Monday, January 31, 2011

Better than a postcard

I have been a serious quilter and fabric collector since the late 1980s (yes Dear Readers, the bloom of youth is definitely off of this quilter). I am very lucky to have loved ones who have clicked on to this and when they travel, if they can, they bring me back fabric!

My brother brought me back this awesome stuff from Hawaii. It is screen printed by Hawaiian artist, Sig Zane. I have never been sure what to do with it, but I enjoy getting it out to look at. Lately I have been thinking about using it in more of a whole cloth fashion. In the meantime, it makes me happy to just to look at.

Hawaiian fabric

My husband has traveled to some pretty exotic locations. Sometimes I have been lucky enough to go with him, but when I can't he has been good to search out yard goods for me.

This first group is a mix of Nepali and Greek fabrics. The dark blue came from Greece; it is a twill and is a little heavier than most quilting fabrics. The print makes me think of cells under a microscope. Perhaps it would do well with a white fabric in a simple patchwork design? Perhaps something like the postage stamp quilts that are happening right now.
The other three came from Nepal. He thinks that he got these in a small village in the countryside where they were amused by a man buying fabric. The stripes are a heavy, coarse weave. I've made a skirt from the blue and still have lots left over. The red and pink print is thin and gauzy (I have used it as a back of a small quilt).

Nepali & Greek fabric

Of this pair, the red with the small print is from Kathmandu, Nepal. I really love this fabric and have kind of hoarded it waiting for just the right thing for it. I think it combines well with the shell-y fabric. It was not a gift from anyone; I bought it at the estate sale of a dear friend who traveled the world collecting and studying shells. I like to think of it as a gift from her. I don't know where it came from but would guess somewhere in the south Pacific.

bright mix

These last three came from Curacao. They are imitation wax batiks in a nice weight for patchwork. They are just waiting for the right project.

Curacao fabric

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday sewing

dreary day

It was a dreary day today, but things hummed along in my sewing room.

I got my first--I am sure I will be making more of these--New Wave top finished. Yesterday, I got some flannel to either back it with or to be the filling (instead of batting) if I can find a better backing. I also got some blue and yellow thread to quilt it with. I think it will be pretty in the guest room.

kitty chaos

blue bonnet wave

I also worked on several secret projects--all coming along nicely.

And I made 3 of my very own wonky stars! They are so much FUN.

kick up the wonk

I'm kind of pooped, but really feel like I accomplished something today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vintage doll quilts

I don't have many quilts--both of my own making or purchased or inherited. But I do have a few vintage pieces--tops mostly--that have come down through my Mother's side of the family. Here are a couple of doll quilts that belonged to my Mom. They probably were made in the early 1930s. I think they were made for her by an Aunt--sadly, I don't that information is retrievable anymore.
The flower garden is about 18 x 24 inches and the trip round the world is about 17 x 24 inches.

flower garden

trip round the world

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fluid Dynamics

fluid dynamics

I know we have all seen this. Whenever we sew a long strip of something, anything--a pant leg, a curtain panel, any kind of strip piecing--the fabric falls from the sewing machine in these accordion folds. I am never not delighted by them! Perhaps there is a physicist or a materials engineer or a fluid dynamisist out there who can explain it to me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Robins in Winter

I spent much of my sewing weekend working on Houston Modern Quilt Guild projects.

First, I made my very first wonky stars!!
These stars are for fellow member greeneyedsilversmith. She has made many many Quilts of Valor and has signed up to make many more this year, but has recently had shoulder surgery. (See her flickr stream for some photos that just make you want to make her a cup of tea and bring her a snuggle-y quilt.) So, several of us said we would help her out by making stars. Now, I have never made wonky stars--they were on my New Year's list of things-to-do--so I was eager but nervous about taking this on. I am happy to report that I now know what the big, dang deal is about wonky stars: they are really easy to make, they are really fun to make and they are awesome!

Here is my first attempt:

So now, like the dog in "Up" ("New Project!") I am distracted from my on-going projects and looking for wonky star fabrics!

Next, I started and finished the row I have this month for the Row and Round Robins our group is doing.

saf's rows

The robin has been going on for about 5 or 6 months now. We have two round-ists and ten row-ists. I have watched with interest and trepidation the various bees and swaps that happen on the interwebs, but have never participated. So this is a first for me and I am having so much fun. It is such a learning experience to work with someone else's palette and someone else's instructions. The group has discussed who had to buy what for who's rows or rounds; I hadn't enough of the pale aquas and soft reds for Saf's row (shopping trip!), I will need the cream-cicle oranges for scruffycat's rows. But the one thing I had to buy for several rows, which I had NEVER BOUGHT before was solid white! (I! Know!) I've used acres of white-on-white over the years, lots of white-on-muslin and lots more plain muslin, but never solid white.
But now I am a convert!
And a major project this year will feature lots of solid white!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

True Confessions

Hello, my name is smazoochie and I have UFOs.

I saw a button on the blog of fellow HMQG member scruffycat for UFO Domination 2011 and thought that it might be a fun way to get some of my lingering projects done.

At first I thought I didn't really have too many un-done projects. There are the Butternut and Blue blocks of the month that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas one year. They are one third the usual KC Star BOM (mine are 8 inches, they are usually 12 inches) and for some reason, I decided to hand-piece them. I think I will only do 2 more and just make a small wall hanging from them--some of them have far too many pieces for me to do by hand.


There is also the star quilt that began with the purchase of a vintage tea towel, gosh, maybe ten years ago. At first I planned to make a vest--vests were the thing back then--then I realized that the tall stack of collected fabrics was much more than a vest. The stars came together fairly quickly; then it took me a while to find the right border fabric; then came the geese. It is all done except for about one quarter of the binding! I think it stalled out because, even though I love it and can't help but smile when I look at it, it doesn't go with anything in our house. So there it sits.

fruity stars

And finally, my shame: The 'wedding quilt' I made for my brother and sister-in-law--they married in September of.......2003!!!!!! It is an appliqued wedding ring--the arcs are appliqued onto a square of fabric. I used some sort of cotton-y batting because I always have trouble with tucks on the back when I machine quilt with my sewing machine; which means the thing weighs a ton. Because I am not sure of the stability of the arcs I have been free-motion quilting them, following the patterns in the fabrics. I'm not real sure how much more work I have to do, but, UFO Domination 2011 members and the rest of the blog-o-sphere as my witness, MY BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW WILL NOT CELEBRATE THEIR 8TH ANNIVERSARY WITHOUT POSSESSION OF THEIR QUILT!

wedding rings

Monday, January 17, 2011


I spent the day making these five (plus one for me!) apples. They are from a Heather Bailey pattern and have Texas Hill Country lavender in them. They are (late) Christmas presents for some of my co-workers.


With these six apples I have *nearly* used up a 10 pound box of fiber fill that I bought about 20 years ago!!! (Whenever I think about that fiber fill, I always think of that kids' puzzle: Which is heavier, a ton of lead or a ton of feathers?)

Monday, January 10, 2011

There are many ways to skin a cat.

No, I don't mean these two, though there are times I would like to.

the wrecking crew

Not long ago (I've only been blogging for a bit more than a month now!) I put an image of this quilt top out there on the internets.

4-patch circle

I got a very nice comment from jeninemd saying that she loved my colors and the drunkard's path pattern. I was *this* close to responding, thanking for her kind remarks but, (please insert slightly condescending tone here) it isn't a drunkard's path. It is 4-patch circles appliqued onto a...solid.....background...... Wait a minute! It is a drunkard's path! I thought I was being so clever, pushing beyond the pattern, coming up with something new. All I did was reinvent the drunkard's path!!!

It goes to show that there really isn't much out there that is really NEW. When something really NEW comes along, it is like a breath of fresh air. I have a lot of fun with my quilting, but I don't think that I will be lifting anyone's kites!

Here is the second top I got from the same layer cake. Not new, but bright and pretty and very different from the first one.

circle top

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Oops, I'm doing it again.

It may be just me, but I have found that I am much more productive when I spend less time on the internet. ;-)

I got quite a bit done this weekend, *most* of it towards my New Year's to-do list. And I got things done in spite of my feline assistants.

Here, Louis helps with piecing and laying out my first bluebonnet and plaids New Wave row:


And here Pippa does her part to pin-baste a quilt:


I also cut out all of the strips that I had pieced for the hexagon quilt. (I got some useful suggestions from the awesome Cauchy about backgrounds.) And I did some cogitating on the quarter-circle, mustard and blue quilt; I want the rows and columns to be odd numbers (to inhibit the the urge to pair up the blocks) so I may already have enough blocks to go ahead with them.

But then...

My last two trips to Joann's have resulted in this stack of brown fabrics:


I had no plans for a brown quilt; no one I know wants or needs a brown quilt (including me!); but these fabrics seem to want to be a quilt! But that isn't on The List!

Also, The Modern Quilt Guild has announced their latest challenge/contest. There has been a monochromatic quilt I have been thinking about for years, but it has never made it onto any to-do list. I am kind of thinking that now might the time to dust off this project.

But, but, but The List!!!!!

So we are early into the second week of the New Year, and already my "List" seems to be going the way of so many lists of the past.
(And I am enjoying every minute of it!)

Monday, January 03, 2011

A new year

I hope everyone had a merry and happy holiday and that all of your handmade gifts were well received!

I've been looking back at the old year and making plans for the new one--quilt-wise that is. I usually make a list of quilts that I think I would like to make in the coming year. My list for 2010 was a short one, only five quilts, but just two on the list were even touched on. One is a top (see "emily" in on my flickr page) and the other is just a stack of blocks. In my defense, the rapid decline in my Mom's physical and mental health kind of trumped *everything*. And I did get several other quilts started and even finished some.

I want to get these quilt tops finished, especially the yellow one:


I want to get these tops quilted and finished:

to quilt

I want to make these fabrics into New Wave quilts:

new waves

And I am very excited about this. I spent much of New Year's Day cutting strips for it.


And the usual--lose weight and get healthy!
Best wishes and good luck to everyone!