Friday, October 24, 2014

Escher Meets Bali

I am currently working on a quilt of tesselating houses...

It still needs more work - the rows need to be sewn together but this is essentially it.  It's not quite this pink - that pink background is actually a grey flannel, so the lavendar sky triangles should be bluer.  Still, I'm having a ball making it - keeping all the houses in line with their roofs and eaves has been a puzzle and a challenge to say the least. 

The pattern came from Craftsy and had so many errors in it that I found myself re-sewing many parts.  If you like it and go to Craftsy and look for it (it's called 'A Rainy Day in Mr. Escher's Neighborhood'), DO look at how half the houses are reversed, and so you need to sew the siding on the wide windows on the opposite side from the directions on those half the houses.  A design wall is ESSENTIAL for this quilt!!!

What are YOU working on?

Monday, October 13, 2014

At the Quilt Show

I attended two quilt shows last weekend.   On October 3rd, I went to Quilt Fest Palm Springs, a fun trip with a couple of girlfriends.  We drove down Thursday night, saw the show on Friday and drove home Friday afternoon.

I was VERY impressed with the quilts I saw there.  There were some amazing pieces of quilt artistry and craftsmanship.  I think my favorite was this Frazetta-esque quilt depicting a warrior protecting a lady from a dragon.  It was just stunning!


Also among my favorites was this hand-painted triptych of China:


Other beauties included:







I wish I had pictures of everyquilt there.... there were so many too beautiful not to include.  A fascinating collection of quilts from around the world were included.  It was fascinating to see the differences culture and available fabrics made to quilt design and 'look'. 

I came home Friday evening and took Saturday off to relax with friends.  On Sunday, I attended the Simi Valley Quilt Show, my guild's biennnial show.  Not as many vendors as Palm Springs of course, and not as many quilts, but no less beautiful for being smaller.  I got three ribbons at the show - Spotlight Awards given by the show's committee members on their favorite quilts.

What was more exciting even was that I got a call to bring one of my quilts back for the Weds. nite guild meeting.  I did, and was surprised and shocked to learn this quilt had won Best of Show (an award given based on viewer votes!)




I am just thrilled that people liked my quilt enough to vote for it as Best of Show... I was overwhelmed on Weds. night at the meeting.  I had to get up and talk about the quilt a bit, but I was so flustered, I'm not even sure I made a lot of sense.  Of course in hindsight, I thought of all sorts of things I should have and could have said. 

I think I'm done with quilt shows for a while... Pacific International Quilt show is coming up soon in Santa Clara, CA, but I think I'm gonna miss that one.  Much as I'd love to attend my first PIQS, I've been visiting a lot of shows of late and it I can tell you with much   surety that they are SO worth the time and money!

I would like to thank Chris P. for the photos of the Palm Springs show shown here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ethan's quilt

I have been working sorta kinda on a quilt for a dear friend since April.  He entered the hospital in March for what was supposed to be a 3 week stay.  He JUST got out of hospital and rehab in September.  I have been planning his quilt all this time.  It took me 2 months to settle on just the right pattern and another 3 months to collect the right fabrics for his quilt.  I had to make sure nothing in it was 'girly,' too.  I know that sounds like a lot of time, but he is a printer and a bookmaker, so I knew I wanted books in it for sure (took a while to find good book fabrics), but at the last minute I also found some printers block letters on a print which I HAD to have (put them in the border).  Anyway, it was a long time in the planning stage, then I started actually making it last week.  Here it is, sans binding:
In retrospect, I should have made the borders wider, but I followed the pattern and only bought enough fabric for a 4 1/2" border.  Ah well.

It is quilted in a beautiful gold thread that matches the sashing, and ready for a label and binding now.  I hope to give it to him soon. 

Here's the back of his quilt.  More printy-type stuff and some faux denim.  Used up 4 yards of fabric on the back, which depleted my stash a little...yay!!
In retrospect, the butterflies might be a bit too feminine, but nothing I can do about it now. 

I hope he likes it.  I know his wife will be over the moon over it.  She likes everything I do.

Love you, E & J!



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Across the Rainbow Bridge

Sorry I haven't posted in so long.  It's been a depressing time.  I will try to be more dependable in the future.

I lost my sweet furbaby, Oodles 2 weeks ago Friday... I miss her SO much. 17 years was not enough time.  RIP sweet kitty.

On the quilting front, I've been working on quilts for two friends, one recovering from surgery and one just entering chemo.  Here is one of them (for the chemo patient):
This pic is pre-quilting.  It's now been quilted with purple thread with leaves and flowers... very pretty job.  Friend of mine who has a computerized longarm machine did it for me.  It looks great!.  I am working on the binding now, but because the intended recipient is allergic to cats, I'm trying to do most of the work away from home.  Tomorrow at my mini-group's sew-in, hopefully I can get it done. 

Second quilt is based on Venetian floor tiles and is made with book fabrics for a printer and bookmaker.  Hope he likes it... I should get it back from the quilter tomorrow or very soon if not that soon.

Neither one knows they are about to get a quilt.  



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Progress... Mckenna Ryan Quilt

I have been working on this McKenna Ryan quilt since 2008, though not with any dedication.  The real push has been during the last year while I've been taking a class at my LQS in how to make a McKenna Ryan quilt.
The quilt is called Forest Hollow and it's all/mostly owls with a few other little critters here and there.  I'm pretty happy with it, mostly just pleased I got this far on it.  It still needs to be quilted, which is a major thing on a McKenna Ryan quilt.  If you're not familiar with her method, it is to do all the applique raw-edge, with the quilting being done around the motifs with invisible thread to sew them down.  I've got SO much work ahead of me with the quilting, But I'm glad the cutting and fusing is done.  There's a lot of detail in this quilt and I hope all the pieces stay fused til I get the quilting done! 

On the non-quilting front, I've got a very sick elderly cat who is declining rapidly.  We are doing all we can to support her, but I fear we are coming to the point where we will need to make some hard decisions about her care.  I love my furbabies, and I hate being in this position, but I have to be a responsible caregiver too.  Sometimes just love alone isn't enough. 






Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home again home again, jiggity jog

I flew to Dallas on Friday to attend the Quilt Plano Show.  Oh myyyy!!!  The ladies of this guild are SO talented!  I was amazed at the incredible skills they evidenced in their myriad quilts.  Just amazing.  Not only was it a judged show, which is not typical for a guild quilt show, but the quilts were really impressive.  It was like a mini-Road to California.

Obviously it was not as big as that show, but they so many great displays.  The mini-quilt silent auction was wonderful and I would have bought a couple of them, but the ones I really wanted were sold for the 'buy it now' prices (which were about $175-250 each) before I'd even gotten there.  Then there was the show itself.  The quilts were hung in groupings, so you could see in most cases which quilts were in competition with each other, for easy comparison and ability to see what the judges saw.  I really appreciated that.

There is a group of art quilters in the area as well, and they had several mini-displays, showing off their work as well - SO wonderfully talented!

The best of show quilt was a Baltimore Christmas quilt (one of two at the show), but what set this one apart was the fantastic quilting!  I could absolutely see what set it apart from the other quilts in the show.  They were all beautiful, but this one was superb!

Anyway, against SO much tight competition, I felt honored that my quilt took a second place ribbon in the 'large applique, two-person quilt' category.  The quilting by Kathy Bradbury REALLY was key to the quilt getting an award.  I hope it does well at my guild show in October.  I  think I will try to submit it to Road to California as well.  Not sure if they will take it, but I can try!.

While I was in the Dallas/Plano area, I got to visit Quilt Country shop in Lewisville.  I picked up their row-by-row pattern, bought a few small pieces of fabric to make postcards with, and had a ball walking through their thousands of bolts of fabric admiring all the batiks (enough to rival Candy's Quiltworks in Northridge), and their wonderful brights and fun fabrics.

I even bought a foot pedal sticky mat at the show to keep my pedal from sliding on the floor.  I am going to give it a try next time I sit down at the machine.  I also bought a new quilt cabinet from Kerry's Collectibles while at the show, but I don't actually get to pick it up until Road to California in January (they don't ship, it's prohibitively expensive).  It will be nice to be able to put away more of the quilts I'm not using, as they DO tend to pile up around the house.

Many are memory quilts of one kind or another, so I am loathe to donate them, as the memories are only for me, and I don't have enough wall space to hang them all.... so storing them seems the only option.  Some I do rotateout depending on the season, but others are just stored all the time.

What do you do with your finished quilts?  Donate?  Keep for yourself?  Give as gifts? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

STOLEN QUILTS Alert

Oh gosh, I am always heartbroken every time I hear about quilts being stolen.  Oh, don't get me wrong - LOTS of things in this world are heartbreaking - starving children, abused animals, and so forth.  I'm not immune to such feelings too.  However, this blog is about quilts, so I will refrain from straying that far off topic.

Anyway... Nancy Rink is an internationally known quilt lecturer and teacher from here in California.  Recently her studio was broken into and a lot of quilts were stolen.  I won't go into details, or show pictures of the quilts here on my blog.  HOWEVER - you can read all about it HERE.

That link tells all about what happened and shows pictures of the missing quilts.  Please watch Etsy, Ebay and the like and keep your eyes open for these missing gems.  If you see them, report them immediately.

I cannot even begin to closely imagine Nancy's sense of loss and violation over this theft.  If I were her, I'd be more than hurt, I'd be angry too, and I'm sure she is, and has every right to be.  My best wishes are with her that the rogue(s) are caught and prosecuted and that she gets all her quilts back safely.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Journey

My word for this year was JOURNEY, involving myself more in the process than my investment in the finish.  I have been doing more hand work than usual, and less speed-sewing (except for that one lapse for the Row by Row Experience)...

Anyway, I kinda lost my mojo a little bit after the rush of the Row by Row.  I didn't sew for almost two weeks after I finished that quilt.

Today I got 'restarted' sewing.  I've had these two applique blocks that were fused but not sewn, and today I sat down at the machine, took my time, watched a couple of movies while doing my blanket stitching.  I finished up the machine stitching on two blocks:
Bertie's Year, July

Bertie's Winter, Sleight Ride
Neither block has the embellishments, like embroidery and buttons added yet... those will come in time... maybe later this week.  Still, it was fun making them to this point. 

Tomorrow is another day, and I'm not in a big rush to finish these, though I will get a new Bertie's Year block early in August, so I'd like to be done by then.  We'll see... I'm not going to stress over it, though. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Row by Row

Row by Row Experience is a different sort of shop hop... it is nationwide (plus Canada) and requires no passports.  You simply go to participating shops and pick up their row pattern for free.  The first person to return to a shop with a completed quilt that includes rows from at least 8 different participating shops wins 25 fat quarters and possibly more prizes as well.  What a lot of fun!!! 

I went to eight shops in my area and picked up patterns, then sewed like a mad demon for a few days to finish up my rows.  Then I basted, bound and labeled it and returned to one of my local quilt shops to claim my prize.  My finished quilt:
It's not the best applique I've ever done, not the best quilting, but it's done!!  So thrilled to win 25 fat quarters, which they cut from whatever I wanted in their stock at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Shop

So generous to cut me what I wanted... Naturally I went right for the batiks, my favorite fabrics.  Because I included their row in my quilt, I also won a gift certificate for the shop, a beautiful tote bag, and a coffee mug.

Now that the row by row experience is done for me, I'm at a loss for quilty things to do.  I already pieced my Saturday sampler blocks for July, pin-basted a table runner, with no plans for immediate quilting, and made a few more hexagons for my hex quilt.  I DO have two Bertie blocks to complete, but I have lost my mojo for actually working on them.

If you see my mojo floating around somewhere in the ether, send it back my way, please.
 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Travel Time

I haven't posted in a while.  I've been busy busy with travel.  I drove from my home in Southern California to a quilt show in Midway, Utah with a friend.  It was a fun drive, with a stop in Vegas on the way there and back (gotta sleep somewhere!).  We hit several quilt shops in St. George, Utah (a small town with like 8 quilt shops!!!) on the way to the show, and then some shops in Provo and Orem too.  Midway is in the Heber Valley, which is about 25 miles north of Provo in a quiet, beautiful valley ringed by majestic hills and mountains.  Everything was SO green (especially notable after coming through all that desert!).  Just beautiful!


 Even the view from our room was charming!




Anyway, the show 'A Small Town Quilt Show in a Big Town Way'  was very cool... just beautiful quilts on display and about 12 or 15 vendors.  It was not a huge show, but very fun.  We took some classes there too.

I learned how to sew hexagons together by machine (easier than it sounds).  It was so cool to learn a new technique!  I made a very pretty bag out of the hexagons.  The class was taught by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life.



I also took a class on making fabric postcards.  Now if you read my blog, you know I already do this, but Laurel Dillman taught a class on how to make them a bit differently.  She fuses motifs to the background fabric, then the background fabric to the Peltex and THEN stitches the motifs with either a satin, zigzag or blanket stitch.  I have always done that edge stitching around the motifs before fusing the background to the Peltex.  It is actually very cool to do it Laurel's way as the Peltex is much more stable than the fabric alone.  I learned something new!  I love that!

I also won some ribbons at the show, which was very exciting!  A first place ribbon on my Woodland Creatures quilt, second place on Under the Jellicle Moon and third place on I.D., Therefore I Am.  Exciting!  I love winning!
Woodland Creatures
Under the Jellicle Moon
 
ID, Therefore I Am
Tres cool!  My fourth quilt in the show didn't place in its category, but that's okay, it was very cool that it got juried in.

I'm looking forward to more shows with Woodland Creatures.  It is going to be in a show in Plano, TX in August, and my guild's show in October, and will be submitted to a few more shows in the near future after that.  The quilting on it is superlative.  I simply cannot say enough about Kathy Bradbury's extreme quilting!  It is just amazing.  Seeing it up close and personal for the first time at Midway was a thrill!

I have lots more summer travel planned visiting quilt shows around the western states.  A busy time, and as much as I love being home with my husband, kitties, dog (and air conditioning!), I love being out and about too!  I can't wait to see all the eye candy out there and be inspired!