Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Update

I love my Guild! (The Houston Modern Quilt Guild, in case you don't know.)

We met on Saturday, talked of the Quilt Festival, QuiltCon, next year's retreat. Then show & tell: the challenge for this month was to quilt our jelly roll race tops from retreat. There were lots of terrific quilts. Mine was only half quilted -- & I worked hard to get that much done. I had thought to free-motion quilt it but my eyes were bigger than my free-motion ability, so I picked it out & tried a method I learned in a class with Mary Mashuta. I love the way it looks, think it is elevating a pretty ordinary little quilt. But I am going to take a breather before I get the other half done -- I've been quilting fairly feverishly for a couple of weeks.

walking foot quilted braids

On Sunday, I made a sleeve for my quilt, you know, THE ONE THAT WILL BE HANGING AT THE QUILT FESTIVAL! (Sorry, still a little excited about it.) I got out the pattern pieces for the shirt I'm going to make for Shug. I'm leaving at the end of the week to go visit my Mom & thought some garment construction would nicely fill the evening hours. I've also been obsessing on a quilt from the book Bold Improvisation. There are many awesome quilts here, one in particular I've wanted to make for a long time -- I did a fabric pull about a year ago, but other things pushed their way in.

 next project

Recently nifty quilts & The Root Connection have both been working on their version of this quilt & mine is burbling to the surface again. My pull -- all from my stash (well, almost all) -- was kind of primary colors with kind of a 1940s, 1950s feel. But I love the wild exuberance of my friends' quilts & was thinking of making a trip to Goodwill, the source of their fun fabrics. But I sat myself down & had a serious talk. Not only do I have miles & miles of yard goods (does anyone still call fabric "yard goods" anymore?), I also have lots of fabric from thrifted clothing. I pulled a stack from Laura Ashley & Laura Ashley-style dresses, the ones from the late 80s, early 90s -- over-the-top floral prints, big puffy sleeves, full -- really full -- skirts. They are pretty but I think the grouping might be a little vapid in a quilt, they would need something to give them a spark, but I'm not sure what. So they may have to continue to wait.

florals that need .... what?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Something old, something new

I've been plugging away at the HST quilting. It seemed as though I would never be finished, but then, suddenly, I was! Now I need to order fabric for binding before the Big Reveal.

I began quilting my jelly roll race top. I tried free-motioning it & hated what I was doing, picked it all out & regrouped. This evening, I've been trying something new & really like how it is going. But it is our HMQG challenge this month, so I can't reveal it yet either. (I'll show you the backing fabric -- I've had it for years; it reminds me of the artwork of Charley Harper.)


My Low Volume squares are idle on my design door; my Low Volume calicos are waiting for a brilliant idea to strike me -- I've been focusing my attention on the Jane Market bags & quilting.
I got a box of fabric in the mail this week -- I needed that like a hole in the head, but, hey, they were on sale.


And my Big News: Skirting the Circle has been accepted to hang in the IQA -- Quilts: A World of Beauty at this year's Quilt Festival!!!!! I am really excited -- I've never seen any of my quilts hanging in any kind of show. This will be quite an experience. The credit for it even being considered goes to Shug -- he was the force behind it & did most of the work, as the deadline came while I was last out of town visiting my Mom.
Thanks, Shug!!!!

Skirting the Circle

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Steely-eyed Quilter Woman*

A bit of sewing -- 2 Jane Market Bags finished, one in French General's Petite Odile, the other from Tula Pink's Nightshade.



A bit of quilting -- my Stitched in Color HST quilt is about half quilted.


* a reference to Apollo 13 -- though there was no danger that I was even going to be late for dinner.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A breath of fresh air

A week or so ago, the temperatures were blistering at over 100 F (about 38 C) with really high humidity -- not as hot as some places, but we had an added bonus. A high pressure system was sitting over us making it not just hot & miserable but, dangerous as well! Smog & ozone levels were said to be !Unsafe for Anyone!

Thankfully, several days later clouds & rain moved in, dropping the temps down into the 90s -- even the 80s! -- much more do-able!

Beside the break in the weather, I had a special treat waiting for me in the mailbox! And while it made me feel warm inside, it didn't make me feel hotter. ;-)

My e-buddy, O'Quilts had recently posted about some things she had made for a baby shower. I had admired them & commented on how bad I was at baby gifts. Well, she very kindly offered to share with me the pattern she used for the baby bibs & asked if I would also like her pattern for adult bibs as well. O'Quilts & I are both dealing with Mothers in nursing care -- her's has Parkinson's, mine has Alzheimer's -- so we understand each other & understand the need for things like a bib for your Mom. She promptly got the patterns posted along with a cheery quilted coaster (in use in my studio), a cute little needle book (will go in my travel sewing kit) & a fun bit of fabric featuring a fried egg breakfast. The only thing missing is the salsa & tortillas!


Thanks O'Quilts! You are awesome!!!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My very long weekend

American Independence Day, the 4th of July, is one of the few holidays that cannot be made into a 3-day weekend. This year it fell plunk in the middle of the week -- not the best for celebrating -- that is unless you gave yourself the rest of the week off, like I did!

Wednesday we spent the whole day at our sail club: hamburgers & hotdogs for lunch (I tried a version of the "Kiwi burger" (our club has quite an international membership & the current Social co-Commodore is a New Zealander -- aka, a Kiwi -- besides the usual burger stuff, they add sliced beets & a slice of pineapple; I skipped the pineapple but added the beets & quite liked it); lots of fun & games for the kids; Shug & I got in a pretty good sail; then resting & chatting & snacking & reading until dinner; then waiting for it to get dark for the fireworks, shot from a barge in the Bay. A very nice day.

4th of July at the sail club



Thursday, I was up to my butt in quilt backs. Just FYI, there are 336 5-inch HSTs in a 42 fabric layer cake -- I used all but 10 from my Stitched in Color cake. There is almost as much piecing on the back of this quilt as there is on the front! I also prepped & pieced the back for the jelly roll race top I made at the HMQG retreat. The Guild challenge this month is to get those quilted. Both were then ready to sandwich & baste.

On Friday I did laundry, dusted, vacuumed, etc. But I managed to work in some layout & assembly time with one of my projects for the Low Volume QAL. I also got 2 more Jane Market Bags cut out -- these will be gifts.


Saturday, Shug helped baste 2 quilts; outside, he set up a couple of saw horses & the plywood work surface he made me. In a VERY fortunate turn of events, as I basted, I found my "humility block" in the Stitched in Color quilt -- but not being prone to humility, I later fixed it. It wasn't so very hot but it was pretty humid & I was very sweaty & a little cranky by the time I finished the second one. Shug also cut some templates for me so I can experiment with them with my low volume, granny calicos.



It was thunder-y & rainy on Sunday. Luckily we had done errands on Saturday, so didn't need to get out. I could spend a much time as I wanted stitching! And I got quite a bit done: more low value work, prepped the Jane Market bags & began quilting one of the basted quilts!



I hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did mine. What did you do?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

First ..... of many

My first Jane Market Bag -- LOVE IT!!

 jane market bag

A week ago the Guild had a sew-in. I took tons of stuff to work on, but my main goal was to cut out &, with luck, make, a Jane Market Bag. Quite a few of my Guild friends have made this bag, so I was hoping for help & guidance. Liz has made LOTS of these bags, refining, tweaking, enlarging & reducing, along the way & she awesomely held my hand through my first bag. I got all the parts cut out & the bag assembled to a place where I needed to do some careful pressing. I am sure I would have scratched my head for days trying to do this alone. Back home, I pressed, top-stitched & added the handles.

It's like that old saying: Give a girl a totebag & she can carry her stuff until it wears out; teach a girl to make a totebag & soon she & all of her friends & family will have totebags out the wazoo for the rest of their lives.