Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring on the Gulf Coast

The Spring season down here is essentially early Summer. Our pleasant Spring weather normally occurs in late Winter, but this year the balmy days with low humidity were taken by damp & chilly ones. The days are warming now, the humidity is on the rise & our flora & fauna are doing their things. Live oaks, a deciduous evergreen tree, are making their annual mess, dumping their leaves as the new ones come on. The azeleas are out, reminding us what fuchsia really means. And the wisteria, non-descript vines most of the year are now dripping with lavender flower clusters.

The third Saturday of the month is Shug's & my Crafturday -- he goes to his woodturning group & I go to my HMQG meeting. But this past Saturday, with a 100% chance of rain, my carpool's enthusiasm was dampened, so we ended up staying home. I was just as glad because it indeed rained -- 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) at our house! Not so nice to be out & about, but perfect to spend time at the sewing machine. I made some more bow ties -- I love these little blocks! I'm not sure how I will assemble them, but I'm beginning to think about a bow tie medallion. I put together 90 little 9-patches from leftover strips cut for one of last year's quilts; I think these can be fashioned into something to help brighten the day of someone on a very rough path. And I made a couple of bottles of nail polish! What? Fabric ones, of course, gifts for 2 friends. Made from this pattern.

Shug went to his meeting though & his latest piece won Best of Show! Yay, Shug!
You are always *my* Best of Show. xxx

Monday, March 09, 2015

What a difference a year makes!

At this time last year, I had finished 4 quilts, was well into numbers 5 & 6. This year, I am sewing, sewing, sewing but didn't have much to show for it -- until today: I finished my Arkansas Crossroads scrappy top. Just the top, mind you, but still.

It isn't Great Art, just scrap-tacular fun. I began pulling scraps, cutting squares last fall. These scraps represent more than 20 years of making! Scraps from a skirt from the 80s beside Madrona Road bits, calicos & country plaids with Stitch In Color, dots, cats, owls, candy, fruit, vegetables, Elvis, Jayhawks, etc, etc, etc. Even the background fabrics are scrappy. When I began cutting the squares, I noticed the abundance of blues so decided I wanted a light blue for the background. I had some left over from the last year's interlocking rings, but not enough. I was thinking I would buy something, when I said, NO, this is a *scrap* quilt! So there are 4 different solids & one old blender-y blue. It is all a bit crazy. I've gone on record as not being a fan of people who count things in their quilts -- stitches, spools of thread, number of pieces -- but I could not resist: there are 1,240 2.5 inch squares here! :-o

Since I am looking down the barrel of Summer in Texas, I am thinking of doing a batting-less, summer weight quilt -- maybe tied, maybe big stitch. I am open to thoughts & suggestions.

Please forgive these poor photos. I can't get any outside because the weather here is awful! I try not to complain about it when so many are shoveling their 10th foot of snow in sub-zero temperatures. But -- normally, February & March are beautiful here; we pay for 9 months of summer by having 2 months of gorgeousness! But this year has been gray & rainy & gray & chilly & gray & yucky for weeks & weeks & weeks!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

An embarassment of riches

Recently, I did a fabric pull for a secret, surprise quilt I am thinking about. The recipient-to-be is fond of country colors & antique-style prints -- not my usual thing, but of course, I have those fabrics in my stash. What I did not realize was how much of those fabrics I have in my stash! There is enough of these rich patterns & colors for several quilts! So several quilts I am planning.

These traditional fabrics brought to mind traditional patchwork -- I am envisioning giant spools, tiny bow ties, little 4-pointed stars, pinwheels, maybe some checkerboards with 9- or 16- or 25-patches, a log cabin & then, because I am a contrary sort, maybe something modern with these not-at-all-modern fabrics -- maybe something improv with lots of negative space?

My eyes are probably bigger than my sewing machine -- but, come on, I have 11 -- sewing machines that is, not eyes! Silly!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quilt Con-cked Out


I'm back from the second QuiltCon. I had not planned on going, but the possibility of meeting quite a few of my favorite quilters tipped the balance in favor of going. My gracious, good friend, QuiltingCyclist, had a shareable room within rock-throwing distance of the Austin Convention Center -- so off to Austin I went.

 Firstly, I had lots of fun!

Secondly (& certainly the cause of Firstly), I made the effort to repress my wallflower nature & boldly approached people I did not know & introduced myself to them. I met Libs Elliot -- an amazing quilter! we chatted about her process & what is upcoming for her. I met Andres (aka Mad Tesla), from my virtual acquaintance with him I knew he is talented & funny, now I know he is also charming & smart. I met Lynn Harris (in fact followed her into the ladies' room like a creepy stalker), we talked about tiny patchwork stars & her soon-to-be-released book. I met Melissa Averinos, she made an amazing face quilt that won Judges' Choice & after we talked, she continued to recognize me & say "hi" when our paths crossed. I met Sherri Lynn Wood & had her sign a copy of her new book -- she gave me some good advice that I hope to apply to my quilt-making & to life in general. I met Tara Faughnan, I've loved her quilts for some time & was delighted to find a spirit similar to mine. I met entropy always wins -- crazy talented, crazy smart & crazy nice! she recently made fabric rose brooches & gave me one! I met bookybookish, an Instagram friend who is now a Real Friend. I did not get to meet armchair quilter, Claudia, it just didn't work out this time, but someday! I did not meet, but enjoyed seeing 2 of Leslie Schmidt's quilts. And I did not get to reconnect with completely cauchy, the poor dear got sick the week before QuiltCon & she finally decided not to come, but I got to see several of her quilts on display.

It was such a pleasure putting faces & voices together with quilters & bloggers that I admire.

Thirdly, I saw lots of fabulous quilts. There were 2 special exhibits, one was a group of Gee's Bend quilts -- a group of the women taught workshops & gave the keynote talk -- the other were quilts from the collection of Bill Volkening, quilts from the 50s, 60s & early 70s -- lots of joyful color & polyester! And the quilts entered to hang, well, here is just a few.

I got a temporary quilty tattoo. Hmmmmm, next time, maybe a real one........?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Plugging & chugging

You would think I would learn, but I never seem to: the problem with having so many on-going projects is that nothing proceeds very quickly. Out of my maaaannnnnnny stacks of parts, I've been working 2 scrap projects & 2 with scrappy-ish flying geese. As you scrap-sewers know, there are no quick methods for scraps, just pulling 2 pieces, sew them together, sew them to another pair & repeat. I've got all of these projects out on my sewing table so that they are all leaders & enders for each other & in spite of proceeding slowly, they are all proceeding.

In between times, I made & quilted something I plan on entering for consideration for a display of modern quilts at the Texas Quilt Museum. The piecing was crazy simple & the quilting was simple but dense & took some time. It is done except for the binding; for the first time, I'm planning on trying a facing-type binding. I'll give you a little peak at this quilt.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The first line-jumper of the year

During Shug's & my busy holiday visit to the midlands, there was one day that my Mother-in-law & I took a little time & had an outing -- we had lunch, finished up some grocery shopping & she offered to take me to Fabric Recycles.  I NEVER turn down an opportunity to visit this store! I found some stars from their "started, not finished" table, a brown calico, a bit of cat fabric & 2 yardages of 60s-70s era fabrics. After returning home, my purchases moved into my sewing room & sat on top of things until I could get around to putting them away.

As I was working away at a couple of scrappy projects, the blue-lavender-olive fabric began speaking to me.

"Excuse me. Excuse me.
Don't my colors remind you of those in your stack of Liberty fat quarters?
Don't you think we might look very nice together?"

"Why, yes, blue-lavender-olive fabric, I think you might be right.
I'll get the Libertys out as soon as I finish a few things."

Get them out now!
I was cut from the bolt back in the Nixon administration &
have been sitting on a shelf ever since.
I want to BE something! I want to be something NOW!"

"OK, OK, settle down. Here they are.
Hey, you're right, you all look really good together.
Good, um, eye?, blue-lavender-olive fabric. Do you have any suggestions?
What do you want to "be"?"

"Well, I was meant for decorating, so something with me in big pieces
would best show off my natural, large-scale beauty."

"Hmmm, bossy & vain, but I think you're right.
Maybe some sort of strippy, geese-y, tree everlasting-y kind of thing?
Would that suit you?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about, but it sounds fun. Let's start now!
But, I wonder if all the florals might be a bit flower-y, all the blues a bit too blue?
Do you have any stripes or dots or plaids to mix in?
And what about just a touch of complementary colors -- just a touch.
I've waited so long, I want to be awesome!"

"Alright & right again, blue-lavender-olive fabric.
Don't get your hopes too high. But this does sounds like fun, let's see where it takes us."

"By the way, you really are beautiful, blue-lavender-olive fabric."

"Yes, I know."