Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Finish!

I finished piecing the Heartstrings quilt this weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled. Here is the whole thing: I've had this quilt knocking around in my head since the beginning of this year, and it was like I was on a mission to bring it into reality. I envisioned it as a man's quilt, so I used the brown strips, set off by the red half inch strips on either side. I also used fabrics I thought as "manly", like those depicting nature (leaves, trees, animals), along with fabrics from shirts, or those that look like they were from old shirts. Some of the fabrics I had left over from making shirts for friends, like Glen. Some of the fabrics were from four or five old shirts destined for Goodwill or the garbage. Here is one of the shirts I used after I cut the back out of it for strips:
Looks pretty funny with no back! But I found the back of a size large man's shirt provided a good size piece of fabric perfect for cutting strips with the rotary cutter. After making this quilt top, I have discovered that I am looking at men's shirts in a whole new way: Friday at work I was eyeing a co-worker's shirt he had on, thinking, "that shirt would look good in a quilt"! You can't just ask a man for his shirt, especially if you tell him you want to cut it up. I'll have to keep my eye open for shirts at Goodwill in the future.
I originally envisioned putting brown borders on this quilt, but having sewn the blocks together, I like it just the way it is above, with no borders. I'll use the same red fabric to bind it, and I think it will be perfect. (One thing I did notice about this quilt is that I seemed to end up with MORE fabric strips in my stash after I finished the quilt than when I started. Anyone else have this problem?!!!!)
The quilt will finish 54 inches x 72 inches, and it is a small enough size that I actually considered quilting it myself on my Bernina. But then I remembered I wasn't crazy. Susan Caldwell is currently quilting two customized lap quilts for me, so when I pick them up, I'll drop this one off. I also originally planned to give this quilt away, but I like it so much, I might just have to keep it. I think I'll call it "A Man's Heartstrings".
Parting Shots: I went to the Celtic Festival today and I got what I usually get: muddy boots.
I don't know why, but every year I go, we seem to have Scottish weather, cool and windy, with rain the day before. The bluster makes the festival feel authentic. I also got what you always get at fairs: junk food. It's not a festival without Kettle Corn!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Got A Present!

My friend Loy made me this necklace and sent it to me week before last. I found the rock at St. Bee's Beach in northwest England, where we visited in May of 2007. The photo doesn't do the necklace or the rock justice - the smooth rock, right from the Irish Sea, is a deep, smooth green color, and Loy drilled a hole in it and suspended it from the copper thingy. She did a fabulous job, and you can read about her work here. (Note: Loy's real name is Laura, but Miss Eileen named her Loy when they were roommates in college, so there's nothing she can do about that.) Currently, Loy is teaching a beading workshop, and is having a big sale in November. (If you are interested in her incredible stuff, I can hook you up - drop me an email or leave a comment.)
Photos I took while at St. Bee's Beach. First the young lovers: Doggies are everywhere!

Really beautiful scenery, and the approximate area where my stone was lying when I found it:

There were people actually swimming in the incredibly cold ocean when we were there. It was sunny, but NOT warm:

The Double Wedding Ring Update: I have all the blocks sewed together in rows. Now I need to join the rows. This isn't as simple as it looks. Apparently in order to always sew with the white part of the block on top, one has to sew on the seam for a while, and then flip the whole business over and sew on the other side for a while. At least this is what is explained in the directions. I need some uninterrupted sewing time to figure it out.
To take a break from all that, I am making a Heartstrings quilt, as mentioned in a previous post. I have half of the blocks DONE. It is such an easy block to make, particularly in comparison to the DWRQ. One thing that has come in handy is the rotating cutting mat I got to make the DWRQ. It makes life so much easier and I am using it on the Heartstrings quilt as well.
You start off with a block that looks like this:
You trim a side and then rotate the mat for each side like so:

And your finished block looks like this:

Why didn't I get one of these years ago???
Parting Shot: Half of the Heartstrings are blocks done. I'm loving this!