Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Early Morning Edition: Free Kindle Book!

Shhhhhhhh!

I’m sleeping!

It was a very late night with way too much excitement……you see, there was a gas leak due to pilot lights that had gone out at the Knight’s of Columbus Hall where our meeting was with the Annapolis Quilt Guild.

We could smell the gas --- of course I had already set up the trunk show ---- and someone called the fire department, and before we knew it they had about 8 of the biggest fire trucks all with red lights flashing ---- in our parking lot with firemen all suited up in their fire-fighting-gear and everything.

It’s truly never a dull moment!

((Just what IS it with me and red flashing lights this week!? Geeesh!!))

We all stayed out in the parking lot hanging around Shamu --- waiting for the all clear to be let back inside so we could resume our evening activities!

Let me tell you, this Annapolis group is NOT a small guild! I think the trucks HAD to come in droves in order to deal with all the women who didn’t want to vacate a building when there was a trunk show going on!

PA_MD_Feb2012 160

Little bit blurry here, but it was night time and we were laughing so hard it was hard to be SERIOUS enough to stand still for a picture!

PA_MD_Feb2012 159

Add this to my bucket list…I wanna go riding on a fire truck some day!

So back to the freebie…yes, I’m setting this to go live ahead of time because it’s about midnight as I’m writing this. I just *KNOW* I’m going to sleep in. Period. I’ve been up early every morning since last Thursday, I’ve not had a sleep–in, I’ve had guild fun every day, and I need some sleep before I drive many hours to my home. There is NO ALARM going to sound from my phone, I made sure it is OFF this time!

((Yeah ---The last time I shared a room with someone I said..make sure your phone is off so we don’t wake up to any alarm..and guess who’s phone went of instead at 7am?! MINE! I think I turned it on instead of turned it off..this time it is O.F.F. OFF!))

So just to keep you busy while I sleep in until I wake..and check out and drive myself home..I’m giving you this to keep yourselves busy!

Chasing Rainbows is free in the Amazon Kindle store.

Genre: Romance

Reviews:

"Extremely well-written, fast-paced and funny, Chasing Rainbows is a pot of gold from this talented, up-and-coming author. One for your keeper shelf." -- Romantic Times
Reviewers Choice Nomination: Best Western Romance of the Year

"A feisty yet vulnerable heroine who's had her share of pain and a sexy hero who pretends to have a hard heart come together in this warmly tender love story filled with perils and excitement." - Rendezvous

Plot Summary:

Jake Moran, a gambler down on his luck, finds himself volunteering to escort the notorious Outlaw Annie —along with the ugliest cat he’s ever seen— to Cooperton, Colorado.

But Jake didn’t volunteer for the job out of the kindness of his heart. Wanted for murder, he must stick to Annie, who hopefully will lead him to the Mundy Gang, his only chance of proving his innocence.

Annie insists that she’s going straight, and that the members of the Mundy Gang are dead, but circumstances conspire against them, leading them into one harrowing scrape after another. Though his heart tells him that Annie is telling the truth, almost too late he discovers his mistrust has put Annie’s life in jeopardy.

Enjoy your Tuesday! I’ll be obeying all the traffic rules, setting my speed control, and working my way back home to North Carolina!

AFTER I’m done sleeping in!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Excitement!! iPhone-O-Gram!!

They just made us exit the guild meeting building because if a gas smell. Of course, this is after I unloaded all the quilts from the car and set up for my trunk show!!!

There are about 8 fire trucks here with lights flashing!!

iPhone-O-Gram! Hello from Annapolis!

We are having a great time with Virginia Bound string blocks!!

Linda Mc--and the Uhuru Quilters, Bernadette wishes you were here, and Marge says hello!!

Mystery Monday Link Up!

This mystery season has been the most fun ever!

My love affair with string quilts has been a long and fruitful one ---one of the first crazy stringy quilts I ever made was a DENIM one I started in the fall of 1980 ---that one of course was so heavy it never became more than just a top, and I don’t know what ever happened to it – but suffice it to say that string quilts remain my favorite quilts of all time, hands down!

When I first used strings for the Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery, I wasn’t sure how people would react. I knew some would hate it, I hoped most would love it – I hoped it would add a dimension to mixing my love of strings with traditional patchwork that hadn’t been deeply explored before.

And the ideas continued into Orca Bay --- and you turned out SO many beautiful and fabulous quilts!

Knowing that not everyone has a blog, I want to share a few that have come to me via email this week:

OrcaBaynorway

This is Sissel’s quilt from Norway! I love how she sent it to me in postcard format --- so I’m sharing it with you in the same way! Thank you, Sissel! You did a great job!

Ursula sent me the following email with 3 pictures attached:

Hello Bonnie,

Since I don't have a blog but I did do Orca Bay, I thought you might at least like to see my quilts for your own enjoyment. I used every piece made for your version with the exception of one small border unit.

B.H. mystery #1

I enjoyed making these quilts along with 5 other enthusiastic quilters. They each made your color and size version. I chose a different color scheme with every piece coming out of the cupboard or my scrap collection.

B.H. mystery #2 Green

We kept each other motivated both in person and through encouraging emails. I have more use for small quilts which explains why I chose to make all of the units into smaller quilts. I also have enough leftovers from my different way of creating the string units (no papers) that there will be another "leftovers" quilt made from my "trimmings".

B.H. mystery #3 red

It was my first time trying the two rulers which will definitely be used again. Thanks for doing this mystery. I look forward to your next one. from a "Bonnie" fan...Ursula

Thank you for sharing the pics and the story, Ursula!

Now it is your turn to Link-Up your blog posts to mine below! I’m excited to see how you’ve done in the past month since the last Link Up.

Remember that we need the url of the specific POST, not just the address for your whole blog.

To get the correct address in the linky-–right click on the title/subject line of the post you wrote about your quilt progress. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

You can also CLICK the title line of the post you want to link...and copy the url from the address bar at the top of your browser that way.

For instance, my blog address is quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough.

If you link to just your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

**NOTE** You do NOT need to include the http:// when you insert your address into the linky!

We'll leave this open until MIDNIGHT eastern time Friday night to give you time to write your posts! I LOVED seeing what links came in last month! If you missed those, you can find them linked in the Orca Bay Mystery tab at the top of the blog ---just look at the bottom of that page below the step links for the Mystery Monday Link-Up Links!

Happy Monday!



Sunday, February 05, 2012

Do You Know The Way To Glendale?!

I’m taking a trip to Glendale, California in March! There is an awesome quilt show in Glendale, and I’ll be giving some workshops. It’s the 33rd ANNUAL show. 33rd! WOW!

Would you like to come sew with me?

Click HERE to visit the guild show website! You can also download a show brochure HERE.

There are still openings in both Pineapple Blossom and Scrappy Mountain Majesties ----both of these are FUN and EASY workshops, and you get a lot done IN class. We can even swap fabrics with each other for more variety. You will have a great time!

For more information, please contact Rasa

Please let her know that you want to join us for these classes!

My hope is that we can help fill these class spaces up to make this show a success for the guild after all the hard work they’ve done to pull it together.

Let’s sew!

A Few Little Details ----

HA! I love plays on words…..and I’ll start this post by talking about a few things as reminders.

TOMORROW is our last “Mystery Monday Link-Up” post for Orca Bay! If you have been working on Orca Bay and wanted to post your progress with us in the linky, you will have that chance tomorrow, so write your post, and link it up! If you finished your top and linked it earlier --- would you still link it again? I’d like to get as big a showing of Orca Bay quilts as we can get since this is the last time I’ll be doing a link-up for this quilt. Whatever stage you’ve reached, even if you are just beginning --- please join us and link up!

Also….as this posts I do believe the Super Bowl Sew-a-thon on twitter is still in full swing. I forgot to re-mention it earlier, but you can check out the details in this post HERE. It sounds like a lot of fun. I wish I were joining you, but I’m on my way to Annapolis, MD – so I’ll catch you from there!

And now for the LITTLE DETAILS part!

As you can tell from the picture at the top of the post, I came across a quilter who made me feel like MY hexie project was too big and on the normal side!

PA_MD_Feb2012 022

Holy. Hexagons. Batman!! Would you look at the size of these?!

PA_MD_Feb2012 021

How many hundreds of basted hexagons do you think are in this one little zip lock bag?! The crazy quilter even told me the story of how easy it is to LOSE a full bag of basted hexagons like this ---- she’s done it…poof…the whole bag was gone never to be seen again…I had to sit down due to heart palpitations at this point!

PA_MD_Feb2012 031

And just for comparison…Here is a section of MY hexie project…a full rosette of her hexies is still smaller than ONE of my hexies. I don’t think I could even SEE to baste these!

Isn’t this amazing?

Yep, it’s all in the LITTLE details!

Carlisle Beauties!

I wanted to take some time to share with you some of the photos taken during our Blue Ridge Beauty class with the Le Tort Quilters of Carlisle, PA!

One of the things I get so excited about is seeing those who take of in their own direction – they’ve thought out the pattern and what they want to do to make it their own! They come with colors other than blue ((But blue is okay if it is your favorite color, as it is mine!)) and even considered lay-out possibilities that deviate from the sample quilt, making it their own!

We had Blues of course, but we also had Purple, Red, Multi-Colored-Kitchen-Sink scrappy, just separating colors from the neutrals – and we had planned rounds of color..starting with a rusty toned center diamond, followed by a neutral path, followed by a green path, followed by a neutral path, followed by a brown path…a real design wall project!

Lay-outs are the fun thing….and when there were enough blue blocks to pool together from a few different ladies to start playing on the tables, we did so!

PA_MD_Feb2012 025

We went from basic “Barn Raising” with a blue diamond center ----

PA_MD_Feb2012 027

to the motion of giant windmills with blue/neutral chains that will criss-cross the quilt surface ---

PA_MD_Feb2012 028

To Blue Ridge “Mountain” Zig Zags!

PA_MD_Feb2012 030

We experimented with turning the blocks into simple “Straight Furrows”.

PA_MD_Feb2012 029

We played with a central heart shape, and saw what it would do if we echoed that shape..do you see how the bottom left block is rotated wrong? We should have the light corner in toward the light path..this is a brain exercise, just turning the triangles right!

PA_MD_Feb2012 026

There we go! That’s better!

A couple of funnies…..just had to be in the moment!

PA_MD_Feb2012 038

Can you read what this fabric says? LOL! It’s a white on white but…oh NOOO! More Millenium fabric! LOL!!

PA_MD_Feb2012 014

This picture cracked me up too –This ironing board only opened up this big! It just wouldn’t go any taller…..so never fear, here we have The Queen pressing at her throne on the “stage”…LOL!

PA_MD_Feb2012 015

Take a look through the rest of the photos to see what fabrics we were working with that YOU might still have in your stash! Time to get it out of there! This is a great quilt for pulling one-color –family-that’s-run-amuk and pairing it with a background color family of choice and CLEAR OUT! I mean, where else are you going to get permission to sew a recycled shirt plaid next to Batman, little country hearts, and funny crabs!? Lost your marbles? Chances are we’ve sewn them right into the quilt!

What a fun time! My special thanks to the Le Tort Quilters of Carlisle PA for a fabulous weekend of fabric fun!

Making The Cut!

Perhaps my reasoning for going up through central Virginia ---and heading west on 64 over to I-81 DID have a bit to do with my desire to be in Blue Ridge Mountain Country as much as it did to spend some time wandering around Danville on a search for Dan River plaid quilts –

One of the classes I taught up in Carlisle, PA this week was “Blue Ridge Beauty” after all, and this quilt WAS inspired by my first road trip up through the Blue Ridge somewhere around 2004? 2005?

I can’t remember when I started this quilt with a simple box of 2” squares, using the blues and neutrals as leaders & enders and letting the 4 patches stack up by my machine, pinning them into groups of 10 as the pile grew ----at that point I didn’t even have a block in mind, but after that first drive through Virginia, I knew those 4 patches would have a purpose, and I wanted that purpose to forever capture what I had found and felt that first time I fell in love with the Blue Ridge.

SO --- my “commemorative” trip was the perfect lead in to teaching a wonderful group of ladies just what they could do with this one simple block too! ((Still could have done without the speeding ticket though! OUCH!))

Blue Ridge Beauty is such a simple quilt, really, except it isn’t! So many factors come into play, even with an easy block, and it is my hope with EVERY workshop that I can leave especially the beginners and even the novices with something that they can apply to their quilting skills that make them that much happier with their results.

**Note** This post was going to be a simple slide show, but it took on a direction of its own, and since time is limited for me this morning, I’ll post the slide show a bit later in an effort to not overload this post, and get my day going --- so come back later for the slide show!

The one thing that was a light bulb moment for many this trip? CUTTING! Precise patchwork is much more than the accuracy of your 1/4” seam allowance!

Cutting. I’m serious. You might think that we all know how to cut, but I tell ya…with all the different cutting tools out there, I saw such variations – and it really is the FIRST crucial step in getting good results.

cutter

#1 IMPORTANT THING!! If you have invested in taking a class with ANYONE –be it at a shop, or just a little guild workshop, or a class at a quilt show, or even going to retreat--- wherever it be ---have a NEW BLADE in your cutter. AND have a spare blade just in case. And know how to put it in the cutter. If you are right handed and have a certain olfa cutter, the kind with the squeeze handle..((Shown above)) that blade should be up against the ruler side…not behind the plastic thing away from the ruler – those cutters were designed to be lefty OR righty, but not universal --- you have to put the blade on the correct side of the cutter depending if you are right handed or left handed….this one is set up for RIGHT HANDED cutting. If you are a lefty, the blade will go on the other side of the plastic center thing, so that your blade will be right up against the ruler as you cut.

creativegrids6x12 easysquarejr

RULERS! If you are doing short cutting, have a ruler that works with what you are cutting and fits the space you are given to cut in. If you have small amount of table space in class…don’t bring a 6” X 24” ruler to sub-cut cut little 4-patch strip sets.

My favorite ruler is a Creative Grids 6.5” X 12.5” ruler and I find it sufficient for most cutting, even when cutting full width of fabric strips, I just fold the fabric and cut through 4 layers. A 6.5” square is going to work fine for cutting those twosies from the strip sets, or for squaring up half square triangles….if the block size is 6.5”, you don’t need the 12.5” X 12.5” huge square up ruler. Trust me. :c)

You are going to want rulers with the easiest to read numbers and lines….and those lines need to be thinner rather than fatter ----I saw rulers with such FAT lines that they are hard to get an accurate cut. There was such a variation in cutting between those who used different rulers when we put those strips side by side! So choose your rulers wisely. The worst ruler I’ve come across had such thick lines….they were supposed to be raised ridges on the back side of the ruler to help hold the fabric steady, but the ridged lines were SO THICK that it made cutting inconsistent. And it was 24” long! I’d save this ruler for doing things like squaring up the quilt edges before putting binding on ---it would be great for that, but for precision cutting, not quite.

The omnigrid rulers with the green bubbles --- HARD HARD HARD to see where the correct line-up is when cutting because the measurement lines are lost inside those green bubbles, at least in my opinion. If you can’t see the edge of your fabric, how can you know where to place that line?

Those June Taylor shape-cut rulers work for some, but if you aren’t careful…the slats can wiggle and slide as you cut, giving you some strips that are thinner because the slats wiggled, and that means the strip next to the skinnier one is going to be too wide…so be careful with those. I prefer not to use them, I want more control over my strips.

The cutting process:

There is one thing I see people doing time and time and time again ---when you cut, you slide the marking line on the ruler right up against the outside edge of the fabric, but the whole line is OFF the fabric. You can short yourself a few threads when doing this, and it might not seem like much, but over the number of seams within a block ----you can end up an easy 1/4” too small on your block, no matter how “perfect” your 1/4” seam is.

In other words, if your strips are too narrow to begin with, it’s not going to be what you want it to be. Add into the equation that we have all those places where we have pressed the seams one direction or another, and we have the thickness of the seam to add into the mix. To compensate for that…this is what I do:

PA_MD_Feb2012 100

I hope you can see in this picture how I cut this 2” strip. I’ve got the 2” line, the WHOLE LINE ---- ON THE FABRIC..with the left side edge of the line at the outside edge of the fabric..but the whole line is ON the fabric. This helps me make sure that I have not shorted myself on the strip width..and it may give me a couple extra threads that help me with the thickness of the seams when pressing.

And to show you what happens if you cut with line on the ruler NEXT to the fabric, instead of including it ON the fabric, I took this picture:

PA_MD_Feb2012 101

Can you see the difference? The line is right next to the fabric…but look at the excess that is at the right edge of the ruler. If I’d have trimmed here, I would have shorted myself THAT MUCH. And over time within my blocks…that shortage adds up to quite a bit.

And as I’m thinking about how to word this and explain why I do what I do ---I realize that basically instead of “scanting down” my 1/4” seam allowance, I’m “scanting up” my strip widths to compensate for the thicknesses of pressed-to-the-side seams and bulky intersections, and I get the best results with my patchwork if I follow this simple rule I made for myself.

LINE ON! Not LINE OFF!

So that’s your basic cutting lesson today. Find the tools that work for you, Easy to read numbers, thin lines for accuracy, and in a size that is right for the job, but isn’t overkill for the space you have to work.