Sunday, July 26, 2009

Zigzag Border

I love how this string quilt is coming along - bright and colorful yet it still fits in with the antique utility quilts that I love so well. Kristin's comment about it not needing a solid border made me think about how I could extend the strings out. I like this, emphasizing the zigzags even more.

That means I have a lot more string blocks to make. If I could just get Lily out of the way:

I think the little cats get extra fiber in their diets rolling around on the cutting board. I try to pick off as many of the fabric bits as I can, but I suspect they still manage to eat some of them when grooming.

I want to keep this quilt really scrappy, so yesterday I cut more strips from reproduction fabric Siobhan gave me. Some of it is really busy, so it is good for strings (not so good for letter making). I cut so much managed to make my hand ache - not even the one holding the rotary cutter, but the one that was keeping (or trying to keep) the ruler in place. Ow. Stupid repetitive stress.

This morning I finished basting the monster beast that is Slither Eek Boo. I even got some hand quilting done on it today, but nothing interesting yet. Right now I'm just going around letters.

I just saw this now. What a hoot. It's a trailer for a book (that I will totally read) but I would sooo go to see this movie as well:

I'm reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies right now and it is really fun. I just wish there was a great trailer for it too.

Woohoo for Lance Armstrong finishing third in the Tour de France. Okay first would have been really cool, but not bad for an "old" guy coming out of retirement who's on the same team as Contador. What an amazing year for the Brits at this year's tour. Bradley Wiggins in 4th place and Cavendish winning 10 stages. Too bad this tour was arranged to be so boring, even the much vaunted Mont Ventoux was rather dull. More mountain top stage finishes next year please.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Hopes

I may be bad at blogging lately but I have been sewing like crazy. Woohoo! I finished three little quilts and am aaalmost through basting the enormous monster. Gorgeous baby Pokey has been hanging out with me. She's doing as well as ever.

Here are some of my blocks for Hope Strings Eternal. I just pieced and then pieced more once I decided I was going to make it a lap quilt. I made more than I need for this quilt, so will get to have leftovers to play with. I'm surprised at how readable it is with these four patches all placed directly together (I'd have thought it would need sashing or something to work) but maybe that's because I already know what it says...

Lily came over to take a look, but wouldn't pose prettily on the blocks.

She failed in her job as super model.

I snuck a "live" in amongst the hope. That is what I'm hoping for after all.

This is the layout I'm thinking about and of course I'm four string blocks short. I thought I'd have loads of extras of these blocks too, but no such luck.

I like having the half string blocks go on around the outside. How does it look to you? Too much? I'll then put on a narrow inner border and a wider outer border. I like my lap quilts large so that they come up to your chin and tuck underneath your feet.

Bemused Jan noted that Bloglines isn't working properly lately. Gack, she's right. J.M.B Mommy has been updating and I didn't get the notification. Eek, go take a look at the fun Jessica had at the Sisters show - think Gwen and Freddy.

Speaking of whom, you can win a copy of Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's latest book, Gwen and Freddy Collaborate Again, over at Michelle's blog With Heart and Hands. Go here to enter. Even if you don't need a copy of the book, take time to leave a comment to show your support of these authors and this book.

Michelle says: This is our opportunity to show the power and influence of blogs and bloggers in the world of information and marketing potential...not only to those who read here, but to Freddy and Gwen, themselves!

And yet more and more photos from Sisters, this time from Sue Spargo. Will people never stop posting the wondrousness of this past show? Rubbing salt in my wounds for not going...

Enough whining about that. I've been getting so much quilting done because the Tour de France is on. I'm so sad for Lance that he's "only" in third but at least Contador won the time trial to prove that he really is strongest this year. Tomorrow should be exciting though. Fingers crossed for Lance. So funny to hear the commentators talk about how old Lance is at 37. harumph.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kitty in the Way

I sewed bindings onto three small quilts yesterday. Woohoo for progress. Can't show you any of them (sorry about that). Pokey did her best to thwart me, being all cute and sweet and sleepy.

Look at this face. Could you wake her up?

So I switched to another task and amazingly enough she woke up, leapt up, and yet again got in my way.

Gorgeous baby pest.

Meanwhile Lily slept--out of the way!--on fabric

Bibi slept in a box

As did Howler. He is just so unphotogenic. Poor lump of a boy.

Pokey's blood tests came back. She's slightly higher on one thing, but lower on another, so mostly stabile. She's her happy self again - I'm attributing the previous bad week to door closures. She's back to hiding under the bed for just a couple of hours each morning - which is a nice small window to get things done mostly unmolested. I'm almost done with basting the big monster quilt.

I've got a great blog for you to check out, that of quilt expert Julie Silber. Back in the day, she curated the excellent Esprit collection of Amish Quilts (watch a video at The Quilt Complex), which I've never gotten to see but I love the book. She's also the first person I ever heard talk about Maverick Quilts which I love madly - wish I could see her lecture someday. Look at this fabulous Alphabet Sampler. whee. So anyway, that's the background, check out Ms Silber's blog - she's already shown some great antique quilts.

Speaking of Maverick Quilts, Library Gal got to take a liberated basket class with Gwen Marston. Woohoo!

I'm off now to do some sewing and Tour de France watching.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And I'm Still Basting

Ugh, the basting job that never ends. I'm at least at the half way point now and there's a good chance I might just quit and add safety pins where needed.

First, an excellent picture of the gorgeous baby:

These pics are from four days ago so I have made a bit of progress since then...

Belly, belly, belly

Pokey update, then back to quilting. I had a bit of a meltdown about Pokey yesterday. Over the previous week I'd seen her so little. She was spending so much time under the bed, hardly coming out to play... We were at the vet's yesterday and he said she's still feisty, hasn't lost a lot of weight, but just to put my mind at rest he put a rush on the blood work (which we were already scheduled to do).

I brought her back from the vet's and she was a happy little camper. Outgoing and playful and sweet. And that's even after she's had the blood draw as well as the saline. I think I stressed her out over the previous week by shutting off the doors to the bedrooms on a couple of days that I didn't want her hiding under the bed, wanted to be able to just grab her. Didn't shut the doors yesterday and she was happy. So fingers crossed she was either just having a rotten week and/or the doors panicked her (not to mention Howler, who blubbered) but either way she's back to normal.

Okay, back to quilting. Looks like the outdoor quilt show in Sisters, Oregon was fabulous this year. Gwen Marston, Freddy Moran, some quilters from Gee's Bend. Wow.

Knit One Quilt Too Kristin took a class from Gwen (woohoo!) and wrote about it here and here. Gee's Bend Class here. Basically, just go and read her blog!

Bonnie Hull has some great pics of the show and the quilts here in her blog On the Way. And her friend Cynthia Wilcox has great quilt photos as well here and here. Not to mention that I found this fabulous video on her blog:

Michele of With Hearts and Hands did a fantastic write up on the lecture by the Gee's Bend Quilters not to mention has some great pics of the quilts. And there's her post about the show.

More great show pics at Cottons n Wool.

I am really sorry to have missed this show. Hope you enjoy it virtually too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm Basting

I'm thread basting Slither Eek Boo and it's taking freaking forever. No wonder I've turned to safety pins in recent years. I think this is the wrinkliest I've ever gotten the backing too, and that's saying something.

My baby Pokey is spending far too much time under the bed in the mornings (oh no, captured and taken to the vet's!) and I've discovered that is a great time to get things done without kitty interference. If this sweetness can be called interference.

I have several more miles of basting to do, but I've got all three layers roughly secured so I can fold the quilt up and put it away. Whew, that way I only have to do a few hours a day. The Tour de France has been surprisingly dull - even in the Pyrenees - but it's good for basting to.

I decided to make my stringy hope quilt bigger. Thanks to Sharon, it's now named Hope Strings Eternal. hee hee hee. I've gotten a few more letters made (and more scraps bagged) but the progress is slow.

A bunch of quilty links to share with you today.

Have you seen California Girl in Oz Diane's wordy star quilt? It's a fabulous present that I'm sure will be treasured and loved.

How about Master of Patience Lynda's wonderful crumb quilt? I love it - so glad it's a present for someone who appreciates quilts! There are some wonderful scraps in there - a grown-up I-Spy quilt.

New blogger Pokeytown Kim showed off her fun crumb and letters baby quilt - lots of fun for baby to look at. I haven't been able to comment on Kim's blog for several days, but maybe someone in a different browser can - I'm on Safari.

Not Just Nat is working on a really fun bright happy words quilt. It's wonderful AND I love her blog header too!

Can't find your way around in a house? Maybe you need helpful door sign a la Janet at Quilt Crazy.

I hope I'm caught up with links now and didn't forget any. sigh. I still haven't caught up on my blog reading from when I took the month of June "off."

Looking for good tv to watch this summer? I've already blathered about Burn Notice (love it - more Sam please) and The Closer (gack that last episode with the neighborhood shooting was preachy) so you know I recommend those.

But how about Eureka? It's now in its fourth season and is as fun as ever. You don't need a lot of backstory to get caught up (though the earlier episodes are great - try them too). Eureka is a town of geniuses working on secret government experiments that frequently go wrong. Try it, it's nice, light, and very entertaining.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

String Hope

A bit more than two years ago, my friend Bonnie came to visit. Both of us made the letters and she made all the string blocks for her incredible quilt Love on a Shoestring Budget. (You can see it in progress here.) I have wanted a quilt like it ever since. So this is my hopeful version:

This pic should enlarge when you click on it. It amazes me how much better these blocks look in photos than in person. It's so jumbly when I just look at it.

I've been sticking to Bonnie's philosophy of fabric aka the Garbage Can Method. Her quilts are so joyous and unrestrained, probably because she doesn't over think it. So long as the fabric has a decent threadcount and you can't poke your finger through it, it goes into the quilt. That means mixing together repros, batiks, holiday, novelties, etc all together. Worry about value and contrast. And for me, really worry about using light-colored fabrics - far too many of my quilts are dark.

This is my first time fishing fabric out of the Garbage Can. Well, and sticking to it. (I made a few stringed diamonds once and hated them - but they look great in Bonnie's String Lone Star). I've always always always thought that neutrals and offwhites and beiges etc would change the look of my quilt. But these quilt blocks are bright even with the muted yucky fabrics.

Here's a HOPE with repros batiks and brights:

I included the ugly awful Florida Gators fabric that my new friend Jeri gave me. It's hideous and I don't even know what sport the team plays, but I had to throw it in. It reminds me of that nasty Steelers fabric that keeps working itself into Bonnie's scrap quilts.

Little bits of Halloween pop out:

I'll think of Siobhan when I see her duckling and goldfish conversation print:

Blocks in progress:

This is Pokey's quilt. It's all about the hope I cling to for her to have a long, happy, reasonably healthy life.

My sweet baby

I'm enjoying making blocks. There's fabric in here from friends new and old and "imaginary" (as my husband calls all my blogging friends whom I've never met in person). There are definitely bits from Cher, Sharon and Kathie B, amongst others.

So there's lots of fabric from other people and lots that aren't in "my" colors and yet the final product really does look like me. I'm amazed.

But now I have to decide if I've made enough blocks. I could make a wallhanging this size. Or I could keep making blocks and go for a lap quilt. Decisions, decisions.

In non-quilt news, I'm watching the Tour de France. I wasn't going to but Lance Armstrong is riding and it just made me nuts not to see it. And now he's tied for first place - woohoo! So weird to be rooting for the Kazakh team instead of U.S. and George Hincapie isn't riding with Lance. Eek.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Surprisingly Organized

I am usually disorganized, but I just love having my fabric strips and crumbs locked up together in their own little sandwich bags. I actually tried to break this habit because it takes extra time to get the fabric out of the baggies and then back in again. And I'm slow enough as it is. But I can't stand how wrinkly and frayed everything gets when it's all mashed together.

Additionally, when I'm making letters I like to have various widths of matching fabric so if I have to search around in the bin that's even slower than having to baggy, debaggy, rebaggy, debaggy and on and on.

To fit as many scraps as I could into our suitcases when we were coming from Paris I debaggified my fabric. I wonder how much space that actually saved me? So now I'm spending time redoing it. Argh. But what a relief to have my strips protected from fraying and wrinkling.

Pokey was a big help as always.

Baby Pokey is doing well. No news to report there, which is good. No news is good news.

This was the cats first 4th of July in the U.S. The loud booms made them nervous but I was surprised at how brave they were - Pokey actually stared out the window the whole time. I could see fireworks from my balcony so I had two nights of great viewing. Of course up on the roof would be even better. Or get that other group of condos relocated...

I first saw An Engineer's Guide to Cats over at Force Majure Farm. What a hoot this is. If you love cats (or engineers) try it:

Oh the gravity. I don't think my cats would take to yodeling...

I am finally now completely and totally caught up with Burn Notice and The Closer. I love both shows. But this new detective woman who was dogging Michael? Annoying. And of course she's young and attractive; how predictable and boring. I'd much rather have a crusty old-timer who actually knows something - like Provenza and Flynn. Would be interesting to see who would come out ahead in a duel between these two teams. I think the spy crew, even though Brenda has never met a case she couldn't solve.

On the subject of annoying characters, I just hope Brenda's parents don't make an appearance this season - that was just way too much last year.

Has anyone else been watching The Fashion Show on Bravo? Real fashion for real people? Eh?Who are they trying to kid. Had the designers make clothes for humans (instead of "walking clothes hangars") and you got tears. Can't say I like anyone on this show. All the contestants are annoying and the hosts seem catty rather than helpful. I miss Tim Gunn! Anyway, I still keep watching the show so what does that say about me? I love watching creativity, even when it's terrible.

Not like we needed another fashion reality show. Bravo could have done Top Artist instead - that could be fascinating and it's not like they'd need a lot of expensive equipment. Here, crayons, paste, scissors and glue. Go!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Slither Eek Boo Top

What a goofy looking title for this post - just looks like a string of nonsense words. Anyway, here are some photos of Slither Eek Boo in process; probably more than you needed but I wanted you to get a feeling for how I played and moved the blocks around. I did it far more times than I took photos, but here is a sampling:

You can tell how big that Woooo is with enormous Bibi there next to it.

Pokey wants in on the action too. Her belly fur is taking a long time to grow back - it was shaved way back in April.

Belly, belly, belly, now.

Since this is a Halloween quilt I did try to get Howler pictured but he wasn't very cooperative. You can see some kitty litter-powdered feet though.

Sweet Pokey being a pest as I tried to get the whole thing together yesterday.

The final top of Slither Eek Boo:

I decided to go for it and fit all the blocks into one quilt. Unfortunately I didn't make it and some aren't in here. Sorry about that - I will do something fun with them. I'm kind of a moron sometimes - I kept thinking this thing would shrink as I sewed the seams and it really didn't. It finished at 72" x 82". I think it would look better with a small border around it, but I just can't bring myself to make it even larger.

I think I did a fairly good job of balancing out the colors and sizes - not too bottom heavy or top heavy. I kinda wish I'd made two quilts so that some of these words had more room to breathe... Too late now. I so am not looking forward to basting this monster, but the quilting should be a hoot.

I've got more sewing I want to do so I'm going to sit at the machine and watch the Andy vs Andy Wimbledown semi-final. ya'all take care!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Scream, Boo Times Two, Soar

My friend Siobhan tried to say that she was the most procrastinatingest of them all. Ha! I got her beat by a mile. Here I am finally finally finally posting the last assortment of the lovely blocks ya'all have sent me. I think I have them all straight, who sent me what, but please let me know if I've made an error.

First up is this delicious scream by Mary C. Look at that awesome A - it's dipping a toe into the water.

Patti F sent me these fun boos. She tried to claim that one of these had an error, but I'm sure not spotting it. Wonderful!

Annie O (of Annie's Quilt Orts) made the fabulous soar - she wrote about making it here. There are NOT too many seams - you did a great job. What a fun font - art deco inspired?

Brown Dirt Cottage Belinda sent the fun stripey hugs - she's got great serifs on these letters.

True Blue Quilting Nana Nancy made the hearty joy. What a novel way to make an O!

Dye Candy's Chris Daly used some of her gorgeous hand-dyed fabric to make this beautiful live. I LOVE this i. Chris kindly sent me some of her fabric - the apricot, orange, pink and lime green colors in particular are gorgeous, but eek, I forgot to take a photo of it before I cut it apart to sew. Oops. I mixed them with other fabric and made a really cute quilt though!

Juliann is living large with this lively live. Mary C (who made the scream up above) showed that she cared - love the A, it's so jaunty.

I was thrilled to get leftovers. Annie sent me an O and Nancy a hearted O and a Y. I don't know why she didn't like her Y and redid it...

Mary also sent me a couple of fun liberated blocks - these will go into the orphan block stash!

On a completely different note, I got some beautiful Bonnie Blues from the Fabric Square Shop. I know, they aren't my usual brights, but they'll be great in the right project.

Can't leave you without a kitty pic. Here's a sleeping Pokey. She continues to do well.

She's fine, the other kitties are fine, my husband made it safely back to Paris. All is good.

Yesterday I had a fun time sewing at the JaMPatch. We all worked on our own projects and the folks I was with made reindeer names. Very cute and of course I forgot to take pics... I worked on my latest scrappy hope quilt. More about that in another post.

Today I was good and finished up a quilt top. Slither, Eek, Boo is complete and it is big. I have lots of photos to share another day.

I am sooo behind on this blog. I'll catch up now that my sweetie isn't here distracting me.

Forgot to mention in my last post that Gwen's new book is being published by AQS and will be out in Spring 2010. Wish it were sooner, but am just plain old happy it's coming out.