Saturday, December 22, 2012

A new (to me) technique for Flying Geese

I love when people are smarter than I am!! It's one of the things that draws me out of my private sewing room shell. I have a new favorite way of making flying geese. It's on the Connecting Threads website where I spend a lot of time due to my textile addiction. I found it through pinterest, though, (yea, Pinterest!!) Here's a link:

Anybody who quilts probably knows a bunch of methods for making flying geese. My first experience with them was for a Mother's Goose Quilt that I made in 2008, called "Silver Linings." The way that was done was with half squares, made with 1" Thangles. At the time, I thought they were so clever. Pulling off those little tiny bits of paper (256 of them,) was a labor of love, done at violin lessons. . That's the last time I'll do that, I can assure you. I love that quilt though. It serves as a reminder of where I started; prairie points are adorable, and I'm so glad that I went to the trouble to do them.

Oh, but back to flying geese; then there's the method with cutting rectangles and squares, sewing the squares on, and cutting off copious amounts of waste. I really hate that, since it goes against my Yankee nature. There's no Yankee like a Chinese Yankee. That method is a step up from the thangle method.
Then there was Deb Tucker's method, which is comparatively, GENIUS. I bought her Wing Clipper ruler and used her method, smugly and happily until today. I just recently figured out where I was going wrong in that there were often geese a little short on seam allowance at the background triangles. That method, however requires that you cut a total of 5 squares to get the 4 geese.

Oh, but this method! Here it is again:

It requires that you cut out two squares only, and from that you get 4 geese. It's faster than the Tucker method, but I still swear by Deb Tucker's ruler to do the final trim. Two modifications: One, I press these seams open because on little tiny geese, there will be many seams too close together, and quilting those will be a bumpy, bumpy ride. This precludes the need for clipping those seam allowances before the trimming. Two, on the trimming step, I don't cut these apart before trimming them. I use the Tucker ruler to trim both geese on the final product at the same time, being careful not to let my rotary cutter stray into the territory of the goose I'm not cutting. If anyone ever reads my blog and asks for a trimming tutorial, I will photograph those steps to make it clear. I also made a Word document with the most important photos and a table with the math all done for me so I never have to stop my audiobooks to calculate.

And here's my final "duh!" discovery: The geese and the background are opposite from the star points and backgrounds. My first experiment, I wanted to make red stars and cream backgrounds, but as you see in the bottom example, the colors came out inverted. Not to worry, that's what experiments are for!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chalkboard Mats

These are some of the best gifts for kids I've ever made. Who wouldn't love their own personal chalkboard?

Each requires a fat quarter of cute fabric and chalkboard fabric. I just so happened to have plenty of those in my stash...

Stash used: 3 yards
Stash used total: 67 1/8 yards
Stash acquired: 0 yards
Stash acquired total: 95.25 yards

Monday, December 17, 2012

Yankee Swap

Here is my first ever decorative pillow. It is for the Yankee Swap at work; the theme is "Red." It's not perfect, but I'm pleased with the Lemoyne Star.

Stash used: 1 yard
Stash used total: 64 1/8 yards
Stash acquired: 0 yards
Stash acquired total: 95.25 yards

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Quilts

I cut and started piecing "Fly Away" and "Crystalline Frost." It's my way of managing the major slip in my stash busting project.

Stash used: 17.5 yards
Stash used total: 63 1/8 yards
Stash acquired: 0 yards
Stash acquired total: 95.25 yards

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Like One Drink for an Alcoholic

"Hi, my name is Ophelia, and I'm a fabricoholic."
"Hi, Ophelia."

It's been twelve hours since my last purchase. It all started with a sale at Connecting Threads, where I've had some almost solid background fabrics in my wishlist, waiting for just the right sale. Well, that was 14 yards, but that and two spools of quilting threads were only $50; the fabric averaged $2.93 per yard. Then, the Architexture fabrics came in at Hawthorne Threads, my favorite website for funky modern prints. But they didn't have some of the best prints, which were at Fabricworm, though more expensive. I bought 7.5 yards at Hawthorne and 5 at Fabricworm. This is bad. Total 26.5 yards acquired.

I've been sewing as fast as I can, but I just can't use it as fast as I can buy it. Well, Merry Christmas. I'm going to make some more!!

Stash used: 0 yards
Stash used total: 45 5/8 yards
Stash acquired: 26.5 yards
Stash acquired total: 95.25 yards

Sunday, December 9, 2012

All Day?!

How is it possible that it has taken me all day to finish a quilt top and prepare a backing when the top was pieced long ago? This is a Quilt of Valor, pieced using a mystery quilt pattern provided so generously by Nancy Dennis from the yahoo group called MysteryQuilts4Military. It was a recycled pattern, written when the size criteria for QOVs was smaller, so it required some framing borders. I used the scraps from the flying geese units and made this border, but it STILL wasn't quite big enough. One of my problems is that I didn't have any extra fabric, except the solid red.

I then took forever to piece a backing with some American Flag fabric bordered by a Japanese-looking navy blue print, also a scrap, so it took a lot of piecing together of odd sized pieces. Still, I managed to use at least four yards of fabric.

Stash used: 4 yards
Stash used total: 45 5/8 yards
Stash acquired: 0 yards
Stash acquired total: 68.75 yards

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Love Letters

My Love Letters quilt is too nice for me to quilt. I've prepared the flannel backing and will give it to Donna Dahl to work her magic. Having something quilted by Donna in my home will serve as inspiration and tutorial.

Stash used: 5 1/8 yards
Stash used total: 41 5/8 yards
Stash acquired: 6.5 yards
Stash acquired total: 68.75 yards

And now I've gone and bought a bunch of Kaffe polka dotted FQs, on sale at The Rabbit's Lair for $2 each:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it...Go

I ran out of time yesterday at home, as paying the bills and "moving the papers" from one place to another took all day. On my list of things to do was to cull some fabric. I was reminded to do so when I received my order from Hancock's, and 4 of the fabrics I'd ordered were, well, awful. It's very hard to gauge how much metallic is in metallics, and the "Gilt Trip" fabrics from Dear Stella were a mess of metallic, reminding me of the old Floridian grandmother-wear, that is, before Floridian grandmothers started looking hip and much younger than I remember them :)
When receiving these, I immediately went into my mother's mode of "what can be done with this?" wherein she relegated really ugly clothes into a "wear it around the house" collection. I'm not doing it. Anything ugly is not worth sewing, and one woman's ugly is another woman's treasure. I've heard tell of women at the Goodwill coming close to blows over the fabric that is donated, so I'm starting a collection of "Let it Go" fabrics, some of them really expensive good quilting stuff, that just isn't going to make the cut when I'm quilting.

Dear Stella Gilt Trip Line Work Navy Dear Stella Gilt Trip Fish Scale Orange Dear Stella Gilt Trip Cobblestone Orange

The last one I also have in Navy.

Stash used: 4 yards
Stash used total: 36.5 yards
Stash acquired: 0 yards
Stash acquired total: 62.25 yards

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A weekend without sewing...

Is a weekend without sewing necessarily a weekend without joy? Absolutely not, though I did find myself longing for the leisure creative time in my studio. I went, among other places, to my sister's open studio in Somerville, Massachusetts, where an entire old factory building has been re-purposed into artists' studios. It was inspiring to see so many people who make art such a part of their lives. Many of the people there are exclusively artists, but many create art as their hobbies.
I've always so envied people who could use their hands and some sort of paint or writing instrument to make art. Clearly, Christine got that talent in our family. I'm glad she is making use of it and creating beautiful art to share with the world.
I kept busy enough not to buy any fabric, so at least my stash count is stable for the weekend.