Monday, July 30, 2012

BCQ Tutorial - Dealing with Long Seams

One of my readers emailed me and asked how to handle long seams in crazy to avoid having them, and how to handle them if you do get some. So, I'm sharing my response just in case someone else might wonder that here goes.
Beginner Crazy Quilting (CQ) Tutorial
Dealing with Long Seams and
Problem Piecing Areas
There are at least a dozen ways to piece a block, but certainly one of the most common is the "flip-n-sew" method. Usually, it begins with a five sided piece of fabric...but that is not a "must". 
 The method gets it's name because other fabrics are added to the center piece at a time by attaching the next fabric then "flipping it up". Then the next piece, etc. until all sides of the center have fabric attached.
This can create some long seam lines as fabrics are added, especially on larger size blocks.
So, is not a favorite method of all. It is however one of mine, because it is super fast!
Here is a typical block. I'm sure you've experience the tiny sliver of fabric for #2 and the long seam on the opposite side for #5. 
The First Help is...make sure the middle piece is not too it will be even smaller once you've attached other fabric to it, and the less rounds you have...the less likely you'll have many long seams. If the center here had been a little larger, it would have helped reduce the #4 and #5 pieces, and given more space to the #2 piece. But, this is what a "standard" flip-n-sew often has. So, what to do about that huge #5 seam?
The Second Help...even if the block is "done" because the sides have fabrics attached (as in the first diagram) and the background base fabric is "full" don't have to stop piecing. Go back and piece across the corners (see 7, 8, 9, 10).
This shortens up any long seams somewhat by "chopping off" some distance from their ends.
One thing I don't do...although I know a lot of folks like piece fabrics before attaching them. This increases the number of patches...but does not do a thing about long seams. And, I like open spaces and not so many fabrics. Also, long seams don't bother me.
Why you might ask? Well, they are simply design opportunities.
After the block is pieced, I study it first for long seams and for areas where seams meet in a "weird" place or there are just a lot of them.
These are my first areas to consider for lace motifs, button clusters, or ribbon hide these weird intersections...or to break up a long seam...(see the circle and oval shown here...these ares are what I would consider trouble areas of this block...and they are now covered up...and the #5 seam just got much shorter!)
 Hope, this little lesson will help you not be so concerned with long seams when they can not be avoided...and helps you keep them to a minimum.  Use larger centers, Seam across all corners, Cover up problem areas first before you start any seam work (or at least know what you'll be doing there so you can skip over that area when doing your seams).

Christmas Stocking

My friend Lyn is having a Christmas Stocking exchange. And, these are just the right size for giving as special little giftees...for that special gal-pal...filled with lovely stitching supplies. "I'm just saying!" Hint, hint!
I just got started last night. The theme is silver...and I was surprised at how little silver fabric I had on hand. I could have waited until a trip to the fabric store (which is Wednesday with my niece)...but my muse has NO we pulled some lovely neutrals to go the light gray I had on hand. These are all silks, and were in a selection of fabrics that I got from Victoria over at Ribbonsmyth. Love the look and feel of silk!
 Have just gotten the stitching started...and already, my muse wants to do a second one!
There is just no stopping her!
Doesn't she realize that I have my CQJP block still unfinished for July!
And one round-robin block that just needs a dragonfly and some more beads?
Or, the other round robin block that is calling my name?
Geez, what am I going to do with her!
Better get off here and get to stitching!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

HGTV RR - Lori

I finished up Lori's block, and got her round robin blocks into the mail yesterday. We are on round 3 of 4 for this robin, so one more set of block to receive and work on. Seems like we just got started...and it's almost over!

I shared a lot of the work as I stitched on Lori's block this month here. The last thing to complete was the spider on "my" block; 

...and I added a seam and spider w/web and a corner seam to her extra "group" block.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Free Embroidery Pattern Set

Free Embroidery Pattern
Jenny is giving away a set of patterns. Follow the link above to read her post.
She is a great embroidery designer, and the story of her Wonky Houses is worth the read.
And, if you are so inclined...go cast a vote for her too!
Her pattern is available free for a don't dilly dally, hop on over there now!

Followers: Give-a-Way Time!

If you purchase a book...and find that you already own it...does that mean that you have too many books? No, I didn't think so. I prefer to think that it means that the book was so good you just could not pass it up...again!
So, here I am...with two copies of Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies...and it is seriously stupendous.
Just jam packed with beautiful projects. Her beading style is very ornate, and she uses loads of crystals and seed beads. So the supplies are easily found here in the states, although she is from Germany. Just search on her name, and you'll find tons of examples of her work! Gorgeous projects!

 So, one of my followers will be winning this book soon.
Want it to be you? Just leave a comment letting me know that you follow the blog, and it could be!
I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday afternoon! 

 I need to be able to contact you to let you know you have check to see that your Blogger Profile is up to date and includes your email address. Or just leave that into within your comment. After the winner has been selected, I'll be deleting all of the comments to this post...Hugs!
UPDATE: 29 July, 12:56...Yeah, we have a winner...she will be getting an email shortly, and will have 24 hours to respond with a mailing address.
But...she is one lucky lady, because she was the 2nd random pick.
The first random pick...did not have an updated profile...and I could not get an email address to contact her. She has a blog...but no email there either. Not naming any names...but...check your profile.
Make sure to click the "show my email address" or it is useless for you to enter any contests that require the host to contact you. Just saying...someone missed out today!
But, Marianne got lucky as the final winner!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

Wow, what a week! I feel as though I'm chained to this laptop!
First, before I forget...there are ten more books loaded on my Etsy shop...and I also have two CQ Kits available; so please go check those out if you need that.
 Working feverishly on some classes for StitchMap as I promised to write a Beginner Quilting Course, Machine Piecing based on the Sampler Quilt Course I use for the college.
But, if you have ever taught anything via the is a LOT differerent than teaching one eye-to-eye! Any information that "might" be needed to understand the instruction you are attempting to get across needs to be available to the student...without your having to be present.
So, it takes more charts, photos, etc...and writing!
At least, for MY classes that's the way it is. Some of you might have found easier ways...and video would be one of those...but I don't have that available to me. So, the written word with charts, tables, diagrams, patterns, and photos is what I have to work with.
I'm on Chapter 10 of 14 moving right along. All of the "finished" chapters still have to be edited and tweaked...and the last four will just have to wait until this weekend to be written. I'm just too pooped to think!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CQ for Lori and Thoughts...

I believe that I am suitably nick-named...Kat. Not because I love cats, as I don't have a single one for a pet...being a dog person. But, because I am easily distracted it seems. Just yesterday, I was contemplating this fact on someone else's blog...who also professed their own malady of the same sort. 

 And, it is so I seem to scoot from one task to another. Eventually, I buckle down and spend hours on one single thing..but even then, I might do twelve more at that same time...stopping for bits and pieces of time to cut apples up, or let the dog out. Are you like that too? 

 My shelves are full of projects that are not finished (but hopefully one day will be), my design journal is full of ideas not yet started, and my computer is full of half-drawn patterns or designs. 

 I swear, if I had half the energy that I actually need...the Energizer Bunny would be slow as the tortoise next to me! Or my heat would explode, not sure which! As it stands, I'm perpetually working on multiple projects. This gives me the sense that I can get a lot done in a short amount of time; which cause me to "agree" to a lot of helping on projects that are not truly MY projects. And, that's okay to a point...but lately, I'm thinking that I'm doing too much of that and not enough of the things that I want to get accomplished for my own family and myself.

I also spend way too much time on this laptop...especially lately. I've actually been working more at the laptop than anywhere else. But, this past week, I did manage to get some stitching done on Lori's block for the HGTV 6x6 Round Robin. I just need to add my critters...including the spider for the web.

 And, since I can't share what's on the laptop yet...thought y'all would not mind seeing the partially finished block. Have to put it aside for a few hours now, before I get back to that spider and such. But, when they are completed...I'll share them too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh My!

A Pastor goes to the dentist for a set of false teeth. The first Sunday after he gets his new teeth, he talks for only eight minutes. The second Sunday, he talks for only ten minutes.

The following Sunday, he talks for two hours and 48 minutes.

The congregation had to mob him to get him down from the pulpit and they asked him what happened.

The Pastor explains the first Sunday his gums hurt so bad he couldn't talk for more than eight minutes. The second Sunday his gums hurt too much to talk for more than 10 minutes. 
But, the third Sunday, he put his wife's teeth in by mistake and he couldn't shut up.

Now, you know this ain't so!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Can You Join Me?

I'd love to have you over for brunch (or late supper?)!
We still have two slices of French Toast hot on the griddle!
 Have you ever made French Toast? It's super easy...and takes just a few ingredients. 
 Here's how I make mine.
(For every person, I use 2 eggs and 1/4 cup can get by with 1 egg if need be)
Beat eggs up in a bowl with a fork. Add milk. Add a sprinkling of sugar (optional),  1-teaspoon of vanilla flavoring, 1-teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Pour mixture (part of it if you are making for a crowd) into a shallow bowl or plate with high sides. Place one slice of Texas Style Toast (thick slices) bread...or plain ole loaf bread if Texas Toast style is not available..into the mixture. Turn over to coat both sides...and place on a hot griddle (or skillet if you don't have a griddle.)
BUT, a griddle is saves me so much time!
 Mine is from Presto, and can be ordered on line from Walmart for less than $25. This is my second griddle...same exact model, because I love it so much! I just sit it up on top of my flat-top range, which substitutes for counter space in this tiny galley kitchen.
After French Toast is done on one side (about 3 minutes at 350 degree) flip it over to cook on the other side. Then place in your dish and top with whatever you like.
Aidan likes butter/margarine and syrup.
I prefer a little margarine and a dusting of powdered sugar...and whipped topping when available (thought we had some, but grand-daughter had already cleaned the fridge of that)...and when we have it, some fresh fruit on the side. Aidan made some wonderful fruit salad last night (she is learning to "cook") I took advantage of the left overs.
Add a little yogurt and some milk/juice...and you have a great breakfast, brunch, or even dinner occassionally!
French toast is great for feeding a uses far less eggs than trying to scramble some...and is so inexpensive for a large group.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Jenny over at Elefantz has been publishing a magazine with great embroidery/quilt designs for the home. She has done this for some months now...but I just got on the train. Why I not more observant!? I got my first E-issue this month and am in love with several projects! Most are waiting for delivery of just the right cheery fabrics to make them spectacular.
She also had a guest designer this issue, Wendy Bertello of SugarlandQuilts. Wendy contributed this cute little bookworm design. I thought it would make a nice bag for crayons and coloring books. So, in about 3 hours, it was done...and Aidan just loves it!
Thought I'd spread the cause y'all need some extra projects. Hugs!
So, if you don't follow Jenny's blog (or get her magazine)...check it out...she is always
posting something cool! And check out Wendy's blog too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What say ye?

When growing up... and even still today... there are a lot of idioms (sayings) in our family. And, if you ever visit, y'all would know what I mean. I sat down and wrote the ones that quickly came to my mind...but am sure there are dozens more that I just can not recall right now.

Bet, some of these you have heard before too...especially if you live here in the States:

"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."

"It takes pennies to make dollars."

"Rest is sweet when it is earned."

"Silence is golden."

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

"A bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush."

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

"Curiosity killed the cat."

"A penny saved is a penny earned."

"Actions speak louder than words."

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

"Drastic times call for drastic measures."

"Let sleeping dogs lie."

"Never bit the hand that feeds you."

And, some of my personal favorites:

"Practice makes perfect."

"Measure twice and cut once."

"Crap flows downhill."

"Elvis has left the building."

And, three new ones...

From my daughter:
"Men are like puppies: When you first bring one home, they are all cute and cuddly. But, when they make themselves at home, they crap on your rug and chew up your best shoes." (actually her language is a little stronger than this...but I cleaned it up for y'all...I'm sure you get the idea.

From my grand-daughter:
"I have plenty of patience...if you don't make me wait too long."

And from me:
"I'm not bossy, I just have better ideas."

Do you have a favorite saying...that we might hear if we visited your house a lot?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Journal Cover - Part 2

The Journal Cover is finished. It was pretty easy to do, but if I was to do another...I'd plan it so that the entire cover was one solid piece of linen...and just work the embroidery. I'm not a big fan of all the seams.
So, if you want to do a book is how I'd suggest you consider approaching it.
 This version is very much like the old school, fold over type..but is "tacked" in place so that it doesn't slip off. The fold is left open, since this is a journal...and not a "reading book". This way, I can insert a pencil and a ruler (if I had one that was 9" long...still looking for that size".
To begin, you will need to know the size (of course) of the book you want to cover. Measure the front/back height and width, then the width of the spine.
Basically the cover is twice the height, plus seam allowance; and long enough to wrap under the front/back cover flaps at least four inches. You fold the fabric cover top to bottom, seam and turn that to the center horizontal placement...leaving the middle area open for turning. Then seam both ends closed. Turn, and stitch closed. 
 Optionally...for soft cover books like this one...insert pieces of cardboard (I save cereal boxes for this purpose) that are the size of the front/back, and the 4"wide desired flap by height of book. Insert the flap cardboards first...and seam across to hold them in place...then insert the front/back cardboard...and seam them in place. The spine area does not get any cardboard there. Leave the center seam open until you have done this cardboard inserting...then hand stitch it closed.)
Here are some charts for those that like "visual instruction", and really who doesn't appreciate that!
And the "formula" if you want to do this for a book that is not my "My Crazy Ideas Sketch Book" size.
Here are the sizes of my journal:
 Here's how to calculate the total size of the fabric piece you'll need to cover this journal...and just substitute your own (A through E) measurements in the formula to change it to fit your book.

And, here is a diagram of how the layout would actually look, considering the seam allowance as the formula has...

...before any of you math whiz folks write me...Yes, I know that "technically" the formula should have the half of height times two and the book height only once in the formula...instead of just multiplying the book height twice... but, why make things more complicated...when you get the same result?


Friday, July 13, 2012

Jacobean Border Design

Today, I've been "playing" some more with Illustrator. It is fun, and the same time!
This border is sized to print all on a standard sheet of printing paper, but you can enlarge it or reduce it from there of course.