Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grecian Squares

Remember that old quilt I fell in love with last winter?

I finally got around to making my own version. It's smaller and has a different layout than the original, because I didn't love all of that sashing. It was the shape of the blocks that appealed to me in the first place. This was a great way to use some bits and pieces of the fabric Grandma's been finding lately -- I've got a small quilt for the sewing room wall with built in sentimental value! That fabric is going to wind up scattered through dozens of different quilts, but now I've got twelve of the different prints together.

This time I even used my own sewing corner for the video.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekly Stash Report #17

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 33 3/4 yards
Added this Week: 30 yards
Added Year to Date: 619 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 585.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3700 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 11000 yards
Net Used for 2011: -7300 yards

Grandma found me some fabric, which I put away before I weighed it, so I'm guessing a little more wildly than usual this week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

6 more

I've decided that this quilt, even if I don't make any more blocks, completely justifies my shirt stash. And my scraps. I'm including some fabrics in this quilt that I would've sworn I'd never want to use for anything.

Look at this fantastic magnetic bakery over at Ikat Bag! Never mind that I don't have a little enough girl, I kinda want one of these for me.

There's not much time left to enter, but Jennifer is giving away Go! Baby and three dies.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I spent yesterday beating myself up because I'd lost my camera. I knew I had it in my pocket Sunday afternoon while I was getting the kids ready to go to the park. I knew I'd decided to take it out of my pocket before it fell out. And I knew it left my pocket before we left the house.

What I didn't know was if it had fallen out somewhere, or if I'd taken it out and set it in a safe place. There was also the chance that one my little guys had picked it up and made off with it.

So I sulked for a while. I needed to have that camera tomorrow, and if I couldn't find it, there wasn't any point in finishing the rest of the things I needed for tomorrow.

As soon as I stopped pouting and actually got to work, I found the camera in the box of fabric it had dropped into. If I'd just worked on my project to begin with, I would've found it before lunch and saved myself a lot of worry.

Now that I've got my act together, my plans for tomorrow have been cancelled anyway. I can't blog about why, but trust me, it's a hell of a story.

Far more exciting than what we did here this afternoon, which was opening up the hive to refill their feeder with sugar water. Ten thousand bees are much more intimidating when they're flying around.

I may want my own bee suit for mother's day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More new-to-me fabric this week, with an explanation that I posted yesterday. A little knitting, no new yarn and no fabric use to report because I've spent all of my sewing time on the hobo blocks.

Weekly Stash Report #16

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 33 3/4 yards
Added this Week: 184 yards
Added Year to Date: 589 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 555.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 100 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3700 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 11000 yards
Net Used for 2011: -7300 yards

See how everyone else is doing over at Patchwork Times

Because I'm stressed enough about the knee surgery I've got scheduled next month, I've decided to stick with the sewing/knitting/whatever that keeps me distracted and not worry too much about how much fabric and yarn goes in and out each week.

I'm having a real love/hate relationship with the Hobo Quilt. The fabric selection stresses me more than anything. I definitely need more drab blacks.

I actually did more blocks than I thought yesterday --

And here's the quilt so far --

Saturday, April 16, 2011


My weekly stash reports almost always claim that there's an explanation for the amount of fabric that keeps following me home. This time, I thought I'd actually explain.

There was an ad on Craig's List:

100 pounds of fabric scraps from quilter's collection, $60 obo

The real ad was slightly more detailed, but not by much. There were no pictures. The only way to contact the seller was by text message. And I'm apparently the only one on the planet who still doesn't know how to text, but I kept thinking about that ad and eventually got motivated enough to figure it out. Got the address, which was a few blocks away from our old house. (The house where I had to check for gang members drinking in the street before going out to buy groceries.) Found another responsible adult to go with me.

I didn't really have high hopes, since one of the text messages said there was no yardage and I was envisioning a hundred pounds of strings and crumbs. But different quilters have different ideas of what a scrap is, and a hundred pounds would be something like four hundred yards...

Do you see that pile of yardage behind my Go Cutter? I can understand that some quilters wouldn't see half yard cuts or fat quarters as yardage, but three and four yard cuts of fabric? Nice, recently manufactured fabric. Even the scraps are big -- lots of wide strips that I was able to run through the cutter with my 2 1/2" square die.

I spent a couple of hours last night, watching a stupid movie on Netflix and sorting through scraps to cut into squares or circles.

There wasn't a hundred pounds, I could tell that just by picking up the boxes myself. One good thing about this weekly stash report is that I'm getting better at looking at a bag or box of fabric and guessing how much is there. I wound up with fifty pounds of fabric, about 200 yards, for $45. Twenty-two cents a yard.

Did I mention that every last bit of it was good 100% cotton?

My goal for last night was to finish five more blocks of the Hobo Quilt. By the time I got through the first two, I was ready to throw in the towel. Many of the online reviews I've read have said that there are problems with measurements for three of the blocks. Nothing I can find actually names those three blocks.

Easy Mark is one that I had trouble with last night. If my math is right, one of those red checked blocks should be 4" long.

My blocks aren't coming out quite right, but I'll adjust it all when I get to the sashing.

I'm not sure if I'm having fun or not at this point -- but I keep making more blocks!

Friday, April 15, 2011


See that box? The one right next to my husband's hand?

There are 10,000 Italian honey bees in that box. The supplier suggests bringing them home in the trunk of your car, but the mini van doesn't have a trunk. And putting it in the back, directly behind a pair of fascinated little boys, seemed like a worse idea than having it ride home between the grownups.

It's our first year with bees... my first ride in the car with a buzzing box inches from my thigh and arm....

And then when you get them home, you shake them into the box, and bang on the box, hard, to get the stragglers out and into the hive...

I wound up much closer to those bees than I planned to get, without benefit of a nifty while suit and veil. No one was stung, which seems like a minor miracle, but makes me feel a lot kinder towards our new pets.

Today's inspiration:

I'm loving This lace shoulder shawl knit from Caron Simply Soft. Wish the pattern was charted instead of written out, but

I'm also intrigued by the Peekaboo Sweater. And look at the Papel Picado crochet chart! I've wanted to learn filet crochet -- this skull might push me over the edge. If, like me, you don't know what Papel Picadois, it's perforated paper, the same as those flags and banners I'm always drooling over when we travel to New Mexico.

I can absolutely see my daughter making a plan betta, or me making one for her.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

hobo blocks

After I posted about Hobo Quilts Monday night, I had a flash of inspiration. All of those odd bits of shirts that were annoying me becaue they're too small to cut five inch squares for the 10 Minute blocks?

They're perfect for this quilt. Combine them with some really drab ugly cotton prints that I haven't known what to do with, and I think I can pull this off!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hobo Quilts

I've got a thing for sampler quilts. Not the ones with a handful of twelve inch blocks, the impossible ones with lots of itty bitty blocks. Not that I've started my own yet, I'm just collecting the books. I've got Dear Jane, and the Civil War Diary Quilt, and the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt -- which I would've started right away if the measurements were in the actual book and not on a stupid disk that I lack the enthusiasm to mess with!

Hobo Quilts jumped off the library shelf at me a couple of weeks ago. It was the block on the spine with the appliqued loaf of bread. How could I not want to applique a loaf of bread?

The book sat in our library bag with a bunch of picture books, unopened until last night when I got an email from the library reminding me that it would be due soon. So I cuddled up with the book, reading through the first person narratives and looking at the pictures. And looking at the blocks, thinking "That wouldn't be too hard, would it?"

But I couldn't picture a quilt made with those blocks, not until I got to page 154.

I want this quilt!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

weekly stash report #15

Fabric Used this Week: 1 3/4 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 33 3/4 yards
Added this Week: 100 yards
Added Year to Date: 405 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 371.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3600 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 11000 yards
Net Used for 2011: -7400 yards

More fabric. Again. I'm starting to see why Judy loses so many participants because, although I'm thrilled with the fabric that's been following me home, I hate to think what it looks like week after week. (And I feel like I need to add the usual "I hardly bought any of it it myself" bit -- this week, I bought ten yards of quilt shop quality neutrals for $20.)

A lot of the new fabric is estate sale sheets that Grandma picked up for ten cents each. There are some great solids and prints, and a couple that will probably be foundation for string blocks. Some is the old calico prints I love, found dirt cheap on Craig's List.

And, although it doesn't fit in the weekly report, I went through my existing stash and threw out thirty yards of fabric that was never going to be a quilt, or a cat quilt, or anything else I want to make.

To see what everyone else is up to, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


I haven't been able to figure out what to work on today. There's my birthday quilt, which I started a couple of days before my birthday. And there are my 10 Minute Blocks. There's the jelly roll lap quilt, which I want to lengthen with a few more strips. There's the new Accuquilt die that came this week, the one I've been dying for. And it's probably warm enough to go up and start digging through the sewing room.

What I wound up working on was the purple and white lap quilt I started cutting for the Accuquilt video. The top is together, and I've got a striped purple sheet that will work great for the backing -- leaving more of the solid purple for another two color something or other.

And I suppose I've got a list to start working my way through tomorrow.

I'm drooling over the lace jewelry at Whiteowl: found. I love the delicate combination of lace and beads and chain, and I love the way they've photographed the pieces against battered old books.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

If I knew how to use power tools...

I'd make myself a clock.

But I don't have the nerve to touch those things, and even if I did, they're my husband's and I don't mess with his expensive toys without permission. Permission would require explanations. And explanations would lead to questions and it's probably just better if I stick with my own fun toys.

Our kitchen is on hold again, but I'm still browsing for 1920s kitchen decor. Today, I found The Dilletante Proprietor. Wow! I think this is going to be one of those blogs that I read from first post to last.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

red and white

This is the quilt I thought I added to the Red and White Quilt Show -- sorry I don't seem to have any pictures of it actually quilted.

The disappearing four patch was the first quilt that came to mind, the one I went looking for a picture of. It didn't hit me until the middle of the night several days later that I'd found and blogged about the wrong little red and white quilt.

Not that it makes any difference, but I'd love to know what was going on in my head that day. How do you look at one quilt and write accurately about it and still be convinced it's a completely different quilt?

There's an absolutely fantastic set of photos from Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts on Flickr. I would love to see those quilts in real life, but I'm sure I'm better able to appreciate them as quilts by looking one at a time on my computer screen over a span of days. (And that iPad app is one of the few things that makes me envy the quilters with more technology than I've got!)

Imagine what a quilter could do with a few yards of red and white yardage or some red and white sheets....

Monday, April 04, 2011

dumbing down?

I've been reading post after post about the dumbing down of quilting.

Are triangles really so scary? I swear, I'm missing something here. What is so daunting about just cutting triangles and sewing them together? Measuring that 7/8" isn't my favorite thing ever, but the bias just doesn't seem like that big a deal.

My very first quilt had triangles because I apparently didn't know they were supposed to be intimidating.

What bugs me isn't when quilters choose not to do a technique because they have no interest in it, or after they've tried it and decided it's not for them. It's when quilters want to try something and other quilters discourage them.

My mother has wanted to learn paper piecing for years, but early on a quilting friend told her never to bother because it was way too hard and not worth the trouble. My twelve year old has learned to paper piece from another quilting friend, but I don't know what it will take for Mom to work up the nerve to give it a try.

My best friend, who had only made three very basic quilts at the time, was looking through a pattern book and absolutely fell in love with the improved nine patch pattern. (similar pattern here, but my friend's didn't have the straight edges to make it easier) She wanted to make it for her husband. Her quilting friend told her that even experienced quilters didn't do curved piecing anymore.

My friend did make her quilt, which is an absolute heirloom. Apparently, I taught her to piece the curves by reading directions to her over the phone and cutting out some pieces and trying it myself to convince her that they'd fit together. Did I mention that I didn't know how to piece curves either at the time?

I wonder how much of this dumbing down comes from quilters telling other quilters that certain things are too hard, or too much hassle.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 1 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 32 yards
Added this Week: 28 yards
Added Year to Date: 327 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 295 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3600 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 11000 yards
Net Used for 2011: -7400 yards

Head over to Patchwork Times to see how everyone else is doing.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I've had Accuquilt on the brain all day. I've been talking to Mom about it, making plans to cut a bunch of circles so we can try Jo's Bubbly Quilt. I've been on the phone to Grandma, telling her to watch for the dies I'm having sent to her house so that the local mail thieves won't walk off with them if they come here.

Now that I've saved up enough Swagbucks (there's an explanation of that here) for the Amazon gift certificates, I'm waiting impatiently for my Triangles in Square die to get here.

And while I was looking at something on the Accuquilt site I saw that the two new dies that were sold out when I tried to order them on my birthday are back in stock.



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