Monday, January 18, 2021

Three More Rows of Boxes & an Amaryllis Update

 

I'm working on the fifth row of boxes. I sewed the blocks of rows three and four into rows yesterday. Sewing the birds into the rows is a little bit fussy because if I want them to stand in for boxes, they have to be positioned properly (meaning they have to be centered),

Here I am sewing row five to the bottom of rows three and four.

Here are rows three, four and five sewn together. For those who missed it, you can find the pattern here.

Here is an Amaryllis update. Magnum, at left, has had ten blooms. One stalk had four, the other, six. There are three left. In the middle is Bogota, which took it's sweet time to grow and bloom, but both stalks had four blooms each and all eight are open right now. At the far right is Double Delicous. It had two stalks, one had four blooms, which have now passed, and the second had six, which are all open. But there is a third stalk growing. Color me big time surprised.

Here are a couple of closeups of Bogota,

It has been a good year for the Amaryllis's.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Bruce's Scrap Slab Quilt

 

I love in seeing the quilts students make from my tutorials. This is a quilt Bruce made from my Scrap Slab Triangles tutorial


 As you can see he also made four coordinating 18" square throw pillows. Bruce and his wife wanted a bright quilt, and he enjoyed using his old fabrics to make the slabs. It is queen sized, 94" x 100". 

Bruce wanted a random pattern of colors and triangle directions with some restrictions. A friend of his who taught math and computer science wrote an Excel program that created a pattern for a 16 x 15 block quilt that used each triangle color 60 times, each triangle direction close to 60 times and avoided creating diamonds. (Bruce didn't want diamonds in the quilt.) He and his friend ran the program several times until he settled on the exact arrangement of the quilt.

The quilt is fabulous, but what really floats my boat is the story of how Bruce and his friend developed a computer program to work out the design. That is so damned cool!

 

 



Friday, January 15, 2021

Two Rows

 

Not that you can tell with all the WOW going on, but the top two rows of boxes are sewn together and to each other.

The new cutting mat continues to be an absolute DREAM to work with. It is so smooth it requires barely any pressure from my rotary cutter to make a beautiful clean cut.

I will be ordering a larger mat very soon.



Thursday, January 14, 2021

Back in the Studio

 

I cleaned off the work table and set up my new mat, then started sewing the holiday boxes together.

I sewed the top row of boxes together. This photo also shows my old cutting mat. You can see where it was worn out. That area also doesn't lie flat any longer. I rotated the mat so I could get more use out of it, and there is a corresponding worn area just out of sight in the lower right of the mat.

So, the mat. How's it work? In a word, FABULOUS. I always use a sharp rotary cutter blade, and working with this mat I exert very little effort. It is smooth and a pleasure to work on.

I never thought I'd miss the grid, and I don't, but I miss the ruler. but I am going to have to install a ruler along the bottom edge because I used to lay fabric strips along the ruler to know how long or how wide they were. Piece of cake.

The mat is so smooth it is slippery. And since my work table is at an angle, EVERYTHING slides off. Even pins!!! This will probably resolve itself as I use the mat, but in the meantime, I have to set up a little edge at the bottom to catch errant pins, rotary cutters, rulers, scissors, etc. And since the mat does not go up to the top of the table, it isn't held in place up there, so things slide under it. I can fix that, but these are things that aren't the MAT's fault. It's because the table is at an angle. But the mat is a freaking dream. The mat passes my test with flying colors.

The mat has NO ODOR at all, and it's just a pleasure to work with. I'll be ordering one the size of my big table later this week. I will also order some double sided tape to hold it in place.


Here's my mat: 2' x 4' Rhino Self Healing Large Cutting Mat (No Grid.)




Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The New Cutting Mat

 There comes a time in every quilter's life where you need to replace your cutting mat. My realization came as I prepared to take new photos for the revised bird tutorial

My cutting mat looked dirty and disgusting! It was already scarred with too many cuts. Not surprising given how many quilts I make in a year and how old it was. The problem was WHERE was I going to get a cutting mat for my large 38" x 50" drafting table? The company that made the one I had had long gone out of business.

It was a week before Christmas. I looked all over the internet and couldn't find anything that suited me. Some of the ones on Amazon had lousy reviews. One woman said a new blade in her rotary cutter sliced right through one. Um, nope. I could find 24  x 38" for over $100, but I needed one almost twice that size. I looked and looked. Really, I looked. (Fair warning, as I looked TODAY I see one exactly the size I was looking for that I did not see in December.)

Finally, in desperation, I called my best pal Julie. She asked her husband Larry, and HE directed me to this website: MyBinding.com.

I did, and was at first rather dubious. Then I typed cutting mats in the Search bar and got this: Cutting Mats.  One look and I knew I might have found cutting mat heaven. I could even get a mat WITHOUT A GRID! Oh holy wonderful! The only question was, HOW GOOD ARE THESE MATS?

Since the prices were so reasonable, I elected to buy a "small" (24" x 48") mat and try it out. I wouldn't cover my table, but it WOULD fit perfectly on my sewing table. (I have an 18" x 24" mat beside my machine now and it shifts around something awful.) The mat was less than thirty bucks and the freight was reasonable. SOLD!  I placed my order the day before Christmas.

It arrived yesterday. Right out of the box, it unfurled nicely and an hour later was almost flat. As you can see from one of the photos above this mat is thicker than the average cutting mat. Almost twice as thick. It was shiny as all get out on one side, and beautifully matte and smooth on the other.

This morning it is practically flat all on its own. I will finish setting it up later, but here's the $64,000 question: How does it work?

This is a very bad picture of me trying to get a very close up of the marks it made when I sliced up a scrap of fabric with my rotary cutter with a new blade. You can't see any cuts. Neither can I. The thing is an absolute dream.

A larger one is DEFINITELY in my future. I'll probably order it tonight after work.

By the way, the one I bought is a: 2' x 4' Rhino Self Healing Large Cutting Mat (no Grid).

Oh happy happy joy joy!



 






Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The New Revised Bird Tutorial

 

The Revised Lynne's Liberated Birds V2 tutorial is now live. It has had a complete overhaul. The original tutorial had 40 pages, and now it has 50. There are 13 completely new pages (3 big Hints, a Gallery section and a whole page of Student birds along with a Contact Me page and an Acknowledgements page). 21 pages have been modified with over 59 new photographs, better and more detailed explanations and hints to make bird construction even easier.

The tutorial is brighter, the pictures clearer and some sections were completely rewritten for clarity. There is a wide variety of birds. Birds with really long legs and beaks, fatter bodies, wider breasts and more unusual fabrics. I've learned a lot teaching how to make these birds since July 2016 when the tutorial was first published and those things are in the new tutorial.

I've had many, many people tell me there is a lot of very good useful information in the tutorial, and I think I've made it a lot better. When I was reviewing the original tutorial last fall I was struck by how skimpy the written instructions were. Not anymore. As usual, the tutorial has been thoroughly reviewed, proofed and tested by my battery of "editors" and proofreaders, Julie, Marie, Megan and Mary; as well as Barb, Buffy and others. 

It's basically what I have been doing for the last month. Yeah, I've been in the studio, making birds, taking pictures of the process, and then taking BETTER pictures.

The original tutorial is no longer available. For now, the price is the same, $10 USD. It will go up later this year.

However, because the tutorial was essentially rewritten, it is a new tutorial and must be purchased. You can get it here. It is an instant download, so you can get started right away. You won't be disappointed.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Tying Up Loose Ends

 

I have not been sewing, but I have been tying up some loose ends. Since 2016 I have written nine tutorials. At some point I realized I needed to give customers a way to contact me if they needed to. So I created this page and, as you can see, I listed my blog address, a link to purchase all my tutorials, and email address for folks to contact me, and I needed to alert folks that I am available to lecture or teach. All the newest tutorials have this page, but the older ones did not.

So I have been spending the last couple of days adding this page to each of the tutorials. You can also see the "VxRx, date" in the lower left. This is a Version, Revision number and the date created. I will be able to know what version of tutorial a customer has if they have any questions. I have added this to each of the tutorials also.

AND I have measured all the quilts that are shown in the tutorials, and added those dimensions in each tutorial.

Then, once all the tutorials had that information, I uploaded them to Etsy. Moving forward all tutorials will have this information. 

I shall also create a spreadsheet of my quilts which lists their dimensions. 

So no sewing, but lots of work done. What's next? I have to sew the Christmas box quilt together, and then I have a lot of binding to do.

 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

 We all have to clean the house sometime. (And yes, I know I have to Pick Up the Pencil.) 

I was dusting yesterday. This is the bureau in my bedroom. As you can see I love small boxes. I read that you should keep your collections together, so all my small boxes live on my bureau. My pal Julie made the runner, and her husband Larry made the lovely bowl above.

When I "dust" I like to dust each box, so I have to move each one. When I got to the cedar box at the right (with the stuffed gekko) I found a lovely surprise.

I have no idea why I have fifty bucks in that box.


But I sure as hell am not complaining. :-)



Saturday, January 9, 2021

So Clever... Not!

 I had intended to post something rather clever and witty but I got sidetracked. A reader asked if I could list the dimensions of my finished quilts in my tutorials, so she could gauge the size and scale of them. I thought it was a very good idea, but the problem was I have not been as attentive as I should have been to measuring them and then storing those measurements in a place where I could easily retrieve them.

(Now my friend Julie has a perfect system, but then...  well, that's the way she is. Me, not so much.)

 

So I opened up my computer and started a document with the list of quilts for which I needed measurements. Then I had to go searching for where I could find them. I did not want to drag each quilt out of the closet, unfold it and measure it. Not only that, I am not in possession of all of them. First I went through the appraisals, then I searched my blog, then I dragged them out of the closet and measured.

And of course it took W-A-Y longer than I anticipated. Here is the list, and my dimensions are listed the same way paintings are catalogued by museums, Height precedes Width.

These are listed in no particular order, but as I was looking at the list something really struck me. I remember seeing Julie's Flying Monkeys quilt and thinking it was massive, but my Colorado Quilt is a bit bigger. Of course both are dwarfed by Valerie Levy's Kona Nerds Unite quilt, which is 100" x 81" (which is not on the list because THAT, I already had. Go figure.)

I'll leave you with a comparison of the Double Delicious and Magnum Amaryllis's next to each other. Magnum is quite a bit darker, actually closer to violet (or blue) than the other one. AND check out the base of the double one, just above the moss. A THIRD stem is sprouting. In all my years I have NEVER seen that. Tres cool!

 

IF YOU WANT to get your Amaryllis to bloom again, follow the instructions here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Amaryllis

 There seems to be an Amaryllis thing going on, so I decided to join the fun.

Around Thanksgiving my pal Julie sent me a gift certificate to White Flower Farm. I knew I'd get an Amaryllis. Actually, I bought three. This, above, is Magnum.

I had to bring it into my home office so I could enjoy it while I work. These blooms truly are big. They are 7" across and equally tall.

as you can see. The color isn't quite right in the photographs. Magnum is a very deep, very dark red.

It looks like Magnum will live up to its name. One stalk has four blooms, but the other will have six.

(You can get Amaryllis at your grocery store, but you will be lucky if you get one that has two stalks. The ones from WFF are certainly pricey but each bulb is guaranteed to have two stalks.)

This one is "Double Delicious." Indeed.

Quite lovely.

This is my third one, "Bogota." As you can see, this one is taking its sweet time.

But I am pretty sure it is going to be worth the wait.

I know how to get these to come back year after year, so they are actually an investment.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

What I Did...

 

I feel like the title of this post should be "what I did on my summer vacation." I haven't not posted for such a long time, since.. ever. But I was just so tired, so worn out, I just needed a break. 

I did NOT sew on the holiday boxes quilt. It is as I left it almost three weeks ago. I had a lovely Christmas, chatting with all members of my family, and FaceTiming with my son's family while we opened presents. I made myself my favorite dinner - steak, and I watched Bridgerton on Netflix. All of it. Yes. All 8 episodes.

Then the next day I watched those 8 episodes again. What can I say? I was tired. And it was good.

I did, however, do some work in the studio. Not only are these new birds, but I have decided to update my bird tutorial. 

I wrote it 4-1/2 years ago and I've learned a few things. I realized it doesn't have the same look and feel of my newer tutorials and that many of the photographs were dark. I felt some of the instructions could be improved. I have also included suggestions from my students, and things I've learned from teaching the birds in my classes. I've added a couple more pictures of finished bird quilts, and I added a page of student birds. The original tutorial was 40 pages, and the revised version is 50 pages. 

The big bits are done, and it's just some tedious formatting things I have to fix before it is ready. It's looking good, and I am very excited.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Happy Holidays!

 

I've finally got the house decorated for Christmas. The tree is up and it looks good. I gifted myself a wool pressing mat and a pair of LL Bean's Wicked Good Slippers. My gifts have been mailed. There are a few I have to wrap but I have plenty of time. I am starting to sew my holiday boxes together, but since the fabric is white, there is nothing new to see. 

I've decided to take some time off for the holidays. I'm going to read, bake and eat cookies, hang out on the couch with Millie and watch movies, sew the box quilt together and generally take it easy.

See you on the flip side, and while I might have something interesting to write about before the end of 2020, if I don't, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and Happy New Year's. Let's all hope 2021 is as good as we hope it will be.


Ciao for now.

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Do-Over

 

Sometimes when you are so focused on one thing, you miss something else. This is a Do-Over of the Red Bird. When I made it I wanted to get the feathered edge of the angel's wing on the bird wing, but I didn't pay attention to how much "air" or negative space, was above the angel's head. In the new bird, above, I have fixed that. While I was at it I changed the color of the bird's legs and changed the beak.

This is the original bird, so you can compare the two. It isn't a big difference, but I much prefer the way the angel fills the space of the wing at the top. I know it's a little thing, but every time I looked at this bird that space bothered me, so I made a new one.


Call me crazy, I know, but I am happy I made the change.



If you are interested in making your own birds, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. This bird is NOT PAPER PIECED.

Friday, December 11, 2020

More Boxes

 While Life is keeping me busy (I have been trying to decorate for Christmas, but last night I got sidetracked watching The Queen's Gambit), I have decided to show you bigger pictures of the boxes I made earlier, but did not show in bigger pictures. You can decide for yourselves if some of them are too dark, too light, or too bland.

This is leftover fabric from the backing and binding of the Happy Holidays quilt.

I found this Christmas fabric in a box of fabric that was given to me. Because they are complimentary colors, red and green together in one print can cancel each other out, and often look dull or dirty, so it can be tricky to use. In this case, the green trees are small enough that they don't alter your perception of the red.

This print is a variation of the background of one of Gustav Klimt's paintings. The movie about his painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Woman In Gold, is really worth seeing.

I made my sister a Christmas tree skirt years ago and used this as the backing. I've used the scraps in many projects since.
 

This is another fabric that came to me in a box. Vertically, this print would have made a good evergreen tree. With the other striped fabrics in the boxes on this quilt running vertically, I wanted this one to be different.

Striped prints are tricky to work with. They aren't always printed on the straight of the grain, and they aren't always parallel, so you have to make some adjustments when you want to emphasize the direction of the stripe. Striped fabric has a very interesting history.

This is the gold box that shows up as solid in photographs when seen from a distance. IRL it is clearly a print, and has some variety. Quiet boxes are necessary in the quilt to balance out the busier ones.

I have always found that if you want good reds or dark greens you should look in the Christmas section of any fabric shop or online store no matter what time of year it is. 

I think this is all the boxes.


The boxes are from a Moda pattern.