Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Fall Quilt

This is my Scarecrow quilt, that I always hang by the front door for fall. This was a pattern from a Piecemaker's calendar many years ago.

I used a fusible for the applique, but I didn't "window" it, so the poor scarecrow looks pretty stiff! And I think I'd add more quilting now, as it's kind of poufy. (I may still do that, depending on how much it bothers me!)
I felt that the plain borders, in spite of the busy fabric, were just too - well, plain. So I added some flying geese. Appropriate for fall, I guess! However, these geese seem to be confused - hahaha!
When I was shooting pictures today, Dunkel couldn't get onto the Scarecrow quilt for his usual hijinks, as it was on the wall when I photographed it. So, he got on the half-wall on the stairs. He usually gets on the tippy-top part (which you can't quite see in this photo), and that gives me the heebie-jeebies! I'm always afraid he'll fall, which is about 12 feet down. He knows it "pushes my button" - naughty cat! As you can see, he's pretty comfortable with the whole thing. He does the same thing up top too. He even tries to snag my arm when I walk past him. I try to not even look at him! In case you can't tell, yes, I'm afraid of heights.
I've finally finished the Secret Project for my sister. (Yay! Another finish!) I'm waaayyy late for her birthday (in August), so it will be an "I Love You" gift. I can't show you how it came out until she receives it, just in case she reads my blog. Soon, I promise!
We've had just wonderful warm weather the last few days. The high was in the low 80's and we even got to wear shorts! But, alas, the usual rain and chilly weather will be returning in a few days. *sigh* It was nice while it lasted. My allergies have been miserable, but I still enjoyed the warmth. Still haven't gotten the pansies planted. My bad.
I've only got 2 links to share this time:
If, like me, you're fascinated with the Disappearing 9-Patch, you need to visit Dionne who has lots of links on her blog. I love seeing how many different ways one pattern can look!
One of my favorite quilters is Mary Lou Weidman. Check out her blog. She's really "into" fall!
And, one last thing for September. I think this little video of a sneaky cat is so funny. I hope you enjoy it too! (Watch the kitty carefully.)
See you in October!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Fall, Y'all!

We have definitely turned the corner into autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and fall, and there's a quality to the air that wasn't there two weeks ago. Can't deny it. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but there wasn't quite enough summer! I usually am more than ready for fall, but not this year.

This little quilt isn't technically a fall quilt, but I always display it at this time of year, because the colors say "fall" to me. I saw a quilt with this pattern in a magazine many, many years ago, and I liked it so much I decided to draft it out for myself, since the magazine had no information on the name of the pattern or anything. It turns out that this was a Country Threads pattern, and they're one of my all-time favorite quilt designers.

The colors don't seem to be true in these photos. In person, all those fabrics really are shades of orange! I decided to put a little bunny on to help convey that these are carrots. My kids kept calling them "rocket ships". (If you turn it upside down, it does kind of look like that.)

I call this little quilt "Bentley Bunny's Carrot Patch". We got to "bunny-sit" one night for a bunny named Bentley that belonged to a friend of my daughter, just so that I could meet the bunny. I had never been up close and personal with a rabbit. It was a lot of fun, even though it scared the cats. Bentley wanted to play with the cats, because that's what he did at home. The cats had no idea what this animal was! They didn't run and hide, but they weren't exactly friendly either!

I've had a chance to get some sewing in lately, and I've gotten 3 quilt backs constructed and now have 3 quilts ready to send to the quilter! Yay!! I love finishes! Now on to the rest of the projects on my list.

I've got some links to share. I've been roaming around blog-land and finding all kinds of little tidbits.

Check out Lazy Gal Tonya's Priority Hope Challenge. She wants us to make a very small quilt featuring the word HOPE or the image of a bird for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, specifically the Priority Quilt auction. Deadline for this challenge is 20 November 2008.

Here's a game that my DD told me about. It's a free game on Shockwave called Magic Pen. It's a lot of fun and it makes you think! It's not another shoot-em-up - it's physics and logic. It gets pretty challenging after the first few levels. DH and I spent about 2 hours playing with it the first time we tried it! It's a lot of fun!

In case you haven't seen this, here's a tutorial on the Disappearing Nine-Patch that Helen on Quilts & ATCs blog is sharing. This is a fun little project to try on a small quilt. There's been lots of them around the blogosphere.

And when you've tried that, here's further adventures on the Disappearing Nine Patch from Ingrid at happy2bstitchin blog. She's got some intriguing ideas of what more can be done.

Laurraine at Patchwork Pottery has a tutorial on fabric labels. A very useful trick!

Pink Penguin has a tutorial on a wonderful little fabric basket. Also lots and lots of these being made. Ayumill has links to many of these baskets, so you can see what everyone is doing with this great tutorial. I'm gonna be making one of these someday!

Here's a tutorial on using those luscious Bali fabric Pops from Rachel of 2nd Ave Studio. Love this quilt!

I guess that's about enough for one posting! Well, how about one more for the road? I don't know how many of you will be interested in this, as it's not quilt related, but here's a source for free piano sheet music. You can find music for any level of playing ability, from barely-know-how-to-read-music up to level 4, which is pretty advanced. Best of all, you can also hear a midi of the song. The music is in "pdf" form and easy to read and to print. I've gotten lots of good music from this site. A great free resource!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Hear ye! Hear ye!

I thought everyone would want to know about this:

Friday, September 19th is the Official Talk Like A Pirate Day! However, due to it bein' on a Friday and all, you can actually extend this to the entire weekend.

To find out more about this unsung holiday, click here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Vintage Fun

As promised, here are the other projects that I did with the 1930's scraps I was lucky enough to acquire. (see previous post)

This first one, Tumblers, is the smallest one. It was paper-pieced with the tiniest scraps. I wanted to use as much of these fabrics as I could, and there were some fabrics that all I had were tiny scraps. Some of the tumblers had to be pieced to have a big enough piece of fabric to use and they're 1.25 inches at the large end of the tumbler and .75 inches at the small end! The whole tumbler is 1 3/8 inches long, and the entire quilt is 15.25 inches by 18 inches. Not the smallest one I've ever done, but pretty small!

A close-up so you can see some of the fabrics.
Can you see where some of these are pieced?

And here's the last project with the 30's fabrics. The yellow border fabric on this is the feedsack found at the bottom of the grocery bag. Some of these little squares had to be pieced also. The smallest squares measure 1 inch finished and the 4-patch is 2 inches. This whole quilt is 21.5 inches square.

Some closeup so you can see more of the fabrics.
You can see how many plaids and graphic designs were in these fabrics. That was surprising to me based on the reproductions. I had no idea there were so many plaids available then!
I hope you've enjoyed seeing these little treasures!

The quilt tops from the previous post are having their backs made now. I tried to shop my stash, but it just wasn't working. So, 40% coupons from JoAnn's to the rescue! I've kind of lost my momentum at the moment, so it's not going as fast as I would like.
I found a copy of "Liberated Quiltmaking" at the library and so have been re-reading it. I just wasn't seeing some of the things in the quilts that Gwen was talking about, until I realized that many of the quilt pictures were printed upside down! Oh yeah, NOW I see it!

We've got a bird feeder outside the kitchen window. I try to keep it filled with sunflower seeds. We've had so many little Mountain Chickadees visiting us! And there's been another little bird that's about the same size as the chickadee that comes. It's so small and so fast, it's hard to get a good look at it. We haven't been able to identify it. Finally, I found it on What Bird web site last night. It's a Red-Breasted Nuthatch! If you click on the link, you can see what it looks like, because I can't get a good picture of it. Be sure and listen to their call too. I've been hearing this call all summer and it's been bugging me that I didn't know/remember what it was. And, just so you know, a group of nuthatches is called a "jar" and a group of chickadees is known as a "banditry" and a "dissimulation" of chickadees! (I learn something new everyday!) The kitties seem to think that all these birdies are a show just for them.

Speaking of TV, we finally got to watch "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." We think it's very well done! Even has good continuity with the movies. We've watched 2 weeks worth of "Fringe" as well. It was well-done too. Very X-Files like. We were really surprised to see John Nobel on there! He played Denethor on "Return of the King", in case you don't recognize his name. However, I don't think we're gonna make Fringe "must-see" TV for us. We've gotten burned out on "Lost" and I can see this is more of the same un-ending mystery. Oh well. "Heroes" starts next Monday - Yay!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Bee's Knees

All done! Yay! I got the borders finished on this uneven 9-Patch from the last post. I was inspired by Gwen Marston's chunky applique from "Collaborative Quilting". I thought that the dotty wavy "vine" really makes this a fun, happy quilt.

The applique was pretty easy to do, and I don't do much applique! And I think the dots add just the touch of whimsy that I was looking for! I had a hard time not putting too much on - I kept telling myself to leave room for the quilting.

This block has real, old fabric in it. I think it's from the 1920's. I love those frantic mice. They're very angular and spiky. And I have a closeup of two of the dots that use real 30's fabrics. The first one was from an old apron, and the second one is/was a feedsack. Most of this quilt is reproduction fabrics, with just a few old fabrics thrown in.

As I was finishing this quilt, I remembered that I have another 1930's quilt that needs to be finished. So I pulled it out and looked at it. I had been stuck on whether or not it needed a border. I decided to put a small border on it. This quilt has all old fabrics, aside from the solid blue (that one is new). I decided, because these are old fabrics and kind of fragile, that a border would help protect them better than having them right on the edge of the quilt.

This quilt has kind of a story with it. When I worked on the charity quilts committee of my quilt guild in California, we got lots of donations of fabrics. One of these donations was a paper grocery bag mostly full of old fabrics. No one on the committee wanted to deal with them - they were going to throw them away! So, I volunteered to take them. I was stunned when I got home and started going through the bag. I realized these were someone's scrap bag with real fabrics from the 30's and 40's! On the very bottom of the bag was a feedsack that hadn't seen the light of day in many, many years! It was in pristine condition! (see the second dot up above - that's the feedsack). Also in the bag were fabrics from the 1950's and 60's. (I haven't dealt with them yet other than to wash them- they're patiently waiting their turn.)
I gently hand-washed everything because it was kinda smelly, put them on towels on the floor to dry, and they came out great. The scraps and towels totally covered the living room and family room floors, and I think DH thought I had lost my mind! *grin* I've made two little quilts with the smallest pieces of the 30's fabrics (which I will show you another time), and then I used the largest pieces for this one. I still had to do some piecing to have enough for these squares, which finish at 2 inches. (6 inch finished blocks)

My inspiration for this quilt came from this book by Mary Mashuta. This one is chock-ful of pictures of old quilts.

This is the picture that inspired me.

Here's a closeup of one corner. Following are some of the blocks. Can you see where I had to piece some of these squares?

What really amazed me about this collection of fabrics was how many plaid fabrics there were! I guess this lady really liked plaid, which is great because I do too! You hardly ever see a plaid or a graphic fabric in the 30's reproductions, and they complement the little flower prints so well that you'd think at least some would be included. Also, this lady had a lot of orange-y fabrics. That's not my favorite color, but yet these all work together so well. This is a great pattern for getting everything to "play nice".

I think some of these fabrics are from the 1940's as well, because they have more intense color to them, and larger prints. But I'm just guessing on this.

Aren't those cool fabrics?? I really haven't been too "into" the 30's reproductions. I'm not a pastel person, and I'm not quite old enough to have them be contemporary to me. But I love history, and I love seeing the real thing!
We've been having bees in the kitchen for a week or more now. DH keeps killing them, and more keep showing up. I don't want to know why. There may be a nest in the skylight in the kitchen. Ewww! At least they're not aggressive. I can ignore them if they leave me alone. If this keeps up much longer, I may have to call an exterminator. Ugh.
Well, it was a good thing I posted about the nanny geese when I did. A day or two after I posted, a whole big blizzard of Canada geese came flying into the lake in the morning, honking and carrying on. They flew out that evening. I think "our" geese left with them. We haven't seen them since. So, their job was done, I guess. They must be going south for the winter.
Sara over at Sara's Scraps has posted about her experience at Gwen Marston's Beaver Island Quilt Retreat. She's got lots of pictures of Gwen's quilts from Gwen's new book Ideas and Inspirations, Abstract Quilts in Solids.
I found an interview with Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku and Tahmah Penikett about the new show "Dollhouse". There's also a trailer available to watch. "Dollhouse" premieres in January 2009 on Fox TV. I'm looking forward to it. There doesn't seem to be much good on this fall. I had to tape "Sarah Connor Chronicles" to watch later, because DH isn't available to watch it right now. I also taped "Fringe" tonight. Anybody else seen it? What do you think of it? I'm dubious. I don't want to get involved in another "Lost"-type show, and it's by the same creator. We're not real big on the TV anyway. Much rather sew (or do pottery, for some of us) or read!
Speaking of that, time to head for the quilt studio!