Friday, July 30, 2010

Big Beef

Another UFO bites the dust! This was a round robin from a couple or 3 years ago -- I can't remember. It started with my Ruth McDowell-style tomato and boy, is it BRIGHT! The reds are very hard to photograph -- I tried it with and without flash but it is just too saturated...
I forgot to mention that when I was in Long Beach I took a machine quilting class from Karen McTavish -- hoping to learn some alternatives to my pathetic meandering. I did learn a couple new ideas; didn't do any "McTavishing" on this quilt but I did do more quilting than I usually do, with lots of pebbles and other stuff. *

I had waited to the end to quilt the tomato itself because I couldn't decide what to do, (I know, you're not supposed to do this) and after I got most of the rest of the quilting done I realized that the tomato was pretty puffy -- so I did some after-the-fact half-baked trapunto, by slitting the back and inserting a couple of rounds of poly batting in the tomato. The back is now whip-stitched together and I'll put a label over the slit.

Speaking of backing, is this not the most wonderful veggie fabric ever? I may have to go and buy some more of it, just because...
And, just because -- here is a lovely blue hydrangea that's blooming in a shady-ish part of the yard. It was a birthday present in a florist pot 8-1/2 years ago, and it's been thriving in the ground ever since!

* Karen McTavish is a hoot, and I think she's probably a good teacher but: this was a class to learn her technique on a "regular" sewing machine and she absolutely would not do a hands-on sewing demonstration because SHE only quilts on a long-arm. I think that if you're going to teach a class like this, you have to be able to show how it's done!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

two babies -- and two posts in one day!

Lest you all think I'm a total slacker in the sewing arena... I have gotten two baby quilts done recently!

This is a disappearing 9-patch made from some bright stuff; the blocks sat on the design wall for many months waiting to be assembled. This was June's entry in the UFO Challenge.

And this was a little kit from my guild -- they have a project to provide small quilts for various hospitals in the area. This also sat around for way too long...
This month's UFO is almost done, too!

Long Beach report

While I always come home from shows with a camera full of images, it's always easy for me to pick just a few favorites... Long Beach was no exception! There was one large section marked "no photography", of course, but I found most of my inspiration in the other areas. Everything at Long Beach seems to be part of one specific group or another -- there isn't really a general section of quilts that have been juried in like you find at most of the other larger quilt shows. I'm not sure I like this aspect of it...

Anyway -- here's my gallery for your entertainment!

Remembering Sweden, by Helena Scheffer of Beaconsfield, Quebec -- I love the simple geometry of this piece, and it really DOES look like Sweden to me!

April Showers Bring May Flowers, by Therese Kirchner of Mequon, Wisconsin -- if you enlarge the photo, you'll see the large raindrops created in the background quilting. It's very subtle and lovely.

Piccadilly Square by Gyleen Fitzgerald of Churchville, Maryland. One of my favorite exhibits was "Trash to Treasure" pineapple quilts. Gyleen developed a
"pineapple ruler" (and wrote a book) and issued the challenge to quilters to make the scrap quilts that became the exhibit. It was a lot of fun to study the differences and decide what worked and what didn't. Of course I came home with one of her rulers and I'm set to attack my scrap bins...

Rainbow, by Ita Ziv of Pardes-Hana, Israel -- this quilt is made of strips of very sheer fabrics with bits of metallic blended in. Quite ethereal...

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, by Jean Smith of Fort Myers, Florida -- I was blown away by the fabric combinations in this quilt, and the clever way it was pieced. And the design, of course!

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Long Beach, anyone?

Just a quick note to see who, if anyone, is going to Long Beach for the summer quilt festival... I'll be there Friday and Saturday. Send me a note and let's meet up for something cold to drink!

I've been really quite good about stash-enhancing so far this year -- bought absolutely nothing until almost the end of June -- so I'm planning to indulge myself with a little shopping AND I have a class with Karen McTavish on Friday evening. Maybe I'll finally learn to feel comfortable with more than my usual loopy meandering...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

garden mayhem

Yesterday afternoon, there was a lovely yellow sunflower at the top of this stalk. Looks like the local squirrels are at it again! It was my only sunflower, too... in past years they've also managed to eat a lot of sweet corn, a small tree-full of apples, and a number of blueberries. I need to figure out some netting, or rent a dog, maybe.

Clearly this honeybee is perplexed... "I knew there was something here yesterday"
Evidence of the foul deed:

On the other hand, my crop of gourds is doing really well this year -- these are from one of those packets of mixed seeds

They're trailing everywhere!

And my favorite rose: Golden Wings

There's been some knitting going on, despite the heat. These are Garter Rib socks that I made for my sister -- my first gifted socks! She's modeling them...

More sewing soon, I promise!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I have an hour to kill so I'm doing the online shop-hop -- hoping to win big! The Calico Junction Quilt Shop provides a hint that the "Bunny" is buying a new purse, so I go to the "purses" page... and click on the bunny. But as the screen is switching over to the next page, something caught my eye:
Chl purse 12 Chl purse 12
Concealed Handgun purse

I'm sorry -- WHAT? The description goes on to say "The hidden outside pocket is made of a durable fabric that will stabilize you handgun. It closes securely with velcro. When the hidden pocket is closed, neither the handgun nor the pocket is visible, but is still easily accessible. This purse is for a 9mm subcompact (ex:glock,) but can be custom made for any size handgun."

Does it surprise you that this shop is "just 90 miles east of Dallas"? Is my Northern California showing?

Friday, July 09, 2010

The sailor home from the sea...

Well, his beard is definitely longer than I've seen in while, but other than that he looks pretty good! Here's Al with his welcome lei and celebratory G&T, just after crossing the finish line yesterday afternoon.Thanks for following along on this adventure! The race only happens every two years so I have a little reprieve before he decides whether to do it again...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

wind and water

This is a view I go back to every time I come to Kauai... it's near Princeville, looking down onto Hanalei valley and the taro fields. I've probably posted a similar photo before, and I always say that it's going to become a quilt some day.

Today I roused myself from my book (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- exceptional vacation reading!) to go to my favorite place on the island: The Kilauea Lighthouse. This is also a wildlife preserve and it's a beautiful location for hanging out and watching seabirds.

This is a little cove that always fascinates me. The color in the photo isn't perfect, but the water has an incredible milky teal that just kills me!
Al told me he had bypassed a few squalls, so I was interested to see a few little storms out at sea...
I have been doing some sewing, too. I think I mentioned a while back that I was in two birthday block swaps this year, and I asked for blue blocks on the theme of "wind or water" to make a little quilt for Al. I brought the blocks with me to assemble, and got it done this evening. I'm not sure yet if it will have a border or not -- right now it looks like a photo album to me and I sort of like it this way. (it's pinned to a curtain, so looks more wobbly than it really is!)
It always seems that in any set of swap blocks there's one that blows me away -- this one did it for me this time. It's better in person, and was made by Sue Vermeland.
At the last check-in at 9 pm PDT, Al was 101 miles from the finish line, so I'm expecting to see him tomorrow mid-day. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

greetings from the garden isle

There's something about Kauai... as soon as I get away from the airport my whole being seems to take a deep breath and relax. It's the soft air, the tradewinds, the green and blue. Ahhhh.

The race report is looking really good! Al has handily passed three boats and caught up substantially on the others that he considered his main competition. He's now just over 500 miles from the finish line, and I should see him sometime on Thursday.

The race committee posts a position report twice a day, using Google Earth, and here's the most recent picture. Al's boat is "Bandicoot", and if I knew how to draw an arrow pointing to it, I would! But I don't...

One of the sailors has more than a dozen family members here to greet him when he comes in, and it's all a surprise. I ran into them at dinner tonight. He's expecting only one person so I can't wait to see his reaction when they all show up. Three of the boats are in already and there is such an air of excitement!

Along with the obligatory palm tree photo above, I have to show you this view at Tunnels Beach on the north shore. The water is such an incredible color.

This is a cave across from the beach -- looks like something out of a Harry Potter books down there...

And this is the outside of the cave, with these long tree roots swooping around in the breeze --

Finally, you can't see Kauai without the wild chickens everywhere. I thought this one had especially nice coloring --