Sunday, May 23, 2010

Field Trip Acquisitions

As promised, here are the "results" of my field trip last Monday. But first, I have to show you the results of the workshop I took Friday. One of the members of my guild presented this.

Ta-Dah! We learned how to do this nifty weave-type design. We made bookmarks with this. It's easier than it looks. I will say, though, that new Fray-Check works much better than 10-year-old Fray Check! And it didn't improve it to iron it while it was wet. But everything came out well. The bookmark on the right was my choice of fabrics (with the not-so-good Fray Check on it). The left-most one was the teacher's fabrics, my construction. The second one went better, of course. And, I learned - again - the value of contrast. But I think this is a very cool technique. I'll do it again, on something.

On to the field trip now. Above are the fabrics I bought at Quiltworks Northwest. Most of them are fat quarters with a couple of half-yards for the two batiks at upper left.

These are what I got at Keepsake Cottage Fabrics. The pink and blue were the sale fabrics, and I got enough to make a couple of pillowcases. I got two of the "cat" fat quarters. I not only love that it says Cats, Cats, Cats, but it also has lots of cool fonts. I'm a "font junkie". . . . I LOVE fonts! I have something like 700 fonts on my computer, and I use a LOT of them, mostly for making greeting cards.

Now on to That Patchwork Place. Everyone got a free calendar. And the craft books were "buy 1, get 1 free". So, these were hard to pass up.

I've started playing with beads lately. Maybe I'll show my silly stuff one of these days. I'm just making simple stretchy bracelets. More of the "playing with pretty colors" addiction!

Here are some of the books I bought. I'm enjoying looking at all of them right now. Remember, all of these books were $5!!!

Here are more of the books. Simple Comforts is by Kim Diehl, and I have 3 other books by her. And the Points of View book is by Valerie Hearder, and I'm finding it very exciting and inspirational. I'm gonna have to do some of these one day soon.

And there's more books that I bought, but they're for birthday and Christmas presents, so I'm not showing them here. Sorry. But trust me, they're good ones too!

Here are the patterns I bought. These were $3 each.

And here's the beads I bought. They don't look too exciting here, but I needed some findings and there was a good selection at Quiltworks NW/Beads and Beyond. And the prices were pretty good, I think.

Here's the little yellow bird that had to come home with me. He's so cute, and just the right spot of color to go with all my blue glass.

Now you can see why I needed help carrying all my purchases into the house when we got home! This should keep me happy for quite a while.

I hope everyone is visiting all the bloggers participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. There's so many beautiful quilts to see, and the best part is the wonderful stories that each one has to tell.

Well, tonight is the final Lost episode. Are you going to watch it? I am. I've watched every episode all these years. DH is pretty disgusted with the show, and has a rather negative attitude about the ending. I'm hopeful that the ending will be good, but not too sure it's gonna turn out that way. So, we'll see. My DD hasn't seen the show in a few years, and says she's gonna wait until it's all over, then go read the plot on Wikipedia!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Wow, the Blogger's Quilt Festival is off to a rousing start! Many thanks to Amy for doing this huge job. . . . again!

If this is your first visit to Indigo Threads, Welcome! I hope it won't be your last.

Evening Flight

(rotary cutter for scale)

Here is my entry for the Quilt Festival. This is a mini quilt that I made to begin using some of the marbled fabrics that I had made. I wasn't letting myself cut into them, and I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to use them. The fabrics themselves seemed to be a "finished product" to me, and too precious to actually use. So I made myself use them. . . . . well, some of them anyway!

However, I had a hard time actually cutting those marbled fabrics. That's why this is so small! I cut the smallest pieces I could reasonably handle, and still show the marbleing.

Even though this is one of the smallest quilts I've made, it is one of my favorites. I love these colors and I love the fabrics. And I'm still proud of myself for having actually marbled them myself!

I was pleased to find, when I pulled this little quilt out of the box it's been in since we moved, that I actually managed to get a label on this one. (I'm kind of surprised to see how many years it's been since I made it.) And yes, I even used marbled fabric for the label!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Experiment and a Field Trip

I've been busy around here, but alas, not much posting going on, in case you didn't notice. I've been working on my Liberated Amish, and am making some progress, but no pictures yet. And I'm currently stalling on working on the borders. I'm not sure why.

But, the latest issue of American Patchwork and Quilting had a wonderful Churn Dash quilt in it. (You can see the quilt here.) That block has been calling me for years. So, in the spirit of stalling on the LibAm, I decided to make a block. Or two . . . or three.

I followed the directions in the magazine for the first block, somehow not realizing that the block finishes at 8 3/4 inches. A little on the small side for a queen-size quilt, me thinks. That would involve large numbers of blocks, and I'm not sure I could focus long enough to make that many! As you can see, my block came out exactly the right size, which is a testament to the accuracy of the directions.

After some "playing" with the calculator, I came up with a couple of more sizes. So, I made another block. This one was actually the third block I made, and will finish at 10 inches. You can see that I was getting bored by this point and decided to reverse the color positioning. I like this, but I don't want my quilt to end up being this dark. Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm thinking I'll do this quilt in indigos and the tiny conversational reproductions. I've been collecting the fabric for years, and maybe it's time to use some of it. 'Cause I know this won't begin to use it all. *sigh*

Here's the second block I made. It will finish at 11 1/4 inches. A good size, but a little on the clunky/chunky side for such a simple block. It doesn't have quite the charm I have in mind.

After making 3 blocks. . .too big, too small and "just right", I was beginning to wonder if I should change my name to Goldilocks! Ha ha!

So, I think I will go with the block that finishes at 10 inches. It certainly will make the math easier for determining the size of the quilt, and I'm all for easy math.

The other day I had 20 minutes to kill before my hair appointment, so I went into the new Goodwill store here. I found this little silver tray for $3.99. It didn't look nearly this good in the store. It was pretty dark and dingy. But it actually says "silver" on the back, so I had hopes that it would clean up well. I immediately took the silver polish to it when I got home, and this is how it came out. Not too bad! You can't tell from the photo how big the tray is . . . . it's 5 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches. It's got a decent heft to it too. So, this little find made me happy!

Yesterday I went on a field trip with my local quilt guild. First we went to Country Village in Bothell, which is a collection of about 40 shops. You can't miss the 15 foot tall spotted chicken that stands by the driveway! They have chickens and ducks running around, and lots of beautiful gardens and flowers to enjoy. All kinds of shops too.

Of course they have a quilt shop! It's a great one too. Keepsake Cottage Fabrics.

As you come up to the entrance, you find the sale fabrics. $5 a yard.

Inside is a wonderland of fabrics, samples, books, patterns and doodahs. They've got the latest and greatest from all the fabric designers.

Here's one room with all the sewing tools and accessories you could want. Oops, I could have aimed the camera a little higher to get those great samples.

It's a big place, and I just kept discovering more rooms, full of more fabric. My head was spinning, let me tell you.

Here are the lovely ladies that helped us all with our purchases.

This place was so big, it was impossible to take it all in. I think I need another trip here! And I think DH would love to see The Country Village too. Lots of fun stuff to see and do. A number of restaurants, a train to ride, and enough shopping opportunities to last a while. And, of course, chickens!

There were some beautiful columbines out by the sale fabrics. I've never seen any this tall!

While we were there, we had lunch. There were so many of us that we ended up going to 2 different restaurants, which probably speeded up the whole process. Which was a good thing, because we didn't want to be late for our appointment here:

Oh my! We got to tour Martingale and Company, the home of the publisher of those wonderful quilt books that we all enjoy: That Patchwork Place. We got a guided tour around the offices, which had many, many quilts on display, all of which were from their books. Many different authors, and many different styles, but all marvelous! Sadly, no photography was allowed, so you'll just have to imagine this! We only got to sneak peeks at the wonderful quilts hanging in people's offices and cubicles.

After the guided tour, we were escorted to the Book Room. Oh boy, did my heart beat a little faster! A room lined with shelves full of books, all for $5!! These are all the books that are "old" (at least 6 months since publication, but some were much older), and some were seconds. Not that I saw anything wrong with them. We had a blast! I did not spend the most money, but I did come in second! (I will qualify that by saying I was buying for birthday and Christmas presents for friends and family.) One lady actually bought nothing. Amazing! Martingale will be moving in June, so they had a lot of gift-type things on sale for $1. I did manage to carry my purchases out to the car by myself, but it was tough!

After this bonanza of quilts and books, we had one last stop. We went to Bellevue to Quiltworks Northwest. This is not only a top-of-the-line quilt shop, but also a world-famous bead shop. Sorry, by this time, I was starting to drag, and I totally forgot to get out the camera. I just shopped. I actually concentrated on some beads. But I did get a little fabric. Again, it was so overwhelming, that I didn't buy much. Nothing really jumped out at me. I think this one needs a repeat visit too. (I'm sure my sister would enjoy this place!)

While I was editing the photos for this post, I noticed the Pileated Woodpeckers that visit us once in a while. We have a pair of them that stop by every couple of weeks. This is a picture of one, but I didn't take the photo. So I went to the What Bird website to learn a little something about them. While I was on the computer, Dunkel came and got up on the top of the monitor and went to sleep (he was actually snoring, but don't tell him!). At What Bird, you can listen to the bird's call to help identify it. So, I clicked on that, and when the bird started singing, Dunkel woke right up. He was quite interested, and got down and started looking behind the speaker to find the bird! So, if you have a bored cat, go check out the bird calls and amuse your cat for a bit!

Here's Shade, being a silly cat.

So, next post, I will show you some of the treasures I found on the field trip. I haven't taken any photos yet, as I'm still petting them!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mom's Day and Liberated Progress

Isn't this a beautiful table? This was our table for the Mother-Daughter Tea we went to on Saturday. I had a wonderful time with my DIL, 2 granddaughters and my friend/DIL's mom. (yes, I'm friends with my co-grandmother! I think it's great!) The girls looked so pretty in their pink dresses, and were so well-behaved and careful. They had fun too, I hope! We all thought the tea was a pretty special event.

While we were at the tea, DH and DS went to the Open House at the private airstrip near us. DS is currently working toward getting his private pilot's license, and loved seeing all the planes on display. Then they went to the U-Fish place and caught some trout for dinner.

After the fishing and the tea, everyone came to our house and we had a BBQ. Instead of "Surf and Turf", we had "Lake and Steak"! (DH's funny take on it!) Everyone had a chance to visit, but it went by all too quickly.

On Sunday, DH made a wonderful breakfast for us, after he let me sleep in. Then I spent the rest of the day in the Quilt Studio! And DH had all day to spend in the Pottery Studio. We had leftovers for dinner, so it was easy. A wonderful Mother's Day weekend.

So, here's the progress I've made on my Liberated Amish challenge. I have the center of the quilt all put together. I've started working on my wonky letters/word. I only have two more letters to make, and then I can start putting the border togther. I'll have another opportunity for creativity with the borders, as I don't have enough of any one fabric to do the entire border.

As I was looking at the Lib Amish quilt hanging on the design wall yesterday, I thought perhaps the quilt was billowing out in the breeze from the window. But then I realized that it's the wonky 9-patches themselves that are creating an "Op Art" effect . . . . they look like they're curving. That was a fun surprise!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Retail Therapy

Spring is trying to happen around here, but Winter isn't letting go easily. This rhododendron at my sister's house is just beautiful, but the weather is still cold and blustery and rainy.

I've been doing a little retail therapy lately. Not too much at one time and not too often, but enough to keep me happy, I guess.

These fabrics were purchased at various times over the last 2 months. The fabric on the right I found on sale at one of the quilt shows I attended. I got the last on the bolt . . . around 2 yards. I'll probably use it as an inspiration fabric. The batik on the left I found on sale the other day, and it'll be the back for my first Liberated Amish quilt "Shine". And there'll be plenty leftover for other uses! The blue batik is for the back of my second Liberated Amish quilt, which isn't quite ready for a back yet. The others were "just because".

Here is a pack of indigo batik fat quarters that I found the other day. Eight fat quarters for $15. I thought that was a pretty good deal, since most batik seems to be about $10 a yard.

Here's the pack opened. I like these! These will be fun to work with.

Now all the fabric is washed and in the quilt studio, waiting to play!

This past weekend we took off again. We went down to see my sister, and to see the Oregon Potters Association's big show in Portland. My sister has been trying to get us to see this show for a few years, and things worked out that we could make it this year. It was everything she had promised us, and more! We had a blast and saw so much wonderful pottery. Very inspiring!
We managed to get out of there without buying any pottery. Frankly, it was overwhelming and I couldn't make up my mind, so I guess that meant there was nothing that HAD to come home with me. This piece came home with my sister. This is a small tray made by Ellen Currans. She impressed it with wallpaper to get that design.

However, that doesn't mean I came home empty-handed! This pottery show isn't the only show at the Oregon Convention Center. There was also the Glass makers, with gorgeous hand-made glass. There was the art metal workers, with awesome jewelry. There was also a bead show, the woodworker's show (we were too late to see that one), and then there was the weaver's guild. Yummm! There was plenty of beautiful fiber to be found there. And some of that made it's way home with me.

First, I found a little ball of yarn that I had to have. I'm not sure why, since I don't knit or crochet or anything. But I couldn't pass it up for 50 cents! And I fell in love with these rainbow coasters. They feel so good and are so bright and cheery. A good deal at 2 for $6, I think. One for the quilt studio and one for the office, maybe.

And then I found the gallon ziplock stuffed with remnants of hand-woven fabrics for $10. Oh, I had to have them! I'll never weave and I love hand-woven fabrics. The pieces are big enough for a little something, like a small coin purse or an accent on an art quilt. The pieces on the right don't really have those white areas. . . that's actual sunlight on them! (It's so strange around here to have direct light on what I'm photographing!) These feel so good to the touch. Right now I'm just enjoying looking at and touching them.

I've made more progress with my Liberated Amish quilt. I have 9 of 12 blocks constructed, so soon I can start putting it together. I'm hoping I can get to most of that this week, but we'll see.

First I have to clean house, as I'm hostessing the Mother's Day barbeque. All the girls are going to a Mother/Daughter tea, while DH and DS go fishing at the U-Fish place. Then we're having "Steak and Lake" (as oppposed to Surf and Turf) for our barbeque! I'm hoping we'll have nice weather to barbeque in.

I've been staying up waaaay too late the last few nights. My sister and I talked into the wee hours, and since I got home, I've been engrossed in a book. I read for 6 hours last night! I'm reading The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series by Greg Keyes, which is high fantasy. I had a hard time getting into it, but now I'm totally mesmerized! I finished the first book, The Briar King, and am halfway through the second book (of four), The Charnel Prince. If you like high fantasy, I think you'll like this. And thanks for the recommendation, Tonya!

If you'll excuse me now, I have some reading to do.