Saturday, April 12, 2014

Flowers and Veggies

Todays class was terrific   So much so that I came home and not only finished my block but auditioned fabric for the next.  We had our choice of flowers or veggies   I had packed colors for the bell pepper not realizing it was the most complex pattern. The eggplant should be a breeze.
"Sew It Like Ruth" uses a template method.  The teacher Heidi Sandkuhle taught us the concept and skills to translate any of our own original photos or designs into quilts which was a big part of the appeal.     
Check out how itty bitty some of the parts were
The workshop book Piecing Expanding the Basics feels less intimating thanks to the teaching of Ruth McDowells method by the very talented Heidi who is an accomplished artist in her own right.  Now i read through it with fresh eyes and am really glad I bought it. 

New and Old Potted Plants

On Tuesday I stopped by Costco for dog food and drove home with two new rhododendrons  
Four days later and not yet in the ground but apparently happy with their new digs 
My orchid is also doing well.   Loving the dark colors in them both. Wishing you all a lovely Spring 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Union Jack and March 2014 Monthly Mosaic

Union Jack

While you're browsing Lily's Quilts blog and the link ups for Fresh Sewing Day, check out her Union Jack wall hanging tutorial, the Jack Attack QAL and this recent beauty.  I'm making a secret one of some sort with these:
The four Andover London fabrics were purchased specifically for this and I'm pretty sure about the sketch black and white in the center.  The others are just stash auditioning for the part.  

Should I make one jumbo sized Union Jack or a bunch of small ones?

Fresh Sewing Day

Chain+Link Wedding Quilt progress, Finished front and "second front" Rainbow Twirls quilt, Houndstooth Birthday Quilt, Pincushion swap, Stitch Africa workshop.
Linking up for April to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts 

Vaca Fabric - Stash Expanded

We stuffed the large flat rate box to the brim and it was waiting for me when I got home. 
Isn't it hard to believe my pretty pile of possibilities came from this messy heap?  Digging for treasures was quite exhilarating I must admit.  My sister and I had a blast and it's probably a good thing this place is an airplane ride away or I might need an intervention. 
SAS Tempe AZ

2014 FAL Q2 Goal Mosaic - TEN

1. Chain+Link Wedding Quilt 2. Sparkle Punch 3. Union Jack 4. Corduroy Improv 5. Workshop Improv 6. Curve On 7. 21st B'Day in  Parsons Gray 8. Stitch Africa 9. Polaroids 10. MQG Michael Miller Fabric Challenge (fabric hasn't arrived yet so it's not in the mosaic)
MQG Michael Miller Fabric Challenge
You would think with only one out of four completed in 2014 FAL Q1 that I would be conservative with my mosaic but instead I'm tossing them all out there (well not ALL).  Linking up with Katy @ The Little Thistle's 2014 FAL Q2 goal setting party.

Spring Blossoms

So many quilters and bloggers are also great cooks and gardeners - you may have noticed that I am neither.   Fortunately a few of my plants have survived and thrived, especially with the recent bout of rain to interrupt our drought.  I'm please to share this shot from my front yard:
Hope you're enjoying flowers in your neck of the woods too.  Happy Quilting!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yes, I know I'm spoiled

I unpacked my suitcase after returning from a wonderful vacation being pampered at my sisters and immediately repacked it for a 4 day Quilt Retreat.  I'll share a picture of the finished quilt we made together from my last post, but first let me show you the progress I made on my niece's wedding quilt.
The pattern is Chain+Link from Quilty Magazine by Elizabeth (don't call me betsy)  It is available on Craftsy and on her blog.  The blocks are large so I took advantage of the nice big design wall to get this shot.  Notice the bald spot on the top row?  Oops, mis-cut.
Thank goodness we were a short drive to Hart's because I packed all the teal, aqua and yellow fabric and completely spaced out on bringing the background yardage.  Kona Snow to the rescue. The wedding isn't until June but I'm on a roll so I'll call this my April ALYoF goal
There wasn't much sleep to be had, yet I brought my Kaffe cross because it seemed only right to come with a quilt to the retreat.   I also dusted off my umbrella but we really only had one full day of rain on Saturday.
The dining hall was a short walk across the bridge and I took this picture on my way to dinner - I love the inviting glow of the workroom nestled cozy in the redwoods.
Sunny skies when it was time to pack up on Sunday so no worries about how to keep my machine dry and get it safely to my car. 
Usually I bring a billion options but this time it was just TWO projects: the wedding quilt to start and this Houndstooth to finish (my March ALYoF goal).  

I managed to piece the back and baste it Thursday morning before leaving for the retreat and did all the quilting and trimming before going to bed at 2am that night.  The binding was attached the next morning so I thought it was a slam dunk but as you can see from the clips still on when I showed it at our guild meeting, I'm still hand-stitching.

Not only that, but my 2014 FAL Q1 Goal yielded one finish out of four.   Linking up to the Finish Party with my pillow. I've been busy and I've been productive - just not on the projects I thought.
Allowing an impromptu project to detour goals is just fine with me.  Especially when the result is a great collaborative time and beautiful gift.  My sister's friend really loved it.  
Rainbow Twist
We were inspired by this quilt made by Sanda at the 2013 SBAMQG Retreat.  Working from several bundles of FQs and using the extra blocks the back was quite the time consuming challenge.  
One of my favorite design elements of the quilt is the binding where I paired the block fabrics along the edges to emphasize the rainbow layout.  Totally doing that again :) 

I know the calendar says a March recap mosaic is in order as well as a 2014 FAL Q2 mosaic, but for now - I need a nap. Linking up Rainbow Twist to Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday

Really Random Rainbow

Double Rainbow
On the topic of Rainbows - I was driving to my small group when I spotted a double rainbow in the sky.  Finding parking in Capitola Village isn't always easy and I was hoping it wouldn't disappear before I could pull over.  You would have thought it was a UFO in the sky the way we all scrambled.  Linking up to Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quilting while on vaca

I'm having a wonderful visit with my sister  in Arizona. It's my first time here and the low volume varied texture of the  landscape is inspiring many quilts to come.
The project in the works now however is a rainbow beachy themed surprise gift for one of her friends.  I told her that I could make a quilt in a weekend and we are trying out that theory.  We don't get to spend time together often so this is really special.
The goal is to teach her FMQ so it's important not to get caught up on the back because I know that's easy to do when improvising.  Odds are it'll turn into a "second front", we'll see.
We've seen the Chihuly in the garden exhibit, toured Frank Lloyd Wright and she pampered me yesterday with a day at the spa.
Sewing on the Juki fresh out of the box has been fun but mostly creating collaboratively with her makes the late night marathons worth the puffy eyes in the morning.

We picked up my son from the airport last night and have baseball games every day from now until we leave so Spring Training takes front stage from here on out. 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday

Paula's Quilt

To Do:
3 birthday quilts
2 wedding quilts
improv workshop top
curve on quilt top

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2 year Blogiversary

Today is my 2 year Blogiversary.  I feel torn because I'm almost too busy-distracted-preoccupied to even write a post and wouldn't have thought that possible two years ago or even last year on my first anniversary.  

Maybe it's partly because my latest project is a secret so i can't show you even tho I finished last night.  It took a dozen bobbins to pull off and I'm pooped.  

And maybe because it's taken me so long to get to this point in the quilt.  I feel like "in the old days" as soon as I basted it went straight to the machine but this one sat for an entire week.  

FMQ and I still have a love hate relationship.  Quilting with a contrasting thread is terrifying because everything shows but you at least you can see what you're doing.  I tend to get sloppy and lost on blendy fabric because its so forgiving, so I'm not sure which I prefer.

And maybe because time is just flying by.  This picture of me and my baby grand girl who is now a Half Year old proves my point.  She's already sitting up by herself now. 


Here's my piece from the latest workshop last Sunday "Stitch Africa" taught by Marion Coleman .  The large aboriginal scrap was the closest I had in my stash and I added some tapa cloth and bits she brought to share.  I was really drawn to those birds. 
As I teaching artist, she was nice enough to allow photos of her work and this quilt below spoke to me as did many of her raw edge appliqué portraits.   Add this technique to my bucket list.  
Quilt by Marion Coleman
Actually, making a bucket list is on my bucket list - how out of control is that?!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and a great big thanks to those who are followers. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Swapping and Where Does The Time Go?

SBAMQG Pincushion Swap  

My secret partner said she likes Amy Butler so I used this Love fabric as inspiration and as the bottom of the pincushion.  I had to dig quite a bit to locate my Polaroid Blocks from the swap and found the perfect one.

To weight it down I sewed a bean bag and put in inside before adding the stuffing.  The vintage piping I picked up at our Quilt Show bargain garden and since it was a finishing technique from a recent workshop I made a point of practicing what I had learned.

The boxed shape was kind a done by winging it using two sized of fabric and tucking in to even them when sewing the sides. 
Since I post the photos from our meetings I'll share a few with you.  See my smiling face and the perfect pincushion I'm holding for my friend Merydith? Improv solids in the most "me" colors.
Swap Recieved 

Goal Setting March ALYoF and FAL Q1 status

Houndstooth March ALYoF

Somehow it is March. 

I'm pretty sick of seeing the Houndstooth so it's my ALYoF goal for March. Please let it be done.

Q1 Status - so far

Only a few more weeks left in 2014 FAL Q1 and I thought I'd chosen wisely when I made up this very conservative goal of 4 projects.  The Pantone challenge has a deadline that I may not make (sad face) and the others are open ended.  Check out these Radiant Orchid quilts on flickr.

My latest very time consuming and brain twisting project is actually a secret so I can't share. And of course I've got those other two overdue birthday quilts and upcoming two wedding quilts on the list.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday  with guest host Stephanie from Quarter Incher

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Monthly Mosaic

Somehow I missed making a January Mosaic but am pleased to be presenting some projects from February and link up to Fresh Sew Day.  (The 2 Sun Bonnet Sue blocks, the Echino Clutch and some Houndstooth progress are all that come to mind for January)

Only one item (the pillow) was on my 2014 FAL Q1 list so that's not the best stats so far, thumbs down. I did include several non-quilty items with a New Year resolution to branch out so that's a thumbs up.

Since it's the shortest month of the year I think I did pretty well, how about you?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Quilt Show Weekend

Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds 
I was fortunate once again to be (a very small) part of the enormous undertaking of the 36th annual PVQA quilt show at the beautiful Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Volunteering during set up on Friday had the added bonus of breakfast and lunch and then I returned for the Preview Party that night which included dinner - best fed day in a long time.

2014 PVQA Quilt Show

back of Pup Art auction quilt
Helping with the Live Quilt Auction on Sunday was fun and nerve racking - especially when Pup Art came up on the block, #60 out of 66.   It was a hit with an entertaining bout of bids flying back and forth.  I was able to snap a better shot of the back before it went on display.

Three of my quilts were displayed.  I borrowed back Ring Around the Briar Rosies from my granddaughter and the Carpenters Block quilt from my hubby (and our dogs).  Thank goodness those two washed up and de-furred just fine.  xPlus came straight from the show at our LQS.  Now that it's home we'll have it on our bed.

Our MQG also donated a raffle basket - you can see a peak of the Echino clutch I made.  I stitched our new logo onto the fabric ribbon - isn't it adorable?  

Some years I drive away with a trunk full of fabric scraps from the Bargain Garden (it's sold for cheap by the pound).  This year I managed one small half full bag and am happy for that considering my sewing room has become a cluttered mess.

This gem of a pattern had the original "four color iron-on transfers" inside.   I can't imagine who thought of putting Wesson Oil, Hunt's Catchup and Canada Dry Soda logos on a jumpsuit - a better question might be, why?  

I was baffled. So I bought it.