Friday, April 25, 2014

Plugging Along

Happy Friday!

After a couple of very busy weeks, I've got little to actually show you.  No photos yet, but the corduroy quilt is all tied (finally!) and is now waiting on me getting to the hand-stitching of the binding.  Very slow progress, but still progress.

I had an idea the other day for a project that I started a while back, then lost my vision of what I was doing.  I've never shown it here, so here's a photo of where I started:

just blocks laid on a background

I had decided to work with what was left of two Scrap Bags from Cherrywood Fabrics.  I already used most of the blues, greens and purples in my "Snuggle" quilt. (You can see it here)  I just love these suede-look fabrics, and they had languished in the cupboard for far too long.  None of these pieces are bigger than 5 inch by 7 inch, so it can be challenging to come up with a project that they will work in.  I made these approximately 5 inch blocks of strata.  I also threw in some bits of hand-painted fabric from Barb's Elegant Designs for a little sparkle.  After I got this far, the project got set aside.

Then, the other day, I ran across a picture of a quilt by Odette Tolksdorf on Pinterest that reminded me of these blocks, and so I had to go do something with the idea that this sparked.  I've been working for a few days now, and finally am getting somewhere with these.

approx. 10 inch square blocks now

I need one or two more blocks (extra blocks are always good when undecided about what I'm doing) and then I'll start trying to put this together.  It doesn't look like much in the photo - it's hard to capture the true color and variations in the fabrics - but I'm excited and happy about how it's coming along. 

pin basted and ready to quilt

I've also pin basted the other baby quilt that I showed back in January. You can see it here.  (Really?  January?? Yikes! Time flies.)  I'm hoping to get it quilted this weekend, so that I have next week to do the binding.  I'd like to have it done to turn it at the guild meeting in a week.  I just need to finalize what/how I'm going to machine quilt.  I printed out some photos of the quilt in black and white and am sketching quilting designs on the photos to help me decide. Because that is much easier than ripping out something I don't like!  hee hee!

We're having a beautiful sunny spring day here, after a couple of days of lots of rain.  I finally got a chance to get out in the yard and get some photos of what's blooming.  The tulip at the top of this post is the ONLY tulip I got this year.  That darn squirrel dug up and ate all the rest of my bulbs.  I got one daffodil too (same reason), and it is disappearing a little bit every day.  I think the slugs are eating it.  Oh well, one is better than none.  They are both where I can see them every day and I'm making a point of enjoying them.  Next year I need to try something different, I think.  I'm open to suggestions!


Forget Me Not

unfurling Hostas

Sweet Violets

Have a great weekend and I hope you have time to do some stitching this weekend!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Done, Three Begun

18.5 x 25 inches

I finally got this little preemie quilt quilted and done.  It's now ready to give away.  Yay!  Even a small finish is still a finish.

I did a very simple straight-line quilting job on it, and used some soft, sweet baby flannel on the back. 

#1 Begun

I've gotten more baskets done since I got home from my class with Gwen.  Still have at least another 4 to do, then I need to figure out what I want to do with them.  I'm not sure which part of that will be more fun.  *grin*

As I promised in my last post, here are my goodies I got at the Quilted Strait in Port Gamble.  An 8 inch square frame for some needlework I did, a purple with cats fat quarter (by Laurel Burch), some great labels fabric and some cute fabric to trim kitchen towels with.

Look at the cute selvage on the flower fabric!  It's ladybugs!

Here are two fat quarters that I received from the owner of the Quilted Strait.  These are the new made-in-America solids.  She gave everyone in the class two fat quarters, as she had just gotten the fabrics in stock.  They seem very nice, from what I can tell without undoing the cool folding job.

#2 Begun

A few weeks ago, I taught some of the ladies in my guild how to do Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips pattern.  The class was very successful - everyone got at least one block done and they all looked great!  But, it involved starting a new quilt!  I decided to use some of my polka dot fabrics.  Wow, I had a lot more than I had realized!  So, these were some samples to show the various layouts you can do.  Since I have a LOT of dots, I'm not sure how big this quilt will be.  As big as it needs to be to include as many dots as possible, I guess.  *laughs*

A few weeks ago, I found these blocks.  Can you guess what decade they're from??*  My friends in my very first quilting bee made these blocks for me.  Since I was the baby of the group, most of these ladies have now passed away.  I don't really care much for these colors anymore, but I do care that my friends made these for me.  I decided to keep them and see what I could do with them.  But I think they're kind of boring.  *yawn*

So, I tossed them up on the design wall to see what I could do.

#3 Begun

So, I've made 3 more blocks to bring the count up to 12.  And I tried to incorporate a little more contrast in the blocks I've made.  I know the block in the bottom left is a "humility" block.  I "fixed" that boo-boo THREE times, and it's still wrong, so it's staying!  Even though it bugs me.  Resisting. . . .

Now, I'm trying to decide what I want to do next.  These are 14 inch blocks, so I don't want to add much more size to this.  The Thinking Cap has gone on and I'm cogitating now.  Hopefully something will occur to me soon!   I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but I don't have many fabrics in these dusty blue colors anymore, and I want to up the contrast on the whole thing as well.  I'd like to have this one done for the quilt show in October, so I know I can't dawdle too long.  And I also don't want this to be boring and predictable.  So, that's the challenge I've given myself.  *gulp*  I hope that's not biting off more than I can chew.  I'll be keeping you posted as I hopefully make progress.

* These are the dusty blues from the 1980's.  Waaay out of style and favor!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Makin' Baskets with Gwen

Candy and I had a fun trip over to Poulsbo and Port Gamble, and discovered that Quilted Strait in the little historic district of Port Gamble is a wonderful quilt store, full of all kinds of beautiful fabrics, patterns, threads and samples.  We had to bring some of the store's goodies home with us.  More on that later.  And the facility for Gwen's class was just delightful!  Windows all around, letting in lots of light, a great view of the Hood Canal, lots of room for each person, and goodies to snack on as well.

Gwen taught about 20 quilters how to do her free-pieced baskets.  Some of the ladies there were brand-new quilters (one young woman had never touched a rotary cutter before that day!) and many were old friends of Gwen.  Gwen gently encouraged everyone to be creative in her inimitable way.  She is so patient and kind and so willing to help whomever needs some one-on-one instruction.  She is so generous with her knowledge and tips.  She's just a joy of a teacher, plus she is funny!  She made us all laugh.

Gwen's basket handle demo

Everyone had fun making baskets, and I think everyone was successful as well.  There was lots of laughter, plenty of helpful suggestions, and much exclaiming over fabric, as well as encouragement of each other.  And all the baskets were super!

Joan brought her basket quilt to share with everyone.  She used Gwen's technique for the basket handles.

Another lady brought her gorgeous basket quilt that is still in progress.  She used many African fabrics in the baskets, plus other types too.  She was stumped on what to do for a border and wanted Gwen's input.

Love the snake basket!

Another lady brought a finished basket top to show.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Stephanie of the fun blog Quiltz by Stephanie and her friend Dorothy were a table mates of mine and Candy's.  Stephanie has more to say and show about Gwen's class - go take a look! 

There were lots of great baskets being made.  Here's some shots of the various design walls around the room:

made with vintage fabrics

Love these sand pails and the shovel!

Candy's first baskets

And for my baskets I used some vintage 60's fabrics that I've been saving for just the right project.

I used all polka dots for my backgrounds and rick rack for some of the handles.  Fun!  Since I've gotten home, I've made some more baskets.  They are so fun to make!  

I've got a rough plan on what I want to do with my baskets.  I'll be sure and show you how it all goes.  Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

No Foolin'

March was such a busy month - I can't believe it's April already!

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Sally came for a visit.  We had so much fun.  It was just the 2 of us, and we actually got some sewing done.  It's been decades since we got to sew together.  I didn't accomplish much, mostly I helped her with some old projects she had recently unearthed and decided they deserved to be finished.

We used my two smaller machines, so we had sisters sewing on Brothers.  hee hee!

I didn't get a photo of the first project she was working on, darn it.  But here is the next one.  Sally made this feathered star quite a few years ago, and in spite of the fabric looking a little dated, she loves it.  Me too!  She was trying to decide on borders, and after some pfutzing and trying a few things, we decided this idea works pretty well.  Isn't this stunning?

Her charming Vintage Baskets was the next one she pulled out of her bag.  This is just too cute!  Most of the baskets are made with 30's repro's but some use actual vintage fabric.  Sally has chain-stitch embroidered the handles, and then used her stash of vintage buttons to embellish the blocks.

We had to go shopping (of course!) and found this "modern" fabric that works really well for the border.  Plus a few other things.  *wink*

a close-up of some of the baskets

Don't you love those buttons?

Here's a couple of my favorite baskets:

a glimpse of the border fabric

The time went way too fast.  But we both hope to do this again soon.  At least, sooner than decades from now.

Dunkel had to help with holding down the fabric.

The Potter (DH) made a fountain that Dunkel believes is his personal drinking fountain.  He comes and begs for me to turn it on for him.  What a crazy cat!

Well, my bags are almost all packed.  I just need to decide on what clothes I'm taking, the fabric and stuff is already done.  Priorities, right?  I'm leaving this afternoon for a class with Gwen Marston tomorrow.  Candy and I are off to Quilted Strait in historic Port Gamble to learn how to make Gwen's baskets!  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  I'll report back here on how it all goes.  See ya soon!

No foolin'!  

p.s.  Go! and take a look at Audrey's post on creative habits!  She makes some great points, and things, as creative people, we should learn and remember.  It will be well worth your time.