Friday, November 30, 2007

Border closeup

Three posts in 15 minutes. Is that a record? Here is the closeup of the border fabric that I thought you would be able to click and see (see previous 2 posts).

What happened?

So yesterday I could click on a picture for a bigger picture, today it want to know if I want to open or save the picture. Is Blogger playing with us again????

No apology needed

Every time I showed this quilt in progress to anyone I would start apologizing about the fact that it was low contrast, hard to see the pattern, etc. I also told them that I was probably the only person that would ever like it. In reality it turned out just the way I wanted it. I always loved the old antique quilts that didn't seem to have any pattern and were made with leftover fabrics. The longer you looked at them, there usually was some order to them, just subtle. I started out on Dec. 26, 2006 with a part of a package of 2-1/2" Thangles. It was probably about 3/4 of a package. I cut 3" strips of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and sewed until the Thangles were gone. Then I cut squares from the same strips. I counted how many of each I had and then got out my square grid paper and started drawing.
I figured out where the triangle squares would go and all the rest was plain squares. I didn't take the time to fill in every triangle, just put in a few and then counted how many that area would take. This quilt is 61" x 81" approx.
A couple closeups of the elusive pinwheels and all of the Kaffe fabrics.
I was lucky enough to get in on some good sales of the older Kaffe fabrics on equilter earlier this year and got the border fabric and matching backing at a great price. And the best part, the quilt is finished!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Starting a new project

I have almost finished a quilt, which I hope I can show you tomorrow. I'm working on the binding. I started it Dec. 26, 2006, had the borders on by April, basted it in Aug. or Sept. and quilted it in Nov. I started many other projects in between the steps, and now I am ready to start another new one. I got this new Kaffe Fassett book earlier this month. I love the quilt pictured on the cover, but it is made with solid color fabrics which I find fade much quicker than prints over time. I pulled out my Fossil Fern (Benartex) print fabrics and chose the colors that I think will work. The Kaffe print squares are leftover from the Star Trip quilt so I laid them on there for a visual. This is a simple quilt that will give me a color fix in this winter season. You may have noticed that I don't make a lot of complicated piecing quilts, I use simpler patterns and let the fabric do the exciting work. I have done a lot of the complicated patterns in the 50 years I have been quilting, and they don't make me anywhere near as happy as the simpler, more graphic ones.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Picket Fence

The directions for this quilt came from one of Judy Martin's older books and was called Picket Fence. I was fascinated by the idea of a rail fence type block with the center strip made of triangles. I only made a small sample as my attention went elsewhere. Here is the close up of some of the fabrics, probably from the 1990's.
I'm off to the car dealers' for an oil change this morning, tomorrow is the dentist. I would like a week in solitary, with my rotary cutter and fabric of course.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Elongated Stars

Here is another quilt inspired by the Mary Ellen Hopkins Connecting Up series of books. The elongated star is in more than one book. I used all batiks in this one and it is orange and purple. It was hard to get a picture to read the colors that way I think they look in real life. This is pretty close. This one measures 32-1/2" x 38-1/2". Here is a detail of some of the fabrics and the quilting.
It is 33 degrees (brrr) and sunny this morning. I hope to stay home all day today. My parents and I did the grocery shopping yesterday after my mother's foot dr. appointment and lunch. We have tried to stay on a schedule for groceries always on Tuesday and it was really hard to get my mother to believe that she could get a grocery list made by Monday. She will be 89 on Dec. 4th and my parents have been married 70-1/2 years. It isn't easy watching them wobble along, wondering if they are going to fall and hurt themselves. But then it wasn't easy watching the 2 kids wobble around and fall when they were little either!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One old, one new

I took a Roberta Horton workshop on plaids and stripes a long time ago. This is the quilt that I made of mostly her line of fabric that is so soft and comfy to wrap up in. It isn't beautiful by any means but I still like it. I got tired of the same old block so I started taking my scraps as I was working and made some crazy pieced blocks for some of the center squares. This one is a couch throw quilt. One of the days before Thanksgiving when I had an hour to spare before picking up my parents I finished piecing the top of the Kaffe Fassett Trip Around the World. It is up on my design wall waiting for me to choose borders.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Many fabric background

I made this quilt top from instructions in the same book as yesterday's quilt. In this one I used many beige fabrics instead of just one background fabric. I think the fabric in the main part of the pattern has to be consistent in this one and the Around the Twist but I kind of like the multi-background. I started this one 20 years ago when the book first came out, finished the top last year, and now it sits in the pile to either sell or finish. The wedding shower is over and I let the bride and groom choose their gifts. I was going to give them one quilt for the shower and wedding combined, but I ended up giving them this one for the shower,
and this one for the wedding gift. They were very appreciative and said they would cherish these gifts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Around the Twist

When I would give programs for quilt guilds, this quilt was one of their favorites. Most of my quilts are multi-fabric quilts, 50 or more fabrics are my favorites. I don't like using less than 12 fabrics because I will become easily bored with the controlled palette. This quilt is more traditional and subdued than most of my work so it always surprised me when people would tell me this was the favorite of all that I had shown. Here is a close up view of the fabrics.
Today is the wedding shower at my house and then I can get back into the studio and play. It is nice to have the house clean, and I usually need a good reason to clean it!

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Mary Ellen seminar

Mary Ellen Hopkins had so many great ideas in her book, "Baker's Dozen Doubled". Most of them are based on the 9-patch block or a variation of it. The one that really caught my attention was a miniature pictured on page 21. There wasn't a diagram for this little beauty, just the picture. I studied it and counted pieces. I added one more row around mine which is the purple. My piece is not a miniature, it is 40" x 45-1/2". The colors are pretty true in this first picture. The color is off on this detail photo but you can see some of the fabrics I used. This was in the early days of the larger prints being used. The tiny calico types came in with the 1976 bicentennial movement. Around 1986 the larger prints, which are only medium size to most of us now, were appearing. Some people didn't want anything to do do with them because they were decorating in the country style. Somehow my work was never meant to match my sofa. The joke is on me because these are the colors of my living room now!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. I didn't realize other countries celebrated it on different days until I started reading blogs. My son's family is bringing the turkey and I am fixing a lot of the other stuff and the sun is shining this morning. We didn't get any snow overnight, just quite a bit of rain. It was only in the 20's this morning and it sounds like mid 30's is all we can hope for.

This quilt is one that I made in a Mary Ellen Hopkins consumer seminar in Chicago in 1989. That was the only time she did one near here, most were held in LasVegas. She didn't care for the union tactics in Chicago.

She sold us the large floral print for one of the background fabrics and it was used in hers in her book "Connecting Up". This pattern is bow ties and was really fun to make. She was writing the book when we did the seminar so we were her test people.
Here is a closeup of some of the fabrics of the day. There is a lot of Jinny Beyer's early fabric line in this one.
Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More blocks

After cleaning all day Monday I gave myself a break and pieced these blocks while I watched TV. I can make 6 blocks an hour if the group of fabrics is chosen ahead of time. I just pulled all of the yellow greens and then added the yellows. Here they are before trimming. And here they are after trimming.
And then they join the others. I still have to make the red/purple combination blocks and some more orange blocks.
Monday was my dad's birthday. He is 94 now. My parents live at an independent living building next door to a nursing home. They have 2 rooms, one large living/dining/kitchen and beside that is the bedroom and bathroom. They also have 3 large closets plus another 4' square storage in another room. They sold their house and got rid of all of their excess possessions when they moved there because they didn't want to be a burden on anyone when they pass. The lady who serves them lunch always makes a special dessert which they can choose for their birthday so I took them out to eat yesterday for a birthday lunch before we went grocery shopping.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Revisiting quilts

I am almost done cleaning for Thanksgiving and the bridal shower 2 days later. While doing all of this cleaning I have revisited my quilt closet as I put things away and found a few more that I hadn't taken pictures of. This is a pair of colorwash quilts that I made in 1991. We had a fender bender in Dec. 1990 and I had to go to court in Jan. '91 to testify against the other guy. I took a notebook of squared paper and sat there designing the 4 blocks. Naturally my case was last so I had plenty of time to design.
I made that wallhanging and later decided to make a miniature version of it with squares finishing at 1". The mini is one of my favorite quilts. Unfortunately its big sister has a binding that is a tad too tight and it doesn't hang well. I have never made time to redo it.
If you look closely, there is a squirrel up in the tree chewing on a nut. At least he is going to eat that one instead of planting another tree.
It is a another gray day here in Illinois. They are predicting an inch of snow tomorrow night.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Calendar quilt

When PAQA was first formed in the Chicago area I was able to attend their Wednesday meetings. Later my job interfered and I had to drop out. While I was a member we had a travelling exhibit called "Calendar Girls". We could pick any date and make a quilt based on it. I chose my birthday and celebrated my favorite piecing (strips) and my favorite animal (stripes). Here are the last 2 shelves of batiks.
This group is the pale colors that weren't available for the first 10 years I was collecting batiks. Then when they did appear I was sure to buy at least a little of every one in case they stopped making them.

Amy mentioned that they were so neatly stacked. Last year I had the hardwood floor refinished in my studio so everything came out and then all back in again. This gave me the opportunity to sort and restack all of the batiks. Now when I want one in the middle, I generally take down the whole stack that is above it so I don't mess it all up pulling pieces out. She also asked how much I buy. I usually buy 1/2 yard now because I like to make multi-fabric quilts. Occasionally there is one that I have to have more of. By the time I make my 1-1/2", 2", and 2-1/2" cuts I only have 1/3 yard left to put on the shelf when I purchase 1/2 yard.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Smoky salmon and charcoal

No this isn't a food blog, I don't like to cook. Those are the colors of this Many Extended Trips Around the World from the directions in "Tradition With a Twist" by Young and Stone. l love that book and have made several quilts from it.

I have been refolding and restacking all of my quilts to try to straighten the house for a wedding shower next Saturday. I normally have a pile of quilts on a bench in my dining room and I need the bench for seating.

Here are a couple close up shots of the fabrics used and a more true color than the first picture.
The sun is shining today after a couple gray days but it is cold here in northern Illinois.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fabric Gift Certificate

I had a gift certificate to the store so I did what I was supposed to do. I used it. And I got 1/2 yard of several new batiks that I "needed". I chose the colors that have not been common in past years to fill in my stash. My blues and turquoises
My blacks, browns, rusts, oranges, and yellows.
My greens
The multicolors
The reds, pinks and purples.
So you see I "needed" the lime greens and bright reds.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nature's colors

I had been complaining that my burning bushes weren't turning red. Well all it took was a couple more frosts and in a week it turned. Yesterday when I came home the sun was shining on the bush and it was the brightest red I have ever seen it. The barberry bushes turn color too. If I had ever helped anyone trim their barberry bush, I never would have planted any. Since I was a novice with bushes I planted 5 of them. I have learned to wear heavily coated gloves when working around these bushes whether cleaning up in the spring, or removing dead branches.
Some years the evening primrose leaves turn color, some years they don't. This was a good year for them.
The goldmound spirea is dropping leaves pretty fast, but the ones left are turning into a showy display.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sorting through the pieces

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. It was like opening the mailbox and finding a pile of cards.

I sorted through some piles and found this group of colorwash pieces waiting to be quilted. They are all small and if I got busy, not one of them would take over 2 or 3 hours to finish. I guess I need to start a "to do" list and stick to it. The little piece on the right in the bottom row has squares that finish at 1".

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Birthday almost over

Mrs Mel asked what is the best birthday goodie I like to eat. Unfortunately I am one of those people who eat to live and really don't get excited by food. But......I did go out for a birthday lunch last Friday with a friend who has a birthday 10 days before mine and we went to Baker's Square. I had a piece of the lemon pie that has a cheesecake base and whipped topping around the edge. Now that was really good and I almost stopped to get a piece of it today on the way home from my shopping trip. But then I remembered what I looked like in the dressing room mirrors!!! and passed on it.

I will be eating out with my 3 sisters-in-law on Friday. That way my birthday was spread out from Friday to Friday. In fact one of my SIL has the same birthday as me so that makes it even more fun.

It was a relaxing day, and no, no party for me.

Happy Birthday to me

I am 67 years old today. I still feel like I'm in my 40's on the inside, but then I have 2 kids in their 40's so I have to admit to being older. Here I am at 14, so innocent and child like. Would any 14 year olds wear saddle shoes and socks like those today? Back in the 1950's we were allowed to be children while we were young and we still turned out ok. In this picture I was at a 4-H award night and am holding my blue ribbon for the loaf of bread.

Have a happy day everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More rectangles

Several years ago I was asked to make a quilt to hang in a booth at the PGA show in Florida. It is photographed on a black wall and does not have a black border. It is 5' x 7'. I started out with this photograph. I knew I wanted to make a loose interpretation of this scene.
Then I made a drawing on graph paper that broke down the areas into trees, putting green, rocks and creek.
I pounded nails 1" down from the ceiling along the wall of my studio, hung binder clips on them and clipped on a large piece of cotton batting. This became my design wall. I drew blue chalk lines where the center was in each direction and then drew a few more lines 10" apart horizontally. I designed this piece with my 2-1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, adding longer pieces in the putting green area. 4 rows of rectangles equaled 10" so the chalk lines kept the design from running downhill as I worked. I worked on it for about a month, one of the few times when I worked on just one project.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yes, I love triangles

In 1990 I started making colorwash quilts. Mostly I worked with squares but then I decided I should try triangles. The wash goes 2 different directions. The background starts with the light blue pinwheel in the upper left and the pinwheels get darker as they proceed toward the lower right corner. The second set of pinwheels are in one and down one square and go from dark in the upper left to light in the lower right. Then I just had to fill in the edge triangles. This gives high dark/light contrast in both corners with a middle section of mostly mediums where the 2 sets of pinwheels are crossing. Is that more than you ever wanted to know about this piece???LOL This is a smaller version of one of my charm quilts with the lightest lights in the center of the block and working out to darker lights as they get to the edge of the block.
All of the fabrics in these 2 pieces are from 1990 and earlier. It is interesting how fabrics have changed over the years.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A little sunshine on a dreary day

I have always loved triangles and had played with lots of layouts, but when "Spectacular Scraps" by Hooworth and Rolfe was published, it revived my interest and wow, the colors in the book! I pulled a lot of reds and yellows and started piecing and playing. I even got a chance to use one of the large prints from the early 1990's for the border.
I used my embroidery machine and a card of quilting designs to quilt the center of the diamonds.
I made 2 quilts from this combination of colors and then gave all of the leftover pieced squares to a friend.