Saturday, August 31, 2013

A prewashing experiment

I know there are still MANY of us who prewash all our fabrics - for various and sundry reasons.  For me, the main reason is an allergy to at least one of the chemicals used to process fabrics, as well as getting excess dye out of the fabric.

Those of you who are prewashers - I'm sure you hate the stringy mess and twisted together fabrics that come out of the washer as much as I do.  I was hoping having a front loader would solve that problem - it didn't.  Supposedly cutting off the corners works - it doesn't.

So, I'm trying a little experiment.  I always pinked the seams of most of the garments I made when I sewed clothing to prevent seams from ravelling.  (For you younger folks, we used "pinking shears", which cut a sawtooth edge instead of a straight edge, were very expensive and almost impossible to sharpen.)  So I stopped by JoAnn's after my morning Starbucks and bought a "pinking blade" for my rotary cutter.  I used it to cut my 11 yards of "Baltimore Autumn" background fabric into manageable pieces before washing.

Here are the results. Next to no strings.  No tangles.  No knots.  Of course, this was just three large pieces of fabric.

Now I'm pinking the edges of a bunch of fat quarters.  With raw edges on both the crosswise and lengthwise grain, they will be the true test.  I have my fingers crossed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

For your information - just in case you want a pattern enlarged

I am very conscious of copyright rules, and try to never infringe on someone's copyright.  It has always been my understanding that by buying a quilt pattern you have permission to make one copy for personal use only.  This makes sense - who wants to mess up an original?  Sometimes this is clearly stated on a pattern.  Sometimes the copyright notice on a pattern doesn't state it clearly.

That is the case with Pearl P. Pereira's "Baltimore Autumn" pattern.  Here is what it says:

"No part of this pattern may be reproduced in any form, including electronic copying or mechanical photocopying.  The contents of this pattern are intended for personal use only and are protected by federal copyright laws."

I drove several miles to our local Fed-X/Kinko's copy store, and was turned down..  OK.  Not a problem.  I emailed Ms Pereira via her website, told her that I wanted to make a larger version of her quilt, and asked her permission to have enlargements made.  She graciously responded within the hour, giving me permission in straightforward, easy-to-understand language.

I printed her email and returned to the store.  This time I was told an email - obviously from the copyright owner - was not sufficient.  A form needed to be filled out and signed by the copyright owner before they could make the enlargements.  I asked why I wasn't told that the first time, and got a shrug for an answer - after the person at the order counter checked with three other people.  (The person who helped me the first time wasn't where I could see him.)  They said I could put in the order, they would email the form to the designer, and when they heard back they would make the copies.

I went to have coffee and do some shopping - batik fat quarters on sale at Craft Warehouse! - and then called the store to see if they had heard from the designer.  They had, and were working on the job.  She also told me they "figured out another way to do it in case she didn't respond".  I drove back to the store and sat in the parking lot reading a book until my order was ready.  The email they'd received from Ms. Pereira said she'd never had to fill out a form when giving permission before this, she was on vacation, and was having to do this on her phone.  She did manage to send back the form.

A HUGE thank you for Ms. Pereira for taking vacation time to do this for me.  What a classy lady!  So, be aware that printed permission from a designer to make a copy of a pattern may not be enough for some copy shops, so be prepared.  Especially if it is a Fed-X store!

The final irony is this - when she rang up the sale the printer spit out a "how did we do?" form for me to fill out, with $5 off my next copy order of $25 or more.  Yes, I will be filling it out.

Now I'm really all over the place!

Week before last was the Pacific West Quilt Show in Tacoma, WA - a little over 2 hours north of us.  I've been looking forward to this show for a LONG time.  Three of my Tangled Threads friends and I headed north for a wonderful day . . . the other was totally envious as she had to go to a wedding. 

The group, formerly known as the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters, includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington,and Wyoming in the US, and British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories in Canada.  The juried show is held every other year, and is always spectacular.

This year was no exception.  Amazingly spectacular quilts, including several from our guild, Clark County Quilters in Vancouver WA.  I took lots of pictures, but I'm going to include only a few.  I was so enthralled that I forgot to take pictures of the labels, and I really don't like to post pictures without giving the maker credit.

The reflections are created with scraps cut with pinking shears!

Made by Helene Knott, Portland OR

I've already set myself a new goal - to have a quilt juried into the 2015 show.  Wish me luck!

Of course, I did some damage in the merchant mall.  I bought more batiks to add to my growing collection, and I bought another pattern.  It is one I've loved ever since I first saw it.  Every fall I tell myself that this is the year I'll actually start a fall quilt.  This year I'm going to do it.  Come September all that calls to me are yellows, oranges, reds, greens, golds, and browns.  So what did I choose?

Baltimore Autumn by Pearl P. Pereira
 The blocks are 12", which is smaller than I want, so today I'm taking them to Fed-X today to have them enlarged to 15".  That will give me a bed size quilt instead of a wall quilt, and the applique pieces won't be quite so small.  I've bought my background fabric, and have plenty in my stash for the applique.  Once I bring my enlarged patterns home I don't know if I'll have the will power to not start it right away!

An added aside:  When I showed my purchases to my friends I learned why the quilt looked so familiar to me.  One of them already had the pattern, and two more of them are getting it as a block of the month.  Makes me smile - so often our group has similar tastes!  No one has started making it yet, however.  I plan to be the first to start.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Give away drawings later today!

I'm still lacking email addresses for the following people:

L Carolyn Ghearing and Kathryn Knox

If you know either of these people please tell them to send me their email address so they can actually win if I draw their name.

Thanks everyone!

Update: I have found Carolyn Ghearing.  Now if only Kathryn Knox would answer the comment I left on her Google+ account!

Unexpectedly early

I anticipated my next post would be Saturday, August 31, because we planned a 5-day camping trip to Mt. Rainier.  We expected to see something like this, as we have had a beautiful summer this year.

Well, we've not been very lucky with weather on our camping trips, and this was no exception.  We did not see the mountain.  We didn't even drive up to Paradise, which is where this picture was taken.  We didn't eat a single meal outside.  We didn't go for a hike.  We had only one fire, and that one was enjoyed for only a short while.

I'm sure you can guess by now - we saw rain, rain and more rain.  We checked the weather forecast before we left, which called for partial clouds and some showers.  They certainly failed on that forecast!

We left two days early and got home about 5:30 that night.  We were both exhausted, as the rain was so loud on our camper roof that we didn't get much sleep.  I didn't even unpack the cooler until this morning, as their was plenty of ice left to keep everything cold.  I slept 10 hours last night! 

We have one more trip planned - a stay on the ocean in September.  I'm really hoping we will finally have sunshine.

I'm going to do the drawing for patterns later today.  So if you know anyone who hasn't entered yet please let them know.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to tell if you are a "no reply reader".

 A commenter asked me how to tell if she is a "no reply reader" (which she is).  If you leave comments and bloggers don't reply then it is likely your email address is unavailable to the blogger.

I love the back and forth conversation that can be created by answering a comment left on my blog.  I am always sad when someone leaves a comment that I can't reply to because they are a "no reply reader".  I'm discovering many people don't know that they are "no reply".  I'm hoping this will allow you all to fix this.

1. Go to Blogger and sign in if necessary.  In the upper right corner of your screen find your name.

2. Click on your name and choose "profile", then edit profile.

3. The second item under "Privacy" says "show my email address".  If there is no check in the box then you are a "no reply reader".  To change this simply check the box.

When you create a blogger profile the default is "no reply".  You must check the box to change this.


 Kathryn Knox

Marti M

 Marsha B

I Carolyn Ghearing

Sharon Hughson

(Once again, I'm not yelling - I just want to make sure you check to see if your name is listed.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Giveaway - "no reply" readers

One person has already left comments on my give away posts.  She is a "no reply reader".  I hope she sees this message.  Many of you don't realize you are "no-reply readers".  "No reply" is the default when you register on Blogger.  If you didn't specify that your email address is available, then you are "no reply".


You need to know whether you are "no reply" or not.  If you are, you need to leave me your email address in each comment if you want into the drawing for that pattern.

(I'm not yelling - just trying to catch your attention!)

Last Giveaway for Now

If you are interested in winning this pattern, please leave me a comment on this post.  If you are a "no reply" reader, please leave your email address also.

I will do the drawing at the end of this month.  Anyone is eligible to enter, but due to the high cost of postage overseas I ask that any winner outside the US reimburse me for postage.

"Jack at the Gate" - pattern for this quilt.

Another Giveaway!

If you are interested in winning this pattern, please leave me a comment on this post.  If you are a "no reply" reader, please leave your email address also.

I will do the drawing at the end of this month.  Anyone is eligible to enter, but due to the high cost of postage overseas I ask that any winner outside the US reimburse me for postage.

"Frosty and Friends" - pattern for this quilt.


If you are interested in winning this pattern, please leave me a comment on this post.  If you are a "no reply" reader, please leave your email address also.

I will do the drawing at the end of this month.  Anyone is eligible to enter, but due to the high cost of postage overseas I ask that any winner outside the US reimburse me for postage.

"Where Liberty Dwells" - pattern for this quilt.

Time for a giveaway!

It's time for me to pass along some patterns I'm finished with.  If you are interested in winning this pattern, please leave me a comment on this post.  If you are a "no reply" reader, please leave your email address also.

I will do the drawing at the end of this month.  Anyone is eligible to enter, but due to the high cost of postage overseas I ask that any winner outside the US reimburse me for postage.

A Lori Smith sampler pattern - Heirloom Stitches.  Since the picture isn't that clear, here is my quilt top also.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Definitely a coincidence!

I had no idea Bonnie Hunter was working with split 9-patch blocks for her Summer 2013 Leader-Ender Challenge!  I just discovered that this morning while catching up on blog reading.  I read this post on kwiltnkats blog, which led me to this page on the Quiltville website.  I'm sure Bonnie must have mentioned this on her blog at one time, but obviously I missed that post.

I've read all of it now, and the possibilities of how to set my scrap blocks have expanded to an astounding number.  When I finish my 100 blocks I'm going to have a terrible time deciding on how to set them!  I can always make another - which I probably will, because I will still have hundreds more triangles and squares in my sacks left over.  And they make such great leader-enders!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday and Design Wall Monday

I was able to make 31 split 9-patch blocks from the leader-ender triangles I've sewed in the last few days.  This quilt will be 10 x 10 blocks so I'm almost a third of the way done.  This is enough blocks that I was able to play with a couple possible arrangements. 

Two such different quilt tops from the same batch of scraps.  When I have 100 blocks I'll have dozens of possible arrangements.  Playing with fabric scraps is such a delightful occupation!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The fourth month is completed.

Along the bottom row you can see the 6 colorations I constructed from the 12 created in EQ.  I know there are more than 12 possible, but I stopped at that as I knew I was only making 6.

I sewed dark/light triangle squares as leader-enders, so I'll be able to construct lots of split 9-patch blocks on Scrap Basket Sunday.

Now to see what month five's block looks like!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The answer is six . . . until the blocks change to 4x4

I've not yet figured out how many are possible with a 16-piece block.  I know it is at least 12, but I'm guessing there might be more than that.  Thanks to EQ I have lots of different colorations planned.  Now to decide which 6 to use for my blocks.

I've started a new block of the month I purchased several years ago.  Each installment came with 3 fat quarters of fabric.  Each pattern presents a block with three possible colorations using the three fabrics.  Three of each of the blocks makes a nice wall hanging.  The patterns go on to challenge the quilter to explore other color arrangements using the same three fabrics.  I'm making 6 blocks each month, which will give me a large queen size quilt.

I'm having lots of fun playing with changing colorations. They can really change the look of a block to the point where it is hard to realize it is the same block.  I've been finishing six blocks a day, so I should get this top finished quickly.

Playing with blocks is so much fun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shoofly camping quilt, 72" x 72".
The top looks more "together" now.  The almost-solid green border corrals all the colors nicely.  It would be even better if the border were 5" wide instead of 3", but it was essential to keep the quilt the smaller size.  In the camper there is room for 2" of overhang on one side, and none on the others.  The quilt can't be tucked in, as that raises the mattress enough that it gets in the way of closing the hinges that hold the roof to the bottom of he trailer. 

It feels very nice to call this a finished top.  I was getting bored with shoofly blocks!  I'm amazed how different the split 9-patch looks from this one, as it is made from the same batch of scraps.  That's one thing I love about quilting - it is always an adventure!

Quilting goals

I didn't set a different goal for August, because the current goal is so appropriate for where I am in my quilting "journey".  I see goal setting as a tool to shape one's behavior in order to reach a place in the near or not-so-near future where one wants to be.  Right now I'm not finishing any quilts, but I'm moving many projects along closer and closer to that finish point.  And that's fine with me.  I'm confident I'll finish quite a few more quilts this year, so I don't need to write any specific goals about which quilts and when.  I'm loving this process and happy with what I'm achieving.

I just might keep this goal for the rest of this year!

Here is a shot of the back of the Shoofly quilt that shows how I pressed this top.  When so many pieces come together at one point I've learned the best thing to do is press the seam open.  In the past we were told not to do that as batting could migrate through the seam.  We don't need to worry about that any more with today's battings.  Whoever will eventually quilt the quilt - you or someone else - will be so happy to have the bulk reduced at the seams.  That's true whether the top is hand or machine quilted.  Even a longarm can jam, break a needle, and possibly rip a hole in a quilt if it hits a spot where there are eight or 10 layers coming together.  The pressing can be a bit tedious, but it makes a top lie beautifully flat. 

I made a few split 9-patch blocks with the leaders-enders I'd sewn just to see how it looks.  I realized immediately that the method I was using - sewing two darks together and two lights together - made it much more difficult to construct the block.  So I'll just use the light and dark triangles as leader-enders, and then I'll construct the blocks the way I do a  9-patch block.

As you can see, I'm thinking about putting a star in the center of a barn raising setting.  Time will tell!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Seven rows are sewn together

and there are four more left to sew.  This quilt top will be done this evening, except for the borders.  Tomorrow I'll need to clear off the cutting table so I can cut borders.

 All the triangles and squares had to be out and visible for this quilt as each block has only two fabrics.  That isn't needed for the split 9-patch as all I'm concerned with is light and dark.  I'm going to dump all the squares into two bags divided by value, and the same for the triangles.  It will be really nice to have my cutting table back!

Design "wall" Monday

This morning I pressed the pairs of blocks I'd sewn together last night and started laying them out on the floor.  This isn't the final arrangement - I need to spread colors around better - but it gives you the idea.  

Yes, it is an incredibly busy quilt.  Probably too busy for my taste.  And that's OK.  A pop-up tent trailer is quite plain on the inside with mostly neutral colors.  The quilts on the bed really spice up the interior.  This will never be a favorite, but it will serve its purpose beautifully.  I won't hesitate to lay it in a grassy field for a picnic.  Or wrap it around myself on a chilly evening of games outside on the picnic table.   It was a great leader-ender project.  Best of all, it used lots and lots of fabrics that I'd never choose to buy now.

This is six of the eleven rows.  I guess I'd better get back to sewing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I couldn't resist

I had to make a couple split 9-patch blocks before I started sewing Shoofly blocks together.  It is amazing how different these blocks look considering I'm using the same bunch of scraps for both quilts.

Scrap Basket Sunday - Part 2

I'm happy to report I had a productive day.  I have finished 127 Shoofly blocks.  I decided I should plan the setting before starting to sew, so I opened EQ and got to work.  Turns out I need only 121 blocks to obtain the look I want, so I have a few extra to choose from.  I like having that flexibility.  The extras will go into the orphan block drawer, which is getting very full.  (I will need to take care of that sooner rather than later, I think!)

I'll start sewing them together tomorrow.

Scrap basket Sunday - Part 1

I don't have much to show yet, but I wanted to show that I've started making good progress again.  I've stitched the triangle squares for the rest of the Shoofly quilt, and started the triangle squares for the split nine-patch blocks.  Right now I'm sewing the last of the Shoofly blocks together - nothing has been pressed yet (obviously!)  I plan to finish those today and start sewing the blocks together.  As this is a camping quilt, I'm not worrying too much about block placement - there is no room on my design wall for the blocks!  I will lay them out a few at a time on the floor and make it in sections, just to make sure no color is concentrated in one spot on the quilt.  I think this one will be my husband's.

I'll post again tonight to show the progress I make today.

I've made a split nine-patch only once before, so I'm looking forward to having those blocks to play with.  Here is the one I made for Quilt Pink several years ago.  I had to add the hearts as I snipped clear through the quilt when taking out some bad machine quilting!

Now that I'm looking at this picture, the block doesn't look like a true split nine patch to me.  I thought that was the name of the pattern the guild gave us.  These blocks will be different, with three triangle squares going diagonally through the center of each block.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thank you to all who commented

I really appreciate the eight people who took time out of their busy schedule to suggest books for me.  I now have many new audio books from which to choose for my next lesson.

Because I always like to put at least one picture in every post I'll leave you with this morning's view of my cutting table.  When I finish two camping quilt tops I'm sure I'll still have pieces left over.

I have a extra large pizza box full also, and half of a second one.  I don't think I'll be doing any cutting for awhile.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goal achieved!

See this empty space on my ironing table (I know, it really needs a new cover) . . .

Not a single scrap left to cut into triangles and squares.  Hooray!  Soon I will have enough blocks to finish the first of the camper quilts.

Here are seven more small quilt tops finished - ready for basting for hand quilting.  The last of my partly finished small quilt tops are complete.

It feels so nice to accomplish one's goals!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another top done

I have finished watching the five X-Men movies I borrowed from my son-in-law.  I thoroughly enjoyed each  one, and wish I could have seen them before I saw Wolverine.  I discovered quickly that I had to watch the screen too much to allow for rotary cutting.  Safe rotary cutting.  So I started - and finished - the embroidered words on this eagle quilt top.

The designer stitched the name "Ann Hutton" on the left corner under the word "there".  I had never heard of Ann Hutton, but American history was never my best subject.   I tried to find out who she was, using "1797" as part of my Internet search string, but couldn't find anything about her at all.  So I researched the quote, and found many, many references to it.  Every one of them attributed the quote to Benjamin Franklin.  So used his name, shortening it to "Ben" Franklin as there wasn't enough room in the corner for anything longer.  I really like how this turned out.  It will definitely be finished in time to join my other patriotic decorations next Summer.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What do you like to read?

As an adult it has often been so hard to fit reading into my life between other hobbies.  I sometimes go through days and days when all I want to do is read.  Then I'll get back to quilting and won't read again for months.

Enter audio books - the perfect solution! I LOVE listening to books while I sew.  To me it is the best of both worlds.  (Between the two they also keep me up WAY later at night than I should be up!)  I'm always looking for new authors. 

I've decided to share what I've been reading this past year or so, and am hoping for lots and lots of comments with suggestions of new books and authors.  Here are the books I've loved the most so far.

Together, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child write some of the best scientific thrillers ever written IMHO.  I adore the character of Aloysius Pendergast especially, and there are now 12 books in the series.  They each write books by themselves which I enjoyed immensely.

Just recently I've discovered the "Sigma Force" series by James Rollins.  Yesterday I finished the 9th and last of the series.  I'm eager to try his individual adventures next.

I'm late coming to this series, but now, like the rest of the world, I'm eagerly awaiting the next one.

The last book in Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time series has finally been published, so I listened to all the others in order before listening to this one.

I reread every book in every book in the the "Word and the Void" and "Shannara" series written by Terry Brooks because I wanted to read them in chronological order.  I have all the books published so far in the new series, "The Dark Legacy of Shannara", but haven't yet read any of them.  Soon!

I also reread (by listening) to the entire "Pern" series by Anne McCaffery and her son.  Another series I wanted to read in chronological order.  Now I'm ready to read the newest of the books.

As a young married woman with small children I loved to read historical romances and Gothic novels.  I've not read any of those for many, many years.  Now I love scientific thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, and current novels (when I'm not reading any of the others).

Please share your favorite books with me!  I'm looking for lots of new authors to read.

Cutting, cutting . . . and more cutting

It seems like this pile of scraps is never-ending!  If it weren't for audio books I think I would have gone nuts!  I hope to finish today - at least that is my goal.  I was planning to sew blocks in between cutting sessions, but decided I needed more dark pieces to choose from.  I've filled the cutting table as much as possible without covering my cutting space, so I've moved on to pizza boxes.  Hopefully I'll run out of scraps before I run out of pizza boxes LOL!

Cutting table

Box 1

Box 2

Remaining scraps

When I folded back the scrap pile to get an idea of how many are left I realized there really aren't that many.  Thus my goal to finish today.

I've run out of books in the series I was listening to, but have another plan today.  Last Wednesday the four Tangled Threads that aren't out of town for the summer went to see "The Wolverine".  Two of the four had seen the other movies. The third and I had never seen any of them.  We thoroughly enjoyed the movie - so much that the next day I went over to my kids' house and borrowed the first 5 movies from my SIL.  I can watch at least two and maybe three while I cut scraps today, which should keep me sane and entertained.

Ever so often I had to sit down for awhile to give my back a rest.  That's when I finished the "Frosty and Friends" top - all but the snowman's face.  I'm not going to applique 1/4" ovals - even made out of ultra suede, so I've been thinking about how I want to do his face.  French knots would be too small.  I could do satin stitch, but don't want to spend the time that would take.  Last night while cutting I remembered that I probably have a bunch of tiny black buttons in the button drawer.  That will do the trick - buttons make good eyes and mouths, even on real snowmen!

Friday, August 2, 2013


I've been cutting lots and lots of triangles and squares for more Shoo-fly blocks.  I currently have 99 blocks finished and need to make only 33 more.  I've decided one shoo-fly quilt for the camper is enough.  I'm getting tired of making the blocks!  I'm going to make a split 9-patch for the other camper quilt.

I didn't realize until yesterday that my stack of scraps was sorted by light and dark.  I have no idea how that happened - it was definitely an accident.  That must have been how they came off my shelves.  So even though the cutting table is almost full I can't make blocks yet as almost everything I've cut falls into the "light".  So I'm going to fit these as closely together as I can so I can cut some darks next.  I'll flip the remaining pressed pile of scraps upside down, so the dark fabrics are on top.

I picked "Split 9-patch" for the other quilt as it uses the same two shapes.  I can also use all the extra 2 1/2" squares and triangles from the stash boxes.  I've made a this pattern once before and really enjoyed it.  The blocks can be arranged in many different ways similar to log cabin blocks.  They will be a LOT of fun to play with!