Sunday, June 28, 2009

Heavy Lifting

Confession: I have always been fascinated by big machinery. When I was younger, the first vehicle I learned to drive was a tractor (natural, as we lived on a farm). I love watching road construction, building construction (and destruction), and earth moving machinery. So, when Harmony and I were hanging the Paper (n)Or Plastic art show (see earlier posts), and wanted to hang some of the shopping bags from the ceiling with fishing line, we needed to use the scissors lift. This photo shows me, operating the scissors lift, with Scott Chieffo (at the Gualala Arts Center) supervising. Poor Scott; he was very patient with me, as I jerkily drove the thing around the gallery, bouncing us up and down as I lifted us up to the ceiling. I have to say, it was absolutely amazing! I loved operating the controls, going up and down, driving it around. So much fun, and I am indebted to Scott for letting me do this. Now I'm ready to move on to a forklift.....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank you to "The Quilt Show"

I was totally taken by surprise when I received an email from, telling me that there had been a drawing and I had won a cd copy of Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas. (Frankly, for more than one second, I thought it was an email scam!) But last week the package arrived, and I am so excited to get to listen to this book. It's so fun to WIN something, and I love to listen to books on tape while I'm driving in the car, so this is really great. And it's good timing, too, since I'm almost finished listening to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and will need another book to listen to very soon. So, "Thank you, TQS!"

In case you aren't familiar with it, please check out the website for The Quilt Show. It is an online quilting show, hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. One subscribes for a year at a time, then has online access to the shows they produce. I've been subscribing to it since they started (4 years ago?), and really enjoy their shows. They have some really awesome guests on the show. Now, I don't get a percentage of their profits or anything, but the whole thing is more than a quilting show. It's really a whole quilting community, with chat rooms, blogs, members' own little spaces showing their quilts, and other photos and information. You can find me there as MissesStitches (what a coincidence, right!), although I have to confess that I don't keep up on that site as well as I could.

Has anyone out there read Prayers for Sale? I'll let you know what I think of it when I finish the book.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sewing Foot Pedal Stand, or, My Son Is Wonderful!

My son recently noticed the cobbled-together arrangement I had under my sewing table. I needed to have my foot pedal slightly elevated, so my knee could be at a right angle. Then I needed to have my left foot elevated, so it was even with my right foot/leg. (I think I was using a plastic strawberry box or something totally dumb like that, and a drawer divider.) Wonderful SonStitches asked if I'd like him to build me something to rest my feet on. And HERE IT IS!!

He designed a cut-out place where my foot pedal can fit right into. (see second photo) It is wonderfully sturdy, but not too heavy. I think it will look very cute when I paint it with something whimsical, and I also think I'll ask MisterStitches to add a simple handle onto the side, so that I can carry it to another location easily.

This shows the cut-out portion. Isn't my son clever!?!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend!

I spent last night on the floor in front of the tv watching Sleepless in Seattle.  I had my cutting mat, rotary cutter, and a stack of fabric near me.  While I watched the movie I proceeded to cut out diamonds from the fabric.  Diamonds that will be sewn together into Tumbling Blocks.

The photo shows the stacks of pieces that I cut, and a sample of one finished tumbling block.

Now I have lots and lots of sets of three (light, medium, and dark) to be sewn together.  I'm doing these blocks by hand, because they are quite easy to do that way, and I need a fair amount of handwork to do in the car (when I'm the passenger!), at someone else's house, etc.  So far I have made about 150 tumbling blocks.  I started this at least two years ago.  I firmly believe if I were to work only on a tumbling block quilt, that I would be finishing it up in a mental ward somewhere.  It takes 300 blocks to just make a twin size quilt, for heaven's sake!  So I take time off to work on other projects. Now it looks like I will have enough hand work to keep me busy for a bit.  

All of My Life

Man, I have so many postings that I need to put up.  I really should just sit down for a week and do them all.  I have scads of photos of things to show you, projects, things I've made, etc.  I also need to sit down with my "Blogging for Dummies" book (yes, really!) and learn how to make this ol' blog look a little nicer than it does now.  For example, I really want to post a slideshow in a sidebar of all my quilts.  Can't figure that one out.  I've tried a few things, with no luck.  

Anyone care to tutor me?

OK, I'll just jump in and try to catch up with all the postings that are buzzing around in my head!


To rip or not to rip.....

TO RIP OR NOT TO RIP, that is the question....

In my recent travels, I have visited some quilt shops that are off my normal beaten path.  I was surprised that at more than a few of these stores the fabric I chose to buy was ripped from the bolt, rather than cut with a rotary cutter or scissors.  Now I know that many years ago, ripping was de rigueur but I haven't seen it done for many years.  And I'm wondering why.  Why rip?  Why not rip?  Is it good to rip?  Is it bad to rip?  So I'm asking any of you (all 2, and that includes my mom!) to give me your feedback on this pressing, er, cutting/ripping issue.  Let me know if you think ripping is ok to do, or if it is definitely not ok to do.  I'm just curious about public opinion here.

I believe I remember hearing that ripping fabric will stretch out the edges.  How big of a deal is that, really?

One difference that I did notice was in washing the fabric.  Now, I admit to belonging to the Alex Anderson school of washing and ironing all new fabric.  The fabric that was torn hardly frayed at all in the washer and dryer.  And that was really nice--no long threads wrapping around a whole length of fabric, no little thread bits getting stuck onto other items in the same load.  There's one good thing about it.  

So let me know your opinion.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


For some reason, no one could make a comment to my previous post, "Sonoma Coastline."  I received a few messages.  Not sure why.....  I tried myself and couldn't comment.  Let's hope it was a temporary thing.  We'll try again, ok? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Sonoma Coastline"

Sonoma Coastline

This is a photo of my crazy quilt landscape that got accepted into a special exhibit at International Quilt Festival. I am so totally excited about this! It will show in Long Beach in July, Houston in October, and Chicago in April '10. The special exhibit is called West Coast Wonders, and this is my little portion of the west coast where I live.

Here is a close-up of part of the stitching and embellishment.

Now, however, I have a lot of work to be done. When I originally made this, my teacher, Judith Baker Montano said to put it in a frame, as it is like a picture, and that will protect it from dust, etc. But before I did that, I put this quilt in my local quilt guild's annual show, so I sewed borders and a back onto it, as a traditional quilt. And that's what I need to do for the Long Beach show.

But the problem is that I did a lot of the texturing of the piece with the needle-felting attachment on my sewing machine. That means that some of the fabrics and ribbons are not sewn down, but are merely "punched" into the fabric underneath. Which would be ok if it were under glass, but not if it's going to be handled like a quilt. Some of the fabrics/ribbons could actually be lifted off. So now I have to tack it all down. This entails first of all removing the borders and backing. And now I'm taking similar-colored thread and making little tiny stitches all around the parts of the quilt that aren't already sewn down.

Now don't get me wrong. I like doing hand work--that's why I do crazy quilting in the first place. I could have sat for days and days and done decorative stitches on this quilt. But to go around and make stitches that don't show is really not very much fun. Plus I have a swiftly-looming deadline where I have to get it mailed in. So the best I can do is watch movies while I am doing the hand-sewing, which makes it go a little faster. I have some James Bond for this afternoon.........

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby Quilt Part II (of III)

FINALLY!  I am going to continue this tutorial that I started way back when for a quick and easy baby quilt.

In that previous post, I showed you how I sewed the 5" squares together to make triangle-squares (half-square triangles, in quilting lingo).  This shot on the right is a close-up of the triangle-squares up on my design wall.  This is the fun part, arranging and re-arranging them to get just the right placement.  

Blocks on the design wall, getting rearranged endlessly!

Now (photo on the right) I've started at the upper left-hand corner of my laid-out squares (on the design wall), and I'm sewing them together in diagonal strips.  (To do this, I take one strip at a time down from the wall, laid one block on top of the next.)  

Here is a photo of the diagonal strips sewn together.  I put them back up on the design wall, as I sew them into strips.