Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Diagonal Quilting - A Problem?

The line of life is a ragged diagonal between duty and desire. 

William R. Alger

I love the way that diagonal quilting looks.  I have used it on a few quilts.  It looks really good on an Irish Chain Quilt and similar patterns where chains of squares or triangles march across the top in a bold angular line.  There can be a problem with it however as I was told by other quilters many years ago when I was talking about how much I liked it.

Can you see the problem?

I've been trying to photograph all the quilts I have that I've made and are still in my possession.  I have found some problems with some of the older ones.  Now I'm a firm believer in using quilts and not keeping them put away for fear of them becoming damaged.  I think they and art of any sort should be enjoyed everyday of your life.  Today is the only day we have to enjoy anything after all.  Tomorrow isn't here and yesterday is but a memory so enjoy life and ALL it's treasures TODAY!   Excuse me while I go pet my fabric...

OK, I'm back now.  Where was I before I was getting so, so ... well, I'll move on.  Do you need another picture of the problem?  How about the right side.

Sweet kitty face!

One of the things I like about diagonal quilting is that it is possible to quilt an entire quilt with very few stops and starts.  I think that is what I did on this one.  Start at a corner and quilt across to the other edge, pivot sew the the other edge, pivot and so on.  There are some diagrams in quilting books and probably on the web of how to do this.  It is fast, done with a walking foot, and if the quilt is basted well you will not get tucks when you cross the previous quilting.  It looks good when it is done and can be done on any scale and with any distance between lines of quilting.

So what's the problem?  Bias, the first thing a quilter or  sewist should learn is about fabric grain.  Lengthwise grain has little stretch and is very stable.  Crosswise, from selvage to selvage, is stable but has a little stretch but bias, the 45 degree angle of fabric, has a lot of stretch.  Thread and seams sewn with a straight stitch have little give to them.  Therein lies the problem.  As the quilt above has been used, tugged on and loved some of the quilting seams are popping.  The fabric stretches but the thread not so much.

What to do?  I will repair the quilting.  I think I did a couple of places in it a few years ago.  It may need more in the future.  It's an easy fix and I still have the matching thread.

As I surf the web I see many quilts, frequently modern types of quilts, by quilters new and old that have diagonal quilting.  If you love it do it.  There are a few tricks you can do to cut down on the stress on the quilting lines [-just had to use that phrase ;-) -] that you can do.

  • Quilt only one or two rows of blocks at a time.  Go across the quilt with a large 'V' or 'W' pattern.  By using a shorter line of quilting there will be less stress.  The final look will be about the same.  Longarm quilters have to do this all the time because of the limited space that they can quilt at a time.
  • Use a very small zig-zag stitch to quilt with.  This puts more thread in the line of stitching and therefore you have more stretch.  Stretchy knit garments are sewn this way because the seams will have give.  The newer machines have a stitch that almost looks like a straight stitch but is in fact a nearly vertical zig-zag.
  • Use a wave stitch or stitch with a wavy line.  This again uses more thread and is not just stitching on the true bias only.

Now I guess you would like to see what the whole quilt looks like.  The name of it is "My Cats Love Plaid".  It is a tessellating cat that was fun to do.  I used cat prints in one direction and neutral tans and browns in the other.  Large border and backing were plaids.

My Cats Love Plaid

So that's my life lesson for the day.  Would you like to see what I'm working on now?  I'm not telling what it is or what it's for but here is a hint of pretties to come soon.

Playing with More Batik 

Have you had any problems with diagonal quilting?  What did you do?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

100 Day Hustle

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. 
Zig Ziglar

Did you know that the end of the 2012 is less than 100 days away?  Time continues to fly by at an every increasing speed!  Kelsey over at Kelsey Sews is having a 100 Day Hustle to help procrastinators like me get things done before the end of the year.  So I decided to give it a try.  Maybe I can get the things on my UFO Challenge done as well as a few other things that need to be finished.

Here is what I'm putting on my to do list:

The quilts listed on my 2012 UFO Challenge.

3 Blog Posts for the 3 Blog Hops I'm in the first 10 days in October.

2 Charity Quilts

4 Longarm Quilting Jobs

There is probably a few more things that need to be and will be done but that's all I've got to list today.

Say a prayer for me to stay on task and get them ALL done!  A little extra help couldn't hurt!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perspective at 100

If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age. 

George Burns

An Impressive Horse Statue

I love to look at horses.  I think they are so beautiful (just don't ask me to ride one).  I love art made with horses in it.  This one was designed by one of the world's most famous artists.  We saw it back in January of 2010.  It was magnificent!  Want another view?

An Even Better View

Isn't he impressive!!!  I realized this morning that according to my visible stats, I've reached the 100 followers mark.  I want to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you!  I may have reached this impressive (to me at least) mark a little earlier but I don't have a way of checking all the the RSS feeds out there.  I am excited and humbled by this.  I realize that some of you have signed up just to get in on the prizes that I offer.  That's fine.  I've done that on a few blogs too and don't have a problem with it.  so far, I have made following my blog optional to be a winner so I like to think that the numbers are from people who have felt a connection with me in some little way from what they have been reading here.  

The Rule of Perspective

It was a cold and rainy day when we made the trek into the city to see the High Museum's Leonardo da Vinci exhibit.  The horse was in the courtyard and was the first thing we saw.
When I was in one of my first art classes in high school I'm sure that I learned this rule of perspective.  If you want the viewer to be able to relate to the size of an object in a picture you put a person in it.  These are two of my favorite people.  The others weren't there at the time.  I realize the picture is a little slanted but when I tried to straighten it I was loosing part of the horse's ear.  Apparently I have a tendency to hold my camera crooked.  It must be a eye dominance issue.

Sforza Monument Info with Raindrops

What I find even more impressive about this horse is that Leonardo designed it more than 500 years ago.   Now I hold no hope that what I have done or will do in my lifetime will be remembered 500 years from now.  Perhaps a few of my descendants will be alive and may have me on a list of ancestors somewhere but it's doubtful.  My quilts will survive me but I doubt they will last that long either.  Da Vinci is a name known worldwide now and it probably will be 500 years from now too.  If you want to know more about this project perhaps Google will help.  

What can I learn from this?  Leonardo worked on this project over a 17 year period.  It was never completed.  I have more than one quilt project that I can say that about.  I refuse to count exactly how many that can be said about.  I'll get them done one day!  Before I left the museum that day I purchased this magnet.

It's nice to know that I think like that too!  Great minds think alike, right? LOL  I've been trying to photograph all my quilts lately.  I have found that as I look them over this one needs a repair here, that one has a place where the binding didn't get stitched and more than a few need labels.  Maybe it will get done or not.

Back to all you 100+ wonderful followers.  I have a giveaway going on now that will end Sunday night.  When I announce the winner, next Monday, October 1, I will also announce a giveaway that will be just for you!  Thank you for being interested in my little corner of blog land.  I have several posts that I want to get done like the Easy Angle tutorial.  I have a lot more pictures of quilts that I have taken that I need to get edited.  If you haven't checked out my 'Quilts' page yet I have put some of them there.  I will continue to do so and want to post a story about each of them too.  They are not in any particular order as of yet.  In the mean time I am working on not one or two but THREE big post days, October 4, 8 & 10.  The buttons are in the sidebar.  So I'm staying busy just not able to do a lot of writing and editing yet.  I also have a quilt on the longarm that needs more attention and a few more waiting to follow it.  Maybe I need to get off the net now and get busy!

Take a minute to share your perspective on art or unfinished projects in the comments.

Thank you again for following my blog!!!

Sharing on Live a Colorful Life

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Favorite Quilting Tools

Do not wait;  the time will never be just right.  Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
Napoleon Hill

4 1/2" Easy Angle

Thearica over at Pigtails and Quilts put up a post about favorite quilting tools yesterday.  It of course has taken a while to get a post together but I am.  I've been thinking about making it a regular feature here for a while.  Since I, having been a quilter for so long, have an abundance of notions and gadgets that I could talk about.

My favorite tool hands down is the Easy Angle.  It was invented over 20 years ago by Sharon Hultgren.  She has invented a number of tools for quilters.  It was the first specialty tool I purchased.  I had a cutting mat, rotary cutter and a ruler or two that I had been using for a few years.  I think it was in 1992 she offered a class to quilting teachers in the Atlanta area and I was able to attend.  I had just began teaching quilting and was trying to learn as much as I could.  She was a wonderful teacher and the class included how to use her Easy Three, Easy Hexagons, Easy Six and Easy Eight tools as well.

The Easy Angle makes it possible to cut triangles from the same size strip that you cut squares.  You don't have to cut a strip that is 3/8" larger just for the triangles.  

Example: For Squares that finish at  1/2" you cut a 3" strip.
                  For Triangles that finish at 1/2" you cut a 3/8" strip.

The top of the tool is squared off so the 3/8" is eliminated.  The other point of the tool is colored dark for the 3/8" measurement.     You also are able to just cut the triangles.  There is no need to cut squares first and them cut them into half square triangles.

The 4 1/2" Ruler in the center of the picture above was her first one.  It only had the 1/2" marking grid.  She improved it within a couple of years to have the 1/4" grid marks.  It was also offered in the blue for a while.

6 1/2" Easy Angle

At some point she came out with the 6 1/2" version of the ruler.  I have two of these.  I keep one with my traveling supplies usually.

Easy Angle II

There is also the Easy Angle II.  It is a 10 1/2" version of the ruler and I really like to use it for cutting large triangles.

I looked on the web for instruction or a tutorial on using them that I could link to but haven't found one.  The one at the manufacturer's site doesn't have the pictures up.  I know Bonnie Hunter uses them on her quilts but the directions are embedded within her quilt patterns.

If you would like for me to make a tutorial on using it I will do that.  Just leave a comment about it and if enough of my wonderful followers are interested I'll put it together.  By the way I'm nearly to the 100 mark on followers and have something special in mind for you!

Linking with Sew Many Ways

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironing Tip

My second favorite household chore is ironing.  My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

Erma Bombeck

A Neat Ironing Trick You Will Love!

For this block the last seam needed to be press toward the center.  This will not always be true for other blocks.

This method will work on ironing the seams joining 
quilt blocks and rows in quilt tops too.

The tutorial for making this block is here.  

Let me know if you think this Ironing Tip is useful.  
I love to read comments!

Leaf Vase Block Tutorial

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot

Welcome to my first Block Tutorial.  I have been excited for several weeks about today because it is my turn on the Quilting Gallery's Glorious Autumn Block Party!

The Party just started last week so if you haven't checked it out yet you aren't too far behind.  Vicki Welsh had a great block post yesterday.  She does great hand dyes too.
Tomorrow Barb at Bejeweled Quilts will have a block.  Now if you like to shop for fabric there are Super Deals to be had each of the 15 weeks.  Today Contemporary Cloth will be offering a special deal for you so check it out.

There are also some great GIVEAWAYS going on.  You have to go to each blog to see what is offered.  Mine is a sweet one and will have 3 WINNERS.  More about that at the end of the post.  Now without further ado let me introduce you to my new block...

Leaf Vase

Since the theme of the Block Hop is Glorious Autumn I could not think of anything more splendid than the colorful leaves of Fall.  (By the way the block is on my ironing board there is not any gray in it.)  Now to download the block pattern just go here.

Today I'm going to share with you the process I went through to select the fabrics for the second Leaf Vase block I made yesterday.  I had wanted to make it in batik fabrics ever since I designed the block.  I made the one above to test the pattern and to show it in printed fabrics.  I know everyone has different preferences in fabric and learning to choose fabrics that show off a block's design lines isn't easy for some quilters.

First I cut out the needed squares and triangles.  Everything is either a 2 1/2" square or half square triangle unit so that's not hard.  I debated over the fabrics and decided to lay everything out on a piece of batting.

First Layout

It was OK but I like my quilts to have a sparkle.  I really love the blue batik I'm using for the vase.  It looks like a cut glass bowl full of water and reflections.  The rusty green leaf on the right is good but the green leaf on the left is kinda flat and the orange top leaf doesn't pop.

Second Layout

So I swapped the yellow and orange.  That seemed a little better but the green leaf on the left just wasn't right and the orange one was still too flat.

Third Layout

Trying a different orange really helped.  My batik stash is mostly the without much texture so I am limited in what I could work with.  I had picked up a few new ones last week.  I finally spotted the blue triangle in the wrong place.  Had you seen it?

Fourth Layout

A new green does the trick!  Now there is a sparkle!  Would you believe the right and left leaf were from the same fabric?  I just cut from different sections of color.

Fifth Layout

The orange really looked good on top and I cut a few brighter yellow pieces for greater contrast in that leaf.  Now on the sewing.

Sewn Triangle units

I chain pieced the triangle units picking them up from the design layout on row at a time.  Read the pressing instructions in the picture above.  I didn't cut them apart until I was back at the design board and I could return them to the right spot as I trimmed the dog ears one by one.  The color shading in the batiks had determined exactly were each one went.  I like puzzles, can you tell?

Sewn Triangles on Layout

Now flip vertical Row 2 on top of Row 1, Row 4 on top of Row 3, and Row 6 onto Row 5.

Paired for Sewing

Carefully stack them from top to bottom and place them beside your machine being careful to not turn any of the stacks.

Time for Some Chain Piecing

Chain sew them together.  Return them to the design board to check the placement.
Only clip the threads between the stacks.  Keep the rows chained together.

Flip Center Rows onto First Two Rows

Chain sew the seams between Rows 2 and 3 the open them and add Rows 5 and 6.

Ready for Rows 5 and 6

Now just sew the crosswise seams.  You don't have to cut the linking threads but you can if you want to.  Using a few pins might be a good idea.

The Leaf Vase Block is together. Now to the ironing board.

Ready for a Good Pressing

Click to enlarge the picture and you can see the direction the seams were pressed.  I have a 
tutorial on a neat Ironing Tip Here.   Since this post is getting so long I made it separate.  This simple tip will work with pressing seams in quilts too so be sure you check it out.  

Nice Flat Seams

Well, that's the wrong side isn't it?  Ready for the big reveal?

Completed Leaf Vase Block

How about a side by side portrait?

Which one do you like best?

Here are some ideas for quilts with this block.  I hope you like this block.  Please share pictures of any projects you make with it with me.

Leaf Vase Wall Quilt
© Patricia Lines 2012

Leaf Vase Tablerunner
 © Patricia Lines 2012

Leaf Vase Lap Quilt
© Patricia Lines 2012

Now on to my Giveaway.  I will use the Random Number Generator to select 3 Winners!
Everything is in just one picture but it will be divided between 3 people.

All 3 Prizes

The Boo! Pattern goes with the 2 Batik fat quarters on the left.  The Little Acorn Tablerunner Pattern goes with the 1 yard of Little Witches and Pumpkins on Purple and the Jack and Fraidy Cats Pattern goes with the 1 yard red print (there are little spiders in the leaves) on the right.  I took the patterns out of their bags so they would photograph better but they are nice and snug back in them now.  All these are new not used.

Drawing is open until midnight EST September 30, 2012.  Winners will be announced October 1.  GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

How to win?  

Leave me a comment about your favorite tree and what color it turns in the Fall.  

Want a second chance to win?  Become a follower and leave a comment that you are.

AFTER you leave your comments (don't pass up on your chance to win), you may just want to go over and check out My Designer Profile Post at the Quilting Gallery. 

It's been a while since I gave an 'interview' and I had to think real hard about the answers to all the questions! LOL  It comes after the Super Deal of the Day so you'll have to scroll down the page to find it.

Linking to Sew Happy Geek and Show Me How

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm a Winner!

The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better. 

Barbara Pletcher

As the first Blog Hop I participated in came to a close I found out that I had won a prize from one of the other blogs in the Hop.  Want to see what showed up in my mail this week?

Isn't it Wild?

This was the 1st prize from This Year's Dozen she has a nice blog with a whole lot of tutorials.  She makes many things besides quilts and is very prolific.  Thank you Donna!  Want to see the inside?

It's a Sewing Basket!

I also signed up to follow a few new blogs as I was traveling around the Hop seeing what others were offering and what their blogs looked like.  I was the 200th follower to sign up on Cyns Quilted Travels and she very graciously set me a gift for it!

More Pretties

I was very impressed.  She even wrapped them.  Thank you very much Cyn!  She has a great blog too with many, many pictures of quilts.

Now don't forget that YOU could be a WINNER too!  This Block Party is going to last for 14 more weeks and on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday new blocks and giveaways as well as new Super Deals from the Sponsors will be announced.  Visit the Quilting Gallery each week to see what's new.

Now for what I've been working on.  I can't say yet but here is another hint.  Remember I have several Block Hops to get ready for.  Check out the links and dates in the side bar.

I'm Playing with Batiks!

I'm Linking up with Sew Happy Geek and Patchwork Times and Freemotion by the River

Thursday, September 6, 2012

So I Baked a Cake

A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.

Ludwig Erhard

Pound Cake

My Mother's response to moments of crisis was to feed people.  This was her gift, hospitality.  She feed the family of course but she also offered almost everyone who touched her life or crossed her threshold food.  Even when times were hard there was always room for one more at her table.  

This week and during this summer there are those who are in my life who are in crisis.  Some I can not do much for, some will never need anything again, and some are too far away to see.  Of course, I can always pray for those in need no matter where they are and that is perhaps the most important thing to do for them.
There is one who is close enough that I could do one other thing for before it is too late...

So I baked a cake.

Mmmm.......... Can you smell pound cake?

This is my favorite go to pound cake recipe.  Cream Cheese Pound Cake it smells so good baking.   It almost always turns out good.  This one didn't put an ounce on my body because I sent the whole thing away and it was greatly appreciated.  A really good feeling without any calories.

Now I know that quilters make and give away quilts to people in crisis but sometimes it just doesn't seem like the right thing to do at the moment.  Quilts also take a certain amount of time to make and you may not know if such a gift would be well received.  Food however is something that is almost always welcomed.

Do you ever find yourself cooking to reach out to someone?  If you do leave a comment with the name of the recipe that you like to use.  If you would like to have my pound cake recipe let me know that also.  I'll be glad to share it.

I'm linking up with Sew Many Ways.
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