Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Mountain majesties"

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountains' majesty
Above the fruited plain.

We all know the words -- or sort of know the words. How many people get the "purple mountains' majesty" part correct, with all the right plurals and possessives? I grimaced when I saw the title on the block lotto directions, but I know I am more particular than most when it comes to orthographical niceties. Fortunately, Google is uninterested in the apostrophe and I was able to find out more about this block online.

In any case, I made this block as part of our monthly block lotto at the guild. I like it okay, although I doubt I would ever make a quilt based on this block, but I was intrigued by the construction. You make two half-square triangles, cut them apart in strips, and stitch them back together. I was intrigued enough to look for layout possibilities online. Quiltville, one of my favorite sites, has instructions and some very intriguing designs using this block. Click here to take a look. By the way, this is all prelude to my next post, coming soon, about tesselations and symmetry.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow sculpture

Brian opened the back door from the garage to get to the patio to shovel that big snow drift against the family room door (I posted that photo a few days ago). This is what greeted him when he opened the door.

The indentations in the door made a lovely mold for the snow!

More pieces!

Remember the green and yellow checkerboard I posted a week ago? This goes with it! Next week I should join everything and you'll see what it is.

PublishThese are photographed on the spiffy table-top gridded ironing board I have. It's wonderful!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Snow! Last I measured, the drift against the patio door was 43" higher than our carpet (don't be ridiculous, I didn't go OUTSIDE to measure it!). And that was about 5:30 this evening, and it's now 10:15 and it's still snowing.
It's a very odd storm -- bitterly cold and windy, with very dry snow. So the tree branches are all bare and forlorn looking, part of the grass is visible, and then there are drifts that measure several feet. The University was closed today and will be again tomorrow. Incredible!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lost & Found

When I organized all my I Spy paraphernalia, I put the magazine with the pattern in the big Rubbermaid tub along with everything else. Somehow it crawled out all by itself to play hide and go seek. I was not amused. I finished Teresa's I Spy without it, but the top had already been pieced. It became more critical when I started to work on Laurel's recently. Just how many hexagons??? Finally this evening I sat down with a huge pile of quilting magazines and went through them until at last I came upon the right one. I guess the magazine knew that the best place to hide a needle is in a haystack. But I am so glad to have found it!

How do you like my temporary design wall? I felt pretty clever with this one. It's batting stuck to the wall with painter's tape, which doesn't harm the wall and peels off easily. (I just wish that painter's tape wasn't so blue.) I stuck up all the hexagons I had put triangles on and they came to 70. I need ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN! But seeing what I had made it easier to avoid duplicates as I rummaged through my stash. I'm now up to 95. This time I'm cutting the hexagons with a rotary cutter around the template rather than tracing and using scissors. My accuracy should be much better, making piecing easier this time. I'm on my way!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What's this?

Well might you ask! It looks mighty daffodil-ish if you ask me. While I would definitely like to see a daffodil outside (what a relief from the vast expanses of white that will only get whiter when it snows again on Tuesday), I am not such a daffodilish quilt person. I must say I was surprised when I made this border for my Pressing Basics class at Quilt University. I trust that when the quilt is complete, you will not be thinking of daffodils. I will say no more, but continue to post the other parts as they are made. (If it looks weird, one strip is right side up and the other is upside down so you can admire the pressing.)

This block was another extra project for the Pressing Basics class. I madeit with Linus fabric and will work it into a Linus quilt. We have several extra blocks, and I'm making them all with the same fabrics. Then I'll do some applique apples and make a quilt.

'Twas the night before Christmas

Well, no, it was February 10, but if it had been the night before Christmas, someone would have been using this pillowcase!I bought this kit in November 2005 because I wanted to learn to make a pillowcase with a cuff and no raw edges inside. In my effort to finish up UFOs, I stitched this up. It's a really clever construction method in which the cuff, edging and body of the pillowcase are joined in one seam that leaves no raw edge. Then the side and bottom are stitched twice, once to join and once to enclose the raw edges. Now that I know how to make these, I'll make many for gifts. I think kids will love them. This one is my contribution to the guild bazaar (everyone needs to contribute for the quilt show).

I've been doing lots of stitching recently -- sent Teresa's I Spy once I figured out how to make a decent label (I printed it up in a fancy font, then traced over it onto fabric using a Pigma pen), am working on Laurel's I Spy, and of course have been doing lots of Linus stuff. Check out the Hearts for Linus blog if you haven't been!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

UFOs and other strange sightings

We see way too many UFOs around my guild -- and no, we are not in Roswell, New Mexico. A UFO is the quilting term for Un-Finished Object. It is so easy to get excited, start a project, and then ... somehow ... never finish. The guild has a challenge this year to finish up some of our UFO's -- I put down several projects on my list.

Just for fun, here's a list someone shared from a Yahoo quilting group:

UFO Un-Finished Object. A project which is started but not yet finished.

WIP Work In Progress. A project on which you actually do work. (The dividing-line between UFOs and WIPs is highly personal.)

PIG Project In Grocery-bag

prozag PROject in Zip-lock-bAG

PIGs and Prozags are those bags / shelves / boxes / whatever, where you have all fabrics and a pattern. Thread and batting is not necessarily included. Numerous PIGs have been known to be called my herd of swine.

BOB Bag (Box / whatever) Of Blocks. Often swap-blocks that are put aside for "later". Also the odd "test-blocks" where you have tried out colour-combinations, or a new technique, or the blocks of projects that were started, and is now stopped without any intention of every doing more about that project ... but there are anything from 1 to 100 blocks that are finished.
BOB-projects usually need serious executive decisions ... such as setting, use, size etc.

The 3 above categories can be DOA, Dead On Arrival. Something you know you will never finish anything from. If that is the case, get rid of it! Donate, toss, sell or recycle into stash.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I love containers. It's hard for me to get rid of boxes and I keep far more storage containers for the kitchen than I need. There's just something about things fitting nicely inside that really appeals to me. (This must be some ancient genetic thing because it makes no sense otherwise.) It's not surprising, then, that I've wanted to make a quillow -- a quilt that can be folded up and stored inside it's own pocket to make a pillow -- ever since I first heard of them. When Fons & Porter printed instructions in their December 2006 issue, I had to make one.

Fortunately one of Brian's colleagues cooperated and had a baby shortly after the magazine came out. I made a minky for the baby and decided to make a quillow for her older brother. Here it is as a pillow.

And here it is partly folded out. When completely open (drat, I didn't take a photo!), the pocket (the exterior of the pillow) is attached at the base of the blue side. The red dotted side is a soft flannel. I think these are fun for keeping in the car or just having for whenever. The recipient seemed very happy with his.

I was thinking I would make a whole bunch of these for gifts for kids, but I'm not sure now. They are easy to sew, but I really don't like working with big pieces of cloth -- it's cumbersome and tricky to get them exactly the same size. Most of the time is spent on that, not on the fun parts of construction. Fons & Porter's instructions were not the best, either. They say to purchase 2 yards of fabric for front and back, but the measurements when you are cutting are for pieces wider than standard widths of fabric! They do give instructions on how to make a quillow of any size, but still their purchasing directions should have indicated that standard quilting fabrics are narrower than they suggest using.