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.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Collecting Trolls

  This UFO (unfinished object) has been in time out, or as they say in the Netherlands, collecting trolls, for way too long. I started this lovely quilt in 2009. It was inspired by trips to the Owyhee desert and the storm cloud sunsets that were surprisingly intense. I used Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, and a pattern called Zen, first made by Blue Underground. I also included some dupioni silk, and some oxford cloth, which is another type of shot cotton; that is, the warp is one color and the weft is another. I used a lovely Kaffe print for the border. The back is a fun sea weed purple batik. I started quilting it in 2011. Then it got put away and has been languishing in a tote ever since. Time to get 'er done. So, this is my goal for March, to finish quilting and bind my Desert Storm.

The picture was taken last May. Silly dog, she had to be in the picture but looks like she is waiting for her whipping. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fish On !!

Steelhead season has begun here on the main Salmon River. The excited news of a fish on the hook (barb-less, of course) can be heard on the shore and on jetboats, such as ours, which is really named after yours truly, Current Girlfriend. Even happier news is that one of my very favorite people, Taylor Hunt, got married on February 15th to his sweetheart, Amanda Morgan. Taylor is a die hard steelhead fisherman. So, for a wedding gift I made Taylor and Amanda an art quilt. It has the catchy title, "Steelhead Rising."
I wanted it to look modern, and so I made it out of taupe solid with some triangles from Habitat, a collection by Michele D'Amore for Benartex. The steelhead is from a piece of batik, grey-blue with pine branches printed on the fabric. The wavy quilting is with metallic thread to represent the water. Beads embellish some of the triangles to show movement.
Funny how I always get anxious when I give a quilt. Will they like it, or will it end up as a dog blanket (sans hook.) Maybe it will adorn the walls of the Tiny House, the vacation home for the Hunt family near Sun Valley. In any case, blessings on the marriage of Taylor and Amanda.

Windy February day here in the canyon.
Little buttons represent caddisfly cases on the rocks, which are a wonderful Alexander Hoffman fabric.

Quilting detail of de tail.

Moda batik border, followed by some wonderful Japanese nubby cotton. 
Mr. Thimblepie provided a real steelhead lure. It is not attached to a line, because this one got away.

   It was my February goal for ALOF.

They love it! (Needs a little steam, looks like they are working on that.)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Resistance is Futile

Starting a new month and setting new goals is such fun. Starting new projects is super fun. Finishing what I'm working on before I start that new and beckoning project is as tough as ignoring that craving for chocolate. Especially when the new project AND the chocolate are both within arm's reach! This month, February, has a wonderful, sweet event: Valentine's Day. I am making a whole bunch of heart shaped potholders from this tutorial. I made an addition that was a tactical error, discovered after finishing 12 of the potholders. The hanging loop can't be on the fat part of the heart or it will hang into the hot dish. Oh well. I may decide to remove those loops and redo them. Dang it. In the upper left of the photo you can see some finished potholders with brown ribbon hangers in the wrong place.

Here's the assembly process. Cute Hello Kitty fabric.
I am making some little ones for young granddaughters to pretend with, and even made a few sets for their American Girl dolls. Totally Adorable.

They will probably fit the kitties, too.
My other goal for the month is a super duper fun one that I am aching to start: a wedding wall hanging art quilt for two wonderful people who are getting married this month. Taylor Hunt and Amanda Morgan are going to Hawaii to tie the knot. He is a fisherman who loves steelhead fishing, so I am making them a quilt with an arching steelhead swimming up the rapids of the Salmon River. I have the packet of fabrics, and here it is:

 I'll make the fish out of batik, color to be determined. There will be beads, a quilted VW van (part of their deal) and fabric rocks at the bottom from some Alexander Henry textile. The other fun part of this quilt will be the addition of some pieced double wedding ring arcs for symbolism and my trademark adding of funky old fabric.

Here is my prototype steelhead quilt, the one I made for Mr. Thimblepie:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cold Snap

This month I have juggled three important tasks: building a paneled, vaulted ceiling for our home, sewing and mending for work and fun, and tending pets and spouse. The ceiling has taken precedence and I have had to be a willing helpmate. Willing means I'll do it whether I want to or not. It has been a lot of long hours, lots of physical work that I am unaccustomed to, and giving what feels like patronizing amounts of praise to Mr. Thimblepie. It is turning out incredibly, and we both feel lots of pride and satisfaction. We have been at it for 13 days without a day off. Here is a photo of the work in progress:

Clear acrylic finish, you can see above the light where it stops. 
As we progress, we both feel new aches and pains, and that is especially true for Mr. Thimblepie, who misstepped from the scaffold toward the ladder, and fell 7 ft. He landed on his feet but hit the ladder going down. It was scary to watch. Fortunately, we will be finished with the ceiling today. Tomorrow we will finish the main hallway ceiling, which is a normal height and we will be working on the ground.

My second task, sewing, had to take a backseat. Frown. My sewing loft is going to be glorious when the sawdust settles later today, and I can spread my work table and stuff back out. It is all shoved to one side of the loft right now. I have managed to do some sewing because it is a high priority. I finished 2 Operation Kid Comfort quilts and a pillow sham with fabric donated by a local quilt shop, Huckleberry Patches. Here they are:

Sister quilts.

Big kids get a pillow sham.

I am taking breaks from building and sewing to play outside with the dog, and to cook yummy food for the spouse. Today I made humus, and we had fresh eggs for lunch. Dinner will be enchiladas and sourdough fruit cake for dessert.

I also finished my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. My goal was to get the pattern drafted for my wool applique button project. I did that, and started the applique, using some delightful embellishing techniques learned last year from Sue Spargo. I am doing my wool colors differently from the traditional Pacific Northwest Tribes. I am using an ecru base, then steel blue and lastly some hand dyed teal. I am still searching for more mother of pearl buttons. Here is the work so far:

Finished size will be 18" x 24".  
Have you been busy with New Year resolutions, too?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Starting Projects Makes Me Happy

I am happily home after a wonderful holiday in Boise with my 3 daughters, and with friends. We all had a good time catching up on news, cooking, laughing, playing, and generally goofing off. I took a break from the internet most of the time, with 2 brief web visits at the library. That was good for me, and I was surprised to not have very much withdrawal. I got to visit my grandkids and gave them some handmade gifts:

Grace got a fimo book and coupon for clay. Lame, but she is a cheerful child anyway.

Luke's Zebra Cape/Towel.

Luke's front view. Adapted from "Cuddle Monsters" pattern.

Addison's Cinderella quilt, with 3-D tulle, petticoat lace, and bling earring and belt.
I went to an awesome meeting of the Boise Modern Quilt Guild. There were about 20 members present, including me, the newest member. I was excited to see everyone show and tell the neatest projects, share so much creative talent, and have a fun pin cushion exchange. I made a lavender stuffed chicken. My motive for attending was to get involved and educated, in hopes of being able to write a class proposal and be accepted  to teach at 2015 Quiltcon in Austin. Big hopes, but either way these ladies are super and worth a 150 mile drive for the meetings.

The center pin cushion was filled with walnut shells and had side pockets for draping over an armchair.
 I made my hip youngest daughter a steampunk bustle from a tutorial and it turned out pretty good. Here she is, with her goggles, lookin' feisty.

I used a leather riveted belt at the top.
And finally, my January project for the group, "A Lovely Year of Finishes": a wool applique button blanket. I am not intending to finish the entire thing this month. Being realistic, I will make all of the pattern pieces and get them cut out. If I am super sempstress, I will get the applique done. I will save the button application for another month. The design is from the University of Washington's School of Public Health. It is the Soul Catcher, a symbol of well being. I took the picture to a copy center and had it enlarged to 18" x 24." Next I trace it onto freezer paper.  Here is my lovely start:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mrs. Potato Head Goes Shopping for Accessories

I made my sister a wonky house quilt for Christmas this year. It was so fun to create, and maybe even more fun listening to her open it, over the phone. I was inspired by lots of previous wonky house quilts, and wonky log cabin quilts. At retreat last spring I found 6 squares with iron on backing, shop windows featuring shoes, purses, nail polish, gowns. I framed them in wild large floral prints and finished with black and white newsprint that had quilter crossword puzzles. My pal Sharon gave me some wonderful Potato Head novelty fabric that became the blue sky for each house, and the inspiration for the name.  Framing each house was at first a challenge. I thought large print florals would work, but it made the individual houses blur together like a giant gumbo. I recently read an article by Pam Rocco, who talked about framing blocks so that the eye goes in toward the block, or out  away from the block. She really made me think about setting blocks in a new way. I looked at each block and chose a main color in that block. Then I found fabric in my stash that was similar but of a slightly greyer or yellower tone, or just a different tone. Voila!! The houses each stood in relief and I fell in love. Same thing for the borders. Here are the photos, including the lovely flannel backing. This is my lovely year end finish.