Friday, November 16, 2018

Almost Ready, but Not Quite



I went shopping after work last night, and chose my new refrigerator. I got a big one. Mine will be stainless steel, not this slate gray. They will deliver it the day after Thanksgiving, which is great, so I don't have to take a day off from work for that.

It's nice and bright inside too. Everything is looking good.

I found some wallpaper to cover up the house's original wallpaper that will be exposed when my dad and I remove the cabinet that's right above the sink.  

and then I looked at my front door.

Hmm.

I got out the measuring tape.

Double hmm.

To get the new fridge in my house the guys will have to remove the refrigerator doors, and then they'll have about a quarter inch of leeway to get it in. AND that's after I remove the storm door.

(grumble.)

Naturally a smaller fridge will fit smoothly through my front door.

Must do some serious thinking. Also, research.

 (Insert eight hours. The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that I posted the first part of this last night, and took it down this morning. Here is Part two.)

After reading about the proper way to measure the space for a new refrigerator, I went over and had a look at mine. Sure enough, the upper cabinet was far enough away from the wall for the new fridge to fit, but alas the countertop of the lower cabinet stuck out into that space by one inch. DAMN! That was the nail in the coffin. New refrigerator had to go!

Thank goodness for the internet. I found a smaller fridge that WOULD fit, both in the space where I want it to go and through the front door. It is bigger than my current fridge but smaller than the other one. The fact that it cost $250 less than the other one didn't hurt either. The "new" fridge has an in-door water dispenser and ice maker, which I do not need.  But here's the funniest thing. The SAME refrigerator, without the ice maker was $600 MORE and back-ordered for three weeks. Sigh.

So after shoveling five-eight inches of snow in the driveway and getting myself to work I called the store and made the switch. The new new fridge will be delivered next week, so that's nice.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Fridge


My refrigerator is making funny noises. It sounds like it's groaning, and not consistently. I had a repair guy come over and look at it yesterday and he said it could be two things. 1. the fan. The fan is easy to replace. 2. the compressor. If the compressor is on the fritz, then I need a new refrigerator. We tried shifting it a bit, and when I woke up in the middle of the night, it was groaning. When I got home after work, stuff inside was freezing. 


 So I guess I'm in the market for a new fridge. Which is not all that bad considering I can't stand the one I have.  The biggest problem is the small space it has to fit in. I need a fridge that is less than 33" wide and 65" tall. Fact is, I can't find a decent one that short. It looks like I will have to remove the cabinet that is above the refrigerator. No big deal, because I'm so short I can't use it anyway!


I spent a lot of time last night looking at refrigerators on line and I might end up with one of these three. Gonna go shopping this weekend.

Sigh.

Oh, and we're supposed to have 5 - 8 inches of snow Thursday night into Friday.

Funny but that doesn't freak me out as much as the idea of a new refrigerator does.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Binding Tutorial is LIVE!



I am happy to announce that Lynne's Binding Tutorial is now LIVE! You can find it here in my Etsy shop.   (the link works now.)

It's 60 pages long and filled with color photographs. I give suggestions on choosing fabric for the binding, tell you how to know how many strips to cut, how to join the strips invisibly, and how to apply it to your quilt and how to do the finish sewing by hand AND by machine. I talk about using a hanging sleeve, how to keep your binding full, how to sew it on the quilt and keep it straight, flat and even! I have tips and tricks to make joining the ends easier and how to "wrangle" a quilt! I even  show you the tools I use and some of the nifty ones that come from the big-box hardware store!

And Sandra, using a walking foot is a terrific idea if your sewing machine has trouble dealing with the bulk of attaching binding to a quilt. I've used a walking foot many times, but now with my Bernina and Elna sewing machines, I don't have to. Like I say in the tutorial: Use whatever works!

It's an instant download, so you can get it right away.

My next trick: the backing of my Early Autumn quilt!

Tough Love

Some quilts are made to be loved. The really LUCKY quilts are destined for tough love. They'll be slept with, dragged all over heck, and get thrown in the washer on a regular basis. These are the quilts that get dirty, and get covered in dog or cat hair, get barfed on, spilled on and suffer all kinds of indignities in the name of love.

For quilts like this, I machine sew the binding in place on the front of the quilt. One of my pals asked what it looked like on the back.

Here are three of my quilts that have had the finish binding sewn on by machine. This photo shows the back. You can see my machine stitches. These quilts have also been washed many times.

My friend Mary made me laugh when she wrote this after seeing the picture above:

Gerald Roy may be wowed by the front of your quilt, but I'm wowed by the back. Anyone who can get machine stitching to march along evenly on both sides of a quilt has clearly established her bona fides.

Well, I HAVE bound over 310 quilts.

The tutorial is 98% complete. All that's left is a review of some formatting, making sure the text boxes, photographs, headers and footers are centered on the pages, and stuff like that. It's 60 pages chock full of information, including the stuff they never tell you, all in excruciating detail, and all with full color step by step photographs. It's been reviewed by my great editing team: Julie Sefton, Megan Fisher, Mary Lorimor and Allison Tom.

Oh geez. Now I have to write a description of it for Etsy...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Critical Edit


The binding tutorial is going through its final edits. Allison sent me an email titled CRITICAL EDIT.

"One thing I forgot to add in my last comments...

How do you do the hand stitching on the binding without stabbing the cat in your lap???"

I'm pretty sure she was joking, but still. If you have cats and you make quilts you know they are a combination that goes together like salt and pepper.

The cat in the photo above is Gizzy, the cat who came before Millie. As you can see from the photo, Gizzy was one relaxed, trusting cat. There was not much that fazed him. I was hand sewing the binding down on the front of this small quilt (chessboard, actually) when I got to his ear, which was in the way.

"Hey, Gizzy, you gotta move."

Gizzy did not move.

So I tapped his ear with my finger. He moved it out of the way. When I had stitched past his ear, I tapped it again, and he put it back where it was.

I was close to the corner of the quilt. I'm pretty sure that I got to the corner, and shifted the quilt counterclockwise, so I could turn the corner and work on the other side. Gizzy was the kind of cat who would simply get up, move to where he wanted to be, and plop himself down again without any fuss.

Other cats may not be so accomodating.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

ColorWash Diamond Quilt Backing

After I finish a quilt top I put it aside, and don't even shop for backings or the binding until later.  I finished the scrappy diamond colorwash quilt in August, and didn't select the backing fabric until October.

I think this is a great combination.
 

I'm working on the edits for the binding tutorial. I hope to have it ready soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Duck, Duck, Tin

I bought this little paper mache duck box about 34 years ago at a gift shop in California. I use it to store my hand sewing tools.

Inside are a couple of different thimbles, some tiny sharp scissors, a small container of pins, a few needle threaders (my favorite is the bug shaped one that has a light), a seam ripper and my hand sewing needles. I wish I could tell you what kind and what size I use, but I don't know. I like them fine and sharp.

I call this box the Mending Duck because there are a few buttons in there too. I've long forgotten where the buttons go, but I find them charming, so there they live. 

The Mending Duck normally rests on my bureau in my bedroom along with my collection of small interesting boxes. It moves to wherever I want to do some hand sewing. Because it is rather handsome, it looks nice wherever it is, and because it is so unique, it's easy to find if I forget where I put it.

The Mending Duck clearly isn't for traveling. I have a small tin that I have converted to a "portable duck."

As you can see, it was originally a chocolate tin. You can find these anywhere. I found one at the Getty Center last summer (not this one.)

I put one of those sticky magnet things on the cover to hold my steel pins and a needle. As you can see I also have scissors, needle threader, seam ripper and a bit of thread. It's small, light and works like a charm. If I lost it, or anything in it, it's easy enough to replace. I probably wouldn't get this through airport security, but if this was traveling with me, it would be inside my checked luggage.

At any rate, this is part of the binding tutorial, which has moved to the editing stages.



Sunday, November 4, 2018

At Last... RED!

It rained most of October, and the wind and rain knocked the leaves off the trees so the fall foliage in this area didn't live up to expectations.  But this morning the sun came out, and I was treated to this view! FINALLY! A tree that turned beautifully RED!


I'm still working on the binding tutorial. I've sent previews to my "editors" and have already received some terrific feedback. One important note is that my binding tutorial will be for quilts with straight edges and 90-degree corners!


Friday, November 2, 2018

Binding Along, and Oops!

Nobody's perfect, and that includes me. Can you see the goof in the photo above? Let me make it bigger for you.

There are two stitches that came through the front of the binding as I was hand sewing it down.

I included this photo in my tutorial about binding because sometimes we have to not take everything so damn seriously.

"Only you can decide it this is worth ripping out and doing it over." I write in the tutorial.  "I had already stitches several inches to the left of this boo-boo when I noticed it. As I get older, my vision isn't quite what it used to be, so I cut myself some slack. This quilt was intended to be a couch quilt, so I left it alone."

It's important to know what's really important and what isn't. When I went looking for this particular mistake to take a picture of it, I couldn't find it. I know some quilters say that if you can't see the mistake from a horse galloping twenty feet away then you should leave it, but that's just a bit too cavalier for me. I'm a bit fussier than that, but I do have my limits. If this quilt had been intended as a show quilt, or if I had been making it on commission, I would have removed my stitching and fixed it.

However, a very wise woman once said to me, "You're making something by hand. Always leave the evidence of your hand in your work. You don't want people thinking this was made by a machine."

I like knowing that goof is in the quilt. Maybe someday my niece will notice it and think, "Oh look, Auntie was here."

Ultimately, that's the real goal. So this "oops" moment is a little prize. A little jewel of imperfection and the ultimate evidence that a real live breathing person made that quilt.



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Binding Tute & Class


You'd think binding a quilt would be easy, but nope! There are a myriad of things that can go wrong.

I'm writing a tutorial about binding a quilt. It will include everything I know about how to do it so it lies flat, is even and the stitching is invisible. I've talked about how I do it on this blog so many times that I can summarize it in 81 words. The tutorial is 41 pages long and counting, so clearly there is more to it that that!. I'll show you how every single thing I do sets me up for success. I know lots of little tips that can make the task easier.

How do I know this?

At this writing I have bound over 310 quilts. That means I have made 310 invisible joins and mitered 1,240 corners. I'm kind of an expert.

The binding tute isn't ready yet. It needs another two weeks of writing and then it will run the gauntlet of my four editors, Julie, Allison, Megan and Mary. They will beat me up and I will fight back, object, and eventually give in. Or not. But each one of them brings a terrific skill to the process and have helped me make my tutorials clear and concise. That process typically takes a month. So look for the finished tutorial round about the middle of December. Don't worry. You'll hear about it here first.

And here's the exciting news. I'll be teaching a Binding class at Quilted Threads sometime in 2019.


I thought you'd like a little taste, so here's a binding hint. When you are mitering a corner, (as in the photo above,) use a small, flat, thin object, like the tip of a seam ripper to hold down one side of the binding while you fold the other side over to make a  mitered corner. It helps reduce the bulkiness that can happen there.

Monday, October 29, 2018

I Am A Bowl Freak, Part 2

I love bowls, especially the big decorative ones that are designed for your dining room table. I have a few of them, and you can read about them here. Now that I have finished the October table quilt, I need a bowl for it, so I went to Home Goods this morning.

I found these two leaf shaped glass bowls for eight bucks each. The green fabric scraps are fabrics I used in the Early Autumn quilt.  Yup. That was easy.

Here are the bowls on the Fall House Top quilt I use for November. They're more like small platters.

 I think they are going to be better on the Early Autumn quilt, but speaking of leaves...

This was the view outside my living room window on Sunday afternoon.

I created a Blog Page that shows all my table quilts. You can find it here. There is also a link on the header.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Creative Process Crossroads


My pal Julie sent this to me the other day and I thought it was terrific, so I had to share it with you. I'm (clearly) in the group jumping hurdles and hang gliding off the cliff to the right...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Questions & Answers, Part Two

Yesterday I shared some of my responses to comments about my Early Autumn quilt. Here are more.

Jean wrote, "Since you like to be closed in by evergreens, you should enjoy western WA or western OR. Over the Cascade Mountains on the east side we seem to be able to see forever!"

This is Mt Hood in Oregon.

Actually Jean, I have family in Hood River Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. It's one of my favorite parts of the country. Driving east along SR14 on my way to visit the Maryhill Museum, I got a glimpse of those vast expanses you mentioned. And being able to see Mt Hood from... everywhere? Priceless.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Robby wrote, "[You] got me thinking about light in the forest. If you make one of those background trees in that block lighter or partially so, will it look like the sun streaming into the forest?"


Well Robby, the answer is a big "maybe." Look at the picture above. Look at it QUICKLY, then look away. What part of it did your eye go to first? It went to the lightest white tree in the middle right part of the picture. You can argue you didn't notice it first, but you are MISTAKEN! It is the way the BRAIN works. You have no control over it. Your eye (anybody's eye) will be drawn to the area of highest contrast first. Artists know that, and they use that to manipulate what your eye goes to first when it looks at something.

There's one tiny problem though. A very bright area surrounded by much darker stuff can occasionally look like a hole. That is bad. So the artist has to be very careful with the placement of "the lightest light" in a piece of art. In my quilt, I wasn't interested in how the light looks as it is filtered through trees in a forest or the woods. I simply wanted green and color. I was not interested in creating a three-dimensional space either. I just wanted to play with the repeating tall triangle shape of the trees and the colors of fall to suggest "Early Autumn."

Notice I said "suggest." I didn't want to hit you over the head with it. I wanted to capture the feeling of the woods in early autumn. I didn't need the "gimmicks," the pumpkins, corn stalks, or cabins in the woods. That would have weakened the graphic quality of the quilt and made it "cute." For the record, I hate, loathe and despise "cute" (except where small children and my granddaughter are concerned). I do not make "cute" quilts. Cute is for six year olds and I am not six.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Three days into my work on this quilt, Rita commented, "I love tree quilts very much. When I look at this one it is, I'm afraid to say, depressing. It is the colors; the trees are mostly dark..."

Rita was right. It WAS mostly dark, but three days into this I had not yet found my feet, and did not know where this was going. My immediate reaction to this comment was, "Rita, gimme a break, I haven't got started yet." Sometimes there is a point in the creation of a piece of art that it just looks like crap and doesn't seem to have any potential whatsoever. That's not a bad place for me, because it's at that place where I do my best creative thinking. My breakthrough came three days later.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 Alice wrote, "I do hope you will do a tutorial on this one. Will put it in my "definitely want to try."

Dear Alice, making free pieced trees is pretty easy and I'm betting you could find a how-to on the internet without too much trouble. After making this quilt and hearing how everybody likes my overlapping trees... I think I will write a short tree-making tutorial that will include how to make overlapping trees. However, do not expect full blown instructions on how to make the entire quilt.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Yesterday Sue asked, "If you use it as a tablecloth do you use batting? And is it flat enough to put glasses and such on it?"


Yes, Sue, The quilts I use as table covers all have batting and are quilted and finished like normal quilts. I have one of those plastic flannel backed tablecloths underneath the quilt, to protect my mahogany table from spills. Sometimes I use coasters underneath glasses and I have been known to use placemats on top of the quilt if I am really worried about something spilling or staining.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the very first day I blogged about making a tree quilt, my pal Julie wrote. "I am VERY sure that your tree quilt is going to be a knockout!"

My first thought was how nice it was that my best friend had such faith in me. Then I thought, oh hell, how am I going to that?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love reading all your comments. They tell me whether what ends up in the quilt is what I had in my head when I conceived it. Just because I think it's there doesn't mean it really is. I need to see it through your eyes. Thanks.









Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lynne Answers Your Questions

I love reading your comments, both the ones at the bottom of my posts and those of you who email me privately. I welcome all your comments, and I thought you'd like to hear my reaction to some of the ones I have received while I made the Early Autumn quilt.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Sunday, Starr wrote: "I certainly did not mean to criticize your design or cause you any angst. I was just trying to understand more about your use of color, which is so wonderful!"



Dear Starr, don't apologize for your comment or your observation. You were absolutely correct. I had thought removing the white tree would fix the problem, but it didn't. The angst was all mine. I tell everybody all the time that we know when it's right, and we know when it's wrong, but when we're not sure, it helps to have another opinion. I had been on the fence about it, and your comment made me take a second look. Thank you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Judy asked, "Can you make a block with 3 trees overlapping? Or trim both sides of 2 trees and stick a smaller one between them to give the depth of looking into the forest???"  

      

Hi Judy, CAN I? Sure I can make 3 overlapping trees, however in order to show one is in front of another, or that two are in front of a third, you have to use your fabrics and colors correctly. Remember this general rule: "Dark areas recede, bright areas come forward"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Melanie made my day with this comment: "This is an out of the box layout for me. I'm very much an "ordered" layout person. I appreciate seeing things presented in different ways and this is going to be very nice. Also, thanks for using the word "comprise" correctly."

Dear Melanie, It's an out-of-the-box layout for me too, but I've come to learn that creativity isn't always neat, logical or ordered. Also, I've never received a compliment for my grammar, so thanks! I'm sure it's due to a lifelong love of reading.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TEM Austin wrote: "This is very interesting... I love it that you show how your mind works and why you do what you do when. I do a lot of improv but I never seem to think it thru like you do."


 Dear TEM Austin, I never think of myself as an improv quilter. I never start without an idea and just see where my whimsy takes me. I always have an idea, and I follow where it leads, changing direction as necessary and as needed. I've said it before, "what the quilt wants, the quilt gets." Quilts, like any other kind of artwork, make demands of the artist as the work progresses and each decision depends on the ones that came before it, and limit and inform the ones that come after. Thinking these decisions through is vital. Nothing in my quilts, not the fabric, the shapes, the design or the colors, is willy-nilly. I think about, and plan, everything. Every. Single. Thing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

SewGirl writes: "I was going to suggest you just make a bunch of table runners!! But you obviously know what you're doing... "

Dear SewGirl, Thanks for the vote of confidence, but until I found my way in this quilt, I didn't know what the hell I was doing at all! I was just blundering around. The difference is that after creating for over forty years, "blundering around" doesn't frighten or intimidate me in the least. After forty years of making art I have learned to trust my instincts and my process. I have always "figured it out" in the past, and I know I will again.

Along the same lines, Linda wrote: "I like the grouping of trees together, mixing the sizes and adding in more of the reds. What a difference from where you started. Not sure I have the same patience..."

Linda, as a quilter, I am sure you have heard people say, "How long did this quilt take to make?" and "How many pieces does it have in it?" Then they'll say, "Oh, you have so much patience." I don't care how long it took. I don't care how many pieces it has, and I don't think you need patience if you're doing something you love. I love solving creative problems, so for me "patience" is not a requirement." (Actually it's more of a "I am going to figure this damn thing out if it's the last thing I do kinda thing.")

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, That's it for tonight. I'll have more for you tomorrow!