Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa Went Overboard!

Or should I say my wonderful family did??? Chris is a very good shopper--he helped Al Gore create the Internet, now he gives it and Mastercard a workout! We all know I could have survived for months (years?) without buying fabric, but he and my sister found wonderful treasures anyway. The scan is a piece from Tanzania she found on etsy--each square is about 2" x 2".

I'm about halfway done with a tubular peyote bangle and will post a photo when I get a sec. It feels so good to have a little time to mess around with projects that aren't class samples! Beading is more portable for me than quilt projects so I worked on the bracelet while we were down in CA. I must be getting old--I sure needed my Ott-Lite to work in the room at the B&B! Size 15 beads are eensy-beensy...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Accident Quilts

This is the sample for my "Happy Accident" class. I will draw "prompts" out of a hat, and the students will have to incorporate them into their quilts. I used that process to make this little quilt. My prompts were:
  • add words (dragonfly stamp--the text spells "dragonfly")
  • add embroidery (free-form hand cross stitches)
  • add dots or doodles (the squares at the bottom)
  • add texture (the quilting)
Normally I would add at least one more for the challenge, but today is the deadline for submitting the class info so it is as done as it is going to get for a while!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fun with Filters

Yet another sample for the Spring schedule at The Stitchin' Post--this is for another Photoshop Elements for Quilters class about using filters. I started with a stunning photo from an Agile Rabbit collection (top photo), then used the stained glass, colored pencil and ocean ripple filters. Printed on EQ Printables with my new Epson Stylus R1900 printer--excellent color and pigment ink, but don't ask how long it took to get the fabric sheets to feed correctly!!!

I do enjoy messing around with Elements, but it is a good way to eat up a day. I have another photo of begonia flowers that I "hit" with the liquify filter--I call it "Begonias in a Blender"!!! I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but it will have to wait since I'm on to the next class sample.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Red and Black, Take Two

Back in 2006, I started a quilt to use up some of my reproduction shirting prints. I added black and red reproduction "Garibaldi" prints and made a period-accurate (late 1800's) pattern called "Lost Ships." The tessellation was cool but the quilt was a bit too somber for my taste. Off it went to the Bend Ronald McDonald house.

What to do with the large stack of leftovers? If you guessed "buy more fabric," you would be today's winner! I learned my lesson, though, and stocked up on black and red batiks and Asian prints instead of ditsy calicoes. I like the result better already! I have lots of left-over half-square triangles so will have to add a sawtooth border to use some of 'em up...

(Picket Fence Star, a scrap design for my "Simply Charming" class next spring)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Work in Progress

This is a work in progress--a sample for a Photoshop Elements for Quilters class. Don't know whether you can make out any of the detail, but the background is a digital collage made with oodles of brushes and overlays. The critter is a nudibranch (a shell-less mollusk that brings back memories of graduate school days at San Francisco State) from Dover clipart that I tweaked with the pointillize filter. I originally got the idea from a Somerset challenge to create along the lines of the Impressionists. The physical layering and embroidery are in the manner of Judith Baker Montano's underwater scenes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Treasure from My Stash

I came across this scrumptious fabric while rummaging through my bin of green "fancies" (silks, satins, ties, etc.). I found it at a quilt show and obviously couldn't resist. The tag says it was part of a vintage kimono and was either hand-dyed or painted. I assume it is a jacquard weave or something similar since the leaf motifs are raised and flecked with metallic thread.

It is quite wonderful and I have no idea what to do with it! The piece is approximately 40" x 13" and has prominent selvages--probably 11" usable once seamed. The fabric is stiffer than cotton, with very little drape, and rough due to the metallic threads so I don't think it would be pleasant to wear as a scarf. I'm leaning toward a table runner with some kind of patchwork border to add width, but the metallic makes me nervous--what temperature iron to use, what kind of interfacing to stabilize it, etc.? The label says it is machine washable and dryable in a cool, gentle setting.

I'd love some ideas (besides "give it to Pat or Wendy"!!!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quarterly Crunch Time

Will I ever learn? (No!) It is time to finish up my class proposals and samples for Spring 2010 at the Stitchin' Post and I always take on more than I should. New this term will be an Introduction to Photoshop Elements for Quilters class, plus a couple of more shorter classes on more advanced topics, another round of my scrap classes ("Simply Charming")--that's 4 samples right there!--and a new art quilt class called "Happy Accident Quilts". One sample is done so far...

I love messing around with Photoshop Elements and have a bunch of ideas for projects, but the reality is that working on digital collages and other images can easily consume most of a day. I learn a lot and will be a better teacher for having spent the time, but time on the computer doesn't move fabric under the needle!

Whine whine whine--at least it is warmer and puppies got their first decent walk in almost a week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Feel the Need...

To Bead! This is my second project made with right-angle weave, although maybe I should say third attempt since I had to make the bracelet twice--the first one was too small, even for my scrawny wrists... Funny how much quicker one gets the second time around!

Right-angle weave creates a lovely fabric that is fluid and drapes nicely. Some stitches don't wrap comfortably around small wrists (especially if one maintains a death-grip tension like I tend to do), but this bracelet is quite nice to wear.

Here's an interesting observation--I very rarely buy quilt kits (except charm packs and jelly rolls for class samples), and even then I generally toss something in from my stash to personalize the design somehow. I often succumb to the lure of jewelry kits, though. Maybe that is because it is harder to find the unique goodies some designers incorporate into their designs. Or perhaps because some kits use techniques I'm not familiar with yet, so can't visualize the results to design my own. It could just be that bracelets are my "instant gratification" projects and I get seduced by having everything ready to go in one cute little package. Whatever the reason, it is a good reminder not to judge people who want to make a quilt exactly like the one in the magazine or in the shop too harshly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Bling

I whipped up this bracelet last night for our quilt guild luncheon today. Well, "whipped up" makes the process sound quick and painless, but there was more than a little grumbling and cursing before I was done! This stitch (spiral rope) involves multiple thread passes through the center "core" beads, so it works best when those beads have large holes. I had to use a very fine needle to get through the Czech beads I had on hand--Japanese beads would have made it so much easier. The thread only goes through the outer beads once, so this will be a perfect design for the tiny striped seed beads I've been hording.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Done is Good!

I just love 30's reproduction prints (I like jelly beans, too!). I started this quilt in a workshop with Gwen Marston from her "Liberated String Quilts" book. It has been quilted for a while but I couldn't decide what to use for binding. I tried several different fabrics but they competed with the border. The yellow is perfect--not too busy, not too bold. I've got another version of this waiting to be quilted (the story of my life these days...)

Looks More Like Me

Just had to include my original to show how different it is from the second version. This one was much harder since I was limited to the charm pack (what ding dong made that rule?!? Oh, yeah, yours truly...). Now I have two tablerunners waiting to be quilted...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Clear as Mud...

I have always been a fan of clear colors--no grayed, muddy fabrics for this girl! I felt compelled to buy them (some book I read said no stash would be complete without them), but hated seeing them next to my favorites. A couple of years ago, I cleaned out my stash and pulled out those yucky bits I knew I'd never use. Funny thing, when they were together in a pile by themselves, I loved them together! Since then I've had a "mud" shelf where the collection lives quite happily.

I dug into my light mud yesterday to coordinate with a Moda charm square pack for a quick tablerunner sample for my Simply Charming class this weekend. The Evening Mist fabric line is muted and lovely, but I always like to toss in a few extras to extend the value range or add a different scale of print. I'm quite pleased with the result! ("Game Board" pattern by Anka's Treasures).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lake House Holiday Quilts

The quilts are up at the Lake House! Bevalee and I had fun bossing around our Caldera Springs helpers--funny that we didn't hear as much grumbling as we might have if it were strictly hubbies on the ladders!

This year is the first time we have quilts in the foyer and they make the entry warm and homey. We have room for a few more small quilts in that space, so I'll try to find time in the next year to finish one I've been working on for ages.

The largest quilts are in the Living Room, where they frame a glorious view of Mt. Bachelor (it was too bright to get a direct shot, though). The soaring ceilings are wonderful for displaying these bigger quilts -- the bottoms are still at least 8' above the ground! A few of the quilts in this room aren't specifically holiday quilts, but the mix of colors and styles makes for a nice display.

Most of the quilts are in the Family Room again this year. Quite a few are traditional red and green Christmas quilts, but there are a few others to jazz things up

Hooray, now I can stop sewing on hanging sleeves and get back to other projects!