Sunday, July 26, 2009

How many?

Last night before leaving my house, SIL Laura asked me how many quilts I have made. Hmmm, I've been quilting for about ten years, more seriously for the last six or seven, yet I could only think of about nine off the top of my head. Later, after finishing up the machine quilting on Nick's Monster, I started writing out a list. I have made about 30 quilted projects, including bed quilts, table runners and wall hangings, etc. This does not seem like a lot to me in proportion to years overall, yet was surprising when I added them up. I'm glad to have all the people in my life who I've given my quilts to and hope to please many more with my quilting obsession!


Oriental Plates--from 2006. Made for my work friend, P.B.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quilt weekend

Thursday morning my SIL Laura the new quiltophile called me and said, "God, Ann, its a damn sickness!" She had been surfing the web and finding quilts she HAD to make! I told her I was a pusher and I had gotten her hooked. She's got it bad...(mmmmwaha ha ha).

Thurs evening I had an actual alcoholic beverage while at Bunco night, for which I received several high fives! I also brought Grant's quilt to share. The Bunco gals were impressed until another player arrived with her share item. Way to show me up Heidi, I bring a quilt, you bring a newborn BABY. Jeez, I made something with fabric, you made LIFE. How could I compete?

The Great Quilt Weekend didn't start out that way. My sister flew in Thurs from MO but I didn't see her until Friday afternoon--after I had fielded two calls from Job #3, gone to Job #1's hospital to pick up some annual procedural manual thingie I have to study and take a test on, and gone to Job #2 to finish up some leftover work from Thurs and to have a meeting with an employee who did a bad thing. She didn't show up. So I sat in on a insurance meeting.

My quilt happiness began Friday afternoon--we three bugged out to Carpinteria and went to The Treasure Hunt. I didn't find anything I had to have but was helpful in pointing out fabrics for Kathy and Laura. I'm good that way! No sewing actually happened until today, when the girls came over to help me with Nick's Monster. Laura pulled the quilt along as it bunched up while I channel quilted and Kathy provided QC, prompting Laura when she slacked off. I will finish the last eight rows of quilting tonight and get the binding pieces sewn together. A finish in July is my goal!

Tomorrow we head to Long Beach in the early morning for the International Quilt Festival. I have several things I'm looking for in the vendor area, and we'll all have a great time seeing the exhibits. Monday there will be more quilting play and then sadly it will end when I have to go back to work and Kathy home. Pics to come!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Growing up


Our Elaine is growing up and moving out---she and her boyfriend of four years, Chris, looked at rentals last week and applied for a one bedroom place, a darling little Spanish style, 1920's era bungalow duplex with hardwood floors and a tiny back porch. They've been shopping for kitchen and bedroom stuff and casting about for free furniture or appliances, making plans for renting a truck next month. Yesterday they found out the place is theirs--so very exciting! We'll miss our little chick when she leaves the roost, even though she is only moving halfway across town. Love you, Lainey!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Random topics

  • After the comments about my coveting the Moda BOM, I went back to the website and decided I really am going to order it, despite the cost. I just love it so much, I think I would always regret it if I didn't do it. I'll have to economize elsewhere. Like on housecleaning products or something...
  • Sunday we went out to breakfast where Erica's boyfriend is the assistant manager. It is a barbecue place, Southern style, and is a start-up chain called Smokey's. Now, you don't usually think of a BBQ place having great breakfasts. I ordered french toast, which was made from carrot cake, and came with a dressing of cream cheese and marmalade. Wow. It was delicious. I sure didn't need syrup! Erica pointed out that the plates were pig-shaped, which I hadn't noticed at first. Very cute. Before the plates came, they started us off with giant biscuits with honey butter and jam. We were soon "stuft" to the gills. My only complaint was that there was only one kind of tea offered, plain Lipton black tea, which I skipped. I missed my Earl Grey!
  • I think I found the perfect fabric for the strips of my Rickrack Road quilt. Green Fairy Quilts sells fabric and this one looked just the right mix of happy colors I want. I may wait to see if I can find it at the International Quilt Festival this weekend. I'm so excited.
  • I met another quilter last night----who doesn't live near me! Sigh. My SIL's friends were escaping the heat of AZ for a few days and the wife is a quilter. She plunged into quilting after inheriting her mother's machine and extremely large stash when her mom passed away several years ago at far too young an age. One of her first projects was a king size blooming nine-patch (holy cow!). We talked quilting nonstop for about an hour after the birthday party and it was lots of fun comparing fav patterns and fabrics.
  • I'm grateful for a Monday that didn't stink, work-wise. I actually got to do only my regular tasks today and that was such a relief after last week's nightmare. Next week when the back office assistant is out for a vacation week will be a different story, but I'll just let it ride for now!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monster update / I made a quilter

Last Sunday I did actually do some quilting. Nick's Monster was tamed and it actually wasn't too bad. I again used my card table and ironing board to help support the quilt and just channel quilted wavy lines down the length of the quilt, about two inches apart. I have doubts, though, if it is enough quilting and may need to sew at least one line of stitching through each row crosswise just to ease my mind about any shifting of the batting, however unlikely! I got half of the lengthwise quilting done but never got back to my machine since.


This last week was seriously horrible work-wise but luckily I had some alternate quilt therapy! One night I helped my quilt inductee, Laura, with cutting out all the pieces for her next quilt. The book she is using (I'm sorry but I don't have the title or author right now) had large pieces and simple drawings but was not really written for the beginning quilter. The center of this star below is cut 16 1/2" and the smaller stars are 8 1/2". Once everything was cut we laid it out. This was a revelation for Laura and she decided she couldn't live with the light border and shopped for another the next day. Below is the first "cream", a tan botanical/bird print on cream. It was a little muddying, I have to admit. The outer border (not visible in this pic) had another rectangle of the brown center as well as pink squares, with pink squares in the corners, so the cream really made it too light.


This slightly more contrasting toile with a darker image was the substitute, though not what she truly wanted. We cut that on Saturday morning and then drew the sewing lines on the star point squares. I showed her how to get a bonus triangle square from the waste by drawing and sewing a second line 1/2 " away and cutting through the center. She was stitching away when I left early Saturday afternoon.
We went over to their house this evening for a birthday party for the daughter to whom this quilt will belong, and I asked Laura where she moved her quilting stuff and. With her eyes lit up she said to go look on her bed. She had sewn the entire top together by mid morning today and it was laid over the bed! It looked fantastic and I wish I'd had my camera with me to show her beaming face. I made a quilter!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Fun

I started off my weekend "right" on Friday, having the afternoon off from Job #3, and went directly to my SIL Laura's house with my cutting mat and tools. She is slowly being inducted in the quilt cult and I couldn't be more happy that she's joining! We played with fabrics and I cut all the pieces for a smaller version of a Turning Twenty quilt to make it a throw size for her son. We played Layout/Switcheroo until she was satisfied with the 12 blocks. I left Laura eager to get started sewing the next morning after she bought some thread and bobbins. Seems her sewing supplies did not make the trip from AZ.

Saturday morning I went to the local fabric store to buy thread for my own project (quilting Nick's Monster) and who should I run into but Laura! After some shopping I followed her back to her house and tried to help her get her bobbins wound. Unfortunately, the ones she bought did not fit the Husquvarna--she has a more basic version of the same machine I have. So after a quick phone call, off we went to the only place in town that actually sells sewing machines and had the right ones. Finally bobbins were wound and the machine threaded correctly--Laura has had trouble with that ever since she lost her instruction manual. I pinned the first segments and she pieced away while I ironed. Their supersized dining table was a perfect sewing center.




Here she is pinning together the last row. Very exciting!

Top nearly complete! After this pic below was taken we laid out the border pieces and Laura, gung ho to get the whole thing done in an afternoon, sewed them into strips and applied them to the top. Success!



It was so fun for me to see the joy Laura felt and the confidence grow as she finished her very own first quilt top. Meanwhile, we'll soon have another cutting and sewing session for a quilt for her other daughter and hopefully she will go home with two tops ready to be sent out to the quilter. My brother is going to have to get used to having fabric all over his house like my DH has!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Surfing

Surfing the net and hitting quilting fabric sites and favorite blogs...there are so many block of the month projects I see around blogland and they have tempted me, but never so much as this new BOM by Moda called GreenPiece. OMG--Check this beauty out! I have always wanted to try doing wools but have hesitated. One of my very favorite natural shapes is the ginkgo leaf and one of the blocks has them, in addition to all the other yummy leaves and fruits. Somehow they draw me more than flowers do! I have started collecting different fabrics and stencils and household items with ginkgo leaves. Did you know it is one of the oldest tree species on the planet? It is a symbol of longevity in many cultures. I have candleholders, place card holders, appetizer plates, and greatly desired a set of ginkgo shaped salad servers a few years ago. I have seen on Etsy some absolutely beautiful silver jewelry in ginkgo earrings, necklaces, etc.

I just did some quick calculations and whoa, it's a really expensive BOM project! About $300 by the time shipping is added. Oh well, I can just look at it online I guess!

Monday, July 6, 2009

After the holiday

Sunday I returned to Cotton and Chocolate with my SIL Laura, who has been a fabric collector for some time now, but I am trying to turn her into a quilter. She brought the completed quilt that I helped her put together at Christmas and which she had professionally quilted; it is just beautiful, deep chocolate brown with pinks and Paris Cats, for her daughter Emma. Now the other daughter wants a quilt in the same colors and we were on the hunt for just the right pinks and browns. Laura had fallen in love with a 3 Sisters Moda fabric called Vienna Nights. She only had two fat quarters of the brown on brown sort of toile and had been looking online and in different quilt shops for months without any luck. The very helpful clerk at Cotton and Chocolate said that she "loved to find fabrics online" and went to quiltshops.com where she located Laura's heart's desire in about 30 seconds. Laura promptly ordered 8 yards and was ecstatic. They may have called her by now to tell her that they don't have that much, but she says she'll be happy with any amount. Next: getting that project cut out and start sewing!

On a non-quilt related topic, the Michael Jackson Memorial at Staples Center tomorrow is of course top news here in Southern California. Today at work (Job #2), one of the employees said her S.O. had registered online for tickets and actually WON a pair. He drove all the way down to Dodger Stadium to pick them up. It is amazing that, first, anyone would want to go--given the crowds and media hysteria and traffic, besides the actual winning of the lottery. I have heard some sickos are trying to sell their tickets and wristbands on ebay or other outlets. This is plain wrong on so many levels it just disgusts me. Making money off the tragic figure that Michael Jackson had turned into is appalling. Rest in peace, Michael.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Last night kicked off the holiday weekend--I spent it watching my cousin play the mellophone in the Concord (California) Blue Devils marching band performance held at UCSB. She previously played for the (Arizona) Sun Devils so her dad, one o'my mom's 7 little brothers, calls her a "double devil". She also played for "The Academy", another Arizona organization. If you have a chance to see any marching bands of this caliber playing at your local university, go! The choreography and sheer amount of music they must learn for these 10-15 minute performances is astounding! Tonight the tour of multiple different marching bands will be playing in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. This is Jenessa's last year playing in such a company, and I am so glad we got to see her. It was an absolutely wonderful performance to watch and the Blue Devils won the night's competition!

Tonight we will spend Independence Day celebrating all that is America with family, food, fireworks, and thankfulness that we are all safe and free. That is always worth celebrating!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nick's Monster

Last night my floor reservation resulted in a long pinning party. Mom's living room had to be cleared of four pieces of furniture, two rugs, a lamp, and have her dining room table and chairs pushed to the wall. Just taping down the backing took about half an hour! Luckily my MATH worked out and there was plenty of backing to accommodate the quilt top. We pinned and pinned and pinned until the pins ran out---I made a trip to Michael's craft store to buy more pins while Mom made us some dinner (lamb chops BBQ'd and artichokes--yum!). We returned to pinning but it became quickly apparent that I didn't buy enough pins as there were about 25 squares left to do of the 121 in the quilt top! This time Mom ran out to the drugstore and bought some packs but they were an "assortment" and we ended up having to use the small size safety pins to finish up the job. We started at about 5:30 and finally got the living room back together about 9:30. Whew!
Mom's camera was in Arizona with Dad and I used my phone to take a couple of shots before we started pinning. Mom said she's buying me about 500 of those curved quilting pins for Christmas because she always ends up helping me and those little pins were really a pain. I couldn't have done it without her--Thanks Mom! "Nick's Monster" is the new name of this quilt! I may have to add an adjective to that after I start to do the machine quilting....