Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm Guesting on American Sewing Guild's Blog!!

Just wanted to let you know that today I'm a guest blogger on American Sewing Guild's blog!

I've been a member of ASG for a more than 14 years.  They have always been a great organization for those who love sewing.  They have a wonderful web site at

Recently they have made great strides in electronic communications. Available for members only from the web site are the Notions Magazine on line edition, chapter newsletters and FREE sewing webinars!  And this is at no cost once your membership fee is paid.  You can even join on line and pay your dues with a credit card!

My guest blog topic is teaching kids to sew, and my blog model is my oldest granddaughter, E.  We hope to make this a recurring appearance as she develops her sewing skills.

Check it out! If you do, please leave a comment there.  And my thanks go to Samina for her encouragement and assistance.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Full Moon Last Night

And this

would be why everyone I encountered had

a bad attitude today!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SOW Along -- The Phone Guy's Wife Quilt Squares

I previously posted about doing the SOW Along with Randy in California's Barrister's Block blog,

Since my DH used to work for Ma Bell, I'm calling mine "The Phone Guy's Wife".

Since then, the author of the book Randy was basing the Sow Along on asked her to remove all references to the book due to possible copyright infringement.  Now I understand copyright infringement, have been a supporter of enforcement of rules all of my life, and I understand from whence this lady may be coming.  But many, many quilting teachers teach classes based on books and patterns by others.  They either include the price of the purchase of the book in their class price or require to book (or pattern) to be purchased by each student.

Hard to do on the Internet...

All of the patterns used in the book are in public domain.  I know because I bought the book.  Yep, my interest in the project made me go out to and buy a copy.  Because, you know, I love books, and I love sewing, so books about sewing are like a little piece of heaven!

The book contains a CD with templates, but beware -- depending upon what printer you use, you may have to adjust the size of the templates slightly.  I made the first block exactly as my little Canon printer showed them, and the finished block was a little on the small side.  There are no construction directions either, so you have to look for directions elsewhere.  That's why Randy's cutting and sewing directions would be so helpful.

I decided to go into my bin of green fabric, and toss in some light neutrals.  Last night I finished up my six blocks for the month of February.  I started at the back of the book with the first pattern, and they're in alphabetical order.  So this month I did these blocks.  Sorry about the photos, some of them are a little crooked and the flash was too close. 

Attic Window:  an easy block, kind of fun to do.  Not too challenging but I used a piece of fabric from my 'grass' fat quarter in the smallest triangle.

Autumn Tints:  Why is this called Autumn Tints??  The illustration shows the larger squares using a fussy cut, but I just used a fabric I liked.

Basket:  I put some floral fabric 'in the basket'.  Baskets are not empty at my house!

Basket Weave:  here I used almost the last piece of a fat quarter with apples on it.

Bat Wing:  Uh, I have to tell you I hate this square, and I will never make it again!  The odd angle had me ripping twice on each wing at least.

Big Dipper:  Quarter square triangles in a fabric I love so I used it again.  Once I knew the finished size I dug out my triangle paper and Thangles to see if I had the right size.  Eureka!  Saved by math!

Coming up for March -- more beeees! 
  1. Birds in the Air - some large and lots of little triangles
  2. Bouquet - kind of like a basket
  3. Box --nearly all HSTs
  4. Bow Tie - fun and easy
  5. Broken Dishes -- Small (1.5" finished) HSTs
  6. Broken Sugar Bowl -- four patch, HST
Keep on sewing!

The Road to Tara

In July 2010 I attended the American Sewing Guild Conference and Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. Wow, what a show! Almost 1,000 attended, and the teachers and presenters were among the best in the industry. Shirley Adams, from Indiana, a ground-breaker in the field of teaching on TV, was inducted into the Sewing Hall of Fame. Sadly she's retiring from the circuit, but I don't think we've heard the last from Shirley!

Many vendors come to Conference, showing off the latest and greatest in sewing tools. I picked up some shrinking thread, which actually helps to create puckers and tucks in fabric, making for interesting textures. I also bought some lovely wool, a few hand dyed horn buttons, and of course a couple of patterns and books.

A really special part of the trip was the tour I took on Monday to Jonesboro, GA. The site of a Civil War battle (or as the Sourherners say, the Recent Unpleasantness), there are many museums and memorials in Jonesboro. One is the Road to Tara Museum, dedicated to the film and book Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The other is a lovely Plantation called Stately Oaks.

At Stately Oaks in August, you can take the Victorian Mourning tour. The public rooms of the house are decked out for mourning as if there had been the death of a child in the family. The docents leading the tours area knowlegable in all phases of mourning in the Victorian era, which was approximatlely 1850-1905. After the regular tour, our group was treated to a southern style luncheon, and then a presentation from Miss Martha on 19th Century clothing construction. She is the acknowledged expert, helping to keep the Plantation's docents and re-enactors authentically garbed.

The dresses she made are made the same way a woman in 1864 would have done it. The seams are impecably finished inside and out. Bodices are lined, and 'underpinnings' protect them from touching the body. Believe me, if you took 30-40 hours of hand work to create a dress, you would not want it to be tossed into the washing machine! She showed us the inner construction techniques, and the hundreds of tiny Cartridge Pleats that gathered skirts and sleeves. Amazing work, considering the woman of the house would have done all this after her normal chores.
Underpinnings, and men's shirts
Had you lived in 1864, you would probably have had 3-4 dresses for every day and one for 'good' -- that is unless you were very wealthy and could hire a seamstress! But just like today, chances are your good dress would have been black.

I have a new appreciation for sewing machines, sergers and steam irons! Although I am making myself a vow to try to get more proficient in better seam finishes, so the insides of my garments look better, even if they never reach the stature of Miss Martha's work.