Thursday, November 29, 2012

32 and 1/2 days and counting!!

It's Thursday, November 29, 2012 and the official tally stands at 186 and 7/8 yards!  25 1/8 yards to go.  The plan for the afternoon includes putting together two backings, so by the end of the day it should be over 190 yards. 

Early in the fall, I showed you some of the 6 pointed stars I was making for a sampler.  Since I booked a workshop at Quilt Quarters in Carmel, Indiana focusing on those stars, I decided to set them together so the shop could have a sample of the possibilities for the workshop.  I thought you might like to see it!

What do you think? The border print inspired the color scheme back in September.  It was one I found on my teaching trip to Colorado in August.  Of course, I didn't have enough to cut one piece borders on the lengthwise grain -- especially since I wanted to miter the corners.  And I didn't have the time to go hunting for more of it. 

The dilemma was how to piece it without making it look like I ran out of fabric.  No matter whether the borders were cut on the lengthwise or crosswise grain, they would need to be pieced.  Fortunately, I left the border fabric folded to the approximate width I was considering hanging on the work wall.  When I came back into the sewing room a couple hours later, I noticed that the print is strongly directional.  Now that may not bother some of you, but for me, its a condition that has to be controlled. 

My solution?  Piece the borders at the midpoint so that I could reverse the strips and the direction of the print switches thus fooling the observer to think I have everything under control.  So I cut the fabric to the length needed for half the border strip remembering to allow extra for the mitered corners.  Then I cut that piece into 8 equal strips (about 5" wide). 

I have discovered (the hard way, of course) that when a large scale print is cut into lengthwise strips, the strips often look like two different color ways.  So before going further, I spread the strips apart on the cutting table, and sure enough, it did indeed look like I had two different color ways -- four of the strips had more aqua and less pink than the other 4.  I paired the strips based on that.  Each set was sewn together so the print goes up on one end and down on the other.  Then when I put them around the quilt on the work wall, it was quickly obvious that the more aqua/less pink borders needed to be opposite each other rather than adjacent to keep the quilt looking balanced.  As you look at the photo, none of this is apparent, but if I had not managed the print the way I did, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb and made the quilt less successful. 

Mary's Rule -- look before you stitch!!  If you maintain balance, it is always easier to look at the quilt.

If you think you'd like to learn how to piece these stars (and more), consider signing up for the HEXAGON & THEIR ALLIES retreat in March, 2013.  All the info is posted on my website at

So it's time to go make those backings and chalk up a few more yards to the tally!!  Check back soon to see how this all ends!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunshine = ENERGY

Gosh, it feels good to have the sun shining in my office window this morning.  I hope the folks on the East Coast who felt the full power of Sandy are being blessed with some of this liquid gold this morning!!  A sunny day lifts my spirits and fills me with energy, so I'm attacking my "to-do" list with vigor this morning and posting a progress report is #1!!

I'm happy to report, I'm still on track for using 212 yards of glorious quilting fabric by the end of 2012.  The count this morning is 176 7/8 yards!  And I think I'm beginning to see one of the benefits of using so much of what I already own -- there is actually over an inch of empty space at the top of all my shelves!?!  That's exciting.

And there are still 3 projects that I've cut and not stitched that haven't been tallied.

I spent 3 days last week demonstrating Marti Michell's new Tesselating Windmill tool during the Amish Country Shop Hop at Mercantile on Main in Coshocton, Ohio.  So I took along stacks of fabric organized for quilts using that tool.  What an efficient strategy Marti has developed for that tool!!  Last Sunday, during the annual Wildwood Quilt Guild's show in Mentor, Ohio, I was tired of standing and cutting, so I stitched one of the windmill quilts together.  This one is destined for my charity quilting group's annual donation of children's quilts to Laura's Home, a wonderful ministry of Cleveland's City Mission. It's ready to layer and quilt!!

Of course, one can't be expect to spend 3 days in a 
quilt shop without shopping . . . . can one?  I wish
I could say each one was purchased with a specific purpose in mind, but I've been an impulse shopper for too long.  I can defend several of them though -- the strippy one (third from the bottom) is for the border of my fourth windmill quilt.  The blue one in the middle has birds on it -- do I need to say more?
The brown one (with the owls) is for the border of a windmill quilt I'm going to make for my grandson.  The pile of blue quarter yards on the left is for a new 6 pointed star project, the white on white quarters on the right and the polka dots are to replenish indispensible basics, the oranges and purple are just because they were good ones.  The one on the bottom will be a terrific inspiration for something and there are a few Civil War pieces wedged in there to expand that assortment in my stash.  There I've justified all of it but I'm not going to tally it up!

So I have to use about 5/8 of a yard per day for the rest of the year to make my goal.  Binding 55 quilts will take care of that!  Or I could make 27 pillowcases.  Oh, gosh, I forgot that I donated half the strips from my 2 1/2" strip stash to the charity quilt project this week -- that's at least another 3 yards!!  And there is a very old project on the work wall that has finally made it to the border stage -- borders and backing!! 

I know a few of you out there have also been attacking your stashes this year -- I'd love to hear what sort of progress you are making!!