Monday, February 8, 2016

Slashed Squares Redux

This is the Slashed Squares flimsy. I brought it with me up to Quilted Threads today so I could find backing fabric for it.

As you all know, when I go over the top, I keep going.

Here's the fabric I chose for the backing. I also bought some of that wild green for the binding!

I also dropped off two quilts with birds on them to help promote the "Birds, Birds, Birds" class, which will be held on May 14. The class was announced on Monday. On Thursday I got an email asking if I wanted to limit the class size to 12, or did I want to fill it up? I said, "Fill it up! More students = more energy = more excitement = more ideas = more fun!"  Then I reread the email. There were 10 students signed up already!!! Holy cow! 

"Wow, ten students in four days!" I commented to Sharon while she was cutting my fabric on Saturday.

"Try ten students in one morning!" Sharon replied. We even had one person call us before we were open.  Two ladies just signed up, so you have sixteen. They were all chomping at the bit. It's obvious they were watching your blog."

"Well, if you get more interest, just schedule another class," I told her. 

How exciting! I've already started working out the class plan in my head. If you're one of the sixteen or more who'll be there on May 14th, I can't wait!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The iPad Dilemma

Last summer I won an iPad.

I didn't know what to do with it.

Yeah, I know.

My son told me, "Mom, I'd give my left garfinkle for an iPad."

Eventually I figured it out. I loved reading my Kindle books on it. I loved surfing the internet on it, I loved FaceTiming with my son and DIL on it, and I liked reading magazines on it. The biggest thing I loved was the New York Times Cooking app. I have zillions of recipes at my fingertips, and the iPad was easy to set up in the kitchen to use as I cooked. I loved taking pictures and having the beautiful, BIG pictures of my quilts available on the iPad. I loved "watching" TV or whatever.

There was one problem. Actually, two.

First, I have a digital subscription to the New York Times, which I love, but I couldn't have it on three devices without spending more money.  Bleh. (I have it on my iPhone, and I love it there, and on my laptop.)

Second, the iPad I won had a 16 GB hard drive. Which I filled up in no time flat.

Over time, of course, the damn thing grew on me, and I neglected my laptop in favor of the iPad, but that meant I wasn't reading as much of the New York Times as I liked.

Something had to change.

The answer was obvious when my son, who works for Apple Care, reminded me of his 25% discount on Apple products. A week ago we placed my order for a larger iPad. His discount allowed me to get an even bigger one.  As we were placing the order he asked, "Mom, do you want it engraved?"


WHY would I want it engraved? And WHAT would I have on it?  I quickly ran into the studio, to look at the inspiration wall to see if I could find anything good. It was 11:15 PM on a work night. I was tired and eager for bed. I saw this, a note my son left for me one night about ten years ago. I can't remember what led to it, but when your kid leaves you a note like this, you keep it. (I mean, like, DUH!)

Well! All I had to do (after parting with some serious $$$) was wait.

They shipped it the next day, and I was able to track the package from China to Korea, where it sat for three days. The expected delivery date went from Feb 8th to the 9th.  I was bummed. Suddenly Thursday night it was in Anchorage Alaska, and the new expected delivery date was Friday - yesterday.

It arrived just before lunch. I couldn't do anything with it other than ogle the message on the back.

Guess who's getting the old one?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Birds Have Flown the Coop

This is the backing for the Birds quilt, Flight of Fancy. It's on its way to Tennessee to be quilted by Chris Ballard. I am very excited.


For those of you in the Philadelphia area, I'll be teaching the Birds, Birds, Birds class in Glenside PA on Saturday June 25th!  I'll have more details shortly, but if you're in that area and want to learn how to make free pieced birds and give them some personality, I'd love to see you there. The Flight of Fancy quilt and some others will be there for you to see in person.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Beating the Winter Blues

I love Amaryllises.  When the company I work for was in our "old" building (we've been where we are now for 18 years) I had a south facing office with an ten foot wide by eight foot tall window. There was a nice wide brick windowsill.  The first year I worked there I bought an Amaryllis bulb from the grocery store and put it on my desk. Every year I'd get another one. I'd buy them on sale at the end of the season, when they were marked down. I figured out early on how to get them to come back every year**, so after I'd been there eight years I had a big collection and my coworkers used to come to see them every day. One year I had a red one that had two stems (a rarity) with six huge blossoms on each stem. I have pictures, but they're packed away.

When the company moved to the new building I was in a cube farm with no windows. The Amaryllises languished. With a pair of cats at home growing a tall plant was risky too.

My new house has a wall facing south, with very good light, so when the garden catalogs started arriving at Christmas offering beautiful varieties of Amaryllises I'd never seen before, I had to indulge.

They were almost prohibitively expensive - at least three times what the ones in the grocery store cost - but each of them have had three stalks of flowers, and the fourth has two, so that was a real bonus.

One of them grew spectacularly tall right away, three stalks of beautiful striped flowers.

I had to order special stakes to hold them up. It's a good thing. The stake on this one is 16" tall and as you can see, it barely reaches high enough!

 This beauty is called "Santiago", and although the flower itself is smaller than the normal Amaryllis blossom, it's quite spectacular.

Here it is next to another one. The striped ones tend to bloom first, then the whites, and the reds are the slowest. The one on the right is a deep red one and as you can see that has three stalks as well. I can't wait to see that one, but it has been a real pleasure to have these growing in the house and blooming during these cold months.

**UPDATE... 9:00 PM....
Here is a link with information to get your Amaryllis to bloom again next year. Click here.

I bought these four Amaryllis bulbs from White Flower Farm.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Mini Slashed Squares

I've worked out a mini version of the Slashed Squares. It works out to about 7" square when it's finished.

Start with a 4" square and surround it with 2-1/2" strips.

 When you cut it apart, cut it 4" away from the edge (1-1/4" away from the inner seam.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Of Birds, Eggs & Signatures

When Gerald Roy first appraised my quilts he asked if I signed them. I replied that I did, and I showed him. "Not big enough" was his comment.  Since then I've made sure to make them "big enough."

 This will be on the back of the birds quilt, Flight of Fancy.

Can you see what the letter fabric is? They're not rocks.

they're EGGS!! I thought it was perfect. This will be the binding of the quilt too.

The rest of the backing will be these green leaves.

 And, of course, there had to be a bird! (Yes, the beak is the egg fabric).

And if you don't think the signature is big enough, check it out next to my hand.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flimsy Complete

Here's a photo of the rumpled flimsy.

Here it is on the front steps. A bit too much shade, and it was hard to arrange the quilt without making marks in the snow,

or finding a spot without shadows,

or this! LOL!

You just have to be very persistent.

I started cutting fabrics for this quilt on 16 January, and the flimsy is complete on 24 January. (Remember I work full time.) I'm going to take a break!  See you in a few days. I've got backing and binding fabric for the birds quilt, and will be making a signature panel for the back of it.  Don't worry. All will be revealed.

Now I have to clean the house!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One by One by One

One of the reasons this quilt is so quick to make is the finished blocks are 14" square (35.56 cm). Here is my hand next to one of them.

Now the long, boring process of sewing the blocks into rows and the rows together begins.

This is the first four rows of the quilt all sewn together. That's all that will fit on my design wall. (sideways!)

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Layout

Once your blocks are all sewn together, arrange them in a layout. For me, working on the floor is easier. The blocks are large, and would require a very large design wall to have room for them all, and I'd have to be getting up and down a ladder to arrange them, and that gets old fast***.

Arrange the blocks. Here I have 6 rows of 5 blocks each. Rotate the blocks to your heart's content.

Make sure you don't have any "blobs" or areas of too many darks or brights next to each other. Strive for a flow of some sort. Try to distribute colors and values so your eye doesn't stop moving around. (If it stops, it's stuck, and that's bad.) Be patient. It took me over an hour to get this far, and looking at this photo as I write this post, I see a block in a place I don't like. (I've just moved it. Twice.)

Now all I have to do is sew it up!

***In my old place, the dining room had a linoleum floor, so I'd lay them out there. That posed two problems.

One problem was my cat Millie, who loved nothing more than to play "slip and slide" over all the pieces. To counteract that, I took lots of pictures. But now Millie is older and less interested, and I live in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting throughout.

The second problem was getting up and down from the hard floor. If you're of a certain age, you know what I mean. The fix was surprisingly simple. A length of 1/2" PVC pipe with a crutch tip at the end. I could hold one end of the pipe, and select and drag the block along the slippery floor. The soft plastic crutch tip caught the fabric, and allowed me to drag, place and spin the block into position while standing up.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Slice & Dice; Mix & Match

OK, you've made all your square-in-square blocks. Place a block on your cutting mat, and line up your 6-1/2" wide cutting ruler along the left edge of the block. But don't cut yet. It's more important the center square is perfect when the pieces are sewn up, so make your cut 2-1/4" away from the seam. Cut the block along this line. Do not move the fabric.

Now place your ruler alongside the bottom edge, and slice through it, again, 2-1/4" away from the seam between the center block and the outer square.

Slice through all your blocks this way.


Now mix and match your pieces, and reconstruct the blocks any way you like. Try for a good balance of color and value. Try not to make any particular block too dark or too light.

 If you're worried about sewing your blocks up one at a time and ending up with some ugly blocks at the end, you can lay out your all your blocks so you can rearrange them before you start to sew them up. Or not.

Sew your new rearranged blocks together.

Have some fun. There are no rules.

Here are a few of the blocks I sewed together.


Try to avoid doing this:

when you should be doing this:

Have yourself some fun! See you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I'll Show You Mine...

Here are my sixteen blocks with the busy fabrics on the outside.

Kinda crazy, huh?  Yup, I like them too.

So here are the same 32 fabrics with the "calm" fabrics on the outside.

(Yes, I can hear you all saying... "But Lynne, that acid green Ogee patterned print in the top row of the second photo is hardly what I would describe as a 'calm' print...") It's true. Sometimes the "calm" prints can be a bit noisy. But that's not always a bad thing.

Next up, we are going to cut these suckers apart...

You will need a 6-1/2" wide x 24" cutting ruler. Fortunately, most of you already have one in your studios.  So, make your Square in Square blocks and I'll see you tomorrow for the next step!