Friday, August 29, 2008

meeting a challenge

Toni the Quilting Pirate, mistress of the Miniature Booty Swaps, has challenged us to post photos of all the swap quilts we've made and received in the last year. This was my first year of swapping finished quilts -- and wow, is it fun! I have stacks of swap blocks sitting around, and tops made of swap blocks, but there's nothing like opening up a package with a whole quilt in it that you can just hang up immediately! And I love having these beautiful pieces from quilters all around the world.

In sort of chronological order, here are the ones I made:
Fall - to AustraliaWinter - to Hungary

Spring - to FinlandMiniature Booty Swap #1 - to the UKSummer - to the USMiniature Booty Swap #2 - to the UKAnd here are the lovely quilts I received!

Fall, from Darcie in the US
Winter, from Gwen in Germany (don't know why this one is sideways today...)
Spring, from Jeanette in FinlandMiniature Booty Swap #1, from Emma in the UKSummer, from Karlie in the USAnd this beautiful round robin quilt from the Spring Fling Round Robin #1 from all over the world
I can't wait to see what my Booty Swap #2 quilt will be, or the next round robin, or... I've already signed up for a couple more swaps!

I display the newest quilt on a little bit of wall right inside my sewing room/guest room, and I always have one or two hanging in the office. I like to be able to rotate these depending on my mood, the seasons, or just on a whim.


Judy issued a challenge for a pretty simple Labor Day quilt, and it was so cute that I had to play along! Her version uses some bright dotty focus fabric, but I thought it would be perfect for this piece of Andover Mola fabric that's been in my stash for a while. I originally bought it to make a BQ quilt, but that never happened...
I'm cutting the animals in wonky shapes, and then the finished blocks are turning out to be 11" unfinished. I figure 12 blocks with a border will make a super baby quilt for the next one that comes along. And, I'll have a few animals left over for another project. It's actually brighter than it looks in this photo.

And, I'm making progress with the Shakespeare/Virginia Reel top -- I had all the blocks sewn into rows and then sat looking at it for a few days trying to figure out why the swirly design wasn't showing up. Duh -- I had carefully arranged all the snails trail blocks, but I forgot that the alternate blocks needed to be arranged, too -- I had all the light background blocks and red background blocks reversed. A little ripping and rearranging, and here it is, ready to be sewn back together!
It is hot, hot, hot here again, and of course we don't have air conditioning. I can't wait for that fog to start rolling in again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

more of the same

This is the first project I've finished in a while, other than all the small swap quilts. It's made from a set of swap blocks from a small online group, assembled in a sort of random way. It was quilted very extravagantly by my friend Catherine (hi Catherine!) as a break from her law school studies, and it's going to be donated to "Blankies for Grownups" which gives comfort quilts to adults facing serious medical challenges. If you're in the Bay Area, they're always happy to have donations of fabric, blocks, flimsies, completed quilts and your time!
Look, I can do stem stitch after all! Helen turned me on to this African embroidery vendor at Long Beach -- they have the cutest designs, and I have to admit I have a bit of a rhino fetish... but anyway, I used to do a lot of embroidery years ago except that I couldn't get the hang of stem stitch -- and here it is, easy as pie! (they have a whole section of Judaica with folklore designs, too, for those of you who might be interested)

And I leave you with another picture of Bucky -- usually he sleeps on top of the covers, but once in a while he decides to burrow. Silly cat...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Let's try this one more time

Yeah -- let's hear it for blogger! It's working today, and I can show you the rest of my pictures. Above and below are the front and back of a shirt for Al -- the last couple of years he's been a judge at the local elementary school science fair and this was a t-shirt he received as a thank-you gift. It definitely need something to "electrify" it -- and I think this fits the requirement! He seemed to be pleased with the bright colors and said he'd try it.
Note to self: remember to keep the rubber gloves on throughout the dyeing process. It weas actually much worse than this at one point, but "Soft Scrub" came to the rescue. Then I soaked my fingers in a bleach & water mix when I got home (followed by a ton of hand lotion) and they're now fine.The final dyeing experiment was a "value parfait" following one of Ann Johnston's recipes in " Color by Accident" -- thanks to Vicki for recommending her books! I did three values of emerald green, and I'm quite pleased with the result. I definitely want to do more of this with more interesting colors.

Last but not least -- here's a look at my little quilt for the Miniature Booty Swap II, which will be mailed off to distant shores in a day or two. I was inspired by the colors of Northern California in summer, with the golden hillsides dotted by groves of native oak trees. I'm calling it "California Hillsides". The pattern arose from one of the "games" in Dianne Hire's "Quilters Playtime" -- a wonderful book!

Monday, August 18, 2008

waiting for

Blogger is being a total pill this evening -- and just when I have a bunch of photos from the weekend. After several tries it let me upload one picture. Now it gives me error messages when I try to add more. Waiting for server error 500.

Anyway, inspired by Vicki, I decided to try my hand at tie-dye with one of my little quilt-groups. I know it's hard to believe that despite growing up in Berkeley in the 60's-70's, I had never done this before! I did do some batik, some candle-making, and a ton of macrame' though.

This is a t-shirt I won recently. It was really, really white -- and I never wear white! So I brightened it up just a bit. I originally thought it would end up being something to sleep in, but now I think it might keep me awake.

I thought maybe blogger was going to let me add another photo, but apparently not. Stand by for more dye jobs!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

et cetera

Well, yes, I've been a bad blogger again. A multitude of work projects have put me over the edge, I'm afraid. Every time I think I'm going to be able to relax a bit, another wave comes along! I stopped working a 9-to-5 job and started consulting around 8 years ago but now it's feeling like 9-to-5 again... sigh.

Anyway, small bits of progress. Here's a tiny peek at the center block for the new Spring Fling Round Robin project. Margaret did a huge amount of work organizing this, so although the recipients are all secret again, this time we have some information about their styles, likes, dislikes and inspirations.
And, I'm happy to say that I did cull through my Long Beach photos and my favorites are now up on Flickr -- go here and click on the Long Beach Quilt Festival album. My friend Catherine and I stayed at a Best Western about 2 miles from the convention center; next door was a bakery that specialized in outrageous wedding and quinceanera cakes -- here's a sample.
I know some of you hate bugs, but I thought these were cool -- I noticed them when I was out watering the other day. They're some kind of moth or butterfly larva munching away on my manzanita. Haven't had any luck so far in figuring out what kind... manzanita have pretty tough leaves, so I wouldn't think they'd be the food of choice for too many beasties!

Tomorrow I head up to Portland for a couple of days for some meetings. Unfortunately... no time to visit Fabric Depot!

Friday, August 01, 2008

just shoot me...

Rant alert: skip down to the photos if you don't want to listen to me vent about the phone company!
Work has been horrendous lately; I have a big deadline this next week and at the same time I've been trying to set up a little office for one of my colleagues and me so that we can get some of the masses of paper and files and other "stuff" out of our houses. I've been working for a long time in various offices but this is my first time getting one set up, and I wish someone had warned me!

Finding the space and getting the lease worked out was easy and almost fun. But everything since has been a pain. Mostly the whole phone thing. When ATT came to hook up the lines -- hey, there WERE no lines, and we had to get a wiring contractor in ($$) and then ATT had to come back ($). Then we find out that the ATT salesman had a totally screwy idea of what we wanted, so I spent at least 4 hours on the phone with them today trying to straighten out our voicemail. Each person I talked to was very nice, but either neglected to push the last button to make whatever they were doing work right, or gave me wrong information so I had to call back and talk to a different person.

All I wanted was two phone lines for two different people, with a voicemail box on each phone. Somehow we ended up with two lines that are hooked into each other in a way I don't understand, although I think the mailboxes are now separate. I don't know what's going to happen when we actually plug two separate phones in -- we have a 2-line phone that doesn't work the way we expected, so I fear we're going to end up back at square one. The DSL situation is another story, but I'll spare you!
In better news... my box o' scraps from Jeanne arrived today to cheer me up! This was the result of a swap that Nancy, NP organized recently, reasoning that it might be more fun to play with new scraps than the ones you've been sifting through for years. Jeanne included a cute little patriotic heart ornament and a swatch from her home state. My favorite was this big piece of funny chimpanzee fabric -- hardly a "scrap"!I did go to the Quilt Festival in Long Beach last weekend and had a great time other than sitting down on a seat on the local train that was (unbeknownst to me) soaking wet with beer. So, I had to walk back to my hotel room soaked through to my undies! Yech -- immediate shower. I have lots of photos that I need to edit into Flickr, but it might take me a few days to get that done. Here's a picture of one of my favorites, though, as a start -- it is "Rendez-Vous" by Inge Mardal and Steen Hougs.