Still Choosing Colors

Bancroftiana n.142, Summer 2013
Bancroftiana n.142, Summer 2013

You might remember a couple of posts I wrote about choosing colors. I am still choosing colors for the Super Secret Project #3. As I said, I want to create my own roll of 2.5″ strips.

After I wrote the last post, I got a recent issue, (Summer 2013) of Bancroftiana, the Newsletter of the Friends of the Bancroft Library. The Bancroft Library is the “primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. One of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, and unique materials in the United States, Bancroft supports major research and instructional activities and plays a leading role in the development of the University’s research collections”. Periodically I give money and, periodically, they send me an issue.

It is amazing that this came right when I was working on color choices. The article discusses an exhibit that recently closed that “featured a selection of Peter Goin’s digital color photographs and Paul Starr’s text from their Field Guide to California Agriculture (University of California Press, 2010).” The color grid “comprises 160 individual color squares, each of which presents the color of a specific crop or agricultural object that Goin photographed. He isolated the colors for the individual squares by sampling his digital photographic files. The upper most left square is the actual color of alfalfa flowers and the last square on the lower right is the color of zucchini blossoms as captured by Goin’s camera. Referencing the work of Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian (Goin teaches art history), this grid is both an elegant abstraction and a photographic representation of the diversity of the crops grown in California…” I looked at the cover and that color grid and thought how much the colors resembled the color choices I was working with. Some of the colors are very similar to the colors I started to choose in the previous two posts. It also made me wonder if I am simply reflecting the colors I see in my every day life spanning all the years I have been alive?

Also, the reason the article was written was about California agriculture. Could that be my color story? I don’t know much about California agriculture and California agriculture wasn’t my intention, but it isn’t a bad color story. It is kind of an interesting story.

Choosing Colors
Choosing Colors

I was kind of shocked at how I was on the same page as the magazine. The photo really helps me figure out what colors I am missing. From the photo, for example, I can see that I need some lighter yellows – like butter yellow, but a little lighter. According to the photo I could add beiges, some blacks and very dark blues as well as a variety of different greens. Thinking about the hues and the fabrics I have already chosen, make me think about what fruits and vegetables and implements are the color of each of those squares. There are 160 different hues in the magazine photo. I don’t need, nor will I choose 160 different fabrics, but the grid gives me a lot of options.

Bancroftiana n.142, Summer 2013
Color Grid Bancroftiana n.142, Summer 2013

The way they named the colors in the exhibit is interesting. They named them after the colors of the plants they photographed. Asparagus (row 1-square 7), Blood Orange (row 2-square 7), John Deer Tractor Green (row 10- square 3), Pinot Noir (row 4-square 15), and Yellow Chard (row 10-square 15).

It kind of makes me warm and fuzzy to think that someone saw the beauty in something that we put on our plates and eat for dinner.

I was thinking that I was off base with the violet, but according to the color grid and this color story, the purples work. The blues in the color grid are a little more grey than I was thinking I would like to add (turquoise, of course). I will look at the color grid and see what I need to add. I still need about 15 more fabrics.

The thing I wonder about is whether I would be cheating.


Yes, cheating on the Bill Kerr system of choosing colors. Would I be cheating if I took some hints from the photo in the magazine? I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that, but I don’t think a little help is a bad thing.

Related Posts:
July 1, 2013 – Choosing Colors
August 20, 2013 – Continuing to Choose Colors

Labor Day Sew-in 2013

In the United States, most of us get Monday off to celebrate Labor Day and all that hard work that we all do every other day of the year. “Off” is relative, of course, because I will be “working” at my sewing machine with my podcast friends, Tweeps and other bloggers.

We are all participating in a Labor Day Sew-in. You can, too. Get those fuzzy slippers and get to your sewing machine. Nowhere to go, no supplies to collect, just get to your sewing machine and sew. In your own house.

Quiltin’ Jenny has a hilarious post (she was first) about the LDSI. Very Lazy Daisy (who is nowhere near lazy, BTW) also put a post up accompanied by the hilarious tweet:

Daisy's Tweet
Daisy’s Tweet

Other pod-bloggers who have posted about the sew in (some of whom are hosting giveaways):

I took yesterday off as I was trying to piggyback an extra day off onto the long weekend to pretend I had a vacation. I still have errands and stuff to do today, but am already making some progress.

What’s on my list?

  • ATCs – I need them for next week.
  • Purse Palooza bag –  don’t want to leave it until the last minute and I am considering making a second one.
  • Color challenge? Possible, but unlikely, though I did make the batiks.
  • Russian Rubix – I’d like to get started on that, but am having trouble selecting a background fabric.
  • There is an idea in the back of my mind to quilt the Wonky 9 Patch quilt. We’ll see how that goes.

Want to follow along?

  • First and FOREMOST: Sew!!!
  • Post a blog post with your list and link back here
  • Use the #LDSI hashtag on Twitter (let’s trend on Twitter, Tweeps!)
  • Not yet a Tweep? Follow along in the LDSI room at Tweetchat

Now go Sew!

Creative Prompt #223: Glass


Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Glassdoor – inside look at jobs and companies


Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art


window glass

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

glass heart

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl

stained glass

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones

leaded glass

sea glass (also a book by Anita Shreve)

spy glass

glass coffee table

glass recycling

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy

Bullseye Glass Co

Ira Glass (This American Life)

glass blowing

glass slumping

Definition: “Glass is an amorphous (non-crystalline) solid material that exhibits a glass transition, which is the reversible transition in amorphous materials (or in amorphous regions within semicrystalline materials) from a hard and relatively brittle state into a molten or rubber-like state. Glasses are typically brittle and can be optically transparent. The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica (SiO2) plus sodium oxide (Na2O) from soda ash, lime (CaO), and several minor additives. Often, the term glass is used in a restricted sense to refer to this specific use.

From the 19th century, various types of fancy glass started to become significant branches of the decorative arts. Objects made out of glass include not only traditional objects such as vessels (bowls, vases, bottles, and other containers), paperweights, marbles, beads, but an endless range of sculpture and installation art as well. Colored glass is often used, though sometimes the glass is painted, innumerable examples exist of the use of stained glass.

In science, however, the term glass is usually defined in a much wider sense, including every solid that possesses a non-crystalline (i.e. amorphous) structure and that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state. In this wider sense, glasses can be made of quite different classes of materials: metallic alloys, ionic melts, aqueous solutions, molecular liquids, and polymers. For many applications (bottles, eyewear) polymer glasses (acrylic glass, polycarbonate, polyethylene terephthalate) are a lighter alternative to traditional silica glasses.” (Wikipedia)

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

a surname

psychostimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs

Russian Rubix Templates

You might think that because I teach how to use templates that I think templates are great.

Russian Rubix templates
Russian Rubix templates

Templates are not great, but they are useful. I think it is useful to know how to make and use templates, especially for weirdly shaped pieces where adding a quarter inch seam allowance isn’t as straightforward as plopping down a ruler  in the right position and drawing a line. BUT give me a plastic rotary ruler or template and my rotary cutter any time.

I recently talked about Richard and his mini-business making templates for the Russian Rubix pattern. I still don’t have my pattern (long story, but it should be here soon), but I was able to try out the templates over the weekend.

Cutting roundish shapes, e.g. the octagon means that you have to carefully cut one side depending on whether you are right or left handed (I am right-handed and needed to take care cutting over my left hand and arm, which were holding the template in place, when I went to cut the left 3 cuts of the template).

These templates are a smidge thinner than a Creative Grids ruler, but it was an unfamiliar enough feeling to make me notice. These templates are not so thin as to be dangerous.

There is a lot of trimming of pieces in the pattern and the house shape is used for part of the trimming, which is a really nice option. Also, in the pattern, you cut a bunch of squares and then you trim them using the octagon template. Having a rotary template means that you can skip the 1) template making; 2) square cutting; and 3) trimming down to an octagon. Using the rotary template, you can go straight to the cutting of the octagons.

Cutting squares and trimming is not terrible and might make for a good rote sewing task. There might even be an Accuquilt die for the right size of the square that would make the cutting go very fast. Still, I like the rotary template idea and think that it will be useful for cutting from scraps. Again, I am thinking of using all different blues, though not too dark, with a grey background.

All Set for Christmas


Only on one front: napkins. I have started to buy some Christmas gifts, but that job is still majorly in process. I have started, slowly, because I have to spread the cost out.

We use cloth napkins. They may not be more environmentally friendly considering the manufacturing process and that we have to wash them every week. Still, they get a lot of attention when we have guests, which usually leads to interesting conversations, so I keep using them. I also don’t like the feel of paper napkins on my face. My pretty, pretty princess face. 😉

I had an idea awhile ago to make napkins for every holiday. I made napkins for Valentine’s day, 4th of July and Labor Day. I may have made more, but I don’t remember. I never got to Christmas or Thanksgiving. Frankly, I should concentrate on Thanksgiving, because that is when we have the big family party and I would get a lot of compliments. Still I haven’t done it.

Christmas Napkins
Christmas Napkins

However, when I started my ‘small projects extravaganza‘, I got out some Christmas fabric to make gift bags, then I decided to make some napkins instead. It had been long enough since I made any new ones that I forgot how tedious they are to make.

I have to say that the fabric on the right creeped me out the whole time I was sewing it. I love the vintage glass ornaments, but there are a couple of faces on that fabric that look a little too much like horror movie characters for me. I will stick to using the other two types during Christmas for myself.

Still I made 12 – all the fabric I cut – and now I can move on.

Orange & Grey Donation Quilt

Orange & Grey Donation Quilt
Orange & Grey Donation Quilt

Last weekend I finished the Orange & Grey donation quilt piecing. I am so pleased that I will be able to bring it to the BAMQG meeting. I haven’t made as many donation projects this year as I did last year. There is still time to make a few more and I have some ideas, as I have mentioned recently.

I screwed up a little bit when I sewed the blocks together. I intended to the blue squares to be in the same position in block. Somehow they got moved while I was sewing and ending up all over the place. I think it adds a bit of movement to the quilt. In general, I definitely like the blue. I think it adds interest to a very basic (but effective) quilt design. The blue was chosen as a complement to the orange and I think it works very well.

Orange & Grey Donation Quilt Back
Orange & Grey Donation Quilt Back

The back is very basic, Because of the size I was able to use a few half yards and be done with it. I did use the stitch letters to put my name on the back kind of subtly. I am relieved not to make a label for all of these donation quilts, but I also am kind of sad that there won’t be any kind of record of their maker (me).

I posted the quilt on FB and got a lot of good comments, including one from one of the nephews. Hhmm. I started cutting blue squares from scraps for the next donation quilt.

Finished: Sparkle Pink

Finished: Sparkle Pink
Finished: Sparkle Pink

Yes, Sparkle Pink is finished. This quilt and Swoon are both large and have the same binding, so I thought I was binding Swoon. When I was finished, I opened it up and found Sparkle Pink! I am binding the Swoon now, so stay tuned.

I am really pleased. It is a cheerful quilt and the pinks are happy. On the front, the orange is there but pink still dominates.

It is a subtle quilt in that it is mostly monochromatic. It invites the viewer to come closer to see some parts that are more blendy. It doesn’t have the high contrast that quilts with dark on light fabrics do.

Remember that this was a pattern from All Washed Up, lent to me by Mallory. The pattern is called Sparkling Cider and you can order it by calling them. I assume local quilt shops have it as well. Apparently, the company does not update their blog anymore and I don’t see a website that is functional.

Sparkle Pink back
Sparkle Pink back

I said before that I liked this quilt because, though the blocks were large, they were not boring. I do think that the fabric has a lot to do with the outcome. Not just my fabric, but any version. I suppose that is true for all quilts.

The orange shows up more prominently on the back, which is fun. Do you use orange with your pinks?

How do you like that Philip Jacobs rose print. Isn’t it fabulous? If I can’t have loose covers from it for summer, then a quilt back is the next best thing.

I just noticed that the fabrics don’t blend as much into each other on the back as they do on the front. The poppies show up really well and don’t seem to clash much with the roses.


Sparkle Pink detail
Sparkle Pink detail

I am still loving these Joel Dewberry Notting Hill prints. They are bold, but happy and cheerful. Amanda had a zipper pouch made from the tulips in the canary colorway and it was all I could do not to take it home with me. Good thing I am, basically, honest. I have the fabric now and will ask her to help me make a pouch like hers.

Look! I used dots in the quilt as well. No more hoarding of dots.

This is a quilt that I made very fast. I remember making it, but there are very few mentions of it on the blog, aside from the 26 Projects list. You can find the mentions here.

What Works

I mentioned the Stitched in Color blog the other day. After I looked at the ticker tape information, I browsed around recent posts and found a post called ‘Dare.’

Both Pam and Katie have mentioned recently feeling anxious, not feeling like sewing, etc. I have been feeling old. I am not old, though I am older than both Katie, Pam and some of the other podcasters. I never felt my age before and I don’t know if I really am older now, but I just feel old. It could be that the Young Man is talking seriously about colleges and we have gone to speak to some people about a university he might want to attend. I was never really a gooey mother and all of a sudden I feel gooey thinking about sending my “baby” off to college. Perhaps gooey goes with feeling old?

Also, I have been working on small projects. Small projects are like eating M&Ms. You eat a thousand of them and still don’t feel full. I am glad to be plowing through some yardage on napkins, receiving blankets and gift bags. However, the small projects seem insubstantial, unsatisfying and I don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything.


So, somehow all of the above made a connection in my mind to the Stitched in Color blog.  Reading Stitched in Color’s blog post reminded me that I don’t have to do what everyone else does to be successful at quiltmaking. She writes:

“*you don’t have to keep a fabric stash”

  • to which I add: It is also ok if you do, or if you keep a few pieces of fabric by your bed to pet. Remember: fabric is a cheap alternative to drugs and therapy.

“*you don’t have to buy designer fabrics”

  • to which I add: buy fabric you like. If you like to work with velvet and quiana, go for it! Just go and make stuff and make yourself happy. Banish the quilt police from your mind.

“*you don’t have to hand sew bindings”

  • to which I add: when sewing machines became popular household items it was a sign of wealth to machine quilt and machine bind. Quilts from the end of the 19th century have been found with machine bindings. Sewing machines were seen as timesavers. *I* enjoy hand sewing the backs of bindings onto my quilts, but I would love to learn to do a really nice looking machine binding. Do what you like. If hand binding is a terrific trial, don’t do it. Whatever you do, focus on having fun and having good technique. Practice.

“*you don’t have to press seams open or even to the side”

  • to which I add: Press in a manner that is best for the piece. You may press to the side and open in the same quilt. The seams will be on the inside of the quilt and nobody will see them once you put the back on. Just make sure you don’t have lumps of seams (like the center of an 8 pointed star) that can be felt when your quilt is used.

“*you don’t have to care when your points don’t match”

  • to which I add: I try my best to get the points to match. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If I have ripped out a seam more than once, then I try to let it go. I try for good technique, but am not perfect. If I can live with the boo-boo, I move on. None of my quilts are perfect, but neither do the errors take away from the overall effect. The goal is to not have the errors be so obvious that they are all the viewer sees. Reach a happy medium

“*you don’t have to have a tidy or pretty sewing space”

  • to which I add: I like a tidy sewing space, but the reality is that I don’t have enough horizontal space or storage space, or the right kind of horizontal and storage space. I make due and dream about the future studio that is perfect. Try not to compare your space to others. What matters is what comes out of your sewing space.

“*you don’t have to make anything “original””

  • to which I add that there are plenty of fabulous patterns out there. I recently followed a pattern, including the fabric, exactly. What I found was that I could see a method to the “madness” of the pattern designer that was more than just “use this pattern and fabric to make this quilt”. By doing an exact replica, I could see her vision. This has made me think about using the same concept myself later. It also make me think of how different fabrics would look using the same pattern. You can copy everything in a pattern exactly and just use the process as meditation. You can also use a pattern, change the fabric and the construction and make the piece your own. There are a multitude of levels between the two as well. We all need something different from our quiltmaking at different times. Do what works for you.

“*you don’t have to blog, Tweet or Instagram”

  • to which I add: no, you don’t. If you just want to sit in front of your sewing machine by yourself and sew, do it. Tweeting and blogging are fun, but they are not sewing.

“*and you definitely don’t have to have a fancy sewing machine to turn out really great quilts”

  • to which I confess that my machine is nearing 17 years old. Would I love a new machine? Of course, but don’t let having a very basic machine stop you. I make great things with my machine. We are pals and I know him/her well. Keeping this machine is also saving me the time it would take to shop for a new machine. Use what you have and go make stuff!
Punk Rock Quilt
Punk Rock Quilt

The blog post also reminded me that I don’t always do what others do. When was the last time you used pink as a neutral?

What works for you? Do THAT!
















***all of the quotes are from a post called ‘Dare‘ from the Stitched in Color blog written by Rachel.

Meditation on Swoons

Swoon Top
Swoon Top

Perhaps I should have called this post “Second Guessing Myself”.

Back in January I finished the Swoon top and a short time later I sent it to the quilter.

I got it back last week. As usual, she did a fantastic job. I am merrily sewing down the binding, generally enjoying my cheerful Swoon in all its pink and orange loveliness.


Camille Roskelly, the designer of the Swoon quilt, posts a new Swoon she has just finished.


I love her work. I love her fabrics. I would probably love her if she were a friend. But this newest quilt makes me wonder if I should have made the background all the same so the Swoony motifs float. I thought I was being so clever making the blocks different. Now I don’t feel so clever. I feel like I did it wrong. 🙁

The post is making me wonder if I should make a Swoon out of the Joel Dewberry Notting Hill fabric. I do love that fabric. Perhaps this all isn’t so bad after all.

Creative Prompt #222: Hollow

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Definition: “A low, wooded area, such as a copse, A term meaning a small vee-shaped riverine type of valley,Tree hollow, a void in a branch or trunk, which may provide habitat for animals”

Godric’s Hollow, a fictional village in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story by Washington Irving (1783-1859)

The Hollow, a 1946 detective novel by Agatha Christie

series of books by Jessica Verday

The Hollow (Sign of Seven #2) by Nora Roberts

The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart

hollow of her neck

Hollow Coffee Shop, Sunset District, San Francisc0.

The Hollow Kingdom series of books by Clare B Dunkle

pixie hollow

Sand Hollow State Park, Utah

Tennessee Hollow watershed

Briar Hollow comic

Frog Hollow Farm

Hollow Flashlight -project was to create a flashlight that runs solely on the heat of the human hand.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose provides an affordable, sustainable, conservation-centered outdoor adventure for families with children

My Hollow Drum is a collective of dj’s/musicians/artists/friends devoted to their fixation of art & sounds alike.


Various & Sundry #12 2013

Free PR
One of my blog posts was featured in Alex Veronelli’s newsletter. I am not sure featured is the right word, but the post was in the newsletter and I was thrilled. I’ll have to mention that I use Aurifil almost exclusively and am using up my Mettler basting fabric to paper in my EPP Stars project.

I am also going to be part of Purse Palooza. Sara Lawson of the Petrillo Bag fame and Sew Sweetness invited me. Now I have to go pick a pattern and make a bag and review the directions. Yikes! Check out last year’s event.

On the Web
The Getty Museum now has over 4,500 high-resolution images of its collection available for free use, modification, and publication. Thanks to ResearchBuzz. Go forth and be inspired!

Aylin-Nilya has written a bag love-fest post on her blog circling around the new book (due out in November), Big City Bags, by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. One of the things I like about her blog is that she writes in English and German, so I get to practice.

Remember the bags I am working on perfecting that will be the basis for my gifts when I am Queen Poobah? Well, here is another tutorial that shows, with great pictures, how I make straps for as many bags as possible. The author also has a photo of the kind of interfacing I tried as well. It makes the bags stiff, which is a good idea. As an update, I haven’t gone any farther in my explorations than the previous post. I was thinking about the project yesterday, though and will need to get back to it.

Also, I saw this ‘sleeping bag’ pouch on the Aylin-Nilya blog as well and wondered what you thought about making it part of the gift bags? I would have to put in 12 zippers, but I bet I would be really good at zippers once the project was over.

Those Eff block girls were talking about ticker tape blocks recently. I asked what they were, but didn’t understand the answer, so I went surfing to see if I could figure it out. Stitched in Color has a reasonable description (raw edge applique’ teeny tiny scraps on a background). She also points to a Flickr group that shows a lot of different examples. I think I am officially out of the loop. This concept didn’t even get near my radar.

I am guarding what is on my iPod until I get iTunes on my computer back in order. Some of what I am listening to has been on my to-listen list for awhile. The other day I listened to an interview with Pat Bravo on the Jackie’s Quilting Chronicles episode 32 podcast. It is from December 2011. What a GREAT interview! I don’t think I have ever heard Pat Bravo speak and her enthusiasm was fantastic. Just listening to her made me feel better about my life. Don’t worry she is not so gushy that she makes everything seem perfect in her life; it is her attitude that was a good reminder for me. Take a listen!

Katie talked about practicing an invisible ladder stitch, which is the preferred way of closing stuffed animals, bag linings, etc. She talked about it in a recent podcast (you are listening, right?) I didn’t know what this was, so I checked out some web tutorials. Taffy has some nice photos in her tutorial. I don’t understand the first couple of pictures from the Sewing for Beginners tutorial, but it turned out pretty well, so I’ll probably go back and look at it more carefully. There is also a video from another blog, which I didn’t watch, but may.

I listened to an older podcast of Daisy‘s about Quilt Mythbusting. I loved it! She doesn’t give dissertation quality references, but she does give references to her information as well as practical advice and tips surrounding the alleged myth. Good job, Daisy!

I listened to a  really interesting podcast about creativity from a radio show called On Being with Krista Tippett. Worth a listen. For you quilt/science geeks (Pam!), there is a lot about the brain and other science-y stuff.

Speaking of science geeks, Pam saved me some time by trying out the iron-on vinyl. This a product that makes any fabric (probably not upholstery fabric, but certainly quilting fabric) into a laminate. She used a different brand that the link above, but I wanted to give you some idea of what we were talking about. The idea is to make part of the bag waterproof. For example, you might want to put some on the bottom of a bag in case you set it in something wet or icky. Jennifer Paganelli mentioned using leather on the bottom of a bag to reduce wear (Jackie’s Quilting Chronicles, April 15, 2011). Same idea. I talked about it when I mentioned the changes I want to make to the Petrillo Bag pattern. That updated bag is still on my radar, in case you think I forgot.

Another article on how to find free eBooks and free audiobooks, in case you need some entertainment when you are not sewing.

Stuff to Think About
Tanesha over at CraftyGardenMom podcast and blog posted an essay about the low cost of Anthropologie ‘handmade’ quilts. People made some good comments about the post on Reddit as well. This has been on my mind as well, but from the Garnet Hill quilt perspective. The prices are outrageously low. All I can think about when I look through the Garnet Hill catalog is an ugly room full of desperate women who can’t feed their families without making these quilts. I think about the garment workers in Bangladesh who were injured and killed when the building they were working in collapsed. I could never make a quilt for the price they quote and I couldn’t buy one of Garnet Hill’s or Anthropologie’s quilts, because that is all I would think about.

I think we have a problem with value vs. cost in this country. We will drive for miles for a ‘deal’ and not worry much, or say “oh well” when it breaks next year and can’t be fixed. Some of this is why I stopped listening to one of the podcasts that others love.

Someone will be reading this and thinking “well, I wouldn’t be able to make a quilt and I couldn’t afford a quilt if the cost reflected its true value.” Handmade craft – any kind of craft – has value. The beauty of the hand labor has value. It is hard to put a dollar value on it. I make quilts for myself – to keep myself sane, to have something different from my job work to do, to work with beautiful fabrics, to feel soft texture in my hands. I don’t make quilts to sell, partially because it isn’t worth it. When people inquire I say that my quilts start at $1000 and that usually stops the conversation right there. If a person doesn’t make anything, they can’t conceive of the time and effort it takes. Go make something, even a toothpick house and see how long it takes you. There is effort involved in handmade and we should all be glad to pay for it.

Richard's Templates for Russian Rubix
Richard’s Templates for Russian Rubix

Cool Tools, Thread and Fabric

Susan talked about the Russian Rubix pattern on her podcast recently. I mentioned it also, in a recent post. I looked around the web for version of the quilt and came across the Tiffany is Sew Busy blog where she talks about the pattern and her friend, Richard. Richard is my new hero because he offers to make templates for the Russian Rubix pattern. I ordered two sets, one for me (ruler junkie) and one for Susan. I received them, but I haven’t tried them. They look great, though. Very professional! He even offered to make templates for other patterns as well. I want to take him up on that! He followed up to ask if I had received them and told me he is working on getting them up on Etsy and on his website. I don’t see anything yet, but you can email him by going to Tiffany’s blog and getting the information there.

Why didn’t you tell me Camille Roskelly hooked up with Aurifil and created a Simplify thread pack? I want it. I want it now and I want YOU to buy it for me.  Thank you. 😉

Challenges and Group Projects
EBHQ’s Voices in Cloth Show will be held at Craneway Pavilion on March 22 & 23, 2014. The show will include the WWII Home Front Quilt Challenge, which has recently been launched!  Please visit the Home Front Challenge website for information and to view the Call for Entries. You can print the call for entries from the site.  To request a copy be mailed to you, email your request with your mailing address to:

Quilts selected from the entries will be exhibited online and in a special exhibit at Voices in Cloth 2014. EBHQ is working on other venues and hope to show the quilts throughout 2014.

There is additional information on the website, including a list of partner organizations. you probably need to be a member of the group to participate, but the membership fee is very reasonable and the Voices in Cloth show is one of the best guild shows around. Email if you have any questions, or if you need information in a different form. Please help us get the word out and thanks.

Cat Bed Delivery Van
Cat Bed Delivery Van

The cat beds were delivered to the Homeless Cat Network this past week. Look at this van! Amanda took the photo to show us how much work we had done ‘for the kitties’ as she likes to say. She had to fill the beds with her stash of schnibbles, so she had plenty of work to do after I (we) sewed the beds. You can see some of the cat beds I made in the photo.

We are up to 39 email subscribers! Yay! I know it is silly and so far below some of the way more popular blogs, but I don’t care. Thanks, chicklets!

More Small Projects

Boy Scout Pillowcases
Boy Scout Pillowcases

Another thing I made in my ongoing small project extravaganza sewfest were two pillowcases. I had been wanting to make them and finally was able to spend the time recently.

I bought some Boy Scout Fabric at Scottie Dog Fabrics on the North Coast earlier this year.

One will be a birthday gift for a friend of the Young Man and the other I will give to the Young Man, perhaps as a Christmas gift. We’ll see.

I have a little of the fabric left, but not enough to make another pillowcase. I don’t know what I will do with it. I am sure I’ll think of something.

Continuing to Choose Colors

I wrote about choosing colors a few weeks ago. If you recall I am looking to make my own Jelly Roll (Jaye Roll??) to make another sample for the Super Secret Project. Since I wrote about that I took the Bill Kerr class and that class helped to inform my additional choices.

Philip Jacobs Print
Philip Jacobs Print

Since I took the class I tried to apply the principles Kerr taught to my attempts at selecting the 40+ fabrics. I have to say that it is difficult to apply the principles we learned at the Fabric Smackdown, because I didn’t start with two completely unrelated fabrics. I started with one Philip Jacobs. You saw it in the previous post as well.

Remember I also had a lime and a couple of orange solids?

What I did NOT want to do was think of the PJ fabric as a focus fabric and just pick matchy-matchy fabrics to go with it. This fabric was to be the jumping off point, but not the full color spectrum for the quilt.

Choosing Colors
Choosing Colors

I still had the essence of the class on my mind, so I grabbed some additional fabrics….

I was going to say “that I thought would work”, but that isn’t quite right.

The fabrics I chose do work together, but I don’t think they would be typically considered “a group.”

Keep in mind, not all of these fabrics will definitely stay in the group. They might, but they might not. I think the group is interesting and it makes my eyes move around. The ones that bug me are the dark pinks from the Notting Hill group (upper left, second column). I don’t hate them. My eyes are drawn to them. I don’t think they are quite right.

I also need some more medium scale prints. Dots? Ta Dots?

I am moving forward and making progress. I need at least 12 more fabrics, if not 15. I think I am going in the right direction. I am not there yet, so I’ll keep working at it.

Learning Never Stops

Joel Dewberry Notting Hill Pristine Poppy (midnight)
Joel Dewberry Notting Hill Pristine Poppy (midnight)

I hate to shatter your illusions, but on many things I am no expert 😉 and can always learn something. Recently I bought some home dec fabric to make a bag (or a couple of bags, really). I got it and realized I didn’t know how to deal with it.

I always pre-wash. I even pre-wash Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes. The smell of the chemicals from the fabric when I iron unwashed fabric makes me break out in a rash. I am not ranting or proselytizing; I am not telling you what I do. There are no quilt police on this blog. I encourage you to do whatever you want that allows you to make many, many quilts.

I have made accessories and small items with home dec fabric before, but it wasn’t yardage. Mostly I used scraps from various sources, such as FabMo. I almost never buy home dec yardage so the question of pre-washing has never come up. Most of the home dec fabric I have used doesn’t smell (off gassing) by the time I get it, is in relatively small quantities and is made from specialty fibers so I don’t think of pre-washing.

However, with the bags I want to make, I am going to be pressing a lot and don’t really want to wear a mask while I make the bag, thus the question of pre-washing came up. I contacted Lindsay and Charlie over at Hawthorne Threads and they pointed me to a post on Make It Love It talks generally about pre-washing, but not specifically about home dec fabric.

I am using home dec fabric for the bag, because I want the added body and strength beyond quilt weight fabric. Will the finishes wash off and leave me with a limp mess? Can I replace the body/finishes with Mary Ellen’s Best Press?

Do you have any ideas, thoughts, wisdom to share? By the time you read this I might have already washed it.

Receiving Blankets

I made about three quilts as baby gifts for friends and then stopped. I like to give baby gifts that people are going to use rather than put in the closet for ‘good’. Receiving blankets are good for lots of things, not the least of which are superhero(ine) capes and playmats. I wrote about a full list of the possibilities which I could think up the last time I did a big post on receiving blankets.

Receiving Blankets
Receiving Blankets

I don’t always make receiving blankets for people. Sometimes I just go to Target and get the something off their list. I just felt like sewing some receiving blankets this time.

I think I said  this before, but for new readers:

  • I use 1.25 yards of flannel.
  • I wash all the flannel in a baby friendly laundry soap,
  • then I hem the edges with a decorative stitch. I don’t hem the selvedge edges. It works for me, they are relatively quick to make and I get great feedback on them.

The red piece in the upper right hand corner is more of a wrap. Sometimes something a little smaller is nice, especially if the mom is layering.

Great gift! Try some!