Friday, July 15, 2011

Just because it's gorgeous...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All Done on All Hallow's Eve

This finally finished quilt top waved free in the crisp fall air on Halloween way back in 2010. I began this project in April of that long-ago year, after a somewhat focused hour-long trip to FABRIC DEPOT! in Portland, OR. I was pretty set on the design idea for the quilt, and pretty solid on my fabric choices, so I set forth with my SHOPPING CART (seriously, how great is that? because one totally needs a shopping cart in a fabric store, am I right?) and even though I had some "help" from Thing One and Thing Two (actually they selected some lovely fabric, a Kaffe Fasset print, and a lovely, swirly blue peacock sort of design) I ended up purchasing 80% of the fabric back then.

Then it was on to a long summer of working part time, walking a lot and getting some fabulous bike rides in, sliding into an early fall of back to work full time and futzing around endlessly with each over-anguished sloppy square. I continued to like my fabric selections throughout the quilt (a rarity - usually about a third of the way through you start to loathing one particular fabric and then about three-quarters of the way through you start to hate them all) and once I got past the halfway point I started to feel like it was do-able. The fact that each finished panel measured 19 x 12' made for an easy and fast assemblage - so presto!

I'd midway through given this quilt the rather fussy name: Rube Goldberg's Variation, which process led me to the really cool imagery from the epic Goldberg Variation album by Glenn Gould, and through a quite stacked memory bank of Jerry running gleefully through various Rube Goldberg machines. I do regret that the panels didn't end up being six by five as in the album cover, but hey, you can't win' em all.

I'm sure you will all wait breathlessly for my next post about the pain of pin basting such a large quilt and the joy and terror of the actual quilting...stay tuned.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Home-Cooked Goodness

Ahhhh. Although it felt like I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner there for a moment, I have to say, I was soul-satisfied and nourished by the meal I just cooked for my boys. The meal topped off a day of stress-free domesticity as Graham and I stayed home from school. He had gone down last night with a slight fever, a bad tummy-ache and the palest face he's worn in months.

It turned out he wasn't that sick - so, we got to make some fresh new cooked play-dough (he chose the color "recipes" from the box of "Stormy Blue," and "Apricot); I made a pretty good loaf of Cinnamon Swirl bread and a good batch of almond coconut granola. I also got to do some...quilting! And, we had a good 45-minute snuggle on the couch, where I *almost* fell asleep, and would have, if not for someone's wiggliness.

And on to the dinner. Two pounded flat chicken breasts marinated in fresh lemon juice and microplaned garlic, dragged through melted butter and coated in fresh bread crumbs mixed with fresh basil, pepper, parmigiano reggianoo and salt. While they were baking I boiled up some Russets for mashed potatoes and made the boys (and mine!) favorite green bean recipe - the almond coated one from the big yellow "Gourmet" cookbook. Aaah. It just all tasted sooo good!

I think I really needed a day off. Hopefully, the school traveled on safely without me - and I'm guessing that I'll be back there tomorrow to GET THINGS DONE!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Severe Bee Allergy

Yep, that would be my mom. The one with the severe bee allergy. The last time she got stung she had left her epi-pen out in the car while she was dining on the patio at a restaurant. Her friend ran to the car to get the epi-pen, got her injected, but it was too late - she ended up with a one-way Life-Flight helicopter ride to the nearest hospital - which would have been two hours away by car.

And just why did she not have her purse with her? Well, it's a lovely leather Coach bag - but with all the stuff she's got inside the beast must weigh close to 40 lbs.! My solution? Sew her up a super-fun quilted bag in her favorite color -- red -- in a petite little size that she'd be sure to carry with her.  It was my first purse and I really liked the way it turned out - a riot of different red fabrics crazy-patched together. Sadly, I did not take any pictures of it, but when we were visiting with my folks a couple of weeks ago, my sweetie looked at the fugly black canvas thing I was toting around and said, "you should sew yourself a cute little purse like that!"

So I did!
 It was a very spur of the moment project - basically I opened the cabinet o'fabric and pulled out some improvisational quilt squares I'd made a while ago and began cutting out the shapes. I quilted an "open-faced quilt sandwich" (just the outer layer and some batting)  and ironed some fusible interfacing to the lining fabric. I made sure to include some inside (quilted) pockets - one for my sunglasses, and one for my lipstick, and sewed the whole thing together.

My notions cabinet just happened to have some magnetic purse snaps inside which were not only super-easy to put on, but give the bag just the slightest oomph of professionalism. Here is the other side of the bag: keen-eyed readers will spot some Amy Butler Ginger Bliss, and Charm, and a couple of different Kaffe Fasset fabrics.

The quilting was done in my "faux free-motion" style and I think it pretty handily reads as a lovely paisley swirl.
I plan to tote it to a "Ladies Night Out" cocktail party this Friday - maybe I'll have to wear a hand-sewn skirt as well - just to be as hand-made as utterly possible!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Boo Yah!

The thrill, the agony, the accomplishment. Actually, I'm only halfway done with my latest circle applique quilt. I changed a few of the dimensions of the circles, and I've pretty much decided not to use any sashing or borders for the 16 panels. I had looked at some Kona cottons in black and red and thought that might be a fun look - to make it look like more of a modern quilt, but I think I am really like the assault of all the different patterns and textures. So, here you go - below is half of the sixteen panels rather randomly laid out on the "Quilt Room" floor.
I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with the way this quilt is going - I haven't yet experienced the "I hate this quilt and every fabric in it," phase that tends to happen while working on a big project. My only quibble has to do with the different shades of red - some are more orange-y than the others - I guess I'll chalk that up to the 'pleasing contrast' category.

My new job is going pretty well, since, as far as I know, I haven't made any big mistakes -- although for some reason, I have been a total klutz while on the job! Spilling tea, knocking over files, and today -- spilling a big bag of tamari sunflower seeds inside a cabinet and all over the floor! I'll be happy to have more time with the boys once their summer camp is over - we can spend afternoons doing the stuff we normally do - going to the beach, berry picking, and of course, hanging out at home building with Legos and...quilting!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

One of Sixteen!

The progress on this incredibly time-consuming project will most likely be slowing down somewhat as I have just landed a FULL TIME JOB! Wahoo! My three college degrees and years of hard-fought experience have finally resulted in a truly dreamy position at my boys' school! I am at turns thrilled, excited, daunted and exhausted. First to go off my schedule will most probably be gym workouts and oodles of quilting time.

However, in the midst of all of my resume re-writing, cover letter crafting, and interviewing and angsting, I mocked up one-sixteenth of this particular project. I have already sewn together approximately 1/2 of the surface area of the squares needed to complete a full-sized quilt for a certain someone who will be graduating from design school in 2011. At Christmastime he stated that he would like a quilt in the same color scheme as his favorite scarf, which, to the best of my recollection was white, black and red. Wouldn't it be hilarious if the scarf was actually puce, orange and violet?

Observant readers will notice that this is based on the maquette from an earlier post. For the fabric of Project X, I had the giddy opportunity to spend about an hour at Portland Oregon's Fabric Depot over spring break -- where they not only have a half acre of fabric, but large SHOPPING CARTS to put your fabric selections in. As may be apparent, I tried to stick with small scale geometric fabrics, suitable for said young adult recipient.

To calculate the number of squares I would need, I calculated the square inches needed for a full-sized quilt and divided that by the square inches of the maquette I made -- the magic number being 16. My design conundrums at this point are: to continue as is, having every square contain a magically pieced circle in the center, or to cheat a little and mix in some "blank" squares with no applique´d circles. What do you think, dear reader?

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Kaffe

This little quilt (28" x 38") was all about trying to use some large-scale fabrics in an intelligent way. The pattern is called "Vanity Square" by Cindy Hayes - one of those one-off patterns one can buy at their local quilt shop. I liked how this pattern ends up with a slightly random look and I think it *does* showcase the Kafe Fassett and the other large floral print I can't currently find in my stash to identify. The orange, brown, aqua and white one? Totally awesome! I think I have a couple yards of it left that I have been saving for - a skirt? another quilt?

I had fun with the quilting of this one - and I'm totally impressed with this crazy photo! My super-secret technique? Accidentally leaving the Nikon on "child" mode - which somehow really picked up the contrast of the quilting. Also, don't you love how professionally I have hung this on my bathroom wall? Thumbtacks! I'm so metropolitan.

Meanwhile, I am deeply in the middle of making the squares for my red-white-and-black circle quilt. They are proving to be very time-consuming -- I haven't been able to really pre-cut much of the fabric, so am finding myself cutting 12 different fabrics out on an as-needed basis. I'll provide some pictures...soon, but right now I've got a few big irons in the Life Fire and haven't found the time to get to it!