Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, by the way, it's my birthday . . .

I was born January 31, 1955 . . . who would have thought I'd come this far??

I was in the office today (not that I got much work done) . . . I spent most of the time thanking all my Facebook friends for their birthday wishes!!

With the bad weather and all, tomorrow may be a "snow day" (Hope Springs Eternal) . . . I'll post pics of my latest projects!!

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How June Tailor made me a better quilter . . .

I think everyone of a certain age knows of the June Taylor dancers . . . they appeared on the Jackie Gleason show (a black-and-white TV show).  In case you don't know (or remember) them, here's a little video:
I can remember watching the kaleidoscopic portion of the dance routine, and thinking, "gee, what great patterns!!"  Of course, nowadays, I'm familiar with mandalas, but I thank June Taylor for introducing me to the concept.

Now, if you've followed me for any length of time, you know that my favorite construction technique is foundation piecing.  I use starch-stiffened muslin for my foundation instead of paper because who has time to rip out all that paper afterwards??  It's quite a process:  wash the muslin in hot water to shrink it; cut the dried muslin in 9-inch strips; soak the strips in a liquid starch/water solution; lay out the strips to dry; iron the strips flat; cut the strips into 9-inch squares; then, stencil or stamp the design on the squares.

Well, that changed.  (You're probably wondering what took so long.)

I tried ironing freezer paper to the muslin, trimming the paper/muslin to 8-inch squares, then feeding them through my inkjet printer.  I was surprised that it actually worked (and took much less effort than my previous method).  The problem cropped up when it came to separating the muslin from the freezer paper; the muslin would distort outta shape (mind you, there was no starch on the muslin).

Back to the drawing board . . .

I recently tried June Tailor's Perfect Piecing.  It's a non-woven, transparent sheet that feeds through my inkjet printer (though sometimes, the sheet just feeds through without getting printed on, or it jams).  It comes in packages of 25 sheets.  I can easily sew my fabric to it; either side, since it's fairly transparent.  Once sewn, it can even be left in as a stabilizer (or, because I'm too lazy to tear it all out).  I like the stuff!!

I'd recommend you go out and buy some (just not here in St. Louis, because I'm buying all I can find)!!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Shaking the Winter Blues" Completed!!

Here's a shot of "Shaking the Winter Blues" and a detail shot of a corner.  The quilt measures 80" x 80".  I finished binding the quilt last night, but waited for daylight before taking any pics.  Originally, I was gonna take the quilt to my office, and photograph it, but it snowed overnight and the Courts closed today (so, I got a "snow day").

"Shaking the Winter Blues" was my last project of 2010 . . . I have several new directions I wanna take in the coming year.

For one, I will start working in miniature (3" blocks, instead of 6").  I can still play with color and pattern, without making a bed-size quilt in the process.  At the quilt show last month, my smaller pieces sold well, and the gallery owner would like to see more of my work to sell on an ongoing basis.  A collector in New York City bought three table runners and is having them installed as a triptych.  I had never considered that (until now).  I am going to create series of small quilts (15" square) related by color or by pattern; there will be four to eight quilts in each series.  One or more of the quilts can be grouped together as a "polyptych."

There will also be a new turn in construction techniques . . . (more to come).

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Shaking the Winter Blues" (in more ways than one) . . .

Yesterday morning, I awoke around 6:00 a.m. (yeah, on a Saturday, when I could just as easily sleep in).  I went to my studio to work on "Shaking the Winter Blues."  I had finished the top Wednesday night, and it was spread out on my worktable.

I prepared the flannel backing, and spent over an hour pressing the seams flat on the top.

I safety-pinned the two layers together, and started marking and quilting . . . I'm about one-quarter done.  I'm listening to an audio book, "Dexter by Design," and I'm halfway done.

In other news, yesterday was "a Christmas day deferred."  Ed and I went shopping for gifts:  I bought him French Rosetta Stone; he bought me Electric Quilt 7 (I've been using EQ4 for years).  The store had to order the Rosetta Stone I wanted (it will be delivered to my office in about a week).

Reading the EQ7 manual was exciting; I could see the possibilities stretching ahead of me.  I didn't attempt to load the EQ7 software until late last night (a mistake) . . . no matter what I tried, it wouldn't load.  And the Electric Quilt Company only answers questions and handles technical problems during business hours, Monday through Friday.  Now, THAT'S a load, LOL!!

Guess I'll go back to quilting . . .

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nine months worth of audio books . . .

In April, 2010, I joined and began listening to audio books.  I found audio books to be very freeing, because I could let the story run as background to whatever else I may be doing, like sewing.  Here in alphabetic order is a list of the books I listened to in 2010:
  1. Abarat, by Clive Barker.
  2. Abarat:  Days of Magic, Nights of War, by Clive Barker.
  3. Crush It!, by Gary Vaynerchuk.
  4. Dean Koontz's Frankenstein:  Dead and Alive, by Dean Koontz.
  5. Destroyer of Worlds, by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner.
  6. Dexter Is Delicious, by Jeff Lindsay.
  7. The Engines of God, by Jack McDevitt.
  8. The Fifth Elephant:  Discworld #24, by Terry Pratchett.
  9. Frankenstein:  Lost Souls, by Dean Koontz.
  10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson.
  11. The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson.
  12. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson.
  13. The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox.
  14. Going Postal:  Discworld #29, by Terry Pratchett.
  15. Holiday Classics by O. Henry, by O. Henry.
  16. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  17. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown.
  18. Making Money:  Discworld #31, by Terry Pratchett.
  19. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt.
  20. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
  21. Night Watch:  Discworld #27, by Terry Pratchett.
  22. No Excuses!, by Brian Tracy.
  23. The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy.
  24. The Passage, by Justin Cronin.
  25. Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein.
  26. Under the Dome, by Stephen King.
  27. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Do you recognize any of these titles??  Have you read any of these titles??

Except for Numbers 3 and 22, they are all fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.  I guess you'd consider Numbers 3 and 22 as "self-help" (I've already listened to both of 'em more than once).

Here's a list of what's on tap for 2011 (so far):
  1. The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss.
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.
  3. Dexter by Design, by Jeff Linsday.
  4. Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer.
  5. Footfall, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
  6. METAtropolis, by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder.
  7. METAtropilis:  Cascadia, by Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Elizabeth Bear, Ken Scholes, Karl Schroeder, and Tobias Buckell.
  8. Pandora's Star, by Peter F. Hamilton.
  9. A Princess of Landover, by Terry Brooks.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to listen to . . .

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Goodbye "Tessellation Nation" . . . Hello "Tessellation Nation"!!


Yeah, yeah, this comes at least two days late to many of you, but it's Monday, I'm back in the office (not that I'm doing any work), and it's the first time I've had a moment to catch my breath, LOL!!

Here's a quick "quilting recap" of the end of 2010 that I wanted to pass along . . .

Early in December, I posted about "Gifted 2010," a show I participated in.  Well, it was quite a success!!  The opening weekend, I sold three-fourths of my inventory!!  A collector in New York called and bought FIVE pieces!! (He's given me ideas for new projects, but we'll come to that later.)

Mere days before Christmas, I helped a friend (and future quilter) bind blue jeans quilts she had made (with help from someone else).

I was invited by my friend Wayne Kollinger to participate in his "Why I Design Quilts" Initiative, where he asked various quilt designers "WHY??"

And, on New Year's Eve, I erased my "Tessellation Nation" blog . . . completely. 

Now, mind you, the blog launched on April Fools Day, 2010.  Over the past nine months I had changed the theme (the "skin," or how it looked) a couple of times;  I had changed the nature of the content (and had often asked my readers what did they wanna see); I bumbled and bungled along and deleted graphics (and the associated blog posts).  It was quite a learning experience.

Anyway, I wanted a "fresh start" as it were for the new year.  So, I uninstalled WordPress and re-installed it (with help from Go Daddy, my host).  I spent most of New Years Eve Day at home, posting to the new blog.  Now, call me anal, but I want the blog to reflect its true age, so the posts were "back dated" as it were.  I'm pleased to report that I posted a month's worth in a weekend, LOL!!

Here's the link to the new blog:  Tessellation Nation.  There's still stuff I wanna do to it (like add a subscription widget, write an "About" page, etc.), but the basics are there.  My big hurdle now is to catch up in less than nine months!!

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