Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Backing A Quilt

Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts, posted today about fabric used for the backing of quilts.  She just finished three large quilts and bought coordinating fabric that she will piece for the backs. 

Like Nicole, I prefer that the back coordinate with the quilt top because you never know when it is going to show. And while I'm all for saving money, I don't like to use cheap fabric after all the work I put into a quilt so I don't buy fabric for quilt backs at the chain fabric stores and I don't use sheets.  I want to be assured the back will last as long as the front. Often, I buy yardage that matches one of the fabrics used in the top or that coordinates with the fabrics in the top.  For large quilts, like queen bed size, I like to buy the extra wide backing (usually 108" wide), which eliminates the need to piece the back. Other times, I piece the back "creatively" to use up leftovers from piecing the top.  A few times, I've pieced the quilt's label into the back, so it is in place prior to quilting.  Saves on that pesky last step and of course, the label never comes off!

For backing the quilt I just finished, I bought fabric in the large floral print from the Legacy fabric collection used in the top. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Help! I Need A Name!

I finished the quilt top I've been making with Bonnie Blue Quilts Second Hand Clothes pattern and fabrics from the Legacy line by Moda.  Now I need a name for it.  Any suggestions?

It has a muted, aged look so I've been thinking about Antique Shop, Grandma's Attic, and Patina.  If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment.

The pattern is suitable for beginners, going together very easily.  My top is 60" by 76" which is smaller than the pattern (I made fewer blocks) but a perfect size for our family couch, which is where it will live after it is quilted and bound.  And named!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Find - Salad at Panera Bread

This is the Strawberry, Poppyseed, and Chicken Salad, currently a seasonal special at Panera Bread.  Oh boy, is it yummy!  And only 280 calories (without the slushy drink shown in the background).  I recommend it highly, especially if you are out and about (shopping for fabric) this weekend and want a quick lunch.

Panera has a calorie counter on their website that gives nutritional information for all of their menu items, including the bakery items.  Just in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Classic Quilts, Contemporary Style

On our travels last week, I found this book:  Classic Quilts, Contemporary Style, by Reiko Washizawa.  If you have read much of my blog, you know how I like Japanese quilting.  When I am in New York City on business, I often try to fit in a side trip to Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore, to check out the Japanese quilting magazines and books.  I have a small collection.

But what makes this book special is not just the lovely Japanese-made quilts and quilting projects.  Lovely though they are, what is noteworthy is that the directions are in English!  So naturally, I had to buy it.  Here are a few of my favorite quilts shown in the book.  (Sorry, my photos turned out blurry for some reason.)

I think this might be a good project for my various Fig Tree scraps.

This is a small wall hanging.  Could be good for my first-floor powder room wall.

I just adore both of these small quilts.

The book shows a lot of smaller quilts and includes several medallion style quilts (some with feathered star centers) with wonderful pieced and appliqued borders.  I think it is great for inspiration and will probably make a few projects directly from it or at least inspired by it.  But the directions in the book are not for beginners.  Though the directions are in English, they are not detailed and are for hand-piecing.  Most will easily adapt to machine piecing, if you know what you are doing.  If you are interested, you can find the book at Amazon.com here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I hope you are lucky enough to have your father with you today.

My father died 16 years ago.  It was cancer and he was only 61. I still miss him.

My dad holding me.  I was born on Guam while my dad was stationed there in the Navy.

Both my mother and father were good parents (my mother still is).  And when I think about it, that's pretty impressive as I was their first practice piece.  I mean, those of us who've made several quilts (or more) know what a mess we made of our first quilt.  But when it comes to parenting, everyone has to dive right in and hope they do it right the first time. 

My dad with me on my wedding day.

Thanks for everything, Dad!  I'm thinking of you today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Less Civil War, More Fabric Shopping

On the way home, we took Route 340 (Old Philadelphia Pike) through Bird-In-Hand and Intercourse (yes, that's the name of the town; my travel companions thought it was hilarious but they are easily amused).  The store above, The Old Country Store, was my best find.  I found some Rouenneries and Rural Jardin to round out my fat quarters and layer cake (at $6.65 per yard!!!).

At this point, I figured I had bought enough fabric.  But if I had still been looking, there were a couple more fabric stores within walking distance of The Old Country Store, including Zooks (also affiliated with ZandS Fabrics.com)  where you are likely to see Amish buggies tied up outside.  And back towards Lancaster, in Bird-in-Hand, is Bird In Hand Country Store (no website), stocking a nice assortment of oriental and modern, splashy prints like Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler. 

While I liked the selection at The Old Country Store best, it had another thing going for it.  While I was searching the fabric displays, Mr. Main Street went next door to browse in a book store and Miss Main Street found Kitchen Kettle Village, hidden behind the shops across the street.  This is a wonderful place for the non-quilter to pass the time while you "do fabric."  They have a petting zoo, pony rides, fairground-type food like popcorn and funnel cakes, and little shops full of curious treasures.  There is a store that sells quilts made locally and another with the largest selection of Vera Bradley bags I've ever seen.

It was a very nice family trip.  There was something for everyone in the family and we had a great time together!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Civil War Roadtrip

Mr. Main Street has been wanting to visit Gettysburg for some time.  It is just a little too far for a daytrip so he began planning an overnight visit.  Before I knew it, the trip had grown to a three-night, four-day Civil War Immersion, with visits to Gettysbury, Antietam, and Harper's Ferry.  We got home last night.

Actually, it was a lot of fun, absolutely fascinating, and I know quite a bit more about the Civil War as a result of this trip   I highly recommend a visit to Gettysbury (I would call myself only moderately interested in Civil War battles yet spent 7 1/2 hours there without getting the least bit bored.)  And Harper's Ferry is interesting as well as being very scenic.  I took the photo above standing on the Appalachian Trail looking down on Harper's Ferry on the Shenandoah River side.  Photo below is Miss Main Street and was taken on the same trail.  (Yes, she climbed up there wearing flip-flops.  She toured the Gettysburg battlefield in gladiator sandals.  I did not supervise her packing.)

Well, very nice, but what has this got to do with quilts, you ask.  Now for the best part!  The route between our house and Gettysburg goes through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Lancaster County has more quilt fabric stores than it has McDonalds and Starbucks combined!  And Mr. and Miss Main Street were good sports about stopping. 

Our first stop was Hayloft Fabrics, just off the PA Turnpike in Morgantown.  The store is on the second floor, a sort of mezzanine level above a grocery store.  Not your usual quilt shop.  But not your usual prices, either.  I bought some Moda Aster Manor yardage to go with the layer cake I already have.  It was $6.90 per yard (locally, quilt fabric runs about $9.50 per yard).

And Miss Main Street picked out this novelty print with cassette tapes on it.  I am supposed to make her a pair of boxer pajamas with it.

Back on the PA Turnpike, we drove east one more exit for Sauder's. 

I've been to this store many times before.  It was a little disappointing this time because I was looking for specific fabric lines, to round out my layer cakes and jelly rolls with yardage to use for borders and binding.  Sauder's didn't have what I was looking for but they had a wide selection of Kona Cotton solids so I did not come away empty-handed.  Sauder's is on the internet via Z and S Fabrics, and their prices are also very competitive.

Come back tomorrow and I'll show you the purchases I made on the return journey.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sewing Class

On Sunday afternoon, I took a sewing class at my LQS, Pennington Quilt Works.  We learned how to make decorator pillows, using piping to finish the edges.  I made mine out of some vintage fabric I had on hand, sized to fit a standard bed pillow.

I tried to make throw pillows for our family room a few years ago but was not happy with the way the piping turned out.  This class was most helpful and I got much better results.  The photo below shows the piped edge - a bit difficult to see because both the piping and the pillow fabric are white.  Bernina has a special presser foot (#12) that makes it much easier to get a clean, tight finished edge.

This fabric has great texture.  It looks like it is quilted but is not; it is like those French bed coverlets made to look like white-on-white quilting.  I had just enough to make the one pillow so this will be a decorative pillow for our bedroom.  It only took about three hours to make and now that I know how, I should be able to finish the next one in even less time.  I might be making more to match quilts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

We Eat, We Talk Tech, We Quilt

On Saturday, I got together with my quilting buddies.  We are not a formal group, there are just four of us, and we get together on an irregular basis, whenever the mood strikes and our schedules can manage it.  We gathered at Sue's house for a lovely salad lunch, followed by "tech talk."  I call Sue and Alice Early Adopters.  They get the latest gadgets as they come on the market and are unphased by technology.  Natalie and I wait "until the kinks are worked out" then struggle to adapt and keep up.  On Saturday, we got tips and assistance from Alice and Sue while we each loaded apps to our iPod Touch.  Now I have a couple of quilting apps, can find a Starbucks anywhere, and tell you what the weather will be like for the next ten days.

Then we moved on to gossip our quilting projects.  Natalie is hand piecing this hexie project.  It started as a table runner but is getting much bigger.

Sue has been prolific lately, making lots of quilts for the latest generation of her family.  The quilt she is holding up is much cuter in person than in the photo.  The sailboat fabric is really darling.  The pattern is from Quilts From The Quiltmaker's Gift, one of my favorites and shown in my Essential Quilting Books sidebar widget. 
Alice has been bringing this binding job to our get-togethers for over a year now.  No wonder, it is a king-size quilt.  In the time it has taken to bind this monster, she has probably made a dozen smaller quilts!  It will be a beauty when it is done, though!

I worked on binding Blooms In The Snow.  It will be finished soon!

It was an ideal Saturday afternoon!  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pattern Mania

There were a few new patterns that caught my fancy when I saw them in the photos from Spring Quilt Market.  I ordered and two arrived this week.  First,

This pattern is called Picnic Rollup. It has ties incorporated into the edges so you can roll it up and tie to secure. It also has pockets in the corners to put rocks to hold the quilt down. However, I think I will be adapting the pattern to be a bed quilt.  The pattern is from Thimble Blossoms

I got my start sewing with garment construction (junior high school home economics) but rarely make clothing for myself anymore.  But after I saw photos of Sew Serendipity's booth, I knew that was about to change!

This pattern is called the Emaline Skirt.  I have several brown tops and sweaters that used to go with pants and skirts that I have "ungrown."  (What do you call it when you get too small for for your clothes?)  So I'll be looking for some fabric to make into this skirt and wear later in the summer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Eating Out

I completely forgot to write my post last Wednesday.  The holiday on Monday (Memorial Day here in USA) threw me off all week.

I've reached the point where I can do "eating out on a diet" without going totally off the plan.  And I don't feel deprived or like I'm settling for A when I'd much rather be eating B.  We're selective about the restaurants we go to; we avoid a local place I refer to as House of Fry, and Friendly's, that diet disaster, is off-limits.  Here are a few tricks I've picked up:

  • If the entree is large, mentally (or even physically) separate it into two smaller portions.  Eat half and take the other half home for a meal another day. 
  • I don't need an appetizer, main course, and dessert.  In fact, I don't even need an appetizer and a main course.  And I don't order dessert; the chocolate cake will still be on the menu in six months when the diet is over.
  • Sometimes, a salad with an appetizer is all I need.  But don't let them drench the salad in dressing.
  • Read the menu carefully; fried food is often disguised with other terms.  If in doubt, ask your waitperson for more information.
  • Turn the bread basket away.  Drink water while you wait for your order.  And talk; it is hard to chew and swallow while talking.
I'm turning Wednesday Weigh-In into a monthly, rather than weekly, post. Reporting in helps keep me at it (probably the reasoning behind Weight Watchers meetings) but the pounds are coming off slowly and I don't have much to say about it.  No point in boring everyone when I could be talking about quilting.

The stats:
weight lost this week: -1.2 pounds
weight lost YTD: 4.4 pounds

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Putting It Together

I know, I know - long time, no post.  It has been very busy around here, too busy to get any quilting done.  Finally today, after taking Miss Main Street shopping for a new bikini, I started to lay out Second Hand Clothes on the design bed.  Here are a couple of views:

The solid fabric is Kona Cotton; khaki for the 9-patch blocks and sage for the setting triangles.  I like the way it is turning out but I still need a name for it.  Any ideas?  Grandma's Attic?