Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farewell, September

I survived my oral surgery on Tuesday (tooth extraction), and all I can say is, Yay! for general anesthesia!  I didn't feel so great afterwards, but actually better than when I had a raging infection in the tooth.  So, I'm getting back to normal now.  I'm just suffering with a miserable headache, but it's getting better.

Faultlines 18"w x 14.5"h

Since I haven't been in the quilt studio all week, I'm going to show one of my older quilts.  It's a little quilt that I made as part of my guild's color challenge, I think from about 10 years ago.  However, I'm not sure, as I didn't label the quilt.  (Another reason it's good to label quilts - getting forgetful!)  This was my first paint chip challenge.  We drew two colors of paint chips.  My two colors were very close - kind of  teal and turquoise.  But I really liked them.  I liked them so much, I made two quilts for this challenge, and my DD made one too!  (she wasn't even in the guild)  I'll be showing you the second quilt from this challenge in a few days.

This color was tough to find in fabric.  I did find a 4 color gradation packet, which was a life-saver.  I carried those paint chips around with me to all the quilt shops and quilt shows I went to that year, and eventually found enough fabrics.

Faultlines was my first idea, and I had fun with this.  It's all every-which-way, and it's tough to hang it on the wall straight!  I'm not so sure this photo is straight either.  Sometimes I hang it going in the other direction - it's kind of all-purpose that way.  *grin*

I embellished this with beads; it was my first time using beads.  I used teal beads on the black fabric and black beads on the turquiose fabric.  I don't think you can see this in the photo, but the black is densely quilting in a meandering pattern.

And I decided that using a decorative stitch was fun.  I was going for an "earthquake" idea, and  I thought this looked like the read-out on the earthquake detector machine.  We got used to seeing those on the news in California!

I really enjoyed everyone's answer to my question about quilting.  It seems like we all agonize over how to quilt our quilts.  It seems that some quilts will tell us what they want/need, and other quilts are not helpful! 

Whenever I get stuck on how to quilt, I usually fall back on the old patterns from the antique quilts, like the Baptist Fan, the hanging diamond and also cross-hatching.  You know, the patterns that ignore the peiced pattern and just go all over the quilt.  I still like those, and I think they look good on most quilts.  And I think they're more interesting than just meandering or stippling.  I guess some of it depends on whether you're hand or machine quilting, too.  I do all of my quilts by machine now, due to arthritis in my hands.  And, I'm lazy and want the quilt finished faster!   Do you have a favorite pattern you use?

I met my neighbor yesterday.  We've lived here for 3 years now, and we've waved to each other, but not really met.  She lives down at the other end of the street.  She was set up in her driveway, pin basting a quilt on a frame!  DH saw her when he went to get the mail, and made me come see her (even tho' I was not feeling well and was slopping around in my sweats, with goofy hair).  She's around 80, from what she said, and was getting ready to handquilt the quilt she'd made for her grandson.  It was a non-scrappy log cabin in black and white checkerboard with blues and greens - very modern looking.  Then she took me in her house to show me the queen-size quilt she made for another grandson.  She made this quilt, using black and white graphic prints instead of the indigos.  I loved it!  She's looking for a machine quilter to quilt this one for her, so I'll see what I can find out at quilt guild meeting tomorrow.  I'm really glad I went down the street to meet her! 

See you in October! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Bad Blogger . . .

. . . is hanging her head here.  I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted!  I've been lurking and reading all your blogs, but that's all I've managed to do. 

I've been busy and also fighting a couple of nasty infections.  I've got a sinus infection that won't let go and also an abscessed tooth that has to come out on Tuesday.  Ugh . . . I'm really not looking forward to that!  I'm hoping for general anethesia.  I'm such a wimpy chicken at the dentist's.  It seems that the third antibiotic might finally be working on the sinus infection. *fingers crossed*

Before all that started, I managed to get some sewing done.  And I can show you all my "secret" sewing, as it's all been received now.

Fragments - 21 x 19 inches
 Here is my little quilt that I made with the scraps from my Liberated Amish 9-Patch.  I first showed the top back in June.  I finally decided how to quilt it AND got it done.  An upcoming guild meeting with nothing for Show & Tell got me moving on this.

Do you have trouble deciding how to quilt your project?  I'm usually afraid that I'm going to screw it up and that paralyzes me.  I thought about how this piece was kind of an afterthought, and totally free and wonky, and then decided I didn't have to do heirloom quilting here.  So I liked the idea of wonky squares around the squares.  It's not a lot of quilting, but enough for a small wallhanging.

And while I was working on the center, I thought some kind of squares in the border would work nicely.  DH suggested that same idea!  So, it was decided.  I fiddled with a test sample for a little bit, and then did this border pretty quickly.  I was afraid I might sew myself into a corner, but it worked out fine.  I had to stop and think a few times though!

I couldn't find the rest of my fabrics that matched.  I must have put them in a safe location!  So I perused my Great Wall of Fabric, and found this batik.  It is exactly the right colors, and I liked the contrast of the circles with the squares in the quilt.  So, I got one thing finished this month!

Here are my Pay It Forward gifts, all completed and now all delivered!  I had fun picking out the fabrics to personalize these for each recipient. Please visit their blogs to see the goodies I put in the bags. 

DH and I went to the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup the other day.  We didn't stay too long, as we only visited the pots and potters at the Artists in Action section, and of course saw the quilts.  There were some beautiful quilts there, but as I forgot to bring the camera, I can't show them to you!  (That bad blogger again!)  There were quite a few I recognized from some of the quilt shows I've been to this year.  I never thought to enter any of mine!  (I've been a bear of very little brain lately, it seems.)  Maybe next year I can get it together enough to do that.

Now, I'm off to the quilt studio to work on my exchange blocks.  I'm making an effort to get some stuff done and out of the way.  I've got too many projects "in process". 

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Some Results

I've actually been "laboring" in the quilt studio the last few days.  However, I'm not exactly doing what I'm supposed to be doing!  I think I've gotten all my "secret" sewing done, but of course, I can't show anything until the gifts are received.  I'm supposed to be cutting for the block exchange, and quilting some small quilts.  And I haven't even touched the Halloween fabrics or the I Spy that I showed in the last post.

But I've been OUT of the quilt studio as well.  I was sewing at one friend's house on Friday, and then at another friend's house on Saturday.  That was a lot of fun.  Today, I'm at home in my own studio, and I got inspired this morning (more on that later).
33 inches by 47 inches
Here is the charity quilt I made this week.  I got the botannical fabric (for free!) from my guild in July, and thought I should get this done before too much longer.  The pattern was from the guild as well.  The only fabric I had to buy was the pink, as I didn't have the right color in my stash.  However, I'm not so sure that it was really the right tone, as it's kind of overwheming to me.  Of course, pink is not my favorite color, so it could just be me.  

Here is a closeup so that you can really see the fabrics.  I don't know if you can see it, but the pink exactly matches the pink color in the flower.   I should have gone with a lighter pink, or even a red instead. 

I had fun with this pattern, but it was a little challenging.  First off, I did something wrong while cutting and only got 12 strips out of the strata that I made, not 13, so the quilt is a little skinny, even for a wheelchair quilt.  And you might have noticed that there are no seams to match in this one.  Well, I had a little trouble getting started on that.  You're supposed to start with a half-block, and that was another "oops" somehow.  This was one I was sewing at Friend #1's house, and you know how it is when you're sewing with a group.  Quite a bit of talking going on, and I couldn't concentrate enough to figure this out.  So, when I got home I put it up on the design wall.  Then I could make sense of it, and got it figured out and labeled so that the next day, at Friend #2's house, I could finish sewing the rows together without confusion. 

Now I'm thinking I should piece together one more row to bring the quilt up to the right size.  That would make it 36 inches wide.  I think I have enough fabric to do that, and hopefully have enough left for the binding.  Or, it may have a scrappy binding! 

The next time I do this pattern will definitely be easier!  It seems every quilt I do, I learn more.  Do you find that you do too?

This morning as I was eating my breakfast, I was perusing this magazine that I got way back in the beginning of the year.  I suddenly was inspired, and could hardly wait to get the kitchen cleaned up.  I flew into the quilt studio and started pulling fabrics, etc.  (I was also inspired by Lesley Riley's book.)  Three hours later, I had this done:

Blanche - 5 inches by 8 inches
I'm not sure how I managed this, but it came out just like I had envisioned it! 

I used a piece of fabric I dyed for the background (it was originally a white-on-white), a pre-aged piece of lace from my stash and a photo transfer of a photo from the late 1800's that I found on the internets.  (I actually found it in the archives of the library of the town where I grew up.)  I pulled out my reproduction prints to make the little patchwork.  I even *hand-quilted* that little piece before I added it to the quiltlet.      

That's not to say there wasn't a learning curve with this.  If I had it to do over, I think I'd cut the background a little smaller (I may still trim the sides on this yet), and I definitely would have trimmed the seam allowances off the little patchwork piece.  It's too uneven.  And I think the two prints I used in the patchwork are too much the same size - not enough contrast.  The pieces are so small (1 inch finished squares) that it's hard to find a fabric that is the right scale.  But I still love it!  I hope to make some more, maybe with family photos.  That would be fun.

So, even though I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm still doing!  I'm trying to resist making a little quilt like Kathleen Tracy showed on her blog.(scroll down - it's the last quilt on the post).  I love a blue and white quilt, and I love doll quilts.  And the title of her post isn't helping!  hee hee!  So, I'm trying to resist that siren call!

When I'm not sewing, I've been watching Netflix on the computer.  I've been watching Season 1 of 'Dead Like Me', which I'm enjoying more and more.  And I watched a Biography segment on the Kellogg brothers.  (think "Corn Flakes").  Last night I watched "Royal Wedding" (with Fred Astaire).  Loved it!  A classic that I had never seen.  I don't know what I'll watch tonight - there's so many choices!  I LOVE Netflix!
I hope everyone is having a fun, creative weekend!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September Already?!

Hey!  What happened to August??  Where'd it go?  I was just getting used to summer, and now it's leaving!  I want more August, please.

Seriously, August seems to have just evaporated!  I guess it was a busy month.  Pottery camp went very well, and both boys seemed to have had a good time.  Lots of pottery was made, lots of fish were caught (and released), and plenty of canoe time was had.  No one got homesick and no one got hurt so I'd call that pretty successful.  The only glitch was the last few days of Boy #2, when we had some major septic issues.  But he was a trooper and never complained.  At least I didn't hear him complaining over my complaining.  We finally got things all sorted out and squared away, after 3 days and many $$$.  Did you ever notice that plumbers are hard to find over the weekend?  And how come the septic only has issues on the weekend?  Sure made me miss city sewer systems!  Oh well, I guess it's the price we pay to enjoy the country life.

After that, the rest of the month is kind of a blur.  I really don't remember anything much.  I was having some allergy issues, and just trying to get caught up after pottery camp and the septic issues (lots of laundry).  And, to add insult, yesterday, Aug 31st, our high temperature was 58* F and it rained all day.  A little foretaste of what's to come.  I swear, some of the trees are starting to turn, the flowers are all on their last legs, and it's starting to feel a little "autumn-y".  I'm not ready!

Not a lot of sewing has been occuring here, what with all the other stuff going on.  Plus, I was kind of "sewn out" after the two challenge quilts.  And, I've been working on some secret projects, so I can't show you much of what has been happening in the studio.  So, the last two days, my brain has seemed to kick in (finally) and I had some ideas.  So, I made up some sample blocks to test my ideas.

Here is my first block for an I Spy quilt for my DGD #2.  I'm way over-due on making her one of these.  Big Sister got hers when she was two, and DGD #2 is 5 now and starting kindergarten.  So, I finally got started on it.  It's a Disappearing 9-Patch, and this is the configuration I'm thinking of using.  The white fabric and the purple dots fabric will be consistent throughout the quilt - the purple matches her bedroom.  I've now cut way more I Spy blocks than I need for the quilt, so I'll have to thin the herd a bit as I sew.  I learned on my first I Spy quilt to not have all the squares going in the same direction (Thanks, Katie!).  It makes the quilt more interesting, and easier to put together, which is the big factor for me.  Especially with this block!

I'm going to be participating in a block exchange with my friends from California, including Purple Pam and Roberta.  We'll be using brights.  Here's just a sample of what I've picked out.  Think they're bright enough??  This one is gonna be fun!  (And why won't this picture go in the center like the other ones??)

And lastly, this increasingly fall-like weather is making me think of Halloween.  I love Halloween, and seeing a pile of cute Halloween fabrics over at Tonya's blog got my brain engaged.  I love Bonnie's free patterns at Quiltville and Scrappy Trips is one of my favorites.  I've made two of them already.  So, I got to thinking. what if I used 3 inch cut strips instead of 2 1/2 inch?  That would make a bigger block, which would make it even faster to make a quilt.  And it would show off some of the bigger Halloween prints better too.  So, I had to test it out. 

Yep, it works!  Of course, my brain wasn't totally with me on the first block.  I cut everything at 3 1/2 inches instead of 3 inches.  Rats! --- Do over!  The 2nd time was much better.  I used up some really crummy fabrics to test, so no biggie that it didn't work the first time.  This makes a 15 inch finished block, so I only need 20 blocks instead of 35 or so.  This would also work for the Scrappy Bargello, which is calling to me lately.  Who knows. . . I might get so excited that I'll cut for both quilts!  That would make a pretty good dent in my Halloween fabrics.

So, I guess I'm getting excited about sewing again.  Now I just need to get in the studio and start cutting and sewing.  Let the fabric fly!