Saturday, January 29, 2011

I So Love Fabric

Beautiful wonderful fabric... The first two photos are from purchases way back in October. Some from the Houston Quilt Festival but most from the Mancuso show here in Florida. I love the bright happy colors here:

And couldn't resist the Halloween fabric:

My resolution to NOT buy any fabric this year lasted until my first trip to a quilt shop. Now in my own defense I had carved out exceptions for Letters, Aliens, Robots, and Rollercoasters. Not that everything here fits in one of those categories. sigh.

Bonnie sent me some fun shirt fabric from her enormous shirt stash. One of these days I'm going to do a red, white and blue shirts quilt and I needed a few bits that weren't stripes or plaids...

Bonnie thoughtfully included a present for Pokey. A new box!!!
Bonnie now has Word Play Quilts in stock and one of these days will actually be home (after a loong teaching trip) to send them.  Not to mention her new book Scraps and Shirttails II. Woohoo! I'm looking forward to that one since I didn't even get to see it in pre-production. Buy books from Quiltville here.

Speaking of Word Play Quilts, it actually went into its second printing. Woohoo! Thank you so much for buying a copy and helping to spread the word. I don't know if this means the book is doing really well or just better than expected. Either way, it's all good!

Take a look over at the UnRuly Quilting blog if you regularly reading it. Fun wordy piecing and I just posted a pic of the Bah Humbug! blocks that have been sent to me. I'm not posting it here so that if you want to make your own blocks without seeing others you can do it.

Life threw me a wobble this month. I was feeling good and sewing and walking. All that activity made my problem knee blow up. And whee, just for fun the "good" knee went too. I have a joint disease called PVNS. Not fun. Recurring. sigh. And my good knee looks like it has spare cartilage floating in there.

It's been more than 5 years since I've had surgery on the bad knee so I guess it's time. I'm having arthroscopic surgery done on both knees on Thursday. The day after my sweetie gets home from overseas (fingers crossed). This means no Gwen Marston seminar from me, which really bums me out. But I'll feel a lot better after it's done.

The good news is that it won't be open knee surgery (long recovery time) or general anesthesia like the last time I did this. It will be the twilight amnesia thing, which I love. Gonna make recovery so much faster. Or at least it better because I have to be able to walk up (scooch up?) a flight of stairs to get home later that day. That, or my husband finally gets to put all the work at the gym to use carrying me. Hmmm, somehow I think I'd be sleeping in the car instead. 

Last but not least, Lily refuses to be outdone in the box sitting photography contest:

Ya'all take care. I have to go watch the news reports about Egypt and think good thoughts for my friends living there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Finish for Student Letters

I finished the Student Letters quilt yesterday. Woohoo. It's actually the first finish - I got the top done (click to make bigger):

Terrible photo (too dark), but a fantastic quilt. Here's a photo from across the room to get a better idea of size - 58" x 70"

Yep, that's my sewing area where the dining room would normally be. Don't you like my classy chandelier?  ;-)

I added two more rows to the quilt than I originally intended to. It just seemed to need it AND I used up all the individual letters that ya'all sent me except for two. How about that. I could have fit them in, but decided to include a block from me. I wanted to include some of my love in this quilt.

I like Dub on its side and how it curves up and in to the quilt, kind of leads your eye in, at least that's how I see it.

Baby and Clank (it actually looks like "clgnk" which is why it ended up in this quilt rather than Slither Eek Boo) were dominating when they had all their background fabric on them. But having them oversized allowed me to cut them down to the size I needed. Along with the new "boo" block in the lower left corner, I think they help balance out the big pink Hope block.

I didn't put much of a border on this quilt. It's surrounded by beige that will finish off at approximately 1 or 1.5 inches. Some of the letters were too close to the edge and I don't want them lost when I go to cut off the edges and put on the binding.

(never mind this bit - the quilt now has a name) How about a name for this quilt? It's had alternate names as I've pieced it (besides the boring explanatory Student Letters 2005-2010).

Slither 2: The Revenge of Christmas
Slither Merry Christmas
Slither Baby (sung to the tune of Eartha Kitt's immortal Santa Baby)
Purple Orange Baby - which was all I could see when those words were all grouped together
Baby Clank - the most recent name. (sung to the tune of The Supremes Baby Love)

the only problem with the Slither options is that I use just the first word to refer to the quilt and Slither will always be Eek Boo...  I could always spell out Slither Baby - unless that's too confusing. I'm avoiding the word "Hope" because I already have a few quilts of my own with that title (and that does confuse me!)

I'm sure there's a fun name I haven't thought of at all.

Wheee - we have a winner. I love Forest Jane's suggestion of  *drum roll*  Alphablitzen
Love that name for this quilt. Woohoo!

Oh, and the two leftover letters? They're in the drawer waiting for more UnRuly letters and words to join them. You know me, I LOVE playing with these. The next quilt of orphans will look completely different when all ya all send more letters and blocks. That includes any newbies who might be reading this. I'd love your experiments and the letters that just didn't work out the way you wanted them to...

Of course you can keep your own letters (if you have to) and make an orphan quilt of your own. Look at how fabulous all of Lynne's UnRuly letters and orphans are - Julie is going to piece them together  for her and it's going to be a wonderful. These kinds of quilts are such a great peek at your own history of work. Looking through Lynne's leftovers and trial blocks I see some bits from Daft Zebras and how she worked on Chocolate for the 9 x 9 color quilt and I could go on...

Now everyone who has a block in here needs to come to my house and sign the quilt. How about tomorrow?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Call for Blocks: Bah Humbug!

I've continued to make great strides on the Student Letters quilt. I'll show that in another post.

I so incredibly love the quilts that we've collaborated on - they turn out so fantastically. There was Cake, which ended up on the cover of my book. Slither Eek Boo isn't in the book, but will be on my episode of The Quilt Show. (Still don't know when that episode will air, other than sometime between June and December of this year.) Okay, those are the only two finished so far, but the letters quilt is exciting so far and the names will be too.

I figure since I'm making so much progress I can now bug you again for blocks. Bug, heh heh heh. This is a challenge to make me a block or blocks and can be done as complicated or simple as you like so it's suitable for beginning and advanced UnRuly Letterers.

Bah Humbug! done with UnRuly Letters. And maybe an UnRuly Bug or too. And by that I don't mean the word. (I'll explain more later)

I want blocks with the words "Bah Humbug!" And/Or just the word "Bah!" or just "Humbug!"  with or without exclamation points. Definitely without the quotation marks.

Don't turn it into sheep, I don't need a string of "Bah Bah Bah" all together.

You can make the font fabulous and intricate, or simple and straightforward.

One option: incorporate insect fabric into the letters. I can easily see a bug peering out of the middle of the letter a or the point on the exclamation point.

If you have a reasonably non busy insect fabric you could use it to make the letters - don't get carried away, you need to be able to read the letters.

No one knows what a humbug is. You're creating it yourself. But when you look at the insect fabric do you actually see it as a humbug? For instance, there is fabric with ants. I see those and think "ants" not humbugs... Just keep that in mind.

Challenge yourself. You can make the words buggy. What would a "bug" font look like? Would it be made of antennae and creepy legs, maybe a wing or two?

It wouldn't have to be that extreme - you could just add legs or antennae to one letter. A hint of fun. You could do that with piecing or maybe there's fabric you could use just so.

Or go all out and make each letter made out of a formation of bugs. (if you do that though, please don't make it an entire quilt-sized block. maybe just do Bah! or one letter that way)

Have you seen the alphabets done using people forming each letter?  you know, they hold up their arms up and out a bit and you have a Y. What would it look like with humbugs forming the letters?

Can you piece the word HUM so that it looks like a bug?

I don't want to give you any links or hints right now of how to proceed anymore than I've already done. Cuz you guys are awesome. Just look at Slither Eek Boo with its Rattle made of bones and a shriek and eek that look like they're actually being yelled out.

Summing up the rules: All the work has to be UnRuly (free-pieced) and your own (ie nothing that will get us in trouble with copyright violations). No applique.

If your letters are really big, it would probably help me tremendously if you left the words/bugs separate (aka a "Bah" and a "Humbug" word blocks and a block of a free-pieced humbug).  Please, I don't need a block that's 84" long....

Finish all blocks off with background or even a border. Aim for blocks that finish to a number divisible by 2. In other words, a block that would FINISH at 6 x 12 or 20 x 20. yes, you can make big blocks, but there better be some interesting piecing in there!

Oh, this is a Christmas quilt. Please to use red and/or lime/chartreuse/yellow-green somewhere in the block(s).

Don't forget contrast. These need to be easy to read (if not understand right away until you get the joke).

Got questions? Ask away, in comments or you can send me an email.

and oh, I nearly forgot. I set up another blog called UnRuly Quilting for us to use as a classroom/get together to discuss piecing problems and triumphs. There is nothing in there right now, but everyone who want to participate in Bah Humbug is welcome - I just need your email address. You don't need to be playing with that challenge to get onto that blog - anyone working UnRuly is welcome, particularly if you're doing letters.

I'm so darn excited about this new challenge - hope you are too.

Another thing I forgot: Blocks are due April 1st. No, it's not all an April Fool's Joke - I just figured that would be a good way to remember it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Fun Stuff to See and Hear

I've got some fun links for you.

But before I tell you about them, I'm going to force you to see a photo of Pokey (even though you hate it when I do that):

That's my friend Kathy's Featherweight Pokey is peering through. Kathy has been coming over to sew a couple of times a week and it's really helped me to concentrate on sewing (rather than getting distracted by just about anything else). Kathy has been working on Bonnie's current mystery Roll Roll Cotton Boll (which is absolutely gorgeous). I had fun playing with the blocks and trying alternate ways to put them together. Look at how wonderful this is with sashing:

Did anyone else hear the This I Believe essay by Priya Chandrasekaran about using her deceased grandmother's saris in a quilt? It was on Bob Edwards Weekend on December 30th. You can find it on iTunes and on the show's website.

Fun article by Oliver Willms describing growing up with an increasingly obsessed quilter. It rings so true. The comments are interesting as well and note that the article was written with love and fondness - he's not being snarky.

Ooh, V has great post with photos showing you how she just starts without knowing where a quilt is going and following her intuition. Fabulous.

Sarah (House of Krom) shows step-by-step how to free-piece a mondo bird. It's a very cute bird and a well written tutorial.

Nifty finished her gorgeous Anna Williams inspired quilt. And Sujata her fabulous Confetti quilt.

I loved Barbara Brackman's article More Things That Can Go Wrong with some wild quilts. I think the last one is my favorite. Oh and this one too: Out of Control. I personally think all these are How Things Can Go Wild and Fun.

You can now pre-order Word Play Quilts and Bonnie Hunter's Scraps and Shirttails II (woohoo) over at Quiltville.

that's it for this post. See ya later.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Student Names and Letters Progress

Wheee, I'm having fun. Mostly. First, the fun part. I put all the student name blocks I received up on the design wall (can't remember the time frame and want to do this post instead of search the blog archives for dates). The blocks look soooo fabulous. I didn't crop this photo just so you could see the size of this:

Whee, those are up and the letters are down because I've got big sections now. To give you an idea of that, here's a photo I prepared for you earlier.

What you see in the photo is a Slither row, a Hope row, an Orange/ Purple row and a Dub big block.

I think I think I think I can get this done after one more day of sewing. Fingers crossed because I'm at the point of not-having-any-fun-hating-this-project. Got harder at the end to fit things in and not everything made it, although there is a chance I might add another row. Okay, two more sewing sessions to finish this top...

So that's what I've been up to with the sewing.

The book (Word Play Quilts) still hasn't arrived at very many quilt shops. Which is a bummer. But it has been wonderful to get feedback from those of you've seen it. I greatly appreciate it. One thing that would help? If you HAVE seen it, go write a review at Amazon and any other online place where there are book reviews. Even if you hate it, that's still good. For instance, Amazon keeps track of how much time people spend at the page reading the reviews and that all factors in to how popular a book is. Negative reviews just help people know that there isn't a fix in.

Thanks, Roz, for being the first reviewer. Notice she even included a photo of an UnRuly Letter quilt in the customer images section. Oh and for an absolute hoot, check out how much used copies of my book are offered for. Someone wants $147.77 (yes, almost a hundred and fifty dollars) for a copy that's Like New. Not even new or plated in gold, but Like New.

Hee Hee Hee. Wonder if I could sell them for that much?

Later ya'all.