Monday, December 10, 2012

Poking Along

I've been busy lately, but not with much in the way of quilting, unfortunately.  My father-in-law passed away at the end of November, so we've been busy dealing with all that that entails.  There has been little time for sewing or even for getting ready for Christmas.  So, I may be even quieter around here than I have been lately.

I have managed to find some time in the quilt studio.  I did get to make 2 Star-Crossed blocks for the Block Lotto this month.  They were quick and easy.  I just opened my scrap bin and took the first fabrics that caught my eye.  I think they came out pretty good, considering I didn't agonize about them at all.  We didn't have a color scheme this month, just had to be sure to have light, medium and dark fabrics.  I think these will be all I can manage this month.

I'm now up to 40 blocks on my Low Volume quilt - half-way!  Yesterday I declared the day a Mental Health Day and spent all day in the quilt studio.  All I can say is I LOVE the Bluetooth on my cell phone!  It leaves my hands free to cut, iron and sew while I'm on the phone, and I managed to get quite a few blocks done.  I'm really liking this one!  It's so different for me, and it's a nice change.  Frankly, I'm a little surprised I've managed to find so many light fabrics in my stash.  And yes, this is completely from stash!  Whoo hoo!  I have a big basket of full of cut pieces, so when I need some sewing/therapy time, I can just sit down and sew.  I love that.

One day last week, my friend C. came over and I cut some blocks for her.  That was fun.  I love cutting fabric up and visiting at the same time.  Well, while I had everything out on the kitchen counter (there is no room in the studio for two people at the same time - I MUST get around to cleaning it one of these days!), I went ahead and cut a bunch of projects for me to work on.  These will be Christmas gifts, so I can't say much else now.  But at least it's all cut and ready to sew for when I can manage to slip into the studio for a few minutes.  Now I just need to get this all sewn up in a timely manner, so it's ready for the Big Day.  Oh come on, force me to sew!  *grin*

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Post-Turkey Report

I hope all my USA friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We sure had a good day here.  Had the whole family over and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  There's enough turkey left for one sandwich!  We had a great visit with my sister, who came the farthest and stayed until Saturday.  It feels like there's never enough time with her. 

We're getting real close to the end of Autumn around here - down below freezing at night with fog.  So I thought I'd better post my "autumn" photo pretty quick!  This is the gargoyle that lives in our back yard.  I thought he looked pretty cute with his jaunty leaf hat.  Grumpy, but cute.

can you spot the gargoyle?

While I was looking at the gargoyle, I noticed the Japanese Maple leaves on the fern.  Wow, what a great color combo! 

Lime green with a touch of orange-red - wouldn't that make a striking quilt?  Love it!  All the leaves are gone now.  Either raked up or gone brown.  Fleeting beauty - that's autumn, isn't it?

I've had a couple of good sessions with my Low Volume blocks since Thanksgiving.  I've now got 20 blocks done.  That is 1/4 of the quilt I'm planning.  (Sorry for the less-than-super photo.  It's hard to take a good photo at night.)

same blocks, different angle

The blocks finish at 8 inches.  I'm planning on setting them 8 across by 10 down, which would be 64 inches by 80 inches.  But don't hold me to that . . . things could change as I get further along.  

I'm really liking how these look!  I keep cutting more rectangles (cut 2 1/2 in. by 4 1/2 in.) to throw into the mix.  I've gone through most of the fat quarters, all of the scraps, and now I'm nibbling at the yardage.  It's getting to be addictive!  

Well, I think I'll go sew some more blocks!  Happy quilting, everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Back in the Saddle

Wow, a long but unintentional bloggy break for me!  I didn't mean to be gone for so long.  I just didn't really have anything to say or show.  I have had a hard time getting back into the quilt studio after that big push to be ready for the Quilt Show.  I couldn't focus on anything and therefore, nothing happened.  But I'm getting back into it, slowly.

My Treasure Bag

I took a class at our local art gallery on weaving these little "Treasure Bags".  The class was a very reasonable price and the teacher has a really good deal on the kits.  $5 pays for the little loom and all the yarn you need for a bag.  I augmented mine with some fibers that some friends gave me a few years ago (Thanks, Jeanne and Roberta!)  This bag fits my Smart Phone and the handle is long enough to allow me to wear it in front or over one shoulder.  I still need to add some beads to those yarns dangling from the handle and then it will be done.  I've already started another bag, smaller this time.  I can't show it to you yet, as it's going to be a Christmas gift.  This was a nice break from quilting, and a lot of fun!

This is the first sewing I've done in weeks.  I made some Disappearing 4-Patch blocks for Vesuviusmama over at My Patchwork Life blog.  She's put out a call for the D9P edited: oops! I meant to say D4P blocks and is making quilts for the Sandy victims in NY and NJ.  Go visit her - she just made a delivery of some quilts and is still making more.  

Yesterday I started a Low Volume quilt.  I missed out on the big sew-along this summer and really wanted to try one.  It's so different from what I usually do, and it intrigued me.  So here are my first 2 blocks.  I thought about doing it improv style, but I want something simple that is easy to cut and not too hard to put together for this one.  I'm not too sure about the darker tan fabrics in there, and may not do too many of them.  I think I want this one to be light and sweet.  I've been collecting inspiration pictures on my Pinterest page (see my side bar for the link) for a while now.  So, based on my calculations, I only need another 78 more blocks!  I've finished cutting my bin of light scraps, now on to the fat quarters!

 Last month The Kid and I took a trip to Ikea, and I found this tray there.  Doesn't it look like an improv quilt?  Hee hee!  It just shows that inspiration is everywhere!

Well, I'd better post this quickly.  The wind is blowing fiercely out there and the lights have flickered a time or two already.  I hope we don't lose power!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

photo from Morguefile

Hoping you have an oooky, spooky day!  

All treats, no tricks!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's time for Blogger's Quilt Festival again, brought to us by the lovely Amy of Amy's Creative Side.  Yay!  I love seeing all the wonderful quilts that everyone has made, and I especially love hearing all the stories of how and why each quilt came into existence.  If you love that too, grab your favorite drink and go take a look at them all by clicking on the link above.

My entry into this version of the BQF is my wallhanging Lib Logs (and Prosper).  (Regular readers of my blog are probably tired of seeing this quilt, so please, bear with me.)  I started this in a class with Gwen Marston on "Liberated Log Cabins".  I loved that class - Gwen is so knowledgeable and generous with her time, attention and information!  Plus, she's just so funny!  

And one of the best parts of the class was that I got to meet and stay with a bloggy friend, Sharon of Grass Roots Quilting.  We had such a fun weekend talking, laughing, eating and quilting together.  Sharon donated a strip of the hot pink fabric to this quilt, which was exactly the zing it needed.  Thanks, Sharon! 

This is such a happy quilt - at least it makes me happy seeing it hanging on the wall.  I love the bright, cheerful colors.  This is my husband's favorite quilt too.  He was the one that insisted that I enter this quilt in the Western Washington Fair, where I won a Third Place ribbon on it!

The log cabins are all free-pieced, which means no pattern, no particular sizes of cut strips and no planning.  Just cut up some strips and start piecing.  It is hard to "let go" and be improvisational, and yet it's the most fun I've had in quilting in years.  If you're interested, I recommend Gwen's books Liberated Quiltmaking II, Collaborative Quilting (with Freddy Moran) and Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again as starting points.

I started with the plaid fabric as my focus fabric and used it for the centers of the log cabins, and then put the last of it on the outer borders.  All the other colors were pulled from the focus fabric.  One of the unexpected things I like is that the green dotted fabric in the first border creates a "see-through" effect in the log cabins where the same green fabric is.  It really gives some depth to the quilt.

The pieced borders are also free-pieced, and were a lot of fun.  So much so that I plan on using the triangles again in another quilt (or two)!

I did an all-over "organic" straight-line quilting (which is really not-so-straight) on this quilt on my Bernina, and I like how it seems to unify the quilt.  The whole quilt is rather flattened from the quilting, which I think really lets the piecing show well.  However, I quilted around the big dots in the aqua fabric, just to make them pop.  Fun!

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats:

Quilt Title:  Lib Logs (and Prosper)  #378
Quilt Measurements: 31.5 inches square
Special Techniques: Liberated Free-piecing
Quilted by: Me, Sharon K.
Best Categories: Home Machine Quilted Quilt, Wall Hanging

Don't forget to vote for your favorite quilts November 5 - 8!

Friday, October 19, 2012

At Long Last. . . .

Yes, I know what you're thinking - "what took her so long to post the stuff about the quilt show?"  Well, I'm claiming an overdose. . .of "too much"!  I got through the quilt show and have just kind of wilted this week.  I just can't seem to focus on anything much - I feel like I'm just kind of "floating" through life this week.  I still have quilts and stuff all over the living room, and I don't care.  I did get to the grocery store and got my laundry done, but other than that, not too much has been accomplished.  And you know what?  I'm not stressing about it.  This has been a very busy year getting ready for the quilt show, and I'm just taking the week off!  And maybe part of next week too.

So, I think the quilt show was a success!  No one asked me "what were you thinking?!" about my quilts.  And I only heard positive comments, although there were a few people pondering how I did the letters on my quilts.  I was quick to tell them, and show them Tonya's Word Play book.  And some people actually wrote the information down!  (there may be an uptick in sales of your book this week, Tonya!)  I had Gwen Marston's books, Liberated Quiltmaking II and Liberated String Quilts with me also, for anyone wanting further information.  Many of the quilters thanked me for having the books there.

So, on to the good stuff - the pictures!

We'll start here.  This is where we had the bed turning (a showing of antique quilts that are layered on the bed).  That is my indigo quilt on the wall behind the bed (covering an ugly picture), and lots of my little quilts are laying on the table.  I've got my quilts with the vintage 30's fabrics on the quilt rack in the background.  The orange quilt (cat with pumpkin) on the front of the table was my most popular little quilt - I actually got a few offers to buy it! (But it's not for sale, and I no longer have the pattern - very sad)

Here's my Puss in the Corner quilt.

The Doodle Bugs wall quilt and one of my string quilts.

The Bullseye quilt "Polka Dot Frenzy" and then the two little quilts from the Liberated Amish challenge.

"Happy Scraps", the crumb quilt.  I was asked a few questions about the term "crumbs".  Most of the quilters smiled at the explanation. LOL

"Evening Fields", the Half Log Cabin quilt.  This is the biggest quilt I've made.

The Halloween quilt, a Scrappy Trip Around the World pattern.  Down in the right-hand corner you can see part of the little bench that DH made for me many years ago and which I stenciled, with one of my little stuffed bunnies sitting there.

I grouped most of the liberated quilts together.  Oh, I forgot to say earlier - I got an Honorable Mention on Snuggle at the Western Washington Fair, and I got a Third Place ribbon on the liberated log cabins Lib Logs and Prosper.

Some of my older wall quilts and the little lap quilt.  Sorry this picture is so dark.  The overhead light was out.

Another of the string quilts along with the I Spy quilt.  A lot of people really liked that wild string quilt!

And lastly, my wall of wall quilts!  You can also see the other end of the bench with my long-legged bunny hanging out there.

And I thought I'd show you Vonda's One Block Wonder quilt.  She won Viewer's Choice all 3 days!

I had a lot of fun at the quilt show.  My sister came up to visit for Saturday and Sunday, and I had lots of family and friends come by to see the show too, which was nice.  Most of them had never seen my quilts.

I also read the histories of the antique quilts during the Bed Turning, and we had a lot of fun with that.  Even 10 years ago, I couldn't have done that for being so shy.  I guess I have to say I'm over it now!

So, big sigh, and now back to my regularly scheduled life!  I'm so ready to do some other things, and sew some new projects!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Come See My Quilts!

This weekend, October 12, 13 and 14, is my guild's quilt show and I'm the Featured Quilter!  I'll have my liberated quilts there, as well as the rest of my quilts.  I'd love to show them to you.


If you live anywhere in the greater Seattle area, I'd love to see you at the quilt show.  It will be at Buckley Hall, 127 N River Ave. in Buckley, Washington.  Don't worry - there will be lots of signs to help you find it.   The hours are Friday 10 - 6, Saturday 10 - 6 and Sunday 10 - 4.

Besides me and my quilts, we've got some great vendors, Challenge quilts, demos, a cute Autumn make & take, and lots of quilts!  If you bring a non-perishable food item, you'll receive a free fat quarter of fabric. (up to 3 items)  Plus, we've got 3 raffle quilts and 2 raffle baskets - and one of them is filled with batiks!  (That batik one will get my money!)

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Spy...

with my little eye...

a finished quilt!

I've shown this quilt here before.  I made this for my youngest granddaughter, who's 7, and it's a surprise.  Big sister got her quilt many years ago, so I'm running a little behind.  Hehe.  

I'm so glad to finally get this done. I started this 2 years ago as a challenge quilt for my guild.  Well, that didn't happen, needless to say, but now it's done.  Whew!  I'm not the fastest quilter out there, but I get it done eventually.  When I started this, GD's room was purple.  Now it's green - so I included the green inner border.  

OK, blogger has added my pictures in a crazy order, so I'm just going to "go with the flow" today.

Here's a detail shot showing some of the I Spy fabrics I used, and also showing the quilting that Shari, my LAer did.

She also quilted in Lorelei's name.  (I still need to dot the i)  I didn't know she was going to do this and it was fun to discover.  I'm going to let Lorelei find it on her own too.  ;)

I used the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern for this one.  I knew that the fabrics would get turned every which way, so I deliberately had them going every which way from the beginning.  That way there's no "up" to the quilt and it works from every angle.

Here's the border quilting and you can also see the binding I did.  I put it on the back and then turned it to the front and stitched it down with one of the fancy stitches on my machine.  Fast and pretty easy!  Perfect for a kid's quilt.

We had the driest August on record this year - no measurable rain for over a month.  Pretty unusual for the Northwest.   It's turned cooler in the last day or two and it finally rained last night! Yay!  My poor yard really is showing the stress of not enough water.  Some of the plants are already turning colors which makes it look like autumn is coming early this year.  It was so cozy to lay in bed last night and fall asleep to the sound of the rain falling.

Wishing you a creative week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's In YOUR Pantry?

 As promised in my last post, here are the closeups of my Witch's Pantry shelves.

Top shelf, left to right:
Shrinking Solution, Frog Legs, Flobberworm Mucus, Nettles, Eyes of Newt

Second shelf, L to R:
Draught of Living Death, Dust Bunnies, Spider Legs, Treats, Snake Fangs

Third shelf, L to R:
Boomslang Parts, Fluxweed, Tubeworms, Black Beetle Eyes, Lizard Gizzards

Bottom shelf, L to R:
Glumbumble, Magical Mess Remover, Lacewing Flies, Murtlap Tentacles

Some of these spell ingredients came from a Harry Potter website, some came about because of the fabrics I had, some were suggestions from my son and some just came out of my crazy brain!  It was fun finding fabrics that "looked" like the ingredients.  

You may find it difficult to read the labels.  I have a font that looks like spidery writing (called Rebuffed), which I thought was perfect for my witch to use. (If you like it, you can get it here at Urban Fonts, for free!)

I've been stalling on getting much more done on the Witch's Pantry, and decided to finish my blocks for the Block Lotto this month.  I'd really like to win this one, so I made the maximum number of 9 blocks.  This month is "Cool and Cream" - Jacob's Ladder blocks in "cool" colors (blues, greens, purples) with a cream fabric - and these are my favorite colors.  The block is pretty quick and easy to make, so they went fast.  I'm hoping to have good luck this month!

The other day, I took a deep breath and entered 3 quilts in the Western Washington Fair.  They'll be Officially Judged.  *gulp*  I hope the judges will be kind.

And now, back to working on the rest of the Witch's Pantry.  Wish me luck - my Quilter's ADD wants to start new projects instead!  I'm having to be quite stern with myself, and it's painful.  Aaaggghhhh!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scattered Thoughts

The weather has cooled off here, and we're back to our usual weather of cool and cloudy.  *Whew!*  Some of us like it hot, but it's not me!  The little flower was happy to be cooler too!

Here's a present I made for my friend K's birthday.  It's been delivered now so I can show you the photo.  This is the Open Wide Zipper Pouch that I found a tutorial for over at Noodle Head.  The tutorial is so well written and easy to understand that this went together with no problems at all!  Go take a look over at Noodle-Head - Anna has a whole bunch of tutorials for cute, useful things.

I used that great fabric that I found at Walmart, and I also found the lime green zipper and cute striped and dotted buttons there too.  K really likes lime green!

And this pouch really does open wide!  You can see into the very corners, so nothing will escape your scrutiny.   I made the small size and it's just right for carrying your cosmetics.  Next time I think I'll make a bigger size - Anna has directions for 3 sizes!

I'm still plugging away on my Witch's Pantry.  Here I'm tea-dyeing the computer-printed labels for the spell ingredients.  I did a test first to see if the printing ran in the dye process - it didn't!  The printer fabric was so white that it looked weird on the jars, so I was hoping the tea dye would tone it down and make it look "older".  I think it looks pretty good.  Ooops, forgot to take a close-up shot of the jars and labels.  Next time, OK?

So, now my jars are labeled and on shelves.  That wasn't too bad.  Now I'm working on making a chair.  I made a rough sample, just to understand how it was going to work.  No, you don't get to see it - it was really rough!  I learned a lot though, and hopefully will have something to show in a few days.

This weekend I need to turn in some quilts for the Western Washington Fair, and I had the sudden thought that maybe those quilts should have some labels on them!  So I'm trying to get some labels made.  Why do I wait until the last minute??

This weekend is also the big Pacific Northwest Quilt Show in Tacoma.  I had to miss it last year, so I'm looking forward to going this time!  I understand it's a good show, and pretty big for this area.  Whoo hoo!  Anyone else from this area going to be there on Friday?

Happy quilting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Grandma's Comforter

I'm going to try to do a quick post here.  It's supposed to be mid-90's today, the office is upstairs and in about an hour the sun will be on the window and it will be almost as hot as the face of the sun in here!

Anywho, this post is to show Nifty Quilts my Grandmother's comforter, which is similar to the one she found last week at Goodwill.  Once I got this out and really looked at it, it's a much simpler pattern than the comforter she found, but there are some similarities in the fabrics and the stitching.

Here's an overall picture of the comforter. This past spring when I went to visit my sister, she gave me this comforter that my Dad's mother made.  We never knew Grandma, as she passed away before I was born.  Mom always had this around and we often used it to cuddle in when we were sick.  I hadn't seen this comforter in many, many years.  I was somewhat surprised to find that this isn't as big as I remembered it.  Isn't it funny how we do that?

Here are 4 blocks.  On Grandma's comforter is the same embroidered stitching on every seam, just like on Nifty's, with what appears to be perle cotton.  Also, Grandma tied all over with wool yarn - the same pattern all across the quilt.

Here's the back, with the silky fabric.  It seems like rayon to me, but I'm not positive.  It's gotten pretty faded at the edges.

A closeup of the fabrics.  The plaid is a twill fabric (unknown content, but I don't think wool), and the dark blue seems to be a lightweight wool.  

Here's the only "make-do" block in the comforter.  The patch is a dark green velvet, which I think my Mom added.  It looks to me like the fabric my sister used to make a prom dress one year.  In Real Life, it's not such a stark contrast to the rest of the fabrics.  Maybe you can see that there is knife-edge finish on the comforter too.

Here's a little peek into the inside of the comforter.  The poor old thing is getting a few holes in it!  Anyway, this looks to me like a cotton batting that is encased in what appears to be cheesecloth!  The batting doesn't go all the way to the edge of the quilt, but the "cheesecloth" does - all the way around the quilt.  Interesting, no?  I've never seen batting quite like this.

I don't know when my Grandma made this comforter, but it had to be sometime between 1903 when she married and the late 1940's when she passed away.  I suspect she made this in her later years.  Any help in dating this would be very welcome!

Hope you enjoy this, Nifty!

OK, now I'm going to try find a cool spot to spend the afternoon.