Monday, November 24, 2008
How did it happen you ask?
Well, I was on the phone the other day with a friend and in a moment of 'cleanliness is next to godliness' I decided to clean out the return key just below the touch pad. There were some crumbs in the grooves so I took a piece of paper to tease out the leaftovers from some long past meal.
Now I cannot hit the enter key there or on the mouse or on the keyboard without the laptop trying to obey my input 300 to 400 (that's right HUNDRED) times before it will let me do anything. I've tried all sorts of manipulations but nothing seems to work. I can't even restore the system to an earlier date, (just in case it is a system problem and not a stupid hardware problem), because I can't hit the enter key. So it appears to be a hardware problem rather than a software one and it is off to the great repair shop down the road.
I am actually writing from the local library. (Kiss your librarian for having these resources available to dim wits like me).
I have now accepted that unless I want to come here every day, I will probably not be keeping up on this blog or my e-mail for a week or so. Maybe this is a good thing.....being unconnected to the world wide web should make me appreciate something - right?
So I am now signing off until the little beastie gets repaired or I can't take it anymore.
Happy whatever holiday you celebrate to bring back the light of spring!
BTW - there is even more tragedy in my life. All three dogs have some sort of intestinal bug that produces copious amounts of liquid feces. They are being treated but I may have to buy a gas mask just to clean up after them.
No computer and my life is full of shit - seems just about right to me.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
A hexagon shaped block is based on a six-sided motif rather than the traditional four sided block. For a traditional look at this design see here. For a more modern (read fast and easy) take on the hexagon the Merry-Go-Round is made using two, two and a half inch strips of fabric sewn together longways, then sub-cut into equilateral triangles. If you use strips of fabric cut from one selvage to the other selvage of typical quilting cottons, you will get two blocks out of each strip - one with, as a for instance, red in the middle and black on the outside, while the other would be black on the inside and red on the outside. The easy piecing comes when you assemble the hexagons... just sew units of three like triangles at a time and combine into rows like a traditional quilt.
Even though I had sewn the strips together before we got together I did not complete all the blocks needed for even a lap size quilt in the time we had. Here's just a sample of what I got done:
I used a strip set (also called a Jelly Roll) from Moda called Winter so my fabrics are fairly coordinated. Others in the group went for a completely scrappy look while one was thinking of making her's completely out of blue fabrics. I think all of these combinations work though I must admit that I was a little surprised that my Winter Jelly Roll included lots of strips with candy canes on them rather than a more generic look.
BTW - if you have seen the 'One Block Wonder' books or quilts.. this is a similar technique and you can mix and match construction techniques between the two patterns with good results.
I hope we do this again. It was a no fuss, no muss kind of day. There was no pressure to complete anything in the time we had at the facility. We learned a new block, solved some of the problems in the world and had some great pizza for lunch. Heck, I even got to change the battery in the smoke alarm at the building and Ms. M. vaccumed after we were done so we left the place in better shape than we found it in. Thanks to the Misses L., J., F., C., M. and R. for making this a great day.
Oh, one other thing... Thanks to the person who found this pattern and actually made one that got everyone jazzed up on learning this block. To me, you are a quilting rock star. Thank you!
Friday, November 21, 2008
This month they have added a new feature with an ad search for a fake ad. I used to love finding the fake ad in Games magazine and this ad search was just as fun. The fake ad was for Green Piece Foundation Paper. At first glance this is an ad for standard paper piecing paper with a 'green' twist. You print a pattern on the paper, sew on the lines, tear off the paper and you have a perfect quilt block. The fake part of this ad is that you end up with no trash because you eat the paper after you have torn it from the back of the block. That's right ... you eat it! The paper is made of seaweed and comes in various flavors like chocolate, sugar cookie and saltand-vinegar. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw it.
I won't tell you what page it is on but if you get this magazine or see it on the newstand, you can do your own search. My only problem with this ad is that I know someone is thinking this is a great idea. Would I buy chocolate flavored paper? Some days the answer is definitely yes but mostly I don't think this is a good idea... chocolate flavored seaweed paper ... yuck!
Have a good weekend!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Anyway I went to the Humble (pronounced with a silent H) Middle School on Tuesday for our first session. We got ten kids including one boy. The kids ranged from special needs students to overachieving straight A students. With only two of us, it was difficult to give everyone the attention they needed however the spectacular Ms. L. promised to spend time with each of them before our meeting next week. I am so inspired by their high spirits and sweaty determination. I had almost forgotten what is was like to be in grades sixth through eighth when your body seems to be betraying you every day with new growth. I think I taught a couple of them how to get started. I think next week, we will work the students on getting even stitches and starting out any others that show up. Another guild member is also coming to help and I think we will need her.
I gave myself some homework... to knit with two sticks and some string to show the kids that you do not need fancy supplies for a good product. A couple complained that the needles we provided were not 'real' knitting needles because they weren't metal. I have the sticks (cheapo chopsticks) and some kitchen string so I will try to make a couple of bracelets or even a small scarf before next week with these materials.
Wish me luck and if you are in my area and would like to join in the fun, please let me know. The more the merrier should be our motto for this project!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
- a neat little gadget for transferring things from one bottle to another without losing a drop,
- Batiked quilt backing fabric to be used in a garment,
- Paper piecing book for a new garment,
- a cheap Quilt-in-a-cup substitute from Hobby Lobby,
- patterns and fabric I never even noticed at the Festival and
- a cute book from Japan using orphan socks in projects.
I was also given a chance to show of my latest Bog Coat creation. While I was in Toronto recently I got the chance to go to the Creativity Festival. It was a shadow of its former self and I was thoroughly dissappointed by the show. I even left before it closed for the night,.... something that was unthinkable when I used to go many years ago. Anyway, I stopped at a booth called Mac Fabrics which I believe is used in Canada's version of Project Runway. I noticed a very distressed fabric and immeadiately realized that it would make a great Bog Coat. Check this out..
And here's a close-up of the fabric...
It really did come off the bolt that way! For one yard of fabric I can't believe how well this turned out. I've already worn it a few times and the combination of the silk (I think) underfabric and the funky denim overlay makes for a very comfortable garment. I really must try to make it to their store the next time I am up North.
I hope your weekend is going well. Although I do enjoy the bright sunny days we have been having I am so looking forward to the rain predicted for next week.
Friday, November 7, 2008
- Bear down hard on the rotary cutter when cutting out your pieces. You will not get a clean cut without significant pressure.
- Never let your rotary cutter get ahead of the hand holding down the ruler. If your rotary cutter gets ahead of your hand, the ruler will wobble.
- Press seams open when it will help your later piece work. When constructing squares from triangles, press the seams open to help match up points later on.
- Use your pins to help match points. I hate pinning but it really does help.
- Press, press, and press again. Boring yes, but pressing after each step does help with future work.
Just to show you how much I succeedded in my my block check out these matching points....
Now all I need is an idea on how to use this 'orphan' block. Any ideas?
Have a good weekend!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This was great class as we spent most of our time making the fabric for the beads. We painted, crinkled, stenciled and about a hundred other things to our silk and cotton fabrics. The last hour or so of class was spent actually making the beads. It some ways this was play time for me as I have already done most of the techniques but it was extremely educational to spend time with someone who really knew her stuff. I bought the book after lunch and spent most of the afternoon trying to make beads rather than practise techniques I am well familiar with. I won't show you the beads I made because, quite frankly, I can't find them in all the stuff I brought home from Festival. I wonder if Alex has found them yet?
If you get chance to take a class with Kristal, I highly recommend you try her out for a relaxing class that you can leave with real live beads to use in your work.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I took a Jenny Raymond class a couple of years ago that concentrated on machine applique and thread painting. I don't remember most of the class work as it seems we spent a lot of time hearing about her study trip to Holland that inspired the quilt we were going to learn. In addition, she showed off her ribbon scarf made with ribbon and water souble stabilizer. I believe I bagged the class.
My friend took a class from her on the Easy on the Back Pack. I had made this pattern a couple of times in the past and had judged it the worst pattern I had ever worked with except for Amy Butler's patterns. Instead of too much information like Amy, Jenny left out a pattern piece and her instructions made no sense to me. My friend bagged the class as well after Jenny spent a lot of time showing everyone photos of her studio and a DVD that confused them even more. I believe the comment that really made her leave was ' I don't understand why you don't get this when its perfectly clear to me.'. Never take a class from her.
On the other hand, Jennie Rayment is a wonderful teacher. She is mainly known for her manipulated muslin items. The bag she taught was incredibly simple but incredibly useful. The class was laughing out loud most fo the time and most of them walked out with a finished project. Unlike most of her projects, this one did not include any twiddles, fiddles, folds or tucks just simple thread embellishment and a novel construction technique. I took one of the fabric manipulation classes in the past and also thoroughly enjoyed myself. Do not be confused, if Jennie Rayment is offering a class in your area, take it.
To be perfectly honest, Jenny Raymond is a multipule year entrant in the fashion show at the Quilt Festival and made a beautiful garment this year that won the viewers' choice award. It was truly lovely. Once again a wonderful designer/sewer does not always make a good teacher/pattern maker.
Fore-warned is fore-armed.