Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's the thing................

The problem with blog exchanges, if you aren't a super productive over-acheiver, and I'm not, is that no matter how badly you want to show your exchange item, for encouragement, or a possible thumbs down, you can't. No matter what. This means, if you haven't done this before, that you are spending your sewing time creating something you can't blog about, and that is rough for me. I do almost all my work by hand, and it's slow going. This is my reason (excuse) for not posting for so long.  If I succumb to the desire to show my "thing", I'll ruin the surprise for know who you are. So, that said, here is block #9 in the yellow quilt, which in spite of Kathy's experience, was most definitely NOT "painless" for me. That drippy pot rim was a trial. I did like how it turned out, though, and that's the main thing.

I have fallen in love with a Dresden plate done by Piece O'Cake in their book Quilts With A Spin, and have been stockpiling fabric for it. I am not generally a floral fabric person. I think it's pretty, but I haven't been able to work it into my last few projects, other than the Broidery Perse in Phebe. I needed that look, not pastel, but soft, and here is what I've accumulated so far:

What do you think? I will add more from my stash, as needed, but this is the new stuff. I think it's really pretty, and feminine. I just remembered some woven plaids, and stripes, that were stowed away out of sight (and out of mind, apparently). So I pulled them out, and discovered these, which add a nice dimension to the softness of the flowers.  If memory serves, most of these are by Roberta Horton, and have been in my stash for a very long time.

If you all have any suggestions, I'd like to hear them. I know once I get going on the quilt, some fabrics will be discarded and others added, because that's just how it goes. I never really know what will work, until I see it cut to the proper size and placed on my design wall. I do love the way Piece O'Cake mixes all the geometrics, and florals, and comes up with that fresh look that is their trademark.

Before I close, I want to share with you a quilt that means a great deal to me. It was made by Bonnie Tooze, a Canadian quilter, and was inspired by my quilt Houston County Elegance. She saw my quilt in Quilt Mania, a couple of years ago, and wanted to re-create it for herself. It was only a small photo, so she had to do a lot  of her own designing, and the result is really beautiful.

You see it here, basted for hand quilting. Bonnie, I just want to say that it means a great deal to know that my work inspired you. Since the first quilt magazine I bought, I've been inspired by so many other quilters, but I guess I never thought that I might have the pleasure of inspiring someone else. Thank you more than I can say for this lovely knowledge. Thanks also for continuing to look for me, when it wasn't easy. Bonnie doesn't have a blog (yet) but maybe she'll join us all one of these days.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, Memorial Day weekend. Go ahead and eat too much, I give you permission, if you need it.  Michele
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Block #8 done!

So far this is my favorite block in this quilt, and it's one that Lisa DeBee Schiller did for a quilt magazine several years ago. It's not actually a part of the Les Fleurs quilt at all. That seems to be how I roll around here. Let me just mention that these leaf/stems, each done in one continuous piece, are definitely trickier than stems that have leaves appliqued separately! I find that good old thread basting helps me tremendously, to keep them from distorting. She does a lot of additional embellishment on her blocks with permanent ink markers, but I am not at all confident that I wouldn't totally ruin my block if I tried to emulate her.


I am afraid I've been on a bit of a binge, fabric wise. After avoiding all these happy, contemporary prints, for a good while now, and not knowing what I might make with them, I've given up with a only a whimper, and a wailing wallet. Here is the first influx:

Tell me those aren't cheerful enough to make your face hurt! I want to do something with a relatively traditional pattern, maybe Dresden Plate, or wedge circles, but use this sort of color scheme to make something very least from my normal fare. I must say they make me smile, and that feels like a positive thing. I have some Momo Freebird, and some Sanae Oz, on order, too. Check here, and here for some really great prices this weekend, particularly on Moda contemporary lines.

Many thanks to my blog friends Mayleen, Corliss, and Bonnie (no blog), who let me know that two of my quilts have been published in magazines! I had no idea, and I'm grateful to them for the "heads-up"). Now I just need to attempt to locate back issues of the magazines to take a peek. Apparently, Texas Hay Rake is in recent issues of both Quilt Mania, and Austalian Patchwork and Applique. and Houston County Elegance was in an issue from back in Spring of 2008. I think you all know how you'd feel to make into these publications, and all I can say is, if you see a quilt by someone you know, in a magazine, don't assume that the quilt maker knows about it. Let her hear from you. I know I will always do so from now on. Bonnie is an even bigger thrill, because she was inspired by Houston County Elegance to make her own interpretation. She couldn't locate me until she recently found me on an Autralian blog!!! How strange is that? She lives in Canada, I'm in Texas, and she found me through an Aussie blog. Just cool, is what I think. If she gives me permission, I will publish her version on this blog at a future date.

Is anyone interested in making clamshells with the English Paper Piecing method? I am, even though I'm intimidated by the process. If you are interested in a sew along, rather like the hexagon One Flower Wednesday girls, and the klosje girls, let me know. A couple of bloggers are doing them and there are super instructions to be found here.

Have a super weekend, and enjoy your stitching. Michele
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

A quiet week in the country.............

How's everybody been? My pyhsical therapy is really working for me, and I am so happy about it! The doctor seemed to think I was in for a long haul, but my range of motion has improved a great deal after only 5 visits. The exercises are quite uncomfortable, but manageable, and I am grateful that the doctor referred me  to the therapist.  I mentioned last time that I had signed on to do a sew along project with Kathy from this book by Melinda Bula:

Excuse the glare, I have no idea how to avoid the flash doing that on shiny things. Anyway, I decided , to try something different, for me, and use black and white polka dots for backgrounds. Of course, this meant I had to order new fabric. Ahem. I know I don't need to explain this to any of y'all. It all came in this week, and though you would think there would be repetition............there isn't. How can there possible be so many variations on black and white polka dots? I don't know, but check it out for yourselves.

Kathy is fusing her version, but fusible web is against the law in my sewing room, so mine is going to take a lot longer to make. I don't even know that it'll be done by Christmas, but, guess what, I don't care. I never sign up for stuff. I've avoided signing up for things all my life, and now, because of blogging, I find myself involved in two exchanges, and a sew along. This is all exciting for me, particularly the exchanges, but a little anxiety producing as well. What if they don't like what I make? Let's face it, it could happen. I know it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I was brought up to try and please, and I can't help myself. I suppose I need to toughen up.

There are 17 different fabrics in the pile. I think I'll only be using the white dots on black backgrounds for the Christmas quilt, but after seeing them all together, I had to go to Fabricworm and buy some bright, contemporary, prints, fabrics I've been avoiding, as a genre, for the last 18 months, to make something "fresh, and modern" wiith the whole group. I don't know how fresh and/or modern I may be, but the whole idea of a quilt with black/white/bright prints  is sort of stimulating to think about. Because I don't have anything else to make on my list.................................I know, lies, all lies.

I completed the 7th block of the yellow quilt a week ago, so here it is. I believe it needs a little embroidery to finish it up. Certainly the bird needs an eye, at the least.

Block #8 is kind of a doozy, with the most complicated vine/leaves so far. It is my favorite, though, and I'm enjoying the making of it. I think when it is finished, I will have to start on the first snowflake of the Christmas quilt, just to make a beginning. I'm not good at going back and forth. I'm also two blocks behind on the Beyond the Cherry Trees BOM

That said, I think I should stop blogging and go back to appliqueing! Happy stitching all, Michele
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