Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Start of Something Big

I love the Start of a new project, be it a quilt, a piece of jewelry, a crocheted or knitted project, or something in embroidery. The Start is so magical. What design? What colors? What materials? How will it be used? Who is it for? In other words, the planning. I love that part of it--sometimes to a fault LOL! I think that may be why I have so many UFOs. I am overcome with the pre-project feelings and rush headlong. This easy quick quilt, Cotton Candy, uses the
2 1/2" jellyroll strips, some 5" charm squares, and a bit of yardage. It won't be anything fancy but should work out nicely as a spring bed topping. The last couple of days I have gotten all the parts for the blocks and the setting and corner triangles cut out and have sewn the 72 HSTs. I also sewed up four blocks to see if all would fit together as it should. Now I can just sit at the machine and sew myself into "zen-ness". (See previous post for a photo of the quilt.)

On a different note, thanks to so many of you for your encouraging words about my nephew's ordeal. We are coping. However, to add insult to injury, one of the suspects was released from custody due to a clerical error on the part of the police. We are all trying to contain our rage but at the same time, worry so much for my nephew's safety. The crime occurred on university property in a house he and three friends rent from the school. The school officials are insisting on counseling--at the university's expense--for the students involved. Thank God for that. In the meantime my nephew's parents decided to seek media involvement to see if that would create enough pressure to get something done about the released suspect. Meanwhile we try to be strong for him. I am so glad I have quilting in my life to get my thoughts onto something positive.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Bad Week

Sometimes it seems that the world is "out to get you", doesn't it? Sunday afternoon my hard drive crashed. And, of course, not every single file was backed up, though most pictures had been put on CDs. The computer is only 1 1/2 years old--fortunately, we had purchased the 4-year extended warranty. So it was not as horrible as it could have been. However....big however....dealing with the tech support people at Nameless Computer Company was indescribably frustrating and maddening. After many hours on the phone with them--to no resolution--we finally brought in a dear friend who does tech support for a living. He finally demanded to speak to a supervisor who reluctantly agreed to send us a new hard drive. Sometimes I think warranties are best used to line a bird cage. Anyhoo, computer is back up and running. Of course, I am minus some applications that were preloaded on the computer and Nameless Computer Company only sent some of the install disks (grrrrr.....) but eventually that will be worked out. My computer woes became totally irrelevant Monday night. My nephew was the victim of a violent crime. He is okay physically, but he and his two friends who were held at gunpoint and robbed will live with the mental images for a long, long time. I won't go in to detail (you never know who lurks in Blogland) but suffice it to say, we are grateful he is alive and we're not the least bit upset about the computer anymore. The perpetrators were caught, thank God, but what lies ahead will be nightmarish, I'm sure.

On to quilty things.... I had purchased the Shangri-la jellyroll on my trip and was anxious to put it to use! I ordered some 5" plaid squares and some luscious border yardage from fatquartershop.com in the Shangri-la coordinates. I already had the book, On A Roll, and really liked the cover quilt called "Cotton Candy". Got all the 5" squares trimmed back to 4 3/4" and was ready to dive in. Or so I thought. It seems one needs the Easy Angle tool for cutting some of the pieces!!!! After looking through my gazillion rulers, I learned that I do not have that particular one.
A trip to the quilt shop will be in order for this afternoon. I need some cream fabric for block backgrounds and setting triangles anyway....sigh.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On Being Prudent

I thought it would be a good idea to actually stitch something from all my purchases on the trip (see previous post). You know, I do want DH to think I really do use some of the stuff I buy in quilt shops!!! Since he was in all the ones we stopped at along the way, he saw all that loot, for Pete's sake. I made the little candle mat from the Bareroots pattern yesterday. Not that he'll notice it sitting RIGHT ON THE TABLE BY THE COUCH WHERE HE SITS EACH AND EVERY DAY!!! But, I'm prepared should he ask, "What are you going to do with all that stuff???" Just being prudent.

One of the neatest places we stopped at on the trip was the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan--along with the adjacent Greenfield Village. I highly recommend it. DH and I had watched a 20-year-old mini-series (I guess I'm liking hyphens today) on a cable channel. It did a great job of depicting both his genius in making autos affordable for Everyman through assembly line manufacture and his dark side of prejudice and a longstanding extramarital affair. He had many inventor types as friends and seemed to relish in all that could spring from the human mind. His museum and village are a real testament to that. He (or his foundation, I should say) have had so many unique pieces moved to the site. It was amazing to see Thomas Edison's lab, the Wright Brothers bicycle shop, Robert Frost's home, Harvey Firestone's home, and so much more. We spent many hours there and could have spent even more. I was deeply touched by getting to see the bus that Rosa Parks was riding on the day she decided not to give up her seat for a white person and was subsequently arrested. A young man named Martin Luther King Jr. heard about it and helped to organize a yearlong boycott by blacks of riding the public buses. I used to teach second graders about this amazing woman and this event and to get to see the actual bus really affected me. I sat in the seat where Rosa sat that day. (Ignore the "vacation hair" please.) It brought back a lot of memories of the strife that was going on in the Sixties and how far we have come as a people. We do have "miles to go before we sleep" however.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just Click Your Heels Together.....

....there's no place like home! We're back from a wonderful trip, but, as always, it's great to be back home. To sleep in one's own bed, to be adored by one's pets, to settle back into routine...priceless. We saw some amazing things on our trip: Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois; the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan; Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada; Bennington, Vermont; Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY; and Hershey, Pennsylvania. Whew! A lot of ground was covered!

I did have wi-fi in the motels we stayed in, but didn't really have too much time for blog-surfing. Those I missed, I'll catch up on in the next few days.
I will have to admit, a highlight of the whole trip was getting to see the Dear Jane quilt at the Bennington Museum! I had tried a couple of years ago but failed! We were on a Fall Foliage tour and went right through the town of Bennington and I knew the quilt was on display at that time. Tour Director, however, couldn't stop. I understood--we women want to stop at every little neat shop along the way!!! I knew it was on display again but couldn't remember the exact dates. Luck was on my side. And, lo and behold, photos were allowed--as long as you didn't use flash. I tried to lighten it up a bit in my photo-editing program but it just looked too whitish. So I left it as-is. The Jane Stickle quilt is even more amazing in person than in the book and in photos on the internet. The smallness of the individual blocks really hits home. Even my husband was impressed!
And, of course, a bit of quilt shop touring was in line, too! I found the wonderful Sue Spargo Pin Keepers book--and I want to make every single one LOL! A little piece of wool felt and a darling Bareroots Pumpkin Candle Mat pattern jumped into my hands. Some cute, cute, cute coffee cup fabric, those sweet Thimbleberries stitchery-looking panels (which have become very hard to come by around these parts), and a jellyroll of Moda Shangri-la are in the first photo. Next pic is of some fun Halloween fabrics to add to the stash.

To add to my ever-growing Dick-and-Jane collection, I found these beauties in Pennsylvania. "Oh, look. See Vera buy. Buy, buy, buy." I am such a fan of all things Dick-and-Jane, I doubt I'll ever be able to cut into them.
An adorable Halloween panel with just the right vintage look will, hopefully, get finished off soon.
Over the next few posts, I'll upload a picture here and a picture there of some of the sights we saw--don't want to bore you all at once, I want to spread the boredom out!! Perhaps the most touching thing I saw was the Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford. The bus was restored (to the tune of over $300,000) and I was able to sit in the seat where Rosa sat when she decided to stand up to prejudice and inequality. Will show a photo of that soon. Onto laundry and grocery-shopping...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Eye Candy

Yesterday my mini-group hit a small quilt show here in KC and then had yummy gyros at a Greek stand. Here are a few of the quilts that tickled my fancy:

In a few days DH and I will be embarking on a roadtrip: Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, Niagara Falls, both Canadian and American views, Hershey, PA for chocolate overdoses, and various and other stops along the way. I am so-o-o ready for a trip, and especially, one without airplanes involved! Probably won't get time to post till I return. Enjoy these precious fall days!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

20 Minute Zippered Coin Purses

I had a couple of emails after the last post on jeans purses asking for a tutorial or a pattern. In our class we did not work from a pattern. The lady who taught us had basically devised her own technique and walked us through the steps as we constructed the purses. I am encouraging her to publish the directions so I think I should refrain from putting out too much info. Thanks for understanding.

However, these little zippered coin purses are my own little babies so I thought I would post a tutorial for these. Not being able to waste a perfectly good purse fabric scrap, I nearly always make a little matching coin purse. These also make great rewards cards holders, makeup kits, emergency bags (you know, gum, Tylenol, eyedrops, etc.) or packaging for gift cards. Really anything goes.

It helps to have fabric with some heft to it (jeans or quilted fabric work great). Start with two rectangles (size will depend on how big your scraps are and what size zipper you want to use).

I had some 6-inch zippers on hand so that's what I went with. You can find zippers as small as 4-inches at JoAnn's. Press under about 1/2 inch on the top edge of each rectangle. Pin 1 pressed edge to the zipper tape. Attach your zipper foot (or move needle all the way to one side if your machine can do that) and stitch. I still had my jeans needle on the machine and that works fine. Otherwise a 14 would be good. Repeat with the other rectangle. Hooray! The zipper is in! I always stitch a line across the bottom of the zipper also just to keep it honest!

Now fold in half with right sides together, being sure to LEAVE THE ZIPPER OPEN SO YOU CAN TURN THE PURSE RIGHT SIDE OUT!!! Yes, that was yelling from this side of the screen. You will be so-o-o disappointed if you can't turn your li'l purse right side out---trust me.

Stitch the three sides (that do not have the zipper) so that you are close to the zipper ends. Does that make sense? Trim seams and corners to reduce bulk. Turn right side out and poke out the corners. You're done, baby!!! Well, almost. You will probably want to embellish or add a cute little zipper pull. Before stitching the purse together, you could embroider or applique something adorable. Add a gathered flower or a yo-yo --whatever strikes your fancy.

Here are some funky ones. The first one is from fabric made by stitching selvages to a foundation fabric (yep, I save selvages too!). The second one has a word made from those typewriter key beads--love those typewriter key beads!!!

Hope you'll try a little zippered purse. They are so quick and easy--my two favorite adjectives!