Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Block Finished with a Hurt Finger

Okay, so the tree block I posted last time is not done.  I've been working on another quilt that I have to get done next week.

Then my laser printer had a snafu and paper wrapped around one of the rollers.  I painstaking pulled the paper off, but still can't get the darn thing to work.  The error light is still blinking and the screen flashes "jam in output bin."

To top it all off I had a sewing accident last night.  I did something I'd never done in my forty some years of sewing:  I sewed through my finger on my sewing machine.  And yes, I'm having a hard time typing not using the finger.  The offending finger is the ring finger of my left hand.  For the life of me, I don't know what happened.  I was sewing like a mad woman,  trying to get the last border put on the quilt that has to be done next week, when Oliver walked into the room and started talking to me.  I looked up, taking my eyes off what I was doing and "BANG".  The sewing machine needle was in my finger and actually broke off of the machine and was sticking out of my finger. It had gone through the top of my finger, nail side first but did not break the skin on the other side, although I could feel the tip of the needle when I touched the pad of my finger.  I had Oliver get pliers--he went out to the garage for his needle-nosed pliers so he could get a good grip--and told him, "you'd better pull hard and get it out on the first try." Thankfully, he did.  Then he filled a coffee mug with ice and a little water and told me to put my finger it it, which I did.  We debated about going to the emergency room but wondered what a doctor could do at that point.  The needle was out, and ironically, the only evidence left was a little red dot on my fingernail and a tad bit of bruising.  Oh, and I also took an extra strength Tylenol which really helped.

So, this morning I felt pretty good.  The finger is sore--sort of feels like its been slammed in a door.  So I finished the block I'd planned on finishing last night.  Now I will always think of my finger when I look at this block.  (this was photographed when all the patches were glue basted in place)

By the way, Oliver freaked me out some when he got up this morning.  He walked into the family room and saw me sewing, and said, "You know, I've been thinking . . . what happened to the thread?"

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Mill Girls Tree Block

Hurrah! The first block of the feature quilt for Away From Home: Quilts Inspired by the Lowell Mill Girls is all appliqued.

Now, onto another block.  

I've been busy tracing, cutting out, prepping applique patches all weekend (and trying to finish up the piecing on another quilt which--if all goes as planned--will be one of the extra projects in the book). So far, I've been using the freezer paper and starch method for my applique.  This is the method I prefer, although I think I may have to use needle turn on another one of the blocks because freezer paper and starch may may far too unwieldy a process.

 Here's what I have laid out for one of the two tree blocks.  I still have lots of leaves to go!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Applique Time

This week I've made some progress on the applique blocks for the the Mill Girls book.  The quilt is a medallion style book and has four applique blocks at its center.  Here is the main block with the applique prepped and glued in place.  The "factory building" is sewn down as is the sun and the moon.  All of the fabrics are from the new Mill Girls fabric collection Judie Rothermel designed especially for this quilt, plus another quilt I've designed for a block-of-the-month program with Marcus Fabrics (more on that later once I start making that quilt!)

The "brown thing" both girls are holding are shuttles, a tool used in textile manufacturing.  Once I start sewing the patches down, I'll cut out the center of the shuttle patches, so it better resembles a shuttle, not a loaf of French bread. 

A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store weft yarn while weaving. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft.

The simplest shuttles, known as "stick shuttles", are made from a flat, narrow piece of wood with notches on the ends to hold the weft yarn. More complicated shuttles incorporate bobbins or pirns.
Originally shuttles were passed back and forth by hand. However, John Kay invented a loom in 1733 that incorporated a flying shuttle. This shuttle could be thrown through the warp, which allowed much wider cloth to be woven much more quickly and made the development of machine looms much simpler.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Away From Home: Quilts Inspired by the Lowell Factory Girls

After working on them for two days, I finally have the applique blocks drawn for the book on the mill girls.  The quilt has a center medallion made up of four applique blocks.  Then, in the border blocks that surround the medallion there is one applique block repeated eight times.  There are other blocks in the border round, but they are pieced. 

So now that I have my master patterns--and my fabric which arrived fresh from the factory on Friday--I'm ready to begin.  There's still a lot of prep work for the applique since I like to use the freezer paper and starch method.  And, it's almost inevitable that I will make changes as I work through the quilt construction.  You know how it goes, sometimes a fabric you thought would look perfect, doesn't.  Or you want to add something.  Or subtract something. 

In any case, I am so, so excited to get this project going.

Oh . . . and I've been working on another quilt for the book.  It's going to be one of the additional projects.  Here's a little peek at some of the stars that are going into this pink and brown beauty made from the Cocheco III collection by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Fabrics.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Classes, classes, classes (part two)

Then I finished the week at Bolts to Bindings located in Bakersfield, CA.  This time we were working on Windrose, which is a mariner's compass pattern.  I always love it when I get to teach someone how to do something they really want to learn, which in this case was paper piecing.  These gals were all A+ students because they took to it like ducks to water. 

Geri, the shop owner, put together a really good looking kit that many decided to use.  But everyone who used the kit placed their fabrics differently so no two were alike.  I cannot wait to see how they all come out.  I hope to see photos . . . . and post them for you to see, too!

Classes, classes, classes

Last week I was busy teaching classes and giving a trunk show.  My week began at the Tehachapi Mountain Quilt Guild in Tehachapi, CA.  They are a fun group, and we had a great time the day after the trunk show when they all worked on their own version of my pattern Ring of Stars.

Glenda and Eileen decided to use the kit featuring red and white fabrics

Judy and Nancy work in crisp blue and white.

Pam in red and black . .

Linda in earth tones . . .

Joan's quilt will have a scrappy floral look . . .

 Definitely the most daring color combination . . .

 And don't you love to see the different ways quilter's work!