Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Big Reveal and my August mini

Janet O. and I have been swapping little minis for a few years now.  It's great fun and I do feel totally honored to be the recipient of her masterpieces.  She challenges me in ways I never delve into-- and her minis are museum quality, IMHO!  

This year we chose baskets as our theme and I struggled for a while trying to decide what to make.  Mine  ultimately finished at 18"--larger than the 12" original goal but we can change the rules. Right??!!

Finally decided on pink baskets, using the Little Gatherings book for the initial setting and block idea.  I had many challenges on this mini which I guess is how we improve, right?  For instance, I marked one corner with an erasable pencil only to discover it wouldn't come off. RED pencil.  UGH.  Lesson:  test first!  Again, don't get too close! ;-))  Another lesson I think I've finally learned:  cut the background larger when you're going to appliqué!  My center shrank and I ultimately had to add a strip (which you can see a sliver of) to get it to lay flat!  Only took me 6 tries to figure out what the problem was.  Also, don't sew on corners until you're done.  Piecing on the diagonal is always challenging for me!

On the bright side, I had fabric I ordered from Needl Love which I just love and wanted to use for the borders.  I also wanted to break up the corners but didn't think I could handle 2" baskets.   ;-)

I really enjoy wool appliqué and although I'm not great, I think they are passable.  Still not crazy about my stem stitch but from a distance, they work. In fact, I should call this quilt "Baskets from Afar"!!!

These finish at 3-3/4"!  As I warned, some of the points got cut off but from a distance, they are just fine!  Good enough, I say!

I opted for mini-half-square triangles for the corners-- they're 1/2" finished and I sewed them into flying geese.  Again, please don't look at the corners. ;-(

All in all, I feel it was a success. I got Janet to promise to hang it so that she can't get up too close. VBG I'm not a precision piecer--some might rip out their work if their points get cut off, but I'm not one of those.  I did rip out one of the seams at least half a dozen times to get it to lay flat... But that's different.  I'm not one of those overly critical of my own work--I'm realistic.  It's not perfect but I'm okay with that.  Hope you like it.  I love it.  Hopefully Janet will too!
Wendy, here's my August mini, 2 days early!! ;-)

We are heading back up to the cabin tomorrow for two weeks.  I have spent a lot of time prepping my wool handwork for the long drive;  not sure what sewing projects I'll bring along yet.  We always enjoy Labor Day in Oregon-- the seasons start to change right before our eyes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I'm a blockhead, parts I and II

And I don't really mean in the Moda sense of the word... VBG

I've been sewing away on the basket mini-quilt I'm gifting to Janet O and have NEVER used my seam ripper so many times on the SAME seam!! Really!  I think I sewed and ripped one seam over 6 times... I even tried to sew it by hand... NOPE  that didn't do the trick...

Lesson learned, AGAIN--- when you are doing applique, you need to make the background square LARGER than the finished size in case it shrinks... DUH.

I finally mostly got it fixed... I'm hoping to finish it in the next two days and will share it once it's been received.

In the meantime, I have been working on the latest Moda Blockhead block for this week, #12.  I made one just piecing it but once again, I know I'll lose my points when I sew the seam up.  I keep reminding myself that the quilt police are not coming and once it's all quilted, no one will notice that problem (or not tell me about it, hopefully!)

I was very frustrated about the points so decided to make another one, using the paper piecing pattern that was offered.  

I am usually a fan of paper piecing but honestly, this block took be FOREVER--wasn't faster than straight piecing.  Maybe the points will be better.
The one thing I liked was the ability to change the fabrics and alter the look.  I liked that.

I had 3 grandkids over the weekend and I can't resist sharing a picture from one of our walks with Max. They are really into taking walks these days, which is a huge achievement since they are city-kids and never go anywhere without their cars.

Being the consummate Nana, I picked up little Eli yesterday (Monday is my afternoon with him!) and took him to the park for a couple of hours.  I had to get my Eli fix in since they are going to Germany for the next two weeks.

I'll share something with you that I learned recently.  I just finished reading a fabulous book, which I picked for my book group.  It's called "It's What I Do" by Lynsey Addario.  It's about a photojournalist's life and experiences.  I highly recommend it.   She has taken amazing photos all over the world and it opened my eyes to more un-posed pictures.  No more "Say Cheese"...

Hope you are having a great week.  I'm heading back to the baskets AGAIN!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A little surprise and some challenges

I made a few more blocks for the Moda Blockheads II sewalong but wasn't particularly happy with the fabrics I chose so I redid at least one block.  The bottom one was the first; the top one was the improved version.  Chevron vs flying geese??

And I wasn't happy with the original fabrics in this large block so I took out the large triangles and replaced them first with medium and then dark blue.  This is the last one.  I'm still not loving it but I'm going to leave it as it is.  There are too many pieces to take it apart!

I reused the medium blue and lights which were the original large triangles and made a pinwheel.  I'll use it in the quilt somewhere!  I think you'll agree is kind of "blah"!!

I'm also doing the Splendid Sampler when I like the blocks (not too complicated...VBG) and they're not appliqued!  I love the little blue kitty fabric!  Since they are 6", they'll fit in with the Moda quilt when I'm all ready to put it together.

The surprise part of this post is a little teaser-- I'm doing a swap with Janet O. again this year and our theme is baskets.  I love baskets... second only to stars.  Maybe we'll do stars next time!  So I've got the majority of my piece together but had some leftovers and will show you these extras!  I love double pinks!  These little half square triangles are perfect for Janet--they finish at 3/4"!!  I'll post a picture once she's received it later this month.  That's my plan for now!

We drove back from the cabin yesterday and I  worked on the bottom border for the little village I've been working on from Primitive Gatherings.  Tracing the words was a challenge. I ultimately got tracing paper (remember from sewing clothes way back when??) and used a pen to trace the words.  I also finished most of the wool applique.  There is still a key!-- I need to cut that out but I didn't bring any wool with me.  UGH.. the roof is a little crooked in this picture.  I even pinned it down while I sewed it.  Oh my--story of my wool applique life!

Don't look at the gorgeous floral print in the top corner...might be part of the surprise for the basket top.

I really don't feel that I've mastered the stem stitch, even after all these blocks...if you have any tips on embroidering a stem stitch, I'm all ears.

Here's the rest of the village... Little Emma loves to pick up the picture of the wallhanging and compare it to what I've done--even at just 6, she's able to identify which trees should go where!  The angle of the picture makes it look even wonkier than it is.  It's only a little cock-eyed!! ;-)  Once I get the key and other pieces for the bottom border sewn on, then I can sew it together and get the border vines and flowers cut out and ready for our next drive back up to the cabin in two weeks.

Hope you're enjoying the last vestiges of summer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The intersection of art and quilting

Last month I went with some friends to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, which is a fabulous small museum in San Francisco, perched at the north end of the city, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  Truly spectacular setting.

They had an exhibit on pre-Raphaelite art and I saw a few things I thought you'd enjoy.

One of my favorite enjoyments is looking at really old tapestries, which are just incredible if you think about their construction back in the days.  This one is over 500 years old!  And also huge!

Our grandkids left on Sunday so I'm just starting to get back into my sewing room!  We had a wonderful time with them here at the cabin and the place is so eerily quiet and empty without them.  Little Emma starts kindergarten next week so they are definitely growing up; Ryan goes into 3rd grade and Jack starts pre-school.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A little wool applique soothes the soul!

During the drive up to our cabin with the grandkids, I was able to get a little hand sewing done.  I mostly finished these three (one still needs the stems...)

This one needs the final border which has a lot of applique, and then I'll add the vines all around all sides.  I'm loving it!

Sadly the week with the kids here is coming to an end.  Went just way too fast.  We had a great time with them and I think they did too.

The heat continues--the temps have been over 100* this week.  That hasn't stopped my very adventurous husband was driving near her assisted living facility at noon the other day and saw her walking along the sidewalk with her walker!  No hat, of course.  According to her, it wasn't that hot.  The temp was 100*!
What can you do???

Monday, August 6, 2018

Small quilt show in Sunriver - FUN

We timed our arrival this year to coincide with the local Sunriver Quilt Show, which is held outdoors in the small little village of Sunriver.  I met a friend and we whipped through the area quickly, as I needed to get back to the grandkids.

I saw more than a few that I really liked.  It's a very small show and there were actually two Laura Heine quilts.  This one really caught my eye, with all the embellishments!  Beautifully done!

Again, inspired to make a Jen Kingwell quilt!  Long Time Gone.
By the way, this quilt hung right in front of the grocery store, called Country Store.

Nice log cabin variation

I liked this pattern--simple but effective.

Another simple pattern, nicely done with great quilting!

Don't you think the quilting is really nice here?

This is a Freddie Moran design.  Cute or what??

Here's a cute wool applique called Summertime Sampler. Pretty impressive.

Cute simple small quilt.

And, best of all, the 3 grandkids with us this week at our cabin! They've been biking non-stop, very different from their lives in San Francisco. And swimming.

Emma has somehow learned to POSE for pictures...

I'm not getting any sewing done but did get a bunch of hand sewing done in the car.  I'll post those pictures in the next day or so.  Having a great week with the kids!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Frida Kahlo exhibit that's AMAZING

I'm sure you recognize the figure in this picture.  It's Frida Kahlo, who was an artist from Mexico who was married to Diego Rivera, TWICE!  I think she's more well known for her appearance than for her art, to be honest.
Cindy Thompson, who made that fabulous pin cushion for me some months ago, mentioned that she was invited to exhibit HER quilt at this exhibit in a small gallery in Walnut Creek.  So I wanted to be sure to get there before it closed in a month.  Yesterday I went with some friends and we were totally impressed and overwhelmed with the variety and quality.

All kinds of artists were invited to submit/display their versions of Frida.  The variety was awe-inspiring.

This greeted us at the entry... can you see that there were quilts on the floor and walls of this little display?  Sadly we weren't able to get close to it.
I really like the quilt on the floor, which seemed to have a lot of Kaffe Fasset fabrics, square in a square, with fabulous flowers adorning the edges.

This is Cindy's quilt, which was really fabulous!  Her thread-work created the face and hair and was just so beautifully done...even down to the gray streaks in her hair!  The necklace was real jewelry!

This was another version that was hand-embroidered!  I tried to take a picture from the side so you could see the stitching.  Not sure if worked but isn't this just amazing??  Embroidered!~!

I really like this one; the quote was one she was known for.  You may not realize that she sustained a very serious, sad injury when she was young that left her in tremendous pain throughout her life and severely limited her mobility.

There were also two artists who had decorated dollar bills.  This one was my favorites.  We were just so impressed with the talent!

There were very few quilts exhibited.  This was one of the ones you could look at closely.  Finding curved piecing so challenging I was particularly impressed with this design and the execution.

I apologize for not having gotten the artist's information.  Isn't this just an amazing interpretation?  
I can tell you that most of the artists were local.

We are heading up to the cabin in Sunriver tomorrow with our 3 grandkids... our daughter is driving up on Saturday so we'll have her whole family an entire week.  So we are very excited!  I probably won't get much sewing done but that's ok, right??  We will miss the other little darling boy who was with us last month.  I think getting all our 3 adults kids with their families in one place at the same time is asking a lot!  I guess that is the way it is, right?

Hope you enjoyed this little Frida display.  If you are in the Bay Area, I highly recommend going to the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek.