Friday, February 24, 2012

Robots Welcome!

Well, maybe not welcome, but you don't have to prove you aren't one in order to leave a comment!

As you can see, I have most of the Rocky Mountain Christmas (aka Smoky Mountain Stars) flimsy assembled. I am down to borders and wondering if I want to square up all of the little bonus HSTs created in the making of this quilt and slip them in between two of the cranberry colored borders. They are 1 1/2" unfinished. What do you think? I've put the few I have finished on opposite sides of the quilt in different layouts. The original pattern has the two plain borders.
Squaring up all of these little HSTs is not fun, I don't know about you, but on the tiny blocks like this the seam just seems to make a teeter-totter out of the ruler and it is so hard to hold it stable. I'm okay on the larger blocks--the bigger surface area allows more contact, or something. I had seen the Bloc-Loc rulers online before, and it seemed that they would solve the problem. Sandi has posted about them on her blog here, and I thought it was something I wanted to try. Then Bonnie posted about it here. There is a channel cut into them that you place over the center seam. It does kind of lock in place and make the job much easier.
They are kind of pricey for such little things and then to pay shipping besides, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. But when I started considering doing all of these little HST I knew I would be playing teeter-totter again. So I was excited to find that my LQS now carries the Bloc-Loc rulers. They are still pricey, but at least I avoided shipping!

I have had fun playing with my new toy (I have GOT to choose a name!) this week and got my version of Pink Lemonade quilted.

I've played with the name for this one and "Flies in the Mustard" is settling in, I think. I used the Handi Quilter 2" clamshell template to do this. There is a learning curve to get used to it. Masking tape helped hold it securely in place. If you look closely you will see some misshapen shells in the finished product, but I think if you aren't looking for them they don't jump out at you. I unpicked the worst ones, but there are some that I am leaving in place.

Some fun mail lately--I got this LOVELY PURPLE PLAID cotton shirt from Doniene at Now It's Just Quilts blog. What a treat. She knows I am making The Farmer's Wife from plaid shirts and she knows I love purple. Oh, I love this fabric. Thanks again, Doniene. I owe you one!

Then Randy at Barrister's Block blog generously DONATED (she said dumped, but I don't consider this a dump) half of her Christmas scraps to my second set of the FW blocks which I am making in Christmas scraps. This is more than scraps, Randy--this is a prize package! I owe you, too.
Finally, I know many of you follow Judy L. over at Patchwork Times, so you have probably seen this new book. I have her Weekend Quilts book and I think it was her clever border treatments that really drew me in. So when I saw that she had a book devoted to borders I immediately put it on my Amazon wishlist. I checked local shops, but couldn't find it, so I finally ordered. Got it today and it is a great source for border inspiration! It includes 15 quilt patterns, which in and of themselves are fun layouts. But each quilt is paired with 4 different border options. The title doesn't lie--60 borders in all! How cool is that? And there are instructions on how to adapt the borders to any quilts. Judy uses primarily bright tone-on-tone prints for her quilts. Those are not my fabrics of choice, but lets face it--a beautiful quilt is a beautiful quilt, no matter your fabric preferences, and Judy makes beautiful quilts made all the more beautiful by her creative borders. This is a keeper! Check it out! No affiliation, I just appreciate a job well done!
Lots of random stuff in this post. If you stayed with me, thanks! 
Until next time, 
Janet O.


  1. I love your Smokey Mountain Stars, Janet! It's awesome! And I do love the hst borders you are deciding on.....both are great, can't decide which one is better!

    Your clamshell quilting is beautiful! It really adds a lot to that little quilt!

    And that book sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Wow! Lots and lots!
    Love the mustard and currant jam with flies! lol The quilting looks gooooood!
    If you don't want to trim those little HSTs, you might like to set them together to make a diagonal pattern, like I just did with my kid's pioneer quilt. I did not trim a one of those and believe me, they were NOT all the same size (I'd say a quarter inch difference among them!) I trimmed it after they were all sewn together in a row! You don't have any points to worry about with that way either! : p
    Nice border book, too!
    My latest favorite border is the one Bonnie H used on her Midnight Flight quilt. Mmmmmmm.

  3. Did you order the book from Judy L and have her sign it? I like your clam shells. Did the machine jump the template or just slip off? The quilting looks good on the Flies in the Mustard quilt. Nice squishies you received too. Looks like you've had a good week.

  4. I love the hst on the left I think it will be worth doing! thanks for letting us know about the book I was thinking about that book. Lucky you , Randy was generous and I can't wait to see more blocks made with Christmas fabrics. I normally don't collect themed fabrics but lately I have been....
    maybe dangerous
    have a great weekend

  5. forgot to say love your clamshell quilting on the pink lemonade quilt
    I love clamshells on these little quilts!

  6. Great post and I must comment on the fab clamshells on that cute little quilt! Well done YOU!!!

  7. I love both quilts! The HSTs do look good in the border, but it will look great even if you decide not to use them. I kind of sounds like you are going to use them though. Love the clamshells too and the name of your little quilt - flies in the mustard - too cute! I wonder if the clamshells template would work on a regular sewing machine. I might want to check that out.

  8. The stars look wonderful. I do love this pattern. You have more patience than I do for squaring up those small one---they do look good on the quilt.Love your surprise packages, wonderful fabric to play with.

  9. I like the HST border but know it is a pain to trim up.
    But hey, you got that new ruler and a new border book, so it's kind of "meant to be"!
    Love that I don't have to prove I'm not a robot!

  10. Love your Rocky Mountain Stars...I'm definitely putting that on my "to-do" list. That little clamshell quilting is perfect for that mini too!

  11. I watched the Bloc-Loc video. Interesting. Then I looked at the prices. They are a bit hard on the budget. I find that I don't use many quilting gadgets even though I have purchased a bunch. Keep us informed if you keep using it and think it is really worth the money.

  12. Rocky Mountain Christmas looks beautiful! You are very patient to consider working with the leftover HSTs. How generous of Randy to "dump" her Christmas fabrics on you - one quilter's trash is another quilter's treasure. Judy's border book is on my wish list to buy some day, too. I think you're too hard on yourself about your clamshell quilting - it looks great!

  13. Minority view here: I do not think those HSTs add a THING to that great quilt; in fact, I think they detract from the wonderful center.

  14. I'm thinking about making a pillow cover with all my little HSTs... sounds like a lot of work to square up all those puppies... but you go right ahead. :)

    The clam shell quiling is gorgeous... so glad you're enjoying your new toy!

    Thanks for the recommendation for the book on pieced borders... I'll have to check it out!

  15. love your quilt & while it be a little time consuming, the added charm of the HST borders would be great!

    Your quilt names are so fun too!

  16. Love your quilt - and I always like a pieced border - my pick is the layout on the left side. Great job on your clamshells as well! And looking forward to seeing more FW blocks with your great new fabrics!

  17. Flies in the mustard, huh?! What a riot! I love that you can use templates with the new toy. I inquired about using them with my Bernina and was advised not to. boohoo. The clamshells look great and I always prefer a little imperfection in the quilting.

  18. An interesting post Janet :-) Love your quilt - and I like the left hand side border too - if you have the gadget to help, I say go for it :-). Good to see you having fun with your new friend - the clamshells are perfect on the little quilt.

  19. I think using the HSTs is a natural choice with this quilt. They belong in it anyway as far as the colour combinations are concerned.

    I know how annoying the wobbles are when trying to trim the HSTs. I've sometimes looked at those special rulers, but like you, I haven't bothered with them because of the cost. So I almost always press diagonal seams open - that reduces the wobbles a lot as well. And since the quilting I use will be overall, or continuous curve, the open seam won't be an issue later on.

    Another thing I do to deal with the tedium of trimming hundreds of tiny blocks is to save the task for when I get together with my quilt group. It's a mindless job that is made bearable by the wonderful conversation (and food and drink). Before you know it, three hours and a couple of hundred triangles have gone by :)

  20. You are most popular!!! Love the pink lemonade/clam shell!! Okay, Okay, I AM going to learn to machine quilt - I'll start with some small ones!! The book looks interesting - might check it out through the library. Looking forward to see what you do with it!! The Christmas fabrics are wonderful - I see you will have plenty for a while!! I do like the angel/harp/music piece - very interesting and love the colors! You don't "owe" me for the shirt! It was in my scrap bag and I just thought of you! Now to my all time FAVORITE!! The Rocky Mountain Stars!!!! Beautiful!!! Personally, I like the treatment on the right - looks like 'mountains' and what better thing for your quilt!!!

    Always enjoy your posts!! Have a great rest of the weekend!!


  21. Your star quilt is darling.

    I just got Judy's book today. Good ideas in it.

  22. Love your Rocky Mountain Christmas quilt - love the colors you chose!

  23. You MUST use the little HSTs - it take the quilt from a "nice quilt" to "extraordinary"!!!

  24. WOW! I can't believe there's a ruler out there I haven't bought yet!! You'll have to let me know how you like it! And i hope you have great fun with those Christmas fabrics...Thanks for taking them off my hands! I now have one empty drawer in one of my plastic drawer rolly-thingies.

  25. I love the HST border - a slight preference for the one on the left. I would probably be lazy and not trim the HSTs. I might add extra width to the red border and trim the entire quilt up at that point. I know I'd probably chop off some points, but I'm okay with that.
    LOVE the clamshell quilting. I might steal that idea for my pink lemonade. Flies in the Mustard - you are good at naming quilts!
    Lucky you with the gifted fabric!
    So many good books to choose from!

  26. I was just reading about that ruler this morning and Marcie of Patchalot this morning!! Looks interesting.
    I made the Smoky Mtn quilt and loved it. Bonnie's directions are top notch!!
    Randy is very generous. Love the big stack of fabs!!

  27. What a fun post -
    I like the HST's on the left - worth the trimming.
    Lucky you having mail from generous quilters ;-)
    Great machine quilting - fun to see you enjoying the new 'toy'
    Thank you for sharing!!

  28. I'm glad robots are welcome because I feel like one most days!!
    You are truly one frugal quilter...not one wasted hst. You already made a table topper with some of your bonus hst from RMC. It is a beauty and the new ruler looks like a very clever idea. Only a true country girl would name her quilt "Flies in the Mustard". The clamshells are a perfect quilting choice. I will be watching for the border book, you make it sound like a very worthwhile investment. Fun mail you received this week!

  29. If you have the patience, I'd vote for going with the little HST on the left. But the right looks fine too.

    I'm considering getting a couple Handi Quilter quilting templates. None yet. But I have to sit myself down and practice a lot first. It's been a while since I've quilted with mine. Do you own more than the clamshell? (which looks great on the quilt, BTW).

  30. I love the sawtooth edge border on the stars quilt! And it is such fun to see you playing nicely with your new sweet sixteen. The clamshells look wonderful and I tried to spot the wonky ones without success. You have been so very busy! Good work! Oh yes, thank you so very much for not making me stare at mis-shapen letters all jammed together trying to decipher them!

  31. I love how you quilted your pink lemonade quilt! The quilting really adds to the design.


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