Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Nephew & The Layout

My nephew likes this layout, and he is very happy with the way the quilt is coming along.

Friday, February 27, 2015

More Purple and Orange

I cut the pieces for a few more blocks last night as I watched TV.

This quilt is going to be so cool. My nephew will celebrate his 18th birthday next week. I don't know where the years went!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Purple Urple

It doesn't look like much, but after watching Granchester and doing all the dinner dishes, I sewed up strips for five blocks. Next I'll straighten them into strips that are 4-1/2" wide and cross cut them into 4-1/2" squares. I'll get four squares from each strip, and there are four strip sets in each stack. Then I'll sew the 16 squares into blocks and add them to the pile.

I'm hoping I can get together with my nephew so he can have some input into how the blocks will be arranged in the final quilt. It'll be interesting to see what he thinks.

I think I have an idea of how I want it to look, but I really can't tell until I make more blocks. Right now I have 5 left leaning blocks, and 5 right leaning blocks. I'll need 30 blocks for the quilt.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Picnic Table

Here's the rail fence quilt on my dining room table.  I'm pleased with it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Purple & Orange Rail Fence

Now that my talk to the Amoskeag Quilter's Guild is over (I was "a hit," but more on that later), I can get to work on the purple and orange rail fence quilt for my nephew. Here are some of the blocks I've got planned. They aren't sewn together yet.

 I was a bit worried about this combination. Both prints are rather busy, but I think they work.

I like this orange one with the diamonds.

I wasn't sure about this purple print, but I think it's really cool combination.
I wasn't sure about this orange print either, but I really like it here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Picnic Table in the Snow

My rail fence quilt is finished. I've decided to call it "Picnic Table" since it's got ants and bugs on it.  What outside picnic table is free of those? As for the snow...

Yes, that's freshly fallen snow. We got about four inches last night.

That's on top of the forty or fifty inches we've had already this winter. (sigh)

I used those new "wonder clips."  The big advantage is they don't get caught on everything the way regular pins do.  And they don't stab me when I'm moving the quilt around while sewing the binding down.
The disadvantage is that I have to remove them before the quilt goes through the sewing machine, so I have to hold the binding in place by hand. Not only is that a pain, but the result isn't the even perfection that I like. It isn't bad, and since I only machine sew bindings on quilts that are designed to get a lot of hard use, it's not really a big issue, but the perfectionist in me bristles a bit.

However I think these will be a big help when I am hand sewing the binding down by hand.

For those who asked how I apply my binding, here you go: I cut it 3 inches (7.62cm) wide and join the strips at an angle. I fold it lengthwise, wrong sides together. I line up the raw edges of the binding on the WRONG side of the quilt and sew it down 3/8" away from the edge. Then I fold it over to the FRONT of the quilt and sew it down. This way the folded edge covers the seam nicely and it's easy to sew down. Naturally I miter all the corners and join the ends at an angle so the whole thing lies nice and flat.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rail Fence, Quilted

Chris quilted the Rail Fence quilt in freehand Baptist Fans. I love it.

Since the quilt is going to be used as a table covering, I wasn't too fussy about the backing. I wanted to use something from my stash. I found an ant farm!

 Bugs for the binding seemed perfect and fun!

I think it's going to look cool. The only thing I can't decide is whether to machine sew the binding or hand sew it. I will be teaching a class on this technique at Quilted Threads, and the quilt will be used as a sample. I want it to look good.

I guess that means I have a few hours of hand stitching ahead of me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Purple & Orange Zig-Zag

The purple and orange quilt I am making for my nephew has LEFT blocks and RIGHT blocks. I made four of one and two of the other. Here's one possible layout.

Here's another possibility. One block is flipped over so you can see the layout. I won't decide until I've made a lot more blocks.

I'm in the final stages of editing my talk to the Amoskeag Quilter's Guild on Thursday. Writing a speech is different from giving it, so I am making sure it sounds like I do. That means practicing.

Stay warm! Our high on Tuesday isn't supposed to get beyond 18F.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Purple and Orange

I've made four of the purple and orange rail fence blocks for my nephew's quilt. I think this is the way I am going to lay them out, but I am not really sure. I am having fun making the blocks.

Sewing is such a stress reliever for me, I really can't let myself go too long without doing it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Satisfying a Craving

With the temperature in the sewing studio in the 50's, I knew I needed to do something before I lost my mind.


Once the basic stuff was in place, I got to work.

I've started making blocks for my nephew's graduation quilt.

Here's one I finished earlier.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

This is a picture of Life is Tweet, on display at Quilted Threads.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Raising My Hand

Me, me, me! I'm raising my hand!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snowy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

We are at the beginning of what the weatherfolks are calling a "long duration snow event," which means it will snow from today until Tuesday. They are predicting 3 to 6 inches (7.62 to 15.24 cm) inches today, 5 to 10 inches  (12.7 to 25.4 cm) tomorrow, and 1 to 3 inches  (2.54 to 7.62 cm) on Tuesday.
 It's a good day to cook a pot of soup,

and bake bread. I've got to work on my talk to the Amoskeag Quilter's Guild on February 19, so I won't be sewing for the next few days.

I might even bake this cake today. Or I might vacuum the house.

Yeah, sure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Four Letter Word List

Here are some of four letter words I ask my students to make. The point of the exercise is to use more than one fabric in each letter, and yet make one cohesive word.

I have 250 words, and the students get one page of ten words from which to choose.  I need the students to pick a word and get to work.

I tried to find words that weren't necessarily literal. The word itself doesn't really make any difference, it's what the student does with it that counts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thoughts on Teaching

This is my dear son, and on Christmas Eve a few years ago we were discussing how best to teach students how to make the free pieced letters. He suggested I have them start with "easy" letters to get the hang of it.

I disagreed, because that would tell them that some letters were "hard" and I didn't want to give them a reason to NOT make them. I told him the first exercise would be to get the students to make their own name. "Because they have an emotional connection to their name, and no matter how complicated the letters are, come hell or high water, they'll do it."  My son wasn't so sure.

"Come," I told him. "I'll prove it. I'm going to teach you how to make your name."

So I did. And yes, he made his name panel. We were both drinking vodka and orange juice, so it was a very fun evening.

 I knew I had proved my point when he took out his phone and took photos of the finished name panel.

To this day, I take his name panel to my letter class, and I tell the students the story.  "So what you're really telling us, " one student piped up once, "is that if he can do it, then we can do it too."


The afternoon exercise is a four letter word using multiple fabrics, as you have seen in yesterday's post. I give each student a list of twelve words, and they can pick any word they like, and they can swap pages with anybody else in the class. Some words are trickier than others. And yes, Charlotte, students often have to be nudged gently to stretch themselves a bit. If they've done it in class, it will be much easier for them to continue on their own. Not every student needs that push. I had one lady once who wanted to make ALL the "hard" letters (I let her identify them) in class. Her logic was that once she could do those, she could make any letter.

Each student is different, and my job is to help them learn. As a teacher, it is also my job to give them something to think about, so they can take the lessons of the class and continue on their own when the class is over.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Four Letter Words

I taught a free pieced letters class at Quilted Threads on Saturday and if you can believe it, I forgot to take any pictures.

The second exercise is to make a four letter word out of multiple fabrics, like this word:

The thing that's tricky about it is how to tell the students what kind of fabrics to bring. I've tried several different ways, but so far nothing has really worked.

At class on Saturday, one student suggested I provide photos of four letter words so the students will understand the project and know what to bring.  That meant I had to make more four letter words.

So here's COZY (these letters are five inches tall).

and JAVA. (I didn't have time to add strips for the top and bottom before the game started.)

So having seen these, if I tell you we are going to make a four letter word with multiple fabrics and that I'd like you to bring 16 - 24 pieces of co-ordinating fabrics, would you know what to bring?

By the way, if you've noticed, each of these words includes a slightly more "complex" letter. This is by design. It's a roundabout way of getting students to attempt them.