Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lakefarm Quilt Show 2009

Over 250 quilts on display. I wanted to take photos of most, but settled on some. This first photo, is a rather structured log cabin quilt.

Another log cabin quilt.

I liked the colors in this one.

This was one of my favorites. It's a full sized quilt.
I'll post about four photos at a time.
There were tons and tons of folks at the show.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lake County Farmpark Quilt Show

Tomorrow (Feb 28) I'll be driving to Kirkland. Ohio to the Lake County Farmpark, to see their quilt exhibition. I'll be meeting one of my daughters, and attending the event with her.

There will be more than 250 quilts on display, from internationally acclaimed featured visiting artists, as well as the judged show of quilts from local and regional artists.

The day of my visit (28th) is the Quilt Vendor weekend, with lots of vendor booths.

This is supposed to be a fantastic event, and I'll get some photos, and post them on this blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Help! For A Broken Angel

While delivering some pieces that I made for a local Gift Shop I saw this angel in the trash. You will note that the angels hands are missing. The angel is about 24 inches tall and is resin cast. The hands were broken in shipment, and could not be found. So the shop put her in the trash. I prefer to call my actions an "angel rescue" rather than "dumpster diving". My first plan was to carve some hands and finish them to match the piece. But hands are very difficult to carve, and I was afraid that I would not do a good enough job.

What I do is to make a connection between the two wrists. Over this connection I'll drape a piece of fabric that has been dipped in starch. The idea is to drape and fold the fabric so that it dries and looks like the angel is holding and looking at a quilt. This will necessitate experimenting with some fabric. I am thinking about assembling a quilt piece and staining/dyeing it to kind of match the finish of the angel; and starch and drape it in front of the angel.

Maybe someone out there has a suggestion. Don't be afraid to leave me a comment.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Day Mystery Cleared Up!

You all know about the bad day I had. Well the reason for this bad day, or at least a contributing factor has been mentioned to me. I was home alone, while my wife was out of town babysittin dogs and grand daughter. But, I am not the one that said," between the two of us (wife and me) we might have one brain left. Or was it a half brain left?
Well, back to the Rag Quilt. Since the Rag quilt will be a lap quilt I would like it to be 50 by 60 inches. And since the finished blocks will be 5 inches square, that means I'll need 120 blocks. That's a lost of blocks to sit down to and try to get finished. What I do is keep a pile of the pinned square sandwiches by the sewing machine. When I get tired of doing what ever I am doing, or just want a diversion, I sew a couple. This way it goes kinda faster.
As I mentioned earlier you will have to use a walking foot for this Rag quilt. A walking foot that can be purchased at any sewing shop will fit the ol' Singer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Senior Moments/Other Things That Went Wrong!

A broken knife blade tip is only one thing that has gone wrong in the past two days. The following list is not in any special order.

A. Decided to take apart the upper thread tension assembly on my ol' Singer, to clean and adjust. There are 87 parts to this assembly, and 18 of them are spring loaded. What this means is that as you disassemble the tension unit, it flies apart and all the tiny weenie pieces fly everywhere. Bad ol' eyes have a difficult time seeing the little pieces to pick up. Fingers don't feel the little pieces too well either. Then of course you must reassemble. Did this happen? Of course it did. Did it get reassembled? Of course it did. Does it work? Ahhhhhhhhh; kinda.

B. After upper tension adventure decided to clean another ol' Singer and get it operating. Cleaned it all up, and oiled and greased it. Plugged it in and looked for a on-off switch. There was none. Oh well, it worked fine. Went to lunch. Smelled something that did not smell like my lunch. Traced the smell down to sewing room. Further investigation lead to the sewing machine that was just cleaned, oiled, and lubed. Smoke coming from the foot control. Caught just in time to prevent fire.

C. Decided no more sewing machine stuff for the day. I'll just paint some wood carvings that need to be finished. Selected a Hill Billy, and painted the face a skin tone. Next was using black paint to do the hair and beard. The Hill Billy was 3 inches tall, so the head was quite small. My paint brush has 6 hairs on it. As I was finely painting and concentrating on the beard, the telephone (which sits right beside me) rang. To say the ringing startled me would be a gross understatement. There was/is black paint everywhere.

D. I won't even try to explain my attempts to tape a television program.

Have a good day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

WARNING! To Carvers Prone To Senior Moments

Those who have checked out this blog know that I like to carve small. That is to say, I like to carve small objects. These small objects are from 1/4 inch to maybe 1 1/2 inches in size. I also like to use my pocket knife to do these small carvings. Most of the time I carve Basswood, with an occasional piece of Cottonwood Bark thrown in. Basswood is a very light in color wood that is generally easily recognizable as Basswood. Cottonwood Bark is very soft, easy to carve, and red-brown in color.

This morning I decided to carve a small object out of Cottonwood Bark. I grabbed my pocket knife and a piece of red-brown wood that I thought was Cottonwood Bark. I started carving. On the third knife cut when shaping a small nose I snapped the knife blade tip off. This never would have happened on Cottonwood Bark. Upon closer examination and remembering that someone gave me some old Cherry pieces of wood, the whole thing began to make some sense. The old Cherry wood is very very hard and, of course, red-brown in color. One does not use a knife in the same manner when carving a very hard wood compared to a soft wood.

Old men don't cry, but damn. I came close.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Next We have The Weather Report"

I have spent nearly 20 years out of 70 going to school. One of the things that I have learned is that WORDS are critically important when communicating. But, I don't think everyone shares my belief. A major abuser of the language of communication is the communication industry itself. I refer specifically to television.

How many times have we heard a TV news reader say, "NEXT we have the weather report - RIGHT AFTER the break"? We then watch a few commercials, and then the news resumes. NO WEATHER REPORT. There are usually several stories before the weather report, maybe even another break.

Here's the problem - three words, NEXT and RIGHT AFTER.

What do there three words mean? When I went to school NEXT meant "Immediately following". RIGHT, as in "Right After" meant "In exact location". AFTER meant "later in time".

Have I missed something??????

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rag Quilt Instructions

In an earlier posting I talked about making another "Rag time" or Rag quilt. I mentioned that it would be the ideal first quilt to make. This quilt is ideal for several reasons. First, there is no handwork, and second; accuracy is not as critical as in most quilts. Basic to this quilt, is that the seams are all one inch, and are open to the quilt top. Since the seams are open to the quilt top and will fray, any accuracy problems in the blocks assembly is covered up. You do have to use a walking foot on all seams. Photo #1 shows the pieces of the rag quilt square. The red is my back piece. The plaid is the top piece. The white is the batting or the middle of the "sandwich". The batting piece will always be smaller than the back and top pieces. In this case my squares are 7 inches, and the batting is 4 3/4 inches square.

Photo #2 shows the assembly of the rag quilt square sandwich. The red back piece is flannel side down. The batting or middle piece is centered on the back piece. The plaid top piece is aligned to the red back piece, flannel side up.
Pin the sandwich together and sew through the sandwich corner to corner. Start and stop your stitch line about 3/4 to 1 inch from the corners of the square. Out of habit, I lock the stitches in with a few back stitches. Photo #3 shows the finished rag quilt square.
Some tips: If this is your first time at making a quilt square, take your time. Relax, this is not a race against the clock nor a race against the cold weather. This is supposed to be fun, hopefully not a necessity like it might have been with great grand paw.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'mmmmmmm Back!

Pardon the interruption of several missed posting days. Computer had a trip to the ER.

This failure has proven to be a most upsetting event. Not the failure of the computer, but the failure of me in being unable to fix it myself. You see, I am normally able to fix things that break or quit running. If I can see the pieces and parts of a machine or something I can figure out how it works. Once I understand how it works, I can fix it when it stops working.

But this is not the case with a computer. I am obsolete as a "fixer" of computers. There are no moving parts, and when you take the lid off, it looks like the view of a city from 50,000 feet up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They're Back!

They're back! The area skunks have returned, and with a vengence. They're all packin a full load and just itchin to let er go. Why are they back? Is it because of the few days of really freaky warm weather? Are they just plain hungry? Or are they responding to a more basic need? You know, "birds and the bees" type stuff. I know I have two things that seem to attract them. Bird feeders, and a yard that has an overabundance of grubs and worms. Several evenings ago several were actually fighting under the feeder, and one let er rip. Gag! I did learn one thing though. The stink came right in the down stairs of the house, but not up stairs. And the upstairs bedroom window was open a bit too. It must have been a full and freah load because it was heavier than air. Haven't quite figured out what to do about them. Someone said a live trap will work. To that I said "OK then what do you do with a live teed off skunk in a trap". My friend said get a big blanket, hold it up in front of yourself, and slowly and quietly walk up to the trap and drap the blanket over the trap. Then you can remove the trap and the skunk and take it some where else. Yeah, right!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rag Time Quilt Time

I have been collecting red, white and gray flannel for some time, to make another Rag Time quilt. I think I have enough to do a large lap quilt now. The first photo is what I have collected and will use for the new lap quilt.
This second photo is of the first Rag Time quilt that I made several years ago. I made this lap top large, it's 46" x 64". This is a very simple quilt to make, but hard on the machine. The main different thing about this quilt is that you do all the sewing with a "walking foot". The quilt is made up of a whole bunch of individual squares that are sewn into "sandwiches" separately. Nex,,,,,t, the "sandwaihes" are machine quilted as a individual square, and then assembled into the finished quilt with one inch seams. The one inch seams are on the top and fray when washed. This lap top is heavy and very warm.
If any guys are thinking about trying quilting, this is the one to start with. It's mainly cutting and driving the machine.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss?

A few years ago (maybe 20 or so) I was told that one of my daughters had received a CD from her boy friend. I can remember being really impressed. Wow! a Certificate of Deposit, this guy could be a "keeper". Up until this point my criteria had been "how many tractors did the boys family own". I soon learned, how much I had to learn.

It hasn't stopped! This ol' man is even more ignorant today. I need to schedule a training (or retraining) session from my grand daughters. The following is a partial list of what I should find out about:

Ear Buds

....Or can I just forget the whole thing? I can remember my difficult transition from typewriter to computer....pressure cooker to window to AC.....inter tubes to tubeless tires....on and on and on.....Right now I am thinking "ignorance is bliss".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine 2009

Thought I had better squeeze this post in while it's still Valentines Day. This is the finished Valentine for my wife. Well, this plus out to dinner. I hope everyones Valentines Day was as good as mine...

Binding Dilemma

When I finish a quilt, I use a double-fold binding. Some folks call this a French Binding. But I'm not that fancy. It's double-fold to me. The two photos show different ways of attaching the binding to the quilt back. In the first photo, if you click on the photo a close up will clearly show that you can see the hand stitches.

In the second photo, the stitches cannot be seen. The second photo (green binding) is the way I hand stitch the binding to the quilt backs. I don't think it takes any more time to "hide" the stitches under the edge of the binding than to have them show.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spider Scare!

Had a little incident yesterday. It could happen to anybody, male or female. But it happened to me. I'd been working on some quilting projects, and felt the need to use the facilities. While preparing to use the facilities a huge "spider" jumped or fell out of my britches. I know I yelled cause my wife yelled up, "you ok"? Now my eyesight is not the best, so after all this, I got down on my hands and knees to look at the "spider". You can plainly see that it was not a spider, but a wad of black thread. Well it looked like a spider to me. And contrary to popular believe it did not scare the P___ out of me. As a matter of fact, I forgot all about what I went to the facility for. That's my story and I'm, sticking to it!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mini Carvings

I like to carve small things. Maybe I am cheap! Don't want to spend much for carving wood. Don't know! Maybe I just want to get done fast, so I can move on to another. First photo, is of two Civil War soldier busts. Yankees that are about 1 1/4" to 2" tall.
Civil War General. 1 1/2" tall.

Mountain man. 2" Tall.

Ol' Rebs. Large one is 1 1/4" tall. Small one is 3/4" tall.
These little carvings are all carved with the pocket knife that is pictured in the background of the photos.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Some Sillyness Today!

Just tryin to be silly today. Because if you cannot read the following as silly it might hurt.

1. Do you sew/carve in the early AM when it's brighter? Those full spectrum lights work too.
2. Are your fingers more responsive in the AM or the PM? Or just stiff in the AM?
3. Do you find it difficult to thread a needle? Can't you buy them already threaded?
4. Do your fingers work well enough to tie a knot in floss that is about 1 1/2 inches long?
(if not get any 4 year old, they can do it)
5. Is it difficult to pick up a needle from a table surface? If it is, just spit on your finger and press it to the needle, it'll come up.
6. Do find yourself swatting at floaters in your eyes? Could be dangerous with a carving knife or needle in your hand.
7. Do you save every scrap of fabric or wood when cutting?
8. Do you wash fabric before you cut and piece? The new fabrics with genetically improved cotton will shrink 3 sizes when in contact with body temperature. I have a whole closet full that proves it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tracy's Quilt Finished

In staying with the quilting, I just have to show you my daughters little log cabin lap quilt. Each finished square is 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/2". Each "log" is finished at 3/8 inch wide.
The quilt is machine quilted with a rather tight meander, and bound with the same fabric as the quilt back. I think this quilt is about the best larger quilt that Tracy has done. Some of her small doll quilts would sure give it some competition. This is a heavy lap quilt. Maybe a wee tab bit too heavy for that climate in southern California. But then again.......maybe not. I can sure see Tracy wrapped up in this quilt, with a cup of coffee at 5:30 AM.

Monday, February 9, 2009

To Tie A Quilt Or Not?????

Is a "quilt a quilt" when it is tied, rather than "quilted"? This has been on my mind for some time now. It's more on my mind now since I am considering tieing one. But if I don't "quilt" it, how can it be a quilt?
I have even heard some answer this question, "no, if it's tied its a "comforter". I have seen others turn up their noses when tied "quilts" are mentioned. Growing up I remember some quilts that were used, and they were tied. But I think they were a bit thick too. Well, shoot they were made and used to keep folks warm...
Stay tuned I may ask if a quilt that is machine "quilted" is hand made.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quilt Making Day

Today was a quilt making day. First photo is my cutting "station". You can see the Alto 2 cutting system that my daughter gave to me. She didn't like it all that much. And after using it I can see why. I don't think it's any better than a good cutting mat, long straight edge and a 45 degree plastic template.
This second photo is of my "machine". An "oldie, but a goodie". Hmmm! I may resemble that statement. Now I did complete a small quilt for a Swap. But I won't show it yet. Don't want my swap partner to see it just yet. I still have to bind it. However, the small pieces of fabric in the first photo is all that is left of the charm pack she sent me to use....

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The Crawfish speciality carving knife is the creation of knife maker Ol' Thomp, from the black Tree Swamps and bayous of Louisiana. Instead of folding and hammering dozens of layers of steel intoi a knife blade, Ol' Thomp has revived and refined the age ol' technique of "Grind an Dip". Ol' Thomp wet grinds or "grinds an dips" each blade at least 100 times into an elixor of bayou swamp water and Louisiana hot sauce, to keep the blade tough and cool. Ol' Cajun culture believes that this process imbues the magic into each knife.
It is the combination of this blade and the Crawfish handle make these knives so special. The Crawfish Knife is a specialty knife for the experienced carver for fine detailing. One should be cautioned that this knife will not tolerate wood hogging, paint can opening, prying, twisting cuts, chip flickin, or a game of mumbley peg. This is a light detail wood carving knife, not a tool chest.

This knife is guaranteed to arrive carving sharp, and if looked after with a little loving maintenance, and not dropped should provide you a fine service.
Ol' Thomp is a carving buddy of mine. And damn fine knife maker too. Ol' Thomp likes to carve Hillbillies and place them into typical Hillbilly scenes. Lots coon dogs, racoon's, and an occasional moonshine jug.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Great Gift!

Today, I received a package from a special person that you should meet. Holee is what she signs on and off by on the Internet.
Her Blog is This lady is one of the most giving persons that I have ever met. She makes quilts for wounded veterans, as well as for The Cure For Cancer, pillow cases for hospitalized children, and organizes and is involved in countless other acts of care. All I did was send her some carved Christmas Tree ornaments so she could send them on to a veterans hospital for a tree for a special wounded soldier. Holee is an extremely talented quilter, and a master of anything sewing related. Check her Blog out and I am certain you'll agree with me. Thank you Holee. You are indeed a hero, and one that we can all admire and strive to be more like.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Teaching Beginner Quilt Making

Starting in April I'll be joining another quilter in teaching a beginner class, at the Senior Center. The class is for beginners. I anticipate most will be folks who may have sewn before, but never made a quilt. However, there may be a few men who sign up, and they must be taught how to drive a sewing machine.

Here's where I need your help. Any one have any unique ideas, tips, suggestions that they have seen used with a beginner quilting class? Ones that really work! Not that I don't have lots of ideas of my own, but I know there are some really, really good quilters that read this blog that may have some great ideas.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ink Thief

The mystery has been solved! I could not be printing so many copies that I would use up all my black ink. There was just no way possible. I have been looking at this problem for some time now. My first inclination was that the manufacturer was shorting the amount of ink they put into the cartridges. I think this is still true! But today the culprit was nabbed with the evidence. I hate to believe this, but I'll have to start carving some security or police Gnomes to make sure this problem does not continue. And I suppose I'll have to make a little Gnome jailhouse too. Maybe just a diversion program will work.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NEW! Snake In The Box

This is the latest design of the snake in the box church toy.
This is a very easy project to complete, and great fun. The snake may be carved, or left uncarved. I t may be left plain, painted, or wood burned. After the pieces are cut, that are assembled with glue.
Now what kid wouldn't have fun with this little toy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

An Ol' Grouch!

From time to time I am going to take the liberty to air some complaints, peeves, and just plain goofiness as I see it. It's not quilting nor is it carving; just some day to day distractions. Chalk it up to old age, grouchiness, or maybe too much time on my hands.

Did you know that you can get a masters degree in Packaging Engineering? And this photo of packaging, is only scratching the surface of the results. There are three (3) lies on the three packages. Advil cap states that it is an"Easy Open Arthritis Cap". Not the first time it's opened it isn't. Vise grips or a sturdy pair of pliers works better. And when totally frustrated, a mallet. The strip cheese also states that it is easy open. What you're supposed to do is peal the two thicknesses of plastic apart to get at the cheese. It would be so much easier to do if one of the thicknesses of plastic were longer than the other, so you could find the seam. But not so! they are the same length. You must use scissors or a knife. The brick cheese states that its package is resealable, after tearing along the dotted line. The biggest lie is that it is impossible to tear along the dotted line.

Yep! I am a grouch!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snake In The Box

Decided that today would be a good day to make a bunch of these little toys. This is a Amish church toy. A church toy is one that mom or dad would give to the children in church to keep them occupied and prevent fidgeting. This is a palm sized toy, that when you slide the top out, a snake jumps out. When you slide the top back in, the snake goes back in.
I like to have a bunch of these around just in case there is the opportunity to give one to a kid.
If any reader knows of any other simple little "old time" toy that is made of wood, let me know about it. I like to make these old toys, and kids like to play with them too.