:: Totally random ::

Very random Saturday morning stuff. Mental meanderings allowed by a still-sleeping 12-year-old. I’m still not used to this sleeping in business. Very recent tween development. I’ll have to make some very quiet plans for this “free” time.

I’m trying to learn how to use the household DSLR. Please bear with me.

I hope to get the hang of it before I go to Quilt Market. (See you there??)

And I’ve added these because the outdoors at the front of my house approximates the convention center lighting conditions?

Have to start somewhere, I guess.

I believe I captured Pepper’s earnestness.

I may not get the hang of it but I do know my camera will have a stylish camera strap. After I make it one.

I’m taking along my old point and shoot camera just in case. Does that mean I have to take two pictures of everything with two different cameras just in case??

Speaking of travel. I miss Dan. I miss Dan’s silver Delta frequent flyer status. The free checked bag, the getting on the plane right before the general cattle call. It’s the little things sometimes. I’m sure I will survive.

What are your weekend plans? No soccer game for us this weekend. Which works out because it’s supposed to rain the whole time. Which also means we can’t do anything fun outdoors with our free weekend. Because I would surely melt. Or freeze. But we are going to see Regina Spektor tonight. I’m sure it will be warm and cozy. Strangely enough, when I was going through the DSLR camera case this week, I found a bag of ear plugs. These would have been from a music festival Dan took the kiddo to. How handy!  Taking them along to the concert tonight.

I do find it strange that in the last year, I have found things like the ear plugs just when I’ve needed them. They wouldn’t have been things — various paperwork, for example — on my radar at any point before and weren’t part of my household job description previously.  I just think it’s goodly strange.

Here’s a couple of quilt photos just to randomly round things out.

Oh, and the Bleachers quilt which now just needs the binding sewn down.

I have been calling this quilt Dear Stella, Wear Your Grungy Little Black Dress on the Bleachers.

Good, still sleeping. If she sleeps much longer, I can get away with brunch and will only have to feed her twice today. She got lucky too, I just found this recipe for caramel and sea salt pear pancakes.

Hope you have a photogenic weekend!

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Bloggers’ Bar Hop Quiltalong – Block 10 Cross Bar

I was thrilled when Scott Hansen asked – despite my absence around here – if I would like to participate in his latest quiltalong, the Bloggers’ Bar Hop Quiltalong. Thrilled.

Then I received the fabrics kindly supplied by Clothworks from their European Taupe VIII collection by Kinkame. You had me at taupe, Scott. Then I began to worry that someone had been snooping in my stash and would therefore know that I have been known to have a Japanese taupe addiction (NO, this is not a situation of what fabric am I NOT addicted to…stop it).

These are the fabrics I received:

A longtime admirer of the low-contrast combinations of these fabrics, I decided to be subtle and add only a cool solid grey to make my 12″ Cross Bar block.

For this block, you will need five fabrics. The block finishes to 12″. All seams are 1/4″.

Fabric 1, solid grey, cut 4 – 2 7/8″ squares and cut in half once on the diagonal:

Fabric 2, brown woven check, cut 4 – 3 3/8″ x 4 3/4″ rectangles:

Fabric 3, burgundy tonal, cut 4 – 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles AND 1 – 2 1/2″ square:

Fabric 4, brown floral check, cut 4 – 3 7/8″ squares and cut in half once on the diagonal:

Fabric 5, grey rose print, cut 4 – 2  1/2″ squares:

1. Begin by sewing 2 brown floral check triangles to both long sides of the brown plaid rectangle. Repeat with remaining three brown plaid rectangles.

2. Sew solid grey triangles to the short sides of the brown plaid rectangle. Repeat with remaining three brown plaid rectangles.

3. Sew burgundy tonal rectangle to grey rose square. Repeat with remaining three burgundy tonal rectangles.

4. Arrange burgundy tonal/grey rose units as shown in the photo below. Sew burgundy tonal square between the burgundy tonal/grey rose units.

5. Sew brown plaid units to both sides of burgundy tonal/grey rose units as shown in the photo below. Repeat for bottom row of block.

6. Sew block units together as shown.

There  you go. I think this would make a wonderful subtle scrappy quilt. Yes, imagine it scrappy.

Here’s the line-up for the remaining blocks on the Bloggers’ Bar Hop Quiltalong:

October 1 Amy Ellis

October 2 Lynn Harris   

October 3   Heather Jones    

October 4   Jackie Kunkel    

October 5 Ashley Jones

October 6  Emily Cier 

October 7 Scott Hansen

October 8 Jan Peoples

October 9 April Rosenthal

October 10 Amy Lobsiger (you are here)

October 11  Cara Quilts

October 12   Konda Luckau

October 13  Alethea Ballard

October 14 Charlie Scott

You can see blocks going up at the quiltalong Flickr group page too.

Thanks for visiting and thanks, Scott, for inviting me to join in the fun!

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Testing, testing

Is this thing on?

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Edited to add: quilt pattern is called Bleachers, an Angela Walters design for Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio.

I also recently finished Empty Bobbin’s Zigzagged. Fun stuff!

 

 

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This time last year

This time last year, we were just about to the top of the highest roller coaster hill. The many months preceding had been the long drag to the top. Crazy outpatient surgery, major surgery, brief grace period, followed by monthly trips to Philadelphia for treatments, weekly blood tests, bad news, bad news, bad news. Click, click, click, click. Endured, adjusted to because to do otherwise would have seemed pessimistic.

Something of a last-ditch new treatment would start just after July 4. That was the very tippy-top of the hill. Who knew?

Who knew how fast the trip to the bottom would be? This time last year is vivid and a blur. Everything stands out. I don’t like to wear the clothes I wore last summer because they remind me of the hospital days.

We nursed optimism then to keep disbelief and panic at bay.  We were surrounded by love and support.

At some point realism surfaced and I had to imagine some part of the future just to somehow prepare myself. I am somewhere in the middle of how I thought this would be. It’s kind of a badness scale. I made a good run at all of it early on. I had some momentum.

The kiddo had a good and calm school year, active and engaged. We did it.

Only in the last few months have I kind of lost my creative energy and sense of direction, feeling that important part of me grinding to a halt.

I think that going through some creative motions will help.

It can’t hurt.

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Thank you

We missed the postie yesterday. All we got was a slip of paper telling us we had to wait. It was a very long wait until this morning. Before the dentist, we zipped to the PO and picked up a box that had traveled many, many, many miles in so many ways.

We opened the box in the car, of course, and read all of the names and admired the fabrics and shed some tears (OK, still reading, admiring and shedding…).

Reading the names is like reading a list of old friends and feeling supported in this. She reads off the names and I tell her what I know about each person. I haven’t gotten stumped yet. It’s like a quiz for my brain. And I am grateful to “know” you all. We both thank you from the bottoms of our mending hearts.

As you can see, Herself has found a happy spot on top of the quilt.

We both have oooh-ed and aaaaaah-ed over the fabrics and the quilting. She has found her favorite fabric in Pratima’s block.

Oh, and look, here are some more riches from the box. These are to celebrate my advanced age. 🙂 I will thank Miss Sarah in advance and feast on these shortly.

Do you ever find that you just don’t know what to do when faced with such kindness? “Thank you” continues to feel inadequate but thank you.

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Nearly lost in translation

Despite the quiet around this blog, I have been sewing. And sewing. And sewing. But I feel like I’ve been working on the same three quilts for a very long time. Which I have.

This is the last of three big buggers. Finally finished the top today. This is a wedding gift. I collected a very large pile of fabric first, including 13 yards of the Alexander Henry mustache fabric (most for the backing). I thought I would wing it, patternwise. When it came time to start, I thought better of the winging it approach and went hunting for a pattern. I settled on Emily Cier’s Discontinuity.

And then I decided to make it differently. Emily’s design uses her clever pixel piecing. I decided to translate it to be able to sew with bigger chunks.

Ahem.

First, print the schematic and don’t panic. Next, sew up a couple of sections. Third, ask what the heck am I doing? Fourth, head down, eyes on your own paper, cut, sew, cut, sew, do a little math, get out the seam ripper, work out some partial seams thanks to your “clever” translation, cut, sew, press. Until some time days later, the queen sized top is done, there are threads hatching from every seam that will need to be trimmed. It could really use a good re-pressing.

Sigh.

And now to do the quilting. Straight line. Straight-ish line. Wobbly line. I have a cone of thread ready for the task.

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Blogger’s Block of the Month :: Block 8, April

Welcome to the Mrs. Schmenkmanquilts’ stop on the Blogger’s Block of the Month tour! Thanks to Jackie for including me — much appreciated to have a goal and to be able to play along!

My block is called Triangle Squares. Hmm, creative. Well, that’s what Grandma Dexter called it, and it is block no. 2041 in Barbara Brackman‘s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (ooh, ouch, when did that go out of print?).  Whatever you call it, I like it. It’s easy to make and you’ve got a lot of areas for the variations of your choice. For example, use more than one background fabric. Mine is gold. Use one on the inside of the block and one on the outside. Or make your corners match your center. Use two more contrasting fabrics in the half square triangle blocks — those could definitely add some pop.

Let’s get started!

CUTTING

The finished block size for Triangle Squares is 8″.

For the block background, I used the gold Guinea flower print.
Cut 6 – 2 7/8″ squares.

Cut the squares in half once diagnally.

For the corners, cut four 2 1/2″ squares of purple spot:

For the half-square triangle blocks, cut two 2 7/8″ squares from each of two fabrics.

Cut these squares in half once diagnally:

For the center, cut one 3 1/4″ square.

PIECING

Be sure you are sewing scant 1/4″ seams. You can either press seams open or to one side. I have used a combination — pressing the half-square triangle units to one side and pressing the final seams open to better distribute bulk.

To piece the block center, surround the 3 1/4″ center square with four half-square triangles of the gold guinea flower:

First sew in one side triangle:

Follow that with the opposite side’s triangle:

Press these triangles out and trim the triangle corners even with the center square if you desire.

Now add the other two side triangles:

Press and trim any little triangle ears. The piece should measure 4 1/2″. It’s important that there be 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the corners of the blue and green center square — you don’t want to lose your corners into the next seam.

Now piece the half-square triangle blocks. First match up triangles with background triangles and sew four of each.

Trim the corners and make sure your half-square triangle blocks measure 2 1/2″.

Now it’s time to assemble your Triangle Squares blocks.

Arrange the block units like so:

Begin assembly by piecing together the half-square triangle blocks on each side.

On the top and bottom, piece the outer corner (purple spot) together with its neighboring half-square triangle block.

Next sew the units in the top, middle and bottom rows together:

Finally, sew the top and bottom rows to the center row. Press well and you are done!

I hope you enjoy the block!

You can see what other quilters are up to in the Bloggers BOM Flickr group.

Here are links to other blocks in this series, completed and ones to come. Don’t miss ’em.
September – Sherri McConnell – A Quilting Life
October – Vicki Welsh – Field Trips in Fiber
November – Stephanie Dunphy – Loft Creations
December – Pat Sloan – The Voice Of Quilting
January – John Adams – Quilt Dad
February – Amy Smart – Diary of a Quilter
March – Allison Harris – Cluck, Cluck, Sew
April – Amy Lobsiger – Mrs. Schmenkmen Quilts YOU ARE HERE
May – Cathy Underhill – Cabbage Quilts
June – Pam Vieira-McGinnis – Pam Kitty Morning
July – Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Bumble Beans Inc.
August – Amy Ellis – Amy’s Creative Side
September – Sarah Fielke – The Last Piece
October – Jackie Kunkel – Canton Village Quilt Works 

Happy stitching!

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