Sunday, February 28, 2010

A busy week, indeed . . .

It's hard to believe that we ended our 10-day Mardi Gras vacation just a week ago today . . .

To cap off our trip, Ed and I both caught colds so we were coming home in worse condition than when we left (I didn't work Monday and Tuesday; Ed didn't work Tuesday and Wednesday).

On Monday, Ed had an accident with the car. Nothing was fractured or broken, just a bruised and stiff forearm for a couple of days, and a small bruise in the middle of his forehead. Our leased wreck of a car was stolen from the highway (which still confounds me); we only had a couple of months before the lease ended.

But, on to quilting matters . . .

A freelance writer in France approached me months ago about an article she was writing about "wild and crazy inspiration sources." While we were on vacation, she contacted me with additional questions now that Quilter's Home magazine has agreed to publish the article (in the June/July issue, I think). Yesterday, I emailed her a fleshed-out interview to use.

Also while we were on vacation, the quilt guild in Santa Rosa, CA emailed that they were considering cancelling my appearance in March because they weren't getting enough interest in my workshop. I offered them several suggestions, and now I have little over two weeks to put together a new workshop.

This week, I mailed out the contract for a lecture for a local quilt guild here in St. Louis in April.

I still need to put together my proposal for a workshop (or two) at the first International Society of African-American Quilters convention here in St. Louis in May.

Joe Cunningham asked if I'd write a pattern for one of the quilts I submitted for his book, due out in the fall. I finally figured out how to "print to file" my Electric Quilt templates, then import the file into a graphics program so I could arrange the templates onto one sheet of paper and manipulate the cutting and seam lines. Now, all I have to do is write the instructions . . . this will be my first published pattern, and it has nothing to do with design tile (yes, something completely different). Of course, the experience has shown me that I could probably do a lot more patterns (hmmm, that gives me several ideas).

So, with that said, I hope you don't mind if I tell you, "I'm outta here!!" I'll be back soon with more news, projects, musings, and to tell you about another blog I've started (but, more on that later).

Thank you for reading my blog . . . as always, feel free to leave a comment, and follow this blog!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday!! (Mardi Gras!!)

How y'all are??

Here I am in The Big Easy (New Orleans) . . . we've been here since Thursday.

The train ride down was comfortable and relaxing; we loved our little roomette (complete with meals in the dining car). Our host threw a surprise birthday party for his friend upon our arrival, and we've had a great time ever since.

We took in four parades on Friday, and caught our share of beads (and maybe some of yours, too)!!

On Saturday, we were guests at a house party at the start of another parade; fun was had by all . . .

We stayed in on Sunday. On the train down, we started reading "The Sparrow," and continued whenever we weren't doing something else.

Yesterday, Ed and I took the bus into the French Quarter. We had lunch along Decatur St., then wandered back home. Later, we went to a bar . . .

Today is Mardi Gras Day!! Even though the BIG parades are today, our hosts are gonna watch 'em from the comfort of the living room. The temperature is in the 30s, and that's just TOO cold to stand, watching a parade and catching beads (no biggie).

Tomorrow, Ed and I will go to church to get ashes imposed (that sorta thing happens on Ash Wednesday).

The rest of the week, we'll get out and about more, since Mardi Gras is over (and Lent has begun).

I have limited internet access (and no access to my computer files, software, etc.). So, there'll be no Transformation Tessellation Tuesday (or, coloring pages on Wednesday). I'll be back on schedule next week, once the vacation is over.

Thank you for reading my blog . . . please feel free to leave a comment and follow this blog!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Transformation Tessellation Tuesday

Last week I demonstrated how you can transform a single-shape tessellation to make additional single-shape tessellations. This week I will demonstrate transforming a multiple-shape tessellation.

First, I begin with a 4-patch block as shown below.

This is what nine blocks looks like.

There are four distinct Shapes in this tessellation. I have outlined them below.

Now, in order to transform these shapes, you will have to "borrow" a piece of one Shape to add to another. Below, I have shaded a piece of the smaller Shape and shaded where that same piece touches the larger Shape. The lower tessellations show how the Shapes have been transformed by adding the shaded pieces to the larger Shape, and deleting the shaded pieces from the smaller Shape.

Below, I have shaded a piece from a different Shape and also shaded where that same piece touches the larger Shape. The lower tessellations show how the Shapes have been transformed by adding the shaded pieces to the larger Shape, and deleting the shaded pieces from the medium Shape.

You are neither limited to the number of pieces you trade between Shapes, nor the number Shapes you transform. Below, I have shaded two different pieces of two of the Shapes. The remaining tessellations show these pieces added to two different Shapes. Yet it still remains a multi-shape tessellation, though quite different from the Shapes I outlined at the beginning of this post. Amazing!!

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment, and follow this blog!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

With so much running going on, you'd think there was a marathon underway . . .

. . . and in a way, there is.

You may remember the set of table runners I made (see blog post here).

I thought you'd like to see how I finished 'em.

First, I cut a piece of contrasting flannel (green) the same width as the runner, and a 1/2" longer at both ends.

Then, I pinned and sewed the two long ends, right sides together, leaving the ends open. I turned the runner right side out and pressed.

Next, I turned in the ends and pressed. You may wonder why didn't I just sew around three sides and only have to turn in one end?? I did that on some of the runners, but I didn't necessarily care for the kinda rounded corners at the sewn end. Turning and pressing both ends gives me nice square corners.

Let me say, "I thoroughly dislike hand-sewing!!" That said, let me proceed.

I want to attach a hanging sleeve on these runners, just in case the owner doesn't want wine spilled on 'em and would rather hang 'em on the wall than lay 'em on the table. So, I cut a piece of muslin 8" wide and the width of the runner. I fold and press the short ends twice, then stitch 'em down.

I insert one long edge into the folded and pressed opening at one end of the runner, and pin in place. Then, I topstitch through all layers all around the runner.

Since there is no batting, and I'm only concerned with keeping the two layers together, I stitch-in-the-ditch between the blocks. First, I stitched the long vertical row right down the center of the runner, keeping the hanging sleeve free.

Next, I turned under the long edge of the hanging sleeve and pressed it. Then, I folded the hanging sleeve to the back of the runner and positioned the pressed edge of the sleeve beyond the proposed stitching line (since my blocks are 6" square, I placed the pressed edge about 6-1/4" from the end of the runner). I smoothed out the muslin (it kinda sticks to the flannel), turned the runner over, and pinned the muslin in place.

Then, I stitched the short horizontal columns along the length of the runner. The stitching caught the pressed edge of the hanging sleeve, and I didn't have to hand-stitch it down (did I mention that I don't like hand-stitching??). Run a rod through the hanging sleeve and hang the runner as you like, or place it on your table (if you're brave)!!

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment and follow this blog!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010









A catalog of design tile patterns . . .

Today, I'm starting a new feature on this blog . . . a catalog of the blocks and patterns using the design tile.

The title of each post will be the 4-digit notation of the block, so you can recreate it yourself. I intend to post these patterns in sequence (1-1-1-1, 1-1-1-2, 1-1-1-3, 1-1-1-4, 1-1-1-1M, 1-1-1-2M, 1-1-1-3M, etc.).

If it works, you should be able to click on the picture, then print it out to color and play with as you wish . . . if it doesn't work, then back to the drawing board for me, LOL!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Transformation Tessellation Tuesday (with a nod and a wink to LoveBug Studios*)

Today, I will discuss tessellations and how to transform them . . .

What is a tessellation? A tessellation is "one or more congruent geometric shapes that cover an infinite plane without gaps or overlaps." Huh? How about "one or more shapes that fit together to make a repeating pattern"? The Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Esher (my hero), is well-known for his tessellations.

I will begin with my design tile arranged as a 9-patch block . . .

All nine tiles maintain the same orientation, that is, they are all facing the same direction. This is an example of the operation of symmetry called Translation. Any given tile can be shifted up, down, left, right, or diagonally onto its neighbor without changing the overall pattern.

Speaking of pattern, do you see the Shape outlined below? (Notice that I refer to this as a capital "S" Shape.)

This qualifies as a tessellation because it is a single Shape that fits with itself to make a repeating pattern. Here are four 9-patch blocks, with complete Shapes outlined.

Let's take another look at the basic Shape . . . it is made up of six contiguous shapes, that is, six smaller shapes that touch each other. In fact, these are the six shapes that make up the original design tile!! One shape each from six different design tiles make up this larger Shape. (These individual shapes are lowercase "s" shapes.)

Here's where the "transformation" comes in . . .

Below, I have shaded in the shape at the bottom of our Shape . . . I have also shaded in the same shape at two other points where they touch the Shape.

By using one of the alternative shapes, I can make two different Shapes that are also tessellations.

Try it yourself with one (or more) of the other shapes in the Shape . . .

Next week: how to transform multiple-Shape tessellations!!

*You can check out LoveBug Studios here . . .

As always, thank you for reading my blog . . . please feel free to leave a comment or follow this blog!!