Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

It's Megan, from Sydney, Australia.

Yes, Megan from Sydney Australia! Megan who wrote the story of Albert Cosny, this bird:

I think Albert Cosny is more of a white-shoe kinda bird.

Hailing from Belle Fontaine, Alabama, Albie has made a name for himself in the jazz clubs of Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. Although he sings a number of Sinatra songs in his sets, he has styled himself more closely on Barry Manilow, inspired by the success of another crooner with a big nose (beak).

Albie has always enjoyed singing. He made his stage debut at the age of 5, when he was cast as the 4th angel to the right in the school nativity musical, written and directed by Mrs McKenzie, the school librarian. His career highlights include winning the Belle Fontaine Junior High School Talent Show at the age of 13 with a rendition of 'Release Me' and taking out first prize at the Montgomery Karaoke Kompetition in 1995, with a sensational performance of 'Unforgettable'. They say that most of the residents of Belle Fontaine made the trip to Montgomery to hear him that night, and if you while a way some time in the Belle Fontaine Diner on East Avenue, you can still hear folks talking about it on occasions.

Albie works as a call center operator for a major pet insurance company - "It pays the bills," he says. But the nights belong to his music. When he hasn't got a gig, you can sometimes catch him doing the odd midnight to dawn shift on radio station WABF 1120AM, where he soothes the insomniacs of southern Alabama by playing Engelbert Humperdinck, Bing Crosby and Tony Bennett. Rumour has it that if you listen very carefully, you might even catch Albie singing along.

 Yes, Megan is a writer, and she has been reading this and Millie's blog for over eight years. She's been a faithful commenter and we email each other quite a lot. When she wrote to me earlier this spring asking if we could get together when she visited the US in September, I said yes.

I asked Megan to choose one of my birds to keep. She picked this one.
She and her husband Michael had dinner together at my house and we talked and talked and looked at quilts. Then we tempted Millie with Kangaroo treats and talked some more.

It's always fun to meet my blog readers. It's more than special to meet someone from 10,070 miles away.

Thanks for a great evening Megan! It was so nice to meet the lady behind the comments.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Quarter Red

I've sewn a quarter of the Peppermint Candy table quilt flimsy. It looks great. Of course, the weekend tasks (groceries, bookkeeping, laundry, house cleaning, etc.) can't be ignored.

 And here is the latest photo of my darling granddaughter, wearing what else? A red and white hat!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Peppermint Candy Layout Complete

Yup, I love this, and this is how I am going to sew it up!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Red Grows

I've trimmed all my blocks, and am now arranging them on the design wall. There are a couple of "rules" in my head for this, so it is taking a bit of time.

First rule, the BLOB rule. Avoid putting too many dark fabrics together. They will blend together and look like a hole in the quilt. It will draw the viewer's eye like a bull's eye, and the eye will get stuck. That's not good. This is the most important thing about arranging fabrics in any quilt.

 Second rule is that I don't like it when the same fabric touches itself in another block. Why? It can create a smaller blob, and that isn't good either, plus it can disrupt the pattern of the overall design.

These two rules are paramount in my quilting. They are the ones I follow for every single quilt I make. These two almost take care of themselves if you use a lot of fabrics, and if they have a good variety of pattern and scale.

Next are the rules I have for this quilt. See those red squares where four triangles meet? Notice how I have tried to vary the light/dark and pattern in each one.  That's no accident. If I am going to have big solid shapes made from several blocks, I want to break them up a bit. Yes, I want to make them more interesting, but also to follow rule #1.

Another rule for this quilt is to have one of the multicolor fabrics in each of the big light pinwheels. I'm not quite sure I have enough blocks to do this, but I have extra fabric and I'll make more blocks if I need to.

The quilt will be six big blocks across by eight down, and once it's on the wall, I'll fine tune it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trimming Red

I am trimming the Red blocks down to size. (Duh!)

I use my big cutting ruler marked with blue painter's tape to guide me.

I have about one third of the blocks left to trim.

Most of the time the trimmings land in the wastebasket.

These are the blocks I have trimmed so far. I can't wait to start sewing the blocks together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Good and Bad

I finished assembling the blocks for the Peppermint Candy (Red) quilt. Finally.

Then I tinkered, measured, and trimmed a couple of blocks, then sewed a sample pair together. This pair of blocks is WRONG. It's what happens when you keep working past your bedtime when you really should have gone to bed. You can count the squares to figure out why.

This pair is GOOD. (Again, I'll let you count the squares to figure out why.) **

So now I know what I am going for. The layout on the design wall can now be rearranged to evenly distribute the reds, and to avoid the dreaded BLOBs, or areas of "too much dark" or in this case, "too much busy" together. (A geeky aside: a BLOB is a real term in computing, specifically in database management. It means "Binary Large Object.")

Once I get the layout nailed down, (I need two more rows to the design in Saturday's post to get the size I want for my dining room table), I will start taking the blocks off the wall, trimming them to size and sewing them together.

To Nancy, who wondered if I could fix the first pair: Yes, of course, but I have to unsew the two long rectangular blocks from each other, then trim to size, first. Which I will likely do later.

** OK, I'll tell you. A pair of blocks when sewn together should be a square, that is, with the same dimension on each side. The original block is what I call a "long rectangle." For the rest of the discussion on this blog, a pair of long rectangles sewn together will equal one block. For them to be sewn together properly (every other block rotated 90 degrees), the block needs to be square.

PS: Check out the SSOBB barn exhibit from AQS Chattanooga at the Build a Barn blog, and at Teresa's blog.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Got It!

I really wasn't happy with any of the layouts in yesterday's post. Then when Sandi told me she thought one layout made her think of legs in high heeled shoes, well that did it. I knew I'd never be able to look at that design and think of anything ELSE, so that was surely out.

I liked the central part of this where the four Y shapes came together, but I didn't like the rest of it. So I thought, what if I flipped those outer blocks around?

That created a lovely shape - the two large white HST's slid off center, and the four big red triangles created a big square that connected the other components.

So this is it. I really like it. Now I have to figure out how big it has to be, make the rest of the blocks, trim them all down to size, arrange the blocks so the values are evenly distributed and assemble the flimsy.

You know, that's all. Just a couple of little things.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Red All Over

I've been sewing the last piece to my red and white blocks, and since I couldn't wait, I had to put some up on the design wall to see what they might look like. Bear in mind these blocks haven't been trimmed, and I haven't put much effort into arranging the blocks by fabric.

This is the layout from the book. It just doesn't sing for me.

In this layout, alternate rows rotate. I think I like this best.

This is the same layout as the one above, just rotated ninety degrees.

In this layout all the blocks are lined up the same way.

I decided to tinker a bit, and played with these, above. The middle pair in the far left column should be rotated 90 degrees, but oh well. I am not sure about this one. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to sew it up this way.

What comes next? Finishing the blocks, and trimming them. And then I'll worry about any layout.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Red Grows

 It's time to add the big white HST's to the Red blocks.

So far, three sides of this block are on the bias, so I have to handle the pieces very carefully.

Half of them are finished. When those are done, I have another Red HST to sew to the block to complete it.

To refresh your memory, here's what a finished block looks like.

I'm not quite 100% sure about this, but since it will be a table quilt, I know I can live with it.

For  today's photo of Little Miss, you'll have to visit Millie's blog.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

My quilt, Too Much Chicken has placed at AQS Chattanooga.

Update: I won an Honorable Mention in the Wall Quilts, Long Arm Quilted Category.

I don't know what it's won, but It is certainly something I never expected. I made the quilt on a lark as the result of an funny dinner conversation and never expected it to be anything more than a couch quilt. But Gerald Roy told me to submit it to AQS Paducah, and it was accepted there, to my astonishment. From there it went to Syracuse and Grand Rapids, now Chattanooga and will soon be shown in Des Moines.

My quilt isn't quilted to within an inch of its life, as many show quilts are. In fact, when my Mom told me "You're going to win a prize one of these days," when we were at AQS Syracuse last year, I said "No, Ma. My quilts aren't quilted enough." So it was a lot of fun to hear her say, "I told you so!" when I told her about the win yesterday.

The list of winners will be here: http://www.quiltweek.com/past-winners after 9 AM Central time on Wednesday September 14, 2016. The quit will be on display from Sept 14 through the 17th.

So again, if anybody is going to the AQS show in Chattanooga, keep an eye out for the Chicken quilt and take a selfie with it and send it to me at patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com.

AND... I've got two small barn quilts on exhibit in a special show at AQS Chattanooga and AQS Des Moines. You can see the Henniker Barn and the Pig Farm Barn quilts there.

Hot Diggity!

PS: Thanks Rebecca for the updated blog post title!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sewing Speed Bump

My sewing machine has a thread cutter. It hasn't been cutting all that well, and yesterday it just decided to stop cutting completely. When it gets stuck like that, I can't continue to stitch.  Obviously the machine has to go in for repairs, but I have too much sewing to do to give up the machine right now.

What to do, what to do?

Answer: Don't use the thread cutter.

How can I sew without doing that?

 I can use a small scrap of fabric to sew onto,

then I can pivot, cut the piece loose, insert a new strip and keep going.

Which is nice, because I was able to complete the next step on these blocks. Each stack is actually four blocks, so there are 116 of these.  The next step is to sew a large white HST to the other side of that red strip.

I'll have to call the "sewing machine hospital" to find out if they can order the part without having the machine in house, or how long it will have to stay to be repaired, because there's no way I'm going to drop it off and wait indefinitely until the red flimsy is complete.

Little Miss thinks the sun is too bright on this, her first walk in the stroller.  Little girl needs a hat!  Pretty sure I can do something about that!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Big Red Triangles

It was a boring day cutting a zillion large red and white triangles, but I did it. (Then I went to see the movie Sully, which was really good.)

All those pieced triangle sections I sewed up the other day get sewn to a narrow red strip,

pressed over,

and then trimmed.  So, about 30 or so ready for the next step, which is good because

I have at least sixty more to sew up and trim.

This is the newest photo of my son and Little Miss. Pretty sweet!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Red Progress

I have all the triangles cut. More than I need actually, which is a good thing, because I like to have a big selection from which to choose when I put my quilts together. Cutting these was a real pain in the butt. They were fussy to do and took a long time.  Now comes the fun part, mixing fabrics and components together to make the blocks.

Here are the blocks I have assembled so far arranged in the design as written. I'm not sure I'll use this arrangement, but being able to play with the blocks at this stage tells me which fabrics may not work as well as I had anticipated.

This layout shows all the blocks lined up the same way in each row. It's an interesting arrangement.

This arrangement is between the two above. This is a "half drop," which means each block is dropped down halfway.

I don't know which one I'll choose, and hey, I may decide to have a bit of fun and make some mirror image blocks. Who knows?

I sure don't!

 Huh? What do you mean, you don't know?