Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Great General

Even though I like many of my Civil War blocks, the one I completed most recently has become my favourite. 

There’s something really interesting about having General Ulysses S. Grant’s portrait staring back at me as I quilt.  I’ve had to modify my quilting pattern a bit so as not to quilt thread all over his face.  Thankfully the pattern I chose to use on all the blocks is easily adapted to incorporate a center motif.  I’ve used portraits and center motif’s in a number of my blocks but General Grant is my favourite.  I also have fabric depicting General Lee that I look forward to putting in an upcoming block.  I like to think my quilt will have a fair balance between Yankee and Confederate representation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Loving the Technology

I love modern technology.  Which is kinda funny when you consider how much I thoroughly enjoy my low-tech quilting life.  Perhaps I need the balance of slow and steady against fast and convenient.  Either way I wouldn’t want to give up either ends of the spectrum and that leads me to my post.

Lately I’ve been having a great time downloading ebooks on quilting.  I’ve known about ebooks for a long time but never investigated its benefits - until now.  I discovered the wonders of electronic books when during one of my mindless net reading sessions came across a quilting book that peaked my interest called ‘Block Party – The Modern Quilting Bee’.  When I clicked the link to the publisher’s page I discovered it could be downloaded as an ebook.  Wow – how cool.  I could get the book immediately - no waiting days or even weeks for a delivery from Amazon (I always use Amazon because I’m located in Perth, Western Australia.  What few bookshops we actually have in this city does not appear, from my perspective, to cater to a quilters needs).  So, into my handbag I dove for my trusty credit card.  A few keystrokes later and I had a copy of the book available to me to read right away on my computer (the publishers use Adobe Editions to deliver the ebook to you and it allows you one print of the publication – which is good for reading in bed later).  I was so pleased with the outcome of this first ebook I’ve since purchased three more (Color and Composition, Making History and Civil War Women).  I’m in ebook Heaven at the moment with more reading and browsing then I can handle for the next month. 

Have to run now.  I have a lot of books to read.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cheap Therapy

Hand piecing really is my therapy. I'm never more relaxed or content as I am when working needle through thread to create something beautiful as well as useful. My mind calms and goes to a good place of contemplation and restfulness. I can't really think of any other activity I do for pleasure that exceeds it.

As I'm in constant need of therapy I almost always have some hand piecing with me. My sewing kit for on-the-go is a small-ish sized faux book (that is actually a phlox lined box...), which it fits easily into most totes or handbags I carry.

Almost all my hand pieced projects are worked on this way with very little actual sewing happening right in my own home. I'm so a customed to piecing under natural light that I find it frustrating getting the lighting correct when I do sit in my living room to sew.

Right now I have two hand piecing projects on the go.

Civil War block on the left - CW Star on the right
One is the year long Civil War Quilt weekly block post from Barbara Brackman and the other is what I'm calling The War Against My Brother quilt. I'm using Civil War reproduction fabric in blues and grays to create a repeating star block to represent Union and Confederate forces. Lately I've been sticking to the Civil War theme simply because I have sooo much repro fabric! I wanted to accumulate a fair amount for the Barbara Brackman year long project so whenever I saw CW reproduction fabric at a good price, I'd buy some. Now my stash of the stuff is massive. Even doing the second CW themed quilt will hardly dent my accumulation. Before the start of this year I had no CW repro fabric at all. Most of my stash consisted of solids, mottled solids, and brights. And for a while I began collecting 70 retro prints - so to see so many traditional prints among my collection is very different for me. I think it's good to expand your horizons occasionally and strike out in another direction.

Speaking of another direction, I recently purchased an e-book copy of Block Party - The Modern Quilting Bee by Alissa Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks. Their bee focus is on modern quilts. I just love their stuff. I think I'm going to have to give this style a try next. Good God, by this time next year I wonder what fabric style will be spilling from my stash!

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