Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amy Butler's Style Stitches Origami bag

Made one of my little Origami Bags for the Amy Butler sew along today...
a bit of a struggle,  but I'm under the wire....
good size for storing zippers!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Irish Chain in me.... went to Lancaster!

I spent St. Patrick's Day at the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster PA - and I wore a deelibopper headband with little sparkly shamrocks and feathers.  Almost everyone who looked at me smiled - it was a wonderful day!
Beautiful quilts on display, marvelous vendors with lovely new tools, books and fabrics.  I also ran into some old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time, and met some new friends that I hope to meet again.

a sampling of the  AQS wallhanging quilts
 - every one deserved a prize!!!
  and an overview of the first floor - the show altogether is about 6 TIMES this size... for starters!
AQS Lancaster - 1/4th of first floor exhibit hall....
The talents of machine quilters continues to amaze me.... watch for these winners in future magazines!  Of course, pictures never do them justice - you really need to see these in person to fully appreciate the talent and skill involved!

One of the tools I brought home is a finger guard for my rotary ruler.... no more finger cutting for me!  It goes onto the ruler with little suction cups and is easy to move to all kinds of rulers.  I'll have to share that in a future post, because now, I have to move on to a little quilting!


The Block of the Month for QCE this month is Irish Chain.  This is a simple pattern that alternates two blocks.  I like to make the simplest one first to give myself a sense of accomplishment, then I proceed to the more difficult block.  Here is the simple one:
Irish Chain Block 1
This has a 6 1/2" CENTER square surrounded by 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" strips and 2 1/2" squares.  It finishes to a 10" block; 10 1/2" unfinished.
This quilt has 12 of these blocks.

First, sew a square to each end of 2 of the strips, then sew the remaining two strips to opposite sides of the large center square.  Press the seams toward the green corner squares on the outside pieces, and toward the center of the block on the center square unit.  Then sew the three sections together to complete the block.

The second block is a bit more complicated, being a 5x5 layout of 2 1/2" squares there are 13 of these in the quilt:

Irish Chain Block 2
This block will have 9 of the dark squares, 12 of the medium and 4 of the light (25 total).
I lay out the squares to the left of my sewing machine so I keep the pieces in order as I sew.  I pick up the pieces in the second column from the left and turn them over like the pages of a book and lay them on the pieces of the first column, then turn the pieces in the fourth column and lay them on the pieces of the third colum.  Then I pin them... pick them up in order and sew them, column by column, chain piecing so there is a continuous bit of thread holding them in their proper order.  when I get to the bottom of one column, I insert a little scrap of a bright color to remind me that I've reached the bottom of a column, then proceed to sew the next column.  When I've finished the first/second and third/fourth columns, I join the two columns together (leaving the little joining threads intact) then open that set of rows, lay this out on the table where it all started to make sure I have the orientation correct, and join the pieces of column 5 to the rest of the rows.

NOW it's time to press!  The top, middle and bottom rows are pressed in one direction, and the other two rows are pressed in the opposite direction.  Now it is easy to match up those rows and complete the block!

The block should look like this from the wrong side when finished:
wrong side of Irish Chain Block 2 showing pressing

These blocks can then be assembled to make a quilt that will be 56" square with the addition of a 3" border:

Irish Chain Quilt

This is an excellent design for small redwork (or greenwork) patches and works up very quickly.  The size is a generous proportion for a baby quilt or a comfy lap quilt for that tall guy in your life!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quilting 101 - watch out - rotary cutters are SHARP!!!

Well, I finally gave myself a serious wound with my rotary cutter..... took off a sliver of my left index finger, 'cause it was too close to the groove in my June Tailor cutting ruler - sometimes the hardest advice to follow is my own.  Shame on me!  I know better, I really do!  If you are curious about the right way to use these rulers, check out their videos here.

The first lesson in quilting is "SAFETY FIRST" - never underestimate the rotary cutter - don't leave it open when you put it down, even for a moment!  The second is to keep your fingers away from the edge of the ruler.

I sound like a broken record (does anyone remember records?) sometimes I feel like I'm boring my students with this constant lecture, but it just cannot be overemphasized - you MUST respect those sharp things!

....because if you don't - you could end up with one of these on your finger! 

Now don't worry - it's healing fine - but oh my did it ever bleed! 

Thankfully, I was able to keep the fabric clean, and went back to cutting after it was bandaged.

The worst after effect is.... typing w/o a left index finger is SO challenging!  So, after this monster bandage comes off, I'll be blogging again.  Watch for my "Quilting for Beginners" lessons to start soon.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March onward to the finish line... and a bit of Oscar

I finished a few things last month - so I thought I'd post a few pics while I'm thinking about it...
Sue Luxbacher won 12 of these blocks on Feb 28th at the QCE meeting - congratulations, Sue!

RRCB quilt blocks are all done and pressed - hope to get these assembled in March (yikes, better get started!)
FATraders Button Doll #1  Lacy Jane

FATraders Button Doll #2  Time Flyer

Cottage Rose class sample finished for Monroeville JoAnns

Inside of new Studio Kat Designs handbag coming out THIS MONTH!!!

Little Blue Bird Quilt - Entered in Three Rivers Quilt Show

Turkey Tracks (Wandering Foot) Also entered in Three Rivers Quilt Show

Finished Studio Kat Designs handbag - front

and back - love that zippered pocket - so easy to make!

Finished these 2 Little Miss Shabby's "Little Bird" Block of the Month

Easy as Pie tote from THE BAG MAKERS BIBLE


 Now, February only had 28 days, or I might have gotten a couple more bags done... I have one cut out and waiting for assembly on the cutting table, so if you'll excuse me, I'll talk about the OSCARS now...

I just want to say that the critics were much too hard on the performances of James Franco and Anne Hathaway - I've been watching the Oscars since the early 60's and I thought this year's presentations were very entertaining.  Altho James Franco looked exhausted (have to wonder about the schedules these entertainers are on since he hopped a plane and didn't even get to enjoy the after parties...) I enjoyed almost every bit of it, including the appearance of Kirk Douglas - whom I did not recognize or understand, but I was glad to see that he's still on his feet and recuperating from a very serious stroke!  Kirk has always been one of my favorite actors - a rags to riches guy with a better pelvis than Elvis!  OH MY!! did I really say that?  I wasn't always this old, ya know?

Gotta go - lots to do today!