Sunday, April 27, 2008

Not In Paducah, Part III

This fat quarter display is Not In Paducah!
I took a trip to my local quilt shop, to look at the goodies. It is a very good shop, and although the owner was actually in Paducah (down in the "dungeon" under the pool, from the sound of it...), this was still a far cry from the fields of fabric available at the show!
Well, every little bit helps.
I have been far too busy to feel very sorry for myself, though, having had a splendid time shopping, sewing and attending the Irish Festival on Friday night.
You might have heard all about it, had Blogger not been too tangled up to give me access to my blog!
Here is what I've been busy with:

When faced with a Giant Amount of Stuff, the only way to cope is by just getting focused on one area. That much is enough to deal with.
For me, it is often my work table, which attracts Stuff like crazy! My goal was to get it clear so I can use it to baste the next batch of tops that need quilting.
The blue fabric is for the binding on one of the Mystery Quilts I am doing (I can show one after May 10!). That's the third time I've purchased a quarter yard of the Fusions fabric. The first time was just to audition in the quilt (it got cast as The Binding instead of A Shape). Then I needed some more, got another quarter yard, and miscalculated the number of strips I'd that's how I ended up buying 3 quarter yards for a half-yard job!
There was a 25% off coupon for the shop, a good time to get the spray baste. Cherry-Cherry swears by the 505, and that's all I need to know.
What is that behind the can of 505? Why, it's the completed set of black Minkee pillowcases I meade for my son! The hems are a fantastic guitar print (sorry, I lost the selvedge info...) that I bought recently. The bag with the Minkee had re-surfaced from a spot on the floor, and inside was the sales slip. I bought it in June 2005! Obviously this was intended to be a birthday or Christmas gift...many times! But they're done now, and will be gone soon.
Last on the table is a bag of rayon batiks (gasp!) waiting to be made into a jacket for myself. This is why my little game of finishing what's on the table will pay off. Some of those batiks were purchased in Paducah last year!
Having come full circle, I will now forget about Paducah until next year, when I hope to return and post each day's activities for real!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Not In Paducah, Part II

It's Thursday, the second day I am Not In Paducah.
This is usually the day I tell everyone I know to come over to Whaler's Catch and have lunch, because it's a really big place and they have room for a group. Restaurant space gets filled up fast in Paducah during show week.
Since I am Not There, I was most fortunate to be able to have lunch with the BGPC, the small quilting group I belong to. Cherry-Cherry and Rita are also Not In Paducah this week, and maybe even Mrs. M (though she prefers going to Nashville)( Knoxville in '09!)
We were in for some real luck, as there was a whole menu posted of just pies...and second on the list was Kentucky Pie! Served warm, too.
So I snapped a quick picture before I snapped up the pie.

So, whether I am In Paducah or Not In Paducah, it really doesn't get much better than this: good pie & good friends
And we even passed around a bag of fabric to share.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not in Paducah, Part I

For the first time in quite a few years, right now I am Not In Paducah.
If I were there, having enjoyed the opening day of the show, I would now be resting my tired feet and probably sipping a margarita.
Instead, I spent two and a half hours here:

with another friend, who also Could Have Been In Paducah.
Yes, I was drowning my sorrows in a Pecan Waffle, instead of the German Nuts that send such a great aroma around the Executive Inn.

Of course, CC...who also is Not In to be getting lots of projects done or worked on, because she has not wasted a lot of time riding on a bus or in a car.
I seem to be attacking a binding, but slowly.
Probably because I can't stay out of this place:

But if I were in Paducah, I'd be drinking coffee at that little shop in the Executive Inn, watching people and making new friends from exotic places such as Japan, Australia and Wisconsin.
Well, I would if it were before 3 in the afternoon, as they close down then, thereby missing what would be a terrific crowd at about 4:00!

I'm happy for everyone who is at the show, filling their eyes with the beautiful quilts and carressing the fabrics in the merchants' areas. The AQS show is a wonderful experience, and visiting Paducah KY has always been the highlight of my year.

So I'll just have to be patient until the end of October rolls around and CC & I head off to the IQA show in Houston.
But meanwhile, I can't help but to think about what I am doing these couple of days while I am Not In Paducah!

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Machine Quilting: going batts!

"Perky Old Men" has gone under the needle!
This quilt has so much going on it only needed to be stitched in-the-ditch, but with that many 3" blocks, it was a lot of ditchin'!
I know you are going to ask: it's approximately 62" x 65", 15 rows of 15 little blocks for a grand total of 225 colorful blocks (I had to get out the calculator for that!).
When I get the binding on, I'll post a nice picture.
But meanwhile, I spent the weekend quilting, and it gave me some time to think.
For machine quilting I like to use Warm & Natural (or Warm & White), generally because it's flat and I get lots of yards when it's 50% off at JoAnn. Then I bring it home and roll it onto the W&N tube I got back when I bought the very last of the original W& you remember when it still had all the cotton trash, bits of seeds, etc????
Some people do not like W&N, though. They certainly have a right to their opinion.
I think the last time I heard a comment was "it's too stiff".
I thought about that as I was quilting POM. It WAS rather stiff!
But as I rolled and re-arranged and pushed and shoved and generally manhandled the quilt all around, I realized it was getting softer!
So the next time you are struggling with "quilt management", you might want to consider that as part of the softening process. All that manipulating is making the quilt into something more cuddly.

And as for the Art Quilts....there's a good reason for Timex, fusible batting and some other creative insides!

In "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey says "You have to start with end in mind". That is so true with quilting!
There is not just one batting that is right for all quilts.
It's OK to have favorites, but the way a quilt is to be used is most important.
There are even some cases where I would recommend a poly batt!

But when it comes to machine quilting, I just gotta have cotton...20/80 poly/ cotton is the best of both worlds.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Group Quilt Projects

This is my President's quilt, a signature gift from my guild. No, that's not laundry under it...that's a pile of crochet items for another charity!

At some time you will likely be involved in making a group quilt project (though you try to avoid it!).

In a guild this is liable to be a raffle quilt or a gift of some kind (for charity, President, member or family). Quilts are popular and traditional fund-raisers, so you may be roped into to making one for any group!

I know you are rolling your eyes right now! But I have some help for you.

Group projects are notorious for having such a variety of workmanship that they are difficult to assemble. While part of the "charm" of a group-made quilt is that variety, the process can be an excellent learning process. Quilt guilds should encourage their membership to imporove skills, though not at the hands of the "Quilt Police".

You really cannot expect someone to do better unless you give them some idea of how.

I wrote the following handout for my guild several years ago. It has appeared in the newsletter and been available to pick up as a flyer. Since we are starting in our President's blocks for this year, it will go in the newsletter and on the website.

I'll share it with you now.
If you'd like to use it for your own group, please be sure to include my website and/or blog when you copy it.
When you’re making a block for a group project….

1. Check the directions or call the leader to find out the CORRECT SIZE OF THE BLOCK. You may want to know both measurements: The finished size (how big it looks when sewn into the quilt) and the unfinished size (from raw edge to raw edge). The unfinished size is what you will be checking. It will be 1/2" larger than the finished size, to allow for the seams.
2. Measure your block on each side to see if it is right. It must be within 1/8" to be usable.
3. The edges should be straight. You should not have any sections sticking out uneven from the others.
4. If the block is not right, check your 1/4" seam allowance first. If it is too small, you can just re-sew the right size. If it is too big, you have to rip out the seam and then re-sew it.
4. If the seams are OK, check the strips cut for the block. Sometimes it looks right but is too narrow or wide. Even if you cut exactly, an inside layer may have been off.
5. Too-small blocks can be marked and used in another project where they don’t matter.
6. Too-big blocks can be taken apart, re-cut & re-sewn…..if you feel like doing that much work!
If you decide to just trim off an oversize block, it cannot be more than 1/2" too big. You will need to very carefully take the same amount off EACH of the four sides.
7. You cannot trim down a block that has a point at the outside edge. If the pattern does have a point at the edge, be sure there is 1/4"seam allowance beyond it.
8. When the block looks nice and is within 1/8" or perfect, then you can proudly hand it in!
You can avoid “reverse sewing” an entire block by checking the UNIT SIZE before completing the whole block. If you measure and make sure of the correct size whenever you sew two things together, you will be correct through all the steps.
Thank-you for your work on all our guild projects. It really is appreciated. Nobody expects all the blocks in a group project to be exactly the same or to be perfect. But they should be the best you can do.
By following these guidelines, now you know how to do your best!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fabric Fanatic!

I am just a fool for the fabric!
These are not intended to go together but they are up on my design wall because I like'em!

You've seen the Big Flowers before. They have finally found their home as the outside border of the Mystery Quilt I'm designing for a guild in Georgia. I can't even show it to you until I teach the class on May watch for it then! (and maybe Cherry Cherry's version a-la Mary Engelbreit!).
The real story is the polka dot fabric. I am using that as the background.
This is the second quilt I have made with those dotty dots in the background! Sometimes, it's just so easy to get fixated on a great idea...but then you have to let it go.

I ran out of the dots, just as I decided they would look great as a second border. The first border is dark, so it would look like the block patterns were framed and then floating on the sea of polka dots.
Well, it would if I had not run out of dots!
I couldn't find any more, and needed to be done with the top, so I committed myself to Plan B.
Except I didn't really have a Plan B, just the realization it would have to be a different fabric.

Of course nothing worked, because I was still too in love with my first idea!
And I was running out of time.
So I just went with some white fabric. But before I could cut & sew, I ended up taking CC for a little celebration shopping trip, and we stumbled right onto a bolt of THE polka dots! (Jean Ray Laury for Free Spirit)

I guess sometimes it pays to wait a week.
The top is done now, and it looks just as I wanted it to!

Also on that shopping trip we found a great lime & purple batik:

I am really sorry my photo doesn't do it justice (the first photo is truer to it's beauty!).
And here also is a fat quarter CC bought me of the wonderful Jane Sassaman fabric.

No. I do not know what I will do with it, and I do not care!
It's pretty and I like it.

I hope you have some fabric just because you like it, too.
And don't be afraid to cut it up and use it....
if you run out, you will choose something wonderful to take it's place and your quilt will be better for it.
That's my usual story, and I'm sticking to it....
even though in the case of the Polka Dots I didn't!

(PS: you know I only needed 2/3 of a I bought 4 yards!)
(PPS:it is a REALLY great background fabric!!!)

(PPPS: now I wish I had bought more of these Big Flowers!!!!!
What will I fall in love with next?)

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Calm Before the Quilt

I find myself in a strange spot...I am designing two Mystery Quilts, and I really can't show either one because who knows who may be reading!
But I can show you the fabric I am using....

(3 days later....)
By the time the blocks are done, I will have added more fabric and taken away some. The top and bottom blues are already history! And that little snippet of sherbet color in the's gone now, too. Repaced, I may add, with a brilliant orange.
I was out of town visiting Starbuck's greatest fan, AC, and we went to four quilt shops looking for the correct orange fabric to go with the flowers in the Big Print. I brought home four different pieces and today got Cherry-Cherry's advice on the proper selection.
Here's the winner, along with the fabric it will touch most often, and that Big Print again:

Give me a break on the color reproduction'll get to see the finished item later!
The real point is that CC says it is "awesome", and we had this all spread out on the table in a Mexican restaurant!

The orange/yellow is Sunstreaks by Patrick Lose (Timeless Treasures) and the green is something from Kona Bay.
That flowered fabric is Celebracion by Kathy Hall and licensed to Andover Fabrics from the Museum of New Mexico! Ole! I love it!

Since I can't be showing too much of the actual quilts I am working on, I'll have to tell you about other good quilty stuff.
Coming to Patchwork Pie soon: a trip to the LQS (local quilt shop) and a really ugly photo of the newest addition to my office!

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