Monday, September 14, 2015

A Smorgasbord of Stuff

I'm still here....still sewing and trying to finish my projects for the quilt show.  Of course, lots of other stuff is going on as well, most of which is too boring to go into.  You know, all that day-to-day stuff we all have going on.  But that's not why you're here, is it?

Remember my Traveling Round Robin?  (If you missed the blog post about that, you can see it here and here.)  Well, my Robin has come home to roost!  This is all my blocks when I got them back.  Aren't they awesome?  Everyone did a great job on the blocks.  In fact, they were all almost the perfect size.  In about 10 days, I had them all put together into a quilt top.  It is currently being quilted.  I forgot to take a photo of the flimsy, so you'll have to settle for this photo for now.  Of course, I'll show the finished quilt when it's done!  I'm getting excited to see it!  

The first weekend of August - over a month ago now! Time flies! - my DH The Potter had one of his big art shows of the year.  Of course, it was blazing hot.  But we survived and sales were good.  This show is put on in a beautiful garden that I always enjoy visiting.  I got a  couple of photos that I want to share with you.

This garden is full of vignettes of fun yard art.  This guy enjoying the teeter-totter was right near where we were set up.  Isn't he fun?

And this is Mt. Rainier, photo taken across the neighboring farm's pastures.  The next day the smoke came in and you could barely see the mountain.  This is the least amount of snow we've seen on the mountain in the 8 years we've been here. There's snow up there now though!

Once I got "My Lucky Stars" to flimsy status (see previous post), I took a break from what I was supposed to be doing to get this little baby quilt put together to flimsy status.  I had inherited two of these columns of patchwork, and enough left-over bits to make the third column.  So I put them together and they looked pretty good.  I'm not quite sure why the ends all came out different lengths.  It should have worked out.  Oh well, the baby won't be a critic.  I found this yellow plaid and it worked pretty well.  Now all I have to do is get this quilted - someday.  It was a nice break from all the "have-to's".

Last month DS found a nest of baby bunnies in the yard.  We watched them for a week or so, and when they were big enough to venture out on their own, he caught one of them.  We petted him and talked to him and then we let him go.  He was so soft!  And very sweet.  I've never been that close to a wild bunny before, although they are in the yard a lot the last couple of years.  They're not very afraid of us.  That was fun - bunnies are some of my favorite animals.

If you've ever seen the movie "Field of Dreams", you'll recognize this take on the tag line for the movie.  This cracked me up!

Here is a harbinger of Autumn.  We've had some fairly cold weather lately (a high of 61* today) and some of the trees are already starting to show color.  It seems early to me this year.  Oh, and the wild geese are already heading south - actually, they have been for weeks now.  

a sneak peek!
"My Lucky Stars" is back from the quilter and is getting it's binding put on right now.  Photos soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oh my stars! It's another flimsy finish!

I've been sewing my little fingers to the bone, trying to finish quilts for the quilt show.  And I have another finish to share with you!  Remember these?

Here is where they live now:

My Lucky Stars
Presenting "My Lucky Stars"!  The little sneak peek stars are the cornerstones in the sashing on another Block Lotto win.  (The colors in this photo aren't true to life.  That is red in the quilt, not the hot pink that's it looks like on my computer screen.)  These are the Tall Stars that I won back in August 2013.

blocks on the floor

Here is where I started, with my initial layout of 48 blocks.  The block was an adaptation of Bonnie Hunter's Maverick Stars, except that it was made in a rectangular size, using red for the background.  You could do a scrappy background, with one fabric for the star, or one fabric for the background with a scrappy star.  These were so fun to make!  If you want to try one, here is a link to the info on Block Lotto.  I got the idea of putting the stars together like this from Joe Tulips.  Thanks, Julie!

darkest & lightest blocks side-by-side

I decided on a dark to light layout, but I'm not sure you can tell from the photos.  It runs diagonally across the quilt, with the darkest block in the bottom left corner and the lightest block in the top right corner in the photo at the top of the post. I tried to find a red solid that worked with all of the scrappy reds in the blocks.  I was kind of surprised when I compared the darkest block to the lightest block.  That red center square, which is the red solid I found, looks like 2 different colors in these two blocks!  Isn't that interesting?

After I got the center assembled, The Potter suggested I add some triangles that echo the star legs in the blocks into the border.  I thought that sounded good, so I proceeded to make a bunch of them.  I really wasn't quite sure what I was doing when I started.  I seem to flail about for a while before I figure out what I'm doing, but I eventually got into the swing of it.  The only downside was the absolute mess I made in the quilt studio.  I have red scraps and bits of fabric everywhere!  I ended up using all of that red solid except for one strip about 6 inches (the width of the border) by 12 inches.  Whew!  That was close!

Here is one of those little cornerstones from the sneak peek.

In one cornerstone, I decided to do something different, and made one big wonky star.

Some of those crazy triangles in the border.

Anybody recognize the blocks you made?

This quilt has gone to the quilter now, and I'm so excited to see this one done.  

The next quilt is on the design wall.  I've gotten my Traveling Round Robin blocks back, and that quilt is on it's way to being completed.  I hoping to get to flimsy stage over the weekend.

As most of you know, Washington is having a horrible, record-setting fire season this year.  Most of the fires are in Eastern Wash. and I live in Western Wash.  This was what the sunrise looked like last Sunday morning.  That is a smoky sky!  It stayed that way all day.  It smelled strongly of smoke, and we had ash falling on the cars.  I can only imagine, if it was that bad here, how bad was it where there are the fires?  My heart goes out to all that are affected by the fires, and I applaud all the firefighters doing so much to stop those fires.  We're all praying for some rain.  It looks like our prayers may be answered this weekend.  I just hope some of the rain makes it over the Cascades to the eastern part of the state.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cheery O's!

Sorry I've been so quiet around here lately.  I have been busy though.  I've had a busy summer, and I've been madly sewing to have a quilt or three to hang in the quilt show in October.

Cheery O's has achieved flimsy status!

Cheery O's
60 x 74 inches
These were the 'Big O' blocks I won from Block Lotto in December of last year (2014).  We were supposed to use black or another very dark color for the background and the bright fabrics were quilter's choice - whatever we wanted.  These blocks were a lot of fun to make, and very easy.

The pattern is actually one quarter of a circle, and you need 4 blocks to make a complete circle, which finishes at 14 inches.  So making the quilt goes pretty quickly!

I made a few more blocks to complete the rainbow color scheme I was doing, and the unused blocks will be on the back.

I dug into my scrap bins for all the blocks that I made.  I didn't even make a dent!

I decided that I needed to make some smaller O's to go in the corners, so I drafted the block out.  The quarter squares finish at 3 1/2 inches and the complete circle measures 7 inches.  And even though they were small, they were still easy to make.

I made some more blocks to finish the ends of the middle row.  If you enlarge the photo, you can see the black on black print I used for the border.  I found that at Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon.

Shade doing his inspection
The top is currently at my long-armer Shari's, waiting to get quilted.  I can't wait to see how she quilts this.  I left it up to her, and I know she'll do a great job.

"It looks good, Mom."
Note his excellent cat hair addition.
I think this block has a lot of possibilities, and would like to play with it some more in the future.  Thanks, Sophie, for a fun pattern!   Here is the link to the pattern, if you'd like to play with it too.

Now I'm working on another Block Lotto win.  Ready to add the borders this week.  Here's a sneak peek:

I hope you have a creative week!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Little Eye Candy

When I was at the fair last weekend, I managed to get photos of some of the quilts there.  Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of the quilters, so I can't give credit like I should.  Some of these quilts were made for charity.

I love the boxer shorts!

A Quilt of Valor, made from a panel

A Seahawks quilt

I've been working on various projects lately, and I've made some progress on my long-term black and white quilt. 

first part of the blocks

It was so hot here that I could not stand to be upstairs in the quilt studio.  So I moved some stuff downstairs and set up my travel machine on the card table in the living room.  I only sew this project on my travel machine (due to seam allowance differences between my two machines), and so I managed to get quite a few blocks done in the heat wave . 

the rest of the blocks

 I've got about 8 more blocks of each color left to do.  But now the heat wave has let up, so it is put away for now, and I'm working on a different project upstairs!  Progress is progress and I'll take it where I can get it. *grin*

Thank goodness the heat wave has let up here!  Everything has gotten so brown and dry that we look like California.  The last couple of days have been quite cool and we've even gotten some rain.  Yay!  But it looks like the heat is back by mid-week.  Hopefully it won't get quite so scorching as the last time.  97.5* was too much!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Quilts and Fabric and Hamlet

I've been trying to do this blog post for a week now.  Life has gotten in the way.  But I think I'm finally getting it done!

I have a rather random collection of things for this post.  I hope you'll bear with me.

First of all is my big news:

"Best of Division" ribbon
I won the top ribbon at the local county fair!  I was totally shocked!!  Also very happy!  I had a goofy grin on my face all day after I found out.  Those of you who are my friends on Facebook have already learned about this, but I thought everybody else might want to know too.

This is the quilt that won, my "Mod 9-Patch: Comma Musings" that I've shown on the blog before.  

We had a rather small turnout this year in the quilts category as the fair turned out to be a little of a last-minute thing.  Our fair has been having problems for the last few years (the county no longer wants to run it), but a new group of local people have taken it over and we have high hopes for next year.

A couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway over on Stephanie's blog kwiltzbystephanie.  Last week my goodies arrived in the mail.  I won some fat quarters of text fabrics!  A big, big thank you, Stephanie!  I love them!

Some of these fat quarters are a very generous size (larger that a FQ).  And I have never seen these prints before either.  Fun, fun, FUN!

My DH recently made a business trip to Taiwan, and I asked him to bring me some traditional Taiwanese fabrics, if he could find some.  I was envisioning something like Japanese indigos.  Here is what he brought me:

He's made a number of trips to Taiwan and knows where "The Cotton Store" is in the fabric district.  So he headed there.  These fabrics were bought in another store that he was sent to, as The Cotton Store doesn't carry the traditional fabrics.  The sales clerk told him these were traditional, and when I did a Google search, this type of design is what came up.  DH says all the women wear dresses made of similar fabrics.  I think these are really fun!  I don't know what I'll be making with them, but I'm looking forward to working with them.  I got a meter of each.

Check out this selvage!  I can barely remember my history well enough to remember that Taiwan used to be called Formosa.  Wait, does that mean I'm showing my age??  *grin*

We had a sad happening here a couple of weeks ago.  My DS's sweet old kitty Hamlet had to be put to sleep.  He was about 15 years old, and was suffering greatly from diabetes and liver failure.  


Here is one of the last pictures of Hamlet, taken in our back yard about 2 weeks before his death.  I think my son got a beautiful picture of him.  Hamlet was the best kitty ever!  He had the sweetest temperament of any cat I've ever met,  and was just so calm and loving. Hamlet got along with everyone, whether they were people, cats, dogs, pet rats or even livestock. He taught my kitty Shade how to be a good housecat when we rescued Shade from the backyard, plus he helped raise another kitten later.  Hamlet was with my son throughout the 7 houses and 3 states that they lived in, and as long as he could be near my son, he was happy.  He will be sorely missed.

Hopefully my next post will not be such a long wait for you.  I've already got it planned . . . hopefully the execution will happen soon.  In the meantime, I hope you're having a great summer (or whatever season you're in), and getting to do some sewing.  Happy quilting!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Summer!

Summer has finally come to Western Washington - with a vengeance!  It has been blazing hot here for days, and it's expected to be like this all week.  Today is very nice, the high was only 85* and mostly cloudy, which was nice after yesterday being 92* and blazing sun.  It's supposed to heat up all week culminating in 96* on Thursday.  Yikes!  We don't have A/C, so we suffer when it gets that hot.  And we usually only get about 4 or 5 days of truly hot, so this is really unusual for us.  Plus we're having a drought as well, so everything is brown and crispy.  Not my favorite weather!

So, thanks to the heat, I haven't been getting much sewing done,  My sewing room is upstairs and on the east side of the house, which means it heats up early and then stays too warm.  A week ago, my guild had a workshop on Bargello, so I did some sewing there.  And then Friday I sewed at a friend's house, where I finished my Bargello pieces that I had started.

second piece

I'd never tried Bargello before, so I wanted to give it a shot.  The concept isn't hard if you're used to strip piecing, but it can be confusing and achieving a nice curve isn't as easy as I thought.

first piece

You can see that my first try is kind of awkward compared to the second one.  I used all batiks for this project, because I thought they would work well for this.  I like the variations in colors in the batiks - I think that makes it more interesting.  These two pieces are each about 18 inches square. I'm going to be turning these pieces into a tote bag - at least that's my plan at the moment!

"Jungle Cat"
Our local art gallery, where my DH sells some of his pottery, is having an Artist Trading Card sale again this year, to raise funds.  So DH made some pottery ATCs as well as some paper ones.  I, of course, made some fabric ones.  Which only makes sense, since I not really good at drawing or painting, like some of the other artists.  But my ATCs seem to be popular.  The last time I checked, they all had bids on them!

"Time Cat"
These little pieces finish at 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  Not a big investment in time or supplies.  But lots of fun to make.  I fused the Laurel Burch cats onto the background fabrics, and then added the fun buttons and beads.

This last one was made with my smallest hand-dyed and Cherrywood fabric scraps, which were left over from this quilt.  It has kind of an Amish vibe to me, but I had to add those beads just for fun and to make it a little more "artsy".

A week or so ago DH and I got new cellphones.  Our 4 year old phones were dinosaurs, and were starting to die.  So we got a new plan (I can text now!) and nifty Galaxy 6 phones.  These phones have the best camera on them!  I've been having lots of fun taking pix.  The photo above is a barn about 1/2 mile from my house.  I love this barn, and I think I got an interesting photo of it.

This photo was taken directly across the road from the barn. facing east.  You can't tell from this photo too well, but that is Mt. Rainier in the center (where it looks like clouds).

Same photo, just super zoomed in.  That is the mountain, with the clouds hiding the top half of it.  With this warm, clear weather, we're getting some awesome views of the mountain.  Finding a good place to stop the car to get a photo is the hard part!

Dear Son made some "Midsummer" cookies this week, and we finally got them frosted and decorated today.  Sorry this photo is a little fuzzy.

fireworks, flowers, ice cream cones, cats (and a nudist in the upper right corner)!

a tree and a tent, airplane, music note and more fireworks & flowers

the last four cookies
The hardest part is not gobbling them all down immediately.  We love these cookies, and decided they're not just for Christmas.  *grin*

Dunkel says "Happy quilting"!