Need Fabrics

Botanical Pop Turquoise I bought a lot of this turquoise fabric (Botanical Pop from Baum Textile Mills/Windham Fabrics) – probably about 6 yards and made tote bags out of it. Now I want to make another and it so old (January 2008?) that nobody has it. I am hoping that one of you will have it and bargain with me for it. I would like at least 1.5 yards, but 2-3 would be better.

You probably remember the search for that Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy fabric from  May of 2007 in which Julie found the fabric at a random sore in her area. I am hoping that she or one of you will have the same good luck!

Botanical Pop Yellow I don’t think I ever saw the yellow, but would like some of it, too. A little piece is fine. If any of you see it or have access, let me know. Thanks!

A Binding Away From Finished

Fortunately, today was just the kind of weather I enjoy. It was cool tending towards cold, but clear with some big fluffy clouds around. The light was really gorgeous and it helped me get into a calm mood before I got to the machine.

I spent my day quilting the Eye Spy on the longarm machine. In my February 8 post, I old you that my next longarm session would be on March 2. Instead I went today. My assistant for Monday bailed and Friday works much better for me, so I changed the date. As I sit here, the Eye Spy is completely quilted. YAY!

I woke up with one of those “who stuck a knife in my temple/forehead” kind of headaches. They happen periodically especially during times of stress, but I wasn’t happy about it. I drank a whole bunch of water and caffeine and ate more protein than should be legal so I could go on about my day. Amazingly, longarming is a good antidote to a headache!

Eye Spy on the longarm

I was more familiar with most parts of the process this time and the session went a lot better. I completed a larger quilt in a slightly shorter amount of time. I didn’t have to stand as long and it was slightly less expensive.

I used an easier pattern which contributed to completing the larger quilt faster. I tried really hard to manage a consistent speed and to make the designs larger. As the day went on I did tend make smaller motifs, which I will have to work on.

Eye Spy back before quiltingThe crazy part about the whole process was the back. I spent last weekend, when I wasn’t shopping for headstones and wasting time,  making sure the top, which has a lot of bias, was stable. I only started the back and figured I could do it this coming weekend. Then I changed the date of the longarm session and totally forgot I hadn’t made the back. Huh?? I don’t know what I was thinking. Fortunately, I remembered on my way home. I spent the evening, in between life stuff, making the back. They never go together as quickly as I think they should, but it all worked out.

During my last session, I felt like I had a really steep learning curve. This time, I had more of an idea of what was happening and knew, basically, what to do when prompted. By the end of the day I was starting the rows myself without assistance. I really in absorption mode – trying to absorb the process. I didn’t take as many notes. I still needed a lot of help and reminders, but I have made a lot of progress and was much more confident. I do want to go over my notes tonight and see how they jive with what I remember now that I have two sessions under my belt.

Eye Spy Lurching Towards the Finish Line

I don’t know where this month has gone. Frankly, I am glad February is coming to a close, but I still wonder what happened to the days.

My next longarm day is March 2 and the Eye Spy is in line to be quilted. As a result, I needed to make a back and get the Eye Spy in shape for finishing. I put the diamonds in to fill in the diamond shaped space, so that I wouldn’t have to hack through any of the hexagons (which is what most patterns recommend). I didn’t want a zig zaggy border, so I started out by cutting off the excess from the diamonds.  I had intended just to leave the edges straight after cutting – no borders.

Eye Spy corner before border

While cutting the diamonds in half, I realized that the middle of those diamonds was one big bias edge. This brand spanking new bias in addition to 3 sides of each hexagon being on the bias was asking for trouble during the quilting process. The top  needed some stabilization, so I added some borders and corners to the odd shaped corners of the top.

Corner detail
Corner detail

The little star printed piece is the patch I had to insert into the corner to make the corner a 90 degree angle. You can see it really well above.

Finished top with borders

Above is a picture of half of the top. The quilt top is another monster and I gave up on moving furniture to fit the whole thing into one picture. I am going to have to think up a way to photograph whole quilts, especially these huge things I seem to be making.

I used a new (to me) method of measuring for borders.  I measured width-wise (across) and lengthwise (down) in three places on the quilt and cut the borders to the average size. I did have to ease, but the top is flat and I am happy about that. I found one little tuck that I will need to fix before the longarming. All in all it worked pretty well.

Scary backing fabric
Scary backing fabric

I acquired the crocodile fabric a long time ago, perhaps in the early 1990s from a woman named Joan who was getting rid of everything. It is a Joe Boxer fabric and I never saw anything like it. I also never heard of Joe Boxer selling fabric, but they totally should, because their fabrics have such a sense of humor.

At one point, I thought I would cut out the alligators (crocodiles??) and applique’ them on something, but the inspiration never struck. Also, I only have about a half yard, which limited what project I could complete using the fabric. I came across the fabric over the weekend and proposed it as a backing fabric. The Child took a liking to it, so I will use it as part of the backing. Shopping in my fabric closet can be fun!

hexagons on the back
hexagons on the back

I had some leftover hexagons, so I put some straight edges on them and will also use this piece for the back. I need to find a nice way of making this bit play nicely with the crocs.

Avoidance Issues

I was on my blog and directing traffic and tweaking a lot during the past three or four days. The blog move has been somewhat time consuming, but is mostly done, and worth the effort so far. One of the things I did was scroll through recent posts about four hundred times. In doing that it dawned on me that I was in avoidance mode because nothing I posted was quilt-related.

Origami Train Dude


More Sketches

None of that is quilting and since the blog is about quilting, I needed to get back to it before all of you got fed up and went and read some other blog. I needed to take stock and figure out what was going on.

It turns out, after a little investigating it is all about The Tarts Come to Tea. I faced up to reality that I am really in avoidance mode over that project. Some of the issues I discussed about change of focus in a previous post are so true with this project. I am not enthused with machine applique right at the moment and I want/need to redo several of the blocks, because they don’t fit my current interest or style. It just seems depressing. The sad part is that every time someone enters my workroom they gush over it and say how wonderful it is, which enhances the guilt factor. Bleah.

Design Wall 2/22/2009
Design Wall 2/22/2009

I was able to avoid a bit more this weekend, because I realized that my longarm day is next Monday and I haven’t done the back for the Eye Spy project, so the back had to go to the front burner.  My quiltmaker SIL was also in town so I spent some time at Always Quilting with her. Fabrics 2/20/2009I  bought the fabrics above. The smaller pieces were all in a pack that I had been coveting for awhile. I got home to find buyers remorse waiting for me, though, because when I unwrapped them, some of the fabrics are a bit off the colors I thought they were. I was thinking of doing something like the Yellow Brick Road (from Terri Atkinson) quilt with them. I still am, but will have to go shopping in my stash to replace some of the greens.  More piecing, you notice and not machine applique’.

I was able to continue to avoid the Tarts on Saturday because of family obligations, which isn’t to say I haven’t been working on them at all.

Tarts block layout drawing 2/19/2009 (middle right)

This is the layout/design drawing for the block in the middle on the right of the photo of my design wall above. It has a green background. What I decided was that I would make one block and see how I felt about the project afterwards. I need to find my notes on machine applique’ – or ask someone – because I can’t remember what method I used or any method, frankly.

I feel a strong need to make some kind of effort, but this piece is definitely teetering on the verge of abandonment.

I have learned something about myself since I dragged The Tarts out. Leaving quilts laying around with the top half finished doesn’t always work for me. I need to think about bring them to a logical stopping point (e.g. the top and back are done and are waiting on quilting).

Patterns for Fun

I am on another CraftSanity jag and listened to an episode where Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviewed Meg McElwee, owner of Sew Liberated and writer of the Sew Liberated blog. Jennifer is a huge fan of aprons and these look really fun. I have been thinking of making a bunch to entertain some friends and relatives at Christmas, but we will see.

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Emmeline Apron Pattern Front

Mischievous Gnome Messenger Bag Pattern Front

Reading Pillow Pattern Front
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Meg has a nice way about her and I enjoyed her calm speaking style. I took a quick look at her blog. She takes gorgeous photos and I am looking forward to seeing the result of her new book project.

Perhaps Origami?

I saw this article on Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s Grand Rapids Press blog (isn’t it cool that they have a craft column??). This man is amazing and I just shiver thinkng about what the world would be like if everyone did something as creative.
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Paper train builder Rodger Despres stays on track

“I think the message from me to the public is: If I can do this with a piece of paper, what can you do with your talents?” he said. “What can you do with the talent that God has given you?”

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Creative Prompt #1: Beginnings

The Creative Prompt project was inspired by many people and blogs. I started thinking about it after listening to many of the Creative Mom podcasts. Just FYI: I did a review of the CMP as well. I have some ideas for creative prompt projects that don’t involve quiltmaking, but this latest phenomenon just exploded on to the scene. A few people started talking about it after I wrote the Illustrated Journals post. Suddenly, the idea became something. I am pretty excited: excited because of the enthusiasm shown my Linda and Sherri, excited by the support shown by Julie and excited to just do it, like the Nike ad says.

Here is what I am going to do:

1. Every week (probably Friday) I will post a creative prompt. It may be words or pictures or something else.

2. I will do a drawing or some kind of creative endeavor with that prompt

The rest of the gang have said that they will:

1. Do a drawing, doodle, collage, write poetry, jot down a few words, origami, whatever every week.

2. Post a link to their efforts to the comments section.

Just see what you think of for the prompt and draw, write, collage, sew or whatever something. If you don’t like the prompt, look around and let something else inspire you.

If you want to join in, please feel welcome. If you don’t have a blog or website, open a Flickr account for FREE and post your work there.

There is more information on the Creative Prompt Page.

We’ll see how long it lasts and what comes of it.


The first creative prompt is Beginnings.

Anna Maria Horner talks about Beginnings in her blog post.

New Elements Line from Mark

Mark Lipinski also, apparently, has a new line of tone-on-tone fabrics called Elements. They remind me of the swirly fabrics from a few years ago that I used in Spiky Stars (
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      My new line, Elements, just arrived!  I’m psyched and can’t wait to do something with them.    I love that they blend with all of my older lines, as well as the surprise line that I’m unveiling at the International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh this spring!  

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Mark at McCall’s

Mark Lipinski of Quilter’s Home fame highlights the recent issue of McCall’s Quilting, which has more bags in it. I might just have to get a copy, or at least check one out. Lots of people are asking me about bags now.
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Then designer Penny Sturges of Quiltsillustrated has a sweet bag design using the B&W califon (but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the McCall’s included a ton of bags recreating Penny’s design using a lot of different fabrics and hot designer combos).

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Blues are Back

Remember the Hop, Skip and Jump pattern I tried in December?

I thought I was, but I am, apparently, not done with the blues. And there is that rectangle shape again (2.5’x4.5, FYI). While the Tarts Come to Tea has been on the design wall, these blue rectangles have been up there, too. They are actually taking too much space (both physically and mentally), so they are coming off the wall and will go back up later.

Last weekend I had a little time and wasn’t organized enough to work on an actual project, so I cut blue rectangles. I have to be honest, though. I was trying to prevent a fabric avalanche and decided to fill in some space in the fabric bins. It is much easier and more accessible to stack fabric up on the sides of the closet. Sadly, four foot stacks eventually end up in fabric avalanches. Appropriate for this time of the year, though…

A fabric avalanche was definitely imminent and by moving fabric around and pulling out the blues, I felt like I was actually working on a project rather than organizing.

Some of the fabrics I cut from the scraps that appeared after I made the back for the Crazy Test . It was interesting to see some of those older fabrics mixed in with the newer turquoises.

More about Machine Quilting

One of the things I did to prepare for my longarm day was to doodle. I got out the sketchbook and did some doodling in it. It wasn’t true doodling, because I used some reference materials, including some designs from a Melody Johnson class I attended in 1999 as well as some worksheets and the book from a Sue Nickels (nice little bio) class I took sometime later, perhaps around 2002 or 2003. This was all before Diane Gaudynski exploded on to the scene.

The paisleys and little 3-petal flowers would be too difficult for me at this stage, but perhaps later. Still, the whole idea is to get your muscle memory into shape. That flowing doodling kind of motion is what you want to achieve when longarming.

You can see how into those sashing curved designs I was. I really wanted them to work. I may still use them in another quilt even if they aren’t perfect.

One of the things I did when I was in the machine quilting groove was make a worksheet of designs for my quilt class. It has some basic designs and ideas on it. I still need to make the other class information, but at least this part is done.

I know I haven’t mentioned it in a while. Frankly, they all kind of bailed on the basting part and I don’t know if they will continue. It is a little disheartening, but I have an idea in my mind to teach a class like this elsewhere at some point (no plans at this time), so perhaps the work won’t all be wasted.

FOTY 2009

The FOTY 2009 block has been selected. It is from a quilt called Zanzibar by FunQuilts. You can find it in their book, The Quiltmaker’s Color Workshop, a book I highly recommend for the in depth discussion of putting colors together.

TFQ and I are going to make the same block and see how that goes. I made these first two thinking that I would use each fabric twice. I want to see a bit of the fabric, so I will use each fabric for the outside of one block and inside of another. I am interested to see how that idea works out.

I also am thinking that I will continue with the “waves of color” Jag I seem to be on and put like colors together. This may prove a bit of a challenge and I will have to change later, but for now that is my idea.

These blocks go together very quickly as each patch is 3.5″.