Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sporty Quilt Block

Here's the block that I just sent off to Lisa in the Long Distance Quilting Bee.  She and her husband enjoy watching sports together.

Do you see the two basketballs, the football and the soccer ball?  The basketballs were supposed to be across from each other, diagonally.  That's how I had laid them out before sewing and can't (for the life of me) figure out how they ended up on the same side.  I also can't figure out why I didn't notice it before now, because that's all I can see now!  If this block were still in my possession, I'd be ripping it out right now and fixing it.  It's tough being me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ringed Star

Back in June I mentioned that I'm participating in a Long Distance Quilting Bee.  In August, Valerie (whom I've never met) requested a music-themed block and mentioned that she likes guitars and the color green.  This is what I came up with - a bit busy, but I like it.

I searched Marsha McCloskey's Block Party for inspiration.

On page 89 I found a pattern called Ringed Star, which sounded a lot like Ringo Starr.  Get it?  Ringo 'n' roll.  Anyway, I knew I had to use it, even if it did end up causing me grief.

It's not Marsha's fault that I had trouble.  Her directions and diagrams were really easy to follow.  Everything was progressing nicely until I got to the last seam - which was way off!  

It's really hard to make precise cuts when using templates.  And imprecise cuts lead to wonky blocks.  I have much more success making perfect blocks that are measured with a ruler and cut with a rotary cutter.

The other tricky bit about making this block was to get it the right size.  The diagram of Ringed Star in the book is 2.5" x 2.5" and the templates in the back of the book weren't quite the size that Valerie wanted.  I needed it to be 10" x 10" (including seam allowances), so I calculated for a 9.5" x 9.5" block.  I'm embarrassed to admit that my hubby (whose mantra is "math is power") had to help me with the math.  Here's my math problem for the day:

2.5 x n = 9.5
2.5       = 2.5

n = 3.8

I had to enlarge the small diagram by 380% to get the right size.

Hey, you can bring your math student (child) to this page the next time s/he whines and says, "Why do I have to take algebra!?  I'm never gonna use this stuff in real life!"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

School Kits

My church has an amazing humanitarian aid program that is involved in many efforts to help those in need around the world.  There are lots of kids in the world who don't have the supplies they need for school.  One of the humanitarian projects is to make school kits.  Here's a brief article about some excited kids receiving school supplies in Guatemala.

Over the last ten years, I've enjoyed making a few dozen school kits.  Here's how you do it.  First you need some school supplies.

Then you make some school bags.  Here is a written description of how to make the school bags or go here to find a pattern in pdf format.  Here are some of the bags I made this time.

I made six flowery 'girl' bags.  It was fun and liberating to free-motion the petals and flower center onto the denim background.  I sewed the big petals on first, then the smaller ones over the bigger ones, then sewed the round center over all the the messy edges.  Here's a close up of one of my favorite flowers.

It was more challenging to come up with six 'boy' bags.  I love the lizard but it was too labor intensive.  The soccer ball was fun but I didn't want to mass produce that one either.

I enlisted the help of some superheroes to finish up the rest of the 'boy' bags.

Oh, and if you think I just whipped these up, think again.  In true 'Kathy fashion' the cut (but not sewn) denim bags and school supplies (including 72 spiral bound notebooks) moved with us from California to Tennessee a year ago.  This is the year to finish unfinished business!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kristin and the Chair

This is Kristin.

This is a peak at the chair.
Kristin and I met while working together on a project at church.  We discovered that we had some common interests, like redoing furniture.  I'm the kind that reads extensively about everything and does a thousand projects - in my head.  Kristin's the kind that does a bit of research and then dives in head first.  She's finished a gazillion furniture projects while I've had the same torn-apart half-finished dining table occupying my dining room floor for months.

Now Kristin wants to delve into the adventurous and laborious task of reupholstering.  I've taken a few classes and finished a few pieces, mostly - more about that later.  I'm walking her through what appears to be a simple chair.  I've warned her though that there are lots of surprises when you start to deconstruct even the simplest looking thing.  Click here to read about our adventure so far.  My hands are in many of the photos.  Those hands might be famous one day.  You can say you knew me when.

The dresser below is my favorite "Kristin redo" so far.  She designed it and painted the base coat with Annie Sloan's chalk paint.  Our friend Pamela painted the birds and branches.  These two gals are a force to be reckoned with.


I also thought you should know that Kristin grew up living on prison grounds.  Her dad was a warden.  He wrote this book and I think that's pretty cool.