Friday, July 29, 2011

Four Corners and a Tip!

 Don't you just love finishing the quilting on a quilt and starting to think about who it's going to be given to?  Are you one of those quilters that loves to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy the binding process?

I used to be but something has changed and it's a little annoying sometimes to have to sit and sew.  I hope to get back to the "pleasure" of binding rather than the "torture" that I sometimes feel.  I think I feel constricted and that I "shouldn't" start cutting or piecing a new project until this one is done.To help me keep going with binding, I have a little head trick I play (which I cannot take credit for -- I saw it on a quilting blog a year or so ago but can't remember whose blog it was). 

Because I'm most motivated when I first sit down to bind and to take advantage of that binding mojo, I do each corner first.  I am more apt to take my time with the mitering and making sure that the corners are square and as perfect as I can make them.  I have to say there is a sense of relief when the corners are done -- it's straight shooting after that.  My other head trick is that I bind  both the long sides first and then it seems so much easier to just do the shorter sides. 

In order to have more options (and more speed), I know I need to keep practicing on machine binding.  Right now, I can't bring myself to try it on anything other than NICU quilts.  Certainly one of the blogs I follow regularly suggests a 2.5" binding should wrap around 3/8" and 2.25" wraps around 1/4" when binding -- with the 3/8" wrap being easier for machine binding. 

The two pix that you see here are 2.5" binding (top) and 2.25" on the bottom.  The bottom quilt has a pieced back so it's a little nauseating when you look at all the fabrics -- it looks much better on the front (and it's done and ready to be shipped to a friend -- HURRAY!).  I cut the 2.5" black binding with the full intention of doing it on the machine but decided I didn't want to experiment with this gift quilt -- and so, I'm playing head games again (and have the duplicate quilt ready to bind when I finally finish this one).  I'd rather be piecing right now but deadlines are preventing that so know that I'm plodding along through the weekend!

I'd love to know your binding tricks -- and head games!  Keep binding, Jan

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A finish - and two shameless plugs

Hurray -- one more done and on its way!  Hopefully this will get to Missoula, Montana by today.  A special young man is getting married this weekend and this was made in his honor.  Joe was our son's roommate in college for three years (including a year of "exchange" at the University of Montana in Missoula).  What a wonderful state and great people.

Joe has relocated to Missoula and started his own business (here comes the first "plug").  An artist in many mediums, Joe has started "Leather and Canvas" and focuses on handmade equipment for the outdoor sports person -- particularly the fly fishing fan.  He started on an old sewing machine of his mothers and scouted yard sales as he would burn up machines. Everytime we visited them in college, we found a new creation (bag, pack, jacket, charcoal drawing, nude in oils, something! - His creativity knows no bounds). 

Today, he is still a home based business but is growing in reputation and building a following.  Check him out and be sure to link to some of his artwork.  His journey is similar to a quilters -- a desire to design and produce original designs -- all on a sewing machine and by hand.   We wish Jen and him the best.  He's an absolute doll!

This quilt was made with a set of FQ (20) out of Valori Wells Olive Rose collection (the second plug is coming!).  They were given to me by my sister a year ago at Christmas and she will not mind my telling you they were 20 FQ for $20.  True story.  First run fabrics and lots of fun.  If you have never checked out Whittles Fabrics -- you must. 

I would not call Whittles a "quilt store" -- they are more of a "fabric store" that caters to quilters.  And their prices reflect their approach to lower overhead than a quilt shop, a focus on value, and a lower cost of living than many locations.  You cannot find better service, more helpful staff, and better regular priced fabric than Whittles.  They are usually cheaper than the sale rack at the LQS!  The Moda wide backs are wonderful and reasonable.  So, if you're looking for a new source of fabric that doesn't break the bank - check them out.

That's it from the world of temp living -- I hope you are piecing, appliquing, and quilting to your heart's content!  Jan

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just passing through

We've been on the road this weekend as we look for houses as we're a bit "homeless" at the moment.  Since you never know what's around the corner (quilt shop, great sign, two headed cow, who knows), I strongly believe you need to have your camera with you at all times.  So glad I did as we stopped for gas and a snack.  Had never seen this before and I appreciate the ingenuity.  Was hard to tell the price but I think it's $1/wash.  There are "small dog" and "big dog" booths?  Love them!

Keep piecing and we'll keep house hunting!  Jan

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Two for the price of one -- sort of

One quilt pattern (and I can't find the name to give credit -- I'll keep looking) and two quilts.  Lots of sewing and lots of fun.  What a great stashbuster block this is.  I'm already thinking about the next one (shirts from goodwill?  batiks?  more blacks and whites?). 

I first saw this when a friend made it with B/W and various shades of hot pink.  It was stunning and I knew I had to make one -- and if you're  making one, why not make two, right?  I'm filing that away for the inevitable day when I need a quilt for a friend or family member who's been diagnosed with breast cancer and needs a hug.

These are for two people I work with as I prepare to retire in the next few months.  One is an avid University of Kentucky fan (hence, the all blue fabrics).  I couldn't keep myself from one little strip of the "other" state team that is the nemesis of UK (and happens to be my alma mater). 

The other is for a special man who has been wonderful to work with and he has two small children.  This seemed perfect for a snuggle on a cold morning.

There is a lot of sewing in these quilts but they were so much fun. I could sit and sew and no thinking was required.  Sometimes you just need that!

So -- I hope you are piecing and quilting and feeling creative. Don't you love fabric?  Jan

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Let le Tour begin!

I love the Tour de France.  I don't bike competitively (I barely bike for pleasure).  I don't fully understand the point system.  I can't imagine why anyone would put themselves through this type of pain.  I've never been to a competitive bike race.  And yet -- I love the Tour.

In honor of the tour, I thought I would show pictures of all my "yellow" quilts.    There aren't any.  Period.  I certainly have lots of scrap quilts with beautiful yellows or cheddars in them -- but no yellow quilts.  Or even, primarily yellow quilts.

Somewhere I heard a revered quilter say that every quilt should have just a touch of yellow in it to give it "life".  Obviously her opinion and I tend to agree that every scrappy quilt should have some yummy yellows.  I'm not sure about that statement otherwise.  I don't think a bit of yellow would have made me happy in my indigo quilt which was all "real" indigoes (what a pain!) and shirtings. 

In reality, I suspect we all have colors that we gravitate toward and others that we have to work to collect.  For me, it's yellow, pink, and orange.  I'll go for neutrals, blues, and even browns in a heartbeat but I have to "shop" for the others.  It's not a chore.  It just has to be thoughtful.  As a result, I now have more yellows than I have some other colors.  That's not the case with pinks and oranges and I still look for those when I think of it.  Do you have a color that doesn't come to you naturally?  Lime green used to fall in that category as well for me and now I'll snatch one up if I see it.  Love it!

I'll spend the next three weeks watching the Tour, wondering at the scenery and historical architecture with the incredible camera work, and relishing the colors of the peleton as they wind through the valleys and mountains.  The shots from above are like an impressionist painting to me as I see all their jerseys intermixed and I fully intend to make a quilt with my impressions of that one of these days.  It's on "the list".

Maybe this time next year -- I'll even have a predominantly yellow quilt to honor it!

Keep piecing, Jan