Friday, February 27, 2009

OnLine Gallery

For fabric artists who are interested in selling their work, here's an interesting idea. is an on-line gallery, where you can post works for sale, and apparently there is no charge until the work sells. (My link is to a review of the site, not the site itself. I thought that might be clearer and more objective.) Obviously the site is aimed more at painters, but jewelry and ceramics are mention, so why not textiles?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden

8" x 10"

I added a few beads, but only rearranged beads on one flower. Those things were TIGHT. When I bead, I bead. I also decided it looked better in this orientation than in the landscape one although I'm still not totally sure of that. I think I owe the idea of turning it to Nellie, who turned her "Imagine Monet" with wonderful results. I could critique on and on, but in general I'm pleased. There are a few stray threads in the picture, but I rushed to take the picture while the afternoon sun made the quilting texture show up so well.

Thanks for all the interesting comments on my math rant. I guess we all muddle through, whether we have math problems or not. The important thing, in my view, is to at least try.

Quilters and Math

This is a bit of a rant. I hope I don't step on any toes; I don't intend to be critical, just puzzled and a bit sad.

What is the problem with quilters and math? I've wondered that for a while, but it was brought to my attention again last night at guild when several people became practically hysterical at the thought of averaging three measurements of a quilt center to get a good border length. These are intelligent women; what's the matter?

I'm not a math whiz. I remember my high school math teacher, firmly planted on sturdy legs and arms folded on top of her massive bosom, announcing loudly to the class, "Kathy, they say you're such a good student. Why don't you know what 7 plus 9 is?" Actually, I do know what 7 + 9 is, but I have to think about it. I also can't remember numbers; I have to write down a phone number to dial it, and I have to write down the simplest measurement or I forget it. But there are calculators for people like me, and for everyone else too.

Actually quilters only have to remember a few simple formulas, like the square that is cut in half diagonally for half square triangles should be the size of the finished square plus 7/8 inch. (That sounds much more complicated than it is.) And if you can't remember, the formula, there are all sorts of charts available, and there is always Google. Otherwise, quilting is mostly just addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication, all easy to do on the most basic calculator.

Quilters Newsletter Magazine periodically has articles that try to help. There was one in the last issue about planning any block which was excellent. (I looked for it on the website and couldn't find it, but it's the January 2009 issue, I think.)

I think this problem of quilters is an example of the way many women have been treated by the educational system: girls can't get math, so they don't. "Math Phobia" was the popular phrase a while back. The sad thing about not understanding quilt math is that quilters are so limited in what they can do. They have to use patterns, they have to buy special rulers that put the right measurements in, they have to use pre-cut fabrics, they think they need a special calculator to figure yardage, and on and on. So, the next time you can't figure it out, don't panic stop, think, get the calculator, use Google, look in a quilting book. I bet you can do it. If someone who can't remember her Social Security number or doesn't know that 7 + 9 = 16 can figure it out, anyone can.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moving Along

The quilting is done, and I thought the beading was, but then I dropped a few red beads in the center to see how they look, because the yellow ones alone aren't enough. Ugh. There will have to be some reworking there. Too bad; I find beading about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I don't do hand quilting because the carpal tunnel in my wrists begins to scream. But just a tiny bit I can handle, and it was fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One of my guilds is having a "paint chip challenge." Apparently this has been floating around internet sites for a while. You make a quilt using colors of paint chips whose names match your three initials. I had no intention of doing this, but I found some Grandmother's Flower Garden pieces I made years ago, and thinking about something for the Alzheimers' Quilt Initiative, began playing with them. Then I realized that there were three colors here, and maybe I could find some appropriate paint chips and kill the proverbial two birds. The "K" was a challenge, but I found a deep purplish red called Keepsake, and the rest was easy.

I took the piece along with me on a visit to my son's and did some hand quilting. Beads will be next, and a pattern of diamonds quilted in the background, perhaps with a few of the diamonds embroidered to stand for leaves. I actually like this, and while it won't be a winner, it may serve a good purpose.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Prize

I was the lucky winner of a giveaway by Candace of Squash House Quilts to celebrate her 100th blog post: beautiful valentine fabric, pattern for a table topper, AND some real chocolate. (Wonder why the chocolate's not shown here...) Thanks so much, Candace.

Thank you everyone for the kind words about my star quilt. It is now totally finished, and I'll send it off to Deb Geyer for quilting soon. She has a beautiful Valentine quilt on her blog today. In the meantime, I have been working on some projects for Debra. I finished a scrap baby quilt, and am going to add borders to a lap size UFO for her Quilts for Women project.

Otherwise, it's uneventful here. My son sent me a video of Conor looking at his valentine and making fire truck noises on cue. His brother then followed up with a truck sound as he looked at his card. Actually both sounded about the same. The video was adorable of course, and it was such a sweet thing of them to do.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Text on Post Card

Since I can't draw, I like to combine fabric motifs and words on fabric postcards, but I've had trouble planning how to place the words so that when I put the fabric through the printer they are in the right location on the card. I figured out a way to do it last week when I made little cards for the grandchildren.

First I made a layout of the fabric motifs, scanned it into Photoshop, and sized it to 4 x 6 inches. ( It has to be reversed on the scanner bed, which was tricky for me at first.)

Then I made a new layer and put in the text I wanted, placing it correctly.

Then I made only the Text layer visible, and fed the pre-treated fabric fused on freezer paper into the printer. This gave me pale blue fabric with red lettering, and no image of course.

Then I fused the fabric motifs into their place on the background, and finished the card as usual. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before I mailed it, but it was very cute. The outline heart was red, of course, and the edges were finished with red zig zag.

You could also print the entire card from Photoshop, making a colored background layer, but I like the combination of sewing and printing.

This process may be blindingly obvious to many people, but it was a breakthrough for me, and didn't strain my very meager knowledge of Photoshop.

P. S. After finishing this post, I remembered that I CAN treat you to a look at the one where the printing smeared so that I had to do it again. So I guess the final lesson of this tutorial is DON'T FORGET TO HEAT SET THE PRINTING.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Too Late Smart"

All the time I pieced those Lemoyne Stars, I used my Janome's quarter inch seam foot, but was unhappy with it. The flange makes it difficult to stitch close enough to a marking pin and the foot doesn't ride easily over bulky seam intersections. Finally, as I tried to do the last few stars for the outer border, I decided I'd had it. First I tried the regular foot (moving the needle), but although it went over seams easily, it has an unfortunately placed bar that makes it hard to stitch a Y seam accurately. Then I tried one if the applique feet, moving the needle position to 5.5. Perfect! I can see, I can stitch right to the pin, and I can go over bumps. So much better. If only I'd known that fifty stars ago! I don't know why I didn't. I used the applique foot on the Viking for piecing, but somehow, I thought I should be impressed with the fancy quarter inch foot on this machine. It's good for some things maybe, but not for this kind of block. Live and learn.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Peppermint Stars Done!

Finished! This was the original design, but I am thinking of adding a red band on the outside, perhaps with small stars as cornerstones. But that should be straightforward. There's still pressing and de-linting to do. Deb Geyer has agreed to quilt it for me.

I'm happy with this quilt. I had been thinking about using this block in striped fabrics for several years, and it's satisfying to see it done. Every star is different, although the fabrics repeat. Seeing all the different effects produced by different combinations or arrangement of the fabric was the fun part of the project. The piecing isn't as good as I had hoped to achieve, but it's respectable, and I think the design is a strong one. It was a challenge, for sure.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It's Square, It's Square!

You have to imagine that sung to the tune of "It's May, It's May, la la la la lah." I put the zig zag borders and their framing yellow borders on the red, white, and yellow monster, and IT IS SQUARE, and at least within easing dimensions of the star border. So that is next. No pictures yet; I'm just going to do it. I am very, very tired of this quilt. Never another large one, I say, as my husband says, "Isn't it smaller?" (He's looking at center w/o borders.) "I thought it was going to be queen size." The Robert is all about practicality, in quilts anyway.

To the machine--