little.
I have only been blogging a few months so my blog is still low on content, it is something I am working to change.  I have several tutorials in the works and will be participating in a few more Blog Hops in the next few months.  There is a little more info about me in the right sidebar.  The buttons for the upcoming Hops are there too.  I made my first quilts in the mid 70's and started teaching quilting classes in the early 90's so you can see I have been doing this a while.

While I owned my quilt shop I did a good bit of designing.  I have plans to share some of those designs as well as some new ones here.  I have a enormous number of UFOs and quilt tops that need attention but I am easily distracted by my fabric stash and continue to start new projects. You can see some of my new projects by clicking on Design Wall on my Labels list in the sidebar.  The post on My Studio gives you just a little peak of my stash and projects.  I have a goal of finishing at least 12 projects this year but so far progress has been slow. Projects that I hope to will complete can be seen in this UFO Challenge Pictures  post.  I hope while you are here you will poke around a little and see what I've been up to lately!

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah,  Giveaway Prizes.  This is open to everybody I will ship overseas.  Since I owned a quilt shop I have a bit of inventory that I can pull from.  Here is what I grabbed.  Hope you like it.

Harvest Time

This is a cute little paper pieced pumpkin pattern by MH Designs.

Ties and Tails

For all you cat lovers this is a cute cat pattern by judydidit designs.

Love at First Cluck

If you are a chicken lover, this pattern by Mary Lou & Company will make you smile.

Ahh!! Bali Batiks

If you LOVE batiks like I do these will make you happy! 

*Note: The fabric colors with the patterns is more accurate.  I removed the bags from the patterns to eliminate the glare when photographing.  They are happy back in their bags now waiting for their new home.  I'm promoting this giveaway at  It's a blog party. 

The giveaway will be open until midnight September 3rd.  I will draw for a winner Tuesday, September 4th.

I am giving away ALL 3 Patterns pictured above and AND 
one fat quarter of each of the 3 Bali Batiks!

Here is ALL you have to do to enter my drawing:

Enter a Comment below telling me which of the patterns above you like the best and which of the batik fabrics you like the best.

For a SECOND CHANCE to win become a follower of my blog.

Giveaway is over.

After you leave your comments go check out what other blogs are giving away.  
The list is here at Quilting Gallery's Blog Hop Party

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.
Henry Adams

Crayola Twistable Crayons  What Fun!!

School starts earlier now than it used to.  The county next to ours started back the last week of July.  Our county started the first week of August.  Do you remember what you learned in school?  Some things are only retained with frequent repetition - like math and foreign languages.  Quilting requires some use of math.  I have recently proven to myself my inability to retain some math facts.  I will not admit to bore you with the details but in my defense it has been 40 years since I was in high school.  Suffice it to say that I will double check my figures with a calculator and my formulas with a good reference book more frequently.  Of course I did check the formula with my accountant husband and he agreed with me but he doesn't do geometry regularly like I do with quilting so we were both wrong.  And to think... we met in Geometry Class.

Now in my studio I have several good quilting math fact books that I use.  I also have a quilting calculator that will figure out yardage and other things.  I was delighted yesterday when I was lost on Pinterest and happened to find a FREE DOWNLOADABLE chart for quilters.  You can get it too!

This chart is from the Landauer Corp. Com they publish craft books including quilting books.  If you click this link it will take you to the page where you can view the chart or download a PDF version when you scroll down the page.  You do not have to enter anything into the shopping cart but if you do it is listed as FREE.  A big THANK YOU to them for providing this to quilters!  Now that I have a reference chart in my computer maybe I can stop sounding like an idiot provide intelligent answers and advice without having to go down to my studio for my reference books.

Back to the subject of school.  Having raised four children the smell and sight of school supplies makes me nostalgic.  Seriously, am I the only one who loves to wander through the office /school supplies section at this time of year?  I thought I would share with you some of the fun and useful tools you can grab for your sewing  room now for very little money.  That means you'll have more to spend on fabric right?

First for this month's find.  What do you think of this pile of zippers?  Love the colors!!!

Cool Colors in Zippers

Maybe you can guess from the label but they become this pretty little thing!

Zipit Pencil Pouch

I know they make these in all sizes.  I saw a tote bag somewhere.  I found this treasure at the grocery store.

Now this next little goodie I've seen all over the place for a few years now.  Usually priced at $1.

Sliding Drawer Pencil Case

I've snapped up a few of these a couple of times.  They come in bright colors and are fairly rigid.  I'm using them for different pencil collections to travel with my journals and sketch books.  I also think they would be great to use like this:

Safety Travel for Rotary Cutters

There's nothing like reaching into a bag during class and hitting the sharp end of a rotary cutter.  Ouch!
They sell some more ridged fatter ones at quilt shops but this does the job for less $$.

Last time I was teaching a beginners class I grabbed a stack of these to use for Christmas gifts.  They were on the marked down school supplies aisle and they come in fun colors.  I know many quilters are making bags of all sizes but I got these for less than what a zipper would cost and I didn't have to spend any time making them.  The sides are see through too.  

There is a Pocket in the Lid Too!

See the pencil case easily would fit inside.  Scissors and seam rippers would not poke through the vinyl sides, bobbins and needle packs would not sink to the bottom of your tote bags.  Lots of uses for these 
don't you think?

Now this little treasure was a real splurge as I already have a couple of nice desktop tape dispensers.

Lime Green Tape Dispenser

But I did not have a cute little stubby lime green one.  It wasn't expensive, it is weighted and I found it at the grocery store on the office supply aisle.

Well students, quilt class is in session soon.  Are you ready with your supplies?  Do you have a cool idea for using them?  Share it in the comments, include a link to your post about it if you have a blog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Studio

Things are seldom what they seem.
Sir William S. Gilbert

Moda Bake Shop has been have a Link Party for showing off your studio and stash.  I'm coming late to the party but sneaking in before the deadline.  I hear there are some prizes to be awarded too.

Here are a few shots of a few corners of my domain.  My studio inhabits the entire basement of our home.  It is three large rooms and two large closets and an under the stairs closet.  I have a lot of sewing and quilting stuff and I fill the space.  I put in my years sewing in much smaller spaces but after closing my quilt shop I had a good bit of inventory to place.  When two of my children moved out within a month I was able to claim the space and finally unpack things.  I also have a shortarm quilting machine and a longarm quilting machine.  The shortarm is for sale I haven't used it in about 8 years.  The longarm can be seen here.   

Janome 6600

This is my Janome 6600.  I do all my piecing on it unless I'm traveling then I use my Elna Quilter's Dream.  The Janome resides next to my serger.  I mostly use it to finish the edges of fabric before washing and to stitch the edges of quilt tops after they finished to keep them from fraying and seams from coming loose.  I wrote about it in this post.

Elna Serger

Here is my serger corner.  I keep tools within reach, a CD player for my Books on Tape that keep me company, extra thread and the drawer unit on the right also holds some tools and instruction booklets.

My Work Station

Here you can see how I can easily swivel my chair for each machine.  The corner shelf unit holds boxes of extra sewing machine and serger feet and accessories.  The top shelf has a large jar of bindings and a nice quilter doll to keep me company.

Tools on Pegboard Wall

At the opposite end of this room is a sheet of pegboard that holds templates, stencils and a variety of other tools.  You can see the end of the shortarm at the bottom of the picture.  The hot water heater is located to the right of the picture.  The two opposing walls each contain a design wall and they can be seen in a few other posts.

Boxes of Projects

The large closet behind this room holds most of my fabric stash.  Here is two shelf units full of projects all in various stages of completion.

Some of My Fabric Collection

There are many large totes of fabric in the closet as well as fabric on shelves.  Here is a neater section.

Pulling Fabric for a Project Disrupts the Order

This is what happens when I start looking for something.  Those red ones are 50 gallon tubs.  There are six that size, some of them are blue.  Two of them are full of Christmas prints, one is full of fabric for clothing and three are full of large cuts for backings.  There are a few others that are color designated. 

I have a post with pictures of the thread stored in this closet here.  My cutting table and ironing board is located in the main room, sorry no pictures of that.  It is due for a major clean up and put away session.  There is a picture of the end of the cutting table here. 

Well that the tour for today.  Hope you liked it!  I haven't been blogging for long and would be really pleased if you decided to be a follower or just leave a comment.  I'm going to be participating in four blog hops in the next couple of months I hope you will stop by again! 

May all your piecing be peaceful!


Monday, August 20, 2012

A Good Start

Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible.
Pearl Bailey

I put the first 16 blocks of the Arrowhead block up on the design wall today.  There will be more to come.

Arrowhead Christmas Blocks

I was working on this Flip Flop Block quilt back in the Spring.  That was just a few weeks ago, right?  If time start passing any faster I'm not sure I get anything else finished this year.  I have mixed feelings about the pattern.  I like the way it looks, this version is called Shadow Block, but there is a bit of wasted effort and fabric in the process.  You cut, sew, re-cut, sew and re-cut.  See the rows of squares on the right side and at the bottom?  Those were from 2" squares that I was able to get from the cut offs I just referred to.  I also have about an equal amount of 2 1/2" squares.

Shadow Blocks

My fabric choices are a bit low contrast and the quilt looks a little dark to me but lighter prints just did not work.  I had planned to use the squares in the borders but now that they are up on the wall together I think they detract from the curves in the blocks.  I need to decide on a border fabric.  I was thinking that a zebra print might look good but now I think it would be too light.  With borders this will be a good crib size quilt.  My question is will the scary African Masks and wild animal prints terrify a baby?  Any thoughts?

Sharing on Design Wall Monday and Fabric Tuesday and Linky Party Tuesday and WIP Wednesday

Oh, I got my Links Page up now!  Still have a few more to add but check it out!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keeping Busy

It is not enough to be busy....The question is:  what are we busy about?
Henry David Thoreau

I have been busy, and then at the end of the day I sometimes wonder where the day has gone and what do I have to show for my efforts.  Now that I am not so young anymore (notice I am NOT admitting to being old) it becomes more and more important to make each day count.  Sometimes not doing something can be important too.  The need for perspective is clear.  As an artist I learned how to draw with perspective, it is a concept that can be taught and applied.  Can I also apply a perspective vision of past, present and future to my daily tasks with equal clarity? OK, that's enough deep thinking for now, don't want to put you in a brain fog from too much navel gazing.

Balancing Act Alternate Blocks

I do have a few things that I have been working on to share.  The stack of rectangles above will be added to the Balancing Act Blocks on my design wall.  I haven't been in the mood to arrange and re-arrange them yet.  I have been in the mood to do some cutting, just what I need to do start more projects. HA!

Paired Squares of Christmas Prints

Here is a stack of starched and pressed Christmas Prints.  After a couple of seams and a couple of cuts they look like this:

Christmas Blocks Cut Apart

Then with a little more sewing and trimming they turn out like this:

Before and After Trimming

They are one of the projects in this book.  Since I have more Christmas fabric than will fit into not one but two 50 gallon totes I have been trying to piece at least one Christmas quilt a year.  I'm sure some of this fabric is from the 80's.  This block is called Anita's Arrowhead and is from this book:

Anita Solomon's Book

I'm not sure yet is I like her method for this block.  It has all bias edges but the first thing you do is starch the fabric so the stretch is minimal so far.  I'll be able to tell more when I sew them together.  Not all of the blocks in the book end up with bias edges.  The one on the cover doesn't.

Big and Little Triangles

As if that wasn't enough cutting going on I've also been hacking on these fabrics.  The large rose print was from a dress I made my oldest to wear to her eighth grade dance.  I have destroyed the dress now and have turned it and the remnants from making it into these and also some squares and rectangles for another project.  I found some pinks and other prints with roses to add to the mix.

Quite a Stack of Triangles

Yep, it'll be queen size.  I need to get over this bed size quilt thing I've had going for a while now.  Sure they use more fabric up but they take soooo long to make.   I'll share what the block looks like when I get a few together.  I'm thinking it needs some green too.  What do you think?
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