Inspiration and Kaleidoscopes

I saw this orange dotted champagne flute (plastic) and thought that it would be a great idea to have a really nice glass in the bathroom. I, of course, also liked the dots. This is a little more Halloweenish than I think I could look at every day, but a champagne flute I could go for. Unfortunately, I have no counter space in my bathroom, so I won’t be wasting my money on a champagne flute that will get knocked off in a day and a half. I did like the reflection from the flash on the wall, the bubbles in the water and the dark spot next to the water glass.

Here is the Kaleidoscope baby quilt that TFQ made. She and I talked about the method of making Kaleidoscope blocks that I learned in a class a zillion years ago. She ended up just using one of the Kaleidoscope rulers. I think it is very fresh and pretty. Lucky baby! It is being machine quilted by Angie at the Quilting Loft.


Below is the propeller quilt again, which TFQ made from the leftovers from the Kaleidoscope blocks above. She said that the blocks needed a little something so she hand appliqued the dots over the centers. I think it looks similar to some of Be*mused‘s quilts, but this one is very cheerful, more cheerful that the quilts that Jan from Be*mused has been posting lately. Ingenious use of the leftovers as well.

More detail below. You can see the fabrics pretty well. Notice the different prints. TFQ said the use of fabric was inspired by my use of fabrics in the Flowering Snowball (Cross Blocks) blocks. It makes me feel good to know that I am inspiring someone else. 😉
Below is one block. The centers were made in the Yo-yo fashion. After the fact, we discussed using buttons instead of applique’. It would make for a different look and might be fun for a slightly older child. One would need a lot of large-ish cheerful buttons.

Inspiration and Thoughts

I have been to Seattle on trips when the weather has been challenging: pouring down rain and a flat grey sky. This trip, however, displayed really beautiful weather with a lot of opportunity for nice shadows in the photos.

This was a door we walked by. The door grille/safety gate is a really interesting design and it made a great shadow. The circles make me think of bubbles and I like the way they are contained in that oval shape.

TFQ’s block of choice for her 2008 Fabric of the Year project is a Shoo Fly variation. She doesn’t necessarily use only fabric she has bought this year. This makes sense to me, since her blocks are much more complicated. She puts the new fabric in the corners, the triangles and the center and then chooses something else, which could be from her existing fabrics to go with the new fabrics.


The three below are very sherbety looking. I love the way this project illustrates how different blocks can look just by using different fabrics. A person can learn a lot about color from piecing the same block over and over. I have done this (though not to the degree that TFQ has done it) and think it is more exciting than it sounds. TFQ could speak to this point much better than I can. As you can see, there is one Economy block, on the right, from her FOTY project last year. Below are more of the Economy blocks. Again, we put them up on the design wall in groups and took photos of them.

Below are blocks made with mid-century fabrics: 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. TFQ also used fabrics that look like mid-century fabrics.

Follow-up: Series of Bags

In case you didn’t have a chance to read some of the recent comments, Laume wondered about the sturdiness of the Eco Market Tote that I discussed in a previous post, by asking “I’ve been wanting to make some bags for awhile now and have been resistant to actually buying a pattern – a bag – how hard can that be I think. But I know I really do need a pattern and so instead I just talk about making a bag some day. Are these sturdy? Are the shoulder straps comfortable when they’re weighted down? They all look wonderful, especially the first one with the big art deco print.”

TFQ saw that comments and answered:

“I’ve been using the red/white/black one for a couple of days and the straps are pretty comfortable — not cutting into my shoulder despite my walking a mile and a half to work with about 10 pounds of stuff in it.

I think the straps would be less comfortable if we had not made them wider, and interfacing the handles for the lighter-weight fabric definitely helps. The bags are completely lined — in fact, they are reversible — which helps with the sturdiness factor, but for a bag you’re going to use to haul around a lot, I agree with Jaye, choose a fabric with a little body to it, like heavier linen or a lightweight home dec fabric. ”

The Eco Market tote comes from Favorite Things. Watch out for the errors described in the previous post. The company said that they have fixed them, but the patterns with errors are still in quilt shops.

Can’t Do Without the Fabric

This is what I bought at Quiltworks Northwest. I hadn’t been there in a long time and they had a TON of fabric. It was everywhere. This is where TFQ bought the bag pattern. The Quilting Loft is a new-ish store in Ballard and well worth the trip to visit. Angie, the owner, is really nice and has great taste in fabric.
This is the fabric I bought at the Quilting Loft.

The Many Fabrics of Sawtooth Stars

The Sawtooth Star is a great block. Lots of options, but if you just make them out of two fabrics, they are fabulous as well.

Here are TFQ’s 4″ Sawtooth Star blocks: all 685 approximately of them. Sit back and enjoy the fabulous fabrics!





This project was a “clear out my scraps project” and a precursor to the Fabric of the Year project.

Series of Bags

TFQ and I went to Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue on Friday. At the shop, TFQ saw this bag made up and bought the pattern. The pattern is called Eco Market Tote and is from Favorite Things. I don’t normally buy or even think about non-quilt things, so I didn’t pay much attention. I was interested, but not from the making point of view. I am not sure what lit the spark, but after we visited the Quilting Loft and saw the Alexander Henry Home Dec fabrics, I knew I wanted to make one. TFQ suggested that we make them and it was a great idea. I would have never finished mine if TFQ and I had made the first ones together/at the same time. While we were working with our own fabrics, we puzzled out the directions together. We, unfortunately, got the first printing of the pattern and there are a few mistakes, which have, since, been corrected (TFQ contacted the company). We also made some adjustments, like making the handles wider than the pattern calls for.

The fabulous thing that I found is that this is a great opportunity to work in series. No, it is not a quilt, but it is a great canvas for showcasing fabric combinations. There is also a lot of room for creativity – different types of pockets, different fabric combinations, different fabric ratios and even embellishment. I know that TFQ has picked out fabrics for two more and I would like to make more as well. I have several large conversational fabrics in the quilt backs stack that would really be great as bags. I also have some great French fabrics that a friend brought me from France that would make excellent totes.

This is my bag. As mentioned, the fabrics are from the Alexander Henry Home Collection. They feel like canvas, but may be a kind of cotton duck. I am actually kind of stunned that I picked them out as the accent fabric has a lot of brown and all of the fabrics are very 1960s looking.
This was a great project to branch out in the fabric department and try something new. I wouldn’t buy these for a quilt, but for this bag, they are great!

Back of the bag in construction phase.Front of bag with pocket pinned on. The back and front are the same until you put the pocket on. The above picture is how that back looks and the picture below, as you can see from the picture of the finished product, is how the front looks.

This is the third bag. TFQ made it today.

She added two more pockets on this side to break up all the black. The new pockets do a good job of bringing the red fabric back into the limelight.


The lovely piece below has the distinction of being the first bag we completed. It is TFQ’s bag, but I think it was a real collaborative effort – at least int he brain power department. This was also the bag we learned on. The fabrics are fabulous and it turned out really well.
Detail of the the reinforcing X stitching to keep the handle secure.

Moving Right Along

I have been trying all week to get a few free moments to show you some pictures. I am off on a trip tomorrow and don’t know if I will get to posting until the first weekend in March, which is why I want to post!
These are the retail therapy fabrics that I bought. I have already washed and ironed them do I could use them in the 2008 Fabric of the Year quilt (see below). I was pretty disappointed in the quality of the fabric in the whole top row except for the multicolored dots on the light background (right). The green and yellow fabric with the white dots are really, really thin. You can see through them and I am sure the seams will show through if I press towards.

I found the other two by searching for violet on the site that shall remain nameless. It turns out that the fabrics are very, very dark. Not violet at all. At least not my definition of violet. [I could go into a whole dissertation on taxonomies here, but I’ll spare you. I’d like to keep a few readers.] That wasn’t the main problem with these fabrics. When I tried to press them from the front, the iron kept getting caught on the fabric. I don’t know if ‘caught’ is the right term, but I couldn’t smoothly move the iron over the front of the fabric. I had to turn the fabric over to press it.

The color is printed on the front and something about the ink makes it not smooth. I love shopping online, because I don’t have to leave my house, but this is a good example of one of the pitfalls: I can’t feel and look at the fabric before I buy it. I could return the fabric, but I have already washed and cut into it. When it is cut into smaller pieces, I am sure it will be no problem.

Here are the two newest members of the Pineapple family. They are both a perfect… 14″. Sigh. They are supposed to be 12.5″. I made these so carefully, I don’t think it is possible to have been anymore precise. I measured each strip to ensure it was 1.75″. I also made sure the blocks were square as I sewed each row on.

I am bringing all the blocks with me this weekend and will work on them when I have time. I also spoke with TFQ about them and some possibilities are:

  • the new iron
  • the service on my sewing machine last fall.

I decided that I would finish this quilt even if it meant making all the blocks over. Blocks never go to waste, so I could make a lot of pillows!
Here are the new fabrics that I cut for this week.

Here they are all sewn together and integrated into the blocks I made last week.

Mind Sorbet

The Chocolate Box quilt, which I talked about in the post about the retreat is what is discussed in Judy Martin‘s February 2008 newsletter. Kristin, one of her readers writes:

“I agree that there is nothing wrong with fast quilts. In fact, in the past after completing a challenging project, I would often use a fast and easy quilt as a “mind sorbet” to cleanse the mind before beginning the next project. They are nice for showcasing big or odd prints, or for picnic quilts or for kid quilts for gifts. I do think though, if we are not challenging ourselves and not enjoying the process, we are missing something.”

The Chocolate Box is mind sorbet. I felt thick and full after working for so long on the Pineapple. I needed something to cleanse the palette and the Chocolate Box did it.That is such a great description and I hope I will be able to add it to my lexicon.

Really Look!

Friend Julie is really taking her course with Gabrielle Swain seriously. I wouldn’t expect any less, of course. It is great that she is sharing. I have been working on REALLY looking at things when I draw in my journal and this post talks about the same thing. I think I can never have enough reminders to slow down, really look at things plus what Julie says here about distilling things down to what you really need.

After the Rain, A Closeup

One of the assignments I’ve gotten to do for the Creative Sparks class with Gabrielle Swain , was to take a macro walk around outside with my digital camera. Looking for the details. The veins in the leaves. The essential shapes. Taking out the big picture look and lasering down to the basics. This is all to help us learn how to distill our designs down to what really needs to be there.
  blog it

One Night Stand

I don’t know what got into me last night, but I had a one night stand. Not the kind you are thinking of, but an art encounter where I finished a small book. I am calling it the Be Brave book.

What happened was that I had a few spare minutes while Darling Boy took a shower and my Artgirlz order was still on the floor where I had left it after I photographed it last week for you to see. I picked it up, opened up the Artgirlz creativity packet and looked at all the stuff. I was surprised to find a little bound book. I thought it was a bunch of paper. All the pages are different colors, which is fun and cheerful.

I sewed the felt to the front and did a bit of handwork on the flowers. Then I got out my rubber stamping ink and tried out many of the stamps in the Artgirlz rubber stamping pack. Then I just kept stamping and sewing and suddenly I was done.

I don’t know how long it took, but not very long, perhaps a half an hour. I could do more, but it is not a project that is sitting half done on my worktable. I can still do more later if I want. Close up.

Finished product. I also used some of the Stampin’ Up letters on the little marker/tag.