Thursday, August 27, 2009


Everyone who was interested in the mailing label fabric backing for printing: I did pretreat the fabric first with Bubble Jet Set (available at JoAnn's) used according to directions. I increased the saturation of the image on Photoshop by about 50% to compensate for the way the fabric soaks up ink. I think I may have overdone the brightening a bit.

Here are the two postcards made by quilting and embroidering the images. The butterfly weed image is the same one I used before. It's neat to be able to recreate something so easily. No butterfly this time though.

The piece with the butterfly weed and Debra's butterfly as well as another one of mine are up for auction in September. There are some lovely little quilts this time. Go visit the Alzheimer's Quilt Auction site, admire, and bid if you can.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Discovery

Actually it's not my discovery. I don't remember who blogged about using peel and stick shipping labels to back treated fabric so you can run it through the printer. The blogger said it gave a much more secure stick than freezer paper. I've stuck (pun intended) to the freezer paper because I didn't know where to buy the labels. Then in Kinko's yesterday, I saw them and bought some. I was doubtful: wouldn't it be hard to make them stick smoothly to the fabric, and wouldn't it be hard to peel them off? It's not. The Avery people provide a big scored section so that the label peels beautifully, it sticks securely and runs through the printer perfectly, and peels off the fabric later. I think you could actually reuse the sticky label. I haven't tried that, but even if it's a one use, at fifty cents a label, plus the cost of Bubble Jet Set, it's cheaper than the premade sheets. I got a brighter image too. That's interesting and surprising.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not-So-Free Motion

The top of the French fabric quilt is done. As for the quilting, that remains to be seen. I just discovered Diane Gaudynski's blog, and that reminded me how much I like her encouraging, down-to-earth, extremely helpful book and all her suggestions for free motion quilting. So, inspired by that, I pull out another uncompleted guild thing, this one a Round Robin. My thought was: practice on the RR, and by then I'll be good enough to try the other one. This would be a first. I only free motion small things, or service quilts with an all over pattern.

So how's it going?

I did improve on the continuous curves. The last set isn't terrible, or rather less terrible.

Well actually, it is pretty terrible.

I was doing fine with the light, relaxed grip too, until I moved to the center of the quilt, and found that the big lever on the Janome that attaches the Accufeed foot catches on the quilt when you bunch it up to create the little "nest" to quilt on. Even worse, it catches on the safety pins.

GRRR. Bad design, Janome engineers! But I'm pushing on. I'm using very fine thread, so quilting stitches don't show on print fabric of the top, and wouldn't show on the back if hadn't used muslin; this piece will lie on a table, so it's perfect for practice anyway. I'm actually doing better at relaxing and following marks. But I'm not going to put the long arm quilters out of business, for sure! The jury is out on how that French throw will be quilted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Routine Stuff and a Prize.

My to-do list has some very basic projects at the moment. Two guild service quilts are finished, and now I'm sewing together the quilt with the French fabric, binding Refraction, and have two display sleeves to sew on. None of these seem anything to blog about until finished. But I did find out at guild last week that the red stars quilt that Deb Geyer quilted for me won the prize (viewers' choice) for large quilts at the guild's library show. I'm so delighted about this! It was a surprise too, because when I was working at the show, my quilt was not one that the visitors commented on. Please forgive me for showing the quilt one more time; I can't resist because it shows up better in this picture than any other. In fact, I actually had never had such a view myself since it's bigger than my design wall. I'm pretty pleased!

So now back to the dull stuff. I need a new recorded book to listen to, I think.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Closet of Shame, French Division

Oh, the fabric you buy and don't use! When we were in Paris in 2005, I found this quilt shop, LeRouvray. It's apparently well known, because I've seen quilt tours of France that promise a stop here. By American standards the fabric selection isn't very exciting, but there's loads of French charm.

Many of their fabrics are American, at a much higher price. I did find this beautiful blue fabric, very French looking, and two packages of 15-centimeter squares to go with it. (The selvedge reads "By LeRouvray for Free Spirit," whatever that means in terms of authentic Frenchness.) They had apparently offered a class using the fabric in a strippy quilt with rows of flying geese in the coordinating fabrics, and the woman in the shop kindly gave me a picture of the sample on display, and told me how much of the focus fabric to buy. The other fabrics look to me very much like Civil War reproductions, and they may be. All beautiful quality though.

The whole thing stayed in a plastic tub, in the original bag, until about a year ago. I signed up for a friendship group swap in one guild. It's the kind of swap where every month one member asks for a block of a certain kind, and the other group members make it. In this group people actually handed out little kits for the others to make. (A group like this could be the subject for another post.) So thinking this might be as good a chance as any to use the fabric, I asked for flying geese units from everyone, providing the fabric. After a bit of delay, I have them all, and am making the additional ones I need.

It should be simple to put together, right? Everyone is supposed to have their group project ready for show and tell in October. Deadlines are good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Been and Back

My husband and I just came back from a mini-vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We spent two nights at this wonderful place on the top of a mountain in western Pennsylvania, a huge old inn built in 1907 and still delightful. We toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water and Kentuck Knob, and came back through the Ohio Amish Country, staying at a pleasant B&B. A fun trip altogether.

There was even some quilty stuff.

Look at this beauty on a bed at the Washington Inn, an historic inn built for the stagecoaches during the heyday of the National Road (now US 40). The inn is maintained by the park service and furnished with period pieces. But I bet the stagecoach passengers never slept under a quilt as nice as that!

And of course, if you're in Amish Country, you have to look for fabric, right? This was a great store, in Charm, Ohio. I bought a little bit to build my stash of green.

And finally, my quilt was chosen for the Hoffman Challenge traveling exhibit, and best of all it will be in Chicago this spring so I can see it. Since I had no expectation of a prize, I'm happy.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Scrappy Sawtooth Star by Fern Hamlin

Joseph's Coat by Kay Furfaro

Our guild is having its annual quilt show. We keep it simple, with no vendors, or multiple prizes and categories. We hang the quilts in the main section of the Mishawaka library and both casual library users and quilt lovers who read about the show in the paper can look at the quilts. All are given a program describing the quilts and a ballot so they can vote for their favorite. Everybody likes this: the library for the added crowds, the guild, and the quilt viewers too. It's fun to sit and talk to the visitors. I'm always amazed at how seriously people take the voting idea. I usually don't even vote for Viewers' Choice at shows, but everyone here ponders the whole thing for a long time!

The quilts were varied and lovely this year. I can't post them all, so I chose these two as beautiful representatives of the "true" scrap quilt: pieces of left-over fabric, not a collection of new fabrics purchased to look "scrappy."

Monday, August 03, 2009

Scrappier than It Oughta Be

I'm still using my Paddington fabric for charity quilts. This is all of it, the amount of fabric came out perfectly, as though I'd planned it. My guild uses this pattern a lot: six inch squares, all the same or scrappy, and three inch wide sashing and cornerstones. If you have scrappy squares the wide sashing pulls them together, or, as you can see from this example, scrappy wide sashing can create chaos from matching squares. Oh, well. Live and learn.