Sunday, December 31, 2006

Final Post of 2006

Here's my final project of the year, the Project Linus top. It's a cute design, but this isn't my best work. I hate paper piecing and tried to strip piece the center strips, but had trouble placing them correctly because the paper was too thick. A novelty stripe worked better in a couple of blocks. As a result, there are some pretty crooked center stripes. But it's cheerful and serviceable. I hope other people will try it.

Happy New Year to everyone--I hope it's long on whatever makes you happy, and short on the other stuff!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

WIP Wednesday

Today is the day to really do some post-Christmas clean-up: put away the still scattered gifts, vacuum, pack up the wrapping paper and ribbon, and catch up on the laundry, which doesn't take a holiday. Still no need to cook--hooray! In spare minutes over the last week and a half I have continued to think about the Hoffman Challenge and have a design plan and some fabric choices. These are the fabrics I am currently considering. I will weed out some of the duplicates because I'm not going for scrappy and may substitute others with more pattern if I can find pieces in the right color and value. There are too many solid looking tone on tones here. The design I've planned is very traditional with pretty complicated piecing. It looks good on paper, but I can't get psyched so I may do other things first. There's plenty of time, for sure, but I always start this project in January, and it's worked before. (Looking at this post, I'm even more convinced that these fabrics need more pattern--pretty dull, at this point.)

The newest issue of Quiltmaker has this year's Project Linus project. Very cute--check it out. I think I'll make a couple of rows or even a whole top. I did this last year with the ice cream cone pattern and enjoyed it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mess is Good!

Periodically, we all feel guilty about the clutter that builds up in the studio (sewing room, sweatshop or whatever we call it). Take some time to look at this article from yesterday's The New York Times and relax! I sent this article to everyone I know, and am now sharing with you. It seems particularly timely at this season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WIP Wednesday

Scrooge that I am, I really do have a Christmas tree nonetheless.

And I have done holiday baking. Here is a great new recipe that I discovered this year: Pumpkin-Cranberry bread. This is actually cake like. Very easy, better than banana bread because you don't have to mash bananas, and if made in those aluminum foil pans than have a snap on plastic lid, makes easier gift than cookies. Healthy too--two Super Foods and no bad fat.

Combine dry ingredients: 2 1/4 cup flour, 1 T pumpkin pie spice, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
Mix 2 eggs, 2 cups sugar 1/3/4 cup pumpkin (one can), 1/2 cup oil
Add pumpkin mnixture to flour mixture, stir until moistened. Fold in 1 cup fresh cranberries (It says you can use dried cranberries too, but these would be very different because they're sweet. Haven't tried that.)

Bake in 2 greased 9 x 5 inch-loaf pans at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes.

And I have pinned the beauteous Hoffman Challenge fabric to my design wall and look at it as I walk by.

Some options: Make it disappear.

Funky contemporary batiks.

This coordinate really pops.

Not a totally impossible fabric, but I still have no real ideas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hoffman Challenge

Has anyone else bought the new Hoffman Challenge fabric? What do you think? Mine finally came--I find it pretty, but quite uninspiring, at least so far. If you're thinking about ordering the Hancock's of Paducah pack of fat quarter coordinates, be advised that they are all busy multi-colored prints, several of them the same fabric in a different colorway, only a few tone on tones, (all three green), no variety in value or in type of pattern. I wish I'd saved my money.

Photo as requested. I aim to please.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Uncommon Threads

Did anyone else happen to hear the interview with Gayle Pritchard, author of Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution, on NPR's Diane Rehm Show this morning? If I had known it was going to be on, I would have posted earlier, but just happened to catch it as I was running errands. The book seems to be a history of the "art quilt" movement beginning in the 1970's and the first Quilt National and continuing into the present. Gayle Pritchard did a good job in presenting material, although she must have been disappointed at the level of understanding of the topic shown by both Diane and the callers. Diane herself clearly knows little about quilting (although she says it may be something she would like to do when she retires!), and I thought it was apparent that she didn't "get" some of the quilts pictured in the book. (Of course, potato chip bags sewn together are not for everyone.) Many of the callers had stories about what their grandmother used to do, but few had anything substantive to say about quilting today. Still, it was good to see this subject get some recognition. Interestingly, many of the callers were men.

There are some photos from the book and a link to the book at Amazon on the link to the Diane Rehm Show.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday I went to the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. This is a high end arts/craft fair. Besides prints, glass, pottery, and jewelry, it was full of fiber arts/wearable art stuff, fascinating for anyone who is interested in that. Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures, so I have to try to remember and describe. There were scarves of every description: painted silk, felted, hand-woven, textured silk, knit. One of the most interesting techniques, which was new to me, was scarves made by felting hand dyed merino wool and silk together so that one side was wool and one silk, and very interesting textures and blends of color developed. I coveted these, but $175 was a bit out of my price range even though they should be very durable and warm, really rather practical. The other new technique was scarves made, I think, by sewing together fabric scraps and bits of fiber on a water soluable stabilizer, so that when the stabilizer was removed there was an open, net-like effect of color and texture. Beautiful, but rather fragile.

There were clothes of all types, hand woven jackets, silk jackets, patchwork looking jackets. Felted sweaters were used for patchwork vests, purses, and jackets. There were hats of all types: fleece, wool, felt, knit. These were very popular because Chicago is of course one place where a hat is almost a necessity. Also I remember from my craft days that women seem unable to resist trying on hats, all the while they say "I'm not a hat person," or "I look so stupid in hats." So I don't know if the hats were really selling--but I bought one! I guess I'm a hat person--

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My quilt was accepted at Road to California! I'm very excited since this is first time I've been in a juried show. I won't see it, but that's ok; just having it there is good enough for me. Such good company to be in! Laura , the Quilting Diva has one also.
Since several people asked, I added the link to the earlier post.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Some work

I've been making Christmas cards and a post card for my niece's birthday. The first card was a pattern from Quilter's Newsletter, and the second is my design. The design came out of a Quilt University class, and a small study seemed a good idea. Then there's the usual Christmas stuff: wrapping, mailing, some shopping, some baking, no decorating yet. That may come today, or not. Don't know why, but I detest the decorating part. Once the tree is up, I love it, but the rest of the decorating I could do without. It may be because no one in this male-oriented family seems to even notice, or it may be because my few years of selling at art/craft shows at the holidays made me never want to see a Christmas decoration again. In any case, less is more rules in this household.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Wishes

I know that everyone wants health and happiness for their friends and family, as well as world peace, but just for the heck of it, let's indulge in some selfish quilty Christmas wishes. I personally would like the Koala QuiltMate II Studio Package available at Nancy's Notions for $2595. Or I would be happy to have a week at The Hudson River Valley Art Workshop. I could take a class from either Carol Taylor or Laura Wasilowski. One week is $1270. I passed these wishes on to my husband, and he gave me the blank look. Darn. Or maybe someone would like a tour to the Tokyo Quilt Festival, or an Alaska Quilting cruise with famous teachers, etc., etc. Anybody?