I did pay attention in geometry class…

except for that one day, hot n humid, no a/c at school (Orlando), B.O.R.E.D., and I fell asleep. Sr. Ambrose, a big-boned gal (NOT from Southern Alberta), kicked me out of class. I was painfully shy even in high school, but the next day I came back to class and all was well. Anyway, I ended up with this odd-shaped table mat that I wanted to be a rectangle to fit on my hutch, and using a compass and figuring angles seemed tedious.
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First I traced around it on newsprint (I save packing paper, iron it, roll it up), subtracted 1/4-inch seam allowance, drew a rectangle, traced the odd shapes, added 1/4-inch seam allowance and indicated straight of grain. Woohoo. Since I didn’t need the pattern anymore, I inked it in so it would show up on camera.

I then added strip piecing to the two remaining corners. I just need to layer and quilt.
P1120976TIP OF THE DAY: Cover up the edges of your batting to prevent lint from transferring to your quilt top, especially if the top is dark and you’re using light batting.

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UPDATE: I am hand-stitching down the facing on Less is More. The long sides are done. This is my most successful facing to date (no pleats). I use Susan Brubaker Knapp’s method. The only thing I do differently is, in Step 3, I do not pivot at the corner. I sew the long seam edge-to-edge, and then sew from the unfolded edge to the folded edge. Find her excellent tutorial below.

bluemoonriver.com/tutorials—freebies.html
P1120967My domestic chore today is to put away my snowmen. I left them out because winter was hanging on for so long. I have meant to put them away several times and in five months I’ll be hauling them out again. Le sigh.

P1120959Final Answer: Microsoft Edge does not play well with wordpress. After a long live chat with wp, I tried Chrome, which I used to use to write this blog; however, Chrome did not even recognize me and I was having more trouble with that so, my links will have to be copied and pasted. And sometimes, there will be duplicate photos. I apologize, but that’s the way it is until Edge decides to use extensions. Sometimes, it is what it is. Till next time…

 

OD-ing on orange…

I have had the green claustrophobic blues–the shrubs on the roadside kiss the sides of my car, the trees form a tunnel of green, meeting in the middle of the road from both sides–so what better antidote than to take all my orange scraps and make a reversible table runner to go with my Aurora Borealis reversible quilt (see previous post). When I made the quilt last year, I had all these skinny strips left and made a sample block.
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I finally found where I had shoved all the orange scraps–into a drawer in the spare bathroom. We had company on Christmas Eve so I had to put some things out of sight so we could actually eat in the dining room. C’mon, a lot of you eat on TV trays, too. On finding my sample block, I decided I didn’t want to do this so I started playing. Didn’t like these either.
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In the end I decided to do some minimal piecing surrounded by the navy blend. (That’s a warm fuzzy given to me by a student years ago–I keep it on my design wall.)
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I added the trimmed strips left after squaring up the quilt as a 1-inch unfinished inner border.
P1120915Lastly I kept improvising orange blocks for the backing and added a border. I have now pinned the quilt sandwich, trying to keep the front and back lined up. I need to bring my machine in again and will quilt it when I get it back in a week or so. In the meantime, I will layer two potholders, one table mat and this odd shaped piece that I will turn into a rectangular mat for my hutch.
P1120947The orange scraps have traveled outside to one of my trees. I noticed this a week ago, but yesterday, I noted that the orange has multiplied. Maybe it’s the heat–it was 99 yesterday and so far, only 96 today. I’m melting. Till next time…

 

It doesn’t really matter…

This is my new mantra. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s just that I need to care less about things. Take for instance, my Less is More quilt. I was originally going to enter it in our local modern quilt show but ended up being laid up for several months. Quilting 20 minutes a day could not get the job done. Now I’ve blocked this quilt and will probably be able to save the arrow points, but not other points at the edge. This means I will not be entering this quilt into the modern quilt exhibit at Houston International. It did not need to be perfect, but better than what it will be. SO, it really doesn’t matter because this is for me and soon it will be on display in my dining room. I have another quilt design in mind to enter at Quilt Con in Nashville next year and it will be a better product. I got a new toy to aid in squaring up quilts–a laser level/square. I will also use this next time I want to hang framed artwork or photos.

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I finished this little (32×32) trip around the world quilt–it just needs a label.

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I was looking for some handwork in the evenings, so pulled out this hand quilting sampler which I started in 1991 or 1992. I finished the hand quilting, then did some machine quilting to frame it. I don’t know what to do with this–pillow, tote bag? It’s not perfect and my stitching would win no awards, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s a happy memory of how I started quilting–cardboard templates, scissors, hand piecing, beeswax to coat thread, and Monday mornings spent hand quilting on a frame with the Pine Needle Quilters in Carlton, Minnesota. Every year, we raffled off a quilt at the local nursing home and funds were used to purchase big-ticket items such as a big screen TV. After removing the thread basting, I pin basted and echo-quilted. The corners were getting a little off which signaled to me that I was either tired or it was time to be finished with this project. The stitching is not consistent or perfect, and there are some ruffles on the back, but it really doesn’t matter. Note to self: roll your projects to prevent creases.

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Next week, I’ll trim Less is More and face the edges. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging my summer quilt which is reversible. I made this quilt after watching a Sewing with Nancy episode with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr (Magic Inch Quilts). Thanks to Dana Crocco for the suggestion of using swivel hooks to hang a reversible quilt. After I finish a table runner to match Aurora Borealis, I will attach the quilt label since I don’t want to sew it onto the quilt itself. Oh no–a quilt without a proper label. Sometimes, it really doesn’t matter.

Weight Loss Update: After two months, I have lost 6.5 pounds and 8.25 inches. I still can’t fit in my clothes (which made we want to give up), but it really doesn’t matter because my lab results (especially the cholesterol) show I am actually making a difference healthwise so I’ll keep on keepin’ on. In the meantime, I have walked 9 out of 10 days, despite the heat and humidity.. I only bring my camera one day a week so I can focus more on the exercise. It really doesn’t matter that I missed photos of a female blue bunting with baby, numerous blue heron photos (adult males, a pair, and two juveniles), some large turtles, and wildflowers that just didn’t make it in the heat. I am grateful that I can walk again relatively pain-free and my husband has started walking with me when he can. It’s all good.

Here are a few photos from last Sunday. It’s been too hot for kids to play on the playground equipment so several groups took to the water instead, including the turtles.

Trumpet vine, sweet peas, leaf eaters.

One final message, till next time:

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Happiness is …

avoidance. For awhile. Real happiness is putting an end to procrastination. I blocked my first quilt (Migration) yesterday and was surprised that the t-pins did not leave holes. The top and bottom are still a little wavy, but overall, the quilt is now square and flat and will hang on the wall more nicely. I had planned to send this quilt to Wisconsin for the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge at Quilt Expo, but after reading the rules, it was not eligible, having been already displayed in public. Rats.
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Less is More is drying. I really had to tug on it to square it up–the drawback of matchstick quilting. Next time I will make sure the design does not go to the edges and that I do more initial stitching to prevent so much warping. I am going to face the edges and then email a photo/s to be juried for a modern quilt display at Houston International (deadline June 22) if it turns out.
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Speaking of procrastinating, I still haven’t contacted Janome about my needle bar not staying centered. In the meantime, I decided to finish this donation quilt with straight-line stitching in the borders (instead of free-motion) and darned if the needle bar didn’t center itself after engaging the dual feed device–I guess it didn’t have any choice.  Happiness is also a new pair of Machingers quilting gloves.
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I finally hung Elefantino in my studio next to Mini-Tumbler (no fabric repeats, with scalloped border), a 2012 swap with Mini-Masterpiecers
P1120828Till next time–

 

2018 Mug Rug Swap

between NWAMQG and TULSAMQG. Last month we turned in our forms for this swap and received a form from a Tulsa member with color preferences, etc. My swap partner, Lora Whitfield, indicated all colors but that she loves a teal and red combo, NO BABY PINK, any style. I used up most of my red and teal fabrics for the wonky churn dash exchange, but happened to find these in my strip box – the one that is now sorted by color.
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These strips had been on the design wall for a couple weeks with no inspiration forthcoming. Writers have Erato for their muse–I need to invent a muse for quilting.

Friday I had 15 minutes before heading out to the Green Country Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Tulsa so I started sewing some pieces together. I was thinking about the MQG Challenge for 2019, using tiny piecing in a donation quilt. I was going to subcut this strip set and make a tiny grid (photo above) but Saturday I had a different idea. I started cutting up 3/4-inch strips and mimicked a quilt I have seen several times.

After piecing, pressing, and trimming, I layered this with Peltex (a stiff interfacing) and a backing with glittery Valentine’s fabric. I prefer Timtex (a little heavier than Peltex) but have not been able to find any for awhile. I left the red strips unquilted and quilted a line next to the border seam. This gives you a place to turn around with diagonal stitching. If you start at the edge, pivot/stitch/pivot and stitch back to the edge, you have no threads to weave in.
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Finally I traced around this metal end caps (given to me by dd, probably from incense stitcks container from BBB) to round the corners and satin stitched around the edge. The butterfly pin reminds where the round starts. Satin stitch using #8 zigzag on Janome with three rounds:

Round 1: 5.0 wide, 1.5 length

Round 2: 5.5 wide, 1.0 length

Round 3: 6.0 wide, .5 length

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Now I just need to make a label and turn in my mug rug at our August meeting. I have some small projects (camera strap cover, microwave bowls, pieced biscornu pincushion) to work on until I get my needle arm fixed–I just don’t dare do free-motion quilting and this is seriously putting me behind. Waiting to hear from Janome.

This was my viewer’s choice at the quilt show. Quilt by Janet Hoeltzel, quilted by Glenda Harkey, pattern by Mary B. Hayes; Thangles used.

BAB 14 – Shattered
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DIET UPDATE: After seven weeks, I have a net loss of 4.5 pounds and almost 3-inches. Whoopy-dip is all I can say that’s fit to publish.

Next posts: My Artful Log Cabin with exactly 50 log cabins celebrating our anniversary and photos from quilt show.

Another scrap project

While I’m waiting for the service manual for my Janome (the needle bar will not stay centered AGAIN), I can at least piece so I’m playing with log cabins. I got the idea after watching Episode 2210 (Reimagining the Log Cabin Block) on The Quilt Show with Katie Pasquini Masopust (Katiepm, as she calls herself). After my brother died in 2003, we came from Georgia through Paducah, Kentucky, on our way back to Minnesota. Katiepm had an exhibit at the National Quilt Museum–at that time she was making quilts with large flowers–at least that’s what my memory recalls–no photos allowed. Search out Katie on Pinterest to see the varied techniques and styles she has used in her quilts over the years. Anyway, back to the log cabins. Katie’s latest book is Artful Log Cabins. Basically, she uses a photograph and interprets it by making log cabins. Some of the cabins (like most of mine) are what she calls one-log cabins, one round around the center.

I traced a loose grid on tracing paper over a b/w copy of one of my photographs.

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Then I pulled strips from my scrap box (which is sorted by color now). I thought about piecing with gentle curves, but these log cabins are small so I think I’ll just use straight seams. I’ve been squaring up each log cabin to around 2-inches and will not worry about matching up seams because that would mean thinking about pressing rather than just pressing outward toward the strip last sewn.

I quickly ran out of scraps for the ground color so went digging for some more in my brown scrap box, which holds mostly fat quarters but also some larger scraps). Some log cabins don’t start with a 1-inch square, but just a scrap left from a previous log cabin.

Here are two vertical rows, with the first green for foliage and my original photo. I’m hoping to be able to squeeze out 50 log cabins in honor of our 50th Anniversary this year.

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As for ROYGBIV? It’s just going to be ROY. I didn’t like the greens and blues I had added so ripped them off and put them back in the scrap bags. I’m going to enlarge this square a little more (it’s about 20-inches square), practice some concentric circle quilting, and make another Big Bad Bag–it’s a start. See you on the other side of the rainbow.

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ROY…

I am tired of looking at the strips in the strip box, so I started Rainbow I today. Red, Orange, Yellow–tomorrow, I’ll hit the Green strips.

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I walked with the Bella Vista Walks group today–started at Bentonville Square, went on Compton Gardens trail, came back through Crystal Bridges, and on the South Trail. One hour. I am not heat tolerant yet, but I finally cooled off and rehydrated enough to finish the yellow strips.  Tomorrow I’m going back to Bentonville Square–they have planted some wonderful plants that I need to photograph before the heat/weather gets to them.

Only five more days to Georgia O’Keeffe. WOOHOO. Stay tuned.

 

The weekend of the exchange block

Sonja Koch from NWA Modern Quilt Guild brings us exchange blocks to make at least once a year. Most of us make one or more blocks, putting our names in the hat for each block we make. Last year we made wonky stars (using green, orange, and grey), made one quilt for charity and then there were enough blocks for three lucky winners to make their own quilts. Here they are, as shown at our first ever quilt show, held last month. (Top left) NWA MQG Wonky Star Galaxy, Hazel McFall; (Top right) Wonky Starry Night, Leeanna Walker and members of NWA MQG (quilted by Brenda Bell); (bottom)Wonky Stars, Debbie Wheeler (quilted by Sonja Koch).

This is Wonky Churndash by Sonja Koch; the guild also did this as a block exchange using these colors.

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This time, our block uses a pieced-curve technique and is also a great block for using up scrap strips. For the center of the block, sew together strips (approximately 5-1/2 inches long, any width) to make a strip set that’s about 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches. Make sure the strips on the ends are wider than the other strips so that you don’t end up with a tiny strip near the seam allowance. Then cut two sides with gentle curves. I placed my ruler on top of the strip set to hold it in place and to keep my fingers away from the rotary cutter. Keep the curve gentle, or it will be difficult to sew. Strips do not necessarily have to be trimmed (see below).

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Next, place a black strip (approximately 3-inches wide) underneath the curve and cut the black fabric, following your original curve. Note that the black fabric is even with a line on the mat and both pieces should be even at the top. I switched to my smaller rotary cutter, which made cutting the curves a little easier.

P1120607Match the points of the two fabrics and sew the two pieces together with an 1/8-in seam. Sew slowly and keep matching the edges as you go, turning in order to follow the curves. Press to the black. (I used a letter block instead of a strip set here.)

Square up to 8 x 8-inches. I marked the 8-inch marks on my ruler.

There were all kinds of leftovers in my scrap box. This was a 23-inch strip set that was supposed to be water in another project. I cut it up and sewed it back together. I was patient today–it took me several tries to get this to 8-1/4 inches.

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Here, I used a directional fabric left over from donation quilts. The fabric came from a program in Minnesota for at-risk babies and children.

http://www.abcquilts.org

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I made a total of 11 blocks and alternated the direction, since some of the pieces were directional just to see how it looked. Elvis has entered the building (block 3). By the way, I did not make an appreciable dent in my scrap box, but I have an idea. That extra strip set? I had made a wide strip set and cut it in half. Each half was 4-7/8 inches wide–I was barely able to make a 8×8 block, which is why I suggest starting with 5-1/2 inch long strips.

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Yo, Sonja. I said this would be addictive–I used up my black fabric, so I’m moving on now. See you in June! Thanks for the 10-minute tip and video.

LAST OF THE DOGWOODS. My dogwood is finally blooming. The leaves look curly and wilted, as do the ones at Crystal Bridges (last photo). Dogwoods make me happy.

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I suck at dieting

or is it just that dieting sucks… Besides my foray with the South Beach Diet two years ago, I have only dieted one other time. Way back when, Weight Watcher’s Low Fat-High Fiber Diet. I lost five pounds, and not a pound more, and was so cold all of the time, I gave up on it. I have done the two-week Phase 1 of S.B. for three weeks–no carbs/fruit/sugar/alcohol, lean protein, non-starchy veg. I lost six pounds the first two weeks and gained one pound back this week. Feels like a BIG FAIL. People will say, it’s because of all the walking, muscle weighs more than fat. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Don’t care–it does not console me in the least–I still can’t wear more than one pair of zip-up pants. Lesigh.

Since I put the salt shaker away, my average blood pressure is 94/69. That’s a BIG WIN. (We’ll see what it is in the doctor’s office…)

I was so desperate to get a jump start this time, that I considered forking out the money for South Beach Diet food delivered to my door. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are used. Besides the fact that I can’t stand the taste/after taste of artificial sweeteners and am allergic to some of them, I have never known anyone to lose weight by consuming drinks/food with artificial sweeteners (or non-nutritive additives). In fact, here’s what Dr. Joseph Merkola has to say (take it with a grain of sugar) (wordpress link-er still not working–I’ll get it fixed some day):

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/23/artificial-sweeteners-confuse-body.aspx

For me,  I just avoid sweets and food items with added sugar, which is pretty easy to do if you read labels. Oops–forgot to check the Chobani with Black Cherry on the Bottom (evaporated cane sugar?). I just wanted something portable for when I leave the house–there isn’t much that’s healthy out there if you’re serious about losing weight. SAVING MONEY: HUGE WIN. This was tasty but all I could think was to add in some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate. Can I get a WOO-HOO?  I also throw 100-calorie packets of Emerald cashews/almonds/dried cranberries in my purse–not too sweet and not salty. My blood sugar tends to go in the cellar if I go too long without eating or after a long walk, not to mention getting hangry. You won’t like me when I’m hangry.

Supposedly just losing six pounds means 24 pounds of pressure off of my knees (WebMD, for people with osteoarthritis–why, is there a difference for those of us who have RA?). That’s another BIG WIN. I have routine labs in three weeks–with all the healthy eating and walking I’m doing, the cholesterol and blood sugar better be down in significant numbers. Alright, I’ll settle for any drop in the numbers.

The other reason I suck at dieting is that now, nothing tastes good and I could care less about eating. I force myself to eat because I know I need to. I guess I don’t have to like this to do it, but how long can I stick with something that doesn’t produce more positive results? Color me IMPATIENT.

If you really want to get depressed, watch The Magic Pill on Netflix. Eye-opening as far as government’s thinking on nutrition for the general populace and indigenous peoples worldwide. The difference in a child with autism who would previously eat nothing but junk food was totally amazing after her diet was changed from carb focused to fat focused. We’re talking LARD here. BRAVE PARENTS.

I’ll be back with an update at the beginning of June. I weigh myself on Fridays and Mondays but only haul out the tape measure once a month. A person can only take so much failure at any given point in time. I’m not giving up yet. After being laid up for four months, it’s wonderful to get out and move. My hip is pain free most days if I stretch and walk. Only 55 more pounds to go… Remember, sitting is the new smoking.

Enough of this. I skipped the walk today and have declared it to be Fun Friday in my studio.

QUILTING TIP OF THE DAY (yes, we still quilt here): If you have a small wallhanging and know how to crochet, crochet around a 1-inch curtain ring with single crochets. I had a little ball of #10 crochet thread, Rit-dyed along with some fabric before I got serious about hand-dyeds. Also note my plug for labeling your quilts! Someone may care someday.

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Take a few anchoring stitches under the ring (see above) and then sew the rings on the back of the quilt, going through both loops of the single crochets. Leave the top of each ring unsewn.

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P1120511Measure the distance between rings from center to center, place two straight pins in the wall and hang your art! VOILA.

NEXT TIME: I’ll be working on some small projects, a block exchange, a mug rug swap, another biscornu pincushion, and a cover for my camera strap. The leather is showing wear and now that summer is here (no collars), my strap is uncomfortable walking in the heat. In the meantime, don’t just sit there–do something, even if it’s wrong.

ART FOR THE DAY: Flowers That Bloom Now, Yoyoi Kusama, 2017, stainless steel and urethane paint, as seen on the North Forest Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Kusama is one of my favorite artists, having learned about her in an online class on Abstract Expressionism from MoMA. She sometimes has interactive art, inviting museum-goers to come in and cover furniture and walls with dots (her signature) in varying sizes. How fun is that!

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Notes from the Trail…

I walked three days around Lake Bella Vista this week without my camera. Today’s walk was slower and longer (two hours instead of 40 minutes). Here are highlights.

Views from the new bridge on the trail leading to the soccer field and the Back 40. Bob the Builder forgot his shovel.

The geese and ducks used to inhabit the beach (in the far background) but have moved downstream. Buzzards are often found near the parking lot now.

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Love lock bridge now has 35 locks.

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Three friends having breakfast while enjoying the creek.

Local business

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Overhead wires

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Paw prints in dried mud

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Waiting for help?

P1120415Before it’s too late

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Green backed heron

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On the other end of the lake

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Remains of a structure, repainted

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Peonies near where there used to be a house

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A committee of buzzards

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Veterans Wall of Honor–the Arkansas flag needs help.