September 30, 2009 2 comments

What I'm working on...

For this week's Wednesday post, I was going to show you the video BSP and I made about solving the stop and start issue, but sadly, I lost my camera. :(


I brought it with me on Sunday when we played golf (I thought I would get some great shots of the fall colours and I did); but I must have dropped it on my way into the house.   And now it's gone. And just when I finally figured out how to get pretty good shots with my old one!



a small portion of the front


I'm using BSP's camera until I can replace mine,  and though it's better than a kick in the pants, ;) , it's not my dearly loved camera, and he and I (it's definitely a he) haven't gotten used to each other yet. 


 I love using metallic thead in moderation, and have been waiting for an opportunity to use this particular varigated version that includes pink and copper and gold - so pretty!

Blather blather - so the thing is, the quilt I'm working on is very labour intensive in terms of it's quilting, and is, therefore, taking a lot of time.  It probably won't be ready for showing until Monday and maybe not even then!




If you click on this picture and look at it up close, you'll see the varigated thread in use on that strip of lovely taupe dupioni silk.  This quilt is a real stretch for me, not only in its colour pallette (more on that when I do the "big reveal", but also it what I'm doing for the quilting; but I can't tell you how much I love it, and how excited I am to show it to you - and it's not even done yet!

So in the meantime (or at least until Friday when I should have a new video to post) you'll have to be content with a tease.





See what I mean about Mr. Kodak and I not knowing each other well yet?  I'm not even sure we like each other yet!  However, if you click on that, you'll be able to see the quilting better...
*sigh*

See you all Friday!


P.S.  If you know Barb over at Bejwelled Quilts by Barb and are of the praying/sending good thoughts to the Universe or whatever your ethos is - spare a thought for her and her family - post Tsunami.  I don't expect to hear from her for awhile, but am hoping with everything in me that she is alright.  

ETA:  apparently someone has heard from her and she is alright.  Yay!


September 28, 2009 7 comments

Make something purple...

As I was typing this post, I told BSP that the name of this quilt was "Make something purple."  BSP's response was "Oh, boy..."  :)

Y'see, this quilt was kind of an odd one.  Several months ago, Sonnet of the Moon and I talked about participating in Crazy Mom's Nine Patch Quilt-Along to which I said "nay" because I thought I would find a nine-patch too boring. (Having since made an HST, I can affirm that a nine patch is NOT boring.)  By the time Crazy Mom started her  second nine patch quilt-along, I was in a fallow period, and felt unmotivated to be in the sewing room. 



I was casting around for something that would pull me into the sewing room, and once there, my hope was that I would be encouraged to make other things. I decided that the result would be for use as a “car” quilt (we live in Ontario, and during Ontario winters, a blanket or two in the car are an extremely good idea.)
September 25, 2009 7 comments

Still not sewing...

'Cause my eyeballs hurt!  (Isn't that weird?) They actually feel bruised.   But, come what may, I'm going to start sewing again this weekend - I feel like my arms were cut off or something from lack of it!  :)

In the meantime though, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite tools.  In no particular order we have:

A bias tape maker:

I have not yet used this for its intended purpose of making bias tape, but I use it every single time I make binding for a quilt.  It's so amazing!  Your binding comes out beautifully perfect and is a breeze to apply.  I read a debate recently on someone's blog about binding, and they felt that you should only use binding made on the bias because it prevents fraying and strengthens the quilt as a whole. I don't because I feel that cutting fabric on the bias is wasteful and so, try to never do it.   What say you, dear readers?

My next tool, I bought at a medical supply shop.



They're tweezers, with an attached magnifying glass.  What a great idea!  I use these all the time for pulling out stitches with thread that matches exactly or nearly exactly the fabric it's sewn on.  The points of the tweezers are extremely fine and very sharp.  This tool completely eliminates the occasional "accident" where you pull a thread from your fabric instead of a thread on your fabric.

At the same shop, I bought another pair of tweezers, about the same size without the magnifying glass, which I use exclusively as a seam ripper.  They're so great!


You may not have seen one of these before, or it may be old hat to you, but it's a sharpener for your rotary cutter blades.  I'm always looking for ways to economize, and this is a wonderful one.  You put your blade in the little contraption on the left, and then sharpen it by twirling it on the disc on the right.  The picture I've taken shows the buffing side, but on the other side is the actual sharpening side.  It makes your blades nice and sharp again. 

The one safety issue I've found is that after you've sharpened your blade seven or eight times, it gets quite thin.  I've twice had a blade snap while using it aftter having been sharpened several times, and when it does, bits of metal shrapnel go flying everywhere!  Since then, I limit myself to five "sharpens" and I haven't had it happen since.   But still, that's five blades I've saved myself!  :)



Everyone has a pair of little clippers so these are nothing special, right?  WRONG!  :) They're special, because I bought them at the same medical supply place and those blades are sooooooooooo sharp! That's the only thing that's special about them, but it's a wonderful quality!


Yes, yes, I know that's a knitting gauge, but you know when it comes in really handily?   Mid-stream, needle down, you can whip it out, quick as a flash, and do a quick measure to make sure I'm on track.  I used to use my 4 inch square ruler for that purpose, but it's a bit ungainly.  Plus, you can set the little marker to whatever width you're looking for, so you don't have to actually pay attention to the markings, you just make sure it lines up with the red marker and you're good to go.  Perfect!



I must confess that I always thought quilting gloves seemed kind of silly and I never intended to buy them.  But I got a pair - a fancy, pretty, girly-girly pair in my Christmas stocking last year, and used them when I quilted a really heavy lap (the commission quilt I made last May) and it made a huge difference in my ability to manipulate the quilt.  Well, what do you know. Quilting gloves aren't so silly after all! 

However, a month or so ago, one of my cats was angry with me, and she pulled my quilting gloves off of my sewing table onto the floor, and the dropped a couple of ... presents on them (to make sure her feelings were perfectly clear!)  Now, I could have washed those gloves and used them again, but I am a Virgo, and I get the heebie jeebies about stuff like that, so I tossed them. 

When I went to buy a similar, girly girly pair - I was outraged at how much they cost  ($25!!!!!) so I refused to buy them.  A couple of weeks later, I was walking by a store that sold things for labourers, and the fellow had several bins with different kinds of cloth gloves that had rubberized palms, so I picked out the lightest -duty version, in size extra small, and they  fit perfectly.  And guess what?  I got twelve pair in the bag for $15!!!!  I now have quilting gloves for life, and for $15.  :)  (And now the cat's out of the bag about my other secret.  I can be very cheap!)

But I never stint on fabric.  Look at these lovelies...



Last week I bought two metres each of these -  (one metre=1.09 yards) - Dupioni silks in blues, taupes and that dark green that makes me think of being deep under water and looking up through it at the sky, far, far, above.

And on the same trip, I bought several metres each of these basic solids - well - also a couple of metres of that little polka dot - because I couldn't resist.  :)


So, there you have it.  Some of my favourite tools, and some pretties.  I'm going to get back to sewing this weekend - even if I have to go back to my old glasses to do it - so I should have something quilty to show you on Monday.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend - and happy quilting!
September 23, 2009 4 comments

Dum de dum....

Well, this week, a sad reality has made itself known to me, as it may have already made itself known to you.

I am getting older.

Yes, yes, that 46th birthday thing that happened a couple of weeks ago, may have been a tip-off, but I was concentrating on the presents, not encroaching age! Anyway - it has manifested itself in my new glasses - I now have graduated lenses.  *wahhhhhhhhhhhh!*  I'm *le gasp* OLDDDDDDDDDD!

*hee*.  I'm kidding of course.  I know I'm, er, let's call it, "well-lived", but I feel very young, still.



However, these graduated lense things are a pip!  Getting used to them will take time, I'm sad to say (they make me a bit dizzy and give me vertigo on stairs at the moment), so I'm wearing them for a few hours every day, and when I'm not - I wear regular contact lenses, and have three different sets of reading glasses.

One for the 'puter at home (which is farther away than the one at the office), so I also have reading glasse for the 'puter at the office, and then, you guessed it, reading glasses for sewing.  


(Yes, I really am going to use that bright fuschia thread on those red fabrics.  What? *w*)

Neither option is perfect (yet) and the glasses/contact combo have the effect of making everything much bigger (good) and weirdly, concave (bad).  Needless to say, quilting has been challenging! 

So, I decided to put aside the "important" stuff  and make another cat quilt.  Remember the scraps and saffron I made a month or so ago?  I said at the time, I had enough blocks to make another one, so I did, and sashed it in red jersey this time instead of the saffron yellow cotton.



And, taking into account the whole things are REALLY BIG and also concave, I decided to do some simple quilting.  And guess what?  I figured out the stopping and starting thing!  BSP and I were trying to do a video to post here, but the fuschia thread against the red and pink and woohoo! fabrics just wasn't working.  I'll try and get one up later in the week with contrasting thread and white or cream fabric. 




Hey, but if you click on the above photo to view it "in big" guess what, guess what?  That's right - no sign of stopping or starting!!! Hurray!  So I'll post a video of that later in the week.

In the meantime, I'll continue to get used to my new "eyes" and by Friday, I should have something else to post.  Probably something that looks really SUPER BIG, and round....  ;)
September 21, 2009 12 comments

Pinnochio

As some of you may know, I'm quite new to quilting.

I made my first experimental "cat quilts" back in January and February of 2008, and my first lap sized quilt in April of 2008, so I've been quilting for about a year and 1/2 now - not very long at all.

Last February, I was talking to a fellow customer I met on my first visit to a quilt shop and she was giving me well-meaning (but unwanted) advice about how to choose a colour pallette and what fabric lines were "the best", what patterns were "the best" for beginners and simliar other advice.

                

I was there to look at what the quilt shops had to offer, but I wasn't interested then (and still am not now) in buying a line of fabric from one designer or manufacturer and making a quilt to someone else's pattern.

Although I was just being all earnest and enthusiastic about my newfound passion for quilting, in restrospect, I realize that I rather obnoxiously told her that I wanted to "create something new".    She looked at me like I'd put her nose out of joint (and deservedly so, I think) and told me that I'd  never truly be a quilter until I'd made a log cabin quilt.
September 17, 2009 4 comments

Lookie what I got!!!

I got my doll quilt from my swap partner Brenis  today, and it's so cute!

Look - it's a pretty wonky block (that is, pretty, wonky, block) with a little kitty on it (and I am a cat lady after all),



I love the purple kitty - and the best part - she stalked me enough to know that I love a little "shiny" so she put some shiny in his nose!!!






Isn't that the cutest thing ever?

And look at the back - so pretty it could almost be the front -





And as if that wasn't enough, she included this great book on curved pieceing (Brenis REALLY did a great job stalking because I only mentioned in the comments of one of my posts that I wanted to learn curved piecing!)





and notice the tag line "a practically pinless approach"?  I HATE pinning!!!!!  *hee*

And she also included this adorable pin cushion!







Which is so great because I only have one of those silly little tomatoes which is no good for long quilter's pins! 


She also included this lovely little (handmande?) notebook with this adorable fabric on it. 


Brenis, thank you so very much for my lovely gifts - you were so thoughtful and considerate, I love them all.





I even liked the sparkly ribbon you wrapped the gifts in so much, I put it in my hair.


I think I'll wear it to work tomorrow. 
What?
;)
September 16, 2009 5 comments

Orange you glad I did?

*hee*

Initially, I was going to call this quilt, "monkeying around" (because I do love those little monkeys)


But, though there are a lot of those little monkeys in this quilt, there aren't enough to make it obvious why the quilt would be called "monkeying around".   In fact, there's a lot of not-so-obvious fabric in this quilt, a lot of which fell under the category of "Now why did I buy that"?

On one of my very rare visits to a quilt shop (the quilt shop in question, was in fact, going out of business and was on its third last day!), I found and fell in love with the monkeys. So then, I needed to get something to go with the monkeys, namely these palm trees.
Nice.  But, uhm, what'll I do with those?  Which is not what happened when I bought these little lovelies.
I actually bought this fabric for a very specific project (my very first commission quilt, which was in fact, only my second quilt ever), but my client decided that he wanted red only rather than the autumnal shades we had discussed, so I ended up making him Saucy Divo, and then had this orange and gold dragonfly fabric. And thought, "So, uhm, what am I going to do with that?"   Which was not the case with this fabric.

This fabric, I bought for a very specific purpose. It was going to be in the quilt I finally finished up just recently - Man's Fans". But I didn't like it as much as I thought I did (in that quilt, anyway) so ended up with quite a bit of yardage left. I tried to put some of it in "Autumn Steals In", but used only tiny bits of it, so once again. That question came up - "What am I going to do with that"?

Well, one day I was thinking to myself "I need to make something quick and easy" and decided to make a half triangle quilt, using all of those lost and now found  fabrics.  Turned out, that though it was indeed easy, it wasn't fast at all. (Why did I think true-ing up 500 blocks would be fast????!!!!  I should have made a baby size quilt!) So, after they were sewn, I trued them up 20 or so at a time, and did other things concurrently. 

Today I'm home because my youngest is sick - but a 14 year old boy with a tv and a Playstation in his room is very easy to take care of (!), so I decided to work on another top I started on the weekend.  I finished it and was going to start quilting it, but found I didn't have the right backing fabric for it. So I decided to finally finish up my half triangles and show it to you.


(The wind accounts for the wonky borders.) 

I won't be quilting it tonight - BSP reminded me we have a dinner date tonight with friends, and tomorrow night, I have a night out with my best girlfriend  - so on Friday, I'll have to show you the other top I made today. 

And then I guess I'm going to be busy quilting all weekend.  Do you think I can quilt two queen sized quilts over one weekend? We're going to find out!

For this one, I've been thinking about free motion monkeys and palm trees, or perhaps I could try (once more) to make straight lines, or maybe some simple x's across the squares or....?  I don't know!
What do you think?

In any case, I'm glad to finally use up some of those "What am I going to do with that?" fabrics, and though I bored myself to tears with this quilt (*laughs*), I'm happy to prove that I can so too make something traditional!  (In fact, when its done, I'm going to bring it to my guild just to show those ladies that I can!)
 
*blows a raspberry*  ;)
 
In the meantime, happy quilting to you all!
September 14, 2009 12 comments

Baby-Go-Round

Well, this quilt won't be much of a surprise, since you got a sneak peek on Friday.  Originally intentioned as a baby quilt, at 45 x 48, it would work just as well as a couch throw.

I finished up the quilting on Sunday morning, and went back to another project I've had on the go, but thought I'd post the results of the sneak peek.   Here's the full back:


(pics are clickable for more detail, as usual.)
September 11, 2009 5 comments

Free for all Friday!

(As usual, pics are clickable to "embiggen" which I really suggest you do for the art quilt.  Amazing!)

Today when I got home, I said to BSP "I have to make a baby quilt or a cat quilt or something tonight - it's been ages since I posted something to my blog!"


Of course, then I checked my blog and realized it's only been a couple of days, but I try to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that there’ll be something new on the blog over the weekend. But I hadn’t worked on anything that I can show (I want Barb’s quilt to be a surprise).


But then I remembered, that this past weekend, I went to a quilt exhibition of a man from Kashmir, India. I went planning to look, not buy, and I hadn’t saved any money to make purchases, a decision, I greatly regretted. However, I did find one small art quilt that I loved, and could afford.


I love the intense colours and amazing embellishments in this lovely, although finding the face staring at me was a surprise - I didn't notice it at his exhibition - but I think it’s because I was too overwhelmed by my burning desire for a turquoise blue and silver bed quilt he’d made – I’d fallen head over heels for it, but just could *not* afford it. (*Pulls knife out of chest*)


But every time I look at it, I find more to see! I've hung it on a wall in my sewing room to inspire me daily. I love looking up at it in different kinds of light and seeing it in different ways.


But it being me, I decided to try and come up with something of my own to show you, so, after dinner, I went off to my sewing room, where I shopped my stash, and finally decided on something to make. I finished the top in a couple of hours, pieced a back and then batted and pinned, and started quilting.


And that's where I got into trouble! My quilting ended up being more time consuming than I intended (what can I say - the quilt called for it!) but here’s a sneak peek at a little of the quilting on the back...


But no peeking at the front until it's done!


Have a good weekend, everyone!  :)
September 9, 2009 5 comments

Birthday Bonanza!

I was a very spoiled wife for my birthday and one of the gifts I got was a sum to spend on increasing my stash. 

This is just a small portion of what I bought (I got a very generous sum!), but I think I'm going to be putting these particular fabrics to use very soon.


Photobucket

Stay tuned...

:)
September 7, 2009 6 comments

Man's Fans

A UFO that came in from the cold. I originally blogged about this WIP/UFO back in January, before most of you even knew I existed, but here's my original post if you're interested.  It's a quilt I called Man's Fans.  The top was done, I just had to do the quilting, already!

I had a very busy weekend, so busy, I didn't even have time to reply to your birthday wishes (which I thank you for), so I thought I'd pull out this old one.

It was made out of the leftover scraps from  Autumn Steals In, as well as a luscious chocolate stretch satin for the borders and back, saffron yellow upholstery weight silk for the binding and some bits and pieces of African cottons.   I said in my original post that I thought I was going to regret the choice of stretch satin when I started quilting, and boy-oh-boy, was that a prophetic statement!
September 4, 2009 9 comments

Giveaway Day!

So in my last post, I mentioned that on my birthday, I would give a present to my followers, to thank you for your support and enouragement as I navigate my quilting path. It's really been so very appreciated!

All of my followers will get an automatic entry, and if you'd like to get an extra entry, just comment to this post, telling me which prize you'd like to win, which are as follows:

A round tote bag, about 16 inches across, in your favourite colours


a rectangular tote, made in your favourite colours


(will not be exactly as shown), or a small art quilt,



in this case, definitely not exactly as shown.  I plan to do an autumn scene, if an art quilt is requested by the winner.

So, that's it!

All of you will automatically be entered into the giveaway, but if you'd like an extra entry, comment to this post, saying what you would like to win.

I'll make the draw and announce the winner on Monday.


Good luck!
September 2, 2009 5 comments

Zoopendus!

After finishing Coneflowers in Leslieville on Saturday, on Sunday I rested. *selah*

On Monday, I wanted something quick and easy. Since my orange project, though easy, is definitely not quick; I decided to start something new. I've had a baby quilt percolating in my head for awhile now (two actually) so I decided to start on the first one.

I had about a yard left of a nnifty animal print flannel, so I appliqued it (my first attempt!)  into a centre panel, bordered by ribbon.





and judiciously used the rest of the yard along with some yellow flannel for the side panels and the back:
 
;