Monday, February 27, 2012


Our workroom, where we spent most of our time.
 The last few days, I was one of Twenty-one members of the Museum Quilt Guild who spent a happy weekend at Camp Asbury on a retreat!!!
The afternoon of the day we arrived.
 It is a lovely location, right on Silver Lake.  A few of us spent at least part of the weekend with our cameras pointed out the window.  Partially because of the scenery, and partly because of the "interesting" weather!

On Friday- the day we arrived- it was warm for February and a few of us went for a walk.  That's when I took this picture.  We were gone maybe 20 minutes.  By the time we got back the sky was ominously grey and the wind was picking up.  less than 5 minutes after we got back inside, the rain/ sleet started pelting the windows.

The next morning- after listening to the wind howl half the night- this is what it looked like outside.  We were all very glad it hadn't been like this the day before, and that we could just stay inside where it was warm and sew!!

Saturday afternoon
Later on Saturday, the wind was still blowing, but the sun peeked out!
Morning on the day we went home

On Sunday Morning, the blue sky was back and the snow started to melt a bit, so we had an easier time packing up and driving home!  Winter in Western NY isn't usually this cooperative.

Aside from the weather, there was sewing, of course!
I brought a couple of things with me that I had been pushing aside, but really wanted to work on.  The first was a "One Block Wonder" I started a couple of years ago at another sewing day with Guild friends.  I had the blocks all pinned out, just had to get them sewn together.  Now I'll be looking for a border fabric.  This started with a piece of Jane's fabric from her "Sunshine and Shadow" collection. (not sure it's still available anywhere)  I may have one of the other pieces I can put with it, even!

The other project I really wanted to get finished at retreat was a mini"twister" quilt.  I got the pattern and the tool at "Jamboree" last spring.  It looked so cute on the store, and I had done the "Square dance" quilts before- using a template instead of the rotary cutting tool.
Here's how it works:
You piece squares together and add the border.  The border fabric was way too wide, which p***ed me off, because I wasted quite a bit of my lovely fabric!
The whole thing is about 23 inches square at this point.

Then you use the teeny little tool and a baby rotary cutter to cut it all apart. This step took me over 2 hours!  Cutting around this ruler requires some acrobatics and a strong wrist.

Sew it back together

The quilt top is now 10 inches square!  Each little pinwheel block is one inch!

Quilt and bind!  (Not easy or peasy!)

If anyone wants to try it, I know where you can get the pattern and tool- cheap!

My Green Tip this time may be a repeat, but it is timely after the retreat!
When traveling, attending a meeting or conference- or retreat- remember to bring your own coffee cup, travel mug, or water bottle. Many of the ladies had them and used the coffee service all weekend or refilled their water from the cooler upstairs,  eliminating the need to use disposable cups, etc.  (Thanks, girls!!)

I am grateful for:
A wonderful weekend with good company!
Getting two projects out of their ziploc bags!
Well scheduled weather.  :-)
The girls who put the time into planning the retreat.
Hubby taking care of himself for a weekend so I could go play.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Well, I did it!

"Princess Argiope"

I actually turned my precious spider quilt over to the post office on Friday.  She is on her way to Paducah, Ky- to the AQS.  Then they  will take her to be hung  in the show in Lancaster in just a few weeks!  I am still amazed every time I think of it. I felt like I won the lottery when I got the letter saying they had accepted my quilt!

I posted pictures when I finished her, but am not sure I ever did tell the whole story.
I bought Jane Sassaman's book, the Quilted Garden when it was new. (out of print, but available as a download from AQS) I read it cover to cover immediately and set out  to the garden to study the flowers and find one to inspire me to make a quilt.  I took tons of pictures, and in the process I found this spider.
In my youth I was terrified of spiders and would have smashed her with a rock, but now that I'm over that ( I was determined not to teach my sons to be afraid of them when they were very little, so we spent time learning about spiders and studying the ones we found in the gardens), I decided this is a beautiful creature.  I recently learned some people call them "zipper spiders" because of the way they make their webs.
This species is Argiope Aurantia.  I watched her all summer.  Yes, I'm saying her.  You can tell the difference between the males and the females!  The design on her back reminded me of one of those buddhist goddess figurines with the many arms and the wonderful headdresses.  So I started calling her "Princess Argiope".

The following year, I had occasion to take a design class with Jane.  I wanted to use the spider in the class, but the supply list specified flowers, so I used the picture of the flowers I took in class to create this quilt. (This is the one at the top of my blog)

 I then  spent months reading some of the books Jane recommended and studying art books for inspiration.  Finally I created the spider,but couldn't decide what to do with her, until I found a Dover book of art nouveau alphabets and such that also had some designs like paper snowflakes and the lightbulb came on to make the web that way!

It took me three years to make this quilt because I kept stopping when I got stuck on something.  I wanted to make a border but nothing looked right, so I ended up cutting away a section of the background before making the facing.
I want to encourage all my art quilting friends to take the chance to enter a piece into one of these shows.  I know each of them has apiece that would be accepted!!!  It's an amazing feeling.

My green tip for today is to ask that you try and encourage someone you know- your boss, your husband, the other people in your office... to be more aware of what they are and are not recycling.  My boss catches herself when throwing away papers she printed in error now, so it's working!  :-)

I am grateful for:
a girls day with Mary
the upcoming retreat
the raffle quilt is almost done!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feels good to finish!

I was thrilled to be the recipient of an iPad for Christmas in December.  Although it came with the cool magnetic cover (as a separate gift) I wanted to have a case to carry it safely when I decide I need to carry it with me.  I looked at what others had made, patterns available and cases for sale to decide what features I wanted.  This is what I came up with- designed by the seat of my pants as I went.  You can't see it well, but it has hotfix crystals on the front flap, since I just love sparkly stuff.

 The sides of the case have velcro so it can be opened up like a "folio".  It has a pocket for a small pad of paper, and a pen.  At the right end you can see the charger and cord sticking out from their pocket.  Next to that is the pocket for headphones.  The iPad itself (at the left end) fits neatly into its own pocket- padded and reinforced with Timtex. The blue is the magnetic cover.  I really should get the lime green one to match the case, right?   It wouldn't survive being dropped from a bridge, but I won't worry about the rest of the crap I carry in my purse damaging it now!
I also made myself a new bejeweled "port-a pocket".  This is a sort of necklace bag- although I often wear them around my waist. (many skirts and dresses just don't look right with pockets added!)  I keep my brain in there!  I started doing this years ago.  I needed a place for the little reminders to myself I can't live without.  Currently I am using little books made from a single sheet of paper.  (Here's how!)  I have lots of these little pockets, which are also handy for carrying cell phones, tissues, cash and credit cards... whatever small items you don't have pockets for, but want to keep in a handy spot.
The sparkles on this one were added by hand.

I also got another section of my "liberated" project quilted , bound and attached to the previous pieces.  This is a cover for small bookshelves in my guest room/ studio.

 I played with some quilting designs from Modern Quilting Designs
along with some of the same designs I had used on the other sections. 

I haven't figured out if you're supposed to do the feathers first, or make the swirly shapes and then fill them with feathers, but enjoyed doing it enough to try it again.

Unfortunately you can't see the cool feather swag I did in the pale floral print on the front.  It looks pretty good on the back, though.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the spiral quilt today.  I titled it "Never Together Never Apart".
I hope you can see the quilting.  I'm pleased with this piece because it in no way detracted from the beauty of the fabric, but when you look at it, there's a whole different design.  Sort of two pieces of art in a single quilt!

All in all, I had a good week!

My "green" tip this time is one I hadn't thought of until I saw it in a list of tips I read!  Do you go to the car wash often?  Do they recycle their water?  If you don't know- ASK!  If they don't, find one that does!  In the summer months you can help your lawn and wash your car by doing it at home with a bucket of soapy water, a sponge and your hose!

I am grateful for:
Jake wasn't seriously hurt in his fairly serious accident!
Pretty flowers from my boss for Valentine's day.
Audiobooks (how did I ever sew before I tried them?!?)
It wasn't an actual emergency.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New to me

I got this book late last year. The authors suggest you do a technique a week, which sounded good, so I've been trying to make time to do it.  (they also suggest making each technique into a tiny art quilt which goes into a  book.  Wish I had the time and inclination for that, but...)  The fabrics are out of my scrap basket, which explains why some are weird or not quite appropriate for the technique.

The first section is sort of background - or "foundation" techniques.

So far, I have tried a fused weaving technique, which I loved!

The tuck techniques are easy, but I'm not sure I'll have a place for them in my work any time soon

Inserting bits and pieces into the tucks could come in handy.

Making bubbles and wrinkles was LOTS of fun.(even if I'm not sure how I'd use it )

I kind of like the "deconstructed" crazy quilting.  Anytime I can use sparkly threads and fun stitches is fine with me.

I finally got to work on the quilting on that gorgeous spiral fabric. I'm having fun with this, too.   This will hang in my office when it's done.  The sun and moon is kind of what the program director had chosen as a trademark for the "sleep" program.

The Green Tip this week is one that will not help our economy, but it will save you money and help preserve our resources.  The media tries to convince us everyday that we "need" the newest of everything. We do NOT.  So before you toss a perfectly good (insert item here) , ask yourself if you really NEED a new one.  If you answer yes, remember someone else may think your old one is the newest and best!!  Pass it on!

I am grateful for:
A nice call from Guy!
It was a pretty good game even if the wrong team won.
The luxury of play time.
Being a friend.