Monday, November 20, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Nov 20

I'm late to DWM but do have progress to report.  Over the weekend I got the Star baby quilt for my daughter's best friend pinned at last, and set to quilting it yesterday. 

I was lucky to find a match for this Kona Flesh in a door prize Aurifil thread pack.  Wavy lines randomly spaced was my plan.  I quilted a number of rows before realizing that the horizontal lines I thought I was stitching were actually vertical.  Oh well!

Some rows I sewed to overlap and make a ribbon.  Mom-to-be is a week overdue and hoping to deliver soon.  Meanwhile, binding has been made and attached and last night I started stitching it down while watching TV, a process whereby it seems I really only stitch during the commercials!

I've also been getting a few stitches in a new cross stitch project, which I started on the plane to NOLA.  
Lizzie Kate's Stitching Forever, Housework whenever design.  Love my octopus needlekeeper. 

See more design walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Thursday, November 16, 2017

More Sewtopia NOLA

My sister joked that we flew 2000 miles to keep sweatshop hours, sewing all day and night at Sewtopia, but we enjoyed every minute of it.  Kathy, the speed sewist, made four quilt tops and completely finished two quilts!  I think she was the only one with that number, but there were many finished bags, blocks, quilt tops, and new projects going on all around us.  Our tablemates were our Guild president Tisha and her mom.  It was nice to have familiar faces but of course we met lots of other quilters.  Me, I cut and sewed, cut and sewed, and used two design walls to help me with my word quilt.  

Lots of color choices were made, plenty of switching around as well, as the quilt grew.  The letters were made from Laura Hartrich's Simple Shapes Alphabet, although I changed the dot of the "i" to a curved block instead of plain square. I used a 4" finished Drunkard's path template set from Jen Carlton Baily for my design.  The curves required a few pins but were not too difficult to sew at that size.  Many attendees were interested in my project and stopped by to ask questions and take photos.  Jen herself said she wanted to make a word quilt, and in her free moments as part of the staff, she sat down to design.  I fed her squirrel project by giving her some cat fabric:)

Lots of people signed up for a secret swap project.  The staff swapped them overnight and there were lots of squeals of delight the next morning as we found them by our sewing machines.  Too funny, my sister found her own swap item on her machine, which was quickly switched by staff.  Here's the beautiful item I received, full of goodies, made by Nela.

Gorgeous zip bag with the pineapples and polka dot lining.  The gnome fabric was made into a bag the items were in.

Tisha's mom's item came in this sewn paper wrap.  Very clever.  The girl who got my item seemed to like it; the house blocks runner I showed in progress a couple of posts ago.

Simple straight line quilting to keep it modern. 

I had fun with the back with this fabric from stash.  The runner looks crooked in this late-night-thrown-on-the-floor shot, but wasn't!  My word quilt grew slowly, letter by letter. I enjoyed choosing all the different colors. Many of the fabrics were from a Dimples charm stack of every color that I won at Superbuzzy a few years ago. 

In progress shot...with Tisha's intricate block project sharing the design wall.  Having the design wall was so great.  Wish I had room for one at home.  One gal the next table over couldn't wait to see what came next and helped me make decisions about the clover I designed to add. I begged additional greens from other attendees.
 It came out looking great, with her help.

By the noon witching hour on the final day, I had managed to sew all the pieces for the letters, clover and stars, and sewed over half the individual rows together.  I stacked and rolled them up for transport, pinning the loose rows and the clover pieces together in order.  They made it just fine in the luggage.  Last Sunday I sewed the rows together, then made the final decisions for the missing section.  Sew, press, sew press...
Hooray, a finished top!  The top is 60x76".  I am pleased with how it turned out and would make another word quilt with this simple alphabet.   What phrase would you make?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sewtopia and NOLA

My sister and I had a grand time at our first quilting retreat, Sewtopia, which was in New Orleans this year.  We had our usual adventures getting to the airport and hotel, but all was well in the end.  I may have a few more gray hairs, however. We arrived the day before the event's start, and had a short rest in the hotel room before venturing out for dinner.  Kathy was mad for trying creole/Cajun food, and forced encouraged me to join her.  Over the four days I tried shrimp creole, gumbo, catfish, jambalaya, etc.  She was mostly pleased, but being a very good cook herself, a little disappointed at the tourist versions of these usually spicy dishes.  Sewtopia provided lunch daily in the hotel dining area (Embassy Suites on Julia Street), in what was once obviously the exterior of two buildings that became a huge atrium painted with Bourbon Street scenes, with life size statues scattered throughout.

Our first morning of Sewtopia included a shop hop and, to my surprise and joy, a tour of New Orleans by bus.  Our first shop was in the Lake District, Mes Amis Quilt Shop. Tiny but chock full of great fabric.  I purchased some yardage and fat quarters with fleur de lis for my word quilt project, then headed out to take photos of the neighborhood.  Along the way I met other members of the group who told me Lake Pontchartrain was a short walk away. 

The Lake Vista neighborhood was full of large houses from many eras, with these large old oaks between them. I loved this yard with multiple tree swings:

 Wouldn't you love to spend time in this one?

The lake is surrounded by a levee and not actually visible from the sidewalk by the homes.  I headed up the slope to take photos of huge Lake Pontchartrain. 

It was a very pretty day with the clouds.  We were lucky with weather and although warm, in the low 80s, it was not very humid.  Not that we didn't appreciate climbing back on the air-conditioned bus to our next destination in the Mid City area!  Morning Call was not a quilt shop, but a very old restaurant famous for beignets and chicory coffee.  It is in the middle of beautiful Audubon city park with stream, sculpture garden, museums, and surrounding older neighborhoods.  I could have spent hours there, but made the most of the time we had. 

 Beautiful Rotunda.

 Bayou scene. 

 Swans, ducks, and two egrets (ibis?) in this scene.  A great jigsaw puzzle picture, right?

I adored the oaks covered with moss, this one with branches arching nearly to the ground.

While we have many oak trees in California, few of them have Spanish moss and never to this extent, in our dry weather.  After a few minutes in the sculpture garden, we headed to our final stop, a quilt shop called Chateau Sew and Sew

Very cute shop with tons of Cotton and Steel and other modern fabrics, along with gifts and patterns for kids.  I did a little buying of fat quarters and then my sister and I headed out for some neighborhood shopping.  I bought a handmade tile from a craftsman and a needlework Shotgun House scene from a shop owner named Annie.  
Loved all the railings and different roof lines of this old part of the city close to the Mississippi.  After returning to the hotel and a short rest, the cutting, ironing and sewing began in earnest... the Sewtopia Ballroom, of course!  Sewtopia provided Juki machines for those who had reserved them.  I was late to register so ended up bringing my machine, for which I received a credit in the Pop Up shop.  But more about that in the next post :)

Thursday, October 26, 2017


On a very sad note, my 98 year old mother-in-law, Frances, who has been living in Memory Care for a year, and under Hospice the last few months, last Thursday had an unwitnessed fall.  She apparently hit her head and left knee, but was otherwise visibly unhurt.  However, she became short of breath later that day and then unresponsive overnight.  Hospice staff put her to bed on oxygen and morphine and monitored her.  She passed away on Sunday morning, 10/22/17, having never regained consciousness.  

Frances (98) and granddaughter Erica , May 2017
A tough old Swede, Frances had bounced back so many times, it was a shock to everyone.  She had expressed many times over the past few years, though,  that she was "ready to go" and wondered "why the Lord didn't take her".  She is rejoined now with those she loved and missed who preceded her, including her husband Marion,  all her siblings, her parents, and many friends.  We will celebrate her long life with family and friends at a service in a couple of weeks.  Rest in Peace, Fran, you  were loved and will be missed.

Thursday Again

We in SoCalif have survived a sweltering few days of record-breaking heat.  It was 97, 106, 104, 103, and finally today only reached the upper 80s.  At least the humidity has been low, making it possible to still move around without feeling like you were dying.  Our recently acquired room air conditioner has made sleeping possible. A little sewing has been happening, for the retreat trip departure a week from today.  Two volunteer sign up projects are due at check in--a blind swap project with another attendee, and a challenge using provided Michael Miller fabrics (selections from In Bloom, by Sandra Clemons, and two solids).

For the swap project, I originally was going to complete an in-progress small quilt that needed a bit more machine quilting and then binding.  But while browsing at the Cotton and Chocolate quilt shop, I came across a sale bin and came home with a new idea from a Fig Tree & Co pattern.  Solids pulled from the fat quarter dresser and some Kona Snow were quickly prepped and cutting ensued.

There were so many pieces for this block (28) I needed a cutting breakdown!

I had never seen a house block like this and loved the different chimney and path parts. 

I kept the "grass" pieces, though trimmed them down.  Eliminating sashing made it more modern.  Basting, batting, backing...hmm, this tune is familiar.  

The challenge project had me experimenting unsuccessfully with scraps last week, so I went bigger.  

Drunkard's Path blocks cut at 6.5" left plenty of the prints showing after piecing.

A few rounds of switcheroo led to this layout.  I liked all the curves and color, and sewed it up this morning before work.

I'll use the remaining fat quarters for the backing and binding.  There is a lot to get done before the retreat, and my typical last minute finishes are not helping calm the stress.   I need to spend some time making lists--I love checking off items. Wish me luck!👍