Monday, October 18, 2010

Old Windmill quilt block

I've just finished the latest quilt block calculator - Old Windmill - which is entirely half square triangle units. You have the option of making the units with squares or using a right triangle ruler to cut them from strips. Once I learned how to use the right triangle rulers, I was hooked. You no longer have to figure out the weird seam allowances - just add 1/2 inch, cut a strip and cut out triangles.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things I learned about quilting

Quilters are probably always learning of new ways to do things, at least new to them and here are some things I've learned that have helped me tons...

Sandwiching and quilting: A guest on Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts (whose name escapes me now) showed how to sandwich a quilt smoothing the seams, borders and blocks square, pushing excess to middle. The quilting will take up the slack and your quilt will be square, and hang better.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quilt block calculators

Block calculators up and running...
  1. Jewel Box: block, quilt
  2. Ribbon Star: block, quilt
  3. Four Square New!: block, quilt, potholders
  4. Dancing Pinwheel (a.k.a.Trailing Star, Mosaic, Mosaic #1, Old Poinsetta and Spinning Stars: block
  5. Balkan Puzzle: block, quilt
  6. Half Square Triangles: block
  7. Four Patch: block
  8. Starflower: block
  9. Ohio Star: block
  10. Quarter Square Triangle: block
  11. Clay's Choice New!: block
  12. Jacob's Ladder New!: block
  13. Nine Patch: block
  14. Nine to Four: block
  15. Eight Point Design New!: block
While doing research on the history of different quilt blocks, I found a website (Hart Cottage Quilts) that shows some copies of quilting publications from the early 1900's. It's fun to look up these things and actually see old documents and I hope to find more.

Have a Great Day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back to making quilt block pattern calculators

I've recently started to create quilt block pattern calculators again. They can be found at

I started making them in 2008 mostly for myself to resize quilt blocks and layouts and have the instructions be changed accordingly. I can't tell you how many times I've had to re-figure the math on a quilt I'd let set too long.

The calculators are block and quilt layout specific so you don't have to do much more than choose a finished size and how many blocks you want to make. Once done you don't even have to remember how to put the blocks together or in the case of quilt layouts, figure out how much border, backing, backing and binding you'll need to finish.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slipped and covered

While organinzing the other day I ran across a booklet by the Singer Company, "How to Make Slip Covers", from 1961. It caught me at a weak moment and I decided to try doing a simple slipper type chair. Two days later -->

As far as I can tell, fitted slip covers use more or less the same amount of fabric as re-upholstering, the advantage being they can be removed and washed. While I wouldn't say that making a slip cover is for the faint of heart - mistakes can be costly - it's certainly doable with some sewing skills and plenty of time. I thought the booklet helped understand the process much better than the patterns you can buy.

Looking around, I now have thoughts of "covering" 5 more chairs and 2 couches. First I have a some hemming and a zipper to install. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keeping warm

I think if I could figure out how, I'd stay indoors all winter long. I'm fine with admiring the snow through the windows but our alaskan husky isn't cooperating. He hasn't learned to use the toilet and loves the snow. I'm doomed!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ABC Quilts (At Risk Babies & Children's Quilts)

What ABC Quilts are...
ABC Quilts (At Risk Babies & Children's Quilts) was founded in 1988 by Ellen Ahlgren, to give love and comfort to at-risk babies in the form of handmade quilts, and to use this process to promote awareness, community service and prevention education. "At-risk" was defined as those babies born HIV-positive, affected by their mother's drug or alcohol abuse while pregnant, or abandoned. The international network of volunteers has delivered over half a million quilts since ABC Quilts was founded. American Mothers became involved with ABC Quilts in 1992, when its founder, Ellen Ahlgren was named the New Hampshire Mother of the year. In 2006, American Mothers adopted ABC Quilts as a National Project. Quilts are made and donated by people of all ages, and all skill levels. The completed quilts are distributed to local hospitals and agencies that deal with babies and children at risk. --American Mothers, Inc.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chain email

Normally I'd avoid chain emails like crazy, but this one was a doozy. The letter is funny enough on it's own, but from the first "incident" I thought this just exactly something the DH would do. Please put the beverage down before reading ;)

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. Yesterday mydear wife received the following letter from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Samuel, Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Samuel, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1.June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2.July 2:
Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3.July 7:
He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4.July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.

5.August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

6.August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7.August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8.August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9.September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10.September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11.October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12.October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13.October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14.October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'

And last, but certainly not least:

15.October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.

If you don't send this to 12 of your dearest friends, your property taxes will go up, your stocks will go down, and your middle will spread. (How's that for a curse?!?) What? It's already come true? Then send it anyway--you've got nothin' to lose!

As it turns out the DH has performed a couple of these antics.