Friday, February 05, 2016

Eight!

Eight years, that is.  Today is my blogiversary, and I've been blogging here at Indigo Threads for eight years today.   


 That is pretty amazing to me!  I never would have thought that this blog would last for that long.  I can't believe that I still have things to say.  Oh wait, I always talk too much!

I want to thank all my readers for reading all my ramblings.  And thanks for sticking with me, through all my blabbing AND my dry spells.  And a huge thanks for all the lovely comments you leave for me!  They mean a lot to me.  I really enjoy the friendships I've created with blogging.  

I want to thank everyone for your comments on Dunkel's passing.  I really miss my silly kitty.  But it's getting easier.  Shade is a lonely kitty lately, and I've been trying to spend more time with him.  I'd like to get another kitten, but Shade is so grumpy I'm afraid he wouldn't take that well.  He is starting to show his age too.  He'll be 13 this spring.  So, no decisions yet.

I've been so busy lately!  Last week we were in Savannah, Georgia.  I had a lot of fun.  I'll tell you more about that in another blog post.

I'm going to be teaching a tote bag class in the near future at a local quilt shop. Cow Lick Quilts in Enumclaw.  So I've made a few samples.


This is the first tote sample I made.  The pattern is Screen Play, and it's made from the same vinyl mesh that I used for the Zip Bags I made, that you can see here. (scroll down past the quilt pix)  Fun and easy to make.  The handles on this bag are long and will go over your shoulder.  I used a purple mesh for this bag, although it's hard to tell from the photo,

inside the tote

I used some plastic canvas for the bottom support, and I made a little fabric sleeve to fit over that.  The sleeve's open on one end in case I want to take it off to launder it.  I've learned to use a lighter color for the inside bottom of the bag, because it's so hard to see what's in there with a dark bag bottom.  I've come to really dislike a dark bag bottom - I lose stuff!

I made the large size bag - there are 4 sizes in the pattern.  I love these totes - they're a nice size and they are lightweight.  And they're easily washed, if you need to.  If you live near the water, these are great to take to the beach!


Here is the 2nd bag sample I've made:

side 1

On this one, I decided to play around a little bit and do some patchwork.  I used solids and text prints for a more modern vibe.  This bag has black mesh.

side 2
This bag has shorter handles.  I think I like the shorter handles better.

I'll be teaching this class twice.  First class is February 17th and second class is March 2nd.

I still want to make some more sample pieces, so I'll be working on those for the next week.

The end of this month I'll be going to Quilted Strait quilt shop in Port Gamble to take a class with Gwen Marston (my favorite quilt teacher!) on Liberated Medallion Quilts.  Sadly, Gwen will be retiring at the end of this year, and this will be my very last class with Gwen.  I feel so blessed that I've been able to take classes with her for the last few years.  She is so inspiring to me and I've learned so much from her.  The experiences in her classes have been invaluable.

I haven't done anything yet about what fabrics I'm taking!  I'm starting to feel a little panicked about that!  And the quilt studio is so messy that I can hardly move in there.  So, I need to clean up in there and then start pulling fabrics for the Medallion class.  I'm so excited to take this class, and I'm really hoping I can get my act together in time so I have something to sew on without having to take my entire fabric stash with me!  Although I could cram an awful lot of fabric into my car.  *grin*  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dunkel

Sadly, Dunkel passed away this last Sunday.



He was a shelter kitty and was with us for 9 years, and he has left a gaping hole in our hearts and our home.

He had a huge personality and got a lot of life out of his 9 years.

He started losing weight suddenly in November, and I got him to the vet in early December.  He was also breathing much harder than he should have been.  Dunkel continued to lose more weight and decline over the rest of the month.  He was down a total of 4 pounds by last Thursday.  The vet was mystified about what was wrong with him.  He considered thyroid issues - No.  Then Feline Lower Airway Disease - No.  Then an enlarged heart - ?   All the tests and Xrays showed no clear answer.  But by Sunday morning he was in great pain, bleeding from his mouth and couldn't breathe.  Unfortunately, he passed away on the way to the vet.  The vet's best guess was possible lung cancer.

So, now Dunkel has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He has joined all my other pets and I know I'll see them again some day.

 My worry now is Shade.  He knew something was wrong with Dunkel and stayed close to him for the last week.  He is wondering where Dunkel has gone and is missing him.  We're trying to give Shade lots of love and attention to help him through this transition time.  We're all missing Dunkel.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Secret Santa - Part Deux


On my last post, I promised that I would show you what I received from my Secret Santa.  Here is the wonderful, beautiful tote bag that J. made for me!  I love it!

It's a great size and I can fit what I need into it.  It's padded so well that I could use it for a case for my laptop.  The handles are padded and very comfortable to use.  And I  love the pattern AND the fabrics J. used for the tote.  Thank you so much, J!


I'm very impressed with the inset zipper.  I've never tried one of those before.


Here's the inside.  Two pockets!  And you can see how well padded it is.  J. did an awesome job on this - it's perfectly sewn and constructed.  

I just took it to a guild meeting today, and I even got the bulky guild camera in here with no strain.  The tote holds quite a bit of stuff.  I'm really happy with this one!


The Block of the Month for the Modern Quilt Guild in December was our choice of block in red and white.  So, inspired by Audrey's Tipsy Geese quilt on Quilty Folk blog, and the fact that I've had Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion book for a while now and I've wanted to play with that, I made the wonky Flying Geese block.  I had to throw in the little bit of dots just for fun!


A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to try the Rail Fence block from Sujata's book.  I made this sample with some old fabrics that were lying around.  (the question I asked my resident Linguist about whether I should say "lying" vs "laying" caused a 10 minute linguistic discourse!)  

Ever since I got this block done, I've been thinking about what fabrics I want to use for this quilt.  There are so many great ideas of what others have done using this block. (see the Cultural Fusion Quilts blog)  I've even pulled out a big pile of fabrics, but no decision yet.  I'm thinking of using some of my greens since I have so many of them I can't squeeze any more on the shelf!  But what to put with them?  Do I want all florals with them?  Do I want to put some purples with them?  What do I want to do????    So, my thinking cap is on.  I'll let you know when I decide!  

Maybe I should just start making one or two blocks and see what develops.  You know, not plan out the whole thing in the beginning but let the quilt evolve.  Hmmmmm.....

Have a great weekend!  I hope you get to spend some time being creative!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

A New Year's Post


Well, 2015 has gone down the tubes and now it's the start of a shiny, brand-new year!  I hope everyone had very happy holidays.  And I hope 2016 will be a good year for all of us, with all the quilty goodness one could hope for.

I'd like to take a moment here to say "thank you" to all my readers who stick with me, through the dry spells when I don't post.  December was one of those times.  I just had so many things going on that blogging just kind of fell off my radar.  But I was sewing and having fun times.  

My granddaughters did another year of ballet, with the December recital being, as usual, selected pieces from the Nutcracker.  It's fun to see them in the different roles and watch how they've progressed from year to year.

We had a very fun Christmas over at DS #1's house with the granddaughters.  We must have been good this year, because I think Santa was kind to every one of us.  Another aspect of Christmas I enjoy is seeing how the girls' Christmas lists have changed over the years.  Our oldest DGD has now become a teenager, and it's so fun to see how she's growing up.  I think the best part of Christmas Day was playing games with the whole family after dinner.  That was so much fun!

The big, fun sewing project I was doing in December was making a Secret Santa gift for another member in the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild, that I joined this last year.  Her choice of style matched up with mine very well, so it was easy to make something for her.  The guild gave everyone a list of possible hand-made gifts to choose from.  We were to pick 5 things from the list.  That actually made it a lot easier.  So, one of the items my recipient chose was an insulated lunch bag,  And she likes text fabrics and brights with white. That sounded easy-peasy to me! 


I took an idea from Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen, one of my fave books.  I was doing the improv piecing of the sew & flip triangles.  Very fun and easy.  This was test block #1.  It was so soothing to be doing improv again, just sitting and sewing bits together and then seeing how they worked together.  I want to do more of that! 

test block #2

test block #3

It was interesting to see that, even though I thought I was being totally random in my placement of the triangles, they all came out at similar angles.  I don't know if that's good or not, just interesting.


And this is the design I went with.  It was more fun and less expected than the layouts in the test blocks, which pleased me.  The pattern for the lunch bag I was using was this one from All People Quilt.  It was a pretty good pattern and easy to do.  The only thing I would change the next time I make this bag would be to make the bag bigger.

Once I had the front and back put together, I did simple straight line quilting, and I used Thermolam, the insulated batting that one would use for pot holders.  I thought that would insulate the bag pretty well.  I also used a layer of cotton batting, which in retrospect was too much.  Just the Thermolam would be enough, I think.  Of course, making the bag big enough to account for all the batting would help too.  The pattern didn't call for any batting, so that's one reason why it seemed to be on the smaller side.


Here is the completed bag, with the top open.


And closed.


Here is the back of the bag.  My recipient's first name starts with G, so I thought it would be fun to personalize it for her.  I used Tonya's book Word Play Quilts, of course!


Here's a closeup of the text fabric I used in the center of the G.  If you  click on the picture, you can read what it says.  


The inside of the bag.  I used some plastic canvas in the bottom to help the bag hold it's shape. 


And I made a mug rug to go with, using the leftover scraps of the piecing.  I wish I had done the join of the binding a little better than that!  Sheesh!  That's kind of embarrassing.


Here is the entire gift.  G. said her fave designer is Amy Butler, so I found this little jelly roll to include.  

We had a fun Christmas meeting with the Tacoma MQG, and my recipient loved her gift!  Next time I'll share the wonderful gift that I received.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Cheery O's!

Wow, where did November go?  How come December is going by so quickly?  Yikes!  I think I need to get a grip or it will be Christmas before I know it.  I've already had one Christmas party last Friday and another one on Thursday of this week.  It seems like it was just Thanksgiving.

November is a busy month for us, as I have a birthday as well as my grown children's and my niece's birthdays.  And then we usually are the hosts for the family Thanksgiving.  Right around my birthday I got a sinus infection that would not go away.  Two trips to Urgent Care and two (expensive) antibiotics were required for me to be able to do Turkey Day.  I had the Molly Maids come clean my house, which I highly recommend!  They are life savers!  I had 12 people here for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful.  The whole entire family, except for one Significant Other.  It was so much fun and so great to have everyone together.  And it was over so fast!  Wait, I wanted more time to visit with people!  And now we're into the Christmas season.

I'm finally getting around to posting another of my finished quilts from the October quilt show.  I am so slow sometimes that it is embarrassing.  So, without further delay, here is "Cheery O's":

Cheery O's
60 x 74 inches
This was another of my Block Lotto winnings.  I won these "Big O" blocks in December of last year, so this is record time for me to finish a quilt!  I love the way this quilt turned out - the Big O blocks were so fun to make and to play with.  (If you want to play with some, here is the link to the pattern at Block Lotto.)


I put the extra blocks on the back of the quilt, plus the "porthole" block I made.  I love the peek-a-boo look that it creates!  And, of course, lots of dots.  *grin*  You can really see the texture on the quilt in this photo.

My quilter, Shari, did an awesome job (again).  I sent her this quilt with the only instructions being what I didn't want, and she did what I was afraid to ask her to do!  This is quilted 1/2 inch apart all over the entire quilt, including the background.  Wow!  I love the texture it gives the quilt.


I made a few extra blocks to continue the color scheme I came up with.  And I just used scraps.





And then I drafted and made two blocks at half-size to finish two of the corners.  They finish at 7 inches.  Cute!  I used the stripe fabric for the binding, and I love the zingy finish it gives the quilt.


I've been doing some other sewing here and there lately.  I taught a class to a group of friends last month on how to make these Zip It Bags.  The class went really well and everyone enjoyed it.  I made a lot of partial bags for the different steps in the creation of the bag, and then thought of finishing them to give as little gifts at Thanksgiving. 


I got them all done (barely in time!) and then realized that I had nothing to give the guys.  Since I was out of time, I only had my sister and her daughter and future DIL pick theirs, as they won't be here for Christmas.  I will give these to the rest of the girls in the family at Christmas when I have something done for the guys too. 

I love these bags,have been making them for years and use a lot of them for different things.  It's an easy pattern.  I bought a big roll of the pet screening that the bags use at the hardware store about 10 or 12 years ago, and now I've used it all up.    It's time to find some more!  I want to make some tote bags with this screening too, and possibly teach a class for the totes too.

Here's a funny photo for you:


This is what you get out of the hose during a big deep freeze.  We were so cold a couple of weeks ago, much colder than we usually are.  DH had drained the hose, but he uses it all winter for cleaning up his pottery messes.  When he turned the hose on, he got ice cubes!  I'm surprised the hose didn't break.  These look like they came from an ice maker! 

Hoping you get to do something creative this week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Strings & Samples & some Progress

Finally, I'm able to show you some more of my quilts that I finished for the quilt show that happened a month ago.  Where does the time fly off to?  This year is going way too fast.  It's been so busy around here that I haven't had time to blog or even do much sewing.

I'm staying home today rather than going to my guild's workshop this afternoon because I've had a sinus infection and unrelenting headache for 10 days now.  I've been to the Dr. twice, started a second antibiotic since the 1st one did nothing for me, and am starting to feel a little better now.  I missed my Modern Quilt Guild meeting last night too.  I'm kind of pouting about that.  But since I'm the hostess for 12 family members for Turkey Day next week, I thought it would be a good thing to feel better by then.

Batik Strings
25" x 30"
I started this quilt in a Liberated Strings class with Gwen Marston this past spring, which means I got this finished in less than a year!  Yay me! That doesn't seem to happen often around here. I'm calling it Batik Strings for lack of a more inspired name. 

I made this quilt with yardage cut into strips instead of using strings, and it was made without a foundation, doing what Gwen calls Block Base construction.  It's explained in her books.  That was a new technique to me for sewing strings.


A detail shot so you can see some of the fabrics I used.  I quilted this one myself.  I just free-handed straight lines, no marking.  I did use painter's tape for the initial line down the approximate center of the block, but no other markings.  I'm pleased with how this came out.  


This is my downstairs half-bath where the quilt lives now.  I made it to fit into this space, both size-wise and color-wise.  Unfortunately I can see now that the quilt isn't too flat.  I think the quilting kind of warped it, so I'll have to fix that soon.

The assemblage hanging on the wall on the left is a collaboration piece.  I made the ceramic tile, which I felt was less-than-successful, but then my sister took it and incorporated it into one of her assemblages.  I think it looks good now.  *grin*  And I'm really pleased to have a collaboration piece done with my sister!

Magic Triangle Sample
22" x 22"
I was trying to get more quilts done for the quilt show and thought this one wouldn't take too long to finish, so I finished up this older UFO that's been waiting it's turn for about 15 years.

When I went to sandwich this top with the backing and batting, I found I had to take off the outer borders and redo them.  They were 'waving in the wind', so I had to get accurate with them.  I've learned that sewing a border on and then whacking off the excess fabric rarely makes a nice flat border and that it pays to take a little more time with them.


Here's a detail shot of the center.  I used the Magic Triangle template (see below) that I bought at a quilt show.  I was so excited to try this template that I came home and immediately made this.  I made the smallest blocks that the template would make (2 inches) because I was using some fat 1/8th's I had of reproduction fabrics.  There was no actual plan involved in the construction of this top (that I remember) so I'm pleased it turned out so well.  This isn't my style any more, but I do appreciate a finished quilt!


A detail shot of the corner.  You can see a little of my quilting in this, and also that I used the binding with a flange, which I've learned to love.  I think that little bit of red really pops!  I had to piece the leftover bits of red to have enough length for the flange, so that's scrappy too.

One 2 inch block
I believe this design is also called Mary's Triangle, or Shaded 4-Patch.


Here is the template that I purchased at a quilt show about 15 (or more) years ago.  This doesn't seem to be available anymore, but I did find some other useful links.  This technique was developed by Sally Schneider in her book Scrapmania that you can find on Amazon here.  You can also find a tool from Sally on her website. (scroll about 1/2 way down the page).  There are also instructions on how to make this block without a spiffy template on Sew Fresh Quilts blog.  If you Google 'Mary's Triangle quilts', there are many, many images of all the different ways you can set this block together to make great quilts!  Some day I want to do this pattern/technique again!


I haven't decided what project I want to focus on first, so I pulled out my Scrappy Trips project that I'm doing with all my dots fabrics.  I've got 20 blocks done now.  Still have about 50 blocks to do to make a quilt that fits our queen-sized bed.  Kind of an intimidating thought!  So, this is obviously going to be a longer-term project that I will work on as I'm inspired to.


We got our first snowfall last weekend!  We only got about an inch total, and most of it was melted by the time I got this photo.  We've had some wild weather the last few weeks.  Tuesday we had a huge wind storm and rain storm.  We lost power for about 3 hours.  Now there are fir boughs all over the deck and back yard, but luckily no other damage to us.  We're supposed to get down into the 20's tonight.  Yikes!  Cold!

I hope all of my U.S. readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  I know I'm thankful for all we have, including a loving family.  Wishing you and yours a happy holiday!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quilts From Our Quilt Show

I haven't been doing any sewing to speak of since I finished all my quilts for the quilt show.  But I thought you might enjoy seeing some quilts from our show.  

"Perfect Form"
I loved this quilt!  It just made me smile, and it looks like it was a lot of fun to do. The guild is asking the maker to give us a class now because we all loved her quilt.

detail
I loved her use of the low volume prints for the background.


Do not adjust your monitor!  It really is a black & white quilt and this quilt was big!  It was at least queen sized, if not king sized.  It won People's Choice both days of the show.  This was made after one of the guild members gave a class at one of our workshops on the Triangle Frenzy Swirl tablerunner.  I understand the quilter found this fabric at Fabric Depot in Portland.  It really was incredible and the quilting was super, but I'm afraid it doesn't show up well in the photos I took.


This is a silk quilt, wall hanging size,  Machine embroidery (an Anita Goodneedle design).  It was going to be bigger until the maker realized that it wouldn't really survive being on the bed with her 3 cats!


Umbrella girls made with selvages.  I don't know if you can see it, but the quilter added a little duck with an umbrella on the bottom border.  This quilt is very 'Seattle'!



The Fisherman's Quilt
Made for a nephew, this is an original pattern.  It's very Gee's Bend-like to me.  It has flannel, denim and  wool on the front and leopard-print Minkee on the back. 


I love the quilting in the border of this string quilt as well as the black and white dots!


Believe it or not, this is a charity quilt!  It is lap quilt-sized.  I love the pieced ducks!  We have a lady in our guild that only wants to make quilts,  She makes most of our guild's charity quilts, and has made over 100 quilts this year alone.  We give to a number of local charity organizations, We think she is quite amazing and so talented.


Made by the same quilter as above, and this is also a charity quilt.  It is probably a queen-size quilt.   I believe this is a pattern from Judy Martin called "Shakespeare In The Park" from her book The Creative Pattern Book.


This beautiful quilt was in the booth of our scissor sharpening vendor (Ewok's Eversharp).   His wife (and sadly, I didn't get her name) came up with this design she based on the  Log Cabin With A Twist.  

I survived jury duty last week.  It was tough!  I had to get up so very early, 4:30 am (I'm usually a late sleeper) to be able to leave the house early enough to miss the worst of the traffic, and then drive for an hour in bad-to-terrible traffic.  And parking was a pain in the patooti - 100 free spaces for 300 jurors.  Not my idea of a fun time.  Yes, I'm whining.  But the process itself was really interesting and not uncomfortable at all.  Just lots of waiting.  Now I've been excused for this week because I'm not feeling too well.  Exposed to too many different germs last week maybe?  I just hope I don't feel too bad for too long.  I've got sewing to do!