Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Facing, Better Corners

One thing that I've had some trouble with is turning corners when facing my quilts.  When binding them?  No problemo.  But facing?  mucho problemo. 

When Charlotte saw one of my quilts, she cringed and said, "Remind me to tell you about the video that I saw on facings!"  Then she showed me her quilt, with corners so sharp I might cut myself.  oh my.

This is one of my corners, probably the worst on this particular quilt:
 The quilt was awarded a 3rd place at BOTV, but if I hope for recognition at a major major show?  I'd better do something about it.  The first quiltie thing I did once the show was over was to take the facing off of that quilt.  That meant I also had to take off the sleeve, and the label...not an undertaking for the faint of heart.

But it was oh, so, worth it!  Here is the new facing.  Look at that corner!  It's as sharp as Charlotte's!
 It's not BEAUTIFUL on the back, but it's not terrible either.  In fact, I think it's pretty doggone good, if I do say so myself. 
And that's all I've got for you, folks.  I've done the same thing to "The Early and Late Rains," in preparation for hopefully sending it to some show somewhere.  Most of the corners turned easily, but I had problems with the last one.  I may have to go back and see what I did wrong.   Translation:  I may have to pick it out again.  At least I haven't stitched the sleeve or the label back in place yet.

Everything seems to be a work in progress.  Even when I've declared it "finished!"

And on that, I am hopeful that I will sew...if I can get my desk under control.  I had my housekeeper dust the desk for me, once I'd taken everything off of it.  I've been trying to cull through the stuff, to organize.  It's a job that took 12 hours on Monday, 3 hours yesterday, and will swallow up probably at least another 3-6 hours.  oh well.  It will be worth it, right?  Doing it right usually is...

 Except for the laptop, all of this was on the desktop. 
Now.  Don't you feel SO much better about your own little bit of clutter?  I thought so!
Happy Spring Cleaning!  oh my.  oh. my. goodness.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two Cards

I promised pictures of birthday cards.  Here is the first one.  It arrived at its destination today.
 This is the second one.  I found the little llama charm in an antique mall in San Carlos last month.  I chose it for my sister, who has a thing for llamas and alpacas.
 It went well with the herd I purchased last year from a local handweaver at the annual Handweaver's sale in Exeter.  Cuteness!  I couldn't resist.
 The other thing that I sewed recently is the facing on "Kelp."  I thought it might have placed better had the corners been sharper.  Now they are.  It's as good as it's going to get.
This weekend, I have plans for lots of handwork.  Let's hope that I have something to show for it by the time Sunday evening rolls around.  Goals are good!

Saturday, April 15, 2017


On Thursday, one of our new members at guild volunteered to do a trunk show.  I had no idea what to expect, as she's lived out of state for years.  I know her mother, Phyllis, better than I know Alleen.  But when you look at a person's quilts, I feel like you get to know the person.

Let me introduce you to Alleen Parker:

I love the way the red pops these blocks.  She said she helped her grandmother with the piecing, when she (Alleen) was 8 years old.  She's now retired, so it's been a while.  What a bold graphic quilt!  It makes me happy.
This quilt was made from her grandfather's clothes and pajamas.  She said nothing about the hands in the border, but they really personalize it and give it character.
This one is Delectable Mountains, made while she lived in Idaho.
 This one is string-pieced.  Makes me want to pull out my string box and once again begin stitching to muslin.
And that's all I've got for you today, folks.  I made a couple of birthday cards, but can't share them until next week.  I missed the mailman this morning, so I'll probably post them on Wednesday.

Until then, be inspired!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time Flies!

whoosh!  The visible-to-the-public part of Best of the Valley Quilt Show has come and gone.  Now the behind-the-scenes-wrap up will consume my days in the coming week.  Yesterday quilts were shipped back to their owners.  Today's schedule should include a trip (or two) to our storage unit, to drop off the PVC pipe, sign boards, and other large, bulky quilt show paraphernalia.  The rest?  Hangs out in my garage year-round.

So, while I attend to this detail and that, I'll leave you with pictures of the quilts that I entered in BOTV 2017.  Enjoy!
 "Another Sunset" - Suzanne Kistler, 2017
"By The Sea" - Suzanne Kistler, 2015
 "Hanging By a Thread" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016
 "Wheel of Color" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016
"Kelp" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016

Those are the quilts I entered this year.  I was pleased to be mentioned, since I knew the competition would be competitive.  :)  Finally, I'll leave you with this shot of the surprise my husband sent to me on opening day:
Hope you're inspired to quilt.  I know I am!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

This n That

A few months ago, I brought home some exciting hand-embroidered pillowcases from an estate sale.  In the sale house, they had no odor.  But once I brought them into my house?  A musty smell was pretty apparent.  I spent a lot of time online, trying to find the "cure" for mustiness.  I tried several things, and in the end, it seemed to require a combination of treatments, the most important of which was boiling water, "to kill the mold spores."  Baking soda worked better than vinegar to remove odor.  And then I set the pillowcases flapping in the windy sunshine for a couple of days, to be sure it was gone.  So far, so good.  The mustiness seems to be gone.  Good to know that there is a cure, right?   Apparently they already knew that in "the olden days."  In modern times, with modern machinery, it never occurred to me that boiling water served a vital purpose.  Kind of a "duh" moment for this history major.

With the quilt show fast approaching, I've spent a LOT of time at my computer.  I've been organizing and typing and ordering and sorting, and with Quilt Week arriving on Monday?  I've needed to add some variety to my life.

Last week, my housekeeper - yes, I have one now, for 6 hours/week - helped me deep clean the china hutch and several kitchen cabinets.  When she left, I had dishes EVERYWHERE.  It took another 45 minutes or so, to put them all away.  (I shifted things from here to there and everywhere else.  It was a huge undertaking.)  But, wow.  I think this is Spring Cleaning, at its finest.  At least for me.  Look at all those nice orderly plates, bowls and glassware.  woohoo!
 See all of the hand-thrown pottery?  The blue/white, and brown bowls and casseroles were all made by my mom.  She passed away in 2000, so they're becoming vintage.  Some are chipped, some are cracked, but unless they end up in two pieces, I always return them to the cabinet.
Yesterday, I needed a sewing break.  I put together a card for a friend whose birthday isn't for another month.  But I had the little found treble clef, and didn't want to misplace it yet again.  I think I got it in a baggie of jewelry odds and ends from yet another estate sale.  It has a little rhinestone in the tail, which I think is adorable.
And, hmm.  yep.  Nothing to see here, folks.  It's just a typing extravaganza extraordinaire. 

Best of the Valley Quilt Show opens to the public at 10am on Friday, April 7.  Please come, and bring your friends.  Guaranteed to be a highlight of your quilt show attendance for 2017, especially if you love to see exceptional quilts, up close and personal.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's Spring-ing!

 I love it when the flowers begin opening around the yard.  I only had a single daffodil this year, and two narcissus, but the iris?  They're promising a riot of color, and the tulips?  They're doing their part.
 Spring is in the yard!  That means that Best of the Valley Quilt Show is right around the corner.
 In the foreground is the first red-violet iris of the season.  In the background, is my van, already loaded with pvc pipe and drape for displaying quilts.  The clock is ticking, as show time will be here before you know it.  April 7-9, 2017, McDermont Field House, in Lindsay - that's where I'm going to be.
No sewing going on to speak of, other than a single quilted card, that was sent before I remembered that I should have taken photo documentation.  Oh well.  I know I made it, and I guess that's good enough for now.

Gotta run.  The quilt show prep continues to beckon...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Few Birthday Wishes

I don't even know how long it's been since I posted.  Time is FLYING.  The quilt show is right around the corner (April 7-9).  If you want details, you can find them on our website, as well as the link to "like" us on Facebook.  The most recent updates come through on Facebook.  There's even a working list of 2017 vendors there, in the "notes" section.

But enough of that.  You thought there would be birthday wishes, didn't you?

My granddaughter turned 6 last week.  We went up to visit, and I made her a card.
 I was particularly pleased with my "wrapping" job, of this box full of Barbies.  (The bunnies are in honor of her being born in the year of the rabbit.
The very next day, one of my Itty Bitty quiltie friends had a birthday.  She, too, needed a card.  So I made this one:
 It was so much fun, the next day I made a card for a friend whose birthday was in February.
 And then one, for a friend whose birthday was earliest in March.
You may think that I am on a roll, but I'm not.  I'm just procrastinating from the typing that has been filling the past couple of days. 

And on that note, I really should get back to it. 
Hope to see you at Best of the Valley Quilt Show!

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Finish!

Did I set any goals for February?  I think the only goal I set was to get my quilts entered in Best of the Valley.  Past that?  ohmygoodness!  My days are too full to set goals!  In fact, I'm taking a break from quilt show tasks right now, to post.  shame on me!  ;)

I was very excited about the theme for this year's BOTV Challenge, i.e., "Colors of the Valley."  But make a quilt?  I didn't have time for that.  But when the deadline for the show challenge arrived and there weren't many entries?  The deadline was extended for 5 days, so that those who ran out of time could finish their submissions. 

I looked around at my UFO's, and spotted the top that I'd put together last May in the Jean Wells class up in Sisters, OR.  The challenge quilts were to measure 18 x 24", my top was 20 x 26".  With some heavy quilting, I thought it might just shrink up to 18x24, and surely enough, it did!  (I trimmed off less that 1/4" in each direction.)

Here is my final piece, finished in time for the extended deadline:
 "The Early and Late Rain"  by Suzanne Kistler, March 2017

 "The Early and Late Rain" - detail

I'd been thinking that during this wet wet year, this quilt is the color that rain brings.  I had a working title of "The Color of Rain" as I quilted, but once it was finished?  I tried to recall a Bible verse that mentioned both early and late rain.  I found it through a search on Bible Gateway

In trying to keep with the deadline, I decided to "save time" by printing my label, rather than stitching it out on my embroidery machine.  In doing so, I could increase the amount of text.  Here is my final label - I need to play around some more, to figure out how to "pop" the text better - I put the text on a background of a recent photo from my backyard.  I am very pleased with the results.

And that's it.  wow.  I actually quilted for more than 5 minutes in a month, AND I finished something.  Big things are afoot!  woohoo!

P.S.  In other quiltie news, my quilt By The Sea was accepted into the Sacred Threads exhibit this July.  Stay tuned for more details. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

World Peace

My middle son turned 30 on 3/3.  When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he responded, "World Peace."  This is the card I made for him.  (Quarter in the shot for size comparison.)

He said it was, "Best Card Ever!"
heh heh
Happy Birthday!!! 

**World Piece, for anyone who didn't catch it.  :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

One Dollar

I don't know about you, but I LOVE estate sales.  I don't know what it is about them, but maybe it's the chance to take a trip back in time.  You never know when you'll see toys you had when you were a toddler, or clothes that you wore in high school.  Other people's stuff triggers all kinds of memories.  And when some of those positive triggers are for sale?  Well, guess who grabs them up and takes them home?  That would be me.

I'm like a magpie.  When I see something I like, and the price is right?  I bring it home.  Doesn't matter if I need it like another hole in my head, I get it anyway.  I have a big house, right?  har har, not so much any more!!

Anyway, on Saturday, we swung by an estate sale.  They had all kinds of fabric items on a table in the garage.  There, in a grocery bag, were some wool blocks for a crazy quilt, all embroidered, and ready to piece together.  I flipped through them, and asked, "How much?"

Well, when she said, "$1?  For all of them, not a piece?"  I said, "Sold!"  and then found a second bag with another 5 or 6 blocks.  She threw them in for free.

They're a bit musty, so they're outside airing.

All of the fabrics are wool, with the exception of a strip of navy blue polyester put into two blocks.  I'm not sure why the maker did that...maybe she ran out of wool?

In other news, the first iris are thinking of blooming.  Stay tuned, because once one pops, the rest can not be far behind.
Not much sewing going on around here, but I have been trying to dig out a path to my sewing machine.  Goals are good, and all that!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

No Place Like Home

I spent the bulk of last week in SoCal, settling my dad back in his home.  Long story, and we're not at the end.  We're trying Home Instead, which appears to be an answer to prayer.  If only he would stay home to let them in to help around the house.  (He tends to go AWOL.)  I spent hours clearing out cake mixes from 1999, and tons of bug habitat.  I left it just begun, and am hopeful that they will be allowed in today, to finish the job.  ugh.

The yard is not what I remember.
The drought has taken its toll, and there are 70' pine trees that are absolutely and completely dead.  The oleanders lining the driveway?  Mostly dead.  The tangelo trees, my mother's pride and joy?  95% dead.  An acre of dead and dying 50+ year old trees, covered with spectacular new growth of bright green weeds, etc.  It is tragically beautiful.

While there, I spotted a needlepoint "tapestry" that I made for my mom in the early 70's.  I wrote the essay when I was in 7th grade.  She loved it so much, I ended up doing the needlepoint during the hours (and hours and hours) that I spent babysitting while in high school.
My dad sent it home with me, and it is now hanging in the guest room.  Lots of memories are held within that picture frame.  The teacher had a poster on his wall.  It was a black and white photo of a young dad with a toddler on his shoulders.  They were walking down a country lane in autumn, under a canopy of trees.  The caption on the poster was "Take Time."  Mr. Milne, our teacher, said, "Write an essay, using the poster as a prompt."  And so I did.

February's goal has been met.  I got my entries submitted to Best of the Valley 2017 by yesterday's deadline.  whew!!

And I guess that's it for now...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Old Quilt, New Binding

A couple of decades ago, I made my baby a Big Boy Quilt.  That baby is now 27 years old.  The quilt is 23.  My quilting skills have improved since 1993.

One thing that has changed has been the way I make binding.  When I began quilting in earnest, in the late 80's, I was told that single-fold binding was fine, double-fold was a waste of fabric.  I've since learned that if you are making a quilt that will see much use, double-fold binding is highly desirable.  It doesn't use THAT much additional fabric, and saving yourself from redoing binding is a win in my book.

I knew the quilt was faded, but just how faded?  I was surprised.
 I thought I still had leftover fabric, but the piece in my stash was actually a different shade.  I realized that once I'd cut the binding.  yikes.  Not sure it will work.  The color change is pretty dramatic.
 But when I sewed it on?  It's not that horrible, is it?
I finished yesterday, as the SuperBowl came to an end.  Perhaps it will see another decade or two of use.  It was well-loved, that much is certain.
 One thing that I am glad that I learned early on was that "All Quilts Need a Label."  I made this one with Micron pigma pens, back in the 90's.  Can you read it?  It says who the quilt was made for, why I chose the pattern, who made it, and when.  And then, at the bottom, I've added the additional history, which is the ribbon that it won at the County Fair.
My current labels are machine-embroidered in matching fabric and threads, but the information stays the same.  And if a quilt wins an award?  I make additional labels to attach on the back.  One thing is for certain:  Whether anyone is interested or not, my quilts carry their history with them, wherever they go.

And on that, it's time to get to work.  Happy Quilting!