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Monday, November 23, 2009

So Many Quilts, so little time..

I'm sure we have all said the phrase, probably more than once, "So many quilts and so little time." So what do we do about it? I found this little wall hanging at a wonderful bazaar that I went to on Friday. The bazaar was exactly what I think bazaar's should be. Handmade items, made by four women. Three generations were represented. They made everything themselves. They had a great variety. Painted, knitted, quilted, baked. Lots of wonderful items to choose from. Good Job Diane, Vicki, Connie and Mom! I was not disappointed at this bazaar, this is what I wanted, items that warm our home even when we don't find the time to make them ourselves.

But I digress...I bought this wall hanging because I like Amish Quilts. I will never make one but this one touched me and I thought "Why not have one, even a small one, even if I'm not going to make one?"

We all have to choose on what we are going to spend our quilting time. I choose to do lots of scrap quilts and I choose to make quilts that aren't too difficult for me. I've quilted for years but I don't like to start a project that is likely to become a UFO after doing the first block. I know some people who love big challenges. Not me! I like little challenges. I'm struggling with my circle quilt. Not because I think it is too hard for me but because there are lots of decisions to make. You've seen my previous posts about deciding how to cut the circles and I have to tell you that after cutting my circles and doing some yo-yo's that I'm glad I took the time to try the differents tools. Now I am struggling with what applique technique to use. I've done turned edge applique, I've done freezer paper applique, I've done fusible applique and I've done machine applique. You would think with this experience that a decision would be easy but....all my other projects have been forgiving. I don't think circles are very forgiving. I want my circles to be circles, knife edge sharp. So I hope, in the near future, after more experimenting, to be able to actually start the blocks for this quilt and to share pictures. Trust me...although it is taking me a long time to get started, this quilt will be done!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving planned. I'm thankful that I have good friends, a great family and time to indulge my quilt passions.

Hugs to All,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Isn't this cute? Sixty years old and I just did my first yo-yo!

Thank you Clover for a good tool and plain directions!

Hugs to All!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Circles~Experience in Cutting Required

The rule for today the directions....if they have adequate directions! I played this weekend with making circles. I first used the hard plastic circle template. No directions required but I wasn't wild about the positions I had to get into to make a complete circle. I didn't want to move the fabric. Maybe if I had one of those cutting mats on a lazy susan type thing this would be my first choice.

My second tool was the WonderArc. Years of sewing? Familiar with putting patterns on folds? Yep! No need to read the directions. I thought. My first circle was flat on one side. Hey! What is going on here? And what is the purpose of the square in the middle of the template for each size?. Read the directions....okay, not all the directions but some of the directions. Oh! The fabric needs to be folded in quarters not just in half! And I did get a perfect circle but I'm cutting just one at a time. The rotary cutter will be the way to go.

How enamoured are we with rotary cutters? What time savers! I did think it would be simple enough to use that if I just scanned the directions I would be able to practice and then make 56 circles in quick time. The directions were adequate....but I missed reading one line "remove the safety cover from the spike". I struggled, I tried to be logical, I tried putting most of my pressure first just over the blade, and then over the (what I considered) the pivot point and I tried putting more pressure towards the end of the "measurement slide" (their term) Darn! That pivot point kept moving!

So instead of thinking "user error" I thought "inadequate directions" and turned to the Internet. I found a site that reviewed the Olfa cutter...the original one was CMP-1 and it didn't get a very good review. The reviewer said that the CMP-3 solved most of the problems. Immediately I thought "Hmpph! That is the problem. I've had this cutter for years (literally) and hadn't even taken it out of it's package it must be the old version." Back into the sewing least feeling that I wasn't the only one that had a problem with CMP-1. But guess what? I DID have the CMP-3. Back to the Internet and the review. Let's see...what didn't I know? I didn't know that there was a spike...not just that black knobby thing I considered the pivot point...all I had to do was pull that black knobby thing off and there was a pointy spike. It worked much better for holding the fabric in place. AND.....with CMP-3 you could slide the handle to a position that gave YOU better leverage. Whatever your cutting style. Give me a break! How clever of them! So now things are making sense. But still, after about a dozen circles, I am not comfortable using the circle cutter. It will take more practice. You have to cut fairly slow or your fabric bunches up ahead of your blade. The reviewer suggested that you consider using use a light fusible interfacing to stablize the fabric. I don't want to do that. I think it will be a while before I feel comfortable enough to cut more than one circle at a time. It will be a while before I feel proficient using the Olfa cutter.

I am impatient and ready for good circles. For now, WonderArc wins! Today I have begun machine quilting the flannel quilt and sewing the red. white & blue quilt blocks and rows together. Maybe tomorrow I can cut some "real"circles for my circle quilt.

Be sure to try something new once in a while...but READ the directions!

Happy Thoughts!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Color by Any Other Name~

What color is this?

Yes, I did take the pictures myself. Thanks for asking!

This weekend Mom, Joanne and I were together having lunch and I mentioned that a new woman had cut my hair and she commented on how pretty my "silver" hair was and how lucky I was to have it. Mom seemed to think my color was more a "gun metal gray" while I said that I had once had a Datsun that was silver and it's color was called "Diamond Dust". Both Joanne and I agreed that "Diamond Dust" sounded prettier and was closer to my hair color than "gun metal gray". Within moments we were again talking about color, this time commenting on a car that was parked outside, it wasn't "white" it was pearl. Mom said "Oyster". You gotta laugh! And we did laugh. When we use fancy words for colors it is going to be hard to come to an agreement what that color really is.

What color do you think Crayola's crayon "Macaroni & Cheese" is? Some will picture it more orange or more yellow or even more white (think about white cheddar).

I think artists that work with oils probably know the true names of more colors than most of the rest of us. I have heard them use the names of their oils and can picture exactly what color they mean. Pure, true, color.

Still, coming up with pretty names is fun.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

More On Templates

I have shared with you the many tools/templates I have for cutting circles but why is it I can't commit to spending that kind of money on templates/rulers for Flying Geese Blocks?

These pictures represent the first Flying Geese I ever made. What you can't tell is that this "quilt" is only 8x9 inches. These flying geese were easy! Maybe that is why I matter that my lack of skill on full size flying geese cost me time and fabric (which of course equals money) I know that the concept is easy.

So through the years I have tried 3 different methods. Originally we cut our triangles and then added smaller triangles onto the original triangle. All those bias edges to mess up! Then someone was bright enough to think "why don't we cut a rectangle, add small squares onto the top corners and then cut those corners off to form the triangle". This definitely was an improvement! Those smaller corners were stabilized by the little squares and didn't become bias until you cut them. Hooray!~ But still I struggled (and it was obvious from a block exchange that I did that many other people still struggled, some geese given to me being unusable).

Recently I saw this video for a new flying geese ruler. Boy I felt like I needed that ruler! It did all the math for you, you got 4 geese out of each square set, yes there is a technique but the ruler made it easy. I liked that you were dealing with squares to begin with and the squares weren't tiny! Yeaaa again! But now working part-time I TRY to not immediately go on line and order these new things. I gave some thought to the method shown on the video and thought "I'm not that math challenged, I would rather figure the math than spend the money....IF I could find the technique online. And sure enough with a little search time I found Instructions done by Patti R. Anderson that demonstrated the technique and the formula for ending up with the desired size geese you need. The ruler made it easier but only because of the math. I used this new to me technique on my recent flannel quilt and it has been the most successful. But, don't you just love "but"? I still ended up making flawed flying geese, just not as many. I try to be exact and careful but I still had defective geese. I've told myself that next time I will do samples of exaggerated mistakes so with the resulting flaws I will KNOW what caused it.....but truly, maybe I will just avoid more flying geese or continue to look for that magic ruler. You know the one that makes perfect geese? Do you think there is anyone out there that has a magic ruler that comes with a guarantee?

Best to All!

p.s. When I learned how to make this small flying geese wall hanging it took me more than 8 hours to complete. And I thought it was going to be a quick "quilt".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Years ago, while coloring in my coloring book, my Aunt Sandy(she is a whole 5 years older than I am) told me that I was coloring the clowns costume the wrong colors. According to her, clown costumes were red and yellow and the colors I was using, purple and red, belonged to gypsy costumes. Was she right?

We do associate different color combinations with holidays. Who decided that red, white and blue represent the 4th of July? Okay, I get that one...the color of our flag. How about and black? Now that I've written that I guess that one is explained by orange pumpkins and black cats or black witches hats. Red and green for Christmas...Christmas trees and Santa's suit of course!

Color is very powerful and the success of your quilt is dependant upon it. But the contrast of lights and darks is as important.

This red white and blue quilt is a scrap quilt. I wanted to stash bust and use up a lot of scraps and strips. And it is an "okay" quilt but how much more effective would it have been if I had used a more dominate color (more contrast) as the recurring color rather than the mid range blue? The diamond shapes would really have stood out.

Besides the blocks shown here....they will remain on the wall for the next couple of weeks, while I play with rearranging them to get the whites more evenly spread out, I have another 8 blocks finished. For only 8 more I could have enough for a baby quilt....I did like making those blocks....they were simple and I could listen/watch a movie while I was doing them. Okay, I talked myself into it. I'll do another 8 blocks.

That is AFTER I layer the flannel quilt!