Friday, November 30, 2012

stained glass Christmas tree skirt

Here's another quilted Christmas project I did some time ago ... in 2001, in fact.

The synopsis: a friend of mine had recently had her living room painted.  She wanted a dramatic tree skirt for her Christmas tree.  I showed her the version in Brenda Henning's "Christmas Traditions in Stained Glass" (the same book I used for the stained glass Christmas stockings) and she just loved how it looked.

I made the tree skirt to reflect her new living room colors.  It's definitely NOT Christmas colors but does look wonderful in the room.   She was simply overjoyed with it, which made me feel great. :-)

You can find Brenda Henning's book on her website.

For all the gory details, please visit my web page for the stained glass Christmas tree skirt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

stained glass Christmas stockings

As part of my web page relocation project, I have revisited all of my pages.  It was a very nice trip down memory lane for me.

Since the Christmas season is now upon us and, as crafters, we STILL HAVE TIME :-) to make items in time for Christmas.  Nothing like the last minute to impose a deadline, huh?  :-)

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to share with you some of the Christmas-related quilted items I've made in the past.  Here, on the blog, I'll give a brief teaser but will also give you the link to the web page where you can see ALL the pictures and read ALL the verbage. :-)   I also have links where I can ... and if those links are still active.

So, without further ado ... today's item is "Stained Glass Christmas Stockings".

I have 6 Christmas stockings that I hang on the mantelpiece: 5 for our family members and 1 for my "new-ish" son-in-law.  (They've been married one year already, so I don't think he qualifies strictly as a "new" SIL. :-)  ).

I used the pattern from "Christmas Traditions in Stained Glass". a book by Brenda Henning, although I did a completely different, but entirely appropriate, design for my son-in-law. :-)

You might wonder why they don't all face the same direction.  That's a good thing to wonder about.  And I have an answer for you!  But you need to wander on over to the web page to find out why!  Yes, I'm such a tease. :-)

Those pictures are just teasers! For all the gory details, links and more pictures, please visit my web page for the stained glass Christmas stockings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ta Da! The Big Announcement!

Finally, oh finally!!   I'm pretty sure I've finished all the relocation of my webpages to the new site.  ::crossing fingers for luck::

Therefore .. the Big Announcment ... ::drumroll, please::

The Dread Pirate Rodgers website is now at
Either one .. makes no difference. They both go to the same website. 

All of my pages are now at there ... the main index page, which will direct you to all the different topics:
* personal info,
* quilting (which includes the tutorials),
* machine embroidery,
* sewing,
* adventures,
* Corpus Delecti .... or tales of Sneaks, the Mighty Hunter. :-)

 If you are familiar with the way my pages looked at the previous sites, you'll feel reassured because they are the *same pages*, just relocated to one place.

All of my tutorials are still available (for a while) at the Freeservers site.  This is because there are a LOT of other websites that have linked to the Freeservers place. I don't want to turn away people who are finding my tutorials from those other websites.    I'm in the process of contacting as many as I can to request that they update their links to my new site.

On the new site at,  you will find ALL of my tutorials available on the quilting page   They are the same web page tutorials as they have always been.  The PDFs to download are there also.

As I've gone through *each and every web page*, I've updated the info on some of them, as I saw prudent.

I was astonished to discover that I have 225 quilting pages, with projects dating from 1978 to current day.

There are 65 machine embroidery pages .. but that's because I got my embroidery machine in 2004 .... and honestly, I keep forgetting that I have some gorgeous designs to use, otherwise, I'd probably have more embroidery pages!  :-)

The sewing page is  more modest ... only 55 pages there.  I really only started keeping track of my sewing stuff from 2003 onwards.  All the really early stuff, the outfits I made for our 3 girls when they were infants and toddlers and young girls, don't have pages (yet).  Honest to goodness, computers weren't even INVENTED when I was sewing those outfits!  :-)  I've certainly *saved* them; they are in my cedar chests.  I do plan to do some archeological digs to unearth them.  :-)  Then I'll make the pages for those outfits.  It's on the list of Things To Do.  Really. :-)

I'm so pleased to finally have everything under one roof, so to speak.  I hope you'll wander on over to the new site, and take a look.  There's LOTS of stuff to see and read about!  :-)

(and yes, please do email me if you find broken links or pictures that don't load.  I'm pretty sure that I've checked them all out but I think my eyeballs have become permanently crossed at this point. :-)  )

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Progress continues; weather is fair :-)

I'm still trudging onwards with the web page relocation project.  Boy, it's just a whole lotta grunt work.  Original pages (written way back in the Dark Age)s had imbedded Java Scripts and pop-up windows for the pictures.  Further down the line, when I had more knowledge at my fingertips, I put in some CSS coding to simplify some aspects of maintenance.  But I didn't update the Dark Ages pages.  :-)   Now, thanks to my geeky Dear Daughter, I have server-side includes to further simplify maintenance.  :-) 

At this point, when I am doing the relocation, I am updating Every Single Page to remove the imbedded Java Script and the pop-up windows, include the CSS and SSI code snippets and make sure that external and internal links still work correctly.   Boy, am I stylin' now!  :-)

But, as I said, it's all grunt work.  My goal is to get everything moved to the new site by the end of the month.  Then I can make the Formal Announcement. :-)   [however, most of the pages are already moved over and working fine, I think.  References to the relocated pages are already in place.   I hope to see less traffic at the old sites and more traffic at the new site ... as I look at the statistics.   All of this should be transparent to the user.  So they say.  :-) ]

Although I haven't been working on Lizzie, due to the webpage project, I am still doing some handwork in the evenings, when Mr. Pirate & I keep each other company whilst watching "Bombing Germans".  (inside joke with us: I'm half German and Mr. Pirate likes to watch the Military Channel's World War II programs ... most of which are .. bombing Germans.  :-)  )

I've been working on my current Forever Project, which I am calling Vertical Diamonds.  As of right now, at 72" x 84", it's officially longer than my display space.  

Now that I can see the entire thing hanging, I also see some layout issues but they are going to stay exactly as they are.  It's one thing to rip out machine stitching but everything here is *hand stitched*  I am absolutely, positively NOT going to remove that stitching to fix any perceived problems.

Rather, I am going to maintain that any layout issues are simply part of the charm of the quilt. :-)

This quilt isn't finished being pieced yet.  There is another round of small diamonds, a narrow brown border, a slightly wider blue border and a final narrow brown border.  If all goes according to my calculations (HA!), it should finish around 86" x 113".

Next up for Vertical Diamonds ... working on the round of small diamonds.  Lots of them.  More than lots.  Tons of them.  And that's why it's called a "Forever Project".  :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Relocation: behind the curtains

I'm in the middle of some non-quilting, but necessary, activity.

When I first started making web pages as a virtual scrapbook/journal/diary for the stuff I quilted/sewed/embroidered, I got an account at  It worked very nicely for a number of years.

Then I reached the point where I needed to get a paid account to obtain more webspace and it just irked me to do so.  I know businesses need to charge to make their profit but it just bugged me to need to pay to have the space to show off my pages.  I sure wasn't making any money with my stuff, so it was a net monetary drain for me.

About that time, I remembered/rediscovered that the ISP where my email is, offered free webspace with the email account!  Oh hallelujah!   So, I started filling up THAT space with the newer web pages.

It was starting to get tricky with the web page construction ... knowing where a specific page was and how to reference it properly.  I was trying to keep with relative referencing, instead of absolute, but sometimes that just wasn't possible.

Mr. Pirate became more involved with his (extended) family's business and needed webspace for that.  All of a sudden, the webspace at the ISP was running short.  Ooops.

So, this year, we bit the bullet; we registered for a domain and got a hosted webspace at Dreamhost.  I began the process ... the TEDIOUS process ... of reviewing  Every Single Webpage of mine to update it, not only with verbage corrections and additions but also some technical stuff.  My oh-so-clever geeky daughter wrote some server-side includes (SSI) for me so that common elements of HTML code could be put into a library and referenced that way.  Much, *much* easier for me, maintenance-wise.   All I can say is that it's a Very Good Thing that I used to be a programmer and am used to TEDIOUS, BORING coding and verifying because going through 125+ pages really *is* boring and tedious.  Mostly tedious.  Programming is one of those activities that you just can't multi-task; you gotta keep focused on the flow of the code otherwise Things Don't Work Right.

Once that was done, I started FTP-ing all the files over to the Dreamhost site.  Fortunately, that process was a snap.

I'm now down to the last bit of checking things out:  I need to make sure that the "final" version of the web page is what I want it to be AND to ensure that all the links work properly.

OY VEY .. the LINKS!  They may be the death of me.

Links to outside sites aren't a problem .. they either still exist or they don't.  It is a sad thing, indeed, when web sites go away.  Most of them were for sites where I got a particular pattern or embroidery design.  I would always try to link to my source so my reader could get the design too.  But ... sometimes those site have folded up their tents and have gone away.  Other links were for products that I used.  The page where I originally linked to was no longer the page where the product was ... the manufacturer had reorganized *their* website and moved things around.   And all without telling me!  Can you imagine that??  Harumph.  :-)

But the KILLER problems were my own internal links.  Oh. My. Gosh.  On my quilting web pages, I have 'back' and 'next' links at the bottom of the page.  Just shoot me now ... as I was *INCONSISTENT* with how I named the directories and how I referenced them.  Geez, Louise!  Where did all the good programmer training go to????

And then ... just to mess with me further ... my old sites were case insensitive, so I was rather sloppy about what words I capitalized and which ones I didn't.  Now that I'm at Dreamhost ... guess what?  Oh yeah .. they are case sensitive.  Just shoot me now (again).   So a file/picture named "Quilt front.jpg" is different from "Quilt Front.jpg" from "quilt Front.jpg" from "quilt front.jpg" from "Quilt front.JPG", etc, etc, ad naseum.   AAAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!

So, that's how I'm spending my time right now .. going through All Those Links for accuracy.  If I had realized the case "problem" when I was originally going through the pages, I would have corrected them at that point ... which would have meant that I would have needed to go correct/update each page only *once*.  But no .. I didn't think of the case problem.  Now, I'm reaping the results of my sloppiness by needing to correct most of the pages AGAIN.

The lesson I learned?  From now on, ALL file names will ALWAYS be in lower case.

Eventually, eventually, most of my pages (adventures, quilting, sewing, embroidery, whatever) will be on the Dreamhost site and the Freeserver and ISP pages will go away.  Hopefully, this will be "transparent to the user"  (fingers crossed) so that the readers won't even realize the pages are on a new site.  I'll be putting a redirect on the various home pages at Freeservers so people who directly link to those pages will know where the pages have gone.

The only pages that I'll leave on the Freeservers site are my original tutorials.  There are direct links to them *all over the internet* and rather than ask everyone to please change their links, I'll just leave them where they are.  That's just simpler for everyone.

During the review process, I have (re)discovered that I have several quilts for which I never quite got around to making a web page for.  So, the final step in this relocation process will be to FINALLY make pages for those lonely quilts who deserve their 15 minutes of fame.  :-)

Now that I've had this little break from the tedium, it's back to the salt mines ... I have more internal links to verify and correct.  aaarrrggghhh.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuff that's going on

The things I've been doing since I last posted, in no particular order ......

1. I crocheted an edging on another (and final) fleece blanket.  This was another project that languished (or, more than likely, totally ignored) in middle DD's room.  I used a sparkly black yarn (Vanna's Glamour).  Why?  Because it was black, sparkly and cheap. :-)  The skein was 202 yards.  It looked to be enough for an edging, but what do I know?  Fortunately, it turned out to be *just* enough.  I probably have a couple or so yards leftover.  :-)
The edging is a simple picot.

2. Finished the quilting for Gone with the Wind.  Hallelujah!  That one was completed just in time for a customer quilt to arrive.   No pictures of the finished quilting yet.

3. Started & finished (woo hoo!) the aforementioned customer quilt.  The top is a delightful design of 4 columns of zig-zags in Christmas red.  Peeking out behind the red zig-zags are green triangles.  The result rather looks like rick-rack placed on top of each other.  Surrounding each of these columns is a "gold" frame.  All 4 columns are placed on top of a background of a wonderful poinsettia print.

So as not to ruin the lovely poinsettia flowers, I outlined each and every one of them in a "gold" Glide thread.  This was the first time I've used Glide and I think I'm in love. :-)

The red zig-zags got Carla Barrett's Curly-Swirly treatment and the green triangles got continuous curves.

No pictures, as the client hasn't even received the finished quilt yet.

4. Started preliminary design work on a commissioned quilt for one of Mr. Pirate's extended family members.  It's to be a queen-sized quilt to coordinate/match a hot-air balloon wall-hanging I had made for her.  This could be dicey, as all of YOU know how expensive just the supplies can be.  Once you add in the piecing labor and the quilting costs, all of a sudden you have a VERY expensive quilt.  You know that and I know that.  When we gift a quilt, we don't even consider all of those expenses because we are doing something that WE want to do for a person we love/like/admire.

But *this* quilt was requested.  I emailed 5 different, suggested layouts.  One was liked, so I was able to work out some *very* preliminary guesstimates on cost.  I kinda/sorta figured out how much fabric it would take (I'm not using a retail pattern).  I've figured out the amount for the backing, batting and binding.  I've figured out a range for the quilting costs (low to high).  I've even been able to grossly estimate what the piecing time might be.

So, the next time we email each other, I'll present this cost estimate. THEN I'll see how much she really wants this quilt.

EQ mock-up
5.  I've continued working on my hand-pieced Forever Project.  This is a series of columns made of squares on point.

It's coming together rather nicely and I'm pleased with it.  I may have found a quilting associate who might be willing to trade labor ... her to hand-quilt it in exchange for me machine piecing a top for her.   She LOVES to hand-quilt but really doesn't like the piecing part.  I know that I'm just NOT going to EVER hand-quilt a bed sized quilt but piecing a top is The Thing That I Do.  :-)   Definitely a win/win situation.
progress as of 11/2012

 I have all the columns sewn for the center area.  I'm now sewing the brown sashing onto those columns, then sewing THOSE units together.

Here's my supplies .... they are contained in a project box so I can always just "grab and go'.

 In the past, I've confined my work on a Forever Project to specifically when I was not at home.   I could always be assured that I'd have something to work on.  But as my previous Forever Projects became completed, I began to come up with other ideas for MORE Forever Projects.

Since I want to get to work on these other Forever Projects, I need to get the current Forever Project done!  To that end, I've been working on it at home also.  :-)

Now, to be fair, not only will I get this Forever Project finished BUT I am *not* machine piecing a NEW project.  Yes, yes, you could say that I am splitting hairs on the "piecing" part, but since I do have a LOT of pieced tops ready to be quilted, I don't want to add to THAT pile.  This hand-pieced Forever Project bypasses that pile because it's going to go to my quilting buddy for hand-quilting.  :-)

I could load one of those other tops on Lizzie, but I know as soon as I do, Mr. Pirate's relative will get back to me with the information I need to get started.  I don't want to be rushed on a quilting job, even if it's for me, so I'll just defer loading *anything* on Lizzie right now.