Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We Take Time out From Regularly Scheduled Quilting

to hem THE PROM DRESS. I realize that $20 per layer is probably not minimum wage, but it would have put us over budget.
We're talking 1 layer of dress, 2 layers of lining, and 2 more layers of puffy stuff. So, I'm hemming these acres myself.

It would be easier, perhaps, if the original hem had been straight. And what is it about these fabrics that make the pins come alive, slither out of the fabric, and throw themselves around on the floor?

Frankly, Weasley finds the whole thing exhausting. It make him need a snack.

There's nothing like a good organic apple branch, followed by a nap! Weasley is the one who looks dead. He's not.

And then maybe a little more refueling with some papaya....

Boy is he glad THAT job is done! (You can see that Ginny still has some energy left.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Creative Cue: Rich

Growing up. I had three brothers. Actually, I still have three brothers, they are just spread all over the country.

I must watch too much CSI. That last statement just sounded so wrong!

Starting over.

I have three brothers. The oldest one was known by his middle name, Richard, or usually Rich, when we were kids. Now he goes by his first name, but that is not important here. When I saw that this week's Creative Cue was rich, I immediately thought of him.

Since he obviously doesn't fit the dictionary definition, I put that idea aside. I tried to decide on another picture. But all week long, I kept coming back to a picture of him with his first daughter. He had his kids at a little later age than the rest of us, and they are his princesses. Finally, I saw what had been jumping up and down in front of me all week. When this picture was taken, he was feeling very rich.  And here they are.

You can tell that she is already making her opinions known, and he may be feeling a little overwhelmed, but he was definitely happy.

Mom, Sis, I don't know which one of you took the picture, but I hope you don't mind that I used it. Thank you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

There Has Got To Be Something Good Back There!

Hi! Ginny here. I really think Mom must be hiding something good behind the washing machine, but she never lets me back there. I don't know why she won't share, but I have a plan. If I hide behind this basket, she won't see me, and then I can sneak back there....

Fine! I'm leaving!

Maybe I need to chew over my plan for awhile..., or maybe chew on this cord.

Oh, great! Now I just heard Mom tell the curly-headed one that we have to go in our cage tonight while her friends are over. Why do we have to go to jail, just because she is letting a horde of teenagers with giant feet into the house. Proportionately, my feet are bigger, and you know my teeth are sharper. Maybe I should have taken a bite of this while I had a chance.

If you hear a loud thumping coming from Worcester County tonight, you'll know its me!

Creative Cue: Tip

Still catching up here, so this is last week's Creative Cue. The word was tip, and these are some tips that are pretty important around here. Some are sharper than others.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A New Block

Nope, not writer's block. There haven't been any posts for a while, but it wasn't writer's block. Just a lot of little things conspiring to keep me from sewing and/or from the computer.

To get back into the swing of things, I thought that I would show you my (almost) finished block from the embroidered quilt block of the month project from The Raspberry Rabbits.  It's almost done, because Shell's block shows lace at the top and bottom. I don't have a lace that I like for this, so I'm still looking.

I have also finished stitching the third block in the series, but it is not yet assembled and embellished. That will be done soon.

  • Ginny is doing well, she seems fully recovered. 
  • Second daughter is back from Disney. The jazz band performed in the pouring rain, and then packed their performing clothes in plastic. Three days later, when the trailer arrived with the luggage, you can imagine the smell. Oh, well. They played well, and had fun. That is what counts.
  • First daughter should have arrived home from Great Britain the same night as her sister, but they were stranded in Philedelphia overnight. Apparently when a large group misses a connection, it is very hard to reschedule them these days. They survived a night in a nasty hotel, courtesy of   airline vouchers, and arrived home the next day. Good thing college students are adaptable.
  • Weasley, he's asleep. Like usual.
Hope your day is a sunny one!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad

St. Patricks's Day is a very lucky day in our family, because it's my Dad's birthday. Last year I made this quilt for him based on his astrological symbol (Pisces). It showed him and his old dog Oreo, who had recently passed away.

Have a great birthday, Dad! Hope Ed cooks you a nice dinner, and Mom makes THE CAKE (send me a piece?).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Anyone Have Plans For An Ark?

We aren't even in the area of the state that is getting the most rain, and it still feels like we might need to start construction on a boat! The weathermen keep saying it's going to get lighter, but I just looked outside and it's raining harder than ever. The local newspaper was filled today with pictures of people being rescued from cars that have tried to go through some of the larger "puddles".  Maybe we will see the sun tomorrow (I'm now singing the song from Annie-be glad there is no audio!).

Today I finished the border for the string quilt, and pieced a back for it. In these pictures, the back is shown with the border edge of the quilt stretched out across it. The "flowers" in the border are small 2 inch pieced squares, applied with a close zigzag. The vine is attached with a wider zigzag stitch, on a rough edge. It is almost symmetrical, but I allowed the leaves and tendrils to come off the vine at slightly different angles on each side, just for fun.  

Tomorrow I will shoo the rabbits from the front room, and use the floor to baste the three scrap drawer quilts. Then I finally get to start quilting them. The quilts, that is, not the rabbits.

Hope your day is sunnier than ours.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Mom, You Said We Wouldn't See Those Again For Three Months!"

The word for this week's Creative Cue was "clip". Once again, I made my drawing on the sewing machine, using a free-motion technique. 

You can just imagine the naughty words going through Weasley's mind when I brought these out for reference. If you think bunnies don't know naughty words, then you've never had one run away from you alternately flicking its feet in distaste, and thumping!

Hard to believe we have already done ten words. It's fun to come up with your own interpretation of the words. It's even more fun to see what spin others put on them, and to read the stories that go with their drawings.  If you haven't joined in yet, check out the new word when it goes up tomorrow at Three Creative Studios, and give it a try.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Color would You Want To See

When I am looking aroung blogland, I love to come across sites where people are showing off fabric that they have dyed themselves. Every individual has their own style, and their own colors, and the results are always very interesting. I have done some dyeing, but not alot, partly because I am always so indecisive about what colors to make. I like them all!

I was recently reading another Karen's blog, A Creative Kick in the Pants, and asked her about how she choses her colors for dyeing. I was wondering if she had a specific palette she worked from, or if she dyed for a specific project, or if she tried to get a full range of colors. In her answer, she echoed my own feelings when she said "I love all colors, especially together." You should go check out her site, her projects are beautifully rich in color. Then, come back.

OK. Now that you are back, and I have pulled the treat-seeking bunny off my pant leg, I will show you why I have been thinking about color.

In the background is work being done on the side border of my string quilt, but what I want to tell you about is the book. Shades of Grey, a new book by Jasper Fforde is a really thought provoking book. It is witty and amusing, while also tragic and dark. The premise is that after the fall of a sophisticated society (maybe our world, maybe not), a culture arises where people can see only one color. Some people, the Greys, see no color at all. This is a very totalitarian society, with rules for things you didn't even think needed rules. 

In this book, at a certain age, everyone is tested to check what color, and how much of that color, they can see. To qoute the book: "Noone could cheat the Colorman and the color test. What you got was what you were, forever. Your life, career and social standing decided right there and then, and all worrisome life uncertainties eradicated forever.You knew who you were, what you would do, where you would go and what was expected of you."  The book follows the protagonist as he awakens to the bad side of his culture, and begins a revolution. Luckily, Jasper Fforde is hilarious, or this might have been depressing reading.

But, as interesting as the commentary on society is, what got me to read the book was the idea of a whole people  with limited color vision. Can you imagine never seeing color? I know some quilters who say "I can't stand ___________".  Fill in the blank, usually with orange, yellow, brown, whatever. Can you really imagine a world without orange sunsets, yellow flowers, or even brown chocolate? (God forbid, we lose the brown chocolate!) There would be so much richness missing from our experiences.

In the book, there are also some rare people who see in the Ultraviolet range, outside of human vision. There are insects who can see in this range. I remember seeing a nature show on TV that gave an idea of what they see looking at flowers that we completely miss. It's a whole other level of reality.

I'm so glad that we see as much color as we do. It adds so much beauty to everday life. But, if you could only see one color, what would you want it to be?  I think I vote for green, in all its nuances from spring green, to the dark greens of late summer, and the dull olive greens of autumn....

It is a very grey day here. The only color I found to show you was the rainbow in Second Daughter's room.

First Daughter, if you are reading this, have fun in England, and stay safe. We love you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Bag

Way back in January (why does that seem so long ago?), I showed a bag made for First Daughter. Recently one of my Monday morning quilting buddies decided we should do a project together, and she chose the Bow Tucks Tote pattern from Quilts Illustrated.  This was designed by Penny Sturges, like the bag I made for First Daughter. The fabrics I chose were shown here, and here is the finished product.

For the closure, I didn't have a large button or toggle in a good color. Instead I took a corner of the lining that I cut off while boxing the bottom of the bag, and stitched a smaller button on to it. It seems to do the job, and looks kind of cool.

The inside is roomy, with lots of pockets for phones, notebooks, pens, drawing supplies, etc.

I am very happy with the bag, and highly recommend the pattern. It is easy to follow, and allows a lot of room for creative use of fabric.

One thing that I did change was to use a different fusible batting, because I have had problems with the one called for in the pattern. As it turned out, I liked the one I chose even less. It was too stiff and thick, and left lots of bits of itself around. The remainder actually went into the trash, which doesn't often happen to leftovers around here. Now I am wondering if my issue with fusible batting is really an iron issue. Do you think maybe I need a hotter, or steamier, iron? Have you had some experience with fusible batting not sticking?

Ginny seems to be doing very well the last couple of days, so we may be out of the woods with her GI stasis (knock on wood). Yesterday, we had a little kale competition here.

Ginny (on the left) pulled the kale right out of Weasley's month, and ran into the cage with it. I had to give him a new piece.

Sometimes when she steals a treat from him, she runs around the whole house, and loses the treat along the way!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Creative Cue:Stem

The word for the past week's Creative Cue was "stem". Since I like working from my garden, I immediately decided to do a sketch of some dried up stems of last year's garden. But somehow, I just couldn't get started. And then all of the sudden, on Thursday, an image of a bicycle wheel popped into my head. My sketch is part of a wheel, complete with valve stem.

Like all my sketches for this series, this was done with a free-motion technique on my sewing machine, in black thread.

Yesterday was our first sunny day in I don't know how long. The buns really enjoyed it. 

They followed the sun across the room and back, all day long. Like a rabbit sun dial. Here's to another sunny day today, for us, and for you also.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Goes On In A Bunny Brain?

Sometimes you just have to wonder what are they thinking? Although she is not eating her pellets (she is nibbling at hay), so far today Ginny has been caught eating:
  1. cardboard
  2. basket (actually a bunny toy)
  3. towel
  4. safety cover for lamp cord
  5. strap to The Man's laptop bag
Oh, and I did just remove her from a quilt before she sank those teeth in.Do you think she might be part goat? Maybe I'd better hide the tin cans. 

These are the blocks from yesterday, all sewn together. It ended up slightly too narrow to my eyes, so I added a border on one side. There will be a vine with stylized flowers placed on top of that border, but I haven't gotten that far yet. This was option number two. First, I thought about adding a strip of horizontal pieced logs down one side, separated from the body of the quilt by a narrow white border (1 inch). Hopefully, I have made the right choice.

It may be a few days before I can show you the final result, since I  travel to North Adams tomorrow, to bring First Daughter home for the weekend. That means Second Daughter will have to let ME have the car! Hah!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More Blocks From the Scrap Drawer

Today was spent making a stack of string blocks from the strips of fabric in my overflowing scrap drawer. I can close the drawer now, but it is still very full. It must have been almost ready to explode before I started piecing tops from it. Here are some trimmed, and untrimmed blocks.

 One thing that always fascinates me about scrap quilts is how the most unusual combinations of fabric can result in a nice looking quilt. I mean really, who would ever walk into a quilt store and buy these combinations of fabric on purpose:

Or these:

Or these:

And yet, when you put all the blocks in a scrap quilt together, the result is usually quite beautiful. At least, that is what I am hoping for when I sew these together tomorrow! I'll let you judge when its done.

Something else that is interesting with these blocks is the occasional appearance of fabrics that I swear I have never seen before! We all become so familiar with our fabrics that we can pick them out in other peoples quilts, even years later. So where did these little alien scraps come from? My only guess is that they were picked up from someone else's scrap pile in a long ago class. Or, maybe the fabric is breeding in that overstuffed drawer.....

Ginny is still not completely healthy, but is doing well enough that I was able to give her her haircut this past weekend. Weasley had his haircut also, because I didn't want her grooming him and ingesting more hair. Here he is before haircut.

And, here he is after.

Notice the glare. Some people's rabbits go into a trance during haircuts. Mine spend the whole time telling me off. I don't blame them. I give terrible haircuts. But at least the job is done, and it won't happen again for another three months.

Now, back to trimming blocks, so I can be completely covered in fabric bits before heading off to an evening meeting. I hope to show you those blocks assembled into a top tomorrow.