Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Squishies for the Alliance

I had such a blast last week-end putting together 20 squishies to be given away by the Alliance for American Quilts to help promote their "Crazy for Quilts" contest, which as you know is a fundraiser for this worthy organization.

Squishies are little baggies filled with crazy quilt this case, small pieces of fancy fabrics, some lace, trim, thread, mother of pearl buttons, and cording...

To be eligible to win one, just click on over to the Alliance, and fill out a little three question survey about how you might approach creating a crazy quilt for their contest. You are not obligated to enter in order to win, nor are you bound to use the techniques you list that are of interest to you.
This is all just to get you thinking about the contest...and hopefully excited enough to decide to enter! The contest quilt must be 16" X 16"....not a large investment of time...

Here are my "squishies in progress". I put all of my favorites in there... ;-)
So do try to win one...I know you'll like it!

...and to sign up for their free e-newsletter, click here. The latest newsletter is archived here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Class Samples...Making Progress

This is slow and careful work, as I am thinking about how I will teach these flowers and writing lots and lots of notes while I stitch.

I want to give my students lots of information and techniques to try...but I don't want them going home with just little bits done. Too often after a workshop, if the project isn't near completion, it will languish in the UFO pile.
We don't want that!

For the rest of the day I am shifting gears and working on a fun Squishy Project. I'll tell you more about it soon....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Garden Day

Unbelievable.....56 degrees, sunny, and no wind....Time to get out there and prune the roses!

For Christmas, Chad got me the most amazing gloves for this job, and I've been eager to try them out.

They are called "Bionic".
And they are TRULY FANTASTIC. They are snug fitting in the hand with supple but thick enough leather so that no thorns penetrate but I can feel what I am doing. The forearm guards mean no nasty scratches, which always happened with my old workgloves.
Total success. Find them here....they'll be great for hacking back blackberries, too.

No close ups of my garden, (although you can click on the picture to make it bigger.) I never can seem to do the final garden clean up in October so it looks pretty bad in there. But how nice to be outside working for the first time this year!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Class Samples, Continued..and Gulch Radio!

Thanks to you lovely gals who suggested I teach online sometime. The thought had never occurred to me to do that...but maybe someday I will. You honor me. ;-)

To be frank, the whole idea of beginning to teach professionally has me filled with excitement and yet also some new questions. Up until now I have always put my work out there for all to see....and I surely don't want to have to learn to hold back now (unless contractually obligated to do so) . That would take the fun out of blogging for me.
I contacted the Program Chair of the guild who hired me to ask her what she thought about me posting my class samples. Blogging can be tricky when you involve other people, however tangentially, in your posts, so I wanted to be sure I wasn't crossing any "line" with the guild.
Graciously she replied that she thought her guild wasn't hurt by this in any way, but I might in future want to consider protecting my designs. Nice of her, wasn't it?

So all that said, here are my class samples underway....

This is slow going but very satisfying, in that I get to do three variations concurrently. There are some subtle compositional differences that are fun to explore...and I want to give my students enough examples that they will see that there is no one "right way" to go...

On another note...literally....I want to share my newest listening discovery!
My friend Leigh's husband Rich runs his own radio station (with a buddy) out of his home. It is a bona fide NPR affiliate, but most of the programming is homegrown. I guess there are several online radio stations out there. Rich's is about 1 watt over the airwaves, but streaming online to anywhere in the world.

There are no ads....little the mornings there is the "Word of the Day" feature which is fun...and we get to hear the weather for Jerome, Arizona, the home of Gulch Radio...
Tunes, tunes, tunes there are in abundance. This is for Boomers, no doubt about it. But the mix is eclectic and the hits obscure. I've heard stuff on there that I haven't heard since I was a little kid stretched out on my towel on the sand at Michillinda, soaking up the sun after swimming for hours, with WLS on the transister crammed to my ear.
Particularly wonderful is Rich's Sunday afternoon show, "Geezer Rock" where he takes email requests for those favorite hard to find oldies from the 50's and 60's.

Do check them out here. It is great stitching music....(you may have to register, but that is easy and you only have to do that once.)
And Rich has such a great voice. He sounds like Robert Osbourne, of Turner Classic Movies....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Class Samples

This May I am making my teaching debut giving workshops in both crazy piecing and three dimensional flower embellishment...two of my favorite things to do, to be sure!

I am redoing my original class sample in a few different colorways with slightly different compositions on each one. I want my students to have very clear visuals of some of the different possibilities they will have with these techniques, and will encourage each of them to make their flower arrangements unique.

To "warm up" I decided to create a few flowers to dress up a spring sweater. I have to have something special to wear when I teach...

Here's a detail of the sweater. I purchased this silk/nylon cardigan from my local Pendleton outlet store here in Washougal for very little money.

Here is the whole sweater, featuring the Ally's Bazaar ribbon that I have quickly fallen in love with.

A pretty flower necklace would be just the thing, wouldn't it? Or maybe some pearls...

And now to my samples....

I find this a most inviting prospect!
And how lucky I am to have these lovely Valentine flowers from my sweetheart to inspire me...

Happy Valentine's Day to you, too.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Alliance CQ...Finished

My quilt for the Crazy for Quilts contest benefiting the Alliance for American Quilts is now completed. It won't be eligible for competition as I have recently joined their board of directors...but I am most happy to be contributing to the fundraising aspect of this contest, as my quilt will be auctioned off on eBay with the rest of the entries next fall.

I named it "Ode to Tamar", after the quilt that inspired it. For this occasion I wanted to tip my hat to my Victorian fore bearers in crazy quilting.

This is a mourning quilt made by Tamar Horton Harris North in 1877 in memory of her daughter. You can read more about it here.
I absolutely adore everything about this quilt. If I had been able to find fabric that matched the border (and whose scale fit with the 16" X 16" size I was required to work within) I would have tried to replicate it, using four blocks in the center.

But I couldn't find the fabric, so my quilt ended up just alluding to Tamar's, with my black and white elements and the border with four corners of flowers.

I like to think that I used a judicious amount of trim in this quilt....between the fan blades, the blocks, the borders, and as the binding. This saved me some time and hopefully served to integrate everything.

Embellishing over the Broderie Perse in the center was a blast and I look forward to doing more of that!

Here is the back of the quilt.

Given how easy it is now to print up quilt labels on the computer, I decided to include Tamar's quilt and even the website link to information about it. Why not? We should add to the documentation of our work in whatever way we can, is my opinion.

Please do consider making your own 16" X 16" crazy quilt (whether old fashioned or avant-garde) for this worthy organization!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ally's Bazaar...Ribbons!

Allyson Paquette and her husband Douglas create the most beautiful jaquard ribbon for their women's accessories business. They make flip flops, belts, and keyrings all with their fresh looking and colorful ribbon. They also have adorable Pet Fashions too, with collars and harnesses that fit all sizes of dogs.

With each new season they retire their old ribbon designs, and some of the ribbon has gone unused. Until now!
Ally has set up a web based business where you can purchase this ribbon at hugely discounted prices. She calls it Ally's Bazaar.

After I perused her website, I knew I just had to have some of this ribbon.
One of the directions I want to take my crazy quilting work is towards a more contemporary aesthetic....fresher colors, younger designs, just a more "of the moment" feel. These ribbons are exactly the element I need for this, and I am so excited to have some!

It comes in four widths.

This is the 13mm, or 1/2" width ribbon. Do click on the pictures to see the detail! The ribbon is tightly woven, yet is easy to stitch through.
This width can be ordered for $1.20/yard. Yes, you read that correctly. What a deal!

The next size up is 20mm, or about 3/4". These go for $1.60/yard.
See what I mean about the fresh designs?

The 28 mm size, which equals about 1 1/8" in width, is my favorite. For $1.90/yard, you get so much beautiful design for your money.

The 38 mm width is about 1 1/2", and sells for $2.20/yard.

I plan on writing about updating the CQ "look" in the next issue of CQMagOnline. These ribbons will certainly be the inspiration for that!

The other reason I am so gung ho on this ribbon is that I absolutely love the idea of supporting small businesses created by a husband and wife team. In this economic climate, it is a win win to shop with them....very good prices and helping to keep these intrepid designer/entrepreneurs afloat.
And their customer service is excellent.

I hope you will check them out to see all of their designs!