Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WIP Wednesday

I actually have some work in progress today. First, FINALLY the borders are on this Australian circle wall hanging. I had put this off, thinking it was going to be so hard to audition the various fabrics for the border, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. I stitched the diagonal seams and mitered borders together with little problem too. A relief. When I took the picture I was debating whrether to keep the border six inches wide or cut it to 4 1/2 as it is on the top and right side. I have since cut it, and I think that was the right decision. My other project is putting together these nine patch blocks which came from a retreat block swap a year ago. I'm going to use a strippy set with black and some sort of bright on block sashing between the strips. I don't know about the border, but I won't buy fabric, that's for sure.

I'm posting early because Blogger seems to be cooperating--

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bah Blogger

Is anyone else finding Blogger totally insufferable lately? I know they were down for maintainance, but beyond that, whenever I try to read blogs they take forever to load, or the blog loads but not the comment screen, etc., etc. I haven't even tried to post myself. Is Beta really better? And when you get a Google account and have to give a user name and password should you use a different one or is it ok to keep the same one? I think someone said they had trouble by using the same name? I really will change one of these days soon, just haven't had enough spare brain energy for the effort.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We spent Saturday afternoon and evening in downtown Chicago. I didn't take a camera because the forecast was for rain all day, but the rain held off until late evening, so although this made for a wonderful day, I have no pictures. It was a glorious day: blue lake, the bright green grass along the lakeshore, the skyline as wonderful as it always is, the trees full of rust and gold, and because it's been so warm, the fall flowers in Mayor Dailey's please-the-tourists landscaping still in full bloom. And there were lots of tourists to please, many of them in town for the Chicago Marathon. Not us though--much less disciplined and more self-indulgent, we had a delicious dinner at Blackbird, and then saw Deborah Voigt in Salome. Both were memorable. For non-opera fans, (and fans too, I guess) the big news about this performance is that Deborah Voigt, who was fired by London's Covent Garden about two and a half years ago for being too fat for her role, had bariatric surgery and has lost almost 150 pounds. The experience didn't seem to hurt her voice, and she looked wonderful, although maybe a bit haggard. You have to admire the guts of this--it's supposedly tough surgery, she's not young, and the demands of her career must make the experience doubly difficult. But if anything could make it worthwhile, the reception she got Saturday night would do the job. I loved the opera; the story is sordid, if not downright sick, but the music is wonderful. This is one opera you stay awake for, even after a great dinner and a bottle of pinot noir! (It's short too; we drove home in the rain--what a letdown!)

Just an update on some past posts. Here is the stitching on last week's "venting frustration" piece. Thanks to everyone for their kind comments about this. I liked it myself, but it's good to hear other people did too. I agree with the idea of a repeated block and may do that sometime in the future. But for now I'm just going to finish this small thing and use it for a little wall piece. The stitching is bobbin work using Ricky Tims' Razzle Dazzle thread--great stuff. I find that glitter thread doesn't show up well in photos though, at least not on my camera. The thread and stitching just looks uneven and patchy. In planning exactly where to put the lines of stitching I put the photo into Adobe Illustrator and drew the lines on a new layer to be sure of the best place to get that repeated angle I wanted. This worked really well, except I don't know how to make the lines straight, so they were wobbly! Technosavvy, I'm not, but I'm sure some people could carry this ideas further. I'm not sure what to do next on this piece. I think I'll just do enough quilting to outline the slashed part and make the bobbin work stand out, bind it, and call it quits.

I also finished the Christmas quilt I made for my sister. This is from Alex Anderson's book Fabric Shopping. It's a simple, but very attractive design I think, using both seasonal and other fabrics.

And finally, I sent off the baby quilt I complained about, and got a fast, very charming thank you note. So I eat my words.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A greeting to all--

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What's Going On?

This is not about quilting, so skip if you want. I just have to rant about a commercial I saw last night while watching the National League Championship Series. It was for Burger King, I believe. I'll try to reproduce it for your edification.

Office scene, slightly heavy, nerdy guy sitting at computer. Beside him, perched on a desk, I'm sure with crotch totally visible, is attractive female coworker who coos: Want a bite of my Croissantwich? Nerdy guy, with eyes averted: I don't like French things. Girl (still cooing suggestively): What about bikinis? Nerdy guy (turning to face her and leering): How about French kisses? Girl (drawing back in disgust) Oooh, gross! Enter Mr. Cool Stud male coworker. Girl: What's the French word for creepy? Stud: Le ------ (I didn't catch this). Nerd (confused): That's my name. Stud: I know.

That's it, in its entirety, unless I missed something. Now, I ask, what is happening? Why does Burger King think it's ok to present a woman as a brainless, heartless c--kteaser, and men as leering goons, or worse, cruel macho jerks? What is the demographic this is supposed to appeal to? At first I thought not too bright male twenty-somethings, but then I lowered it to high school kids, but actually, the level is about middle school. I'm also not sure why it bothers me so much, but it sure does. Any one else? Am I over-reacting?

Monday, October 16, 2006


I've been planning a lovely October piece: falling leaves, poem, hopefully very lovely. But today I decided to EXPRESS MY MOOD! So I pieced this dark block, and then slashed it in half. Very satisfying. And it was rather stress relieving. But of course, now I don't know what else to do with it. It's actually a neat looking block by itself, but I could either embellish, slash some more, or leave it as it is. Maybe it's served it's purpose.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gee's Bend Quilts

Recently Debra Spincic wrote a wonderful review on her blog about this exhibit. For anyone in this area who is interested, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is hosting the exhibit until December 31. The Indianapolis museum is worth seeing anyway, I think. They have a small but interesting collection, especially of American and Midwest Impressionists, and the grounds and gardens are beautiful. You can also tour the restored Lilly Mansion. If anyone is looking for a good fall road trip, this would be one. You can also visit Quilt Quarters in nearby Carmel, Indiana. This is a great shop. So there--another plug for Indiana tourism.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Work in Progress

It has not been a good week for creativity, for reasons I won't go into. Here's the progress on the baby quilt. Actually this took two hours Tuesday, so obviously it has been a VERY slow week. The border is of course still not done, but if I actually can get going on it, it won't take long either. Funny thing though--I have had the fabric on my table for several weeks and finally cut into it Tuesday afternoon. That night my nephew's wife went into labor, a week overdue. Don't you think she owes me one?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today I drove to Shipshewana, Indiana, in the heart of northern Indiana's Amish country. Shipshewana is just a small town, but like many other Amish areas, it has become a bit touristy full of shops selling made-in-China tschotskes (sp?) But its main attraction for me and other quilters are the wonderful quilt shops. The first is Yoder's Department Store. It really is a department store, selling all sorts of clothes, hardwarde, and other products geared to a rural and largely Amish and Mennonite customer base, but it has a wonderful selection of quilt fabrics. As you can see it was a busy morning there.

Some fabrics:

Then I went on to Lolly's in the Davis Mercentile Building. This building was completely destroyed by fire about a year and a half ago, but is better than ever. Lolly's has even more fabric than Yoder's and a large selection of finished quilts. They are locally made, and handquilted by the Amish women in the area. Lolly's looks a bit "matchy-matchy" for my taste, but the array of colors in wonderful, and as you can see, not everyone has fallen for the large pieces type of quilt.

This quilt is of course the kind you would expect to see. It's being raffled to aid a local organization.

This hand dyed over-dyed wool is something I haven't seen before. The colors are luscious.

And a final word from Amish country:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Work in Progress Wednesday--sort of

Pretty pathetic ammount of work in progress here. First there's the Quilt of Valor that Deb Geyer quilted. The quilt itself is not pathetic; it's just that it has been "in progress" for a long time. One more side of the binding to do. The stack of fabric represents fabric chosen to make a very quick baby quilt for my nephew's baby. Since this will be the third I've made a quilt for and I have never received a thank you note, it's hard to get too enthusiastic. However, I am TOLD by my sister that they like the quilts, and I have seen pictures of them in use, so I believe it. My kids aren't that great about thank you's either.

What else have I done today? I vaccumed because my book group is coming tomorrow, I had my hair done, and I helped my son revise his resume. Now I think I'll spend the rest of the day reading Bob Woodward's book. A sweep--no sewing!