Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Tyler's Bowtie Quilt

Once again I am participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival by Amy over at Amy's Creative Side.   Welcome Festival visitors to my little blog.  Hope you look around and enjoy your stay here. 

The quilt story I am sharing is of my most recent quilt and the first one I have ever designed myself.  About a year ago my second oldest brother told me he was entering his 50th year and wanted me to make him a quilt for his 50th birthday.  He told me to keep in mind that they have a king sized bed.  Funny guy.  I told him there was no way that was happening I would make him a good sized throw.  I asked him all the usual questions about colors and themes.  He's a traditional guy so I chose a traditional block, a bowtie.  I played around with the idea, combining it with another block, wanting a bit of a modern look to the layout.  I looked at lots of photos of bowtie quilts online, and saw none that really grabbed my attention. So out came the pencil and graph paper.
My design included fifty 6" finished bowtie blocks alternated with double four-patch blocks and solid squares in what turned out to be an asymmetrical layout.  I love a scrappy look so each bowtie was to be a different fabric, mostly from stash and scraps. 

The plan for the background originally was to have it all the same.  But it was boring!

Some cream and white jazzed it up.  The quilt was officially a WIP and began to age as a lot of other projects jumped to the front of the line over the next few months...

...but by August I was finished with all the cutting and began to piece in earnest.

50 bowties ready for assembly into the top.

The completed top was 60" square.  Too short for a couch quilt, plus I'm not that fond of square quilts so it was back to the drawing board for what to do to make it longer. 

A whole lotta 2" squares later, I had top and bottom borders.

Originally I wanted a plaid flannel for the backing but settled on this unique Tom and Huck cotton fabric with phrases from Mark Twain's book.

Hours of straight line machine quilting followed in grid fashion. 

I completed the quilt by the deadline of October 23, 2010, sewing the label on in the car on the way to the party.  He had requested no gifts but of course knew his quilt was coming.

All four corners somehow ended up with red binding.  I liked it!

My brother liked it too.  Happy 50th Birthday, Tyler! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quilt Shop Visit

Though our visit to the Temecula Quilt Company quilt shop was short, less than an hour, it was definitely worth the drive.  My mom and SIL Laura, who accompanied me, agreed.  I wished we had had just a bit more time but due to circumstances beyond my control and the fact that the shop closes at 4 PM on Saturdays, it was what it was!  

This mini bowtie quilt was the first thing I took a photo of, naturally!  Those are probably 3" finished squares.  My SIL Laura liked the "bricks" mini behind it.

Several finished larger sized quilts were hanging on a rod.  My mom said this tumbler quilt looked like little A-line skirts.

Fun seasonal display with yet more wonderful mini quilts.

Quilts were displayed charmingly everywhere (poor photo due to failure to flash!).  Surprisingly, bolts probably numbered in the hundreds and she carried only Civil War/1800's era reproductions.  None of the bolts had prices, so I asked.  Everything was one price, a very reasonable $8.95 per yard. 

The lower quilt displayed here was featured on the front of Quilt Sampler magazine in 2009.  It was the reason I wanted to visit the shop--just loved the whole quilt from the colors to the snowballs and baskets, and houses in two sizes. Totally charming.

Another stunning display.  Sheryl, the owner, was gracious and warm, chatting as she helped us shop until closing time!

Look at this wonderful canopied doll bed with mini quilts piled on and mini houses behind. 

I especially liked the mini quilts wrapped around antique spindles and placed in this box.  What a great eye for design Sheryl has.  She told us she sewed almost all of the shop samples. 

I confirmed that she made this example and Sheryl told me it was a "Dear Jan", as she called it done without making the complicated border, so it was not quite a "Jane"!  Too funny. 

 I definitely recommend visiting the shop either in person or through the website--the blog link is there as well and a recent post from September has great pictures of her lovely home, which looks a lot like her shop displays. 

Last night I spent some time with MATH and then started cutting the caramel and cream fabrics for the blue and brown 9 patches.  See any problem with my cutting?  That blasted Operator Error is at fault again!  Luckily too big is fixable whereas too small often isn't.  I'm off to sew hourglasses and flying geese.  I've already marked my squares for that second line of sewing for some bonus triangles to play with later.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Oct 26, 2010

Tuesday already?  Whoosh--where did that week go?
  • I had the privilege of paying $108 for one night at an (Un)Comfort Inn while down south for my brother's birthday.  The hotel was smack next to the I-15 freeway with a drive thru fast food place next door and a huge gas station, plus a 24 Hour Fitness behind it that had its windows being cleaned all night by some large machine.  However, most of that outside noise was covered up by quite possibly the LOUDEST air conditioner/fan ever.  It sounded like a compressor in a workshop.
  • Waking up approximately 400 times between 11PM and 6AM did nothing for my youthful glow.  I was actually grateful to find it was near dawn when I finally stopped trying to sleep! 
  • My childhood girlfriend Toni, who was at my brother's party and who has always sewn, says she wants to start quilting but needs to catch on her scrapbooking first.  She has been saying that for 6 years.  I told her not to wait a minute more, and to just start with 15 minutes a day of quilting.  I know she'll love it. (Mwah ha ha, another cult member getting the hook!)
  • It's hard not to be a backseat driver--especially as a parent!  I was chastised by my offspring for that, but particularly for commenting out loud on how little traffic we had run into, halfway through our trip.  There were immediate countercurses uttered and knocking of wood.  But it didn't work, I jinxed us and we ran into our first slowdown moments later. 
  • Traffic rant of the week:  Turn signals, people!  Or, alternatively, turn OFF the turn signal.  Oh, and don't change lanes at 75-80 mph without turning your actual head and looking--we are already occupying this space!  (There may have been a screech or two from the backseat driver...)
  • Playing peekaboo with babies is one of the sweetest joys of being an Auntie. 
  • My littlest niece and nephew give a high five followed by a fist bump.  That's pretty adorable too!
  • Boys will make a contest/game out of ANYTHING. 
  • Not only do I flaunt with quilting deadlines, but I make it even more exciting.

The cardboard is indeed showing here and the bobbin was showing its center too.  Thankfully I made it to the end of the quilting before the end of the spool!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Oct 25, 2010

On my Design Desk today are some gorgeous fabrics to go with my 9 Patch Swap blocks.  I bought these on my weekend trip at a wonderful shop, the The Temecula Quilt Company, which specializes in Civil War prints only.  UFOs, WIPS and PIBs will have to wait, these 9 Patches are pretty bossy.

These three fabrics will form square in square blocks--the two fabrics will form star points.  I just love the cheddar fabric!

This more caramel print and cream will be made into large hourglass blocks to alternate with the 9 Patches.  Can't wait to get cutting!  See Judy's blog for the other Design Walls. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birthday Gift

Family, a birthday party, seeing old friends, and quilting---all the ingredients for a wonderful weekend in my book! 

Finishing the quilt took most of Friday night:

The spacer strip got some curves to contrast with all the straight line crosshatching.

Resting the accordion folded binding in my desk's door trays worked great.

I machine sewed it from the front, catching the folded edge on the back. 

Finished quilt, 60" x 72". 

Though totally unplanned, each corner of the quilt ended up with red binding!  We had a lovely drive south (it takes 7 different freeways to get to my brother Tyler's city from here but traffic was not bad at all through L.A.  Nick drove and I sewed the quilt label on.  The final name was "50 Bowties of Many Colors My Sister Made for Me".

My brother Tyler, being sung Happy Birthday to. 

It was a job to blow out the 50 candles on this yummy Texas Sheet Cake.  I gave him his quilt right after the cake eating but those pics are on my mom's camera so will come later.  He was very happy with the quilt and appreciated all the work that went into it.  We had a good time at the party--there were some old friends to see and lots of nieces and nephews to hug. 

The darling daughters and wife of my youngest brother, standing at the rear and not looking the camera, who asked me at the party to make HIM a quilt.  Fortunately I have years until he turns 50!  

The Temecula Quilt Company quilt shop excursion was a worthwhile trip which I'll post about separately.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feverish Friday

Yep, you guessed it, I'm down to the wire on the Bowtie quilt--the birthday party is tomorrow.  It has been a very busy week work wise and then last night was Bunco and I was bushed when I got home---at 10:20 PM!  Wow, the Halloween Bunco was too much fun and my plans to sneak off early fell by the wayside.  Yesterday I got the binding all made, though...

I just love red for a binding!

This morning I spent some quality time tying off threads and burying them. My slightly blurry photo doesn't show the easy threading needle too well, but it was the perfect choice for this chore.  Okay, now I'm off to feverishly attach binding! 

Tomorrow we're heading down south earlier than originally planned because there is a quilt shop in Temecula that I have wanted to go to for a year and a half--and that is not open on Sundays, darn it.  Glad I found that out before the weekend!  My SIL Laura and I will hopefully get to leave all offspring at the hotel and play by ourselves at The Temecula Quilt Company. I've drooled all over their website and can't wait to pet all the C.W. repros in person.   Full report to follow...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Oct 19, 2010

This week's orts brought to you by briefly rainy skies following a week of gloomy overcast chased away by lightning and thunder last night. I didn't hear a thing!.
  • Quilting with friends is THE BEST!  It made my tedious straight line quilting whiz by last night on the Bowtie quilt.  All is complete in the center.  Now I have to think up something jazzy for the spacers and then make the binding.
  • I'll be tying off and burying loose threads tonight while receiving my personal concert--band practice is at our house.
  • Our dog is a big ball of neuroses.  Probably our fault.  Last week Erica and Nick were teasing him and the dog's brain was totally twirled.  He did the funniest thing ever by trying to go backwards and forwards at the same time as Erica sprinted into the kitchen and Nick was in the living room. We were laughing hysterically and wishing we had video of it. Poor dog! 
  • The foreclosed house across the street has had men working there on and off for weeks.  Their trucks have no contractor's names or other identifying info so we have no idea what's going on.  The other morning they were making an ungodly amount of crashing noises such that I had to go outside to see what in the world it was.  From the garage they were shoveling what looked like broken up pieces of wallboard, cement and wood into the back of a pickup truck.  Wish I could get inside and see...
  • Traffic rant of the week:  It is bad enough to see drivers balancing small dogs on their upper arms as they stick their heads out, but I saw a guy the other day with a Labrador on his lap, the dog hanging half out the window.  Tell me, sir, who is steering? How is it that driving with your medium to large dog standing on your lap blocking half your vision is okay with you?  Go home and leave your dog there!
  • I have 63 Followers.  Amazing! 
  • Dogs are so happy when you reach down and pet them.  Cats wonder why you are only using one hand.
  • This time last year I was working furiously on a quilt as well, and getting ready to fly to Australia to my friend Susie's wedding in Port Douglas.  Seems so long ago!
Robert Kaufman gorgeous batiks.  This quilt now lives on a boat on the Coral Sea.  If I ever wanted to do a trunk show in the future, many of my quilts would have to travel to get back to me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Oct 18, 2010

There is nothing on my Design Wall this Monday. 

I have been too busy doing this...
...machine quilting on my brother's birthday Bowties quilt.  The deadline is approaching very quickly (Saturday-yikes!)  Go to Judy's blog to see the other Design Walls. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bowtie Madness

I spent a great deal of time yesterday machine quilting on the Bowties quilt for my brother's 50th birthday next week. 
For the 4 patches I just eyeballed across the 1" squares but used quarter inch masking tape as a guide for the bowties and larger open spaces. 

The patchwork borders also were completed, grid style.  The last thing I did last night was move the rest of the pins for finishing the channel quilting one direction. I had to move almost every single darn safety pin Mom and I placed in order to do the machine quilting!  Not having a plan when you pin is a *P.I.T.A.  Lesson learned.    The quilting lines are 2" apart so I won't need any pins once all the same-direction quilting is completed. Then I'll start the cross hatch the other direction.  Still have to come up with something for the spacer band but it will be something simple for sure!  *Pain in The Arse.

Finally, a shout out to my dad, who celebrated a birthday last week.  He doesn't usually like most photos of himself, but this one he did.  I like it too!  Taken in 2008 at Rosslyn Chapel on a once in a lifetime trip my folks took to Ireland and Scotland.  He even rented a car and braved driving the narrow lanes of Ireland.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nine Patch Heaven

I've been eagerly awaiting the Nine Patches from JulieK's swap. That very generous woman organized a HUGE swap as a celebration for passing a nursing exam!  Mine came today (80 blocks!) and after oohing and aahing I sorted them into piles for two different quilts I want to make.
Look at all these gorgeous blues!  This is a color I rarely work with so I'm thrilled to get so many fabulous shades and prints to play with.   

25 Nine Patch blocks will go into this Carefree Romance quilt from the Spring/Summer 2010 Quilt Sampler magazine, designed by Veda Wilhite.  Hard to tell from this pic, but there is an alternate hourglass block that makes a frame around each of the nine patches.  I'm thinking caramels and browns would be great as the hourglass blocks.

All these yummy reds, browns and greens will go in this quilt I've sketched a colorway for.

I saw this pattern in a Thimbleberries book I own.  Lynette Jensen went subtle with her colorway in her Nine Patch Criss-Cross quilt, emphasizing the diagonals, but I thought, "What if I made the square in square with two different colors in each half?"  Out came the graph paper and pencil!  A star pattern was created when I rotated the square in squares in each row--can you see the 16 stars?  40 Nine Patches and 40 square in square blocks are needed for the 9 x 9 layout I sketched.  I'm thinking red and green, or maybe cheddar and green for the square in square blocks, with creamy centers. 

Then there are some lovely double pinks with brown and black.  I threw in the extra neutral blocks I got back and they look pretty good with these!  A nice table topper could be created with this pile of 12 blocks.  I'm so happy I joined this swap and have nothing but profuse thanks for all the other swappers for their wonderful blocks, and particularly thanks to Julie for taking on this enormous task!  (She'll know better next time!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Witching Hours

I'll say I took far more than hour to make and attach these borders (have I mentioned I don't sew very fast?) but I like them a lot. 
I went with the bricks on this top but I think I'll do the piano key on the other.  I think it may come out to the same amount of pieces required per side, given the double row of bricks.  I have plenty of fabric left over--strip sets will probably be the easiest way to go...

I fussy cut the gray fabric so the bird appears in all four corners.

The witches' faces are Fairy Frost fabrics.  Hopefully you can see the sheen in this photo.  They seemed perfect for this use.  All the hats, hair, background and border were made of fat quarters I bought at JoAnn's Fabrics last year.  The pink for the lips and star fabric for the dress were in my stash.  I bought the Fairy Frost at my LQS.

One of the great things about my new sewing desk is that there is plenty of room to the left of the machine for a cutting mat and other flotsam and jetsam I'm working with.  There is also room to the right of the machine.  This was a main selling feature for me along with the large opening for sitting.  It's almost time to pull out the Halloween decorations and welcome the beginning of sugar season so I better get these finished!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Oct 12, 2010

This week's orts will be short--I have to get to Job No. 2!
  • Last week we got Erica her first laptop computer and she has been glued to the thing for many hours since.  Someone in the neighborhood has left their WiFi open so she's thieving.  (Maybe I shouldn't have said that!)
  • We also spent some time on the website for ASU (Arizona State University), where she has been accepted for Spring.  There is a calculator to estimate the expenses given the student's situation.  Non-residents pay an incredible $844 PER UNIT for classes. That means close to ten grand just for classes if she takes 12 units per semester.  Gulp.  No wonder universities are happy to admit out of state students!
  • This news sent me into a tailspin but talking yesterday to my co-worker about grants, scholarships, student loans, etc brought me back up.  Now for the avalanche of paperwork to apply for all of this and get the cheapest or free money we can.  I was buoyed also by the thought that she will enter as a junior, and she will also be our only college student in the family, most likely.  It is worth it!
  • Traffic rant of the week:  Uh-oh, the traffic is slowing down up ahead on the freeway, what's happening?  Poke along, poke along.  Hmm, absolutely nothing is happening ON the freeway, but there is some work on the shoulder.  Note to looky-loos:  You're clogging up the freeway!  Just keep going AND STOP LOOKING!  
  • Finally, Grant called me downstairs yesterday morning to point out something in the backyard:

The sun was hitting this web just like a spotlight. 
    Pretty impressively big!  That's a 6 foot fence in the background. I love the floating leaf caught in the web.
    The spider was even more impressive.  He/she had a body probably as big as a nickel or quarter--I don't know what kind of spider it was.  Grant blew on the web and the spider scuttled up to towards the tree branch.  The spider had to start all over again shortly after that because the sprinklers came on.  I'll have to remember to watch for another web if I walk out there again anytime soon!