Woodn’t You Love This Quilt?

This is the first half of the center of my autumn nine-patch quilt sewn together.

I cut my teeth on quilting how-to books with Wiley Publishing, the folks who did my Teach Yourself Visually Quilting book and its companion, Visual Quick Tips Quilting. It was a great way to learn, and great folks to work with as well.

For consistency and probably to maintain good contrast, Wiley insisted that everything be photographed against a white background. My photographer brought a number of foam core boards to my house, where we took the pictures, and they worked just fine.

I wrote here the other day about one of my newfound loves, my Epson printer, which does a great job of scanning the smaller pieces of a quilt in a state of becoming. I’m working on a new quilt, part of which is pictured here, that’s one of four that will be featured in my newest pattern book. Now it’s too big to fit in my Epson any more.

Which brings me, believe it or not, to the hardwood floors in my living room.

My husband installed them last year, pre-finished oak. We love them. And I’ve discovered they make a great background for many of my quilts.

This particular spot on the living room floor is near the windows that look to the southwest so on a sunny day like today, I get a lot of reflected light.

And I love the warm color of the wood.

Besides, it’s my book and if I want to use a non-white background, I get to make the rules. As long as readers understand what I want them to see in my images, that’s what matters.

Getting to Know My Epson

Use your scanner to create images of your small pieces instead of a camera

I have a (now older) Canon PowerShot S5 with which I take just about every image in this publication. The camera definitely has some limitations but I’ve learned my way around those I can learn my way around so we rub along reasonably well together.

But one of those limitations makes me crazy when I’m taking pictures of quilts-in-progress for upcoming books. As well as this little camera does with outdoor shots, it’s pretty awful when in comes to handling the lower light indoors.

And that, of course, is where I make my quilts.

That’s where my Epson printer/scanner/copier comes in.

I gotta tell you, back when scanning technology first took its place in the world of desktop publishing, it was one finicky, expensive process. There was no way most individuals could afford the machines you needed to get color just right, to control lighting, to compensate for moire patterns. You needed high-end electronics and experts to run them.

Which is why I appreciate the scanning capabilities of my Epson. The images I get from this $207 machine rival those that used to come from the bigger machines. So now, instead of fussing and fuming over over lighting—too dark, too much glare, too dim—I take the smaller pieces of my quilts-in-the-making, lay them on the glass of this machine, sit at my computer and voila, great images.

If they made quilt-sized scanners, I’d be tempted to eliminate camera work all together.

Some technological advances are worth applauding.

Ironing Woman

After the pre-wash comes the ironing

Years ago, I had a friend who referred to irons as “slave tools.” And back then, faced with piles of shirts, skirts, pants and blouses that wrinkled when you looked at them, that was probably an appropriate description.

But nowadays, I avoid ironing clothes as much as possible. However, my iron is one of the most important tools in my quilting arsenal. So I don’t iron any less. If anything, I iron more.

I’ve been working through my stash, washing the big pieces to get rid of the stiff sizing stuff that manufacturers put in cloth. Consequently, I’ve been ironing all of this fabric as I put it away. It’s been a long slog.  But there is a silver lining here, of sorts.

Like most quilters, I often forget what I have in my stash because when you open the door to find something, you’re always seeing what you saw the last time you looked. It’s one of those familiarity-breeds-contempt things. Or, to be more accurate, it’s one of those familiarity-breeds-familiarity things. After a while, you can’t see what you have with fresh eyes.

But when you iron a piece of cloth, you have to really look at it. Consequently, my head is now buzzing with design ideas that I want to plunge into RIGHT NOW!

Who woulda ever thunk that ironing would become a meditative design tool?

At Least There Are Eight

Quilt designer Freddie Moran believes that red is a neutral color. This block was done in her color style.

Between dealing with the flu and my husband’s medical issues, the winter was tough around here, very tough. As John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

My plans for this month included making a quilt to meet the annual challenge in my main guild, Northern Lights, as well as creating twelve of these bright house blocks based on the color scheme of designer Freddie Moran.

I had completed eight of the twelve I’ve promised to make in January when all hell broke loose around here. Then the flu pushed my plans for the challenge quilt back. So today, I still have four of these blocks to make.

But I am surely grateful that eight of them are done. Gettin’ twelve done today would never get got. Or something to that effect. (I think I’ve been infected by the Southern phoniness of the Repug Prez candidates.)

Whew, gotta go sew.