Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No April Fools here!

While everyone else is playing tricks and having a good time, let's talk about scraps!

This what I call my scrap "container" because I cannot bear to think of my scraps being in a trash can! But it is a fantastic "scrap basket".
It's great for digging through. The top turns upside down and can hold the scraps that have to be removed to get to all the ones packed down at the bottom.
Lately I have noticed something different accumulating in my container.
I seem to have leftover amounts of fabric that are definitely scraps, but they're more than a fat quarter, and won't go into the folded yardage stacked in the cupboard. They might be enough to make something if you wanted to use mostly the same fabric.
Here they are all rolled up, posing in front of their home.
I guess I'll just let them live there, as I am afraid of starting a whole new category of scrap containers!
Meanwhile, Mrs. Starbucks was delighted to receive her scrap quilt:

However, she says she will not be checking to find out if there are any repeats in the alleged 137 fabrics.
Which, by the way, all came from that white scrap container!

I am just having a fabric withdrawal here, as I am working on the newsletter for the statewide quilt guild. I like doing it for the most part, but it does involve an extended period if time at the computer...no fun photos possible when my desk looks like that.
It's fun to see piles of fabric all over my studio, but not so much the piles of paper on my desk!

Here comes April, and it's going to be a great one.
In about two weeks I'll be doing a Personalized Mystery Quilt with the SpaceCoast quilters in Titusville, FL. In celebration of their recent show, this quilt is called "Stars of the Quilt Show" and we're going to have a lot of fun making either a wall hanging or lap quilt.
After that comes....PADUCAH!

So have fun with all the other blogs who thought up good ideas for April Fools' Day, and remember this:
Originally this was the first day of the year, and when the calendar was changed April Fools were the people who wished everyone a Happy New Year on the wrong date.
But every day is a new one, and any year can begin when you want it to...so if you are feeling the need for a fresh start, make it today!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mrs. Starbuck's Quilt

Mrs. Starbuck's quilt is finally done!
You may remember that it is a charm quilt, with the pieces all coming from my scrap basket.

For the binding I used a variety of different dots & stripes -on-black-background, all taken from my box of scrap bindings. I cut bindings 2.25" wide, so all the left-over ends will sew together nicely. This is especially fun on a scrap quilt, of course.
You may also remember the real batik backing on this quilt.
When Cherry-Cherry was helping to baste it, she inquired as to whether it had been washed.
I said no.
She wasn't so sure if it would be safe...and, as usual, CC was correct!
As I was stitching down the binding, I noticed my white T-shirt had a new purple stain, courtesy of just rubbing against the backing!
So I finished the binding, and decided it might be a good idea to wash this baby.
COLOR CATCHERS to the rescue!

These saved my bacon on the Summer Garden red and white quilt...so why not for this one?
All the art & mixed media quilters are talking about using the sheets after they have collected the excess dye. So I was looking forward to some nice purple material!
This is what I got:

One from each of the 3 washings (with multiple sheets). The first is absolutely orange!
The quilt came out just fine, the bright yellow sashing is not carrying any dye marks from the backing.
forget the original Color Catcher that was a long piece of terry cloth with a stuffed end that made it float through the washer and around the fabric! It was supposed to be good for at least 30 washings.
This was a one company buys another sort of loss... now we have these sheets that are to be thrown away. They do not always come out looking like anything you'd use in your art...it depends on the amount of dye they have to catch.
I use several sheets when I am trying to rescue a quilt from my bad habits, the largest amount of cold water possible, and repeat 3 times, changing out the sheets each time. Then I dry the quilt. Once it has been exposed to the heat of the dryer, there is nothing more you can do.
So, if you are recuing a quilt from a stain or excess dye from "forgetting" to pre-wash, do NOT put it in a dryer until you are sure the marks are as gone as you can get them.
Air drying would be OK, if you have somewhere to do that.
If you click on the link above you will go to a site that will show you more about doing laundry than you ever want to know!
For Patchwork Pie fans who have been reading all along, you will be happy to know I am REALLY going to Paducah next month for the AQS Show!
You will avoid being subjected to the sad posts I did last year about Not In Paducah, and I will try to get plenty of the pictures you really want to see!

Monday, March 23, 2009

BOM Perk for Posey Lovers!

I just have to do a quick "shout out" for one of my followers, Reeze and her Morning Glory Designs!
Her free Block of the Month is being featured today on Quilters Gallery.
You know I like the flowers/ midnight connection, and Reeze has a wondeful garden of easy-to-make blocks called Midnight Posies.
Here are the links to make it easy:

Reeze's blog

Quilters Gallery

Morning Glory Designs on etsy

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Fashion Geek" makes fabric electric!

This is the most exciting book I've read for quite awhile...yes, it's about fashion, but fabric ideas translate into any form, including quilts!

Fashion Geek by Diana Eng is filled with great ideas for adding true electricity to your sewing.
By hacking a variety of small electronic devices, she creates clothes and accessories that are almost too much fun! ("hacking" means opening up and changing an item to make it do what you what you want).
You may have seen Diana on Project Runway.

She uses cell phones, LEDs and heartbeat monitors to sew things like a Lightning Bug dress, a Hoodie with built-in headphones, and twinkling shoes!
Really, it's a quick step from garments to quilts for many of these projects (such as the Blooming Buttons that light up when the coat is fastened, and turn off when it's open!).

If you have any young people you'd like to sew or craft for, this book is a must. Anyone would enjoy having the embellished USB flash drive. And if you don't know what that means, Diana's book tells you just what you need to know in a user-friendly way.

The book has easy-to-follow steps with photos, so if you are shy about doing the soldering or simple wiring you just might give it a try! Or make this a joint project with someone who has those skills.
There are also plenty of projects you can just craft. I really liked the Digital Locket made from a key chain that holds digital photos. If only I'd known about this book when Office Depot had that give-away....!

Diana includes a resources section in the back, so you can order all the gadgets and supplies such as the conductive thread that works like a wire! (and you thought you had every thread type made...!).

I am wondering how long some of the batteries will last, and would you be able to "turn on" a quilt for judging and then off again until the show? Even if you just had it on for the show, would that not be fabulous???

Fashion Geek is published by Northern Lights (F + W Media, Inc.), Cincinnati, OH. You can order it from Amazon or by going to www.dianaeng.com, which also allows you enjoy Diana's blog about her adventures in the world of the NYC fashion industry.

My quilt guild just received a copy of this book from Diana's grandmother... now that is really great networking/ good marketing/ what have you!
And Diana went through school with my son, so I have had many chats with her wonderful mother.
But the real reason the get this book right now is that it will really spark your imagination and bring you right up into the 21st Century!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Inspiration everywhere

Inspiration is everywhere!
This is the hall carpet at the Hampton Inn where my Dad stayed on a recent visit.
If you use this or any other design to start a quilt, the right thing to do is give a credit for it on the label. Yes, even if it doesn't look exactly like the original.

When the opposite happened...Paula Nadelstern's quilt designs were used without her permission for the carpeting in the Houston Hilton...there was a lawsuit. If you've seen the carpet there, you know why she won that suit!

Bundled up for a morning at the beach!

Nature is another great inspiration. Here is the Atlantic Ocean, on a cold day in February.
Yes, even in Florida it can be cold sometimes (though nothing like really Up North, as they say here).

Another important Florida concept...if you are looking for Nature's Inspiration... is that the sunrise is over the Atlantic Ocean, but the sunset is over the Gulf of Mexico. Unless you're down in the Keys, and if you're down there who cares what any direction is? Just have another drink (I'll have a margarita, please...)
Speaking of Nature & Inspiration, a walk in the yard is just the thing to clear your head.
What's blooming at my place? The ubiquitous flower of North Florida springtime ...Azaleas!

And to my amazement, this grows like a weed in great clusters all along the road (and in my yard): White Violets!

For lovers of the Great Indoors, there is still colorful inspiration:

Inspiration is as close as your stash.
Fluffing and mixing up these batik scraps in a clear container creates lots of ideas!
But I must get back to quilting the 4 basted quilts before I can start cutting fabric for a new one!

What's been inspiring you lately?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quilters Home: not your mama's magazine!

By now most quilters have seen and formed an opinion about Quilters Home magazine, edited by the irreverantly funny Mark Lipinski. Personally, I agree with the magazine's tag line: the magazine for quilters that's FUN to read!
It seems the latest issue has flown off the newstands, but here it is at my local Barnes & Noble:

What's this??? We must take a closer look!

It seems that Quilters Home has been bagged up to protect people from reading about "Controversial Patchwork"! Some stores even refused to sell this issue.
And yet, the issue on top has been removed from the bag! Oh, what terrible things would a person see?

Well, I just took this picture really fast and then closed up the magazine before someone was offended by the quilt on the left!
The one you have to look at really carefully, and for a looooong time.
Even then, you might miss the very tiny line drawings of penises printed on the fabric in one patch.
Nobody seems to mind the face of Jesus replacing rifle-totin' John Wayne, though....I guess that's just how some folks would like it!

You would think no one had ever seen an art quilt before....or that art quilts being about ideas was something brand new!
Now the world outside of quilting (yes...there IS one!) has noticed and is making a Big Deal about "quilts that aren't for beds!" Oh, my gracious! Can you imagine...!
Well, anything to distract us from more reports on the ecomomy is like gold for the general media!
And I am happy that Mark and quilting are getting some recognition, even if much of it contains the same old mistaken and patronizing views about quilters.
I guess it wouldn't be quite as "newsworthy" if they knew there are probably more quilters who have tatoos than blue-rinsed hair.

Truthfully, I bought this issue when it first came out, read and enjoyed it, then handed it on to Cherry-Cherry. As with most issues of QH, I was laughing too much to be scandalized.

If you have not read Quilters Home, give it a try. You'll love it or hate it, but you won't forget it!
However, it certainly will not hurt you.
Unless you end up laughing really, really hard!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Books & Basting

It's the annual Friends of the Library book sale... I know many quilters love books almost as much as fabric. The photo above shows just a part of the middle section of three giant areas of books, all selling for about $1.00!
Finding a good quilt book is difficult for several reasons, the first being I did not arrive until the second day of the sale. Next comes my own extensive library (both in number and age of books!).
But I did enjoy running into fellow guild members V.S and S.C.

In another, curtained off area they had "Better Books" for $4--6--10. It was my good fortune to run into yet another quilter there, who confess the "Better Books" had been selected by herself and another guy. I asked if there were any quilt books in there, and she said not many, so I didn't look too long.

Anybody want a copy of a Dr. Phil book? And there were at least 12 copies of The DaVinci Code. It's not too hard to tell what was hot and has now cooled off!
This is a really good place to find books for doing
Altered Book Art, collage or other creative endeavors. Even if you were strictly taught never to write in or cut up a book!

Meanwhile, back in the studio, it's a stack of basted quilts!
Thanks to Cherry-Cherry for helping me get these stuck together last week.
Just to help you sort through the visual confusion, there are 4 quilts shown, all in some stage of being quilted.
"Roxanne's Honeymoon" is the pink & black one at the left. The other three are stacked in my chair, folded with the backs out.
From the bottom up they are: the teal color is the Mystery Quilt for the Spacecoast Quilters (class in April); the stripes are the scrap quilt for Mrs. Starbucks; and the one on top is a wonderful coffee labels print on the back of a quilt I am doing for my sister's birthday in May!

I am pretty sure she never reads my blog (because she's too busy doing wonderful theatre work with students at a performing arts high school ...not in the city where I live, though). So here's what the quilt looks like:
Sorry about the ironing board in the corner...you'll see a better pic when it's done!
I started this in a class with Dee Duckworth at the
SSQA meeting last month. There was nothing wrong with her pattern, but by the time I was done a number of changes had been made.
Some of them were even planned! (you know what I mean?)