Friday, November 23, 2007

Feasting and Family

Aidan tastes some apple pie juice,

while Conor works on his smile.

Actually these were taken last weekend, not at Thanksgiving, but they certainly fit the theme! We had a very quiet but excellent dinner. My son tried the new high temperature method of cooking a turkey, and it was delicious, moist and juicy. An under-16 pound turkey can be cooked at 450 degrees in about 2 hours, with 30 minutes resting time. You need an accurate thermometer for this, I think, but it worked for us. I hope everyone else's day was happy, and if you shop, don't drop.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dumb is Good

Sometimes you can have design decision overload, and it's good to have some no-brainer projects to fall back on. That's my state right now. I have almost finished this little charity quilt for one of my guilds, using flannel scraps left over from the quilts I made the twins. It's good to accomplish something simple and useful. I hope to finish the binding this afternoon.

These split nine-patch blocks came from idea in a class taught by Mary Ellen Hopkins. Her idea is to cut scraps into small squares, keep them in an orderly way, and between other projects, or in a few minutes of non-creative time, stitch up a block. After a long time, you have enough for a quilt. The blocks can be arranged in any log cabin set. I have made one already, (it took about two and a half years), and I have about 90 blocks toward another.

Individual blocks are sometimes amazingly ugly, but the overall effect can be striking, I think.

And finally, to use up the many neutral strips I seem to have collected, I started making small nine patches. I have no plan for them yet, but there is no hurry. Some day, I'll feel like a decision again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Still Smiling

This morning, on The Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keillor quoted Robert Louis Stevenson: "Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits."

So with that in mind, here's my orchid quilt, top finished, ready to quilt. No further comment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chicago Quilt Fest

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this show was meeting Debi of Dubi Quilts. We had lunch, a good chat, and walked around to discuss our favorite parts of the show. Debi also gave me a package of her hand dyed fabric, which I am delighted to have! Debi has just posted her very large collection of photos at this link. Mine are only a hint.

This is the second year for this Mancuso show, the finale of the World Quilt Show, in the Chicago location, and it is still trying to find its feet, I think. The quilts are excellent, and in my opinion the number of vendors is about right (fewer than the spring Chicago show). The crowd is rather small though--tough on vendors and organizers too. I hope the show will grow and not just fade away.

At the top of the post is the Best in World, made by Patricia Delaney of Abington, Ma. Bad light and difficult to photograph colors keep this from showing up well. The background is dull rose and the compass blocks are in various grayed tones with a machine embroidered flower in center.

Now for a few of my favorites, those I thought were especially striking and unusual:

This is made by Kristin LaFlamme, who's on the Artful Quilters ring, I think. It's called Dream Forest--I love the abstract overall design of a forest, and then when you go closer, you see more forest and a castle drawn with the quilting. I loved this quilt.

Rolling into Spring by Sonia Bardella, Italy. A wonderful photograph style quilt. There's lots of machine embroidery details in this too, everything beautifully integrated into the whole.

Bawa's Door by Lin Simpson, South Africa. Each block is a different door, with embroidered flowers, shrubbery, and other detail, and the whole is a door shape, with hinges and latch. The colors are lovely, and so is the workmanship.

I owe an apology to the maker of this quilt from the Hoffman Challenge collection because I missed her name. It's a great little quilt though. I like the whole Erte looking design, the wonderful quilting patterns, and the brilliance of that fabric choice for the woman's body. I always admire things I would never have thought of in a hundred years!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Creative Mess

Allison Aller just posted pictures of her work area in the midst of heavy creativity, and in her case creativity with wonderful results. A few weeks ago, inspired by reading about other bloggers who were rearranging and making beautiful work spaces, I took some pictures of my mess. I never posted these and actually deleted the photos. But here is the current state. This is actually rather neat. We had guests last weekend, and I spent a day organizing and purging. I have lots of space, but it has developed ad hoc without any attempt to make an attractive area, or even one that is the most efficient. But I can find anything I need, and it works for me. As I commented on Allie's blog, while cleaning I found this quotation posted on my bulleting board: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. My philosophy!

The hanging plastic bags came from a library supply place several years ago. Libraries use them to store children's book/cd sets, and I use them for odd untrimmed scraps sorted by color. They're wonderful.

I'm off to Chicago this afternoon to babysit with the twins this evening and then spend some time tomorrow at the Chicago Quilt Expo. I'll report next week.