Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Winter Blues" part 3.0

Well, the pieces of my "Winter Blues" quilt sat on my worktable for too long . . . for far too long.

On Christmas Day, I started sewing . . . I decided I'd prefer to have this last project of 2009 done this year (what's left of it).

I need 168 squares for the quilt (and border) . . . as of this moment, I have 80 squares completed.

I WILL finish the top by the end of the week, and the end of the year (at least, that's my intention).

(Pics to come . . .)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One reason why Santa may not make it to your house tonight . . .

. . . he's been busted.

My name is Raymond, and I'm a paralegal in Child Support Enforcement.

My beat is dead-beat dads . . . Father Christmas tops the list, this time of year. He's got a rap sheet a mile long. Did I say "rap" sheet"?? (That's "Yo, Yo, Yo," not "Ho, Ho, Ho" as originally thought.)

A number of our clients fingered the fat man as "my baby's daddy." He's gotta learn that toys once a year does not count as child support.

Mike and Rick apprehended the perp on the roof, just as he was about to slide down the chimney. They wrestled him to the roof; his accomplices flew away (eight tiny reindeer, pulling a minature sleigh). They confiscated a list headed "Naughty Girls" from him; too bad he wasn't packing the list of "Naughty Boys" (I wanted a peek at that one, myself).

Mrs. Clause is trying to raise his bail . . . I guess this isn't the first time.

Just kidding, folks . . . the "Santa in Chains" is the office decoration down the hall as part of the office-wide Holiday Decorations contest. Last year, I hung my Men of Biblical Proportions "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego" quilt on the wall and renamed it, "May Christmas Revelers Burn in Hell!!" I was going for the "Scrooge" award (I didn't win it).

. . . and I heard him exclaim, ere he rode out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pumpkin Juice

Here's a pic of my last quilt, "Pumpkin Juice." I finished it just before Halloween with the last of the "Fall" fabric swap on the QuiltGuy Yahoo! group. I donated it to my church, Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican/Episcopal), for a fundraising benefit for the choir (I sing baritone/bass). I didn't have time to photograph it before donating it, so I asked a fellow chorister to take a pic of it at the event.

Two months later, and I just got the pic . . . freelancers: you can't live with 'em, you can't shoot 'em, LOL!!

If the pattern looks familiar, it's the same one I'm gonna use for my "Winter Blues" quilt (which is pretty much as you last saw it in earlier posts). I was "getting a feel for it" this time around. With all the elapsed time, I'm gonna have to "feel" all over again!!

This 36" square quilt raised $200 at auction, btw . . .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Genesis of a design tile . . .

About 5-6 years ago, I sat down with graph paper, pencil, and ruler to design a new quilt block. I had three requirements: it had to have fourfold rotation; it had to extend past the confines of a 4-patch block; and, all the patches had to be identical.

First, I drew a 2x2 grid, and divided the sides into thirds with little tick marks:

Next, I drew two lines in one of the squares. Since this block would have fourfold rotation, I drew the same two lines in the remaining three squares, rotating the lines 90 degrees in each. The block now had four arms, ending at the outer edges of the block:

Next, I drew four more squares next to the truncated arms and drew my original two lines in each (remember, each patch has to be identical):

Now what??

I drew another pair of diagonal lines, leading from the original pair of lines to an adjacent side of the square (and added the same lines to my original four squares). The block was still incomplete, because the arms still ended at the outer edges of the block:

Finally, I drew four more squares next to the truncated arms and drew all the lines I'd drawn so far in each of them:

Looking at my progress so far, there was only one place left for me to draw a line. At this point, there was a line beginning or ending at each of the tick marks I had drawn originally.

All the squares were identical; all the lines connected with the lines in the adjacent squares; and, look at the shapes!! I added some more squares and drew the same lines in them.

My design tile was born (though I didn't realize it at the time) . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Please excuse my absence . . .

If you've been following my blog, you've probably noticed there's been nothing to follow . . .

Last you heard from me, I was preparing to start sewing my "Winter Blues" quilt . . .

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a woman in the U.K. asking about my Quilt University class. She had even contacted Carol Miller, the Dean of QU, asking about my class. THEN, I got an email from Carol Miller, asking about my class.

(A year ago, I told Carol I was revising the class . . . then, I decided it would make a better book than a class, and worked on self-publishing "Beyond Symmetry: A New Perspective." After my Chicagoland '09 Tour, I started working on a 2nd edition of the book . . . a class was the last thing on my mind.)

These past several weeks, I've been working on the Quilt University class. I've added examples showing how I color the patterns; I've added a new section on linear patterns (borders); and, I've fleshed out the section on designing your own tiles. Whereas the book was only 48 pages, this class is well over 70 pages (and counting)!!

I hope to wrap it up sometime this week, and send it on its way to Carol . . . then, I can get back to my "Winter Blues" quilt, and a series of Mardi Gras-colored quilts for a show early next year. Of course, the QU class will make a perfect 2nd edition of my book, so I'm looking to self-publish it. I even have an idea I'm planning to launch in the new year, so keep your eyes open.

As always, thank you for reading my blog . . . please leave a message and follow this blog!!