Sunday, September 20, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

Those of you who have football (American) watching husbands will find my title phrase familiar. I get excited when the weather turns cooler and college and professional football comes back to television because that means quilting time for me! The hubby likes to spend a Sunday afternoon relaxing in front of the telly watching games and napping. He likes for me to join him and I am happy to keep him company. Not because I am a football fan, but because I can stitch for hours without interruption. How sweet is that? Time with my favorite person and my favorite hobby.

The one drawback to stitching with the telly is the lighting in that room isn't too great. That wasn't a problem until recently when my eyesight decided I was...ah-hem...middle aged. So, I am finding this wool project to be a solution to the poor eyes problem. The pieces are big, the style is primitive (i.e., the occasional crooked or big stitch is "design"), and the colors are bold. So, here is what I will be doing today and I can't wait. If I get tired of hearing football talk I'll pop in my ipod and listen to a book (wink).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Today was a great day. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day and I just put on my sweats and a t-shirt and played with my toys (a.k.a. fabric and scissors) all day long. I recruited my son to go get me Starbucks for fuel so I didn't have to leave my home. It has been ages since I just enjoyed myself doing what I want, in my house, with no one to answer to. There are many days I find myself just wishing I were at home. To paraphrase Dorothy, there's no place like it. Perhaps that's why I like house blocks so much.

I always wanted to make a big house block quilt. I started them, but can't seem to finish. The closest I've come to finishing is the bright house quilt above. See, I don't always work with repros. I am happy with the way these look put together, but have been pondering what to do for the border for years. I am thinking about a checkerboard effect with a rainbow of the colors I used in the blocks alternating with black.
I did finish a small house quilt. This one is an adaptation of a paper pieced house quilt I saw in Miniature Quilts magazine many years ago.

This was a quick and easy small quilt pattern from a Little Quilts book. It was an early effort and I was not very successful with contrast.

This is the same Little Quilts block pattern. I was just playing with my scraps and am happy with the way this turned out. I am not sure where it will wind up.

Last spring, the local theater group asked my quilt guild to make and donate a quilt for their production of the musical "The Quilters." We actually made two as raffle quilts (one for the theater and one for our guild) plus individual blocks to be used in the production. I made the house blocks for two of them. I really liked the pattern, so I am using it in my long dreamed of big house quilt from reproduction fabrics. I am not very motivated to accomplish anything today so I played with background colors and made up some house block kits.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kim Diehl class

I took a fun workshop on Monday with quilt author and designer, Kim Diehl. The project was her pattern, Bittersweet Briar. I never worked with wool before so I thought a class would be a better way than trial and error to learn how to work with the stuff. Kim did not disappoint and it is e-a-s-y to work with wool. Fast, too. There aren't any shops in my area with a good selection of wool so I ordered from one of my favorite sources, The Quilt Merchant, outside Chicago. They were super helpful and I think you will agree that they put together some great colors for my project. I just emailed them the supply list that included a color picture of the project and they did the rest. It turns out, they will be having Kim at their shop next year to teach the very same project.
A bonus I got from the workshop was the chance to meet a new member of my guild who is also a rug hooker. We started chatting about rug hooking, wool suppliers and the possibility of going on a wool hunt ourselves through the second hand shops. I spend so much time talking, I didn't get much done on my class project. See, below is all I accomplished.

I liked working with wool and the technique is so fast and easy I am optimistic that I will get more done on this project soon. Check out Kim Diehl's website. She has that "tradition with a twist" style that is colorful and fun, yet true to the traditional blocks and applique I love.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I love New York. Everytime I visit, I wish I lived there. But, this view out of my hotel window left me wondering that, if I did live in the city, would I wind up like these trees straining to find the sun? Who knows...but I do love to visit and will do so as often as I can. One of my favorite things is seeking out unique and interesting shops.
There is a fantastic yarn shop in SoHo called Purl and they have a sister shop a few doors down called Purl Patchwork. As you can see below, the shop is tiny, but they have yarns from floor to ceiling on both sides and the yarns are very, very delicious. The patchwork shop is equally tiny so you won't find a lot of fabrics, but whoever buys for them has great taste. Purl also publishes a great blog called The Purl Bee. There you will find all sorts of knitting, crocheting and patchwork projects with links to complete instructions.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spring into Fall

This is the summer that wasn't. When the warm breezes were blowing and the flowers were blooming I put away my darker 19th century repro fabrics and took out the bright pastels of the 1930's. And there they sat...and sat...and sat. I started this quilt years ago and it is responsible for the explosion in the size of my 1930's repro stash. As you can see, the block consists of 25 HST's so there are 50 pieces in each block. I thought it would be pretty neat to have 50 DIFFERENT fabrics in the block and I already had a pretty decent 30's collection at the time. As many of you may be aware, however, stashes are often short on "lights" and mine was no exception. So, at every shop I visited I would buy whatever 30's light they had. Of course, that's like going to the ice cream shop and just getting sprinkles without the scoops. Naturally, I added some great darker pastels at the same time. And, red adds such a nice punch to these blocks I also had to add to that part of the collection.

Now, the cooler breezes are blowing and the pastels aren't as appealing, but I didn't work on my 30's blocks (I did buy more fabric for it--of course). So, as my salute to the Labor Day weekend and the traditional end of summer, I am going to get busy and finish my quilt top this weekend. I have 17 blocks done and need 8 more, plus I need to do the sashing. Here's a little bit more of what I've accomplished so far.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Drumroll please...I have a finished quilt

At long last I have a newly finished quilt. One of my favorite color combinations is pink and brown, but after finishing this one, I think I'll move onto another palette for awhile. I wouldn't call it a stash buster, but I did make most of it from fabrics I had on hand. I could have done it all from my stash but who can resist buying more of their favorite colors. This one is completely finished because I outsourced the quilting to my favorite hand quilting service, Bellwether Dry Goods. The stitching is fantastic! I just wish my camera could do it justice.

Do you ever get sidetracked when working on a quilt top? Silly question, I know. We're quilters and we all love to multi-task when it comes to projects (a.k.a. play with more fabric). Anyway, while working on the piecing for this one, I bought a pattern from Lori Smith (From my Heart to Your Hands) and put this small top together.

That's it for now...I finally solved my camera problems. I replaced the one that got broken on vacation and found the cord for the replacement camera that I lost the first time I took it out of the box. I also told myself that if not quilting is making me so darn miserable I better make the time to quilt. My hubby said "Yay" to that last one.
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