Monday, October 26, 2009

Green Piece and other plans

or... What the heck was I thinking???



A while ago I realized I had WAY too many projects going and would have to try and concentrate on a limited few until they were done and then move on. That was a great plan, but has yet to be put into practice.


I thought I could manage 3 quilts- Shelby's Double Wedding Ring (DWR), the Green Piece block of the month (GP-BOM) from The Thrifty Needle and Shakespeare in the Park (SITP) that was being done on a stashbusters spin-off group. I would ignore all the mystery quilts, quick projects and Quilt for an hour projects that keep tempting me and just work on those three.


You know what they say about "the best laid plans" So... Today I have decided SITP will have to wait. It is the end of October and the only thing I have done on Shelby's DWR is the sample rings and all the fabric washed- Hey, that's something.



The first instalment of Green Piece arrived on Saturday and it is wonderful. I've never done wool applique before, so this will be a learning experience. There are actually 4 blocks per month, 2 pieced and 2 applique. I WILL KEEP UP WITH THIS. I am going to try to do one block per week and post the results here. If there is anybody out there...your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to keep me on the straight and narrow, shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grind stone. (Although how someone works in that awkward position is beyond me)

So here we go into a brave new world that might, just might, have some order to it. Yeah...right! But any way the quilts are pretty!







"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Monday, September 07, 2009

Walls- Design and Otherwise




So it' another design wall Monday. That lonely little ring has been joined by two others to make what will be a nice table runner.

I am getting better at sewing the curves and I never though I would say this, but DWR seems to be fairly forgiving when it comes to points not being exact. What would be a glaring oops in a 4-patch seems a bit less obvious in this design. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part. All that’s left is to decide on the fabric placement and start working on Shelby’s quilt for real.


A few people have asked about the Inklingo that I am using for this quilt. It really is a wonderful system/program/tool…whatever you want to call it. If you want all the details, go to the website at http://www.lindafranz.com/ there are several free downloads that will give you the full “Inklingo Experience” and start you down the road to addiction productivity. I will try and post the steps as I go through making this quilt. I may need all the support I can get. The thought of 121 rings is still a little intimidating.


The other wall in this discussion is the outside wall of the store. I have a SIGN. Finally, after 2 years in this building, people will know for sure they are in the right place. I had the banner made when I first opened, but it didn’t show up well against the white building and was getting beaten up in the wind. I painted all those quilt blocks and to tell youth truth it would have been way faster to piece them from fabric! I think it looks pretty good. You don’t want to look too closely though.


Well, back to work- I still have tons of customer quilts to work on plus my projects. That’s why they call it Labor Day right?








"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let the Adventure begin

OK, it's design wall Monday and here we go... See that little ring there all by it's lonesome?


I got the Inklingo double wedding ring collection and read through it... Not too scary...


So now let's pull and print some fabric and see what happens...



Well, I lost most of Saturday evening picking fabric and getting comfortable with the terminology, but THIS is the result. It is not perfect and took a bit of time, but for my very first effort I am very pleased. I have enough cut out to make a three-ring table runner. No reason to just make more orphan blocks, right?




I have the medium/dark fabrics I bought for Shelby's quilt washed and drying on the rack upstairs. The background and a batik are in the washer (with synthrapol!). I still need more of the background and a more grape-ish purple, but I am on my way!







More Good News...
The shop is soon going to be joining the 21st century. I found out that there is cable high-speed Internet service finally available in Harrington. I told you I lived in the boonies. No more waiting forever for a page to load. I can actually watch a YouTube video and download my audio books without walking over to the library. No, it really doesn't take much to make me happy.








"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can this be Karma?

First a little background:



My niece, Shelby, is getting married. And she asked for a quilt! Little did she know, she was getting one anyway, but it was really nice that she asked. The running joke is how much Shelby is like me. Her father (my brother) refers to her as "your clone" whenever he mentions her to me. I will admit Shelby and I share some unique ways of looking at things.


Now the issue:

So the wedding was planned for October. I worked out a very nice (read do-able in the time frame) Tennessee Waltz/Storm at Sea pattern based on a Judy Martin design. Shelby asked for blue and purples, not too girly (concession to the groom) and the pattern is up to me. I bought fabrics on my quilt show adventure in the beginning of August and was ready to start.



Now, about two weeks ago Linda Franz (of Inklingo fame) releases the instruction book for the Inklingo Double Wedding ring collection for free. I have always wanted to make a DWR. In fact I thought of it for Shelby, but there was no way to do it in the couple of months I had until October. The Inklingo makes it look pretty reasonable, for a quilt with a zillion odd shaped pieces.


The coincidence continues when my brother calls and tells me the wedding is moved...to March. Yep, I get to leave Maine in March and go to Florida, OK by me, and I gain a week in October and can work on Shelby's quilt in the dead space of January and February. But that DWR is still in the back of my mind. Inklingo + extra time...No No NO first design is very nice.


Finally Scott mentions the date- March 14- and keeps saying Shelby called it Pie Day... I didn't get it, then he tells me that that is 3-14 ...OK, Pi (not pie) day ... as in area of a circle you know A= Π R2. (see Scott I was paying attention and the new date is on the calendar) Well, if that's the way it is then that is just one more reason I HAVE to make the DWR. How could I not with that whole circle thing going on??? I tried to get my friend Faye to talk me out of it. She was no help.

I am probably insane (please keep your responses to this one subject). But a DWR it will be!
I will keep you posted on my progress. So far I have fabric and a rough drawing in EQ. And when I am a wreck in Mid-February with a queen size scalloped border staring me in the face please remind me of this cosmic convergence!


And by the way... Π R2?...no Pie R round...Cornbread R square! OK...Math Joke...BAD math joke







"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Monday, August 17, 2009

Great Mail Day

Today I got my swap package from the Lemoyne star swap on the Inklingo group. Inklingo is that cool printing system I mentioned in the quilt show rant. The part of hand piecing I hate is all the marking of seam/stitching lines. If you are off even the width of your pencil, stuff doesn't work. Especially anything with set-in seams and small pieces. You print on the back of the fabric with your regular printer and everything is perfect. Hand piecing or machine piecing. And it comes in all those shapes that are just tricky to make... Diamonds, hexagons, apple core, double wedding ring... you know, the scary stuff. All these lovely pieces are printed and ready to cut and sew. All I need now is a good movie and large cold drink... I think Pride & Predjudice (Colin Firth in knee boots...be still my heart) with a G&T should be just the ticket!


These are some of the Lemoyne stars I had made before this weekend. It is amazing how just sewing for a little while gets them done. I got 2 more done at the festival over the weekend.


And there is this cute little flower that I am going to put together with more background like a carolina lily or peony block. I think I got 3 or 4 of these done over the weekend too.

If you are looking for a great take-along project, check out the free Lemoyne Star download. And for more ideas and great eye candy check out Cathi's blog Quilt Obsession and Tilde's Inklingo Projects. But beware. It can be habit forming!








"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Design Wall Monday and weekend stuff


My poor design wall hasn't changed much recently, but those are sashing strips you see there. There are many more on the sewing machine waiting to be sewn, but that is something! Actually one whole row is together, I just don't have a design wall big enough. That's one of those things like kitchen counters, fabric stash and chocolate- Just NEVER enough!


Sarah and I shared a booth again at this year's Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias. It is a big deal around here with 3 days of events including a 2-day craft fair. We had a great space! Tucked in the corner out of the sun and getting just a bit of breeze. The temps were hovering around 90 degrees, so shade was a popular item. It really isn't about selling stuff for us at this event, more like public awareness and handing out information. Please excuse Mr. Topless-tattoo-guy. He was talking forever!





Speaking of the heatwave... No this is not a sheep...
Note to self:
Don't hose down the dogs and let them anywhere near gravel or un-raked grass. YUK.






"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Big Happenings in Town

I live in a VERY small town. And it doesn't take much to get folks excited. You remember the church steeple that got hit by lightening? Well the steeple was removed last week so it can be repaired. We made quilte a morning of it...


There were some last minute things that needed to be taken care of, so up they go in the bucket. The crane operator had already threaded the hook down through the hole in the top. That opening is maybe 18 inches across and probably 100 feet in the air! And you thought your hand sewing needles were hard to thread.


Every body was thrilled when it was lifted off and flew gently through the air.



It looks so much bugger on the ground. It is 30 feet tall and weighed about 3000 pounds. Who would have guessed? But they built things to last in the 1830's.






Finally it was loaded onto a trailer for the ride to Machias where it will be repaired for replacement in the Spring. Another big day's excitement to look forward to!










"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quilt Show Dissapointment

CAUTION: RANT WARNING



I don't exactly know where to start this post. I went to the quilt show put on by the Pine Tree Quilters (Maine State Guild) and was sadly disappointed. I went for inspiration and found very little. There were two over-the-top drop-dead-gorgeous quilts from nationally known quilters and a handful of very nice quilts but the rest was remarkably mediocre. I don't intend that to sound mean or condescending. The workmanship was great, but the spark was missing. I had taken my shopping list because I thought this would be an opportunity to see a wider variety of fabrics than my two LQS can offer. I was so wrong. The vendors booths were full of kits and pre-cut assortments (jelly rolls etc). The few bolts, FQ and 1/2 yards they did have were either Amy Butler clones or reproductions. Does it say anything that there were 500 quilts on display and I only took 43 pictures? And I often took more than one photo of a quilt.



We seem to be living in a quilt world full of Turning Twentys and Yellowbrick roads brought on by jelly rolls and bali pops. I'm sorry, how much creativity does it take to pick 5 fabrics from a collection, cut squares and rectangles put an edge-to-edge pantograph on it with a stitch regulated machine and do the binding? They are great for quick projects and wonderful for beginning quilters. But no one understands how to change block sizes or increase quilt dimensions. Maybe I sound like a granny but "when I learned to quilt" our first class started with drafting blocks and how pieces worked together and the sanctity of the 1/4" seam allowance.



I have stopped all my magazine subscriptions because every one is full of un-remarkable patterns that use a single collection. When was the last time you saw a pattern list fabrics as "dark, medium or light instead of something like Aviary floral calligraphy #6543-921?



We seem to be living in a period of "No Quilter left behind". Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville posted today about her fears that no one will be looking for a book with nothing but bed-size quilts. I think her book is just what the quilt world needs more of! Her quilts use lots of fabrics, not just one collection. They have lots of pieces and still can be made quickly enough to satisfy the time-challenged quilter. These quilts have character and allow for self expression.

I actually overheard a lady at the show extolling the fact that this was such a nice show because a new quilter would not be intimidated by the quilts... WHOA isn't that what you go to shows for? to be inspired and challenged? To be exposed to new techniques that will help take your quilting/piecing/color choices to a new level?

I have recently gone back to doing some hand piecing and made some discoveries that have made my piecing more precise. Regarding the hand piecing- There is a quiet revolution going on at LindaFranz.com. Inklingo is bringing hand piecing into the 21st century. You print your cutting and sewing lines on the back of your fabric with your regular printer. Easy, Fast, Precise...what more could you want? The piecing help came not from the hot new designers book but in an out of print book by Judy Martin from the late 90's. I guess it all comes down to trends and I always seem to be out of sync with them. Whatever it is, I can't wait until quick and easy quilting gives way to something that involves a bit more challenge.

OK- Rant over and thanks for listening.






"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Friday, July 03, 2009

Excitement in a Small Town

We had a huge thunder and lightening storm move through here about 3:00 this morning. Not just a flash here and there, but almost continuous lightening. Then the thunder started rolling in. And the torrential rain. Needless to say I had all 3 dogs trying to crawl into bed and be close to "mom". As Groucho Marx said "If they were any closer...they'd be behind me". So we are settling down a bit and the bed is vibrating from all the shaking dogs and then FLASH-BOOM!!! I knew that one was close! I didn't realize how close...



This is what is left of the church steeple! The church is owned by the library next door and is maybe 500 feet from my house! We are really lucky it didn't catch fire. Maybe some good did come out of all the wet weather we had in June. No word yet on what will happen. Hopefully they will repair it, but it is more likely they will take the steeple off and cap it at the cupola.





"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OK, I was bad...


Yep, I'll come clean. I have been really bad about posting my stash reports. Mostly because I don't use that much fabric. I don't get to piece that much, so a good week for me might be just a couple of yards. I had a piece of paper with yards used for several blocks of my class sampler quilt but it has fallen into a black hole. But since we are coming up on the half-way point in the year, I better get back on the wagon. I am going to estimate 2 yards for those blocks and the first border and call it good.


I also need to confess to adding 12 yards to my numbers earlier this month. But with good cause! I have finally finished all the applique blocks for a BOM I started 3 years ago when I opened the shop. I wanted to learn needle-turn applique and this looked like a good way to do it.



So some of the fabric is for sashing and a border- That's pretty allowable.



Then when I was laying out the blocks I noticed one has a really light background and the rest are fairly medium. I can't have that, can I? Well, I found fabrics to make another block with a better background. And I showed restraint and only got a half yard of each not my usual 2-3 yards.



OK, and then there were a few greens and creams for the Shakespeare in the Park I started in April. But again... restraint... only small pieces. I promise I will do better.



That makes my totals for week 25:

Added this week: 0

Added YTD: 12 yards

Yards Used this week: 0

Yards used YTD: 24.69

Stashbusting YTD: 12.69



Hello, my name is Leslie and I'm a fabric-aholic...







"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

Monday, June 15, 2009

Design Wall Monday and The New York Minute

To start with, my design wall looks a little different than the first week. The centers of all the Stash Star blocks are done and hanging in nice neat groups of 5. All I have to do is add the background squares to the FG units and put the three rows together.


There is one lonely little test block up in the corner. A friend was making up some really nice "night & day" blocks the other day. And then someone on a forum mentioned they had just found their 45 degree kaleidoscope ruler. Well... gee... I have one of those... I've never used it... maybe I should give it a try... and I have a quilt to make for the The Ark Animal Shelter raffle so why not? It went together really well... then there was a voice...WAIT...YOU CAN'T START ANOTHER QUILT... YOU HAVE TOO MANY PROJECTS NOW!



OK, I will leave that block alone and pull a UFO to finish for the Ark. Aren't you proud of me showing such restraint. Sometimes I hate that voice!





I made that progress week before last. Last week nothing on the design wall changed, since I wasn't there to change anything. My Uncle passed away on Saturday and I made a whirlwind trip to New York City. Booked tickets on Monday, left Wednesday, back on Friday. Spend the weekend playing catch-up and here we are at Monday again. Travel went really well and it was good to see my Aunt, my Brother, renew a couple of acquaintances and make some new friends, even if the reason for the trip was a sad one. I was glad to be home in my small town, but the city really is amazing- public transportation was great, the architecture was lovely and the people were civil, even nice in several cases. I would have loved to have some time to explore. Maybe another trip is in my future...more relaxed this time!




By the way, this is my "little" brother helping my Aunt across the street. At 6'8" you can see why I wasn't worried in the city.




Quilting has got to be a disease! I took very few pictures on the trip, and two were of the carpet in the airport. But don't these look like a quilt block and quilting design? My brother would have died of embarrassment!




In all my catching-up I came across a blog post by Gudrun Erla (GE Designs). She and several other designers are having a Blog Hop starting on Monday. It looks like fun and all the designers are in Minnesota. It's kinda strange that that many big name designers come from one area. But when you think about Minnesota and the 9 months of winter, maybe it makes more sense.








"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/