Monday, August 23, 2010

I just got home from work... don't get me wrong, I do love my job.  But the first week of school at a university is always ridiculous.  This year just seems to be so IN SPADES!
My plan is to curl up with a pair of knitting needles and some super soft yarn and just let my brain count stitches.   Does anyone else retreat into their art to escape the mundane and trying aspects of everyday life? 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

     Driving home from the grocery store this afternoon, I passed a garage sale, too quickly to stop when I realized that there was a pile of bags of fiberfill leaned against a wall at the side of the sale.  I casually drove around the block and parked in the shade in front of the house.
     Six of the bags were high end, ultra-soft fiberfill - one of the bags was a high-loft queen size quilt batting.  I asked the two ladies attending the sale if I could have a volume discount, and was told for $10, I could have it all.  Cool!  The second lady asked if I was a quilter....  yes....  "Do you quilt by machine?" she asked...  No, all my quilts are hand-quilted.  At this point I gave both ladies one of my business cards, and explained that my shop has handmade rag dolls and teddy bears (thus my interest in the fiberfill), as well as quilts.
     At that point, the second lady started to grill me on quilting.  It was kind of odd, I thought, but what the heck!  It was a shady spot, and I love talking quilting.  After about five minutes, the ulterior motive surfaced, and I have a new job!  This lady has an heirloom quilt which needs to be repaired!  It's not torn (thank goodness!), but there are places on it the need to be re hand-appliqued and some of the quilting is gone.  "I have no idea how much time this will take or what this will cost you," I said.  Her response...  "I don't care!" 
     So I have a new project, which I am really looking forward to, and we agreed on a price with which I am thrilled!
     The next time you're out and about, be sure to stop at garage sales ... There may be a sale in it for you!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


From Here To There...
How To Make a Log Cabin Quilt Block
Surprisingly, this is simple IF you can cut and sew straight!  It's also a great way to use up small pieces of leftover fabrics. The block shown uses seven different materials.  In this block, I'm using 2 inch (5.1 cm) strips or logs, and a 2 x 3 inch (5.1 x 7.6 cm) rectangle for the center because I want my finished quilt to be rectangular. It is imperative that your center piece is exactly square.  If it's off, everything else will be too, and you'll end up with a parallelogram instead of a square or rectangle!
The absolute easiest way to accomplish this is with a rotary cutter and it's matching board and ruler.  These tools are certainly your friends when you need things to be perfectly straight.  Step one is to cut all of your 
materials - your center square or rectangle, then three or four strips of the materials you will be using.  Then lay out your materials in the order they'll be sewn together.  You'll be starting at the center and working outward from there. If you are not sure what order the fabrics will be sewn in, once everything is cut, you can lay them out around the center piece until you like what you see!
Starting with the center block, line up and sew the first strip to it making a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) seam.  Lay the piece down on your cutting board and cut off the excess of the strip even with the edge of the block.  
Iron the seam away from the center.  Using the same log (strip), align it exactly with the bottom of the piece you just sewed.  You want it exactly even with the center block edge.  Sew it using a 1/4 inch seam as before.  All of the strips will be used twice.  Cut off the excess and return the unused portion to its pile.  Take the next log and align it exactly with the third edge of the 
center block, sew it with a 1/4 inch seam, cut the excess, press the seam away from center, then align the same strip with the fourth edge of the center block and repeat.  You've now gone all the way around center with fabric in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise fashion.  It doesn't matter which you choose, but you must continue around in the same direction until you're all done!

Note the seam in the piece on the right.
Always align with the straight edge of the log attached to the center, not the edges of the perpendicular logs.  If they're a little short or long, it's not an issue.  It's aligning to center that will keep your quilt block square.  And remember that this is a quilt...  a collection of lots of different pieces of fabric!  If one of the logs is too short, it's absolutely okay to piece two logs together into one bigger log!

When you've used all of your logs twice, you'll have a finished block which looks like this from the back.  Note how all of the seams are parallel to each other.  This block has two logs which have been pieced together, too.

Continue making blocks in this manner until you have enough for your quilt, then sew all the blocks together.  You can sew the blocks to each other, or you can use a strip of material to separate the blocks (I'm partial to the latter).

That's all there is to it!