Monday, March 24, 2014

My March Madness

I love college basketball.  I am in Kentucky.  You pretty much have to love basketball and horse racing --- and maybe bourbon.

I'm happy to say that I have another Lollypop block done, thanks to a few hours of great (and not so great) basketball this past week.  It's actually very helpful to be focused on stitches and not plays and then count on instant replay to get you up to speed.  There are some "tension" issues on a few of the elements in this block and I'm blaming it on close games.
So -- six (of 16) are done, along with six (of 36) small border blocks.  The border blocks that you see here will finish at 4"x4" or 4"x6" and were a great way to use random scraps that were left over from the larger blocks.
I certainly need a break from appliquéing to let my fingers heal a bit.  But there is more basketball later this week. For Kentuckians, it's a big game. Louisville vs. Kentucky. And there are not many people in this state that are neutral. You bleed red or you bleed blue when these teams play. Once the winner is decided, there is a very small population that will cheer on the winning team that just happened to be your opposition in the previous game. I fall in that camp. I will vehemently root for the team that beat my guys.
For those of you who live in states where baseball or hockey or football are important, you know what I mean.  When we were in Chicago -- you were either a "southsider" (White Sox) or "northsider" (Cubs) but in the 10 years that I was there, I never heard "both"! I certainly knew people that didn't care either way -- if someone cared -- they cared about a particular team and often in a big way.

How wonderful for quilters that we often have a completely different approach ---

Applique or piecing?  Both

Batiks or cottons?  Both

Hand quilting or longarming?  Both

Brights or midrange?  Both

Machine applique or hand applique?  Both

Flannels or homespuns?  Both

Modern quilting or precision piecing?  Both

Solids or prints?  Both

We are happy to play in multiple sandboxes and -- if we don't -- we do not judge others who do.  Instead, we appreciate them and often want to learn from them.  So -- as much as I love some sports, I love quilting even more, don't you??

I hope you are having a great week of March Madness full of things that you love!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Surgery or a Band-aid?

I have a dilemma and I would deeply appreciate your thoughts.

This is a quilt that I made years ago for our son's girlfriend (who I'm happy to say is now my daughter-in-law and mother of our only grandchild).  With most any quilt, there are factors that make it special (at least to the quilt maker).  In the case of this quilt there are two:

  • She was working with leaf cutter ants as part of her PhD in microbiology.  Thus, the ant fabric was the genesis for what other fabrics would be used.

  • I paper pieced the Canadian maple leaf on the back.  I can't remember how many pieces are in this but I wanted to honor her with a special label. I will not do this again although I'm sure there is an easier pattern out there.  This is not my forte!

The dilemma is this.  I did not have easy access to a long arm machine at the time and quilted it on my Bernina.  I did straight line quilting about an inch apart and changed directions periodically for interest. But, all stitching was on the diagonal.  I really liked the look of it.

Now, several years later (8 to be exact) and after lots of use, the quilting stitching is breaking.  A lot.  I have the quilt in my possession and was going to repair it but was startled to find more than 30 breaks that range from 1'-1.5" to 3"-4".  And I suspect there are more -- this is black thread on a lot of black fabric and hard to see.

So -- I can only see two options:

1.  I can fix the black linear stitching like I had planned.

The good, bad, and ugly are:  I can do it pretty quickly; it will keep the linear stitching; and it will probably continue to rip out over time when the quilt is used.  So -- basically, it's fast and nothing else changes.  Essentially, a band-aid.

2.  I can put the quilt on Lola and quilt it with a more 'fluid" design in a different color thread and pick out the black stitching.  

The good, bad, and ugly are:  It will take longer; the linear "look" will be gone once I take out the black stitching; and it will be more secure with stitching going in lots of directions.  Essentially, surgery.

At the heart of the matter (I think) is whether the quilt is worthy of being saved.  It's not a show quilt and certainly not fancy.  It gets lots of use in a home that appreciates and loves my quilts and it's not the only quilt they have.  My son and daughter-in-law are NO help.  I mean NONE!  I believe they would be happy with either.  I am not happy with the fidelity of my stitching not being secure but I have never put a finished quilt on a long arm and then ripped stitching.  I cannot figure out whether it's "worth" it or not.  I am usually pretty decisive so being in limbo (or denial) is a new occurrence for me.

I welcome your thoughts and questions!

I hope you are finding time to create and not hamstrung by decisions!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fabric, Selvage, and Bunnies!

Don't you just love this fabric?  Who wouldn't love tumbling owls! This is being used as a border in a baby dedication quilt for a couple locally.  It's sort of a compilation quilt with three of us getting it completed.  My part is done and I've passed it along to the next lucky quilter.
Other than making the top for the dedication quilt, I've spent the last weeks working on Lollypops which I won't bore you with.  Suffice it to say that all 36 of the small border blocks are glued down (not appliquéd!) and 11 large blocks are laid out and ready to be glued.  Yippee!  This is slow going -- much like watching paint dry.

During all the 'fun' of creating, I was notified by Lee at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts (one of the blogs that I follow and periodically link to) that I had won a $25 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics.  If you have never checked out Lee's blog, it's worth your time.  She is creative, posts frequently, and loves fabric.  Check her out.  Often.

Who doesn't like hearing that they have won free stuff -- particularly at an online fabric shop.  Now, in reality, I had never heard of Pink Chalk Fabrics but I had loads of fun deciding how to spend my money.  You know the drill -- notions?  blenders?  sale fabric?  something really special?  All very important questions.  By all means, if you haven't shopped at Pink Chalk Fabrics, it's worth a look.  Great fabrics.  Good prices.  Good selection.

I finally decided on two cuts of children's fabric that I can use in my baby quilts for the local hospital. To maximize my spend, I went with good fabrics that were in the sale section.  I adore them.  Check out this fabric --
This is a Moda from Japan with the absolutely cutest selvage I have ever seen. Look at those little bunnies.  Tell me you have seen anything cuter in a selvage!

I am happy to say that I have not gotten on the selvage bandwagon.  I regularly admire the art created by those who are selvage lovers.  It's one of the few quilting bandwagons that I haven't jumped on and I remain committed to staying away from it.  But, these little selvages are too cute to throw away.  So, if you are a selvage lover and would like a set of "bunnies" -- I'm happy to tear an inch down the side and send a set to the first three folks who send me an email at   They are just too sweet not to be put to good use or at least admired by someone who loves selvages.

I hope you are finding fabric that makes you happy!