Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Half square triangles again

For those of you who are not members of TheQuiltShow.com, there was a recent episode on the online show featuring Edyta Sitar, and there was also an article about Edyta and her Half Square Triangles (HST)  in the January/February edition of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine. On TheQuiltShow.com episode I was impressed with how easy she demonstrated  it is to make HSTs using her paper piecing method.  Now the paper piecing method she demonstrated is not new, there have been various templates out there for a long time... Edyta just brought it to the forefront and everyone's immediate attention.  The concept of doing an exchange was also suggested by Edyta, which in turn kicked off two online exchanges that were started very soon after her show first viewed on TheQuiltShow.com.  There may be more exchanges since then, but I got in on the second one.  I was busy and didn't read the forum posts on the first one and missed the deadline to enter.  That first exchange had about 700 people participating I think. I can't imagine having 700 different HSTs.  I did make it into the second one, which was using Batiks and I am anxiously awaiting my 137 HSTs to arrive.  The concept of this exchange is, you send in 137 HSTs that can all be the same and you get 137 different HSTs back from around the world.

I spoke about being busy and missing the first deadline... I have to learn to pay attention, even when I am going in too many directions at the same time.  I'm usually pretty good at that, but sometimes you just miss some good stuff because you are too busy to stop and look around.  The current week is one of those weeks that just does not have enough days.  I haven't over-scheduled myself, but I surely have maxed out the time I do have available.

One of my projects that I have been working on since last July is my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt.  I am not finishing mine in the same manner as the book describes... that would make it look too much like everyone else that is making one of these quilts.  My "on point" layout only used 63 of the 111 blocks that are in the book.  I guess that is cutting it short, but I really like the looks of what I have in progress.  I didn't do the math exactly right and thought I would have 8 columns of blocks, each with 9 blocks, but after I added the 7th column, I layed the two sections I had on the bed and knew that I could not add the 8th column because I wanted to add a border.  I had not decided on just how I would do the border, but it was already big with just the 7 columns.  Had I known, I would have switched to use some of the blocks that were supposed to be in my 8th column... they were some of the nicest ones.

I asked my husband for his opinion on some fabric I was auditioning for the border and he didn't like any of the fabric I was trying out.  He said nothing I had shown him did the quilt justice.  He is well aware of all the time it has taken me to put all those blocks together.  He suggested that I "sleep on it" before I took the jump and made the wrong decision.  I was leafing through a quilt magazine and it jumped out at me... Flying Geese!  When I saw it, I knew that it was just what my quilt needed.  I presented my discovery to my husband and he totally agreed that it would be a good choice.

I started making my flying geese strips last week.  I am using a paper piecing template that makes 9" strips with 6 flying geese on each 3" wide strip .  They go together pretty quick, but I want to tell you it takes lots of little pieces of fabric to make the number of geese I will need.  I think I have completed 26 of the 40 strips I will need.  I am going to have a 5" border when I am done... a one inch strip on each side of the 3" wide flying geese.  Yesterday I put the inside 1" border all the way around so I could put one side border of the flying geese on to determine just how many I really will need... also to get a clearer picture of how it will look.  I have enough done to complete the other side, but I am going to go back to completing the 9" strips before I put any more of the borders together.

When I took the pictures I only have the inside green border attached, but as I folded it up to walk back to my sewing room the green from the other side of the quilt looked like it was the outside border of the flying geese edge... so it gave me an even more clear idea of how happy I am with my border choice.
By the time I have this quilt finished... which will be soon, I will have a really neat quilt and hopefully have a better way to hang up a quilt for pictures so I can take a good picture of the whole quilt.  When I say soon, I mean that I have it on my current to-do list, but I will not get much time for the remainder of this week, so it could be a couple of weeks.  I want to get it on our bed, so once I have the borders on, I want to have my quilt frame available to put this quilt on and get it done.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A new lamp & my quilting room

I actually could have added this to my previous post today, but I thought I would leave that one alone. Went to SA and one of my purchases was a new lamp for my sewing room to clamp on the shelf over my ironing board.  The other one just got in the way.  I saw this pink one and knew it was the one I needed.

When we got home this afternoon I had to take the box out to the shop that I had filled from the reorganization of my stash shelves.  Pieces that were either very big or that were not 100% cotton did not need to be crowding my shelves.  We have been out of business for a couple of years now, but we still had lots of vinyl that we used for making signs and creating heat applied graphics.  We took all the vinyl and put it in bins.  Then I took the fabric that was in bins in the closet and put it on the shelves where the vinyl was.

I also have lots of books that needed to find a new bookshelf.  Most are older craft books that I agreed to move out to the shop, but now there is space in the house that has been freed up.  I will not agree to move my quilting books out there... at least not yet.

The embroidery area is around the corner from the quilting machine... across from the shelves with the fabric. When we closed the business I had lots of space in the shop to expand my quilting.  I now have taken over more with the move of the fabric and books in the place of the vinyl.

Last item today is a shot of my quilt wing out in the shop area of our garage.  Someone asked about this room recently.  The room is long and narrow and on the far end there is a doorway into a storage closet.  Nothing fancy, but it works very well for my quilting space.

Organizing my space

I made the decision earlier this week that I wanted to do something about my stash storage that sits above the steel bookshelves in my sewing room.  As sewing rooms go, I have a very small one, but it is pretty efficient.  I don't have to move very far to be able to access almost everything I need when I am sewing.  The problem with the bins the way they were is the fabric stacks were too high, so every time I wanted something, of course it was on the bottom of the stack and if I decided it wasn't the right piece, I could not easily get it back where I pulled it from.  So on Tuesday I emptied one bin and got a heavy piece of cardboard and cut slots on the side for the wire and snapped it in place and neatly put my fabric back in and was pretty pleased with myself, but as I backed up and looked at it, the cardboard was sagging in the middle.  I taped a few pieces together to make a support post and kind of fixed the front sag.  My husband wanders in and says that it was not going to work... before long my fabric would fall out.  We went to Lowes and bought some panel boards.  He got them home and cut up the board to fit the bins, complete with slots to fit the wire on the sides.  I have to tell you that it was a much, much stronger shelf, and it didn't need any support post on the front side.  I had also indicated that it would be nice to have a couple slide outs, so we bought a wire shelf that had a big lip on one edge and he cut that to size and put them in lip edge facing up on the back side of the bin.  Now I have some really neat storage bins for my stash.

I want to see about getting a different lamp today... maybe a clamp on so I can have a couple more slide out shelves.  The lamp illuminates my ironing board, so it is necessary where it is at this time.

While I was emptying and restacking my shelves, I only put back what was fat quarter size or larger.  The really large pieces and anything that wasn't 100% cotton I put in a box to take out to my shop closet.  I have clear bins on the shelves out there.

I'm really liking how the shelves look now. It always helps to make an improvement that makes you feel good about your space.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Half square triangles anyone?

Getting any quilts done has not been on top of the list for the last couple of weeks.  Last week I was part of a group with five quilters that went to a school to give a presentation for third graders on the art of quilting.  The class only had 16 students, so they were divided into 4 groups of 4 and we had 4 stations for them to rotate through.  One lady read a short story about quilting history.  The next station had two ladies displaying antique quilts and telling the stories behind them.  Next there was a demonstration of cutting using a rotary cutter.  Safety in the use of a rotary cutter was the main emphasis.  The last station was me sitting at my Featherweight and showing them how a nine patch is sewn together.  I even showed them how to use a seam ripper and take a nine-patch apart.  The overall purpose of the presentation was a quilt that they want to create as a class to use as a fundraiser for their school... it is a private school.  Each student is going to draw on a piece of muslin something that reflects their personality.  After they get these done, we will add nine patch blocks to create a really neat quilt.  It will be auctioned off at their gala in March.  I will be the one who will quilt it once it is all constructed. 

This is the only quilt I've completed in the past two weeks.  My friend did a great job putting this one together and had requested that I quilt it so that she could turn the backing to the front for the binding.  This is not my most favorite thing to do because it requires extra attention to detail when you are quilting, but when it was done, I was very pleased with the result.

Now on to the half square triangle.  I signed up to do a Batik exchange with a group of ladies on TheQuiltShow.com, an online group.  The sign-up time ends this evening so the final number of participants has not been announced yet.  Yesterday the count was at 129, which means that each person is to make at least 129 HST to send to the lady organizing this exchange, and she will sort and mail them back out to everyone.  What I am proposing is a mini exchange to go with the HSTs we will be receiving.  I do not have a specific quilt in mind, but there have been estimates posted to indicate a small quilt would take close to 450 HSTs and many more for a larger one.  If we get the number up to 150 in this exchange I am currently in, it would still take many more to make a quilt.  Variety is what an exchange is all about... you send out 150, could be all the same light/dark HST... and you get back 150 different ones. 

In the exchange that I am proposing I am looking for 20 quilters to send out 20 sets of 12 HST.  The sheets that I have for the 2" finished HST can be printed on your printer and there are 12 on each sheet.  So you would have to print 20 sheets and sew and cut them apart.  There is more information required to get this done, but I'm trying to find out if I can find 20 quilters to participate to add 240 HST to your collection of 2" HSTs.

I do not typically have lots of comments, but if you are interested in doing this, leave a comment.  I'm not going to set any dates at this point, just want to see if there is an interest.