Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Small Business Saturday Inspiration

I was pleased and excited to learn about "Small Business Saturday," the day after Black Friday designated to support our small independent businesses. So I broke one of my cardinal rules and went downtown on Saturday to shop. I knew I would be sick afterward but in this case I figured it would be worth it. The happy ending is that I wasn't as sick as I could have been - hurray! - and I came home with a pile of sale fabrics from my Local Quilt Shop. I confess that I only went into the quilt shop and the art supply store, though there are many, many shops downtown that I would dearly love to patronize. Our downtown is all independent businesses if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway... this is a partial pile of the yard goods I brought home.

There wasn't a lot more, another yard and a few fat quarters, but it was this part of the pile that got my juices flowing. My first thought was a few new potholders. I looked at the pumpkin print more and journaled a bit and decided to do this instead:

And then that led to these:

Yup, now that we're on our way to Christmas I'm finally making a new Halloween quilt!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Wow, these two pictures loaded fast! I'll have more of that please. :- )

I hope all my (American) cyber friends had a good Thanksgiving Day yesterday. Ours was quiet, just DH and I this year. As poorly as I was feeling it was just as well. Nevertheless, we were - and are - grateful for so much that we enjoy throughout the year. I was especially grateful to have the binding finished on Kaela's quilt...

and on my Pioneer Medallion quilt.

You can see Heather's lovely quilting really well on the back of the Medallion quilt. There was enough of that 110" wide backing fabric to cut binding strips too. When I sat down to put the binding on, however, I couldn't stomach that wine color near the reds I used in the quilt top. I had to go out and buy a nice solid navy blue and make a new binding. That works just fine, on both sides. It was very peaceful to sit and hand sew the binding down while I listened to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on audiobook. I slept really well under the quilt too. ;- )

Today I'm grateful to be feeling better than I did yesterday. I'm also excited by a bit of inspiration I had last night. Not sure I'll be able to show you much as I want the final product to be a surprise (it is that time of the year after all!) but maybe I'll be able to share sneak peeks. Rest assured, I will not be abandoning my blog as long as pictures continue to load so sweetly!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hopeful News

This post is not about a quilt or a beaded project. This has to do with that which brought me to blogging in the first place.

Readers who have paid attention are aware that my activities are severely restricted due to chemical sensitivities. I believe this problem was slowly growing over the whole of my life but was pushed over the edge by a specific event involving pesticides for home use. People in my position are practically forced to become social activists to some degree. I receive email notices every week having to do with various aspects of chemicals in our environment. I don't read a lot of them, it's too depressing. But there was one over the weekend that gives me a sense of satisfaction. Nothing may come of it but it reminds me that there are folks out there fighting the battle.

Big 6 Agrochemical Companies Indicted for Crimes Against Humanity

From 3-6th December 2011, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) will convene in Bangalore, India, to hear cases brought against six multinational agrochemical companies who stand accused of violating human rights by promoting reliance on the sale and use of pesticides known to undermine internationally recognised rights to health, livelihood and life.

Known as the ‘Big 6’, the indicated agrochemical corporations are Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont. Collectively, these companies control 74% of the global pesticide market, making the pesticide/agricultural biotechnology industry one of the most consolidated sectors in the world.

The World Bank estimates that 355 000 people per year die of unintentional pesticide poisoning. “The aim of taking the Big 6 to the PPT is to give a voice to the otherwise voiceless victims of pesticides around the world who have suffered as a result of the relentless promotion of toxic poisons by these multinational companies.” Said Nick Mole, PAN UK Policy Officer.

During the course of the tribunal, Pesticide Action Network will invite witnesses including scientists, medical doctors, and lawyers, to prove the charges through expert testimony on pesticides, genetic engineering, intellectual property rights, and other subjects germane to the cases at hand. The PPT will also hear testimony from farmers, farm workers, beekeepers, mothers, young people, scientists and consumers from around the world. The defendants will be served and summoned to offer their perspectives and responses.

Also under indictment are the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organisation; these entities are charged with facilitating corporate concentration of power through their policies and programs. Additionally, the governments of Switzerland, Germany, and the United States – the home nations of six defendant companies – have been indicted for colluding with, and failing to regulate, corporate power.

The verdict from the hearing will be given on 6th December.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All to Pieces

Well, my pictures loaded quickly enough. This window in which I compose my posts looks different though. Must be the next step in the changes Blogger is making. That probably accounts for the issues I've been having of late; I suspected as much. We'll see how things progress from here...

And speaking of progressing, I believe I left you with my 1.5" strip blocks looking like this:

You may remember that I decided to use my pieced strips around liberated log cabin blocks rather than stacking them on top of each other like Tonya and others have been doing.

There were several more pictures taken between the one above and the one below. What you see below is the end product. Well, the flimsy. It's been pin basted but I haven't quilted it yet. I've decided to call it "All to Pieces."

I sort of lost my steam after I quilted Kaela's quilt and then had all that trouble with the back. I also had a couple of unavoidable exposures. I feel mostly better today. It remains to be seen whether I can pick up where I left off. Turns out Kaela's birthday is not as early in December as I thought so there's less urgency to get her quilt bound and shipped. I may have to find some fun, colorful piecing to do. Or do a bit of beading. Or I may just crawl into another book...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And the Saga Continues...

Actually, it feels like two sagas running simultaneously. One is the ongoing struggle to figure out why my pictures aren't loading quickly and easily to my blog, the other is the saga of Kaela's quilt. Let's start with Kaela's quilt.

A post or two ago I finally was able to show you a section of the back I'd created out of a buffalo check flannel with a border of red with white polka dots. I had to add a bit of red and white stripe to make the borders long enough. Well, they still weren't quite long enough, at least not in one corner.

Yes, that's my Warm & Natural batting showing beyond the backing. At this point I had begun to take out the quilting so I could add yet another piece of flannel to extend the back. You may or may not be able to discern the quilting lines. It may be better if you don't. ;- )

I took a strip of the backing that had been trimmed away elsewhere and added it back on. I'm hoping that new strip is long enough to be enclosed in the binding. I'm not sure that it is, and I'm afraid to look any closer to find out. I had my son Fray Check the raw end just in case.

So now Kaela's quilt will be even more unique. I sure hope this young lady likes funky!

As far as the photos loading is concerned, I had no trouble or delays at all when I posted pictures to a group blog the other day. They were pictures I'd taken in the last week or so too. The newer pictures I've tried to load here are the ones that time out and consequently don't load at all, no matter what approach I take. Older ones seem to load okay. I've still not had any response from either Blogger's Help Forum or Picasa's Help Forum. I just find this all kinds of frustrating.

I don't think I'm going to mess with Kaela's quilt at all today. I have another quilt basted and ready to quilt too, that I haven't shown you yet because of the photo issues. It's the lap quilt I made out of my pieced 1.5" strips. Right now I can't afford to spend any more time or emotional energy trying to load pictures so I think I'm going to get out my most colorful orphan blocks and see what happens when I throw them on the design wall. I need playtime!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Not Exactly A Quilt

But in honor of National Corduroy Day (because 11-11-11 looks like the wales of corduroy) I offer up my corduroy needlebook:

This is the front cover:

Here's the back:

I had a stash of corduroy for many years, thinking I would eventually make at least a small corduroy quilt. I especially loved the printed corduroys. The time came when I needed room for other fabrics that had a greater chance of being used so I finally had to admit that the corduroy quilt was probably never going to get made. I gave most of my corduroys to a dear friend, holding back just enough for any additional crazy quilting I might want to do. I have more confidence in her plans to make a corduroy quilt than I ever had in my own. ;- ) If you want to see some wonderful corduroy quilts go check out the blogs listed on Nifty's blog.

I would also like to give a shout out to the men and women serving in the various branches of our military on this Veteran's Day. There's a lengthy history of military service on my side of the family so I have a special place in my heart for all those who have volunteered with honor over the years. Those who are gone have my respect and gratitude and those who are serving now are in my prayers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Saga of Kaela's Quilt

I have had to edit this post because pictures I thought were loading did not appear after all. I feel fortunate to have these two to brighten up my post (assuming they show up). I have tried for two days to put up two additional pictures. Maybe they are unnecessary.

Remember this? The last time you saw it was on a twin bed as a flimsy. Here it is auditioning for the role of carpet on my kitchen floor.

This was the first time I laid out the flannel back, batting, and the top.

The flannel I thought I was going to use to back this quilt didn't look as good with the top as I thought it would. So I dug around in my stash and came up with a wonderful black and white buffalo check. There was enough yardage to provide length but I needed more width.

The picture that would go here is the one of the delightful red and white polka dot flannel I used to border the big check.

To my utter dismay I discovered that the polka dot borders on the backing were not quite long enough to accommodate the quilt top. It lacked about two inches in length on each side, no matter how hard I tried to make it fit. {big sigh}

At this point I picked it all up and went rummaging around for something to add to the polka dot borders. Everything I had was either the wrong red, too big a print... just wrong. Until I came across this red and white stripe.

I have no idea how much of the stripe will end up being visible once the quilt is bound but it will certainly make the quilt unique.

Back out in the kitchen I retaped the flannel to the floor, laid out the batting and the top again, and pinned the whole shebang. I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt it at that point so I just put my safety pins in on the horizontal sashes. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

After a cat nap later in the day I had an idea for a quilting pattern that I could probably do "by eye." Guess what? The pins in the horizontal sashing would totally be in the way. Of course. So I dragged out the card table and repinned the whole thing. {sigh} Do I dare tackle the quilting right away or would it be more prudent to wait for this ill wind to blow on through?

I have tried again to get someone's attention at Blogger to let them know I'm having issues here. They were away at a conference for blogging tech wizards when this started. Now they seem to be preoccupied with all the new features they're trying to create and put in place. Those of us who just want a simple, reliable, but still fun way to share our thoughts and photos with our friends seem to be distinctly in the minority. Color me disgruntled (to say the least).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In the Background

During the silence on this blog I have at least been at work in the studio. I don't know whether I mentioned it or not but I have been sewing 1.5 inch strips and pieces into 12.5" strips. (I have a picture of my lovely flat box with the strips all neatly arranged inside but I'm being restricted to one photo per post apparently.) When I realized it would take 12 of those strips to make a twelve inch block my enthusiasm dropped significantly. Then one day it occurred to me that I had a stack of liberated log cabins in my drawer of orphan blocks and that maybe I could use them with these pieced strips. Or rather, use the pieced strips to build the log cabin blocks up to a bigger size. (Insert another picture here, of a liberated log cabin block with a single row of pieced logs sewn around it.)

Also during this time Laura was so kind as to send me a duplicate copy of Gwen Marston's book Liberated Strings that she discovered in her studio. There was a picture in there of an antique four block quilt that got me to thinking about making a four block liberated log cabin quilt top. I also had in mind the request for 40 x 45" quilts for the Alzheimer's Disease Co-operative Study. Suddenly I had a fully fleshed out project. :- )

Here's the one photo I was able to load, my four blocks at about fourteen inches:

As I'm writing this I have the top nearly done. I guess we'll have to wait for the next post for you to see it. Maybe after Election Day the Internet will be less busy? I may just have to develop the habit of shorter, more frequent posts. Or maybe things will settle down again once Blogger gets all the kinks worked out of all the new stuff they're trying to pull off. Seriously, when did the world get so hooked on new and improved? Can I blame Steve Jobs or will I be lynched for making such a blasphemous statement?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WooHoo! Pictures!

Is it a fluke or a fix?

I tried to load pictures from Flickr. The prompt said my pictures had loaded but nothing showed up, twice. Then I made my picture files smaller. For whatever reason that seemed to do the trick although it still took forever for the photos to load.

Here's the finished version of the quilt that went to New York for the BASICS program.

I don't know whether you'll be able to see it bigger or not. I did very simple quilting so there's not much to see in that department anyway.

And here's the ATC I made up for October.

I haven't figured out what to call it yet. I just got a kick out of the juxtaposition of the whimsical skull and crossbones print and the elegant Art Nouveau lady and the spider. The beads are all pewter except for three glass trumpet flowers that are a faint pink with yellow stop beads. I had difficulties machine stitching around the edge this time. Between the fat presser foot I have to use for the blanket stitch and where I put those leaf beads there just wasn't enough room!

So now that I've finally been able to show you these two projects I wonder if I'll be able to show you what I've been working on since then?