Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tagged . . . it's all about Me!

I've had fun reading Susan's blog lately and emailing her in Australia.  But still, I was surprised when I saw my blog name on her post this morning:  Susan's Sewing Space: I'm Tagged.

I'm sure you've seen a blog with this game, I answer Susan's questions, then "tag" three other bloggers and hope they will play along.  I chose the bloggers from either side of me on Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday and one from Lily's Small Blog Meetup.  Won't they be surprised when they get my message "hi, you don't know me, but I just tagged you!"

OK, here are the questions and my answers:

1. Musicals or plays? And what are your favorites?
Hmm -- where does opera fall in this question?  The DH and I used to attend the Colorado Opera Festival every summer, sadly it is no longer.  When we first moved to Colorado (in 1976!) the US Army at Ft. Carson had a theatre company and we both participated in "Sound of Music" and "West Side Story."  DH has a wonderful voice, I did makeup.  There was a woman playing a nun in "Sound of Music" who insisted on wearing green, sparkly eye shadow.

2. Do you have any "hidden" talents that have not made it into your blog?

Oh, yeah.  I can play eight variations of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a half-sized violin.  Let's hear it for the Suzuki method!

3. Are you a reader? If so, what are you reading right now?
Of course!  The boys bought us e-readers for Christmas two years ago and I love my Nook.  I am reading "The Street Sweeper," by Eliot Perlman.  I also enjoy listening to books from Audible, and usually choose them by the length-- if it's not at least 25 hours long, it's not worth the price!  Diana Gabaldon is very good for long road trips.
4. What is your favorite time of day? 

I am definitely a "morning person."  I wouldn't say morning is my favorite time of day, but I don't like twilight, that time just before the sun goes down.  It always makes me sad.

5. Do you save the selvages from fabric? Have you ever made anything with them? 

 I do -- although I think making quilts from selvages is a little silly.  I cut them off in 3/4" widths and roll them up into a huge ball, imagining that I will crochet a rug from them.

6. What is your favorite quilt you've ever made?
The next one!

7. What color comes up most often in your quilts?  

I like the bright, modern fabrics; I believe every quilt should have a little yellow in it.

8. Do you play music while you sew? What songs get you motivated?
I listen to "Enya Radio" on Pandora, but usually when I sew I am either listening to books on CD or watching BritComs on DVDs.

9. What's the worst injury you've ever suffered?  

I'm crossing my fingers while I type this:  I've never broken a bone!  I did cut my chin when I fell off my bike when I was about 8 and had three stitches.

10. Do you come from a large family or a small family?
Large family, I am the youngest of 6 children.  My oldest brother had left home before I was born, and my "youngest older brother" left home when I was 8.  So really, I grew up with only one sister.

11. Have you always lived in your current hometown? If not, how far away do you live from the town where you were born?

 I grew up in a small town in Idaho and left home when I was barely 18.  Where I live now in Colorado is about 1000 miles from my hometown.  The furthest I've lived from home was when we were stationed in Brindisi, Italy -- about 6000 miles as the crow flies.

Here are the three bloggers I've tagged:

  1. Pat at  Bell Creek Quilts (because I've never been to Wisconsin, and how cool does Oconomowac, Wisconsin sound?)
  2. Colette at  Poppy & Poochie (she has a Jacob, too!)
  3. Fiona at Finding Fifth  (another Australian!  I really really want to visit Australia!)
Pat, Colette and Fiona, hope you will play along!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Finish it Up Friday - #24 in 2012

Whew.  This quilt felt like it took forever -- although if I think about it, I realize I just started it Sunday!

Getting a photo of this quilt was almost as hard as finishing it by my deadline. It's Spring in Colorado, so that means wind.  My quilt-holders are almost too short!  Maybe I need to invest in a quilt display frame.

"Pyramid Triangles," by Pam and Nicky Lintott takes just one Jelly Roll and finishes at 78 by 93 inches, a good Full size quilt.  Pam and Nicky said this quilt was inspired by one of their favorite antique quilts.  Wouldn't it look great in 30s reproduction fabrics?  I used one of my cherished jelly rolls, "Strawberry Fields," by Figtree Quilts for Moda.  I got mine at my bestest etsy shop, freshsqueezedfabrics.  Several people voted for red as the sashing, but I was under a deadline, so I used the yellow that I had in my collection.

I used a few scraps from "Celebrate Spring" by Sandy Gervais, because I also used "Strawberry Fields" for this quilt in February:

"Pyramid Triangles" doesn't have an owner yet, but you know -- the right person always comes along!  Too bad the next 12-year-old great niece wants pink and brown, because I think either of these would be great "girly" quilts!

Got my first pedicure of the season yesterday.  DH likes the "Hello Kitty" slippers:

Tomorrow is Fat Quarter Fun at Ruth's Stitchery.  And then it's time to start packing for my road trip to Ohio for the International Quilt Festival Cincinnati!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts If you came over from Finish It Up Friday, be sure to go here and sign up for my giveaway.

Edited to add linkup to Whoop Whoop Fridays.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Feel Free to Laugh at Me

Go ahead.  My family will.  Michelle will (and I hope it makes your tooth hurt.  Well, not really.)

I am having so much fun reading the comments on my 50 Followers! A Giveaway! post.  Every time I get an email that says "New comment on your post," I squeal.  Just like a girl.

And I sit down to answer it.  Yep.  Every single one.  45 so far (and I have this crazy idea that I should have 50 comments, since it's for 50 followers).

And when I try to answer, but I can't, because the commenter is a "no reply blogger?"  I feel bad.

Maybe you're a no reply commenter and don't even know it.  I was.

Lucky for me, Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects wrote an excellent tutorial that helped me change. Here's what Adrianne says:
 I [also] think a lot of people assume they're not no-reply, because they haven't specifically chosen to be no-reply.  Blogger defaults EVERYONE to no-reply, to err on the side of privacy, just in case they would prefer to remain anonymous.  Unless you have gone through the steps to make your email address available for replies, you are, in fact, a no-reply commenter.

Who knew? What can you do?

First, you have to want to change.

Second, read Adrianne's tutorial:  Blog Tips: Are you noreply-comment @

Third, follow her carefully worded and wonderfully illustrated instructions.

Fourth, if you commented and I didn't answer -- comment again!

As the lottery folk say, you can't win if you don't play.  And if I can't find you, and you DO win, -- well, I can't find you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday - and a Giveaway!

First, if you haven't commented to win my giveaway, go here first and do so.  G'head, I'll wait.

Back?  Ok, here's what's on the design wall for WIP Wednesday:

Yes, it's still the May Strip Club project, "Pyramid Triangles" by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  They're from England, but you can look at their patterns on their website.  I bought this pattern at High Country Quilts, so if you can't find them at your LQS, call the nice ladies at High Country, they'll mail one to you.

I have all the blocks made, but you know if it's a choice between finishing a quilt top and Skype-ing with My Little Sailor -- guess what wins?

I'm also plugging away at the Brioche stitch scarf for Elder Son.  This Thirteen Mile yarn is working up beautifully.  I got it at a new shop in Denver, Wild Yarns.  It's a fun little shop, they're new, so not a big selection yet.  The shopping test is "Do they have something I can't get anywhere else?" and the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

Here is the right side:

And here is the reverse:

Cool, huh?  Here are some closeups of each side:

I spent a lot of hours trying to figure out this stitch and finally came across this video that made it clear for me.  Brioche stitch is tedious, because you knit across in one color, then knit across in the other color -- two rows in one.  Plus, it's just complicated enough that if you don't look at the directions at the beginning of each row, you make a mistake and have to pick it out.  Which is not easy, either!

He says he loves it.  I say "he better."

Linking up to "WIP Wednesday" at Freshly Pieced.  Remember to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial -- Quarter Square Triangles

The traditional way to make "quarter square triangles" (aka Hourglass block) is to cut a square 1 1/4" larger than the desired finished size, then cross-cut it twice, corner to corner.  Which is fine if you're using yardage, or even fat quarters.

But what if you want to make quarter square triangles from Jelly Roll strips?  Impossible?

Well, as the man says Do I have a deal for you!

Today's "Tuesday Tute" features a slick ruler that makes it easy to make quarter square triangles from 2 1/2" strips.  Made by Creative Grids, the 90 Degree Strip Ruler for Quarter Square Triangles lets you cut five triangles in one fell swoop.

Designed by Rachel Cross, one great feature of this tool is that it has a built-in 2 1/2" ruler so you can either cut your own strips or use the ruler to trim "feathers" off your strips.

It has little "keyholes" so your rotary cutter cuts all the way to the edge of the triangles.

See that?  If your strip is doubled, ten at a time!

Which is how I cut 560 triangles in less than two hours.

To make the triangles into quarter square triangle blocks, take two matching dark triangles and two matching light triangles.  Place them right sides together, dark on light, and sew along one of the short sides.

 Press -- carefully -- toward the dark (don't distort the shape of your triangles!).

And this is what you get:

Now place the two pieces right sides together (the dark will be over the light and vice versa).  Be sure the seam is pointing toward your machine needle so the seams "snuggle."  Stitch along the long side. et voila!

Perfect!  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  And you get 60 block centers:

 I have two more rows done now, this is the quilt for May Strip Club at High Country Quilts

Have you commented yet to enter my giveaway here?  Not to nag, but really -- free fabric!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April UFO Discoveries

Neither of my March UFOs got completed, although I am continuing to plug away at the 30s reproduction pyramids as part of Karen Snyder's Quilt Block a Day.

Elder Son drew two numbers for the April UFOs:  8 and 9A.  Project 8 was in the bin with a lot of the other 2012 UFO choices, but I had a hard time finding 9A.  It was neatly stored in its own plastic box in the cupboard under the wet bar.  See what I get for being organized?

Project #8 is a gift of the ages.  I think my Aunt Frances, who was in her 90s when she died, started these items. Heartbreakingly, there is a tiny baby dress -- maybe about 6 month size?  It is made of fine cotton, in perfect condition although it has obviously been worn (a little formula stain at the neck):

It has narrow, very fine lace handstitched to the hem:
Such a mystery.  Who wore this?  I know it could have been a boy or a girl, was it my Daddy or my Uncle?  One of my cousins?  It has been laundered and starched, why did she fold it away with unfinished quilt projects?

There were also four flannel crazy-quilt blocks in the bag.  Flour sacks were used as the backing, and bits of flannel were basted to the flour sacks, then embroidered with fancy stitches and a shiny (silk?  rayon?) embroidery floss:
On two of the blocks, you can still read the mill name and location.  Weiser, Idaho is in the far western part of the state.

 This is my favorite, she pieced a little heart in the center:

Then there is this piece of yellow gingham with an eight-pointed star embroidered on it in brown and white.  Except two points are incomplete, so I guess it's a six-pointed star.  This type of embroidery is called "chicken scratch," possibly because the little stitches look like the marks made by chickens' feet.
I found this same pattern in a 4-H project book from West Virginia.  Maybe one of my cousins started it for her 4-H project and didn't finish it in time for Fair?  It looks like it was intended to be a table cloth, there are markings for a border.

And the prize, 20 hand-applique'd butterflies in real flour-sack fabric.  Notice that two are flying in different directions!  These blocks had once been sewn together but have been taken apart, did she decide to add sashing to make a larger quilt?  That's what I am going to do

The buttonhole stitch embroidery is beautifully done.  I wonder if my Grammy made these blocks, she sewed to support her family during the 1920s and 1930s.

Project 9A is my "I Spy" quilt that I started when my friend Holly's daughter was a baby.  She's 9 now (the daughter, not Holly!). 
 I know a granddaughter who might like this one.  The black squares between the blocks are made with a 3-D technique.   I remember how much fun Holly and I had searching out fabrics for the blocks. If I can remember how I made these, I'll post a tutorial.
Yesterday it was 80+ degrees outside, a record breaker. My rhubarb popped up and grew inches yesterday, as did the Bleeding Heart. I almost finished clearing away the winter detritus from the back yard -- today the high is forecast to be 46 degrees and 60 mph winds.  Snow tonight and a high of 39 tomorrow.  Ah, Spring in Colorado.

Remember to go to yesterday's post and make a comment for a chance to win the Lily Ashbury charm squares; celebrating my number of followers topping 50!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

50 Followers! A Giveaway!

And Sunday is for Scraps!  First, scraps:

The beginnings of the May Strip Club quilt.  This pattern is from the Jelly Roll queens, Pam and Nicky Lintott.  It's "Just One Jelly Roll - Pyramid Triangles."  And it's a true scrap quilt, the jelly roll strips are leftovers from my January Strip Club quilt. I haven't quite decided on sashing -- should it be the red? I do have a yellow print from the Strawberry Fields line, maybe it should be yellow?  I'll wait until I have more blocks completed to make up my mind.  I have a slick new tool to make quarter-square triangles, come back for the Tuesday Tute to check it out.

Also, I have enough quarter square triangles left over to make a good-sized baby quilt.  I needed 120 triangles, but I cut 120 pair of triangles.  Who would guess my PhD studies included statistics?

Now for my big news:  I have more than 50 followers!  I am so pleased, I want to share my happiness with all of you by hosting a little giveaway.

Needless to say, I've never hosted a giveaway.  I think "the way it's done" is for you to make a comment, and next Sunday I will attempt to master the random numbers generator and select a winner.  The winner gets this pack of charm squares, "Summer House" by Lily Ashbury for Moda.  The perfect fabrics for Spring!  I've met some wonderful bloggers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- so Susan, play along.  If you win, I'll find out how to mail stuff to Brisbane!

Now I have 50+ followers, this will be my last linkup with Lily's Quilts' "Small Blog Meetup."  Thank you, everyone, who has visited from Lily's Quilts.  I'll see you at Lily's "Fresh Sewing Day."