The Low-Fat, On Sale Connection

Aside from the fact that fabric has no fat, and it’s safe to consume as much as you want without thought for what it will do to hips and thighs, there’s another, even stronger connection between fabric and low-fat/no-fat foods. To some people in our house, if a food says it’s low-fat, it just means that you can safely consume at least twice as much. ITMan proves this frequently with Reduced Fat Oreos, Ruffles and Fig Newtons.

So what’s the fabric connection? Just this: I’ve been meaning to relate my trip to the Arts & Crafts to get more fabric for the 14 Year Quilt Plan. I’d purchased a couple of yards of this beautiful floral print, hoping it would go with the border print that I already had:

Fabrics for the 14 year quilt plan

It does work quite well, all things considered. I headed back over there, planning to buy at least 5 yards of the fabric, since I want the border to be wider on the quilt and I don’t exactly know how much I’ll need; when I got to the shop, there were six shelves of fabric bolts on sale for 50% off! So I bought the rest of the bolt, which was 10 yards, so now I have a total of 12 yards of this floral print!

When I started to tell ITMan about my luck with the exact fabric I wanted being half price, he rolled his eyes, and said “I suppose you bought the entire bolt, right?” I said of course I did, the same way he makes an entire box of Reduced Fat Oreos disappear in one sitting. He knew he was beaten and had nothing more to say about that one. 😉

The 14 Year Quilt Plan

McCall's QuiltingHave you ever fallen in love with a quilt? I’m sure you have, but has that love affair with that quilt lasted for 14 years? Or has it been one of those flash in the pan type things, gone as soon as you’d seen something you liked better?

I’ve been hoarding the March 1994 issue of McCall’s Quilting since I bought it way back when, before we moved to Germany. On the cover was this absolutely beautiful quilt called “I Didn’t Promise You a Rose Garden,” designed by Donna Lake. I loved the quilt instantly. It had florals, baskets, and border prints that were fussy cut to make kaleidoscopic effects. All of my favorite things even now.

I wasn’t the “dedicated quilter” back then that I am now, and this was my “someday” quilt: someday I’d have the skills and the time to make this stunning piece for myself. I could see it on my bed, and I still can actually, just as it was designed for the magazine, no changes necessary. When my skills caught up with my desire, then it became “someday, I’d find just the right fabrics to make this quilt.” I’ve been hunting for the last ten years or so because “just right” is difficult to find for a quilt like this.

I’d need a floral of course, but one with just the right colors on a dark background. I’m not the matchy-matchy kind of gal, needing to make my quilts in exactly the fabrics that are shown in the magazine, far from it. But I tried designing this around a floral with a light background, and I just didn’t like it. It was going to look as if it had holes in the centers of the stars, and that just wasn’t going to make it in my book. I would also need just the perfect paisley-type print for the kaleidoscopic stars, another border print with just the right size stripes for the edges of the basket blocks and the baskets themselves.

I’ve had the paisley-ish print for a while, actually a border print itself from Jinny Beyer’s fabrics. I’d rather it wasn’t a border print, but it’s the best thing that’s come along so far. I found a floral that might do at the Heidelberg Arts & Crafts last week, and I went back yesterday to buy more, hoping that “someday” I can put it all together and make it work. I still need to find another border print in a slightly different but coordinating colorway for the baskets, so the hunt continues. Will I ever get to make this quilt? Maybe when I’m ninety-nine. Since I’ve loved it for so long, chances are I’ll still love it then. 🙂

Naturally Neutral – NOT!

I promised myself that I wouldn’t bore you with further tales of settling into the new house, or the lovely day I had today visiting with the washer repair man, the transportation inspector from the Army, and the plumber, all of whom were here today, trooping through the house in wet shoes (it’s raining here in Germany, go figure!) to see me for various reasons. So, on to more soothing, quilty topics:

Neutral/green palette

See? Sooooothing to the eyes. This is the base palette that I’ve chosen to work with for my next project. I felt a bit of trepidation about this project—well, to be perfectly honest I think I still do, but I’m diving in anyway, as per the usual way of things. I’m not a “neutral” person, you see. I like color, lots and lots of color, in varying shades and hues all together, all the time. BUT, I like the colors to blend well, like the crisp, slightly sweet taste of a cool Cosmo on a warm spring afternoon. Mmmmm.

What? Oh, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Ahem. Similarly, I’m absolutely NOT neutral on other things either. Most things, I either like it a lot or I don’t like it at all, with none of that namby-pamby-in-between-ambivalence-thing going on. This goes for just about everything: foods, politics, books, people, cars, movies, etc., etc. If I don’t have a “like it or hate it” reaction to something, it’s probably because it’s just not on my radar and I haven’t thought about it at all. Read More

Retreating to the comfort zone

For the last two (or maybe more) weeks, I’ve been trying to design the outer borders for the bird quilt (a.k.a. “The Misery Quilt“). I really thought it needed some curves in the outer border(s), and maybe some more embroidery of some sort as well. I did test stitch-outs of a couple of embroidery options, and just didn’t have that “this is it” feeling about any of it. I played around with a diagram of the quilt, drawing curved appliquéd borders, viewing with mirrors, and just wasn’t terribly happy with any of it. I tried designing an appliquéd border without planning any embroidery to go with it, and still wasn’t happy with it.

Soft-Edge Piecing

Soft-Edge Piecing,
by Jinny Beyer

After a few really grouchy days (I get like that when I’m creatively stumped), I finally threw in the pencil, and headed to the bookshelf for inspiration. As I’d already been through all my books on borders and design, as well as all the books like the MAQS Founder’s Collection with all its prizewinning beauties, I pulled out Jinny Beyer’s Soft Edge Piecing for starters. I’m working with a border print and the soft edge piecing technique was in the original plan for the quilt way back when, maybe ten plans ago now. I really didn’t expect to have a flash of inspiration at that point, but desperation had set in.

Maybe the quilting goddess is smiling on this quilt (finally!), because I did see something in the Soft Edge Piecing book that had me grabbing for my fabrics to try it out. Here’s the result (click for a larger view):

Birds quilt border

I really, really like it! I had that “this is it” feeling immediately. The border print looks prefect between the light and dark borders, and I already know exactly how I’ll quilt parts of it, too. (Oh, and you see that tiny little satin stitching? I used the same technique on another part of the borders for this quilt and I used my Pfaff machine. I tried it on the Bernina this time, Read More

Off the Bookshelf: Puzzle Quilts by Paula Nadelstern

Puzzle Quilts

Puzzle Quilts,
by Paula Nadelstern

Actually, this book hasn’t even been on the bookshelf yet, since I just got it! I finished devouring it yesterday while I waited for my daughter at her flute lesson. I love it! It’s just so yummy that devouring is the perfect word!

This new book by Paula Nadelstern is the first new quilt book I’ve purchased in a long while, and I’m happy to report that it was a completely satisfying purchase. I have her other two books, Kaleidoscopes & Quilts and Snowflakes & Quilts, and to be honest, while the books are stunning visually, and her methods and techniques are interesting and produce exciting quilts, I’m just not sure I’d ever really make a quilt like that. I’ve looked at those two books a lot, but I’ve never been inspired enough to go there (yet).

Puzzle Quilts, however, may just be a different story altogether. I know I read the other two books (I mean really read them, not just perused them), and they just didn’t strike the same chord of inspiration, the “I want to make something with this method NOW” burn. Read More

A day of quilting for a change!

I found this Blogthing that looked like fun, so I took the little quiz, and here’s how it came out:


You Belong in Winter
winter

Quiet, calm, and totally at peace…
You’re happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you’re lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.

Those of you who know me are probably snickering right now, since it’s soooo true (except the part about snowball fights!). I’m such an indoor girl, and I can’t wait for it to start being winter-ish! I love sweaters, fires, snow (if it’s outside and I’m in!) and winter cooking, if I really must cook at all! And quilts are a cozy warm thing too, so it all fits together nicely.

I’m having a quilt day today: I put more crystals on the Grasping Reality quilt, choose fabrics for my next project and worked on the design a bit (more on that later!). Coincidentially, the fabrics I’m planning to use do look slightly winter-ish, except for a splash of purple I threw in with the dark to light grey-blues. I’ll be spending the evening on some math, working out fabric requirements for this new quilt. It’s been a while since I spent a whole day just doing quilting things, and it’s been really nice! What did you do this fine autumn weekend?