Sunday, August 11, 2013

Did Someone Make You The Quilt Judge?

Words Matter

This is a long post.  It may not set well with all of those that read it but I have to share my thoughts - I ask your forgiveness from the get go if this offends you.  


We quilters are a sharing bunch.  


We share tips, ideas, photos, stories, successes and failures.  


We share things on facebook, via email, at guild show and tell, in quilt shops while standing in line...with a perfect stranger.

We mean well.  


We think we are helping.

We only want the best for each other.

But.....ah yes, there is always a but.  


I had a great day today. It started with a dream sleep in. 



I woke up with two fur babies snugged next to and on me, and the sun was shining.  Hubs had decided to go ride his bicycle for 55 miles and I had the house to myself for several hours.





First up, check in on my facebook pals.....oh look at that pretty quilt. Hey what is my friend in another state up to.... I want to make that...oh would you look at that cute quilted purse...  



You know the drill.


I stumbled across a post by a friend that lives in another state (with whom I have had several lengthy conversations about all things quilting and life) saying that she was really upset to see and hear quilters make negative comments about another quilters work!  



What?  Did I read that right?     Yes. I. Did!



I didn't immediately post and got busy with my day. 



As I was weeding my garden beds I did what I always do....think.  


I thought about that post.


It just kept rolling around in my head.  


Words Matter.


What we say matters.  I reflected on my own words.  


How many times have I said something to a new quilter or maybe even a seasoned one that hurt their feelings?  Or how many times did they misunderstand what I meant?   Probably many more times that I even know about.  I'm sorry for that.


Words matter.


I'm connected all over the place.  I have a couple thousand pals on facebook, most of whom are quilters, many I do not know. I am in several groups on facebook and a few others on Yahoo Groups.  I share and talk and post with abandon.  When I see something I don't like I just keep moving. When I see something I like I usually tell the person.  My friends would never describe me as being shy.  They might also add that what you see is what you get and that I'm not afraid to be straight forward.


When I see someone post something about someone's quilt that is negative I almost always find myself adding:  The great thing about quilting is we each get to do what WE like, what makes us happy.


I get messages and emails and the one thing that stuns me and breaks my heart, is when people tell me they are afraid to share their work ~ their passion ~ their creativity.  

These are the words of a fb friend of mine named Brenda: this is the very reason that I have the hardest time with trying to quilt... once someone tells you how bad it is then your confidence is shot and no matter how hard you try and your family and friends try to convince you of how you are doing a good job... it still hurts...



And more from another friend who is a newer quilter:   "there is no way I am posting any of my quilts in that group, no way would my work measure up and I would be crushed if someone made a negative comment."


And another from a quilter posting a pic of their first quilt:  "I know it is not as good as all of the rest of you but I had fun doing it and I love it.  Don't look too closely as there is a lot wrong with it. But I love it anyway."


And then there is the phenomenon that my best friend Karen and I talk about all the time.  It happens often enough that it is cause for conversation between us.  


It goes like this:  Someone will post a picture of their recently completed quilt and how excited they were to have it done...and in the same post did not ask for input on the quilt.  Many times some other quilter will feel compelled to add "oh yes that is nice but I am not sure I would have used THAT color for the border" or "well I like the middle but that border fabric is not one I would use."   

Karen and I are seasoned quilters.  We know what we like and we make quilts for varying reasons.  But we both do what WE like and are at the point where we don't need input on the border fabric we have used.  We laugh about it when someone feels compelled to give us that information.  

But we are not all quilters.  We are OK with the fact that someone might not like a quilt we made or think the colors go well together.  

But. Not. Everyone. Is.


Words matter.


Ever go to a quilt show and stand in front of a quilt and say to your friend what you think about the quilt both good and bad?  Yeah me too.  


One person on that post from my friend had this to say:  "Be careful what you say at quilt shows because that white glove person may be the maker of the quilt."    Good advise that I personally am taking to heart.


Do you belong to a guild?  Do you have and participate in Show and Tell?  Yep, me too....not as much as I could though.  I am a seasoned quilter of nearly 40 years.  I quilt for hire.  I quilt competitively and I have done pretty well over the years as far as awards go.  I enter competitions because it causes me to stretch and try new things.  It has made me a better quilter. I am proud of the hours and hours of honing my skill and love sharing my creations.  And yes I hang every ribbon on my wall in my studio - it makes me happy to see them and while some might look at it as bragging I look at it as confirmation that I am doing good work. It's a wall in my home and very few people in the quilting world see that space.  Adding to that wall every year makes me happy.


So imagine how it would make me feel to have someone say as you line up for show and tell "Oh great I have to show my quilt after yours - jeeze I might as well go sit down."   I am certain they think it's a compliment.  They probably are a little insecure about showing their work and are afraid of being compared to mine.  But think about those words.  They have made me want to go sit down and there have been times when I left my show and tell at home because I just don't need the negativity.


Words Matter.


I for one am going to make it my goal to make sure my words matter. And I am going to continue to encourage everyone I meet in the quilt world to keep trying, keep sharing your creations and be proud of each and every one.  I'm going to remind quilters to just have some fun and enjoy the process.  


And I am going to remember that a pat on the back is often worth more than a thousand words.


God bless and thanks for sticking with me to the end.   ~ Linda T.



PS: Any thoughts on the subject please feel free to share.









Monday, August 5, 2013

Stash Buster BOM #9

Cross and Crown ~ Get ready for more triangles!

 There are some that say this is a "Biblical" block and judging by the name I can see the connection.  There is a reference in Carrie Hall's block book and there are a few variations with the same name.  I love the history of quilting and especially quilt blocks and their names. 

No matter what you call it, this will be a nice addition to our BOM quilt! 

You may have noticed that the blocks are getting more involved as we go - this is part of my plan.  I call it skill building and with each block you expand your skills or reinforce what you already know how to do.  Give them a try and if you need help, post a comment at the end of the blog post.





A)  2 7/8" x 2 7/8" square

Cut 1 square of tan print (scraps)

Cut 4 squares of gold print (background)


B) 3 5/8" x 3 5/8" square

Cut 2 squares of gold print (background) and then cut on the diagonal twice.


Cut 2 squares of red print (scraps) and then cut on the diagonal twice. 

You will end up with 8 triangles each of scraps and background.

I cut the large triangles and the small triangles from different red prints - you can make them the same or more scrappy as I did.  That is one of the things I love about quilting - we get to do what we like!


C)  2 7/8" x 5 3/8" rectangle

Cut 4 rectangles of gold print (background)  


D) 5 5/8" x 5 5/8" square 

Cut 2 squares red (scraps) and then cut once on the diagonal to yield 4 triangles.




Once I have the pieces cut out I like to lay them all out so I can make sure I have what I need and like the fabric and placement.  Every once in a while I will make a change in the fabric choices at this point - no problem, I have lots of fabric!  ☺


I start with the triangles.  This one is a bit tricky to keep organized the correct way as it is easy to sew on the wrong side and end up with the color placement messed up.  Piece all of the triangle units at this point.  They should look like the top unit in the photo. (Keep in mind that there is a left version and and a right version.)

After I sew them together and press to the dark. I then place them back in position and then add that unit to the square as shown.  Pay attention to the color orientation and position.  Again it is easy to sew the triangle unit to the wrong side.

Press to the dark.  After I have the square added I then add the remaining triangle unit.   You will be making 4 of these units.

Some tips on construction of the triangle units:

When adding the triangle unit to the squares make sure that the edges of the triangle unit are aligned to two sides of the square.  It is easy to not align them correctly and it will create problems going forward.  I make sure that the edges are perfect and then I pin! Sew and press - don't skip the pressing part!

The same steps are used to add the other triangle unit to the opposite side of the square.  Be sure to align both edges of the triangle unit with both edges of the square.  Pin and sew a scant 1/4" seam.  Press to the dark.

This is what your triangle units will look like from the wrong side.  Notice you can see the intersections on the perimeter of the unit along two edges.  

This is important and will ensure that you don't cut your points off in the next step.  There are some instances where construction trumps this - you cannot see the intersecting seam along the bottom of the triangle. (see pic below) but I thought it was more important to be able to see the two outer seams versus the one on the bottom.  That way I only risk cutting off one point versus two ☺

If I would have pressed to the light you would see the intersecting seam along the bottom but then the two on the other edges of the triangle would have been hidden.  I always go for the most visible option and in this case it came from pressing to the dark. 

 Once again I layout all the units and double check my orientation.  At this point you can sew two rectangles to the center square.


Lay the triangle unit on top of the large triangles and sew a scant 1/4" seam.  Take care to "feel" where the seam intersection is along that edge and do your best not to sew the point off. ☺ You can also peek as you come to that part in the seam to make sure you are on the seam side as opposed to the point side as you sew.   If you are not clear about this there are plenty of pics in the early block posts about that intersection and how to sew so you don't cut the points off.

Once I have my triangle units made into squares I press to the red - it makes a cleaner feeling block with less bulk and while it breaks the rule of "press to the dark" it makes for better construction and a flatter block.  Sometimes construction trumps the rule.


Sew a rectangle to two of the pieced triangle/squares as shown.  Press to the dark.  Repeat.

Your center rectangle/square unit is pressed to the light so the seams can nest nicely when you put them together.  Again construction trumps the rule.

For the last two seams you want to pin taking care to align the center square with the rectangles so they match perfectly.  Pressing correctly helps with this.  I always pin from the center out since the center alignment is the most important.  Press the final two seams and call this baby done!!!

 You may have noticed that the rectangles are a bit longer than the block.  The cutting measurements in the pattern called for a 5 5/16 long rectangle - since none of my rulers have that fine of a measurement I opted to upsize a bit and go with 5 3/8" knowing that was easier to cut out the pieces using that measurement.  I figured since the rectangles ended up along the perimeter I could always trim after the block was made.

If you are not sure about any of the steps in construction just post a comment below and I will do what I can to help you. 

Ta Dah!  Block #9 is completed!  Good job!   

See you next month, quilty hugs....Linda T.





Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stash Buster BOM Block #8

And the fun continues with Dutchman's Puzzle

This block is made up completely of triangles but with the no waste method of making flying geese units, it goes together pretty easily.

Always makes me think of windmills and I wonder if that is how it got it's name...


Squares are all you need to make this block.  I will show you a super fun and easy way to make flying geese units.

A)  3 7/8" x 3 7/8" square

Cut 8 squares of gold (background)

Draw a line from corner to corner on each of the A squares on the diagonal.


B) 7 1/4" x 7 1/4" square 

Cut 1 square red print (scraps)       

Cut 1 square of green print (scraps)




Using the no waste method of making flying geese lay two squares of background on one square of scrap fabric.  The line you drew on the background fabric should intersect where the squares overlap.  Pin.






Sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line. Pay attention the the drawn line and sew as accurately as you can, if you are off just a bit your geese will  not turn out the correct size.  After sewing it is a good idea to double check your seam and make adjustments or re-sew if necessary.


Cut along the drawn line.  Press the small triangles (may or may not be the dark) away from the larger triangle.



Lay another background square on top of the unit you just completed. 

Get a little extra help holding it down if you need it.  Spencer is always up to the task.  Pin in place.

Take to sewing machine and while carefully balancing 12# of cat on your lap sew on both sides of the drawn line as you did above.  Place cat on desk and get up and check to be certain your seam measures exactly 1/4". 


Cut on drawn line. Press away from the large triangle (it may or may not be to the dark).



You will end up with 4 flying geese units and you never had to cut a triangle!  ☺

You will repeat the process with the other large square and remaining background squares. Trim the ears before the next step.



 I like to layout all the units that make up the block before I sew them together.  This is a good time to make any adjustments for directional fabrics.  You can see that both of my fabrics are directional.  I played around with the layout until I got them going the same way.



 Sew two flying geese units together following the layout above. You will make 4 two pair units. 

Pay close attention to the intersection at the top of the big triangle....don't cut that point off! 

After pressing each unit I then lay them out again making sure I have them going the way I want them to.


Sew together in pairs again. 

Press the seam in opposite directions so when you put the final seam in they nest nicely together.


Pin the two halves together making sure to align the center exactly.  Sew, taking care with the intersections of the triangles.  


Give the block a good press and pat yourself on the back. ☺


Ta Dah!  Block #8 Dutchman's Puzzle is complete!!!