6/30/10

Chickens and Lizards and Bindings OH MY!

Soooooo... ummm...
Remember when I said I did all my bindings on the sewing machine? Remember how I said I would never, but NEVER attempt a binding BY HAND?
Remember when I was so smug about those who would attempt it, and how I rolled my eyes and quietly called them freaks under my breath?
Ok, I might have done that last one in private.
But now I'm rolling my eyes at myself, which is just very hard to do and will give you a migraine, because here I am, me, smug bastard that I am, DOING A BINDING BY HAND!
What has the world come to?
And what's more?
I LIKE IT!
So here's the Kitchen Chicken quilt. I took pictures of it and shared it with you.
And in looking at the pictures, I was struck by the yellow chickens.
They looked a little lost.
A little disjointed.
And there's nothing sadder than a disjointed, lost chicken.
I had to give them somewhere to roost.
So when putting the binding on, I included a little flange of yellow chicken fabric.
Like piping, without the pipe.
I tried to cut all the red out of the fabric, because the Metro Market fabric with the yellow background has red and black chickens.
I missed one tiny spot, this little guy looking out from the corner.
How cute is that? Completely spontaneous, I didn't try to land him there.
But I love him.
So because I did the fancy pipeless-piping on the front, I didn't want to ruin the look by machine stitching the binding.
So there I was.
Quilt across my lap.
HAND SEWING the binding to the back.
Who woulda thunk it?
And the more I sewed, the more I loved the look.
I have no idea if I did it correctly, and it may all come out with the first tug, but I did it.
And it's cute on the back too.
And every time I took a stitch and hooked the thread with my middle finger to pull it through, it was as if my Mother was in the room, looking over my shoulder.
She would have been AMAZED.
She always commented on how she tried and tried to teach me to sew as a child, and I always resisted.
It amused her so much to be able to say:
"My daughter - the quilter!"
I think she'd be proud. I'm proud of myself!
On another note, the Sweet Baboo has been doing a lot of yard work, and scared up this little fella.
Looks like he lost his tail at some point, and grew a new one.
I think there's a lesson there about not letting things stop you.
Just get over it and keep going.
Thanks Lizard!
Message received.

6/14/10

Like the Mona Lisa in Fabric...

Drum roll please!
Boy, I am on such a roll with the blogging these days.
What WILL I talk about tomorrow?
So this is the Sultry Braid Quilt.
It started as a kit, but then expanded and expanded into the beautiful quilt it is today.
Its big, pretty much bed sized.
Look at the amazing job my quilter did.
Look at those feathers!
Look at the 'ribbon candy' in that pink border!
I can't stand it.
She said while she was quilting the borders, (amazing!) she kept thinking "big floppy bunny ears... big floppy bunny ears..." because we didn't want, as she put it, the "quilted to death" look.
I love it.
Absolutely love it.
I have a stripe fabric for the binding, but now I really want a dark brown binding.
A frame.
For a work of art.
'Cause that's what it is.
I'm so in love.

6/13/10

There's a Chicken in the Kitchen!

Sometimes they just name themselves, you know?
If it was up to me, this would have a much cooler name, but it wants to be known as the Kitchen Chicken Quilt.
Who am I to argue?
It's back from my fabulous long arm quilter, and it's a-MAZ-ing! (sing song voice)
Check out the quilting!
I figured with all the triangles, it needed something circular to offset them.
Thus the "Double Bubble" pattern.
I love those chickens.
And the beaters! Man, I love this fabric line.
It's not bound yet. I keep waffling on the perfect binding.
Ok, truthfully I just don't have any more of any of the fabrics. If I have to go out and buy some, it has to be the right one. If I had enough of any of them, I'd just bind it and be done.
Yeah, I'm just that lazy.
It's got thin cotton batting. It's not terribly big, so I figured it would spend more time on a wall than on a lap.
If it's just going to be pretty, I'll go with thin cotton. If it's going to be used, and I mean USED, I like puffy batting, and not very dense quilting.
There you go.
Think what you will.
What's that? You'd like to see the back?
Happy to oblige.
Did I mention I love those chickens?
Here's a shot of the back where you can really see the quilting.
Dang, those apples are pretty freakin' cute too.
Next I'll hit you with the exciting climax on our returning quilt tour:
The Sultry Braid quilt, that she did with custom, CUSTOM quilting!
She's an artiste. With an e on the end. And an accent mark. And possibly an umlaut. Ok no, I just wanted to say Umlaut.
Umlaut.
I need more caffeine.

6/12/10

The New Phone Book's Here!

THE NEW PHONE BOOK'S HERE!
Do you remember that movie? No? Just me?
Fine.
It must have made an impression, because whenever something arrives that I've been anticipating, I squeal like a school girl and scream "It's here! It's here! The new phone book's here!"
Like when my quilts came back from my fabulous long arm quilter!
EEE!!!
I can't say enough about this wonderful woman and her wonderful talent. Wait 'til you see.
Let's start with the first one. The first of three, yes THREE that came back. Two more went out on their journey to her. I'm calling it the Hammock Quilt.
It all started when I saw this fabric.
(picture stolen from Red Pepper Quilts)
Fresh as a Daisy by Robert Kaufman.
Now, it's true, this fabric isn't actually IN the Hammock Quilt.
Funny, right?
But when I saw it, I was immediately transported back to my childhood.
Hot summer afternoons as a California girl in the 70's.
I would lie on my bed and bake in the sun that came in my bedroom window at an angle in the late afternoons, lying on my stomach and reading books. By the way, I just had to look up the difference between 'laying' and 'lying' to make sure I used it correctly. I hadn't. But I am now. Good to know. God bless the internet.
The reason it struck me so strongly, was because of the sheets that I sported back in the day.
You've seen it. If you're over 35 you've probably had it.
Green grass with yellow and orange butterflies, flitting among little white blossoms.
Like the centers of these rectangles.
I requested a pattern that would reflect the feeling I had back in those carefree days.
Something big and flowy and curvy and cloud-like.
I think I got it.
Doesn't that feel like a hot summer afternoon?
It's made from that same sheet from my youth, with vintage sheets purchased from this incredible seller.
The back is just a solid piece of the same sheet. The binding too.
I washed it and dried it with a fabric softener sheet so it would smell like it looks.
Does that make sense?
I can already tell this is going to be the go-to quilt when anyone is sick, or needing comfort.
It's so soft, and fluffy and very light.
Just like the perfect afternoon.
Here it is fresh from the drier.
Ahhh... I just GOTTA get me a hammock.
Coming up:
The Kitchen Chicken quilt!

6/6/10

My "What If?" Book

So there's a lot of talk on the quilt blogs these days.
A couple of things caught my eye.
One, was a call for quilters to try harder, and work at making "art" instead of churning out simple patterns.
The second is a pledge to blog more about the process of making something, as opposed to just posting a pretty picture and saying "Look what I made!"
I'm of two minds.
On the first; I've written before about the life changing revelation that not everything has to be a masterpiece. This is something I struggle with. As a perfectionist, with some anxiety problems, if I start thinking about each quilt being "ART" in capital letters with quotation marks around it, I'll become paralyzed and never complete anything! Sometimes it's enough to make something because you found some pretty fabric. Or because you just felt like sewing something. Or because someone is having a baby.
On the other topic, I agree that I always like blog posts more when it shows some behind the scenes work.
So towards that end, today I share my process!
Here's my inspiration book.
I made the cover in my "covered notebook" phase.
No pastels for me!
(sorry for the crappy picture quality)
It started out as just a place to put quilt patterns that I thought I might like to make, but became instead a place to work out color combinations.
Sometime just putting the colors together in this book is enough to get it out of my system.
Other times they go on to become quilts!
Like this one.
My friend loves pink and brown together. So I found some pictures, (most on Flickr, apologies for not having credit for these pics!) that highlighted some pink and brown combos that I found appealing. And on the right is little Olivia's quilt!
Here's an idea that's been rolling around in my head; four seasons quilts.
Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
This is where I worked out that instead of just orange and brown, what about some grey?
This idea of blue and green, with a dash of orange became my "Ninja Star" quilt.
And this combo...
teal and yellow, rolled around in my head for a while.
And then, during a particularly boring meeting at work, I started wondering if my Nicey Jane fabric would play well with my Verna fabric. And what if some Darla came to the party?
It turns out that yes, yes they all play very nicely together!
It's a little more complex pattern than usual, so maybe I HAVE been influenced by that "art" talk.
The Sweet Baboo doesn't approve of the darker green crosses.
They're actually a dark teal crossweave fabric. One thread is blue, and the other is green.
I think that they are very necessary, to keep the whole thing from become a mish-mash.
Masterpiece? Maybe not.
Or maybe the masterpiece is just in the creation.
Maybe everything is a masterpiece.

6/5/10

Sew Fun 2

Dude!
I forgot to tell you my exciting news!
I joined a quilting bee!
Sew Fun 2, and here's the first block, for Alice.
She sent this group of fabrics, and instructions for wonkiness and no triangles.
I love that bird fabric!
I tried to frame it out, and then I used every single scrap of fabric that I had.
I can't wait for the next month!
My month is March of next year, I hope I have an idea by then. Right now I'm thinking, (and understand it's a year away. My mind changes every fifteen minutes) that I'll do a Halloween quilt. Because I hate Halloween, but I have a goal to make a quilt for every holiday. So that would take care of that goal, without me having to go all Halloween! Clever, no?
We'll see.
I have some quilts (three!) coming back from my fabulous long arm quilter this week, and I'm so excited to see them. Oh yeah, and bind them too, but whatever. I'm not focusing on that part.
I'll show you some pictures when they come!