Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't back me in a watermelon spitting contest..............

 It doesn't make much sense, but no matter how large the plate, or how small the portion of melon, I simply can't hit the plate with my seeds. Period. End of story. I knew you'd want to know.

At last, I get to start actually doing something with my clamshells. WooHoo!!! About time, too. In the spirit of showing the process, I took the following photos. Please keep in mind that I do not know what I'm doing. I am just trying to use common sense, and what I've learned from you other ladies, and praying for good results. As I am math disabled, I don't know the formula for figuring out the size of a square, using only the diagonal. I know there is a way, but since it is unfamilar to me, I just cut a piece of background fabric far larger than I knew it would need to be. I made a 40" square, and sewed a strip of twill tape down the center line, creating two stabilized triangles. The tape is to prevent stretching, and distortion. This will create the first two setting triangles for the feathered star, after the clamshells have been appliqued on, and the square cut in half.  There will be four triangles total.

 If you look very closely, you can see a pale yellow line on each side of the clamshells. This is to keep the sides even, and straight, because the outer strip of fabric will be trimmed off eventuall, leaving only a seam allowance for adding a border. The ruler is to help keep the little boogers straight along the bottom, too. You may sense a theme here.

In the second photo you can see that I ran a line of stitching down the opposite diagonal to keep my center straight, also. Here the first batch of clamshells have had the paper removed, and are glue basted and ready to stitch.  Then, because I can't stand not seeing how things are looking in the "big picture", I pinned the whole thing up on the design wall to take a is what I saw:

What do you all think? I am excited, because it is looking as I envisioned. My powers of description must leave something to be desired, because my husband saw the clamshells, and his face lit up, and he said "Oh, that's going to be pretty!" I don't know what he thought I was going for, but apparantly he was worried.

So that's my progress for the month, and with a little industry, and a whole lot of luck, maybe I'll have the four corners done, and be able to show you the center of my large quilt by the end of September. I look forward to seeing how all of you have progressed, too.  Michele
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Clamshell Report etc., etc.

Hi everyone,  This is today's second attempt to blog. The God of Google isn't making it easy today. In fact, my Internet has been down all week. All week. I missed the quarterly 20% off sale at Z & S Fabrics. I'm thinking about suing my server for cruel and unusual punishment. Aren't you addicted to the whole blog "thing". It's so odd to realize that a year ago I was completely clueless. I had no idea of the inspiration, or the friendships, or even the talent, that was just out there waiting for me to see, and experience. For now, she said pessimistically, it's working, so I'm giving my clamshell report a few days early..............just in case. Here it is. 484 Clamshells.  Not only do I need only 16 more (I think) but I have finished my center block.

First, I want to show you my finished Roseville Album block. It's almost the same, but I thought you might like to see it with the dots/berries added. Block two is very nearly completed, as well. However, I got distracted...........

I fear you must all think I have the attention span of a gnat, because I change my mind so often. I decided that the Mariner's Compass was too large for the use I had in mind, and so I have sidelined it for now. Instead, I made a 23" Feathered Star for my Clamshell center. Turned on point, it measures 32", and that seems just about the right size.

It's a bit more reserved in color, but I am pleased with how it turned out. It was  more challenging than the other Feathered Star designs that I've made previously, and it isn't perfect, but I like it. Now I will add a couple of borders, and possibly applique something in the setting squares. They are 7" and could easily handle a broiderie perse flower, or maybe just a little bird. Any thoughts? At that point, it will be time to start my clamshell wrangling. I will be doing the four setting triangles with clamshells, and I have been pondering the best way to avoid any stretching, and distortion, on the long bias edge. I think I will probably baste a strip of straight grain fabric to the bias edge, which should help. I have a piece of white-ish 108" backing that I bought but really don't like, and that's what I plan to use to sew my shells to.

That's what has been going on Chez Barnes. I also finished my exchange for Lizzie, but naturally I can't show it, or it might easily spoil her surprise. It must travel to Australia, so it will be at least 10 days till she will receive it. Hope you like it Lizzie!

Since my Internet was down, I am behind on sending emails to those of you who asked questions, or left comments. So sorry, all, I'm trying to catch up.  Happy stitching, Michele

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thank goodness for USPS................

They get a bad rap, sometimes, but I love our mail lady! Actually,  we have a regular mail lady, and an alternate mail lady, and I love 'em both. I have had a bad case of the SuperBlahs. Nothing has gone right in the sewing room. I feel like I've just been treading water this month. I started making Kim McLean's Roseville Album, using Kaffe fabrics, and it has been a struggle. I am starting to have fun, but working with these fabrics has been a challenge, as they are so different from my usual choices. There is a learning curve for me. So, although I made the long, hot, trek twice this morning, it cheered me up to receive the following mail.  First, from Karen, I received the interesting selvages shown below. I won them on her blog, and since I had just purchased her book, I was really excited. Thanks a lot, Karen, I'll enjoy putting these in my selvage project!

Also, though I think mayhap I have lost my mind, I ordered the itty bitty diamonds, and hexies, shown below, for my anticipated Den Haan Panel quilt. Don't ask, because I really haven't decided on a design, yet, but since I purchased the expensive panel, I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with a suitable design.


I found the new line of Windham fabrics, Washington's Legacy, at Whittle's and took a chance that the subdued colors would look good with the panel. What do you think?  I'm very, very, pleased, and I feel excited about working up a plan, now that the fabrics don't overshadow the panel.

Here are the first two Roseville Album blocks. The first lacks 36 "berries", or circles, that I will add a little later.

I love the birds...............those have been the most fun to fussy cut, and fortunately there are quite a few more in the rest of the quilt.

You would NOT believe how many pieces were cut out, and auditioned, for each one that actually made it into the block. The pile is getting so large, that I am going to put the rejects in a box, just for the purpose, so that I can use them later for circles, or bird bodies, or anything that will fit. Otherwise, the waste would just hurt too much! I have approximately 150 different pieces of Kaffe fabrics, with another 28 ordered, and yet there are still times when I just can't find the "right" piece to please myself. I couple of other ladies doing similar projects, have mentioned how "fussy cutting" destroys any pretensions to keeping your stash neat, and tidy................................Boy, does it!!!!! After an hour, or so, it looks like a bomb went off in there.

I've noticed a real slowdown in posting this month. I guess the weather, and kids going back to school, has affected a lot of us. I hope your sewing projects are going well, and the heat isn't oppressing you too much.

I'll close with a picture of four year old Jack, assembling his giant USA floor puzzle. We gave it to him last Christmas, and he will know all his states, and maybe capitols, before first grade. (I still don't know them all!)

Happy stitching, Michele

PS:  If you are looking for an unputdownable, thrilling read, you can't do better than The Passage by Justin Cronin. Really fabulous.
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