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i just posted a version of this over on MQResource, and then decided to post it here, too, apologies to those of you that might see this twice.

I pieced this quilt as a shop sample, I designed the quilt (and you can download the free pattern from the shop blog).

When I quilted it, I wanted something fast and simple, like an allover loopy meander.

Now, since I started quilting, I’ve always quilted my allover loopy meander such that I always changed direction after each loop, like so:

Apologies for the terrible mouse drawing.

Well, the stripy fabric that I used in the quilt had these squiggly lines on it and I had an epiphany:

Look!  The loopies don’t always change direction!!!!  Did you know that you CAN actually quilt meandering loops that DON’T change direction after each loop?  Deep down, I’m sure I did know this, but I was so used to making myself change direction, I didn’t even think about it anymore.

So, this is how I quilted it, and you are going to have to suffer through another bad mouse drawing, because the quilting doesn’t actually show up in photographs.  It does look quite cute in person on the quilt:

I was pretty irritated with myself when I realized I was doing something “just because” someone told me that’s the way the loops had to be.  I hate that kind of thinking: “that’s the way it’s always been done” is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  Yes, I realize that this is a pretty minor sort of epiphany, but it’s got me wondering.

What other “rules” do I subconsciously follow in my quilting??  Sure, there are some that I follow because they make sense to me, or because I’ve learned from experience that that is what works the best — but what are the things that I do just because I was told to do so?

Of course, I can’t think of any others right now, but I thought I’d open the challenge up to all of you, my beloved blog readers.

What sorts of things do you do because someone said you HAD to do it that way? Maybe you could take some time to think about a different way to do them, or maybe you will discover that the way you do it really does make sense to you!

My challenge to you:  go break some rules, challenge some assumptions, and try something new.

And then come back and tell me about it.  Or post about it on your blog, but be sure to leave me a link so I can read about your rule-breaking ways.

Suzanne

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In reverse order:

Today: Third grade field trip to visit several museums in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Actually? A pretty good day. Kids were fairly well behaved, bus wasn’t as noisy as it could have been (although, Will made me sit with him in the back seat which was terribly bumpy…glad I’d had plenty of bathroom opportunities!) and the stuff we visited was interesting and well done.

Yesterday: We are currently doing some research and brainstorming about possibly expanding my quilting business, which includes looking at commercial space in town. Not sure exactly what shape that might all take, but it’s kind of exciting to contemplate.

Sunday: Worked on taxes (ugh) and visited some friends (yea!).

Saturday: Visited my Grandma in the hospital. She is back to her nursing home now, but was quite sick last week.

Friday: Finally finished one (of my 4) triptych pieces (I received 8 by 10 photographs from 4 MQResource members to interpret in quilt form) (yes, a triptych is 3, I’m in 2 groups, ultimately I’ll have 6 pieces…) (yes, I’m two months late).

Gayle’s Photo:

Gayle's triptych photo inspiration

Gayle’s Quilt:

Gayle's triptych quilt

It’s not quite that garish in real life. I had to use the flash to take the picture, and it really is more muted than that.
In between? I actually dragged out a hand appliqué project that’s been languishing in a box for awhile:
Applique blocks

This is from the Piece O Cake Designs Appliqué Sampler book. The tulip wreath has been done for awhile, the blue flowers needed 6 petals plus 3 gold centers done, and voila! I’m ready to start the next block. Only trouble? I can’t find the book! It’s not on my shelves, and I’m not really sure where else to look, as I’ve fairly recently gone through and put away all of the books that I could find. Hey! I wonder if Mom has it? LOL It was a thought, anyway.

And last, but not least, I’ve been messing around with a new blogging experiment, and I think I’m ready to invite you over to take a look:

http://www.quilteveryday.com

My inspiration has come from several sources, I’ve seen more than a few bloggers talking about their goal of trying to work on a quilt project every day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time, plus I got to thinking about the word “everyday” and what that means to me in regards to the kinds of quilts I make.

Anyway, as I said: it’s an experiment. I don’t know that I’ll actually post Every. Single. Day. — but I’m going to be working on a brand-new hand appliqué project every day — but I’m limiting myself to 15 minutes (which is harder than it sounds!) I’m still just using a default template, but I want to mess around with making the site all purdy, too.

So, I’ll hope you’ll go visit and I hope you’ll consider bookmarking it or adding it to your Google Reader or Bloglines and maybe you’ll take the challenge to Quilt Everyday, too!

TTFN-

Suzanne

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Remember when I was blaming Mary for planting a seed about making log cabin blocks? It was back on March 21st.I don’t think I can keep blaming her for the fact that I felt compelled to finish this quilt.

log-cabin-full.jpg

There are 60 full blocks, plus 24 half blocks that finish the edges. I love this setting and I especially love the larger red squares that pop out of the centers. There are some spots in the light guidelines where the spines looks darker: those are the blue guidelines that I marked that I haven’t gotten rid of yet, I’ll soak it in cold water after the binding is on and finished.

I had the 60 blocks made and displayed on my design wall and was debating about setting square options: I had a dark almost solid purple and a really busy dark paisley. I made Mark come in and asked his opinion: the purple, the paisley or…I folded a block in half and showed him what the half blocks would look like. He confirmed what I had already been thinking, and I soldiered on with the additional piecing.

Here’s a close up of the center:

dsc05167.jpg

I won’t even tell you all about my trials and tribulations with getting the quilting done. They don’t reflect well on my ability to pay attention to what I’m doing.

It’s called Maggie’s Quilt, because it was the quilt that has kept me occupied this past weekend. Concentrating on it helped me to NOT concentrate so much on her. I’ll print a photo of her and use that as part of the quilt’s label, and will enjoy snuggling under it. I’ll be wishing she could snuggle with me, though.

It’s time for a run to the post office. They know me pretty well down there.

Suzanne

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A couple of days ago, Mary posted about the log cabin blocks she was making.  Now, I need a new project like I need a hole in my head, but I found myself dreaming about log cabin blocks, and when I woke up this morning I couldn’t stand it any longer.

Hers are string log cabins, meaning the logs are different widths, some blocks start with rectangles some with squares.

I decided to dig into my overflowing 1.5 inch strip bins, use a red 2.5 inch square for the center, and the next thing you know:

make sure you notice the sleeping dog in the background

I have 42 blocks that are in progress,  4 different groups with differing amounts of logs attached.   I’m not sure how big I’m going to make them.  I’m scared that no matter now many blocks I make,  or how big I make them:  that bin of dark strips that is overflowing is going to look exactly the same way that it does now, and there won’t even be a dent.   And that’s just hte 1.5 inch strips.  I’ve got 2 inch, 2.5 inch, 3.5 inch…plus bins full of scraps too.  Sheesh.

It’s only been in the last year or two that I’ve actually made the leap to scrap quilts (even though I’ve been generating scraps for a lot longer than that…)  I love the way a scrappy quilt looks when it is done, but it’s hard for me to get over the initial feeling that everything has to match, or that everything has to be a planned color scheme.

So many quilts and not nearly enough time.

I have to remember to take my camera tomorrow so I can post a picture of our table.  I’m pretty sure it’s the most clever one there.

TTFN-

Suzanne

p.s. It didn’t snow!  Woohoo!

p.p.s.  I burned the back of my hand on the electric skillet while making pancakes tonight.  Ouch. (I hit the edge while flipping a pancake).  I should share our pancake recipe.  They are quite yummy.  They are flatter than pancakes from a box or the pancakes you seem to get at a restaurant.  And they really don’t take much more time to make than those from a box…

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I bought a kit last summer that included the yummy fabric, plus a red Moda Marble. Didn’t really care for the pattern, just wanted the fabric.

sre-dsc05035.jpg

Last week, I was asked if I would decorate a table for our library’s spring brunch.  Sure, I said!  And I knew just what I wanted to do, but that  required making this quilt to be the tablecloth….

It turned out that I didn’t have enough of the Moda Marble to do what I wanted, but luckily I had purchased a bolt of red flannel at Joann’s recently.  Quick to piece, quilt to quilt, and a machine finished binding…

Mom is helping me out with the decorating.  I kind of volunteered her.  She does the same thing to me, so don’t feel too badly for her.

I’ll take pictures on Saturday so I can show you what we are doing for our centerpiece/table decoration.  Any guesses?

I didn’t take a picture, but the back of the quilt uses up a big hunk of a plaid flannel fabric that I’ve had in my stash for….10 years?

This morning I took a pile of quilts to a photographer’s studio and had my picture taken!  She said she’d probably have the proofs online for me on Monday or Tuesday.  I had fun, she says the pictures were looking good, I hope she wasn’t lying to me.    She did some “formal” with just me, and then we did a bunch with the quilts involved as props.  She says I can share the link to my proofs. We’ll have to say if I’m brave enough to do that.  Mostly I did it because I thought it would be kind of fun — I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself, and it will be nice to have some that were taken by someone that knows what she’s doing (as opposed to ones taken by one of the boys…).  Oh, and in which I’m wearing my make-up and my hair looks halfway decent.  (At least I hope it looks OK…)

One thing I learned, as I sat on the floor with my legs crossed funny:  I’m in serious need of some exercising to work on my flexibility.   Ouch.  She did say “At least you aren’t kneeling.”

TTFN-

Suzanne

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Baking or cooking?

I was snoozing this morning and had this tiny epiphany. I was pretty proud of myself for how clever I was, then I remembered that it was really just prompted by something I had read in a recent issue of Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home Magazine. (I know, some of you probably hate his magazine, and this really doesn’t have anything to do with the magazine itself….nor do I offer any comment on the magazine…)

The article was basically this: some quilters are gourmet chefs (they design the whole quilt and they may even create their own fabric via dyeing or painting or whatever…) and then some quilters would rather go out to eat at a fast food restaurant (simple, everything’s handed to them, no thought required). And of course, it’s a spectrum between the two extremes, and sometimes the gourmet chef really just needs a quick night out at the fast food restaurant.

My take on the philosophy was more along the line of thinking about how to design and write pattern instructions. So here goes, (I’m a little worried that once I get this written it won’t sound nearly as fascinating as when I dreamed it up while snoozing…)

Quilting As Baking vs. Quilting As Cooking

When you are baking, you need to follow the quantities and instructions of the recipe pretty closely. If you don’t, you are liable to have baked goods that don’t rise or that taste really horrible. I think some quilters use patterns as if they are baking a cake: they want to be told exactly what to do and how to do it and the quilt they produce will not vary too much from the original.

When you are cooking, though, the recipe can be little more open to interpretation. If you really love garlic, you can throw some more in. If you are trying to cut back on sodium, it’s pretty easy to do so without sacrificing too much taste. And there are some quilters who will use a pattern as if it were a casserole recipe. They would probably like some guidelines, but they have no fear about veering from the instructions and adding their own flavor to the final product.

So there you have it. I suspect one of the tricks to successful pattern writing is striking the right balance between the needs of the two kinds of quilters. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that…

Suzanne

(p.s. I’ve gotten some awesome mail that I need to post about, plus an update on using recyclable shopping bags, plus some other stuff. There, now that I’ve said I’m going to do those things, maybe I’ll actually do them. Y’all have my permission to pester if I don’t do those posts soon…)

edited January 28, 2008 to add:

So I was just looking at my blog stats and was surprised to see that some of my viewers today were coming to me via Mark Lipinski’s blog. I buzzed over there to see how that could possibly be and found that I was included in a list of blogs that were either friend or foe of “the Pickles.”

I wanted to clarify that even though yesterday I didn’t want to comment on what *I* think of the magazine itself, I would qualify myself as a FRIEND. I did subscribe to his blog via my RSS Reader, and I will probably end up subscribing to his magazine, too. I would add, though, that his magazine is quite different from what us quilter’s are used to, and if you are easily offended, his blog and his magazine might not be for you….

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