Thursday, August 31, 2006

Introduction to Intarsia

I am going to a class with Debbie Abrahams today! We are making a small beaded three-color bag. So exciting! I am feeling guilty though, because I am leaving B home with Baby K all day. She's all of 20 days old and I'm runnning off to a knitting class...what a bad mother! OK, enough of the guilt trip. B is a fabulous father and a wonderful husband and they will be fine. This is just a test for when I have to go back to work in 6 short weeks!

Log Cabin update...Mom loved her finished quilt, she said it was my best yet! The project for this weekend is to clean off the table so I can get my sewing machine out again. I need to finish the Strip Club quilt (borders and quilting). And work on some more Xs and Os!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quilting designs

This is my quilting sketchbook. I took a class with Gina Perkes this summer...she is an Arizona Longarm quilter, and she has won Best in Show at our state quilt show several times. She showed us this "squiggle" design for free-motion quilting...basically a question mark. (Please excuse the flash on the white paper!)

I am using this design on the infamous log cabin quilt. The quilting won't show up in a photo because it's cream thread on cream fabric! Kinda tricky to quilt in places, too! I love crawling under the machine to look at the back looks like tin-punch artwork with the light shining through the needle holes and outlining the design.

If anyone has good photography tips for photographing quilts and getting the quilting to show, I'd love to hear them! I am using a Kodak digital camera.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Word of the day

Tension causes tension.

Can you say FROG?!?!?!

I told you this log cabin quilt had me intimidated!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


We'll get to the quilts after this BREAKING NEWS ALERT - that is actual rain in Phoenix!! In the morning! In August! It was wonderful - I sat outside on my (covered) patio for about 30 minutes, and it continued for another 30 minutes after I came inside. Just what the parched desert needed: relaxing, soaking rain.

August is our monsoon season and we get lots of late afternoon thunderstorms. Watching the clouds build up all day is part of the beauty of the desert, and I always think I should grab my camera and join Saturday Sky. But this year, the storms have missed my corner of the city...until today!

We followed the recommended desert landscape bouganvillas, a ficus tree, small patch of grass and lots of rock. B. is in charge of yardwork, and he enjoys sitting outside in the evenings. I am usually driven inside because of the bugs, and my desire to play at the sewing machine! The ladder is for our cat Tony...we taught him to climb it so he can pretend to be up in the tree (he's de-clawed) rather than getting up on the fence and carousing through the neighborhood. (It blew over in a windstorm a few days ago, and we're too lazy to pick it up so far!)

On to the quilts...that's called Good Gyrations, a Cara Gulati (sp?) pattern. I used a Linda V. Taylor pantograph called "Geometric Pinwheels" actually photograhed pretty well! Now I have to tackle the free-motion intimidator...which will probably be fine as soon as I get started. Darn Newton and his laws of motion! Laurie was talking about inertia today...I'm right there with you, girlfriend!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fiber Content

Here is a preview of the September Strip Club quilt for my LQS. I used 12 fabrics, and it was a bit of a challenge to organize the blocks in a "scrappy" fashion. The overall effect works though. I have one more horizontal seam, plus borders, then quilting. Projects go much faster as you approach the deadline! I'm usually putting on the binding the day before the class! Luckily I have just one more of these Strip Club quilts and then the series is over. That is the worst part of working in a quilt store - you are always under a deadline to get samples done, and they do not always fit with what you'd really like to be working on!

Longarm update...I pinned on the pantograph quilt, and realized I didn't have the right size batting. My mom is going to drop that off today. All afternoon I debated pinning on the second one (the intimidating freehand quilt) and of course talked myself out of it. I did purchase an extra set of zippered canvas leads, so I can just unzip the first quilt and put on the second. I worry that I will pin it wrong and get the canvas in the wrong place, so I haven't used that option yet! Plus there's the whole intimidation factor that makes it easy to put off...

Kitty report...B got up early this morning and the quilt I was piecing and had left on the table was in a pile on the floor. Oops. And I found one of my corsage pins from the longarm on the floor as well! I forgot to put them away yesterday!! What is it with cats and round-topped pins??? We fell in love with the open floorplan of our house, but it makes quilting a challenge, since I can't shut the cats out of my sewing areas!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


So, I made up a word. In an effort to counteract the grey skies I see out my window, here is a shot from
I have been fighting a cold the last few days. B. takes the early morning feedings, so I take NyQuil at 2am and sleep until 7. Baby K is such a sweet little thing! She doesn't fuss unless we're late with her bottle...late meaning more than 30 seconds after she opens her eyes!! She has been sleeping well, all things considered. Typical newborn schedule of 2-hour naps then awake just long enough to change the diaper and eat.

I haven't had the energy to sew. Last week, I was waiting on thread for two shop samples that need to go on the longarm. The thread has arrived so I will put on the first one that will be quilted with a pantograph. I think I can get that one done this afternoon. The second one will be freehand - yikes! My mom wants a leafy vine type pattern, which my brain is translating as the first step towards feathers, which scare me to death, so I'm playing the procrastination game. I'm also not sure about my thread color choice, so I'll have to recharge my camera and put it up for a blogosphere vote.

I have two procrastinator activities...Big Kahuna Reef from Yahoo games...version 2 has 750 levels - woo-hoo! That can keep me busy for weeks! It's a simple match-3-in-a-row elimination game, but after every four levels or so you unlock a new fish to add to your underwater landscape. And that underwater view is my new relaxing screensaver.

Number 2 on the do-anything-but-quilt activity list is travel the blogosphere on a web ring. I have a list of favorite blogs on my yahoo page, so I check in there first. Then I start at Tonya's site and travel around the Quilt Maverick ring. Then, if I still do not have the energy to climb the stairs to the longarm (which is a high probability since I *am* sick, LOL) I start at Samantha-the-Fabri-holic's page and travel the Stash Quilt ring. It's so much fun to see what everyone else is working on. Maybe one of these days I'll get back to it...let's hope the decongestants work fast!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Storm at Sea

You may remember that one of my classes at Quilt Camp in the Pines was John Flynn's Storm at Sea. This is my version in traditional blues. He offered a pre-cut kit in batiks, but I am a glutton for punishment, so I cut my own pieces from his templates. As a result, I only made this one block in class and spent the rest of the day cutting about 400 little triangles. This block will end up on the back of the quilt, because I don't like the fabric my left hand is touching. I made a run to the LQS at lunch to get a variety of blues! You can't really use mediums in this pattern, except for the center squares. The triangles need to alternate light and dark to make the interesting secondary patterns, which I will point out sometime in the future when I pull out this UFO from the back of the closet!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I took the leap!!

I have been intrigued with Tonya's freehand letters for a while. This week she issued a challenge...start with X's and O's and make a charity quilt. Her directions are really good, and since they are FREE HAND letters, you can't make a mistake!! I have ideas bouncing around my head for several quilts with titles in the borders. I'd like to do a bargello in my school colors with the name in the border. I think my high school kids would enjoy that on display in the classroom.

At loose ends

Tony loved the package of baby clothes that my aunt sent us!

I am feeling very unsettled. School started this week, but I am home on maternity leave until the middle of October. We don't have a schedule, other than jumping up and getting a bottle when Baby K starts fussing. She has been delightful so far, just a couple of hours in the evening when she cries and wants to be held and walked around. B and I both came down with minor colds this week, which contributes to the desire to lay around and do nothing but read blogs! (Especially with daytime tv...800 channels and nothing on!)

I have lots of crafty projects that I could get started on...I am working on the September Strip Club quilt (BTW, I hate deadlines!) and I need to press the seams before sewing the horizontal rows together. Unfortunately, we put the playpen where the ironing board used to sit and I haven't had the energy to re-arrange furniture yet.

I could put bindings on the two quilts I showed you last week...the shapes for charity and the RW&B. But it's too hot to sit and do bindings!

I could start my quilt guild scrapbook...I was appointed historian about 18 months ago and the photos and papers have been sitting in my cupboard ever since! But, my friend is have a crop in September, so I'll wait and use all her fancy tools then.

Knitting...nah. There has to be something good on TV for me to sit and knit, and I am not into soap operas.

I am tempted by Tonya's challenge to make Xs and Os...maybe this afternoon I will go through my fabric stash and take the leap! Part of the challenge is to donate this quilt, so the charity kind of determines the fabric selections. RW&B can go to Quilts of Valor or something similar, pastels could go to a child-centered group like Project Linus, or I could just pick colors I like and plan to give it to the senior center that my longarm group is supporting this year.

Basically, I need to come up with a schedule for my time at home these next two months or I will go batty! Sitting around in my jammies until afternoon is fun for only a few days.

Next post...quilt blocks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A New Beginning

This is how much of a log cabin baby blanket I was able to knit during an 11-hour labor and delivery! My adopted daughter Baby K made her entrance to the world at 12:52 pm last Friday. She is absolutely beautiful (of course!) and very sweet-tempered. So far she is sleeping so much that I haven't been able to take any pictures with her eyes open!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A long time coming

I finished this quilt as a charity project for my local guild. It will go into our "reserve" pile to be given to homeless children at some time in the future. The church where the guild meets houses homeless families for a week at a time every few months. In lieu of rental fees, our guild makes quilts for the families.

Usually, these quilts are made as "round robins." However, about a year ago (maybe 2!!) a quilt came back to my mom with the green and yellow as the backing for a red, white and blue top. We made the executive decision that we could find a better back for the original, and then turn that backing into another quilt. I added the machine-applique shapes, and the border, then did some free-form meandering loops on my longarm. I still need to do the binding, which will be the purple from the border.

I think this will be a great quilt to cheer up a child!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I went on the Northern Arizona Shop Hop last month, and I was the winner of a fabulous gift basket from The Quilter's Store in Sedona. This book, 9-Patch Pizzazz, was included, as well as a coffee mug, notepad, journal and 28 fat quarters! I'll have to think up something special for the FQ's...maybe some paper pieced stars from Carol Doak. They are all batiks in lucious desert colors.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy Feet

Yay! I finished my first pair of socks!! They even match (insert oohs and ahhs). The picture on the left is trying to show the eyelet rib pattern, and the Dutch heel. I used a 3 needle bind off, but of course I forgot to turn the sock inside out, so there is a little ridge along the toe.

Next question...what kind of shoes would best showcase the handknit socks?? I'm thinking Keds, but what color? White or blue? My mom has suggested Birkenstocks :-)

I think I'll try Jaywalkers next...I'm addicted!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Seeing Stars

This was my first-ever class at Quilt Camp in the Pines - Sedona Stars with Marti Michell, 2004. Marti is a delightful teacher, and this was a very fun pattern. I chose red, white and blue fabric with the intention of sending the quilt to Operation Homefront, an organization that was giving away quilts to families of fallen soldiers. As a former Air Force officer, and a military brat, I have a soft spot for military charities!

When I came home from camp, I added a few more stars and pieced the top with red sashing. Then, this project went into the UFO bin. I thought about sending it out to be quilted, but then I decided to quilt it myself. I tried one other twin size quilt on my little Janome machine, and it about broke my back. (I get severe pain in my left shoulder after sewing for any length of time. I see a chiropractor regularly and try to stretch. )

But now, I have a longarm! I finally hada break between deadline projects, so I put this on and use a pantograph. That got it done in no time! I went to the LQS this morning to get material for binding (the same red as the sashing). Next I'll have to see if Operation Homefront is still accepting quilts...if not I have a couple other charities in mind.

I quilted this with red, white and blue varigated thread, which wasn't the best option. I love the look of varigated thread ON THE SPOOL, but I'm generally less than thrilled with the result. I have too many spots where the thread matches the background fabric, so you lose the quilting design. I need to order a thread color chart and start building my stash of thread so I don't have to trek an hour across town for each new quilt top!