Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Medallion Progress

Here's a peek at the final border for this medallion quilt. The block is called Corn and Beans. It reminds me of undulating waves. This border will only go on the top and bottom edges to add lenth to the quilt.

I like to select and arrange the light, medium and dark triangles for each block as I go.

A great way to organize all these pieces is with paper plates. I make notes, like measurements and cutting numbers directly on the plates. After laying out the fabric pieces for each block, I stack the plates up for sewing. The pieces stay in place, the stack takes up very little room, and it's easy to carry to the sewing machine.

When I’m finished with one project, I reuse the plates for another. Just be careful if you come to my house for lunch and a bit of sewing. Your sandwich might be served on a plate that’s scribbled with quilt notes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Got Milk?

All I Did Was…

All I did was ask for a gallon of milk--
not for something frivolous, like rain-scented air freshener,
or self indulgent, like chocolate truffles and a dozen roses,
or expensive, like filet mignon when it’s not on sale,
or embarrassing and personal, like panty shields and douche,
or unreasonable, like fresh blueberries in February!

When I saw you reading the flyer from the grocery store,
I didn’t ask you to stock the pantry,
or fill the freezer with meat,
or carry home 50 pound salt blocks for the water softener,
or find the best deal on plastic trash bags,
or search all over town for cardamom spice!

All I did was ask for a gallon of milk,
so the boys could eat cereal for breakfast!
What was it about my request that so annoyed you?
Was it something in my tone of voice,
or that we needed the milk today rather than tomorrow,
or that it was a task I couldn’t do myself,
or maybe it was just that I did the asking?

At any rate, we still need the milk!

© Diane Burdin, 2005

Friday, August 24, 2007

Little Quilters

I've been thinking about the new quilter here and thought he might like to see what another little boy had fun making "once upon a time."

I use this little Froggy Nine Patch as my computer mousepad. My son made it when he was 7 years old. Sewing these nine little squares together on the machine was enough to satisfy any quilting aspirations he might have had. What does he recall from his brief foray into quiltmaking? The frog stitch. That's what you do when you "rip-it."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Baby, you can drive my car."

"Beep-beep 'm beep-beep, YEAH!"

He passed!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007


As a pattern proofreader for Designers' Quarters Magazine, I only work two weeks, every three months. But during that time, I'm focused on checking the accuracy of 10 new quilt designs featured in each issue of the magazine. It's a dream job for a former English teacher and longtime quilter who loves to stay in her pajamas all day!

So for the next couple of weeks, while I'm calculating yardage and double checking measurements, clarifying directions and liberally wielding my red pen, I won't be writing blog posts. Instead, I thought I'd post photos of a quilt I've been working on. It might be fun to watch the progression as I add border after border to a medallion style quilt.

The toile type fabric for the center of the quilt was designed by Jinny Beyer to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage to North America. I bought one yard of the theme fabric in 1992. It sat in a cupboard for years while I collected a variety of "watery" blue prints to accompany it.

Collecting fabrics was not as easy as you might think. For one thing, I'm not particularly fond of blue. The other problem was that shades of color change from year to year in the quilt fabric industry. I had to be patient in order to find turquoise blues in classic prints.

I also had no particular quilt pattern in mind when I bought the toile. Nautically themed blocks like Mariner's Compass, Ocean Waves, and Storm at Sea were obvious choices but wouldn't show off the various scenes in the toile. It wasn't until 2005 when I saw this simple medallion quilt in Designers' Quarters Autumn issue that I figured out how to showcase the Columbus fabric.

The large center square and triangles of this antique medallion quilt (circa 1840-60, owned by Penny McMorris) became my starting point. Follow the next few posts to see how I adapted and changed borders as I went.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Small Quilt Display

A reader named Libby has been following my posts about doll quilts and asked, “Do you have a display of all your doll quilts? I'd love to see how you show/use them.”

Plaid Posies
19" x 22" 
hand appliqued, hand quilted
© Diane Burdin,1991

I’ve never had much luck displaying doll quilts. Those charming groupings and tablescapes you see in magazines and online are inspirational, but as soon as I try to create one, my quilt becomes a magnet for clutter. Jim moves them off the coffee table so he can put his feet up, and guests mistake them for coasters. I get tired of the tug of war we play, shuffling them from one surface to another, so I don’t bother putting small quilts out any more.

There is one spot in the house where I hang a little quilt, occasionally rotating it with another from the collection. I spend enough time in the laundry room to appreciate how they cheer up the surroundings. 

This tulip is a Gwen Marston design. The pattern used to come in a package of Fairfield batting, although, as Gwen herself admits, who needs a pattern? Just cut one from folded paper. I used Roberta Horton woven plaids and stripes, added a saw tooth border and quilted it with my favorite folky fan pattern.

Many of my yard sale finds have ended up in the laundry room too: an old grater, butter paddles, wooden chopping board and cookie press,

clothesline winder, cabbage grater and a towel hook made by my friend Laurie from a silver fork and spoon.

Now, if I could only be that clever with quilt displays!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Excessive Heat Warning

There seems to be an excessive heat advisory all over the country this week. I hope you're all managing to keep cool somehow. Quilting is probably the last thing anyone wants to think about in 90 degree temperatures, but I thought I'd keep posting about doll quilts for the rest of the summer.

I’ve gotten some of my favorite doll quilts from friends. The fun of owning someone else’s work is that the quilt designs and fabrics used might be very different from my own style. There’s also the novelty of owning a finished piece--one which hasn’t languished on my sewing room floor for months or even years.

This little Tumbler was made by Judy Heath, a talented and prolific quilter with whom I worked at our local quilt shop. Many of the fabrics are from the Peppermint and Sassafras line designed by Judie Rothermel in the mid 1990s. It's a charming little piece, measuring only 11" x 12" and covered in buttons that Judy brought back from a trip to Australia.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Story Problem

For 6 days in a row, William wakes up at 7:00 A.M. and walks 1 mile to attend his high school's marching band camp. The band practices marching for 3 hours each morning. They rehearse music for 3 hours each afternoon. Evening practice sessions last 2 ½ hours. Throughout the week in which the average daily temperature is 91 degrees with humidity of 75%, 270 students develop 3 entertaining routines which they will enthusiastically perform during the 2007 football season.
Considering all of these factors, what is the result of a week at band camp?

One very tired kid!