Monday, February 24, 2014

Madly Quilting

Time to come up from air:  I am finished!

Okay, so I'm not exactly finished.  I still need to sew on the labels and sleeve, but they are pinned in place, waiting for me to pick them up and stitch them on. 

What have I been working on?  It's a triple challenge.  First, it's my Best of the Valley Challenge.  Second, it's my Calico Mermaid Iris Challenge.  And third, it's my first installment of our Sew Eclectic Design Board Challenge.  whew!

I began with the Iris Challenge.  That was easy.  I LOVE bearded iris.  Calico Mermaid has issued an iris challenge for the past few years.  I entered last year, and absolutely loved my quilt.  I'm hooked.  As long as they issue the challenge, I'll try to answer the call.

For my Best of the Valley Challenge, I've gone back and forth.  My original "bests" were all much too complicated for the little bit of time I had to spend on the challenge.  When we moved to Tulare, in 1985, I met my first bearded iris.  I was smitten.  Well, you probably know that.  You've seen  a few of my iris photos, haven't you?  The ironic thing is that 10 years in, it dawned on me that two rows of flowers when we first moved into my parents' home (they've been there 49 years) were iris beds.  One was blue, the other yellow.  They never got any attention or water, and did not survive the neglect.  I know.  I didn't think it was possible either, but they died.

This year for Sew Eclectic, we're each working off the same design board at the same time.  The first assignment is my board.  There was a photo on it that has had me excited for a while.  It inspired the background.

Talk, talk, talk.

I started with the vertical green stripes, then moved to this photo:
Sometimes, oft times, iris remind me of velvet.
"Hey, Beautiful!"
Suzanne Kistler 2014

And with that, I should go back, and stitch on those labels.

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Friday, February 21, 2014


For the first time since the dog arrived in September, both cats were spotted in the backyard.
 As Edgar loses the back portion of his mane, he reminds me of the Cowardly Lion.  "If I, were King, of the forest!"   rowr!  All he needs is a bow in his hair.
 Charlie is very intent, trying to stare down the dog.  It's working.  The dog turned tail and left.
I'm scheduled to take a week with David Taylor in a few months.  I've been trying to find the perfect subject matter for detailed applique work.  I have lots and lots of flower pictures, but I'm feeling in a bit of a rut.  Maybe cats are just the thing.  I sent off some pictures, and am waiting to hear yea or nay.  Subject matter must be approved in advance.

In the meantime, I'm getting ready to quilt my Best of the Valley challenge.  The deadline is looming, on March 1.  I've received 9 challenge quilts to date.  Each is unique and quite delightful.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the entrants have been working on.  Stitch faster, stitch faster!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Photo Bomb!

 This iris is SO incredibly tall, I wanted to get in the picture.  I am standing on the ground, but had to put my foot up the hill for balance.  Can't wait to see what color this one is.  Will it be solid purple?  Purple and orange?  Purple and blue?  Pop, baby, pop!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pop While You Can!

And there you go: every iris that is currently in bloom in my garden.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Busy As A Bee

Well!  Now that last week is over, I can relax.  HA!  Did you believe that?  Even for a minute?  It's not true, it's a lie.  Last week held the entry deadline for the Best of the Valley.  I received 20 envelopes on Friday, and 29 on Saturday.  Each holds an average of 2 entries, so I was processing them into the wee hours.  "Processing" includes making sure that the entry contains all necessary information, particularly the size of the quilt.  Photos need to be labeled on the back (that's often overlooked), checks logged, quilts takes about 5 minutes/entry, and with 200+, that's a goodly bit of time.  whew!   I guess I know where the week went, and why I haven't been blogging.

It's only going to get busier from here on out, so I apologize in advance for my scarcity.  I'll try to pop in now and then, but posting and commenting on other bloggers just hasn't been happening.  By the time I've peeked at your blog, I'm off and running, pulled in this direction and that.

I promised you a photo of the finished Log Cabin.  I try to always keep my promises.
"They Play Well Together"
Suzanne Kistler 2014

I'm not sure the photo does it justice.  The reds aren't as dominant in person.  In fact, the fluorescent green seems to be the one that pops when I look at it. 

The quilt name comes from my BOTV Committee.  One key characteristic is that they (we) all play well together.  They each presented me with a floral fat quarter at the close of the 2011 show, and I wanted to keep them together in a single quilt.  I had trouble deciding, but once I separated lights and darks, well, they did indeed play well together.  We always do.

And on that, I'm going to have to get back to my quilt show duties. 

If you entered quilts, I thank you.  And if you're in the area April 4-6, 2014?  I invite you to come to the show.  I've seen the submitted quilts, and I can tell you, they will blow your mind.  And that's a GOOD thing.  :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

zoom, zoom

Seems like it's been forever since I've visited with you all.  It's not because I'm off vacationing or doing anything amazing.  No, I'm just running through the busy-ness of life.

Last week I went to Tri-County Walnut Day, and filled my brain with walnut research.  When I arrived, I saw the first wildflowers of 2014, waiting for me in the parking lot.

All it took was a bit of rain the week before to cause them to pop up their pretty little heads. 

By the time I left the seminar, it was pouring rain.  By Sunday, the Sierras were beautifully dusted with snow.  Thirty minutes later, when I grabbed my camera, more snow clouds had settled in to work.  This was all I could get.  You probably have to click on the photo to see if you can spy the mountain.

On Saturday, I zipped down to Bakersfield, for the Cotton Patch Quilters' show.  It's always fun to see other shows, and this one is a favorite.  For pictures, check out Kay's blog, here

For the most part, I've been finishing up my personal entry for Best of the Valley, along with processing the entry forms that continue to arrive daily.  I still need to add the sleeve, so that I can get a good picture, but other than that?  My entries are done.  yay!

As a celebration, I finished a birthday card and popped it into yesterday's mail.  So pretty.  This is a favorite.
Well, apparently Blogger thinks it looks better on its ear.  We're back to this now, Blogger?  What have I done to deserve this treatment?  grrr.

And on that, I'd better sign off.  Today I'm off to the World Ag Expo for some hand quilting.  woohoo!  It's all quilting, all the time!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Inching Closer

Two borders down, two to go...
 And then there's the paperwork.
Today I'm buzzing down to Bakersfield to deliver some hanging equipment for their show this weekend.  I'd love to get the borders finished and the binding attached before American Idol starts tonight, so that I could spend the evening stitching it down.  Goals are good, even when they're a bit lofty.  :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Who's There?

Do you ever have that feeling of being watched?  Of eyes boring into the top of your head?  I had it yesterday, and was startled to see this:
And this:
Edgar?  Charlie?  What are you doing out there?

I'm certain they were asking themselves the same question!

I'm making progress on the Log Cabin.
Today's assignment:  quilt the border.  Quilt faster!  Quilt faster!