Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sparkling Stars @ Home!

Wanda's quilt, Sparkling Stars, is now hanging in my living room. It is quite stunning.  The colors are wonderful.  The quilt just glows.

 Here's something very interesting. Hanging in the same room is this painting by my Mother, Jeanne Lachance.
The colors are the same in both pieces, and they relate beautifully.

I am beyond thrilled.  I am positively overjoyed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Who Can? You Can!

First, a correction and an apology.  THIS is the brown that called to me on Saturday.  Not this one.  This is what happens when you don't get enough sleep.

I -REALLY- -REALLY- like this brown, and these letters. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This is much better.  I am happy with the way this is going.

I haven't sewn the letters together yet. The "e," "o's" and "r" are 5 inches tall. The narrowest parts of the letters is 1/2".

In other news, the quilt I bought from Wanda is on it's way to me. Sparkling Stars!! I may have it by the weekend! I am so excited!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2 be

Do not adjust your set.  This picture is sideways***

 I was thinking about the green BEF letters I made earlier and decided they were too cheery, too hopeful, too fun and too creative to be at the start of the "Before you can think out of the box..." I felt they had to be less intense and less "fun" looking.  So I made some grey ones. This is as far as I got though. The house was screaming. Or rather, there was no empty counter space in the kitchen so I had to break down and do all the dishes.

Here are the green letters for comparison.

***(I am pissed. I have uploaded this picture (above) SIX different times, and even though it is STRAIGHT on my computer, when Blogger uploads it, it gets twisted. So TO HELL WITH IT!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to the Black Box

I tell my coworkers that I do my best thinking when I'm not thinking.  The left-brained bean counters look at me cross-eyed, but the design engineers totally get it. There's lots of evidence that the subconscious really gets going when the conscious mind shuts down for one reason or another (fatigue, almost asleep, or during a monotonous task). The conscious mind is a kind of built-in critic. When it's otherwise engaged, the subconscious ideas get a chance to take over, so to speak.

So it was after my class on Saturday. I was totally exhausted, totally wiped out, but I don't often get the opportunity to shop at QT (since it's a 40 minute drive from my house), so I wanted to check out the luscious fabrics. I was looking around, not for anything in particular, when this lovely dark presented itself. 

I had originally conceived the Black box as being lit by a spotlight, with the top part of the quilt in the dark.  But I set that idea aside because I wasn't sure how I could get a transition from dark to light to "work." I didn't like what I had come up with, so when my subconscious said, MAKE IT DARK, I was in no position to argue.

Regular readers will know of my long-standing disdain for the color brown. But I've made quilts with white backgrounds, and quilts with black backgrounds. Been there done that.  Besides, this brown batik has some lovely colored bits I thought would set off the lighter, "Before you can think" words.  So I bought some.

Last night, although I should have been doing the dishes and a bit of grocery shopping, or folding the laundry or (gasp!) balancing the checkbook... I went into the studio and did a bit of sewing.

When my students asked me, on Saturday, "How do you do it? How do you have a full time job, make quilts, write a blog and teach?" My answer was, "The housework goes straight to hell."

I guess it's gonna be there for a while.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Letter Play Class - June 23!

Yesterday at Quilted Threads,

Bonnie, (seen here checking out her letters from a distance)
and Gwen,
and Susan made letters do

fabric yoga.  Did we
obey rules?


Friday, June 22, 2012


I am ready for my class on free-pieced letters tomorrow at Quilted Threads. My house looks funny. There are lots of empty walls in my house. The quilts are all stacked on this small chair.

The bin is full of the tools I'll need, my samples and the lesson plan, etc.  Yes, that is a tack hammer.  I hang my quilts for the class, (using push pins and binder clips) and it's easier to use a hammer to get the push pins into the wall. 

I'll also have my laptop and a projector. I always show my students photographs of letter quilts made by quilters all over the world, and I do (blush) have a Power Point presentation of basic free pieced letter construction.  I also have all my photographs on my Kindle Fire so I can show students close up as I move around the room.

I am very excited. Stay tuned!  I'll have photos!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why is Mona Here?

Yes, this is the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world.  Why is she here?  She may be making an appearance in the STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST quilt I am making for Julie.

It was 98F (36.6C) here yesterday, supposed to be as hot today and tomorrow, and I am not doing a whole heck of a lot.

In other news, yes, Millie hijacked this blog earlier today.  She's having quite a laugh about it, I assure you.  She's too clever by half, that little tuxie girl!

PS, I just noticed this is my 1,000th post!  Wow!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


 I spent Sunday at the Peabody Essex Museum.  One of the things I love best about this quirky museum is this room, the East India Marine Hall.  It's a magnificent space. I think my apartment could fit into it three or four times.

Here's the plaque in the room that explains a bit.

The museum also boasts this spectacular atrium

Yes, I saw the Ansel Adams exhibit. It was fabulous.

I'm organizing my things for the class I'm teaching at Quilted Threads on Saturday, so I'm pretty busy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why Is The R Blue?

Judy and Lynda wanted to know why I didn't put the A in the Diagonals group of letters.  I bet they are also wondering why I put the R in the Blue group, and not the Center Block (Purple) or Diagonals (Green) group.

Remember, the groups are based on how the letters are MADE, or how they are constructed, not how they LOOK. 

When I make my R's, I don't start with a center block, and if I started with the diagonal strip, I'd never get the letter R the right size.

If you make an R this way, you can more successfully control it's finished size. Sure, you could put the R with the purples or the greens, but like the song says, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why The A Isn't Green

 Jean and Lynda want to know why my A isn't in the Diagonals group of letters (the green ones).

 After all, it is primarily diagonals.

My groups aren't determined by how the letters LOOK when they are sewn together.  They are grouped by the way they are MADE.

When you make an uppercase A, do you start with a diagonal and then sew something to it?

You do not.
You start with a strip of letter fabric and sew a piece of background fabric to each side.

Then you sew the diagonal strips to form the letter A.

You can see a lot more A's here, and they were all constructed the same way.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Four Rows

I'm a visual learner.  I'm teaching the letters class next week, and this will be what I show my students. Free piecing is hard enough to wrap your head around without trying to figure out how to put letters together.  I think organizing the letters this way helps a lot. It's kind of a shortcut to get started.

I still have to add the pink letters, (G, J, K, M, Q) in a column on the right.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Q Post-Mortem

Three of these Q's are better than the others. 

This purple one looks silly. That purple extension doesn't really look like a Q to me.

 This problem with this pink Q is the bottom piece is too thin. By the time it get's sewed up, it will be really skinny, and look stupid.

 The X part of this green Q is too skinny. Or the rest of it is too fat.

The bottom part of the Q is too thick, and the angle of the slash is too shallow. I don't really like that long point either.

This one is sorta ok.

The angle of the slash is good here, but by the time I sew the bottom of this to another piece of fabric, the end of the slash that extends past the letter will just disappear and look confused.

 This Q is a very good, simple version. I borrowed the idea from Kathy at Q.U.I (Quilted under the Influence.) 

This is Tonya's original Q.  It's fairly fussy to get lined up well, and this version did not appear in her book.

It's nice that there are several versions from which to choose. Which version do you like best?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Last Group

These five letters don't fit in any of the other groups. None of them get built around a center block. None is built from a strip of letter fabric with a strip of background fabric on each side.  None of them start with a letter/background strip pair. None of them is based on a diagonal.

Each of these letters starts with a fussy bit.  Each requires several steps that build on the prior step. For each of these, you have to know where you want to end up before you get started.

None of these is particularly hard, either.  Except this version of the letter Q, I admit. This Q is a PITA but I still think it has potential.

I think if you consider free pieced letters based on how they are constructed, and if you think of each of them as being part of these five groups, I believe they are a lot less intimidating.

So, are all of these letters going to fit together somehow?

Well, like, duh!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Part Four Quiz Answer

 This is what these four letters have in common...
The construction of each is based on a strip pair of the letter and the background fabric.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quiz, Part Four

Here we go again!
Can you figure out what is common about these letters, aside from their color and height?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quiz, Part Three

What do these letters have in common, aside from their color and height?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

T on Thursday

In keeping with the theme of larceny and theft for the STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST quilt, I present for your enjoyment a letter T.

This letter is about 6 inches tall and 5 inches wide, and completely free pieced. 
 Those yellow slits are 1/4 inch tall and just over one inch in length.  It was a total PITA to sew together, I can tell you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Letter "I"

This is a letter "I." 

"Oh," you say, "that's not an 'I', it's a stick of dynamite."

Well, you are right. It IS a stick of dynamite. It is -also- a letter I.

(Those letters T-N-T are one inch tall. Very tiny. That black wick is just there to complete the effect.)

In the  "STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST" quilt I am making, I am including some shall we say, larcenous elements.  So dynamite is right at home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A is for...

A is for artist. in "Steal like an ..."