Friday, January 21, 2011

Side by side

Just wanted to see these all together.

Orange... again?

Some possible additions to the brown bag.  Something is leading me down an orange path... should I resist?  First that darn Chair.  Then the Animal House... Thorny piece...  now it seems to want to creep into the Brown Bag..

I'm going on vacation for two weeks leaving TOMORROW!   Oye! Not packed!   So if I don't post for awhile or reply to questions please don't take it personally. I'll be spending two weeks in Honduras, one week in the town of Copan Ruinas where there are wonderful Mayan ruins. My Rotary club is helping to fund and build a new restroom facility for the school there. The second week I will be SCUBA diving on a tiny island off the coast, called Guanaja. 

I'm already thinking about all the great quilt-art inspiration, from the vibrant colors in the native textiles and arts, to the tropical flowers and plants, to the amazing underwater life on the coral reefs. I'm sure I'll be back with lots of fresh inspiration (and hopefully good photos!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brown Bag Again

Today I discovered this quilt at:  Red Pepper Quilt's Flickr stream.   I love the way the white modulates the patterns.  I have been ruminating on how to preserve the wonderful scale of the prints in my project, and I think this could work!


I've been doing "housekeeping items" lately.  Don't panic, nothing like actually vacuuming or dusting.  I resorted and restacked the fabric that had been threatening to collapse into chaos, and/or fall on the floor.   On the blog I went through and attached a few tags.  Mostly so I can look back at what I did when, I wasn't imagining a great horde of readers out there saying,  "Yes, now I can finally read all the Dear Jane posts!"

Then I saw a blog I liked, and the guy (yes, guy) had numbered all the quilts he ever made.  Obsessive/compulsive that I am, I immediately went into my gallery and did the same.  Counting projects, not just quilts, I'm on 17.  Ten of which were finished in 2010.  The rest UFO's.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brown Bag Partner

My partner in the brown bag challenge has posted the fabrics I sent, and her selections to go with them.   I'm so glad, because I forgot to photograph them before sending.   I really really love the fabrics she's added.  I'm sure it's going to be fabulous.    Here's a link:

andie johnson sews: January Bee Blocks and a Challenge


The brown bag challenge deadline has been extended to April 1.  Whew!  Of course there are still smarty-pants who are done and posting to the Flickr group already.  :P    The new post on the Brown Bag site says:
The "GRAND" prize winner will be chosen by 
a panel of our quilting friends who will review the 
photos and based on design & overall creativity 
(Not fabric styles & color & fabric tastes) they
will pick a winner.

So all my careful auditioning of fabric wasted?  I don't think so - I think that how the added fabrics work with the given ones for the overall look is important.  But now that I have an extra month I wonder if I should try to do something more artsy and less simple....

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I got the block done last night  for the double secret project  - 38 pieces!  It's slightly wonky but I'm not going to worry about it.  One of the pieces was dimensioned wrong, which led me to get confused and spend an hour redrafting it.  that was obsessive, and really unnecessary, but It reassured me that I was not going to mess something up.   It also gave me good practice in how to create a pattern.  I've seen people selling patterns on Etsy, and with the ability and software to draft stuff out in Autocad, I've thought about that as a hobby.  The patterns I've actually bought have always been a disappointment - I end up feeling,  "I could do that,"  But the how-tos and directions are helpful.

If I'd created the pattern for the double secret project, I would have mentioned it would be easy to strip piece some of the smaller parts.

Now:  I hereby resolve that when I get back from vacation, I am not taking on any more volunteer projects, or challenges until I finish a few of these UFO's.  No matter HOW tempting they are.   I still have to do the Brown Bag quilt by March 1, and modify Cloister by March 9 if I am going to submit it to Sacred Threads.

So there.  You heard me.   Read me.  Whatever.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Yesterday was fiberlicious -

I found this gorgeous wool scarf on clearance while hunting for some warm weather items ("Fair trade from Katmandu, made in Nepal").  Also got a great batik dress, some cropped pants, and a linen top, all for well under $100.  

Stopped in to the yarn store where there was some luscious hand dyed cotton, but it was $38 and more than I could ever use in a lifetime.  So I asked the clerk in passing, would you ever consider saving your odds and ends to sell to us fiber-art people?
Like this, she says??  Whoa, yeah,  like that.  Oh, we just give those away for free.  Wow.  What a bonanza.  I'm not sure where or how, but they are going into the double secret project.

And right beside the free yarn - Felted yarn balls.   Sixteen cents each!  Sixteen CENTS!  Not sure why the pic is so dark, they're more cheerful than that.   They should work into the secret project, too, I hope.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Countdown to Vacation

With only 8 days to go until I leave for Honduras, I'm starting to descend into panic mode.  Lots to get done, travel issues to work out,  work that needs to happen while I'm gone.

So I did what any sane quilter would do - agreed to make a block for a project that will be very visible, and will need to be done less than a week after I get back.    I'm out of my mind.  My idea was to get it sewn, so I could take embroidery thread and beads on the trip to work on... but that's silly.  And complicated.  And more stuff to pack....   I might need to back out.  But I really WAAAAANT toooo...    There will be a lot of down time in the airports and on flights and buses....   if I can get it to that point, and efficiently pack the tools and materials needed.

I am really excited that Artitude is getting back together, and there's lots of energy around that.  I spent a little time posting some files last night, but that shouldn't take any more attention now.   I know I won't be working on the January challenge and probably not the February one..but it seems there are enough interested people to keep the group afloat now.   And I won't be doing the January FFFC, either.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still thinking about the Brown Bag.

Okay,  this wonderful piece has pink and aqua and orange, and red... if it works,  can I do something similar????

In other news,  I won a raffle at the guild last night 13 fat quarters or thirds of Japanese fabric, and this book.    I sense a new obsession coming on...

I have seen some beautiful examples in shops, now I have incentive to try my own.   UFO list be danged!

I showed three of my art quilts at Show and Tell last night.  They were pretty well received, I think.  City Hall, Cloister, and Ice.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Playing with a possible pattern

I've been looking at quilts on Flickr and found one that I think I like, and can easily produce.  I won't use the name, because it's probably copyrighted, but I'm not going to reproduce it exactly anyway.   It has simple strip-pieced blocks with the same two fabrics paired in each block.  There are 6-7 pairs in each quilt.  Here are the potential pairs I'm looking at.

My concern is that the quilts I've seen on line were all created from one fabric line, so that all the pairs go together, by default. Except maybe this?  If I am doing my own thing, I may end up with a mish-mash.   Red and Hot pink??
Anyway,  here are six possible pairs.  I like the batik swirls with the AH fab.  I like the pink with the green.
Concerns: Will the white dots disappear adjacent to the white sashing?  Is the peacock/orange too out of character?  I like that blue/orange are complementary.  Without them the whole quilt is too pinky.  I think I can control percentages of each combo used, and where they land...

And for the record,  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this....  but can't imagine doing it!!  And definitely not with these particular colors..... but someday.   She has just published a book, which I probably cannot resist buying.


We've got snow! Nothing to do with sewing but it's so pretty!

And it wouldn't be Milo's Cave without occasional pictures of Milo.

I'm surprised that I don't have dozens of blog posts with that title, it seems to be the story of my life.  After looking at all those Fresh Modern Ideas, I thought I had a direction.  Then as I was just randomly flipping through the most recent QA Magazine my eye fell on a reverse-applique tutorial by Beryl Taylor.    It includes the full-size view of the piece which is shown as a "teaser" on the cover of this DVD.  I'm "quite enamored" of it. And this made me wonder why I was focused on a bed quilt rather than a wall hanging.

But now I'm waffling back the other way.  For one thing, to meet the challenge, I have to use at least 90% of the two yards I was given.  And would stacking them up in pile, then cutting through some and not all really count as "using?"  Might the giver think I "wasted" beautiful fabrics?  Might I think so?  (Yeah, a little).
The other point is that the wall hanging at least in the illustration uses bright solid or finely patterned pieces.  These big bright prints would get lost.

So there.  I talked myself out of at least that wall hanging.  Not to say I won't find another option given a couple more hours to fiddle.  But I have work to do today.  And none of it involves fabric.  :(

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I spent a number of hours yesterday afternoon and evening surfing Flickr for design ideas, particularly the Fresh Modern Quilts group that Andie suggested.  I posted some photos on Flickr a few years ago - Milo's puppyhood, so that must have been four years ago! - but have not used it since then, and never used it as a source for quilts, so this has been fun.  I discovered that there are many open groups that anyone can join... I think I still had in my mind that it was just a place where grandparents could go to see the kids christmas pics and post their boring travel pics.  lol.  I have a few of those up too.

Anywho with the groups and favorites function I was able to quickly create a set of intriguing design ideas for the Brown Bag Quilt.  I want to keep it simple, and use only rectangular pieces.  Many of the designs I like involve bright colored blocks with white or neutral sashing.   I just don't know if I have enough of that in my stash.   I do have the white Kona that I bought for Dear Jane,  I could scavenge that, then just buy more for the Jane project.  I don't want to cheat, but I also don't want to make a beautiful quilt then have ugly backing and binding...  Sigh.

So here are the fabrics I've narrowed it to - at least at the moment.  The white will disappear if it's used next to white sashing, but it could be a good break between two other brights.  Wish I had more of the theme fabric the middle-left.  But it will have to do.


  • sashing and backing
  • blocks that don't destroy pattern
  • enough variation in value but not too much
  • even distribution of colors - is green still an orphan
  • should I design all the blocks or just have at it, making 8 inch squares
  • should I make a full double bed quilt?  I have no use for a twin, and would have to sell or give away.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ohhhhh! Ohhhhh!

I'm such a genius! :)    I must have been psychic to have just bought these pink and red solids!    And can you believe, this peacock blue was a clearance find  - 2 3/4 yards for $10.25!!  I had no idea why I was buying it,  but now it is obvious!

Here are the four original Brown Bag Beauties (upper left) along with a bevy of goodies auditioning for inclusion in the next masterpiece.   Maybe not, with the orange... but then who knows....  There are definitely enough blues and pinks to control the chartreuse that was scaring me, but if "Otranto" (upper left) is to be the star, I need some balance with either a deep brown, or more green/orange.   Argh.  I'm going to study the 19,198 photos on the Fresh Modern Flickr page.  I know this can work.  The one piece I am allowed to buy is probably going to have to be a solid of some sort for sashing...    Maybe I won't go back to work.   ;)

I'm sort of thinking of one of those simple "four-patch slash" blocks, where I could mix and match  prints...

The more I stare at this, the more I think the orange really has a role.  It is very cool that it has the aqua and green in it.

6:00 pm -  Of course I hit Two Thimbles on the way home.  Can there be any doubt that this was meant to be my one purchased fabric?

It's almost a yin/yang relationship....  Love It!   (But of course I may just have to look a tiny bit at Fourth Corner before committing totally).

Brown Bag Fabrics

My fabrics for the Brown Bag Quilt contest  arrived in the mail from my "secret buddy" yesterday!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good reviews

I picked up "Beacon in the Darkness" from the gallery today.    The person on staff was very complimentary and said that Trish, the owner, also liked my piece very much. She invited me to join in some of their figure drawing classes, but that's just not a direction I am drawn in.  However, itt was gratifying - I don't think it was just politeness.  I am pretty pleased with the outcome of that experiment.   Now to figure out what the next step is.

Meantime I can't resist scheming about the Brown Bag quilt.  I had to re-read the rules -  I can add as much as I want from my STASH, but can only purchase one new piece.   Yikes!  Being relatively new at this, and not having a huge stash,  I'm at a disadvantage.

BUT!  I just bought lots of red and pink last week so that counts as stash, right??  Yes!

I bought all sorts of things with this Valentine card plan in mind, then realized the prime time that people might think of purchasing a Valentine on Etsy coincides exactly with my two week vacation.  I wouldn't be able to ship anything while I'm out of the country.   So I'm not sure if I'll even bother.   I may just make a token attempt in order to get through the process of listing and understand how the shop setup works.

My Brown Bag exchange friend has given me some good links to pursue - With these fun colors and prints I think some sort modern block pattern would be good.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marriage? and Thorny

Photos have been pretty scarce around here lately, so here are a couple shots from recent work.  I finished up quilting, cropping and edging "Marriage?"    Zigzagging the edges made it really ruffled  - not sure what the solution to that is - other than don't zigzag.  I didn't care enough about this piece to spend hours in traditional binding or experimenting.  So I'm calling it done.

I have been working on embellishing "Thorny" for the last several days.  It's a good thing to keep busy with in front of the tv...  I don't have any real plan for it.  I just sat down with some print-outs from Laura W.'s Threaducation Thursday tutorials, a box of beads and threads that I had collected up for this and some other earth-toned pieces, and started sewing stuff on.  I like the extra zip that that the metallic threads add.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recycling fabrics

While housecleaning this morning, I heard a wonderful "This I Believe" essay on NPR.  It was about quilting, but also about saving our grandmother's "stuff," something I continue to struggle with...   Better you listen to it than I try to explain it.