Monday, October 31, 2011

HSTs, I love you!

Have you seen Cosmo Cricket's new line for Moda?! Circa 1934 is a vintage looking collection of typographic designs. Perfect for the nerds and geeks in your life.

It is rich with color without being over powering and uber-girly. Again, perfect for guys....especially the nerdy and geeky.

I started with a layer cake....just one, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I just knew that I had to have it.

My plan was to make a quilt for one of the boys that has been a part of my son's life for the past 14 years. He has been blessed to be friends with two godly young men, and their families, since they were all 2. I love that. This year they all turn 16.

As it has been my habit in the past, I did the same for his older brothers best buddy, I want to make quilts for each of them. (hmmm, have I implied that my son's friends are nerds and geeks......) I do not want to spend a ton of money or time making these quilts. Enter the half square triangle.

First off, they have a really dumb name. HSTs are not triangles at all. They are squares. Imagine, a square bisected on the diagonal. You have two right triangles of equal size, stuck together along the hypotenuse. (We should really call them "half triangle squares", and I would, but then no one would know what I am talking about.) When one triangle is consistently colored darker than the other the design possibilities are endless.

Check out these photos, all made with the same hst blocks by "IamSusie"

When I went to my lqs on friday this is what I was planning to do. I went to purchase a solid that I could blend with Circa 1934. I found the fabric and went to check out. Got out my customer appreciation card....they record your purchase, after 6 purchases they add up the totals and give you 10% back in shop credit. I had $48 and some odd cents. Holy layer cake Batman! Shout out to the gang at Happiness is....Quilting in McKinney Texas - I love you guys! I got a second layer cake of Circa 1934.

I made my hsts on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday afternoon I sewed them in this arrangement. It looks awesome on a bed.

I used the solid that I purchased to add a border.

Adding leftover blocks, don't ask me how I managed to have extra blocks, I was able to extend the barn raising pattern into the border.

One top down. One to go. Do you think hsts could come to my rescue again?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Thank you Amy for hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  If I understand this correctly the idea is to share one of my quilts with the blogging community.

I've been thinking about this. To choose my favorite quilt....gosh, this is hard....I asked myself if my house was on fire and I could only save one quilt which would it be. Each time I asked my initial response was to save one of the quilts that have been gifted to me, or my boys, over the years. The quilts my mom made for my boys as each one was born into our family are very special to me. I would rescue them....for the sake of my children. The quilt that my parents gave me the first Christmas after 9/11 is another that comes to mind. The stock market had taken a dump (which is a very odd use of words for the stock market, but perhaps is appropriate) and money was tight. They, that would really be Mom, gave each of my siblings and I one of the quilts that Mom had been collecting,pre-quilting, in her dresser drawer. The quilt my local guild made for me as a gift for serving two years a guild president would be one to save as well. Yup, the quilts I most love are the ones that someone else made for me. Those are warmer than all of the others and, I am convinced, have a special cheering power that quilts I make for myself do not.


But the point of this festival is to share my work. (Dear Lord, Please help me choose rightly. I haven't a clue how.)

If you were to ask me I would never admit this out loud, however, I suspect I have a serious addiction to minis. (I love the Coopers, make mine red with a sun roof please. The roof is for my dog....she is kind of large. But I digress). Every pattern I see, every new fabric line seems to go through a filter in my head that evaluates it in a diminutive setting. I didn't start out loving these tiny quilts. When asked to join the now infamous DSQ group on flickr I thought it was pointless. I don't have a daughter. Neither myself, nor my sons play with dolls. What is the point of doll quilts? I'm here to tell you that I am a convert.

This is a drawing of my first mini.

Using EQ6, I designed my own pattern and printed off paper templates.  The theme for our swap was "Sing it, Read it,Watch it". Our creations were to be inspired by a favorite song, book, or movie. I chose Moby Dick by Herman Melville. (For the record it is a fantastic book, a tad long, and a little over the top with bits of whale trivia, BUT it was a delight to read. It wasn't the dull tome that I expected, and I will forever be a fan of Mr. Melville's wicked sense of humor.)

I chose the Storm at Sea block and two color ways. Blues and golds for my prototype....chosen from my scrap bag and christened Starbuck after the first-mate of the Pequod....and blue and whites for my partner....this quilt I named The White Whale thinking that it might be just a little prophetic, but hoping it didn't.

Paper piecing can be a tedious process.  The task of cutting pieces the correct size is oft times a frustrating process  To combat this I developed a formula that has since served me well.  Measure the longest width and height add half an inch and cut rectangles for each bit in the pattern.

I love the way the back looks.  Everything is so neat and precise.  You don't often stop to look at the back of your work, let alone share it. .  You will get funny looks if you do.   However, I believe that it is the truest measure of a persons workmanship.  Examine the part of a project that your are not supposed to see to measure the care with which it is made.

One block completed.  You can see how helpful that paper really is.  The little yellow blocks are about a half inch square.  It wouldn't have looked this sweet without it.

It gave me goose bumps to see my finished Storm at Sea top.

This is a photo of the finished prototype of my mini.  You can't see it very well in this picture, but the quilting is old fashioned sailing ships on a stormy sea.  In my mind the quilting should complement the quilt, like a watermark, it should add dimensions to the vision expressed by the work without altering the initial effort.  Here is a look at the back after it was quilted.

Now, to do that all over again with the fabrics picked out for my partner.

The quilting for this version has fish on it....of course, what else could it be?!

And because documenting our work is important (hopefully it keeps minis from becoming oven mitts and pot holders) I added a special label.

These were the first of many.  I now have over 100 mini's in my collection.  No, I haven't started playing with dolls, but my walls are filled with color and memories and stories from all over the world.  I have gotten to try many new techniques and fabrics that otherwise I would not have.  A 15" square is an easy weekend project requiring very little investment, often completed completely with scraps.  I can say I've finished a Storm at Sea quilt, two even, and a Wedding Ring, and Reverse Applique and a dozen others.  I am officially hooked.

I hope you've enjoyed my little quilt.

Now go visit some of the other entrants back to the festival.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Return of The Little Man Who Wasn't There

I love the "eyes" that appeared this time around.

STUDly Day

It was a red letter day all around.

First the mail....

A package with taunting messages on it.

Oh so inviting on the inside.

Goodies began to appear the moment I opened it.

Eek! So much fun...

"Pumpkin!" was made for me by SewGentle, my partner for the Sept./Oct STUD Halloween swap. Her workmanship is stunning. This little quilt is hand appliqu├ęd and quilted.

A close up of her applique. These little birds remind me of the finches I used to have.

Her embroidery is beautiful...ribbons and floss and bits of wool. This is a fantastic quilt.

Thank you sweet new friend. I wish we lived closer so that we could run off on a quilty adventure together.

Then a special delivery...

Our guild had a garage sale last night. There were lots of lovely sewing room cast offs. A stunning raffle quilt from the guild in the next city over. Pecan and cookbook sales. It was quite a gala. But the best part was the delivery of my other Sept/Oct STUD quilty. My friend Martha recently joined STUD and was paired with me for her first Anything Goes swap. This is the quilt she made for me.

She made the folded petal flowers on pins so that they can be moved around, or worn.

She told me that the backing doesn't the rest of the quilt, but it did remind her of my kitties. I think it is purr-fect!

All of that and this passel of goodies. Clips and coasters, a set of alphabet stamps, and the most beautifully crafted letter I've read in a very long time. Any knuckle smacking Nun would hold it up as a stunning example of epistlery. You like that word? I just made it up. Martha's letter was so beautiful that it deserves a fancy word to describe it.

Thank you friend!

I hope your day was as studly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Little Man Who Wasn't There

Growing up, my home was plagued with "the little man who wasn't there." No one ever saw him. My grandfather, whom we lived with, was always blaming him for his missing tools. The little man followed the family when we moved from New Jersey to Texas, and when we moved from the city out to the country. It has been 24 years since my grandfather died, and I haven't heard much about that little man since. In fact, I'd almost forgotten him entirely.

This morning I walked into my workroom to find this....

For those of you who can't stand not being able to see the top of my tiny pin cushion....

it looks like this.

I know I didn't leave it skewered to the table like a rare butterfly....I can hear snickering in the dark corners of my room....or is that the dusty corners of my mind....either way it is nice to have him around.

I love you Pa.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I started this at a recent guild retreat.

Christmas gift #1 finished....

Only three more to go.

Christmas Past - Play Time

I took some time off today to play. You'd think that spending most of my days alone with the cat, whom is not two inches away from my face at this very moment, would lend itself to a lot of play time, but it doesn't. I seem to always be picking something up, or cleaning...not that you can tell. It leaves me drained. So today I tried something different.

I did clean up the kitchen and the cat box and did a few more loads of laundry, but I also let myself play with a tiny charm pack that has been niggling my mind lately. I won it several years ago. At the time i didn't think it was much of a prize. I've since changed my mind.

The fabric is "Christmas Past" by Polly Minick & Laurie Simpson for Moda. I had 28, 2.5" squares to work with.

This is what I've come up with....

I love the fabric I've added for the borders....just not with the rest of the project. It seems too fussy.

Black is very striking, but there is no black in any of the other fabrics. I am afraid that it may be too much.

This tone on tone dot is better.

Have any suggestions?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Monsters on Parade

No reason....they make me's is good

All of my friends were made by the people at Manhattan Toy Co. They were part of a line of stuffed toys called Galoompagalots. The first and the last are still being manufactured.

Can you ever be too old to love a good stuffed toy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just in...

I ordered some goodies from The Fat Quarter Shop. It has to be one of my favorite on line quilt shops. Your orders arrive promptly and packaged with care.

Backing materials....

I bought the red for the Oh-Cherry-Oh quilt, but I think it might be too orange. What do you think?

The candy canes are for this quilt. It is an "Easy Breezy" from Quilt Country, featuring a whole clothe center with a pieced border. I'm thinking it will make a great gift for one of my brothers. (if I don't tell you which one, then if they happen to read this post, which I highly doubt, they will still be in the dark.)

The muslin is for this project. I've been collecting selvage edges for several years now. That is a 4 lb box filled to over flowing. I can't wait to get started on this project. I'm thinking it will look like vegas from a New
Mexican ceiling.

I also bought a Grinch kit and yummy striped flannel for backing. My plan is to make this for one of my brothers. (I have 3). If I change my mind I'm sure one of my sons would love to have it.

And, down at the bottom of the box were two new magazines. I love sitting and flipping through the pages. I rarely, if ever, make a quilt out of a magazine, but I love looking at all of the new fabrics and tools. Today a Steady Betty ironing surface looks appealing.