Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday and Orca Bay step 5 update

I didn’t get as much sewing done as I had hoped, but I did start step 5, worked some more on step 4 and began printing out Inklingo QSTs for step 1. Also played around with some of the Orca Bay pieces that have been made thus far to see how they might fit together.orca 5 006a

The picture shows some step 5 units, and then two possible ways to use the pieces we have made.  Also shown (faintly) on the right is one of the Inklingo sheets.

I am enjoying using Inklingo method, but I would give one caution to anyone considering using it.  One of the advantages is that you can customize the size of ‘paper’ so that you use only the amount of fabric you need, thereby wasting less. All the math and computation is done for you, you know how many pieces you need to make, you pick the template and the layout that will best produce those pieces.  For example, to make the unit one hourglass units, in the 2” finished size that I need, I will need to print out 19 sheets like the one shown above. Each of these sheets will make 24. Each of these sheets are 7” x 10.5” so there is very little waste. If you printed out a standard letter size, you would have a lot of partial, useless pieces and fabric waste.

The problem is that not all printers allow you to customize the size of paper you use. I had done the step three HSTs on my older, cheapy printer, on letter size (because they fit well on that), with no problems at all.  Inklingo gives you all the info you will need to find and customize the paper size you need to print, even when following the directions in Little Cheapy’s manual, I never was able to customize. The manual said ‘to customize, do x,y and z’, but the caveat was there that not all papers could be customized. I tried every paper type they gave, none would allow customization.  We have a second not-quite-as-ancient printer hooked up to my computer so that we can scan, but we seldom print on it because the ink refills are much more expensive. I went into  that printer and followed the customization instructions, and BINGO, it worked!

Therefore, my caution to anyone considering Inklingo is that before you buy a set, make sure that your printer can customize paper sizes. You don’t want to be unable to make full use of  your purchase. The sets are not terribly expensive, especially since you can use them over and over, just keep printing. You just want to be able to use all the best features.

Check out Patchwork Times for some inspirational design walls and Quiltville for the progress being made by other Orca Bay participants.

LATE BREAKING NEWS /  CORRECTION:  I just printed out some more of the QSTs and discovered, completely by accident, that when I saved the 7 x 10.5 paper size that I created on the scanner/printer, it now shows up on the size selection menu for either printer, and can be printed out on either printer- I just wasn’t able to create the new size on Little Cheapy.  Hooray! Now I can print with the more economical cartridges!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday/Orca Bay part 4 progress

Translation supplied for a dear friend who doesn’t speak Quilt, yet faithfully follows my blog and tries to encourage me onward.

Progress! It’s a good thing.  I finished the part 3 HSTs   

Nan- that means half square triangle, looks like this

orca bay part 4 001

I have made about two thirds of  the part 4 triangles from strips-my color for these is orange. Perhaps the rest will be finished today.

orca bay part 4 005

See the fuzzies on my design wall?  You should see me! I’ve been wearing a sweat suit to be warm and comfy as I stitch away. A purple sweat suit, because one must coordinate with ones project, right?  Anyway, with all the trimming and little clips of threads and what not, I currently resemble……well, the Pillsbury Doughboy gone fuzzy. If my sons could see me now, I can hear some of the jokes—what do you get when you cross the Michelin Man with a Wookie? Night of the Living Thread……that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what Bonnie is up to with these shapes. So many possibilities, and very hard to guess because we don’t know all the shapes and pieces she will eventually use. Here is one possible combination of pieces, of course, Bonnie will have all the bears toes going in the proper direction. (Nan-a square block with some of those HSTs on two sides is called a BearPaw, which is what I was trying to make with the purple and teal but was directionally challenged)

orca bay part 4 003

Please check out the progress that others are making on their Orca Bay Mystery Quilts and some of the wonderful work other quilters have on their design walls.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Design Wall/Orca Bay Monday

On my design wall today are a few of the string blocks (step 2) and a sampling of the HST (step 3) of Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay Mystery  that I am participating in.

Orca Bay first pix 004

I have all of the step 2 string blocks completed, and I love them. They are so neat and look good-and they are purple.

Orca Bay first pix 005

I am about two-thirds of the way finished with step 3. I took advantage of the Inklingo special sale for Orca Bay participants and have used Inklingo to make these blocks. I have looked into Inklingo before, but never got into it. I have to say that I am really enjoying making the HST this way-and enjoying HSTs is not something I ever expected to do! Since I haven’t even started step 1 yet, (hey, why start at the beginning?) I think I will probably go back to Inklingo and get the collection for quarter square triangles.

Bonnie selected her colors using a photograph from her Alaska trip. I found a few photos I really liked, but the colors were too similar. Then, while still debating if I even would participate, I saw a photo on someone’s computer that blew my mind. Initially, I couldn’t even tell what the photo was, all I saw was the color! It turns out that the photo was of an ant, under extreme magnification. The ant was electrically vibrant shades of oranges and yellows. The background changed from deep purples (in areas that would have been ‘sky’ in a landscape) to dark teal (in what would have been the ground). Such an incredible photo, I don’t think I have the link to it, if I find one I will post. The subject certainly wasn’t ‘pretty’, but it was so vivid and colorful, it had to be my inspiration.  Hmm, maybe this quilt won’t be Orca Bay, but Electric Ant for me…… I’m not sure how the quilt will turn out with these colors in it, but that is part of the risk in doing a mystery quilt, and Bonnie’s are always amazing.

All of this was done as I listened to an audio version of one of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries. This is the second I have listened to, and I intend to listen to the rest, I enjoy them so much. At first, it seems wordy, but if you listen instead of wish she’d just get on with the story, you will find the descriptions and insights amazing in themselves. These books aren’t  action packed, shoot ‘em ups, but more in line with P.D. James thoughtful detective Adam Dalgliesh. Penny’s work reminds me to enjoy the journey to the conclusion, not just the conclusion itself, to savor each morsel instead of gorging and swallowing  the whole thing.

Go on over to Judy’s Patchwork Times to check out what other quilters are up to, you will see some great work. While you are at it, go over to Bonnie’s to see the progress other Orca Bay mystery quilters are making, it will be amazing to see how differently these quilts turn out, even though they are all using the same pattern.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Well, I finally have the top finished for the Buck a Block quilt started years ago.  This is the closest I’ve ever come to chucking the whole thing and pretending the project never existed.  I still love the fabrics used, but the rest, ick.

We’ve all heard the stories, sometimes attributed to the Amish, sometimes to Middle Eastern cultures, of humility blocks/rugs, whatever. The premise being that one must include a mistake in one’s work so as not to risk offending  God, since only God is able to make something perfect. The Amish have laughingly denied this is their thing, rightly pointing out the arrogance of thinking one’s work is so perfect that it is necessary to be purposely imperfect.

I must say I agree. This quilt doesn’t have a humility block, it is a humility QUILT. Not only did I not purposely include an error, I can’t even figure out exactly what went wrong in so many different places to cause the problems. Well, except for one error. As many times as I studied this quilt in person and in photos as I worked, I never spotted this  big one. Nope, that problem didn’t reveal itself until just now as I was looking at the photo to include in this post! No way am I ripping back that far now.

So, here it is, my Humble Rose quilt. 

can't get it right Rose quilt 002

Silver lining?  I just received the 2 disc DVD by Myrna Ficken “Beginning Longarm Quilting”. I’ve been using my robotic quilter for years, but have recently added features so that I can also do free motion. I was hoping for some instruction in doing free motion designs, but this is much more getting things right from the start=squaring, spotting problems, how to deal with problems. Who’d have thought I’d be able to use all these techniques in one quilt, and so soon!?  Best way to learn is to DO what you are shown. Hmmm, maybe that should be my story….made all these mistakes on purpose,  in order to try all the fixes Myrna teaches. Yeah…….I like that. 

Meanwhile, go over to Patchwork Times to see lots of great quilts that others are working on.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

After dinner follow up

Both turkeys turned out well, very flavorful. The pink one was especially moist, pronounced ‘perfect’ by one of my sons. Here are the finished, deeply colored smoked birds.

thankgiving dinner finished 001

And of course, there is the inevitable post-turkey slump – *sigh* I remember when he napped with a stuffed animal…….

thankgiving dinner finished 004

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday, filled with the many blessings for which we give thanks.

I was up at o-dark-thirty this morning to start dinner. This year we are trying something new. A month or so back, we bought a small electric smoker, so far we have enjoyed everything that we have made in it. Today, we will be smoking the turkeys-yes, two. I usually get a 22-25 lb turkey, but the smoker is too small for a bird that size, so we have two smaller ones instead. That will take less time to cook and allows a little more experimentation.

I am also brining the turkeys, first time doing that as well. One was brined in a buttermilk brine and then an herbed/roasted garlic butter was put under the skin. That is the larger of the two, so it had to go in earlier so they can both be ready about the same time. It was still so dark out that  had to get out the flashlight in order to use the controls and load up the smoker.

The second turkey received a cranberry juice brine. It’s PINK!!!  Too funny, hope the other birds don’t tease it!

Thanksgiving turkey 2011 003a

Here it is, loaded and looking pretty. That is quite a contrast-wonder how different it will look when they are finished cooking?

Thanksgiving turkey 2011 004a

Counting my blessings……

Monday, September 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday for Sept 26

First, let me start off by dealing with the most important thing today—HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, my darlin’ MOTH! The past 41 years with you have brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined, and I would never made it through the tough times without your strength,wisdom and love. Love you, dar.

Now, for the design wall –

cheddar bow tie trials 002a

only 5 little blocks. I had to do a few test blocks of the Cheddar Bow Tie challenge (Bonnie Hunter) because….well, I wanted to see how they look and how they go together, I wanted to start something new even though I ‘m not ‘supposed’ to until I finish some more UFOs….basically, I just wanted to. As you can see from the samples,and after seeking MOTH’s  sage opinion,  I think I will be working with the cheddar/red color families instead of going scrappy for the ties.

I have made a very little progress on the Buck a Block. I have to say, I have begun to really dislike it. I loved the fabrics, still do. It is one of the Thangles promotional patterns, so of course, their purpose it to get you to do lots of HSTs using their product. Since starting this I have learned that I favor repeated/similar blocks over sampler/different blocks in a quilt-don’t know why, just do. This is a sampler type, each block using many HSTs in different combinations and placement. Some blocks are nice, the stars worked well (or maybe I like stars more, dunno) but some blocks…….lets just say that just because you can put HSTs in certain arrangements doesn’t mean that you should, some just are not attractive.

However, I will use self-discipline and finish it.

Meanwhile, check out some fantastic work by truly gifted quilters over at JudyL’s .

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend getaway

We just returned from a weekend of camping with our friend Patricia. Didn’t do anything special, just reveled in superb weather, relaxing with no time constraints or to-do lists,  and enjoyed being in the company of friends. I think Mac enjoyed it most of all-lots of walks and plenty of attention from everyone present!

We had a nice pull-through site, very private. The first picture is of MOTH and Mac on our site. Patricia was a few sites away, she had great view overlooking the lake.  As you can see, the lakes in our area are down quite a bit. Did I mention incredibly wonderful weather? Perfect temperatures… rain, no humidity, no bugs. Terrific!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Design wall Monday

The only thing on my wall are some fabrics that I am auditioning for future quilts.

First up, I have been wanting to do something ‘cheddar’, and Bonnie Hunter came up with a cheddar bowtie project. Here are the candidates for that one:

better cheddars n reds

I think that second down is too yellow to be cheddar. I’m thinking the bowties may all be in different shades of red. What do you think, Reds n Cheddars or would a variety of colors (like the one Bonnie shows) be better?

Secondly,  my newlywed son came home fretting a while back. They had painted a couple of rooms, and he was ‘dismayed’ that their bedroom was now ‘little girl purple’!  Oh, the humanity!! The affront to his machismo!  In an effort to gain some sympathy -  instead of guffaws  - from me, he topped the whole thing with “and now the quilt you made me doesn’t go, we need a new quilt!!”. Weeelllll. Let me see….the adjoining  master bathroom was done in a green……so how about good old mom find a rather graphic (and therefore masculine) pattern and do it in a darker value of the purple (also more masculine) and green. Fons & Porter had one in their magazine a few months ago. (oh-according to his bride, he picked out the color,had a choice between two ….and this one was on sale! LOL)

So, here are the first round of contestants for that quilt.

manly purples and greens

Of these, I think I will discard the second down in each purple row as too ‘pink’.  I need to dig out some more purples from my purple heavy stash and see which I am willing to cut into and use.

I’m trying to work my way out of the summer doldrums here. I have a quilt on the frame and did two rows of that today, as well. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be happy with this one. I like the pattern and the fabrics, but I can’t come up with something I really like for the thread. The quilting design looks great on paper, but I’m not sure about it on the quilt.  This is the same quilt that I had FINISHED quilting a few months ago and decided it just wasn’t right….so… I ripped every last machine quilted stitch out…..any idea how much ripping that entailed? Not going to happen again, this time will have to be it.  I have actually accomplished something this summer, see my previous post about my August finishes.  Then click on over to JudyL’s site to see what a lot of other quilters have on their design walls.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

August finishes

I did get a few things finished in August, not as many as I would have liked, but I ran out of steam and haven’t gotten my ‘mojo’ back. End of summer, sick of the 95+ degree heat blahs have struck.

First, this pair of socks

august finishes 004

This quilt, which is a JudyL design. These 1930’s fabrics came to me via the guild, someone had precut a bunch of pieces and strips and then decided not to continue with the quilt-I received the fabric,but not the pattern for which the pieces were intended. I further cut the wedge shaped pieces for the nine patches, and then finished off using the strips for the binding. There was only one strip of each fabric, but I like the use-it-up, depression era sensibilities of it.

august finishes 009august finishes 2 004

You may remember this one, the blocks were from a swap.

august finishes 014august finishes 2 002

I love the backing, it makes me smile each time I look at it.  Sometimes I tell myself stories about it. Maybe someone spilled some Jolly Ranchers on the playground, and they melted before anyone picked up. But the one I like best (and could have easily happened at my house) is that the Quilter of the family was out one day while the kids and dad had a project to do. Dad saw some black fabric and decided it would make a great drop cloth while they painted.  Quilter comes home and sees her precious Kona black splattered with paints. She starts to steam, to cry….and then…! I can make lemonade out of this lemon, those paint drips are colors in one of my UFOs, I can use this in my quilt!!  I just love a happy ending *sigh* 

Speaking  of stories….take a closer look at the bottom of this photo. It reminds me of that scene from The Wizard of Oz, where  Toto goes behind the curtain to investigate, and the  Wizard’s voice tells Dorothy and company to ‘ignore the man behind the curtain’. (you may have to click on the photo to enlarge it)


Monday, August 08, 2011

Design Wall Monday for August 8

Another week has rolled around, how time flies!  The quilt on my design wall isn’t much further along than the last time I posted. Last time I said I hoped to finish the top (sashings and border). Well, the ‘bad’ news is that I didn’t get that done, I only progressed this far.

buck a block sashings 002a

However, the GOOD news is that the chip for the quilter came, DS#1 installed it and the machine is now running. So, instead of finishing the Buck a Block top, I quilted two tops, one is bound the other has the binding attached and I am doing the hand work in the evenings in front of the TV.   I don’t feel too badly about not getting this top assembled since I finished a quilt and a second will be finished tonight or tomorrow.

Click on over to JudyL’s site to see what other quilters have on their design walls. While you are there, wish Judy well on her harrowing move to Texas.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Design Wall Monday


buck a block progress 002buck a block progress 004

On my design wall this week is the Buck a Block that I started a few years back. I finished the blocks and this week I hope to complete the cornerstone blocks and sashing. If things go really well, I’d like to get to the border, too. I’m not sure if you can tell, but the outside strips of the sashing are a small check of the wine color, green and gold that is in the blocks.

This is actually on my UFO Challenge list but is not the current or past choice. I’m to the point on my past months challenges that they are all ready to be quilted. The bad news is that it is getting to be about a month since a chip went bad on the robotic quilter and we are still waiting to get a good one to replace it. Until then, no quilting….I did get a row and a third done on my new quilting table/frame and I was loving how well things were working. In the meantime, I figured I’d get a head start on something so I don’t lose any time. Now that the weddings are over and it is way to hot to go camping, I have a good amount of time to sew, and I want to take advantage of it!

Click over to JudyL’s site to see what other quilters are working on, it is inspirational!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday–Y2K center is together!

I spent a fair amount of time at the lqs choosing fabric for the sashing and for the side borders, then cutting and getting all the sashings sewn on. Marcella made a comment last Monday that whatever color I used for the sash, that is the color that the quilt would read.  I looked at my little sample quilts with all the different color sashes and concluded that she was right. While both Moth and I liked the cheddar, and I have been wanting to work with cheddar, I really don’t want a king size hunk of cheddar on my bed. The room would be so bright we would never get any sleep!  You can see what I decided to use.

The center of the quilt is now completed. It is too big for the design wall, it is on the queen sized bed in the guest room, but you still can’t see all of it.This week I will work on the side borders. I’m going to have to quilt this in sections and then assemble them. I want it to hang far enough over the sides that when we are under it, it still keeps us covered and any draft out.

y2k center 001y2k center 003

Go over to JudyL’s blog and see what others are doing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Design Wall Monday

The design wall still has blocks for the Y2K, and then some additional yardage as I was auditioning colors  to use for sashing yesterday. You can see why using a print background to get a feel for a gray (or whatever) sash didn’t work, and why I resorted to Photoshop.

y2k sashing options 008

Please take a look at yesterday’s post and give me your opinion on the best sashing color to use.

and then check out JudyL’s page to see what many talented quilters have on their design walls.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Input needed, please

I have been working on my Y2K and have about 60 of the 80 blocks completed, the remainder is in strips ready to be assembled into blocks. Needless to say, they don’t all fit on the design wall.

I had been thinking of using either black

     black sashing        or perhaps a dark red like this:dark red sashThe small white squares are the signature squares.

I asked on online quilter friend in Norway (gotta love the internet) to help me choose. Wouldn’t you know, she had a different idea – gray.  I never would have thought of it, but she thought black might be too harsh. I think she could be right. So, this morning I dug through the stash and started pulling different colored fabrics to get an idea of what they would look like as sashing. Hey, if gray might be better, maybe another color might be even better! Changing fabrics on the design wall to try each color became laborious, and since many of my fabrics were prints, I wasn’t getting a good idea of how any given color would work. Enter MOTH (Man of the House) and Photoshop. So much easier to try different colors in Photoshop!  Thanks, my dear MOTH. 

Here is what a cement gray would look like: (and HG, I do like it, thanks for the suggestion and for getting me thinking outside my box)

cement                      Cheddarps cheddar sash                     taupetaupe gray

hmm, a sick gold, was going to say spicey brown mustard, but I don’t think I’d want to eat mustard that was this color…….

spicey brown mustard               a grayish blueshy gray blue                  navynavy 


or this ….odd shade of….brown?unspeakable brown(do you think anyone except Photoshop actually makes this color?)

Which would you use?  Something totally different?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July! and Design Wall Monday

Wishing a safe and wonderful Independence Day to Yanks all over the world. A special thanks to those who serve and may be far from home on this holiday.

Design Wall Monday is here again, and this time I have something to show.  June’s UFO challenge was the Y2K quilt that I started….well, in Y2k.  It didn’t get very far, and I wasn’t happy with how it was going together. I gave it more thought, came up with a few more ideas and then, after all the wedding was over on the 18th, I began to work. Do any of you remember the great Y2K swap on the internet?  The idea was to get 2000 squares of fabric from all over the world. There were several sites online to contact other quilters that wanted to participate. Each quilter would send 25 squares of different fabrics plus a signature square to each person she exchanged with. If you exchanged with 80 other people, you would get your 2000 squares. If you exchanged with someone from each of the 50 US states and the 13 Canadian provinces and territories, you would already have 63 packets or 1575 squares. I exchanged with quilters all over the world, from Japan, Denmark, Mexico, Bahrain and many other places. Watching for the mail each day was exciting.

Anyway, this past month I began piecing each person’s squares into a 25 patch. My hope was to keep each persons contribution together.  As I put the blocks together I became fascinated by what the fabrics told me about each quilter. One gal either really liked sunflowers, or had recently made something requiring a selection of sunflower printsY2k design wall 002 and had lots left over.

  One person had a lot of tans in her stash,

Y2k design wall 004 another a lot of greens, yet another many fun, kid type animal prints, bold colors.

  Y2k design wall 003

One had many tiny floral prints in soft pastels.  Were these fabrics an example of what the quilter loved and had in her stash, or were these the things in her stash that she was ready to get rid of?

 Y2k design wall 006

Here are some of the first 48 blocks on my newly made (and not quite finished) design wall.

Y2k design wall 001

And some of the rows of five, pinned together for more squares.

Y2k design wall 008

Meanwhile, I finally mounted a quilt on my new quilt frame, did a little more than one row of quilting and the PCQ went kerflewy. I am now waiting for a chip to arrive and be installed before I can do any more quilting. It was going so well until then….*sigh*

Y2k design wall 009

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A June Groom….

Our middle son was married this past weekend. There were some tense moments due to the weather, but everything went off very well. The bride was lovely, as you can see in the pictures. The groom wore the biggest smile you have ever seen, complete with dimple, on his handsome face. 

The wedding was held at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.  The first picture shows the reception room as it was being set up. Note the rather large guest in the middle of everything.

Peter's wedding 061

Then, there he was again, sneaking up behind the father of the groom, wanting to join in the laughter.

Peter's wedding 055

The bridal party, and the groom with his brothers.

Peter's Wedding (d camera) 111Peter's Wedding (d camera) 098

The happy couple

Peter's wedding 077Peter's wedding 085Peter's wedding 107

Partway through the evening, the bride changed into traditional bridal dress.

Peter's Wedding (d camera) 134

I can’t tell you how delighted I am with my newest daughter!  Just think, I have gotten two daughters in the past four months-and no labor pains!!