Archive for October, 2013

Design Wall Monday 10.21.13

On my design wall is the United Way quilt, still under wraps.

But I wanted to give you some more info on the Thangles.

For this quilt, I’m using 5″ finished, which are called Big Thangles. Unlike the smaller Thangles (pictured below), you get these small sheets of paper that you position on the diagonal of your rectangle (in this case 5.5″ x 6.25″), pin, stitch on the dotted lines, cut on solid line. Each paper yields 2 half-square triangles (HST).


With the smaller Thangles, your paper fits the entire strip/rectangle. Again, pin, stitch on dotted lines, cut on solid lines. Each paper yields 4 HSTs.


With the Big Thangles, I found that in order to really get HSTs that measure 5.5″ unfinished takes a level of perfection that I couldn’t always achieve.

After I sewed all of Color #1, I found that I’d actually been sloppy, so I ripped out and re-did about half of them. I learned that even though I thought I had all the lines matched up at the corners, the paper would shift when I inserted a pin. If I aligned the paper just a hair to the left of where it’s supposed to be, then it would line up after pinning (I’m right handed). That realization made the Color #2 units go together better and I didn’t have any I felt needed to be re-done.

Looks like the one I chose to photograph is not sewn precisely on the diagonal, but please pretend that it does. Most of them do. I also found that it helped to stitch just to the left side of the dotted line (inside the seam allowance). Again, I didn’t choose the best one to photograph for this. Geez.


After the units are cut apart and pressed, this is what the corner looks like if you didn’t sew precisely on the diagonal. If you can’t see it, there is a small “V” notch where the two points should come together. In this case, it’s not enough to mess with, so I’m not re-doing it.


There is only one dog ear that has to be trimmed:


I found that most of my HSTs measure about 5-3/8″ instead of 5-1/2″. So since they’re consistent, I think they’ll sew together just fine. I’m not worried.

I like working with the Thangles. I’ve made many an HST using traditional methods and they always come out wonky. The best technique is to make them larger than you need them and trim to size. But that means trimming all 4 sides of every single one. This way I only have to trim the one dog ear. And I found that process went much faster with scissors than with a ruler and rotary cutter. And they come out square and not wonky.

That’s all from Short Pump today, check out Judy L’s page for what everyone else is doing.

Till next time!


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Design Wall Monday 10.14.13

The United Way quilt has been started this week. Only a teaser shot for you, because I don’t want any of my co-workers to see it until it’s at the silent auction.


This pattern uses a lot of half-square triangles and I like to use Thangles for that. I was surprised that the package for 5″ finished Thangles is so small compared to the smaller ones. But once I opened it I understood. The papers are much smaller but they cover the fabric diagonally with markings to help you line them up. You still sew them the same way, up one side and down the other (or vice versa). Cut them apart between the stitching and press. Remove the papers after pressing to avoid stretching the bias.

I chain-sewed these and they went together quickly. But one thing I’m afraid of is that maybe what I needed to do instead of sewing right on the dotted lines, was to sew one thread to the right. My test blocks came out ok, but when I finger pressed some of these, they didn’t seem to open to the full size. Maybe it will be different when I use the iron.

At any rate, I expect the top to be finished pretty quickly but the quilting will take longer. I will do it myself so that I can take all the credit! Bwa hahaha.

I didn’t get much sewing done today as we drove to Charlottesville to pick apples on this finally dry day off.

That’s all to report from Short Pump, here’s what everyone else is doing over on Judy L’s site.


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Last Saturday marked the 6th annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk.

I have participated in 5 of them, I don’t think I knew about the first one back in 2008. I was just getting started with my interest in photography back then.

I have done 3 in Richmond, one in Charlottesville and this year’s in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia under the guidance of host Jeff Revell, a photographer and book author whose blog I follow.

I am an explorer at heart, I love to pore over maps and imagine what the various places are like. My husband is not always willing to be drug around to unknown places (like Culpeper, Virginia which is getting to be a joke between us) and I admit that in the past, some of the towns we visited were disappointing with little to do (for us, anyway). But with a camera in your hand, any place can be a goldmine of photo opportunities. And Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is one of those towns seen on the map that I wanted to explore. When I saw that Jeff was hosting a walk there, I signed up on the spot. Never mind that it’s a 3 hour drive from my house. Never mind that I got up at 4:30am, hit the road at 5:30 and got there a little before 8:30. I’d call that dedication LOL.


We met at the Amtrak station, which would not come up on my Garmin GPS to save my life. It doesn’t have a regular street address that I could find anywhere, so I ended up plugging in just the street name, figuring at least I’d get close. ¬†And I did fine. It helped to look at the satellite map the night before so that I could gauge my surroundings.


Harpers Ferry is on the Potomac River and it is not flat. Far from it. Jeff said our walk would be strenuous in places, and he was right. We started walking on the street out from the station and the street next to that one was up on a hill or a bluff or whatever it might be called. There are a lot of granite outcroppings in the area. These steps were grueling:


I love to photograph signs. They are self-explanatory.


How timely is this one? I don’t know how long it’s been in the window. Considering that the government shutdown affected the Historical Park in town, it could be a very recent addition.


Of course, the bathrooms at the Historical Park were closed.


It was too early for dramatic fall color, but there was this one tree that was spectacular.

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We walked through a cemetery:



And past a “haunted” house:


Surprised to see such colorful flowers in October:


and this is St. Peter’s Catholic Church (at the top of those steps) which rang its bells and was so picturesque:


I so enjoyed this walk with the exception of the biting gnats that swarmed constantly. I’m still itching. It was unseasonably warm at 90 degrees, but at least we didn’t have the humidity of one walk back when they were held in July. It was 100 degrees that time and one of our walkers had to leave due to heat stroke or near to it.

My thanks to Jeff Revell for mapping out a great photographic route for us and getting the town to set up porta-potties. If you are in the Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia area and get an opportunity to take one of Jeff’s walks, I highly recommend it.

robin siggy-dumb3

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This is my 501st post! I didn’t even realize I’d hit a milestone last time.


The top is done! Hip hip hooray!

It has a number of problems but is surprisingly pretty square. So I don’t think I’m going to trim much off the outside edges.

The side setting triangles don’t match.


The top setting triangles are all consistent. But I don’t know if they’re right. They look nice, though.

This bottom setting triangle had to be eased in and it isn’t pretty. I’m surprised there was only one that didn’t fit right.


The bottom triangles are a mess, too.

It’s a good thing this was a test and not a commission. Ha!

What did I learn from this? Find someone who’s done it before and done it well. (Preferably with a book or published pattern.)

A points trimmer would have been handy. I have one, but I didn’t think to use it. I think it would have helped fit a lot of those points together and taken the guesswork out of it. Would it have taken all the guesswork out? I wouldn’t think so, but wouldn’t it be ironic if that’s the only thing that would have taken this quilt from near-disaster to perfection?

I’m willing to try again. When I made this one, I used the cutting measurements straight out of Electric Quilt the way I designed it, not knowing there was more to it (and no, it’s not in the user guide). By specifying that the diamonds measure 6″ finished, the actual cutting was done with weird-sized strips and the markings on the Fons and Porter diamond-cutting template/ruler I used (sorry, don’t remember the name of it) didn’t help. I had to use blue masking tape to mark the spot to line up with the cut edge of the fabric. Next time, I’m going to size the quilt based on the size of the strips I want to cut (a whole number on the ruler) which means doing some math and inputting a fake dimension to make EQ calculate it the way I want it. At least, that’s my theory.

That’s what’s going on in Short Pump, go to Judy L’s page to see what everyone else is working on.


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