Monday, June 30, 2014


Recently I had to replace our worn bed sheets. I found a great set, almost new, at the Tourist Trap, our local consignment shop. The sheet set is khaki. I replaced the edges of the pillow cases with fabric left over from the quilts and curtains. The effect was satisfying.

Left pillow cases match the quilts and curtains. Red chickens and bedside tables from Joan. Right pillow case from Pam, guarantees sweet dreams.

Close up detail, next to the quilt border.
Other recent activity was a great class I took yesterday in Council, taught by Karla Alexander. I keep thinking that I have learned it all, that I take classes for the socializing and as an excuse to buy new fabric. However, Karla taught me some wonderful new techniques and design theories. I like the idea of secondary borders. The outside row of blocks in a quilt can be a shade darker or lighter, adding another frame to the quilt. More on that as I create my next epic piece. Here is a sneak peak at what I did yesterday in the class, one photo with sashing.

Eight more blocks to go on this quilt. I like the lilac sash, and the colors. This modern project is fun and different. The pattern is called "Paint Chip." I haven't named my quilt yet.  Dinner tonight is left overs and sauteed radishes. They are a little past their prime, should have been plucked from the heart of their warm little bed a week ago, but when sauteed they transform from spicy to mild. mmm

I did finish my goal set at the start of the month, the commissioned quilts. Tomorrow, July.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good News and Bad News

The bad news first. The A quilt was rejected, although I had followed specifications. I had quilted/appliqued the large A, but otherwise it was still unfinished. So it got put in time out. The mom gave new specifications, and I agreed to start over. I hope they understand that this means additional cost of $75 for fabrics. My time and aggravation = priceless. The original A quilt can be gifted to someone I know who has a name starting with A, or I may sell it. Someone is being a diva, in my opinion.

In other news, all good, the barn quilt was finished in the nick of time, delivered to the Council Quilt Show, and looks good. The theme this year is, "Life on the Farm." Winner gets a $100 prize, chosen by viewer vote.

The sashing and the borders really brought this quilt together.
I had a flurry of procrastinator's remorse as I sewed the binding on. It was about 5" too short. I pulled out a new toy, a 2" bias tape maker, and made the remaining bias tape, and got it on in under 5 minutes. Phew! I highly recommend getting yourself at least one of these great tools. They are simple to use, work great, and can even be used for tote bag handles and items where interfacing is being applied. After making the first press, I take the tape and fold it over, thus creating a double fold bias tape. Here are two examples:

3/4" tape maker.

2" tape maker with interfacing being ironed on. I am using a 3" strip so the folds are narrower.
I entered a challenge block in the quilt show as well. The focus fabric is red and black. Winner of public vote gets 12 blocks. Second place gets the remaining 6. Here is my entry, followed by the whole lot.

Garden Gnomes are camouflaged  and out of view, although they are right in front of you.

The featured artist is Karla Alexander of Saginaw Quilts. She will be giving a trunk show at the luncheon on June 28th, and a class on June 29th. In honor of her, Pam and I each entered a quilt made from her patterns. 

Pam's Red Onion Polka Dot

My Cautionary Tale #2

The quilt show is in Council, ID at the elementary school, and runs daily from 10-5 until July 5. There are about 75 excellent quilts, and a sales area for books and crafts. It is worth the drive! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I'm a Barbie Girl

I have two commissions due very soon, and they are easy goals because I HAVE to finish them. Both are for little girls' birthdays, and I don't want them to cry because their quilts aren't finished. Here is Ashlynn's:

Chevrons with a large white A, ready to be quilted.
And here is Addison's (not my Addison, Candy's):

The border fabric has Barbie sentiments. White triangles are prairie points.
These two will be in the mail first thing Monday morning. I continue to juggle my various summer tasks; garden tending, housekeeping, pet exercising, and of course, lots of sewing. When other people say they don't have time to sew, and will do it when they retire, I say, pshaw! If you want to do it, make the time. Retirement gets busy in a different way and it is important to be creative NOW.

Another goal, not for anyone but myself, is the Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller Challenge. As a member, I was given a pack of 6 ~ 1/8ths and a goal to make anything quilted by July 25th. Three winners get monthly fabric for a year. Here are the luscious fabrics, along with 2 pieces of Michael Miller fabric I chose to go with:

I thought I'd like the creamsicle better, but the army green seems better to me. Surprise!
And, a few lovely photos of peonies from my garden. The silly deer don't like them but they are among my favorite flowers. They have been in their current spot for three years, and are finally feeling ready to party.

Single red with yellow center.

Sarah Bernhardt spicy dramatic double bloom.
Happy summer.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Barn Raising

Completing an unfinished object (UFO) is one of my themes this year. When I started making monthly goals to finish UFOs 18 months ago, I had no idea just how many UFOs I actually had stashed away. It might be a black hole in my sewing loft. Picture an eternal vacuum pulling my partially finished projects into hiding, and my efforts to retrieve them prompt a Star Trek quote, "I..just...can' it, captain....I don't...have..the ...strength..."  HOWEVER, I did manage to pull a project out of the depths, a charming set of blocks including 3 barns. I started the block of the month project in 2010 at Cindys Quilt Shop. After scoffing at Eleanor Burns' techniques, I decided to quit the contempt prior to investigation, and make one of her quilts. Cindy's Shop led the month by month techniques, with fabric incentives for finishing each block in a timely manner. I made 8 of the blocks. Two have been rejected for not playing well with their friends. After pulling out the blocks and putting them up on the design wall, I added a new barn block, two embroidered panels from old dishtowels, and a dresden plate. The lattices will be brown chicken tracks.

Needs more brown lattices.

My mom got a set of 7 dish towels as a wedding gift in 1955, with these busy farm girls. 

Each towel had different colored gingham dresses and different chores for the 3 girls. Above them, chickens perch on a windmill.

The cow on the roof  is from 'O Brother Where Art Thou.'
As for my list from earlier this month, I did finish the OKC quilts. One was pictured in the last blog, here is the other:
A darling little girl and her daddy.
I completed 6 of the list items, and definitely met my goal for ALYOF.

CARS quilt for 4 yr old John Wayne
Oh! One more story. I purchased a yard of Disney CARS fabric two months ago to make this commissioned quilt. I bought orange flannel for the back and went to town to pre shrink it in the dryer at the laundromat (since we don't have an electric dryer.) After procrastinating for nearly two months, I searched for the CARS fabric last week, and literally turned my sewing loft inside out. It was no where to be found. Fortunately, I had been given a small piece of CARS fabric at the last quilt retreat I attended. It was less than ¼ yard. I was able to make it work in this scrappy trip around the world, with corner stones in the upper corners. There is lots of nice quilting on it, and even little pickup trucks with tiny black labs in the bed of the trucks. End result of my misadventure? I made a great quilt with scraps! Now, back to barn raising.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May is bursting out all over

When I got home from the Quilt Retreat Ultra Marathon of April, my garden was singing its siren song of spring. Time to pick weeds, till the soil, and plant seeds. My favorite and truest act of faith. The garden is 2500 sq ft, and deer fenced. Happiest news was greeting Mr. Toad, who is residing for his third year in the raspberry patch. This time of year, worms are on his menu.

I like to spend a few hours tending the garden each day, and then escape to my sewing loft to write, play, and create epic stuff. I have a big list of projects, and many more that are still twinkles in my eye.

  1. Caroline's red, white and gold quilt.
  2. Amish trip around the world wall hanging.
  3. Horny toad pickle dish quilt. 
  4. Two Operation Kid Comfort quilts.
  5. American girl doll dress, either for Addy or to sell on etsy.
  6. Kimono silk lining, mordanted and ready to dye.
  7. Silk log cabin quilt top to border and hand quilt.
  8. Anita's batik quilt to amend for the quilt group.
  9. Mother's day gifts.
  10. Thank you gifts for officers of the quilt group. 
  11. CARS quilt for John Wayne, a commission.
  12. Tincture bags to sell at the Trading Post.
  13. Aprons to sell at TP. 

Kitty treasure case with 3"zipper mouth, and tiny friend. Made from a panel for Addy at retreat.

Amish Trip Around the World, shot cottons. 36" x 36".

Caroline's skirt, Vogue pattern and Martha Negley fabric.

OKC quilt for a little dude.  38" x 40".
So, despite some obvious priorities hollering at me, I am going to make my first May goal to quilt and bind the OKC quilt. Then to finish Caroline's skirt and send off a care package to her. I love making lists and then, in my usual fashion, ignoring the rules and juggling all of the items. Happy May and happy sewing.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Beauty is on Duty

When I missed my March goal I lost my bogging momentum. Then I missed posting an April goal and had a bout of blogger's malaise. For Current Girlfriend fans, do not worry, I have not lost my mojo. I have been sewing a lot. In fact, I just returned from completing my first Quilt Retreat Ultra Marathon. Yesssss!!

I left Riggins on April 1, on the bus, with high hopes and lots of positive intentions. I had a 12 hour lay over in Spokane, stuck in the bus terminal, until 2 am when I got to catch the bus to Seattle. I was so happy to arrive in downtown Seattle and greet my sister with a quote from the audio book I was listening to, "who do I have to blow to get a cup of coffee around here?"

Design inspiration, Whitebird, ID.
Pam and I went to Port Gamble for a 2 day color design class taught by Gwen Marston. It was inspiring and lots of fun. We stayed at the Foxbridge Bed and Breakfast.

On the Kingston Ferry.

My Small Study. 8 ½" x 10".

The Beauty is on Duty.

After a restful time in Seattle, taking walks with the dogs, having lunch with pals, cooking delicious dinners, gardening,  endless laughing and silliness with Pam,and lots of sewing, we went to the second quilt retreat, at Camp Huston in Gold Bar, WA. Five days and 4 nights of sewing and reconnecting with old friends. I made a quilt top, a birthday outfit for Ainsley, and 3 OKC quilts.

Vintage silk log cabin blocks. I sewed them in a pattern called 'furrows.
We drove to Riggins after we recovered from the retreat. More gardening, cooking, sewing, laughing, and Pam was the feature speaker at the quilt club. She showed lots of her wonderful scrappy quilts.

Then on to the third retreat! Four days and 3 nights in Cascade, ID at Trinity Pines. Pam taught her scrappy trip around the world technique. You might be wondering if we were getting tired of sewing, or each other. NO WAY. The fun never ends. I feel sew lucky to be able to have this much fun.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Border Conflict

Choosing borders for a commissioned quilt top is causing a big mess in my studio. It looks like a fabric fight. When I leave lids off of my fabric totes, my cat loves to dig in and make a nest, but she doesn't hold a candle to me when it comes to making a big mess. I searched through browns, yellows, blues, greens, and what a disaster!

Chai loves to nest in the fabric.
I am NOT posting a photo of my mess. I just crammed everything back in the various totes and promised to refold the contents later.    I cut up all of the focus fabric, intending to have an extra set of pieces for a kit for my etsy shop.  I sewed the blocks, set them on point in a pattern, sewed them together, and then realized I was on the horns of a dilemma. I knew I'd need borders, but finding just the right framing fabric was tougher than I had imagined.   I did finally find a suitable fabric for the border. It will be the brown pebble side propeller fabric, pieced.

Vintage airplanes, rick rack, and Amy Butler "eyelash" fabric. I think it looks like angel wings.

Airship propellers, before the borders. 

Last week I finished a commissioned quilt for a little girl who is having a birthday. She loves horses and pink, so I made her a soft and dreamy snuggle quilt.Sweet dreams.

Valorie Wells border fabric.

Robert Kaufman paisley flannel on the back.