Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Welcome to Indigo Threads!  I hope you enjoy looking around.  A big Thank You to Amy for putting on this wonderful Quilt Festival again . . . it's so much fun to visit all the other bloggers and see all the beautiful quilts.  I would hazard a guess that this is the world's best quilt show you can see without leaving home!  So pull up your comfy chair, grab your beverage of choice and don't forget a few snackies!  Enjoy the show. . . .

"Button, Button"  25 inches high by 29 inches wide

My entry in the Quilt Festival is called "Button, Button", for obvious reasons!  This was my challenge quilt for my local guild this year.

We did a color challenge this year, and we drew paint chips to get our assigned colors.  We had to draw one dark paint chip and one light one.  My paint chips were eggplant and light lilac.  This photo is closer to the true colors than the first one.  These colors were not only difficult to find in fabric, they're tough to photograph and capture the right color.

This idea was one I had sketched out 4 or 5 years ago, and never seemed to get to.  I wanted to practice Lazy Gal Tonya's free-pieced letters (see her book "Word Play Quilts" in my sidebar - due out in December!).  So, I decided to combine the two ideas. 

"Button Button" had some technical challenges to it, and I tried some new things that I thought were successful. 

This quilt was the most letters I've done.  It was challenging and fun.  The letters get easier the more you do them, although I had a little trouble getting them right as I kept confusing where the dark and light fabrics went. *grin*  I'm even pleased with the hardest letter - "W".  And I had to figure out how to do the question mark.  It took two tries to get one that was right, but I'm really happy with it.

I had some difficulty deciding on the border, but finally decided simple was best.  I didn't want anything that would detract from the letters or the buttons.  I kept the quilting simple for the same reason.

The technicalities of how to construct this were interesting.  I put some light interfacing on the borders to help support the buttons, then I quilted.  I ended up putting a false back over the first one that I had quilted through and attached the buttons to - I wanted to hide all those ugly knots.  It worked great!

I added a lot of buttons from my collection, and hardly made a dent in it!  I used mostly buttons that were special to me - from clothes I sewed for me and my children, buttons from my Mom and Grandmother, buttons to signify various places I've lived, and so on. 

This quilt won 3rd place in the Guild's Challenge Reveal, and then won a blue ribbon and Best of Class in the county fair.   That was such a good feeling.  From now on, it will be hanging in my quilt studio for me to enjoy every day.

I hope you'll come back to visit again, but first go enjoy all the rest of the quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lack of Focus

No, not the picture.  My brain!
I love these fall colors!  I think it's a wonder that they are all on one bush.

Here is where I found them - in my Japanese Maple in the front yard.  Of course, the sun went away right before I got out there, so it doesn't glow as much as in the sunshine, but still, I think it's beautiful.  This bush just up and changed overnight about 2 days ago.  Amazing.

I've actually managed to get myself into the quilt studio the last few days.  I don't have any particular project that I'm focused on.  Mainly I'm just putzing with a lot of different ones.  These are my house exchange blocks that my friends in California are doing, and were nice enough to include me in the exchange.  This is about 2/3 of what I need - we're supposed to make 12 blocks, enough to make a table runner.  But it seems I always have to do something different, so I'm making 16 blocks to make a wallhanging. 

Here are the other 8 blocks, all ready for me to do the stitching on them.  We don't have to have these done until January, but I'm hoping to have them done before Thanksgiving, if not sooner.  *fingers crossed*

Yesterday when I was trying to get some fabrics cut, Shade was "helping" by dancing right in the middle of it all.  So, rather than cut something that shouldn't be cut, whether fabric or feline, I decided I'd better sit down and do some stitching.  Shade likes to lay on the desk next to me when I'm sewing on the machine.  So, when I sat down, he calmed down.  Not having anything in particular to do, I decided to pull out the crumbs and work on some of that.  I always leave some blocks started, so that there's a starting point when I want to sit and stitch for a few minutes.  It eliminates the "brain strain" that could happen if I have to think about it too much!  *grin*  I got a few more blocks finished.  So, I decided to see how many blocks I had.  I had 57!  The ones that I finished brought it to 60.  They're all trimmed to 6 inches and will finish to 5 1/2 inches.  So, I started playing on the design wall.

I had been thinking of adding sashing, but decided that was more work than I wanted to do for a charity quilt.  Then I thought of putting them on point.  I think I like this.  I can't seem to be able to make up my mind about which fabric to use for the alternate squares, so I think I'll just use plain white.  A nice clean look.  So, now I'm back to cutting more fabric!  But this one should be done quickly.

Guess what?  I still have 40 crumb blocks left!  Quilt seeds!  To be played with and decided on another day.  I need to sort my bin of crumb fabrics too.  I've got too many itsy-bitsy pieces in there, and not enough of the larger pieces.

Last Friday I went to a Quilts of Valor sew-in.  I got one quilt trimmed and ready for binding, but forgot my walking foot. so then I got a kit and started piecing.  This will become a Disappearing 9-Patch.  I've got all the strips sewn and now need to cut for the next step. 

And lastly, I've spent two evenings picking out fabrics for pillowcases for Christmas presents for the family.  I see more fabric cutting in my future!  I hope Shade will cooperate!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not Much Happening. . .

. . . around Haus Indigo lately.  I haven't done much sewing to speak of for a while.  I've been working on my exchange blocks, and I'm about half done with them.  I'll be showing them soon. 

I did manage to finish this little quilt:

This is Boo! # 4 - and the last one.  I think I still have some pumpkin fabric left, but I'm done making these.  I made one for my DDGs, one for my DD, and I gave an unfinished one to Purple Pam a few years ago (in trade for some fabrics, I think).  This one is for me.  I didn't stress over the quilting on this one - I just wanted it done! 

I think I quilted too unevenly.  Now that I have this up in the hallway, it's obvious that it doesn't hang straight at all.  Ooops!

Here is one of the visitors to our bird feeder lately.  This is an Evening Grosbeak.  We've had three of them here in the last few days.  They like to sit in the feeder and hog all the sunflower seeds.  As a matter of fact, the  WhatBird website says these birds have been observed eating 96 sunflower seeds in five minutes.  I believe this, because they are definitely greedy guts birds!  I don't know if they're passing through on their way South, or if they'll be staying the winter.  That may depend on how quickly I keep the feeder refilled!

I've been out in the yard trimming plants and cleaning up.  We had a dry spell for a few days and I thought I'd better take advantage of it.  Here is probably my last geranium bloom for this year.  We've been close to freezing lately, and the geraniums will croak when it does freeze.

I trimmed the hydrangeas back severely, as they were too leggy and were just kind of laying on the ground.  The one outside the kitchen window was over my head and blocking the view from inside the house.  They are mere shadows of themselves now.  I did save this one last blossom.  It was just starting to open.  I think it got confused by the weather.  I also had one blossom pop out on my azalea.  Crazy.

Now that we've had some close-to-freezing temps overnight for a few days and a little rain the last day or so, the trees and bushes are finally starting to show some color.  We'd been just kind of fading into fall - leaves just turning brown and falling.  I think a Fall like that is kind of sad.  So I'm very happy to see the colors.  It always puts me in a good mood.  I love a colorful Fall.  I'm going to try to get some photos in the next few days - when it stops raining, hopefully!

Speaking of colorful . . . 

A week ago I taught a fabric-dyeing workshop for my guild.  I didn't get a large turnout - only 5 people.  But I'm more comfortable with fewer people anyway.  It was kind of difficult, as we were outside and the wind kept getting stronger and stronger.  The paint containers (paper cups) kept blowing over.  (We couldn't find any rocks to put in the cups either.)  I was so excited/nervous to do this workshop that I never got the camera out of my bag, so I have no photos to show you.  But this piece (photo above) is the last piece of fabric we dyed.  It's about a fat quarter in size, more or less, and was a white-on-white.  I just took the last of the dyes and poured them onto the plastic-covered table and started smooshing the fabric on top.  When we used all that up, then we smooshed the paint brushes into the fabric too.  It was a ton of fun, and I think this piece came out the best!  I liked this so much, I think I'll just do this at the beginning the next time I dye!

p.s.  Yay! for the Texas Rangers!  And Go Giants!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Today is brought to you by
 the number 10!

This date is so fun I couldn't pass it up.  It just called for a blog post!

It's been so long since I last posted (again), I have too much to show and tell you! 

Yesterday my quilt guild had a progressive lunch, which was a lot of fun.  We went to 3 different houses and had 3 different quilt-related activities or demonstrations.  We had about 12 to 15 people participate, and I think we all had a lot of fun.  And too much yummy food!

At the first house, we had scones, fruit and coffee.  Then we got to dye a silk scarf, with these fun dyes that were new to me.  These dye silk instantly, are non-toxic dyes and need NO heat setting and are permanent while wet.  It was so easy and fun.  Even the people that were a little scared of it were quite successful!

At the second house, J gave a little demonstration of yo-yos and hexagons, as many new quilters had asked her about them.  She was so generous - she had quite a few vintage 1930's Grandmother's Flower Garden units that she had received from a neighbor.  The neighbor had them from her grandmother and didn't want them.  Joanne had made many little projects with the yo-yos and was not going to use the rest.  So, we got to take home the rest! 

I fell in love with the graphic ones first, the ones at the top of this post.  I couldn't pass up that stripe nor the dots!  No one was taking the ones with the cheddar centers, so I took them too.  I think I'll make some small table mats with them.  I've already ironed them and started basting the edges under, which you might be able to see in the right-hand GFG above.

At the last house, we got to play with her long-arm!  I wouldn't call my attempt successful at all.  Oh well.

20 inches wide by 17 inches high
As I promised in my last post, here is the 'sister' quilt to Faultlines.  It remains unnamed, because I can't think of a good name for it!  (any suggestions??)  It was made for the same color challenge.  This is another log cabin, although this is the Courthouse Steps variation. 

This one was harder than it looks!  I have lots of left-over false starts.  This was paper-pieced and I kept getting the fabrics in the wrong place.  It was frustrating, and I sure wouldn't want to do a big quilt in this pattern!  At least not paper-pieced.

In this photo, you can see the quilting design I came up for the border.  Even after something like 10 years, I'm still happy with it! 

I was bothered by the empty white corners, so I decided to put buttons there.  I was inspired by a book on Crazy Quilts by Judith Baker Montano that my DD had.  I had fun doing them all as differently as I could think up!  I also added beads to the buttons.

Here's Shade, playing with his fleece mousie.  He's been begging to play lately, which just amazes me, as he didn't care for a long time.  He cracks me up - he's a goof-ball with his mousie!