Monday, December 17, 2007

All you'd want for xmas

My first two finished projects! Hurrah! For family grab bag gifts, I took a class at a LQS to make two no-fuss pillows.

First try: mauve and cream strips were too similar in width. Though mauve flowers do appear in the fabric, only a smidgen shows up in the center square.

Second try: made the mauve strip narrower. Proportions better? Most guys would probably say less pink is better.

Quilted the fish, leaves and fan by outlining with thread (that was scary!). Stitched in the ditch around the mauve and cream strips. But why bother when the finish product hardly shows any of this?

For the second top, used Patsy Thompson's trapunto technique, but without the fancy thread painting. Except behind the fish and fan, there is no other batting - just the pillow itself. Not much difference, just better FMQ.

Maybe batting was not thick enough. Used Warm & Safe - light and flat Would a loftier (polyester) batting make a difference? May go for pillow number 3.

One ended up larger than the other: 17" across and 17.5" (not counting the flange). With a 18" square pillow form, the former is stuffed whereas the corners on the latter don't quite fill out. I'm all for the stuffed sausage look.

These were not quite no-fuss, but I'm happy with them. A Merry Xmas to whoever gets one! And a Merry Xmas to all!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Do the 2008 hustle

She has a spot reserved for me! It's not until October 2008 but as soon as they started accepting enrollments, I immediately rushed off my deposit for Nancy Crow's workshop Best of Strip Piecing I&II Now there's only six spots left.

For the past six months, I've been building my stash of solid colors in preparation for this. With about 30 colors I'm only a quarter or at best a third of the way toward the 60-100 colors for the supply list. Then there's the more. Gotta hustle!

I also need to do more quilting. Or woe, what will I have to show for my 3-minute presentation? This newbie is intimidated and still haven't finished the very first one that got me going down this road. But I'm determined to get over it by working on extra blocks or small quilts first.

I could join the many exciting challenges posed on quiltart but I really don't have the time for them. I could do a block-a-month at one of the local quilt shops. But traditional piecing is not where I want to go. Yea, but, excuses, excuses.

Also signed up for workshops in February and March through the East Bay Heritage Guild With these and probably others and with life and work, I will be hard pressed to satisfy my own challenge for 2008: a small 12x12 quilt each month.

So the word for 2008: hustle. I will finish several small quilts to try out gazillion things. I will continue to expand my knowlege by taking classes and workshops. I will finish my first quilt. Feel the pressure!

Am I mad? You betcha. As Captain Picard says, Make it so!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Three days at the Pacific International Quilt Festival at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Thursday went through all the vendors and quilts on display. Friday and Saturday were classes - both loads of fun.

A bad batch of WonderUnder slowed my progress in Laura Wasilowski's Woodcuts class. Have yet to finish that project.

Rita Hutchins - Totally Tubular Triangles - had even given us preparation homework. Despite that we were sewing cutting and pressing practically non-stop. As soon I could I finished the miles of strips at home. Otherwise this old addled brain would forget and not be able to figure out the technique even with directions and her book.

The commute was horrible. A long and grueling 40 miles between Oakland and Santa Clara during the work week. Next time I'll either take afternoon or Saturday classes. Otherwise getting to a 9am class on time means leaving the house by 7am. Leaving Santa Clara after 6pm didn't help much on the commute home and it meant a long day. That's life in the San Francisco Bay Area. But late afternoons are a great time to see all the vendors! Just about everybody else has vamoosed!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cornell at SFMoMA

The Joseph Cornell exhibition at SFMoMA is wonderful! Not to be missed.

His works speaks to my psyche. Is it the selection of objects, their symbolism, their arrangement or design? Or is it the intimacy of each small piece? Evidence of his personal touch adds to the experience. No Photoshopped work here! He actually cut and pasted things together.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Growing stash

Growing my stash is sooo time consuming. Aim to get at least 60 different solid colors in one-yard pieces for Nancy Crow's workshop next fall.

I can't afford to buy it all at once, so I pick up 5 or 6 at a time. I wash and iron them, then catalog each on an index card. I gravitate toward the colors I like and would wear, so I am purposefully trying to select other colors. Most of them have been dark so my last selections were pastels or other light colors. Never mind all the wonderful eye-candy prints!

My stash now numbers 20. Can't remember what I have anymore, so I take my cards when shopping. No sense buying more yardage of the same colors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Getting started

One quilt top and I've decided this is for me. I am shooting for the moon. Quilts shall be the medium for this artist.

I've sewn for 40 years and still own quilt books from the 1970s. I've even dabbled with Seminole patchwork. But traditional quilts are not my thing. Maybe that's why I never got into it. Now I've discovered the other world of contemporary quilts. Graphic. Abstract. Freeform. Whoo-eee!

I'm just getting started. Two things occupy my thoughts, time and efforts for now. First, finishing my first quilt. Second, building up my stash.

My first quilt top was finished in June. Can't decide which way to piece the backing, so I have yet to cut into it. I have a walking foot. And after the basic machine quilting class, stitch-in-the-ditch is no longer an unfamiliar term. The mechanics are in place. I just need to do it! KISS for this first one?

Designing and planning a project is fun and exciting for me. Keeps me up nights dreaming and scheming. My mind jumps onto the next project before actually finishing the first. But this obsession also eats up a lot of time and keeps me from doing.

I found some great quilting fabrics at bargain prices at the flea market. They were part of an estate sale, so I feel for the quilter who is no longer with us. IKEA also have great graphic prints. I'm old-school - preshrunk all of this. And then catalogue them all on 4x5 index cards. OCD? Will this system be useful later? These time consuming tasks give me a semblance of order, so humor me for now.

That first project is calling me. When that Indian summer arrives, I'd stay out of my garden and give it some attention.