Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Favorite Color -- in the Sky!

Just a few minutes ago, about 5:30 pm PST, I happened to glance up from the book I was reading and saw a pretty colorful sunset. Normally, I get so totally engrossed in a book that flight attendants have to touch my shoulder in order to hand me a drink, so you know it was a really spectacular sunset!

Especially since I am reading a really good book! I'm a big fan of the Agent Pendergast series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and have started another series by them about a physicist named Gideon Crew, who also happens to step in occasionally to save the world. I'm about 3/4 finished with "Gideon's Corpse", the second book in the series.

But back to the sunset:

I ran to my purse, grabbed my camera and dashed outside; snapped these three pictures real quick and within a couple of minutes, the colors just faded away....lucky shots! It always pays to know where one's camera is!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Continuing On with "Posey Patch" (Part 2)

Had an afternoon this time, so made some components to finish the "Posey Patch" pieced blocks:

This unit combines squares and triangles to surround the centers that I've already made...

I really like the way this is going to look in the quilt!

My first finished unit -- couldn't wait to see how it was going to look!

After making 20 of the pink and burgundy units and 20 tan and cream four patches, the blocks are ready to be sewn together. I used several different tan fabrics in the four patches and wanted the various prints distributed through the quilt top, so didn't run the risk of mixing them up during the block piecing.

I laid everything out on the floor and then transported one block at a time to the sewing machine. This is a pretty big finished block, 16", so I used my 18" x 24" cutting mat to move the pieces. I use this method a lot when it is important not to get things mixed up.

Dan and I are leaving for Salt Lake City tomorrow, so I won't be doing any more sewing this week. Perhaps some sight seeing? And definitely a wedding! My last wedding pictures turned out awful, but maybe I'll have better luck this time....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Random Pictures from Travels

Clearing the camera card again -- after a lengthy "blog vacation", I found that I had lots of pictures that hadn't been posted, but I thought were worthy of sharing. I'll intersperse them in among my sewing posts:
One of my trips this fall was in November; I taught at The Fabric Center in Morris IL for two days and then spent a night with my friend Carol in the Chicago area. From there I went to Grand Rapids MI and Lansing MI to teach for Gall Sewing and then back to Chicago to spend a few more days with Carol.

One of our nights out was at a restaurant on a street that looked like an autumn wonderland with all the colored lights in the trees -- had to get a picture of that!

A couple of weeks ago, Dan and I spent a few days in Lake Arrowhead. It's about a two hour drive through some small communities in the high desert area. We were driving through Littlerock and saw this sign -- what an odd combination! Ski gloves and beef jerky?

It was the sign right next to it, though, that really confused us!

A few miles later we saw a sign that announced that the speed limit was 24-1/2 mph. I wanted to get a picture of that, too, but Dan was driving too fast for me to get it....

Continuing On with "Posey Patch"

Had a little bit of time on the second day of working on the blocks, between a dental appointment (ugh) and a mani-pedi (hooray!):

Putting my new "Izzy" through her paces by sewing the flying geese to plain squares. I helped introduce this machine to Brother dealers at their Back 2 Business convention last August; if you would like to read my review of Isodore at the convention, click here.

One of the first things I do when sitting down at a machine unfamiliar to me is to figure out how to get an accurate pressed 1/4". I think it has something to do with my vision, but if I use a 1/4" foot, the blocks always turn out smaller than desired. I just take too big a seam allowance with the 1/4" feet provided by machine manufacturers.

So I use a regular foot and adjust my needle position until I have a good pressed 1/4", not stitched 1/4". Accuracy also depends on the fabrics and threads involved, so I always do a little test to make sure that my stitching is as accurate as I can possibly get it. A consistently accurate seam allowance makes star points a whole lot easier with much less ripping involved!

This is what my block center looked like before I chose the fabrics to complete it....

I liked the way the breast cancer benefit fabric showed words in some of the little squares....

Here are the rest of the fabrics -- more of the floral print, a tone on tone pinky-rose print, a burgundy and the creamy dot background.....

....and here is where I am at the end of my short sewing time -- all the centers done and in their appropriate places. Now I'm off to get sparkly fingers and toes!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back in the Sewing Room!

After last autumn's busy season of traveling and teaching (I was home exactly two days in October!), I am happy to get back to my sewing room. I have two large tables where I do a lot of my away-from-the-machine work -- they're now cluttered with bags of fabrics, patterns, notions and books that I have either purchased or been given while I've been gone. Scattered in with some of these bags are fabrics pulled from my stash for consideration in future projects. In other words, quite a mess.

I'm also looking over some of my works in progress and deciding on a hopeful timetable for completion. One of these UFO's is a 56-1/2" square quilt called "Posey Patch" from the April 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. This quilt features nine 16" pieced blocks, four of which are appliqued. I had pieced the four blocks last year and given them to my friend Tiffany Hayes of Needle in a Hayes Stack to work her hand applique magic. Tiffany likes to have a bit of handwork to do in the evening while she is spending time with her family and she does beautiful work.

She gave the blocks back to me months ago and so I put this quilt at the top of my to-sew list. The applique is not exactly like the pattern in the magazine; we changed it up a bit for a more sophisticated look.

I also have a new sewing machine to play with, the Laura Ashley Limited Edition "Isodore" from Brother, so now it's time to shove a stack of "stuff" onto the floor and piece the other five blocks:

The little four-patch in the center combines a green print with a green-on-white polka dot. That is surrounded by a peachy-pink floral ; the corners are a brown/blue/pink butterfly print that is one of the fabrics from a quilt for a cure line by Marcus Brothers. Interspersed among the butterflies are words in script, such as "Hope", "Kisses", "Friends" and "Love".

Next, the pattern called for 20 flying geese to measure 2" x 4" finished. I used the method that takes one large square and four small squares to make 4 units. To make them the size required, one 5-1/4" square of one fabric and four 2-7/8" square of the other were needed.

On each of the smaller squares, a line is drawn from corner to corner to act as a guide for the sewing.

Then two small squares are pinned to one large square, as shown.

I stitched 1/4" on each side of the marked line...

...then used the marked line as a cutting line.

At right, the two resulting pieces after pressing.

I pinned another small square to each of the pieced units and then stitched 1/4" on either side of the marked line.

After cutting on the marked line, pressing and trimming off the notches, I have a pile of little bitty triangles and four flying geese units that measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2".

When I stitch these to the other block components, the finished size will be 2" x 4".

I first learned this method of sewing flying geese units from Alex Anderson a few years ago and it has become my favorite method for making them. It seems to be easier and more accurate than sewing them one at a time. I even found a ruler that I can consult to determine the sizes of the large square and small squares for various finished sizes of geese. It is called Flying Geese x 4 "No Math" Ruler from Lazy Girl Designs.

After cutting 2-1/2" squares for the corners of the blocks, I stacked them up and was done for the day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...