Monday, October 31, 2011

We interrupt this program...

 Wondering what happened to Farmer's Wife Friday and The Name Game?

I'm getting a new computer and am currently in the process of migrating the old hard drive to the new hard drive. And lest you think that makes it sound like I'm actually the one capable of doing that, not so much. There are professionals for that. But wow, does it take a loooooong time to transfer pictures from one place to another!

Both The Name Game and Farmer's Wife Friday will return soon to their regular programming schedule. In the meantime, spend some quality time here: Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival, Fall 2011

Welcome to Fall 2011 Bloggers' Quilt Festival. I'm so happy you stopped by!

The name of this quilt is California Ice Crystals.
I have always enjoyed kaleidoscope blocks. This quilt was inspired by a single piece of fabric designed by Paula Nadelstern:

All of the blocks were made by placing the kaleidoscope template on the same identical portion of the fabric eight times per block, and then positioning the template in another part of the fabric for the next block.

The spectacular machine quilting was done by my  husband's cousin, Ione.
It was then donated to a quilt auction which raises money for Third World relief.
I'm not  a "blue" person but I really love this quilt.

Thanks, Amy, for hosting this amazing show-and-tell twice a year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Really Random, 10/27/11

It's almost Halloween. A couple of years ago, our daughter-in-law made the coolest calendar with handprints of Charlotte and Levi, a different work of art each month. I love the calendar so much, so I keep it updated even though it is a over a year old. This is the page for October.

I made Halloween pillowcases for each of them. The little googly eyes in the narrow border glow in the dark. Briefly. If you shine a flashlight on them and then quickly turn off all the lights in the room.
I'm kind of nerdy sometimes. While you should never give me directions that involve telling me to go east, and then turn north--it's always safer to tell me to right until I reach a certain spot and then turn right--I happen to love maps. Especially when I'm reading a book and want to visualize the location of the characters. For the longest time I have wanted a globe. I was in Costco the other day. I now have a globe. Early Happy Birthday to me. It is kind of a globe on steroids. See that base? It has a wand kind of thing so the globe is interactive. It will even play the national anthem of each country. Yeah. I'm happy...

We used to watch "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." At one point there was a contestant named Brad Herzog, and he happened to mention on air that he had written a book, States of Mind, a travelogue that was  "a search for Faith, Hope, Inspiration, Harmony, Unity, Friendship, Love, Pride, Wisdom, Honor, Comfort, Joy, Bliss, Freedom, Justice, Glory, Triumph, and Truth or Consequences in America." He and his wife traveled all over the United States to towns with those names. They were searching for the answer to questions such as "Is there really honor in Honor, pride in Pride, wisdom in Wisdom?" Well, you get the idea. 
Our friend, Lisa, is getting married on November 11. In Harmony.
Yes, population 18.
There are nineteen pages devoted to Harmony in that book. More than the population. On at least one occasion, the entire town has been for sale. At one point, in 1981, a couple bought the entire town for $650,000. It was probably sold again after that. I'm not sure who owns it now. There is a pottery shop, a shop selling stained and fused glass, a chapel...

Lisa is starting her married life in Harmony, in that tiny little chapel. Mark is going to do some videotaping so we went to check things out.
So how many people will fit in this chapel? While they were trying to figure things out, I wandered around with my camera.
We had lunch in nearby Cayucos, right on the ocean.We had cookies. Because who doesn't believe in this philosophy?

The cookies were being made right there by the front counter, by the Keebler Brown Butter Cookie elves.

I had some yummy fish tacos. While we were eating our lunch, we happened to notice this sign on the street corner.Really? What would you do if you saw this sign?

Yeah, I thought so.
Okay, now everyone turn and face the camera.

Seriously? Am I the only one who can follow directions??
Okay, that's better. Not too bad for a 30-something, a 40-something, and a nearly 60-something. Um, yeah, that would be me...
The "End"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday, 10/26/11

Paper piecing and ticker tape.
And a little knitting. I'm using a Japanese yarn called Noro Kureyon. The name of this afghan will be Azekura, which is Japanese for a very old, traditional type of Japanese log cabin house (thanks for the translation, Ayumi!)

I wonder if there will ever be a completed project to show. Although I guess completed projects belong to another day and place.

See what everyone else has been up to in the past week.

Tuesday Odd-Angle Paper-Piecing Tutorial...and a Giveaway!!

I'm not going to give you a tutorial on how to paper piece. There are lots of them, and Kerry has a very helpful  list here. This is the great thing about paper piecing--aside from its accuracy. There are several different methods, all of which will get you from Point A to Point B, so you are sure to find one that is most comfortable for you.

Since I have been working on my donation quilt, I'm going to show you how I started cutting my fabric for those really odd angles.

At first I wasn't really paying attention so much. I would just cut a bit hunk of fabric and then trim it down later.
The largest scraps went into a special box for Amanda Jean, who makes fabulous quilts out of teensy pieces.
But after awhile, even I, who has no shortage of fabric, was feeling the need to be more frugal. Part of my problem was that the pattern has been enlarged by 133 percent, to make a 16" block.So because some of  the pieces were quite large, no matter how careful I was, pinning my fabric down, invariably it would flip and I would sew it. Grrr.

If you have paper pieced before, then you know that sometimes it seems  you are sewing upside down and backwards. Because, in a sense, that is exactly what you are doing! I don't know about you, but just when I think I have the right amount of fabric for the next piece, after I sew the seam I realize that it doesn't fit at all because the angle is all wrong. And then I have to do what I just read somewhere is called "froggy" sewing: rip it, rip it, rip it. Finally  I remembered how I handled that problem when I was in a block exchange involving paper-pieced birds. I chose to make the scissor-tailed flycatcher. When I was little we lived in Oklahoma and that is the state bird. But mostly I chose it because it is fun to say. Go ahead. Say it out loud. Scissor-tailed flycatcher.
Enter the paper piecer's friend, freezer paper. And being super organized, of course it took me awhile to locate where I had stored it.  Kerry uses freezer paper when she paper pieces as well, but we have slightly different techniques. This link gives the basics of how I learned to paper piece and it is the most comfortable process for me.

I use freezer paper just for those pieces of the pattern that have the odd angles.In fact, I don't even use this method for all the pieces--you can pick and choose where you need it.

The first thing I do is make a quick sketch of the pattern on the non-shiny side.. Really. The lines don't even have to be perfectly straight, just close. Then cut them apart on the lines. No need to add seam allowance.
We'll use example of pieces #1 and #2. #1 will be pinned to the back side of your paper pattern (if you are following the method that I use...)

The next thing is to iron the freezer paper template to the wrong side of the fabric and cut a generous 1/2 inch around each side.

Now on the back side of your pattern, (the one without the lines), you can line it up with piece #1, right sides together, removing the freezer paper template, and pin if you want to. Carefully turn it back to the front side, the side with the sewing lines.
Stitch on this side on the line between #1 and #2.

Then flip it back to the fabric side, and start the process over for piece #3.

This method was really helpful when I got to #7 in this particular pattern, which was a large piece with odd angles.

Before I started with the freezer paper templates I would just have cut a big piece of fabric and hoped for the best. This works SO much better. And the extra time it takes is really miniscule. My pattern happens to be constructed in four quadrants and the freezer paper templates are easily reusable at least four times, if not more.

Pile of scraps before freezer paper templates:

Pile of scraps after using the freezer paper templates:

So while Amanda Jean is probably sobbing now because these scraps are too small even for her, at the same time, through her tears, she is probably applauding my fabric frugality.

If I have just confused you beyond belief, please email me ( I'll try to do a better job of clarifying things.

And guess what? It's giveaway day. Again! Kerry designed the most awesome  paper pieced pattern, Winter Woolies. So cute.
Here is my version (I still have to do the mittens).   But I couldn't wait to post a picture because of the fabric that looks like actual knitting is just too fabulous! (It looks kinda stiff because the paper it still attached...)

The pattern is available in her etsy shop.

OR you could win a pattern here. All you have to do is leave a comment. So tell me: are you a "summer" person or a "winter" person? Personally I'm kind of a "rainy day" person. You know. The kind who loves rain for days on end...So I should actually be paper piecing an umbrella!

Just leave a comment and Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Thursday, October 27, at noon PDT.