Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP: "Spool Play" is finished!

Time to stop spoolin' around. You've seen the close-up:
So now it's time to see the whole quilt:
I'm still thinking of doing a quilt-along in late spring if anyone is interested. If you don't have a collection of selvages and couldn't care less about starting one, don't worry, there will be a couple of non-selvage options as well.

I'm off tomorrow morning to an annual quilting retreat in the mountains. If I don't go completely bonkers by the time I get my templates and all the gazillion little pieces cut get my act together, I hope to make some progress on the Single Girl quilt-along.  I'll be back Monday with pictures. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Tuesday and we had octopus for lunch

Naw, not really. But when my friend made this with her granddaughter, I knew Charlotte and Levi would enjoy it too. Candy and Courtney called them spaghetti dogs. Charlotte and Levi called them octopus. Maybe it was because they just spent the weekend at the coast?

Just stick that spaghetti through cut-up hot dogs,

 and eat!

And while I hesitate to post these pictures to all you still buried in the snow, before lunch we went outside and spent a few minutes playing with the bubble guns that Grandpa found for them this weekend.

Come back tomorrow morning for the big reveal of the spool quilt. See ya then!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

Sneak peek at my spool quilt. As soon as the binding is completed, I'll post a picture of the whole quilt. I am so happy with how this quilt turned out, especially the loop-de-loop variegated big stitch quilting in the border. I'm also pretty thrilled with the binding, which is a coordinating print to the "challenge" fabric.It looks like the color registration dots on all the selvages. Perfect choice, if I do say so myself...

I got the complete fat quarter pack of Hope Valley, which included quite a few fabrics that I didn't already have. I'm still planning on doing at least three rings of just solids, and I'm trying not to be too matchy-matchy, but these solids by Anna Maria Horner arrived the same day. How great do they look together?!

And Mark was able to capture a "sun dog" in the sky the other day while driving. Quite common (I think...) in the Midwest. More rare here in the Central Valley of California. (I try not to think about how he is capturing these great photos while driving....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Color Therapy Thursday: The "I changed my mind" edition

It seems like just yesterday when I quite confidently said I had made my fabric selections for the Single Girl quilt-along. Oh, wait. It WAS just yesterday.

Since that time I have a new plan. As much as I love Katie Jump  Rope, I was still a bit unsettled about my decision. So I switched over to Hope Valley. Maybe because I'm in such a grey/orange mood right now? I'm not quite sure of the reason, but this is IT. Finito. Same plan: twin size, nine rings of print, three rings of solids.

(sorry for the weird line going through the picture. Blogger's image uploader has been doing this to my pictures all week!)

Here is where it got tricky. Have you ever tried to match Hope Valley against the Kona solid swatch card? Until yesterday, I thought I had a pretty good "read" on colors. Wow. Denyse Schmidt did a number on that theory. Each of those colors is just a little "off" from anything Kona (and Moda Bella solids ) has to offer. Pretty much each and every print in that line is just a little warmer, just a little cooler, a tad more brown, a tinge more grey. This is the selection I have so far. I have a couple more colors on order. And if someone could track down Moda Bella "Betty's Orange" for me, you would be my new BFF.

I'm okay with the fact that the solids aren't an exact match. I think it will add a little interest to have a slight deviation in color. And anyway, the prints and solids aren't going to be holding hands with each, they're just going to be friendly neighbors.

And just to show you that I mean it when I say "this is IT," I'm off to post my fabric selection pictures on Flickr. That's a lot of commitment for a Single Girl...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

To start off this morning with something totally off the subject, I like new yellow No. 2 pencils, freshly sharpened. They seem to collect around my keyboard. I know I could have a cute mug filled with them, but they would probably still be in various places on my desk. We have been making friends with bartenders collecting various wine and liquor bottles over the last year and Mark then slumps them into cool shapes that are great for entertaining--you know, wine and cheese parties. You can use them for crackers, olives, etc. College guys like Corona beer bottles to throw their spare change in. Anyway, someone gave us a Frexinet champagne bottle. Those bottles have a matte finish, but after Mark fired it, it came out nice and glossy. Voila! My pencils have a classy place to reside on my desk now.
Okay. Moving on to something more WIP-ish.

I joined the Single Girl quilt-along and have struggled over what fabric to use. And being so flaky, every time I see someone else's selection, I think, "That's it. That's what I want to do." The quilt on the pattern cover is made from Katie Jump Rope. So I was going to do that, because I have collected quite a bit of it over the last year. And then someone decided they would use Katie Jump Rope mixed with Flea Market Fancy. Hey, that sounds like a good idea. Then I decided maybe I would make a Christmas quilt because I have a lot of cool contemporary Christmas fabric. Then I saw that Corey was using all solids. And I loved that idea. And then I saw that several people on Flickr are not matching all their rings, making a ring or two or three of a different color. Genius.

Okay, folks. This is my final decision. I'm sticking with Katie Jump Rope.

Then I started pulling out coordinating solids (sorry for the lousy picture--the lighting was terrible in the late afternoon) and I think I'll make three rings of only solid fabric. It's my compromise of all the things that appealed to me: Katie Jump Rope, solids, and a couple of rings that were different from the others.

I'm making progress on my spool quilt. Good thing, too, because I leave for the quilting retreat a week from tomorrow! I machine quilted around all the brown spool parts, and I'm doing big stitch around the sides of each spool. I had read Kate Conklin's big stitch tutorial and liked the idea that she was trying to make the stitch on the front and the stitch on the back of the quilt relatively the same size. I tried that and it totally felt awkward for me. Do you think hand quilting is kind of like your signature, individual and unique?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Color Combos

I was in my local quilt shop the other day. You know, to pick up perle cotton and needles. and then I went home with this. But we have already talked moving on.
Anyway, the person waiting on me wondered what I was doing with the orange and grey. I said I was making an orange and grey quilt for my sewing room. She looked at me with the weirdest expression.

Her: "Really? I don't think I've seen that color combination before. I just can't visualize it..."

Me: "Really???" (To myself: "You don't get much inspiration online, do you?")

Like this latest quilt block I received from my 3x6 quilt block exchange. Don't you love it?

Or this quilt for sale on etsy:

Or this awesome zigzag quilt:

and especially this:

I could go on and on about how much I love the grey/orange combination. Or a lot of other equally amazing color combos, yellow and grey; blue, green, orange and brown, etc. My local quilt shop thought I was totally nuts. But you all "get" how much I love this color combination...right??

What are your current fave color combos?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How did this happen??

I went to my local quilt shop for this

because the consensus of the color for my big stitch needle on the bottom border is grey, not brown. And I wanted to try No. 24 chenille needles as recommended by Kate Conklin in her recent tutorial.

How did I end up walking out of the store with all of this as well?

Does that ever happen to you too?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Check your local listing

What do Quilting Arts TV,
Pokey Bolton,

and my pincushions have in common?

They are all going to be spending some time together! Five of them left my house on Tuesday morning on their way to the East Coast. They will be in a segment filmed with Pokey today, airing some time in June.

Apparently Pokey, who is the founder of the Quilting Arts conglomerate, liked them when they were photographed and put on the cover of the Quilt Scene (also her magazine). Schnikeys!

Did you know Quilting Arts TV airs on PBS??? I didn't! I checked...and it doesn't air on our area. Bah...

And in the meantime, the etsy shop is now completely empty. I need to start sewing some of these into something!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday and Color Therapy Thursday

First things first. I need advice on just one color of perle cotton for my Spools quilt. I decided to outline each spool with off white No. 8 perle cotton. Around the border I am going to use variegated in a swirly line, like thread. By last week I had decided to big stitch the quilting needle in the bottom border rather than applique it on. So here's the question: would you use grey pearl cotton for the needle to more closely resemble a silver needle? Even though there is no grey in the quilt itself?  Or would you use brown pearl cotton because there is a lot of brown in the quilt?
Yesterday Charlotte and Levi did a Valentine's project using this great "love mail" tutorial from Noodlehead, cute little packets, one side vellum and the other white card stock, and then stuffed with M&Ms and sewn shut (by me...). I got the Valentine's M&M assortment. While I never eat blue M&Ms (personal protest--weirdo...), I have no problem with seasonal M&M colors.

I was going to have Charlotte write both her name and Levi's name on the front of each Valentine in the "from" area. Her name is long, and while she can write it very well, she really needs a good 8 inches of paper. These Valentine's were only 4" wide. Things started out well enough, and then she ran out of room. So she just put the rest of her name randomly wherever she could find space. Her whole name is there, you just kind of have to search for it. And sorry, Levi, there was no space for your name.

Then I sewed the front and back together, just leaving an opening of a couple inches at the top. The packets then got stuffed with M&Ms.

This is what I love about art projects with little ones. You give them the rudimentary instructions, and then sit back and watch how their incredible little brains interpret what you said.

While there were four colors of M&Ms in the bag (white, red, and two shades of pink), Charlotte only wanted one color in each of the packets she stuffed. After watching her create the pattern in her macaroni necklace, it makes me wonder if she is going to favor linear and symmetrical creativity in her projects. It will be interesting to watch.

Levi, on the other hand, wanted all the colors.

This was a fun project (even though they always look so serious--art takes concentration!) and educational--lots of practice in counting those M&Ms. And plenty left over for eating...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts, Part 2: A dream come true

The second picture-heavy post in the same day. I wasn't expecting this one and I want to get it posted while it's still fresh in my mind.

Take yourself back to 1959. What? Some of you weren't even born then? Okay, so imagine yourself back to 1959. I was about 7. My father was a minister and while I remember having a comfortable life growing up, there was rarely any money for "extras." We had a chihuahua named Pepe. He was always a little hyper for me, and I think my parents felt that way as well. Anyway, I wanted a Barbie doll so badly. Maybe my parents were just looking for a way to pass that hyper little dog onto someone who would love him more. So they asked me if I was willing to get rid of the dog. If so, they would use that money to buy a Barbie doll. I know. Shocking. Sorry to all you dog lovers. I totally sold the dog out for a Barbie doll.

The first edition of Barbie had a blond pony tail. I am a redhead and by the time I got my own Barbie, they had come out with the "bubble cut." Imagine the early 1960s. Jackie Kennedy was all the rage, and with her incredible sense of style, it filtered its way down even to Barbie. My Barbie had a red bubble cut.

Somehow, maybe for Christmas or birthday, I don't remember, but Barbie also acquired a canopy bed with a dressing table, chair, "French" armoire and a couple of "store-bought" outfits. I was completely amazed to have a Barbie, and to have her living so stylishly.

While I got rid of nearly every other toy, I saved my Barbie, in the original box, never with the idea that she would be a collectible, but with the hope I could pass her on to a daughter. Or a granddaughter. That happened today.

I had checked with Christa a few months ago, and she said it was fine. You never know these days if mothers want their daughters playing with a doll whose figure is so unrealistic. But this morning Charlotte also had the most adorable Dorothy doll from the Wizard of Oz, and Tiana (spelling?), so the timing seemed right.

We got the box down and started taking things out. Wow, what memories came flooding back. I learned to hand sew with this doll. While I had a couple of purchased outfits, like this stunning red velvet swing coat with white satin lining and a Jackie Kennedy "pillbox" hat and the black dress with the organza collar and a matching big hat (think Kentucky Derby...),

more and more outfits came spilling out of the bag, outfits that were mostly hand sewn. Even though I was the one who made them all those years ago, this morning I was shocked at the detail I had put into them.

An evening dress (modeled by Tiana), which consisted of a long strapless dress, and then a cape kind of thing that you would put your arms through and it would wrap around your shoulders, complete with a train:

A red denim wrap skirt, lined in red and white ticking stripes, where one tie went through a little opening and tied in the front:

That little white dress with gray flowers, next to the red skirt, was actually made from fabric from a dress my mother wore to church, kind of a shantung silky thing.

Here we have a corduroy coat, with an attached scarf to wrap around your neck. Check out the fringe on the ends of the scarf.
Here we have a three-piece knit ensemble (I think it used to belong to a skirt my grandmother wore at one time) which consists of a pencil skirt, short-sleeved shell, and jacket to complete the outfit, a long satiny evening gown with sequins, a short summery party dress with eyelit overskirt, and two pairs of high-waisted pants.

Here is the white dress again, the summery dress, and another flower shift-style dress with an odd sailor-collar thing I guess Barbie tied around her neck, and then a pretty pink wool coat.

A see-through overskirt (not sure what Barbie wore it with) but check out the rickrack on the border, and some capri pants with little flounces on the bottom (wow, the elastic really crackled when I stretched it out a bit).
Probably my favorite, this pink wool number, with the black embroidery trim and black fringe (sorry about the weird fit around the bust--I think Barbie needs to have the darts pressed down and she'll be just fine...)

This is what I had forgotten: all the hand sewing, darts, tucks, trim. While Charlotte was busy changing Barbie's outfit from one to another
and Levi was doing the man thing and getting the furniture in order,

I was lost in memories...