Saturday, May 31, 2008

Breaking in Fabric

I bought a length of Madras plaid for Bonnie - I love the colors but such a large pattern is hard to use - it's going to be a challenge. But for her, not me, heh heh heh. Much easier that way. Here's Pokey breaking the fabric in for her. I have no idea why the blue washcloth was on the fabric, but of course when I tried to move it, Pokey moved.

That nice stack of fabric behind her is new fabric that I've been washing and ironing. I'm embarrased to have bought so much when there is still plenty on the shelves, but I've been gripped by this new lighter color scheme. I'm filling in gaps in my collection, yeah that's it.

I wanted longer lengths of the fabric in the Moda Citrus Jelly Roll. If you go check out my previous post on the Jelly Roll you'll see that I've added the color names of the fabrics in case you want to get some of these yourself. Warning, very addictive.

When I started playing with the fabrics I HATED the lighter green color (Jungle Leaf). Hated it but forced myself to use it anyway because I did like that Jelly Roll... Once a bunch of blocks were on the design board I realized that the lighter green really sang. I love these:

And now a note about paying attention to the design wall or floor you use. I've already learned to my disappointment that having a black design wall makes all the colors pop in your top, but once it's no longer hanging on that background the quilt is horrible and dull. I did that several times. True white can be dangerous too. I think a grey or khaki is probably best.

Anway, this is a hoot. Look at what a green background can do. These are the same exact blocks as above, as photographed on my cutting mat. I didn't adjust the colors at all in the software. Just looking through the camera I knew something was incredibly wrong.

The lesson: using a green design wall is right out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cobble Quilt

I love the cobbles of Evesham Abbey, in England. I just see quilt inspiration here - very crumby and loose.

My brain has just been elsewhere lately. I've been struggling over the book. You know, The Book. The one that I'm finally going to write with the letter instructions etc. You've been hearing me say that for years, so your skepticism is understandable. But really, it's back on the front burner again. At least in my brain.
I'm making decisions. What techniques go in the first book, which get saved for the second.... I've been having some fun playing lately with the string diamonds and 9-Patches, but they need to go in the second book and I need to focus on letters more.
And then there's the conundrum of "how much to blog?" Just enough to keep your interest but not enough to give the game away. Just please bear with me.
You'll hear about The Book more as things get jelled and I can reveal tidbits. Sorry, this isn't just me being mysterious, but also indecisive. I have the worst problems making my mind up about things, add that to the procrastination and you have trouble...
On other matters, life is good. Some hotter weather and sunshine yesterday - woohoo. You know how that makes me happy even if I am just running errands. Nothing new going on here, pretty much same old, same old. Ya'll take care.

Monday, May 26, 2008

String Star

I received a great email the other day from Nancy Ray. Her name was instantly familiar to me since a whole bunch of her gorgeous quilts appear in Gwen Marston's book Liberated String Quilts, which I highly recommend. I've previously posted pics of some of Nancy's quilts, which is how she found me.

It was wonderful to exchange emails with Nancy and she gave me permission to show you this Lone Star:

Nancy explains: "I'm attaching a photo of another old string quilt for you (1940's, I estimate). ... It came from east Texas--but that's all I know of its background. Well, except that the quilting on it, and the care with which it was made, show us that this quilter could have made anything she wanted to. String quilts like this one are important, because they demonstrate that strings weren't used just for the most humble economy quilts. Unfortunately, that's a fairly well-entrenched misconception. "

She's right. Isn't the quilting incredible? I love the spider webs.

Nancy has joined the Lazy Gal Summer 2008 class and I'm looking forward to seeing her work. The class members have already made some great quilts, have you checked them out?

I mentioned Gwen Marston earlier. Two quilts made with solid fabric have recently been posted on her homepage - oooh, they're gorgeous. Fingers crossed we get pictures of them in the new book.

Nothing much interesting going on. I've been doing lots of hand quilting and washing and ironing fabric. No sewing, but I'll get back to that soon. Yup, rather boring here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Fabric

First, some of the beautiful fabric I bought at Quilts UK in Malvern. I fell so hard for this gorgeous handmade fabric from Bali. The fabric on the left is ikat, the right is plain hand loomed and all have such a gorgeous glow to them - the fabrics have silk mixed with cotton. These all came from Textile Techniques and I just wish I had more.

Several of the vendors were selling fat quarters of these woven plaids and stripes made in India - they have a nice weight to them, not flimsy. The ribbon says "Fabric Freedom" which is a British company, but I don't see anything like this on their website.

Siobhan bought some of this as well. Doesn't it look lovely on the washline?

And why is it important to pre-wash your fabric? Well at 4:00am other night, one of the cats (I'm looking at you, Habibi) knocked a plate and one of my favorite mugs onto the kitchen floor, making all sorts of crashy bashy noise. I couldn't get back to sleep and groggily went out to the recliner. In my stupor, I knocked my current hand-quilting project Orphan Train onto the floor.

I've mentioned that one of my cats, Howler, is a problem child. He wees on the sofa and has also gotten various bits of clothing and our bed (now we have to make sure the bedroom door is always closed). Well, you guessed it. He peed on Orphan Train. Twice. Aiyee.

Later in the morning, still too early for clear thinking, I used the nearby spray bottle of Urine Gone. That stuff works great on the sofa, but after I used it I panicked that I'd just sprayed smelly chemicals on my quilt. So I rushed it into the tub and dashed water on it. Of course my husband had just taken a shower so it was hot water. Sigh. One of the hand-dyes bled all over, but luckily I think it just dyed the backing and batting.

So yes, it could have been much worse, but "accidents happen" is one more reason to pre-wash quilting fabric (in addition to getting rid of the chemicals in the fabric sizing). I didn't pre-wash this hand-dye because it had supposedly already been washed twice. sigh.

Yesterday I had a delightful lunch with Margaret who is taking a weekend break here in Paris. We wandered through the the fabric shops of Montmartre and I managed to hold off from buying more silk, which always calls to me from those shops.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Evesham Abbey

Oops, I inadvertantly combined two different villages in the last post. Believe me, Stanton is adorable, but the first pics were from somewhere else. Alderton, I think. That was my first day in England - I blame my confusion on train lag.

I'm pretty sure I've got these next pics straight though. These are from Evesham. This is the Norman gate (from the 1100's?). Well, the gate is in there somewhere, I don't know when these beautiful buildings were actually constructed.

From the other side:

Part of Evesham Abbey. Siobhan says it has rained on all of her previous visits. Amazingly enough the sky looked threatening but didn't actually pour.

Whee, gargoyles.

Siobhan with more of the abbey:

Love the signpost in Abbey Park:

Made it home safely. That Eurostar is fabulous - can't believe how easy it makes the trip between England and France. Slowly getting caught up on chores. sigh, back to reality.

I had such a great time watching telly at Sio's. I'm sure she thought I was the most pathetic couch potato she's ever run across, but I did it to slow her down. Yeah, that's it, I did it to take care of her.

I've now seen two episodes of the show Pushing Daisies and absolutely LOVE it. That's not necessarily good news for a show (R.I.P. Firefly, Veronica Mars, Angel, Arrested Development, Dead Like Me.... Need I go on?) but Daisies has been renewed for another season - woohoo. Although there were only 9 episodes in the first season, which was unfortunate.

Pushing Daisies is delightfully quirky, reminding me of one of my favorite movies, Amelie. It's about a pie maker who has the ability to bring the dead back to life and uses this skill to help solve murders. It's more lighthearted than it sounds. Now I just want the DVD to come out.

Speaking of tv show renewals: woohoo, there are going to be more Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Oh, watched five minutes of Moonlight, the vampire whatever show, and HATED it.

This post is getting long, but remind me to tell you the story that answers the question: why should you pre-wash your fabric before putting it into a quilt?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Greetings from England

It is so marvelous to be here in England with Siobhan. We have just talked and talked and talked like we haven't been apart at all (which as it turns out has only been three years, not the four I was thinking). I was not going to buy anything while here, but of course that didn't happen and now I'm regretting just bringing the tiny suitcase.

One of the things that really caught my attention the first day here was all the poop scoop signs (so completely different from Paris).

Siobhan took me to a picturesque Cotswalds village called Stanton. It was overcast and drizzly which was not so great for pictures but wonderful at keeping the walkers away - Sio says the sidewalks are usually packed but we had the place to ourselves.

Isn't this incredible? You can see why people flock to the area.

I know Sio already posted about it, but the first thing we did after entering the quilt show was buy fabric. This was the booth by Kim Porter of Worn and Washed Fabrics.

I bought two rolls, one with lights and the other with a lot of pink plaid flannel. I just wish I'd bought the red, white, and blue roll and the blue and white roll. Sio wishes she had the red and green. sigh. Kim has a wonderful color sense and makes fun combinations of fabric. Anyone who wants to play along with Bonnie and her recycled shirts would have fun with these rolls.

I didn't take any photos of the quilts, but there were some fun Gwen Marston inspired houses there.

Yesterday I went to a boot sale and yes, spent money again. Sigh. One thing I bought was a large carrier bag so I can get everything home. This is the sign from the Dinky Donuts stand:

After we got back from the boot sale we dismembered some of Sio and her husband's old shirts as well as a couple of kids' shirts we bought. It's a great thing to do with a stained or torn shirt. I now know what to do with my favorite turquoise plaid shirt that I wore the elbows out of -- too bad I left it in Florida.

Sio made the most incredible scones yesterday -- I completely pigged out eating them with clotted cream and locally made Lemon and Lime Marmelade -- and delicious Asparagus and Mushroom Soup. Ooh, and I forgot to mention the raspberries - oh my oh my. Definitely good eating with all the local produce.

Siobhan and MacBeth:

I'm just sad I have to leave tomorrow. This has been such a marvelous quilty holiday. I'm taking home a huge amount of Sio's stash with me so it will be almost like having her there. It will be good to get back to my sweetie and cats though - I hear they miss me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Going to England!

I got an email this morning from my good friend Siobhan inviting me to England for the quilt festival in Malvern this weekend. So long story short, I've got my train tickets booked and I'm leaving Wednesday morning, woohoo!

Getting over to visit Siobhan has been on my to-do list, but I'm just terrible at organizing anything. This worked out well, to do it almost last minute and luckily my husband is in town to be with the kitties.

The goofy thing was how hard it was for us to call each other. This is my phone number as you'd dial it from the states, and here's my cellphone if you were calling in Paris... Wikipedia did come through though and I figured out how to dial the U.K. and drop the initial zero etc... It's been four years since I've seen Sio (not to mention my sweetie, Brownie), so this is going to be excellent.

Siobhan and I will be going to the Malvern festival on Friday. Anyone else going? If you see us there, definitely say hello. I'll even wear the same blue shirt I'm wearing in my profile photo.

Yesterday I managed to spill tea all over my computer keyboard, which was bad enough, and the electrical transformer. eek. Got it unplugged before anything fried (fingers crossed) and I'm using the laptop right now.

I hardly have any photos on here (and yes, I know I need to backup photos more frequently) but I do have pics of the Moda Jelly Roll I'm using for my 9-Patches. It's the Citrus roll:

Isn't it gorgeous? I added darker blue and purple, but otherwise this is the color scheme of my current blocks. I have to give a big shout out to Moda Customer Service. I sent an email asking what colors where used in this so that I could buy more and I got a reply the very next day. Thanks, Barbara!

I edited this post to add the fabric colors for this roll:

  • 9880-26 cyan blue
  • 9880-64 california turquoise
  • 9880-82 hot purple
  • 9880-92 flag red
  • 9880-97 jungle leaf
  • 9880-98 jungle lime
  • 9881-42 sweetheart
  • 6727 orange
  • 9804 bubblegum pink
  • 9870 bright yellow

Friday, May 09, 2008

Giant Spider Invasion

Uh oh, what is that behind the trees?

Eek, a giant spider.

Okay, okay, it's just a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois titled Maman. I'd actually seen it before at the Tate Modern, but it was so much more fun to see it at the Jardin des Tuileries.

That's the Louvre on the right.

Isn't it cool? I sooo wanted to break the rules and walk on the grass so that I could take great photos from underneath it. I just couldn't do it.

Doesn't Paris look gorgeous with the sunshine and flowers?