Saturday, January 26, 2008

WIP and Some Treasures for the Stash

The sketch. The notes in the margin have nothing to do with the project it may become. The colors are just a way of thinking it out, not necessarily a final choice.

Most of the painting finished (done in acryllics). I hope to design the quilt next. You might notice that the sketch and painting are not exactly alike, and the odds are good that by the time it gets to a quilt it will change again. I like to work spontaneously and not reproduce exactly each time. For me, the fun is in the process. So, no copy shop for me.
Next, some of my newly acquired treasures. Gorgeous hand marbled piece, isn't it? I REALLY need to learn how to get results like this for myself.

Some Kaffe Fassett in gorgeous intense blues.

A funky little retro, kind of a mix of things.

I got these lovely treasures at the Road to California quilt show. This year I didn't take time off work, but we had a wonderful day trip. It was a little too crowded, but the show was fantastic. A nice mix of art and traditional, very high quality work all the way around. Great vendors too.

Rian wanted to know about the freezer paper applique method where you remove the freezer paper BEFORE stitching. The projects we did using this technique were nowhere near as complicated as the lovely blocks she made, but you can find a tutorial here. It is the brushed on starch that keeps the turned under edge crisp and allows you to remove the paper first. We also went on to use a water soluble glue baste to assemble the entire block before sewing. You can use a dot or two wherever it is needed and it will last until the piece is washed. It is NOT permanent, so you have to hand or machine sew every edge. Overall quilting (as can be done in a fused or permanently glued piece) isn't enough.

The Kaffe Fassett fabrics shown above are going into a nine patch quilt of cool blues and purples (I think). The lovely marbled orange and yellow is going into a "firebird" art quilt, along with some of that gorgeous golden yellow thread. I could see that one in my head as soon as I picked up the fabric. The funky little retro flowed piece screams "kitchen" to me, so I think it will go into a little wall quilt or table runner, or maybe both. Stay tuned. No shortage here of WIPs, or UFOs either for that matter. Good thing I like to have lots of things going at once.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Here is a picture of my friend Pam T.'s newest quilt in progress. It is a pretty traditional quilt, made with mostly civil war reproduction fabrics. You can see why I made her a quilt with a vintage look last year.

We had our January meeting and drew names for the coming year. I will be making a quilt for my friend Joan who also likes this look. She told me she likes log cabins, so I may be making some type of log cabin quilt for the third year in a row. It's what I seem to fall back on when I need a design for someone who likes the vintage look. I was kind of hoping to do something a little different this time around. Maybe I can throw in some applique for the border.

It was a busy weekend, mostly spent with my quilting friends. Our friend Sheryl gave us a lesson in the "freezer paper, starch, and glue baste" method of applique prep, and it works pretty well. I especially like removing the freezer paper BEFORE stitching. When you use a double layer of freezer paper it stands up to the starching and when you remove it first you can use the template again and again (helpful for things like leaves.) When you are used to the speed of fusing, it is pretty tedious, but I do like the crisp turned edge you get with the method we learned. The most frustrating part for me is trying to thread slender needles I can't even see. Most of my handwork in recent years has been with big fat embroidery needles and pearl cotton (texture, texture, texture), so making stitches you can't see at all is quite a change of pace. I am thinking I will try a project with turned edges and MACHINE applique. We shall see. I will at least finish the cute little table topper I started by hand.

The kids came back from Big Bear on Sunday, so I made lasagna dinner for Andy and his girlfriend Blair. I enjoyed meeting her, and she seemed friendly and easy to talk to. I liked her a lot. Shortly after dinner we dropped them off at the airport. It was a nice visit, but it seemed to go fast.

Now that I am back to work and the house is quiet again, I will try to spend more time in the studio. I have been drawing and painting again, hope it goes somewhere. Even if it doesn't, I'm having fun and getting lost in color.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Surf's Up

Our son came home for a visit yesterday, and I finally got to give him his "surfer" quilt. Now that he has moved up north, it will serve the dual purpose of keeping him warm and reminding him of home. He loved it, although I think his favorite part is the "back" with pictures of surfers on it. You may not be able to see the detail, but the quilting is done in scrolling waves. It was fun collecting all the "water" fabrics and it made me happy to work on it.

The sunshine is back and the weather is beautiful, although still chilly. After only six weeks in San Francisco, Andy thought it was "warm". He will NOT be surfing as the ocean water always has a high bacteria level from run off for a few days after a storm.
Last night we invited the rest of the family over for dessert and a nice visit. Afterwards Andy went out with his cousins. He loves his new life in San Fran, but he was happy to be home. For my part, I enjoyed feeding him and giving him something to keep him warm when he goes back.

Quilting Fitzy asked about when to pick citrus fruit. Our experience has been that the easier it is to pick from the tree, the sweeter and riper it is. We have done a lot of "trial and error", picking just one or two and sampling before taking more. If it tastes good, we go ahead and take some for eating. If the fruit doesn't come off easily, we also leave some on to see if it will get even better, which it usually does. I do love having fruit grown in our own yard. We don't use pesticides (just soapy water if the bugs get bad).

Today I am off work and will enjoy spending time visiting with Andy. Tonight we get to meet the girlfriend, who lives in San Francisco also but has family here. Tomorrow he takes off with his friends for a snowboarding weekend so I will go to work on Friday. Right now a cup of coffee and a couple of hours in my studio are just the thing since odds are good my son won't be out of bed for hours.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008


It is the second day of steady rain and everything outside is thoroughly soaked. Living in an arid region as we do, rain is something special.
We are lucky not to be worried about mudslides like those in burned out areas. After the wildfires remove the plant life, hillsides that have been burned have nothing to stop the erosion caused by rainfall. If you live on the coast, the worry is more about the high surf that breaches the sea wall. Local fire stations hand out sand bags for free, and everyone affected works like mad, hoping for the best.

A little later this morning we are gathering at my SIL Jane's house for a "waffle bake off". Apparently a number of us have waffle irons, and Jane thought it would be fun to gather for brunch and bake waffles. I will be honest, my waffle batter usually comes out of a (gasp) box. I am planning a variation that involves applesauce and cinnamon, served with cooked tart apples. This afternoon, if the rain continues, will be a great time to get into my studio.