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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sewing Room Makeover

I'm preparing to put my house on the market next month.  While my sewing machine has been in the shop, my work space has devolved into the "catch all" room.  There's been no time to sew as I pack and purge.  Anything I don't know what to do with,  ends up in the spare bedroom (my office) or here.

I'd been fretting over what would become of my sewing space once we start showing the house.  Today my realtor and stager (who are sisters) came see how we might spruce the place up.  They seemed quite eager to market this as a craft room.  They loved my storage containers in the book shelf, and talked about bringing in a quilt rack to display some of my work.

They had great ideas for the rest of the house, so I can't wait to see what they come up with for my precious sewing space.  Rather than giving it up for an indefinite period of time, it's to have a face lift instead - yahoo!  It'll be a few weeks before I can show you the result.  Now I can't wait to see it myself! :)

Dragon Quilts

My son needs a quilt for his new full size bed, and requested that it have a dragon theme.  Found this beautiful fabric at  So it looks like I'm going to have to find an Asian themed quilt design. 

After ordering 4 yards, I showed it to DS2, who told me DS1 wants one too.  Dang!  Had I ordered them at the same time I could have had free shipping. 

Anyway, I'd like to make the two quilts similar, but different.  Will have to put my thinking cap on!  :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

On My Design Wall - Sister's Choice

Based on an Amish quilt I've admired, I'm making as many variations of this particular block as I can think of.  Between varying light and dark, and varying which fabric you match your points to (if at all) - you can have a lot of fun with just one block. 

Maybe tomorrow I'll have a new bobbin case and start sewing again! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nine Patch Variations

I've been monkeying around with five leftover nine patch blocks from an early quilting class.  I had a baby girl quilt in mind when I selected the fabrics, but never actually made one.  Since the fabric is a few years old, it was a challenge to come up with other compatible fabrics.
But the gals at Stitcher's Crossing lent me a hand, and together we came up with several other fabrics to make it a little more interesting.  I'm still debating what I want to do with this project.  If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!

I'm just itching to start piecing, but need to wrap up other odds and ends first.  At least the new fabrics will motivate me to git 'er done!  :)

Valentine Bags

I've been making Valentine gift bags.  I just love this fabric!  I made 4 conversation heart bags.  They'd be perfect for a little girl to use as a small purse or Valentine mailbox. 
This bag is a little more grown up and romantic - just waiting to be filled with Valentine goodies or gifts - what a great way to hide some jewelry!  I've made one, but three more are cut out, ready to be sewn, folded and sewn.
This has a more of a country feel to it.  I adapted the pattern from Martha Stewart's gift bag tutorial.  I only had enough fabric for two.  What a great way to use up scraps.  Next time I make a bag like this, I'm going to make a slightly bigger ruffle at the top to best show off the coordinating contrast fabric that was so lovingly selected.
Once I finish the last few bags, I have a small quilt I'm working on AND I want to make some scrappy Valentine cards.  So many quilts, so little time!  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Insert Photo Not Working?

Anybody else having trouble inserting images into your posts?

I've been unable to do it for several days now.  The Browse box just doesn't come up. 

I've tried every command I can think of, but no luck.  When I copied and pasted an image into a post, the image was so large that it obliterated the entire screen - and there didn't appear to be a way to resize it, undo or even close out.  Arrg.

Anybody else having trouble?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Build Your Best Log Cabin - A Book Review

Steeped in tradition, and incredibly versatile, Log Cabin has always been one of my favorite blocks.  So I was delight.ed to discover Build Your Best Log Cabin, an e-book by Fons and Porter ( ).

The beautiful quilts on the cover drew me right in.  The book teaches the traditional log cabin, with courthouse steps and chevron variations - yet each is done with a twist. 

The instructions are straight forward and easy to understand. A guide for each quilt tells you how wide to cut the strips to make any size block you'd like.  That's handy!

The traditional log cabin, called Bears in Bertie's Log Cabin (cover, left, above) is designed by Ricky Tims.  As the pattern's name suggests, it includes Bears Paws - that's the twist.  The red Bear's Paws are visually striking in the finished quilt, and they'd make production more interesting.  When you get tired of making Log Cabins, you could switch gears and work on the Bear's Paws for a while.

One technique I questioned is the recommendation to make the double triangle squares by cutting two squares diagonally, combining a light and dark triangle, then sewing them together with a diagonal seam.  I was taught to pin two squares together, draw a diagonal line, and sew on either side of the line - then make the diagonal cut.  That method was supposed to prevent stretching of the bias, and distorted points.  While working on another project, I tested both methods.  I got far more consistent results using Fons and Porter's technique - and I found it to be faster.  

The quilting design for Bears in Bertie's Cabin is included.  The border is done with a heavy bobbin thread and trapunto for texture.  Trapunto instructions are included.    There's also an attractive bear design, to be quilted in the Bear's Paws largest square.  This is a refreshing change from the usual "quilt as desired."

Woven Log Cabin (above) is yet another variation on the traditional Log Cabin.  This is my favorite.  It has that Amish look - bold colors against a black background.  Wouldn't this be beautiful on a double bed?  Although the pattern is the same for every block, there are 12 color variations - that would keep production interesting. 
Woven Log Cabin would also make a beautiful baby quilt if done in pastel colors, against a white background.

The Courthouse Step quilt, (cover, center) is called On the Dark Side.  It's made with medium and dark batiks.  Such a handsome quilt.  It's sometimes hard to find quilt patterns for guys, but the deep hues in this quilt are very masculine.  I may have to make that quilt for my son!

The traditional Courthouse Step color pattern is pictured below. 
Hard to imagine that they're made with the same block, isn't it?

Finally Linked Chevrons (cover, right) looks as if it's interwoven.  The warm rust, browns and tan are attractive, and the turquoise blue provides contrast.  Other fabric choices and settings are pictured as well - something I like to see with every quilt pattern.  Linked Chevrons has binding with piping.  The How-To instructions and photos are very clear.

 Here is a more traditional use of the chevron variation.
If it were not set on point, and coloration went from light (corner square) to dark, it would give the look of the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

While all the photos in this e-book are of the usual "Fons and Porter" quality, I would have liked to see one clear photo of Bears in Bertie's Cabin straight on.  The three quilt pictures I've shared here are ideal.  That way you know exactly what you're getting before cutting precious fabric. 

Overall, Build Your Best Log Cabin is a great little book.  There's a tremendous amount of information in just 24 pages.  Whether you like traditional quilts or modern variations, there's something here for you. 

It's only January, so there's still have a lot of winter ahead of us.  Any of these projects would make a great pass time for these loooong winter nights.  :)