Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gee, I hit a nerve, didn't I?

Remember this post? I'm doing the Bonnie Hunter Christmas Lights mystery quilt in Quiltmaker magazine. I had commented that after completing the blocks I couldn't see how they went together, and was resigned to waiting for the last installment, hoping that the designer came up with something fab that I couldn't think of.

Well, this morning in the Yahoo group dedicated to the mystery someone posted that Quiltmaker magazine had published a picture of the completed quilt. I scurried over to the website and there before me was the first arrangement I had tried in EQ. The one that had elicited the reaction "That's it? Really?"

I posted on the Yahoo group that I was less than enthralled with this design but would probably finish it anyway since it's this far done. Now, I knew my opinion would be in the minority (I even started my post with - "Well, I'm about to say something that will get a lot of Bonnie fans riled up." I had no idea that someone would rip into me within twelve minutes and call my comment mean spirited, no less (translation: I don't worship at their designer's feet!).

I'm amused more than anything about this whole episode. These women in the group are almost fanatical about the designer, although I bet most have never even met her. You should hear the excitement in their comments about the honor of putting her up for the night at their house - for free, probably. They are enthusiastic and protective about their favorite designer in a way that I just don't get. The lady is in business to publish quilt patterns. I'm sure she was paid by Quiltmaker for the pattern, and it does double duty as an advertisement for her other books. I'm figuring that she's run into people that didn't like one of her quilts before and I doubt it crushed her.

I "got it" from the first that this group was basically made up of cheerleaders for this designer, and never saw much in the way of balanced comments about the designs. However, I didn't figure anyone would be, well, so "mean spirited" about me expressing my opinion (right back at ya!). Here's my comment about the design. I would like others' unbiased opinions about whether I was mean about my comments, as the group member's reply accused me, because that wasn't my intent. I was expressing my opinion, as I thought was my right in the group, but maybe I'm harsher than I think and need to be more mannerly. I would like to include the whole response, but I don't have her permission. I am going to quote a few snippets, though, for illustration.

Here's what I said:

Well, I'm about to say something that will get a lot of Bonnie fans riled up. After I put the blocks together a few months ago, I drew them in EQ and started arranging them. The first thing I did of course was put them in an alternating on point setting since we were instructed to cut setting triangles. I added the borders as per the cutting instructions and my drawing looked just like the photo on the Quiltmaker website. I sat back and said "Is that it? Really?"

You see, it just didn't do anything for me. Disappointed, since I had loved her other mysteries and considered her Double Delight one of the prettiest quilts I had made (and its' recipient did too!), I started fiddling with the blocks and making other layouts. None of them worked very well. I arranged them every way you could possible put that number of blocks. Nothing "clicked". I resigned to put them away and see what Ms. Hunter did with the quilt. Surely there would be a surprise that tied the design together.

Well, in a word, nope. When I read this post I rushed over to Quiltmaker and there it was - my original EQ arrangement. It still doesn't do a thing for me.

In my opinion the blocks don't go together well. I was, well, "delighted" to see how the Double Delight blocks meshed and carried the design across the quilt top, linking the two blocks together. I just don't think these blocks relate as well and this one isn't as successful. I'll finish it, of course, because I have put this much work into the blocks. But I have to admit I'm disappointed. Bonnie has published many pretty patterns. This for me just wasn't one.

Part of the response:

"Couldn't you have just said it's not your favorite and leave it at that? Or how about not say anything at all, at least if you are so propelled to share your negative views wait until Bonnie got to read favorable reviews first. "


"Not everyone loves everything someone does, but we don't need our nose rubbed in it with a long description of why!!!! "

Four exclamation points. Mercy. And:

"What a bummer. What a negative. Why you felt the need to write this critique right off the bat is beyond me. Aside from your DD comments, the whole Christmas lights dialogue is mean spirited, and yes you have ruffled my feathers. You have a right to express how you feel, but this was mean - period."

Oops. I guess I don't have a right to express how I feel. If it doesn't agree with how you feel.

I was clear in my post that I didn't think the blocks related well and the design didn't do a lot for me - in my opinion. I also said that I loved the designer's other work and she has done a lot of pretty quilts. This didn't spell "mean spirited" to me. This is more like "one gal's viewpoint".

Maybe I'm not quilt group material. I'm not ready to "lemming up" with the flock.

Addendum: More responses have been aded at the Yahoo group and evidently, I'm a terrible person. Ha ha. In the meantime, please keep adding comments to my posts, positive or negative. I'm a big girl. I can take it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One more time!

Sorry, I'm back with one more comment. Finally found a photo of the dress I hooted with laughter at on Sunday night. Now tell me, doesn't this look like she sewed a long skirt on one of Oksana Baiul's figureskating costumes from the Olympics? And I think the zipper up the back attached to that illusion fabric is creepy. It looks like her back has a zipper in it.

OK, I'm done now. MEOW!


Why I've been so quiet this past week? Just got back from the doctor - sinusitis. I've felt lousy, but I'll be all better now. The joys of pharmaceuticals.

Emmy red carpet fashion - not

Even if you're a dyed in the wool Democrat, this is just wrong on so many levels. I guess the first thought that came to me was "Who is this person and why is she willing to make an idiot of herself?" I'm sure there are a lot more Obama supporters walking the carpet with her, who didn't feel the need to wear a tablecloth advertising the fact. (The man is our President, we should all be respectful, if nothing else. This doesn't even seem respectful.)

When did tacky become the norm? And speaking of tacky. . .

However beautifully this dress is made, and it is, this much "display" in the front is just tacky, and always will be.

Does this look like a crinkled plastic bag to you?

Um, excuse me, your slip is showing. . .

It's Isaac Mizrahi, for heaven's sake. I tried to like it, but it looks like she pulled down her sheer drapes and pinned them at the waist. I don't think dotted swiss works on the red carpet. If this was in silk charmeuse in a lovely color, it would be a winner.

And the train wreck to end all train wrecks. Please go home, Phoebe Price. No one cares anymore. If they ever did.

What ever happened to poise and style? Oh, yes, it was present - but people would rather look at the train wrecks.
Tina Fey's dress was amazingly constructed, but there were so few pictures that showed the details.

And even though I'm not particularly a fan of her acting, didn't Jennifer Love Hewitt look beautiful?

I could go on, but you get the picture. Most red carpet fashion seems to be going down the tubes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Contents: one quilt. Just add...

...time, thread, patience, pressing, inspiration, batting, worry, aggravation, sewing, bobbin-threading, concentration...and fun!

Quilt kit ready to sew, with all cutting and marking for HSTs complete. This one, I got smart and put a photo of the completed pattern in the package. I hate to admit that I've pulled out one of my home-made quilt kits before that had been in storage for a time and didn't have this critical piece, and couldn't remember how the blocks went together. Just another senior moment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's like Christmas around here

Remember when I cleaned out my fabric closet and bemoaned the pileup of scraps? I offered my scraps to anyone who wanted them. Well, Michele took me up on it. We exchanged emails and agreed to swap a box of scraps for fat quarters to reimburse for the postage. I got a medium flat rate box and started cramming. I don't know how much I managed to put in that box, but let's just say it was a good idea to use a flat rate mailer.

I got a nice email from Michele and she seemed pleased with the bounty. And today I received a package of fat quarters from her: First, let me say that I definitely got the better end of the deal! I love these fabrics, Michele, thanks so much! She also enclosed a very sweet card and commented that I could tell she loves blue. I do too, so this was a wonderful experience. (When I looked at her blog and found a photo of a calico and a black cat, I knew she was my kinda gal.)

Well, that's not all that was delivered today. Last week I thumbed through the new Hancock's of Paducah catalog (Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!) and fell in love with the Moda "Morris Workshop" collection by Barbara Brackman. Love, love, love Brackman's fabrics. The colors and prints are so down my alley, it's absolute perfection. I had to order it, of course. And today it came:
I already know what I'm going to make. And I think this is a line-jumper - it can't wait its' turn after the other designs in progress, it will have to go to the front of the queue.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pieced quilt backings

Bloggers have been talking about pieced quilt backings. I started doing this last year, partly to stretch a slightly-too-small length of fabric, but also to incorporate labels and blocks. This is the back of the quilt made from the teacup swap that fizzled out. My 9 teacup blocks are on the front and two of the swapped blocks are on the back. There was a third, but I gave it away. These two coordinated best with my teacups. This was done to use a length of fabric that wasn't quite wide enough for the baby quilt. I also liked the look of it.
More stripes on the back to use up my butterfly blocks. They matched the front, and were too pretty not to use.
This back incorporated the label, and was made of 10" squares of leftover fabric.
This one incorporated stripes of all the flowers in the dominant print on the front, and incorporated the label too.
This was to widen a length of fabric. It also used up scraps from the front, and a stripe of the dominate print.
And this is the backing for my husband's "half a quilt", yet to be quilted. I didn't have enough of the blue fabric from the border, so I added a chunk of stripes from my stash. Probably not my best effort, but it got the job done.
It becomes apparent I have a style - a stripe down the back that incorporates blocks or fabric strips. Maybe I need to branch out more...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A kitchen day

As the days creep toward fall, I get the cooking bug. So this morning, after I watered the flowers on the patio and picked a few tomatoes, I headed to the kitchen. First up: I have been craving potato soup. I have a recipe called The Best Potato Soup in the World. Grandiose claim, but they might be right. I whipped up a pot for my lunch and to stock the freezer: While the soup was simmering, I baked a couple of dozen devil's food cupcakes - portion control. After they were frosted (not heavily, I like cake but don't care for frosting), I packed them for the freezer.
And, during all of this, the bread maker was churning out dinner roll dough, which were baked after the cupcakes were done.
Then I got inspired to make corn chowder for supper. I know it looks a lot like the potato soup but trust me it's different.And tonight, after the kitchen is cleaned up (again!) I will make some tomato sauce with these beauties:The bad thing is, with all this cooking happening, my husband has a stomach bug and can't eat!