Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Mail

The little quilt for the mug rug swap went in the mail today.  It doesn’t look anything like the other mug rugs!  Virtually every other one is a bright contemporary design.  But my swapee likes Civil War reproductions fabrics and, Lord knows, I have plenty of those (and LOVE them), so I whipped up a half-size version of my Road to Kansas.


I don’t normally wash my little quilts but I went ahead and washed this one to get a crinkly old fashioned look. 

The grand news in my quilting life is that the gadget girl in me succumbed and bought an Accuquilt Go.  I have been playing with the Round Flower die (much more on that coming later) and made a couple of reproduction fabric coasters to go with the mug rug.


I’m not absolutely pleased with my ideas on those yet –  a little playing around yet to do.  Still, possibilities.

Another swap block went out today as well – a wild and crazy little house.


I’ve still got a few more swap blocks to make up before I am right with the world.  After that, too many ideas in my head.  First, there’s that Accuquilt.  Oo0h la la!  I’ve got lots of ideas floating around but first off, I’ll be showing a mail sack bag and a wall quilt in progress.  I don’t have any photos yet so that will have to wait a day or two.

And then the other thought: next year is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War (as, really, most quilters know).  We’re rather big into the Civil War in my house and besides that, I do love those reproduction fabrics, so I think I need to dedicate some of 2011 to Civil War projects as well.

And, of course, if I could just have the time to do all this, I’d be fine.  (One of the wisest things anyone ever said to me was that people confused buying a book with buying the time to read it.  Triple that five times over for quilt ideas, right?)

Meanwhile, it has been a cold and blustery day here in the Fort.  Still, there I was, bundled up resembling the Michelin tire man (only not such a happy face) so that I could take the bundle of energy pup out for his walk – because otherwise he is a crazy bundle of energy pup.  Brrrr!  Heroic, I say.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little Trees

Well, Sharon had asked and I had started my little trees working with the Pyramid Triangle foundation.  Like this little guy:


But I hadn’t quite gotten the technique down at that point.  Not only that, the Quilt Layout Diagram had errors!  Yikes.  Now, here it is: a new QLD.  With numbers!  (That’s a first for me.  All my foundations use letters, but numbers just make way more sense with this one).

Pyramid Triangle Little Xmas Trees

This is a very scrappy pattern, and I could, of course, have simply drawn my patches at random for that authentic scrappy look.  I have never been good at the authentic scrappy approach.  I always cheat and lay them out first. 


Here’s the foundation with numbering.  That just looks so odd to me.


And with the seam allowance lines added.


I only added lines where I needed them, that made this go much faster.  Though I didn’t notice until I was adding patches at the end that I missed drawing the lines after patches 4 on the far right column.  Oops. 

Here’s the foundation partway through, looking very airy.


And with all the patches added: 


Which brings us to a little tree.


Times twelve.


Now, Sharon wanted these to make up little pincushions.  I looked at these, and much as I thought they would make up very cute pincushions, I knew I just didn’t have twelve little pincushions in me (remembering that I still have twelve little trees in process from my first take on this pattern).

However, a little quilt did sound quite lovely.  I love this Moda Fruitcake fabric, the one on the top of the charm pack.


About thirty years ago my brother came up with the idea that instead of exchanging regular presents for Christmas, that he, my sister, and I should exchange ornaments.  What a wonderful idea that was – and now, every year when I set up the tree, I have this great collection of ornaments that each have their own memories.  So, that’s why this fabric, with it’s collection of ornaments, just says Christmas and family to me.  Which is why it just made me happy to use it in the border of my Little Trees miniature quilt.


Yup, I just love this little guy.  Love the border fabric, and the little trees just make me happy.

Give me a day or two to get past Thanksgiving and I’ll have the project up on my website.

It’s cold outside but inside I have a warm hubby and a sweet dog, all of us in good health.  Tomorrow the kids are coming for turkey dinner.  My own true love has cooking the feast down to a fine art, so my job is to set the table and mash the potatoes.  I have more things to be grateful for than I can list.  I am truly thankful.

Wishing all of you a grand and happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It’s a Start

Well, I had to take a little break from grading, didn’t I? 

I thought I’d play with Sharon’s request for little trees from the Pyramid Triangle foundation.  First, I designed a Quilt Layout Diagram in EQ.

pyramid tridangle tree pincushion

Do NOT go ahead and try and use that (just in case anyone is so moved.)  One, you might notice that I have some of the letters labeled wrong in the center bottom triangle.  But more importantly, after my first run through this, I’ve decided that instead of letters I am going to (for the first time with these foundations) use numbers instead – to indicate the order in which to lay down patches.

Still, moving on with my first take: I put down the first set of patches as usual.


After the second set was added:


Adding the third patch:


After placing those single triangle above the pieced pair, I decided that was a mistake, too.  With the next two columns of trees I left those off till later (you’ll see).  Still, after adding the final triangle, moving bravely forth, I started the next column of “trees.”


Here it is with both the second and third columns having been added, though just the triangles that required piecing:


And, now it seems a good time to add those single triangles that form the top of the tree.


Since not all the rows of the foundation need to be (or should be) joined, I cut the foundation apart into sections.


And then joined the rows.  After I joined the rows, I cut the trees into separate units.


I used Fons and Porter’s Pyramid Triangle ruler to cut the setting triangles.  Very easy: Place two squares right sides together and square up the ruler.


Then pivot the fabric and cut another patch set, leaving just a narrow strip of waste.


The pieces orient correctly for your little trees.


Sew them on and add a pieced trunk at the bottom and there you go, a little tree.  (I’m not quite sure how I got my tree trunk off center.  Perhaps it is trying to match the Scotch Pine in our back yard that is most decidedly wonky).


One foundation will make 12 little trees. 

So, I have a little work to redesign the Quilt Layout Diagram and take some better pictures of the piecing process, but there you go.  A couple borders and I think this would make a pretty cute pincushion, or sash a 3 by 4 grid for a mini quilt.

Plus, I have another idea for making a mini quilt using parts of the foundation to create trees.  Good thing Thanksgiving Break is coming up! 

Ah, I just remembered I wanted to include a picture of me in Olathe.  Here I am, at the evening lecture.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Lovely Ladies of Olathe

I had the most wonderful time visiting Kansas.  The Olathe Quilt Guild is full of such talented members – the quilts during show and tell were fabulous, and the members were brimming over with talent and enthusiasm.  They sure are getting a lot done! 

We had fun in the workshop as well.  The class worked on the Pyramid Triangle foundation.  A number of the ladies worked on the new Xmas tree pattern and it was just fun to see how different fabric choices could make them look.  Here’s Linda’s tree.  Isn’t it bright and happy? 

Lindas tree

And here’s Peggy’s – looking beautiful in soft country colors:

Peggy Xmas Tree

Sharon worked on the Four Star project and I love the way the batiks set against black just glow.  It reminds me of stained glass.

Sharons Mini

Sally worked on a Zig Zag design.  Love those reproduction fabrics!

Mary Road to Kansas

Gretchen graciously carted me about for two days and took me on a whirlwind tour of downtown Kansas City.  I didn’t know Hallmark Cards was centered there, or that they have the only World War I memorial in the country.  After I got back home, I showed my husband (the military history guy) the link Gretchen had sent me, and he said, “We definitely need to visit Kansas City.  Perhaps you can go back for an encore and I’ll give the guild a presentation on adaptive error control.”  (Uh-huh).  I enjoyed my time with Gretchen so much.  (Even if I was too full of Girl Scout cookies to have a real Kansas City Barbecue).

Sharon wondered if it would be possible to take the Xmas tree idea and shrink it down to the size of pincushions.  I’ve done a little design work in EQ and this coming week I’ll see if I can try it out (once I get caught up on grading – it is that time of the semester).

I’ll have more photos coming my way, I think, but meanwhile I just wanted to say thanks so much to the Olathe Quilter’s Guild for having me come give a lecture and workshop.  I felt lucky and honored to visit!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Remembrance

I am grateful to all who serve and have served.  I am in particular this day remembering my father and father-in-law who each served in WWII. 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Friday, November 5, 2010

It’s November

It’s November, and that means NaNoWriMo.  Yes, National Novel Writing Month has come back around, and once again, I am joining the madness.  One month, one novel. 

Well, it occurred to me that I need (need, I say) a cute and sexy little journal so that when I am tootling about and a brilliant idea strikes, I can write it down before it is lost forever.  Given the parameters of the month, I’m willing to jot down less than brilliant ideas as well.  In fact, any idea that can get me a little further along on word count sounds good to me.

No mistake – when it comes to NaNo, it is quantity, not quality, that counts!  (50,000 words).

So, here she is – the new journal.


Love those dots and the Kaffe Fasset squares.  Here’s a close-up of the cute vintage button.


You can’t see it all that well, but it’s got a bit of bling, which makes me happy.  I designed it so that my pen can tuck into the side – because there is nothing worse than having an idea, a book, and no pen. 

Here’s hoping it will inspire.  Of course, I need my good luck fetishes, so here it is with the bear who is along for the journey. 


I love how the ribbon bookmark has polka dots to match the dotted black and white fabric.

I took bunches and bunches of photos as I made this up so I will post a tutorial on this sometime during the next week.

Meanwhile, it is just too ironic that I got so excited about making the journal cover that I got behind on word count.  I’m currently at 6,886 words.  I want to be closing in on 9,000 by the end of the day.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Four-Patch Fun

Earlier in the year I looked at how you can use the 13-Square foundation to make nine patch units (see here for the blog entry or visit the Projects 2010 page on my website for a pdf file including the Quilt Layout Diagram).  You can also use it to make four-patch units.


I began with creating a Quilt Layout Diagram.  I could have crowded more four-patch units onto the foundation which, granted, would be more economical, but this spacing is easier to work with.  In this case, ease trumped pennies. 

13 Sq 4 patch 1 

Using this layout gave me 18 units per foundation.

As always, I begin by folding the foundation and then drawing the seam allowance lines.


Because I confuse easy, I drew blue arrows to mark which vertical  lines on the foundation I would actually sew.   (I didn’t bother to mark the Quilt Layout Diagram onto the foundation for this one.  I just laid my patches out in a row and pulled them as I needed them.)


Here it is with the first patch set glued on to the foundation.


Here it is after the first column of four patch units have been sewn and pressed open and the first patches for the next set of four-patches have been added to the foundation. 


Here it is with all the patches added.


Next, sew the rows together (being careful to only sew every other row):


Trimming them down to individual units.


Paper removed and ironed.



And there you go – accurate and fast, fast, fast!

Now, what to do with them?  So many possibilities.