Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mother Goose

We live on a small lake, and have a great view out of our back windows. We've really enjoyed watching the ducks this year - swimming and diving, courting, and then the babies just hatched and out for their first swim. They zoom so fast the first few days that they look like they can walk on the water. We call them "zoomers". Now we have "teen" ducks. They look almost like the adult ducks, but still get supervision from their parents.

Well, we have one group of hatchling ducks that two Canada geese have been hanging out with all summer. They swim in the same group all the time, and have since the babies were "zoomers". We haven't been sure why the geese are doing this. But now we think we know. They seem to be the nannies that Mom and Dad Duck have hired for the summer! Whenever they get out of the lake and come into our yard (yummy slugs!), the geese seem to be on guard duty. They stand there with their heads up, watching. When something doesn't seem right to them, they somehow signal all the ducks (we haven't been able to figure out how they're signaling) and then everyone waddles at a fast clip back down to the water.

I've been watching them and trying to get a picture. But the geese always seem to see me at the window and then off they all go. Yesterday I finally managed to get a few shots. They're not great because I was shooting through the window and it was at some distance, but you can see the group.

Last night we had a great sunset! We rarely get a good sunset here, because there's usually so many clouds that we don't see it at all. This is looking out the back over the lake.

We have an out-of-town visitor right now, but I've managed to get some sewing time in the last few days. I needed to sew something that didn't require a lot of thought and found this. My friend KV and I had worked on making these little quilts together one day at her house. She generously shared her extensive 30's repro collection with me, as my collection is pretty small. We had a lot of fun making these blocks. I think she's had her top together for a while now, but I don't know that it's finished. So, I finally got this top together! Yay! I've had it partially assembled for quite a while. It's only 6 inch blocks, so it's not very big. Only 36" x 48". Not big enough for much. I don't know why we made it so small. (It looked bigger in the book?)

Well, as I was shooting this, the usual happened. Dunkel and Shade always have to come help. (If I can't find them, all I have to do is put a quilt on the floor and they come running!)

First, Dunkel tried to get under the quilt. Dunkel excells at "snowplow". Shade was working on the other end.

Shade made it under first. Dunkel was fascinated by Shade's tail lashing under the quilt top. That just irritated Shade more!

Who's under there?

Grumpy cat.

Shade got mad and left, so then Dunkel attacked the quilt top. Bad Dunkel!

Here's a hint of what's coming next with the too-small quilt top. More to come!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scraps of Time

My hydrangea is getting hydrated. . . .yes, it's raining in Washington! Cool and rainy. As in, wearing a jacket during the afternoon kind of cool. It's very nice! Most of us feel much better, thank you. Except for DH. He misses the heat. (He's not getting much sympathy, poor guy.)
We've been watching the Olympics. Well, DH has been watching a lot more than I have. I can't take too much. But, this Olympics thing reminds me of this quilt. I made this quilt the last time the Olympics were on. Those were the Winter Olympics 2+ years ago. I had just found Quiltville and Bonnie's free patterns. I had a large pile of 2 1/2 inch strips already. Some were from playing Strip Poker at the quilt guild meeting (you bet with strips of fabric and then the play is like War). And some were cast-offs from the Community Quilts "department", of which I was a member. I really wanted to try this pattern "Scrappy Trips Around the World". So, when the "Stupor Bowl" was on, I sat down in front of the TV and started sorting scrap strips into "long enough" and "not long enough". Then when the Olympics came on, I started piecing this. I could hear the TV from the dining room where I was sewing, and when something interesting came on, I jumped up and ran to the family room (where the TV was) to watch. When the good stuff was over, back to the sewing machine and resume sewing.
I call this quilt "Scraps of Time". I used scraps of time to make this quilt and the title also covers the fact that many of these fabrics were from clothes I'd made for the kids, other quilts I'd made, pillowcases that I'd made as gifts for friends and family and so on. In other words, lots of memories are in this quilt. There's even memories of some of the recurring fabrics that we dealt with in Community Quilts.
So, by the time the Olympics were over, I had a quilt top! I think that was the fastest I'd ever made a quilt top! I was very impressed with the ease of this pattern, and also with how well it looks made up. I've since made another one that I showed here.

Here's a closeup of one block to show you that I put absolutely everything in this quilt, even some downright ugly fabric that I don't care that much for- and it all works together! That's the beauty of this pattern, to me. They all play well together. I want to try one that I work a little harder at a theme or something, just to see what that looks like too.

Another closeup to see the fabrics. You can also see the quilting that my friend SB, the long-armer, did on this quilt. I think it's great. I love curvy, swirly quilting on straight-line quilts.

And here's a closeup of the border. More great quilting. And the little squares were the leftovers of the strip sets used to make the blocks. If they were big enough, I cut another 2 1/2" strip. Some of them that weren't big enough, I unsewed the squares so that I could use them. And when I didn't have quite enough to finish this border, I cut some more squares to finish it. I didn't waste very much fabric! The back used up some unloved fabrics, and the only fabric I bought for this was the border fabric. And I think that was on sale. So, a frugal quilt that I think looks pretty good and it makes me happy to look at it!
Bonnie's post of the other day, about why she makes scrap quilts, really rung a chord with me. I agree with her. I'd much rather have a quilt full of memories that are precious to me than to have a quilt with all matching/new fabrics that are pretty but not personal. Based on the number of comments she got, I'd say there are lots of quilters that feel the same way!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Last of the Quilt Show with a Little Whine

We have had such hot weather (for us) this weekend! Yesterday it was 90 degrees officially, but I think it was hotter. Today was 87 and very high humidity. Our average temp for yesterday is 75 degrees, so that's why the hot weather is so tough. It comes on really fast and usually doesn't last long, so we're not used to it. And us former Californians sure aren't used to humidity! Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 70 degrees! (Yeah!!) It was too hot yesterday to do anything but sit in front of the fans (more on that below). I hate the heat - I get very nauseous. Even the kitties were miserable! They cried at us for a bit and then gave up and just lay in front of the fans. They looked as miserable as I felt. Today was just a shade better heat-wise but the humidity off-set that. Now we are having rain, and I think I can hear some thunder. I hope I can get done with this post before the storm makes me turn off the computer! But, YEAH for cooler weather! *OK, I'm through whining.*

Here are the last of my photos of the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest. I hope you enjoy them! (and again, I apologize for not knowing the title of the quilt or the name of the quiltmaker.)

Aren't they all just beautiful and inspiring? And, to give credit where credit is due, my sister took most of the photos of the quilt show. I was having technical difficulties (user error!) with my camera.
While I was sitting in front of the fan today and yesterday, sweating through the heat and the Olympic marathon and the Little League World Series, etc, etc., I looked through all my project boxes, seeing what I've got ahead of me, and trying to thin the pack a little. I won't tell you how many project boxes I have, but you need two hands to count them. Not much luck in the thinning department, but I have gotten a good idea of what I have. Some projects only need a little bit, like button eyes on the cat or some such, and some of the projects are nothing more than a group of fabrics. No plan, no pattern, just fabrics. I really was surprised how many of them just need a little something to be done. So, I think I will start working on those! I'm really into quick, easy satisfaction at this point!
Now, I will make a list of all the projects and then prioritize it. (I love making lists. It makes me feel like I actually did something. Not that I did much, but it feels like it! My whole family loves the list thing.) I hope that this will motivate me to finish some of these things! *crossing fingers*

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Quilts From PNWQ

Here's some more of my favorite quilts from the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest. Really, I loved all of the quilts, so it's hard to limit this to just a few! And, again, I apologize for not knowing the title of the quilt or the name of the quilter.

Today I'm going to start out with the examples of free-piecing that I found at the show. I was so excited to see these!
This is a partial picture of a quilt that had free-pieced log cabins and free-pieced flying geese in the borders.

The title of this quilt is "Ladder Day Saints" and was made by Barbara Houshmand. I loved the ladders and I loved the pun-ny title!

A closeup of her letters. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photo.)

I think this quilt is entirely free-pieced!

A closeup of the house and trees.
Now, the rest of the photos for today:

I'm crazy about leaves. Look at the skeleton leaf in the lower left-hand corner of the quilt on the right. Wow!

edited: (This photo removed.)

I loved all the colors in this one!

And, the closeup reveals this was all done with half-square triangles - one in black/white and the other in a color! I can't imagine doing this one without a design wall. What a great project for Bonnie's leaders and enders!

Lots of hand-dyed fabrics in this one.

The closeup with all the hand-stitching.

This quilt was just stunning. Wow!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Doing Quilt-y Stuff

I have been so busy lately! My sister came to visit last week, and we had a good time doing quilt-y stuff, talking, laughing and generally carrying on! It was good to see her again.

One of the reasons she came up to visit is to go to The Pacific Northwest Quiltfest held in Seattle last weekend. She's lived here in Washington for 2o years and never been to this show! So, we got to go together and it was the first time for both of us.

It was a wonderful show. Very impressive quilts, great venue and nice quilters to hang out with! My post this time is all pictures of quilts from the quilt show. All of the quilts were just awesome. These are some of my favorites. I will post some more in a few days.

I apologize in advance - not all of them are great photos, and I didn't get the titles of the quilts or the names of the makers, but I hope you enjoy the photos.

This quilt has lots of wool pieces in it!

This one was almost all embroidery. Just fantastic stitchery, and so whimsical! And the closeups:

More photos to come soon!