Sunday, January 30, 2011

Go Crazy...Blue Stitching Progress

Besides working on Barbara's Door down in Mexico, I also got some stitching in on the Go Crazy blocks.
I pinned them up on the design wall after we got home to see how things were looking.

So far so good! I have an awful lot of blocks to go though....

I'll work on them at Point Bonita this week.... ;-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barbara's Door...Finished!

This "home portrait" was a meaningful and fun experience for me. I am happy with how it turned out.

I asked Barbara for a short phrase or quotation for me to embroider on the piece. She gave me a lovely line from Emily Dickinson.

"Where thou art, that is home." How beautiful....

Barbara is engaged to be married, so I wonder whose portrait might go in this locket?

I can guess....

I do know that whomever goes through Barbara's door will find grace, beauty, and wit.

She is making a Madonna piece for me in exchange for her home portrait. I'll show it to you when I receive it....
Blessings on your house, Barbara!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spaces Available for the Adventure in Crazy Quilting Conference!

Some spaces have opened up in the "Adventure in Crazy Quilting" conference where I'll be teaching in Glastonbury, CT on April 7-10th--and also in the 3 day workshops offered before and after that event by Sharon Boggon, coming all the way from Australia. Check the link for details!
Come join me, Betty Pillsbury, Maureen Greeson, Susan Elliot, and many of our dear and new friends as we inspire each other with stitching and friendship!

Contact Maureen here if you can come or want more information....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Barbara's door...Progress

It is a fine place to work, for sure.

I've got pelicans, dolphins, and the occasional dog walker on the beach for company as I stitch.
There's been good progress on Barbara's Door.

I am happy with the feeling of this because it really does express my idea of Barbara herself...

There is a quotation that is going to get stitched on in the bottom corners, a little beadwork to add, and a few more details...but this is getting close to done.

Stay warm up there, dear friends!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Project....Barbara's Door

Even while walking 6 miles every day along the beach, I am still managing to get some stitching done. (We are being so good!) I started work on the house portrait for my friend Barbara.

The photo she sent was of her entryway. I pieced it into a large rectangle before we left home.

This measures about 12" X 16".
These were the colors that lept to mind, but I knew that they would just serve as background for embellishments.

After I stitched the "architectural outlines" on the transferred photo, I started adding the floral frame around the doorway.
The concept of the shrine keeps coming back to me when I think of Barbara. Part of that is her deep ties to Mexico, and part is the fact that I am working on her piece while in this devout and sunlit country.

She uses a lot of yellow in her quilts, too. ;-)
This is early days but the basic structure is in place.

I will be teaching a class in Home Portraits this year.....stay tuned for further details!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Down in Mexico....

We went from this...

to this..... the blink of an eye.
Air travel is a beautiful thing.
We are down in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. We love this country very much.

We needed to get provisioned so our friend Leigh took us to the open air market in nearby Guaymas.

Leigh Hay-Martin is one of my Point Bonita sisters who also owns a condo in the same place and at the same time that we do! So we get to see each other here too...

Everything at the market is so fresh and enticing.

There are lots of things for sale besides food, too. It's kind of a flea market as well.
I am always on the look-out for bits to add to my crazy quilts and I found a few good ones.

Some special hand-knotted of which will go onto a new house portrait I am making for my friend Barbara (which I'll show in my next post).

My husband and Leigh checked out the table where I had just bought some little heart lockets. Robert speaks Spanish and he made lots of jokes with the vendors about me.

Everything is so colorful here. This was my favorite table of all of them....

Just so great. We loved the market.
Then Leigh took us to a little fish place off the beaten path for our lunch.

The ceviche was amazing.

When we got home, Robert modeled the new shades he bought at the market.

Fetching, absolutely.

And now it is time to get back to "work"....

The easy stitching in the afternoon is on the Go Crazy blocks...the more complicated design work is in the mornings....yes, I can make this work down here!
Adios for now.... ;-)

...and p.s. to all you crazy quilters...
CQMagOnline needs you to send in your photos for the Readers' Showcase a.s.a.p. Please do!!!
Send them to Thank you!

Quilt Remix Winner

....and the winner is....
from Kamloops, British Columbia

Congratulations...and thanks everyone for playing along on Emily's blogtour!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quick Projects

...and I mean quick!
With just a day or two to get these done, I sat at my machine for some crazy quilting. Yes, those built in stitches do come in handy sometimes.

I needed a 6" X 6" quiltlet for a gift, so whipped this out in an afternoon. It felt strange not to be doing handwork but it was still fun.

I also was behind on a fabric postcard swap, so pulled this one together in an hour. The trick was having all those flowers cut out beforehand. I have a big stash of those... ;-)

The flowers were fused on, then a layer of tulle was quilted over them, with the tulle finally touched up with a little Tsukineko ink.
Sometimes it is so great to simply play, just thinking about the intended recipient all the while!

Do remember, I will be drawing the winning name from the comments on my review post of Emily Cier's book, Quilt Remix on Wednesday, January 19th. So you have until the 18th at midnight to enter and win a free copy of her fabulous book! I'll announce the winner on Wednesday.....from here:

Talk to you then!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Emily Cier's Quilt Remix

This book is a joy, a lively take on quilting, fresh for today.
Quilt Remix–Spin Traditional Favorites into 10 Fresh Projects by Emily Cier.

It has 10 projects that feature traditional quilt patterns with a surprising contemporary twist,
using basic piecing and appliqué techniques and organized into beginner, intermediate, and advanced sections.

There is just something about how Emily has grown her own aesthetic from the rich fertile ground of traditional quilting that appeals to me greatly. I think these projects will appeal to the younger sewers out there especially, who want to make quilting their own. Though Emily never intended to join the "Modern" quilting movement, (and there are whole guilds devoted to it now) she allowed as to how her work fits in with that genre of quilting.

I asked her about that.

aa: What is the "Modern Quilting" movement, and do you consider yourself a part of it?

ec: What is the Modern Quilting movement... I think that depends on who you ask.

A lot of the common answers I've seen are:

a) improvisational quilting

b) traditional quilt patterns using modern fabrics

c) modern patterns

d) more art-type applique quilts
e) quilters talking/collaborating over the internet

I've always been one to make whatever I like and just hope other people like it. I never do anything just because it's the fun thing to do that week according to someone else. I do think I am part of it (now that someone gave it a name!) and would fall into the (c) category using my list.

The colors in the book are clear and cheerful:

And the directions are sharp and totally accurate. I can vouch for this from personal experience, as the Technical Editor for this book, Sandy Peterson, is the same fine pro who was my Technical Editor as well. As a former engineer, Sandy has the perfect mindset and skillset for making sure all measurements and construction instructions are perfect. For a quilt like the one above, that is a good thing.

But it was the quilt below that well and truly grabbed me, for its ease of construction and bright modern look.

You could follow the exact cutting guidelines in the book, or you could totally improvise with the strip sewing, cutting out your basic shapes to fit the pattern afterward.
This makes it ideal for the young sewer. There is a log cabin project in the book that would suit the beginner as well.
But once the new quilter gets this quilt done, she will want to make the more difficult ones.

As you can see, I have a stake in this!

My niece, Qwen, got a new sewing machine for Christmas. She is nine, and already has made boxers for her brothers, p.j.s, even a jumper for her school uniform.
I think it is high time she made her first quilt, and I want it to be from Quilt Remix!

If you would like to win a copy of the book, leave a comment to this post. I will put the names into a hat and pick a winner one week from today, January 19th. Be sure and leave contact info!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quilt Remix Blog Tour

Emily Cier is a pattern designer and author of a new book, Quilt Remix: Spin Traditional Favorites into Ten Fresh Projects.

It is a very fresh take on some traditional quilt patterns and projects, "deconstructed" in the "Modern Quilting" mode.
Like this:

And this!

I was so excited when I saw her work that she asked me to join her blog tour to get the word out, which is underway now!

Here's the schedule:

January 11 (Tuesday) — Kathy Mack –
January 12 (Wednesday) — Julie Herman –
January 13 (Thursday) — Allie Aller –
January 14 (Friday) — Rachel Griffith –
January 15 (Saturday) — Heather Bostic –
January 16 (Sunday) — Connecting Threads –
January 17 (Monday) — Deborah Moebes –
January 18 (Tuesday) — Cherri House —
January 19 (Wednesday) — Kim Kight –

C&T is generously giving away a copy of Emily's book Quilt Remix at every stop, so be sure visit everyone on the tour.

In tomorrow's post, you'll hear my take on it...and why I think this book is an important tool for "handing down" the love of quilting to the next generation. By leaving a comment on the post, you will be eligible to win your own free copy of Emily's book here.

And if you haven't visited some of the other blogs on the tour before, do so...there's some great work out there!

See you tomorrow...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Go Crazy...Blocks Sewn

All 168 of them!
It's been a bit of a marathon around here. What bliss to just submerge myself in this process all day for three days in a row to get this phase done.

This was two days ago...I was going full tilt.
After finishing up last night I squared things away in the sewing room a bit.

There are 14 rows of 12 blocks each. I'm sure I will fiddle with the block placement some, but that will come later.
First these blocks all need to have the blue embroidery go around the black grid shapes and that will take some time. This kind of work is great for traveling, which I have a bunch of ahead of me...this was actually part of the motivation for embarking on a project like this. Portable stitching with a small bag of supplies and not much designing required...perfect for the beach!

Those flowers you see on the table were sent by C & T, my publisher, the day the advance copy of my book arrived. I was so touched!
And the book.....what an amazing job they did with it! I am very, very grateful and pleased. Can't wait for you to see it... ;-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Go Crazy...The Buttons

Bobbi, Freda, and Esther all gave thoughtful comments on my last post about the buttons and whether they were going to work well with this quilt.
They got me did my sister on the phone yesterday who said, "Hey, I like that new quilt on your blog that looks like a chain link fence!"

Isn't it funny how two hours lying awake in the earliest morning can go by so fast, thinking about design?

So I came into my sewing room this a.m. to take stock of things.
Here is how far I had come...

All I could see was the dang "fence"!
So I just had to try something else for the heck of it...

I used the blocks I've made as a border and I could have a crazy pieced center.
But no...didn't like that...
I had had a vision for this quilt, so maybe it would be good to see how it would actually I laid out some blocks on the floor with some buttons.

Hmmm...yes, this was not at all bad. But it was missing something.
I got out my Go! cutter and made some circles.

These are insanely easy to make.

One flick of my wrist on the crank and here are two perfect velveteen circles. On my next try I cut three at once.
Some enterprising art quilter or stitcher could make great use of the "circle waste" too, like some people use sequin waste.
Anyway, I placed the circles into position and got this:

This I like.

I have said that I'm interested in that borderline between sane and crazy quilting, and working on this has given me a glimpse into this new territory.
I find that there is not the ongoing decision making as in crazy quilting, which all of us CQers love....once the decisions are made here, there is much repetition in the work ahead.
Plus, this will be an overall geometric (or abstract) pattern...there is no narrative content to this quilt at all, and I kind of miss that.

But this work is very calming and it will be gratifying to see the vision unfold, albeit VERY slowly. And this will be a very nice quilt to use when it is done.
But I think I am going to have to get another little project going on the side that is more freewheeling!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Go Crazy: A New Quilt for a New Year

Happy 2011!!!

I love making crazy quilts as you all know...but right now I am pretty intrigued by combining crazy quilting and "sane" quilting to make functional bed quilts. I am wanting to revisit my quilting roots...but a decade plus of CQ means I'll never be totally without embellishment and a wide array of fabric types.

This is a detail of a vintage quilt I saw in Houston that is fanning my current flame and has inspired my new project.

It just did me in. I had to make it. (I think it appealed to me for the same reason that the Vintage CQ did...)
So I went fabric shopping....

I had plaids on the brain.
All the blue thread and ribbon in the foreground will set off those warm colors nicely, is the hope.

I also knew this would be a great way to use my new Go! cutter from AccuQuilt.
I am loving this new tool!!! Have a look at the Go! in action....

The die is on the bottom, fabric to be cut in the middle, and the cutting mat is on the top. To operate you just crank the die through the rollers, it compresses the foam so that the die that is within the foam presses the fabric against the mat, and voila...

A perfect 6 1/2" square.
This pic was just for demo purposes. I've cut up to 6 layers at once.

Like this.
I have a die that cuts 3" strips that was perfect for the black diagonal shape on the block.

I cut a bunch of these out of different "black" fabrics.
Then I use a template to cut out the shapes from the strips.
Here is how that goes....

I made this template out of freezer paper ironed to cardboard stock. I draw around it with a white chalk pencil and then cut the shape out. I have to do them one at a time for accuracy, but I find I actually enjoy the work.

Then I use a second template, the actual size of the finished shape, this time out of just freezer paper. I use it as a guide for ironing under my edges. In this picture I am clipping those curves before ironing.

Ironing in progress...

Ironing complete and the freezer paper being pulled off...

And here is how it looks from the back.

When my freezer paper template gets too fuzzy to stick anymore, I just make a new one.

The black shape gets pinned onto the background square....

...and sewn on with a narrow zig zag in a clear monofilament thread.

In keeping with the original quilt, I am just using the herringbone stitch...
and instead of those fluffy white ties (which form a very important part of the design, I think), I'll be using buttons like this...

But this will be the very last step. I have a long way to go before then!

But it will be fun....
What a great way to start the new year. Hope yours is off to a happy beginning too! ;-)