Saturday, September 15, 2012

Broderie perse and the Union Square Block

This week's block from Grandmother's Choice is called Union Square. Before I started this block, I decided I wanted to have a more uniform look to the backgrounds for each block. I dug through my light colored batiks and came up with a couple of larger pieces. They will last me a little while. This block was fairly easy to make and Tom and I both like it the best so far. Of course, I had to remake the other two using the new background
This is the remake of the first one I did, Grandmother's Choice.
I remade Amethyst changing it up quite a bit.  I used the paisley for the center square as well as the points, instead of using the background fabric like I did before.  I like it better this way.  I also discarded the cutting instructions from before and redrew the pattern using measurements I knew would make the block the right size.  Now, all my blocks are 8.5" unfinished.  I am very happy I decided to use a light background with similar fabric.  I think the paisleys will really be the stars this way.
I also finished up the borderie perse project I was working on for the International Robin.  It is the last piece out there, and I am sorry I dragged my feet for so long.  When I first decided to do it this way, I wasn't really thinking about all the pieces I would have to attach.  I just wanted a certain look, and didn't take time to consider what I would have to do to accomplish it.  I started out with traditional buttonhole stitching.  Then, I realized this is supposed to be more of an art quilt, so I switched to free motion stitching for the smaller flowers.  I think it is a nice mix.  Above is a detail look at the upper left of the bigger piece below.
This piece will be winging its way to Frea in Scotland as soon as I can get to the post office next week.  I am sorry to see this robin end.  I have really enjoyed the variety of work in these small art quilts.  Maybe after a brief rest from robins, I will try and start another one.  Maybe we will do a flat robin this time.  If you are curious or interested, leave me a comment.
Tomorrow, I have a couple of small AAQI pieces to finish, then a new project I want to start.  I think tomorrow will be my 300th post.  I wish I had something to offer as a giveaway, but I can't think of anything right now. 
Until tomorrow, then.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This and That

This the the 2nd block for the Grandmother's Choice block of the week. It is called amethyst. I really had trouble getting it the right size.  In fact, it is the wrong size.  I followed the directions to size the template so the center square is 3 3/8".  Unfortunately, that makes the square 10".  It is supposed to be 8".  I may figure out how to make it the right size, or I may not.  It is not my favorite block in the world.  I do like the fabric, just not the design.  And that has nothing to do with the fact that there are Y seams.
On a completely different note, I decided to join Victoria's light value challenge over at 15 Minutes Play. If you follow my work at all, you know that I don't really use light fabrics.  Mid values and darks make me happy.  I keep being told that a little bit of light valued fabric would make my work more interesting and exciting.  I decided to join this challenge to see if I could make myself work light.  When I first looked at the photo, I thought it was over exposed.  It is not.  These are pretty much the true colors.  It is kind of pretty, but I keep wanting to add darks.  Maybe I will set these 8" blocks in some dark purple sashing.  Hmmmm.
Ahhh!  This is more like it!.  I had some left over fall leaf fabric strips, so I pulled some solids to match the colors and tried to create the riot of color that is fall.  I certainly got a riot.  I am wondering about the strong reds.  Maybe an orange would have been better, but I didn't have orange, and I am only using what I have for these small quilts.  This one is 16" square. I do like red, and it is growing on me.  For the record, I started this one first thing this morning when it was cooler, then did the amethyst block, then the lights when it reached 84 degrees..  Interesting progression.
Tomorrow, I will be working on my broderie perse project.  I hope to get it done soon.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quilt hunting in La Conner, WA

Welcome to  La Conner, WA!  On Sunday, Tom rode 52 miles in the MS Washington Bike ride fund raiser.  We drove up early Sunday morning (before dawn) to Mt. Vernon, where the bike ride started.  After getting him off, I drove out to La Conner, on the water about 15 minutes west of Mt. Vernon.  I had booked us a room at the La Conner Country Inn as a surprise for Tom.
I was really pleased to be able to check in at 8:30 in the morning for that night.  Our room was rustic but perfect.  Just look at the bed coverings.
I have fabrics like this I never thought to put together, but now I will.
La Conner is a small little artsy town on an inlet in northwest Washington state.  It is several blocks long and lined with galleries, boutiques, and gift shops of all kinds. September is supposed to be quilt walk month in La Conner.  Each business is supposed to have and display a quilt made by a member of the Washington State Quilters-Spokane Chapter.  I really looked forward to spending time strolling through the shops and seeing the quilts.  I was very disappointed.  In most shops, the quilts were not displayed well, and in some I couldn't find them at all.  I did find one that was displayed well and I liked.
This one was made by A. Morton and is called Cranes at Sunset.  I did find quilts I liked at the quilt shop in town, Quilt Diva.  The one of the left was the first quilt made by Michael who works in the shop and recently won a ribbon at the local county fair. It is made with fabric by Marcia Derse.
Speaking of Marsha Derse fabric ----
This is the first time I have actually seen any of her fabric in person.  I fell in love with it, and bought four quarter yards.  I took Tom in again today, and he bought three more quarter yards, plus a couple of other lights for my stash.  What a fabulous husband!
Yesterday afternoon, after Tom's ride, we went to the La Conner Quilt Museum housed in the old Gaches Mansion, built in 1891.  There was a fantastic display of Japanese quilts created especially for this exhibit - At Play.  The exhibit was filled with a variety of quilts in many different styles, mostly hand sewn and quilted.  Tom and I were very impressed with the designs and workmanship, and the variety in these quilts.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos and the book about the exhibit was poorly done, so the colors are far from true.  I bought one anyway for the reminders of the designs.  If you are in the area, the exhibit is worth seeing and is there through October 7.
One last must do in La Conner is dinner at Nell Thorn Restaurant. This is a farm to table restaurant where the food is fresh and excellent.  Tom and I shared polenta cakes in a creamy mushroom sauce, heart beet and endive salad, portabella mushroom sandwich, peanut soup, and incredible pot stickers.  It was all totally amazing, except the portabella mushroom sandwich which was served on a mediocre bun.  It is worth the drive to La Conner to eat at this restaurant.
Next, I have my three days with Bella, and then back to the studio to play with my new fabrics, and finish up some old projects.  I hope you have enjoyed my little travelogue.  Joyful quilting, everyone.