Saturday, January 30, 2016

Favorite Tools

Many quilt stores offer special sales during the holiday season, often titled:  The 12 Days of Christmas.  Unusual gadgets or specialty items are offered.  This year my friend Robin surprised me with the ruler shown below by Clover.  The Press Perfect hot ruler measures 2 1/2" x 9'.  It's purpose provides a ruler to measure an edge of fabric and press as the same time.  Other rulers will melt or warp and are too thick for a nice crisp fold.  The pictures illustrate that many gradations, as small as 1/4" are printed on the ruler.    I have been using mine for the past several days as I finished my last QAYG quilt.  

This quilt, showing back on left, has 40 strips, many of which required a 1/4" fold to finish attaching the blocks.  This new ruler was wonderful!  Reminder though....turn off the steam on your iron!

I have no idea where or how I acquired the snippers shown, but they are so handy.  Note the hooked blade on one side.  It's great for taking stitches out...  It's a one piece device!

If you're interested in weaving, here's a pattern from.Kaufman here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"" have you see this message?

Some of my readers may have experienced this message or a similar message that would end up freezing their iPad or tablet.  Obviously, non-pad users wouldn't receive an Appleerror message, but their tablet would get a "you won a prize" and then freeze until you agreed to the message box.  I became suspicious yesterday when this message reappeared.  It's such a nice, neat message and only a phone number.  Apple, the king of technology companies, would certainly offer a website, wouldn't they?  While neighbor Judy was over, we were discussing issues when reading this blog.  I pulled out my iPad and sure enough, the message returned.  We called the number and while it was a female voice, the spiel was about the same for the Windows failure scam phone calls last summer!  

After Judy left I investigated further and learned about resetting my tablet, and what I'd lose, etc. etc. So while eating dinner, I hit the big button to reset.  My important documents and websites I keep limited to my desktop.  The only things I could lose would be pictures and my notes of websites for this blog and handy household memos, such as sink measurements for a new dish strainer!  Exciting stuff.
The only item lost that disappointed me was the photo wallpaper shot of me with my daughters on the oldest's wedding day.  Lo and behold!  I found another good shot from when we did tea at the Drake a few years back!  

Today, however, after more investigation last night, I went to my local Apple Store to have my laptop and iPad scanned for a virus.  The technician indicated that the message above is an Adware gimmick. 
To fix this and other gimmicks that freeze the deice: 
a) go to Settings;
b) find Safari (Apple users);
c) hit:  Clear Website History and Data.

Some of you who had issues, I know, do not have Apple products.  Since it's an Adware annoyance, find your settings and clear your web data and history as well.  

My equipment scanned clean.  So I either did a good reset or they were never really infected.  Yeah!

I apologize for any worry or grief that I may have sent your way.  I kept trying to fix the problem, but with good luck and a bit of learning, it's done now.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Last Year's Winter Sampler

Chris Brown, the proprietress of the Attic Window, offers a block of the month sampler every year.  Last year was the first year I didn't participate;  I just wanted to do more variety of projects.  For several years we used The Block Tool as the source for the Sampler blocks.  This Tool, is a must have reference for quilters, as it not only offers about 100 blocks in various sizes, it has technique tutorials as well.

(Sorry for the sideways photo, still working on that skill)

Yesterday at the" Farm Girl" block of the month, Sue C showed us her completed Sampler from last year.  Sue also assisted Chris, as did many other "seasonal" quilters, with the Winter blocks - blues and whites.  Sue's sidekick in this BOM is Marilyn who also showed her in-progress Spring block quilt.  I think Marilyn is opting to not do the appliqué, while Sue uses the freezer paper, hand appliqué method, I believe.  Enjoy!

I'm unsure who did the summer and autumn blocks, but I'm sure the ladies who attended this Sampler  enjoyed each month immensely.   Chris always allows time for show and tell - so much talent int the quilting world.   It's a great social time as well!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club: month one

A while back, last year, 13 Spools, a blog site for quilters, offered subscriptions to a twelve month quilt along of sorts.  Amy Garro, the blogger, designs modern quilts and publishes her pattern in her books. She has three boys under the age of four, definitely a wonder mom as well as a very innovative quilter.  The Mighty Lucky Quilting Club was formed for those of use wanting to improve our skills and also add a bit of pizazz to our projects.  January's quilt artist is Krista Fleckenstein lives Alaska, home to many outstanding art quilters.  Krista makes and uses single fold bias tape to enhance her works.  So our first lesson teaches us to make our own bias tapes then directs us to make a project using the tapes.

Well, several years ago, after an inspiring session with Beth Ann Williamson I eventually purchased a Simplicity bias tape maker.  At last!  I have a real use for it!

Well, I had a magnificent mess and little to show for it.  Oh, how I made bias cuts: 1/2" wide to 2"wide.  The large tape worked ok, but the folds never pressed down crisply. The narrow tape went in folded and came out flat as it went into the maker.  After a lunch break with my fri
end Robin, a better idea was offered by her-use ready made!  Ah so easy.  What a great way to use all this BT that came with my mother's stash, some of which cost a whalopping $.35!  Then I was caught cheating by Caroll!  Back to the drawing board! Thus, with  the tools from the machine, sans machine, I made my bias tapes of various lengths and widths. The instructor showed us samples and demos using monochromatic tapes.  Well, if I'm going to take time to experiment it's going to combine as many techniques as possible.  

We were to cut a fat quarter for making the bias tapes.  Well, the FQ is my background, and scraps are my tapes.  I've named it Purse Handles.  When I've finished with quilting I'll show you the result.  Oh my, more free motion

Krista Fleckenstein can be found at the Spottedstone blog.  The year's list of designers is shown, too.
Amy Garro from 13 Spools can be found here.
The Instagram hashtag is #Mightylucky quilting club; hundreds of students show off their work here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Love those Quilt Hops!

Neighbor Judy and I ventured out in December and joined many other quilters participating in the Jingle Bell Hop.  The stores who organized it included:  The Attic Window, Queen Bee, Pressing Matters and Quilted Memories.  It was unusual for us to venture on a winter quilt hop, especially after the past two winters that started early and stayed and stayed and stayed.  We had one day for local stores because the weather was predicted to be lousy by the lakeshore.  Well, the weather was goofy in town where I won a $10 gift certificate at The Queen Bee.  I've never won any of the drawing gifts from any of the many hops I've done.  The equivalent of two fat quarters is a wonderful reward for a $5 passport fee.  This hop was different for me.  While the hop's dates were early December, near Christmas I received an email from Holland's Pressing Matters relating I won a gift from their daily hop drawing.  Oh how fun!  OMG, I never dreamed my gift would be all it was.  

Five holiday fat quarters, a pattern, a travel sized Best Press in a cute holiday tin chest.  Of course, some candies, too.  Thank you, thank you!

This table runner is the kit 
Pressing Matters offered. It's one of my favorites.
Remember this post in December?

I purchased this kit at PM as well.  I had problems with the triangle assembly, the gray-whites bordering the blocks.  While there last Friday, I asked Kelli, the owner, how her border came out so well.  Buyers, beware!  The project shown in the store is a digital panel that the completed kit should look like.  Kelli stated she'd never buy another digital panel.  While unaware of the instruction issue, we did agree how beautiful the fabric and "cards" are in the panel.  I wouldn't discourage from buying the kits, still available, but I'd recommend you come up with another type border, maybe a ribbon border made with HST's.  I explained my communications with the designer.  The designer sent me her design sheets with the mathematics; I don't think she tested it.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fabric Shopping for a Comfy Chair

This old chair was purchased at Israel's Other Store 20+years ago.  It welcomed guests into my livingroom for years.  Before adding a den off the dinningroom, I'd go to it and read while my daughters would learn the art of collaboration: aka doing dinner dishes. However, the basement provided the best  hiding place for that ordeal.  The last couple years the Chair has been in the den, as needed for a family growing.  The fabric on the arms began fraying last summer and the backside of the cushion began a few weeks ago.  It's a solid chair, so I ventured to The Brass Tack, near my home and inquired if it's worth reupholstering.  After explaining its history and showing him the label he agreed and his price was less than a new, "good", but not outrageously expensive chair.  After checking out a fabric book and literally being overwhelmed my the hundreds of other books I opted to visit Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago.  Since I had plenty of time yesterday waiting for my daughter while she was at the dentist, I had a fabric chosen, but my guardian angel advised to borrow a sample.  Anna and I had agreed to meet at Eppels, on Roosevelt Avenue.  Eppel's is a great diner from the past with reasonable prices (a find in Chicsgo).  While walking there commiserating the departure of Vogue Fabrics, I came across a small fabric shop selling mostly silks for saris. The proprietor has the most gorgeous beaded, embroidered, brocaded and  plain silks.  However, he did have four bolts of upholstery fabric. Well, OK, the young man took me to them.  Bingo!

The store owner said that this side was the right side, but I may use the wrong side.  The leaves on the reverse are woven with the colors of the stripes. It's a very heavy velvet type brocade.  After an iced tea at Eppel's, I went back , purchased 7 yards for less than $100!  Since the two dogs are often on my lap or in the chair warming it for me, this fabric should be perfect.  Below are pictures of his cottons, mostly African, but, oh so colorful!!  These cloths were priced between $4.99 and $7.99.  Even with Chicsgo's 10.3% sales tax, still not a bad deal for cottons not easily found in GR!

In the upper right of the above photo you get a peek at the bejeweled collars and neckline decor available.  Oh to be young, slender or have a swirly dress of silk and sequins.....oh my....

If you are for adventures away from North Michigan Avenue, Chicago's South Loop along and off of Roosevelt, has many interesting shops to visit.  While I guess it's a good thing for the big box stores move into urban Chicago, the long time proprietors have so much to offer. 
       Despite a scare from my daughter, my car was still parked at Fishman's and Binney's!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BOM Time!

The beginning of a new calendar year brings all sorts of promises and of course, resolutions.  Each year I decide to "use up that stash".  While I made inroads on my holiday prints, using about 10 yards of fabric in about 4 weeks time, far more fabric choices consume another cabinet.   Of course, the year end sales have refilled the cabinet!  Last year at this time I discovered the Pat Sloan 2015 block of the month entitled Vacation Time.  This link will show you how she visualized it, below is how my 30"s scraps became Vacation Time.

The BOM ended in September, since it had patterns for 8 12 1/2" blocks and a zillion 4 1/2" setting squares.  With determination I decided not be overwhelmed as I was in August, and just finish the quilt top.  While it still needs quilting, the real detail work is done!  Yeah! Still have a stash of 30's....I don't think it dwindled at all.  The self-imposed rules forbid me to procure any fabric to "help" the block/quilt.  I think I cheated only once last year.

Now that 2015 BOM's are done, time for the 2016's!  
My Secret Garden by Pat Sloan is the project for this year.  Above is my version of it for January. While she prepared her block in yellows and blues, I opted for whatever the my mood inspired!  The snowy Sunday drove me to the brights!

Several years ago my introduction into modern styled quilting was via Amy Gibson's Craftsy block of the month class.  That project was so much fun, I also opted to do her Barn Star Quilt- finished last year, a year late, of course!

Apparently, she originated the on-line Sugar Block Club, which has had BOM's since 2012.  Being a person who is slow to catch on, I decided to try her 2016 version.  While scrolling her blog for the link, I'm now 2016 Sugar Block Club  is a twist on the traditional churn dish block. My version came out this way:
wishing I had tried the other years!  Oh, well.  The first block of

I've only made one quilt with a really dark background, an Amish styled quilt back in my very early days of quilting.  It might have been hand pieced as well as hand quilted.  My puppy at the time, ate a huge hole through one of the squares.  While I have looked at the gaping hole, I've just never been motivated to fix it, because of the black background.  With this dark purple background I'm hoping to enjoy the project more.  Also, I have about three yards of it, had plans for another quilt that will never come to pass.  With the addition of bright contrasts, I'm hoping for a fun project.  Amy Gibson always offers fun twists to her projects.  

My third project for my stash is not free, but it will be an education.  Lucky Spool has collected a wonderful group of quilt designers for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club.  This project will take considerable more time and planning.  Lesson Number One, of six, is all about bias tape.  Will let you know how it goes.  

Wooden Spools Quilts has a very quick tutorial the block with a T or cross, called The Raspberry Kiss.

Happy New Year, for whenever you want your resolutions to start!