Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am in idea incubation mode, so I have been quiet. 
Here are a couple of paintings that I did a while back. 

Spirit of the Mountains

These are available as notecards by request.  If you are interested, leave a comment saying "curious about notecards" or some such. OR email me, just go to my profile to get the email address. 

The actual Fishes painting is sold.  However, Spirit of the Mountains is available for purchase. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quilting Quandary

The kaleidoscopes have turned into a table runner.  I am getting ready to quilt it.  I have it layered and all ready to go. 

Except that now I am in a quandary.  
/ˈkwänd(ə)rē  Perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.  

Difficult indeed!  I am in love with the way this table runner has turned out. So I don't want to mess it up.  Now I am frozen! 
What color thread do I quilt it with?  I don't know if you can see it, but there is a spool at the far end (top) of the picture that is a contender. 

See, I normally use a cream thread and let the quilting show.  But for this I don't want it to interfere with the kaleidoscopes and possibly steal focus. 

Oh! No!! Another quandary!!!
"how" will I quilt it?  (don't suggest ditch quilting as there are too many seams converging at the middle of each block.)
 My readers are so brilliant!  So, I am asking "What would YOU do if it were yours?" 
Oh yes, it doesn't really show in the picture but the ends of the runner are pointed if that matters in your "how to quilt it." 


Lucky 13

Clearly triskaidekaphobia is not a problem for the winner of the fabric bag and extra fabric. Or else she didn't notice.

The random number generator chose number 13.

In case you don't know, Triskaidekaphobia  is the fear of the number 13.  It certainly didn't stop Jennifer from commenting at the number 13 spot. And now she is the winner of the fabric zipper bag and the leftover fabric. 
Jennifer, I need your mailing address. Leave a comment here and I will email you if you haven't emailed me prior to that. 

Can I hear a big "Hooray for Jennifer" ? 

By the way, my blog numbering thing looks odd, but the number is above the comment. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

American Indian Kaleidoscope

American Indian Kaleidoscope 
Quilt blocks using an American Indian inspired tribal fabric. This really appeals to my sense of my own Cherokee heritage.
I was looking for some fabric for a different technique when I found this fabric. Both blocks are made from the same piece of yardage. The look is totally different though.
I made these using the Marti Michell ruler. The first time I used this ruler I had a big wad of disaster sewn up all nicely. I threw the piece in the garbage in disgust. The ruler was hung out of the way. ("yeah, I probably won't be doing that again - oh the wasted money for that ruler" , I thought.)

Things change, we develop better sewing skills and (if we are - smart, brave or maybe stupid) we try again. I am glad I tried again. I am thinking of making two more of these and making a table runner or maybe make a BIG four patch out of them and stick it in the middle of a lap quilt. Only time will tell.

If you are looking for the entry for the zipper pouch, go to the March 23rd post and comment there. It ends tonight (Saturday 3/27)

I just saw that another blogger is taking her ZenTangle doodles and making art quilts.
I have a few that I could do that with.  How about this one?

Angel with Attitude

or maybe this one?
ATC Bird
I am not exactly sure how to do it though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zipper Bag and Fabric

How do you feel about glitter? I am NOT a fan of it.  I got a half yard fabric that I really liked - until I saw that it has glitter on it. You see, if  there is glitter anywhere in a 3 yard area, it will end up on my face. Why is that?   
So, what to do?  I thought I could use it to make gifts.  So I made this little zipper pouch. It is about 8 inches by 6 inches. 

I have glitter on the ironing board, my hands, in the carpet and ----yes, you guessed it ON my FACE.  Arrgh.  

What to do?

I know! A giveaway is in order.  If you would like to win this zipper bag AND the rest of the half yard of fabric.  Leave a comment. I will use the random number generator to pick a winner.  The comments close at midnight Central Time on Saturday and I will pick a winner at some time on Sunday. 

I edited to add "on Saturday" to the ending time. 
Also, I may not answer all the comments for this...but "Good luck to you all" 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quilt Alongs - Update

I am caught up on Quilt Alongs this week.  

I did my blocks for the GO! Quilt Along by Quilt Possible .  This is really  a full block in the center with half blocks on each side. I like the way it looks laid together this way. 

And I did my block for the Layer Cake Quilt Along (Link on the button in the sidebar)

I am not totally happy with this block.  The seams  didn't match up as well as I like. C'est la vie! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Barb's Button Winners -And some news

My friend Barb had a button giveaway.  To be super fair, she asked me to draw the winners. I told her that I would be more than happy to assist as I was not entering.  This way her family could enter if they wished also.  I thought that was a great idea.  I didn't look to see who won, instead I sent the numbers to Barb. I sent a couple of extras in case someone was a "no-reply."   There were a couple of non-bloggers, but I suppose Barb has email addresses for them. 
Here are the numbers drawn, along with the winners.  
103  Sandra (no blog)
89 Flo@Butterfly Quilting   (
79 Andrea   Knit A Weigh (
151 Kathleen C  - Village Quilter 
14 Sharon (non blogger)
9 Sandie-call me crazy  (
56 Just Cindy  (
109 Barb - A corgi to quilt By  (
1 Quilter in the Gap (
50 Stray Stitches (

Say Congrats to the winners!  Winners, contact Barb, or maybe she will contact you, but she will need a mailing address. 
Enjoy  your buttons.

In Other News:
I am excited to tell you that I am a featured quilter on the Oranje Quilters Guild blog.  The lady who runs the blog has been so nice.  They are in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa.  I confess I had never even heard of Bloemfontein (and I certainly can't pronounce it!) 
 So go over and say "Hello" to our fellow quilters in South Africa. 
Peace to you, 

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Darling Katie

This is a tune I composed on the penny whistle.  The title is "My Darling Katie" 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A New Video - by special request

When I posted my scrappy star block, I got a request to make a video showing just how I do scrap-busting with the GO! fabric cutter.  Oddly enough, this request came through Flickr ( a photo site.) The person said that she became aware of me through the Layer Cake Quilt Along. It is amazing how many connections we make through the internet. So, without further ado, here is the video.  (warning - it is almost 14 minutes long)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adventures with Zippers

Like a number of quilters, I have been totally terrified to try putting in a zipper.  I have used just about every other closure method I can find to avoid using a zipper. 

Spring forward to March 4th:  My friend Tonya posted a video showing how she puts in a zipper when she makes a coin purse. I watched it and thought "hey, I can do that!" 
So I ordered a few zippers.  They came in and I let them sit. Finally, a couple of nights ago, I cut some fabric.  Then I took one of the zippers and had a go at it.   I did not follow Tonya's method exactly. (I needed to watch that video a few more times to cement all the steps in my head!)  But guess what?  It worked!  
I made this little zippered bag. 
It has a zipper that works just fine.  I am amazed at how good it looks too. The bag is reasonably straight and has a nice boxed bottom.  It sits upright without being propped.  Yaay!  
Thanks Tonya, you are T-riffic! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day

Today I am sharing two (or maybe more) things for St Patrick's day.
First is a prayer called "St Patrick's Breastplate"

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Next is a video that I shot just for you, my readers.   Most of you will know this as "Danny Boy" - however the tune predates the words, and is more correctly called "Londonderry Air"  Londonderry,  or County Derry, is one of the six counties that make up Northern Ireland. I apologize for the minor mistakes, but my diagonal neighbor decided to start mowing grass, so another take was out of the question.  The glance to the side near the end is when a neighbor's grandchild walked up the drive. 

Of course then there is this - notice the last name of the first lady that sings.  She is from a very musical Irish family.   I wonder if she is related to me?  This song, in Gaelic, speaks to me - even though I don't speak the language.   I have to say, this is what it can be like if a bunch of Irish folks get together.  This reminds me so much of Saturday nights at my mother's parents house so many times in my youth.

These last two are from some good friends of mine.
In case you feel like dancing, a fiddle and pennywhistle combo. 

And I leave you with An Irish Blessing

Remember that my other penny whistle videos are on the tab "Videos Entertainment" 
Have a wonderful St Patrick's day. (well, what is left of it after watching all of these. (((grin)))

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wanna win a Thousand Dollars?

Do you want to win a thousand dollars?  Well how about a $1,000 shopping spree to AccuQuilt along with a trip to visit the factory where you will meet some really nice people.  
All the details can be found here
And if you click from my site, it helps me.  If I get the most click-throughs, then I can win a prize. 
So click away on this one or the one in my sidebar. Send all your family and friends to my blog to click too. (yes I am shameless!) 
But you know that I love you, right?  Thursday I have a special treat for you on my blog. I least I hope you find it a treat. 

By the way, I am planning to submit a block for this if I find inspiration. Wish me luck. And if you decide to enter, I wish YOU luck too.  Get those creative juices flowing. You can do this people! 
(I would love it if the winner was a click through from my blog- and as far as I know, the only thing I would get from that is pure joy. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Noise Alert

When a certain friend and I are visiting , sometimes we are both on the computer. If we are aware that a what we are about to load makes noise, we say "Noise Alert" so that the other doesn't get jarred out of the chair. Hence the title of this post. 

Today I am sharing another of my little penny whistle tunes with you. 

This is my Ellis Whistle. It does not jump smoothly to the upper octave.  Different penny whistles have different strong points and different weaknesses.  I really should have gotten out my Burke whistle for this tune. Oh, and YouTube seems to have gotten the music out of sync with the video. LOL.  It really is me playing.

Edited to add: One of the comments asked about a tune for St Patrick's Day.  I am game, give me some requests for Irish tunes. I will try to pick one and get it recorded for St Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scrappy HST become Stars

I have been having some fun today.  We started off with a trip to the grocery store. Since I am at a friend's house, it is a store I don't always get to shop at - it was fun.  I got a few things I can't get at my store. 

Then  we went to the Guatemalan store for a couple of items. I love shopping there. The store has no pretense and the staff is so friendly.  Then we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant that is always good. Items on the menu are not interpreted so it is always fun to go "I wonder what that is?"  The waitress is Latina but she was clearly raised in the USA.  I had to ask about a couple of items.  I got the Huarache. It was a plateful.   YUM!

Then back to the house for some real fun.  I got my plastic box of scraps from scrapbusting with my AccuQuilt GO! cutter(this was round two of scrapbusting.)  
I sewed all of these half-square triangles (HSTs) together. 

Then I sat down and used some of my scrappy HSTs and some 4 1/2" squares and made a scrappy star.  It looks wonky, not because it is, but rather because of the two green points that are medium value rather than dark.  

Won't these make a fun quilt?  I am loving it.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Curvy and Fun

Folks, I don't normally do product reviews.  Fact is, I bought this Curve Master foot for my sewing machine because I hate  strongly dislike pinning. It is rare that I pin pieces to sew them together.  
Fact two is that I really like the Drunkard's Path, AND I have the small AccuQuilt die for making it.  That was my incentive. 

So I got this foot:
It looks fairly plain. Honestly I saw it and said "How can that thing make any difference?"  (fact: I still don't know "how")  
So after it sat in the package a few days, I decided to pull it out and put it on the machine.  I sat and sewed the first block:
Oops! that is as off as when I did it "my way." 
So I re-read the package. (Ah, light bulb!)  A while back I had bought a pair of long, curved tip tweezers because they were a great deal at two dollars. (Surely they will come in handy!) 
I took out those tweezers, took another block and tried again.  This time I got about an inch from the end (where your fingers start to get in the way) and used the tweezers to hold that final bit.  
BINGO!  it worked. 
The edges lined up nicely, the curves are curvy, and the blocks ironed out well. And it was easy.  
One of my dear friends said she couldn't get it to work out just right. I typed up what I did in an email and sent it to her.  I hope she tries it this weekend to GREAT success. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

LCQA Block 10 and ScrapBusting Wisdom.

This evening I saw the blog post for the latest block in the Layer Cake Quilt Along.  I am shocked that this is block 10 already. There are 12 blocks in the Quilt Along so we are getting very close to the end. 
This block designed by Kari Ramsay is called Fresh Flower.  The block was fairly simple and straightforward to make.  I really like this one set on point so I photographed it that way. I know that it won't be on point in this quilt. So perhaps I will make a similar block to set on point in another piece. Here is my block:
I used two greens instead of one, just to add a little variation. You know I don't like to be to much like everyone else! Ha ha. 

As I was making this block I used some of my scrap cut pieces as leaders and enders.  I learned that I need to do a bit of "pre-work" on that stack. If I had the pieces already paired up in light dark sets, I could grab them more easily to use.  That sounds like a great job to do while watching a movie or TV, don't you think?  I am only looking at the contrast on these, I am NOT concerning myself with color.  In a really scrappy quilt, color is secondary to contrast. If the contrast is good, the quilt will be eye catching. I learned that lesson by reading Wanda's blog -Exuberant Color.  With a name like that I would find it hard to resist! 

More on the scrap busting - It is okay to just sew some of those pieces together when  just want to sew and not think too much.  The thinking can come later when you put it together into a quilt. I am thinking of using some of my half square triangles with the 4 inch blocks to make stars. 
Here is one possibility:
Of course mine would be scrappy.  Using the 2 1/2" squares and HSTs along with a 4 1/2" square for the center this will make an 8" finished block.  There are lots of variations on this idea.  
I am so glad I got started on my scrap busting project. 

Monday, March 07, 2011

Scrap Busting

It is amazing how scraps build up when you are a quilter.  Some, rare quilters, are able to throw them away. I am not that type of quilter. Some quilters have bags of scraps hidden away for the "someday" when they will use them to make a scrap quilt. 
Of course they keep buying fabric and collecting yet more scraps. I have been that type of quilter lately.  Early in my quilting I used scraps. People gave me scraps.  Now I have bags of scraps. 

Don't get me wrong, scraps are good.Keep your scraps, but don't SAVE them, bust them!  When I realized that I had to cut extra pieces for the quilt along blocks that I made too short, I made a decision.  I decided to cut some scraps while I had my AccuQuilt GO! set up and the value die was working anyway. 

So, I ironed a couple of scraps and cut some 2.5" squares while I was cutting the half square triangles.  Then, while sewing the pieces for the quilt along block, I used the square to sew on, sew off.  I normally have been using little scraps as "Thread Rats" to keep the points from clogging up when I start a triangle.  

I finished the extra parts of the quilt along block. The iron was still set up, ready to go. The bag of scraps was right beside it.  I decided to iron the entire bag of scraps then cut them up. 

I was surprised at some of the sizes of the "scrap" pieces as I was ironing.  I got my GO! cutter and some dies and put them out. I set up a scrap busting shop.

I started cutting. I cut 2.5" squares and half square triangles.  I cut more half square triangles in 3.5", 4.5" and 6.5".   I cut some quarter square triangles that will make a 4" finished block.  I even cut a few 4.5" squares. 

Here are the finished stacks:

I sat watching a movie and sorted them by lights and darks. There are a LOT of pieces there.  I still have more bags of scraps that need busting.  I will sew the half and quarter square triangles into square blocks.  I will sew the squares into four patches or nine patches.  Eventually I will have a truly scrappy quilt made as "extras" that were sewed in between pieces of other projects.  I won't have to cut the thread, or use a thread rat when I need to take pieces to be ironed, I will just sew a couple of these together and leave it under the presser foot while I go iron.  Then when each one comes out it goes into a stack for that scrappy quilt.  
As an added bonus, those scrap bags will start to diminish. 

How fun is that?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Setting - I Forgot!

Yes my friends, after doing that blog post about the setting triangles, I totally forgot to post the picture when I put the setting triangles and border on my small convergence quilt.  So today I will correct that error.  I am sorry that I didn't iron this prior to taking a photo, it is slightly wrinkled from being draped over a pile of UFOs. 

I have also been working on my Quilt Possible AccuQuilt Quilt Along blocks for round two. 
Remember these from yesterday?
By some error, I didn't read the directions carefully and didn't cut enough pieces for the entire block, so I have two partial blocks completed. Here is one of them. 

They are supposed to be 16.5" by 6.5" -mine are a bit short. Ha ha. Luckily, it will be easy enough to correct.  I love the way the engineered/pre-trimmed corners on the triangles make it easy to get the points perfect. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sewing and Digitizing.

I am sure some of you are wondering what I have been up to lately.  I haven't posted in a couple of days.  So here is what is going on.  I had this idea that I wanted to make happen. So I ordered something necessary.  If you read the entire post you will find out patient. I had to wait for it to arrive. I was almost patient. 

Meanwhile, I sewed all of these:

They need ironing and a few threads still need clipped. But they are for the AccuQuilt GO! Quilt Along that I am doing. These will turn into block two. Actually they will make two of block two. 

Then yesterday the big brown truck delivered THIS:

I was very excited because I have never done machine embroidery. I was worried that the 4" by 4" embroidery field wouldn't be big enough to make me happy. I didn't know how much I would really use it,  so I didn't want to break the bank buying a top of the line one just yet.  Now I am thinking the size of the field is big enough for me  until I decide and can afford to move up. 

Last night I stitched out this:

Kokopelli the flute player - although to me he is playing a penny whistle. Ha ha. Among other things, he represents the spirit of music.

Then this morning I sat at the computer and digitized this design, then I sewed it out.

In case you don't recognize it, that is the outline of my home state, Alabama. 
Don't be too critical of my samples of embroidery.  I sewed them on un-ironed scrap cloth.  I wasn't very patient and just had to try it, right at the moment. (Okay, so if you skipped the text and scrolled down to see the pictures first I forgive you.  I am not really very patient either.)

I am hoping to use the State outline and do some logos for work.  Perhaps I can even earn enough money to buy one of those top of the line embroidery machines! 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Finally Feeling Better - So I made some Quilt Blocks

After a couple of days feeling blah and wishing I felt better, I have finally rounded a corner.  I am doing the AccuQuilt GO! Quilt Along hosted by Ebony at Quilt Possible. The first block was posted back of February 17th.  Yikes!  I am late. At least block two hasn't been posted yet. 
For block one we were to make eight of the Whirlwind blocks.  Here are four of my completed blocks laid together so I could see this secondary design. I love it, I could make an entire quilt of this block. 

Since I cut the pieces for this block with the AccuQuilt Go! cutter, all the pieces fit together wonderfully and the cutting was fast. My points are near perfect and I am happy. (Disclaimer: I don't stress over perfect points; but I do like them.)  
For this quilt along, we were to pick two neutrals and six other fabrics. The other fabrics are 3 sets of two in light and dark, as are the neutrals. My light neutral is a natural muslin, the dark is a tan. 
The fabrics in the dark triangles are a bit confusing as they did not photograph well. The triangles that form the center pinwheel are a hand dyed fabric that is burgundy with a bit of green in it. The light that goes with that is the mottled light burgundy/pink.  
The dark outer triangles are a mottled purple that goes with the light purple/white floral. 
There are two colors that are NOT shown, as they didn't come into play this round.  I have a solid light green and this green with purple and yellow in the foreground:
I think the purple in this will play nicely with the other fabrics. 

If you are on FaceBook you may want to "like" AccuQuilt.  It will let you see what other people are making with the GO! cutter and occasionally they give away some great prizes. Tell them "Gene Black sent me over here" if you want to.  And you might mention that I should be on their "Blog Friends" wall, too. (Yes that is shameless self-promotion) 

I just spotted this: If you sign up for email updates at the AccuQuilt website they have a $100 monthly gift certificate giveaway.  I am glad I am signed up. I would love to win one of those! 

Thanks for all the 'get well' wished over the past couple of days. You have really made me feel loved. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sick Day - On Point Blocks

I am almost never sick.  But a couple of weeks ago, I had a nasty cold.  Ugh.  That was no fun. 

((You can skip this section in purple if you are sensitive it may be "too much information"))

Today I woke up with a strange feeling - I was nauseous! I got up and headed to the bathroom,  I knelt down and did my impersonation of Linda Blair in "The Exorcist."   I thought that since we had a storm last night and the weather had changed again, that it was just sinus issues. So I got dressed and went to work.  I got to my desk and put my lunch in the cabinet. I did not have time to sit at my desk.  I had to run to the men's room and --well I had a different symptom - you figure it out.
So I went home for the day.  

I didn't accomplish a lot since I didn't want to stress myself. But I did do a little research on how to set a block on point.  You see I have this little piece that I worked on Sunday night and Monday night. (Sorry no picture yet.)  I want to enlarge it and then maybe add some borders to bring it to lap quilt size.  
What I found was that a whole lot of the math has been done for me (and for you if you need it) at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site.  There was one thing I didn't understand. She has "Corner Triangles" and "Side Triangles" listed. 

Okay, so maybe I am a bit dense. I did  a bit more research and found that what I need is Corner Triangles since I am only doing one block.   The Side Triangles are for when you are setting an entire quilt with on point blocks  and you need to fill in the edges to make it square.

Here is a picture of a quilt on point layout for those of you who are visual thinkers. 

The Corner Triangles are black
The Side Triangles are blue. 

However, all I was doing was taking one big block to set on point. 
Like this:
Except the big block in mine is pieced. But those corner triangles were what I needed. 

My block is about 15 1/2 inches square, so looking at Bonnie's chart, I will cut two 11 7/8" squares and cut them diagonally for my triangles. 
That chart has sizes from 3" square up to 16" square.  I am really glad I found it.  I am sure I would have wasted a lot of fabric if I had winged it.  I thought that the 11 7/8" was wrong. Surely it would take more than that. So I checked it using a right triangle calculator on the web. I got the same answer. 
Now if you enjoy doing the math for yourself, here is the formula.
Size of finished block divided by 1.414 then add 7/8 inch to that total. or  X/1.414 + 0.875 (where X is the length of one edge of the block you are setting on point) 

Yeah, I will stick with Bonnie's chart.