Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fabric Selection for Dear Jane.... Check

So If I was a total tech geek, like my husband, I would rig this post up with some mission impossible music in the background. Then it would set the right mode for this post. As it is you will just have to hum along with me - Dunt dunt dada....

Mission if you choose to accept it - Find colors for your Dear Jane - Probability of success, high - Probability of finding the PERFECT fabric right after you buy and cut fabric.... Guaranteed.

I know me. If I let myself rather than starting my Dear Jane, I could literally take the next 20 months looking for the fabric. So I have decided that I am going to go over to my favorite quilt shop (in this area) Bella's and find fabric IN THAT SHOP to do this quilt. Period end of sentence. I have been looking on line for some sites to link up with and have come across quite a few. Most are traditional, but there are some out there that really pop and speak to me more. I LOVE color.

Back from Bella's and have found some fabric -

Here is what I have chosen to do my Dear Jane in

Took the pictures outside so you could see the natural light - Still on the fence about the background.... We shall see -

Going to do the 1st Block paper pieced - As soon as I test the pattern I will link you up! If not there is always my trusty seam ripper!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Start of My Dear Jane

I have a new years resolution. I will blog more... Ok I have a few new year's resolutions.... Not only will I blog more, this year I will start my Dear Jane. I am a seasoned quilter. Flying geese fly south at the sight of me. I have mastered all (ya right!!) So I am not as good as I would like to be, but I will start AND FINISH a Dear Jane. What is a Dear Jane? I'm glad you asked. It is the reproduction of a quilt done by Jane Stickle while the civil war raged on.

It is a quilt consisting of 169, 4 1/2" blocks, in thirteens rows with 13 blocks in each row. Then all around the edge are 56 pieced triangles. Whew - Some people choose to do this by hand - I am NOT one of them. This will be machine pieced and hopefully hand appliqued.

While I take this journey I want to blog about it, for me mostly, but also for you. I KNOW that I am NOT the only one with this goal. There are whole Yahoo groups dedicated to this project. While this will not be the only topic I blog about, it will be one that I update on a regular basis (hopefully) with tutorials. Learn and struggle along with me.


I love this quilt. To be honest, it blows me away. I struggle with perfection in quilting. I have the idea that if it isn't perfect, it's not worth doing. Not too long ago a good friend and I were talking about this quilt. She told me that when she went to go see this original quilt on display she was blown away by the workmanship. Not that it was good, in fact it was pretty bad. Here is this quilt that is held up on a quilting pedestal, and it is not very well done. That made me love the quilt even more and after that story I was even more determined to do it. So here I am.


I signed up for the block of the month over at the Stitchin Heaven a WHILE ago and today, Joy of Joys, my 1st month came in. There are a few reasons I wanted to do a Dear Jane via Block of the month. I love blocks of the month, I rarely have time to sit down and start and complete a quilt, so the idea of a little at a time Is so wonderful to me. I have a sense of accomplishment. I can do one month, put it in a box come back later do another month. I also choose to do it this way so that I could have directions, guidance and someone else would have to gather the fabric.

So I open my fabric and low and behold - It's so ugly. NOT my taste AT ALL. Cheddar as a color.... really? But the good thing is now I have a jumping off point. I quickly sorted through my stash and came up with some livable alternatives. I will now do 2 of each block. One in the chosen color (blech) for a gift and one in the colors that I chose out which are along the same lines only softer. I love my fat quarters. I also know that Jane Stickle did not have the luxury of "picking" out coordinating colors when she first began this odyssey and I don't necessarily want to recreate her exact color scheme. Civil war fabrics are NOT my thing. There are all kinds of alternatives on the web - like only using one or two colors - Right now I will stick to what I have. If there is one thing that my quilting mentor Linda has taught me, it is that you can go OUTSIDE your box - do the colors that speak to you. Ok Linda I am listening!


No offense to a store I LOVE to shop at. I have MANY BOM's from them, they are my go to place - BUT.... These directions SUCK!!!! What in the world is this woman talking about???? I think she thinks that I can hear her thoughts and know what she means... NO!! I have NO clue. When I have to interrupt directions, you screwed up. Granted she made a beautiful quilt and placed 2nd at Paducah....that does NOT mean you are a good instructor. She consistently says...I will explain later.... What?? So the other reason for the blog. You are going to benefit because if I have to Interpret and decipher, I am doing it on line to share with all. I promise to have clear, concise instructions on the blocks that need to be done.

Another note on fabric... This is a personal Choice - I will post the colors and pieces that were given to me, and the ones that I supplement... But you are on your own on color choice. There are so many blog postings that go over how to choose color ect... I am going to try an focus on construction of the blocks.

Are you ready? Here we go

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Essential Quilting Supplies

I see the discontent reflected in your eyes - No this is not another post about the best scissors (gingher) or the best mats and rotary cutters - No this is what is NECESSARY for me to have a successful quilting day -

1. Music - My dear husband has set the computer up so that it also doubles as a stereo. How he did this I have no idea and when he leaves for a year I guarantee that it will break the day after I and I will have to go out and buy a stereo - but until then my computer has a playlist of all my favorites. This list of essential quilting music MUST include but is not limited to - Jack Johnson - Iz - The Police -Rascal Flats - Green Day - Dixie Chicks - Fleetwood Mac - Jason Miraz - Willie - Pat Green - Jimmy Buffett and Abba - Occasionally when that gets a little repetitive I will listen to the Pulse on satellite radio (on my other blog I have a nice selection that does in a pinch) I will also sing these all out loud while quilting which has the added benefit of clearing out the house!!!! (works like a charm - you should try some time!!!)

2. Starbucks Starbucks and more Starbucks - I know that on these quilting days I need to see the sun at some point - so do I use my time in the sun to gather dinner for my clan? Nope - I use it to drive to my neighborhood Starbucks (where I single handily responsible for my baristas every growing 401K) and get my fix - which leads me to my next essential supply

3. Crock Pot - So they will leave me alone - and not eat the dog

4. Candy - I know many of you might disagree and substitute chocolate here, but to each their own - I need fireballs - and gummy bears and gummy soda and my fav. Jelly Bellies!!!

5. Sweater - Because I will be so engrossed in my quilting my husband will take the opportunity to restart the Great Thermostat War. He is all about the sneak attack, ambushing me by turning the thermostat down to sub artic temps. What happens is that inevitably I will crank that bad boy up to temperatures sustainable by life on earth and eventually the pipe thing will freeze and then break and it will stay cold until the repair man can come fix it -

6. Maddie - My big , fat, hairy loving dog AKA girlfriend. While quilting at my friend Linda's I realized that something was just not quite right. I was just not on my game. Then it hit me - My feet are getting cold and while walking back and forth to the iron I am not tripping on a big lump - I was missing Maddie - She is the ultimate quilt buddy - She tests all the quilts out on the floor for maximum comfort - I need to have her hairy shedding self to truly feel at home and to quilt -

7. Seam Ripper - Need I say more?

I am sure that there are other things I need - Like a machine - thread .... fabric - but I know without my 7 essential supplies - I just might as well give it up - What are your necessities?

Finally Progress

I like many people have multi-tasked myself to death. I go to school full time and I'm a mom. I volunteer and over commit myself on a daily basis. With my husband gone so much I am basically a single mom. Many times quilting falls to the wayside. I'm so glad that I had this weekend to work on my quilts, and catch up on my 100 hours in my Tivo (see still multi tasking)! I have so many UFO's and projects that I want to start... Like the Halloween quilt I saw at Linda's (too cute!!) that I am having to tell myself No - (this is something that I don't do very often, especially when it comes to quilting!) I have to make progress on many of the quilts that I have that are almost there. Yesterday I achieved that - I am making progress. I am doing a block of the month through Alex Andersons site and I am proud to say that I have made it to April!!!!!! Woo hoo!!! Today I want to get to May ... but the pumpkin patch is calling and I have to decorate the house for Halloween and the dishes are getting that crusty thing to them - So no more blogging today - just sewing (in my free time!)

And yes - I did use the seam ripper!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fabric Snob or Why does it have to cost so much!!!!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fabric. I think that as a quilter this is a given. I am also in a 12 step program for quilting snobs. I love fabric and it loves my bank card. For some reason all the fabric I love seems to cost 9 - 12 dollars a yard. There in lies my I stay married or buy more fabric. The fact that I even need to think about this is the reason for the 12 step program. So I have become what is better known as a frugal fabric shopper.... ok I am cheap. I LOVE me a bargain. I hit the fabric clearance rack 1st then look at the new stuff. I also notice cost. Like when I was in a fabric store in northern Va. (where the owner was EXCEPTIONALLY rude) and Hoffman fabric was going for 10.50 a yard - come on - that is just a little CRAZY. I know for a fact she pays between 4 - 6 dollars a yard wholesale. I can understand a profit - but at what cost. It is at that time I say to RUDE fabric store owner - I can get this fabric on e-bay for 8.50 a yard - she tells me I can't and then I have to pay shipping. HELLO .. yes I can and most of the time shipping is free and if not works out to be exactly what I am paying in tax. Well, my 1st rant has a purpose, and that is my LOVE of Ebay - where I buy Bali Pops for 30 flat with shipping included. And super cute fat quarter bundles for less than 2 dollars a quarter. No I can't touch it, so I generally only buy fabrics I know I like (or remember the name from the quilting store) but it has solved my delima and my husband stays.
No Ebay will never replace a much loved quilt shop like Bella's in the Isle of Wright, but It does allow me to still make great quilts with great fabric and skip my 12 step fabric snob meeting for this week -

My all time favorite shop on ebay -

Mo and Mac's Fabric Shack

Not only are they SUPER nice - Sue has such a great eye for putting fabrics together!


Follow along with me and my handy seam ripper in our adventures in quilting!