Archive for March, 2011


14.7 More quilt anger

March 31, 2011

A few days ago, I ran across a blog post about quilting and how one blogger perceives the current trends in quilting to lead people to not attempt new and challenging ideas.

Some of the comments were agreeing with the author, some were feeling a bit hurt, like they were being attacked by the quilt police or being called dumb.

Recently, I ran across a similar argument about making and charging money for simple patterns.

This person seems frustrated, and this post comes out as a rant. Probably just a way to release some of this frustration.

Less commenters felt hurt by the post than the post from the other day.

There is a comparison to sewing softies and dress patterns and how easy it is to use a pattern.  More thought for discussion.


Here’s the link.



14.6 Using Quilting Software for tiles

March 30, 2011

I finally subscribed to the Electric Quilt blog in my feed reader.

By the Way:  I used to use Google Reader for my main feed reader, which is adequate, but when I changed over to firefox from internet explorer, about a month ago, I found a firefox plug-in feed reader called feedly, which is quite nice for reading blogs that don’t seem so linear.

Anyway, the Electric Quilt blog had this article about someone using Electric Quilt software to design a tile pattern for their restroom.

Using Electric Quilt for Tile Design

Anyway, the quilter helped her husband with the tile design, including using the sashing for the grout, downloading a picture from the big box home improvement store to import into the fabric choice.

Here is a picture of her project below.

Very nice and very creative.  I’ve always said that quilt patterns can be found in restroom tiles.  Apparently vice-versa.

Now don’t think me perverted, we were standing outside a restroom IN THE HALLWAY at a truck stop, waiting in line for the women’s restroom and this was the view from the hallway.

I think the tile would be a fun border for a quilt, don’t you?


14.5 Strip Twist Blocks Received Part 1

March 29, 2011

I am very excited to share with you the first set of blocks I received for the strip twist block swap.

They are exactly what I asked for!


I love the variation in these blocks, and yet, there is enough similarity to tie the blocks all in together.  Very bright and bold, very exciting!

My favorite fabric in this is the yellow diamond, but I also love the blue stripe, and one of the reds has little diamonds in it!  Very cool.

All the fabrics are cool, and, best part, none are fabrics I currently have.

Now I can’t wait to see what else I get!


How much fun is this!


14.4 The dumbing down of quilting

March 27, 2011

I recently found a flickr photo and went down to a new (to me) quilting blog.

This article really made me think this morning.  Good point of discussion, and I haven’t made it through all 50 comments on this post yet.

If you notice the bottom of this post, she makes reference to a second post about this same thing, and if you read the blog, you’ll find a third post.

I love it when someone puts this much thought into what they’re seeing and expresses it.  This will completely be a new blog of mine to follow.

If you read the article, please don’t get upset unless you’ve gone on to all three posts on this.

The dumbing down of quilting.

What do you think?


14.3 Hoping with the Stars

March 27, 2011

Even though my sleeping problems are still as crappy as they were a week ago, this weekend turned from ‘grumpy monkey’ to ‘hopeful’.

I honestly shouldn’t be around anyone else when I am in grumpy monkey status – thus the week hiatus.

It appears that hope is coming in the form of having a choice, when a week ago, I wasn’t even aware of this choice being available.

But now we have a plan in place, so even if the hope from this weekend doesn’t turn out to be good, a backup plan is in place, which makes me settled, and less grumpy.

That being said, if things happen one way, then this blog/podcast might go even more quiet for a period of time while the dust settles.  If it goes the other way, I should be able to find the time for you all similar to how I am finding time now.

Clear as mud?  Good.


Enough personal life.

Meanwhile, I’ve been on the search for the perfect fabrics for my next quilt, which was referenced in a past post.

The ‘pink quilt’ uses atypical fabrics, which again intrigues me.  Which may be a good departure for me.

And I am learning more and more about EQ7 once I finally settled down into it.

Here is the original block for my pink quilt, castor and pollux, without all the lines needed to paper piece it.

And here is a fabric set that I’ve been debating and debating over, with all the available choices for each fabric.


  • The color hue of the lightest set (on the far left) is the most desired in the middle fabric, but the top fabric has silver sparkles! The one in back has lighter lights (which is desired), but also darker darks (not desired).
  • My favorite two choices for the ‘medium periwinkle’ color are the bottom two, one of which is a fabric that I’ve already used before in my mini black baltimore quilt.  The dark one is electrifying, but almost too dark, and the fabric on top is what I purchased for this quilt, but still wasn’t grabbing me as ‘me me me first!’ as I walked out the quilt shop.
  • My favorite color choice for the ‘medium pink’ is the one on the bottom that has all the little tiny flowers on it.  My only concern is that the lightest lights of this fabric will be too tight and too noticable.

And the dark pink is just lovely!

I am leaning heavily toward THESE colors, although I suspect I could be happy with the other variations too.

So I played around with EQ7 and my images of my fabric seen here as fabric scans and I put all into EQ.

My scale doesn’t exactly match up due to how I ‘scanned the pictures’.  How did I do this?

  1. I took pictures of the fabric,
  2. opened the picture in photo shop,
  3. got the right color/saturation etc
  4. highlighted around the fabric in question,
  5. Copy
  6. New
  7. Paste
  8. Merge Down
  9. Save as (fabric name)
  10. Open the project in EQ7
  11. Libraries
  12. Fabric Library
  13. Import
  14. From Image Files
  15. select image
  16. Open
  17. Add to sketchbook
  18. Work on block
  19. Add color to block
  20. Find the picture in EQ7
  21. Color the block
  22. Save to sketchbook
  23. File
  24. export Image (to show all you)
  25. Work on quilt
  26. Set block
  27. Chose block
  28. Click the tiny triangle on the bottom to get the other color
  29. Set the block in the quilt.
  30. All of them
  31. Set colors for borders.
  32. All of them (missed very outside border here)
  33. Save quilt to sketchbook
  34. File
  35. Export image (to show all of you)

The lightest fabric still is a little dark to my taste.  It may turn out okay though.

Now I’ll have to work on the block and see.


14.2 Exhausted

March 21, 2011

Been wondering why I’ve felt it necessary to volunteer myself to work on Saturdays, usually in exchange for a different day off throughout the week.

And last week’s birthday had me feeling the need to ‘go spend money’ – usually on fabric.

So realistically, I haven’t really been around.

I have finally finished my blocks for the Journey Steps, but I still need to ‘square them up’, make them look pretty, and pray that most of them don’t come back unswapped due to seam allowance failures.

Then I have to put them in baggies, one baggie per set, and label each of the blocks with an address label, which will prevent me from getting my own blocks back (as long as the swap has enough swappers to prevent this from happening, or does not get canceled)

And I keep imagining doing more projects, more of the swaps that are on the sew many swaps board have been catching my eye, even though I was ready a month ago to say 2 and that’s it.

As I was on my ‘fabric bender’ this past weekend, I visited a shop I haven’t been to before, and a shop I’ve only been at once – a year and a half ago.

I found the hexie batik fabric and determined it would be perfect for the borders / backing? of my next scientifically-based podcast project, and then I saw the tiny 1/2 inch hexies and decided huzzah, they would also work for the project better than the larger marti michele piece that I bought a few months ago.

I also started gathering fabrics for a swap based from reds/oranges/yellows, even though I haven’t signed up yet for the swap, the block will be easy like the strip twist block only using 3 fabrics each strip set instead of 4.

And there is less chance of getting these switched backwards, although I have a suspicion I will want to cut up the blocks I receive and then reconstruct it like a bento box kind of design.


Some of the possible cutting will be determined by the swap hostess’s answer to my question about the alternating blocks in the middle.  From the instructions that are currently available, I think the swap is intended to be done with the same 3 fabrics instead of scrappy like the picture above, more like this picture below.


So if I receive blocks like this, I can maybe cut each block vertically and horizontally and then swap out the different quarters that way.

That and there is a simple black and white square in a square swap that is also catching my eye.  But I only have 1 black fabric with white, and one white fabric with black that is actually quilt shop quality.  But if there are 6 people in the swap then I will at least get back 12 different blocks if I only do 1 set, then I can do it without spending any more.

It may even be a good way to really start ramping up paper piecing techniques.

The last thing that I’ve been planning and buying for, is the pink castor and pollux quilt that I posted about a few posts ago.

I bought the light pink background that I am going to use, and now I am awaiting it’s arrival.

In any case, with all the shopping, working saturdays, and future quilt planning, and swapping, I am feeling exhausted.

Since I typically need a saturday to gather my thoughts, and a full sunday to podcast / edit / music /etc, you’ll understand why one isn’t posted here today either.  Working on National Quilting day was non productive for furthering along my quilting, but it made me feel good to help someone else have a day off.  And I got to visit a sweet shop that I hadn’t been to before.

Happy spring Equinox everybody!


14.1 And so it begins …

March 18, 2011

A beginning of a wonderful friendship.

Here’s the first loop.  12 blocks of this pattern, repeated something like 6 or 8 times for each block.  Maybe it’s 10?


Time to get to work.


14.0 Quilting ‘Actual Stars’

March 17, 2011

A couple of days ago on my personal facebook page, I posted a design I had happened to see on an antique geometric website.

The name of the block intrigued me, Castor and Pollux.

Two ‘actual stars’ known by western society as the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini, which have some Greek Mythological roots.

I then decided to tackle EQ7 again, downloading the Castor and Pollux picture from the website above:

and superimposing this picture onto a 10 by 10 grid.

Tackling EasyDraw again, I came up with a very pink variation of the block, and gave myself something that I could paper piece (in theory).

My final version of this block actually has more lines than this (from what I can see here, it’s not putting all the lines in to show the paper piecing version.

Here is my printout of the block, black and white (no color ink)

And since each block is four of the same ‘sub blocks’, here is a sub block printout with notation.


And I thought of a quilt pattern for this block.

So 4 subblocks in a block, and 16 blocks in a quilt.  This is definitely a Long Term Project!

If I decide to do it.


13.9 Swap Strip (Almost) Disaster

March 14, 2011

What I originally thought was a misreading of bonnie’s cutting directions for the Strip Twist swap actually was a mis-looking at pictures.

When you create a strip twist block, you sew light, dark, light, dark strips together, as a strip set of 4 colors.

Then you lay two strip sets, facing each other, one strip with the light on the top (far away from you on the cutting mat), and the other strip set with the light on the bottom (very close to you on the cutting mat).

Then you square up the side, and then make a 45 degree cut.

Then you square up the side, and then make another 45 degree cut.

As long as you are consistent, this should work.

Which is what I did.

When I made my yellow butterfly wallhanging, I did just this, but I had two darks next to each other and two lights.

Here is some commentary on the lights and darks I have in this quilt.

As you can see, when you face all the small triangles next to each other, you end up with the problem of two dark prints next to each other.

Luckily, for a two block mini quilt with applique, I can hide the mistake in the pattern.

When I was sewing these strips together, creating the half blocks, I noticed I had a pinwheel in one rotation on the left, and a different rotation on the right, so I started separating these out.

At the retreat, I almost did this quilt, which is half of the blocks that twist only one way.

Which in itself, isn’t a bad block either.

It has symmetry, and looks pretty nice.

Luckily, I decided to actually look at the website, and figure out why I was only getting half blocks.

Low and behold, there was a problem with how much I was twisting my block.  Apparently, not enough.

Each block did not all have tiny triangles to the center, each block had two in the center, and two outward.

The disaster would occur if I did my blocks this way for a swap, and the other partner did her blocks the correct way, and suddenly my partners would have to figure out how to make it all work.


Crisis averted!  Whew! Here is one set of blocks on my design wall showing the correct flipping pattern.

Luckily, my partners for the swap, both seemed to be very lose with the colors they wanted in return for the swap, so I just made all the blocks for both partners, the same way.

I used the ‘jewel toned theme, and these blocks almost didn’t get sent off (because I loved them). I didn’t expect to like something THIS scrappy.

But I did send off the blocks, and I have heard back from both block recipients and both are happy.

I can’t wait to see what comes back to me.

Now to update the flickr group with these blocks.


13.8 Swap Addiction Anonymous

March 13, 2011

My name is Darla and I may be addicted to these swaps.


Okay, not addicted, but all week, I am working on a block swap with Sew Many Swaps, yahoo group.

I can’t seem to stop, because these blocks are so easy.

You may have seen these blocks in the past posts for the last week.

Here are some mid step blocks ready to be sewn together!

I love organizing for these blocks, getting each block lined up with each other block, the geometric arrangements of my intermediate pieces is very pleasing to me, which is furthering my addiction.

It turns out, it’s a good thing that I like this, because I just read through the directions again and I was thinking that I was done after 6 blocks per set, when in fact, it will be 8 blocks per set.


So I have 6 more blocks to go.  And I’ll have a nice manageable  sized quilt to do with what I wish.  I am even going to incorporate my leftover blocks into the borders!

Or perhaps they are their own quilt.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m eating today, and I’m not sure I am going to leave my sewing room today.

Hope I don’t actually starve, I’m sure I’ll be provided for, but sometime I may need to actually tackle the rest of the house.

Happy happy pretty pretties.

Now to feed my addiction again!


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