Friday, June 3, 2016

Houston: Quilt Central

Perhaps I can get paid for my predictions, except they don't matter to anyone else in the least.  That makes them worth about zero cents... hmmmm... I was right though: it is looking like a papercut year for me. And perhaps a bit more.  The last few weeks have been really fun!

Carolyn König was visiting Houston from Australia and gave a great lecture at my local shop. I attended and was in total awe the entire time! If you are not familiar with her gorgeous work, you must google her name and take a look. Also, she has a terrific book published by QuiltMania, Creating Heirlooms. Here are just a few photos:

Isn't her work absolutely beautiful? Her store in Australia also sells patterns, fabric, and BOM's. No excuses, you can do it!

Then, I just happened to get in to a three-day class with Cindy Needham because someone dropped out. My lucky day!!! It was a class based mostly on design, so I figured I could learn a lot and continue with my hand quilting.  By the morning of the third day, Cindy had me machine quilting and  doing quite well! She is a genius! And an excellent teacher. I have tried to machine quilt countless times and been an abject failure. Why was this time different? You will have to ask her.  I have my eye on a new machine and plan to get it and add machine quilting to my repertoire of skills! I can practice!  Here are a few of Cindy's beautiful pieces. Oh my!!!

Okay, I know it's like teasing to show you just glimpses of Cindy's work, but you have to see it in person to really appreciate it. And you will be able to! This year at the Houston Quilt Festival, IQA, Cindy will have an exhibit where you can come see her beautiful quilts.  She is also including a "petting zoo" for those of us who can't keep our hands off the quilts! The queue might be very long indeed!  So, if you needed just one more reason to come to Houston this year, here it is!!! These are very personal quilts. I have never seen anything like them. If you want to meet me at Houston Festival, you will know where to find me!!! 

Now, do I dare show you what I have been working on??? I want to make my own photos teeny tiny! Is it fair to say I have been distracted? I decided to try to finish up what is in the works before starting anything new and major. It's not nearly as much fun, but I find it is good for me now and then to do just that. So here goes... but no comparing to the photos above! 

I pulled out Sutton Grange, by Di Ford. I am up to the melon border. I am working on it. All the squares are cut and all the melon shapes are cut.  It's appliqué time.  

I am testing a few buttons for the centers. This is such a fun quilt. It is going to be finished!

Next, I am working on my paper cuts in aqua greens. 

I did get the center finished and am appliquéing the border area. 

But then I got impatient to see what another project is going to look like. It is simple paper cuts in dark blue on light blue or white. I prepared two blocks to make sure I like them before I commit to the whole project! Oh sure! I like it. No, wait, I love it.

Still with me? My local shop is dangerous! Is yours? I went in there the other day for needles and came out with so much more!!! Anyway, here is a pattern and templates that I am very happy I picked up. I made a star quilt 2 years ago, but it was my first EPP and I chickened out and went with 1 1/2 inch sides on the stars and hexies.  The original was 7/8".  It turns out this pattern is 7/8" on the side.  I bit the bullet and started it.  It is all hand pieced, not EPP.  I am liking it.  Yesterday, I sat and cut a lot of pieces, so I can sit and sew one or two star units a day.  At the end of the year, I will have 300!

This photo shows the finished quilt at 1 1/2 inches on a side and the new star at 7/8"!

Although I am using Karen Styles pattern and templates, one can actually do any layout with the pieces once they are made up.  I went back to my original layout and will recreate it in the smaller dimensions. 

One other quilt I am working on is a gift for a friend. I am using the pattern, Dutch Treat, by Judy Garden and have interpreted it into a Japanese floral with black. It doesn't quite look like Delft tiles, but I think it is still very appealing.

The blocks finish at about 4 inches each. I am outlining the reverse appliqué with a silk pearl #10. (Lipstick Playground, by The Thread Gatherer). I also used some silk ribbon for the tiny spaces.

My husband would compare this progress to dragging a 747 forward with a small rope. BUT, we have come a few inches!!!! We have been absolutely inundated with rain here in Houston. I hope it dries somewhat before October/November.  If not, bring galoshes! It is green!!!! My family and I have been very fortunate. We are still in our home. Many have been forced to evacuate theirs. Let's hope we get a bit of a respite soon.

Enjoy every moment of every day.

Happy quilting,


Piper is ready for sunshine!!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Planet X

I don't even want to tell you why I haven't been writing. Let's put it down to me being a petulant child even at my age!!!! And leave it at that, shall we?  Sometimes, we all get into a place that is not good. And in addition to that, spring has been rather soggy here in Houston to say the least. Just a bit depressing.

That behind us... what have you been doing since February? I have not been nearly as productive as I should have been, but here goes.

I have been working on the papercut blocks I started earlier in the year. I am really enjoying them. What is it about papercuts? Obviously, many people share this same attraction. Here is the first one finished.

People asked me if I painted in the tatting. No, I didn't. I probably should have! Those are all Colonial knots in two-ply silk floss. It took a lot of silk floss! Or should I say a lot of knots!

Here is the second block of four.

I want the four blocks to look like they go with each other, but not to be the same. Thus, this one also has lace and embroidery, outline stitching, beads, and colonial knots. I am keeping my color way very tight to maintain the integrity between the four blocks as well.

Here is the start of number three.

The blocks begin on the soft aqua green and one sews back to the other fabrics. This one is slightly different, in that it has the cut-out appliqué flowers that are being placed on top in the center as well. The pattern for the center of this block is from Margaret Docherty's "Little Brown Bird" quilt. I made it smaller so it would fit in my center.

Then, a funny thing happened to me yesterday. My local quilt guild's quilt show is this weekend. Last night was the presentation of the awards and the preview for members. I entered three quilts, as we are all encouraged to support our local guild. Did you ever have the feeling that you received the wrong invitation? It felt like everyone else had prepared a Bach invention while I showed up playing Bartok. Then as luck would have it, the judges were terrific Texas gals who just loved patchwork with that down home feel. (Bach, not Bartok.) I felt like a fish out of water. Here are my entries.

And here are some close-ups...

I think the judges were wondering what planet that nutcase's quilts had arrived from. Well, what is a person to do? I wanted to secretly take my quilts down and sneak home, but I think someone might have noticed the blank spaces.  They just looked like they were hanging in the wrong hall. Poor babies and their crazy maker. What gets into her?

I have also been slowly working on my New York Beauty. (I don't think I will show it ever!) I added some houses and have started some embroidery.

In the second photo, you can see where I have started to add Colonial knots along the points of the star. I am trying something very different with this quilt. First, I am hand piecing the whole thing. Second, I am using one large piece of fabric for the background. This is because I want to embellish the background, and so want to eliminate as many seams as possible. We'll see how it goes!

Last, I made three log cabin quilt tops for sweet friends. These are comfort quilts for my dear friends who all need something to wrap up in now and then!

I added borders to the two smaller ones. They are ready to go to the quilter! Always a happy day around here!

Back on the quilt wagon and writing, too! Happy quilting!


My husband and I attended an auction. I asked for this if no-one bid on it! It went for over $12,000!!!! Quite obviously, she went home with someone else! I think she is absolutely lovely, don't you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I think it's going to be a papercut year...

I have just being wanting to do papercuts again. I don't know if I can explain why, but I do ascribe to doing what I seem to want to do. It is so much easier than fighting myself. So, here is what I have been sewing this past week or so.

The orientation of the finished block will be on point, but it is hard to photograph it that way and show you the details. In the first photo, I have shown you the finished appliqué motifs and the tatting being auditioned. I love the tatting, but I wanted to add more. I decided to embroider colonial knots all through the tatting in silk floss using two strands (Thread Gatherer Silk 'n' Colors). The floral motif in the very center is Venice lace that has been hand painted. The edges of the appliqués are outlined with a silk twist thread by Trebizond. Then on the very outside border, I have run colonial knots in a taupe cotton thread called Eleganza.

I like the way the block is shaping up. It isn't quite finished, and we'll have to see where it goes from here! It is always an adventure until it is actually done.

I also got caught up on my 365 block challenge. Ok, I confess; two of the blocks are my own design. Sometimes the block has just too many little pieces or is just not to my liking.  After all, the finished quilt will be mine! These are all trimmed to 3 1/2 inches.

And that brings me up to tomorrow!!! Yippee!!

I also gave myself a new desk in the living area, freeing up some space on my sewing desk. One of my sons wanted to know how come I get two desks? It's because I'm MOM!!! That's why!!!

I hope your week has been going well and your sewing is pleasing you every day!

Happy Quilting,