Saturday, August 15, 2015

I've been inked!

Well, not in the sense of getting a tattoo...  I'm just not quite in that frame of mind!

But I did receive my bundle of "Inked" by Lynn Krawczyk -- just look at these lovely prints:

I'm ready to get the quilt-along going, and my plan is to do a medallion-style quilt.  I recently won a copy of The Modern Medallion Workbook (Janice Zeller Ryan and Beth Vassalo) which has lots of inspiration, but I also found a couple of older books on my shelf that have great border ideas: 60 Pieced Quilt Borders (Judy Laquidara) and The Border Workbook (Janet Kime)

Here's a little medallion quilt I made from a box of scraps a few years ago -- it's still one of my favorites: "Yello Kitty!"

So -- the "rules" for the quilt-along will be very simple:
- I set up a facebook group: "inked quilt-along" -- just ask to join and I'll let you in.
- you don't have to use the Inked fabric (although that's what sparked this)
- everything you do can be whatever size you want to make it
- you don't have to mail anything to anyone
- make a center block, or a center piece of some kind and post a photo
- then add borders and post photos as you go along
- that's it!

I'm planning on 2-4 weeks for each step, for my own schedule. If you want to work faster or slower, it's up to you!  I'll start posting encouraging words once there are a few participants.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Crazy Hearts

Finally, a finished quilt --  I started this ages ago, from a Buggy Barn pattern, and tomorrow it will be gifted to a friend's daughter who is off to Harvard (!) next weekend.

I learned a couple of things while working on this...

First of all, I used Quilter's Dream wool batting and I'll probably never buy another one. It is all soft and squishy -- a good thing. But it varied in thickness so much from one side to the other that it felt like two different products.  It was literally twice as thick in some parts, which made it a bit difficult to work with, and what's up with that, anyway?   If I hadn't been on a deadline to get this done, I would have gone to Plan B. The wool also sheds a lot and reminded me of working with old polyester batting. 

The other thing I learned was a New Trick!  After I quilted the top, I decided that it wasn't big enough.  I googled "add border to finished quilt" and found a terrific tutorial for how to do just that.  It's here.  Basically it's a quilt-as-you-go technique.  It takes a bit of finesse (which I didn't have...) to get the borders straight and flat, but I'm pleased with the result, and I think Soraya will appreciate the extra 5" of quilt on each border when it comes to staying warm this winter!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I made something.

Seems like a long time since I finished something made of fabric... but here's one:

The pattern was in a 2013 issue of Generation Q magazine, and is available online here, for free!  It's paper-pieced, and it was a bit of a pain to print out the patterns as large as they needed to be (because I was too lazy to go to a copy shop) but overall an easy project -- I even did a lapped zipper installation for the first time in at least 20 years.

I have several projects in process the might show up here before too long: a couple of things to quilt, a couple to assemble.  Watch this space!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cotton Robin Wrap-up

Another Cotton Robin has ended -- you can see the Big Reveal of all the quilts here.

My center block was this one -- I'm sort of into monochromatic quilts, so I headed in that direction.

Here is the finished quilt I received -- I love that some turquoise and some light neutrals showed up in the borders; and the "improv" nature of the second border really appeals to me. And -- the quilting is wonderful!

Stay tuned in the fall (probably) for an announcement of next year's robin, or let me know if you are interested in joining so I can put you on my mailing list.

Inked Quilt-along?

I've succumbed to MassDrop's offering of a FQ set of Inked by Lynn Krawczyk --here's a picture:
I just love the colors and textures!   I don't usually buy FQs, and it's really rare that I want to own a whole line of fabric... but with a little nudging from Terri and others, I signed up!

And then I started thinking that I don't want to have these sit in the cupboard forever and so Terri and I chatted a bit about a quilt-along... and you're invited!

We haven't figured out  yet whether it's going to be a do-whatever-you-want thing, or something more structured. One idea I have is to make a medallion quilt -- sort of a do-it-yourself round robin.

Post a note if you might be interested -- even if you decide to use different fabrics -- and/or if you have ideas for a quilt-along project.

p.s. if you're not familiar with MassDrop, here's the website:
They have a "quilting community" that's very active, and they come up with some enticing "deals" from time to time...

Sunday, May 10, 2015


As if I didn't already have enough crafty stuff going on around here, there's something new: a small loom.  A rigid heddle loom, to be exact -- just about the easiest kind of loom to work with. I've been looking at other bloggers' weaving projects for the last year or two and finally decided to take a class at a local shop.  Just before the class, I went to Stitches West  (a huge yarn show in Santa Clara -- sort of the equivalent of PIQF except it's pretty much all vendors!) and saw a woven scarf that I knew I had to duplicate -- and here is it:

The yarn has lovely thick "blobs" in it that I pulled up into puffy bits of texture in the weaving. It was so much fun that I had to buy the loom.

I've just finished my second project, using some recycled silk sari yarn that's been at the bottom of my stash for quite a while.  We recently replaced out 25-year-old sofa -- can you guess why? I have no idea what possessed us to pick out that huge floral print...
 The new sofa is simple and bright, and the silk yarn became accent pillows for it:

The yarn is like one of those old-fashioned surprise balls we used to get as gifts -- a way long time ago, before everyone decided it was a bad thing to give tiny little toys to small children -- as the lengths of spun cloth are joined together in no particular order and you never know what color will come next in the ball.

I have about 2 balls of yarn left, so there will probably be another colorful shawl coming up sometime.

Where have I been?

Well, I think 6 weeks is long enough!  There's been some travel along the way (Lisbon and New Orleans, both for work) and a new little hobby (weaving) but mostly just "too lazy to write".  I think I'll do at least a couple of posts so anyone left reading this blog doesn't suffer from overload all at once.

I'll start with Lisbon, since that come first.  I'd never been there before, and now I'm dying to go back and spend more time all around Portugal.  I had a free day the last day, so I took a food-and-wine walking tour that lasted nearly 6 hours.  We had traditional, extremely strong coffee and pastries, cheese and port, cherry liquor, beer, a variety of seafood treats, and local wine -- along with a bunch of stairs, a ferry ride, and lots and lots of history. It was fabulous!  Our guide spoke beautiful English and was so knowledgeable.

Lovely and very rich pastries at Pasteis de Belem  
(sorry, I can't figure out how to add the accents in blogger...)

wall ornament seen from the trolley in a hilly area near the castle
Wonderful graphic design for one course of a great dinner -- I think this included a scallop, a turnip, and about 8 other flavors!
One of many mosaic sidewalks
One of my favorite views -- looking at the castle

Shortly after returning from Lisbon, my sister and I were off to Asilomar to take a workshop with Hilde Morin. It was called "In and Around Town" and the project was to create your own vision of a town, cityscape, village... working from a photograph.

 I used the photo from Lisbon for inspiration, and here is my finished top. I have the backing ready to but haven't started quilting yet.

The class was one of the best I've had! Hilde was full of information and helpful ideas, patient with everyone, and taught a variety of techniques -- and she'll be there again in 2016 if anyone is interested...

Next up: New Orleans, and more pastry!