Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christmas Quilt Ideas

As it's getting closer to Christmas, and I thought some of you might be looking for ideas.  These two look equally well in everyday fabrics, as well as Christmas prints, because they are composed with traditional block designs.

Checkerboard Stars was designed to take advantage of large motif fabric.  I've also made it up as a lap quilt, by adding two more rows, as seen in my other Checkerboard Stars posts.

Christmas Sleigh Ride has a large border, which is also designed to take adantage of large motif fabrics, and would also look wonderful with border prints.

If your local quilt shop doesn't happen to have my patterns, there is a list of suppliers on my blog and website.  I'll be uploading an order form to my website soon, so that you will also be able to order directly from me, and have updated my calendar, begun adding pages for my book and trunk show, as well as adding more large pictures to the gallery.  (It would already be up, except that the computer that happens to have dreamweaver installed on it is currently down.  I'm happy to have my old laptop right now, as I still have access to email and the web!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sock Yarn

My travel wheel is set up in the second studio, and has had yarn in progress for a while, since I'm not there all the time.  The wool is from Yarnwench, and is called cupcakes 2, which is a wonderfully soft merino wool.

During my last visit to the studio, I was able to finish plying the singles into a 2-ply yarn, and bring it home to finish.  After it was washed and dried, it looks to be about sock yarn weight.  The wool weighed over 4 oz., so it should be enough for a pair of socks, hat or scarf.  When I wind it into a ball, I'll run it through the yardage counter and find out exactly how much I have.  Right now, I'm thinking it will be a scarf or shawlette, but haven't decided on a specific pattern yet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weaving With Fabric - again

Another project in the other studio is on my rigid heddle loom (mentioned in the previous studio post).  I thought I could use it to weave up the remaining fabric strips and make another tote, but so far, I'm wrong:-(  On this loom I'm not able to beat the fabric and yarn as hard as on the floor loom, and although it's still pretty, the fabric is sheer and not suitable for a bag of any kind.

This picture was taken a bit closer, and hopefully, you can see how open the fabric is (and this is with the warp tension released, so I don't think it will get any better).  Maybe this will be ok for a shawl or sheer curtain, but I've either got to learn how to make friends with this loom, or it may eitherbe  resigned to only weaving knitting yarns or on it's way out of the studio.  (If it was my only loom, and only creative outlet, I'm sure I'd spend more time experimenting, but I love my inkle and floor loom, and have the new tapestry loom to learn, while I've had this one for over a year, and still haven't fallen in love with it - maybe I'm just spoiled with the others???)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crazy Log Cabins

 I thought it would be fun to make a small crazy log cabin quilt, so I designed it in EQ to help me decide on the block size, which is 6-1/2" (I'm not trimming to size until I'm ready to put them together, so I can still change my mind).  Starting with leftover strips from cutting out other quilt projects, I began by cutting 1-1/2" squares for the block centers (they're not all the same fabric, but similar enough for this crazy style - they're in the lower right).

I needed more fabric to make that many blocks, so dug through my scraps and small pieces of fabric, as well as others that I had used in crazy log cabin blocks last year and came up with some variety, although I know I need to add more bright prints as I run out of those I have.  The strips are cut in various widths, and I'm using everything from 3/4" wide to 1-1/2" wide, just to have more variety!

Because I like to be frugal with my fabric (what can I say, I was raised to be frugal when cutting out clothing when I learned to sew), I'll sew as many centers as I can to a strip and then do the same with another strip.  Sometimes I'll save some of the smaller strips to use a few rows into the block's construction, especially when I don't have any larger pieces of that fabric left.

After I sew each strip to the growing block, I press the strip away from the center and trim the ends even with the block.  Some of the strips are not even, which makes the block wonky, and sometimes I'll trim a wider strip at an angle to make it wonky on purpose.  It all makes for a more fun block, with no worries, as they will be trimmed into perfect blocks when I'm ready to set them together.

This is where I was when I took the pictures with my phone,

and this is where I am now (I've just puzzled them together for a group photo).  Maybe I should just keep them all different and fit them together like this for the quilt???

New Studio Progress

I've slowly been taking  things to the new studio, and thought you might like to see how it looks at the present time.  (Don't hold your breath for it to be finished any time soon, since it is probably going to take years to get everything sorted and moved.)

At any rate, I managed to take a few pictures last weekend, including the little project I've started there (originally, I'd planned to post earlier pictures of it, but they're still in my phone, which refuses to speak with my computer, because I don't have the proper software).  I'll post more about the project later, but there is a glimpse of it here. 

My old desk / sewing table is serving me well again, as well as my old cutting table, which is back in service.  Ikea had some inexpensive seating solutions, such as my cushioned stool and taller stools, which are the right height to work at the cutting table.  The travel spinning wheel is set up, and I'll post the project I finished soon.

Last week saw a bit of trading with a friend, both of us trading things which we needed to clear out of our studios, but the other was interested in.  New to me is the tapestry loom, which I have warped and begun the first lesson from a tapestry book.  So far, I'm finding that carpet warp is a bit slippery for tapestry, because I had a difficult time beating the weft to a straight line, as it kept wanting to move further down the warp, and I need to leave space for fringe later.  Next time I'll try linen or wool for warp yarns.

My desk area is really used for whatever I need it to be at the time.  Several months ago I wove fabric strips through carpet warp on my floor loom, and made the fabric up into a lovely bag that I ended up selling.  I thought I could re-create the fabric on the rigid heddle loom, but I was wrong.  Although I'm able to weave on it, I'm not able to beat it hard enough to get as firm a fabric as I'd like (so far I'm really only happy weaving sock and knitting yarns with it, although I'm amazed at the beautiful fabrics that others are able to make with them).  Since I still have warp on the loom, I'll probably experiment with the remaining warp until I get sick of it.

This is a storage / work cart which really comes in handy!  It is easy to wheel out into the open area so I can share the studio with a friend, and has already been used to weave a large "quilt" basket that I showed you in the past (a portion of it can be seen to the far right of my desk in the picture above). 

Eventually, I plan to have a design wall that will stretch from the door on the left to the end of the wall behind the door on the right, behind my ironing board.  I do have  a big board, and plan to either put it on the cart in the picture above, or on a larger one, that will support it better, sometime in the future.  I just need someone to go to IKEA with me to help with the lifting, and then carrying it down into the studio.  (I had planned to purchase it when I bought the desk furniture and the other cart, but the boxes were too heavy for me.  Yes, they have staff that will help you get items onto a cart, and eve into your car, but it doesn't do me any good without someone at home to help unload, so I'll wait for a time when my husband or a friend can go along.) 

I know it's a bit messy, especially with many of my supplies stored in bins, baskets, and bags, but eventually it will all get sorted out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Innovations Quilt Show

The Innovations Quilt show had some very amazing quilts this year, as well as some special exhibits! My friend Ellen and I traveled together, and it was a lot more fun than going by myself, and she pointed out many things I would have missed! My camera battery also died before I got to Sharon Schamber's gorgeous quilts, so I don't have any pictures here, although you can visit the gallery on her site to see better pictures than I could have taken. Her site can be found at: .

I love this pictorial quilt of Venice, and have been dreaming that someday I will be able to make my own version (maybe someone will let me use their picture:-)). I was hoping that the label would be readable when I got home, but it isn't, so if you know the maker of this quilt, please let me know so that I can update this entry with his / her name!

I love this quilt! It has so many features I love, and is a wholecloth quilt. I don't remember seeing a label on this quilt, so if you know who made it, please let me know and I'll update this post. It was in the area of Irena Bluhm's quilts, so it's possible that it belongs to her, but I don't know.

This next one belongs to Irena Bluhm. I have her book and have to say it is beautiful! She is such a nice lady to chat with, and I purchased a couple books from her, but don't have them yet, as she is shipping them to me. Her website is: .

This quilt is similar, but has been made by Pat Noonan, one of her students!

Judy Irish is so much fun to talk with, and when she's not longarming quilts for authors and others, she finds time to make a few fun quilts herself. This one has so much texture when you see it in person, I'm sure the picture can't do it justice! I don't know if she has a website, but does have a blog at: .

Kathleen Craig made this beautiful moonscape, and I'm reminded of a wholecloth that I need to get back to. Isn't it beautiful!

Finally, I was able to see one of Ferret's quilts in person, and I must say it's awesome!!! I"m amazed how she was able to convey such a realistic image with such few pieces of applique! Her blog can be found at: .

Bethany Garner

Bethany Garner, you're the winner of Skinny Quilts II, but you left no contact information, and if you don't contact me by the end of the month, I'll be forced to pull a new winner. Please contact me!

My email is on the Contact Me page of my website , but you need to type it in, as I've left spaces around the "@" to try to keep spammers away. There is also a link to my website at the upper right of my blog.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lecture at QA tomorrow

You know how I told you I would be on Jury Duty this week, well it turns out that this court is very organized, and I don't have to return until Friday! On my way home, I was trying to decide what to do with Wednesday and Thursday, which were open, since I had thought I'd be sitting in court. Well, as we were eating our dinner (I hadn't even had time to check for phone messages yet), I got a call from a member of Quilter's Anonymous, here in WA, asking if I could give a lecture tomorrow morning as they had a last minute cancellation. Of course, I said yes, and am busy packing, since I need to be there early.
So... If you're a member or know someone who is, I'll have all but two of my book quilts with me, and quite a few others. (I would have all of them, but two are at a local quilt shop for a couple weeks, and they won't be open before I leave.) If you come, please stop by to say hi, and let me know you read my blog. Hope to see some of you there!
[Yes, blogger is still taking out the spaces between paragraphs! Why???]

The winner of Skinny Quilts and Table Runners 2 is

Bethany Garner! Please contact me with your snail mail address, so I can mail the book off to you.

I still have more books to give away, so I'll post another review soon. In the meantime, I'll be spending the next several days on Jury Duty, which will give me lots of time to look at books, because I just found out I can't take my knitting, as I had planned, because they have outlawed knitting needles, even the circular ones! Maybe I can get some drawing done too, and hopefully I'll think up something else to do so I don't go crazy sitting around the courthouse.
As soon as I have a chance I'll go through and upload some pictures from the past weekend. We took a ferry from Seattle, so I've got pictures of the city from the ship, and pictures of some crazy log cabin blocks that I started (those are on my phone, so I've got to see about getting them transferred to my computer, which I've never done before - another new thing to learn). Something else I'd like to know is why Blogger decides to delete my paragraph spacing sometimes, and other times / places it leaves them alone, as I want them to be (yep, it messed with this one, making it look like gobbly gook).

Friday, September 03, 2010

Last Night's Quilt Guild Meeting

was a blast! Everyone was divided into groups and rotated around the room, with about 12 minutes at each of our stations! We had to explain very quickly, and I had said I could do either foundation piecing or applique using freezer paper, and they asked if I could do both. The only way to accomplish that was to use my already prepared, stepped-out samples, so I placed the smaller samples in a binder and the large, spider mum in baggies, to keep the pieces together.

My "Asian Mums" quilt from my book was on the table, as well as my book. I also brought book flyers that they could take with them, since the book isn't available until October. Although I felt as if I was talking a mile a minute (and probably was), everyone gave me lots of compliments!

Here's the completed "Asian Mums" flower sample, which uses a freezer paper / turned edge technique:

This one uses freezer paper for foundation piecing:

And the last one uses freezer paper with fusible web:

All of the stepped out samples are in my book, along with a section on free motion quilting and of course, all the quilt patterns.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

It's here!!!

OMG, it's amazing to finally be able to touch, hold and flip through my book, so I'm floating on air!!! Flowers also arrived today from my publisher, That Patchwork Place / Martingale & Co. - THANK YOU! Here's the book and flowers pictured on one of the table runners that is in the book:

However, I must get to work, finishing preparations for my demo at the local Stray Threads Quilt Guild tonight, and yes, I'll be bringing my book to share, although it won't be available to others until October.