Wednesday, May 24, 2017

While in Italy, I used a small notebook without any capacity to download photos from my camera. Since I took so many, it will take awhile to get them sorted. In the meantime, just wanted to let you know some interesting things we experienced in Tuscany, besides high-priced fabric (see previous post).

- The trees are magnificent. They have more varieties of plant life than any other country. 
- We saw dandelions. Their 'weed' is red poppies. Google it. Those red fields are in Tuscany. The poppies grow in fields, roadsides, along train tracks, beautiful!
- Hardly any women wear glasses. Contacts? or good eyes? Don't know.
- Friends warned me about Italian men, now I know why. Hubby and I laughed and laughed. It does not matter how old you are or how old they are - they are charming hopeless flirts. I learned to avoid eye-contact!
- We saw less than ten obese people the whole trip.
- Food is wonderful. Satisfying without putting on pounds. I worried about salt, but Tuscany does not use much, none in their bread at all. I just bought two cookbooks for cooking Eataly!
- Trains are the way to travel. We did have a car for a week, which enabled us to see the rural areas, but parking is expensive and almost impossible to find... only when we prayed!
- The mountains have roads winding from one range to another, but the express routes go right through them. Some tunnels were 2000+ meters. Hundreds of them. All roads are paved and nearly all in great condition.
- We got to wade in the Mediterranean for the first time. 
- Prato is the textile city with a textile museum. Pictures to follow. 

Of course I've no quilting progress to report except one more 5.5" block for the Halo Medallion.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fabric shopping? I don't think so!

We are enjoying a short vacation in Tuscany. While in Florence, it seemed a good idea to look up fabric shops. In this wonderful city, we found a few that were close by so stopped in...

Image result for casa dei tessuti firenze

You can tell by this picture that this is a posh store. I found the cottons - the lowest price was 38 Euros per meter, or about $60. Nope, not buying that, and it was very light weight, almost sheer.

We moved on. A clerk was sorting small bolts on a table. One was fine mesh like organza with colorful embroidery, very beautiful. He didn't want me to touch it... it was 600 Euros a meter (yes, you read that correctly). We looked around the store. Shirting was about €80 (one zero) but we found some lacy stuff that was €800, which is roughly $1200 a meter, more than that if measured in yards.

Obviously, finding quilters in Tuscany might be a problem... but there is scads of inspiration, not so much in the fabric store but in the centuries old buildings and their ornamentation. I am taking pictures!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Progress on Halo Medallion

The little (5") star blocks are done, now I'm working on the flying geese curved ones, which take longer (nearly 50 min each) but are more fun. They are also foundation paper-pieced... and the pattern calls for 36 of them. So far, I have 3.

You may note that I erred on the saw-tooth border, but since I've decided to put an almost invisible heart on my quilts, this one will have four of them to hide those mistakes.

As for other projects, I have the pattern for my son's king-size up on a wall. It is a landscape. The fabrics are in a box. That is progress. I'm still procrastinating because this one will be physically hard, never mind trying to figure out how to do it. Has anyone ever made a raw-edge applique that has to be washed now and then? I'm thinking that is not a good idea, even though it would be easier than piecing this big one. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Keeping Busy

I've been working on the Halo Medallion, and also taking a Craftsy class to force me to practice. The medallion quilt is here, and I'm on the round of floating stars. They are 4" with 18 pieces in each one. Cute, but 32 of them is hard on someone who is not crazy about repetition! Indoor lighting for this one. The background is much lighter in real life.

 The Craftsy online class is about mixing motifs to make an interesting all-over pattern. I threw some junk fabric on the longarm which is why this is hard to see. So if you cannot see it -- take my word for it -- I need a lot of practice!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cobblestone Lane close ups, and Bob's Quilt

Here's a couple close-up shots showing the fun I had quilting this one. These two look the similar and actually there were two of each design on the quilt, but true to my ADD, I had to do a different design on each block. (See this post)

Also finished my hubby's lap quilt. I've been teasing him because he is treating it like a kid who never had a blankie! It is 52" x 76" and quilted with free-motion leaves. It is also really soft and cuddly. I might have to make myself one like this!

Next is a king-size for my son. I might not be back for awhile. I've been procrastinating on this one for a couple years.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cobblestone Lane ready for binding

Finally this one is quilted and ready for the binding. I've cut the strips and just need to join them and get with it. 

Here's what it looks like thrown on the bed in our guest room.  It took 16.5 hours to quilt it (I was practicing with rulers - LOL) and at $30 an hour, that is a mere $495. Add 12 blocks, piecing, and fabric, and this one is expensive ! I've not decided what to do with it yet. 

But it was kind of fun... I used Glide to quilt it, and learned a great deal about making the long arm work with several different types of rulers.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Halo Medallion BOM

This one is behind schedule. I've done the star and the next round, but should be working on the staggered star border. It has 32 little blocks, 5" square all done in foundation paper piecing. I love that technique, but someone has to cook supper and make the bed!

Here is the progress so far. The colors do not look "dirty" like they do in this photo; they are clear and soft. The pattern is a BOM designed by Susan Garman (now desceased) for The Quilt Show. The pattern is available free to members (about $42 a year and totally worth every cent!). 

One nice thing about this one is that I can stop at the size I like -- or until I run out of fabric! I bought a hunk of the one used in the four corners of this section, but picked everything else from my stash. If you want to see the total picture, go here or here. It is really pretty in the original colors, except I didn't like the red (too much contrast) and wanted something less springy and more soft. See this for my fabric choices. 

Happy quilting!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quilts of Valour

Both Canada and the United States (and other countries) have organizations that specialize in making or collecting quilts to present to wounded soldiers and veterans. In Canada, it is Quilts of Valour. I've been involved with QoV for a few years, mostly in a minor way. One of those ways is helping to host a quilting bee where we make quilt tops.

We just finished a marathon two days with 28 quilters. Some stayed both days. Others came for one or the other. The work was fabulous and it was God-blessed all the way. 

On Saturday, a few had completed their tops from the kits and so on supplied by the QoV past president, Lezley Zwall. I'd brought the red top I'd made from red scraps. I'd roughly followed the idea of slabs that has been promoted by a quilter from Calgary, Cheryl Arkison. Lezley had bins of scraps leftover from other QoV bees and they were sorted by color, ironed by a volunteer who does not sew but came to help, and several of the quilters quickly discovered how addicting these 'slabs' become. 

I brought my bin of purples (with pinks and all sorts of related prints) and got a good start on a quilt that will be the right size for QoV. Here is the photo of a few of the blocks laying on the fabric that will become the sashing. Wanda at Exuberant Color often says that purple does not photograph well. She is right! But you get the idea. The sashing will be wider than it shows here, likely 3" or so. The blocks finish at 12" and are much more purple than they appear here.

It was a wonderful time. This is the second one we have had and they are already saying things like "next year . . ." However, right now all I can think is "how soon can I have a nap?" 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Mystery Quilt - in more ways than one!

I'm just plugging away on Cobblestone Lane, and on TQS's BOM. However, after doing a little surfing, I found these neat links. The last one isn't about quilting, but it is very cool!

Here's one from years ago that I made for a new nephew. It was a mystery quilt, obviously a friendship star. His mom figured it was too nice to use -- so she put it in storage. He is almost a teen now, and the quilt has never been used... and likely will not be since they moved to the Cayman Islands and who needs a quilt there! Sigh!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Slow Going

Cobblestone Lane (or whatever I wind up naming it) is going slow, mainly because those blocks have no 'one size fits all' quilting design. Each one is a puzzle and my experience is not extensive on this sort of quilt. However, it it happening... slooowly! I'm into the second row of blocks so have done about one third.

My side table has a pile of fabric to make a BOM, the one from The Quilt Show designed by Sue Garman. It is a medallion that could be any size, depending on when you stop adding rounds. I like her design, colors, except the red borders that too me are too much contrast. After much thought, I decided to give it a go with softer colors in taupe with some yellowish and greenish tossed in. The entire thing is paper-pieced, which is one of my favorite techniques and one reason for the decision to make it. The other is that Sue Garman passed away a few weeks ago. I have never met her, but for some reason shed some tears and wanted to do this because of her.

On the back burner collecting fabric and courage
  • King-size for son Scott, who wanted a beach scene landscape. I drew the scene, had it enlarged full size (cost about $50) and am staring at it in fear and trepidation.
  • King-size for daughter Karen, who wanted a minimalist 'subway tile' look in using dark to light shades of taupe. I have 1-2 more fabrics to find, a dark and a light.
  • Several baby quilt panels to make for Basically Babies
  • And prep for Quilts of Valour sewing bee near the end of this month... which I'm hosting and our Canadian past-president is working with me. We did this in Nov/2015 and had a wonderful time. Even presented a quilt to a PTSD soldier and his buddy who stayed most of the day and help the volunteers cut out fabric. 
  • And about a dozen project boxes with patterns/fabrics ready to go
  • And about three dozen 'I'd like to' patterns, some with fabrics or in kits
Now I need to make supper... that list makes me feel a bit weak...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cobblestone Lane on the longarm

Finally Cobblestone Lane is on the longarm. I'm still not sure of how to quilt all the parts, but so far have used in-ditch, 1/4" parallel lines, and some curves.

That cord has children's scissors attached. I put them around my neck when at work. Some use an apron with pockets for their various tools, but this works better for me. The thing that isn't working is my body -- doing ruler work makes my shoulders sore -- at least until I remembered to put some tape on them so they don't slide as easily.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Floating Red Slabs pieced

This one is now ready to quilt. I've planned rectangle spirals (not the right term but you know what I mean) on the blocks and three parallel wavy lines in the sashing. Simple. 

I've enough slabs leftover for at least two more quilts. This is from a small box of scraps — and I am still astonished. Don't throw them away!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Floating Red Slabs

Happy New Year!

Every spare minute over the past couple of weeks I've been sewing slabs of reds, mixed with mostly reds and a few oddities that have red in them. There are now enough 12.5 x 12.5 blocks to make two, maybe three quilts. 

I tossed a few colors on the floor and tried the red slabs on them. Black was harsh, white not too interesting, but my hubby loved this one, and I think I do too. It is a bit darker and more dramatic than the photo. I'll make one with this print in likely a 2" sashing which makes the blocks look like they are floating. I've a plan for one with a lighter background but don't have the fabric selected yet.

All of these blocks came from a small plastic tote of scraps. I am amazed. I may have said this already, but one friend tosses all her scraps. I was thinking of these being charity quilts, but my hubby has already claimed the first idea for himself. He says he needs one for his occasional naps!