Sunday, March 30, 2008
This weekend was the annual quilt show of the local guild, The Crazy Quilters, which is always a fun time to see old friends and what they've been up to. This guild always mounts a first-rate show, one of the best in the state IMHO.
I've been feeling semi-crappy all weekend with a cold that has brought with it one of those awful-sounding barky coughs. So I hated to be around other people, expecting them to shrink away from me in horror.
I hit the show later Sunday afternoon, when the crowds were light, so I could stay for the show take-down and pick up my quilt. And hopefully infect as few people as possible with whatever disease I have.
Timesteps was in the show and I'm happy to report that it received a blue ribbon.
Thanks to all of you who gave me good feedback on this quilt in the dark days of winter when I didn't know if I could ever make enough of those putzy little blocks!
Photos of my faves from the show are here for anyone who feels like perusing. I'm going to blog some of them next time. Some were real WOW quilts that deserve to be seen and saluted.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So I plodded through for about 350 pages, through wars, executions, and several generations of people who all had the same names. I finally decided enough was enough. And I moved on.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Fast quilting isn't usually my specialty. I guess I've been looking around at Quiltville too much and the high achievement level is rubbing off on me just a bit. Not a bad thing!
I continued to pound on the Whirlwind quilt all weekend and have the quilting all completed. This will be a couch quilt and I wanted it to be soft and welcoming. So I quilted it in a speedy stipple with Mettler cotton, top and bottom, which I haven't used in quilting for a long time. It worked out very well. I love the look of the silk-finish cotton thread, and the Bernina cooperated with good tension, top and bottom.
Tonight I came home from my yoga class and got the binding and sleeve made and sewn on. All that remains is the handwork on the binding and making a label. Tomorrow is Seams and I'll have a nearly-completed quilt to show.
WW continues to be good. I was down another 1.2 this week. But there's sad news about my yoga class, which is ending due to a job change for my teacher's husband. They'll be moving away soon. There was a great deal of difference between this very dedicated young teacher's classes and the type of yoga taught in health clubs, which is my only alternative now. Small towns like mine offer few choices.
We end with a gratuitous Lucy picture. This was supposed to be a shot of her sleeping on her back, legs all akimbo. But of course she moved just as I was approaching with the camera.
Still cute IMHO. Note how she positions herself right on top of the heat vent.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Once Saturday housework and errands were out of the way, I got busy and pounded out the rest of the plaid vintage Whirlwind quilt top.
This picture makes it look like all the light blocks are on one side....
Argh! Enough obsessing!
Everything went together pretty nicely once I put some distance between myself and the original maker's bias edges. I think all the slightly puffy places will "quilt out", as they say.
I had some concerns about the fabric I chose for the half-square triangle border. It's kind of heavy in color--all I could find were plaids in dark Thimbleberry-type tones. Believe me, this was the lightest of the bunch.
We think we have access to so much variety in fabrics these days. And we do. But looking for compatible fabrics to go with these blocks, it's apparent that some colors and looks are definitely out of favor in the marketplace at this point in time.
Ah well, it is what it is. And I think the original maker would have made do with what she could find. So I've made my peace with any color issues and this one is now sandwiched, pinned, and ready to quilt.
In other news, Timesteps is off to the photographers for its closeup. Pretty exciting! If the timing works out and I have it back in time, it will be in my local guild quilt show next weekend. When that happens, I'll post photos of the whole thing.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Oh my. Things had been melting gradually but steadily here, looking somewhat hopeful for spring, but winter isn't done with us yet. Today the weather forecasters tell us to expect up to FOURTEEN freaking INCHES of snow. This news makes me want to dig a hole and crawl in. Would you believe we're knocking at the door of a winter snowfall record that's stood since the 1880s?? I would have been happy enough to let that old record stand.
I have to work a half day but then I plan to do the next best thing to digging that proverbial hole--barricade myself in my sewing room for the weekend.
In thorough denial of whatever may be happening outside.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Turns out my family has been planning a big surprise for me for some weeks. In the middle of an otherwise uneventful Friday evening, my daughter, who lives in Washington, D.C., suddenly breezed in. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor and dried my tears, we launched into a very fun family weekend.
Today's my birthday and since her spring break coincided, she decided to fly home and spend a few days with her aging mom. She'll be with us till mid-week. To say I'm delighted doesn't begin to describe how I feel.
Saturday night we did a big family dinner out at a favorite Milwaukee Italian restaurant. My son and his girlfriend joined us and it was perfect. Tiramisu for all! Weight Watchers kind of went by the wayside for one evening.
Sunday my daughter, my cousin, and I did a girly lunch out and shopping trip, complete with simultaneous makeovers at the Bobbie Brown counter. Which of us looked better? Probably the youngest of us, but we won't get into that.
All this hoopla and I haven't even had my actual birthday yet! I'm planning to enjoy that today, at work. Yeah, reality returns.
Absolutely no sewing to report. I'll get back to that.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
So today there's a package in the mailbox from a certain very tiny town in far northern Wisconsin. And what's inside? This:
A lace tablecloth depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, that's what. And a cryptic message: "Happy Easter".
Someone has been working hard to make sure I have more than my share of Our Lady of Guadalupe in my home. First there came this:
Several yards of it.
Then one Christmas I received this:
After a quilt retreat last fall, I came home with this:
And I have shown you these already, also gifted by friends.
Once a Catholic school girl, always a Catholic school girl, I guess. And I have lots of stories, all true.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Good grief--what was with Blogger the last couple days? I've been trying to upload these pictures since early Sunday morning and kept getting server error messages. I think it was their server and not mine, judging from the comments on the Blogger User Forums...
Anyway, things seem to be working once again.
Well now, it's a good thing I have dependable kitchen help. That really frees up a lot of extra time for me for sewing and knitting.
Saturday was sunny and no snow was in the forecast, so I drove over to Sun Prairie, WI to JJ Stitches, a quilt shop specializing in vintage-look fabrics. I knew I'd find just the right antique-y prints that would mimic the little shirting prints in the block backgrounds. And I wasn't disappointed. I also got a red plaid for a sawtooth border. And came home very happy!
Then to the sewing room.
There were two good sets for these blocks. This one was my first plan:
This one was suggested by Polyquats on Flickr:
Both pretty interesting.! I finally went with the top set. The four blocks make a suggestion of roundness and I kind of liked that.
I decided to sew the blocks together in groups of four and then sash the groups with some vintage-y fabric I had on hand.
Then began the usual round of second-guessing. I decided that the sashing was too heavy-handed. I ripped it all apart and just sewed the blocks together. I want to add more size to this piece, but decided the best way was to leave the blocks alone and add size with borders.
Outside the blocks, I added a narrow inner border with a fabric similar to the backgrounds in the blocks, just to give the blocks a bit of breathing space before adding a pieced border.
(Do you think the original maker of these blocks would have done that? Probably not.) Next will be a sawtooth border in the red plaid. Then a wide border in an antique-looking light will bring the top to about 60 or so inches square.
I'm so psyched about this simple little quilt!
Friday, March 07, 2008
But lucky me--some big and unpopular changes have recently been made in the way we transport items among the libraries and people have very, VERY strong feelings about it all. Suddenly I'm in the middle of a good deal of controversy that's not of my making. A bit more than I bargained for. And everyone has an opinion to share with me, even (especially!) the guy who drives the delivery van. I have become sounding board, mother-confessor, psychologist, and scapegoat. Politics isn't really my thing but here I am, enmeshed.
So I'm glad to see the coming of the weekend.
I HAVE been sewing and am happy to announce the finished-ness of not one but two quilts!
My little black and white project is finished, after months of not-so-fun paper-piecing and lots of little tiny half square triangles and flying geese.
I'm really pleased with the results. I can't show any more than a corner of the quilt at this time. It's a project accompanying a friend's upcoming book. Once she gives me the green light, I'll show the entire piece.
Black and White was the working name but this quilt is now officially called Timesteps.
AND, after procrastinating and dithering for at least a year, I finally sewed up the last 24 inches or so of binding on Honky Tonk and it too is now completed.
What took me so long? Some of my art quilt group thought this quilt needed more detailing in the borders and I was indecisive about that for much of the time. Then good old-fashioned inertia took over. I finally decided to NOT add anything to the border and just finished the quilt. And what on God's green earth was so hard about that?
Forgive the tiny thread. This was the best detail shot and I was in a hurry!
Both these quilts represented personal and creative log jams of one kind or another. And now that the log jams have been broken up, I'm feeling accomplished and productive. Deep breath. Very good.
Oh! And I forgot to post about it last week, but I'm currently at -13.6 at WW. Woo hoo!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
At our Seams get-together the other night, Casey came with a pile of fabric, notions, patterns, etc. that she was willing to part with. Yeah, I know. I should have gently averted my eyes.
Well, you know how it is.
So I came home with a set of vintage plaid blocks--43 blocks to be exact--and decided I'd let myself play with them once the Black and White's quilting was completed (It is. Yay!))
It's a bizarre asymmetric pattern. I've been all through Blockbase and can't find a name for it. If anyone can help identify this block I'd be very grateful.
I played with different arrangements and finally settled on this configuration. When four blocks are put together, a sort of pinwheel happens.
So this is my weekend fun project. I plan to use 36 blocks--nine groups of four blocks--and probably will sash the groups somehow to rein in the chaos just a bit. It's casual sewing--the blocks themselves are sewn together without a lot of care to seam matching. So there's not much point getting all anal over them at this point.
And the blocks themselves look to be made from clothing. There are a lot of seams in the pieces, and weird patches.
I'm thinking this will make a nice, vintage-looking throw for the couch. Fun, huh?
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