28 May 2011

A dozen roses...

Several months ago, my friend Denise, shared a photo of a some bedding she wanted to buy, along with a pretty decorative pillow that completed the ensemble. It's a very pretty grouping from Target.
At the time, I believe they'd just upsized to king-size which presented a perfect shopportunity! Good girl! About one month ago, she approached me about making some fabric roses that would match to go around two bedside table lamps. We visited, I took photos, and I got a better idea of what she wanted. I even got to take the pillow with me!

Shopping for matching color for roses and perhaps, for curtains
Right after that, I went to the Hancock Fabrics down the street to get some ideas. Apparently I was so entranced, that I did not realize they were closing soon (half the lights going out didn't nudge my awareness meter a bit) until I saw them locking the door after another group of shoppers left. I was thinking it was getting kinda hard to see the color matches with the dimmed lighting—did they not pay their light bill? Apparently those were not the only dim bulbs in the store. Duh on me—they close at 6 p.m. on Saturday! I took pictures of matching and complementing fabric and apologetically left the store. They were very kind and said they wouldn't have kicked me out until they'd finished vacuuming. By the way, it's difficult getting this color to photograph consistently, but trust me, they really were close matches!

The option that excited me most was one that resembled mattress/pillow ticking fabric. Even though Denise also liked the ticking, she still opted for the matching solid option. I used 3.5" x selvage-to-selvage width strips; sewed them into tubes with long basting stitches; turned them inside out; pressed crisply along seam and opposite edge; folded each; stuffed the 'stem' in an upside-down drink carrier until I was ready to hand-stitch through each to hold together; and then ironed on a interfacing circle on the back to cover the stitching.

As I was about half finished, I had the feeling I wanted to store/give them in an interesting container. My brain, working like the conveyor contraption at the dry cleaners, creaked, clicked and clacked until it came up with 'hey, there's that Braum's cookie package that's almost empty!' Ah, ha, I have to get rid of that last peanut butter cookie—big sacrifice for a friend and all. So, just a little while ago, I dropped off to Denise her dozen roses—actually a baker's dozen! She loved them, but maybe was a little disappointed there was no cookie hiding at the bottom.

This past Tuesday, I attended my first class at Oklahoma Quiltworks. I learned how to do paper piecing. It's a piecing technique that is incredibly precise in creating/aligning points, but required my brain to limber up far earlier in the day than I'd normally try. I liked the process. I loved the results. Shifting my paradigm of approach will take some time. I can see it being very practical in some applications but not necessary or desirable for all. Debbie Aldridge taught a fun and informative class! And get this, we were so spellbound by the instruction, none of us pounced on the snacks (a three-flavor danish ring from Panera and some mini-muffins) until after the class was over!

My other in-progress piece is a baby quilt for a lovely little lady who joined the world on the 17th of this month. These are some of the pieces. (More details in posting to come.) After a little hit-and-miss, I am to the point of pinning together the quilt sandwich. I hope to have it ready to deliver next week. Can't wait to see that precious little girl, Cairo!

14 May 2011

3-3 Playoffs...

Coinciding with the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team being in the playoffs, I happened to be working on a simple quilt for my wonderful son, Matt. Several weeks ago, I asked him what theme of quilt I could make for him, more or less for his 26th birthday. He said OKC Thunder. Really? Really. Hmm. Okay. I think this happened around the time I received an email from Savage Quilter mentioning they just received some Thunder fabric. Ahh...an idea and a resource. Tah dah!

The Thunder fabric print is overwhelmingly busy. I first considered cutting out squares or panels or strips and combining that with other fabrics. I decided it wasn't going to help the design that much and might delay delivery. After some guidance on the backing color (chose a wavy gradient in shades of blue [moda's Puzzle Pieces]), and finding a remnant of basketball fabric, I was set. Because the remnant was pretty small, it wound up determining the size and proportions. I inserted strips of the blue diamond print to 'stretch' the border.

I wound up doing more hand sewing on this than I'd intended, but, as I discovered with my recently finished two-sided quilt, stitching in the ditch and having it line up on both sides is tricky. I machine quilted it together in a stair-step pattern. Then the bias binding didn't go on the first time as I'd hoped. Rip it out, reattach, hand-stitch the back. Done!

I'll give it to Matt this weekend, hopefully in time for the Thunder to go ahead and win that fourth of seven games. If so, then another playoff series. Basketball season last forever.

Next...my third BOM block, or that pink or blue Baby Polk quilt, or...who knows?

08 May 2011

Another finished quilt...

I've been working on this quilt for some time. Once I got the top done, with all its subtle progressions of color, I decided I wanted to do a patchwork back to it.  I started with the same grid as the top then began plotting out a new and simpler design for the back. One thing I especially liked about the backing was there were no corners or points to align. I basted the top and back together, in hopes the machine quilting would align and look 'good' on both sides.
I first stitched within the nine colored squares, one 'row' in. It was kind of hit and miss on seams lining up*. Sigh. Then I did three rows of decorative stitching each way from edge to edge. Good. Everything's joined together, but a little puckered on one side. Time for binding. My miters didn't work out just right the first time so I ripped off the binding and took a bigger seam allowance and finally tried out my 'walking foot' on my machine.
I'd never used one before and now see it would have helped me from * the beginning. Double sigh, but I know better now. Because this quilt has been bangin' around the house for a couple of months, picking up lint and critter fur, I washed it when I was done. Not only did it clean it up, all the puckering seemed to even out. Kinda looks like it was done that way on purpose—"oh, yes, I meant to do that." Yuppers! Made of 45 different batiks, this 50" x 50" quilt is my 'watching TV quilt.'

I am very happy to have this done since buying the Bali Pop pack in mid-January from Quiltworks. The purple and gold backing fabrics and binding came from Savage Quilter. The next one on deck is an Oklahoma City Thunder themed one for my son, Matt. They're still in the playoffs. Thunder Upwhatever.


The name for my Bernina is officially Bertie! With a nod to "The King's Speech," I know this name will mark in time when I got her. Earlier I was leaning toward another name of Britain/England—Bess for QE the first. But Bertie it is!

And to think, I so disliked Colin Firth's well-played character, Lord Wessex, in "Shakespeare in Love"—a nearly perfect movie (also with Geoffrey Rush). Over the past couple of years, I've intentionally watched more of his movies and very much enjoy the variety and texture of his characters.

And if you've never seen it, try to catch the short film "Harvie Krumpet." It's an interestingly odd clay animation piece lovingly narrated by Geoffrey Rush. Here is a YouTube link.

From Bertie and me, goodnight!