Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gwen's New Liberated Book

I've started yet another quilt. I needed to have something portable to sew at a friend's, but of course I got all interested and I'm still working on it even though I have other projects that need to be finished.

By the way, this is an intense look of concentration on my face - I like to think I don't really look like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel.

I got so much done when I was over at Jackie's. Hmm, why is it so much harder to get things done at home? A belly that need to be loved on... By the way, that's Pokey's portrait up on the wall in the kitchen - you can see it above my shoulder.

Pokey is doing fine by the way. Happy little girl.

As compared to Brenda's cat Kitty on The Closer. Kitty also had kidney problems and it was a very familiar site when Brenda pulled out the bag of fluids. Of course Pokey isn't nearly as well behaved as Kitty. AND isn't that sick yet, thankfully. I tell you, I was bawling at the end of the most recent episode.

I've got some fun news to share with you. Last week I mailed off my Alphabet Sampler quilt for photography - it's going to appear in Gwen Marston's new Liberated Quiltmaking book. Woohoo, I'm so excited.

I called Gwen to tell her I'd shipped the quilt. She was busy doing yard work out in the "heat wave" - ooh, 80 degrees! I sure wish it didn't get hotter than that here, but I wouldn't want her cold winters. She's looking forward to her trip next month to Sisters, Oregon. I'm so envious of all of you who are getting to go.

I asked Gwen what is going to appear in the new book. There will be a review of some of the processes in Liberated Quiltmaking as well as some improved instructions - Gwen has learned a lot since the first book was published. There will be Liberated Stars, Log Cabins, Triangles (such as Sawtooth and Wild Geese), Square Within a Square, Medallions, Samplers, and Baskets. She's also including Mexican Hat Dance - that's the block that appears on in the quilt on the cover of Ideas and Inspirations. There's another quilt made from that same block on the wall of her house in a photo in Collaborative Quilting.

There's also a student gallery of 15 quilters who took Liberated Quilting in their own direction. Woohoo, that's me in there!

I need to wrap this post up. I have one last full day with my sweetie before he has to get back on the plane tomorrow. sigh. Ya'all take care.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Letter Class

Okay, I AM still here, everything is going well. I am spending lots of time with my husband, did a bit of sewing with friends and some teaching... I am on holiday. I have spent about 20 minutes total on the computer in the last two weeks - so completely unlike me. Sorry I've been negligent.

I have a long list of things to blog about and it's overwhelming me, so I'm just going to tackle the quickie stuff in this post, rather than keep putting off posting because I don't know how to get to it all.

I taught Introduction to Free-Pieced Letters at the JaM Patch last week. It was soo much fun. A small class but that was great for me because this was only the second time I've taught letters. My students were camera shy, but I'm allowed to show their work.

Joan decided to add letters to a much larger Christmas quilt. Here she is sewing peace:

Felice made this totally fun boo quilt - she left lots of space for some fun quilting. Isn't this owl fabric a hoot? (sorry, had to go for the pun). The owls are so cute and adding this blue fabric completely made the orange quilt sing.

Kathy finally got a chance to use a Halloween fat quarter that she'd been unable to cut up. It really is fun fabric as is this Boo! quilt:

Kathy also completed this pretty Joy quilt that features a nativity scene:

In Pokey news, she is active and happy. The specialist vet said that her kidneys were small and misshapen and she either has kidney stones or calcium deposits; he suspects she's had them growing in there since she was a kitten. Not good news. Putting her under anaesthesia to remove them would be dangerous in her condition. So the only thing that can be done is to treat the Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) and hope for the best. She'll never get better, but we can hope she doesn't get worse for a long time. She hasn't yet developed the anemia or high blood pressure which CRF cats get.

We've been taking Pokey to the vet for her subcutaneous fluids. She started squealing and jumping when my husband and I were doing it, making it harder and harder - there was no way I was going to be able to do it by myself. She doesn't like going to the vet's but she's no longer cowering under a bed for hours after we get her home. She's bouncing right back. Whew.

I've received all sorts of fun packages in the mail and I've been horribly remiss in thanking the senders and showing you all pics. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I have to get that all sorted on and on the blog!

Gotta go now, take care.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pokey Portrait

Okay, maybe I have crossed the line into crazy cat lady. Last month I commissioned a portrait of Pokey. The painting was done by Alina Kremer of Michi Designs. It was really fun to work with Alina. She captured Pokey's face so incredibly well.

This photo was the starting point, but I also sent Alina lots of photos of the Margarita Quilt which she then interpreted in the portrait. And I wanted better eyebrow whiskers than Pokey had in the photo - too many of them there were broken off.

Unfortunately Pokey has to go to a specialist today. Her bloodwork numbers got a bit worse, rather than stabilizing with the fluid treatment. She's been locked away from the food since last night - she's not a happy camper. Neither are the adults. So roadtrip today, fingers crossed for good news.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

howl shriek gurgle

I know ya'all haven't been seeing a lot from me lately. Having my husband here has put me into vacation mode. It's been so good just to spend time with him, watching him play (or, far more often, attempt to play) fetch with Pokey and follow her around the house with a glass of water to convince her to drink more.

More fun blocks are here for Slither Eek Boo. First off an amazing Howl from Dionne of Sew Many Quilts. Look at those lovely curves in the bottom of the w and l. And those little pointy bits - marvelous. Erin of A Prairie Home Quilts did an amazing job with Shriek - I love seeing how she drew it out first and then worked to get it just right. Look at the curl at the end of the r and the "dot" of the i.
Master of Patience Lynda made such a fun font for gurgle.  Look at the g - it looks an awful lot like the one in this typeface. All these rounded edges really took work, which is easier when you're working on a larger scale. This g is 5.75" finished. 

Plus, woohoo, more blocks for Hope is a 4-Letter Word quilt. Erin sent me home and kiss. I love reading her thoughts on the process, I encourage you to follow the links. Plus check out her practice quilt which came out wonderfully and really antique looking - I think the freehand fans really help out with that.

Rondi L. sent me the hugs and some fun fabric. I feel like I got hugs in the mail, thank you. Thank yous to every one of these fun quilters - I really appreciate you all.

Erin wrote about wanting to play wonky and yet not being able to do it. I'll give you the same advice I gave her. There's the always reliable "practice, practice, practice." The more you make these letters, the more comfortable you get doing it and the easier it will be to experiment. Also, cut some - or all - of your strips with slants; you can hardly help but be wonky that way. Not quite happy with your word, do it again. Practice.

I think I may just start putting Slither Eek Boo together - or at least the first quilt in the series. All the fun image quilting I want to do is going to take time, so I need to get with it. Clare wants to quilt along with me, working on her halloween houses quilt. 

Want to play along with us? You'll need a top. Doesn't have to be anything elaborate - you could do something small and fun like my Boo with Skeletons quilt. Baste it - thread basting would work best, but I use pins because it's faster to baste. Get some thread. And some needles. I finally have a packet I can highly recommend: John James has a set of size 3 to 9 quilting needles. They are wonderful - you can find the right size to use with both perle cotton #8 and all 6 strands of embroidery floss. Marking tool, esp one that's easy to erase and do-over. I've used chalk, disappearing ink, soap, and am currently enamored of Sewline ceramic pencils.

Okay, I've got work to do now. Chores, chores, chores. Take care.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Boo Boo Wooooo

Whee, I was going to post these gorgeous blocks bit by bit, but realized I was getting too confused and forgetting who sent me what.  So lots of fun in store for you today.

Brenda S of Scraps and Strings went boo-crazy and made nine different BOOs for Slither Eek Boo. It really is fun to be able to compare so many different ways of making the same word. Brenda blogged about these here and here. You went above and beyond the call of duty, Brenda!

And that big wonderful Woooooo on purple? That's from Sharon of Indigo Threads. These are some of her very first letters and she did such a great job make them round and curvy. She wrote about making the letters here and here. Sharon also made these sweet words for the 4-letter word quilt.

Speaking of that quilt-to-be, here are more fabulous blocks. This cozy Warm from Laura of Cloth and Mind - go see her Live, Love and Learn quilt. Quiltdad John made these sweet Life and Luck blocks - I love the different sizes of letters. Kathy W of Israel sent me a Wish - look at the wonderful W and S. Cherie M of Quilted Jonquil did the beautiful Glee out of Cherrywood fabrics - so yummy. I love that final E in particular.

These are some great leftover blocks sent by Sharon from her Wooo experiments. This is her first rounded W and it's wonderful, but the one she ended up with is even rounder.

Marge F was in my very first online class so I'm really pleased she made a name for me. After all, it was those students who started the whole name sampler.

Also included in the pic above is a leftover H from Clare (you'll see the word it fell from later in this post) and some of Kathy W's experiments. She did an amazing job on this Q. I love it and am going to have to play with this method of Q'ing.

Here are some more fonty words for Slither Eek Boo. Up top we have BBS Quilt Design Beena's excellent moan with the jagged bottom and target O. Dordogne Clare went pointy for screeeech - you can see it in progress here. Doesn't that just feel like claws on a blackboard? 

Next is Jovaliquilts Cheri's marvelous thump. If you haven't already read about the making of this block, I recommend you try these posts (1, 2, 3) to read the advice Cheri got about making the block and the decisions she made along the way. 

To the right of thump, do you see Judy S's really fun Rattle? The letters look like bones - hee hee hee. The R and t's are just amazing. Speaking of rattley bones, there's Cloth and Mind Laura's marvelous rattle along with a free-pieced bone. Woohoo.

Below that we have a great clanky clank by Sarah of By Needle and Thread. She loves bright happy colors - her blog is a joyous place to visit. To the right is an awesome in your face eeK by Marge F - I can hear that scream in my brain.

The last block is Kathy W's awesome squeeeak. Shoot, I just realized I forgot to ask Kathy if I could post her write-up of how she made this block. Hopefully I can get that for you in another post. Isn't it awesome though? 

All these blocks are totally cool. I'm gonna have a great quilt. Or two. Some of these blocks are biiiig as well as an amazing amount of fun. To help put them in scale, here is Pokey checking things out.

My husband says it looks like the screeech is coming right out of Pokey's mouth:

The innocent girl look. What me? I'm not in the way.

Thanks to everyone who sent me blocks and gifties. You all are incredible. Dionne, I got your package today - you'll be featured soon.

So in the world of me, things are going well. My husband made it home safely. Yesterday he helped with getting Pokey her sub-cutaneous fluids and that really IS a help to have someone who can keep an eye on the fluid level and turn it off. And last night, Mexican food and Margaritas. For the humans, not for the poor jabbed girl, though she did get that extra helping of watery Fancy Feast.

We've been catching up on some of the tv we've missed. Woohoo for season 4 of The Closer, not to mention Mythbusters and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.

Ya'all take care.