Teacher Pillows Finished!

The Teacher Pillows are done and wrapped. HOORAY!

I found the cute bags at Walgreen’s, of all places. They are so adorable (thank heaven for no boy teachers this year!) that I didn’t feel bad about not making gift bags for them. I delivered the Principal and Assistant Principal pillows before I left. P will deliver the rest next week in stages.

Now I have to think about next year. St. JCN said that he fact that the project went well towards the end made no difference to her torture threat. She suggested a different project, so I will have to think on that. Suggestions, always welcome, of course!

Another Quick Bite (or Byte!)

This was a weird shadow I saw on my wall. Don’t you think it looks like a bear sitting in a chair with one leg crossed over the other?

New fabric.

More new fabric

Pineapples 13 & 14

Kristen, over at Ardent Peace saw the Pineaple blocks in person recently and said she hadn’t realize how large they were. The size, apparently, does not come through very well in the blog format. She asked me to give my dear readers some perspective. This block has a spool of red Aurifil thread on it. As you can see the blocks are quite large.

These are the Pineapple ‘scrap babies’. As I work through the strips, I find that I have litle bits of the strips leftover. I began setting them aside for who knows what. Finally, I decided I should use them up, so I used them on the beginning parts of Pineapples 15 & 16. The above two Pineapples are made from scraps to the point you see above. After this point, the sides get too large for scraps. Notice how much green is in them. I seem to have a lot of green strip ends.

Scrap babies grow up. These are Pineapple blocks 15 & 16.

Quick Bites

Technorati relaunched their search service yesterday. As a work project, I had to try out the new and expanded Technorati service. In addition to searching blog comments, it now searches for music, videos and images. Of course, I had to use ‘quilt’ as my term. I know the subject better than any other subject, so what better topic to use? Very interesting results, including some how to videos on quiltmaking. Here are a couple of blogs I found that I thought were worth looking at:

Mosaic-It: http://mosaic-it.blogspot.com/. The post I saw was about a mosaic floor in Venice (Italy, not California). As you may (or may not) know, I, obsessively take pictures of mosaics wherever I go. I really liked the floor in this post as I thought it looked exactly like a quilt. I also thought the tiles looked like they had little patterns on them, mimicking fabric somewhat. There seem to be only two posts, so stay tuned.

Sister’s Choice: http://sisterschoice.typepad.com/sisters_choice_quilts/ This seems to be a relatively new Typepad blog (3-4 months old). The pictures are really clear. Her fabrics seem to be a little dark for my taste, but she does use Creative Grid rulers, which are my new favorite. (I’ll write a review sometime) She also uses interesting patterns. The Evelyn Sloppy pattern, Fall Frolic, uses ugly colors IMO, but I like the way those four patches stand out. Not sure I could strip piece it the way Sister’s Choice describes.

Quilter’s Buzz appears to be a news site for the quiltmaking world. She has lots of posts from Quilt Market, especially of the booths. Her colors are similar to Sister’s Choice. Perhaps these are the colors of the day and I am the only one not using them?

Go take a look at what you can find at Technorati. If you are looking for me, though, you won’t find me there, so put me in your RSS reader. πŸ˜‰

Kaffe Fassett Spots

Be*mused turned me on to Kaffe Fassett’s new dots. She says has been trying to cut back on buying dots. I haven’t and keep buying more in case they stop making them. Follow her directions below to see Kaffe Fassett’s dot collection. Even though he forgets to put the fabric lines in his books, the man know how to design fabric!

clipped from bemused.typepad.com
  • And when are the Kaffe Fassett spots being released? The Westminster site won’t allow a link to the *spots page* (and I’ve just spent too much time trying to get around it, to no avail) but if you click on the KF page, then click on printed fabrics, then scroll down to the spots thumbnail, you will be richly rewarded. Darn…I’ve been trying to cut back on the polka dots, but I’ll be in line for some of these.
  • Reflections on Pamela’s Class

    I know I overloaded myself with photos posted to Artquiltmaker blog on Saturday after the class with Pamela, so I must have overloaded you all as well. This post is about focus and reflection on the class.

    Here is my first draft, so to speak. I had looked at my previous effort, from the first class with Pamela, before this class and had an idea that doing a related quilt would be a good idea. I was also looking at Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston last week, which made me think about houses. The sun and the flowers are in common, I think.

    One thing I realized is that I have not been working with scale much lately. The Pineapple, the various square pieces including Thoughts on Dots did not require me to work with scale in any meaningful way. I did pay attention to dots were in the various prints I used for Thoughts on Dots. I didn’t have to worry about scale overall in terms of the elements of the quilt. So, this piece made me stretch. When Pamela came around to help me the first time, scale was what we focused on. I needed larger flowers and larger rays of the sun.

    Final piece (sans quilting)

    It wasn’t quite so easy as making some elements a little bigger, though, because I had the previous garden quilt (below) on my mind as well. Some of the intermediate “drafts” of this piece had many more flowers. You can see the various drafts in Saturday’s post.

    I brought scraps per the directions, so I didn’t have a lot of choice of background. I had a lot of variety in fabrics, but not a lot of variety in size. My scraps are relatively small in general, so I put some darks in (per Pamela’s instructions) and really had trouble working with them, as I also mentioned. I have not been working with black and the checkerboard is interesting, but it doesn’t read as a cheerful fabric to me. I have gotten some feedback that it isn’t too dark, so I am considering it stretching and moving on.

    Pamela’s technique of cutting directly into the fabric is a very freeing way to quilt, however, and I think it is good for me. Now that I have two of these garden type quilts, I might try to make two more and have a quartet. We’ll see.

    I enjoyed her handstitching techniques with Perl Cotton as well. One of the things about this is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The stitching adds to the charm, but I don’t think it looks like the fake folk art kind of look. I could be wrong, of course!

    My 2006 Pamela piece. I am more excited about getting back to it now. I machine stitched some of it down, but plan to go back and work some more with the Perl Cotton on the flowers, especially.

    I highly recommend Pamela’s classes. She is a quilt teacher, but she has been trained in art and knows about design principles. That is the focus of her class with fabric as the medium. She seems to truly want people to do good work. I am glad she directed me, in her gentle but firm way, to scale, because that is what I needed to work on.

    A Day with Pamela

    I made it to the Pamela Allen class at EBHQ.

    This is all the stuff I took to class, except my sewing machine is not in the picture. (above). The pieces you see are pieces that I made in a previous class with her at Quilting Adventures.

    Pamela’s work (below)

    Tooth Fairy

    Tooth Fairy (detail)

    more Tooth Fairy detail

    This is what it looks like when I work in a class. (above) What a mess!

    My background for the House & Garden quilt. I really can’t help starting new projects in her class.

    First draft

    Pamela working on my piece

    Lots of flowers and flying dots.

    Not so many flowers and flying dots.

    Not so many flowers and no flying dots.

    Final composition. I like it, but I have to admit that I had a very hard time working with the darker colors (the black around the flowers and the blue/black checkerboard. All I could think of was that I wasn’t used to it. I haven’t been using much black lately and, as you know, have been trying to make cheerful quilts. This quilt-let seems a little dark to me.

    Pamela working with Julie

    Julie’s piece. I love the line up the left hand side.

    Group Sampler project. We had 15 minutes to make our part of this piece.

    Julie’s two fish. Can you find the second one?

    My fish – with dots, of course!

    I am tired and about to sign off, but I thought I would put up some photos for all of you to drool over while I go recover from a FAB day. More tomorrow.

    Various and Sundry (aka Frazzle-ization)

    I sat down for a few minutes to try and get my head together in the midst of getting ready for a class and trying to organize a tour for Ms. Arteest on Sunday. Fortunately Pamelarteest is quite restrained (no weird supplies required) and I have everything for the class at home. I am also bring the two, as yet unfinished, pieces I started in her class at Quilting Adventures.

    Self Portrait

    Jaye’s Garden

    Still, the Sunday thing is proving to be a problem, because the BedaBreakers (Bay to Breakers) is Sunday, which cuts the City in quarters and makes the Park in accessible. We had planned to go to the deYoung, but with the B2B, there is no way I am getting within a mile of the Park. So, I had to spearhead making other plans.

    Now I am taking a break in between all the craziness and putting the child to bed. I started clicking down my blogroll to see what was happening in blogland and came across some interesting stuff happening.

    Ardent Peace is quiet as K seems to be ill and working all week.

    Art Quilt Reviews has a review quilts from CQA in WA. I hadn’t heard of any of these quiltmakers, but I do like some of the work. I could use a good quilt show, but at the moment WA is not in the plans.

    Deirdre is not showing much (did you see her PBJ??), but she is looking forward to some cool photos from her friends, Susan and Ivan.

    Diary of a Mad Fabri-holic has done a meme, which I don’t really do, but has an interesting looking quilting on her Mother’s Day post.

    Yarnstorm has a great photo of a glass and Be*mused still has the basket quilt up.

    The last three all work on TypePad and their blogs are so clean and fresh looking. I went there thinking I might move my blog, but they charge for he privilege, so for the moment I’ll keep Artquiltmaker Blog here.

    Joshilyn over at Faster than Kudzu is interviewing another author and Julie over at High Fiber Content (doncha just love that name?) is talking about needs. She has some great shoes showing, too. She doesn’t have permalinks, so look for May 18, 2007.

    That’s the news from Blogland. I should have some interesting stuff after this weekend with allthe quilting friends in town. Stay tuned.

    Not Enough Colors

    Need More Colors.
    I was thinking tonight as I stared at my Pineapple and Cross Block (Flowering Snowball) projects that there are just not enough colors in the rainbow. Each time I add a strip to the Pineapple, it seems like I have just added that color. Granted, the blues are different and they have bigger dots or little splotches, but sometimes I just think I need more colors. Not sure what those colors would be, but I do think I need more.

    Life is Good
    Despite my back hurting and feeling a bit unwell and trying all day not to tell off a bigwig at work for being self-centered and oblivious, Life Is Good.


    Because of quiltmaking. I was able to indulge almost all day in some kind of quiltmaking activity. I listened to Alex Anderson’s Quilt Connection podcasts. While she is a little big giggly and squealy, once she gets into the groove, I really enjoy the info she provides. I listened, again, to a couple of podcasts, which sent me to Paula Nadelstern’s site and also to Jinny Beyer’s site. I also looked at Valori Wells site and found that she has a blog.

    Paula Nadelstern’s kaleidoscopic quilts are amazing. I love her work. After listening to the podcast, I went to the library’s site and reserved her book, Puzzle Quilts. It is still available on her website, but I want to look at it before I buy it.

    Jinny Beyer puts up a new block every week. I haven’t found one that I really want to make yet, but in terms of inspiration she is the go-to-girl. I have to admit that I don’t go there every week and look at the new block. I was also reminded that I need to look at her handpiecing book and find out what she uses to mark around her templates.

    I don’t think I have used any of Valori Wells’ fabrics, but she is a good speaker and inspirational. After listening to her interview, I wanted to go home and find all of my large scale prints, download VW’s patterns and make a large scale print quilt! It is so thrilling to be able to listen to something about quilting, look at a website and then come home and look at the book and sew.

    When I came home the Collaborative Quilting book by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran was calling to me -(read my post about it). Alex also interviewed Gwen and I was reminded how much G.M. is inpired by old patterns. She and Alex made the point that we are where we are today because of the ladies that came before us. They also talked about giving credit and it occurred to me that if you give credit, people will come to you because you have a link to your inspiration or because they know they will find the information from you.

    I know some of you only come for the photos, so here is the Cross Block (Flowering Snowball) that I finished on Mother’s Day.

    Great Idea for Templates

    I know that templates are passe’ and nobody, but me, uses them anymore. I am going wax nostalgic (or give you some tips and tricks) about them anyway. I stumbled upon Be*mused, another blog, and found that she was doing an ongoing project requiring templates.

    Be*mused is making a Wheel of Fortune or Whirling Star or Whirligig pattern (above). In her post on March 8, 2007, she talks about making the templates. The brilliant technique she uses is to add an additional quarter inch to the outside edge of the templates above and beyond the quarter inch that is already added to the entire template (and rotary cutting, for that matter), so you can sew them.

    This is a great idea for this block and others where the outside edges are not going to match no matter what you do. The extra quarter of an inch give you that much more fabric to use when squaring up the blocks. The opportunity/ability to square up blocks makes the assembly of the quilt top so much easier and much less stressful.

    One of the nice things about this block is that it provides the opportunity for lots of different fabrics. Another thing is that not everyone is making one. This is a great looking and interesting block and worth the extra trouble of templates. I found it in blockbase so you don’t even have to draft the templates yourself. πŸ˜‰

    Mother’s Day Inspiration

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers, godmothers and those who act like mothers, help mothers and support mothers. I heard a nice blessing today as part of Mother’s Day: Bless all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers and those who act like mothers for you are the caretakers of the future of the world.

    Big job, but a nice reality check as well.

    I have been collecting photos of flowers for an eternity, because someday I want to make a flower or garden quilt. These are flowers from my BIL and SIL’s backyard and I have been admiring their shape for ages. Today I had my camera and good sun all at the same time. I was able to take a snap that I can hopefully use for my quilt someday.

    This card was given to my MIL. I took a photo because I like the shadowing and the slight offsetting (is that a word??) of the flower on the right. I also like the way the artist used dots as the stems. I thought the shapes of the flowers were perky and fun as well. If you are the artist, I will gladly put your name and a link to your website here.

    Julie Finds the Fabric

    As you know, I used this Flea Market Fancy fabric by Denyse Schmidt for one of the Teacher Pillows. I used all that I had and decided I wanted more, so I could include some in the Chocolate Box quilt. Lazily I looked online. As I searched and didn’t find, I began to worry that I wouldn’t find any. I searched harder. I found a piece on eBay and bid, but someone else wanted the piece, too and bid at the last minute while I was at work, so I lost. St. JCN looked in Seattle, but no joy there either. I e-mailed various local shops to see if they had it, also to no avail. As I had less success, I became more desperate. Finally, after no success locally, I put out a call on a list of which I am a member and people around the country began looking for me, too.

    Success!!! Julie over at High Fiber Content and good friend found it! Hooray. Read about her fabulous adventure looking for this fabric. She doesn’t have a permalink, so scroll to May 10, 2007. Since the great search ended I have been casually looking and this particular fabric just seems to be gone. Weird.

    Teacher Pillow Success

    First, some inspiration. I was inspired by Yarnstorm’s photos, so I took my camera with me yesterday and snapped a pic of these roses in my neighbor’s yard.

    Now on to the Teacher Pillows.

    They are done except for the hand stitching. I am thrilled that I survived. It is always touch and go at the beginning!

    Above is the principal’s pillow. St.JCN said the violet was inspired. I thought so and am glad someone agreed. I saw the quilt that inspired the violet yesterday as it scrolled across the screen in my screensaver. I will post it here, if I find it again.

    Above is the Assistant Principal’s pillow. I actually think this one came out the best of them all. I think having enough fabric to use on the back is key. I will try to remember that for next year.

    Pineapple blocks 11 & 12 are also done. They don’t fit on the design wall properly with all the others so #12 is hanging off. I think they look nice and cheerful. Not so dark as 9 & 10.

    And now for a tip. I used the Jacquard fabric (see example in circle above) that you can run through your printer for quilt labels and for the drawings for the back of the pillows. It works because there is paper stuck to the back of the fabric that helps get it through the printer. You have to peel off the paper before you sew. (I suppose you could leave it on, but I don’t) This product works pretty well, except that if you try to sew through it when the wrong side is facing up, it gums up the needle and the stitches get really small. Normally I try to sew with it on the bottom. Today, I wasn’t able to sew with the printer fabric on the bottom for some reason that I don’t remember now. I sewed through it and immediately got stopped. I had a brainwave when I saw a pile of tissue paper. The arrow in the picture is pointing to the tissue paper I put over the Jacquard fabric just along the seam allowance. It worked like a charm. No sticking needle resulting in ugly stitches. I always press this printer fabric with a piece of clean, white printer/copier paper under the sticky part. I don’t let the sticky part touch the iron or my ironing board cover.