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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ominous Portents

I'm not a superstitious person. Black cats crossing my path...."Here kitty kitty". Breaking a mirror...."Damn, now I have to buy another one". Friday the 13th...."Whatever"

However, in the last 3 days some very weird things have happened.

First. The huge juniper tree that is next to our house has been full of turkey buzzards. I don't mean one or two, but more like 10 to 20. They have never roosted in this tree. They just sit there staring, and when they see us, lazilly fly off and circle around and around over the river below. Creepy.

Next. Yesterday when I came into my office, the floor was full of tiny frogs, some in a state of dessication and others hoping around. Ewwww. I swept up the dead guys and took the live ones outside into the bushes. Today. The same thing. FROGS!

Should I be worried? Anyone have a Gideon's Bible handy?

Wait..... They told me there was to be no math!!

Remember when you were in school and you were forced to take math... Algebra, Geometry... and you said to your snotty teenage self...."When am I ever going to need THIS stuff?" and dug in your heels and you did just the minimal amount of work to get by.

Well, if you ever plan to be a quilter: or actually to be a carpenter or any other building type of trade, you are going to need those skills. Quilting and especially piece work is all about math and geometry.

Since I have all these scraps of fabric to use, I want to make a small baby quilt for the pending GRANDSON. Something that he can lay on and that they can use as a wall hanging later. I've been informed that the baby's room will be in bright primary colors so I've settled on this pattern?

Cool. So I download the pattern and instructions from Easy peasy pattern. Just make strips of fabric from the scraps using the rotary cutter and sew together.

Unfortunately, there is a snag. The quilt is too small given the size of strips in the pattern. Each block is 7 inches. All I have to do is figure what size I want the finished quilt to be and enlarge the block and enlarge the strips. No problemo. Right?

Each block is 7 strips wide

Each strip is cut with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. SO then, if I want a 12 inch block then I divide by 7 and add 1/2 inch to each piece. 2.2142857 inches. Hmmmm that isn't going to work.

Ok. 10 inch blocks. 10/7 +.5 = 1.9285714 yikes. Too much math.

Ah... Screw it. I'll just have to wing it!! Cut the strips 2.25 inches and end up with a finished strip 1.75 inches.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sorting the Colors


All the fabric has been ironed.

This is just some of the different colors in prints. (See The DumbPlumber in the background? Getting ready for work.) There are many more bins. Quilters are NOT hoarders.....really we aren't.....I keep repeating to myself.

Next step is to sort all of it down by color and hue.

I was really surprised at the amount of fabric. Some very large pieces of yardage and some teeny tiny scraps that I had saved. Ironing piece by piece it was like a time capsule of my life. A piece left over from a dress I made for my daugher when she was 5 years old. A scrap from a tropical print dress I had made for myself 8 years ago. Pieces where I could see the shapes that were cut out when I was making baby grab balls to sell. Odds and ends of fabric from wall hangings that I had made years and years ago.

I also discovered some fabulous fabric that I had completely forgotten about. Oooooh. Nice.

Now to get to work and actually make something!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back in the Quilting Saddle Again

Quilting used to be a passion of mine and for some reason about 8 years ago, I just set it all aside. Now, with impending arrival of a grandchild it seemed to be time to break out the fabric, sewing machine, quilt magazines, books and all the other stuff.

I've hung onto all of these craft magazines and stuff for years and years. Everytime, my husband has to lend his strong back to moving them, he suggests that perhaps now might be a good time to get rid of these things. "ARE YOU INSANE!!" I respond and make some suggestions about lightening up his stash of tools in the shop. "ARE YOU INSANE" he responds. It's a Mexican stand off.

One small problem. The fabric had been stored in our pumphouse and last year we had a flood that soaked all the boxes and boxes of fabric. I had to throw it all into the washer to clean and dry. The result......a big jumble of all sizes, shapes and colors of fabrics.

Just like any other craft or job, you need to have all of your materials and tools in order before you can even begin. This means, hour and hours of ironing and sorting fabrics. Tedious, boring but necessary.

Under the everything old is new again label is the discovery that while my quiliting was in cold storage, technology has been marching on. New techniques, new tools, new ways of assembling. I feel like the Rip VanWinkle auto mechanic who fell asleep in the 1960's and woke up to cars that are computerized electronic marvels that take a whole new set of skills to work upon.