Monday, April 28, 2014

A Basket/Fruit Basket/Cake Stand Quilt Finish

Is that a confusing title or what? I was doing some research on the quilt that I just finished and I realized that there are many variations on the basket blocks. Cake stand, fruit basket or just plain basket? I just finished my version of a basket quilt for my dining room using 4.5 inch (11 cm) blocks. I used EQ7 to size the blocks and to decide the setting that I wanted to use. On point or straight? This is what I decided on-

Once I started working on it I decided to make the quilt longer by adding more blocks. I used a variety of Kona solid fabrics along with batiks and a couple of hand dyed fabrics for my version. This was machine quilted using straight lines and navy cotton thread. It's now hanging in my dining room and it's a perfect match to my colorful Fiesta dishes :-)

I'm starting a new quilt this morning. Can you see me grinning? I've admired the ocean wave and Lady of the Lake quilt designs for years now, so my next quilt will be a king sized Lady of the Lake.

I'm making this to use in our pop up tent trailer and I'm planning on using wool batting for warmth. One of our favorite places to camp is in the Sawtooth National Forest where it can get rather cold at night, even in July, so the wool will be welcome. I found some great fabrics at a local fabric store that will work great with the color scheme that I wanted. Okay, I can hear what some of you are thinking-she's going camping, for Pete's sake-but who says you can't camp with a warm and comfortable quilt along? And who the heck IS Pete, anyway? Do you wonder about the idioms that we use and how they originated?

The fabrics that I found-

 I love this fabric with the round robins-

Plus I have an assortment of neutrals on hand for the light fabrics. I'm jazzed to start sewing!

Enjoy your day, I'm off to sew,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Small Shoo Fly Quilt

Last night I was thumbing through some of my quilting books and I noticed that my Roman stripe quilt looks very similar to a quilt made by Miriam Nathan-Roberts that was shown in the book, An Amish Adventure, by Roberta Horton. I wanted to make sure to give her credit as an inspiration for my quilt. There's also another quilt quite similar in a book by Marsha McCloskey, but I can't remember the exact book.

Speaking of being inspired by various books on Amish quilts, I just finished hand quilting a small shoo fly quilt for my dining room. Did you know that the quilt block is named after a wild plant called shoo-fly?

I also found out after researching this block that while the Underground Railroad was being used to help run away slaves this quilt conveyed the message that there was a sympathetic person living in the house who could provide help. I find it interesting to read about quilters from the past and the history behind the quilt blocks that we are still making today. Here's my shoo fly version using solid and batik fabrics:

I hand quilted this using navy embroidery floss-
Do you plant lettuce in your garden? I love fresh lettuce in the spring, and we look forward to trying new varieties. One of the varieties that we chose is called Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed lettuce. The name made me laugh, so I brought some home with me. It tastes quite good!

Speaking of gardens, while at an estate sale I found some things to put in my garden. A colorful glass hummingbird now rests near a columbine plant.

I also found a gnome that is smoking a pipe. Yes, I know, you either love them or hate them, but this guy's a character, so he came home with me. He's now sitting in my half whiskey barrel that's full of bee balm where I can see him from my studio window.

Our tulips are flowering and putting on a nice show, so I thought that I'd share one of them with you. This is an Angelique tulip and I love the soft pink color that it has. This year it's come up in groups of four or five which adds to the visual appeal in our backyard.

I'm off to work on a small basket quilt.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Roman Stripe Quilt

I decided to play around with EQ7 a bit the other day as I was thinking of making a small quilt and I wanted to explore various possibilities. I decided to go with the Roman Stripe block as I've never made one before and I knew just the fabrics that would work great for that block. I played with the block size a bit, decided to put the blocks on point, and then I was ready to start sewing.

I printed out pieces for paper piecing, pulled out the hand dyed or hand painted fabrics in the colors that I wanted to use, and started sewing. I was listening to the new book by Alexander McCall Smith, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. Have you ever read any of his books? I love his characters and how real they seem. While I'm listening I can almost see the view of Botswana or feel the heat of the day. 

I pulled some leftover Kona black fabric from one of my scrap bins for the triangles and the borders. I decided to hand quilt this using pearl cotton and a larger running stitch which was a lot of fun to do.

The back piece had been painted by immersing the cotton fabric in some leftover textile paint. The piece turned out a soft pink with purple and blue highlights.

I just finished making an Echinacea or coneflower fabric postcard as a thank you for a friend. I love coneflowers and I noticed that mine are just starting to come up in my back garden :-) I appliqued the flower by hand and then used my sewing machine to sew swirls around the flower. I think that she's going to like it!

Speaking of machines, I went to an estate sale the other day and I had the opportunity to buy a newer Bernina at a very good price. I decided to think about it a bit, well, a bit too long as it turned out, as someone else jumped at the deal. Darn it! Well, I have no doubt that there will be other used Berninas to turn up...but that one was the GOOD one that got away ;-)

I'm off to cycle with my son on this sunny afternoon.
Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friendship Star Baby Quilts from Vintage Pottery Barn Duvet Covers

I don't know about you, but I love frequenting the thrift shops in town. You never know what treasure you'll find. Sure, you have to comb through piles of junk, I mean stuff, but once in a while you come across something that makes the searching worthwhile. Speaking of finds, I'm always digging through the vintage cotton sheets, looking for good ones to use for donation quilts. One day I came across two lavender polka dotted vintage Pottery Barn duvet covers. Jackpot!! Those immediately went into my basket as I knew that they would make great baby quilts. I just finished sewing the binding on three donation baby quilts using the cotton fabric from those duvet covers :-)

Reading the modern quilt books inspired me to enlarge the blocks to 24 inches (61 cm) and then all I needed to do was to choose the quilt block. The friendship star block won out this time around and this is my version:

While out walking my canine buddies along the Boise River, I came across bushes that are covered with golden yellow flowers. I've been using my wildflower app to try to figure out what the plant is, but I've not been successful so far. They add a lovely splash of color to the walk.

I just finished knitting some Lincoln/Merino wool socks. I thought that I'd try this combination as I had the dyed wool on hand and I wondered how the Lincoln wool would fare as sock yarn. I had dyed the Merino a soft turquoise, bright blue and gray, then I spun that on one of my handspindles. That was plied with the Lincoln that had been dyed in yellow, green, and blue. I had no idea what the yarn would look like so I was pleasantly surprised at the result. I love hand dyed handspun yarn!!

Yesterday I started spinning another batch of Merino roving that I had previously dyed crimson, bright blue and gray.

Hmmm. I think more socks are in the future. It's a sickness, I know. But hey, one can never have TOO many hand dyed, handspun, handknit socks, right?

Our garden is putting on a nice spring show-

I thought that I'd drop off the baby quilts at the women's shelter in downtown Boise while I'm out cycling today in the lovely spring sunshine.
Enjoy your weekend,

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Silly Corgi Quilt and Other News

Lately I've been reading about modern quilts and what constitutes a modern quilt. It's so interesting to me to see the old favorite quilt blocks reborn into something fresh. Don't get me wrong-I still love traditional quilts-but one of the reasons that I love quilting so much is the variety that it offers. Art quilts, traditional quilts, modern quilts, and then quilts that don't really fit a label. In my book, it's all good.

One thing that I've learned is that it's okay to play. I think sometimes as adults we lose sight of how fun it can be to just follow an idea to see where it takes you. To try something that might not work, but if it does, it's magical and simply a lot of fun.

So yesterday, while my dinner of comfort food, macaroni and cheese, was cooking, I pulled out my scraps and started playing. I was inspired by reading the book, Modern Blocks, specifically the Checkers block by Monika Wintermantel. That block made me think of my beloved corgi, Max,

who quivers at the word squirrel and then dashes out the back door to chase one or two. He's too slow to ever catch one, but boy, does he try and his stubby legs just fly! I quilted dog bones floating in the sky, getting bigger and bigger as they went skyward, which would be like winning the lottery for Max-a dog bone bigger than he is. Pure bliss. This is hanging on my front door now, giving me a laugh every time I come home.

A friend gave me a wonderful gift of a quilted bag. You know, I've always meant to make one, it's on my bucket list, but somehow I have never gotten around to it. So thanks, Marty, for an awesome new batik bag that I've filled to the brim with handspindles and fiber :-) It now goes with me wherever I go so that I'll always have my spinning with me. Woohoo!!

A big hello to the new readers that have joined my blog. Thanks and I hope to get to know you better in the future!

My garden is starting to flower and I love seeing it so I thought that I'd share some photos with you. My bleeding heart which is so neat to see each spring-

The delicate grape hyacinths are flowering and they add a little burst of color to our yard.

Here's hoping that you have time for fiber/fabric today,