Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shop Hop fun

Today, My SIL and I joined the hoards of quilters in Western Washington on the annual Shop Hop.  The Hop started Wednesday, and we did visit one shop then, but today we visited four.  Our first adventure of the day, however, was a ferry ride across Puget Sound, or as it is now being called, the Salish Sea.  We were headed for a garage sale where a quilter who works in a fabric store was destashing.  All the fabrics were packed in very large plastic bags and priced according to the pound.  It averaged out to about $1.50 per pound.  Here are some of the yummies I found at the garage sale.

In this bag, I found four plus yards of the fabric on the left.  It is browner than shows here.  It is perfect for the back of the traditional quilt I have been working on.  I also found several yards of fabric with Japanese prints that will go with other fabric I have to make a quilt I have had in mind for a while.

Look at all the yummy reds in this bag.  Some of it is reproduction 30's.  Quite fun.

At this annual shop hop, each participating shop designs a quilt block around a piece of fabric.  This years fabric is the blue floral in the front.  As you take your "passport" into each shop, you are given the pattern for that shop's block plus at least three pieces of fabric, including the main fabric.  I really like the fabric for this year, so I bought a little extra to make a cheery table topper with a few of the blocks.

At the last shop we visited, I fell in love with all the fabric.  Island Quilter on Vashon Island has the best collection of Fasset, Jacobs, and all the rest of those wonderful designers who create such bright and bold fabrics.  They also carry plenty of blender fabric that goes with it.  They have a room of novelty fabrics as well as a room of yarn. I wanted one of everything but the yarn, but I am on a budget.  I am going to have to collect them slowly.  I bought these three to start a quilt for Bella.  She wants purples, pinks, and fairies.  I think this is a good start.
All in all, four quilt shops, a garage sale, and three ferry rides later, we had a wonderful day.  We came home to a sunny day, and nothing is prettier that a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest - except maybe the fabrics at Island Quilter.
Tomorrow, we celebrate Bella's third birthday.  Whoopee!  Tonight, I start putting the binding on En Vino Veritas, if I can stay awake long enough. 
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Travel tip and a book giveaway

Many of you may already know this tip, but for those of you who don't, I want to share this great place to visit when you are in the Seattle, WA area.  Martingale Press is located about 25 minutes NE of Seattle.  They give tours on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at 1:00.  The tours are limited to 12 people, so you need to call about a month ahead to book your tour.  Why tour a press house, you may ask?  Martingale is one of the big publishers of books about quilting.  At any given time, there are wonderful quilts adorning all the walls.  The tour guide will take you around through the offices and tell you about the various quilts and the books they are in, or are destined for.  The quilts we saw yesterday were beautiful.  There was even a large purple cow that is going to be in an upcoming book.  There was no photography allowed, but there is something better.

At the end of the tour, you are taken into the book room.  Books and patterns that are over six months old may be found in this room.  Each book is five dollars, except the ones with the blue dots which are three dollars.  I came home with $135.00 worth of books and patterns for $29.00. 

I saw wonderful quilts from each of these two books, and was so happy to find them.  They are each filled with wonderful patterns.  I would like to propose one of the quilts in Twosey-Foursey Quilts for our guild raffle quilt for 2012.

I have been wanting the Rose of Sharon Block Book for a while now.  I love these blocks, and have been wanting to have some applique to take as handwork when I need to wait places or watch television in the evening.  Even though these patters are for machine applique, I can easily adapt them to handwork.  I also found a block that I want to use for the center white blocks in the traditional quilt I am working on.  There are 83 blocks in the book and template patterns to make them all.

This book combines piecework with applique.  It is pretty traditional, but I really like the patterns.

There were many more books that I wanted, but I had set a limit on myself before I went in. 

On top of all the wonderful books I purchased, I also won a beautiful new book called A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue by Christine Porter and Darra Williamson, and was published in 2011.

This book has 12 small quilt patterns (22"x26"), each commemorating a different month of the year.  There are also directions for making 12"x16" blocks to be set into a bigger quilt. The retail price on the book is $24.99, if you are into that sort of thing. This is the book I am going to give away.  If you would like this book, please leave me a comment telling me your favorite quilting tip. I will draw randomly next Monday for a winner.  You don't have to become a follower, but if you would like to, I would be very happy.    Please make sure I can contact you if you are the winner.
Good luck to all of you who want this book.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Color - Wow!

You may remember this piece I did a couple of months ago.  I used the Harmonic Conversion pattern from Ricky Tim's book of the same name.  I only used one fabric to create the inside, then added the two borders.  Well. . . . when I was cleaning a space in the studio, I came across it again in a pile of UFOs.  I also found a piece of Spirit by Lila Tueller for Moda in another pile.  Hmmmm.  Could they possibly go together?  How would I make them harmonize?

I know you are not used to this much bold color from me, but maybe this will be a new direction. I added four inch borders and fussy cut some of the pattern elements to applique on to the top.  This is what it looks like now.  I still have stitching to do, but I am very excited by this look right now.  The two fabric lines work great together because of color and line.  I was able to harmonize them by bringing elements past the border into the center.  This is certainly different from the very traditional piece I have been working on.  It has been interesting to see the drop off in comments with the traditional piece.  I wonder if it is just coincidence.  Anyway, here are a couple of closeups of the applique pieces fused onto the top.


I do hope you are all enjoying the longest day of the year.  As I write this, my sister-in-law is sitting on the ground at Dulles International Airport, in a plane, waiting for yet another thunder storm to pass.  So far, the flight is over two hours late taking off.  Oh well.  You can't mess with Mother Nature when she gets excited.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flying Geese border done

I got the flying geese borders done and on the design wall.  This quilt has a decidedly more traditional bent than my others, and I am really liking it.  I am a bit bothered by the large background spaces in the center.  Since the print fabric is Perennials, I think I will have to come up with some flowers and vines to applique to make it more interesting.  I was cleaning out the guest room this morning, and I found some old scrapbooking paper with some great floral designs that I think will work really well.  I think that will be my next step before I attach the FG borders.  The center is 48" x 33" and I think that is large enough to try and applique on.  Isn't it interesting when we stay open to the possibilities instead of being rigid about reaching the end result.  That, to me, is one of the very best things about quilting. 
The guest room is ready.  Tomorrow, I need to finish sorting out the studio.  I am moving in another table so two of us have room to work.  If only I had another sewing machine.  That's okay.  We can share.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some orphan blocks and stacks of flying geese

Today, I decided to play with flying geese.  These are beginnings of the next border for my KT Perennials quilt.  They are 3"x6" finished.  I used fourteen of the patterns in the fat eights bundle I got from Green Fairy Quilts.  If you haven't purchased fabric from them, you have really missed out.  They have great sales and the shipping is very fast.  Their selection seems somewhat limited, but what there is is wonderful.
Back to the geese.  These borders will go around the center that you can see on the design wall here.  The blocks in the center are 12" squares and the borders are 3".  So far, I have used two different fabrics for the backgrounds and borders.  I shopped my stash for both, but I think I am going to have to purchase some yardage to finish the next three borders.  This is a pretty traditional quilt, but I do like it all.
When I was searching for fabric, I  found a small box holding these little beauties.

Many years ago (the 70s, I think), I fell in love with the Hmong reversed applique and embroidery called Pa nDau, or flower cloth.  This is a very old style of needlework that was done by the women in the culture.  The Hmong lived simple agrarian lives in the mountains until the Vietnam war.  They became allies of the United States, which put them at risk at the end of the war.  They took refuge in refugee camps in Thailand and Laos until they could relocate.  Many of them ended up on the U.S.  I purchased these blocks from a group of Hmong women in Seattle who came together to help support their families with their fine work.  I am so glad I found these again.

Here is a close up of the front and back of one of the more elaborately embroidered pieces.  The stitches are minuscule, and the work is incredible.  I don't know what I will do with these treasures, but I will think of something.  They will be interesting in a small quilt.  Hmmmm.
Tomorrow, I have to muck out my studio and the guest room to get ready for my sister in law.  I want to make room for her to work on her quilts while she is here.  This is going to be so much fun!
Joyful quilting, everyone.