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Archive for March, 2012

If you fill it…

… they will come. At least that’s what the lady at the Wild Bird store said. So I bought her premium nijer seed blend. It’s fresher than what you buy at the big box store, she said. (How did she know? Last year I threw out more nijer seed than actually was consumed.)

Filled it last weekend. Still waiting.

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National Quilting Day!

I know, you thought I was going to say something else, and in a nod to that something else, this post’s text is green, hehehe.

I’m between quilting projects right now, but I do have 4 quilts that need labels, so that’s what I’m going to work on this weekend. Since I use fabric sheets for my labels, I have to wait and do at least 4 at a time.

What will you do today to celebrate?

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…One to go

The Paddington Bear quilt is finished. I was amazed to find a cheddar colored thread in my stash that exactly matched the binding fabric.

I tried a different tactic this time, pinning the binding before stitching. That didn’t help keep my stitching as straight as I would have liked. I thought about glue basting it, but the glue leaves the fabric stiff and since I wasn’t going to be washing this quilt, I rejected that idea. So I don’t know what the answer is. It makes me sad that I’ll be giving these quilts back without my best effort but I understand these aren’t show quilts. Hopefully a child will find comfort and warmth with it and will overlook the (lack of) workmanship.

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One down…

Stitching the binding completely by machine is super fast! I’m glad I talked to my friend Margaret about this before I started on it because I was just planning on using a straight stitch to finish the binding on the front of the quilt. She cautioned that I’d never get it straight if I did that, so a zigzag or decorative stitch is better.

Well, those were wise words. I used a zigzag stitch and my walking foot and I have to say it didn’t turn out to be the best stitching job I’ve ever done. It was still hard to keep the stitching straight and even. I’m not showing anyone a closeup. It’s fine for a utility quilt but I sure wouldn’t use this method on a show quilt, like I’m ever going to make a show quilt in my lifetime. Hopefully I can do a better job on the other one.

Here is a closeup of the twisty block. Joyce from Quilting Adventures says this is done with a “Lil Twister” tool. Go to QA and take Joyce’s class. Looks like this tool can make blocks that look completely different depending on your color/fabric choices.

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Bindings

Has this ever happened to you? Do you check your binding before stitching to make sure these joining seams don’t land on a corner to be mitered? I don’t usually and I’ve had good fortune in this regard. In this case, it looked ominous but when I was finished, the joining seam was just far enough away that it isn’t in the way.

I’m sewing these bindings in a method I haven’t tried on any of my own quilts yet: stitched to the back side, to be folded to the front and machine stitched from there. I hear this is a very fast method of finishing up a binding. We shall see.

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Charity Quilts

The folks over at Quilting Adventures have an on-going charity quilt drive for the local YWCA Women and Children’s Shelter. Joyce put out a call for help with binding as they’ve gotten behind. I’m not a part of the group that makes these Quilts for Richmond, but I have time this week to help because I’m between projects at the moment.

Here’s a snippet of the front and back of quilt #1. The fabrics are very bright, what a cute quilt. The pinwheel block or whatever it’s called is unusual as the triangles on the outside corners are offset from the edge of the block. I’m not sure how it’s constructed. I should have taken a closeup. I’ll take better pictures once the bindings are done.

This one is a Paddington Bear panel on the front, with backing fabric printed to look like patchwork.

I cut and joined the binding strips this morning. Tomorrow one of them will get attached.

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I’m a fan of printing photos at Costco. A couple of years ago, I did a test of all the local 1-hour printers around here, Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, and determined that Costco’s color reproduction was the best. And the fact that it is cheaper than the rest is another plus.

But just because Costco’s color repro is better than the rest doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without some challenges.

I don’t own a colorimeter. I have an Eye-One Display in my Amazon wish list, but have dragged my feet about ordering it because I’ve read conflicting blog posts/opinions about the effectiveness of using one on a laptop. So at present, I don’t have a color management workflow.

When you upload photos to the Costco Photo Center, there’s a checkbox in the ordering process that is easy to miss (I know, I’ve overlooked it a number of times and to my knowledge, you can’t go back and change it once you’ve pressed the order button and that’s usually when I realize I should have unchecked it). By default, Costco determines that you want them to do color correction. If you don’t, you have to press an “edit” button where you’re presented with the opportunity to specify if you want your filename and/or custom text to print on the back of the photo (yes!) and uncheck that color correction button if that’s what you want to do. I wish they’d make that more prominent and put it a screen or two closer to the beginning of the order process rather than right before you say “order.”

And if you want to test a photo both ways, you have to put it in separate orders. This isn’t the most user-friendly system and maybe they’re trying to save customers from themselves, knowing most of them are not professional photographers and don’t know what they’re doing?

I have wanted to have a canvas gallery wrap printed ever since Costco started offering them. They are really cheap compared to my local camera shop and once in a while Costco even gives a $10 coupon. That’s very attractive for a test print. I just can’t plunk down $100 for a 16×20 at the camera shop not knowing how it is likely to turn out. Maybe when I’m more experienced at this but for now $35 (after coupon) is a much better risk. (Although it could be argued that the camera shop would work with me to get the color right, etc.)

I’ve searched high and low on the internet for instructions on what kind of settings I need to use to prepare my photo before uploading. I know that you can download printer profiles from Costco’s website, but I don’t know what to do with them once I’ve gotten them.

I finally found a blog post by Terry White that speaks highly of Costco’s gallery wraps and in the comments he tells what settings he uses in Lightroom. Using the Print module in LR3 is something I haven’t explored yet; I usually export my photos to a folder and upload to Costco from there. Using Terry’s method in the Print module is much better. But will it work?

Last week, I used my coupon and uploaded a photo for a 16×20 gallery wrap. I used my method of export to folder and upload (because I hadn’t seen Terry’s method then). During the ordering process, I didn’t notice the color correction button, so I can’t say if I just overlooked it like usual or if it isn’t offered for the wraps. The canvas was ready in just a few days and I was so excited to pick it up to see how it turned out.

Here’s a photo of it, still in its plastic outer wrap. Why? The color isn’t right and I’m going to return it. Another nice feature of buying from Costco.

Here’s the original photo:

It was taken at sunset and I was expecting the sky to be brown with a slight pinkish cast, not orange. I was planning on hanging it on a wall that is painted brown and these look horrible together.

So today I used Terry White’s method (print to Jpeg, 150PPI, Print sharpening: standard, media type: matte, Jpeg quality: 100, Profile: Adobe RGB, Rendering Intent: Perceptual) and ordered two test 8×10’s on photo paper, hoping I can use this as a cheap color test in future. One image is color corrected, the other not so that I can see the difference side-by-side.

The one above is color corrected, noticeably lighter and has more of that orange cast than the one that is not. Neither one matches what I see onscreen but I don’t think it’s realistic to look for an exact match. I’m looking for close enough.

Holding both of these prints up on the brown wall shows me that either one is acceptable (I could live with the color corrected one) but the darker one looks better. So now I’m still left with the question: would I get the same results on a canvas? Costco does not print the canvases, they farm them out to a company called YPOC, so I think I’d have to do another test canvas to find out for sure. Maybe YPOC offers printer profiles. Again, I wouldn’t know what to do with them if I found them.

If you’ve successfully used Costco for gallery wraps, please let me know what the secrets are. Or teach me how to use printer profiles in LR3. Another question I have is how to tell if an image is a good candidate for a wrap. This image looks sharp on screen (to my eye, anyway) and the 8x10s look good, but the 16×20 wrap is soft (but not unacceptable). How do I tell? If I were printing these for clients I wouldn’t want to give them a crappy product.

#costcophotocenter #gallerywrap #lightroom3

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