Monday, April 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Apr 30, 2012

On my design floor today is the work in progress, the UFO Challenge pick of the month. Cut, sew, repeat. Cut sew repeat...for Jewel Box blocks



Pieces and parts awaiting assembly.

This is the barn raising layout, off center because I'm still sewing blocks, but will be 8x8. Lookit Jo's pretty one she made for Moda's Bake Shop:  http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/08/jewels-in-curio.html#more, which was the inspiration for the setting.  Oops, there is one at the bottom turned the wrong way!

That's better.  I believe I will have all the blocks sewn by deadline tonight, but don't think I can get all the rows sewn.  If only a sewing fairy could do magic for me while I'm at work!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Work

I'll be spending a lot of time at my sewing machine this weekend--after procrastinating most evenings this week I still have 10 more table toppers to finish for the wedding next Friday.  They each take about 20-30 minutes to sew, but thankfully are all turning out pretty well.  I also hope to finish up my Jewel Box blocks for the UFO pick of the month and get the top together by Tuesday.  No photos worth taking of that, but I snapped Mini in a new spot.


She took my search and removal of a specific project box as an invitation to rest in the Hoosier cabinet.

Cleaning up my sewing area last week led to stuffing the drawers of my stash dresser with all the leftover fabric piled up everywhere.  I told my husband that I might have to revise my statement that I didn't have THAT much fabric.  Fortunately, that isn't a fatal thing to say to him, but I sure need to get most of this fabric into a quilt!  Ideas are being turned over in my head...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Midwest Travels--Part V, Finale

My sister left for home on Monday after the International Quilt Festival and Cousin Florence took a last photo of our trio.  We had a wonderful time together and look forward to repeating it next year.



Afterwards, Mom, Florence and I headed out for some lunch and shopping nearby and made our plans for my final day. My flight was out of Louisville late the next afternoon and Florence wanted to take us to a Gothic cathedral across the river in Covington, Kentucky, so we were up and out the door by mid morning.

This is St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, designed after Notre Dame and of course is infinitely smaller, but look how big next to that school bus!

As we walked from the parking lot, this group of kids in costume was exiting the school.  Florence first said "Peter Pan", but then noticed Friar Tuck, so this must be Robin Hood.  Aren't they cute in their garb?

There is no way my small camera could properly reveal the extreme size and beauty of this church.  It was breathtaking.  The ceiling is over 80 feet high and the 80+ stained glass windows fill the space with light and color.  Notice the bus load full of children at the base of the columns in the lower left, getting their tour.   

Beautiful Rose windows appear on two sides--each over 25 feet wide.  Two huge organs are also part of the structure and must sound amazing when played.

The stations of the Cross were made in Italy and created out of tens of thousands of mosaic tiles.

See the incredible shading and detail in their beauty.

The stained glass was made in Munich and each was sponsored by a different family, who have loved ones' names incorporated into the bottom of the image.

Carvings on every wooden column and incredible light everywhere make this an inspiring place.

Outside, the massive stone is capped by gargoyles.

Here on the front of the Basilica you can see the resemblance to Notre Dame.  I had never been to a Gothic cathedral and despite its surprising address, was really glad to know such a church exists in this country.  We got back on the road for Louisville, Kentucky and a planned lunch at The Brown Hotel.

Very impressive restoration was done over the past 20 years on this hotel built in the Roaring 20s.  Look at the size of this urn!

This is the second floor lounge with the bar at the far end.  Florence and some family members had dined there on a previous visit and greatly enjoyed themselves, but we headed downstairs to the cafe, where Florence tried the hotel specialty, a Hot Brown.  She deemed it very tasty but said she would not be making one--it is thoroughly calorie laden!  Finally, I was let off at the airport to wait for my flight and the long trip back.  Luckily the plane was not full and there was an empty seat between me and my seat mate.  On the nearly five hour ride to Las Vegas, I think the gentleman was awake for about 1/2 an hour of it, and didn't say a word when he was, except to the attendant.  At least he did not snore!  I worked on my hand quilting and as I reported, put the final stitches in during that flight.  It was good to get back to my honey and home.

I waited to unpack until the next day, and here is my swag:  Some fat quarters, repro charms, Aurifil thread, new pins, more fat quarters of Chez Moi Boutique (so excited to find those!), and the Crazy Quilted Memories book that was the start to the IQF adventure story.

I have wanted one of these weighted pincushion scrap bags for ages, even had a printout from an online tutorial, but when I saw the price of only $10, I snapped it up.  I also found that my baggage had been searched and I wonder if it was this item that caused the need to inspect?  LOL 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday--April 23, 2012

On my design table today are four projects--oy vey!


Here is a mock up of one of the 17 table toppers I'm making for DD Elaine's husband's brother's wedding on May 4th.  That is a lot of nouns for one sentence, don't you think?


Pieces and parts for Jewel Box blocks--the April UFO--ready to be fed under the needle.


Layout for a table runner for the soon-to-be-wedded mentioned above.  Since this photo the blocks have been sewn together, and borders and backing selected.  This needs to get done in a hurry!


Finally, I get to share a FINISH!  I put in the last of the hand quilting stitches on the plane from Louisville to Las Vegas.  This is my version of Lori's (Humble Quilts) Strawberry Fields quiltalong from a couple of years ago. 

My stitches are not small but I tried to at least make them uniform.  Someday I will have to learn to use a hoop and a thimble.  But I am very happy to have this little project, which I call Patriotic Fields, ready to decorate my table or wall for the appropriate holidays.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Midwest Travels--Part IV Scarf Dyeing

Lots of photos ahead!

The $75 scarf dyeing class taught by Heather Thomas that my sister Kathy and I took included all the materials--good thing, since neither of us had any supplies.  We each got three 5 mm white silk scarves in class and learned three techniques.  Here's how mine turned out:

From L to R: resist with one color dye submersion; accordion pleating into a triangle and dipping points in three colors; and the three color foam-brush painted scarf I showed before.  I love the argyle effect on the middle one.  The instructor called me a rebel for that, since we were supposed to have chosen three colors close to each other on the color wheel and I didn't!  She did like what I did, though :)

I tried out some rubber stamping on the painted scarf, which I did not do well since I have never done any previously, but enough to get the idea.  You can see a splotch of blue where Kathy's dye got on my scarf since the workspace was not what the teacher requested and we overlapped when laying out the scarves on the tables to paint.

This weird looking bundle is one of the two extra scarves Kathy bought at the vendor booth and brought to class, since she had done some dyeing before and wanted to play more.  We brought these home wet, in baggies.

The weird bundle produced this scarf posed across the bottom.  Amazing, right?

These were all done with slightly different techniques.  Isn't the green one yummy?  Kathy also did some stamping on her painted quilt (on the left).  Additional dyes and scarves were purchased so we could teach Mom and Florence how to make some.  Florence was most dubious about the project because she said she "didn't have a crafty bone in her body". 


This technique Kathy showed her was simply scrunching the scarf and pouring the diluted dye directly on the silk, and letting it dry all scrunched up.  Some salt was also sprinkled on to draw out some of the dye and create texture. There was twisting, pleating, rubber band wrapping, scrunching and dyeing happening for a solid 15 minutes in Florence's kitchen. 

Silly Mom providing comic relief!

Soaking up the purple dye.

Alien looking single color resist.

Florence's twist, resist, and pour.

Mom's two scarves.  The one on the left was pleated, ironed, wet, and then dye poured on.  It was supposed to be just the gray, but some dye ran from Florence's scrunched scarf as we moved the plastic they were placed on to dry to another part of the kitchen--and it added a lot of interest with the pretty teal blue on the edges.  The pink and lavendar scarf was a lovely color surprise since we were going for darker.

Florence's wonderful scarves.  She was totally stunned at how they turned out, especially the stripes. On the right, the salt bleached out some of the dye and gave it a Monet painting effect. 


Florence loved her scarves!  We were so pleased she played crafts with us.  The scarves were steam pressed to heat set the dye and, according to the teacher, were then supposed to be machine washable and dryable--the more washings, the softer the scarf.  I had hand washed Mom's gray scarf with a little dishwashing soap and minimal rinsing after the steam press and then ironed it again before I took the photos, and it turned out fine.  WARNING: Florence emailed me later to say she put the blue/green Monet scarf in the washing machine and, sadly, most of the dye was lost!  I had emptied a whole iron's worth of steam into that scarf while pressing it so I was surprised it did not heat set.  Florence suggested that gentle hand washing was probably best.  I will iron my scarves some more before trying to hand wash them, I think!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Midwest Travels--Part III, Quilt Festival

Kathy and I got up early on Saturday morning for the silk scarf dye-painting class with Heather Thomas.  It was a totally new experience for me.  After some color mixing instructions, we were taught three different techniques to color our scarves, using Dye-Na-Flow paint/dyes.  The first was painting three different colors on the scarf with a foam brush--meant to dry before the end of class so we could try some stamping techniques, if desired.  I wanted some recognizable shapes on my scarf so painted stripes and X's (and was the only one to do so!) in purple and two colors of green.

This is before stamping and heat setting with steam.  I love it!  The other two techniques were folding/dipping, and lastly, "resist" with rubber bands and stitching.  We took those home wet, in baggies, but were able to wear our first scarf out of the class.  Really fun and almost mistake proof--my kind of project!  After class, Mom and Florence joined us for lunch, some shopping, and viewing of the quilts. 

I took this picture especially for Shay, for her love of Matroyshka dolls.  Unfortunately, the lighting was not the best, being behind and above the viewer, but I hope you can see enough of the quirk and life in this entirely hand wrought, large quilt.

Look at the bunny Matroyshkas!  The stitchery and embellishment detail everywhere was beyond exquisite and must have taken many many happy hours, certainly deserving of its first place award. 


The rest of the photos I put into this slideshow.  You can also click on the photo to be taken to my Web Album and view the photos full size.  Enjoy!
(Note: All photos were taken at the International Quilt Festival, Cincinnati.)





Here on the right is Cousin Florence with my sister Kathy and me, wearing satisfied smiles with our scarves and sporting some very tired feet and lightened wallets!  Next post, Cousin Florence and Mom learn to dye paint silk scarves too, and reveal of scarf magic from our other classroom attempts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Midwest Travels--Part II

Friday's outing was geared toward The Arts, with a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum. My sister Kathy woke up with a migraine so went back to bed. We left her with directions to the restaurant that Cousin Florence had arranged reservations, the former Rookwood Pottery site, and set off for Eden Park on Mount Adams.  I just love those names!



This Pinocchio sculpture had recently been installed at the museum.  Isn't he fun?  We were there for the Monet exhibit, which was small but very wonderful.  I would love to have taken a favorite painting home for that bare spot above my piano.  Photography was not allowed, unfortunately, and we soon exited the crowded Monet gallery for open spaces.  As we moved forward, we heard angelic voices singing and came upon this scene:

A local high school singing group, I believe from Marymount (?) High School, with a token three boys to counter the sopranos.  They were wonderful to listen to as we strolled towards other galleries.

You can guess why I couldn't resist this painting!  I took photos of it last year which both came out blurry, so was happy to find it again.   Unfortunately, neither time did I get a photo of the artist/description plaque.

I loved this gem, of young Venetian lacemakers in their fancy gowns, sitting to their tatting needles lace bobbins and gossip.

I just love the girl resting her arms on her baffle as she leans in for the latest news, and the cheeky grin on the girl on the left.  Mom pointed out that Venetian blinds still always end up looking like these crooked ones.

A bit blurry, hope you can read it!

After a pleasant couple of hours at the museum, we headed to the nearby Rookwood Restaurant.  We were early for our reservation so I took a walk back to the large property's hillside edge to capture some downtown shots.  That is "Diana's Crown" atop the tallest building in the center, after Princess Diana. 

Here are three bridges linking Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington  Covington, Kentucky over the Ohio River.  I like the colors--especially the yellow one, and the old row houses in the foreground.

Carved rooks guard the entries to the drive.


I loved these patterns stamped into the stucco.



 Florence arranged for us to dine in one of the former kilns, massive round brick structures connected with 8" gas pipes. It has been a number of decades since any pottery has been fired in these kilns, so we were perfectly safe.  Mom asked me to take a photo of the figure guarding the entry.

Rooks even decorated the chairs in the restaurant.  We were eating a delicious lunch when Kathy called as we were nearly finished, and we were so pleased that she felt well enough to join us.  She had an adventure finding the restaurant and relayed a story where she approached a Parks Maintenance guy and told him she was from Missouri, was lost, and was supposed to meet us at "some pottery place".  He knew exactly where she meant and jumped in his truck to lead her through the twisting narrow and steep streets on the hillside.  Nice people abound in the Midwest!  Mom and Cousin Florence headed back home while Kathy and I set off for the International Quilt Festival.  I've already relayed beginning of that story, so will pick up with Part III in the next post.