Monday, February 21, 2011

Prepping for Hand Piecing

There's no Accuquilt Go cutter in my sewing studio. For me, rotary cutting involves rulers for cutting straight edges, or acrylic templates for cutting shapes. Recently, I used a single "Swirling Star" acrylic template to manually cut curved shapes, and I enjoyed it. I especially appreciate the spring-y colors in this pile of scraps. Pretty!

To cut these shapes, I first rotary cut 4-5/8" wide strips that the template would fit onto. Thankfully I tested my plan to cut the templates from a folded (wrong sides together) piece of fabric. Oops! I discovered half of the cut pieces were swirling the wrong way, and had to be discarded - well, set aside for something else. I cut the shapes from two 4-5/8" strips stacked, right sides up.

I marked the acrylic template with the word "up" to remind myself which way to lay it on the fabric so all the swirls would point the same direction. Did you notice the rotary cutter? I found that a smaller 28 mm cutter followed the curves better than my usually-used 45 mm cutter.

Personally, I don't care to mark the 1/4" seam line slots in acrylic templates. When hand piecing, I prefer to sew with a 3/16" seam. To do that I make my own plastic template that's 3/16" smaller, on all sides, than the acrylic template. Then, on the back of the fabric shape, I trace the plastic template to mark the stitching line. It takes three different fabric markers to mark the fabric, depending on the fabric color: a mechanical pencil, or a Sewline Fabric Pencil, or a Clover White Ink Marker.

Also, to hold the fabric piece firmly while I'm drawing the line, I have fine-grit sandpaper under it. It's something like 000. 

For piecing I use Mettler 60/2 thread - white, for this entire project - and a size #9 straw needle. Then, wearing my homemade bottle cap ring pin cushion on the middle finger of my left hand (you can see a peep of it on the far left) and in it, a half-dozen applique pins for pinning the seam lines, I'm set to hand piece. Here goes. 
In my next blog post I'll show you pictures of what I'm making.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Much Better

More digging through selvages unearthed this lucky find! "Linda" selvage! With apologies to fabric designer Linda Carlson, I used another bit of plain selvage to cover her last name. Then, keeping the word "style" I resewed the selvages and recovered the button that decorates the selvage purse you saw here
Did anyone else have success at finding their own name on a selvage? For those who commented on the selvage purse post, I found a Lynda (Lynda Milligan), and a Jennifer (Paganelli). Anyone else?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Template Giveaway Winners

After making a list, and checking it twice, Random Number Generator picked numbers 11 and 47 to win the sets of Drunkard's Path templates from Baycreek Quilting. Arrangements have been made with winners Linda D. in Montana, and Sallie in Texas.

Linda D. said, "I am a beginner quilter with very little stash or tools yet, so I really appreciate winning!" Don't we all remember what it's like to be new to quiltmaking and wish we had some of everything?

Sallie commented that she also likes Baycreek Quilting's Dahlia template. I'm sure we can all find at least one template we would like to own!

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you for entering! Hopefully a couple of you took advantage of free shipping to get the templates you want. I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time you'll have a chance to win something from Baycreek Quilting. Thank you Linda L., Baycreek owner, for sponsoring this great giveaway! (Have I ever mentioned that many quilters are named "Linda"!?)

Across the Midwest, some of us are happily enjoying a little milder weather. But a couple weeks ago, I caught this photo of six year-old Hogan. On the most frigid Iowa days, like when it's -5 F (-20 C) as it was on this day, we can usually count on the sun shining brightly. When we open our south-facing family room blinds, Hogan's inert body almost magically follows a sunshine patch across the floor. Ahh, the dog days of... winter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rubbing Shoulders with a Rising Author

I don't typically do this, but I'm recommending a book I haven't even read yet! That's because author Kimberly Stuart hasn't disappointed me with any of her four previous books. Besides, she's a really sweet gal, has a delightful sense of humor, and she lives right here in good 'ole Des Moines, Iowa.

If you haven't heard of Kimberly Stuart, you will soon. Wal-Mart has picked up Kim's latest book, Operation Bonnet, so everyone will be able to find it.

At a recent reception at the Des Moines Central Library, in front a crowd of 150 people, Kim read from her book, and shared a little bit about the story Operation Bonnet. It involves Nellie Monroe, her desire to become an investigator, and her first assignment infiltrating an Amish community. Being familiar with Kim's humorous writing style, I'm sure I'll giggle my way through it.

I have an autographed copy to read. Hasn't she already perfected her celebrity signature? 

I'm chuffed (that's "Aussie" for "proud") to say I know Kim. We became acquainted in November 2009, when I won her book giveaway challenge. Kim asked her readers to give away two copies of Stretch Marks (she provided them) in a unique or creative way. I took the books with me to Australia and gave them to two Aussie mums in front of the Sydney Opera House! I took pictures which you can see here, where I blogged about it

When I showed up at the reception for Operation Bonnet, I was pleased that Kim remembered me. She was a sweetie to pose for a picture. She's not only a talented writer, but she manages a husband and three kids too! Isn't she a doll? Here's where to meet Kimberly Stuart on her blog.
Kimberly Stuart on the right
I'll let you in on a secret Kim shared with us. CBS-TV contacted Kim's agent because actor Samuel L. Jackson wants to read the book. They're considering it for a television mini-series!

Typically, I gravitate toward audiobooks because they're the best way to multi-task with quilt-y stuff. But I'll be plopping on my spectacles to read Operation Bonnet. Let me know if you do too.

Oh, and don't miss out on my giveaway. You still have until February 13 to enter to win two sets of Drunkard's Path acrylic templates from Baycreek Quilting. GO TO THIS POST to comment and enter. Entries will NOT be accepted on this blog post.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Selvage Purse

When I saw this selvage purse/tote on Julie's blog my first reaction was ooooh followed by the thought, "I'm not surprised I like it." It seems I always like the stuff Julie makes.

The purse design is by Jodie Carleton and appeared in Australian Homespun magazine, number 84, the "Go Green" issue. And off I went to make my own selvage purse. 

My purse is a little different than Julie's... or the instructions! Starting with selvages sewn to the foundation, mine run horizontally across the purse instead of vertically. I thought I had a lot of selvages collected until I started sorting through them looking for a variety of blues - words, and color windows - to coordinate with the denim purse flap and handles I upcycled from old blue jeans.

When I laid out the pattern pieces to cut the purse front and back, I had plenty of excess selvages to make my purse larger, so I did. It finished at 7" X 11", one inch taller and one inch wider than the pattern.
I added an inside pocket. Note my pretty white Maori fabric, purchased at Craft Depot in Pennant Hills, NSW, Australia.
And, I added a zipper in addition to the pattern's instructions for a magnetic flap closure. Ya don't want to tempt a pick-pocket, right? Not that I've ever encountered one.
I searched for just the right word for the selvage-covered button and could only come up with "style." I thought it would be neat to put my name there too but couldn't find any selvages with a fabric designer named "Linda."

Now if you're a Kathy, Carla, Brandon, Erin, Kaffe, Kari, Patrick, Ro, Tammy, Debi, Michele, Erika, Robert, Isadora, Jennifer or Valori - among others - you'll have no problem finding your selvage name!
How can that be? Every other person I know is named Linda! Do you have a famous selvage name?

Hey, don't miss out! You have until February 13 to enter my blog giveaway of two sets of Drunkard's Path acrylic templates from Baycreek Quilting. GO TO THIS POST to comment and enter. Entries will NOT be accepted on this Selvage Purse blog post.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Drunkard's Path Templates

Don't you think it's fun to enter a giveaway? Well, thanks to Baycreek Quilting in Oregon, I’m sharing the fun by hosting a giveaway now through Sunday, February 13. Two winners will be selected!

Baycreek Quilting specializes in making sturdy, 1/8" thick, laser-cut acrylic templates. Baycreek's rotary cutting templates are available in a variety of shapes - angles, curves, one-patch shapes, applique designs and quilting designs.

If you're a quilter who has been struck by hexie madness take a look as these hexagon options.
Don't miss a look at Joseph's Coat templates either!

Drunkard's Path
Two people will be randomly selected to win a set of Drunkard's Path acrylic templates. That's two pieces each, of 3", 4", 5" and 6" templates! A $30 value!

This is an international giveaway! Everyone has a chance to win.

For one entry: Comment. That's it. Say whatever's on your mind, or answer one or both of these questions: "What template or single patch shape would you like to have? Do you prefer machine-piecing or hand-piecing, or is there a place for both in your life?"

You might already know I'm a fan of hand-piecing. It's so portable and relaxing! See my projects here.

For another entry: Post about this giveaway on your own blog. Then come back here and comment to let me know you've done that.

As a bonus, bonus, bonus...
Between now and Sunday, February 13, if you place an order from Baycreek Quilting, you will receive free shipping, and that means anywhere in the world. How wonderful is that?!

To receive free shipping, just type "Flourishing Palms" in the comments section of your on-line order, or mention "Flourishing Palms" if you phone-in (US only) your order: 541-888-2838.

Could it be you who'll win a set of Drunkard's Path templates to cut and piece a pretty block like this?
Note: I'll have to draw another winner if your comments appear as It means I have no way to email you to tell you you've won. To check your settings, follow this path: Dashboard; Edit Profile; "Show my email address;" Save Profile.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lightbulb Moment

Have you ever gone along with something because everyone else is doing it, and then surprised yourself to realize you don't want to do it?

That's the "brick" that recently hit me . In college, we called it a "lightbulb moment." It's when I admitted to myself that I really don't like hand applique.

Here's how it transpired.

A couple weeks ago I decided to go through my small bins of UFOs and really access what I had, and what my honest intentions are. Too smugly I thought I had about a dozen UFOs. I counted more than that and I still can't bring myself to  share the exact number with you. 

But what surprised me most was the number of hand applique projects I've begun and not finished. I accessed each one. That's when I had my lightbulb moment... when I was completely honest.  

I asked myself, "Honestly, Linda. Will you ever finish these?" To my surprise, I answered, "No, I don't particularly like hand applique."

But I do it, and with fairly good success. It's the prep work I don't care for... drawing templates, the cutting, glueing, layering, pressing, and basting required, depending on the method. I only like stitching.

This is a block of one found UFO.

I thought about what I could do with these UFOs, and decided the best thing would be to offer them to someone who enjoys applique. I'm happy to say that after asking, Carrie P. of A Passion for Applique (Goodness, she couldn't have a better blog name.) agreed to take them off my hands. I mailed a parcel to her and now feel exonerated. Carrie accepted two of my started and far-from-finished hand applique projects and I feel as light and as happy as can be. A good home... someone who appreciates and enjoys applique... how could I ask for more?

I have set aside several other UFOs to be given to just the right people. The UFOs I'm keep total 12, and I have every intention of finishing them. 

One of a couple hand-applique projects I'm keeping is this one. It's a pattern copied from an antique quilt purchased by a friend. The original quilt is in solid shades of purple and green. 

Mine is appliqued with solids: three values of yellow, and one solid green. These 16" blocks will be turned on point and connected by diagonal woven-looking, straight appliqued lines. I need 12 blocks to complete the quilt.  
Last week I spent four days in Kansas at our daughter's house. It's been since January 2 that I was there, and I needed a grandies fix. The grandies are doing very well and thankfully, are completely healthy.
16 month-old Tay on his new rocking horse, with Celina 
Tay in the rocking chair his Mommy once used
12 week-old Aesa who's recovered from bronchiolitis
It was wonderful to see them, and note how the boys are growing. That Tay is such a talker! When I first arrived at their house, Tay couldn't stop chattering with excitement. He pointed out my "glasses," my "nose," my "earrings" and my "necklace. Then, pointing at other items he said, "candle," "book," and "fire" (fireplace). Then he said "happy baby" referring to a made-up song that he likes to hear me sing. I felt such a crush of love for this smart little guy. Whenever a grandparent tells you how wonderful it is to have grandchildren... believe them! I never imagined I would have these feelings.

At home again, I've returned to hand applique because it's too darned cold (-7F/-22C Wednesday night) to be sewing in the basement. I'm continuing to applique leaves and flowers on the borders for my Periwinkle Star quilt. With a dog laying at my feet, how much cozier could I be?

On another, more serious note, I have been deeply moved to hear about the devastation that Cyclone Yasi wreaked on Australians along the northern coast of Queensland. Thankfully, I have heard from a blog-friend in the area of Charters Towers who made it through Yasi when it was "only" a category 3! My prayers and thoughts have been with them, as well as with all Australians who are reeling from weeks of too much rain, flooding, and now incredible, damaging winds. God bless you all.


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