Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let's clean and organize!

When I write "Let's clean . . .", the word let's means "let us".  Us would be me and the kitty, because ain't nobody else hanging out in there making a mess.  Naturally, the kitty, aka Merlinda The Ninja Cat, will defer her part to me.  I believe her job is exclusive to testing all the fabric, that is not put away, by sitting on, laying on, rolling on, or batting it.  She is not allowed to clean herself while sitting on my table. That is a definite no-no.  She has her very own kitty quilt, made of flannel, that is taking up a section of my table.  Sometimes she lays on it.  Usually, she jumps onto the table when she wants some attention from me.  Sometimes, even when she is in my way, she looks particularly cute, so I have to take a photo.  I did take a video of her "tearing up the pea patch" one evening, but have not determined how to add a video to my blog.  That means she was chasing her tail and being particularly frisky directly in the middle of my piecing project.  Anyway, I have started with going through my red, white, and blue stash.  It turns out my blue stash is the largest, so I see a blue and white quilt looming on the horizon of 2014.  I am signed up to take a class called "Sunset Sail" in February.  I think blue and white it is!

My red and white fabric stash

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tote Bag Berzerk!

Remember, I sewed two tote bags in December.  So, far I have sewn six tote bags this month.  I had sewn one for my niece, then two for friends, then three at the quilting retreat, in Eagle, last weekend.  I also sewed a fancy pillow case, an easy table runner, and some mug rugs, at the retreat.  Thank you, Teresa, for showing me how to make the fancy pillow case!  I just finished my second one today!  It is for Pete.  I went into my stash and found some special "Pete Fabric" that I purchased about 6 years ago.  It  is The Three Stooges black and white fabric, which turns out to be Robert Kaufman fabric and so is the accent red & white fabric which is the Dr. Seuss line (I bought that last summer with no particular project in mind).  Stooges and Seuss are fittingly fun together!  The bold black and white border fabric is Kim Schaefer for Andover.  What a lovely combination! If I do say so myself.  Now that I have done these quick fun things, I am sorting out, organizing, and cleaning my quilt room.  An actual quilt project will be starting in a week or two.

I made this 'snack' bag for my niece. I mailed it to her with some Owlish goodies.

His and hers pillow cases and five tote bags!

This is so you can see the details on this fine Three Stooges pillow case.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Modern Quilts: What's The Fuss?

I am still a rogue quilter. I create and quilt what I want. I may find a design or pattern that I like, but I never make it just like the picture or the instructions. I like to add my own twist to it.  I think that is why I like the 15 Minutes of Play, because I am making my own unique sort of fabric design with lots of different pieces and shapes. I also love Collaborative Quilting because of the techniques and styles of Freddie Moran.  I joined the Idaho PieceMakerS four or five years ago.  I have really enjoyed learning, working, and befriending the wonderful members of this group.  At one meeting last year, however, they had a nice young woman from the local "Modern Quilters" group come and give a presentation. She was a dynamic and interesting speaker, with an excellent slide show and trunk show. I thought her quilts were wonderful.  The discussion, either after she departed or at the next meeting, as I recall was very negative toward "Modern Quilting".  I really cannot understand it.  I feel like the large quilt group I belong to are proud of being individuals and "not a Guild".  I thought this meant we were free thinkers and it was all about quilting.  Every photo and object that was presented by the "Modern Quilters" representative was indeed a quilt.  It was not tied, but two pieces of fabric with batting in the center that was all held together by thread in a fashion known as quilting.  I think that is what matters.  Oh, there is some gray in that quilt! Oh, how does that make it not okay?  I decided to look into this "Modern Quilting" debate.  I bought a book titled Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe, (c)2012 by Martingale.  This book features 19 quilts by 19 different creative quilters.  It features lovely color photos, instructions, tips, and comments by the quilters.  Many of these quilts could be brought in for Show and Tell at our quilt group and no one would even know they were "Modern Quilts".  Many have traditional elements, many have used scraps as a major component, and some have used solids instead of prints, yet they are all delightful.   The "Mini Claw Throw" has wonderful star blocks and instead of black and/or white for the background, she used grey fabric for the eye to rest on.  It is a perfectly lovely quilt. 
I decided to make one of the quilts from this book to give to my Aunt Karen as a Christmas gift.  "The Knotty Quilters" (my other quilting group) named it the "Red Dog On The Left" quilt.  I did all of the piecing at our retreat in November.  It has two dog fabrics in it, that all the other fabrics where chosen based on their colors.  One is red with blue, grey, and brown & white dogs; the other is gray fabric with white dogs and gold dogs.  I had so much fun finding fabrics that went with these core fabrics.  Freddy Moran has influenced me toward dots in a big way, so I had to have some blue fabric with brown dots. It and the others just look wonderful together.  The pattern I chose was: "Across The Quad", by Jennifer Mathis.  This pattern has the "gray negative space" that I have heard other quilters speak negatively about.  Well, my quilt blocks already have gray blocks scattered among the other blocks, so I did not want a gray background. I decided something lighter was necessary to make the part with the blocks pop.  I had purchased some fabric, that I could not live without, last April on my maiden voyage to "The Gathering Place" in Rupert, Idaho. It worked perfect!  I got the entire quilt pieced at the retreat. I got it sandwiched and pinned shortly thereafter and marked straight lines across it with my Friction Pen and I quilted it on my own sewing machine.  I felt that my aunt would really love it more if I did it completely by myself, instead of having someone else long-arm it for me.  I got it done from start to finish in 30 days.  My aunt just loves it and that makes me happy. What more can a quilter want?
Furthermore, Merlinda gave it a "cat scan" and it is much to her liking, even if it has dogs on it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jelly Roll Quilt

I took my Jelly Roll Quilt (reference equation on October's post) to Sid Mooney, newly retired, and new long arm quilter with a huge machine in his garage, for him to quilt.  Since he is rather new to long arm quilting on his very own machine, I thought I should give him a practice project. He done good.  His birthday is the day after mine! Just how did that happen?  Well, lots not go there.  He said the quilting on my Jelly Roll quilt was a birthday gift. Wow! How nice is that?  Thank you, Sid! 
He did the Greek Key design with some nice circular type borders that tied it all together rather neatly. I got the binding completed on Dec 31, 2013.

close-up detail of quilting/design