Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Been Awhile - The Rest of the Story

The colors of fall! This was a few days ago before the big wind and all the leaves fell off! I love the orange/yellow against the deep blue. We so rarely have days up here which display the trees to their best.

Well, not too many excuses, but my blankety blank wireless keyboard and mouse started getting flakey and I was forced to use the laptop keyboard and mouse -- horrors. Typing even my blog wasn't any fun.So, I know you are on pins and needles knowing how my attempt at printing on the computer vs. going to Stapes turned out! Well, it was okay! The website is and you just send your picture and then presto/chango a pdf file comes back with the divisions you asked for. To get the size I wanted (5 feet by about 8 feet) it took 49 pages!!!! Now taping together 49 pages in my cluttered house was a challenge but I was up to it so now I have this gigantic copy of my drafted lions and it doesn't even look too pixelated. Now to make some additional lines and group pieces and add labels and then......trace the entire thing onto freezer paper. This will be a very big challenge as 49 sheets of paper taped together into a 5 x 8 foot thing is rather cumbersome to say the least.

Warren is spoiling our cats and this is George behind the 100 foot fence that Warren has put in our backyard so that the kitties can play without being eaten by coyotes or raccoons. Many days we have a standoff, however, between George and the squirrels. He chases them; they chase him.

He will sit for hours looking out this corner of the fence. He is so sociable, I never thought he would be our outdoor kitty but he would rather run out in the screened in yard than eat in the morning! Of course, he doesn't like wind and wasn't too pleased when the leaves piled up but Warren dutifully took care of that.
I have busily been finishing the projects I started at the beach. Among those projects were eight of these market bags, two of each fabric in the picture. I just love these bags as they are sturdy and square and hold a lot.

I also finished these handbags which are also quite easy. I believe they are called Laura's Bag and I know they are from the Creative Thimble which does the Professional Tote which I also like. I used imitation suede where the solid color is and then cottons for the rest. The brown one has purchased strapping and on the other one I covered some leftover strapping of the wrong color. They are lined with the fabric that just peaks through on the wraparound pockets.
Concurrently with all this, I am trying my very best to declutter portions of my house. So, this meant getting boxes of fabric out from everywhere and dealing with it! I had scraps left over from many projects. A lot I have given away but that still left quite a few boxes. Now these may just have one small piece cut from them or half of a fat quarter but still difficult to deal with. My solution (which kept my hands busy for several days) was to cut 6 1/2 inch squares out of all the scraps big enough to do that (I have boxes of novelty fabric left over from the three I Spy quilts I did earlier) and then cut 2 1/2 inch strips with any fabric that went selvedge to selvedge but was to small to deal with and then just strips out of any that was less than 2 1/2 inches wide. The pile of 6 1/2 squares is about three feet high (but neat!!) and the strips fill up a couple of 2 1/2 gallon zip lock bags but they are all neatly rolled like the jelly rolls. I have been accumulating patterns I can use for both as I figure they will be good to take to the beach and do comfort quilts for charity. Two gallon bags are filled with the random strips that are left.
You will note that George helped me with both of these pictures. He is always helping me...

But now I have four huge bags of scraps to put on the giveaway table at quilt club next week -- yeh! I can see the floor of both my bedroom and the spare bedroom and my sewing room -- yeh!

These are the squares which are mostly made up with the novelty fabrics. Do you remember the quilt Jeanne Simpson was working on the other day that I pictured in my blog? Well that was my inspiration for all these squares as it is a nifty easy quilt to make. Almost all these squares are novelty fabric.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trying Something New

It was a lovely fall day and several of us gathered at Marcia's to work on various and sundry projects. This is the initial draft of the lions which will be my next big pictoral quilt. Usually I take the drawings at this stage to Staples to get them blown way up. This one would have required splitting into four and blowing each individual section up 350 percent. Hmmm. As I wanted two copies, this would have been relatively expensive. So, I found some software free online that supposedly allows you to print a picture on as many pages as you want so I will try this first before doing the old "tried and true". So I took a picture of my drawing as the first step and converted it to black and white to emphasize the lines. I will play with it some more in Photoshop to get the white to be really white as it will print out as grey if I don't.

I LOVED this scrap quilt that Jeanne Simpson is working on! It looks like a perfect way to use many of my marbled fabrics. It is a very simple block. Jeanne has wonderful color sense. I don't think this picture does it justice!

This is a quilt top that Priscilla has been working on for some time and it is just about done here and wonderful!! It started with a lot of the green in the sashing areas and it was just too much. I think she really has it beautifully finished with the addition of all the blues and periwinkles she has added. These are all batiks she has bought on her extensive travels.

Monday, October 18, 2010

By Popular Request

Well, as many of you already know, those hexagon quilts that were in yesterday's post are each created out of one fabric that is sliced and diced and rearranged so that equilateral (60 degree) triangles that have the same repetition of the fabric design are put together. This particular style is shown in a book called One Block Wonders. I don't have the book but have been making hexagons for a long time and enjoy the design opportunities when you have to put all these busy blocks together. People always want to see the fabric that was used to create these quilts so I did manage to find a few small pieces that I hadn't cut up! Each of the pieces is about 14 inches by 22 inches which is approximately the width of the repeat of the design.

The above fabric is the yellow and lavender quilt in the last blog posting. Here is a closeup of one block in that top so you can see the hexagon.

This is the fabric for the mostly pink, green and yellow quilt on the last post. Below is a closeup of one of the blocks in that quilt. Can you pick out where on the fabric this piece was cut from?
This is the red, green and white that I called "U Are There" in the last post.

My approach is to find the repeat of the design and let that determine how big the triangles are. If the repeat is 14 inches (along the length of the fabric), then I will most like use either 4 inch wide strips or 3 inch wide strips as they both divide into 14 comfortably. After the repeats are all cut from the fabric, I carefully pin all the layers together (six layers), then cut strips. After the strips are cut, I use my ruler and lay it down so that I am cutting diamonds the same width as the fabric strip. Then I cut these in half to make two sets of triangles.

When I am putting the triangles together, I try all three variations (different points to the middle). I don't try to always have one straight edge on the outside or in the middle. So each pile of six triangles can made potentially 3 different blocks. Occasionally I have had duplicate stacks of triangles (unusual but it does happen). I just use a different positioning of the triangles and you get two very different looking blocks! As there are bias edges, I don't iron a lot until the end and use finger pressing wherever I can.

I am also about to cut into the following three fabrics that I dyed a couple of months ago. The fabric is the knit pfd fabric from Dharma which I have had forever. It dyed beautifully!! Each piece shown is about 30 inches by 36 inches and is half the width of the piece. I am going to fussy cut to get the best designs for these tshirts for my granddaughter.

This is a very traditional basket quilt which is the result of a block exchange I participated in three years ago. I finally got some borders on (boring) and will actually attempt to maybe do some hand quilting which I really enjoy. I will probably do some machine quilting as well. I like hand quilting the large open areas and then machine quilting the stitch in a ditch stuff. I mix these techniques a lot. This is about 65 x 80 so will make a nice bed quilt when done. I probably would have rearranged these a little better but not worth taking it undone at this point!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hexagons, Hexagons, Hexagons

Well, we have our first official fire of the season yesterday. It was cold and dreary out. I actually slept in rather late in the morning and it still looked like the middle of the night when I got up! It is perfect weather for finishing projects!

This I have called "X Marks the Spot". It is quite reworked from the version I showed the other day as it looked too random to me. It takes forever to sew all these equilateral triangles together!! It is really easy to piece these blocks but there is lots of pinning when you are putting them together. You basically make half hexagons and then line them up in rows so you have to sew each half hexagon to the next one to complete a row. Then you sew the rows together. Before you sew the rows together though, you have to trim off the points and then pin all intersections of the seams. I am relatively pleased with how this looks now and inspired to be a little creative with the borders. It is about 5 feet by 5 feet.

This one is about 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet and is probably my favorite and I will be dyeing fabric to finish off the borders on this one.

George of course came up to help me as I was putting the third of the hexagon quilts together. He justs makes himself at home and sleeps through the sewing machine humming right next to him. Of course, if you leave the room for even a minute, he is right with you.
I have just finished putting up a third one of these quilts on my design wall. It is predominantly green, red and white and the challenge will be to keep it from looking like a Christmas quilt!
It is almost done. I just have to sew four sections together and then trim. It is about 4 feet by 6 feet. I call this one "U are There". With two of these tops, I tried to incorporate a loose interpretation of some standard design configurations (x's, t's, u's, o's and some others). I always have an overwhelming urge to name my quilts!

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 2010 GVQC Meeting

It was a dreary Rochester day but I loved the colors of the interior courtyard at the Temple where we meet. It was such a juxtaposition of complementary colors as well as a strong neutral. Looks like a quilt to me. I took quite a few different shots here!

This was the second meeting of our new year and the first meeting I have been to. Pat Pauly was our guest speaker and did a delightful review of her career as quilt maker/designer extraordinaire. It was filled with insight and humor. She was selected for the second consecutive time to be in Quilt National.

This quilt and the next one were done by members of the quilt club in anticipation of our 75th anniversary celebration next year. There was a history of saving sampler blocks so a whole series was created and made into these two quilts.

We no longer have the display of the quilts at the back of the room so the pictures are not as good as usual as I was either in line waiting to show mine or in the back of the room!

This was an incredible raffle quilt done by one of the local guilds. It was appraised at $5500 and gorgeous.

This was one of my favorites -- a lovely flower pictoral. A closeup is below so you can see all the wonderful stitching.

Paula Nadelstern was our guest speaker a year ago in September so a number of members participated in a challenge to get a quilt done by this meeting. These are several examples. There were several exclamations of "I will never do this again!". They were all beautiful and unfortunately I have no names as I was trying to photography!

This was a beautiful mathematically inspired sampler quilt done by Marilyn Burkey (I think) as a gift for a relative. Quite an effort and beautiful!

These were three pieces by Judy Warner who has a really nice blog of her own.

This was a really nice star quilt by Beth Brewer.
I believe Barb Brummond did this beautiful log cabin which is off to a new home!
This was a lovely applique quilt.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Perfect October Saturday

What a perfect day out best exemplified by this sunny daisy! First thing I had a breakfast reunion with some delightful ladies I worked with on a volunteer project a couple of years ago! They actually asked me to bring my recent quilts so they could see what I was up to -- how could I refuse!

From there I headed off to my friend Marcia's where, along with Priscilla we caught up on months of art, health and general gossip as well as actually working on projects!

Marcia is continuing work on this beautiful jacket with her consultant in the background examining the back.

This is the aforementioned back with beautiful hand dyed fabric gifted to Marcia from a friend.

Priscilla is in the throes of developing a design out of these two exquisite pieces of Elin Noble dyed fabric. I can't even begin to imagine how Elin gets these effects. Last time I said something to her , she said it involved many, many steps. They are incredible and uniquely Elin's.

While at the beach, my busy work was making these hexagon blocks out of one piece of fabric. It involves lots of precision cutting and easy piecing. I actually did three of these at the beach this time besides making more of the market totes that I love! Now to just sew this together, put on some nice borders and send it off for quilting! This was from a nice flowered print I bought years ago.

This was the second of the three sets of hexagon blocks. I am not particularly pleased with the arrangement but don't want to put much more thinking into it.

Last but not least is our less photographed kitty Cheney. I couldn't resist his bunny rabbit sleeping position on Warren's lap. He has turned into the softest cuddliest lap cat who insists you stroke his tummy. Note that he is not an all black cat!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

RAFA October 2010 Meeting

After a couple of miserable rainy days in Rochester best used for gentle napping, I headed off to our monthly art quilt group meeting. What a surprise to find a whole herd of ladies sporting newly created felted vests and jackets!! Evidently in my absence, there had been a class with a teacher from South Carolina who was here for a local Fiber Festival. It looks like it was a great class but I am not sure my old hands would have lasted!! Here are right to left Barbara, Caris, Donna, Sue, Anne and Sally!! The first five made their jackets in the aforementioned class while Sally coincidentally took a different class with a different technique.

Here is a closeup of Sally's vest. The inside is a hand dyed indigo piece she had done.

Here is a closeup of Donna's jacket. She decided to add sleeves to the vest pattern and she was the one who arranged the class.
Here is the closeup of Sue's vest.

And of course Caris who always does beautiful work and this was no exception. Of course with her figure, she can wear anything too!

Anne Fischer is helping Barb adjust her vest to fit her. Anne is in the foreground. All the jackets were very different and all beautiful!

Here is Anne showing her latest piece. The leaves and the owl are all done with thread painting which is her signature. This piece will soon reside with its new owner.

Mary did this small piece this summer amongst all her other activities!
This is a closeup of Sally's vest as well as two felted bowls that she made. She is holding a third but it didn't make the picture. Sally is definitely an overachiever!

Julie did this quilt as a tribute to her Polish great grandmother who only by serendipity managed to escape Poland before WWII. Julie has been working on creating designs that she has professionally printed. Both the front and the back of this quilt employed this technique.

This is the back of the quilt above.

Nancy took a nuno felting class and produced this stunning scarf!

Pat Berardi has discovered that she loves teaching. This is one of her small landscapes using the curved piecing technique.

She also created this techniques quilt which literally shimmered. Double click for more detail!

Varda is showing one of two scarves that she has knitted using a clever technique of knitting the long way and leaving the ends hanging out as fringe on one end. It is a great way to use up some scraps.

Val shared a piece that she had started in a Rosalie Dace class.

And last but not least, Glynnis poured three bags of hand dyed scraps on the table for anyone that wanted some! It was a very colorful display. Glynnis also shared some business cards that she had printed by -- interesting as they allow up to 40 different images for the business cards!