Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nearly Done and Squirrel

Top of the queue, the Cross Reference quilt for my son was front and center over the weekend.  I ran down to Superbuzzy to take advantage of the anniversary sale Saturday and found the perfect backing. 

This is a Michael Miller fabric called Tumbling Blocks, 108" wide, super soft and silky.  I bought Quilter's Dream batting, also soft and silky, but weighty.  After I spent at least an hour cleaning up threads on the back of the quilt, we were called for grandson duty Saturday night.  I resumed the basting job early the next morning and got to quilting.  

I chose a specialty stitch on my domestic machine and stitched through the center of each large cross block, and randomly in between. 

I would have liked to have made the curves wider and longer, but max settings didn't change it too much.  The binding is on, as of this morning, and the quilt is awaiting it's label and first bath.  Since it has been 85+ degrees with equal humidity around here, I didn't feel too bad about missing my Monday deadline! 

In the Squirrel department, a friend's daughter is leaving for college out of state and I thought she should have a quilt, naturally.  While surfing the net, probably Pinterest, I saw a Layer Cake pattern that looked fairly simple and remembered a long hoarded grouping of Boutique fabrics from Chez Moi for Moda that I felt would suit the young lady.  I shared them with my friend and she agreed.  Some Kona Snow for background and pattern in hand, I set about cutting the required squares.  Then MATH reared it's ugly head.  There were simply not enough fat quarters.  Stash diving, I came across another fat quarter collection that complemented it, Oh My Darling from Connecting Threads. 
I felt the scale of the graphics and colors worked well (in the left stack, the Chez Moi is the top 7, with Oh My Darling the bottom). I'm hoping the quilt will be as striking as I think.  The quilt will have to be shipped to her, but cold weather isn't slated to arrive immediately so I have a little space.  Looking forward to piecing these pretty fabrics together. New projects are so much more fun than UFOs!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bits and Bobs

I haven't sewn anything yet this week, but did finally get the borders on the Cross Reference quilt (APQ mag April 2017) for my son over the weekend. Borders are so boring to attach, I dragged it out for two weeks, I think.  This is why many of my quilts have no borders!

Now for backing, batting, binding.  I used my GO! 2.5" strip cutter for the outer border and binding strips.  Not sure yet what I'm going to use for the backing, but will purchase white batting to keep the bright cream look.  I promised him it will be finished by his birthday, which is next Monday.  He keeps teasing me that his girlfriend is cold when she sits on his couch.  I'll aim for Sunday night, when we will gather here for a family BBQ.  Deadlines are good for me.

This mess is the UFO Challenge pick of the month, which I plan to turn in to guild as a top.  Due to unforced errors, I am short of the proper sized blocks for the alternate stripes that form the Houndstooth design.  Unfortunately, after messing about with this months ago and cutting a bunch of different pieces from stash, I did not write down my intentions and have to puzzle it out again.  MATH.  Ugh.

And now for some grandson spam:

Check out the eyelashes on Cove! When I was helping DD Elaine get the sleeping boys out of the car that day, both had one shoe on and one shoe off.  Loved that.

The family had a recent few days at Bass Lake in Northern California with friends and spent a lot of time in/on the water.  Cove even consented on the last day to ride the tube pulled behind the boat.  His mother was afraid he might pop out at one point, he is so lightweight, but he enjoyed it, calling it the "best roller coaster ever", according to his mom. 

Hunter crashed in his life vest out after an afternoon in the water.  So cute.  I'm happy the family has gone on so many outings, sorry we were not able to do the same for our kids when they were little, due to DH and me working most weekends and seldom having vacation days at the same time.  We did what we could!  

I'm off to the eye doctor and dry cleaners before work--such an exciting life :)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sewing Room Orts

While I continue attaching the too-boring-to-show borders for Cross Reference, here are some other things going on around in the sewing room. 

In a sweatshop weekend  I completed two charity quilts for Guild last weekend. This Houndstooth top I actually made myself, and lo and behold it came back to me to be quilted and bound.  Sigh.

Fortunately I didn't have to make the backing or cut the batting--that was done by other volunteers. 
I meant for the Guild label to be in the right lower corner but it refused.  I quilted this with randomly wavy lines and hope it looks intentional enough. I ran out of bobbin thread twice and barely had enough on the spool to sew on the binding.  Gah.

This one was made of donated blocks that some other members sewed up, with the backing too.  I added some colorful leftover binding to add interest to the solid binding fabric with the kitted top.  Glad to have those saved lengths used up. 

While not technically modern, it is bright and cheerful and should please someone.  Simple straight line quilting for this one.  I did manage to get the label where I wanted it, but it refused to be straight.  After all that stitching, the organization contacted never responded so the two quilts went to the Philanthropy coordinator to be handed out later.  Well, they are off my list, anyway!

As usually happens while one is looking for something else, in the Hoosier cabinet I came across a bunch of bonus HSTs from the Picnic quilt. 

Above is the original layout idea, but I couldn't help playing some more. 

I squared the HSTs to 1.75 " and played switcheroo.  The upper right is one I made probably two years ago and shows how much they shrink when sewn--to about 5.5".  I'm really loving the Broken Dishes one on the lower left.  No idea when I'll be stitching them together but it was fun to play with little pieces.

Sue Goes to the Orient had a little more work done.  I bravely threaded my machine with black thread and thread sketched around the applique pieces.  Good thing they were fairly unfussy shapes, except for the shoes.

It's a pretty forgiving technique and one it would be fun to explore more. I'd like to thread sketch a couple of Chinese hanging lanterns in the background to continue the theme and add a little more detail to the scene.   I have a few ideas saved on Pinterest and am considering that as part of the quilting.

Meanwhile Sue remains a UFO until I add that detail, choose a backing and get her quilted. She's not going to languish in the box, though, I have promised her. 

Judy of Patchwork times chose the UFO for August as #8, which on my list is another of the Houndstooth charity quilts in a different colorway.  It has been in Time Out since I used the wrong sized squares to make the striped blocks.  I have to figure out how incorporate additional fabrics I already selected and assemble the alternate blocks.  Dragging my feet on that job, obviously.

The event of the decade arrives Monday with the Total Solar Eclipse, which will only be a dimming here on the SoCalif coast.  Perhaps I'll have time to look up from my computer and see it out the window, though they are predicting our usual morning low clouds and fog could obscure it.  No matter, I haven't got the special glasses anyway!  

Back to those boring borders....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

County Fair Part 3

Ventura County Fair 2017 continued!  Another of my favorite exhibit areas is Floriculture.  It is fun to see both the professional gardens and the amateur each year. 

A Hobbit House was an extremely detailed and large installation that must have taken many many hours to complete.  So much to look at--the photo is only of about 1/2 of the garden.

In another garden display, some very creative folks created a beach scene with our Channel Islands painted on a backdrop, and this Grizzly Bear catching a fish.  

The detail in the face and ears was terrific.  Can you imagine how many hours it took to create?  There are probably no Grizzlies left in our back-country mountains, but there once were many in the County. 
Another group constructed this impressive and large Pirate Ship in the center of the Floriculture area.  It too must have taken many hours to assemble.  The exhibit label caught my attention and brought a chuckle: 

 A Pirate Ship Wreak in a Succulent Seascape.   I think they meant WRECK, lol.

After the Floriculture display, DH Grant and I followed the crowds into the Grandstand Arena to find a seat for the Huey Lewis and the News concert, free with admission.  

We were far from the stage, but enjoyed it very much.  Great band, love the horns.  Huey can still sing, though the high parts are a bit lower than they used to be :)  Huey made lots of jokes about the Bungee Jump, which made national news when a 19 year old got stuck upside down when the ride failed to retract him to the platform cage and he had to be rescued by the fire department--along with his friend and also the ride operator--on the second night of the fair.  Huey also made note of the wonderful ocean-side site of our Fairgrounds, literally feet from the Pacific.  
An early rising moon in the eastern sky near sunset.  

We sang along, clapped and danced in our seats, and after the concert was over, made a beeline for our favorite fair treats before heading home: a Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese icing for Grant, and Indian Fry Bread with powdered sugar for me.  My sister Kathy and I returned to the fair later and spent additional time in Home Arts and another exhibit hall, the Gem and Mineral Building, where we always enjoy seeing the collections people display.  My favorites are usually the ones by kids, who handwrite their labels and have charming descriptions like "I've been collecting Harry Potter items for 2 years..."  Good times!  We'll look forward to next year's fair for more fun.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

County Fair Part 2

Our Ventura County Fair has many exhibit halls and I took lots of photos in the Home Arts building, as well as a few other Fair sights that caught my eye.   First up, more modern quilts, by fellow guild members.
 Loved this improv churn dash by Chris.  I'm pretty sure she quilted it herself.

 Judy's curves looked great with the echoed curved quilting.

 Another Improv style quilt with lots of color and movement.
 Many will recognize this Fancy Forest pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. LOVED the woodgrain quilting on this one. The ceilings are high and the quilts hung hopefully out of reach!

 A modern double wedding ring quilt was pretty cool.  This was entered under the embroidered category. the quilting was very well done, though some of the embroidery was a little rough.

On the traditional side, I admired the wonderful scrappy small house blocks and trees in this big quilt.  I wondered if it was made of swapped blocks. 
Poor lighting made viewing and photographing this cute quilt difficult.  Another popular pattern, though I don't know the designer. 
 Very nicely pieced batik quilt by another guild member. 

 I've admired this paper-pieced cat pattern in magazines before, but again don't know the designer.  That is a lot of tedious sewing for a quilt, if you ask me, but it looks great.

 A few cross-stitched pieces caught my eye. 

Isn't this beautifully done and framed?  Aside from quilts, Home Arts includes clothing, painting, sculpture, crochet, woodworking, leather, and carving of all types. It is always fun to cruise the booths and display cases. 
 Beautiful painted gourd.  I like the carved one with the handle beyond it.

 Adorable Tin Man sculpture in one of the display booths.

 Gorgeous wool applique too.   A few more photos to share--see next post!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Aug 7

First Monday of August, and it's going to be a busy week, starting with the one month closure of the main road I drive at least four times a day. Sigh. Hoping my alternate route choice isn't too full of re-routed traffic.  

I'm still working on the Cross Reference quilt for my son, but that's only at the borders stage, too boring to show.  So, on my design surface is a guild block challenge.  Last meeting we drew a card with either Animal, Mineral, or Vegetable and were to interpret our card.  I pulled Mineral.  While cleaning off my cutting table (AGAIN), I came across some larger precut squares that were a shop hop giveaway from Picking Daisies, a teensy modern quilt shop in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Anyway, they had a gold print, which sent me to Google to learn if gold is a mineral.  It is!  I wanted to play more with Drunkard's Path blocks, this time with the Mini Quick Curve Ruler.  It produces blocks that finish at 3.5", and you start with oversized squares cut at 5" (or charm squares). 

The blocks are sewn with no pins, then trimmed with the ruler to exact size.  Above was the layout I came up with.  I wanted all the lipsticks to be right side up.  I happily sewed the rows and then used some of the leftover pieces to bring the block up to the required size for challenge blocks, 12.5".  However, after I had cut, sewn, and pressed the added sashing/border, I was surprised to find that my block didn't match my layout. 

How I did all this without noticing, I cannot explain.  I'm liking the unusual shapes the accidental layout produced, so the block stands.  I might try the other layout sometime!

See more Design Walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

County Fair Time and Entries

Friday night was County Fair Time for me and my hubby, Grant.  We were expecting big crowds for the first weekend and went early.  Admission prices were unexpectedly lowered, which was nice, and after passing through the gate we immediately proceeded to the Home Arts building to look for my entries.   The first one I spotted was high on the side wall. 

I was pleased to see a 3rd place award for my professionally quilted twin size quilt--pattern is Judy of Patchwork Times' June Mystery Quilt in 2010. I was disappointed that this quilt was not displayed fully as I spent all that time sewing on a hanging sleeve at the last minute.

Next we looked in the display areas for more. 
The big chicken sculpture was really interesting.  I spied my little quilt on the wall.

A lucky Blue Ribbon!  How nice.  More hunting in the display booths.

Interesting quilt on the upper left, and I spy my Twilight Hopscotch block pillow.

Another lucky Blue Ribbon!  Very exciting. 

On the opposite wall, my Modern Row Robin quilt also had a lucky Blue Ribbon!  This quilt was entered as a group project, since four people worked on it.  I had also expected this quilt to be fully displayed since I attached a hanging sleeve on this quilt as well.  

More searching led us to a big display area with a very strange, huge quilt made of clothing on the back wall.  I was not sure what was going on with the tire tracks, but spied another entry of mine on the right.
Honorable Mention for my patriotic tablerunner!  Not sure why it was displayed vertically.  We took another turn around the building to locate the last entry, only to find we had walked right past it earlier without seeing it.

A lovely 2nd place ribbon on the modern Flying Geese Baby Quilt.  I received a ribbon on all 6 of my entries and feel very lucky.  Many other guild members entered items and had wins as well, so we had a good showing from our Modern Guild.

My sister Kathy had already gone to the Fair on Wednesday's opening night to see how her entries did, but was strictly forbidden to tell me how mine did!  I got these photos from her:

Her art quilt with a dark desert sky and dead tree got an Honorable Mention.

Her modern whole cloth quilt received a lucky Blue Ribbon!  Kathy is one of the good cooks we have in the family and I encouraged her to enter in that category too. 

Her Peach Bourbon Jam won an honorable mention.  It was entered under the Liquor category.

She also received Honorable Mention for her strawberry scones, which I love and can eat by the dozen! There was a lot to see and do at the County Fair, and I'll share some more finds on another post.

Slow Sunday Stitching-Moon Over Blackbird

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