Saturday, March 31, 2007

Black Fan Seam Treatments

Using some more of the goodies that Freda sent me, I created a couple of black fan-like seam treatments on the Fan Quilt. I am starting to think that the more fans there are the better!

Those little black beads are pretty old...they would make such great ant bodies....

The black chain stitches look a little like eyelashes here!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Take A Stitch Tuesday...Knotted Cretan

This should catch me up on the TASTs I have missed. I've used the knotted cretan stitch as yet another base for a seam treatment on my Fan Quilt.

I like these knotted stitches; they are so satisfying somehow.....

Take A Stitch Tuesday...Up and Down Buttonhole

Another quick TAST exercise, this time trying out the up and down buttonhole stitch. Again, I used the featured stitch of the week as the base of two seam treatments on my Fan Quilt.

The up and down buttonhole has two interior fly stitches, using cotton floss, silk buttonhole twist, and unspun silk.

Same thing here...this time I used bamboo floss, silk buttonhole twist, and rayon thread, hoping for just a hint of contrast visually. I hate rushing through TAST...but it's even worse to be behind!

Take A Stitch Tuesday...Barred Chain

I am having to multi-task here, combining my TAST with ongoing work on my Fan Quilt. I have created a seam treatment with the barred chain as its base.
This is not "pushing the envelope" with what this stitch can do, which is the goal of TAST. But it is getting the barred chain moving through my fingers at least.

Those infinitely cool little buttons came to me in the mail from my generous friend, Freda Butler. They are vintage, from Czechoslovakia. Thank you so much, Freda!

I am finding that on this quilt I am wanting to repeat seam treatments around the center section. I think it is a unifying here is another version of the barred chain, sequins, beads, and awesome buttons. They are so odd!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Service Quilt.....finished!

Well it has been awhile since the rapid-fire whirr of machine quilting has come out of my sewing room. My right shoulder has that old familiar ache, too!
I very much enjoyed the 4 day process of making this quilt, and I love the cause it is supporting, the Quilts of Valor for our returning wounded soldiers (in this case, for a woman).
Thanks again to Debra Spincic for organizing this effort among our Quilt Studio webring. Here is our ring's blog: Quilt Studio. And here is the Webshots page that has all the Quilts of Valor Debra has either made or solicited from fellow quilters...

This is tacked up against the yellow shed wall, so you can't see the binding that well... ;-)

Here is a detail of the quilting.

Now to catch up on my TAST, and get back to the Fan Quilt....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Early Floral Quilts

Digging through all my old flower fabrics got me feeling nostalgic. As my machine quilting of the service quilt is not done yet, I thought I would post some work from my "Cut Out Flower" period, which actually lasted for several years during the mid 1990's. I guess I have always been crazy for flowers...
So here we go down Memory Lane. Captions are below each image....

This is the very first time I cut flowers out of printed fabric and machine appliqued them on. This is my son Max at age 2. My favorite part of this quilt is his tummy showing.

I tried making my own flowers out of cut out fabrics as in regular applique, but cut out the printed leaves. I didn't like these flowers so well...but I do love the cows. I am a former dairy farmer, after all.

Here are the girls up close and personal.

Wish I had a better shot of Thumbelina here....

This was created for a nuns' residence, the first time I combined lettering with the cut out flowers. These letters are painted on, but soon I began cutting them out, too. I was constantly changing thread on the machine to match the flower color, but pretty soon changed to clear monofilament.

This is a later, smaller version.

That Old English font was a doozy to work with! At this time in my life, new sharp scissors were my favorite thing to buy.

Here's a detail from "Peace". Loved those gold-edged Hoffman prints....

Then I started doing little "Sayings" quilts....

This was for a friend who got married and moved to Texas. After she got divorced and moved back to the Northwest, she gave it back to me.

Please don't ask. It was my brother's idea. I still have this one, too.

This was for my neighbor's daughter. She loves sunflowers.

And finally, this for the beautiful young Meera, a close family friend. "Fields of Gold" was just out by Sting and I think Meera liked that song. (I know I did.)

And now it is back to the machine quilting...this was fun!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Service Quilt Top Pieced

What fun it was chain-piecing along, flooring it with my Juki to get this easy top whipped up.
This quilt has the light and happy look that I wanted for a gal who I know must be struggling to find her smile again...
I am looking forward to quilting it with an all cotton batt, washing it, and then drying get that old-fashioned rumply soft texture...I have a spiffy quilting foot for my Juki from Sharon Schamber that makes free-machine quilting feel like driving a fine sports car. I'm ready to hit the accelerator!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A "Sane" Quilt!

...That's what we crazy quilters call cotton bed quilts. And I am embarked on making one for the first time in many moons. As in years.
This quilt is headed for a returning service woman who is in recovery from wounds suffered during the war. I am honored to be making it for her.
I didn't need to buy any fabric for this, but instead dipped into my remaining stash of cottons. (I culled most of them a few years ago.) It was like being reunited with old friends, truly! I've had some of these fabrics for 15 years at least.
Not being an intricate piecer, I am using a vintage quilt that I saw at the Point Bonita Show and Tell this year as my inspiration.

Instead of three small blocks per large square, I am only using two. It will be very simple, with the fabrics' colors and designs doing the work, I hope. I will quilt the large squares in spirals, which I always do.
Here are my squares! They are a history of my life, in a way.... ;-)

I have another stash that I've slowly been adding to over the last several years, of repro fabrics. I just might have to make two of these quilts...

Why yes, these are organized, don't you think so?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Back from Zihuatanejo

Hola, Amigas!
What a lovely place is the small harbor of Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast of Mexico...Robert and I had a glorious week in a little palm-thatched bungalow on the water. We got PADI certified for scuba diving...had high adventure in a kayak involving an almost-escaped a lot in the shade...ate simply out of our primitive kitchen...enjoyed talking with our host, Owen Lee, who owns the little Las Gatas Beach Club where we stayed (Owen worked with Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso for seven years before falling in love with his tiny corner of paradise in Zihuat forty years ago)....we adored soaking up the sweet nature, language, and culture of our Mexican neighbors in their coastal was a superbly mellow week.
And I did get a little stitching done!

I had brought the center black square from the Fan Quilt....I enjoyed working it, but alas, since I have returned home and pinned it in place on the quilt, it does not fit the overall design of the quilt at all, though the colors are fine. But no worries! I have gone through "false starts" on quilt centers before, as some of you old time readers might remember....

Anyway, I am glad to be home and will spend the next couple of days catching up on all my blogging buddies...
I plan on changing gears for a while and working on my Quilt of Valor, a project that Debra Spincic has organized via our Quilt Studio Webring. This is part of a national effort for quilters to create welcoming and comforting gifts for returning wounded soldiers...what a terrific way to be of service in the sewing room...

Anyway, here is my stitching for the week, influenced in part by the Talavera designs I was surrounded by in the market place...not done yet, of course...

And a detail.....

Here are some of the Talavera plates I saw...(My friend Judy Harper does wonderful work with Talavera in her needlepoint designs, which you can see here.)

Here is our base of operations...if you love simplicity, you would love it here as we did....

Ah, Mexico.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Daffodils for Marty

Marty asked if I would post a picture of the daffodils when they opened, so Marty, these are for you!

Also....I'd love to spread the word that my friend Judy, who visits my blog often (and who has become a true pal) is starting up her blog again...she is a long time professional needlepoint designer, paints custom canvases, and is resuming her writing career for a national needlepoint magazine after a too-long hiatus.
Well, she has fallen for crazy quilts (join the club!) and is exploring translating the CQ idiom into needlepoint. There are so many fibers and stitches available to needlepointers today, I think it is a very good fit. Be sure and scroll down when you go to her blog and see the amazing Christmas stocking she did for "Marie" is a good example of how she is thinking about this.
Welcome back, Judy, to the needlework-besotted bloggosphere!

And so I bid you all "Adios"...I am off to Mexico with my DH for a week, starting tomorrow very early. We are going to a primitive eco-groovy un-resort on a beach south of Zijuatenejo...
I wish you all happy stitching while I'm gone!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Judy's Block...Finished!

What a sewing marathon I enjoyed this week-end!
I had to get this block done, as there was a deadline, and my husband and I are leaving for another adventure in Mexico on Wednesday. I will be off the radar for a week. I do plan on taking some stitching down there...the Black Hole from the Fan Quilt. That should be fun.

Anyway, here is Judy's block, with some details.

I embroidered over the woven brocade flower with a teeny tiny chain stitch. Those leaves are out of my Japanese ribbon embroidery book.

And as always, I love to use Vicki Day's silk ribbon...those bugles within the chain stitch are inspired by the peerless Pamela Kellogg, of Kitty and Me Designs. I think of this as a signature stitch of hers.

While doing all this stitching, I had the delightful company of my sister Mary, who flew up from San Diego. We did take time away from the sewing room to watch "Borat", and laughed ourselves silly. What a masterpiece of political incorrectness that film is! We loved it.
High Five...Great Success!

I love my Seester!!!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Progress on Judy's Block

I do miss playing with flowers while working on The this has been a treat!

I can't decide if this block should go horizontally or vertically.

Here is a detail shot of the orange flowers:

And here is the Kaye England floral fabric that's been dressed up a little bit:

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Judy's Block

I am taking time out from The Fan and delaying this week's TAST to create a finished crazy quilt block for a dear friend of mine. I'm just starting the embellishment on it after having a blast piecing it last night. It measures about 10" X 10".
It sure is fun to play hooky from big projects once in awhile...especially when it means I get to embroider flowers again!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Gilding the Lily and Frosting the Cake

My friend Kathy from Out of the Basement used that phrase to describe what I am doing at this point on the Fan Quilt, and I'd say that is quite apt!
Another analogy is that the quilt is just getting more finely focused as it gets filled in...but I like the frosting better........

The chenille and ribbon trim which I augmented a little bit on the right is not supposed to stand out...but, oh look who showed up below it, more little fan like creatures! ...I tried to tie in their colors to that veiney fabric below them...helps move the eye and integrate these very disparate color schemes I have going in this quilt.

More fans! Oh boy, I love 'em...and that stitching below them is Detail #1 from the 100 Details in 100 Days, way last June. Ah, fond memories....weren't those Details the greatest?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Fan Quilt Progress

It may be a little hard to see the additions with an overall view like this.
I'm adding my initial seam treatments in batches...I've realized that I need to repeat the embellishments by using them around this center section. So I have squiggles and fans etc that will balance each other out as the eye moves around the quilt.
As I go along I expect things to get progressively more complex, and that this is just early days still. But I have gotten a feel for how the work should flow....finally!

So here are some primary squiggles and a little lace...

That fan thing again...sort of...

And sometimes I find I don't want to emphasize the line, so I use colors that blend in rather than stand out...

I am trying so hard not to go too heavy on the beads. I really want the stitching to predominate. I wonder how long I'll be able to hold out!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Spring IS Coming....

Oh!!! It stopped raining this week-end! I ventured outside to discover the violets going full bore without me...And the first miniature daffodils had popped open too.
I post these for all of you back East who are still under a bit of the frozen stuff....spring IS on its way. Hallelujah!

I wish you all could smell these....

These are about to burst open...

It is still plenty snowy if you live up high enough, though...