Monthly Archives: February 2014

Not according to plan …

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Sampler quilt 1

My unfinished sampler quilt!

I have a love-hate relationship with sampler quilts.

I love samplers because it’s a way to develop my skills and try some new techniques. Plus it’s always very fun getting a new pattern and some fabric in the mail!

The downside is when I don’t do the blocks for almost a year and screw up, then recognize it’s too late to contact the shop for more fabric. I think that its some kind of quilting law that you have to do this at least once in a Sampler Quilt. Yesterday was my day.

I’d be planning to finish this quilt for awhile. It was a block of the week from Summer 2013, created by Stitchin’ Heaven Quilt Shop in Texas. My first big problem was that the remaining four blocks require Tri Recs acrylic templates to make the triangles. I knew that I’d purchased these at least twice (probably three times) and could not find a single set in my sewing room. Over the weekend, I was determined to hunt ’em down and finally found two sets in the drawer under my cutting table.

I love the color of the blocks. The instructions are wonderfully clear and I’ve enjoyed making them. However, I don’t like the directions for half-square triangles. They recommend cutting squares in half on the diagonal, thus creating two right-angle triangles, and then sewing the longest sides together. I prefer to create half-square triangles by sewing two squares together and then cutting them apart along the diagonal. As a result, I make my squares a little bit larger then the instructions suggest and am always mucking around with the directions. The short story is that I screwed up and cut some of the blocks two small.

Although I have a hefty stash, of course I didn’t have any equivalent fabric, so knew I couldn’t complete one of the blocks. I was so frustrated that I decided to change course and do some computer work instead of sewing. So much for my plan to finish the blocks and show them off in today’s blog!

Chevron Quilt (PS: I Designed It Myself!)

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I have been wanting to make a chevron quilt for quite awhile. I had some black fabric and a great pack of Kaufman fat quarters that were perfect for the project. A bonus was that I didn’t have to purchase any new fabric, which carries on my theme from last week of actually making something from my stash. (Don’t worry, those days are passed. I broke down and ordered some new fabric yesterday.)

This quilt is made of finished 5″ squares. I began by cutting 7″ squares and using them to make half-square triangles. The resulting square was trimmed down to 5.5 inches. Each row consists of a light and dark color that were fairly close together in color. (The second row was VERY close in color … they are slightly different shades but it’s hard to see that from the photo.)

Although I’ve done some original quilts, this is my first time creating a pattern that was somewhat complex. It made me appreciate the challenges faced by pattern designers. My major screw-up was pressing all of the seams toward the dark side, and then having to re-press half of them to the other side.

My other screw-up was forgetting to bring the 7th row back to my sewing room. I sewed the strips together and ended with a row that had a big transition between colors. After some ripping and re-stitching, that problem was also fixed.

At first I was really disappointed in the quilt. I felt like the black portion was very overpowering. However, the more I look at it, the more I like it. I’ve got a great idea for the quilting and will share the final result when it’s done.

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Chevron closeup

A Fun, Frozen Day!

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Yesterday was yet another snow day on Long Island. I decided to treat myself a “Sew Day” and spend the day quilting. When I checked Facebook at lunch, there was a post by awesome quilter Kim Brunner — AND IT FEATURED MY DAUGHTER!!!! I was incredibly surprised to discover that she was featured on BuzzFeed

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Daughter Angela in her Elsa costume from “Frozen.”

I have to say that her costume was worthy of being publicized. It took her more than 250 hours to make and has 100,000+ rhinestones. I can also say (as her proud mother) that I thought her makeup and wig styling were flawless.

Although most of the comments are positive, the negatives focus on the lousy photos. It will be no surprise to my readers that I am the lousy photographer! What people didn’t realize was that the photos were taken the morning following an ice storm. The roads were basically closed. Even if we had hired a photographer, they wouldn’t have been able to make it to the shoot. It’s a shame that she was stuck with me, because a professional photographer and some additional lighting would have made a huge difference.

No fabric was purchased for this quilt!

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There’s something really satisfying about making a quilt top entirely from my stash! I had a half yard of this button fabric and wanted to make a quilt with it.  I managed to find some matching red, grey and white solids, but didn’t have much of them either. What I did  have were two rolls of Kona cotton 2.5 inch strips — one set in black and the other in white. I mixed it all together and came up with this quilt top!

I have to say that I love the look of it. It’s contemporary and kind of fun! I can’t wait to quilt it. I’m also excited to use up a teeny, tiny bit of my fabric stash!

Buttons quilt 3 Buttons quilt

Inspiration from the Catwalk

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Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I have to admit that I am in awe of designers because they work with such a wide range of fabrics (not to mention feathers and sequins), and because they have to fit their creations to a live model.

Jean Paul Gaultier was born in 1952 and received no formal fashion training. Over the last forty years, he’s designed for movies, models and musicians. Some of his creations were truly beautiful and some were rather vulgar. Clearly he has his own vision for his designs!

This exhibit continues at the Brooklyn Museum until February 23, 2014. It is really well set up, and many of the models are on a rotating stage. I apologize for the horrible quality of the photographs. The models were moving and they don’t allow flash photography, so I did the best I could with my iPhone. I wanted to share my trip and make my local readers aware of this exhibit. Thankfully I’m a much better quilter than I am photographer!

Guathier 2Guathier 6 Guathier 5RGuathier 4R