Sunday, May 30, 2010

Done, done, done!

What a good feeling to get some things completed! I'm a very good starter, but not always such a good finisher! These last few days have been wonderful for getting some time to focus on finishes. Here's the scoop:
Baby Surprise Jacket, pattern originally by Elizabeth Zimmerman. PLUS little matching booties, modeled by a 25 year old Cabbage Patch kid that I made for Brita. At least I think this was one I made. I don't have a baby in mind for this yet, but wanted to try out this pattern that seems like a classic in the knitting world. Plus it uses sock yarn, of which I have several choices in my yarn stash, so this puts it to good use. I found the little blue and gold antique glass buttons at a Quilt Market vendor. This is a very interesting pattern to use, and I had fun last Tuesday introducing my guest, Barri Gaudet, to the design when we went to my favorite yarn shop, Amazing Threads. Barri is the designer of Bareroots patterns and owner of Sierra Cottons and Wools in Bishop, CA.

The binding is done and it is officially on the table, completed for my May project, the Winterberry Table Rug by Sue Spargo.

BQ for Nora, binding is done and all packaged up to take to Lake Park and leave with her parents if I can't get to Sioux Falls to deliver it personally.
Quilted this for Debbie, it is the Hope Valley fabric by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit fabrics, and I wouldn't mind keeping this one! Do you think she would notice? Something about those old-style prints that speaks to me. And the colors. I'm not sure what pattern she used, I will check on that. The fabric is available at Bear Patch.
Finished a very good recorded book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. Also authored The Kite Runner. Although it is fiction, there is a lot of information about the Afghan people and history that made it educational for me.
Now I think I will take the evening off!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a bunch of misc.

Odds & ends to share with you--
Just found this video of a special thing going on at Mammoth Mt. (yes, they are STILL getting snow!). It was on their Facebook posting so I watched it, only to be very surprised at the end with a cameo by my guy Dan! Looked like he almost made that jump, too!

The fight over possession of our front porch has ended for now, and Mama Robin won! We have been through this before with robins that want to nest in a nice protected spot under our porch roof. I thought last year was the worst because the nest was used 3 times for 3 batches of baby birds, and we couldn't even think about making use of our porch swing without getting chased away. But this year, the nest was moved to the other end of the porch, right near the front door, and ole' Mama Robin is not happy with anyone in her space. So after the first batch of birdies flew out of the nest, I asked Bob to please knock down the nest so it wouldn't be used again. Which he did. 3 times. Very persistent nest builders.
Then he informed me that he couldn't take it any longer and it was my turn to rid the porch of the robins. So I have relented and decided I better not mess with Mother Nature any longer (since I can't get Bob to do my dirty work)! So we are expecting again!
My clematis is blooming, which is a cause for celebration because I don't have a good history with clematis. They never seem to like to grow where I plant them. This one was planted last summer and I was happy to see little shoots starting after the snow melted.
The garden is up and nothing has eaten it yet! Beans and squash, lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, asparagus. The asparagus hasn't shown up yet.
My hand quilting project is coming along, but I have reached the end of my thread for now. This is Winterberry Table Rug by Sue Spargo. The red background fabrics are flannels and most of the rest of it is felted wool
I am using Weeks hand dyed floss, 3 strands, and making a big "primitive" stitch (since that's what I can do!). I started out with outlining a row of stitching all around the shapes, and then thought about echo quilting out to the edges, since that seemed fitting for this style of quilt. But that was a real bugger to actually do, way too many twists and turns, so I am just doing a crosshatch grid over the background. 1 1/2" between lines, since that's how wide my masking tape is. So I used up my Lancaster Red floss, then Nancy had some the same color and gave that to me, and then my source dried up until last Friday. Weeks had a booth at the Quilt Market, and I found one remaining hank of this color on their display. I tried to buy it but the gentleman very kindly donated it to my cause. But these are small hanks, and I have used that all and still have a ways to go. I'm crossing my fingers that Maggie will come through with some for me after her trip to a stitchery shop out in Wayzata. There aren't many places left that sell supplies for cross stitch, crewel, hardanger, embroidery, etc. This was to be my May completion challenge project, so I'm hoping I don't get in trouble with the Posse if it's not complete in time!

Leisl's rather large (and heavy) flannel quilt is ready for delivery...

And Nora's quilt is ready to have the binding stitched down. The binding is the striped fabric you can see at the bottom. The pattern is BQ from Maple Island.
Nora is my niece and has recently moved into her own new home, so she needs a new quilty accent to complement her decor. Hope to have this done in about a week when I can take it down to Lake Park when we go for a visit.
That's it for today! Now I can load up another quilt!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Uff Da!

If you don't talk Minnesotan, that means OMG! Four full (very full) days of walking, talking, learning, listening, planning, dreaming about quilts at International Quilt Market are finished! Plus a day leading up to that of 100+ bus people visiting Bear Patch combined with many who brought themselves to the store prior to the start of Market. And a fun day tomorrow at Bear Patch with our guest designer, Bari Sue Gaudet, of Bareroots pattern company. Debbie, Laurel and I spent much of this time together, trying to be discerning shoppers for new store merchandise. Here you see me with Debbie, and our colors might clash but we really do well with picking and choosing.
Debbie has been doing a good job with taking pictures that she is posting up on the Bear Patch blog so you might want to hop over there to take a look.

A treat for me was viewing some of my own quilting on display in Stacy West's Buttermilk Basin booth. She has a terrific sense for design and display, and her whole booth was a Halloween theme this year. Complete with spiderwebs! The pinwheel quilt behind us is her pattern which I had the privilege of quilting. Her embroidery and wool applique designs were very popular, I'm sure you will be seeing them soon in a quilt shop near you!
Also had a very special day yesterday as we celebrated Dan's 27th birthday--another uff da! It's hard not to have him nearby to celebrate, but we will do that next month when he is here for a visit. Instead, he got to ski! Still lots of snow at Mammoth Mountain, and fresh again yesterday.
So now, it's time for a few moments of R&R and then continue with some quilting...

Friday, May 14, 2010

many miles later...

Whoa! 8 hours of driving is enough already! At a little past noon I found myself in the middle of Iowa, actually in the Boondocks--
And looks like I was real close to Williams and Blairsburg, too! Not so close to the Bay of Tranquililty. Or maybe Tranquilty??
It was a beautiful day for a drive, although I tired of playing tag with the semi-trucks on the interstate. I ended up feeling like I was in a game of dodgeball, bouncing in the strong wind between cars, truck and RV's all headed in my direction! The wind turbines were hard at work today, and a lot of wet fields along the way. Especially in NW Missouri, where rivers and lakes were out of bounds. Good to be home, getting unpacked, catching up on things and admiring my new cones of thread!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

field trip report

Going to a show like this is just what the mind needs to bring forth new and creative ideas. Lots of like-minded people, nationally-known teachers, experts in the business of quilting--what's not to like?? This evening I got the chance to walk around the quilts on display and saw so many inspiring ideas. I can't really share pictures of them, but I can share these pictures of quilts from the instructors of the classes I have been in--
These are by Sue Patten, who taught a class in Thread Art, something I had seen her demonstrate on video and now understand much better.
Sue Patten uses the color repeats in variegated threads to create these freehand designs. They have a look somewhat like a machine embroidered design, except these are all done by hand, not computerized. She helped us each experiment with needle and thread to learn the basics of the technique, you might notice that I am not including a picture of my own project, it needs plenty more work to be presentable! Don't you love these grapes?
Bob Purcell of Superior Threads taught an amazing amount of thread info in a 2 hour class. Their website contains a great deal of instructional information that will help you understand much more about thread, needles and sewing machines of all types. It can help you understand ways to fix common problems you might have encountered in your sewing.
Renae Haddadin taught a great class on ways to solve problems encountered in our line of work, as we work to create great quilts for our customers. She shared a lot of common sense and knowledge gained through a lot of experience in working with fabric and quilts.
Some severe weather in the area around here again tonight, so far just thunder and lightning and heavy rain. Hope we don't get any hail, my car has no shelter here and wouldn't look good with dimples!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fun and games

Batter up!

A little catch-up to do here---things to share, places to go, etc. So, last week Bob and I got to attend a Twins' game in the new stadium. A much debated and much awaited stadium! One big debate is about the wisdom of playing baseball in an outdoor stadium with a good possibility of snowflakes getting in the way. The optimists won that debate, I guess they might have felt a little regret yesterday morning with the white stuff on the ground. Some of our blossoming bleeding heart bushes around the house were nipped and looking very bedraggled. Anyway, our night at the stadium was cold and damp, but still enjoyable and not wet enough to make us get out of our seats. It was a close game, and the Twins won, so we were happy. The fireworks at the end were a nice touch, couldn't do that in the Dome!

My Posse Pals have cooked up a plan to complete 12 unfinished projects, one a month, and hold each other accountable for finishing. There will have to be some reward plan cooked up for sure, although the satisfaction of clearing up some things that have languished on the shelf for awhile might be enough reward in itself. On second thought, NO, there better be some good food and wine involved! So far, Maggie is the only one to publicize her list of chosen projects, which is appropriate since she is the organized one. As for myself, I can say that my first on the list is this:
It's a pattern from Sue Spargo, wool applique on flannel which is all done. I decided to hand-quilt it, which is abnormal for me, but fitting for this project. I am doing kind of a big stitch with 3 strands of floss, I have outlined all the applique and now I am doing a cross-hatch pattern over the rest of it. It's kind of a slow go, but something I think I can complete by June 1, hopefully. Then I will tell you what my next goal is. Still waiting to hear from Nancy and Leisl, are you guys out there?

Finished a quilt for Kristina, I really like these fabrics.
I am writing from the comfort of my little hotel room in Overland Park (outside Kansas City) where I am attending the Machine Quilters' Showcase. Today I had 2 very informative classes, learned some new techniques. Classes again tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday, along with a show of quilts and opportunities to shop for supplies for my big machine. I'm mostly interested in adding to my thread supply, it's nice to be able to examine the colors and textures instead of ordering from a website. Big storms here tonight, I hope it is better tomorrow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dolly goes to Bear Patch

I help put together the display window at Bear Patch Quilting Co. We change the display every 2-3 months to carry out a theme. Currently, we have a bumper crop of baby quilts on display, and one pretty little dolly in her princess bed. I knew this bed and dolly had to be around the house somewhere, finally after digging around I found them in boxes under Brita's bed. Her old room is my overflow sewing room, mostly filled up with project bags, storage bins, and stuff too bulky to keep in my sewing room. Even though she is all of 30 years old, I still think of it as her room! OK, back to the window--I needed a 14" doll to display some doll clothes that were made for a class we taught. Not quilt related, I know, but we do teach a variety of classes and this turned out to be a fun one. Jeanne, who works with the Bernina department, taught the class and made the samples. Since this picture was taken, Dolly has changed from these flannel pajamas to her summer jammies, since it is getting warm in that window! The pretty little bed and bedding are just right for the display. Thanks, Brita!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

a little road trip

Wow, lots to do = no recent blog posts! I do have several things to share with you, pictures I have been saving up. Here is an attempt to capture a true work of art--

This was taken Saturday out on the road somewhere between Grey Eagle and Nancy's house, between rain showers and sunshine. It was possibly the #1 rainbow I have ever seen. Much brighter than these pictures show, and a double one visible through the entire span. Impossible to get it into a little electronic gadget, but I tried! I know it doesn't look like much here, but each color band was very distinct, not all blended in like most rainbow sightings. So I thought I better let you share in this, and also let you know that we did not find any pot of gold! But did have a fun overnight with Nancy, Leisl and Maggie. Caught up on lives, shared ideas, did a little sewing/knitting, ate some good food, and before we knew it we were pulling out of her driveway. I have continued my learning experience with hand piecing some quilt blocks from the Farmer's Wife book. I now have 6 blocks (6" square) completed. Only 100+ to go!