When Bad Fabric Choices Happen to Good Quilters

Sunday, October 23, 2011 16 Comments »
Maybe a better title would be "Second Guessing:  A Quilter's Guide to Monday Morning Quarterbacking". 

Mystery quilts are always a challenge.  Usually the author of the mystery will give you clues up front, such as which fabric is your focus fabric, and which is your background.  Those clues get you started, but you still need to really understand fabric values as well since the rest of the fabric requirements are things like ".5 yards of a medium light; 1.0 yards of a medium dark".  If you are a newer quilter, this can be very challenging, and the results aren't always what you might have hoped for. 

I did a mystery quilt a number of years ago, back before I had developed a network of experienced quilting friends and before I had a good understanding of fabric choices.  Yes, I knew what a batik was, and I could see that Amy Butler and Kaffe Fasset fabrics were different than traditional fabrics, but I couldn't tell a Civil War repro from a 30's repro. 

I picked my focus fabric based on some colors I liked, ones that would look good in my Family room. 

Then I picked fabrics that would pull some of those colors.  Unfortunately, I wasn't very good at picking the right values, and unwittingly picked a bunch of CW repros that didn't exactly match the feel of the focus fabric.


That darker paisley just doesn't contrast enough with the dark green, and my white-on-white backgroud was nice, but not for this quilt.  It probably should have been an off-white to blend with the focus fabric better. 

I'd gotten the quilt backing on sale, and whereas it picked up the colors, it was a whole n'other genre.

I finished the top, and liked the overall pattern, but had a mixed vibe about the whole package.  In the mean time, my friend Nancy had turned me on to Civil War repros, so now the idea of those repro fabrics next to the other fabrics didn't sit well.  I guess I was afraid the Quilt Police would come knocking at my door. 

So the flimsey and the backing sat on a shelf.  I found them a few weeks ago and decided to take them to my local longarmer along with some other UFOs -- what the heck, I'd put all that time into it.   Maybe she would wave her magic bobbin and make (as my mother was fond of saying)  a silk purse out of a sow's ear.  At the very least, it would be something to throw on the floor for the grandbabies to crawl on. 

As it turns out, the darned thing isn't bad.  Is it my most favoritest quilt in the world?  No, but damned if my hubby doesn't LOVE it. 

When I hinted that I might be giving it away, he got quite the hurt look on his face and started rambling about how much he loved the colors, the deep, rich tones, and crispness of the pattern.  It was then that I realized that I am my own worst critic -- we quilters are our own worst critics.  Who cares if the fabric genres clash?  Who cares if that background is a little too white?  Why do we kill ourselves with Monday morning quarterbacking when we should just let go and bask in the warmth of someone else's appreciation? 

I don't have a name for this quilt (any suggestions??), but I do have a home for it.  It's folded on the back of Hubby's favorite rocking chair in the family room, and I wouldn't be surprised if he and the cat wrap up in it tonight while they read.  It may not be my cup o' tea, but if it makes him happy, that's alright by me!

Mystery UFO

Monday, October 17, 2011 12 Comments »
I met Kimberly, author of the Jelly Roll Quilt Magic giveaway book, a number of years ago at the Lancaster. PA quilt show.   I'd signed up to take her Mystery Quilt class called Pinweels and Flying Geese.  The quilt from that class became Pinwheels for Ian, a gift for that red-headed young man over there on the right side of the screen.  I was new to quilting, and that was only the third quilt I had ever made.  The class was the start of a friendship as well as a love an interest in doing mystery quilts. 

Every once in a while, Kimberly would do a mystery quilt on her web site, with the fabric requirements being published on week #1, then various "clues" each week thereafter.  For one of the mysteries, I threw caution to the wind and decided to try batiks on black.  It was fun, I finished all but the outside borders in short order, then my ADQD took over & I flitted to another project.  That UFO took its place on the shelf with all too many other UFOs, staying there until earlier this month.

Then came September's Philly Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  They announced that the project for the October meeting was to complete a UFO, bring it to the meeting, and share.  Out came that old mystery quilt, on went the borders, zip zip went the pieced back, and off to the local long-armer it flew.  I picked it up on Friday and completed binding this weekend.  It finished at about 60" x 60".  When you take that leap of faith, throwing caution to the wind and picking fabrics for a mystery quilt, you just never know how it's going to turn out.  For that reason, I called this one "Who knew?". 

DH really likes it, I think because he's very attracted to Amish quilts, and it has that bright-color-on-black look.  It will hang in the family room for a while.  

Please don't let anyone from my guild know -- it's supposed to be a surprise.  Denise and Bobbi, your lips are sealed, right?


Sunday, October 16, 2011 4 Comments »
My sister, Sue,  is 9 years younger than I.  My kids are both married and raising families, but my darling sister is just starting out on the wedding journeys.  Her son, JJ became engaged to a wonderful girl named Jamie in September.  Aren't they cute?

Sue is hosting an engagement party in a few weeks so that Jamie's family, who are from New Jersey and New York, can meet our family here in Pennsylvania.  It should be lots of fun.   

I'm never sure what the gift protocol is for an engagement party.  There will be a shower closer to the wedding most certainly, and of course the wedding itself next October.  Their wedding quilt is already planned and the fabric purchased, but what to do for the engagement party?

I decided to make a couple of table runners.  My idea is that I will get them started on a collection of seasonal table runners to kick start their holiday decorating.  For the engagement party, I'll give them a this Fall runner,

and this one to grace their table at Christmas.  

I'll continue that theme for the wedding shower and make runners for other occassions, like  Valentine's day, St. Patrick's Day (Miss Jamie is Irish!!), Spring and Summer.  Someone else can bring the crockpot and blender. 

Let's Give it up for the Giveaway!!

Friday, October 14, 2011 8 Comments »
Aren’t giveaways fun? We all enjoy a contest and the thrill of winning, but there’s a lot to be said for giving as well.

There were 100 comments posted on my giveaway blog. Some were from old friends, but the vast majority were from people I didn’t know.

Some of you are from my home state of Pennsylvania, but you're also from Florida, Maine, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Wisconsin, to name a few.  Many of you live in far-away places:  Canada, British Columbia, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sri Lanka. 

You are a mix of young and seasoned, grand/great grandparents, parents, workers, retirees, singles, marrieds, knitters, scrapbookers, gardeners, ranch hands, avid readers, city dwellers, country folk, and denizens of the beach. You have dogs, cats, chickens, cows and horses.

We even had our requisite male quilter (hi, Gene!). Some of you have been quilting for years and years; others for just a few months.

Many of you have blogs of your own, and I visited every single one. Wow, what a talented group you are! Such great ideas and such beautiful quilts! You are funny, you are thoughtful, you are sharing, but most of all you love to quilt. It has been a pleasure peeking into your corner of the universe!

I printed out all of your comments.
I sliced across the pages until I had 100 slips of paper, each with a separate comment.  I made extra slips for those of you who also posted about my giveaway on your blog.

While I was waiting for my painfully slow computer to download and install Windows Updates, I folded each and every one of those slips of paper into eighths.

Then I put them in a big old plastic dough bucket and shook it like crazy.

I’m not a hat person, so I took the hood from my winter coat & dumped the slips in there. Why the hood? Since Junior was doing the picking, I thought he might appreciate a something that looked like it was trimmed in squirrel (or maybe even groundhog).

Anyway, I put a piece of sticky tape on Junior’s paw, he put his paw in the hat, and came up with……………

Michele!!!!  Michele is from Florida.  She's a stay at home mom, with 2 boys, and has a blog called IslandLife Quilts.  Her comment said:

Winning a copy of this book would be great!  You ordering two copies was a happy accident for visitors to your blog :-)  Using Jelly Rolls saves lots of time and cutting....I don't like cutting...and they are just nice to look at before you take them apart!!  I have a few in a basket in my dining room :-)

I'll be sending Michele an email to get her mailing address; the book and rulers should be on their way to her next week.

Thanks so much to ALL of you for stopping by!  I've enjoyed meeting you, and will continue to pop in on your blogs.  I sure hope you'll pop in on mine every once in a while.

Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 8 Comments »
Happy Cottage Quilter just posted about Singer's 160th anniversary website.  There's lots of historical information about Singer, (and a plug for their new machine, of course), but the real purpose of the site is to allow Singer owners to share their stories.  As of the last count, there were over 1,200!    The other thing that the website allows you to do is register you pre-1970 Singer machine by typing in the serial number and your name.  Once you do that, you will be able to download a PDF certificate that shows the year your machine was "born".  Here is the link:  My Singer Story

My story is not nearly as compelling as many of the others that are posted.  I don't come from a family of women who sewed.  I don't have my grandmother's machine.  I started sewing in college because I needed to make some clothes that were presentable for student teaching, but I never got into it much until my children were little.  Again, it was mostly necessity that got me making clothes for the kids.  I didn't start quilting until 6 years ago when my daughter decided she wanted Vera Bradley type bags for her bridesmaids, and I became PattiCakes, the Crazy Bag Lady.  

One thing led to another.  I bought a new Bernina, took some quilting classes at the store where I purchased it, and Pat, the ADQD* quilter was born.    I kept hearing ladies in those classes talking about Featherweights.  How great they were for traveling.  What a nice stitch they made.  How every serious quilter HAD to have one.  DH, who is addicted to flea markets and antiques,  got interested in them too.  Here I thought he was just letting my ramblings about quilting and machines go in one ear and out the other.  Au contraire!

The morning of our 32nd wedding anniversary, I came stumbling downstairs, looking for a cup of coffee, only to find Baby.  She was sitting on top of an antique sewing stand and was sporting a big blue bow.  I don't know what touched my heart more, the fact that I had been given this wonderful present or the fact that DH had actually LISTENED to my ramblings and gone out of his way to find this very very special present.  My Bernina mostly lives in the sewing room, but it's Baby who goes to classes, retreats, quilt days with our quilting posse, to my kids' homes when I babysit, and on vacation.  I even bought her a folding table so she can help me sit in front of the fireplace in the winter and sew.  She was born in 1951, Singer's 100th anniversary, and is what's called a "centennial".  Machines made during that year sported a special, blue-rimmed oval seal on the front to commemorate the milestone. 

Now, of course, DH fancies himself somewhat of a FW guru, and is always on the look out for them when he's out prowling the markets.  And I've turned into somewhat of an Evangelical Featherweighter, spreading the word of what great little machines they are.

Do you have an older Singer?  What's YOUR story?  Go check out the website and download your certificate.  Thanks again to Happy Cottage Quilter for speading the word!

* ADQD:  Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder

The Angst of the No Reply Blogger

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 7 Comments »

Junior, my #1 Quilting Inspector, is very unhappy.  I woke him up out of a sound sleep, with my agitated grumbling.  OK, my loud swearing.  It seems that a number of you are "no reply bloggers"!

What, might you ask, is a no reply blogger?  Well...........

All comments made on my blog are automatically emailed to me, and if you have the correct settings in your Blogger profile, your email address comes with it, allowing me to reply directly to you via email.  If your settings aren't correct, you are a no reply blogger.  Instead of a real return email address, I get an address that says

What the heck?? 
I enjoy replying to the comments made on my blog.  I can't always reply to them all, but I'm trying to spend a little time every few days replying to comments.  So if you haven't received a reply to your comments on my blog -- especially on my giveaway post -- that probably means you're a no-reply blogger.  Here's how to fix it, if you're so inclined:

In, click on Dashboard.
  • Select Edit Profile.
  • Check the box for "Show my Email Address."
  • Save changes.
Easy peasy.  Now go fix your settings and make Junior happy.  Having a ticked off cat in my sewing room is not my idea of a good time.   And you won't like it either if you win the giveaway drawing and I can't contact you!  Yikes!

Finding Homes

Monday, October 10, 2011 6 Comments »
I love when quilts finally find their homes.  Two little ones did just that on Saturday.  We went to visit my son and his wife in Sinking Spring, PA, taking along a couple of small quilts that began this summer. 

The first is a Schnibble pattern, and will go on the wall in my granddaughter Maddie's room.  Maddie is 19 months old, very much her own person, and loves bright colors.  I name all of my quilts, so this one is "Maddie's Picnic".  I'm sorry that part of the quilt is washed out in the bright sun, but this is where my official quilt holders wanted to stand.

That's Annabelle (she'll be 6 in February), and Ian (he'll be 5 in March),
showing off their baby little sister's quilt.

The second is a flag I made using Civil War repro fabrics.  The blocks are little tumblers cut with the Accuquilt Go! cutter.  I thought son Andy would put it in his office, but he decided it's going above the fireplace in his family room.  It's called "O'er the Land of the Free" in honor of the fact that Andy is pursuing the American dream by starting his own company.     

And here is Miss Madeline herself, kissing her daddy.  There is no quilt in the picture, but it was too darned cute not to post.   

The next project is a flannel baby quilt and a bunch of burpers for #4 -- a baby brother, due December 4th.  My daughter-in-law is a saint!

More Jelly

Sunday, October 09, 2011 7 Comments »
I'm not shy about admitting that I have ADQD (Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder), and those darned jelly rolls make it sooooo easy to start a new project at the flick of a rotary cutter.  Here's the latest little project that called to me from the cover of the November-December issue of McCall's Quilting.  One jelly roll, plus the extra yardage for the background, sashing and border, would make two tops.  I betcha you could make the quilt more of a table-topper size by just doing away with that wide outside border.  Looks like a couple of quick holiday presents to me!

Thanks so much to all of you who put your name in the hat for my Jellyroll Quilt Magic giveaway. I'm not having much luck training the cat, but have made great progress teaching my hubby. He's been practicing & will be ready to pull a name on Thursday night  : ) 


Thursday, October 06, 2011 101 Comments »

OK, it's not free beer, but it is a giveaway!  Lots of the bloggers I follow have hosted giveaways, but this is my very first.  I’m giving up my giveaway virginity!!

In my last post, I told you about my friend Kimberly, who has written her second jelly roll book. Her first, Jelly Roll Quilts and More, was wonderful; I’ve made many quilts from her patterns, all of which went together easily, finished beautifully, and were quite satisfying to do.  Her new book, Jelly Roll Quilt Magic, continues where the first book left off – and it is a doozie.  It takes jelly roll creativity to a whole ‘nother level. The patterns are more challenging, but oh the quilts you can create!

Just to let you know how good this book is, thinking about it kept me up most of last night.  Yep, I was tossing and turning because all kinds of ideas for fabric combinations kept running through my head. First there was the Amish-ish Lone Star quilt using solid brights on black to go over the fire place in my son’s new house. Then there was the Autumn Leaves quilt in batiks, and that really pretty Christmas quilt.......

I have a copy of Kimbery’s book to give away!!   As it turns out, I was sooooo anxious to get it, I pre-ordered it twice from Amazon.  My mistake is your good fortune!  I am making the deal even sweeter by including two companion rulers created by Kimberly.  They make using jelly rolls and pre-cuts so much easier:  the Easy Star and Geese Ruler, and the Simpli-EZ Jelly Roll Ruler.

So what do you have to do to be eligible for this fabulous jelly package?  Just post a comment on my blog telling me why you like working with jelly rolls, or why you would like to try working with them.   If you want an extra chance at winning, post about my giveaway on your blog and include that info in your comment to me.  How easy can it get?  You have until Thursday night, October 13th, to enter.  I will be spending the rest of the week training my cat to pull a name out of a hat. 

DISCLAIMER:  For those who might be wondering, although Kimberly is a friend, she is not in any way sponsoring this giveaway.  This is strictly my deal.  When I run across something I like and think will make life easier for my fellow quilters, I am not shy about promoting it.