Thursday, June 29, 2006

Liberty Tea in progress

I've been playing with my patriotic fabrics. I made some more teacups, but have already decided I really dislike the white teacup on the far left. It's an orphan now. I wanted to experiment making a teapot, but wasn't sure I wanted it in this quilt, so I made it in non-patriotic fabric that way will work in a blue and white tea quilt, if I choose to do that.

Doubtful that America flag block at the bottom is going to stay, but I do kind of like how it looks.

I had the last quilting bee of the summer at my house yesterday. I was impressed with how sociable Pokey was. She not only came out of hiding fairly early on and travelled around sniffing at everyone, but she actually sat leaning against one woman and then later curled up on someone else's lap. Pokey of course got the oohs and ahs about how cute she is with the blue eyes and little spot on her nose. My friend L hates the way everyone (but her) fawns over Pokey, but darnit she deserves it, she's so darn cute.

I've been playing with a Sharpie pen, and now I'm getting sick from the fumes. I should have switched over to crayons to color the picture in I was working on. You'll see some of that work here soon.

Howler is doing well. No more freakouts and he's letting us sleep through the night. A very good sign.

I watched the remake of the tv series The Night Stalker. I love the original but this irked the heck out of me. Don't call it the same name and have characters with the same names, when everything else about it has changed. Changed for the worse. It was actually The X-Files set at a newspaper, not my beloved Night Stalker. I'm gonna forget this one exists now.

I've also been rewatching The Gilmore Girls starting at the very beginning. The first time through I just devoured them so quickly, this time I'm getting more out of it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I am sooo not looking forward to this move. Moving yes, but all the hassle, no. I'm playing ostrich and pretending it's not actually happening. La la la just going to peacefully quilt - there's nothing I'm supposed to be doing.

The quilting is going great. I've finished the second row of fans and now I'm on the third.

Have found out after way too much internet time that the size of cage I need for the big cats can't be sent to our APO. So now I have to get two here in Egypt. I've heard there's a pet shop in Zamalek that may have them or I can call Lufthansa out at the airport and they should have them. I am sooo not looking forward to making that phone call so I'm putting it off for today. Instead I'll get the sherpa bags ordered for the little cats who are going into the cabin with us.

Went with my friend C. to take two of her cats to the vet for their shots and microchipping. her big guy is a sweetie and did just fine, but the female cat is still too much of a feral street cat to put up with any doctoring. She ended up smooshed in a cage under lots of sedation.

So I know that Howler can get the chip etc, I just have really started questioning whether we should take him at all. Just putting the food in the cages made him blow a fuse. Night before last he pitched a howling fit in our bedroom during the middle of the night. I woke up when he jumped up on the bed yelling (after apparently an hour of hollering with no one paying attn to him - I slept through it and my hubby just tried to ignore it). Got up with the crazy boy and stroked him while he ate.

He is a sweet, strange cat but he definitely has issues. The cats have to go to the vet three times before we move (chips and rabies shot, blood test a month later, final health check right before we leave). I just don't know that the boy can take it.

I was worrying about him last night and just couldn't get to sleep. At his first howl in the bedroom I jumped up and went out to pet on him. He can only be petted while he is either eating or thinking about eating. Has to be right by the food dish (at least for me to pet him - he likes my sweetie better, prob cuz sweetie has never taken him to the vet) either howling, purring, or actually eating.

At least the other cats are doing fine. Bibi has never been freaked by the cages, so no big deal for him to adapt. The first day the cages were out, the little girls stayed out of sight for hours and then did the slink with the tail hung low for quite some time after that. But last night Lily went right into the cage to eat. Lily and Pokey have been taken to the vet since they were about a month old - wee tiny orphaned creatures I carried in a shoebox with holes poked in the top. They might not be happy about it, but they can deal.

I will be so happy in about 7 months time when we are all settled in our new place, hopefully with all our belongings. Fingers crossed.

Teacup Tutorial

To make a teacup, I started with a rectangle about 3.5" x 4.25". I wanted the sides to slope, so I angled them. I wouldn't necessarily do that if I were making a coffee mug - I think of those as having straight sides.

The next step is to round off the bottom corners a bit. I decided to make the slice off the teacup fabric first and then create the background triangle to fit. You can however just sew on an oversided triangle of background.

This is me creating the background triangle. Don't do what I did. The background has to be a quarter inch larger than what you're sewing it to. Don't know why, but I always seem to get mine a bit small. So use a very generous quarter inch extra.

This is what the teacup base looked like with both the background triangles sewn on. See what I mean about me getting mine a bit undersized?

I straightened up both sides of the teacup. I overlapped the teacup on the background fabric on the left side and sliced the angle through the background. That way you don't end up with bias on the edge of the block. However, you can just sew on a generously wide strip of background - that does work fine just be careful with the bias.

Meanwhile on the right side I've created my handle. It's a U shape. There are so many different shaped handles you could play with, but this one is certainly easy.

This is with the left-side background sewn on and showing the handle sewn to rectangles of background.
Handle sewn on and the block evened up across the top.

I evened up the right side, using the handle as the guide.

And evened up the bottom. You'll notice I did this at an angle, making the cup jauntier.

I decided the handle would be more fun if I straightened up the right side. There's now a 90 degree angle there on the upper right corner, which wasn't there before. That's a completely unnecessary step - I just like how it looks.

I've also created a dish. Big blue rectangle with angled sides.

And this is the finished block. It may or may not get more background along the top and right side before I use it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Quilting Details

It didn't notice until afterwards, but I hit my one year bloggiversary a couple of days ago. It's definitely been a great year of blogging - I adore all of you who stop by to read and comment.

Just to clarify my post from the other day, I wouldn't be going to Baghdad under any circumstances. If and only if (and it's not even a serious possibility) my sweetie were to go it would be an unaccompanied assignment. I would stay with the cats somewhere far away, probably in the states.

Speaking of Iraq, I stumbled across the blog of a woman writer who is working as a contractor in that country. Skyelark is fascinating reading. I found her when I was searching blogs for "quilt" - she was huddled sick and miserable beneath hers that day.

Every day I tell myself I am going to sit down and sew some more on the Liberty Teacups, but I can't seem to stop hand quilting. I don't know how well this pic is going to show it, but this is the second row of fans turning the upper left corner of Terms of Endearment.

You know how I said I was happy with how the quilted fans looked in the blocks that had the embroidery floss letters? Well, I hit a block that had a light background so now the arcs are showing up. It still looks okay, but I think it would have been better if the floss and thread weren't the same color.

Yesterday I did some errands (finally got some boxes mailed off that should have gone ages ago) and did a bit of shopping.

In answer to some of the comments on how I'm going to transport the cats in September: I am definitely going to talk to the vet about sedating them. I have heard that it's not allowed for animals in the hold because they could get hurt. We'll see how that goes. I'm going with my friend C tomorrow to get her cats chipped and check out the office where they do that.

We'll be flying on Lufthansa through Frankfurt - they have an excellent reputation for taking care of pets.

ForestJane asked why would I be carrying around 20 lb of alabaster... Well, it wouldn't be raw alabaster, but shaped into vases. Kinda like the ones I posted about way back here. There's no watercolor or landscape quilt in my future. I have just been playing with the blue scraps and sorting out the ones that would be good for my patriotic quilt(s).

Finn, I told ya I keep small scraps. When I was sorting them it was really a struggle to discard those smaller than 1" - but I did it. Put those into my "stuffing" pile.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Masterpiece Quilt

This is the Masterpiece quilt. It's not called that because I am egotistical, but because it took me long time to make and I put a lot of my heart into it. I worked on other, smaller projects while I was doing this one, so I needed a handy way to refer to it. "Crown of Thorns Variation" was just too long.

Ya'all have seen a tantalizing bit of this quilt before, when it was all folded up in my display box.

It makes me want to cry when I see how badly this fabric has faded in places. In the lower left corner, see those green spikes? That used to be black in the arc - now it's brown.

I've really been struggling with writing about this quilt. It's very emotional for me, so much happened while I was making it.

After I made my first real quilt with my Mom, I started making blocks out of the book Quilts, Quilts, Quilts. As I was doing that, I saw a picture of a quilt made from a block described as Crown of Thorns varition (cover of QNM magazine, Oct 1987). For some reason, that stuck and I decided I had to make this particular quilt. Not in the same colors - heck no - and not with that border, but I loved the block.

A friend had the pattern, so I traced out the templates and began hand-piecing the blocks. I didn't have much of a stash, but desperately wanted to only use each fabric in two different blocks. I begged and borrowed and used some fabric in retrospect that I shouldn't have. It was 100% cotton but meant to be turned into clothing. Had a rougher texture. Used cheap calicoes, and those are the ones that have faded so badly. They came from regular fabric stores, not quilting shops. Learned that lesson - to me it's worth the price to pay for real quilter's fabric.

I designed the border myself. I'm actually amazed that I managed to measure everything out properly so it all fits together right. I find it a much easier process to make things fit together when I'm hand-piecing than when I'm working on the machine.

When I started piecing the blocks (in either 1990 or 1991), I was living on my own for the first time (woohoo, no roommates) and was very very far from home. I met a man, got engaged a month after we started dating, got married 5 months later by a justice of the peace with two friends as witnesses. (I hate ceremonies.)

That was right before Christmas of 1992. In mid-January my dad called and said my mom had inoperable brain tumors. The cancer had spread. She was terminally ill. I had known she wasn't feeling great, but certainly not the extent of it. And my dad had waited for three weeks before telling me how sick she was. I don't want to talk about this particular subject anymore, but Mom was gone a month later.

Flash forward to August 1993. Sweetie and I flew home to visit Dad. I had the Masterpiece top completed by then and brought it home. Dad set up the quilt frame he'd made for Mom and I struggled to baste the top. I remember how frustrated I was and in tears throughout the whole process. I didn't know how to do it by myself and I just plain wanted my Mom.

I hand quilted the whole top. No hoop or frame, of course. Regular black quilting thread. That took awhile. This is embarassing to admit, but I didn't date the quilt when I finished it. Signed it but that's about it. I do a much better documentation job now. Masterpiece was in a quilt show in August of 1994. Got a ribbon for best hand quilting, even with all the little quilting knots left on the back.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's in Here?

Putting away groceries, turn around for just a second, and what do you get?

I've spent far too much time the last few days doing boring but important computer stuff. Had endless problems trying to renew my anti-virus subscription. Amazingly enough, the company was more than willing to cancel that and let me buy the new program instead. Hours and hours of downloading later (the joys of dial-up) and endless frustration trying to activate, the computer is now set up and happy. Life would be so much easier if I actually understood computers and tech jargon.

Well, it finally feels like we are going to be moving this year. We have our flight reservations to go back to the the states in mid-September. For the humans anyway. It takes days of paperwork apparently to get the cats set up. The little ones will be in the cabin with us and the big boys are going as excess baggage.

I have a bad feeling about moving the big cats. Howler in particular just freaks out at the sight of a cage. I think there is a possibility the vet is going to say he won't sign the health certificate for Howls - too wild. Howler isn't mean, just terrified and panicy. I was reading the airline info and the animal has to be controllable... d'oh. And adjusted to being in a cage. The only way I can think of to do that is to leave the food in the cage from now on. Howler will probably sneak in there at night, but otherwise it'll be diet time.

I've also been given a packet of info about Paris and embassy housing. That's making it feel more like we're really going. Not that I'm counting my chickens. My good friend L was scheduled to leave here a couple of weeks before us with her next post in an exotic land with great shopping. Instead it's now rush rush to get her out of here next month for her new assignment in Baghdad. Aiyee.

Definitely need to think Paris. Much better option. One of these days I'll actually start working on the parlay vous thing. And I definitely need to get a calendar out and start figuring when things need to be done by. Packout and getting the car shipped... First off tho is microchipping and rabies shots for the cats. Ohjoy.

Quilting is going well. I've turned the top left corner. Love how the fans look.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

APE Shop

You would be hard pressed to find an area that recycles more of their garbage than Cairo. The rubbish collectors are called zabaleen and it's a family business. The men and boys (who may go to school for 4 hrs a day, but that's doubtful) go out and collect the garbage from each house. I'm not sure where from exactly since there are no garbage cans at the curb like in the states. The menfolk carry the garbage in something like huge shopping bags balanced on their shoulders which they then deposit in the back of a pick-up truck.

The garbage is taken away and sorted through by the women and probably girls. That used to happen in the homes, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. Whatever can be sold is sold. The friday morning market is infamous. Someone described it as the place to find everything you've thrown away while you've lived in Cairo. I haven't actually been.

Things that get recycled from the garbage include paper and cloth. A project called the Association for the Preservation for the Environment (with the unfortunate acronym of APE) was set up to make use of this material. Some of the girls make recycled paper, rag rugs and bags, and quilts which are then sold.

We finally found someone that we can donate fabric scraps to directly (rather than having it go into the garbage first). I have been busy sorting fabric and scraps in each of my color-separated bins. Don't ask me why, but I seem to work so much better when all the like fabric is together. I hate just having it intermingled. Is that silly or what? So I've been putting fabric scraps I want to keep into little ziplock bags and putting the rest in a donation bag.

Up next are pics from my visit to the APE shop. I've noticed a change in the work that is being sold over the last couple of years. Used to be all the patchwork and applique was very western and traditional. Far too many teddy bears.

But now there are more Egyptian-inspired works, which is fabulous. This is a quilt featuring women's work. Sorry it's sideways. It's right-side-up in Picassa but comes out screwy here.

A woman driving a donkey cart.

A variety of animals. No camel unfortunately.

And this is what I love. The bags woven from scraps.

This is the one I bought. If it were larger I'd use it as my everyday carry around bag, but it's purse-sized. I am soooo not using this as a purse - that would just be frou-frou and impractical. Think it's gonna get turned into a giftbag.

This is the carry around bag I bought after I first moved here. These things are so incredibly sturdy. I use it for groceries, library books and have carted around 20 lb of alabaster.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Inspiration: Write a Message

This is one of the quilts that I definitely wanted in the book and therefore decided to broaden the scope so that I could include instructions for coffee mugs/teacups. I've posted about it before here.

Inspiration: Write a Message

Say you want to make a quilt for a very special someone, a friend, or a family member. One way to get started is to sit down and write that person a message. You don’t have to send it, this can just be a way for you to get ideas.

Why does this person mean so much to you? Try to think of concrete examples. Write from your heart. Don’t worry if it’s maudlin or overly sentimental. Remember, no one ever has to see this.

It doesn’t matter how much you write. It could be a quick note or pages and pages. Later, you can work to condense your thoughts down to a few sentences.

Jill’s Coffee Quilt:

Dear Jill

You are a fabulous friend. Come over for a cup of coffee anytime.

Love, Tonya

Coffee was always an important part of my visits to see Jill and her family. The two of us would sit on the sofas in the morning and gab away while the house was still quiet. We’d have one cup each and then Jill would be off and running – she has about three times the energy I do. I’d have to have at least one more cup before I could even think of beginning my day.

When it came time to make this quilt, I left off the salutation and the signature. I wanted Jill to have a quilt to display that would have meaning for all her guests, not just be something for the two of us. But it does have meaning and it does bring up fond memories.

Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to the words that you piece – you can add additional words and sentences in your quilting, either by machine or by hand.

My quilts Dear Santa and Dear Mummy began this same way, although those are both humerous.

Back in the real world, my sweetie is in the other room napping with Pokey while watching a WWII movie. I decided to flee. Not that I'm happy with the computer at the moment. Can't make our renewed virus subscription work, drabnabit. I haven't actually done any more sewing, but quilted another fan arc.

In tv news, we've started rewatching season one of Chef, a classic british comedy about a loud, obnoxious (but very funny) chef. Reminds me of Tony Bourdain, whom I adore.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Liberty Tea

I felt so upbeat and energized after posting yesterday. (Thanks for the lovely comments.) I got inspired to get back to the sewing machine.

I've been thinking about doing a patriotic teacup quilt for awhile. That probably sounds bizarre, but there was the Boston Tea Party and I happen to love tea and love the shape of teacups (or more like mugs, which is how I drink my tea) and it all works for me. (Here's a previous piece on the same theme.) I started the quilt about a year and a half ago as an applique project. Don't think I finished even one block.

So yesterday when I was going on about what other lessons I want in the book, I was thinking of teacups/coffee mugs. And I still had that patriotic tea quilt bubbling in the back of my brain. So I made a patriotic teacup.

I stole letters from out of my lower-case tutorial pile. (I had really been dragging my feet about making them into a sampler, even tho I'd made all the letters of the alphabet already.) I took apart the j to get an i and the q to get another b. Grabbed the leftover L from the Noel Sampler. Then I just had to make two more letters from scratch and I had all the letters I needed to do this:

My letters were definitely getting bigger and bigger as I was going along on that tutorial. That "liberty" just gets big and loud at the end. Decided on a 3" unfinished height and really whacked some of the units down, the t in particular.

I do have all the letters sewn up into words, even tho I'm not sure how I'm going to use them. They may go in a border around teacup blocks or they might be in the interior of the quilt, like they are now. Anyway, I like seeing the words all together and if I decide that part of a word needs to shift elsewhere, it's not a big deal to pick out a 3" seam. Next up I'll make a few more teacups, maybe some fireworks and take it from there.

I love this combination of colors.

In other quilty news, I'm still chugging away on the Terms quilting. It is soooo not fun going over all these stinking seams. I finally decided on the spiral pattern so I'm just going around and around and around, needing fewer fan units every time. I'm halfway up the left-hand side now. I'm amazed at how the fans just disappear into these blocks that have the embroidery floss words quilted in. I was afraid there might be a bit of a clash there, but so far there hasn't. In fact, it's not even worth taking a photo of, cuz you wont' even see the fan quilting.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Book Decision

This is Reach for the Stars. I've previously posted about it here.

I was working on this quilt way back in 2001 when I was first writing a book about my letters etc. This was me talking to myself, encouraging myself, about the book. I wanted to do it completely and totally my way. No patterns.

Now I'm working on that book again. (Not that I've actually started really writing it yet. So far it's "written" in my head and I have the tutorials printed out and arranged like I want them.) I realized that I wasn't reaching for the stars this time. I was just hoping to get into orbit.

Therefore, I'm not going to limit the book proposal to just the letters after all. Yes, I do have a few quilts that are just composed of letters, but I have so many more that use the houses, asterisks, and hearts too. And since I want to include something on how I hand quilt "pictures" as well, some of the house quilts have the best illustrations of that.

I want a book crammed full of information and pictures. The more the better. Let the publisher shoot me down if that's not what they want, I shouldn't limit myself...

I've also had a nagging thought that I should be careful what I post. Will anyone buy the book if it's all just a rehash from my blog? Well I reread "Liberated Quiltmaking" over and over. I love having the book in my hands, poring over the photos. You can't get that on the web. So I'm gonna keep posting whatever I want to post. In fact, I just might write another couple of tutorials...

Applique Illustrations

Sorry, I don't know the name of the artist who created this particular tentmaker applique. It's another example of an image formed using arabic letters, although this one looks a bit more like it's cheating to me.

To answer some questions and comments about yesterday's post. I have actually watched an older man sitting cross-legged on the floor doing needle-turn applique at quite a rapid clip. Much faster than I work. The applique is traditionally done by men, passed down from father to son in particular.

One time I was down at Tentmaker Street I saw a pretty young blonde woman sitting side by side with one of the men as they both worked on an applique. I so wanted to stop and ask questions, but didn't want to be rude.

Remember a while back I showed you the inside of Fattoh and Sons applique shop? Well, they did the illustrations for a book on Goha, a middle eastern character that I only know of from the appliques I've seen. An article about the book can be found here. And yes, I know in the article the name of the shop is written as Fatouh but that's the problem with transliterating from arabic to english. Even on government signs you'll see placenames transliterated inconsistently into English. Anyway, I used the exact spelling from the business card they gave me.

For anyone who wants to see more examples of tentmaker applique, you can use the "search this blog" funtion in the upper left of this blog. That works pretty darn well. You can use the term "tentmaker" and get almost every post I've written on the subject.

Debbie, we don't have a chat room, but we certainly chat with one another through our blog entries and comments. Just start a blog and you can come play with us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

real appliqued tent

Yes, blogger is definitely having issues. I was determined to post yesterday, despite the fact that blogger kept going up and down (like it is doing at this very moment) and wouldn't let me post pics. Well today I can do pics, but we'll see how many times this ends up getting posted...

The other day I was walking by a construction site and assumed at first that the tent surrounding the area was the preprinted fabric that looks like the old appliqued works. This shot looks so typical of Cairo with all the rubble...

Got closer and realized, gack, that's a real, true, appliqued tent. The real ones are still in use. There's an area where a tent (actually, not a true tent, just walls, like this one) is raised whenever a funeral is held. The appliqued side is turned inwards toward the mourners. I've heard rumors that the same tents are then used for weddings, but the appliqued side is turned outwards, but I've never seen that.

Anyway, this particular tent has obviously been retired, but not nicely. (It's like Siobhan finding a beautiful old quilt being used as a tablecloth at a gun show or when you see furniture wrapped in quilts inside the moving van.) This one is full of holes, but looks pretty amazing considering what a beating it's getting from the sun.

That black line across the upper left is a shadow from an electrical line.

In the green area on the upper left is arabic letters followed by a 7 digit number. I'm thinking it's maybe the maker's name and phone number, but don't know.

This beauty has been patched in places with the preprinted tent fabric.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Since it appears that I managed to delete all of my posts from yesterday, I'm recreating this one (I had it saved in Word). Sorry all your wonderful comments are gone, but I did read and enjoy them.

I know this isn't very exciting to ya'all, but I got a haircut today - yippee. My hairdresser had an emergency appendectomy 4 days before my last appointment and rather than going to someone else I just toughed it out to our next scheduled appointment. Feels good to be shorn.

What else... I've unsurprisingly seen loads of tv recently. Rewatched Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, which is one of my favorites. He started going downhill after that movie and I've skipped the last several. I've heard good things about Match Point tho, so I'll catch that one of these days.

I finished up Veronica Mars season 1. Highly recommend it to anyone who loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nancy Drew, or Gilmore Girls. Or basically mysteries, but you have to be able to tolerate the high school setting. My hubby refused to watch it for that very reason. That and it was a chick show. Silly of him, because it is excellent.

There's the big ongoing investigation into who killed Veronica's best friend a year earlier, but each show stands alone. There's lots of character development and you actually start sympathizing with some characters that started out as pretty spiteful. My only gripe with it is that I dislike all of Veronica's former friends - the rich, popular kids. Bleck. The last episode of the season was incredibly tense and actually had the decency to solve the big mystery.

Bones is now showing here and I have to say I am enjoying the heck out of it. I didn't think much of the one Kathy Reich book that I read (far too many coincidences that just didn't hold together) and figured there are far too many forensic shows on tv so I wasn't holding out much hope for this. Should have known David Boreanaz (Angel) wouldn't let me down although I have to say it's the minor characters in the lab who are the draw for me.

Read a book. Sue Grafton's R is for Ricochet. Enjoyable as always, tho it's been nice not reading any for awhile first. Not a good author to read one right after another...

Monday, June 12, 2006


Why did it make me so nuts to not have the ability to post links and pics? It's not like I couldn't just babble away... I should be good at that. I do know I would be lost without blogs - I love writing mine and I love reading others. Just a year and some change ago I'd never even heard of blogs and now I consider them essential.

Speaking of others' blogs, I've got loads and loads of places to mention, some of them you may already know about. I've been keeping a list for ages, and now I'm finally getting this post done. These are folks who are working on the free-pieced letters and the free-hand quilting.

You may not know this, but Holly is still around. I absolutely adore her and her blog And Sew It Is and I'm thrilled she decided not to quit blogging after all. Holly has some letters in progress which are very intruiging so far. She's using a consistent black background and varying autumnal colors for the letters. She's even got her classic "a" tucked under the arm of the "T" - marvelous.

Joyce at J's Quilting Blog is a quilting fiend, making quilts like crazy. I've mentioned some of her previous works before, but here are a couple of recent ones with letters: Boys of Noise and the current work in progress Red Hat Mamas. She's been playing with the asterisk/starbursts too.

Marathon Quilter Cher finished a great Wonky Village quilt top with houses and letters in wonderful bright colors. She also quilted freehand fans on her Texas Baby Quilt. This was her first time hand quilting and it came out wonderfully. I keep telling ya that the freehand fans are easy - you just have to relax and enjoy the process and KNOW that they are going to be fans with personality.

ForestJane finished her Liberty and Justice quilt and even had it displayed at the library she works at. If you haven't seen this quilt before, scroll down into her archives so you can see the blocks. In particular, I love the wobbly house she made with a dormer window and the firecracker is fabulous.

Mismatched Quilter Katie is currently showing some wonderful antique quilts and tops in her collection, esp wonderful is the star album quilt with fan quilting - just down my alley. Anyway, Katie made a great pillow with her granddaughter's name on it - turned out fantastic with loads of character. I love how she overlapped the letters.

Dot at Rantala Rags finished a wonderful, glowing quilt called Montana.

Quilting Bebbs finished a letter sampler quilt and did some wonderful machine quilted letters and words on it. You can read about afternoon tea and scones and generally life in England too.

Quilting with Ragdolls Judy and Sunshine Quilts JudyL are both pieceing letters. These are works in progress and will probably be posted once in awhile, so I'm not providing a specific link. Love JudyL's Halloween letters - you know I'm partial to that particular Holiday. Ragdoll Judy is working on what looks like 30's colors to me. At first I was worried that her background print was too busy, but I was proved wrong. Her letters are standing out brave and true.

And last, but certainly not least, Thoughts of Home Lois made me a happy woman by trying out some freehand quilting squiggles and hearts and numbers. She was even more adventurous than I am and didn't mark the quilt top at all, just practised on paper first. She did an excellent job and proved that it really isn't hard - you just have to DO it.

Hope I haven't left anyone out. Aiyee. I've got loads of pics in my backlog too, but I'll just drib and drab those out as usual. Ya'all take care.


The kid is back in action. I was reading Cascade Lily, who had been issues trying to post pics on Blogger, who said that she switched to the Mozilla Firefox browser and all of a sudden she was working again. I thought, it certainly couldn't be that easy, but why not give it a shot since I'm stuck in a rut here.

Well, whaddaya know. I guess since Google does both Blogger and Mozilla they play together that much better. Ah, success. Easy as pie and the Firefox imported all my stuff from Explorer so I just have to realphabetize but it's so doable. Plus for those of you who suffer from eye fatigue, Mozilla says they have a function where the browser will read aloud to you. Worth checking out. Oh, and the browser is free.

Speaking of Lily, go read about how she met her husband on a Mt Everest hiking expedition. So not for me, but the pics are gorgeous.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

No pics

I'm continuing to have problems with Blogger, which is making me very, very cranky. My "post formatting" is all messed up and I can't post pics or links or do all sorts of things that I love to do. I've got a huuuuge list of links I need to post. Maybe if this continues (aiyeee) I'll see if I can figure out how to do the links using HTML. Will be a pain but is theoretically possible. I've requested help from Blogger, so I'm hoping this will be straightened out shortly.

Meanwhile, I've been quilting, quilting, quilting. I've finished the fans all along the outer border and have now moved into the name block. No more smooth sailing for me. Now I have to contend with numerous seams. I haven't touched my sewing machine. Keep thinking I need to, but the hand quilting is relaxing. I'm still feeling a bit "off" unfortunately.

Yeah, very cranky. Can't believe how not being able to post pics and links is messing me up. so rather than cranky ranting, I'm gonna sign off and go quilt some more.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Not Again

Well, I had dinner out on Tuesday and I've been paying the price ever since. I have what we call "Mummy Tummy." Right now Immodium is my best friend, but it's not working as well as I would like. At least I don't have a fever.

You'd think after living here for over 2 years my body would have adapted to some of the local critters. Nope. I can't complain too much - a friend recently got amoebas after a dinner cruise and she's always very cautious, not eating local lettuce for example. (Nasty critters can grow IN the lettuce, so it's not something that can get washed off). My beading teacher was taking Cipro for the 3rd nasty encounter she's had during her 5 years of living here...

Not that I went to beading class yesterday. Cancelled quilting bee too. But on the good side - we have air conditioning again - woohoo. And I finished my necklace up - decided what it really needs is to be worn with a white shirt to show it off. Now I'll have to buy one of those.

I've been playing with fabric tho. Made two different quilts in my head. Came out lovely :)

Keeping it short. Catch up with ya'all later. Maybe next time I log in Blogger will actually have the ability to post pics...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Queen of the Nile

Here's a crusty I made shortly after moving to Cairo. It was a gift for a crazy wonderful woman who loves flamingoes and helped us out tremendously in getting settled. I had purchased a set of flamingo and palm tree buttons shortly before moving here. How fortuitous was that?

One of our air conditioners went out the night before last. It's the one that cools down the bedrooms. The night before last was bearable, but last night a misery. I slept on the couch where there was still a/c while sweetie slept in the bedroom with two different fans going full blast. And since the computer is in one of the bedrooms, it's a sauna in here. It's 8:00am and 88 degrees in here. Not much fun so I'm going to make this another short post.

At least we have a/c. Poor Clare, expat British quilter living in France, doesn't. Hope the summer doesn't get too hot there. I now have Clare seeking Gwen Marston books out. Woohoo. And speaking of GM, I've heard on the rumor mill that her new book is now available. I've got my copy ordered.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Quilting Terms

Hey ya'all. Hope you're all doing well. Have to say I have had a great time quiltingmy quilt during the last couple of days. It just feels easy and smooth - everything doing well. Too bad I was a dork and turned the batting the wrong side up when I sandwhiched. I always forget that the glazed side is better - less fuzz comes up through the quilt top.

I've also had loads of ideas going through my head for new quilts I'd like to sew. Too many all at once, of course. I'll write them down tho...

These are some pics I've wanted to share with you. This was back when I was trying to decide which thread to quilt Terms of Endearment with. I really do like how the red perle cotton looks.

But then I did a fake fan with just the perle. Now there wouldn't be this much thread on top of the quilt, but I think the perle would have been too overwhelming. I would have used it if I hadn't quilted in the words tho.

And here's some of the border with the red quilting thread free-hand fans.

I am so massively in love with Bali Fabrications batiks. They are so easy to hand quilt through, unlike a certain other very popular brand of batik, which is a total misery.

Hey, Bali Fabrications, if you want to send me some free fabric, I'll be your spokesquilter. Heh heh heh.

As I said, I just want to quilt at the moment so gonna run. There will be a longer post from me one of these days, I promise.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lower-Case r n

Now we're nearing the end of the tutorial. Last up are lower-case r, n, m, and w. These are letters that you can make really easily or else throw in some slants. It's completely up to you.

A simple r could look like this:

A simple n would just have a strip of letter fabric down that right-hand side (an upside-down u). An m and w would be an upper-case E knocked over. I made Star Light with letters this way. Oh, and you can make m and w just like you made the upper-case ones.

I like angles, so I make my letters like this:

Now you could say "Tonya, why don't you do your u's with slants too?" And the answer to that is, I don't know why I just don't.

Start with a rectangle of background fabric and slice across it somewhere in the upper region. Kinda goes up and over to the right.

Insert a strip. On my r, I made it tapered, just like I did the t. After you've inserted the strip and trimmed up, add the letter fabric on the left-hand side.

After you've added the strip on the right side for the n, it looks a bit bizarre like the example on the left and the one at the top of this post. You'll lose that weird spot once you lose that top seam allowance, like the example on the right.

Lower-Case m and w

And here's m and w made exactly the same way. Little w is just an m upside-down.

You'll need two long rectangles of background with slices inserted the same as in the r. This will make ONE m or ONE w.

Just to give you an idea of how I sew these. If this confuses you, then ignore it. I line up the bottom part of the background at the END of a letter strip.

Flip them over right-sides together and sew. Notice that I have a quarter inch of the letter strip sticking down at the bottom. Ya gotta have that whenever you work with angles.

Fold it back out and THEN cut straight along the background.

Add the bit of background to the top and then sew fabric along the right side of both pieces. You can sew these together now or...

... make the middle leg shorter by adding background across the bottom of it. You may need to shorten it before you do that. Feel free to skip this step.

Anyway, join those together and then sew a letter strip along the left-hand side and voila, an m or w.

And here ends the Lower-Case Tutorials. Any questions?