Monday, March 27, 2017

Now I Have Some Questions

 OK, everybody, LISTEN UP!   One of my esteemed proofreaders has asked me some very pointed questions about what quilters really know, and how much should I explain, and I need some answers from YOU!  Yup, I really do, because I don't feel the need to explain Every. Little. Thing. That most quilters know just from making quilts.

So answer these four questions for me, please. If I am wrong and you really DON'T KNOW, then I get to eat a whole lot of crow and I have to go back to the drawing board and completely, and fully explain the following concepts:

1. So if I show you this picture and I mention that all fabrics in this photo are the same color, do you believe me, or do you think I am crazy?

2. If I tell you to be careful about making slabs (that are going to be cut up later) with too many small pieces because you'll have to deal with a lot of seams, do you know why? Or do I have to explain it in painstaking detail?

3. How much to I have to explain the "straight of the grain?" Do you understand when I tell you that all these triangles, and the slab from which they have been cut are all made from strips and pieces that have been cut on the grain? (Actually the base of the triangles are all on the straight of the grain. The other two sides are on the bias.)

4. Do you know what "Negative Space" is? And do you understand that in THIS example, it's the black, because I've flipped the values here and the white diamonds are the "thing?"

Look, the tutorial is pretty good, and these questions are things that beginning quilters may not fully understand, but my tute isn't written for rank beginners. I'm assuming that the quilters who read my tutorial aren't hung up with perfectly 'matchy matchy' fabrics or colors; know what the straight of the grain is, and to handle triangles cut from fabric carefully so they don't get distorted. I don't think I need to explain (much) about why you should cut away the selvage before you make blocks and that you know that having lots of seams in a block means it's going to be a bitch to press so it lies flat. I assume you know the difference between Positive space and Negative space (Hint: Positive space is the thing. Negative space is the space around the thing.)

That's it.

And yeah, I guess you could say I've got my back up.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Scrab Slab Tute First Draft

Wow! I've finished the first draft of the new tutorial about the scrap slab quilts. It looks good to me but now it's out to my talented team of proofreaders for their review. They love to skewer me over every comma, phrase and photograph. They'll question my thought process and my sequencing. I'll change stuff because they've made good points, and I resist when I don't agree. Believe it or not, it's a lot of fun and a real learning experience for me.

When they're done with it I'll polish it up, publish it as a PDF file and put it up for sale on my Etsy shop. It'll be a downloadable file like the others. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Got Questions?

When I made the scrap slabs for my scrap triangle quilts, I didn't make enormous slabs and then cut them down. It didn't take me long to figure out that I only needed to make them taller than the triangle. But sometimes I'd make a slab it would be too small. 

So I cut some triangle shapes out of scrap fabric (the light fabric here) and moved them around on the slab to figure out the most efficient way to cut my triangles. In the example above, it looks like I can't get two full triangles without adding something to one edge.  But a little creative thinking proved me wrong.

I just flipped the triangles, and was able to cut two of them out of this slab as it was.

That's two great hints. What else do you want to know? You've all watched me make these quilts since last fall. I know what I think I want to say, but my readers always have really great questions I would never have thought to ask.

So here's your chance. What do you want to know? If you could ask me a question about how I make my quilts, what would it be? Leave it in the comments and I'll try to answer.

Thanks and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Working on the New Tute

As I promised, I am working on the tutorial for the Scrap Slab Triangle Quilts.

Since I decided to write this tutorial, I've been taking photos as I made the last two scrap slab quilts (Treasure Trove and Snow Day) and now I'm arranging the photos in sequence. When I think I've got the story told in pictures, I'll start adding words and then the fun really begins.

It will take a couple of weeks, so if I go quiet you'll know why.

I also have to do my taxes. (bleh)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Whack Upside the Head

I try.

I really do.

But there are times I forget that, as my friend the Selvage Fairy says, "You know more than you think you know," and it takes a comment or email from a curious reader to bring me back to reality. Which is a good thing for all of us.

For those of you confused by the term "WOF" on yesterday's post, let me elaborate.  It means "Width Of Fabric."

When I sewed the backings together for the Fruit Loops and Snow Day quilts, I had bought 6 yards of the backing fabric for each. I threw the fabric in my washer and dryer, then ironed it. I folded it in half lengthwise and cut it into two pieces. I rearranged the fabric so the two pieces were side-by-side and the pattern was going in one direction. Then I sew the two pieces together using a large, 1-1/2" seam (about 4 cm). Then, before pressing the seam open, I trim away the selvages on that long seam.

Make sense now?

Thank you, Joan from Scotland.

If I at any time make reference to something you don't understand, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email (patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com) and I'll do my best to enlighten you.

And I'll eat my share of crow if needed.

dunno where I found this, but it's appropriate.

Thanks for reading.  Really!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Backing Backing Backing

My least favorite part of making a quilt is getting the backing ready. Not because it is difficult, but it is just such a pain to wrangle so much fabric around.

But with the studio clean and the Green Barn block finished, it was time to get going on the backings for the three triangle scrap slab quilts. For the Treasure Trove quilt, I picked a large print, so that was easy, two WOF pieces sewn together.

For Snow Day, I had to shop for the backing. I usually like large prints, but I like the backing to relate to the front, and it was not that easy. The usual things I liked didn't seem to work, but this fabric did. It's low key and yet has the same colors in the quilt, so it was a go. Again, this was two WOF pieces sewn together, but here I made sure to match the pattern so it would look like one piece of fabric.

 For the Fruit Loops quilt, I couldn't find one big print I liked, so I bought equal amounts of three fabrics whose colors were represented in the quilt. Yesterday I ironed them all and set them out on the studio floor. Now I just have to figure out a not stupid way to arrange them. That ought to be interesting. We all know where that got me last time.

Anyway, this will be a good job done. Next up is to write a class description, plan and supply list for the Barns class I will teach at Quilted Threads in June.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Peppermint Swirl in the Snow

OK, maybe not IN the snow, but ON it. You can see the quilting and the backing in this.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Green Barn by the Town Line

The Green Barn is done.

I decided to use the big print because the barn is surrounded by trees, and this print conveys that. Viewers from outside New England ask why our barns are so close to the roads. Gee, I don't know, but I can tell you that New England is small, and the terrain is rarely flat. Barns here often have two levels because they are built on the side of a hill. So it is with this barn. The left side is at ground level,and the right side is not. That light area under the right side of the barn is the lower level foundation. The smaller green below the big leaf print is my attempt to suggest small bushes and shrubs in front of the larger trees behind. You can find a photo of the inspiration barn here.

The block is quite large, 32" tall by 36" wide (about 81cm x 91cm).

Friday, March 17, 2017

On The Table

Here's the Peppermint Swirl quilt on my dining room table. I was pleased as I was designing it to discover how perfectly it fit on the table.

As I've been showing this to friends and coworkers since I finished it, they've all asked where this one is going. "It's staying with me," I say.

"I'd keep it too," most of them have replied.

The idea for this quilt came a little over a year ago when I was talking to my friend Julie and I told her I wanted to make a red and white quilt for my table to use in February, as an homage to Valentine's Day. I didn't have enough reds then, and didn't have any idea of a design. When I don't know where I'm going, I don't just jump in. I set the idea aside to germinate and grow. The idea percolated in the back of my head until August and September, when I finally got fabric and got going.

I remember when I was making it and I just wasn't sure it was working at all. Check out this post, and this one, when I finally got it. I didn't give up, I didn't settle. I just kept pushing. I knew there was a great quilt in there somewhere.

Now it's in great company. Literally!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Peppermint Swirl, done.

I don't usually finish the binding on a quilt in one day, but if you're snowed in, and something good is on TV, it helps.

I would like to take beauty shots of this quilt in the new snow.

Happy Birthday Rubylocks!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snowy Day

What do you do when you're staying home because you are supposed to get 16-24" (41-61 cm) of snow? The New York Times has a complete list you can read about here. As for me...

You bake cookies. I like these Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies.

You work on a quilt. Here I am sewing the binding on the Peppermint Swirl quilt.

You watch TV. I'm a tennis fan, and will be watching the matches at Indian Wells in California. As I write this I am watching the reruns from last night. These matches will take place later today.

Speaking of Snow Days...

When I was in California we had dinner with my brother, who was driving up to Yosemite from Mexico. I was showing him photos of my recent quilts and he said if he didn't have this one, Triangle Dance, he would ask for my newest, Snow Day, which he really liked.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Back in the Saddle...

OK, I'm home from sunny California. I've unpacked, done the laundry and put everything away. I've done the groceries, paid the bills, cleaned the litter boxes, and planned the menus for the week. I've made granola and I have bread rising as I write this. I've also changed all the clocks and given Millie enough attention to last her maybe an hour. Amazingly enough she stuck to me like glue the night I got back, and even slept beside me, which she never does.

I'm making the binding for the Peppermint Candy (Peppermint Swirl?) quilt. With the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on TV this week, I won't be short of something to watch while I hand stitch the binding down.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Home Again

My little grandbaby loves me. After giving her a bit of time to get used to having me around, she warmed up and smiled whenever I approached her. That was the best thing.

Here are all of us before we went on a walk along the beach.

Along "the Strand" in Manhattan Beach, the houses that faced the beachfront had various styles of privacy walls. This was by far the most interesting.

This gives you an idea of the scale. It was in the 50's and quite windy on this day.

I think Little Miss loved the hat I bought her.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Color Inspiration & California So Far

As my family and I were walking along the beachfront houses I saw these fabulous flowers, and thought the colors were amazing. Who would have thought the almost black succulent would have such a brilliant yellow green flower? It's even more amazing next to the hot pink flowers and the warm blue of the house behind.

We'd seen the same plant at the Arboretum a day before, and its colors had excited me then too.

The cacti are pretty amazing. This one was easily eighteen feet tall.

It rained yesterday. Very. Big. Deal. So unlike the California of my memory, this one is green. There is green everywhere. The grass is green, the flowers are blooming and there are actually weeds growing!

I've been eating some wonderful food too. I always try to eat things I could never get at home. The Carne Asada breakfast burrito at Phanny's was a revelation,

as was the cornflake crusted French Toast and Coconut curd at Manhattan House in Manhattan Beach. When the waiter came by to ask how the food was, I told him the Chef should be kissed it was so good!

And I just loved the Tortilla Scramble at the Ocean Diner. I took a picture of the description in the menu, because even though I knew I'd never be able to duplicate it exactly, it was something I want to try when I am back home.

I met a fellow Patriots fan while we were in Long Beach the other day, and was introduced to his two Airdales, one of whom was named.... Tom Brady, so the T-shirt has been a hit.

I've also had lunch with another California friend and quilter and spent a lot of time playing with the baby.

Funniest thing so far... was talking to somebody and somehow it came out that I was not a native Californian and would be going back to chilly New Hampshire soon.  This person's reply:

"Well, why would you want to do that?"

Why indeed.