Sister’s Choice in progress

I worked on the Sister’s Choice quilt off and on today. I have a tendency to get sidetracked, so I’d work on it for a while, then get on the computer and tweak the ideas, then cut some fabric, then watch tv…

Anyway, the quilt has been modified slightly – there are only six blocks instead of 8, because the quilt really didn’t need to be 115″ long. With only six blocks (on point) and numerous borders, it is about 88″ long, which is just right. I’ve finished the six blocks (woohoo!)…

Blocks

… and now I just have to decide which fabrics to use for the setting squares. Originally they were going to be a medium scale print, but I don’t have enough fabric (and I think it looked a little busy). Now I’m thinking about using two different fabrics, one in the center and another for the outer triangles. Here are a couple of options:

Original (with 6 blocks):
Nun 6

Small scale fabric, all the same:
Nun 5

Two different prints:
Nun 3

One print and the center white:
Nun 4

I’m thinking about using the pink and white polka dot for the center squares, and a smaller, more dense pink and white dot for the outer triangles. The problem is the smaller dot is a slightly different shade of pink. Where the rest of the quilt is a soft, ever-so-slightly peachy shade of pink, the other one is just a hair bluer. I think it will look okay – the difference is subtle.

By the way, the pink and white dot in the blocks was one of three options. I wasn’t sure which one to use, although I leaned toward the dot. Mom liked the other dot better because it wasn’t as light, and she thought it gave the block more substance. Thanks to the wonders of digital photography and the computer, I was able to see what each of the options would look like. It’s a neat little trick that comes in handy when you’re auditioning fabrics.

First, lay out the block, or quilt, or fabrics folded to approximate the shape of the block. Take a picture with the multiple options. Here is the block laid out over the three different fabrics:

Block Options 1

Rugen is supervising, of course. Actually, I had to throw him out of the photo twice. He loves his quilts.

Next, crop the photo so you see only one of the fabric options. In this case, I cropped it three times – once that included the half with the larger dots, once that included the quarter with the smaller dots, and finally the quarter with the floral print. Use your handy dandy photo editing software (any old cheap software will do) and copy and paste the segment, rotating and flipping until you have what looks like a full block. Here are the three options:

Block Options 2

(I also added some white squares and triangles to blot out the dot fabric that showed through the plain white. It was less distracting that way.)

After looking at the photos, we decided that the light dot had a fresh, retro, teen girlish feel, and that’s what I was going for.

By the way, most of the fabrics in this block are from a line by Robyn Pandolph for SSI called “Hannah Bella.” The lighter green is from the Moda Christmas line called “Maison de Noel” and the red at the center is a no-name fabric I got at JoAnn’s.

Tomorrow I’ll lay the blocks out on the potential setting fabrics and see what works. Unfortunately, I won’t have a lot of time to work on it because we have a family reunion to go to. Wait, that didn’t sound right… I’m happy to see people, I just wish I could ALSO quilt. Yeah. That’s it.

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It’s gonna be a star!

Okay, so that’s overstating a bit, but I AM making a quilt for our upcoming show. (Quick reminder – I work at a dinner theater/restaurant.) We’re doing Nunsense, and the show takes place on a borrowed Grease set. The bed (from the “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee” scene) needed a comforter “or something.” I offered to make a quilt for it, as long as I got the quilt back. We think it’s a standard twin size bed, but I’ve added a few borders so I can tweak the size if necessary. The set designer makes a small scale model of the set and he illustrated a pink and white patchwork sort of quilt, so I dug through my stash and brought a few possibilities in to work. This is what we’ve decided on:

Nun 1

Pretty, hmmm? I’m going to try to get the center finished this weekend, since the first show is in just two weeks!

… and does anyone out there see my pun? Quilters? I’ll give you a hint – it has to do with the block.

Welcome, CyberQuilters

When I checked my stats this morning, I found a surge in hits – as in quadruple the normal number I’ve been seeing! The reason was that someone posted about my blog on a Yahoo Group called CyberQuilters. I joined the group to see what it was all about, and I’m really impressed with it – lots of well organized info and friendly quilters from all over the world.

But… no comments! So ladies and gentlemen from CyberQuilters, drop me a line to say hello. You may notice a few posts down from here that I’m trying to reach 500 comments so I can do a giveaway. (Actually two giveaways, one for the 500th commenter, and a drawing that starts after I get 500 comments.) Help us out!

Also, here are a couple of quick hints about finding useful stuff on my blog. First, the right column has all of the PDF links to my free patterns, both blocks and even one full quilt. I have to add some more soon…

You can also check out the tabs at the top of the page. “Quilting Resources” is a page full of useful links, including pages and pages of patterns from fabric manufacturers, mostly free. And for those who have machine quilting frames (like my Little Gracie II), the “Frame Quilting” page will tell you all about the troubleshooting steps I went through before I could get my “monster in the basement” to work. Now I love it!

Thanks for visiting, and I hope to hear from you!

Off topic

Basement

This is my basement. Actually, this is one corner of my basement – there are three, really. The desk/library, the sewing/fabric stash, and the tv/sofa. But this is the corner that I’m sitting in right now, and this is the corner that is the topic of the post. I follow a blog called La Vie En Rosie, by Carrie of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. (home of some truly awesome patterns). A few days ago, her post included a few questions about reading, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

I love to read. I can’t remember not reading. In kindergarten, the teaches stuck me on a stool with the Weekly Reader (anyone remember those?) and I read to the class while the teachers had coffee. I mostly read fiction, although I’ve enjoyed a few biographies and other non-fiction. I enjoy a variety of genres, including mysteries, thrillers, chick lit, romance, sci fi, and even the occasional YA. I tend toward lighter reading, although I have quite a few “should read” books waiting on the shelves.

I devour books; I read very quickly and I usually read a book straight through. For example, the Michael Crichton books Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Sphere and Congo each took almost exactly four hours to read. I love the Harry Potter books, and I read each one in a single sitting. That includes the one that I found at my front door at 8:00 p.m., started immediately, and finished at 3:00 in the morning.

My favorite books include The Time Traveler’s Wife (I’m not sure I could bear to see the movie), Ender’s Game, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Last Unicorn, Gods in Alabama, and A Ring of Endless Light. When I find an author I like, I keep going back until I run out of books. Some authors that I read are Joshilyn Jackson (who has an awesome blog, Faster Than Kudzu), Lee Child, Robert Parker, Robert Crais, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Diane Mott Davidson, Nevada Barr, Janet Evanovich, Dick Francis, L.M. Montgomery, Richard Russo, Douglas Adams, Orson Scott Card, Jennifer Weiner, Madeleine L’Engle, Diana Gabaldon, Andrew Greeley, Kathy Reichs…

I like to give books as gifts to all of my cousins’ children, and I like to read the books first. That means I’ve read a surprising number of children/Young Adult books. My favorite series for young adults is the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, about a group of teens in Australia who come home from a week camping to find that the country has been invaded.

So who else out there enjoys reading? What do you read? Do you have any suggestions? Do you belong to a book club, and do you recommend it? Do you read anything that others might consider unusual?

By the way, if you click on the photo above you’ll go to the Flickr page, which has notes on the photo.

Dumb Mistakes

Last night I made dinner on the grill. I went to the farmer’s market in the morning and picked up some fingerling potatoes, garlic and corn on the cob. We had cauliflower already, and defrosted a couple of pork chops. It was delicious, but the cauliflower wasn’t quite as cooked as I would have liked it. I tried to turn the grill back on, but the electronic ignition (commonly known as “the clicker” in our house) didn’t work so I took it inside and finished it on the stove.

This morning we went out to take pictures of a quilt for a pattern cover (not my design, just one I wrote out for a local quilt shop). As we’re fiddling with it on the line, I said, “Do you smell gas?”

Yep. When I couldn’t get the grill to click, I left the gas on. All night.

Lucky I didn’t blow us up.

Comment Update

I’ve added a “Current Comment Count” on the left side of the screen. It doesn’t update automatically, so I’ll change it every day or so. I reviewed the comments and removed a few that were not actually comments, just trackbacks and pingbacks from links that I’d posted.

I have to say, it’s great to see the comments. I’ve had comments from all over – Sri Lanka, Sweden, Austria, India, the UK, not to mention all across the US from Minnesota, New York, California, Arizona, and Georgia – and that’s all in the last month!

… and I’m updating to add a few more locations. There’s Canada, and the Netherlands, and Australia…

(Wouldn’t it be fun to visit all of these places?!)

Next Giveway Announcement

So my last giveaway, for my 100th post, was a bit of a flop. My fault entirely because I foolishly excluded anyone who didn’t reside in the US. I have learned! My future giveaways will include everyone.

I was looking for an occasion for the next giveaway, and number of Comments seems to be the best choice. The problem is, I have just over 400 comments. That means the next logical number is 500. It’s been about a year so at that rate I’m looking at 3 months before the next giveaway! Help me out – comment on this blog – any post, or more than one if you’re so inclined – so we get to the next milestone. Commenter number 500 will receive a prize, AND I will announce another giveaway. Should it be more fabric (I have plenty)? Or should it be a mini quilt? Patterns? A book? What would you like?

There is one rule – when you comment, it must be something valid for the post you’re commenting on. No “Hi, this is my comment” type comments.

Remember, two prizes are at stake here – one for poster number 500, and one for the giveaway that I announce once we reach 500 posts. Tell your friends and announce it on your blog – the sooner we get to 500, the better!