New games

As I said before, this week is shaping up to be very busy and sewing time is at a premium. I’m playing when I can and I have a new toy!

I succumbed to the allure of a new specialty ruler, the Classic Curves ruler by Sharon Mc Connell of Color Girl Quilts. I’ve been wanting to play with the Drunkard’s Path pattern again for a while, but wasn’t sure if I wanted traditional or improv. This decided it for me, along with the other possibilities she shows with the ruler. So, here’s my first try using it.

I’m also using some Sherrill Kahn fabrics that I have savored hoarded for years. I didn’t realize how much of that fabric I had until I grabbed it all off the shelf and unfolded it! Sheesh–yardage! I haven’t bought yardage in years…I’m a fat quarter buyer! This may end up as a very large quilt.

Hmmm….lots of waste fabric with the first few blocks. Each concave cut made from a single square leaves enough waste for a smaller convex piece.

That’s fine if you are planning on making two quilts and you want to buy twice as much fabric as needed! I hate waste and know that I will not make an entire quilt this way. On the instruction sheet is an alternate method of cutting the concave parts with less waste and I haven’t had time to try it yet. If I’m not happy with that, I will consider cutting this half of the pattern using a template. We shall see, when I have a bit more play time!

I also put together some basic step-outs for making a hanging sleeve. I have to do a demo for anyone at our next guild meeting who is unsure of how to do it. I thought it was a totally basic skill until I realized that many, many people never hang a quilt on a wall. They make them for beds, believe it or not!

I used a hunk of some of my oldest–should I say vintage?–fabric and every time a bit of that is gone, I smile! Happy to de-stash in any way I can!


Possibilities Day

All the fabric is in play today! Don’t have a project in mind, so it’s a day of looking at what’s on the shelves to see what inspires.

I wanted to start with this…I really, really did. Black, white, any of the colors within it are all possibilities.

And I’d dearly love to use up this collection.

I love all of these…not all together, of course.

And this piece of batik jumped out, wanting to be The One.

At least these are yard pieces, not fat quarters, so they are possibilities.

These are 1/2 yards, but I think I could come up with something to use both in the same piece.

A couple of larger pieces that would be good background to the right feature fabric.

Some fabrics that I had grouped together on the shelf don’t actually go that well together!

And some fabrics are either too much of a feature to blend with others, or not enough of a feature and get too blendy! Though I love each and every one of these!

And some fabrics that you haven’t used in years that you just want to be done with!

Haven’t come up with the next project, but I sure enjoyed looking through the treasures on the shelves!


Retreats are for relaxing!

And I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. The first thing I accomplished was quilting Deb’s quilt!

Hooray! After this milestone, it was all play time.

I wanted to start making samples for Blue Lake this summer and I got three little ones done…kind of.

I didn’t take tons of extra embellishment stuff with me, only fabric and thread. I believe that some of these may get some beads here and there!!!

Then I got distracted and started a project with some fabric given to me by Judi Hurwitt, one of my favorite artists.

This is how far I got by Saturday night.

And by the time I left on Sunday, I had quite a bit more stitching done. I’m really loving this piece!

Still need to work on stashbusters but that’s sewing machine stuff in the studio. Relaxing time in the evenings will be continuing on with the hand stitching and the samples.

I have so much good stuff to look forward to……………..

Issues of ‘too much stuff’

Quilt retreat this weekend–hooray! I decided to take my sewing machine and quilt my daughter’s quilt, rather than ONLY take hand work to do. That’s a simple bunch of stuff to pack…the machine, the thread, the quilt, even the binding…Bam! It’s ready.

Then it took me two days to figure out what I wanted to work on for the hand sewing. At first I thought I would use the pile of necktie fabric that I have collected.

You would be surprised at how much fabric there is in a simple silk tie.

And I have plain scraps and glitzy scraps galore, from which to choose.

I know that I want to make samples for our Blue Lake project this summer. Ooooookaaaay! The design of that project will be wide open for student imagination, so my imagination had an awful time trying to figure out what the best examples will be.

Poor empty box here, waiting for me to make a decision…

It’s not as if I’ll be leaving on Monday for that assignment and have to have everything ready. It’s not until July! I’ve got time! But you know how sneaky that time thing is…next thing I know, July will be here and I can’t stand the thought of being unprepared.

What? You think everything I do is totally improvised? HA! When I’m teaching, I like to show everything I can think of…and have samples of everything I can think of…so that the students can envision how to do improv. I was taught by nuns—I DO my homework, or else!

I was getting overwhelmed with too much stuff again, too many choices! I ended up going to the box of vintage linens, which also has a bunch of silk and sample fabrics, all in light colors. I have a charm pack of grunge fabric, a little wool and ALL my favorite embroidery thread. Surprise–no beads! That kind of embellishment can wait until after I get home.

I will make whatever I can with what I have! And, you know, it’s a retreat with a bunch of artists who use textiles. Everyone will have scraps and all of these women are sharers. It will work.

See the little carry-on bag on the right? That’s clothes. I can pack for a week in that little bag! All the rest is sewing stuff…so that means I’m headed for a good time.

I can’t wait to see what I come home with, and I’ll share it with you as soon as I get it figured out!

Math brains…

My daughter and I have been working with her son on times tables…boring, but necessary. We have talked before about different kinds of math brains. I call them geometry brains and algebra brains. Concepts, theorems, spatial relationships are all part of the geometry brain and the algebra brain is better at the numbers and equations and operations of math. Some people are blessed with talent in both areas, some in neither. I am waaaaaay better at the algebra brain. I loved working on equations in school and did not like geometry at all. So what do I do in my quilt life? Take geometric shapes and drawings and figure out the math to fit them together………who’d have ever guessed that?

The easy part…half-square triangles, flying geese blocks, squaring up improv pieces…

And this is the final–probably–arrangement and this will be a small quilt. More directional…

And these pieces will just have to live the lonely life of the rejected…until I work on more black and white quilts!

Anyway, all that math stuff is a part of my thinking process when faced with this!

What kind of geometry am I going to need to figure this out? How in the world am I going to fit these pieces together?

Perhaps now is the best time for the improv brain to kick in and add chunks of fabric and cut hunks off until it fits together!!!


Confident Beginner?

The pattern rated this quilt as suitable for a confident beginner. I call BS on that! If I were a beginner and was faced with this

I might have quit! Eight seams per block, 4 on the bias, 5 seams to match on each assembly seam, and all meeting in the middle…nah! The confident part is fine, but not the beginner part. It’s more in the intermediate range. For me, it was a little bit fussy, but I got it done. Thankfully, I am NOT a perfectionist, but it actually came out pretty well.

So–here it is!

The pattern doesn’t call for borders, but the edges are bias and a border would stabilize it………..but does it need it? That’s the only other decision to be made for this one and then I get to start thinking about the next one. This is soooooo much fun!

Spring and batiks–right?

My new stashbuster project was inspired by a photo that I backtracked to a free pattern. Now I know you all will want to know which pattern, so here’s the link  Kite Flight  by Robert Kaufman and it’s a beginner friendly, strip pieced pattern.

Easy to make the strip sets, of course, and I was eager to see how the actual measurements and instructions work on my machine, in real life! The assumption with jelly rolls is that the strips are all at least 42″ long and of course that’s not always true. It also assumes that your seam allowance is sewn exactly like theirs. The pattern cautions that there is not waste, which means ‘be careful or you’ll run out of fabric.’

I used my fast stitch machine and I know that the 1/4″ I sew on that machine is a scant 1/4″.  And I used the very edge of the pinked cut as my edge. And the instructions said to press all the seams open…………..fat chance! I am not going to spend forever picking open those pinked edges on a 5 strip set! I just pressed them out each way from the center strip. If it’s an issue later in the construction, I’ll figure it out and deal with it then.

It came out as a skinny 10 1/2″ strip set. If you are a beginner, and yours comes out a touch small, don’t panic! The next step is to cross cut into squares, so you make your squares the same size as your strip set. The objective is to make the square! If it’s 10 1/4″ instead of 10 1/2″, there may be some other adjustment needed later on, but for this pattern it’s more important that it be square.

I certainly did not mean this post to be all about the pattern instructions, because they are fine. This is to reassure you that perfection is not always necessary to achieve great results. And for me, the goal is to use up the stash, not produce an heirloom masterpiece! I quilt for fun, aim for precision and don’t stress over any part of it. My favorite quilt teacher said that fabric is forgiving and it’s a statement that I’ve lived by as I work with textiles.

Now, about that 42″ WOF measurement…so far, so good, by measuring carefully. But how to avoid panic and having to make more strip sets if these are short? I decided while I was sewing them together that it’s a scrap quilt. If it was short I was simply going to add a piece of fabric on the end and cut out the square. In a different situation, I would make more strip sets or seam the ends of the ‘short ones’ together to make large enough blocks.  (And that may yet happen!) I’ve only cut one set so far, but this is what I had left!

I hope all the other strips work as well! I’m eager to keep going on this one. It should be quick and I’m liking those strip sets, so I’m positive I’ll like the finished quilt.

I have to tell you once again, I am having so much fun working on these stashbuster projects! And getting an actual, useable end product is a big bonus!

Quilt on………………..