Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crown of Thorn Blocks

I started a new project with my thrifted shirting fabric. I started by cutting squares and half-square triangles that finish at 2". I didn't know how I was going to sew them at first, but ended up deciding on Crown of Thorns:

I think my quilting friends almost fell out of their seats to see me working on these fabrics and in a traditional pattern. yeah, well, it happens. It's been too long in fact. I just wanted some mindless sewing to do and it's too hard to take bins and bins of strings when I go sew elsewhere. So the Anna quilt is temporarily on hold.  Fun to see my works in progress together:

Well, some of my works in progress.

I'm also working on cutting up more shirts (Note to self: Must . stop . buying . shirts) when I can get them out from underneath the cats.  Pokey:

and Lily:

and just for Dawn, another pic of Lily:

I shouldn't be sewing with new quilt blocks or cutting up shirts at all right now. I'm supposed to be sewing backings together. And working on this:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bonnie Created a Monster

I have gone completely nuts the last month over repurposed clothing fabric ala Bonnie Hunter. She has created a monster. 

First, gorgeous baby Pokey posing helpfully on a white and purple striped shirt:

and again:

I stopped taking photographs along the way and I'd be embarrassed to admit just how many shirts I've gotten... But man, Florida is great for getting shirts in light colors like this pink plaid and the purple and white houndstooth

I've also been grabbing good oranges and fun greens whenever I spot them.

I know at some point I need to actually sew with these fabrics, but I've been amazed at how much fun it is to cut apart the shirts. I love the destruction, who knew. And right now the sewing machine is a little hard to find.

This area of Florida isn't just good for the colors in the shirts but my jaw drops at some of the labels. Couture shirts handmade in Hong Kong and London. holy cow. One guy I was talking to at the Goodwill told me about a thrift shop south of here where you can find all sorts of clothes like tuxedos and evening gowns that have never been worn. criminy.

It just makes me crazy that the shirts I find that would be perfect for me are never the right size. I love some of the men's Hawaiian and bowling shirts but these stupid hips get in the way.

Pokey has enjoyed the new spot to sleep on the cuffs and plackets I still need to cut up.

Pokey is doing well. She's still overgrooming her front legs (she has two reverse mohawks) but at least she's not doing it so much that she's hurting herself. I wish she wouldn't spend so much time hiding under the bed worrying about being abducted to the vet. At least she's bouncy and happy when she's sure the coast is clear.

Commenter Oleander asked how old Pokey is. She and her sister Lily are six years old. They were rescued from the streets of Cairo after they lost their mother when they were about 4-6 weeks old. Little tiny critters I could hold in the palm of my hand and only intended to care for for a couple of days until I could palm them off on someone else. yeah, well that part didn't work out so well. It's not like Pokey was this irresistible when she was tiny. She was bald and funny-looking - it took several weeks before she was fluffy and cute.

At least Pokey is doing well. I haven't been on the top of my game. Fatigue, low iron. I've been undergoing tests - the doc is still trying to decide on whether or not I have Celiac Disease. Sigh. More tests. Gluten-free looks like a pain the patootie, but very healthy.

What else? Have you caught Bravo's new series Work of Art? It's Project Runway for artists in a range of media, primarily paints but also some photography. No fiber though... In the first episode the artist who won wouldn't even have been in my top five, but did agree on their bottom three. Could have added a few more to the bottom as well. All in all, very enjoyable and recommended.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Anna Williams Possible Book Reprint

Anna Williams is an amazing, wonderful, improvisational quilter. The quilt I'm working on was inspired by her. The best link to read more about Anna is here.

Anna's "LIX Log Cabin" made in 1993:

photo courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 1997.007.1104

AQS is considering reprinting the book Anna Williams: Her Quilts and Their Influence by Katharine Watts, originally published in 1995. Actually, I probably shouldn't call it a book, since it was a catalog for a museum exhibition and only about 40 pages long. The company wants to know how much interest there would be in a reprint. I don't know what the price would be.

So we're going to do this like we did for getting Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking republished. We all mobilized and got the word out and convinced AQS we wanted one. It worked that time and maybe it can again.

In the comments section of this blog post, please indicate if you would consider buying:

an exact reprint of Anna Williams: Her Quilts and Their Influences


only an expanded, updated copy of the book, including more information and hopefully pictures. (I don't know if this is really an option, but I think they'd at least consider it if there is enough interest. Also, if you have the first book, I can see why you wouldn't need it again.)


either one

If you wouldn't buy a book, please don't leave any comment at all. If you are commenting, please don't comment just as anonymous - put in at least your first name or handle. If you can't figure out how to put a comment on this blog post you can email me (UnRulyQuilter at gmail dot com) but comments are preferred so that AQS can read them easily.

The next step is to spread the word. If you have a blog, write a post and send folks here to indicate their interest. Tell your friends, anyone who would be interested. The faster we do this, the better.

Thanks, and fingers crossed!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Go! Go! Go!

I got an Accuquilt GO! a couple of weeks ago and have had fun playing with it. Full disclosure: the company provided the GO! in exchange for a review; however, these opinions are my own.

The GO! is a gadget that allows you to cut multiple layers of fabric at once - into shapes, not just strips. The point the company emphasizes is how accurate the pieces are.  Unsurprisingly, that wasn't why I wanted to try it - I want to work faster with less effort.

First off, let's talk about strips. I definitely had a harder time doing those than the smaller shapes.

I didn't want to waste fabric so I tried using oversized pieces. Don't do this at home:

I folded the fabric up along the edges and smooshed it through the side. Unsurprisingly this pulled at the fabric and gave me misshapen strips. So I learned that I need to cut my fabric down to fit the die (for instance, 8 1/2" wide for the die that cuts three 2 1/2" strips). Leaving it an inch or so bigger, I end up with a narrow, but useable extra strip.

Even doing that, I still had some difficulties getting the strips just right. For instance, I might get bitty folds:

In this particular case, the strips were still straight when unfolded. I know there are ways of working with more accuracy, such as using pins at the top of the fabric or putting a piece of paper on top of the layers, but I wasn't worried enough about it to go that far. Didn't worry about the grain of the fabric either. I'm happy with these strips just as they are.

Admittedly part of my problem cutting the strips is that I don't have a solid table to put the GO! on - it rocks when I use it. And my kitchen is tiny - not enough counter space there either.

So would I get one of these JUST for strips? No. But a nice feature of the strip dies is that you can take the strips you've just cut and lay them in the other direction (what would that be - vertically?):

And send them through to get squares:

I just did this with a couple of short strips to show you, but you can stack up lots of layers and do this quicker. If you're anything like me though, you won't necessarily get perfect squares this way - you have to align the strips just so. Having said that, they're not all that off - no worse than me and a rotary cutter.

Where the GO! is fantastic is cutting specific shapes. The cutter comes with a die that lets you cut a 2" and 4" square and 4" half-square triangles that finish at 2". I LOVE the triangles - they're even dog-eared. To make the triangles perfect you'd need to use an over-sized strip. Me though, I just use the 2 1/2" strip and know that I my triangles might come out a bit wonky.

Place six layers of strips on the die:

Crank the machine:

And voila, triangles:

I love that part.

Very easy. Even I can do those ones accurately if I want to.

I don't care for the single squares that are on the same die as the triangles - you either have to do a lot of folding or pre-cut larger squares to then get smaller squares.

To sum up, the Accuquilt GO! isn't magic. For instance, ironing the fabric first is really helpful. But for making precise small shapes, it is fabulous. You can do different kinds of triangles, the diamondy things for making LeMoyne Stars for piecing, plus there are circles and other shapes for applique that would be marvelous.

Now if I were buying one, would I get it? Maybe not. I'm frustrated at only cutting 4 triangles per layer. Or one 2.5" square per layer. Now if you could do 12 or 16??? Much better.

[edited to add: you can get a GO! die for cutting eight 2.5" squares at one time - still not as many as I would like.]

Now that I have a GO!, will I keep using it? Definitely. I enjoy it.

Accuquilt also has a workhorse die cutter called the Studio cutter. It has a lot more shapes available. The ones that interest me the most are the ability to do lots and lots of squares with just one pass through the machine. Fabulous. Plus you have the ability to create your own dies, which you can't do with the GO! That means I could create a die that would cut 1", 1.5", 2" and 2.5" strips all at one time, rather than only being able to cut strips of the same width.

Anyway, very fun to play with and it will be interesting to see what new dies come out.

Okay, you already got one kitty pic in this post (that was Lily watching me use the GO! so here is Howler:

It's hard to take a good pic of him (he's a black hole that sucks in all the light) but this one didn't come out too bad.

And here are Bibi and Pokey enjoying the sunshine:

Ya'all take care. I've got more shirts I need to go cut apart...