Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yee-haw, Let's Square Dance!

In my last post, I promised more on the Square Dance quilts. The first quilt on that post was a baby quilt made using the Square Dance pattern from this book. (I used the original edition). I had looked at this book once, and wasn't too impressed, but after my sister showed me a little quilt she had made using the pattern, it totally intrigued me.
My quilt guild was doing a challenge using black, white and one other color of your choice. It was supposed to be small, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out the pattern. I chose purple to go with the black and white. I made a square quilt, then re-read the challenge requirements only to find out the quilt couldn't be square! So, I added the prairie points to "un-square" it. I quilted it in funky spirals, which you can see on the close-up. This quilt is 19.25" x 20".

"Spring Pinwheels" (20" x 20") was for a class sample. I decided to base the color scheme on a season to try something different. This quilt has a lot of florals and pastels in it - unusual for me! This was a little more of a challenge due to the low contrast in the fabrics. I quilted in the ditch, then added buttons on some of the intersections for more interest and to help define the pinwheels better. Sorry it is still a little wrinkled - it just got unpacked to have its picture taken!

This next quilt (Autumn Pinwheels 24" x 21") was my demo piece in the class I taught. I used another season for the color choices in this quilt, and I think this was easier to work with. I also used mostly plaids, checks and stripes, just to see how well they worked with this pattern. I think they worked well!
The main lesson I learned with these little quilts was the importance of contrast - both in the choice of fabric and the placement of the colors. One of my students tried to use all 30's reproduction fabrics in her quilt, and there's no contrast with them. Another student achieved the needed contrast in her piece by using a fabric with a black background and flowers and then black as every other square. (essentially a checkerboard layout) That was very striking, and I'd still like to try that.
This last quilt (Picses Pinwheels 20" x 17") I used the border fabric as inspiration for my color choices. This quilt has quite a few of my hand-dyed fabrics in it. I over-dyed white-on-white prints, and I love the way they came out. I was going for a more "watery" look with this one, and I think it worked pretty well. I regret not doing a better job on the stripe placement in the border, but I remember I didn't have much fabric to work with. I think only a fat quarter.
I don't know that I'm "done" with working with this pattern. It still has possibilities that I'd like to explore. I learn something from every one that I've made.
I rotate my little quilts with the seasons, and I always like having these up. I've never gotten tired of looking at them. Maybe next time I'll try a bigger quilt!
I haven't made much physical progress on the quilt studio. I've been "shopping" on the internet, looking for storage for the fabrics and also sewing and cutting surfaces. I think I've found some that will work, and now have to plot out the floor plan, etc. I'm using this book to help me plan out what I'm doing. I have a pretty small room, and waaaayyy too much stuff, so want to maximize my usuable space.
As far as the little quilt I wanted to try that I mentioned at the end of my previous post, I am making progress, but I'm not ready to share it yet. I had to change the fusible I was using, so am basically starting over again. Maybe in a few days, I'll have something to share. Yeah, that's a little tease! *smile*

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nothing New Here

I'm going to post some more pictures of baby quilts today, as I really have nothing new to write about! No progress on the quilt studio, no quilting done, nothing noteworthy around here.

This first picture is the first baby quilt I made for the 'next generation' in our circle of friends and family. This was for our friend K's first grandson. The pattern is "Square Dance" from a book of the same name by Martha Thompson. (This is a favorite pattern of mine, and I'll show you more in another post.) This was another "kind-of" I Spy quilt with lots of things to find in the fabrics. And this was my first attempt at doing this pattern in a larger scale, and also doing more purposeful placement of colors.

The second quilt is one I made for my daughter's friend H. for her little boy. H. and her husband have a cat , so I found this bright all-over-cats fabric I wanted to use. It looks kind of "mushy" in the photo, but looks good "in person". I used commercial "hand-dyed" fabrics for the 9-patches. I didn't want to cut up the cat fabric, so decided to try using it as a center medallion with a pieced border around it. I like the way it came out.

And the last photo is the latest baby quilt made. It was a pattern in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, from 2006, I think. (sorry, I don't remember what issue) My quilting bee in California all made this together, and we shared fabrics, so all the quilts are similar. It was a free-pieced pattern and lots of fun to do.

I finally got the last tulip bulbs planted yesterday! I'd had to wait until I got some more pots to put them in. I'm trying not to do any gardening in the ground anymore, as I'm terrible at the up-keep. I had the granddaughters help me, and they thought it was a lot of fun to play in the dirt! I found that something, either the squirrels or racoons, have been digging up the previously planted tulip bulbs and gnawing on them! So, I re-planted and then sprinkled the pot with red pepper. It didn't work! I found another bulb out of the pot this morning. Rats! They (whoever they are) haven't bothered the daffodils at all. Those are about 3 inches tall now - except for the 5 that I forgot to plant until yesterday. Oh well, they'll bloom sometime this year!

Well, I'm off to the quilt studio - I have an idea for a little quilt that I want to explore. DH is being kind enough to wash dishes and fix tonight's dinner. Yay!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Heart Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here is a wallhanging I made many years ago. It was a kit that came with the hand-dyed fabrics for the hearts and the inner border. It's one of my favorites, and I hang it every year in February. It always makes me happy to see it.

These are a little treat I bought for myself down in the Portland area a couple of weeks ago. They're the charm squares by Moda Fabrics. This line is "Flirtations" by Sandy Gervais. I'm not sure what I'm gonna make with them, but I had to have them. (And this from someone who doesn't care for pink most of the time!) Aren't they luscious? They remind me of a box of Valentine candy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finally - Quilt Pictures!

Finally I have some pictures of some of my quilts to show! DH was a big help in me being able to do this. And what is a quilting blog without pictures of quilts?

This first quilt is a baby quilt made for a friend's little boy. It's made from Bonnie's Scrappy Bargello quilt pattern, which is free on Quiltville. It was so much fun to make. I made it somewhat of an "I Spy"-type quilt, with lots of fun things to find on it. I made this big enough to last him a few years. I always make baby quilts in bright colors with black and white accents, for a couple of reasons. First, I don't really care for pastels most of the time. And second, I make the quilts for the kids to enjoy, not to match their room.

This quilt was made for my father-in-law for Christmas 2006. He has been waiting patiently for a quilt for a long time, and has always been a big supporter of my quilting, giving me money for many Christmas' with the instructions to go buy quilting supplies with it! And gift certificates to local quilt shops too.
I made this with a lot of "manly" fabrics (baseballs, trains, hunting, etc.) and no flowers at all! (harder than one might think!) He told me his favorite color was cobalt blue, so I used as much blue as I could. This one was a lot of fun to make too. It also is a pattern from Bonnie, called Scrappy Trip Around The World. This pattern is so quick and easy, once you have the 2 1/2" strips cut. It's kind of like eating potato chips - hard to stop once you get started! Very addictive!
This is actually the 2nd quilt I've made from this pattern. I don't have a picture of the first one yet, but will show it soon. I'm itching to make another one, just for me. That's incentive to get the quilt studio up and running!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cats and Blogs

I thought I would show you my cats. They were being still long enough to photograph tonight. This first photo is Dunkel. He wasn't being too cooperative, but did hold still for one shot. He's hard to get a good photo of. He's a smoke-coat tabby. He has what I call "stealth stripes", and has a white undercoat. He doesn't like the camera.

This next photo is Shade. As you can see, he's been a very clever cat and has gotten the quilt off the back of the couch to make a comfy bed for himself.

My daughter Helga has started a blog about her writing. She's at 'Words Into This Darkness', and the link is on my sidebar.

Here's a cute project to do with buttons and cards. It's at How About Orange. Very cute, and could be great for a Valentine!

And I found this cute sock-doll post on homemade by jill. Great sock dolls! Jill's blog has made the list of "Blogs of Note" on Blogger. Way to go!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Here are photos of what my quilt studio looked like in August. I basically hadn't touched anything since the day the movers put everything in there.
This first photo is the right side of the room, taken from the doorway.

Here is the left side of the room.
The movers put all kinds of stuff in this room. So some boxes left just because they actually went into other rooms.

Next step was to separate the fabric boxes from the "other stuff" boxes, so I could measure the amount of fabric I have. That's so I can plan how much storage I need just for fabric. So, fabric on the right side of the room, other stuff on the left.
I have 92,369 cubic inches of fabric. I'm not sure I really wanted to know that, and I know I didn't want DH to know that!
Here are the photos from today.

The right side of the room, with my current sewing set-up. Sorry - it's messy at the moment.

And here's the left side of the room. This looks more messy than it has been, because I had to take a bunch of stuff out of the closet. And notice my kitty Shade. He's supervising, as usual. Actually, he's irritated cuz I keep disturbing him while shifting boxes.

I have gotten 6 boxes of books and magazines put into the closet. There's one box on the floor of the closet that has magazines in it still. I need to get more magazine organizers for them because I donated some of mine to DH for his pottery magazines.
And I have discovered yet another box of books in the room! And I think there's at least one more box of magazines lurking there too.
I have lots of plastic bins at the moment, mainly because my sewing space at the previous house was maxed out on fabric storage. I have "specialty" fabrics in these (ie. batiks, kids' prints, reproductions fabrics, etc.). These will all go on the shelves (yet to be installed) when I get that figured out.
I also have bins of cut strips and squares. This is from Bonnie's Scrap User System from Quiltville. I can't tell you how wonderful it was for me to find her information! I have used Bonnie's system for about 2 years now, and I've made 3 quilts in a much shorter length of time than I could have dreamed possible. What a lifesaver! Truth is, I even moved a box of scraps that need to be cut up. I didn't have time to get to them before the move, and I couldn't bear to toss them.
So, next up is a trip to the store for more shelf supports and magazine organizers.
When DH came in the room today, and I proudly showed him the closet full of books, he said "It looks like you need to stop buying books!" I think I have to agree with him. *sigh*

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Random Thoughts

The wind is blowing like crazy tonight. You know what's sad? When I lived in California, I used to pretend that the freeway traffic noise was the wind in the trees. Now that the noise IS the wind in the trees, my first thought is "Wow, what a lot of traffic!" We're supposed to have wind gusts up to 55 MPH. I hope the trees stay in the ground and don't fall over on my house!

I went to my local quilt guild meeting tonight. I don't know anyone there, but it was really nice to be in a room full of quilters. I hope it won't be too long before I have some friends here. I have heard a rumor that you actually have to leave the house and go somewhere else to make new friends. So far, the grocery store isn't doing it for me!

Today my husband put supports on the shelves in the quilt room closet, to support all the wonderful quilt books that I have. The first step to getting going! Maybe tomorrow I can get some of them out of boxes and onto the shelves! Then I could move around the room a little bit. That would be a big help. I'm quite a book-oholic. I love books, and buy way more than I maybe should. That's a clue to how many boxes of books I have! And that's not counting the quilting magazines I've collected. Does anyone else have this problem?

I will try very soon to put up some pictures. I read blogs for all the wonderful quilt pictures, so I will try to return the favor ASAP.

Thank you to all who have left comments for me! What a lovely welcome to BlogLand! This is gonna be fun!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ready or Not. . . .

My very first post on my very first blog! I have been inspired by my friends Pam ( and Roberta ( to start this blog . I hope to share my quilting adventures with my friends in California and other states, and my family as well.

I love blue, that's why I named this blog Indigo Threads. Indigo is my favorite shade of blue. Now, I love other colors as well, especially purples and greens, but most especially blue! I've discovered that there's no color I dislike, just some I like better than others. Every color has it's place. I used to hate pink and orange. I've discovered that I don't hate them, I just don't like them used indiscriminately.

I am still in the process of moving into our new house - which means that not everything is unpacked yet! My sewing room (AKA "Quilt Studio") is still 95% in boxes. So, I will be documenting the process of unpacking and setting up my place to create quilts, and then sharing whatever I do in that room as well. I will be trying out the world of Art Quilts, for one thing. Just for my own amusement, really. No aspirations on becoming an Artist, just playing with fabric and color. I love fabric and I love color! What more reason would one need?