Month: February 2010
I am REALLY fortunate to have wonderful friends and family who are willing to give me books and quilt related items that I love. I really received a lot of gifts; so many I will have plenty to write about and read and think about during the gift giving drought that is the rest of the year.**
My birthday was a week and a half ago and the gifts just keep coming. Julie gave me some fabric, a book, some note cards and some little things while at the retreat over the weekend.
The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer came from a gift certificate I actually got from TFQ for Christmas. I think of it as a birthday gift to myself! Thanks, TFQ!
Art + Quilt came from DH. I have been borrowing TFQ’s copy and now I have my own. I am pretty excited about some of the exercises in the book.
Sew, So Cute by Mary Engelbreit came from Julie. I have wanted this book because of the apron on the front. I love it. It has some much style. I can’t wait to make that apron. Perhaps I will add it to my gift arsenal?
The bottom three reading material came from my sister. The Crafty Chica book has a very cheerful layout. I also like the pocket bag, which is made out of tablecloth vinyl. I love the tote on the front of the Sew News magazine and Artful Blogging often has links to great new blogs.
I really like they style of that tote bag on the front of the Sew News magazine. I looked at the directions last night and they are a little cryptic. I am going to look up the designer at some point and see if there is some additional explanation before I dive in. We’ll see.
I am so fortunate to have so much new reading material and project ideas. it is nice not to have to get these books out of the library and read them quickly. I really enjoy dipping in and out of books, especially quilt books. Thanks!
That wasn’t all, though. I also have some fabric to go along with the project ideas. Above are some pieces that my sister bought for me. they are colors that she loves, so I wonder if she is angling for another bag or a quilt or something? Hhhmmm.
Here is the wonderfulness that came from TFQ. Her gift was right on time, actually early, and I opened it as soon as I could get it in the door. The journals (Miquelrius) will not go to waste. I think I have to write more so I can get through them faster. 😉
The pink and red fabric (on the right in the middle) is a Malka Dubrowsky screen print (batik, maybe?). The funny part of about that fabric is that I bought TFQ some of Malka’s fabric as well. We roared with laughter about that! Great minds, you know. 😉
I have only glanced through Creative Time and Space, but I love the Voodoo lounge podcast, which is also by Rice Zachery-Freeman. I am reading Life is a Verb and really like it. I will write a full on review when I finish it. One thing I already like about it is that the author says that she created large margins so people could create ‘marginalia’. I have done one of the exercises she suggests and enjoyed it. Unlike Maisel’s book, I can do them in the 20+ minutes I carve out for creativity every day with minimal technology requirements.
I loved all the gifts and cards and phone calls and emails I received, but this card is really special. One thing I really appreciate is when people give me some of their precious time. When someone takes the time to make me something, like a card, or when they take the time to write me a letter, it is most appreciated. I love it when someone sits down and writes me a real letter about things they are doing and observing. Even if those things seem mundane, I love hearing about the day to day things in others lives. Mailing the letter to me with a real stamp in a real envelope is one of the best presents I can receive. I love it that Julie took the time to make and write the card.
I had to cut off the writing because is personal. Isn’t Julie creative? She put flags on the inside, too. I really like this card.
I am so fortunate to have such generous, thoughtful, wonderful and creative friends.
**Do Valentine’s Day, my anniversary, and Mother’s Day count? 😉
Cupcakes, Mark is BACK!
Go to his blog and leave a comment there if you are so inclined.
New Retreat Fabrics
I used some of my Christmas money to buy some new fabrics. Are you surprised?
The second row dot fabrics will be a tote bag. I love the color combination. I thought the orange was more of a salmony orange, but the lighting in the store wasn’t that good and I found out it was a more pure orange. That is ok. I still think the color combo looks good.
I may use them to try the scaled down AMH MTT. I still haven’t tried the scaled down version. I have a rule to use good fabric for new projects in case it comes out well, but I decide not to make the pattern again (remember the Sweet Harmony bag?) Thus, I am wondering whether I want to use good fabric and possibly screw it up or fabric I don’t care that much about and have it come out really well.
Julie took me to a store called Hart’s. What an awesome store! They had one of the largest selections of quilt fabrics I have seen in a long time. The quilt fabric selection was HUGE! Julie said she hadn’t been there in a while because of a bad experience when her kids were little. We were pleased that the service was excellent!
Hart’s also has an upholstery section. They had lots of wonderful upholstery fabric, trims and laminated cotton. The selection of laminated cottons and oilcloth was more extensive than I have seen anywhere. Some of their laminated cottons were so soft they were almost like non-laminated cottons.
The Cal fabric, from Beverly’s, will be for some pillowcases. That is all I can say right now as I am contemplating whether they will be gifts. Yes, I am planning ahead. Stay tuned.
The red dot fabric (top row, third from the left) was the gift wrapping on my gift from Julie. I don’t remember seeing those dots and the wrapping she did looked like that form of Japanese wrapping, whose name I can’t remember right now.
More on the Quilt Retreat
I have a lot of talented colleagues who also attended the quilt retreat. I realized, after I got home, that the pictures I thought I took only were taken in my head. Sigh.
Dolores, for whom I made the pencil roll, is really making progress in her work. She takes classes deliberately from well respected quiltmakers and works through the techniques and makes it her own. For the past several years, she has worked in neutrals. This year she decided that she was going to add color back into the equation. This piece is from a photograph (right) and some techniques she learned in a class with Caryl Bryer Fallert. Dolores reworked the photo on her computer and then blew up the pattern, transferred it to freezer paper and used Fallert’s method of piecing to create the top.
Sonja, a new CQFAer was working with FabMo fabrics and just playing. She did a fabulous wave piece that I was really sorry not to have taken a picture of.
Sue and I are kindred spirits in that we both like to make quick projects in between our larger quilt projects. She worked on totes, scarves AND basted two quilts!
FabMo also has wallpaper -high end wallpaper – and Jan has been experimenting with folded boxes and bags using pieces of the free wallpaper. They are fabulous. She is also working on a piece based on the view of Nebraska from a plane. She worked on embellishing the circles she was making. Jan was sitting next to me and we talked about color, because she is finding her piece too dull. We discussed colors that would fit with her nature theme.
Julie bought a pack of Moda turnovers and is making a fun and sweet Valentine’s Day quilt. She is trying to limit her need to cut and this was a great way to do it.
Here is Julie’s quilt before she started on the appliquéd hearts.
Above shows her machine applique’ pieces waiting for their turn under the needle as well as the tools that are required for excellent quilting (glasses, rulers and coffee!). 😉
I thought that the above block looked like one of the illustrations in an illuminated manuscript.
This is a nice color combination. I am not sure the computer intermediation shows the subtlety, but it s great.
We talked a lot about this block, because of the skull. It is the block that shows that relationships can be icky and rocky sometimes. Fun fabric, though.
Maureen tried the pencil roll pattern and came up with a nice piece using some of her hand dyes and some FabMo fabric.
Terri worked on getting some tops put together. One was an exchange top that included some really nice batiks.
Debbie was trying to finish her daughter’s college quilt. She was using some very jewel-y turquoise, purples and other blues. It was very rich looking.
Kathy is a member’s daughter. We haven’t seen any of her work before this weekend. It turns out that she does wonderful handwork. She is working on this Piece O’Cake design, do it mostly by hand. I like the color choices she made. They are a bit muted, but not murky.
She didn’t like the scallop border that came with the pattern, so she designed this leaf border on her own.
CQFA Retreat 2010
This past weekend was our annual CQFA retreat by the beach. I spent the weekend working on the FOTY 2009. I also relaxed a little even though I spent a lot of time hard at hard sewing. My body is rebelling a bit from sitting so much and standing so much.
First, I found the last few FOTY blocks on my design wall before I left and I wanted to post a picture of them. I didn’t think I would use the one with the earthy brown (middle row, middle block) on the front, but I ended up using it.
I really worked hard on the piece. As with last year’s piece, there is a lot of sewing and pressing. The process, after I figured out the size and laid the blocks out was to sew two Zanzibar blocks together, press, put back on the design wall, sew two Zanzibar blocks together, press, put back on the design wall and then repeat that process 133 times. Once I sewed sets of blocks together, then I sewed two sets of two blocks together to make a set of four. I did that approximately 67 times. Since I wasn’t in my own workroom I had to walk around my table, past another table and into the corner to get to the iron. The distance was inconvenient, but also good, because it forced me to stretch my body. Putting the top together was a lot of rote sewing, but it was the perfect project for the retreat.
I did a few things differently this year. One was to count up the blocks and try to make a plan as to how I would lay them out before I arrived at the retreat location and was standing in front of my design wall. I knew I had 225 blocks, so I thought I would lay them out in a 15×15 format. What I didn’t take into the consideration was the size of the portable design wall. If I placed 15 blocks down, 3 of them were on the floor. I didn’t want to work with blocks on the floor even though I could have. It is hard to photograph the in progress piece. It is easy to forget some of the blocks, etc. I reconfigured the layout and ended up with, I believe, 12 down and 19 across. I prefer a rectangular layout anyway so it worked out. I needed another block, however, so the earthy brown one ended up on the front. In the grand scheme, it doesn’t scream brown out of the quilt.
I also sorted the blocks. Last year, I think I just put them up in general areas on the design wall and then I had to move them around a lot. This time I sorted the fabrics on the table, put them in Roy G. Biv + white and black order and then put them up on the design wall. This strategy was a lot easier. I didn’t have move such large groups of blocks over and over. I had to move some groups, but the whole process was much easier. Below is a progression of how the piece evolved as I worked on the color:
Another thing I did differently this year was ask some of the other retreaters if any blocks stood out to them in an “I am out of place in this quilt” kind of way. Many of the CQFAers are really skilled designers, others are skilled colorists. All of them have something wonderful to offer if I remember to ask and listen.
I was looking at FOTY 2008 last week and found that there were some rectangles I really should have moved. It is by no means a horrible quilt, but I should have played with the layout a bit more. Asking for help was a great strategy, because people mostly liked the color work I did and I got lots of kudos, but some of the blocks jumped out at them. Funnily enough the blocks they noticed, for the most part, did not jump out at me. Almost exclusively, these were blocks that were hard to place – multi-color fabrics, conversationals, light backgrounds almost completely covered by various colors, etc. The CQFA group is great, because they helped me place the problematic blocks to their best advantage. In this way, I also learned.
I spent a good portion of the retreat sewing the quilt top together. Open house at school was today, so I had to leave the retreat early and only got some straps for my next Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote done. I really wanted to stay, but am glad I was able to have a chat with various teachers at school as well. There is always so much to do!