Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Quilts and the iPad

Like almost every quilter I have a phone and a computer.  I read a lot of books as well, though mostly fiction.  Until recently I had a Nook from Barnes & Noble that I used for the bulk of my electronic reading, but a friend of mine was upgrading his iPad 1 to and iPad 3 and made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.  If you’ve ever held an iPad, you’ll notice a huge difference in weight between it and an e-reader.

As great as it was, it was just too heavy to use for reading and it languished on a shelf for a while.  One day while flipping through a favorite quilting magazine I noticed on the back an advertisement showing that you could put a subscription of the magazine on the iPad.  Color me intrigued!!  Though for me, the iPad is much too heavy to use for normal reading… the larger screen and size is actually ideal for walking around with quilting patterns and instructions.

You may be saying that a magazine is just as easy, but I’ll make two points about ease of use.  One, the most distracting thing is to have a magazine open while reading cutting instructions and have the pages flip on me while I’m reading it.  This invariably leads to some not so nice verbiage from me.  Secondly, I can carry around 12 issues… or 32 quilt patterns chock full of pictures, measurements, and ideas that can inspire my creativity wherever I am.

Send me a note on what you do to inspire your creativity!

Finished at the last gasp

Kay was getting a little upset as I started putting on the first of my planned borders for the Christmas quilt.  We had two hours before we needed to leave to get to Linda’s house clear across town and I was just starting to put the first of three borders on.  I really meant to do them the day before, but lacked the motivation.

Meanwhile, Kay had a lot to finish and DID do a lot of it the day before with only a little bit remaining on the day we needed to turn it over to the quilter Linda.

As I was sewing on the first border, I looked at the back and realized that a patch was all wonky!  That’s what I get for trying to go too fast… another ten minutes wasted.  I finally got on-track and managed to get all three borders sewn on in less than two hours.  The last border was the toughest and required the most amount of attention with all the seams it had.

We were talking to Linda after we had arrived and were discussing thread colors and quilt patterns and I looked down at the six piles of fabric, their backing, and the batting realizing that this represented six quilts (translated… a LOT of difficult work) and it honestly put me in awe of what we had accomplished.  Two of the quilts Kay had ear-marked for a firehouse, one of the large purple ones to our oldest daughter Amanda for her birthday, and the last three to keep.

As I mentioned before our daughter Samantha had a valid point that we can only use so many at a time.  I really do like having them around the house though… on the backs of our couches, on the bed, and in the closet.  I keep saying 10 more quilts should be sufficient, but don’t feel the slightest bit of bad when I make one for a relative and two for me.  It’s not like we’re charging anyone.

Anyway, I actually wrote all of this to say that by the time I’d finished the Christmas quilt we had to leave immediately.  Yes, I did finish all three borders.  With Kay’s help I had the backing sewn as well.  As we rushed them out to the car I realized that I hadn’t taken the photo of it yet.  Delaying our trip slightly more, I placed the last bundle in the back of the car and snapped a quick shot of all six bundles on their way to the quilters.

Christmas is All Around

My wife Kay… (I just love talking about her if you haven’t noticed!) wanted to put in some volunteer hours creating some quilts for a local firehouse.  The firehouse would use the quilts by taking them out into the field and handing them out to victims that had the need.  As I was struggling with the motivation to finish my Christmas quilt, I kept looking over at the simple pattern that she was using to create the “firehouse” quilt.  I looked down at the fabric in my lap and thought… this would look really good in the pattern.

Staying on-track has never been my strong suit which has me literally dropping the fabric I was working on and pestering my wife for measurements.  “What was the width of those strips again Kay?”  She must have felt at the end of the day that she had been talking to a three-year-old.

For anyone who’d like to know the pattern, here’s the pattern I used:

You’ll need 1 1/4 yard of three fabrics

From three different fabrics cut 16 from each fabric (2 3/4″ strips)  Sew the three fabrics together with the neutral color in the middle (it will make it look better).  Cut the sewn strips to a length of 7 1/4″ and keep the end pieces that are left to be used on the border (the end pieces should measure over 6″.  See the picture above for piecing it together.

Take the end pieces that measure less than the 7 1/4″ and cut them down to 3 (2″ strips).  Incorporate these into one of the layers of your border.

I’ll post another photo once I get the borders sewn on.  This currently measures 54″ X 67.5″ without borders.

A Choice, a Store, a Fabric

Leading up to the Holidays my wife and I decided that we wanted to diet.  We have both lost weight before and honestly don’t need too much prompting to get back in shape again.  This time around we both reached what we call maximum density (too many cupcakes) and decided jointly to lose some inches.  A lot of our lives are now revolving around this choice, but it’s actually kind of fun.  We’ve been at it for a month now and are more active and feel better than in a long time.  This choice however, has taken some of our free time away from some of the other things we love to do such as quilting.  Please stay with me and the sporadic schedule of my posts as I try to balance this into my routine.

Speaking of the Holidays, we have plans to buy some more fabric in another couple of months and are faced with a particular dilemma… to buy our fabric by the bolt, or by the yard.  Both choices have advantages and disadvantages.  The bolt prices that we can get are half that of the sale price of regular fabric.  The fabric by the bolt that we have access to has better quality in my opinion than what we would get of the by the yard fabric.  The only upside to buying the fabric by the yard seems to be that we could buy a larger variety for the same amount of money.  I realize there may be some people out there that would say they would like to have a problem like that, but honestly… what would you do?

Our daughter put us to shame

So it looks like Autumn is coming to Texas finally!!  I realise that we may yet have a few more days that the heat makes us uncomfortable, but with this forecast it’s a promising sign that we’ve turned the corner and can start pulling out those quilts soon.


Have to love it when the weather cooperates!!

On an entirely different note, I did over the weekend manage to finish binding the schoolhouse quilt and the Land of Whimsy quilt.  Since my daughter was here and will be thru Thursday, we decided to try to complete a mini apiece to hang on the wall as a family project.  This started out really great with all of us picking out the pattern that we were to complete and then… Kay started working on a completely different project (more on that project later), I initially was helping our daughter determine fabrics and layout, and finally I realized that both sewing machines would be in use so I opted to finish the bindings of the other quilts.

In the end, only one mini quilt was near completion and almost ready to be bound…  our daughter’s mini.  We still plan on finishing our minis later on, but will not be doing it as originally thought as  a family project.  I’m okay with that however, as I was able to spend a lot of time with our daughter discussing quilting and watching her abilities grow.

The other thing I was able to accomplish was to finish my niece’s daughter’s quilt.  This is a picture of the backing that I finally decided on and now just need it quilted down.

Work Took Over My Week

My daughter came into town this week, but with everything that is still going on at work I haven’t really been able to spend too much time with her.  She brought her half-finished quilt and we are determined that this weekend I will not think about work at all, but help her out with her project.

On a funnier note, I had tried a new quilter who was very inexpensive on a sage garden quilt that I had finished piecing.  Last night for two hours my wonderful daughter was pulling stitches out of the quilt and got further along than I would have thought was possible.  I’ll have to find a way to reward her for all this hard work because I thought it was a lost cause.  I don’t know what to say to the quilter who obviously was trying to do a good job, any advice?

Our daughter has been teasing that if she’s putting all this work into the quilt that it should be hers afterwards.  She even went so far as to accuse her mom and I of “hoarding” quilts!  Can you believe it??  When she arrived for her visit we were showing her some of the quilts we’ve finished, the ones we’re working on, and the tops that we’ve completed that are yet to be quilted.  She asked where the quilts were going and to whom they were to be given.  It was at that moment that she accused us of hoarding our quilts.

This weekend I’ll be finishing the last two blocks from Joann’s Persian Plum quilt kit and be able to start on the setting kit.  My goal was to have the quilt finished already, but I’ll be happy having it finished before the end of the year.  So many stops and starts on this one, but I really love how it’s coming together.

The Land of Whimsy

One of my favorite stories growing up and told by my father was about two young children named Sally and Dick.  My younger brother and I were enthralled by the adventures these two would find themselves in.  As a bedtime story, nothing could have been as riveting as when the found themselves in Chocolate land… until that is one night at bedtime my father told us about “The Land of Whimsy”.  I was hooked!!

One of these days I plan on getting my father’s stories published.  The characters he created like George the Ant, and Stuffy the Teddy Bear, were so lovable and real to my brother and me.  As I grew older and realized that he hadn’t been reading these stories from a book, I was amazed.   I’ve written a large part of his stories down so I don’t forget them, but the one I’ll never forget was the tale of the Land of Whimsy.

When I first came across the fabric from Heidi Grace I fell in love with it.  The pattern and textures so rich and inviting and filled in my mind what I had always perceived the Land of Whimsy to be.  Trying to find a way to put the fabric together proved very difficult however.  My wife Kay watched me as I started full of promise only to rip parts of it back up and restart again.  The aggravation when it wouldn’t do what I wanted as I would pull it apart again, only to hear me cursing at it again.

It was a long road to get it completed and now it’s finally back from the quilter (who did a superb job… again!) and now I get to bind it.  I think I did a decent job of giving it a life with the pattern I chose and feel it reflects those wonderful stories that my father told.

Each small square tells of an adventure that happened in one of the larger squares (lands) and sometimes there would be two adventures in one story.

The binding is sewn on to the front now I just need to hand stitch it down to the back.  I should have it done by the weekend and be able to continue working on that Christmas quilt.  Until then, have a wonderful week everybody!!

The Schoolhouse Quilt is back!!

I was lucky enough to get a call from my quilter on friday, she said my Schoolhouse quilt was complete!  Yeah, me!!  I picked it up at lunch and brought it home with me, full of promise for getting it bound and hanging on the wall.  Alas, It was not to be as I was still on-call for work and had a VERY busy weekend.  I did however manage to finish binding three of the sides and with only one side left and me not being on-call anymore I’m certain I can get it completed tonight.


I really enjoyed making this one and can hardly wait to get it hung.  Here’s another picture of it close-up.

Work, work, and more work

Sorry I haven’t been on to post anything recently, it’s been really crazy at home as well.  I did manage to get the winner of the weekly prize posted earlier this week for the free Friday give-a-way.  I should be posting on a regular basis starting next week and set up the next give-a-way!

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