Did I just see a spider???

Anyone that knows me knows that I am COMPLETELY arachnophobic. Even the thought of a spider, or a photo of one makes my skin crawl. Now I’ll take a hop skip and a jump to another topic, but you’ll quickly see how they’re related…

As quilters, we become accustomed to a certain level of dust and debris. It is inevitable that dust accumulates more quickly in our work areas because of the constant cutting, sewing and shuffling of fabrics. Seriously, how many times have you been told you have thread sticking to your butt? (if not many, they’re just not telling you, but it’s been there…)

This requires near constant upkeep with the vacuum and dust cloth, both of which I deplore and avoid as much as possible. Hence the random strings, lint and tiny bits of fabric that end up on the floor. That appear to be spiders.

Case in point:

OMG is that a spider????

OMG is that a spider????

Nope, it’s a little blue something from cutting fabric. See, there’s a little yellow corner next to it.

ooooooohhhhhh, nope, just some shrapnel on the floor

ooooooohhhhhh, nope, just some shrapnel on the floor

Now, sometimes it looks like something else… just a generic little bug..

a little bug maybe?

a little bug maybe?

But again, just a shard of fabric.

Hey what’s this??

how did that worm get in here?

how did that worm get in here?

Nope, not a worm. a little strip of trimmed fabric. A.k.a. immeasurable joy and unending plaything for the cat.

WAIT WHAT WAS THAT?

WHAT WAS THAT??

WHAT WAS THAT??

As my head jerks back three times and my eyes start doing circles, thinking I saw bugs, by now I’m realizing I am just completely paranoid. It’s lint.

And this one…

I was convinced this was a praying mantis

I was convinced this was a praying mantis

Tell me I’m wrong. Does this NOT look like a praying mantis? I thought maybe one of the cats brought it in as a treasure for mommy. Nope, another example of my ability to make a mess and not know it (this wasn’t even near the cutting board).

So there you have it – my tale of woe. My sad obsession with little uninvited creatures within my safe zone. Hopefully on this one, I am alone.

Happy quilting my friends, may your fabric (and sewing rooms) be pest free!

 

 

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the copyrighting conversation

I’ll be honest, I am by no means an expert about this, nor will I try to be. I do have resources that you can refer to that I believe have good, solid, factual information.

There has been much buzz about copyrights lately in the quilting world, and by lately I mean in the last 5 years. So much that many of my friends (and me) are concerned about what can or cannot be put in a quilt show! What can or cannot be sold in our online shops!

Say it how you believe, whether it was the universe colliding or God speaking to me, it started a few days ago and culminated this morning. I found out that only ONE quilt that I have quilted was entered in the Dallas Quilt Celebration this year. Saddened by this fact, I felt prompted to act. I’m not going to wait until next year, but I am starting now to formulate plans to get a quilt (or quilts) into next years show, as well as other local shows throughout the rest of this year.

This topic of copyrighting crossed my brain, although I usually make quilts from those general patterns or blocks that don’t have specific patterns or copyright concerns because they are so old, they’re considered public domain.

But still, just having seen SO many photos from QuiltCon in Austin, I wanted to push myself outside my box of normal. I came up with a thought that I’d like to somehow translate into a pattern of sorts, and that is what I will use. That is what I will create.

THAT part is still in my head. This part is not:

my colors

my colors

It began as an idea to make a striking quilt. Then I saw the blue fabric with the swirly pattern. THAT became my inspiration, so I found these other fabrics that I think I want to go with it. I definitely like the gold and teal and how they offset each other.

This morning I was privy to some FB posts that included these articles on copyrighting, so I thought I should share. They are a bit lengthy, one has typos (grrr) and one is a bit more opinionated but I believe BOTH to be valuable. To read, click here and here.

From previous discussions with my quilty friends about this topic, we pretty much agreed that we disagree (except that it is clearly wrong to make copies of a pattern you did not design and sell them for personal profit), but for SURE it is appropriate when selling an item to ensure the designer of the pattern is given credit. As the first article states, it’s good for the designer and the audience, in case someone out there wants to find the original pattern.

At any rate, I hope you find this interesting if not helpful. I’ll be sure to share more information as this quilt project comes along! Happy quilting!

Monthly Block – January (BONUS)

Thought I was done, didn’t ya? Thought it was over? Me too, until I realized a few things.

1. This is now a guild presentation. It would be very hard for me to ensure everyone in the audience sees the block when I hold this up in front of a large group:

"THE" block

“THE” block

2. I have seen ‘modern’ quilts represented as giant blocks that only a few blocks are needed to make an entire quilt. So I thought I’d see what happened if I did that.

The result was interesting. Here is my sketch (looks a lot like the rest of them, but simpler):

sketch

sketch

My focus fabric was the flowers in the center, and the border is the same fabric, but without the flowers on top. I have fabric in many colors that match the colors within that focus fabric, and my drawing shows use of them all, but that looked too mish-mashy to me. I wanted it cleaner, so I went with one for the arrows, one for the off-setting triangles, and blue as the background for the arrows so they’d really stand out.

My secondary plan was to use NOT blue. Maybe purple or brown, but I really liked the blue there. And I was going to use a green to frame the center square and then go around the arrows but inside the border, like 1″ thin border. But I didn’t like how it looked when I laid it out. So I didn’t do it.

green inner border

green inner border

I can say this thing went together lightning fast! The toughest part was cutting the triangles, since the hypotenuse was bigger than my ruler! Each block (there are 9 blocks within the border) measures 18″ finished).

OK ONE more note – lighting ENTIRELY makes the difference. I wanted to post this last night, but took my photos after dark, and here is the result of THAT:

dark photo

dark photo

Light photo (this morning):

January 15 quilt

January 15 quilt

So let’s compare!

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

October:

October quilt

October quilt

November:

November quilt top

November quilt top

December:

December quilt

December quilt

And January:

January 15 quilt

January 15 quilt

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

I can’t guarantee this will be the last one…. I’m sort of hooked at this point!

 

my scrap bin threw up

All over the floor. Unlike when that happens with the kids, or the cats, I have yet to clean it up.

my scrap bin threw up

my scrap bin threw up

It’s so bad you can’t even see where the bin IS! That purple one on the right is backings for charity quilts. The scrap bin is BEHIND all that stuff!

The majority of my fabric is behind my long arm machine, neatly arranged by color in these bins:

neat bins of fabric

neat bins of fabric

Looks like my batting scraps are procreating when I’m not looking too. I keep them for rag quilts, charity quilts and small projects, as well as cleaning my long arm bobbin area and wheels. It’s like having tribbles around (for my fellow Star Trek geeks)!

Anyway, when I ran out of room for fabric (ahem…) I got these additional bins, and use them for special fabrics, batiks, my Christmas bin and new stuff that I haven’t figured out exactly what to do with yet.

new bins

new bins

I guess I need to clean that up soon.

But the only way to REALLY clean it up is to USE it! And I do love to make scrap quilts! But I usually organize my scrap bin by sorting it by color, separating out the stuff that looks like it really needs to go together and the batiks and any large amounts of one fabric. Then I separate anything I see with potential into quart baggies for my next retreat. Before I go retreating I find a pattern to match it with and them I’m ready to go! This quilt was made at a retreat last year from scraps and I LOVE it!

rhubarb pie quilt

rhubarb pie quilt

Actually some of the scraps in my bin (or around it?) are leftover from ^this^ quilt. I didn’t want it to get too big so I ended up with more strips/squares cut than I needed for it (those leftovers are actually front and center in that first photo). You can also see bits from the last monthly block atop the heap…

But I really need my area to be a little better organized, so I guess I’ll have to dedicate a day sometime soon to get this mess cleaned up.

Just tell me I’m not the only one with this issue. I can’t possibly be.

Monthly Block – December (just under the wire)

Ahhhhhhhh. I MADE IT THROUGH DECEMBER! Like I said last month, this time of year is ridiculously busy for a long arm quilter. Add in family that wants to spend time together and suddenly there is NO time left for projects.

I panicked about this project last week and tried to work with the panel I’d picked out (see last post). No go. Changed my plan to this:

December plan b

December plan b

Gray, blue and sashing between a set of 4 blocks, because I LOVE how the pinwheels show and really wanted to include them.

As I wasn’t sure what I’d use as that center, I looked through my stash and found this pinkish red and gray, so I switched out the main color. Once I measured the flowers, I saw I needed to not only fussy cut them (blech), but I also needed to make the blocks bigger.

bigger blocks, fatter arrows

bigger blocks, fatter arrows

I also wanted the arrows to REALLY come out, so I changed the ratio and made that center strip wider, for a fatter arrow.

Once the blocks came together, I was sorely disappointed at how the arrows looked. They really just didn’t pop out!

pinwheel fail

pinwheel fail

I did like how the creamy sashing popped out, but didn’t love the quilt (except the colors). So I decided to take the left over strips, cut a few more and make a piano key border with the flower fabric in the corners.

December border

December border

I LOVE how it turned out with this border. If I wasn’t exhausted I might have added another round of the cream sashing to the outside of the piano keys. But I was done so here it is :). I think it’s really amazing how spending a bit of extra time on the border completely turned around how I felt about this quilt!

December quilt

December quilt

Now, I know this began as a 12 month challenge, but the thing is, I have 2 more planned that I feel compelled to make. But I ALSO have a challenge already set for 2015. That will take a while to execute, so I may continue sharing this project as long as it interests me :).

Happy quilting my friends. And Happy New Year!

So let’s compare again:

“The” block –

"THE" block

“THE” block

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

October:

October quilt

October quilt

November:

November quilt top

November quilt top

And December:

December quilt

December quilt

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

 

 

December quilt is coming, and so is 2015 challenge!

OK fans! I had a plan when I made November’s quilt for what December’s quilt would become. HOWEVER….. I changed it.

the plan

the plan

FOR GOOD reason I SWEAR! I had a panel planned out! I bought it, measured it, planned the blocks around it, found (and even bought) coordinating colors for the parts, and was about to get to work on it.

coordinating fabrics

coordinating fabrics

Then I realized how difficult these measurements were becoming. Trying to make a panel that is three wide, each piece measuring 23″ tall by 14.5″ wide, work with a block that is 9.5″ unfinished is VERY tedious. I tried to figure it out with sashing, with separating the panels, changing the size of the block or skooching in the panels, none of it worked.

the panel

the panel

Needless to say, I realized this just wasn’t going to work. Sooooo, I wondered to myself what do I do now?

My wheels are already turning on next years project, so I wanted to go with something bold, but something that was still different from previous months. I know what the setting is going to be this time, I just had to pick my colors.

I decided to do a darkish red and gray, and found a perfect big red flower on a gray background that made a perfect center. But the flower is bigger than the normal block center size. So I changed the scale for this month. AND I changed something else (but you’ll have to wait and see!)

I’ve got my pieces cut, and still a few days to get them together. It will be AWESOME! Just wait a few more days and I’ll post it!

XO

Fun Little Project!

Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukah or Seasons Greetings, take your pick. Personally I celebrate Christmas, so that’s always my first thought this time of year.

Well, I still have December’s monthly block quilt to create, but I do have it planned out. I didn’t bring it with me, so that will have to come together when I get back to my sewing machine!

But when I finally finished my customer quilts with a Christmas due date, I had a bit of time to do something FUN.

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

My friend at the quilt shop the weekend before had shown me a photo of a fruit pie potholder she was going to make for some gifts (sorry, I’m sharing this a little late for that, probably). I immediately fell in love with the idea and had to take it on as well. I bought the rick rack and berry fabric and when I had that bit of time I went to it.

The photo shared with me had a pie tin (silver fabric) along the outside, creating a circle edge. I didn’t love the look of that, so I did it my own way. I took a pie tin and cut out a circle of the berry fabric and cut a 9″ square of batting and Insulbright. I used a scrap piece of tan fabric for the back that was large enough to put up on my long arm machine (because that’s how I roll yo).

I had these scraps of marble fabric in a gold color, which matched the rick rack (too light and the pie would have looked unbaked). I trimmed them to as large as I could, and sewed them wrong sides together to make a long tube. I ironed the seam open so it was on the bottom side and then cut the tube and made lattice on the top of the pie. I then wove the lattice and set it in positions I thought it looked tasty.

And then I pinned it. I hate pinning. I put it on the long arm and did a little wavy line within each piece of crust on the lattice on each side of the lattice to keep it down.

Then I trimmed my pie and (ugh) pinned again so the binding was folded over from back to front, twice so the raw edge was hidden completely. Sewed that down.

Then I had to pin (GRRRRRR) the rick rack on top and I zig zag stitched that down, and then straight stitched the inner edge of it down too. I stitched over the raw edge of it where the rick rack came together and BOOM done.

That’s it!

I’m so addicted to this cuteness that I bought THREE yards of this plum fabric to make more!

Plum fabric

Plum fabric

I can get my hands on cranberries, raspberries and I found mixed berry fabric online. It’s harder than you’d think to find fruit fabric without stems, peels or background print! I’ll be making more of these for some craft shows and you will DEFINITELY see them in my Etsy store sometime soon!