Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Well, the wait is over. My quilt is back from Quilt Odyssey in Pennsylvania. It has not been declared a winner, it has been declared "Kawcah."

I kid you not.

The judging sheet had the name spelled correctly, as did the "certificate of entry," but "Cascading Crystal Kaweah" was displayed with the title "Cascading Crystal Kawcah."

Okay, so I know that's not how you spell it in Spanish, but surely someone besides me caught the audio pun.

So. The wait is over. This quilt was not up to snuff when it came to placing. sigh. And the judges? Elsie Campbell and Andi Perejda? I LOVE their work, they know what they are doing. The only criticism/suggestion was that the binding was too wide. hmmm. I'll think about that, but I like the binding the way it is. I don't think I'll change it just now...

So, no complaints. Just a bit of sadness that despite all my best efforts I continue to fall short of the goal. It's a good thing that in the end, the true Judge judges not our works or our efforts, but our faith and the content of our character...

Monday, July 28, 2008

International Quilt Festival/Long Beach

This photo just doesn't do it justice.

On Saturday, I hopped on a bus with a group of quiltie ladies, and headed to Long Beach to see the inaugural IQF, West Coast edition. I've never been to an International Quilt Festival, so I didn't know what to expect. This unassuming building of glass and steel held wonders too numerous to recount. I was in for a day of dazzling, which definitely surpassed all expectations.

I think one of the most exciting things was to stand at the base of the escalator and look out across the room. Can you call it a room? The exhibitor/vendor hall stretched as far as the eye could see. Across the front of the vendor area were the West Coast Wonders quilts. My quilt, Sierra Snow Melt, was right there, on the far left. I had to take a picture right then and there.

Do you see it? It's in the center of the frame. It was the "you can do this too!" quilt, offering encouragement to the quilters who were overwhelmed by the skill and artistry on display. My little quilt is simply 8 pieces of fabric, sewn together and then quilted.

I asked a friend to take a picture for me. I was appalled by how HUGE I am. I asked my husband, "Do I really look like this?" He told me, "NO. The picture is terrible." It is very unflattering, and out of proportion. I've cropped it, and will post it, but really, my arm is NOT that big!!!

It was fun to wander through the show and discover quilts by friends of mine. Also included in the West Coast Wonders exhibit was this little quilt.

"Sissy Loves Carrots"
Lynn Drennan
Lindsay, CA

Lynn is a fellow quilter who also lives in Tulare County. This little burro quilt has been having an impact as it travels around to various venues. I've seen it at the local Best of the Valley where it won something (I forget which award), and also at Road to CA, where it won Most Humorous. It makes everyone grin when they see it. :)

In the quilt room, there were so many quilts, I went into overload. I tried to look at them all. There were the Sky's The Limit quilts, the Surf's Up quilts, the flower quilts, the winners from Chicago, the SAQA quilts, the Silver Screen quilts, the this, that and the other thing quilts, and last but not least the journal quilts.

I was excited to find quilts by quilters whose blog I read. (I lurk, I don't comment). I saw three quilts by Del Thomas, and loved every one of them. I saw a quilt by Sarah Ann Smith, whose blog I discovered through Quilting Bloggers, before I read an article by her in a magazine. (Was it Quilting Arts?)

I found the journal quilts to be fascinating. The idea of working small scale, to portray an idea or to try a technique is very appealing. I have so many quilt ideas running around in my brain, it's hard to decide which one to do when. That's been one of the reasons I haven't done any bed quilts lately. I want to make so many quilts, I've scaled down to wallhangings.

And because I think, "Hey, if it turns out well, I want to be able to show it," I try to keep the quilts large enough to meet minimum show dimensions, which are usually 40" x 40". (Was that a run-on sentence or what?!!)

But these journal quilts and small scale projects held my attention for over an hour. I examined them closely, trying to figure out why I liked this one or that one. I usually don't take pictures at quilt shows, except of my own quilts. I don't like to copy other people's work. I'd rather take home the impressions and let them mingle in my mind and morph into something of my own creation.

Saturday was an exception. I took photos of two journal quilts, specifically to show on this blog. I thought you might be interested to see which quilts really caught my attention and appealed to me. I think it was the simplicity of this first one that held me spell-bound, along with the texture added by the quilting.

This second one had all kinds of thread work that I have never tried, but it was the overall effect of realism that captivated me. I could imagine being here. She's captured the woods in 8.5" x 11" of fabric. Fascinating!

And finally, yes, I did hit the vendors. I didn't need any fabric - I don't have any quilts in progress or in mind that I'm collecting for - so I didn't even stop to browse the fabric booths. The day was too short. But that doesn't mean I walked away empty-handed. No, indeedy. I did a bit of shopping. This is what I came home with: not a fabric or a kit or a pattern to be seen. Instead I've got plenty of inspiration to spur me on to quilt these remaining two quilts-for-hire then to get back to working on my own quilts. So much to do, so little time!!!

Will I go back next year? Oh yes! Most definitely!!! And for more than one day, because there was no way to see it all on a bus trip in 6 hours or less...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another One Done

Friday's news..........

Uh oh. What do you do when you have this much quilting left to do...(from one end of the ribbon to the other)...and you only have this much thread. And the bobbin is empty?
You hope for a loaves and fishes experience. And believe it or not...the quilt gets finished and you still have this much thread left. whew! Thank You for the mini-miracle!!! Big Smile
The quilt has been delivered, and the owner is pleased. I can sleep well tonight. yay!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Whatcha doin?

No, Ma'am. It wasn't me. Honest. It was Charlie. Go ahead, ask him!!

Me? Do you think I did it? Why would you accuse me of such a thing?!!!

I accuse you, Charlie, because you've been lying around, moaning, with a belly ache, day after day. And day after day, I find regurgitated June bugs on the sidewalk. Edgar seems perfectly fine and dandy. You're the one who's been under the weather.

Now my morning begins with a pass through the patio, to sweep up the day's new collection...of June bugs. We can't have the kitty eating any more of them, they make him very, very uncomfortable.

Tell me, do these look at all appetizing to you? No? Well they don't to me either. But Charlie has a thing for them, believe you me.

The other thing I've been doing is quilting. I've been quilting since 9:30am, and I'm still working my way around this beauty. The sashing is finished, and I'm about a third of the way around the border. No, I do NOT have a long-arm. I machine quilt the old-fashioned way...

But I think I'm ready to call it a day. I'd rather be kayaking...How about you?

Sign Me Up!!!

I did it. I sent in my registration for Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next March. I never did get there this year. I'd wanted to go, I meant to go, but it never meshed with my schedule. I think it was the early Easter. But in 2009? I will be there. I just received my confirmation: Session III, with Cynthia Corbin. What could be better?

When you look at Cynthia's website, you might wonder that I'm taking a class from her. Her style is not my style, and my style is not her style. But she teaches us to develop our OWN style, which is something that I've been encouraged to do. "Suzanne, you do so many different things. You need to develop a STYLE!" (A quilt appraiser told me that. Too much of this or that, not enough to tie it all together....)

But I digress...

I also called and got myself on the list for a bus trip on Saturday to the Long Beach QuiltFestival. I've never been to an IQA event before, so I'm looking forward to this one. Oh, and I'll get to visit "Sierra Snow Melt" and see how it hangs. I hope it holds its own with the rest of the West Coast Wonders exhibit...

My only (current) hesitation about the bus trip is the growing pile of quilts-for-hire that need attention. My goal for this week is to finish the large SB Sue quilt before hopping on the bus. With all that needs to be done around here, and a crown from the dentist scheduled for tomorrow, I'm not sure that goal will be met. But goals are good!! Let's have at it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Taking A Break

What we have here are too many partially completed projects.

The carpenter's work in the kitchen is finished, but my moving in is yet to be accomplished. I've papered my goal of two shelves today, but I still need to wash all of the pots and pans that will fill them. sigh. Instead of working in the kitchen, I am focusing on some for-hire quilting.

SB Sue (aka Sunbonnet Sue, aka SoBig Sue) is gradually making progress. I've quilted the grass in 8 blocks. There are 16 blocks. All of the blocks also need their skies quilted, as well as other detail work. And then there's the sashing and the borders. I've got hours left to put into this quilt. I'm taking a break.

This morning I took a break outside, pulling weeds in the cool, under-90 degree weather. We're supposed to top out at 102 today. I can't understand how the weatherman could state that we were not in danger of "extreme heat" and not burst out laughing. How high does it have to get to be considered extreme? whatever. It does seem much cooler today than it did last week.

As I was outside, I marveled at yet another project that we've undertaken, but not completed.



Do you see the difference? No, I'm not talking about the difference between spring and summer, I'm talking about the un-lollipopping of the yard. Good riddance!! The lollipop "bushes" (that had grown a root system under the foundation) were an eye sore as far as I was concerned. Although they offered privacy, I didn't like looking at them. The plan is to plant a Japanese maple in their stead. But we're going to have to wait for the weather to cool, because nothing is happy when planted in July, unless it's spurge...

The Rose of Sharon caught my eye as I walked back to the house.

It is in full bloom, and offers nectar to those who seek it.

As I stood there, I could hear a variety of sounds: the hum of honeybees, busily working, the deeper thrum of the bumblebees, having a pollen party, the vibration of the hummingbirds, as they hovered and dove. I tried to get pictures, but they were too fast for my digital camera. Instead, I was left with "artistic" photos. You can actually see the bees in the two bottom photos, but you have to look closely. And although I missed my subject, I think these photos are pretty cool...

And that's it for my break. I need to get back to SB Sue, and see about quilting grass under the rest of her little feet. Tally ho!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

See ya later!!

Blast! Blogger is at it again! What is with them and flipping my pictures? They look so much better on a horizontal plane, the way I took them. I thought I was the artist, but NOOOO, Blogger has final say on that. I have no control. If anyone knows how to turn my photo, please, I beg of you, tell me how to undo this!!!!

My Hoffman Challenge is trucking its way to Colorado. It should arrive on Monday, in plenty of time to meet the Friday deadline.

My favorite part is the back. Doesn't it look great? If you tilt your head to the right, you'll get a better idea of how great it looks. grumble, grumble. If I knew why my pictures get tipped, I would do something to prevent it. If I knew how to tip them back, I would. But I've gone to Picasa, and it is no help. I've got multiple pictures, downloaded multiple times, trying to get them to load properly and I can't find a way to delete those either. My download allotment is loaded with mis-loaded photos. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears...

Now that the Hoffman is bound, sleeved, labelled and on the truck, it's all about the quilts-for-hire...which I haven't been working on because the kitchen is such a mess. The countertops are covered with dishes, which are covered with sawdust. SO much work to do in there! It will probably be another week before I'm willing to capture it on camera.

If I'm not blogging, you can be sure that I'm in the kitchen, trying to bring order to chaos. It is not an easy task.

Until the next time.......

Oh, and Happy 26th birthday, Dear Sweet Allison!!! Hugs and kissies!!! Mom

I waited a day and tried to load the pics again. Again they came in sideways. What am I doing wrong?!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Approaching the Finish Line

I apologize in advance for the color issues. The quilt is outside, drying in the bright sunshine. It is square, something has blown over the top right-hand corner.
"Window of Tradition"
31" x 31"
Suzanne Kistler 2008

It's tough to see the quilting in this bright light. Unfortunately, it is easy to see the marking lines. sigh. Roxanne's pencils strike again. This is why I usually quilt free-hand, rather than mark quilting lines. But time was of the essence, so I suppressed my urge to quilt without marks. Once again I've learned my lesson. I've washed the quilt, the quilt is drying. I've tried brushing the marks off, that didn't work. I've tried an eraser. The next plan is to rub the quilt against itself, to see if I can wear the marks off. If all else fails, I can go back to the old-timer's "secret recipe" of dish soap and vinegar or whatever it was. I have it written down somewhere, in a stack of stuff...

In this next photo, you can see the quilting stitches. Strange that the marks don't show up as well. But then, neither does the jet black background. Once again, it's the lighting.

And so, I will meet the deadline. I still need to make a sleeve and label and ship it, but I shouldn't have any problem getting this to CO by next Friday. hip, hip, hooray!!

As for the kitchen? ohmygosh! I have SO much work to do in there!!! I've been wiping down cabinets, changing shelf paper and washing dishes since Friday afternoon and I've barely made a dent. Who knew I had so much storage? I want to get everything cleaned and put away before I post another picture. For now, imagine empty cabinets and counters lined with glassware. yep. That's what it looks like. Good thing I'm done hand-quilting, I've got a LOT of dishes to wash!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kitchen Redo, Day 2

Wow. According to Blogger, this is my 102nd post. What a wordy woman! Who knew there was so much to blog/blab about. :) Although my intentions were to focus on quilting and faith, it is apparent that I am easily distracted. As I continue to be, all week long.

The carpenters were here all day again today, and "Captain, there be doors in here!" (Ode to StarTrek IV) It is looking very nice and neat and clean. Anyone want to place your bets as to how soon it will revert to "normal?" I give it a week, since I've got to wash all the dishes before bringing any of the clutter back in.

The green paint still isn't coming through accurately, but this is closer.

Sorry about the glare on this one. The color is better than it was without the flash.

And finally, here's what you see as you look into the kitchen. Definitely an improvement, all the way around. (pun intended)

I've opted out of knobs or handles: the doors and drawers all have finger pulls. I chose plain flat door fronts because I have the dustiest house ever, and I do everything possible to eliminate places for dust (and/or kitchen grease) to settle. Hopefully the kitchen will continue to look this clean and new for a long time to come...

In the quilting department, I'm close to finishing the hand-quilting on my Hoffman. Also, I'm working my way around the very big Sunbonnet Sue for-hire quilt. Its owner called this morning, to see if I was making progress. I was pleased to report that indeed I've been working on it, but I am somewhat embarrassed that I've still got it in my possession. Granted, I've been out of town and I've been distracted, but really. I've had it for a month. I need to get it out of here. Six weeks is my absolute max. I did that once last summer, and it's quite a burden of guilt, even if it's been predicted and expected. sigh. Maybe I should just take the summer off? Now there's an idea. I'm going to have to think about that next year! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quilting Status

I could give you pictures, then again, this is just a status report. You've seen them before, and you'll see them again, so this time we'll skip the pics.

1) "Cascading Crystal Kaweah" was "on the truck for delivery" to Quilt Odyssey this morning at 8am.

2) "Sentries in the Garden" has been accepted to the AQS Nashville show next month. I spent the morning working on paperwork.

3) My Hoffman Challenge is almost finished. I've got 1/4 of the background quilting to finish. It's been taking about 2 evenings to quilt each 1/4 of the background.

4) The giant Sunbonnet Sue quilt-for-hire is no longer languishing in waiting. I've picked it up again and have begun quilting. It's going to take HOURS, but I'm whittling them away, a few at a time. I have no idea when I will finish, but at least I'm actively working on it, which is good. I believe I told its owner that I'd probably need until the end of July. I wasn't kidding.

I think that's about it, quilt-wise. It's nice to be back and getting into a quilt-groove. I've been away from my work for far too long, and if it had been much longer, I might have forgotten how! haha, does anyone believe that? Not hardly!!!

Stay tuned to the end of the week, because I'm thinking there will be pictures!


The carpenter has been here all day. He arrived promptly at 8am, and set up shop on the patio. He brought lots of cool carpenter toys, and they are still here. The boys are drooling. I've told them they can look but they cannot touch. :)

This is what the kitchen USUALLY looks like. It's busy and cluttered, just like my quilting room.

This is what it looked like this morning:

It looks unnatural, but the carpenter had room to work. He eventually cleared off the few things I'd left on the counter. I really should have emptied the cupboards, but he told me it was unnecessary, so I believed him. :)

This is what my cupboards hold. Obviously NOT the home of Old Mother Hubbard!

This particular piece has the new facing. Wow. It matches pretty well, and it doesn't have water damage like the old stuff. Fantastic!

These are the old drawers. yuck. Twenty years of wear and tear have done a number on them. I'm looking forward to seeing their replacements, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow or Friday.

I'm not sure about these drawers under the stove. I had nice oak drawers there before. I guess it doesn't matter - who will ever see them? But the white is pretty stark. Maybe he has plans for them? I hope so. The SK declaration on the front is pretty distracting. :)

And just to make the menfolk drool, I thought I'd show you the toys left in the backyard. I didn't want to move this, so the backlight gives you a dramatic silhouette.

Adam saw this and wanted to start a new project.

And you've got to admit, an air compressor might be just what the guy who has everything doesn't have yet. I don't think Adam has one of these...

I've also made progress on the quilt front, but I should put that in a different post. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Than Quilting

It's funny how many quilters and quilt-bloggers out there are in the middle of remodeling. We're sort of doing a bit of it ourselves, albeit the easy way. We've hired a carpenter to reface our oak cabinetry. He was set to begin installation in the morning, but I just got a call that he will be here on Wednesday instead. whew! A reprieve! I was worried that I hadn't finished clearing off the counters. Now that I have another 24 hours, I can relax a bit.

In preparation for his arrival, I thought it might be fun to change the paint around the kitchen windows. This picture was taken after I'd already pulled down the curtains and purchased the paint.

Here is the "after" picture. I didn't have much to paint, but it was detail work, going around all those windows. Do you like the green? It's DutchBoy "Cottage Garden." (I was going to link to the color, but it's not on their website. frown. ) Sorry about the glare in the photos. It happens.

Once all the cabinets are done, I'll post before and after pictures, to give you a better idea. The biggest part of my portion (the painting) has been taking down and rehanging the curtains. They are balloon curtains, and a royal pain in the arse, if you ask me. But they are made from fabric that matches the wallpaper in the raised area above the lighting, so they're worth the hassle. I am reminded why I try to make do with vacuuming them instead of taking them down and washing them. too much work!!!

And now that I have my reprieve, I'm going to mark and begin quilting the 3rd quarter of the Hoffman background. It's halfway done, and it's looking good. I just hope that the marks will wash out - it's been a long time since I've marked anything for quilting, and I hope this doesn't make me sorry I did...

Stay tuned. There's sure to be another update sometime again this week...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jan In Your House

As you may or may not know, Jan Krentz is a good friend of mine. She's the Diamond Gal, the Lone Star Wizard, the one who makes those impossible diamond designs actually sew-able. She breaks it down to basics, and shows you how to make beautiful quilts, all without breaking (much of) a sweat. :)

I did diamonds once, back in 1985. I swore that I would never EVER do another pattern utilizing diamonds. I stuck to my guns, until Jan lured me in to help with "a project." Had I known it was her Lone Star quilt book, I would have run for the hills. Instead, I said, "SURE!"

When I found out we were going to be making Lone Star quilts, I think I may have cried. I know I thought about it. But Jan is an AWESOME teacher, and she turned my tears of trepidation into those of happiness. I can actually do it! I can make a Lone Star quilt that doesn't have a bra cup center or warp this way or that. It came out flat AND square! Since that fateful first class, I've finished SEVEN Lone Star quilts. And four Hunter Star quilts. And five diamond quilts.

Jan is a kind and patient teacher, full of encouragement and tips and demonstrations on how to achieve success. I doubt any other teacher would have been able to get so many quilts out of me. To date, none have...

And so, I come to the point of this post.

Yesterday I received word that her DVD, Jan Krentz Teaches You to Make Lone Star Quilts DVD will be available in August. If you like, you can pre-order directly from Jan. If you've never taken a class with Jan, or if you have and need a refresher course, this DVD would be well worth the investment. It would be like having your own private course, with Jan, right there, in your house! How cool is that?!!

Well, I was going to post some pictures of my Lone Star quilts, but apparently I only have one on this computer. This one is the one that I completed most recently. It's not much, but it's a taste of what you, too, might choose to make. Happy quilting!!!

begun 2001, finished 2006
Suzanne Kistler

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Easily Amused

Edgar and Charlie are coming into their own. Just like Malcolm and Hecate, the little boys have distinct personalities. Charlie may be the "bravest" and the alpha cat, but Edgar is the friendliest and most curious. And bounce, bounce, bounce, that boy LOVES to play!

Hecate showed up last night, and actually ate dinner in her usual dining area. The boys wanted some too, but I kept pushing them away, allowing her to feast unbothered. Once she seemed sated, I let them go. She hissed mildly, then jumped down and removed herself from their presence.

All Charlie was interested in was eating what was left of her food. Edgar was more interested in Hecate.

Can you see her behind the pillar? They were playing a bit of peekaboo. She would look at him with one eye, trying to decide what to do about him. He'd perk up and start forward, she'd duck down behind the pillar. He eventually decided she wasn't enough fun, and moved further away to observe her from the shade.

The move spooked her. She could probably see him with both eyes and double vision and thought there were two of him. She took off, faster than I could click the can just catch sight of her tail as she runs around the corner.

She paused briefly, before darting behind the shed - you never know when you might be followed!

But Edgar had already given up on her, and was sniffing through the screen. As I opened the door, who should appear but Malcolm. He's stopped his hissing - I guess he's sure that the house is his and he doesn't have to share - and now he's ready to meet the new kids.

I do hope that the boys will be content to stay in the backyard. Unfortunately, last evening, Pete found Charlie out front. They can NOT go out there yet! They are too little. They will get squished or eaten. It's a good thing they don't mind the kitty crate, because that's where I put them overnight or when I leave. Such a big world with so many dangers! Good thing we're here to watch out for them...

And on a quilting note, here's a photo of the window quilting on my Hoffman:

Arg!!! Blogger!!! You've turned my photos on their ear, AGAIN!!! oh well, at least the cats have their feet on the ground!

This is the background quilting that I've marked. I've only marked one quarter so far, but last night I was able to quilt more than half of it. I might just meet this deadline after all!!! quilt faster, quilt faster!!!