Monday, October 25, 2010

Design Wall Monday::A Very Little Progress

Things have been very busy at work and we went up to my daughter's again this past weekend, so I've accomplished very little sewing this week.  I did manage one more corner star for the Auntie's Pride block and have prepped the other.  The rest will be filled in with the background fabric when I have the time.

And I sewed the border pieces on this block.  I cut enough fabric for more sister's star thinking I might have time to sew over the weekend, but I didn't.

Not much to show for a whole week, is it?

You can see what others have on their design wall this week by clicking over to Judy L.'s blog Patchwork Times.


BTW--I am trying to pass the word about a virtual quilt show from Quilts in the Barn.  Linda is posting pictures of absolutely beautiful quilts from a show she organized in Australia.  All proceeds from her show went to breast cancer research.  You can participate by visiting her blog and making a contribution to a breast cancer research organization near you.  Check out my last post for details!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Want to go to a quilt show?

A really, really fantastic quilt show?  Right now?  In Australia?  Without leaving your house?

Linda C. at Quilts in the Barn organized a quilt show featuring quilts from the Secret Sewing Sisterhood group and it is super!  Ninety beautiful, intricate quilts were displayed.  The money raised is being donated to breast cancer research.

Now Linda is making the quilt show available on-line on her blog, a few at a time over a couple of weeks.  All she asks is that viewers worldwide donate something to breast cancer research organizations in their communities.  I'm sending mine to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

So, take a look at some amazing quilts and make a donation to help a cause that affects us all.

10-25-10 edit:  Linda, not Julie, was the organizer of this fabulous show!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Design Wall Monday::Sixes and Eights

Last week my daughter and her husband decided that they were tired of looking at the rotten old garden shed in the backyard of their new house.  Demolition time!  We drove up to help on Saturday.  Well, my husband helped.  I sat on the sidelines, wincing as huge pieces of the shed were hacked away and thrown into a  monstrous pile ready to be loaded into a dumpster sometime this week.  My contribution was a big roast chicken dinner for the happy warriors.

I did accomplish some sewing while they worked.  This is part of the Auntie's Pride block.  I bought the template set a few weeks ago.  There are going to be three more half-stars around the center star.  I love how this is coming together.  The block will finish at about 12 inches.  I can see it as a center medallion with lots of little LeMoyne stars around it.  I'm not terribly sure about my fabric choices, but I had cut some scraps to try out the templates and get an idea of how it was all going to fit together.

I also worked on another Seven Sisters block.  I would have kept going, but I ran out of cut pieces. 

I put together the first block by sewing everything around the the center star, which worked out okay, but this time I tried something different which I like a lot better.  I sewed the stars together in rows, then sewed the rows together.  A row of two stars, then a row of three, and another row of two, then a continuous seam to attach each row together.  Much easier and a lot less fiddly. 

I still can't see making a lot of these, but maybe a wall hanging?  I don't know yet.  I'm still just playing around, and these little hand sewing projects are soothing to work on here and there.

You can check out what others are working on this week by clicking on Judy L.'s blog Patchwork Times.  As always, a big thank you to Judy for hosting this each week. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Glove Advice Sought. Apply within.


                                            {Insert sorry looking glove picture here.}                                       

My husband was out of town most of the week, and while he was away I tried to knit a glove.  I even took a picture of it, but I seem to be having camera issues, or maybe lighting issues since I waited so late to take the picture.  Anyway, the glove is bad enough without a freaky picture of it, so just use your imagination.

Gloves are quick, I'll say that. Just three inches down the cuff, a few rows for a thumb gusset, and then you're ready for the really interesting parts.  By which I mean the fingers.  Somehow you have to take a cylindrical shaped piece and create four more cylinders coming out of it by some mysterious process of picking up a few stitches and casting on more stitches and then going back at a later time and and picking up and casting on MORE stitches and so on until you have four cylindrical things sticking out of your hand.

When you really think about it, hands are rather oddly shaped, aren't they?

I've started glove #2 and I'm just about to get to the interesting part.  Wish me luck.

Seriously, if anyone knows of a book with nice clear illustrations of this mysterious process, drop me a life line, please.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Socks and Randomness


The weather has turned schizophrenic here--high eighties during the day and low fifties at night.  Taking advantage of the cooler night time temperatures, I've finished some socks that I started last spring which have been waiting patiently in my basket all summer.  I fell victim to a marketing ploy by an on-line yarn supplier (a willing victim, I admit) and bought several more skeins of sock yarn. I think my Christmas gift list is going to be heavily tilted toward hand knit socks this year. 


-We tried the Sesame Noodle recipe from here last night. It was good.  Really, really good.  The trouble with NYT recipes is that here in the hinterland it is sometimes difficult to find all the ingredients, but everything was available at my local grocery store.  I'm going to try the Quinoa-Black Bean Salad next.

-The house smells like chili.  My husband is making a gigantic pot of chile from a recipe we got when we visited Texas a few years ago.  The aroma from the chili will soon be overtaken by the aroma from the beef stew I just put the crockpot. 

-I'm seriously thinking about expanding my knitting repertoire and trying gloves.  I like the idea of it, but I'm thinking about all those fingers.  I've done a lot of mittens over the years, but never tried gloves. 

-The other night I was watching a video of John Le Carre's A Perfect Spy.  When the main character was explaining his rather miserable childhood to the German couple he was boarding with, the lady nodded in commiseration and said, "There was no 'nest warmth'."  Nest warmth?  I'd never heard the term before, but I could understand what she meant right away.  I assumed it was a German idiomatic expression, and last night I got curious about what it would be in the original German.  I tried several search attempts on Google, but couldn't find anything.  Finally, in frustration, I typed in "What is the German for nest warmth?"  It came right up: Nestwarme.  It means love and security, by the way.

-I dropped my iron for the gazillionth time, but this time it appears to be fatal.  Any suggestions on a replacement?  

-I've been sewing, but only in fits and starts on assorted hand projects.  Nothing to show for it yet.

Maybe some pictures tomorrow?

Monday, October 4, 2010

What's On My Design Wall::Design Decisions

I can't show what's up on my design wall today because it's a project I'm preparing for a demo at my next guild meeting.  I was debating with myself about showing it, but I don't want to spoil the surprise for the guild members who read my blog.  Hi, Sew 'n' Tell peeps!

I'm posting ABOUT it, though, because I took the design process challenge a while back and this project shows how I go about making a new quilt.  Most people I know begin with a whole quilt in mind, maybe a quilt pattern they saw in a magazine or a store.  They shop for their fabric.  They cut.  And cut.  Then they begin sewing things together, and, before you know it they have a nice completed quilt. 

Not me.  I begin with a block design.  It may be something interesting that just caught my eye.  Or challenging.  I like challenging, as long as it doesn't involve applique, that is.  Or paper piecing.  I may DREAM about a whole quilt with this new block design, but I concentrate on one block at a time.  Next, I draft the block.  If I can find the drafted block somewhere, so much the better; I like to see how the parts fit together and to get a feel for how I'm going to sew it.  I have a big tablet of oversized graph paper that I use to draw the block or sometimes I use my ancient (and now defunct) EQ5. 

Once the block is drafted, I take a look at how the colors are going to work together.  Where are the lights?  Which pieces need to be dark?  If I switch things around, how will that affect the impact of the design?

Then, I choose some fabrics and I make a block.  At this point, I tell myself that this is just an experiment, but it's really play.  I love playing with bits of fabric and trying out different color combinations.  If the block "works" for me, I hang it up somewhere and look at it for a while, sometimes for a few days.  Do I like it?  What could I do differently?  What might make it better? 

If it looks like it's going to work, I usually shop my stash to see what fabrics I have that will work with the block.  Sometimes I can make do with what I have, but most of the time I find that I have to supplement with a little bit more of a particular color.

Is it any wonder that it takes me a long time to get a quilt finished?

But, the thing is, I LIKE working this way, even though it seems incredibly time consuming.  My joy is in the making, rather than in the finished product.  (Although, I have to admit, the finished quilt is always a big thrill for me.  Maybe because it's such a long journey from idea to fulfillment.)

Later on in the month, I'll post about the demo quilt for guild.

This has been a long post, I know.  I do have one quilty picture.  I've gotten a start on another seven sisters block.

You can see what others have on their design walls this week by checking out Judy L's. Patchwork Times blog.  (And with them, you can probably actually SEE what they're working on.)