Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tip for Pattern Writers

No, I am not getting into the pattern writing business, but I AM a pattern user and I've run into this issue with quite a few of the patterns I have used.

Here is the tip:
When writing pattern instructions, try not to write it referring to the specific colors that were used in your own block or quilt. Instead, refer to objects, sizes, shapes or locations.

I will give examples of why that is important.  Recently, Karen of Tu-Na Quilts, Eats and Travels had members of our International Stash Bee make a cute poodle block for her.  Here is the block she chose for us to make . . . sooo cute!

She requested either a black poodle with a white background or a white poodle with a black background.  The instructions on the original tutorial (which is found at The Objects of Design) made a turquoise poodle.   Now, these instructions are great (and her design is WONDERFUL)  if you are making a colored poodle similar to the one below like the designer made.

The instructions telling how much fabric to buy talk about light and dark fabric when referring to the poodle.  This can get confusing if you are planning on making a white poodle or a black poodle.  Or even a pink poodle with black poofs.

I will repeat my tip:    Refer to objects, sizes or locations rather than specific colors or patterns.  For this pattern, it would be more helpful to say "buy X yards for the body (instead of light fabric), buy Y for the ears and poofs (instead of dark fabric), buy Z for the background (that was already generic enough)."  And when you are talking about which pieces to sew together, it's much easier to understand sew 1 1/4" background piece to four corners of a leg poof piece than it is sew the background fabric to the dark fabric (when the leg poofs you are using might be white).

Big shout out to Karen at Tu-Na Quilts for realizing this would be confusing and creating a set of labels for those of us making poodles for her.  Her labels were perfect!  "Eye", "Ear", "Top of Head" ,  and seriously, even if the instructions mentioned the exact same colors of fabric I was sewing with, I would have still have used her labels.

Here is my version of this cute poodle block.  I probably should have pressed it before I took the picture!

If it is too difficult to name the pieces by type of object, size or location, at the very minimum use lettering or numbering to identify parts and label them on a pattern line drawing.

So that is my 2 cents on writing patterns.  Hope that all makes sense!  I know that is only one small part of  pattern writing, but every little thing you can do to make your directions clear and easily translatable to other fabrics is a plus!

Now go out there and design something awesome for those of us who can't design to save our lives! (or maybe can, but have no desire)
How's that for a pep talk?

Now someone give me one please.  I haven't sewn anything for a week and probably won't be able to for at least another week while we're packing up and preparing to move into a 5th wheel.   I would LOVE to know what your favorite inspiring quote is when you're feeling a little out of sorts.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Blue Sky Sundaes

Yes, I know I am crazy!  I am making another quilt for one of Ashley's graduating friends.  How could I not?  These girls are like family!  And there is probably one more . . .

Anyway,  she is a cutie patootie that likes sky blue and old fashioned things.   I bought one jelly roll and one layer cake of Blue Sky Sundaes by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts for Andover Fabrics which looks like this:

I know some of you have sewn hundreds of quilts, so I am seriously seeking suggestions for patterns to use.  Preferably something that goes together fairly quickly.   Hit me with your best shot!  What is your favorite layer cake and jelly roll pattern that would look good with this fabric?  Keep in mind that this girl is, in her own words, "an old soul."

I seriously appreciate the input I get from my more experienced quilter friends!

Poodle Block

Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats is wanting to decorate her guest room in a French theme so as her turn as Queen Bee she is asking for poodle blocks!  We could make a black poodle on white background or white on black background.    The original pattern designer blogs at The Object of Design.  You can see her right facing poodles here and her left facing poodles here,  Here is the example
Karen gave us.

Isn't she cute?

There were a lot of teeny tiny pieces to deal with on this block and Karen was kind of enough to create a label template for us to label all the pieces.

A rotating cutting mat was definitely a helpful tool for all the trimming of flip triangle corners:

And here is my version of Karen's poodle block (needs more pressing):

Yesterday, there was a yard sale right down the street from my house.  I had to go.  Just HAD TO!  It was one of those where they'll hand you a bag and let you stuff as much into it as you want for $5.  They had a lot of fabric, but most of it was polyester.  Still,  I ended up with about 5 yards of nice low volume cottons and a few nice scraps.  My favorite is the scissors fabric and that was the largest piece.
And one piece of coveted light gray.  Where were you when I needed you for Stash Bee blocks?  This appears to be a from a pillowcase someone took apart.

And this doesn't have anything to do with quilting but I thought it was amusing.  Our cat head butting my husband.
This is one of the clingiest cats we have ever had.  He's constantly wanting to lay on top of you.  He's got a dalmation stomach and tiger legs.

Remember I told you a few weeks ago about one of our employees being in a car crash?  Here's what a truck looks like after a semi turns onto the highway right in front of you while you're traveling 55 mph.  He is lucky to be alive (broken arm and a few broken ribs) and we are so blessed nobody was riding in the passenger seat that day.

It was very interesting reading about my more experienced sewing friend's preferred methods of pressing.  Thank you for sharing!  I am cataloging all the things I learn from you in my brain bank!

I should have a house update for you in a few days.  They are already framing our new house!  I'll share some inside pictures of the house that just sold too.  I've got 9 days to get our house packed up and ready to move out.

So glad you stopped by and I hope you have a wonderful week!

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Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Bambi's Show and Tell Monday
Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Three Bee Blocks and June OMG

With graduations, new grandbaby's being born, a niece getting married, and a weeklong business trip out of town, this month was a fail for getting my Bee blocks done on time.  But . . . I finally finished them all.  Here they are in no particular order!  The pattern for this Double Star block can be found here:
Double Star Block

These next blocks are for Hive 6 of the Stash Bee.  These are just simple 9-patch blocks that finish at 9 inches.  Just cut up 3 1/2" squares of the colors you want and sew them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  The Queen Bee's request was that each block have a white or white on white square in the middle and the rest of the block be from one color way.

And last but not least is a block for Irene who requested a block done entirely in grays for a new quilt for her bed!  This is a 9 patch in a 9-patch in a 9-patch!  Very fun!

My June One Month Goal is to get Kenzi's quilt top cut and sewn together.   Here are the fabrics she chose and the order she wants them in!  I love getting specific instructions!    Do you find it rather scary when someone says, oh just do whatever you think looks good?  That is the worst!   Too much leeway leaves me constantly second guessing my decisions.  So thank you, Kenzi for knowing exactly what you want!

Wish me luck on getting this goal done because we will be moving out of our house this month into a rental or 5th wheel (not sure which one yet) while our house is being finished.  I'm crossing fingers for rental!   I should take some more pictures of the interior of the house we WERE going to move into.  It is downright gorgeous!  I'm sad that I don't get to live there.  But not TOO sad, as my final, forever, no-more-moving house has been started!

And last but not least for today's post, I am going to try my hand at writing a pattern.  It will be free because I'm pretty sure the market for this one will be pretty small!  Linda Hungerford at Flourishing Palms made a quilt in the shape of her home state of Florida.  Check it out!

Isn't that great?  I was fascinated by it!  I asked her if she would be publishing a pattern for it and she said no.  But THEN she had so much interest from her own quilt guild that she decided to do it after all.  In the meantime I asked her if I could use hers as inspiration for making one of my own home state of Idaho and she said sure!  And she also agreed to be my mentor if I needed advice.  Before you ask me "Are you crazy?  You've already got too much going on!"  My answer is "You're right!"  So at this point, the state of Idaho is just a concept and that's as far as it's going to be for a while.  I'll let the idea percolate in my head as to how I want to do it.  I've got a few fun ideas that I'll share later.  And in fact, if any of my fellow Idaho friends and yet to be met friends want to tell me what you'd like to see on a quilt like this, by all means please leave a comment!

I'd love to hear from you!

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Midweek Makers

Friday, May 26, 2017

OMG Accomplished! And a Pressing Question

Thank goodness I ramped down my expectations for myself this month!  With a senior graduating from high school, I have had no time to sew during these past two weeks.  Fortunately, my One Monthly Goal for May was to finish my neice Cacey's wedding quilt top (she got married this past Saturday, congratulations Cacey!!)  and I did that early on in the month.  So happy I was able to finish and get it into the OMG Parade!   Cacey understands that there is no way I was going to be able to get this done in time for her wedding so I am grateful for that grace.
Lattice Quilt

Tonight is graduation night so I've got a lot to do and I'm afraid this is going to be a short post.   This is my last child and then I will be an empty nester.  I don't like to think about it because it's going to be weird.  My baby is going to college to become an English teacher!  And I will miss her like crazy.

I do have a question I've been wanting to ask you more experienced quilters though.  It has to do with pressing.   What has been your method of choice?  Do you always press your seams open?  Always to the side?  A little of both?  What is your preference and can you tell me why?  I do so appreciate gleaning from those of you who have much more experience than I do and I think others will enjoy reading your comments as well.  I realize that some are just going to say to do whatever works best for you, but I want to know what YOU do.  

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Do You Need Something Quilted?

I will tell you in a little bit why I asked that question.  It will be worth it, I promise!  I have to tell you this story first.  It's all related.  

See this gorgeous little quilt?  This was pieced by Vicki of Vicki's Crafts and Quilting.  When I saw it, I REALLY REALLY wanted it.  I have only been quilting on my own for a year now but so far, every quilt I've made and quilted has been for someone else.  I have no quilts of my own!   And I'm not seeing any time in the near future where I will be able to make one.  Now don't you think it is a shame for a quilter not to have any quilts?  ME TOO!

So I bought it!  My intention was to quilt it myself so I could at least say I had done that much, but again.  It is not looking like I'll find time any time soon.  

Aren't these fabrics just gorgeous?

Yummy, yummy colors!

Anyway, back to the story . . . one day I happened to be chatting with Jen Strauser of Dizzy Quilter who is right smack dab in the middle of starting a new quilting business.  Yay for entrepreneurs!  I love having adventurous friends!  I asked her teasingly if she needed any quilts to practice on and she said she does!  She is offering to quilt something for the first ten people who express interest for only $50 (queen or under).  $75 if it is king size.  So I am going to send her this quilt to quilt for me!

How special is that?  Not only will I finally have a quilt of my own, but I will have a quilt made by a blogging friend in Minnesota and quilted by another blogging friend in New Jersey!  I am so looking forward to having it to snuggle under!

And yes, I did get permission to "out" her offer before she did.  So if you have any quilts you want quilted for a very reasonable price, give Jen some practice!

And on the quilting front in my own sewing room, I got Cacey's top finished!  Cacey and I need to get together and choose some fabric for the backing and binding.   I will hopefully be starting on Kenzi's quilt next.  Then finish Ashley's  . . . then make one for my son Morgan who graduated several years ago.  I feel so bad for getting to him so late!  I do have the pattern and fabric picked and purchased though.  He has been so patient and telling me not to stress about it.  Thanks, Morgan!  And somewhere in there, finish quilting my mom's quilt too.  (sigh)

On the house front, we just got a full price offer!  Plus they want us to build a shop too.  We have until the end of June to live in the house we're in, and after that, not sure what we'll do.  Probably some kind of RV for a couple months.  I'm trying to imagine how I'm going to sew but I guess if Louise (Quilt Odyssey) can do it in a boat, I should be able to figure out something!  This will be interesting.

State track meet tomorrow!  This young lady is competing in four events in her senior year.  This will be the first state meet that hasn't been freezing cold.  It is supposed to be sunny and warm this weekend.  Yahoo!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Temporary Scrambled Up Mess

FINALLY some progress on Cacey's quilt.  Here it is with chunks and strips sewn together.  I am hoping tonight to have it assembled in a recognizable form.  Right now it's just a mixed up mess.

Sheesh!  When you have a graduating Senior, the last month of school is crazy.  In the last week, I have only sewed one night!  

This will be a very short post because I am headed out the door to the rest of our District Track meet today.  Yesterday my trackster qualified for the State track meet in three events!   High jump, triple jump, and 100m hurdles.  Yahoo! 

Here is the update on the house.  Siding is done and now painted!  The white stuff on the front is where the stone is going to be go.  Next week will be a lot of progress on the inside.  Right now it's just still the studs.  They have begun installing the insulation, and will be starting on sheetrock.   We had some potential buyers come by and look at it yesterday.  They have been looking at a lot of houses and scratched most of them off the list but ours is still on!  They are looking at a bunch more today so we'll be waiting to hear back from them.  In the  meantime, we'll just proceed as if we're going to move in.  If they decide to buy it,  we can rent where we are for one more month but not sure what we'll do after that!   

Have a great Saturday!
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