Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Star of My Own

I get comments from folks saying how much they like the photos of the kitties. Well, if you're going to keep encouraging me, you're going to keep getting these same old pictures. Pokey on fabric - I guess she was helping me select fabric by sleeping on the bits she didn't want me to use.

My new project, a String Lone Star. I've been wanting to do one ever since seeing Bonnie's (scroll to the bottom of the page here). It looks a bit "off" here (hey, it's only got one arm -- I've got a long ways to go.

I think Bonnie may have used the 3" diamonds and I chose the 4" which means my quilt is going to be huge. aiyee. Are there enough lights in here? Enough contrast? It looks disjointed to me right now.
I was thinking initially of just using the string diamonds all on their own, but no, has to be a star. My husband will hate this one - way too much color and chaos for him.
It's late and I need to go make dinner. Can I just ask though, what happened to the sun? Rain, rain go away!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Short Attention Span

Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat. Now that I know what my log cabin Humility Quilt is going to look like, I seem to have little inclination to actually work on it. drat. This is it, the Barn Raising setting and I even decided to make it symmetrical. I just liked it better that way.

I did actually get every row put together before running out of steam. The Pokey seal of approval.

Today I've been playing with fabric for the string diamond I want to work on next. I know, I know, I still have to finish HQ but I have a particular border treatment that I want to do that will take actual thinking, which I'm not in the mood to do.

It was fun to just play with fabric. Most of this came from Florida last year when I was trapped without my stash, but now I have scraps that Siobhan, Bonnie, Cher, and Heidi have given me as well.

I'm trying really hard to keep this one light and happy. I've gotten rather fed up with the overly dark and medium prints that comprise most of my stash.

I don't have enough of an attention span to give you any links or book recommendations or anything else. I have to zip off and do something else now. later!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Colombe's St George Fighting the Dragon

Have to admit I'm getting tired of seeing the same old thing over and over in my blog. (Speaking of that "old thing" I've got several rows put together.) So here are some pics from the archives. This is Michel Colombe's marble sculpture of St George Fighting the Dragon, which is located in the Louvre.

I'm completely fascinated by the dragon.

His face looks like a dinosaur.

Little stubby wing:

The scales look like a patchwork or quilting pattern to me.

The info on the piece, which was executed in 1509-1510.

This is just for kicks. It's another piece and I didn't take a photo of the information. I just love the woman's toes. And that is a strange furry sea monster.

I seem to be spending far too much time doing chores like laundry and grocery shopping and not enough time sewing. But yesterday we had sun, real strong wonderful sun. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Next?

This is just a quickie post to show you some pics. I finished the Humility Quilt blocks. I'm sure there's a name for this log cabin setting, but can't begin to remember what it's called.

A closer look:

In yesterday's post, the humility block was the middle block second row from the bottom. Probably still can't tell. A lesson for all of us to just keep working and not fuss so much with making everything just "right."

And look what I got in the mail! Bonnie finished quilting my Bed Quilt. She did a gorgeous job. Here are a few peaks:

Oh no, decisions, what to do next? I want to get the binding on but I know how dangerous it is for me to stop working on a quilt in progress. I gotta keep working on it while I have the momentum. Hmm, I think I just made my decision.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Humility Quilt

It's been ages since you've seen any photos of Paris, so I'll start out with these. In my last post I was off to take a walk? Well by the time I changed clothes and got ready to go, the sun was gone. I took this pic from my balcony:

At least it improved a little bit, so I did go out. It didn't rain on me, that's something.

Yesterday we had a couple hours of sun so that was a much better walk. The temps here are pleasant - high 40's. If I could have sun I might be able to tolerate below freezing temps, but there's no way I'm trading with Joyce for sun and -24 degrees. brrrr.

I am almost done with all my blocks. Here's more of them. I jinxed myself by saying that I'd been doing a good job with getting the fabrics were they were meant to go. D'oh. Spot the humility block - it was finished, so I left it alone. You probably can't - I can only find it because I know where it is. I think it actually adds some fun and doesn't change the flow of the quilt.

And here's another humility block. I decided to keep it as is and just add to it. I was obviously very relaxed while I was sewing.

See that beautiful woven striped fabric amongst the lights? It is such a gorgeous fabric -it's from the early 1990's. I bought it from Irma's Sampler, so I think it's Dutch. It's heavy -- not gauzy -- but not too heavy. Why don't they make fabric like this anymore?

Pokey cat has been an attention-seeking terror. Sitting on the blocks, nipping at my ankles, and her new trick is to stand on the chair next to me and shove my arm with her paws. That last one makes sewing darn impossible -- I could have finished my last six blocks otherwise. Hmm, I could have moved the chair, but I didn't think of that until now.

Good thing she's so sweet and loveable. If she needs loving that much, she get's it.

I counted blocks - there are 72. So hopefully today I'll get them all finished and will play with settings and such. I need 64 blocks for my quilt, so I think I'll choose them by size - there's a good chance that some will be quite a bit smaller than others. I swear, I am the most uneven quilter. I've named this the Humility Quilt.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sun? Almost

Hey, there was sun here just a moment ago! I want it back now.

I have a plan to make a quilt made up of student letters. I think it will be a blast. Heidi very kindly sent me these blocks which she had leftover from making her very fun Marry Christmas quilt.

Anyone who wants to send me letters (fabric or paper, hee hee hee), please to do so! Just email me and I'll send you my snail mail address. [And if you have my address, feel free to share it with other quilters.] I was planning on having you all add a letter block as whoever wanted to got the Class in a Box project, but I'm already feeling like the box is going to be too crowded. Not that I've finished getting it together yet, but I will soon, really.

I don't care if the letters "work" or not, I don't care about the colors or pattern. Preferably cotton though - I have an aversion to polyester and I'm allergic to wool. I'll take in all your rejects and discards. Trust me, they will all go together great and I will have a fabulous quilt. You'll say to yourself, why didn't I keep that block?

Getting Heidi's blocks made me realize I'd never posted a pic of this marvelous block that Carol E. of Giraffe Dreams made me. (D'oh - I'm so disorganized.) Isn't it fun? Carol is working on some fun funky houses right now so I recommend a visit to her neighborhood.

Skinny Log Cabin blocks yesterday. I have to say that I've been doing a good job of keeping them organized - I've only gotten mixed up and sewn light logs on the dark side twice. I know it would have been lazier to have just left it, but no, couldn't do it.

Sewing, sewing, sewing:

My newer blocks arranged in a Streak of Lightning. This is actually my favorite log cabin setting, but I was thinking I needed to try something new this quilt. But my, I like how this looks...
These are the only blocks I have left to do. I'm not actually sure how many I've got in progress, though there are supposed to be 70. Or 71. I wanted a few left over blocks for a future mis-matched quilt.
Pokey has just been in the way. I love that she's so affectionate, but still. We played fetch yesterday. She used to do so much of that when she was a baby, but it's much rarer now so I have to encourage her while she's willing to play.

Pokey in motion

Okay, the sun wasn't just teasing me. It's here, or at least more than it has been in quite a while. I'm off for a walk now.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Griffin, a Lion, and a Something-Or-Other

These were my blocks as of this morning. Just playing with another setting, but I think I'm going to do my previous layout - Barn Raising - instead. Now if I were Bonnie I'd just be sewing these together as I get enough of them made- that's one of the reason's she's so speedy. But I like to putter and play and rearrange.

I only got four more blocks completed today, but still tons more to come - they'll be getting done quicker now because I'm not doing any new starts.

Just to have something different to post, a friend sent me pictures from Geneva, Switzerland, knowing my love for this kind of statuary. Gorgeous griffin:

A winged lion with eagles' talons - don't know if that still counts as a griffin. And look at the neck - that looks rather dragonlike (or stegosaurian).

A lion, very majestic:

Weather here continues to be icky. This isn't making Tonya happy.

On a completely different note, I wanted to share part of an email I received from Amy. With her permission:

"I got into quilting a couple of years ago because I wanted to finish my great-grandmother's unfinished quilts. I was getting ready to put the binding on the first one and was stressing about squaring it up beforehand. So I googled "squaring up a quilt" and was led right to your post saying that you don't bother. I loved that, beaten up by the "quilt police" as I was allowing myself to be at the time. My instinct told me, "Who gives a $%^ about squaring it up? I'm making this to please MYSELF." But it was nice to have your validation. And I didn't square it up, AND it was fine! :-) "

Me again. Unfortunately Amy doesn't have a digital camera so we don't get to see a pic.

See, it's okay to be low-stress and casual about your quilting. It will all work out. In general you want the quilt to hold together and not fall apart after the first wash (or several), but other than that, it just doesn't matter. Put your heart into it, that's what counts.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Bloggers

I have 35 blocks done for my quilt and many more fairly close. woohoo.

I'm planning on making the quilt about 72" square. That's a good size for me to use to throw another large quilt into the rotation (along with Masterpiece and Stars). There is no way I am going to hand quilt this bad boy - it will get mailed off to Bonnie for her to longarm. Not that she's even aware that's my plan.

I recently had an email exchange with Sandy and one of the topics which came up (besides her offer to send me some bright scraps - woohoo) is being a new blogger. I know it can be hard to get established and have people exchange comments with you. If you're in a similar situation, here are a few suggestions:

1) put an email addy in your profile if you are on Blogger. That way it's much easier to send email back and forth and develop a friendship.

2) If you're a non-Blogger blogger, put in your URL the first time you comment on a Blogger blog, to make it easier for someone to track you down.

3) For Blogger users: make sure that your blog isn't set up to be private. There are people I've wanted to communicate with and can't see any information about them. I know that's sometimes deliberate, but if it's not, you might want to ask someone to take a peek for you.

[For instance, Anjea, couldn't see your profile and you're no-reply, but thanks for the compliments and I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.]

4) Leave lots of comments on blogs that you love and feel a kinship with. I know it can be hard to leave a comment for people you don't know, but do it anyway. Wonderful friendships have been formed that way.

All new bloggers out there, and anyone who'd like to find more like-minded correspondents, leave a comment on this post inviting others to come visit your blog. Say a few words about your interests - free-piecing, bright colors, primitive quilts, bead embroidery, Gwen Marston fan??? I know I'm always looking for fellow sf/fantasy geeks to compare books/tv/movies with.

The next step is to go visit each other's blogs and leave comments. I promise I'll leave a comment for everyone who asks, and I hope my readers will do the same.

The sun isn't exactly shining, but it's probably as bright as it's going to get today. sigh. Off to the sewing machine for me -Pokey needs some blocks to sleep on...

P.S. speaking of geekiness, I'm begging everybody to watch Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles on tv. I would desperately love to see this show and want it to stick around. Those in the U.S. (and only there - can you hear me sobbing?) can even watch it for free on their computer. Here's a fun review of the pilot episode at the Flick Filosopher. I can't be the only quilter out there who loves the Terminator movies, can I?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More of the Same

Sorry, I'm on a real roll with my quilt right now, so there's pretty much nothing but quilt in progress and kitty pics these days. This need to work on the quilt and post constantly about it will wane one of these days, but I'm trying to keep in the flow of it while I have it.

Here are all the finished blocks. I've started worrying it's looking too much like a baby quilt and have tried to throw in more of the reds, deep purples, and greens. And I'll use fewer pinks.

And this is cheating and using quite a few unfinished blocks. I really like this assymetry. The question is not if my husband will dislike it if I actually make the quilt this way but how much he'll hate it. He hates assymetry. He might just have to close his eyes every time he walks by this one. bah ha ha ha.

Right now I'm thinking it's going to be 8 blocks across and 8 blocks down. I'm making loads of extra so I can play.

Pokey once again helping out. I suppose this is better than jumping up on the cutting mat while I'm wielding my rotary cutter.

Nothing but rain here today. Bah! It does tell you how much better I'm feeling that I kept working rather than curling up in the recliner with the kitties and a book.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sewing Sewing Sewing

Different sized Skinny Logs laid out on the floor. This was yesterday.

Something you don't ever want to see - the right side of the fabric when it's meant to be wrong. I didn't realize my fabric strip was doubled up, so I had to take out this seam and resew just one additional layer of fabric, thank you very much.

I sew multiple blocks onto the same strip, but take care so that I'm mixing the blocks up and they don't all look the same. Not only that, but the blocks are at different stages, so the fabric will appear in a different place on each of the blocks. Mostly. The fabric probably will get used again (though I haven't done much of that so far) but there will be different blocks in the mix. Not sure that makes any sense whatsoever, but that's my method.

This is what my staging area looks like, although I hadn't mixed each stack up yet so that each pile had different fabrics on top. Inaccurate, but you can see how I work with different sized blocks all at the same time.

I am sooo much happier now that I am using some of the wilder fabric again. I know I already wrote that, but I can't even begin to emphasize how dull all that safeness was making my quilt. I've discovered that Bonnie is right, you cut any fabric up small enough and it will work. I've fallen in love with some of my fabrics that I thought were too busy to use and I've also learned that some are still darn ugly, but work in the general scheme of things.

And I needed zingers. So I added Halloween fabric featuring spiders even though it's awfully pale and a fun alien fabric that Siobhan gave me, even though the eyes on the critters were yellow. I know, I can be so ridiculous about my colors sometimes. Stupidly so. I'll show you some fabric close-ups another day, but take a look at this:

I don't know what setting I'm going to use (but it may be this one, because I loved it right away), but this is the size of the log cabin blocks - seven layers of logs. The blocks are a bit less than 8" right now. My personal wonkiness is definitely showing in these blocks. I did a round of squaring them up. Even the blocks with the same number of logs are different sizes and some are even rectangular rather than square. I love it when I stand back and look at the results - the irregular logs add life. It can just be frustrating while I'm sewing and the fabrics are escaping from my feed dogs, making my seams narrower or wider than desired.

I haven't finished straightening up after Christmas. I had to reorder our shelves to make room for our new books so I moved bunches of my alabaster vases over here to the hutch, but I haven't figured out how I want them yet and with what. Christmas quilts are still on the wall too. D'oh.

Sorry this was a babbly post, but I don't think my lunch of Spicy Nacho Doritos was good brain fuel. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Day, Another Few Logs

I keep going round on round on my Skinny Logs. I think I got too overly precious and worried. It seemed kinda bland to me so I'm back to including the busy, too-much-contrast fabrics that I decided not to use yesterday. I dug them back out of the scrap bin and used them. They're helping. Need to cut even more.

I'm being too choosy when I pick fabric out of my basket and need to use whatever I grab whether it "goes" or not. I need more clashiness. That's my task for tomorrow.
The top blocks are about 7" right now, but I think I'm going to put another couple of logs on. I'm such an inconsistent piecer that these things are undeliberately wonky. I so worried about that the last time I played with logs and yet when I look at them all pieced together I love how they look. The lesson, which I have to keep relearning, is just go with it. It doesn't matter, only the final appearance matters. Stand back and look at the whole thing.

If you want to see some great lighthearted soulful quilts, go look at Bonnie's crumbies she recently posted here.

Pokey weighing down the fabric so it doesn't float away: