Friday, January 15, 2016

On my holiday break...

I'm a student again (taking graduate-level classes to clear my teaching credential), and you know what that means? Procrastination! Lots of it!
And I'd better not procrastinate my reading and writing assignments with anything fun, like sewing, or reading a good book, because I know I'll get so absorbed that I won't stop until I'm finished. So I waste a lot of time on facebook, Words with Friends, researching which blinds to replace the kitchen window covering...

But while I had a break from school, I had fun with a few projects.

I finished this spiderweb quilt! The blocks were from the Stash Fabulous Bee and the Stars In Their Eyes Bee, so there is great variety of interesting fabrics.
That's one colorful quilt!
 I had thought about adding partial blocks to complete the circles around the edges. I had thought about an over-all quilting pattern. I fussed and puttered over the block arrangement.
A black and white striped binding is always a winner!
Finally, I just wanted it finished! I love the free-form chrysanthemum quilting in the spiderwebs (my friend says they look like umbrellas on the beach!), and the stars in the stars.
Here's the back, with another star as the signature block.

I used another leftover block to make myself a Sew Together bag. I can see why they're all the rage! It was really fun to make, and to see how all the parts fit together.

That was after I'd made a Sew Together bag for my granddaughter, for Christmas. She loved this Tula Pink fabric when I bought it in Pittsburgh last summer.

Here are a couple other projects I cleared off the WIP list:
Cushion covers for my sister's kitchen table:

She's going to get foam inserts, which will look very sharp.
Joining the California pillow, another tea towel pillow featuring Oregon (where two of our kids live) and Washington (where the Pittsburgh family will be relocating).

Back to school now, back to work. I have a list of projects to work on when I am procrastinating schoolwork. That's my New Year's resolution strategy for satisfying down-time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Last night
the Central Coast Quilters enjoyed our holiday party, and I've reached the end of my two-year tenure as president of the guild.
I've had a great time! It's a great bunch of people, and the guild really runs itself. I just made sure things ran smoothly.
I never managed to execute a vote properly, according to Robert's Rules of Order; I would confuse the procedure order every time, and depended on experienced members to set me straight.

So, I made a little thank-you gift for each of the board members/committee chairs for this year. I bought some plain, wooden needle cases from Connecting Threads. Then I painted them with bright stripes and dots.
Here are a few left after our soup supper at my house last week, when each of the board members chose their own. I think they're pretty cute!

 The guild's tradition is to give the outgoing president a quilt, made by the board members. When I was asked, two years ago, what kind of quilt I'd like, I told them I'd like a word quilt. Words that relate to quilting, to the guild, to my two years as president. Words that are appliqued or pieced. You pick the colors.
This is the quilt that was unveiled tonight! Isn't it great?!

It's fun to read words others have chosen for me. Some refer to the guild, like Costumes,  and ANGELS,(our philanthropy group), Super Quilter, and Sew far, So good, the sign-off I used on all guild emails. Some refer to sewing, like fun fabric, design and createstrips and wonky. Some of the words are for me: Gramma Linda, Chirp, and some really nice compliments: kind, passion, joy, and you rock. Don't you love the bright colors, too? So cheery.

The back is sweet, too. All sorts of clever sewing phrases and  paraphernalia. Plus signatures! I love it.

I'm going to treasure this quilt, and enjoy snuggling with it!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

At the Show

The Seven Sisters Quilt Show!

This is a local, regional quilt show. Members of participating guilds can enter quilts into the show without having to be juried in. There is a great variety of quilts: modern or traditional, hand or machine quilted, prize-worthy and humble, all shapes and sizes and colors... And there are lots and lots of vendors, with lots of fun things to see and try and buy! Here's a SLO Tribune photo page.

I had three quilts in the show.
For the Love of Sewing

For the Love of Sewing is the 2015 Skill Builder BOM Quilt by Alyssa Lichner.
This is the quilt I used as an example for my demonstration of Quilt-As-You-Go sashing at the guild meeting.
 See? Each block was quilted before I put it all together.
Click on the picture to make it bigger.
What on earth will I do with it now? I don't have a wall space big enough to hang it, and it's not really a bed-size quilt. Someday I gotta try opening an Etsy store. Could I really part with my creations, though?

 My son and daughter in law went to Hawaii, and brought back a fat quarter pack of Hawaiian print fabrics for me. Here they are, in Camilla Roskelly's Fireworks pattern.
Fireworks in Paradise
There was another quilt in the show made from the same pattern. It was bigger, with pieced borders, and more sophisticated, made with batiks, and quite lovely. (It's in the slide show linked in the newspaper article, above.) I'm very happy with the chaotic cheerfulness of my version!

 I dyed the fabrics for this next little quilt in a tie-dye workshop with a friend in Pittsburgh. My tie dye job was pretty amateur, and not very attractive, but I salvaged sections of beautiful colors for this Storm at Sea pattern, taught in a class by Wendy Mathson.
Fire and Ice
This one is hanging in my entryway. That means it's on a green wall. No, it doesn't match my decor, but it sure adds a nice bit of brightness and color. I think that's a nice feature of quilts: they fit in anywhere!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Professor Q

 I'm the current president of my quilt guild, Central Coast Quilters. I followed a succession of really good presidents, women who exemplified organization, competence, experience, sincerity, creativity, generosity... hard acts to follow! So when I took on the role, I did it in costume. A little hiding, a little distraction and deflection, and a lot of fun!

This month's guild program was Quilt University, and I was Professor Q. Four of us demonstrated skills and projects, and the membership rotated to each demo through the evening. Sharon demonstrated faux-piped binding, Janie taught how to make flying geese, four at a time, Maryann showed how to make the magic pillowcase, and I demonstrated Quilt-As-You-Go sashing, as I learned it from Alyssa Leichner's Skill builder BOM 2014 class.

I started with these quilt blocks; most are from the 2013 Flickr3x6 Bee (I'm sorry it no longer exists. That bee was such a great starting place for online quilty learning and relationships!)

Everyone who sat through the demo got one of these, a bottle of Professor Q's top secret, ultra high-tech, polymer adhesive.  AKA Elmer's Washable School Glue.

The really cool thing about Alyssa's method of joining the quilt blocks is using glue to adhere the sashing strips before sewing them.  The sashing stays in place, even when stitching several layers, and you end up with nice, straight sashing, front and back.

I started with blocks that were individually quilted,

then, once the sashing was done, I had an almost finished quilt!

I used the same technique to add borders, and I bound the quilt using that faux piped binding that Sharon demonstrated at our guild meeting. Done! Cute little quilt!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


This has arrived, and I'm thrilled.

Stars In Their Eyes is a group of quilters who met on the now defunct 3x6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee. (That was a great way to get started in an online quilting group.) We wanted to keep sewing with each other when the group folded, and started with each of us taking a turn as Queen Bee, and receiving blocks we asked for from each of the other members. I made my Feathers quilt with blocks from SITE. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Next, we decided on a round-robin exchange. Each of us would state a theme and make one or two blocks to start our own quilt, then send them to one after another. Every six weeks we'd add to another member's quilt in subsequent order, until the quilt came back home. Along the way, we posted sneak peeks of our work, but the final outcome would be a surprise. I started with this:
Hand appliqued, I stitched this last summer while I was in Pittsburgh with the little family.
I needed something to work on  while I was away from my sewing machine for five weeks!

Here are some of the teases my bee mates sent. I knew they were making good stuff, but I didn't know what to expect.

I certainly didn't expect a whole, complete quilt top! And a true medallion quilt, with borders going all the way around! And such artistry- well, I think I knew it was going to be great. But really, this is so, so great! I love the colors, the designs, the balance, all of it!
It's hanging over the couch, next to me, and I stare at it, loving it. I can hardly wait to quilt it, but I'm enjoying it as it is, for now.

Not all the quilts have made it home, yet, but all that have are fantastic. You can take a look here and here and here and here. This has been a lot of fun. I think everyone loves their quilts as much as I love mine.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

While I keep vigil for the mailman...

Here's another UFO (unfinished object) from the closet. I wanted to sew something, but didn't want to start on a new project. (More on that, later.)

I was part of a swap; lots of little squares sewn together and sent to one another around the US to make scrappy patchwork quilts. Then I got tired of the patches all crowded together, and re-shaped them into asymmetrical blocks and sewed them together. Then I got tired of the whole thing, and put it away.

I mindlessly sewed some neutral strips around the edges, then wondered why I had bothered with that. Then I got distracted by all those little pairs of squares that had been saved with the quilt top. Had I meant to use them as a border? A scrappy binding?

Now I thought I'd like to just sew them up as a traditional patchwork.

Then I quilted them, using one of my favorite designs. As I'm sewing, I see all the little wobbles and inconsistencies, but when it's done, the overall design takes over. My not-so-circular lines appear as lovely, interlocking circles.

Even better once they've been washed! (Yes, we're in a drought, so it had to wait to take a ride with a full load of laundry.)

I sewed two panels back to back, to make a pillow. No piping, no zipper, because I wanted to see the checkerboard pattern all around. I'll just stuff this one, and sew it shut. When it needs to be washed, I'll un-stitch it and redo it, no big deal. Nice, summery colors, soft, squishy, ahhh.

The quilt top? It's back in the closet. I'm clearing the deck, getting ready for this to come home:
A year ago, I took a workshop to learn hand applique, and made this big panel. (Pattern by Piece o' Cake) Then I sent it off to its travels to the different members of my Stars in Their Eyes quilt bee. Each one, in turn, has added to it, and today it's supposed to come home to me via USPS! I have no idea what I'll get, but I have seen what we've been adding to one another's tops as it's been my turn on their travels. I'm trying to keep my mind open, to be ready for anything, but really, I have great expectations!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Quilt colic?

I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption: "Working on a quilt I don't love. It might get better." What's not to love?

I started the quilt in a class, using this gorgeous fabric, Morris Meadows. I love the colors, and the art deco design. I already had a yard in my stash, and I ordered another yard online from Loom in Pittsburgh so I'd have enough for the class project. 

There was a lot of fussy cutting with a special ruler, resulting in a lot of wasted fabric. Boo. And I wasn't thrilled with my arrangements of the resulting pieces; I wished I'd featured more of the floral edge. After cutting apart and sewing back together, I thought I might as well have simply bought a fabric printed like this. It helped me realize I really do prefer scrappy quilting. I like seeing what happens when lots of fabrics are combined, instead of using one fabric, or one designer's collection of fabrics.

The addition of quilting added another dimension to the little quilt, as did some more favorite fabric from stash for a border. It's getting a little likable. However, as I quilted a cable in the border, the bobbin thread ran out with two inches to go! 

And even though I laid out the binding on the quilt before stitching it on, I ended up with a seam in the corner. Out came the seam ripper, and the binding was cut and resewn before sewing onto the quilt. This quilt is testing me!

Here it sits, ready for the binding to be hand sewn to the back. I like to do that while watching TV in the evening with my husband. It might have to wait until summer programming begins. 

Edited: Red Box to the rescue! Rented a movie and sewed the binding. Ralph doesn't understand why those two go together, but I get antsy just sitting in front of the TV. (Movie was Still Alice, sweet movie, but always with the sense that the actors were telling a story, rather than making believable characters. Just as well, since it would have been super-emotional if I'd connected with them, and I resent being emotionally manipulated by movies.)

Here's a detail of the quilting. It probably wouldn't matter what I did, since the fabric is so busy! Orange peel in the center, sweet cable in the border.
Here's the finished quilt!

Okay, I'm feeling a little love for this little one, now. 40x48" Maybe someone else will like a sophisticated, art deco baby quilt.