Monday, June 29, 2015

Design Wall Monday 6/29/15



On this last Design Wall Monday of June, I have a mockup of the block for the comfort quilt I'm making for our neighbor's son who has an osteosarcoma and is undergoing chemotherapy.



This is a variation of Jacob's Ladder that I found HERE (scroll down to the bottom for this version). Yesterday I got all the black and white 4 patches cut and sewn so will be ready for block assembly--I'm making 20 12" blocks.  My goal is to have the quilt finished in a week. The flannel I ordered from Connecting Threads has arrived and will be perfect.

I'm actually in the middle of three quilts for others.  My brother texted me a few days ago that he needs a quilt for his queen sized bed and I offered the bullseye quilt top I made last year.  Searching my pictures, it seems I haven't got a photo of the completed top.  I chose the gingham as an inner border and the Thimbleberries print as the outer border but in they were not attached yet in this shot.

However, it is far too small to cover a queen bed so I have pulled a lot of neutrals and old stash in colors similar to the above gifted blocks (Thanks again, Mary of Quilt Hollow!) to make an additional border of the bullseye blocks.  I'll decide on additional border sizes once these blocks are attached.  I seem to have plenty of stash to choose from!

Third quilt I'm making is for my sister-in-law.  My husband Grant's older half-brother Jan died suddenly in March from a recurrent brain tumor, and I offered to make a quilt from some of his dress and casual shirts.  This is the quilt I pinned on Pinterest with her in mind, which I found HERE


On Saturday we took a trip down the coast to see her and go through the closet to select some of her favorites of Jan's clothes.


It was an overcast day but still wonderful to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and look at the ocean.  This large bed of seaweed caught my eye.  

I took pictures of at least three different flocks of pelicans cruising the coastline as we drove south.

Lots of people out enjoying the early summer weather in Malibu. Lots and lots of cyclists...

We had a good visit with our sister-in-law and she picked out some shirts and I chose others to coordinate, with Grant coming home with several suits and even a tuxedo, as well as some other shirts and slacks.  After a lovely lunch and a visit to Jan's boat in the Marina Del Rey harbor with her son and his girlfriend, we headed home, with promises to get together again soon for a harbor sail.  


 We got home near sunset and the sky was gorgeous. 

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.





Thursday, June 25, 2015

Catching Up Redux

Lots going on around here.  I'm working at my two part-time jobs and things are gelling pretty well so far.  It is SO good not to commute out of town anymore!  I feel like I actually live in my city again, after more than two years.  Being 4 minutes from my main job location is a special thing!

My sewing room is once again a disaster.  Our guild participated in Quilt in Public Day and I grabbed armloads of quilts to take for display.  I also brought my witches quilt for the president of our guild, a longarmer, to finish for me.  I want to enter it in the County Fair and the deadline for that is next month.  It has waited a long time to be completed. 






















I did add eyebrows, noses and eyelashes to the witches' faces before handing it off with a pieced backing. 
Here is the president talking to my mom and me at QIP day.  Our Opportunity Quilt is hanging next to her.  We had a fun day and although I burnt the crap out of the back of my neck, it was fun to be outside doing quilty stuff with friends.  I'm wearing a refashioned Target Tshirt in this pic.  I could not find one of the popular kimono wraps that I liked, so I bought this:





I liked the lace inset on the back.







And I liked the change in hemline from front to back.  I simply sliced up the middle to make a kimono.


 
 Not so great at selfies, but it drapes nicely and is lightweight but not see through.  

My next quilt project is a comfort quilt.  Our neighbor's 11 year old son has developed an osteosarcoma on his right leg and has been undergoing chemotherapy.  He has a few more weeks of this before the tumor is excised, then more chemotherapy.  The doctors say it is localized and highly curable, but of course the treatment is severely toxic and horrible to endure.  I asked his mom if he had any favorite colors and he chose black and green; "Green for luck", he said. I have selected this design for his quilt:



Isn't this a cool variation of Jacob's Ladder?  I had fun shopping at Superbuzzy to pick out lots of green prints.  Their fat quarters are still under $3.00 each, a bargain compared to the 4.99 I have seen on some batiks.  I'm using Kona white and Kona black for the four patches.  


The pattern is a simple 3x3 grid.  I chose a finished size of 12" for my blocks so I could showcase more of the prints in the HSTs.  I love the one with a campfire and S'mores.  I'm making a comfort quilt size with 20 blocks set 4x5.


All the HSTs are now made and I've got a start on cutting a few of the strips of black and white for the four patches.  I also ordered some flannel from Connecting Threads which is on its way.  Some other stuff may have jumped in the cart too :)

Whew, now I gotta fly to work!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Baby Spam!

Grandson Cove got to visit Mimi the other day while his parents did a decidedly non-toddler-friendly shopping trip to look at tile for a remodeling project. We had a great time together playing piano, having snacks, going outside to watch the neighborhood boys play ball and ride all manner of bikes; we played with toys and puzzles, and Cove was busy busy busy every minute, interested in everything!  I blocked off the stairs to help Lucy the cat keep her sanity upstairs.  Here are a few shots from the tower toy.  

He likes to start the ball from the second lowest tier, but I started it at the top.  

Following it down...

And here it comes to the bottom!

Cove is 15 1/2 months old, talking up a storm, so happy and active.  He's weathered new teeth pretty well and enjoys his daycare days twice a week while Mama works.  Transitioning to one nap a day is on the horizon, but he's not quite ready for that.  He's still pretty small on the weight/height scale but is a good eater.  We love him to bits!

Doll Quilt Swap Wrap Up

My swap partner Linda in Virginia has received her doll quilt, and today is the day we linkup with Lori's blog, Humble Quilts to show the finishes.  Lori has started a Facebook page for her blog swaps and I have already posted there.  This little quilt has gotten a lot of attention, which is so nice.  The pattern is called Simple Simon,from an old Quiltmaker magazine from 2006.  It is foundation (paper) pieced.

Front view.  I stitched in the ditch across the center of each block and then 1/4 inch inside the perimeter of the individual block centers, all by machine.  The motif, "Friendship Blossom", came from a Quiltmaker's quilting motif book of 500 designs.  I wasn't a perfectionist about the placement of the motif but like it anyway!



 A fun pieced back from leftovers and some gifted fabric.  I did include a label, not shown here.



Closeup of the quilting and binding.  As usual, it was great fun making this little doll quilt and I hope its owner enjoys it for many years to come.  Thank you, Lori, for another fantastic opportunity to play with reproduction fabrics and join a great group of quilters!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Round Up of the Round Robin VMQG

For the past four months, I have been participating in a Round Robin with my Modern Quilt Guild.  We had our final reveal on Monday.  Here is what I did for the four rounds:
Round 1:  Scott's block.

Scott made this beautifully pieced and dynamic block and included only solids in his preferences.  My idea was to keep the movement of the center block moving.


I made some border blocks I remembered from one of Judy Laquidara's books, Nine Patch Extravaganza.  I liked the easy construction using HSTs and all the angles.  First attempt was a bit blah.



Hmm, maybe an HST in the corner with the border blocks?  No, a little too cluttered, I thought.


OK, now we're talking!  I was very intimidated at first but it sure turned out to be fun to work this way, with no commitment to finish a quilt top entirely :)

For Round 2, I was passed on a block center that Scott had added his own fabrics to.  The quilt block owner, Ellen, had included wonderful Indian and Indonesian prints, with a batik center piece that was directional. I was at a loss at first as to how to incorporate the modern aesthetic but sketched and sketched until I hit on this design.



I wanted to make additional rounds easier to add by "neutralizing" the colorful center a bit. 



My finish didn't quite match my sketch (MATH) but I again liked the movement created by the offset wedges.  I hoped it was modern enough!

Round 3 I think was my favorite to work on.  Adele, the owner, had some wonderful prints and lots of colors to play with, including a good length of her text and illustration focus print. 
I wanted to add a lot more of the focus print and lighten up the overall feel with lots of color, since Scott had chosen the black solid for his sharp flying geese round. 

 I made a bunch of hourglass blocks and fussy cut from the focus print.


I kept the black and white theme going with the two color hourglass blocks in the corners.I don't know how modern my round was but I liked it a lot!

The Round 4 quilt was a bigger challenge for me, as Sarah's center block was improvisational piecing, which is hard for me to do. 
 Sarah found it hard too, which is why her block had been on her design wall for several years!  She included a lot of really yummy solids in her box of fabrics.  I picked out some neutrals and a lot of pretty jewel tones.

Scott had added these wonderful cross blocks and I didn't want to interrupt their effect, so I only added to two sides.  I repeated the soft dove gray solid used in an earlier round, with improv piecing.  But I added what I call a "free radical" with the deep gray background and orange cross, just to kick things up a bit :)

There were 14 participants and we all had such a great time with this challenge.  So glad I joined.  And here is my block's Round Robin reveal:

Isn't it pretty?  Center is my star block; Round 1 is the plain border by Barbara; Round 2 is the flying geese by Georganna, Round 3 is the beautiful feathers by Kim, and Round 4 is the improv piecing by Judy.  I love it and have it hanging in my dining room to enjoy until I decide how to finish it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Design Wall Monday--June 8, 2015

On my design surface today are some disparate projects.   It seems when I am playing leader-ender, my two projects are the most clashing.  Perhaps this is subconscious so that I don't mix them up :)

I cannot show the main project I was working on yet--our guild Round Robin.  Tonight is the reveal after four months and I really am looking forward to see what mine looks like, and what others did with the rounds I added.  We each got to work on four quilts.  But another guild project did get worked on. Our challenge this month was to use Neon fabric.  Not my favorite sort of colors, but I did find a very very bright orange to use.  I have been wanting to work with my Quick Curve Ruler again, and use a pattern I purchased at the Road To California Show back in January, Metro Twist


I gathered some leftovers from other projects, a remnant polka dot, and used one of the purple fat quarters I bought in Livermore.  The QCR has you make oversized pieces and then square them up to a consistent size after sewing. The first time I tried this several months ago, my results were not as pleasing, but having had that session under my belt, it was easier this time to manage the curved piecing (that, and the fact that in between I sewed all those curved Winding Ways block sections for months!).

I'm not certain this really qualifies as a neon, but it is certainly very bright.  I'm going to piece another bunch of blocks, throwing in some other modern prints and probably end up with a tablerunner eventually. 

The leader-ender I used while working on the two guild projects was from a baggie of leftover corner triangle cutoffs from Kitchen Sink, a Kim Brackett design in her book Scrap-Basket Surprises.

 I first tried a random layout mixing the RWB HSTs.  Meh.

I separated the colors and ended with a flag layout.  If you know Kim's designs, they are all based on 2 1/2" strips, so these cutoffs are tiny--I trimmed the HSTs to 1 3/4 inch squares.


A mini flag quilt.  I'm not sure where I'll go next with this, but am pleased to have that baggie empty at last.  This is the third project I've gotten from leftover pieces of the original quilt, which I made for my Aunt's husband Tommy when he was recovering from cancer.  He again thanked me for the quilt when we were at a family wedding last weekend.  So sweet!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Travels with Kathy

Last weekend my sister and I went up to the San Francisco area to attend a family wedding.  Kathy and I had not had an overnight road trip in quite a while.  On the way up north, I wanted to stop and put flowers on our relatives' graves in Bakersfield.  We had a little trouble with Siri and GPS but did find the cemetery location on the bluff. Then, at Siri's direction, we made a large roundabout trip in a huge circle to buy flowers and then have lunch before returning to the cemetery.  Much ridiculousness and laughter during this portion of the day, but we did complete our visit to the gravesites, honoring our grandfathers, grandmother, and great grandfather.  Two hours later (!), we continued our journey north to the East Bay town of Livermore.

 There is still some water in California...

...at least in the aqueduct!  On our trip up Interstate 5 through the San Joaquin Valley, we saw lots and lots of farmland full of dead trees and fallow fields, many with signs posted saying that "agriculture equals jobs" and that the government is "creating a dust bowl".  To be sure, we are now under 25% mandatory water reduction restrictions statewide.   A possible El Nino effect bringing significant storms this winter has yet to be confirmed by experts.  Pretty grim!

Kathy and I checked into a Marriott and then met our brother and family at a PF Chang's for dinner.  I ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan, if only to say the name for fun, but all the food was excellent and we had a great time sampling tons of different dishes.  We got back to the hotel room and just after Kathy settled happily onto the bed with her iPad and jammies, I ruined her party by reminding her that she'd said she was going to dye her hair that night.  Her naughty-worded reaction to my reminder sent me into a prolonged attack including clutching my stomach while bent over laughing until I cried. That was fun too. (Kathy decided she'd bought the wrong color dye anyway!)

The next morning after another hilarious interlude with Siri to get a manicure/pedicure at a nearby shop, we got ready for the wedding--a Hindu ceremony, as our cousin was marrying an Indian gentleman.  The Hindu ceremony is very structured and takes many many hours.  We arrived, again guided by Siri/GPS, to the Hindu temple.  Not having any more direction than the address, we were pointed by an Indian lady to a shoe room in a separate Hall to leave our shoes, and then walked back to the temple, accompanied by another single girlfriend of the bride, also at a loss.  We three entered the temple in bare feet and saw many unusual and interesting sights of worship; however, not a single other person did we recognize from our family.  Quickly becoming embarrassed and awkward, we exited at once and went back to the Hall and shoe room.  Someone directed us to the real location in the Hall and we happily met our family members and greeted the bride and groom. 


We were not in time to witness the above portion of the ceremony, where the couple were throwing rice on each other.  Our cousin's sari was gorgeous, as were those of all the guests and wedding party.  We sampled Indian dishes and visited with relatives we hadn't seen in a while, and met others we'd only heard of.  

Kathy then managed to break her pinky toe rather badly on a chair leg during the luncheon portion, and I had to take her back to the hotel.  She was disappointed that our planned quilt shop trip would leave her behind, but she really couldn't walk.  Our sister-in-law, Laura, and I headed to the quaint old downtown Livermore area to the quilt shop, In Between Stitches.  What a nice shop it was, too.  We pottered about for a good half hour, picked out some batiks for Kathy, and generally breathed the scent of fabric, patterns, notions, and quilt displays. I signed up for email notices, which came in handy when we inadvertently left the shop without a 1/2 yard of fabric that was on the cutting table.  They are mailing it to me :)  Here's my loot: 



After Siri took us on a rather grand back-roads tour of the neighborhoods, I dropped off my SIL at their hotel in Pleasanton and then went to Target to pick up some flat flip flops for Kathy and some tape for her toes.  Luckily we had traveled the same stretch of highway so many times by then that I didn't need Siri to get back to the hotel.  After trying to tape her toes and causing more pain, Kathy and I fortified ourselves with chocolate, rested a bit, and then put our finery back on for the reception.

The reception location was luckily only moments away from our hotel and we got there faster than at any other effort so far on the trip!  We had a good time at the reception, visiting, dancing, and eating more unusual Indian dishes, while being introduced to many new family members and listening to some very funny best man and maid of honor speeches.  The next morning we again met many family members at their hotel across the street (free breakfast!), though we drove since we were dropping off a piece of family furniture the bride wanted.  


This Victorian-looking rocking chair belonged to our maternal great-grandmother, and to her mother before her.  My grandmother gave it to me when I was pregnant with our son, 30 years ago.  It has been languishing in the corner of my bedroom for far too long and I wanted another family member to enjoy it.  An uncle transferred it to his truck for delivery later, and we enjoyed a happy hour eating and visiting a final time before packing up and checking out of the hotel.  We took the coast route down the 101, a much prettier drive, IMHO.  For one thing, we were much closer to my beloved hills and coastal mountains. 


Mile upon mile of rolling hills covered with Coast Live Oak trees.  Not much green grass to be found, sadly.  We stopped in San Luis Obispo to visit some old neighborhood friends and had a good time swapping stories and memories before undertaking the last 2 1/2 hours of the journey.  What a great trip.  Then, yesterday, Kathy called me to say she had finally emptied her suitcase and discovered she was missing a brand new expensive bra with the store tags still attached, and a nightgown.  She thought she must have left them in the dresser of the hotel.  I told her to call the hotel, it couldn't hurt to have them check for it.  She let me know later that she actually did call the hotel and, while there was nothing in lost and found, they would check with housekeeping.  Lo and behold, she got a call back saying housekeeping did find the bra, now tagless, and the nightgown, but they were found in a different ROOM.  Very curious.  Anyway, they are mailing them to her and she has yet another funny story to tell. Travels with Kathy are always an adventure to remember!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Doll Quilt Received

I received a doll quilt from my partner in the swap hosted by Lori of Humble Quilts.  It sure ticked some favorite boxes:

Cheddar--check, scrappy--check, four patches--check, repro--check!  It is perfectly sewn and quilted.  I wish I were this accurate in my stitching!


 
On the reverse, a beautiful hand-embroidered label to go along with a fun backing fabric.  Thank you Liz Hinze, I love it.

I finished my doll quilt with hours to spare--and mailed it on my way out of town.  It hopefully has made it to Virginia by now.  My swap partner, Linda, is traveling and won't see it until she gets back.

Lori has formed a Facebook group to share photos of quilts from her various swaps, and other quilts.  I've joined up and am enjoying seeing all the wonderful quilts posted so far.  I'll be linking up on Lori's blog when my partner lets me know she has seen her quilt.