Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sewing But Not Blogging

It's been pretty quiet around here lately.  But I do have a few things to show you.

I went down to my sister's a few weeks ago.  My DH was off on a business trip and DS was home to take care of the kitties, so I took the opportunity to go play.  Sally and I had a lot of fun.  We went to Pioneer Quilts down in Portland, and then she took me to a place that I've been kind of afraid of, Fabric Depot.  I knew I could get myself in trouble there!  And I did.  But I had a blast.  And we got 25% off!  So it could have been worse.  Fabric Depot is everything I've ever heard about it.  A giant warehouse FULL of fabric, but it's all very well organized and so easy to find what you're looking for.   And even stuff you're not looking for, but discover that you need!  hee hee!

My Dad, about 1920

I ended up staying an extra day because we went through old family photos that our Mom had, and we just couldn't get through them very quickly.  We laughed so hard at some of those!  And it's a good thing we did it together, because what I couldn't remember, she could!  And vice versa.  I've brought home a box-full of photos to scan into the computer so that we can share them.  It's gonna take me awhile!  And we still have 2 more drawers full of photos to go through.

Zoe, my sister's tuxedo kitty
I've also been getting some sewing done.  Here is a quilt top that I got put together down at the California retreat.

This is the Big O blocks that I won from Block Lotto last December.  I managed to find a good border fabric at Fabric Depot, and I even got backing fabric from the clearance section - $6 a yard!  And it's perfect too.  So, now I have to get this finished.

I've also been working on another set of blocks I won from Block Lotto.

These are the Tall Stars blocks from August 2013.  I'm slow at getting things put together, but eventually they get done!  I've gotten more blocks put together since I took this picture.  I got this brilliant setting idea from Joe Tulips.  So far, I think this quilt is gonna be one of my favorites!

This past week, my quilt guild took a field trip.  It was our annual trip to Martingale Publishing (That Patchwork Place) for the tour of their offices with so many quilts to see!  It's always so much fun.  They have lots of quilts hanging all over their offices from books that they've published, and the tour leader, Linda, is a fun lady.  We  then got to visit the "hurt book" room and buy books at severely discounted prices.  I got about 6 books, and I'm having fun reading them.  And you can't tell that they're "hurt" at all.  A sweet deal!

Saturday my guild had a "sew-in" day and we made aprons to sell at the quilt show in October.  I got one child's apron done, and an adult apron cut out and ready to sew.  The next child's apron I make, I think I will make it reversible.  Putting on all that binding was a pain.  I made a mistake and bought the really skinny binding.  Ugh.  I think making it reversible will be easier - at least I hope so! 

My big project right now is to clean up the quilt studio.  It's gotten very cluttered and there's almost no room to work.  So, I've been plugging away at it for a few days.  Still  have quite a ways to go.  Wish me luck!  I'd rather be sewing, so after a while of cleaning, I sit down and sew a little bit.  Very slow progress on everything, but progress is progress!

Have a creative week!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2015 Edition

I'm late to the party but I couldn't miss the Blogger's Quilt Festival!   Thanks to Amy for hosting this again, and to all the wonderful sponsors.

I've shown this quilt on my blog before, so apologies to my regular readers.

Ochre : : Strata is my entry this time around, and it is in the Original Design category.

Ocher : : Strata
31 x 32.5 inches approx.

This quilt came about because I had some Cherrywood Fabric scraps leftover.  When I was going to Pacific International Quilt Festival a few years ago, every year I had to visit their booth and I bought some of their scrap bags.  These colors are not my favorites but, come on, they're Cherrywoods!   I couldn't let them languish.  These fabrics are so fabulous that they are a joy to work with.  I have no affiliation with Cherrywood Fabrics, I just love their products!

Anyway, the scraps were all about 5 x 7 inches, so I didn't have a lot to work with.  I just cut strips and started sewing them together in stripes (strata).  I made a bunch of strata, and then lost my mojo.  So these got put away for awhile until one day I saw on a pin on Pinterest (that now I can't find again) and got inspired to pull these out and do something similar.

the diagonal stripes on the right hand side are the painted fabrics
In addition to the Cherrywood Fabrics I also included some hand-painted fabrics from Barb's Elegant Designs for a little sparkle.  They're shiny and metallic but are subtle in the photos, so I'm not sure you can see them too well.

I had fun just improvisationally sewing everything together.

Nothing went together perfectly and I had to do a little tweaking to get it to work.  When I was all done, the quilt ended up being pretty wonky and doesn't hang perfectly straight.  But it's supposed to be "artsy", and I love it anyway.

The details in the border came about because I ran out of the brown fabrics I was using and couldn't find another brown that was even close to that shade.  So, I had to make it "stretch" and I think it came out even better because of that.

Shari Bahr quilted this for me on the long-arm.  I think it was the first time she'd done the straight-line quilting, and she did a great job.  

Be sure to check out all the other entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.   Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy all the quilt-y eye candy to be seen there!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Retreat Photos

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to California (S.F.Bay area, near where I used to live) and went to a quilting retreat with some quilting buddies.  I spent a few days at Katie's house before we went to Homewood Suites, where most of us rent suites (usually 2 people per suite), and then we have 2 good-sized conference rooms for everyone to sew in.  There were 15 of us, and there was lots of sewing, laughter, good food and more laughter.  I had the best time!  It's so good to see all of my California friends and get some sunshine.

Mission Peak, taken from the hotel
I don't have as many pictures to share as I should have.  I had a "brain fart" while transferring photos from the camera to the computer and lost a lot of them.  I'm not too happy with myself for that not-so-smooth move.  Ah well, life goes on.

While I was at Katie's house, I got to sleep under this beauty.  This was a log cabin that Katie used all polka dot fabrics to make (plus the white).  The group exchanged the dots (cut into 2 1/2 inch strips) and then were challenged to make a quilt with them.  This one just makes me smile!

A couple of detail shots:
I don't know why the white fabric looks pink in this photo.

Aren't these fun?  Makes me want to go play in my dots too!

This was the string quilt top that Katie made when we had the Great Spring String Fling a few years ago.  Compare hers to the one I made, shown below.

I wanted to be done with the quilt and just added simple borders, as it was going to be a charity quilt.  Katie was smart and used even more strings for the borders of her quilt top!

Once at the retreat, there was much "show and tell" going on.  This is Carlene with her quilt.  (One of the few photos I managed to not lose)

Here is a Disappearing 9-Patch that Jill (I think) made.  Very bright and cheery!

Jill was a sweetie and let me borrow one of her machines to use, so that I didn't have to bring my machine on the airplane.  It was wonderful to not have the schlep a machine around the airports.  I had enough trouble carrying my laptop that suddenly was about 50 pounds heavier than normal.

Here is Katie's latest quilt.  She got this put together the first day.  She is still pondering what to do for borders.

Shari made this bag.  Very cute!

And then she made this one!  I love it!

And then Purple Pam made one too!  (check out her blog!)  Pam has the neatest bright purple featherweight machine and all her bags, cutting mat, etc. etc. are all purple.  I'm jealous!

I just had to get a picture of this.  This is a sweet stitchery that a friend made for Shari, and it's put onto an Altoid tin.  It says "tiny things" and even has some Hardanger work on it, and well as Shari's name.  Isn't this darling?  (Sorry this isn't the best photo - I lost that one.)

These are all 6 inch stars

After I showed Katie the photos from my workshop with Gwen Marston, she had to learn how to make wonky stars!  She "got" it pretty quickly and then went to town making stars!  

a total of 10 stars
I think she is officially starting a new quilt with these!  Knowing Katie, it's probably done by now.  She is the Energizer Bunny of quilting.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!  Tomorrow (Saturday) I'll be going to a tea that my DDIL is doing for her mom and me.  I'm looking forward to it, as she always does such a lovely job.  And then I'll be heading south to spend a few days with my sister.  DS is here to do the cat-watching for me, so this is my little treat to myself for Mother's Day.  I hope you all have wonderful celebrations too!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fun With My Sister

As I mentioned a few posts ago, my sister Sally recently came to visit.  She lives in the south part of Washington and we're only about 3 hours apart, but still don't get together as often as we'd like.

Sally said it was her vacation, and she wanted to PLAY!  As in - Sewing Fun!  So, that is what we did.  I set up my two little machines in the living room and we hauled the design wall down from the quilt studio.  And then we spread fabric and projects all over the place!

Wool work #1

She brought some fun things for me to see, like her wool projects she's been doing.  She's been playing with these for a while now, and finally got them to a "finish".

wool work #2

She was thinking of making these two pieces into pillows, but I suggested maybe wrapping them around a small canvas and making them wall art.  (No final decision was made at that time)  I love these!  They are so cheerful, and all those stitches make them very appealing to me.  Maybe I need to find some wool to play with!

Here is a quilt top that she has been doing.  Her color scheme is based on a tree by her front door.  It has the red-violet branches and the new leaves are a beautiful lime green.  This is quite different from what most people would do, but it's very "Sally" to me.  She's always loved those large floral print fabrics of the 1940's!  She just brought this to show me, and no progress was accomplished.

This is her "vintage baskets" quilt that she brought last year when she visited (see my post here).  She bought the border fabric last year and while she was here this time finally got it put on, with the addition of a little flange between the center and the border.  I just happened to have the right shade of turquoise for that!  Yay for stash!

detail of the border with flange

While Sally worked on her basket quilt, I worked on my liberated baskets.  I haven't touched these baskets in a while, but I did make a little progress.  I haven't decided yet just what I'm doing or where I'm going with these.  So poking along is just right for me at this stage.  I really like the basket in the upper right corner.  It looks "fizzy" with all those dots in the background!

I had made a bag for my sister, last year, I think. ( I can't find any photos of it anywhere to show you, and it came out really nice with batiks.  How could I forget to take a photo?!) She wanted to learn how to do that bag, so I helped her make this one.  You can find the tutorial for this bag called "Open Wide Zippered Pouch" here.  Sally used an old curtain from the thrift store that was bark cloth.  Very fun!  But it was also quite soft, so the use of interfacing was a necessity.  I think it came out cute!

She used a soft pink polka dot for the lining.  

I also made a bag (with cotton fabric), but neglected to use interfacing on it.  No photo, as it's doing a darn good imitation of a puddle!  (I think I learned my lesson)

about 18 to 20 inches square at this stage

This is a little wall hanging that Sally has in progress.  Never mind that it has been in progress for about 20 years!  Progress is still progress, right?  The fabrics date this work, but it's still cute and it will get finished.  Sally's planning on adding more borders, and still has the fabrics set aside with the top.  I do this all the time . . . do you?


Sally and I have always been slow about getting birthday and Christmas presents to each other in a timely manner.  It's a family trait, apparently.  Or so we're claiming anyway.  So, these are some of my Christmas presents from Sally.  They are kitchen towels that she added the decorative strip to.  The blue with the red strip is special to me, as that red fabric was a skirt that my Mom owned.  And, just so you know, I am actually using these!  They make me smile.

After I showed Sally my photos from my classes with Gwen Marston in March, she wanted to learn how to do a liberated star.  This is her first star!  She struggled to get the concept of how to trim those star points, but finally got it.  Isn't this cute?  I hope she'll make some more!

We had a blast while she was here.  My dear, dear husband cooked meals for us!  What a sweetheart he is!  I can't wait for her to come back to play some more.

I'm leaving for California in a few days to go to a quilt retreat with my California quilting buddies.  I can hardly wait!  I haven't been in two years, so we'll have a good catch-up while we sew up a storm.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Liberating Some Stars

As I mentioned in my last post, I took two classes with Gwen Marston recently.  Today features the second class - "Liberated Stars".

Gwen's Liberated Stars quilt

Some of the students (like me) had already made the liberated stars, and some were new to it.  When I've made stars in the past, I've always cut the background fabric away after sewing and trimming the star point.  Gwen said she doesn't do that very often anymore, so I tried not trimming.  It didn't seem to make a big difference for 6 inch stars, but seemed too thick for the little 3 inch stars as well as the 9 inch stars.  Maybe it's just because I'm used to trimming?  I haven't made up my mind which I prefer yet.

Here are all the students' work that I managed to get photos of.

Some fun bits going on in these stars!

Love what the striped fabrics do!

fun background!

Do you remember the string blocks from my last post?  Well, this student added the stars to her string blocks.  Cute, huh?

And here are my stars - I did a 3 inch, a 6 inch and a 9 inch star.  For this project, I decided to use my hand-dyed fabrics.  Most of those fabrics have been "aging" in my stash for a number of years, waiting to be used in the right project.  I think this is it!  I'm using a Kona Snow background, with a couple of low-volume black and white prints to mix things up.  

I found the 3 inch star fairly challenging to make, but I think it's really cute.  I'm sure they will get easier as I make more.  

I haven't made any more stars since the class, as higher-priority things have claimed my time.  But I can't wait to get back to making stars.

One of the students brought a liberated log cabin quilt to show off.  It is made using mostly solids, but the print fabrics in there are a fun touch.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post.  I have lots to share with you.  I hope to do another post soon.

See ya soon!