Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hello Folksies

Well, I finally finished the pineapple blossom scrappy quilt that I began in July. The blocks were all machine stitched and then hand quilted. It is a nice size and I know someone who will be thrilled with a soft, fluffy quilt.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Week

Hello Folksies!
Last week was an interesting week of weather on the Eastern Seaboard.

First, there was the earthquake in Virginia. Oh Gracious! It will be one of those moments where those who felt it will remember what they were doing and where. I know that I was in my bedroom, laying out a quilt to see what else was needed before I added the binding. Sis was with me. The shaking started and lasted a good 30 seconds. It is amazing to think what can be said and thought in merely a few seconds.
The sound was as scarey as the earth moving. It sounded like an off balance washer on steroids. in other words, LOUD! My whole house literally was shaking. By the time it all ended, I realized, duh uh, it was a big tremor. After all, I lived in California at one time and somewhere in the dregs of my memory, the shaking movement and noise was still flickering. Top that with the news that Colorado had a quake earlier that morning. That's a whole lot of shaking going on!
To add insult to anxiety, here comes Irene.

You know how the media loves a good disaster. 24/7 coverage was everywhere. I am thankful that the media and government seemed to take this would be monster as seriously as they did. Some people around the world have complained that we (the USA) didn't cover Libya and Ghaddafi and the rest of the world news enough. Oh good grief! Tell that to those who didn't heed the warnings and lost their lives to Irene's waters, winds. Tell that to those who are still without power, but thankfully because of the dire warnings were prepared with provisions. Tell that to those who are flooded with water and sand. Then look for Ghaddafi in a spider hole like Hussein hunkered down.

We here fared very well through all of last week, regardless of the weather. We lost power for a short while due to a downed tree. It will be a good addition to our woodpile for this winter.

I found it fascinating when I read that the last big quake that shook Va in 1897 (and it wasn't a 5.9) was followed by a hurricane.

Okay folksies, I am rambling and deterriorating as I do. The sun is coming up, birds are at my feeders, it is a brand new week and I am finally going to be finishing up a few projects this week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paper Piecing

I started paper piecing out of desperation. I think I have shared with you that I was taught to quilt by my illiterate grandmother. I used cardboard cereal boxes as templates and looked at pictures. My blocks were not the most accurate and yet, I still love those old quilts. Since the invention of the internet (should I say a sarcastic thank you to Mr. Gore?), I have discovered that for all these years I have been doing everything WRONG! After hours of drooling, I am now the proud owner of a rotary cutter or two, a few cutting mats, and a quilt pattern library at my fingertips. Along the way I discovered paper piecing. Huzzah! I love to paper/foundation piece. It is a great for sharp points and accuracy. Lord knows I can use all the accuracy I can get. I love paper piecing. It is like coloring a picture with your fabric. If you can follow the numbers, you can certainly paper piece! Now generally speaking, most paper/foundation piecing patterns have a built in seam allowance for joining all your pieces together. However I have run into a few that require you to add the 1/4 inch yourself. Make certain you check this out before you jump in feet first. Ask me how I know. You may remember how enthusiastic I can be. Another thing to remember is to set your stitch gauge to a very short stitch. I like my setting at 1.6 or 1.8

Paper pattern ~ I like to print out my patterns using construction paper or scrap pads from the $ Stores - lightweight and tear off very easily
Assorted fabric scraps in various sizes
Straight pins
Jack the Ripper
Paper scissors
Rotary cutter

When you are ready to sit for a bit and give this a try, first off look for an easy beginner block to try. Quilters Cache has quite a few. The one I am using for this example is from Ula Lenz's drool worthy site:

Using your paper scissors, cut the blocks apart but keep the small picture of the finished block handy. This is important if you have a tendency to get lost in the pattern or get interrupted frequently and forget what you are doing.

Cut out enough fabric to make sure you are going to be able to catch some of it on the next piece of fabric. This will generally say 1 or A . You may want to use a straight pin to anchor it temporarily.
Place this piece right side up. In other words, wrong side of fabric to the back of the paper pattern.

Next you will begin to add your next piece. You will place this piece right side down. Your fabrics will now be right sides together. Sew on the line that says 2. once completed, flip over press and trim close to the seam. Be sure you sew until you reach the seam allowance line.

A word of caution . . . Notice how much larger the scrap piece I am using is compared to the actual size on the template? I have learned to err on the side of caution when it comes to making sure the small scrap I am using will be enough to cover with plenty of seam allowance once it is flipped, pressed and trimmed.

Continue around your block, adding your fabrics.

One little puzzle block done and now I am on another one.

Here is where I show you where to trim: Can you see the seam where I have sewn? Fold back your paper
And this is where you would trim.

Once you have have all your little blocks sewn, it is time to get out the rotary cutter and mat

Trim them neatly with your spiffy rotary cutter on the outside seam line. I know your stitches don't reach that, but you will see why that matters in a minute

Now is the time it is a good idea to have your master block picture available for scrutiny. Almost like a jigsaw puzzle, right? Start matching your blocks and right sides together, sew them on the 1/4 inch seam. It may help to have a pin hold in place until you get started on the stitch.

Continue matching seams and soon you will have a gorgeous block with accurate points!

Bring back to your mat and finish cleaning those edges up. Voila!

Once you have completed the block, if you have used the type of paper I do and a really short stitch, the paper should peel off very easily. Please don't use regular printer paper. It is tough to remove and you may find your stitches undone!
A few things I would like to add here. First off, you may think you are going to have loads of wasted fabric. Once you get the hang of it, you really truly don't. I would suggest using dedicated scraps or really ugly fabric that you have stashed away to practice with. A really easy block to start with is:
The Economy Block
It is very helpful to press with a hot iron. I keep my iron at sitting level so I can swivel around and press those puppies.
I am certain I could have taken a real step by step of each step. But there was no one to take pictures while I sewed the paper, and pressed the blocks. Just me. However, just get in your mind the visual image of me swivelling. That should make you smile enough to want to try your hand at paper piecing. It really is easy, addictive and makes your work look like you really know what you are doing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summertime Blues

Ah summer! Time is flying soooo fast these days, I don’t even have to wait until August for the dog days – Wee Dawgies, it’s been hot, hot, hot. It’s also been muggy. When it gets like this sometimes my knee gets to hurting. My own personal barometer. Which reminds me ~

Mike Pasquel never liked me. He always told me he was gonna throw me in the river. I don’t know why he didn’t like me. Perhaps it was because I was a safety patrol crossing guard and looked real spiffy with my white belt. Perhaps it was because I made him wait until I stood in the middle of the road with arms and legs stretched out, shielding him and the rest of my peers.

Maybe he didn’t like me because sometimes I used my skates while wearing the patrol belt – a definite no-no – but I enjoyed showing off my skill of stopping on a dime. At the end of the 5th grade, when school was released for summer vacation, Mike actually did push me down the ravine into the river.

How I loved summer when I was a kid. We didn’t have air conditioning, heckfire shoot, not even a color tv. My NY Granny made sure we stayed outside all day long. We found shade trees to sit under and play board games in the hot afternoon sun. Early mornings and evenings were made for riding my bicycle or skating with my excellent pair of hand me down metal skates. They even had their own key! Huzzah!

The day that Mike Pasquel pushed me down that grassy slope, I was wearing my skates. I rolled, I tumbled and my right knee hit a stump, which in turn caused my skate to get hung up on it’s root. No one was around to hear my cry. I remembered every bad word I had ever heard in my life. Trust me, he was called every color of dirty dog there was. I even invented a few which I forgot totally about until I was married to my first husband.
Funny how the memory works.

A kid back then with these magic skates always had their skate key. Mine was tied on a shoelace and wore around my neck. My fat 11 year old fingers nimbly loosened the skate so I could free my foot. You should have seen my knee. It would take a whole bottle of mercurochrome to keep me from certain impetigo. I limped home, skates in hand, PF Flyers no longer clean. My soiled patrol belt would never be pristine again. My NY Granny saw me limping. She came with switch in hand, just knowing I had been up to no good. On closer inspection, Grandma knew I had come out on the losing end of this battle.

At times I would rather have taken a switching than to listen to my Grand parents. My Grandpop was from Denmark. He was like King Solomon, with his wisdom and Jewish wit. My Grandmother was neither Jew or witty. And she was never, bless her heart, politically correct. She knew that rotten Mike P. was in for it. Grabbing my arm, she dragged me to his house, confronted him, graphically questioned his father and mother’s heritage in no uncertain terms and in the end, I received a new pair of skates and a slimy handshake from my sworn enemy.
That summer I never once used those skates. I wonder what ever happened to them. Probably in my mother’s attic. She never throws away anything.