Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Odds & Ends

I took this picture of the sky the other day.  The cloud was...very strange.
 We saw this odd-looking shell on the truck bed a few weeks back.  It took some head-scratching, but we determined it to be a helicopter.  Or parts.
 I planted "dinner plate dahlias" this summer.  This one finally bloomed.  It's smaller than a saucer.  Maybe a saucer for a demitasse?
And I finished another card and put it in the mail.  Cross that one off, as we get ready to flip the calendar to November...
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

And Then It's Over

You're sewing, sewing, sewing, and then you look up, and it's time to leave.
 No more opportunities to study the blooming ivy.  I didn't know ivy could bloom.  I really didn't.
 No more roses to admire up close and personal,
 No more volunteer tomatoes to make me marvel,
 No more observation of indigenous life forms...
It's just back to normal.  The tree trimmer came (look at that beautiful palm!)
 I let the little dog in (notice the barrier to keep him in the kitchen),
 My son is taking in the World Series,
 And a number of my friends have congregated in Houston...
Life goes on, and it's back to normal.  Happy days!

Monday, October 28, 2013

On the Third Day...

I had a "big" project to accomplish. 

In reality, it wasn't all that big, it was just ambitious to think that I could do it in a 24 hour period.  I started it the evening of the second night, and finished it at midnight on the third, just minutes after Fresno State pulled the win from SanDiego State.  I wasn't really watching the game, but it was on, so I was listening with half an ear. 
But I digress.

On the Third day, we also accepted another "30 minute challenge."  Again, it was longer than 30 minutes.  We decided the 30 minutes referred to the time allotted to begin and offer assistance to any of those needing direction.  This challenge was a round robin exchange, which began with a 3" fussy cut square of our choosing.

We had 5 people in our exchange, so we assigned four steps.  The first was to put the square on point.  The second was to square it up again.  The third was to add a pieced border, the last was "embellish."  I really enjoyed the exchange.  Keeping in mind the "30 minute" guideline, I went with simple, making the fabric do most of the work. 

This was mine, when it returned to me.  My part in it was to supply the 3" cat fabric.  Don't you just love the ball of yarn and the mouse?  (bottom left corner)
 The first 3" square I received was Wendy's carrots.  I set them on point, using a mottled green.
 For the next round, I put Karen's sewing machine back to square, using two fabrics that caught the colors.
 For the third round, Beth's little bird sang to me.  I was supposed to make a pieced border, but I couldn't think of any piecework that would make him as happy as surrounding him by some delicious tropical fabrics.
For the fourth and final round, I embellished Charlotte's little lizard.  I'm not sure you can see it, but I used a silk/wool blend for lazy daisy stitch on the dark green leaves next to the lizard, and silk ribbon on the top two triangle borders.  I used a brown perle cotton with a sort of stem stitch on the branches, then I topped it off with a purchased leafy trim.  LOTS of fun!  :)
 There were no size limitations, we just had to keep in mind we were working with a 3" medallion.  I may have added a bit much to Beth's, but I didn't want to trim the hibiscus or the palm trees.  :)
That took a chunk of the afternoon.  After that, it was back to my ambitious project.  I've debated whether or not to show it, but what the hay.  I'll give you a preview.  It's probably not going to change much with the quilting.  It's all about the piecing, doncha know?
I really enjoyed making this particular piece.  It's about 24 x 30 or so.  I LOVE mosaic work, and I LOVE stained glass.  I've dabbled in neither, I just buy both.  sort of.  But now, I think I will be making another quilt in this style.  It's going to be a while, a long while, as I have quite a list of things that need attention, but this one?  It was a lot of fun.  :)

Next post:  WonderValley wrap-up.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On The Second Day

Retreat lasts roughly four days.  The first and last include travel to and from the destination.  Days two and three are hard core quilt 'til you wilt days.  I didn't wilt.  I meandered through the days, working at my leisure...or leisurely working.  If you quilt, you know what I mean.

On the second day, I got up and finished the baby quilt top.

During the course of the day, a couple of "30 minute" challenges were issued.  They took a bit longer than 30 minutes, but they were a lot of fun.  The first was to piece (and embellish) a crazy block, using the supplied foundation.  We were to use decorative machine stitches, but I brought my workhorse, not my fancy machine.  So I...embellished by hand. 

The challenge was issued around 10am, all blocks were turned in before lunch.  One name was drawn to win all the blocks.  This is what Cheryl won:
 My block was in the upper right corner.
The afternoon challenge was to make a postcard.  Several of my quiltie friends already make postcards, but many of the local quilters do not.  Here was a chance to expose each and every one of them to this 4" x 6" addiction.  I showed them my collection of Postmark'd Art, Wendy handed out "blanks," we gave instructions, then all who wanted to went to town.  This "challenge" was given a full 24 hours to complete.  As the cards started going up on the wall, more and more quilters decided to make one.  If you made one, you got to trade one.  Everyone who made a card came home with someone else's.

I neglected to get a photo of all the completed cards (I believe there were about 20), but here's what I did get.  This was a first time effort for most of the participants.
 This one was mine.  (You could see Venus in the evening, over the hilltops.)
Since I'd completed so many "veggie" projects, it was time to move on to dessert.  I'd brought along Jeremy's design board, and it was time to start making my my top.  Here's a hint of what I began:
The paper is the pattern I drew.  This image was captured after the top was complete, but it wasn't finished by the end of Day Two.  And so, I will leave you hanging, and save some for my next post.  Enjoy!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wonder-ful Retreat

Don't you just love it when the bugle blares and it's time to Retreat?  Well, I'm pretty sure some retreats are more desirable than others.  Among the top of the line are quilt retreats.  They're my favorite.  :)

I've tried to take pictures, so that you can retreat vicariously.

Day One was primarily spent in the getting there and gathering my thoughts.  Those were pretty scattered.  On the way, a must-see stop is the Art Stand art gallery at the corner of Hwy 180 and Frankwood.  My wallet always leaves a bit lighter.
 of course there's the mandatory cow shot, but I didn't see all that many cows this year.  Strange.
My first personal assignment was to complete two Komforters for Kids.  That's our guild community service project.  These two quilts will be given to kids in distress, probably some time in the near future.  I didn't make the tops, I only quilted them.
 We do a number of block exchanges at retreat.  I like this "mountain colors" off-center Log Cabin.
 What I'd really like to win are the purple/blue/green/turquoise strip sets which were to be "untrimmed, but large enough to accommodate an 8.5" square.  Not only do I want the 8.5" squares, I'd LOVE the trimmings!!!  Can you say, "Postcards!"?
I started piecing a simple baby quilt, but didn't finish before bedtime.  I'll save that for the next post.  Instead, I'll leave you with this picture, that just came into my inbox.
Such a pretty little princess!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another Princess

The first dress I made was too big.  When I saw it, in comparison to Penny in the flesh, I knew that it couldn't be cut down.  A new dress needed to be made from scratch.  Scratch away, on Mon/Tues, toss in a zipper on Wed, and ship!
It arrived today, so I am waiting to hear if it fits.  I hope so, because she needs to wear it tomorrow.  I'm plumb out of time to make it again!

I also made a card last week.  Or was it the week before?  I don't think I posted it yet, so here goes:
It made it to Arizona, and the sea horse didn't break.  I was impressed!  :)

Next on the agenda:  quilt retreat.  I got here 3 hours ago, and have finished one Komforter for Kids.  (guild project)  A second has been flipped, I just need to quilt it.  I'm probably speaking code.  I was given a "sandwich."  My job was to stitch it together and quilt it.  I should be done tonight.  Perhaps in the morning I will post some pictures.

I haven't a clue what my goals are, as I was up to my elbows in princess dresses.  I stuffed my car with projects, thought I might be ready to go...and realized I hadn't packed a suitcase or a sewing machine.  ackk!!

I still haven't found my rotary cutter - I KNOW I packed at least two! - or my pencils or my...yeah.  By the time I find my things and get organized, it will be time to leave.


Anyway, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you, and that the bestest pinkest dress in CA has made it to its destination.  And that's all I have to say about that.  :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quiltlet Retrospective

As you know, if you've spent any time visiting my blog, I've been making little quilted cards ("quiltlets") for a few years.  Last week, it was brought to my attention that I've been making them since 2007.  ohmygoodness!  I had no idea!  I made my first after a class with Rose Hughes, and I guess the rest, as they say, is history.  Her class was not on making cards, we were just doing little 3" or 4" samplers.  My cards are 5"x7", and have batting and self-binding.  I once wrote a post, with detailed pictures on how I make them, but it's lost in the 1000+ posts on this blog.  sorry about that!

But I digress.

Last week, we stopped by a friend's house for a lovely lunch before heading to Porterville, to see the Art Quilt Exhibit.  She'd pulled out the cards I'd given her, and I was astounded.  Really?  I've made that many?  I had no idea.  I thought I'd share what she has.
wow.  Amazing, right?  Who knew I stitched so much?  Truly, for me, it's out of sight, out of mind.  But my friend doesn't hide them.  She displays them.  The older ones were in a fabric basket that I made a while ago,
 The latest one was on a toy sewing machine.  Notice the seasonal table runner, made by our hostess, and the yummy tomato basil bread, made by her husband.
Thursday was a treat for the eyes, and for the belly.  Definitely a great time.  Thanks, Wendy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beautiful Little Show

The day before hitting PIQF, our Itty Bitty group traveled to Porterville, to see an Art Quilt Exhibit with quilts made by local quilt artists.  (I used the "a" word.  Aren't you proud of me?)  This is the second or third time they've held this sort of exhibit, it's the first time I've participated.  wow!  I've been missing out.

Even the doors are worthy of note.
Inside was a magical space, filled with beautiful little quilts.  They were individually lit, so that you could see them quite well.  The only issue I had with the lights, was that the didn't photograph evenly.  oh well.  You know what they say about beggars...

The show was dedicated to our friend Wanda Dunavan.  She passed away unexpectedly on Sept 14, but her quilts live on.  This was her Thimble Towne Color Challenge, I believe it was the last quilt she finished.  If you click on the photo, you may be able to read the dedication.
Two of Kristin Eilers' "Whimsy" quilts were there.  I have a brown one, hanging in my studio.  :)
 There was some sculptural 3-d work, with Beth Shaffer's Foxglove,
 And DeAnn Farris' latest blossom...
 Every nook was filled with quilted delight.
 We were surrounded by quilts!
 As I mentioned, I shared some of my work as well.  The icicle on the left side of the above photo is mine.  Here's a close-up, for Mr. DeMille...
 And finally, here is "Crazy About Green," hanging for the first time.  I was thrilled to see how flat and beautifully it hung!  Now if I can just find a quilt show that allows tied Crazy Quilt entries!!
I think the show ends this week.  I'm sorry we didn't get out there sooner, so we could give you a heads up and encourage you to make the trip.  Next time, I'll let you know, so you can mark your calendar!