Sunday, April 27, 2008

Susa Beasties

All of the following photos are from the Temple of Darius. I got it wrong in yesterday's post: The Temple of Darius is Persian, not Babylonian. Wrong empire, wrong era. D'oh. Definitely see a continuation of motifs though, such as tilework lions. These two have unfortunately lost a lot of their color.

I LOVE these four winged lions with the curved horns. So incredible:

I'm not sure what to call this one. Doubt it's a winged unicorn, but that's what springs to mind:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Susa Archers

I took a glorious walk in the sunshine down to the Louvre yesterday. And then spent several hours inside, which might seem silly except that the sunlight really helps with taking photos in there. And it's a 45 minute walk each way so I was outside. Enough justification.

The Louvre's special exhibition right now is on Babylon. I just did a quick walk through since I'll be going back with my sweetie. Does bother me that all of the labels are in French and boy I'd have paid that exhorbitant amount for the coffeetable book if I could just understand it.

No photography was allowed in the exhibition, but I did take a wander over to the permanent collection to see remains of the Palace of Darius from Susa (in current day Iran). Also Babylonian and for obvious reasons too big to move over for the special show.

I'm so madly in love with the colors and patterns on the tilework. There are multiple sets of archers. The colors are so incredible, I wish you could see them. Soft yellow and turquoise.

A lone archer

This particular pattern appears often.

Another set of archers. You can't see it but the top has arrows pointing upwards.

There's cunieform writing in the middle:

I know, I know, more of the same. I took soooo many photos of the feet and robes, just be glad I narrowed it down some.

These remind me of antique quilts, the way the "fabric" in some blocks has aged more than in others. The colors are no longer like the makers intended, but still glorious all the same. I wish I hand-dyed fabrics - I'd love to try and duplicate the range of colors here.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I decided on a shift in scale. I made more Lazy 9-Patches, this time using 2.5" ish squares to make 6" ish finished blocks. I LOVE the small blocks, but they just don't show off the fun tropical prints, plus I'm using a Moda Jelly Roll of marble citrus prints (I didn't have access to my stash in Florida and that was a handy way to get fabric). Those are 2.5" strips, so they were darn easy to make into squares.

These definitely go faster than the smaller blocks but I don't like them nearly as well. Still, look at how wonderful the dragonfly looks.

I also considered throwing in some Friendship Stars. Boy, making triangles really bores me, so I doubt I'll make many of these.

Pondering using the big 9-Patches around the small ones.... I like it, what do you think?

Wow, we ended up with the most gorgeous sunshine yesterday. Woohoo! I think I'm lucking out today too, so I need to get out into the world instead of chaining myself to the sewing machine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Margarita Quilt

I've made progress!

I sorted through my 9-Patches and set aside those larger or a lot smaller than 3.5". Not that I was all that strict - I still had a bunch that were 1/8" short here and there. Usually what I do in this situation is cut all the blocks down by that 1/8" to make them all the same size, but figured that would be too prissy for this particular quilt.

I divided the blocks into two groups according to value in the corner fabric of each block and then was pretty good about putting them up on the design board randomly.

I sewed horizontal rows of seven blocks and then joined 10 of those rows together to make a rectangle. I then sewed vertical rows of 10 blocks, two of which were longer than the rest. I could have just sewed them together and whacked off the extra, but these are just 1" blocks - it's not like there's much of the block to lose. So I added some extra to the bottom of the big rectangle and one of the vertical rows and then joined them together. That will be a little sliver when it's all joined up and I think it will make the whole work more interesting. Right now this piece measures 29.75" x 30.5"

I've decided to call this The Margarita Quilt. It's happy (a well-made margarita definitely makes me happy), has lime, and looks like I was tipsy while I was piecing it.

I can't decide if I want to border it or not. I love the idea of using this center "square" in the middle of a huge border. I played around with a border when this quilt was only 7 x 7 blocks but didn't actually like it.

So The Margarita Quilt will get aside while I play some more with the remaining 9-Patches.

The light has definitely improved - spring at last. Pokey:

And Lily:

Yesterday, I met Marie of Luxor One Day at a Time. She is an absolute blast. She has a fascinating job -- librarian at Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt -- and is a quilter and cat lover. We had so much to talk about, it was just wonderful. She's visiting Paris before heading back to California where she lives in the off-season. She came over to my apartment and I showed her some of my quilts and Egypt treasures and of course the cats hid from her the entire time.

Have you seen Finn's great tutorial for working with Orphan Blocks? How about Sarah's tutorial for a free-pieced flower?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Loving These 9-Patches

I am having such a blast sewing these blocks together. This isn't all of them, doesn't include the ones I made in Florida or a few more I finished last night. But woohoo, I'm loving this.

I've figured out that I only need to throw in a rectangle every once in awhile to make a wonkier block (upper left block). And I love how these 9-patches look with a different fabric in the middle. I have to restrain myself from doing that in every block.

It's so much more fun to piece this way, a block at a time making new creations every block. I started out quilting with the fast rotary cutter style of making 9-patches where you sew the big long strips together, slice them apart and then resew. That's boring sewing. This isn't. Trust me though, happy to have my rotary cutter to make the squares, much easier than doing templates.

One of these blocks is an actual boo-boo. But when there's such a variety of blocks, it's hard to know which one isn't "right."

It's the second from the left on the bottom row. I wasn't intending it to look like this, but sewed a couple of blocks together wrong. I refused to use the seam ripper, just went forward. Now it doesn't look like a mistake at all.

As I've said before, when you make things wonky, you can't really do it wrong. When seams don't have to match, then none are wrong.

How's my contrast? It's darker than I expected it to be.

I love the size of the blocks just as they are now, which makes me wonder if I'm not going to find them too small when they're actually sewn together. Maybe I should be playing with 2" squares instead of 1.5". I'm going to sew a bunch of these together, all jammed up just like this, and see how I like it. That will be a wallhanging. And then who knows what happens next? I don't. I love playing with blocks this way, making decisions as I go along.

We had big stormy looking clouds yesterday, but it never rained and we did get a bit of sunshine streaming through the windows. Lily enjoyed the patch of light on my ironing board.

I have links for you, but they will have to wait for another day. It's time to get sewing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Slowly Emerging from my Coccoon

I've had a wretched time recovering from jetlag and getting used to the overcast skies. I just want to sleep and sleep. Doesn't help that the kitty girls are joining me in the recliner. aaah, nap time.

Today I finally got sewing again on my Florida 9-Patch. The two top rows are more blocks made in Florida and the rest I whipped out this morning.

Passionate Purple Quilter Pam sent me some great strips of fabric, one of which is perfect for this quilt. It's the swirls of pink, orange and, yellow on white. Completely loving how they look in these blocks. Thank you, Pam!

I thought some of my blocks were too extreme so I was playing it a bit safer while cutting strips and squares. I figure there need to be a lot more boring blocks in here to make the wonkier ones stand out. I'll probably go back to making some crazier ones at the end. I'm hoping to make a bizillion of these things to give myself lots of options and maybe end up with a couple of different quilts.

As far as life stuff goes, the flights back from the states really went well. I have to give kudos to Delta. All our flights were on time, the coach seats had extra leg room and personal tv screens, and we eventually got all our luggage. I still hate Charles de Gaulle Airport with a passion but at least we weren't continually bused around the airport this time.

Saw lots of movies while on the plane. Becoming Jane, The Jane Austen Book Club, Dan in Real Life, and Juno were all good. I wouldn't say great though. I'm rather surprised that Juno was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Really? The other movies last year must have been pretty bad. As far as I'm concerned that goes for the other Best Picture nominees. Bloody, violent, dark - not my cup of tea.

Alright, I gotta get back to my sewing now. I just wanted to check in and say, hey, I'm still alive.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunny Florida

Just wanted to say hey to ya'all from gorgeous wonderful sunny Florida. I've been soaking up the warmth and sun and the library. I would rather have this than snowy Paris any day. Snow in April? Happy to have missed it.

I've hardly done any sewing at all, but I did finally start the Florida-inspired quilt I've been wanting to do using lots of white and bright colors.

I've been making Lazy 9-Patches. I cut out loads of squares approximately 1.5" and didn't worry too much about how I put them together. It's a very enjoyable, relaxing project. I love working this way with the mismatched seams

I just can't make my mind up about how I want to put them together. Lots of 9-patches all jammed together as a lap quilt? Or do I want it on the wall, maybe with alternate solid blocks in a double 9-patch? I'm going to make some strippy bits and see if I want to throw them in too. I used a Moda Jelly Roll to get the marbled fabric for this job and when I cut my strips 1.5" ish I ended up with lots of 1" strips left over - those would be great stripped onto a foundation block. And do I make some letters too? Dunno...

Tommorrow is our last full day here and I tell you, I'm just not ready to go yet although it will be good to see the kitties again. I hear tell that Pokey has gotten into the kitchen cabinet trying to get her treats and and has been doing a great job of hunting down socks.

Off to dinner now - we're getting Buffalo Wings - mmmmm.