Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Summer!

Summer has finally come to Western Washington - with a vengeance!  It has been blazing hot here for days, and it's expected to be like this all week.  Today is very nice, the high was only 85* and mostly cloudy, which was nice after yesterday being 92* and blazing sun.  It's supposed to heat up all week culminating in 96* on Thursday.  Yikes!  We don't have A/C, so we suffer when it gets that hot.  And we usually only get about 4 or 5 days of truly hot, so this is really unusual for us.  Plus we're having a drought as well, so everything is brown and crispy.  Not my favorite weather!

So, thanks to the heat, I haven't been getting much sewing done,  My sewing room is upstairs and on the east side of the house, which means it heats up early and then stays too warm.  A week ago, my guild had a workshop on Bargello, so I did some sewing there.  And then Friday I sewed at a friend's house, where I finished my Bargello pieces that I had started.

second piece

I'd never tried Bargello before, so I wanted to give it a shot.  The concept isn't hard if you're used to strip piecing, but it can be confusing and achieving a nice curve isn't as easy as I thought.

first piece

You can see that my first try is kind of awkward compared to the second one.  I used all batiks for this project, because I thought they would work well for this.  I like the variations in colors in the batiks - I think that makes it more interesting.  These two pieces are each about 18 inches square. I'm going to be turning these pieces into a tote bag - at least that's my plan at the moment!

"Jungle Cat"
Our local art gallery, where my DH sells some of his pottery, is having an Artist Trading Card sale again this year, to raise funds.  So DH made some pottery ATCs as well as some paper ones.  I, of course, made some fabric ones.  Which only makes sense, since I not really good at drawing or painting, like some of the other artists.  But my ATCs seem to be popular.  The last time I checked, they all had bids on them!

"Time Cat"
These little pieces finish at 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  Not a big investment in time or supplies.  But lots of fun to make.  I fused the Laurel Burch cats onto the background fabrics, and then added the fun buttons and beads.

This last one was made with my smallest hand-dyed and Cherrywood fabric scraps, which were left over from this quilt.  It has kind of an Amish vibe to me, but I had to add those beads just for fun and to make it a little more "artsy".

A week or so ago DH and I got new cellphones.  Our 4 year old phones were dinosaurs, and were starting to die.  So we got a new plan (I can text now!) and nifty Galaxy 6 phones.  These phones have the best camera on them!  I've been having lots of fun taking pix.  The photo above is a barn about 1/2 mile from my house.  I love this barn, and I think I got an interesting photo of it.

This photo was taken directly across the road from the barn. facing east.  You can't tell from this photo too well, but that is Mt. Rainier in the center (where it looks like clouds).

Same photo, just super zoomed in.  That is the mountain, with the clouds hiding the top half of it.  With this warm, clear weather, we're getting some awesome views of the mountain.  Finding a good place to stop the car to get a photo is the hard part!

Dear Son made some "Midsummer" cookies this week, and we finally got them frosted and decorated today.  Sorry this photo is a little fuzzy.

fireworks, flowers, ice cream cones, cats (and a nudist in the upper right corner)!

a tree and a tent, airplane, music note and more fireworks & flowers

the last four cookies
The hardest part is not gobbling them all down immediately.  We love these cookies, and decided they're not just for Christmas.  *grin*

Dunkel says "Happy quilting"!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Round Robin - Part One

We're almost at the half-way point in this block exchange.  I've done 7 blocks, and there are 16 of us in this exchange.  I thought you might like to see how things are shaping up so far.

You can see my first post about the Traveling Round Robin here.  So, we've all been making blocks and passing them on to the next person.  We haven't followed the list exactly, as some people have been ill, some have been traveling, and so on.  But they're all getting done, and it's starting to get exciting now.

Here's what I've done so far, along with that person's total blocks that were in the passed box.

First, here's my block I made for me:

This pattern is a Sister's Choice variation.

Now I get to make the same block for everyone else, in their fabrics. 

 The first block I did was B's.

P's block.  Sorry, no photo of all the blocks.  I was hurrying to get this done in time for the next "pass event" and forgot to take the picture.  Duh!

 N's block.

All of N's blocks so far.

C's block.

All of C's blocks.

K's block

And all of K's blocks.

D's block

All of D's blocks.

I'm happy with my block because it "works" in everyone's fabrics.  Deciding on fabric placement within the block can be challenging, but so far I like all the ones I've done.  

This has been fun!This is kind of like dating different people - trying out all those different styles of fabrics with no long term commitment!  *grin*  So far, I like everyone's fabrics too.  It's interesting to see how each person's fabric choices reflect their personality.

Our goal is to have them done for the quilt show in October, but I'm dubious we can get them all "done-done" in time - you know, quilted, bound and quilt-show-ready DONE.  Fingers are crossed!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

An Old Beauty

The sun has been shining here!  And it's been warm!  Just glorious.  I think it's almost summer, finally.

Here is an old quilt that was for sale at a local quilt guild meeting a few months ago.  A group was trying to raise money with this; I believe it was going for $70!  I wish I'd had a extra $70 to give it a good home.  So instead I took some photos.

I could have taken a photo of every single block, as they were all different and scrappy.

Lots of good shirtings and indigos!

This block has been appliqued with a running stitch
 instead of a blind stitch.

And some great cheddars and chrome yellows.

These were big blocks too - probably 16 to 18 inches or so.  There are 22 vanes per block.

I boosted the brightness and the contrast in these photos in the hopes that some of these old fabrics would show up a little better.  The fabrics appear to have faded quite a bit, but the quilt wasn't very worn.  It was more like it was made with previously used fabrics.  

Also, the quilt appears to be almost whole cloth.  There is one seam in the white background fabric up the middle of the quilt, but I can't see that there were any "blocks", the plates are just appliqued on the whole cloth.  The first clue about that for me was that the plates are very close together.  

And one more thought . . . the centers of the blocks don't seem to be appliques, but rather that the plates were appliqued onto the ground both on the outside of the plate and the inside instead.  What a curious quilt!

Interesting!  I've never seen a Dresden plate made like this one before!  Does any one have any ideas on the time period for this quilt?   I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sewing But Not Blogging

It's been pretty quiet around here lately.  But I do have a few things to show you.

I went down to my sister's a few weeks ago.  My DH was off on a business trip and DS was home to take care of the kitties, so I took the opportunity to go play.  Sally and I had a lot of fun.  We went to Pioneer Quilts down in Portland, and then she took me to a place that I've been kind of afraid of, Fabric Depot.  I knew I could get myself in trouble there!  And I did.  But I had a blast.  And we got 25% off!  So it could have been worse.  Fabric Depot is everything I've ever heard about it.  A giant warehouse FULL of fabric, but it's all very well organized and so easy to find what you're looking for.   And even stuff you're not looking for, but discover that you need!  hee hee!

My Dad, about 1920

I ended up staying an extra day because we went through old family photos that our Mom had, and we just couldn't get through them very quickly.  We laughed so hard at some of those!  And it's a good thing we did it together, because what I couldn't remember, she could!  And vice versa.  I've brought home a box-full of photos to scan into the computer so that we can share them.  It's gonna take me awhile!  And we still have 2 more drawers full of photos to go through.

Zoe, my sister's tuxedo kitty
I've also been getting some sewing done.  Here is a quilt top that I got put together down at the California retreat.

This is the Big O blocks that I won from Block Lotto last December.  I managed to find a good border fabric at Fabric Depot, and I even got backing fabric from the clearance section - $6 a yard!  And it's perfect too.  So, now I have to get this finished.

I've also been working on another set of blocks I won from Block Lotto.

These are the Tall Stars blocks from August 2013.  I'm slow at getting things put together, but eventually they get done!  I've gotten more blocks put together since I took this picture.  I got this brilliant setting idea from Joe Tulips.  So far, I think this quilt is gonna be one of my favorites!

This past week, my quilt guild took a field trip.  It was our annual trip to Martingale Publishing (That Patchwork Place) for the tour of their offices with so many quilts to see!  It's always so much fun.  They have lots of quilts hanging all over their offices from books that they've published, and the tour leader, Linda, is a fun lady.  We  then got to visit the "hurt book" room and buy books at severely discounted prices.  I got about 6 books, and I'm having fun reading them.  And you can't tell that they're "hurt" at all.  A sweet deal!

Saturday my guild had a "sew-in" day and we made aprons to sell at the quilt show in October.  I got one child's apron done, and an adult apron cut out and ready to sew.  The next child's apron I make, I think I will make it reversible.  Putting on all that binding was a pain.  I made a mistake and bought the really skinny binding.  Ugh.  I think making it reversible will be easier - at least I hope so! 

My big project right now is to clean up the quilt studio.  It's gotten very cluttered and there's almost no room to work.  So, I've been plugging away at it for a few days.  Still  have quite a ways to go.  Wish me luck!  I'd rather be sewing, so after a while of cleaning, I sit down and sew a little bit.  Very slow progress on everything, but progress is progress!

Have a creative week!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2015 Edition

I'm late to the party but I couldn't miss the Blogger's Quilt Festival!   Thanks to Amy for hosting this again, and to all the wonderful sponsors.

I've shown this quilt on my blog before, so apologies to my regular readers.

Ochre : : Strata is my entry this time around, and it is in the Original Design category.

Ocher : : Strata
31 x 32.5 inches approx.

This quilt came about because I had some Cherrywood Fabric scraps leftover.  When I was going to Pacific International Quilt Festival a few years ago, every year I had to visit their booth and I bought some of their scrap bags.  These colors are not my favorites but, come on, they're Cherrywoods!   I couldn't let them languish.  These fabrics are so fabulous that they are a joy to work with.  I have no affiliation with Cherrywood Fabrics, I just love their products!

Anyway, the scraps were all about 5 x 7 inches, so I didn't have a lot to work with.  I just cut strips and started sewing them together in stripes (strata).  I made a bunch of strata, and then lost my mojo.  So these got put away for awhile until one day I saw on a pin on Pinterest (that now I can't find again) and got inspired to pull these out and do something similar.

the diagonal stripes on the right hand side are the painted fabrics
In addition to the Cherrywood Fabrics I also included some hand-painted fabrics from Barb's Elegant Designs for a little sparkle.  They're shiny and metallic but are subtle in the photos, so I'm not sure you can see them too well.

I had fun just improvisationally sewing everything together.

Nothing went together perfectly and I had to do a little tweaking to get it to work.  When I was all done, the quilt ended up being pretty wonky and doesn't hang perfectly straight.  But it's supposed to be "artsy", and I love it anyway.

The details in the border came about because I ran out of the brown fabrics I was using and couldn't find another brown that was even close to that shade.  So, I had to make it "stretch" and I think it came out even better because of that.

Shari Bahr quilted this for me on the long-arm.  I think it was the first time she'd done the straight-line quilting, and she did a great job.  

Be sure to check out all the other entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.   Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy all the quilt-y eye candy to be seen there!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Retreat Photos

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to California (S.F.Bay area, near where I used to live) and went to a quilting retreat with some quilting buddies.  I spent a few days at Katie's house before we went to Homewood Suites, where most of us rent suites (usually 2 people per suite), and then we have 2 good-sized conference rooms for everyone to sew in.  There were 15 of us, and there was lots of sewing, laughter, good food and more laughter.  I had the best time!  It's so good to see all of my California friends and get some sunshine.

Mission Peak, taken from the hotel
I don't have as many pictures to share as I should have.  I had a "brain fart" while transferring photos from the camera to the computer and lost a lot of them.  I'm not too happy with myself for that not-so-smooth move.  Ah well, life goes on.

While I was at Katie's house, I got to sleep under this beauty.  This was a log cabin that Katie used all polka dot fabrics to make (plus the white).  The group exchanged the dots (cut into 2 1/2 inch strips) and then were challenged to make a quilt with them.  This one just makes me smile!

A couple of detail shots:
I don't know why the white fabric looks pink in this photo.

Aren't these fun?  Makes me want to go play in my dots too!

This was the string quilt top that Katie made when we had the Great Spring String Fling a few years ago.  Compare hers to the one I made, shown below.

I wanted to be done with the quilt and just added simple borders, as it was going to be a charity quilt.  Katie was smart and used even more strings for the borders of her quilt top!

Once at the retreat, there was much "show and tell" going on.  This is Carlene with her quilt.  (One of the few photos I managed to not lose)

Here is a Disappearing 9-Patch that Jill (I think) made.  Very bright and cheery!

Jill was a sweetie and let me borrow one of her machines to use, so that I didn't have to bring my machine on the airplane.  It was wonderful to not have the schlep a machine around the airports.  I had enough trouble carrying my laptop that suddenly was about 50 pounds heavier than normal.

Here is Katie's latest quilt.  She got this put together the first day.  She is still pondering what to do for borders.

Shari made this bag.  Very cute!

And then she made this one!  I love it!

And then Purple Pam made one too!  (check out her blog!)  Pam has the neatest bright purple featherweight machine and all her bags, cutting mat, etc. etc. are all purple.  I'm jealous!

I just had to get a picture of this.  This is a sweet stitchery that a friend made for Shari, and it's put onto an Altoid tin.  It says "tiny things" and even has some Hardanger work on it, and well as Shari's name.  Isn't this darling?  (Sorry this isn't the best photo - I lost that one.)

These are all 6 inch stars

After I showed Katie the photos from my workshop with Gwen Marston, she had to learn how to make wonky stars!  She "got" it pretty quickly and then went to town making stars!  

a total of 10 stars
I think she is officially starting a new quilt with these!  Knowing Katie, it's probably done by now.  She is the Energizer Bunny of quilting.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!  Tomorrow (Saturday) I'll be going to a tea that my DDIL is doing for her mom and me.  I'm looking forward to it, as she always does such a lovely job.  And then I'll be heading south to spend a few days with my sister.  DS is here to do the cat-watching for me, so this is my little treat to myself for Mother's Day.  I hope you all have wonderful celebrations too!