Friday, April 29, 2011

A Meet Up

Some weeks ago I received an email from a woman named Lani who kindly said she had been reading my blog for some time and enjoyed it--so nice of her to say--and that she had been quilting for 25 years.  She further mentioned the main reason she liked my blog was that she lives in the same town!  Lani mentioned she would love to meet and talk quilting.  It took some time before we could find an agreeable date but meet we did, at a restaurant on Tuesday night.  Lani immediately looked familiar to me and from our later conversation we discovered an astonishing coincidence--her niece lives on my street.  This niece used to play Bunco with us and Lani had sat in as a sub once or twice, so we had met before!  What a small world.

Lani shared some projects she is working on, letting me pet her beautiful pieced blocks and appliqued flower hexies, and we had a fun couple of hours talking quilting and family, and everything in between.  I was the surprised and happy recipient of some of her beautiful work.
Isn't this table runner sweet? 

Love the colors, prints, and cheerful baskets on the 9 patches.

So pretty!  It went straight onto the coffee table in the living room where I can see it coming down the stairs and from the dining room table.

The tablerunner came in this bag Lani embellished beautifully.

Her generous gifts will be treasured.  I look forward to our next meeting where hopefully some stitching together will be happening!   I thank Lani very much for having the courage to send an email to a stranger and hope she feels she has found a friend in the making, as I do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Game

Switcheroo, like peek-a-boo, is a game with no finite end.  I tried several rounds of it with the Cheddar and Cinnamon blocks tonight. 

First run: green blocks in the centers of the cheddar stars and all others random.  I thought the cinnamon stars got lost in this configuration.  Switcheroo, and...

Red blocks in the centers of the cinnamon stars seemed to make them stand out more.  Some more Switcheroo took place, but nothing shows like a photo.  I can see a few places were there are too many lights or darks but overall I think this works.  It is a very busy quilt, no matter what. Opinions on whether the stars seem to stand out enough are appreciated!

Tuesday's Orts--April 26, 2011

April is flying by--and will soon be gone!   Orts again are a rushed affair this week.
  • Since I have a daughter getting married soon, I've been watching Say Yes to the Dress and some of the other wedding shows.  The prices some brides are willing to pay are gasp-worthy to this thrifty gal (I wore a white suit with embroidery and cutouts on the front edges of the jacket in my wedding).  Coincidentally, I'm going wedding dress shopping with DD Elaine this weekend.  It will be a first!  I hope picture taking is allowed
  • Saturday I found out a somewhat local quilt shop is closing so I drove up to check out the goods.  I learned it is hard to find a specific fabric on sales racks.  I kept going around and around, looking over the same bolts for an hour.  Finally I did come away with just a few cuts for the wedding quilt.
  • I boxed up my Brown Bag Quilt Contest quilt for Quilts for Japan after putting a label on it.  Unfortunately my timing was off--the post office closed 15 minutes before I was ready to leave the house.  Fortunately I checked the Saturday hours online first!
  • Traffic rant:  Speeders who think they can zoom up beside you and try to squeeze between cars at the last second to pass you.  I like it when that doesn't work out so well for them and they have to slam on their brakes.  Suckers!
  • Distraction is a great creative incentive sometimes. On Stephanie's blog she posted here about an antique quilt she saw. I loved the hourglass cornerstones and felt they were perfect for my broken dishes project.

I didn't even feel bad about wasting the excess to cut 2" blocks from 3.5" leftover HSTs made into hourglass units.
    Trying out sashing options also resulted in an effect I liked.  First I tried a white on white.  Very blah.  Then a brighter red with white dot.  Too blendy. I settled on this darker red dotted fabric and like the octagonal effect very much in the finished runner.  
    Aren't the little hourglasses cute?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Design Wall Monday--April 25, 2011

I hope everyone's Easter was lovely.  We had a cool and misty morning but enjoyed brunch with the family in a local hotel restaurant.  There was some sun in the afternoon and nice temps, perfect for a barbecue to finish up the day.  My weekend included some work on my UFO #4 for Judy's Challenge:
Four 9-patches to complete the 40 needed for my layout.

Yummy piles of 9-patches.  Most of these were from a swap I participated in last year by JulieK.  The alternate square in square blocks will form stars around the 9-patches in the Thimbleberries pattern I'm following.  It doesn't seem likely that I will get this quilt done, but definitely the top, by the deadline.  It's a very busy week!

Although the quilter who stitched these two did not follow the traditional 9-patch rules the rest of us did, I love these scrappy ones and they will go in my quilt.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On the agenda

The quilting agenda, that is.  First up, I need to get a label made and the quilt I finished for the Brown Bag Challenge sent off to Quilts for Japan by April 30th.  Next, quilting commences on Kitchen Sink.  The sandwich was pinned last night and I can finally return my mom and dad's portable tables to them. With two of these tables and the bed risers I bought, it is a cinch to pin standing up rather than crawling. 

Pondering quilting designs but will probably go with a simple crosshatch for the center, stitch in the ditch around the inner border, and a swirly/loopy effect in the outer border.  Or not!  This is otherwise known as ITIS quilting (I'll Try It and See).

Thirdly, my UFO Challenge project of the month, Cheddar & Cinnamon, is lacking four 9-patches to be able to start assembly.  I get to play with some of my yummy new green CW print loot. I like the contrast of the greens with the cinnamon and cheddar fabrics.  Okay, ready to get checking off my list!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playing with leftovers

I've had a baggie full of red and white leftovers from this quilt for two years but was inspired to pull them out by Julie's  playing with broken dishes blocks.  Since these were bonus half-square triangles, they squared up to an odd size, 3-3/4", but that doesn't matter.  I stitched up a batch of broken dishes.

Look closely and you can see the even more bonus triangles at the tips of the red fabrics, from the Pineapple Blossom blocks (Bonnie Hunter pattern). 

Set block to block they make pinwheels.

But I love this star effect setting. A great many of these reds were from a 3" strip swap I was in years ago with the Yahoo group I used to be active in, Quiltbuddies.  

Some sashing and a border, maybe a triangle shaped section added to both ends, and a tablerunner is born.  I'd like to keep this all red and white so a trip through the stash is up next.  I love leftovers! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--April 19, 2011

Orts of a different kind, the random thought assortment (hey, that word has ort in it!) that I release on Tuesdays...
  • I spent a great deal of time in an airport last Tuesday.  My mom and I missed our plane back to L.A. due to some very heavy morning traffic in and around Cincinnati.  My sister tried her darnedest (way to speed safely, Kath!) but the plane was on time and we weren't.  Our two choices for alternate flights were a trip around the country--flying first to Atlanta, catch a connector, fly to Las Vegas with a layover, then catch a connector to L.A.  Or wait 6 hours until the next nonstop to L.A.  We chose the latter.  Good thing the Delta terminal in Cincinnati airport has lots of shops, restaurants, and places to sit.  We ate breakfast, we walked around, we perused the shops, we sat.  We walked around, we shopped, we sat, and yawned.  We walked around, we shopped, we ate lunch.  Finally it was boarding time.  Whew.  It was a very long day. 
  • Cincinnati had lots of great museums and sites to see.  We visited the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Taft Museum of Art, both of which had fantastic permanent and temporary collections.  Being a small city girl, I loved the tall buildings downtown and was all tourist, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to look up and take photos.
  • My sister and I visited just one quilt shop, called Stitches, in the charming historic town of Glendale, Ohio.  I looked at books, cross-stitch stuff, and pre-cuts while my sister dived into the batiks.  I found a copy of Word Play Quilts with my SOAR block on the cover of the book and my sister said, "Now I have to introduce you as a celebrity", and proceeded to tell the lady working there all about it.  She was nice about it and said she was impressed.  So funny!
  • Traffic rant:  Airport traffic is notoriously bad.  In L.A., I was glared at and got a head shake for throwing the luggage into my dad's trunk while my mom got in the front seat at the curb.  The other driver's party was waiting at the curb some feet away and he let his Mercedes continue to creep up behind me.  My mom and I took all of 30 seconds to load in the car.  I gave him what for and a glare of my own.  Sheesh. 
  • Now for some photos from Cincinnati:

Cousin Florence told me this downtown building complex is known locally as the Dolly Parton.  Hmm.


I love the juxtaposition of the old historic brick buildings and the new skyscrapers.  The Bradford pears were all in bloom everywhere and were just gorgeous.

These funny squirrel statues were all over Glendale.  This one is a boy scout squirrel in a park next to a community center set in a gorgeous old Victorian house.  We also saw a squirrel with a jackhammer and wearing hard hat outside the public works building, and numerous other themed squirrels around the town.  They were quite large, about 3-4 feet tall.  We wondered what that was all about.  I just loved all the flowering trees.  Other trees were just starting to leaf out when we were there.  Great trip!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday--April 18, 2011

On my design chair/desk/floor is a project that has been lingering around far too long.  I was supposed to have these done in January:
Pillow covers for DD Erica, who moved to Arizona in January and has been plaintively bemoaning the lack of their presence at her little house since then. I just completed the fourth embroidered front on the plane to Cincinnati.  That was the easy part--I had never made piped or zippered pillow covers before so was stymied at the bias piping.  Finally, I forged ahead with basting the piping on by hand and following instructions in a home sewing book for the lapped zipper.  The first one took an hour or more of fiddling...

Plus trimming, finishing the edges, and primping.

But finally #1 was completed!  I was able to do a second one twice as quickly, forgoing the hand basting in favor of the machine.  Now only 4 more to go, but those will have to be mailed, as Erica heads home today.

Our girl came home as a surprise this weekend by finding a cheap flight and arranging for her grandfather to pick her up at the airport.  Here she is with her brother Nick and Russell the dog.  (Note that Nick's knees are level with hers but on a lower step cuz he's 10 inches taller than she!)  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

International Quilt Show--Cincinnati, Part 3, plus loot!

First, just one more batch of pics of the wonderful quilts from the International Quilt Show in Cincinnati.
Spectacular Grand Canyon reproduced in vibrant fabrics.



Another bright and exuberant quilt.

I took a photo of the wrong information card so unfortunately can't identify this quilter.

This incredible hand appliqued and quilted work of art was based around the tradition in Japan of New Year's greetings.

The quilter hand embroidered the date of the photo under each one.  It was quite an astounding labor of love both close up and from a distance.


An Australian quilt with three dimensional appeal and quirk.   
Love the "cake ladies" walking into the event.


 
Some pins dropped on the ground and were getting picked up.  So funny.  It was hard to get a photo of the quilt as it was very popular.  I went back at a quieter time to get these shots.


Now for the Loot!  Oh, it was a very happy place, the vendor area, with many satisfied shoppers clutching bulging bags (including me!). 
Several items on my list of "look fors" were picked up, including TransferEze for embroidery, a snap bag pattern, Civil War prints, and some yardage for the wedding quilt.

Love those CW prints!  The greens are fat eighths and are just gorgeous.  The packet of precut squares are all different and will be put into 9 patches for my current UFO project of the month.

Lots of good quilty and needlework energy in these piles!

These were all bargain fabrics, and the note pads/magnets were also on sale.  There were many bargains to be had and it was fun trolling through bins and boxes for them.  One wool kit I purchased is not pictured because it was started immediately at Florence's house: 

The booth for Primitive Gatherings was full every time I passed by, but I did squeeze myself in to purchase this table mat.  Can you believe that I purposefully saved the excess from these yummy wools?  I couldn't bear to throw them out.

The Steam a Seam 2 I used did not work very well in adhering the wools to the background, and limited my ability to stitch on the plane (probably because I didn't use steam!).  I finally got smart about halfway round and stitched through the squares with an X using my perle cotton to keep them in place.  It looks cute but won't be permanent.  I'm looking forward to playing with all the other pretties but there has been no stitching since I got home! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

International Quilt Festival--Cincinnati, Part 2

Endless variety to enjoy, with frequent breaks when my sister would say, "I really have to vendor now!" and we would shop for awhile before touring another display.  All photos were taken at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.

Another amazing, nearly photographic quilt.


Red and White classic.


Loved the colors in this one...

and the texture.


My mom immediately recognized this as Mont St. Michel, having been to France several times.  I was amazed at the perfect reflection in the water achieved by the quilter.

She added a dragon to the sky.


This gorgeous quilt from Japan was large and exuberant.

Still more pics to come--Part 3 to follow.  Plus, The Loot!