Monday, January 23, 2012

Quilt Math and Updates

Quilt Math?  Quilt MATH?  Yes, math.  You may or may not know that one of the many hats I have worn in the course of my life is High School Math teacher.  I have always loved math and quilting has a ton of mathematical applications. For example, if you want to make half square triangles where the finished square size is 2 ½ ", your initial square should be cut at 3 ⅜".   You have to add ⅞" to your finished square size.  Or, have you ever given thought to the fact that when piecing a quilt with a finished size of 80" X 80" if your seam allowances are off by ⅛"  your quilt will be 8" short!  Yep, quilt math is everywhere.  Now, fortunately, we really don't have to delve into the math unless we really want to- especially with the Internet to give us templates and answer all our quilty math questions- so why talk about it here? Well, my good friend and quilty buddy Michelle once told me that she no longer bought fat quarters but instead bought ⅓ yard cuts.  She does this because of the price of those fat quarters.  Well, that's been stewing in the back of my mind for a while now and so I finally sat down and did the math...

A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric which measures
18" x 22". 


They came into being when some smart person realized that buying a ¼ yard of fabric

was too narrow to work with but buying more than a ¼ yard was too much.  So, now you can buy fat quarters at any quilt shop, in any fabric and most shops are willing to cut you a fat quarter from the bolt if you can't find one already cut.  Smart, right?  Well, that depends on how you look at it.

Here's the thing... Most fabric is going for about $10/yard these days.  So if you were to buy a ¼ yard you would spend $2.50.  But if you buy that FAT quarter yard-- they sell anywhere between $3.50 and $4.50 EACH!  If you pay $3.50 for the fat quarter you are paying $14 a yard for that fabric; $18.50 at $4.50 each!! And, if you ask the shop to cut you a fat quarter you still pay fat quarter prices.

Now as I was doing my mental calisthenics to justify buying those cute little fat quarters ('cause let's face's our version of baseball cards or shot glasses) I thought: "Well, they have to pay someone to cut the fabric..." but they have to cut the fabric anyway and that is calculated into the price of the fabric already. Hmmm, "Well, they have to display, they have to turn on lights, they have to make SOME kind of profit..."  But, no. All that is already calculated into the price of the fabric.

Now a little more math...

Based on a 44" wide fabric (that we all know is actually 42" because of the selveges):

The fat quarter has an area of 396 in² (18X22) as does the ¼ yard cut (9X44).

A ⅓ yard cut of fabric has an area of 528 in² (12X44).

(⅓, ¼, fat ¼)

But a fat quarter is probably gonna cost you $3.75 - $4.00 where a ⅓ yard cut is gonna cost you $3.34 ($10 ÷ 0.33333). So, for a few cents LESS you get 132 in² MORE in fabric!  Of course, it can be more convenient if you find what you are looking for already cut into a fat quarter but I RARELY go into a shop and not buy something off a bolt so I'm gonna be spending some quality time standing at the cutting table anyway.

So, the moral of the story: Buy a ⅓ yard cut and make your fabric $$ go farther!

Well, that's the end of that quilt math for the updates!

Remember Boo!.  Well, the piecing is DONE!  Here's the top:

Isn't it great!  I love how well all the joints came together!
Now, In October of 2010 I made this pattern called A "Door" a Doodle.  It's a kit by  The Whole Country Caboodle and it has separate little panel kits that you hang on the door quilt.

The date was not part of the original design but I didn't want that empty field so I added the date. I made another one that I gave away as a gift so now instead of making one panel for my "Door" a Doodle I make two.  Of course, the panels are part of the New Project Lists which means I am behind... no great shock there!  Anyway, I decided with the new year I want to get on top of it so...

Here is winter's Snowman A "Door" a Doodle (both of them)

They are constructed with Heat and Bond Lite and then machine appliqued. A little trick when using any fusible...  I hollow out the fusible so that it is only applied to the edges of the appliqued piece.  It keeps the project from getting stiff.  Here is a pic of the scarf the snowmen are wearing as an example

See how the fusible is only on the edges?

I also did the Heart A "Door" a Doodle as well!

Now to get them quilted and bound and on the door! :-)

Well my friends, thanks for visiting with me today.  I really enjoy seeing your comments here on my blog so feel free to leave a post.

Take care and until we meet again,

Happy Quilting!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Phoenix Shops

Today I write to you from Phoenix, Arizona.  My hubby, Dave, and I took the little (15 hour) road trip up to visit with Dave's dad while Dave's mom is away visiting Dave's sister...boy that's a bit convoluted :)  Of course the men immediately hit the golf links first thing in the morning so I had to find a way to entertain myself.  What better way then to go on my own personal shop hop?  Armed with a Google list of shops and my trusty GPS I headed out. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Phoenix area, it's a bit sprawled out and consists of a LOT of little towns.  I figured I'd start with the shops farthest away and hop my way back toward home.

First up,

Cutting Edge Quilts is in Chandler, AZ and has a great location; lots of restaurants and little shops in the historic district.  Although the fabric selection was a little limited the folks were very friendly. By the way...In case you're wondering, that's Kilo (short for Kilometer) and he travels with me wherever I go. He doesn't mind having his picture taken so you'll find him in almost all of my pictures.
From Chandler, I headed to Tempe, AZ to

This is another small shop with friendly staff. 
However, the reason I traveled the hour south to these two shops was because of the third one...

Yep, you are reading that right...3 Dudes Quilting.  Now, as you probably know, the quilting world, until the last decade or so, has been a woman's world.  Of course, times have changed and you read about a lot of different men who have not only entered the quilting world but are very successful at it. I couldn't wait to see what these 3 Dudes had to offer.  It was a nice shop with great fabric selection. You know how when you go into a quilt shop the shop has taken on the personality of the owners?  Well, this shop was no exception.  Many shops have that comfy, quilty, homey know what I'm talking about.  This shop had a decidedly "business" atmosphere.  The 2 Dudes that were working in the shop were knowledgeable and helpful and provided great customer service in a very professional manner.  Everything from the layout of the store to the advice and instructions were efficient and logical.  I really liked the shop but it definitely had a different feel to it. 

The Bernina Connection is in Phoenix and a little deceiving when you first go in.  At first glance it seems small but as you move to the back of the store you realize it's bigger than it appears.

Now one of my favorite shops on this private hop was

 This shop was so nice that I took pictures of the inside

Isn't this a great shop!  Lots of fabric and tools without over-crowding and lots of LIGHT all which makes it easy to see everything. 

Not to be out done, there is the

Also in Phoenix, I have been to this shop a few times but it was in a different location and was very overcrowded which made it hard to see everything.  Now they are in this new location and what a difference!  Here's a picture of the inside...

Now it's not the best picture (all of these hop pics were taken with my iPhone) but believe me when I say it's huge! Definitely a shop to meet all your needs...they offer the usual fare...fabric, batting, thread, well as sewing machine sales and repairs, cabinets and mid-arm machines.  Excellent!

By the time I hit the Quilter's Bee, in Peoria AZ, it was getting a little late in the day and I was getting tired so it was a quick trip in and out.  Nice shop though.  Here's a shot of the inside...

They were very helpful and welcoming in spite of the fact that they were swamped! You can't see the other 10 or so people at the back of the store or the 4 standing in line at the register!

Last but not least...

So, I hit Sun Valley Quilts, Sun City, AZ, at 3:50 pm.  The shop closes at 4 pm so I am sure that the employees were ready to go home. But, one of my pet peeves is any business that advertises a closing time and then gets irritated when customers come in a few minutes before that time.  In fact, this shop turned their sign from 'open' to 'closed' at 3:55 and was noticeably upset when a customer walked in at 3:57 (all these times were by my iPhone...maybe their clock was set differently).  In any case, why get upset at a paying customer?  It's a nice shop with a pretty good selection of fabrics and in it's defense when I've been there before (in the middle of shop hours) they are helpful though not overtly friendly.

So, that was my own personal shop hop and here's what I have to show for it....

Now, you are probably wondering what all the plaids are about... I'm adding them to my stash because it is getting really hard to find them.  I like them and I hate that they are getting so hard to find!

In case you are wondering, here are the stats of that hop.... 119 miles, 7 shops, 31 items purchased.  I won't put down the dollars spent in case my husband decides to check out my blog :-0

Okay, so that was Saturday and while this is getting a little long I want to quickly share my progress on my UFOs...

Last time we met I had started the Civil War BOM and finished the 18' block.  I now have the 12" block done as well so month 1 is complete!  I contemplated working on month 2 but decided to change it up a bit so I pulled out a halloween quilt that I started last summer (but bought about 5 years ago) while staying at my BFF Brenda's house (Brenda is a non-quilter and cannot understand my obsession with all things quilting but nobody is perfect).  This quilt is called Boo! and is a Pieces from the Heart pattern. These are the all the blocks and I got them all done during the month I was visiting with her:

  The centers are fussy cut from a panel fabric with the exception of the witches hat block which I hand-embroidered.  Lots of 1 ½ inch squares!  Next step is the sashing

I've started constructing the rows but failed to take pics :-( Oh well, you know I'll be posting the finished project.  My other project that I have been working on is my "travel" project. This is a hand project that I take with me wherever I go. 

This is a finished block. There are NINE of these and I have finished two. Sorry, I probably should have ironed it before the picture but I hate ironing :p

Here is the block in progress..

The quilt is called Antique Rose and was designed by Robert Callaham and featured in McCall's Quilting Jan/Feb 2010 issue.  It's only 2012 so it's a relatively new project for me LOL.  I'm using a template free technique that I really like.  In fact, until I learned this technique I really hated to do hand-applique.  I have been inspired to bring this quilt and get-'er-done because my mom started it in November and already is as far along as I am!  Yikes!

Well, I guess this post is a little long so I'll close for now.  Please leave your comments and/or sign up to follow my blog.  I love seeing the comments and many of you are posting them to my FB page but I'd love to see them here!

Keep on Quilting!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

And SEW it begins...

Well, I've done it!  I have the list- or should I say "lists"- all ready.  As I was putting everything together for this post I decided that I really needed FOUR lists:
  • NEW PROJECTS:  These are the projects that I have bought all the fabric and other materials needed to make the quilt but have yet to start.
  • PIECING. These are projects where I have started to piece, but have not yet finished the top.
  • LONGARM. Projects that are ready for the longarm but haven't yet made it there.
  • BINDING. Pieced, quilted and ready for binding.  (Did I mention I really hate binding?)
So if you want to feel better about your UFO list, just check mine out by clicking on the links to the right.

Now, I thought I should share a few pics.

 First up is my work space. 

This was taken from the door of the room.

See my rulers hanging on the wall? 
 I painted and put that peg board up myself :)

So, the quilt on the design wall... well that's the first UFO I'm tackling.
I started this quilt in Altus, Oklahoma in October 2003.  Yes...2003!
It's called "Home for the Holidays" and was published in the
Holiday 2003 issue of Quilting for Christmas.
When I took this one out of it's storage bin I had three of these blocks done.

I picked it up again in early December and got this far...

Then, Last night I stayed up 'til 4 am and FINSIHED!


So, this leaves the PIECING list and is now on the LONGARM list.

But why stop there? 
I decided to keep up my momentum and start another project.

The Civil War Tribute Quilt is next up.  This was a Block of the Month (BOM) by Homestead Hearth.  I've had all 12 blocks for about 6 months (maybe more)and not a single one started! So....

Month One:  Shots at Fort Sumter

 Month 1 has two blocks that are the same but different sizes...
one is an 18" finished block
while the other is a 12" finished block. 

This is the 18" block...Still have the 12" block to do.
I was really excited about how great the block went together.
 Managed to keep all my points and joints!

Well, that's all I've gotten done since the last time we chatted.  Hope you'll stop by again!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome and Hello


It's the start of a new year and of course with that comes the ever-present- though rarely-accomplished- new year resolutions.  I have the usual know: lose weight, be more organized, be a better wife/mother/friend/daughter. You get the picture.  As a quilter addicted to starting projects but not quite as committed to finishing them, one of my primary resolutions is to tackle all those pesky and dreaded quilting UFOs...the UnFinshed Objects. Now, included in this list are the projects for which all the materials have been purchased and are in some sort of container waiting to see the light of my Gammill Optimum Plus Longarm...Yes, I have a Gammill, but I digress.  I plan to screw up the courage to post the list to this blog and then- hopefully-show my progress as I work on and complete them.  Now, let's be honest...all of us quilters have at least a few UFOs out there in our quilting universe but I think I may be pushing the boundaries just a wee bit.  Maybe by posting the list here online where the (quilting) world can see it will give me the accountability I need to get these babies done.  One can only try, right? 

Well, stay tuned...the list is in progress and with any luck at all I'll figure out how to post it here along with some pictures :-)