As the needle bends

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Judy Laquidara’s Star BOM – my way?

I’m still working on getting the badge for Judy’s Star BOM into my sidebar – gotta wait until my Resident Tech Support wakes up to get some advice from him. But that can wait. What can’t is my posting my fabric selections for the BOM, because I now have less than one week to get them sorted out, and I think I need some help. Here’s a picture of what I had gathered before this weekend.


Judy’s version is done in purples and greens. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I began collecting these fabrics around Christmas and have been looking for the proper showcase for them. I know I need to add a couple more fabrics to come up with the requisite 8 fabs for the Star BOM sampler – mostly for the backgrounds – but I’m still a little uncertain which fabrics to use in which position. Here’s Judy’s coloration of the whole design:


All I can say about the design, so far, is WOW. This design is glamorous, exciting, the perfect showcase for beautiful fabrics. But, since Judy uses mostly "reads as solid" fabrics, I am having brain-lock in trying to figure out which of my beautiful fabrics, in need of a showcase, to place in which position.

Fabric 1 – that’s the WOW in her design, and I’m still trying to decide what to use in this spot. I’m torn between a pale cream TOT or the very palest French Blue. Whichever it is, I’ll have to buy it – and whichever I choose, I’m almost guaranteed to not be able to find in the bustling metropolis down the road easily. Harrumph….. Maybe I should just use a tea-dyed muslin… NAH… I don’t think so…

Fabric 2 – the palest lavendar in her design used for setting triangles/background. I’m thinking of using the 3rd fabric from the left for this one. Since I have a bit over 3 yards of that one, quatity is not an issue. But it is a print – a tiny French blue leaf and vine on cream. Does it read as solid enough to use in this area?

Fabric 3 – that’s the medium purple in Judy’s design – used for 1/2 of the ribbon border, sashing, and the narrow framing borders. Hmmmmmm…. Here, I’m thinking of the black with sprigs of green leaves, farthest to the right in the picture.

Fabric 4 – the darkest of Judy’s purples, this one will be a major player in the blocks, the other half of the ribbon border, and the outer border. My biggest dilemma is which of the blacks to use here???? Is the paisley (second from left) too busy to use in the blocks? It is a fairly large scale print but is also a pretty busy one. There’s lots going on in that print. My other choice is to use the black/floral print here, and use the paisley as Fabric 4 in the ribbon border and outer border. But that is also a fairly large scale print. See the reason for my confusion? My mind trying to put prints this big and this bold in the place of "reads as solid" fabrics is causing a total brain-lock in my poor befuddled brain.


Yesterday, I found this fabric, which I absolutely love – but I couldn’t figure out which of the players it should be, so I just resorted to my standard technique… "Give me a yard"… Now that it’s a day later, and the sale is over, the quilt shop is moving, and I’m looking more carefully – I’m thinking I should have gotten 2 or 3 yards, so that I could use it for one of the 3 "major players" – like in place of the medium purple (Fabric 3) but I didn’t… so I guess I should figure it into one of the 4 following:

Fabric 5 – the lime-ish green in Judy’s design…

Fabirc 6 – the darker green in Judy’s design…

Fabric 7 – the paler yellow in Judy’s design… I think I’m going to use the pale gold, fifth from the left, in this spot.

Fabric 8 – the bright yellow/gold in Judy’s design. Here’s where I’m thinking of using the orange, first on the left, in this spot.

So… that leaves the two that were green in Judy’s version for me to "play with." I’m thinking of using the blue floral, above, in Fabric 5’s place, but am at a loss for the other. Since that one is only requires 5/8 yd, I probably have a blue in a batik (dark or medium???), or a green – maybe that’s what it needs – since I’ve already picked up the blues, golds, and oranges, maybe I need to dig through the stash and find a compatible green for the other… But then it’d have to be one that would "play nice" with the blue…

As I am so fond of saying, "So much fabric, so many designs…. SOOOOO LITTLE TIME!"

First I got some advice from Judy L.:

I’m SO not the one to ask. I work almost totally with tone on tones and nearly solids. I am concerned with the prints being too big because in very small pieces, it’s going to end up looking like totally different fabrics, depending on where you’re making the cut. Some of those star points are a bit small and you could end up with a black part in one point and a gold or grayish blue fabric in another point, within the same star. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s just hard for me to comprehend.

I love the colors together but those two larger prints scare me.


Then I solicited some advice, by email, from Tracy:

I’d use your busiest fabric there in the dark purple spot (outer border, ribbon & blocks). The other dark floral print is too loosely spaced, and you run the risk of ending up with an all-black star point and an almost-all gold star point from the same fab.

For the background of the star blocks, I’d choose one of the two lightest shades in the gold/tan/brown flowers in your loose floral print.

What about using the loose floral in the lavendar spot – as the next to outside border and setting triangles? I’m assuming that it is from the same line as the paisley, so it will coordinate well, and because it’s so loose, if it’s not used in fairly large hunks, you could run into the problem I described at first.

You could POP the fabric of the tiny sashings and the inner border (is that orange or red that I see?). Is the background of the star blocks the same as the background of the ribbon border? A pop of orange/red between the dark loose floral and a creamy/goldy/whatever would be sharp.

That takes me to the other part of the ribbon border – if that lighter purple is the same as the ribbon’s surrounding borders, the little triangles at the corners of the blocks AND the tiny sashing strips, then my brilliant idea of orange probably won’t fly, unless you implement a design decision and use a different fab just for that half of the ribbon 🙂 If part of the ribbon is paisley, then the other part can be pretty much any of the darker colors from the print. I’d probably go with the darkest of the blues or greens.

The black and the french blue prints will work well in the stars; if you need two more fabs, I’d pick my favorites (dark gold, persimmon, sage green, whatever) from the print fabrics and you’ve got your pallette.

Hmmm. Is the background of the blocks different from the background of the ribbon? If so, then you can further tie in whatever 2nd color you pick for the ribbon by choosing a really pale version of it.

Don’t worry so much about things reading as solid. What you have laid out looks like 2 prints and 4 solids. Leave the pure solids to the Amish.

Now, about that other fabric that you only bought one yard of? Nope it won’t work. In fact, I’m pretty sure it won’t work for anything that you have or will ever consider. You’d better just save yourself some headache and wrap it up and send it to me.

After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I re-read the email, and I’m pretty sure that I love her suggestions. That “big” loose floral was one that I almost did NOT buy, because of exactly what she described, but it was part of the line and, since I didn’t have a clue when I got the fabrics, what their fate in quilting would be – I got 2 2/3 yd of that one. I’ll have to do some poking around in my stash and figure out which other colors I want to use with these – or which fabrics. I believe that I will be using the orange for the narrow borders and sashing between the blocks… But, the Good Lord knows that I have plenty of time to make that decision before this BOM is done (note to self – check the fabric requirements and pick up some more of that “Fuji Afternoon” while it’s still there :0})

Off to the races for another week.
Thanks for all the comments, advice, and fun!

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July 27, 2008 Posted by | Life and Ramblings, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | 2 Comments

A Very Special Give-Away

Seems like, lately, all I’ve been doing is linking to other folks’ give-aways… But this one is special…

Back during the spring, Nancy, who is "Blogging, Near Philadelphia," was in the midst of a fun weekend, planning some interesting fun with giveaways over Memorial Day Weekend, when life threw her family a curveball. I have followed her journey through the aftermath of her DH’s MI, almost like deja vu, all over again.


My own life’s journey has had some interesting curves in the road, a few hills, and a pothole or twelve. In 1995, we lost my mother to cholangiocarcinoma. She passed away on April 30. During the trip to up home for her funereal, I observed some symptoms in my husband which caused me to insist that he follow up with his cardiologist when we got home. After his heart cath on May 31, he was diagnosed with Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Memories of the following month are a blur – holding his hand while he went through the transplant clinic for the "workup" which is a precursor to being listed for a heart transplant. Asking all the "Why us" questions. Exploring the changes in diet the nutritionist insisted were necessary, much to his chagrin. Asking myself if I would go through the radical lifestyle changes, necessitated by a transplant of any organ – much less a heart – if the shoe were on the other foot! Then on June 30, 1995, 1 week after he was officially listed with UNOS as awaiting a heart transplant from an AB donor, he suffered one of those cardiac dysrhythmias that resulted in a ventricular rupture, my playing paramedic at home – doing CPR on my spouse, and life as I thought I knew it coming to a sudden screeching halt, at the ripe old age of 40.

To make a long story shorter, life is indeed full of interesting twists, and today finds me married to my childhood sweetheart – my first husband, from whom I’d been divorced for 17 years when we re-met, fell in love all over again, and re-married. And that is the man whose health challenges are now twisting my stomach. But this story isn’t about me, or him…. It’s about Nancy. It’s a celebration of the fact that she has gotten far enough beyond the paralysis that comes with suddenly, inescapably being forced to face the mortality of the person whose breath means as much to us as our own.

Nancy’s give-away is to celebrate her 500th blog post. She is offering 5 "prize packages" – one for each 100 posts on her blog. Something that I think is a novel way to celebrate. So, please, go to her blog (if you are a quilter, or wannabe a quilter) and make the difficult decision of which of the prize packages speaks to your quilty being… And leave a comment telling her which "hat" to toss your name in.

At any rate, Nancy, I salute your courage, and the evidence of your coming to grips with the fact that today is all that God has promised any of us. And the reminder to each of us to make the most of each and every one of those "todays!"

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Life and Ramblings, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | 1 Comment

Christmas in July Give-away


Lyn at Bluebird Quilts blog is having a "Christmas in July" giveaway. To be entered, all you have to do is go to the blog and leave a comment about your favorite Christmas memory. That should be easy enough, and reading the comments others have left is interesting, as well!

Cutoff time for entering is noon on Friday, July 25, HER time – and since I believe she’s in Australia, don’t dawdle. Click your way over to her blog and share those memories NOW!

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Life and Ramblings, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | , | 1 Comment

And the winning combination is…..

I will not take credit for being a color genius or inspired, or even lucky, with this quilt (especially since I still have to launder some of the fabrics – the water pressure in our subdivision, out here in Sticksville, was down to a bare trickle when I first got home last night, which was all that was required for me to turn into a couch potato)… As I considered different combinations, I sent pictures to my friend Margie, the maker of the quilt at the beginning of the post, "Next on the Quilty Agenda?" She graciously consulted with the lady who taught the class in which she made her quilt, and together – they decided that the following combination/order will work best for the design.


They were even gracious enough to number the fabrics for me (which is more than I was able to do successfully in this blog post)- the quilt pattern numbers the fabrics, then combines the numbers on a key into 10 different combinations, which are put together in the precribed order, to create the diamonds on the quilt top, sort of like a bargello quilt, only completely different. <VBG>


It seems that, in my "over-thinking" the order of the combination, I had strayed away from the original idea – which is, basically, to create a pool of ever-deepening warm color, surrounded by the darker/cool bands. In the original in the book from whence this pattern hails, Traditions with a Twist by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone, I noticed that the deeper bands of color almost blend together into a hollow diamond which softly demarcates from the warm color on one side, and sharply on the other side. Anyway, the experts have spoken, and my first inclination, after removing the lovely lavender (which will find a home somewhere else, but not in this quilt) was correct after all. So, if I can get the fabric laundered and pressed, I will be able to start cutting, and creating strip sets this coming weekend. But, the dreaded "planning" phase is over – and I must trust my instincts, after they were endorsed by the experts <VBG>

Thanks Margie… Thanks Rheba!

July 10, 2008 Posted by | 14739, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | 2 Comments

Next on the Quilty Agenda?

Now that I’ve recovered from the shock of getting the "Beauty and the Beast" piece to the flimsy stage, and the challenge completed, my mind has been bouncing from trying some of the blocks in the Quilt Mavens Perfect Paper Piecing book that I received as my prize, and starting a completely different project.

I’ve always absolutely loved the designs in Navaho (and other Native American designs) blankets and rugs – the first scarf I knit was done in an ombre yarn that made diamond patterns with a simple garter stitch, and the first afghans that I crocheted were ripple stitches with variegated yarns creating the intriguing diamond shapes. I can’t explain it – I guess it’s something that speaks to my soul – but it’s the same uplifting inner feeling I get when I cross into the plains, riddled with hills, ravines and mesas, of my native "Big Country" portion of Texas.


So when my long-distance quilting buddy, Margie in Arkansas, sent me this picture of her recently completed Zuni quilt top, I was hooked. The pattern is from "Traditions with a Twist" by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone – the book I always associated with the Blooming Nine Patch quilts that were all the rage in my part of Texas a couple of years ago. There is so much more in that book!!!! After my brain got an image of Margie’s beautiful version of "Zuni" imprinted on it, I was compelled to start collecting fabrics to make my own version. Now, a month later, I am almost ready to start cutting. Well, first I have to wash all those pesky fabrics I’ve collected – since most are batiks, I DO recommend washing because there is SOOOO much dye in the richly color-saturated fabrics, and most were bought specifically for this project, as I don’t normally get large enough pieces for my stash to "shop my stash" for this quilt. But, never fear, I did get a "little something extra" of most of them, in order to add these to my NYB ’scrap’ stash.

The dilemma now is deciding the order in which to number these fabrics. You see, that’s the secret to Blanche and Dalene’s quilts – they use strip sets, and each fabrics place in the "pecking order" determines where they will appear in the quilt. I have learned that taking a picture of the fabrics together sometimes helps a lot.

This is my first combination:


I liked each of the fabrics – but together, something is just so wrong. So… Out with the lovely lavender hand-spray.

Second try:


Out with the lavender… In with a lively yellow, and black. Reminds me of a Texas sunrise – or sunset :0) But seems like it’s too "blendy?" I think I need to move them around where there is more contrast between each fabric and its neighbor – after all, that’s what will form the outline of the diamonds.

Another try:


I think I like this one best. There are still other combinations to try. Now that I’m looking at these in a line in this blog post, I’m thinking that, perhaps, the solid yellow along with the yellow-orange should move to the left. Allllll the way to the left. That would place the yellow next to the black – it’s hard to get much more contrast than that, which should make those diamonds absolutely POP out of the quilt. Whoa…. Calm down Bobbie… There are other combinations to try. Maybe you should get professional help – maybe those "professionals" in white coats with butterfly nets. It’s JUST fabric… It’s JUST another "UFO" – but somehow, this one seems so different. It seems like this one wants to be made so badly that it’ll finish itself :0) That would be, as Martha says, "A VERY good thing!"

P.S. Suggestions for color arrangements are greatly appreciated. Once I start cutting, I’ll remove this line, so you won’t waste your "breath!"


After Tracy’s comments sunk in, and I started considering the placement of warm colors and cool colors, which I had totally ignored before, I came up with this possibility:


Not only does it better alternate the warm and cool colors, it also seperates the 2 most intense ones – I think that might be another "Martha-ism" – VERY good thing!

July 6, 2008 Posted by | 14739, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | 4 Comments