Sunday, January 31, 2010

Houston Quilt Market

Why is it when you actually want the cat to get on the fabric and roll around being cute, you get nothin'. No, no, no, I don't want to be here... 

This was the best shot I could get of Lily, but if you want to see more of my fabric and what I'm working on, head over to the Liberated Amish class blog, and in particular this post. There's still plenty of room in the class/get together, so please come join us.

I have a request for information. I'm determined to go to Houston Quilt Market this year - woohoo. I've been to festival (absolutely amazing) several times but never to market. I've never been a professional before (oooh, that is so weird to think about). I'd love to know what it's like to go and is there anything important I need to know. When would it be smart to arrive and depart?

I'm also trying to decide about Quilt Festival. Seems crazy not to go, but boy, there is a gap between the two shows. Is there anything to do during that break other than take classes?

I want to start making reservations and am just not sure what dates to choose. Help me, help me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Liberated Amish Class/Challenge/Get Together

I've started a new blog for the Lazy Gal Liberated Amish Class/Challenge/Get Together. You can find it here. Rather than repeat all the details, just go to the new blog to find out more. I hope you all will join me.

Right now Lily's favorite quilt--a liberated Ocean Waves--is the main contender for the quilt I'm going to interpret.

In Which Tonya Scares Herself but All is Well in the End

I almost lost it today. I washed two quilts for the book that have a lot of white in them. White is still pretty new to me - I never used to use it much at all - I was partial to black. Anyway, I used dark color fabric for the backing on both these quilts. When I pulled them out of the washer it looked like the dark colors had bled onto the surface of the quilt (despite two boxes worth of Color Catchers which really do work well), particularly in all the quilt lines. Aaaagh. I ended up washing them a second time hoping the stray color would disappear.

They didn't look any better after the second wash, but I threw them into the dryer for 15 minutes on low to see what would happen. As it turned out, whew, the quilts just looked horrible when wet. None of that was actual bleeding.

So I am saved. I have been worrying about using the dark fabric for the backing anyway - because when I'm up close I can detect a bit of darkness in the white of the top. Do I always need to use white or offwhite on the back of quilts with lots of white? What do those of you who work with lots of white do?

No, you don't get to see any pics of cute kitties with these quilts - they are all washed and cat hair free and need to stay that way. I have the door closed to the guest bedroom - it will be interesting to see if Pokey comes out from under the other bed anytime soon.

But here is a kitty pic for you. Nine days ago I took this photo of Howler, but the hair on his belly (remember, he had surgery last month) still hasn't grown much more than this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Amish Abstractions Winner

We have a winner of the beautiful Amish Abstractions book (assuming we can get Lily to give it up). drum roll...

Lucy in Indiana aka qltmom9. Congrats! I look forward to seeing your fun Amishish, liberated, lettered quilt top. (Lucy, I sent you an email. If you didn't get it then, eek, email me)

I'm so sorry I can't give each one of you a copy of the book. I do recommend it though and we'll have a class/get-together soonish.

I did try to get Pokey interested in drawing one of the slips of paper, but she would have none of it. I think I'd have to tie each one to a ball of yarn or tuck it in a sock - she likes playing with those. Lily didn't want to play with the paper either, but she was willing to model.

I couldn't decide which photo I liked better, so I included both of them...

I have two quilts that have to be bound asap. eeeek, I'm behind. ya'all take care.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inspiration vs Copying

It has been so much fun having ya'all comment on the last post. It makes me feel loved, even though I know what you are really after is the wonderful Amish Abstractions book.

As part of the contest, I specified that you'd get an extra chance to win if you made a quilt top inspired by one of the quilts in the book. Inspired can be taken really loosely. For instance, you don't have to use solids unless you want to. You can be inspired by the color palette, the way the colors are used in the blocks, the way the blocks are arranged... There are lots of different ways to be inspired. And as far as the letters go? Initials count. Or the year (okay, those are numbers but haven't you realized yet I'm not that big of a stickler about rules?).

Additionally, I didn't say you had to make a great quilt. It doesn't have to be fabulous and it doesn't have to be large - a doll quilt is a-okay. And it just has to be a *top* by June, not completed.

I'm thinking we could have a class/get-together so we can actually do quilts together following the theme of Amish/liberated/letters. Not starting just yet, cuz life is still a bit crazed, but soon. Our recommended texts will be Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking (I and/or II) and Amish Abstractions. Recommended, not mandatory.

And I'm thinking we use solids or near solids, since so many of you commented that you had them and this would be a good project to use them on. Personally, I think just plain solids are boring, but mixing in a few hand-dyes really adds some depth. You could also use single-colored batiks... Or the Gee's Bend line (which no, I still haven't used yet).

I had a new quilter asking me about copyright issues and at what point inspiration becomes copying. In particular, the photos from Pheromone shown in this blog post.

Taking the actual photo and printing it out on fabric would be a big no-no. That's a clear copyright violation. The artist might be willing to let you do that, especially if it's explained that this is a quilt for personal use, not for sale. The proper thing to do is write and ask for permission.

Now taking the photos as inspiration and doing something completely different is highly encouraged. Just the idea of making bugs appeals to me. I tried some drawings and realized pretty quickly that I'd either have to piece huge monster bugs OR embroider on things like antennae and legs OR simplify. I like making small blocks and this is how I'd approach free-piecing the ones on the book cover (seen above in the catalog that Pokey is reading).

Oops, I didn't color in the bug on my second drawing, so it looks a bit goofy. See my tutorial here about starting a free-pieced design.

On a completely different topic, Lily managed to charm everyone at the vet's office when she was there for her wellness visit and rabies shot. She is not going to be happy when I take her back in for a teeth cleaning. Pokey had to go in too (the next day) and is hanging in there, doing as well as she can (Pokey has Chronic Renal Failure) - she's been a bouncy, playful cuddle bunny. The latter bit is making it hard to hand-quilt.

I love Fridays because I get to watch the tv shows I recorded the previous night. Of course now I've watched The Office (an okay clip show) and 30 Rock (nothing really inspired unfortunately), and Fringe (loved the first 10 minutes but it got a bit predictable) and Project Runway (I love how using non-fabric to make dresses really brings out the creativity - burlap ranks up there with candy and newspapers in previous years) so now what can I watch? Nope, not that Burn Notice, must wait for my husband for that. sigh.

As good as they were, none of the shows compared to the most recent episode of Better Off Ted called "Lust in Translation" - so so so funny. Love that show.

Off to hand-quilt and watch more tv. It's a rough life. Take care.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Amish Abstractions Giveaway

Take a look at this gorgeous quilt (Crazy Quilt circa 1930 from Arthur, Illinois. 78" x 63") It may not be what you normally associate with Amish quilts, but it's definitely one of my favorites. This quilter just used what she had. There are lots of dark deep colors, and then tiny slivers of white and a few larger chunks of gold that really bring it to life.

I can imagine doing a quilt like this and adding a word into one of those blocks.

And look at this quilt (Nine Patch circa 1920, Kalona, Iowa. 62" x 74"). Isn't it luminous? I used to resist grayed out colors, but now I can appreciate how they make the stronger colors shine.

These quilts come from the book Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown. I love it, love it, love it.

I have eight other books and catalogs specifically about Amish quilts, and yet this book has some stunners that I don't have photos of in any other book. To get an idea of what kinds of quilts the Browns collect, you can peek at the photos here just know that not all of their quilts are in the book.

There are 74 full page photos of quilts as well as many detail shots in the book. I've got the calendar as well (which, uh oh, shows a vet appointment for Lily today - she's going to be quite irate).

Kathie also loves the book and wrote about it here. I love that star quilt too.

The book publisher, Pomegranate, has kindly offered up a giveaway copy of the book Amish Abstractions. But since it's my giveaway, I get to make the rules, mwa ha ha ha.

To enter to win, leave me a comment in this post. Make sure that you give me enough information so that I can contact you if you win. Someone named "Anonymous" is not going to be entered. (Or they will, and then I'll just keep it for myself. again a fiendish "mwa ha ha")

For a second chance to win, promise that you'll make a quilt using one of the quilts in the book as your inspiration.

For a third chance to win, promise that you'll make the blocks in the liberated style ala Gwen Marston.

For yet another chance to win, promise to include Liberated Letters ala me (need to know how? Links in the sidebar) in that quilt top.

The quilt top must be completed by June and you must send me a photo of the quilt (or a link). Obviously we're on the honor system here, I'm not going to come to your house to get the book back.

Okay, so I will enter your name up to four times. In your comment, include contact info and whichever/all of the following words (if you're game): book, quilt, liberated, words.

I think that sounds fun anyway. I will close the drawing on Jan 25th and pick a name then.

Speaking of giveaways and Gwen Marston, Bumble Beans is very kindly offering up her second copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II. Click over here and leave a comment by 8:15am est on the 22nd.

Thank you all for the kind comments about my cute kitties. They've been enjoying Amish Abstractions too:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cats and a Bit of Quilting Too

Gorgeous blue-eyed baby girl Pokey, always a distraction from work:

At least I'm making progress - there is more of the quilt quilted than not-quilted.

Must make time for belly rubs:

Howler has completely recovered from his vet ordeal(s) and is thoroughly enjoying the one can of cat food he now gets a day. Unfortunately a test did reveal a long-term problem, probably with his kidney. Sigh. Nothing that can be done for it though other than the special dry food which all the cats are on because of Pokey's kidney problems.

Meanwhile, Howler enjoys playing ostrich. No one can see him.

Lily isn't so easily fooled.

Uh oh:

She just whacked him one and then ran off. He stayed put for another hour or so. Not even sure he even noticed anything - he's a heavy sleeper.

Must get back to my quilting now. Take care.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pheremone Inspiration

Ready for some inspiration? I recently discovered the book Pheromone by artist Christopher Marley. These colors and patterns are amazing.
I love the color and the progression.

I want one of his shadow boxes, but that's a bit out of my price range. The book would be awesome though.

Christopher Marley uses actual bugs, no colors added. You can watch a video about the artist and his work here. It made me feel better about his collecting all these creatures - at first I just kept imagining the destruction, but he's saving their habitat and I guess as long as no one gets too greedy, that should be okay.

It's the beetly things at the top that really inspire me. The glowing colors. I'm already trying to figure out how to free-piece them. (I know, I know, like I need another project on the to-do list.)

The last couple of photos reminded me of Baltimore-style applique quilts that I've seen and loved: Bed Bugs by Suzanne Marshall (a fellow no-hoop hand-quilter) and Detour by Nancy S. Brown. Even if you don't want to see bug quilts, go check out those pages for beautiful quilts. Nancy does wonderful quilts of cats, dogs, and other animals too.

Completely switching topics now to tv.

Have you been watching Better Off Ted? I hope so. Fabulously funny show that I'm afraid is doomed on ABC. I'm hoping that desperate NBC will pick it up, because it so deserves to continue. It's a comedy about the people who work for Veridian Dynamics, which rather horribly makes weapons systems as well as seemingly harmless scientific advancements and food products. You don't need much set up for this clip - Phil the Scientist is terrified of Veronica, the boss's boss:

Whee, Project Runway is back. I'm loving Anthony for his bubbly personality and the fabric that he chose (black with flowers) although the dress he made was pretty ugly. As were some of the other garments. geeze.

Meanwhile I managed to get sucked into Launch My Line. I find the hosts annoying but at least they're offering some constructive feedback. I like the dynamic of having a professional paired with the dreamer and that everything they make really has to fit the latter's overall concept and the fabric that they started out with. A bit unfair though for the guy who's got wooly fabrics trying to do beachwear.

Okay, I do watch some reality tv but my heart is in real shows with actual characters. Woohoo, Fringe is back. Okay, that dreadful episode from last season should never have been aired and okay this recent one wasn't great shakes, but I still love the show. They've made it more accessible this season (perhaps too much so) and dropped a lot of the backstory about The Pattern and the other side so you can definitely jump on in and start watching. Great characters investigating weirdness - wonderful, try it.

I tried "Demons" on BBC America. Dreadful. A young man discovers he's descended from the original Van Helsing and must destroy the vampires and monsters of the world. It wants to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But without the humor or charismatic actors and WITH a fake American accent by their Rupert that just grates on my nerves.

I can't stand "Being Human" either. All these supernatural beings proving just how human they are by whining. bleck.

What I CAN wholeheartedly recommend is Fido, a movie about a boy and his zombie. It's actually a very sweet movie about growing up and love and acceptance. You get Timmy saved not by Lassie but the servant zombie. On a horror scale it's pretty mild. And the makers did a really good job of constructing this world so that it was believable.

As compared to the book "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which was a lot of fun but really fell apart if you examined it. Seriously, the problem with the "dreadfuls" has been going on long enough that even women are trained ninjas and yet it's still unfashionable to go about armed? Sorry, don't buy it. Would have been much more believable had the zombie menace only just started.

Alright, I have to stop looking for the Veridian Dynamics commercial about the dead being brought back to life (or something along those lines) and get some actual work done. Ya'all take care.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Look at this sweet quilt Theresa Chappell made:

Believe. Isn't it sweet? I love the yellow highlights along some of the letters. Theresa made the Hot quilt I showed you awhile back - she's very talented.

Okay, I know why some of you are really here. Not for the quilts or the fabric, just the kitties. It's been hard to get them to pose lately; it's been chilly and no one wants to leave their patch of sunshine. It's not the greatest pic, but here you go, Pokey along with a wonderful book called Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown.

I got my copy a couple of days after Christmas, a belated gift. It's gorgeous and I'm going to do a review of it soon, especially since it's going to be the feature of a special giveaway.

Speaking of books, I still haven't seen Liberated Quiltmaking II yet. I swear I would have broken and bought it at the bookstore today if they'd had it. Meanwhile I've gotten a couple of emails from folks who've got their copy and love it.

I'm finally getting my Chuck Season 2 on dvd. woohoo, love love love that show. Have to admit I'm thrilled that Jay Leno's show has been cancelled so we can get more scripted programming back on NBC where it belongs. I also hope that means Chuck won't get cancelled. It is a fun, light, escapist show with heart. Watch it, please. I'm recording season 3, can't wait to be caught up.

Okay, I've got lots of work to do. must quilt and watch tv, must quilt and watch tv. oh the hardship ;-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mail In, Mail Out

Woohoo, my manuscript is off to the publisher!!! What a relief. Of course that was just the manuscript, the illustrations, photos, and samples. I still have plenty more to send them by the end of the month, including a quilt I'm currently hand-quilting and two that need binding.

Still I'm done with some of the horrible monotonous stuff, like creating a number for every illustration and photo and placing those consecutively in the manuscript. What a lot of work that I never knew had to be done. Luckily I got a one week extension, otherwise I think I might have lost my mind.

One stumbling block was iPhoto losing nine months worth of photos. (I'm blaming that on you, Snow Leopard. How could you embarrass me this way, especially after all the grief I gave my dad over his 2-weeek upgrade to Windows 7?). Thank goodness I recovered those, even if they are incorrectly dated and scattered around. Fingers crossed, I think I'm set now, although I have something like eight copies of every photo and no idea how to get rid of them.

Next month, I'm hoping to be a much more relaxed camper and more frequent blogger. After I got home from the post office, I discovered a reward for my hard work. A belated Christmas present: gorgeous fabric from Chris Daly of Dye Candy. It's overcast (not to mention cold) here so I didn't take great photos, but I wanted to share these incredible colors:

And here's the whole bunch:

Chris kindly sent me some samples last year so that I could find out how well these fabrics hand-quilted. The answer was marvelously - the fabric has a tight weave but wonderful to work with. I didn't stick with ordering one of her already packaged groups, but instead picked a bit of this and that so I could fill in some of the gaps in my hand-dyes/solids collection. My shelf is looking much brighter and lighter now:

Remember how I bought myself some future prezzies at the big quilt show in November? Mmm, yummy handwovens from India. The solids are shot cottons with two colors running through them. They don't appear to be flimsy, which is marvelous. Just wish there'd been more to choose from.
Especially now that both Jackie and Wanda are playing with older Kaffe Fassett prints that I didn't buy back when I had the chance. I'm kicking myself now.

I know, I know... like I need any more fabric...

Clare and Michele are challenging liberated quilters to make a quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Please, check it out and participate!

Meanwhile, I have to stop goofing off and get back to work. Happily for me, that means lots of hand-quilting right now. I can finally get caught up on my tv watching. Ya'all take care.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!!!

I've been a bit crazed lately, trying to fit some holidaying and relaxation amidst the flurry of writing and editing and quilting. I feel as zonked as these cats:

Howler is doing well, no aftereffects from his surgery a few weeks ago. That's him sleeping with Pokey under the Christmas tree. That tree will be up for at least another week before I get time to take it down.

We had a good Christmas, at least after my husband guilted me into it by calling me a Scrooge. ME??? Scrooge? Bah. I got a new Tutto case to wheel around my sewing machine as well as some fabric and quilt books. I managed to surprise my husband with a DVD that he didn't know was available (the latest Harry Potter - don't tell, but I thought it was kinda boring, not to mention dismal)--and one he didn't even know existed (the new Wallace and Gromit short: A Matter of Loaf and Death - fantastic - it looked amaaazing).

So not only have I been working on the book, but I've been trying to spend time with my husband. He left this morning for work and won't be back for a few weeks. I'm not complaining though - he got to be here after my surgery and for Christmas. It's good news for anyone missing my blog posts - that's how I'll be sharing kitty photos with him.

I'll be getting a belated present from AQS soon: Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking II will be out on January 4th (fingers crossed). Woohoo! This link is for AQS and the book description and this is where you can order directly from Gwen herself.

There are 60 new quilts in the book and only 7 quilts that were also in the original LQ. That's not much overlap. I got myself a second copy of LQ when there was a temporary drop in prices - don't even bother to look right now because it has shot waaaay back up.

I have a whole lot more appreciation now for the unseen work that goes into getting a book made. Aye yay yay. I'm now formatting my manuscript and getting all the illustrations properly numbered and printed. Makes my head spin. Less than a week to go. Wish me luck.