Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Few Finishes

I've been steadily working my way through the stack of baby quilts that I basted last week.  I'm not going to win any races, but it feels good to check a few marked off as "done."  The aqua and grey quilt was the first one finished:
 Then there's this one, that was made from leftovers pulled from my leftover boxes.
 Number three is now quilted, with the binding in the process of being tacked down.  I like this picture, because it shows most of my studio.  There is the design wall on the left, and the ironing board directly behind me.  Behind the ironing board is the wall of cabinets holding my stash.  It looks like windows, because they're reflecting the window that I look out while I'm sitting at my machine.  I also like this photo because you can't see the floor, which is stacked with half-finished/undealt with projects/stuff.
 In cleaning out a closet, I found this treasure from 50 years ago.  Does that make it an antique?  My mom had it framed when I was little, and I had it in the attic.  When the glass broke, I put the picture in the closet.  Without the glass to protect it, it tore.  I didn't want to keep the physical drawing any longer, so it's now saved digitally.  If you wonder why I've long thought I'm not an Artist, this might give you a clue.
 Apparently when I was 5, I wasn't so worried about what others thought.  I knew it was beautiful, and proudly signed it.  If I were to name it today, what would I call it?  "Bald Hydrocephalic Lion"?  wow.  And yeah, I always did have trouble with faces...
I think I'll stick with fabric.  It seems to be my most successful medium.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, May 25, 2015


Here it is, May 25, and the June 1 deadline for the SAQA 12" quilt auction is almost here.  It's a receive by deadline, and I'm running out of time.  I've wracked my brain trying to come up with a "quick" 12" design, but came up with nothing.

I did a lot of cleaning and sorting and stashing the mess in my Studio as I considered this, that, and the other thing.  And I found something.  I found this:
Perhaps you remember it?  If not, you should probably revisit this installment of the blog, from 2010.  Ironically, I was trying to figure out what I could come up with for the SAQA 12" auction.  It didn't make the cut back then - if you read the 2010 post, you might be snickering - but today?  It did.  See those rotary cutters?  I put them to use, yet again.

First, I needed to reduce the piece to 13", so I whacked it.
The giant rick rack was distracting, so I got rid of it.
That was a definite improvement.  And then...I quilted it.  It already had a LOT of threadwork on the seaweed and the sea urchins, so all I needed to do was quilt around everything and then knock down the background.
 Look at that!  All faced and almost ready to ship out in the morning.  All that I have left to do is to attach the label and the hanging sleeve.  Not bad for the day, not bad at all.  Then again, it was 10 years in the making!  (And it used to be a vest!)
I'm continuing to wash my way through my new fabric.  These are pretty, don't you think?  They sure did bleed a lot!!
And finally, I quilted a second baby quilt, but still need to tack down the binding.  Maybe I'll get that done tomorrow, and take pictures then.  wow.  I'm feeling a bit productive, and boy, does it feel good!

Friday, May 22, 2015


Apparently I've really really missed quilting.  I can't seem to get enough of it, even though I've been too busy to do anything "important."  My "future show quilts" are still sitting untouched, in their various bins.

I basted five quilts on Tuesday/Wednesday.  One is already quilted and I'm working on the binding.
 The one on the top of the pile is the one that is almost done.  (Aqua/grey zig zag)  I might have a picture for you in the near future, before it is shipped off to the baby that was born back in April.
In trying to clear off my sewing table, I found a baggie filled with English paper-pieced diamonds.  I bought it for $2 at a thrift store a year ago.  When I'd thought I would get to work on it, I realized that there weren't points on the diamonds.  I suppose that's why they went to the thrift store. 

Yesterday, I unbasted them all, and decided to wash the hand-dyes, just to make sure they wouldn't bleed.  wow.  That was a GOOD decision!

The diamonds are now dried and pressed and ready to once again baste onto the paper pieces.

Today I thought I would quilt another quilt, but the cat decided to sleep on my chair.  And if he's asleep, he won't get into trouble.  So, instead of quilting, I washed more fabric.  And more fabric.  And more fabric.  Apparently last year's fabric diet is OVER, and my stash is rapidly expanding.

And then there was the empty design wall.  It started saying, "Fill me!  Fill me!"  So I did.
 Most of the 2.5" squares came out of a box of pre-cut pieces.  I ended up cutting the browns in the bottom righthand corner, because pale grey was too washed out.
 These are all the 2.5" squares I have left.  I used more than half of them.  yay!
I did finish one thing.  I gave a postcard to a friend yesterday, when they honored her for her years of quilting.
In entry news, I got two "thank you but no thank yous" from for their "In Full Bloom" special exhibit.  oh well, that's okay.  I did get my entry off for the "World of Beauty" show.  Those notifications are due in July, so I'll just not think about it until then.

And I guess that's it.  All I want to do is quilt, so I'm off to finish that binding.  Happy day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cleaning Up

This must be the week to get big things done.  wow.  Last week it was the trees at our home.  Yesterday, we had a tree at the walnuts trimmed.  It was hanging low, and hitting every west-bound semi.  I was afraid to drive under it, afraid that one day it would break, and squish me like a bug.
 I knew it was a big tree, but it wasn't until all of the trucks and the crew were parked under it that I realized how truly enormous it is.  They said it had never been trimmed - when I saw the estimate, I knew why - but they also said that this is a year that they expect to get a record number of calls for downed oaks.  If all goes according to plan, we will not be one of them.  I don't think I'll be afraid to drive by now.  (The 'road' in the front left is the driveway to the walnut house.)
That was yesterday.  Today, I decided once and for all that I will park in the garage.  I will park in the garage.  I will park in the garage.  Taking down last week's redwood was what pushed me to do it.  My car gets too hot, when it sits in the driveway with the sun beating down on it.
 Look at that!  There's enough space for a car!!  (My husband has always been able to get his truck into the garage.)  See those boxes on the left?  Those contain bits and pieces of the Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  Which reminds me...the website has been updated, with pictures of the winners, etc.  You can check out the new pages here.  And now, look at this!!  It fits!!
 I also took advantage of the space and the lighting to finally get a decent - not great, but decent - photo of my quilt.  This one has been accepted into Sacred Threads 2015.  There will be a book, so they asked for high quality images.
Here's a low resolution copy, that is similar to the high res one that I submitted:
"Joshua's Ocean"
Suzanne Kistler, 1990

huh.  Ocean-themed Ocean Waves quilt.  Made in 1990.  I guess my "thing" about the ocean and quilts that depict it are nothing new.  This particular quilt is one of my favorites, and probably always will be.  Can't wait for the show, though I won't be attending.  I am so glad to have pulled this one out of storage.  Like I said, it's a favorite.

And now, on to the next thing.  I wonder what it will be?  Something big, no doubt!

Friday, May 15, 2015


I tried taking some show photos of quilts today.  *sigh*  I used to have great results with a film camera.  The digital camera?  Sometimes the photos are great, sometimes, not so great.  Today was not so great.  I set up my lights and tripod and turned the camera on...and the battery died.  grrr.

I charged it, then spent 45 minutes trying to get clear sharp photos.  Apparently I don't have enough light today.  Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow, and I'll be able to do a better job.

I promised a better photo of Blackeyed Beauty.  This is the best I've got to date:

 But I did get a pretty good close-up.  There is some embroidery, on the bug, and the French knots on the flower's center.  All the rest is paint and thread.  That's it.
 And with that, I'm on to the next item on my ToDo List.  Wonder why it never gets any shorter?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tree vs. Drought

Well, the drought won this one.  One of our redwood trees has been water-stressed for the past several years.  Part of it was probably due to our switching from above ground sprinklers to a drip system 5 years ago.  Obviously the trees aren't getting as much water as they used to, and then combine that with the cut back in watering due to a lack of water and, well, the drought won.  Tree zero.

 The above is the "before" picture.  The tree on the furthest left belongs to our neighbor.  I suspect it looks so healthy and luscious because a couple of years ago it tapped into the sewer line, eventually popping it and causing a huge leak in the middle of the street.  Our tree (second on the left) was not so aggressive.  Here's a better view.  It was definitely struggling.  I'm not sure if you can tell from the angle, but it had a 20' split up the front, and it was leaning towards the garage.
 They cut a wedge at the bottom, tied the top to a truck, cut through the trunk, then backed the truck up.  Timber!
 It was simultaneously depressing and impressive.
 When they started cutting the top, the owner called me over to see the trunk.  This was 20' from the top.  He said the tree was much more distressed and dangerous than he'd thought, and we are fortunate that it hadn't fallen on its own.  (If you notice in the first photo, the top of the tree is double.  That means that at one point, it did break off.  I think I remember that, but not so clearly.  It's happened more than once in the middle of windstorms.)
Below is the "after" photo.  One tree is gone, and the tree on the right has been thinned, as has one in the backyard.  You can see the redwoods surrounding us.  Five are ours, the two shortest ones belong to our behind the fence neighbor, and the lush green one belongs to the neighbor on the left.  The giant trees were a huge selling point, when we moved into this neighborhood in 1994.
 This is what we have left.  One friend received about 15' of trunk to make bowls.  Another friend and my son are discussing the remaining 18'.  I've told my son that I'd really like a table made out of the largest section.  Then again, do I really want to add to his list of UFO's?  (He's already got tons - probably literally - of walnut, waiting to be planked.)
And that, folks, is what's been happening around here lately.  I've also finished my project from Asilomar and Susan Brubaker Knapp's class.  I just haven't gotten around to taking good pictures yet.  I can give you a bad one, just to tide you over...
And with that, I've got to say that I am most definitely happy to be back and quilting!!  :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Piecing Fool

I've finished putting together the baby quilt top that was on the wall in my last post, and sewn together another 20 orphaned stars to make a fourth top.  Apparently I need to put "basting" on my calendar this week.  I'm ready and rarin' to go!  Let's finish something!

But first, I would like to finish the project begun in Susan Brubaker Knapp's class, at Empty Spools.  On Saturday evening, I picked out some knotty quilting, and am just looking for the time to re-quilt it and finish.  Goals are good, doncha know?  :)

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and the faraway kids sent flowers.  ooh!  aah!  I felt special!  :)
 My daughter sent peonies, which rapidly EXPLODED into a celebration of petals.
 I've never seen them up close and personal.  Each one is distinct and beautiful.  I took LOTS of pictures.
 My son's flowers arrived when I was out back, enjoying a glass of water, my iPad kindle, and the weather.  (Note the dirt in the backyard.  You now know why my house has been painted such a happy color.)
And, hmmm.  I think that's about it.  I made a list yesterday, of the things that are of high priority this week.  uh oh.  I still have three major quilt show wrap-up tasks, as well as six big quilting goals.  None of them involve baby quilts.  I suppose if they're already late, a few more weeks won't make that much difference, will it?

And on that note, I'd better get to work.  Happy quilting!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Baby Quilts

So.  I am back.  I have 1,000,000 projects lined up to complete.  Okay, maybe it's not really a million, but it sometimes feels like it.  I haven't finished the project from Empty Spools, but I may finish it soon.  Today we went shopping in Porterville, and I picked up 2 dozen little spools of Aurifil.  They should be perfect to complete the background quilting, as well as replace some quilting done with Mettler.  That quilting had some spit-up on the backside, and if I want to submit the quilt to Houston - goals are good! - it needs to be better than good.  It needs to be as close to perfect as I can get.

I also have a quilt accepted to the upcoming Sacred Threads exhibit.  It's an old quilt, that I made decades ago.  But the thought behind it is strong, and as I said, it's been accepted.  Now they want a GOOD photo, to include in the book.  The quilt was a bit wonky, and I'd already decided to redo the binding if it got in.  Now I have a solid deadline, with the book looming.  It took three days to remove the binding.  It wasn't done well, but it was certainly done in a manner meant to last for a century.  yikes.  I'm now in the process of putting it back in place.  I'll share pictures, once it's done.

I've also got a stack of babies that need quilts.  wait.  Did that sound right?  ;)  Babies are arriving faster than their quilts are being made.  Since Monday, I've popped out these three tops:
 One for a girl, and one for a boy.
 Okay, so this last one isn't together yet.  It's just lots of leftover blocks, combined with more leftover squares.  It's fun in a funky quirky sort of way.  Not much rhyme or reason to my assembling madness.
Today we went shop-hopping, to two shops, not during the shop hop.  It's much easier to spend money when one has the store to oneself, or is sharing the store with friends.  cha ching.  yep.  I put a pretty solid ding on the plastic.  woohoo!  I feel some quilting coming on!

And with that, I should get back to it.  I'm good at setting goals, but completing them?  Well, it's time that I started moving the numbers on the log on the side of the blog.  You know, the one that says what I've finished this year?  It's been static since February.  Not a good thing.  Not good at all.

So.  What are you working on?  Something scrumptious?  I hope so!  Happy quilting!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Home for a While

I have to say that it was really hard to come back yesterday.  The past month has been extraordinary, to say the least.  Quilt show, Missouri, Paducah, visiting with my Alaskan relatives, St. Louis with my son and his wife, and finally, Asilomar.  It was truly dessert, after an exquisite multi-course meal.  I'm so glad I squeezed it in!  I feel like I came home invigorated, ready to create.  It's been a long time since I've felt like this.  Let's just hope it lasts for a while.

It's 93 here.  When I left Pacific Grove yesterday, it was 63.  Talk about climate shock.  oh. my. goodness.

 I took multiple photos, all that would translate well into fabric.  If only there were more hours in the day, more days in the week, more weeks in the month, more months to my life...
 This was my favorite.  It's a selfie.  :)
And with that, the laundry calls, along with the dog, the cats, the vacuuming, the vacant refrigerator, etc., etc., etc.  Maybe I'll get a chance to quilt on Monday.  Goals are good!  :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Almost Done

Well, the week at Empty Spools is drawing to a close at noon today.  *sigh*  And what a week it has been!  I saw lots of deer early in the week, including this inspiring trio:
There were the usual birds, but they flit around so fast, it's difficult to catch them with my camera.
But as I told you earlier, my focus has been to learn to paint on fabric.  I do believe I've had some amazing success.  It's hard to believe that I did this/am doing this.  But it is mine, most definitely.  This is what I had on display for the walk-about.
 Here is some of the quilting I've been doing.
 And this is the underneath.
whew!  I was hoping to finish before I leave today, but there's still much too much to do, so that's highly unlikely.

And with that, I'd best put my bags in the car and head down to the classroom.  The clock is ticking!