Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More from Cotton and Chocolate

Other finds from The Cotton and Chocolate Quilt store where I bought the batiks in the previous post were this print to match some "cheater" tumbling blocks yardage I bought a couple of years ago at the International Quilt show in Ontario, CA. I plan to make a table runner. The coordinating print is really a little more orange than is showing in the photo. I'll find a black print for binding--didn't see anything that grabbed me this last time.

The last bit bought was the red print below to go with the others I bought when my local JoAnn's store closed.

This is the pattern I plan to use, which was from the Jan/Feb Quiltmaker issue that Bonnie Hunter's scrap users system was featured in, along with her Tropical Twist quilt.
Oops! should have turned that pic and sorry for the glare--a great photographer I am not!
This quilt is somewhere down the line in "to do's". My priorities are to finish hand quilting G-man's quilt, get the backing sewn for The Boy's quilt, and get the top together for E-1's quilt. Oh, and I started another project from some oriental print leftovers from Susie's quilt, for a wedding present needed in June. Focusing isn't my strong point this year, I guess!

E-1's quilt progress

As promised, here are pics of the changed setting rectangle fabric for E-1's quilt. It makes the quilt much more monochromatic and she liked that.


Now the original alternate fabric will become backing, along with this spicy solid batik.

I sewed together three rows of the quilt last night and it sure comes together quickly since there are no seams to match block-to-block. It is looking really pretty and I should be able to get the top finished in no time. The blocks are 7 x 10.5, with a 7 x 9 block layout, perfect throw size. As for when the top becomes a quilt, well, that's less easy to predict....:)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Boy

The Boy has been away for two weeks, working north of San Francisco, but got to come home on Friday night. Here's our tall , handsome young man in our most recent Christmas photo. We grew him big, didn't we? That's G-man with him, of course, and E-1 and E-2, left to right. This is not the most flattering photo of me or The Boy, but the girls had final veto as usual! I can see I should have used a little red-eye removal tool before posting. G-man and The Boy both have blue eyes but the girls and I are all shades of hazel so we always get the red eye.
Here's The Boy doing one of his favorite activities. He can play a real guitar too!
He called me from the road on Friday night while I was out at a gallery show for an artist with my mom. He said he had been gone for two weeks, and wanted to know if his quilt was finished yet. I told him I did have the top together for him to hold up and admire. Very funny, that kid! All joking aside, The Boy is planning to move to a new place in June and it would be great if I had the quilt finished for him then. We shall see....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another kind of quilter

I inducted my sister Kathy into the quilt "cult" in 2005. I had taken her to my LQS to pick out fabrics for a strippy quilt I was going to make her. She picked up a Ricky Tims book and fell in love with the improvisational way he made his Convergence quilts. Though she admired my traditional way of quilting, cutting up fabrics into pieces and sewing them back together again, that didn't really fit the way her brain worked. Ricky's methods sparked her imagination and she was a goner. I began receiving phone calls where she made sure I knew it was "all my fault" that she was standing in a quilt shop buying $150 worth of batiks! Her creations, so different from mine, brought us closer together even though she lives far away in Missouri. We have since attended a Ricky Tims class in Indiana and the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, and have shopped at many quilt/fabric stores together. I still get the occasional call from Kathy...but I will take the blame! Here we are at Christmas 2008.


Below is Kathy's latest project, still up on her design wall. She fussy cut the lilies from yardage. Isn't it coming along wonderfully?
Check out how she did the satin stitching. Genius! It is not until you get close to the quilt that you find the background is NOT pieced squares, it is offset strips. So clever!


Kathy and I are so very different, but share so much through this quilting passion! She inspires me with exploration and invention, and I help her with scale and hue. I love you, sis!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I won this

Last year at the local guild's show, held at the County Fairgrounds, there was a silent auction for lots of miniature quilts. I bid $23 on this little cutie, which included the stand, and won!

Below is a closer view. Love the cheerfulness of the 30's prints and the friendly pinwheels. Someone put a lot of work into this and I am really enjoying it. I have also hung other mini's and some linens on the stand for display.



I have not joined the guild that is nearest me because their meetings are on Tuesday mornings and that isn't friendly toward a working gal's schedule, but I love going to their quilt show and shopping the vendors and seeing all the quilts on display. One year there was a whole cloth quilt, all in cream, that the owner had titled "And Still They Complained". It was hand-quilted and the owner stated that even though she had used a single width of fabric each for the front and the backing, the ladies who helped quilt it still complained as if it were full of seams to needle through. I thought that was a funny story!

A special thank you to each of you who stop by and take a look at my little blog, and an extra thanks to those who comment as well. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I decided to join in the fun and post about my favorite quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival on Amy's blog. Naturally my photos showed up opposite of how I wanted, so you're seeing a close up first. My header is of the same quilt as well.



This quilt's story started with the pattern, found in the American Patchwork & Quilting magazine from several years back (2002 maybe?). It is "Round the Twist", by Alex Anderson. Her version was pinks and greens, I recall, with a pretty floral border, and a Kaffe Fausset stripe as the narrow inner border. While shopping at a LQS, I saw the same border in a different colorway and decided then I was going to make the quilt, but in my favorite combo of red and green. I had a great time collecting fabrics for this project. Finding the outer border was hardest; I am not really a "big florals" kind of gal but this leafy print with fall fruits suited perfectly. This was my first foray into machine free motion quilting in the centers of the snowball blocks and I was pleased with my effort, though it is far from perfect. I got the free image from Quiltmaker mag's website. I used transparent thread for all the quilting and there are several miles of tiny meandering in the border. I hope I succeed in linking back as instructed--I am still a baby blogger and, er, not that much of a technie, though I do okay!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Batik works

These rectangular blocks are for E1's quilt. All the pieced blocks got finished. She wanted a monochromatic look in browns to go with her bedroom's decor. Love the little floating squares of color, don't you?

And some more.....


This fabric below was the original idea for the alternate solid rectangles for the pattern. Uh, not gonna work, is it? Way too busy. Time to shop!

A lovely quilt shop visit ensued on Sunday. I managed to actually make a list of things I was shopping for, for once, and got several lovelies that haven't had their pictures taken yet--portraits and closeups to follow. Although it didn't qualify as a Quiltathon a la Judy, at least I was doing some sewing! Yesterday and today were very hot and as I am in my upstairs office typing this, I think it is still about 80+ degrees in here and it is nearly 8:30 pm. Luckily this is supposed to break--we don't have air conditioning and neither do probably 90% of this town's residences. Sign me "looking forward to a foggy day soon" (not one of my usual wishes!).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Food Network

I don't claim to be a great or inventive cook, but I enjoy cruising the Food Network shows, usually on weekend mornings while I am still in my jammies. However, some of the hosts BUG!

  • Rachael Ray never puts a "g" on the end of any word--it's cookin', makin', shoppin', goin'. Also, she seems unable to chop--she "runs her knife through" things. And can't food just cook? Does it have to "hang out in the pan"? Finally, I hate both "Yumm-o" and "Spoonula". Gah!
  • Giada deLaurentis says "perfect" about 20 times per meal she cooks. Also she appears a bit too rapturous over some of the simple dishes she makes, closing her eyes and sighing. Finally, she's stingy with portions. It must be because she is a miniature person (check out the short length of her upper arms). My husband would never be filled up on one of her meals!
  • Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade makes me dizzy with the number of times she spins to her sink to put dirty dishes there. Also, she has a habit of overemphasizing the word "INto" and uses that word a lot. Finally, her food only takes "just a second" to cook.
  • Paula Deen cracks me up with the way she talks and how she quivers with excitement over taking a bite of a dish. However, I am appalled at the calorie count of some of the meals she makes and worry about her cholesterol! Also, she changes pronouns about 5 times during a dish and her food changes sex; i.e., "I am going to add some _____ to our dish. Now I'm going to put him in the oven." Then when she takes the pan out, "Ooh, isn't she pretty?"
  • Emeril has no neck. 'Nuff said.

Okay, rant is over! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holiday quilting

Happily, the holiday weekend brought time for quilting. I finally finished hand stitching down the binding for G-man's quilt---only four weeks after I started! Sheesh. Now on to the hand quilting. It isn't very comfortable to snuggle with or lean against covered with safety pins.

I also finished piecing the last row on The Boy's quilt and sewed the entire top together yesterday and when I held it up to show G-man from the stairs, it looked like a giant's quilt! Last night after dinner I spent a couple of hours cutting pieces for E2's quilt, only to find out at about 11:30 pm, when she got home and I laid out the pieced block for her, that I had miscut and am short some of the pieces. Ignoring my own cutting plan, I thought I was doing it correctly but will have to go back and recut from the leftovers. I only need a couple of squares for each block, but I already cut for 24 blocks so that's a bummer. Blockheaded move on my part!

Our neighborhood moms held an Easter egg hunt for all the little kids on the block and they had a grand time running around and gathering up candy and eggs on several yards on our cul de sac, including ours, even though we don't have little kids anymore. It is great to have neighbors who all know each other and play together. The block has come around in a circle again--when we first bought our house here the street was full of little kids, mostly boys, then there were none for a while, and now the neighborhood is lousy with boys again. Only one little girl lives at the end of the street--like when my two girls were the only littles!

I hope everyone had a happy Easter. We had an impromptu brunch, ready when E1 came home from work on her lunch break. It was nice to have the kids all here. The Boy is going to be gone now for two weeks on a job north of San Francisco, so we won't see him for a while.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My hometown--The Poinsettia City

Photo from my backyard, 2008


On my sidebar I posted a few links for reasons to visit my hometown. I love living here and can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else. There are at least a thousand places I want to visit in the world, but I would never regret coming home to So Calif. We are quite spoiled here with our weather, clean air, and small-town atmosphere. I am surprised often by both how small and how big this city has gotten. When my parents moved here from Bakersfield in 1961 with two small boys and me on the way, the city population was 22,000. Now it is over 100,000 but is still small enough to have rival high schools and generations of families who have farmed and lived in this county. It's a great place to come from!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Big Brother

Of the five offspring my parents raised, only two of us still live in town, my oldest brother and I. As a consequence of our busy lives, we don't see each other that much, sadly. I made this quilt for K last year sort of as an early 50th bday present but also as the proud sis of a great brother, mechanic, Cub Scout Leader and dad, as well as a small business owner, part-time ROP teacher and college student! You can see why I don't run into him often. This is a simple pattern that was called Endless Summer, from AP&Q mag a few years ago. I picked prints of things K likes; cars, travel, rocks, fishing, fireworks, etc. Broccoli got included because it was the right color green to go with the Mustang in the car print! Many of these I picked up at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago that my sister, mom, and I went to in 2007. That's me peeking over the top. It looks like I'm levitating and have four hands!

Close up of the free motion quilting below.
And a happy man with his quilt. A complaint from his wife inspired the orange in the binding.


Now, K believes that I have inducted our sister , mom, and anyone else I can lay hands on into a quilting cult. He says that "just one block" leads to joining this cult and he refuses to be pulled in. All kidding aside, he loves his quilt and uses it all the time. Grumbling has been heard from the two other brothers who have yet to receive a quilt, especially since I have already made two for my sister. All I can say is I'M WORKING ON IT!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

No I'm not quilting

Unfortunately I haven't done any quilting this weekend so I'm showing a previous project. This was a strippy quilt I made from the Sanctuary line by 3 Sisters for Moda, from the first jelly roll I ever bought. Cousin Florence was retiring from nursing after 30 years at Georgetown University's teaching hospital and I thought she surely deserved a quilt.

Working on the binding with my ever present Pepsi Uno. I had to get the quilt finished so my mom and dad could deliver it to Florence in Maryland for me.
The flower on the label was one of many I prepped but decided not to put on the front of the quilt since it was so busy anyway. Someday I'll do something with the others!

Florence with her quilt. This photo shows the yummy soft colors well.


Today's spur of the moment thought to go to Cotton and Chocolate , a quilting shop about 1/2 hour away, was spoiled by some terrific traffic when I went to pick up my MIL from the train station at 2:20. It took me 15 minutes to go less than a mile from the offramp to the train station! The delay was enough to make it too short a window to enjoy the shop before it closed at 4pm. I bought the matching fabric for the above quilt's borders, backing and binding at that shop. They carry so many of the Moda lines, I just love to go there. Maybe next weekend!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Weekend plans?

Nope, don't have any in particular. This was a crazy week at all three jobs and I think I got two things on my personal "to do" list done. One of them was to sew rows of The Boy's quilt, which I did on Wednesday morning. My hand hasn't touched a piece of fabric since (laundry doesn't count). The other "to do" was laundry and I still have a load sitting in the dryer with two more piles needing to be washed. I have an itch to be outside--maybe a trip to the beach and walk down the pier, or a turn around the local park that has a nice pedestrian path. I have lost about 10 lbs in the past three months without trying, mostly because my three jobs keep me from regular mealtimes! Exercise would do me good but I've never done it as a routine part of my day and definitely need conditioning. Blisters tend to form on my feet if I even think about exercising so I have to remember not to start off too fast--that's usually what happens. I am overly enthusiastic on a vigorous walk or two, then get giant blisters that take weeks to heal and my exercise habit never gets a chance to form. That's my story and I'm sticking with it!