Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adding Binding for Julie

I decided Julie's quilt needed a WOW binding.You didn't think I would show you the quilting, now, did you?

Trust me when I tell you it is quite beautiful!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Woo Hoo!

The quilt for Julie has arrived from being quilted by Chris. Millie is a most eager inspector. Now I have to attach the binding and hanging sleeve.

Alas, you all have to wait a while longer for the big reveal. Julie and I plan to ship our quilts to each other in mid-September. When we receive our quilts, we will post about them. Once Julie has posted about hers, I will tell you all about the how-and-why.

I can tell you this one is pretty special! Julie's gonna flip!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I paired up about half the pieces for Astrid's quilt, and sewed them up into blocks. Usually I make pairs almost randomly and then match two sets of pairs into a block. This time I only have twelve fabrics, and since each block has 8 pieces, I felt it was important to be more careful in assembling the pieces into blocks so as to achieve a more successful result in the end.
Millie, of course, had to help too.

I make my living as a Geek, and in one of the discussion support groups of which I am a member, one user asked, "Off-Topic, What do you do for fun?" I drew quite a response when I wrote, "I make quilts. You know, I take big pieces of fabric and cut them up into small pieces of fabric and then sew them up into big pieces of fabric again..."

This quilt is certainly an example of that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chop, Chop

I sliced up the square-in-square blocks for Astrid's quilt.  Later I will rearrange them, and resew them back into blocks. This will be a Slashed Squares quilt. You can see my tutorial here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daft Zebras at Home

My quilt Daft Zebras has taken up its permanent home in my sewing room. Woo hoo!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Teasing Julie

Chris has finished quilting the quilt for Julie. We had great conversation last night and she sent me a sneak peek!

Remember this picture? I blogged about it here.
Well, here is that area quilted...

and that's all I'm going to show you!

The quilt is on its way back to New Hampshire, where I shall bind it and add a hanging sleeve. After I've shown it off to my family, coworkers and bragged it around to my quilting friends and the lovely ladies at QT, I'll pack it in a box and send it to Julie. When she receives it, all will be revealed.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daft Zebras

Here is "Daft Zebras", all finished. It measures about 32" square. I tried not to compress the photos too much so you could click to enlarge and see some details. It was raining outside, so these pictures will have to do for now. This first one shows the letters, but not the quilting.
This picture may not be in focus (hard with no flash inside), but you get a sense of the quilting. (Remember, I've got an old Kenmore sewing machine with a walking foot.)
Here's a detail of one edge. You get to see the spiffy binding too.

Overall, I am very pleased. It was well worth all the aggravation. These letters really push the envelope, and that was what I really wanted. I will hang this in my sewing studio, so I can finally (three ABC quilts later...) have a letter quilt for reference.

And by the way... here are the "real" zebras hiding in the letters. Can you see the [two] zebra tushies now?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zebra Binding

I love adding small bits of "zing" to my quilts. I found a new binding idea over at the Doll Quilt Swap. I was directed to TLC Stitches, where she has posted an excellent tutorial. So I'll just show pictures, and you can check Trisha's blog for more details.

Here are my two fabrics. I want the black-and-white to provide the "zing."

Fold it in half, wrong sides together...
Ta-da! This is gonna be SO cool!
Here I am attaching it the the back of the quilt. One of the lovely things about this binding is that it is designed to be machine sewn to the front! Whee! My arthritic hands rejoice!

You can see the binding sleeve at the bottom edge.

Reveal tomorrow! Woo hoo!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quilt Show

The Mancuso Quilt Show was in town this weekend. It was raining Sunday afternoon, so I checked it out. Mostly I was amazed at the incredible complexity and outstanding longarm quilting. These are three of my favorites.This one (above) is from New Zealand, and was raw edge applique. The small circles in the center are about 1" across.I think this one (above) is from the United Kingdom. Pretty amazing colors, and look at those points! All paper-pieced.This one was made by two ladies, I think from California. Pretty amazing color layout, and the quilting was pretty cool, too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quilting the Zebra

I went to a local store yesterday to buy thread to quilt the Daft Zebras. In conversation with the store's owner, I mentioned I wanted to quilt this (I had the flimsy with me) like a zebra. She pulled out a book on quilting and opened it up to outline drawings of animals. I looked at her quizzically.

"What do I need that for?"

"You said you wanted to quilt it in zebras."

"I know how to draw. I don't need a book like that. Besides, that's not what I meant."

When I drew what I wanted in the air, her face brightened. "Perfect."

So here it is. Look for pictures of the finished quilt very soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Daft Zebras - the Flimsy!

Here is the completed "flimsy" of "Daft Zebras." It is 32-1/4" square, but I think I need to add a bit to the sides.The two brown lines on either side of the quilt are crochet cotton tied to weights that I have pinned to the ceiling molding at the top of my design wall. They hang away from the wall, allowing me to determine if the various blocks in the quilt line up vertically. They also help me to quickly and easily determine if the rows are the same width.For the weights, I used the first small heavy things I could lay my hands on. Being a Geek, these just happened to be two VGA-DVI video adapter connections.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Daft Zebras Hit Brick Wall

I didn't really plan this quilt, or I would have made sure I had enough fabric before I started. I ran out of green, so I am figuring out what to do next...
I don't really feel the need for that zebra fabric. I think the words conjure up the image much better than any representation could.

Must. Go. Fabric. Shopping.

oh gee darn!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Julie's Quilt

Oh look Julie! It's your quilt being quilted at Chris's house! Won't be too much longer now!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have a confession to make.

I am addicted to Basil.

I grow it in my container garden. This year, I have five tubs of it. Two of Genovese Basil, one Sweet Basil, one San Remo Basil and one of Thai Basil. When there are enough mature leaves, (about every week starting in mid-July,) I pick the leaves and make fresh Basil Pesto. I love it over pasta, in sauces, mixed with mayo on sandwiches... I freeze it in ice cube trays for use in the winter as an extra bit of seasoning in soups and spaghetti sauce. I give it away to my friends (who always rave about it afterward.)

It's why I didn't get any sewing done yesterday.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.

***Julie's quilt is being quilted! Woo Hoo! (Guess I better get started making the hanging sleeve and the binding!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

How Quickly Daft Jumping Zebras Vex

Well, the daft zebras almost did me in. I worked all weekend, and finally got the letters I wanted.
You can click the photo, then click it again to enlarge.
How many letters did I make in all?Fifty-eight. The phrase has 30 letters.

Details later, I'm a bit exhausted!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daft Duds

I re-made the words "HOW" and "DAFT." The new letters look much better. You should click the photo to enlarge, then click it again for a slightly larger, more detailed view.

This little quilt is getting quite a collection of duds.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jumping - Revisited

I loved the green fabric I used for the word "JUMPING," but the letters didn't have enough contrast, so they were hard to read. I just didn't like the way the word looked. (For a better view, click the picture to enlarge.)So I did them over, using a green batik fabric I found in my stash. Yes, I did try to copy the way I used the fabrics in the original letters. I thought the "G" disappeared too much, so that got a new version, and I'm thinking the "I" might need a makeover too.

I don't like the background of the word "HOW" and looking at all the words together, I don't like background of the word "DAFT" either.

And, frankly, the "ZEBRA" isn't doing much for me, no matter how clever the letters are...

This little experiment has shown me that if I am going to exploit the concept of the "figure-ground" relationship, where some letters -appear- black, and some letters -appear- white, then I have to use background fabrics that have a similar value (lightness v. darkness) and intensity, or "saturation" (brightness v. dullness) throughout. ***

What I am -trying- to do here is manipulate the way your eye perceives the letters. If I make the backgrounds different, your eye doesn't do that flip-flop, on-off, movie marquee trick I want them to do.

Which is why I really don't need to literally represent daft jumping zebras.

*** for more on Color Theory, check out this Wikipedia article.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Got Zebra?

Yes.You'll probably have to click the pictures to enlarge to see how I made them.This isn't what I planned to do when I bought the zebra fabric yesterday. I am not quite sure the letters "work" the way I think they should.
I still have to make the "S".

These might not be quite "daft" enough for Clare, but let me tell you this little story. I sent pics of the "Z-E" to my pal Tracey, and she texted me... "Is that a zebra head peeking out? Will there be a zebra tush anywhere?"

"Yes, and yes!" I texted back. Perhaps you can find it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


How Quickly Daft Jumping....

To get the best view, you need to click the photo to enlarge.
Clare, Wanda, Selvage Fairy, Julie, and all who asked...

Susan, you owe me a buck!

How am I going to use these guys? Funny you should ask...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010


For my Daft Zebras. The letters will finish out at 3" tall.

Clare and Wanda, NO! No free-pieced jumping zebras! Enough already! No! No! No!

(you can click the image to enlarge)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Daft Jumping Zebras

The phrase "how quickly daft jumping zebras vex" got stuck in my head. I liked the idea of the black and white zebras. How, I wondered, could I use only black-and-white fabrics for the letters, yet not lose them against a background?

Completely clueless, I visited various quilting blogs, more out of numbness than conscious thought. And Jackie provided me with an answer. See her blog post here. Black and white fabrics with one middle-value color.

Thanks Jackie!

THIS letter quilt will be small. The finished letters will be only 3" tall, and it will be only words. No daft jumping zebras. None.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I want to make a words quilt using the fabrics I bought on Sunday as inspiration. Since I "collect" quotes it shouldn't be too hard, right?Uh, no.

First of all, the quote can't be too long. I want to make a smallish quilt, no more than 30" square. Helen's Rules Quilt turned out to be about 30 " x 33", and had 36 letters.

So here are some of my top ideas. Some of them seem to want different colors, though.

1. A woman's place is in control.

2. Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

3. Do what you like to do. It'll probably turn out to be what you do best.

4. Leap, and a net will appear.

5. All things are difficult before they are easy.

6. Imagination is more important than knowledge.

7. Well behaved women seldom make history.

8. If you're going over the top, keep going.

9. How quickly daft jumping zebras vex.Here is a bit more information and my own feelings about each of the above:

1. from Lucy, in the Peanuts cartoon. I think this wants more assertive colors.

2. by Mae West. This one seems perfect for the fabrics.

3. Wallace Stegner. I think it has too many letters.

4. from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ?? Not the right colors for this quote.

5. Dunno, can't remember. My colors seem too frivolous.

6. Albert Einstein. Needs more respectful fabric. The pinks are just too silly for this one.

7. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. This is my son's favorite quote.

8. My son. Colors perfect.

9. This is a pangram, a sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet at least once. The fabrics are appropriately silly for this one.

I added the picture of the roses because it is Nature's example of complementary color contrast done exactly right.

... and because obviously I have pink on the brain!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Millie & Me

Four years ago today, I adopted Millie.

The story of how Millie came to me is in itself pretty amazing, but the changes she brought to my life have reverberated to this very day.

Were it not for Millie, I would not be making the kind of quilts I make now, and you wouldn't be reading this.

To say she changed my life is a dramatic understatement of epic proportions.

Thanks, Millie!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sewing Studio Before and After

Here's what my sewing room looked like after I finished the quilt for Julie and my Birds of Happiness Quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap.And here is what it looked like before I went to bed last night. This transformation did not take one evening. It took many, many hours of hard labor.I even organized the fabrics in my stash.