Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Green

27 years ago I bought a 48" x 96" green cutting mat. Think about it... that's four feet by eight feet! At the time I had a 48" x 120" worktable, so it worked just fine. At the time I also bought a 24" x 36" clear cutting mat.

Then my life changed, and I rolled up the big green mat and stored it in my basement. A few years later I cut a 36" piece off the long side to use on my dining room table, but I rolled up the rest and it went back to the basement.

When my sister and I started making scrappy quilts in the late 90's, I gave her the green mat (because she also got the table) and I used the clear one. I've been using it ever since.

Having two work tables in the new sewing room is really great, but free piecing makes a heck of a mess, and the clutter limits my workspace.

I decided it was time to bring up the green mat from the basement, and cut it down to the size of my big worktable, which is 37-1/2" x 51". Because it's been rolled up so long, I left it lying on my dining room floor for a couple of days to relax and on Saturday I cut it down to size. It's held in place with spring clamps. The clear mat got moved to the smaller table.
So where did the mess go?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four

Can I have just one more?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Visit with Yvonne

It's so much fun to find a quilter/quilt blogger right in your area. Yvonne, who made this OUTSTANDING quilt, lives a mere 30 minutes from my house.

I visited her yesterday, and showed off some quilts. We talked for three hours about quilts, sewing machines, art, quilting, sewing tools, blogging, cats, kids, friends, family, creativity... everything.

I had a great time. Thanks for sharing and listening, Yvonne! It was a great way to cap off a great vacation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Free Piecing for Julie

I love free-piecing. I really do. I love how it takes over the entire studio. Julie, while you can't see any finished blocks or panels in this picture, you can see lots of fabrics that will go in your quilt ...and some that won't!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Colors for Astrid

My friend Astrid has asked me to make a quilt for her. She asked for cream with colors. She doesn't like pastels, and she's not too fond of pink.

I visited my favorite quilt shop, Quilted Threads, and looked around. I had to know what was available before I could choose. I think I walked around the whole store three times before I selected any fabric.

First I had to decide whether I wanted to use creams or beiges. I hate beige, so that was a pretty easy decision. I needed six, and these are the ones I selected**:

Next I picked the gorgeous green at the bottom (Robert Kaufman Imperial Collection # 9912). It was positively the most gorgeous green I'd ever seen and this picture doesn't do it justice. Then I picked the big bold print (second from the top), which is from the only design studio I can ever correctly identify, Rowan/Westminster.

After that, my choices were fairly limited. Having set myself up with two big bold prints, I couldn't wimp out with more traditional, "safer" choices. And I didn't want to use batiks, even though I knew I would find the colors I wanted. I didn't think the patterns would be big enough to stand up to the others. The "No Pink" limitation knocked out a lot of possible fabrics, too.

I really liked the gold Asian fabric (Treasures of the East, by Hoffman), and the bluish-green-gold I already had, along with Astrid's desire for bright colors, but no pink, really called out for more dramatic choices.

These were rounded out by two from the "gerta collection by marcia derse for mdd studio" (blue green stripe and purple bull-eyes) and a "Dab of Jazz 7925" (the orangey-salmon). Since Astrid has a cool red sofa, I knew the brilliant warm and cool reds of AndaLucia Moorish by Michael Miller would be perfect as the backing.

So what kind of a quilt am I making? I'm using the Slashed Squares design, which I used to make the Sunshine Quilt for my son (aka Mr Karate), as well as this summer version.

**The creams are (from the top)
"Tile Mosaic" from the Lantern Moon collection by Michael Miller
a Jinny Beyer
the gold swirls is from Timeless Treasures (probably a Holiday fabric. I find you can often get good reds and greens from the Holiday section)
Imperial by Hoffman
Metro Mirage by Marcus (dunno more, incomplete selvage on that one)
Rural Jardin Toile by Moda (I think)

thank goodness for selvages, and yes, I have a big bin full of them calling my name....

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Eye Hug & Kiss You" Pincushion

I didn't make this. My friend Carol did. She's made several Angel quilts for the Doll Swaps and just got on a pincushion kick. I saw them and thought they were spectacular.

After a bit of emailing back and forth, this little beauty arrived in my mailbox yesterday. It's about 4" square and stuffed with walnut shells, so it stays put!

I have a trip to my favorite quilt shop, Quilted Threads, to tell you about tomorrow! Wait till you see the luscious fabrics I bought!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"R" for Julie

As soon as I sewed up this "R" I knew I couldn't keep it secret from Julie.

I knew I wanted to use this fabric, but I wasn't quite sure how. As I moved it around, I thought I could take advantage of one of the curlicues for the descender in the letter "R". So I sewed it up that way, and as I was working, the solution for how the rest of the letter would be constructed revealed itself.


For anybody who knows how much I love to watch Tennis, the answer is "Yes," I was watching the marathon match at Wimbledon between American John Isner and the Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut. And I'll continue to watch later today when they resume playing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For Julie, Part Two

For Julie, who isn't a big fan of orange, here is a big (BIG) red-orange asterisk for your quilt. Trust me, it needed it, and it looks good!

Here is one of my favorite letters so far:

"M" is for.... ???

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Little Something Something...

I'm on what is now called "stay-cation" this week, and as you can see, I've got a sewing project I'm working on.  It's a surprise for Julie, and although she knows the subject and the colors I'm using, she doesn't want to see it until it is finished.

At any rate, it's moving along and I like what I have so far.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Friend Has a Question

Dear readers, I need your help.  My friend Becky is having a problem with her Fiskars cutting mat. 

In her words, "It keeps 'trails' where I've used the rotary cutter. I was wondering if you've had this problem, and how you've dealt with it."

Anybody have any comments or suggestions for Becky?  I have an older cutting mat that isn't "self-healing" that I've had for years without this trouble.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

.... In Which Artisitic Interpretation Doesn't Always Succeed...

I saw a photo of a Red Shafted Flicker and I thought it was a really good looking bird. I tried to interpret him in fabric, and was not wholly successful. This is when "free piecing" without any preparatory drawing is a distinct disadvantage.

Of course, I didn't have any polka dot fabric, I forgot the black "bib" and I couldn't find my gray fabric. My bird looks like a pheasant.

Back to the drawing board. Oops, I mean sewing room!

Edited.... Made another bird, this is Mr Yellow Paisley, visiting from The Big City.  Paisley plays piano in a jazz bar and is a big hit with the ladies.  Their butterfly friend is Miss Edith Checkerspot from Baltimore. She is visiting her old college pals Blue and Paisley..

Friday, June 18, 2010


Here's a cute little bluebird for the quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap. I will add a button for an eye.

Hey Julie! Do you like birds?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zing, and Zap

Another flower, or asterisk; kind of amazed how perfectly this came out. It's 3-1/2" across. Tutorial here, courtesy of Sarah, the maker of the incredible quilt I received for DQS7, the one that now hangs in my school-bus yellow bathroom.
Much angst was spent over the last 24 hours whining about a swap partner whose likes and dislikes were so narrow they excluded virtually every piece of fabric in my stash, who indicated preferences of types of quilts I made 30 years ago and have no interest in repeating, and preferences for handwork, like embroidery and applique, which I am physically incapable of doing.

So what am I going to do?

Well, I'm going to listen to one or two things (she likes "blue" - whoopee ding!), ignore the rest (she hates batiks and the color orange), and I am going to make a quilt I love. Because whether we share the same taste or not, she deserves a beautiful quilt.

It just might take her a little while to fall in love with it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap Idea

I have an idea for my little quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap. Think you can figure out what it is?

Monday, June 14, 2010

For Julie

Julie and I are doing a swap. I can't tell you what it is, but Julie asked to see my name in wonky letters on the back. I've never before started with the back. Julie wants jewel tones, fuchsias, sapphire blues, emerald greens, deep purples, and a few hot pinks. Julie isn't so big on yellows and oranges, so of course I had to use my brightest orange-y fabric in my name! (The "T" and "y" are too far apart, and have to be moved closer.)

Naturally, teasing Julie is also high on the list!

And the block yesterday was actually a part of an asterisk.

This will go on the front of Julie's quilt.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This Is Not a "K"

This is not a wonky letter "k".

It's part of a new project I am working on (it's not the quilt for DQS9 either).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap Quilts - Received

Here are the quilts I have received from my partners in the Doll Quilt Swaps.

This was made by Savida from New York City for Doll Quilt Swap 4. It is completely sewn and quilted by hand. There is so much detail to look at, the tiny little sashing squares, the ever so slightly different backgrounds of all the blocks... it's really quite amazing.

When Gemma received my likes and dislikes for Doll Quilt Swap 5, she thought "She and I were separated at birth," and made me this paper-pieced beauty. Gemma lives in Wales in the UK.
For Doll Quilt Swap 6, I asked my partner to make something that was unique. Petra, from Scotland, loves antique textiles and dolls and crafted this very special quilt.Check out the little doll. Petra wrote the doll was bald, and when she cut her daughter's hair, she thought to use it for the little doll.
For Doll Quilt Swap 7, I asked my partner to make a quilt for my school-bus yellow bathroom. Sarah made me a quilt that just knocked me out - so much me, but so much her, and so perfect on that yellow wall!Jodie got everything right in this little gem from Doll Quilt Swap 8. "Bright colors, black and white, wacky and wonky..."

It took me a while, but now when I list things I want to tell my partner, I list my loves, (I love bright colors (not into dull browns or Civil War repros), black and white together, geometrics, wonky, free pieced, love batiks, Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler.. hate cutesy fabrics) but then I write:

Frankly, I want my partner to ignore all that and make me a quilt showing off what she/he does best, what she/he LOVES, and what she/he would be proud to display to the world as her/his best work.

I love participating in the Doll Quilt Swap.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap Quilts - Sent

These are the quilts I made for the Doll Swaps. The size is supposed to be anything between 12" x 12" up to 24" x 24".

The Four Seasons Quilt from DQS8 is about 21" x 26".
My swap partner had two sons who play stringed instruments, so I used fabric with sheet music as the backing, and made a special house with music coming out of the chimney.
The quilt for DQS7 is 24" square. I added a message for my swap partner on one of the selvages.
For DQS6, my partner liked quilts made with one shape. This one is an homage to the square. It's made with Seminole Patchwork. The squares are 1" finished.

My partner for DQS5 indicated the quilt would be given to her 2 year old daughter, so I made a quilt suitable for a little girl to play with.

For Doll Quilt Swap 4, I was matched with a partner who liked blues, aquas and teals. Her first name began with the letter "L" so I made that one a bit special.

Tomorrow, I'll show the quilts I received in the Doll Swaps.

(you can click the photos to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I did it again. I've agreed to be a part of the famed Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr. And I've also agreed to be a Swap Mama, which means I will soon be receiving the names of about 20 swap "babes" and I've got to match them up. They will likely represent a wide span in age (from 20 to 60+), skill level, location (we have swappers from Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, Canada, the UK and all over the USA) and naturally, their preferences.

It's great fun.

I've developed a little tradition in which I take a picture of myself in the mirror holding the quilt I have made. Here they are, for your amusement.

This Seminole Patchwork quilt now lives in Scotland.
The Selvage Quilt lives in Oregon.
The Four Seasons Quilt lives in Nebraska.
by the way, taking these pictures is a lot harder than it looks!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Skinny Gizzy Quilts

I'm finishing up the second of the two skinny Gizzy quilts for some wide windowsills. I'm quite happy with them. They are 10" x 41". The squares are 2-1/2" finished.I have something fun coming up next, and it's a secret.

Here's a hint!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love, Live, Finished

Woo Hoo! The quilt Tonya made for me is finished. I adding a pink batik binding, and a sleeve across the back. Now it's hanging in a prominent spot in my house for me to enjoy every day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Little Side Trip

A friend of mine asked for two long, narrow (10" x 40") quilts for the windowsill her cats sit on when they watch the world go by. The cats are girls, so I wanted them "girly" but not overly so. These strips are 2.5" (6.35cm) finished. So this is the plan...The quilt will be bound and backed with the wonderful paisley.

This is the fabric for the second quilt. I'll use a pink batik also. Both quilts will have the same cream background.