Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Am I Crazy or What?

Call the men in the white coats... I'm getting ready to launch the 2016 Cotton Robin!

Check out the blog. Send me a comment or an email if you're interested in signing up, and feel free to enlist your quilty friends if they have the "chops" to play along.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Very productive retreat

My friend Catherine organized a sewing retreat to celebrate a big birthday, by renting a cottage in beautiful Pacific Grove for a week. Unfortunately I can't stay the whole week but I've had a great 5 days! I brought a couple of "kits" and my stack of Tula Pink blocks and here's the result:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It's Tops!

Periodically I get annoyed/distracted/obsessed with the mounds of scraps I've accumulated and feel compelled to DO SOMETHING.

(I sort of loosely follow a mashup of Bonnie Hunter's and Joan Ford's scrap management programs, so I've ended up with shoeboxes of 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4" and 5" squares, as well as 2" and 2.5" strips.)

So I rummage around in books, magazines, and websites, and make myself a bunch of "kits".  Sometimes it takes a year or more to actually assemble them, but that's okay, right?

Recently, I've been on a roll, though, and here are three quilt tops I've finished up. (disclaimer -- I prefer to do a good pressing just before a quilt them, so I don't knock myself out pressing them if I'm pretty sure they'll sit in the closet for a while...)

First up is "Picnic" from one of Kim Brackett's books -- this one is all dots:
Next is a Scrappy Bargello, one of Bonnie Hunter's classics -- I've made 3 so far -- an excellent use of 2.5" strips:
And this is one I found somewhere... I'm embarrassed that I didn't make a note of it, but it was a fun use of 5" squares:

I've made 0 progress with my "Inked" fabrics, but I do have ideas!  Just trying to get a few more things done before cutting into them.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Quilty Orphan Adoption Event!

Quilting is more fun than Housework

I'm joining in with the Orphan Adoption event on Quilting is More Fun Than Housework  -- here's what I'm giving away:

Several (many) years ago I was in an online birthday swap, and my request was for fabulous house blocks. I did receive fabulous house blocks but I've never been able to get excited about doing something with them...

So, I am giving them away to someone who will create a lovely finished project for a charitable purpose.
There are 9 - 12" blocks and 3 - 9" blocks and the fabrics are all batiks. A couple of the blocks have some beads or other bling as embellishment.

The event ends on September 20 at 9 p.m. PDT and I'll use the random number generator if I get more than one request. This is a give-away -- no charge to you -- but I would like to limit my postage expenses to the U.S. only.

Check out the event website for more orphan opportunities!

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: https://www.massdrop.com/home
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!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cross Stitch De-stash / Giveaway

My friend Kate did a giveaway of a bunch of cross stitch patterns recently, which has prompted me to go through my cupboard and offer up the following patterns.  Some of these I've made and some have just been sitting around for way too long...

 I did make this bookmark a while ago -- I keep losing it and re-discovering it...

 This one was made with hand-dyed thread... lovely!

 Hard to see the photo, but this is tiny gardening tools

 Another one that wouldn't photograph well for me -- it's apples, one of my favorites!

 I made this for a sister-in-law. Again it's hard to see, but there's a sundae dish in the middle.

 I think originally came from Kate, actually!

Send a comment or an email if you're interested in any of these. If there are conflicts, I'll flip a coin...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

A little bit late in the day, but thought I'd post a picture of a top I finished recently -- this is a Buggy Barn pattern.