Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Completion - Quilted Ornament

Here is the little Christmas ornament I made for Vickie's pink & green Christmas tree. It's my October completion for the one project a month challenge.

This was my first attempt at working in miniature, which poses challenges all its own. I think it looks like a tiny little quilt... with beads 8) And at least I know that Vickie won't have another one like it despite her thousands of Christmas ornaments. And she's a tremendous crafter too, so I think she will appreciate it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great Links from the Houston Festival Vendors

I didn't buy too much in Houston last weekend, but I picked up lots of information on merchandise that intrigued me. I've been checking out their websites since I got home and here are some of the best ones:

Laga Handbags & Travel Bags - I seriously LOVED these. Each Laga handbag is handmade by, and sustains, a tsunami survivor. Their website is awesome; be sure to check out the video. I'm considering getting a travel bag and a purse. They would also make wonderful Christmas gifts. Get this, they're made on foot-powered sewing machines.

Great Ruler - I wanted to buy one of these, but we couldn't find the booth the next day when we went back. There were SO many vendors and all the rows looked pretty much alike. lol I think I'll get one on-line.

Joy's Fabrics & Quilts - My favorite purveyor of great hand-dyed fabrics. She's a local (Godley, TX) so I see her at every show. I never fail to buy something. Her pastel fat quarter collection is the greatest! I branched out into her Earthy Greens/Golds FQs this time, 8 for $20. Not bad!

High Fashion Fabrics - I finally broke down and bought a yard of that naughty shirtless cowboy fabric. (It's getting hard to find!). I think there's a very special pillowcase in my future. Also a great source for cuddly velour.

Splinters & Threads - Great redwork embroidery for my Bernina. I'm thinking about doing a BOM Christmas quilt next year (from last month's shop hop) with embroidery blocks mixed in.

Pincushion Boutique - Excellent source of fat quarter collections called "Sweet Treats". I bought the "Freshly Fallen Snow" collection of 8 FQs for next year's Christmas quilt for $21.95. It's 8 white on whites, no two alike. I may need more 8-).

DbarJ Quilts etc - Cool source for a square up ruler that really caught my eye.

Dutch Quilter - I had never heard of hot ribbon before. It's a no-sew technique that provides a very nice finish for rough edged applique. Sweet!

French Connections - Great source for french and african fabric and baskets.

Meg Hannan Rag Sky Art Studio - Very interesting fabric "jewels". I had never seen anything like this before. Pretty cool.

Pin Peddlers - OK, I just love pins. And they make great little gifts too. Very nice website.

Sewing Machine Cases - Bags to fit every possible sewing machine; accessory bags too.

And would you believe these people don't have websites yet? Come on, people, it's almost 2010 already!

Sew Steady Portable Tables - I really liked their portable sewing tables with the bendable light. Nice looking, solid acrylic. Supposedly you order by the model number of your machine (from Featherweights on up, sergers too.) The biggest one is 2 feet square.
Email:, phone: 1-800-837-3261 Ext. 5.

Make your Own Quilt Labels - I watched this woman make the prettiest label for several minutes. I believe you purchase a book of traceable patterns, which you transfer to your label material, then finish off with Pigma Pen painting. Very delicate and lovely. Almost bought the book. Would have, but nearly all my quilts are donated to the USO and don't need a personalized label. 8(
Email:, phone (563) 324-8128

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Houston Quilt Show in Detail

Larry and I went to Houston for the Quilt Festival this past weekend. Wow. It was incredible. I was awed by the quilting and artistry that was on display. It was very humbling.

We took MANY pictures of probably 10% of the quilts. I took multiple detailed pictures of many of the quilts. I'm going to be making multiple slideshows so people don't have to slog through hundreds of pictures because I hate that! Here goes:

Tribute to Tolkien by Sue McCarty of Roy Utah. Congratulations on winning the Pfaff Master Award for Machine Artistry ($5000) AND the Viewers' Choice Award ($500).

A Tribute to Jane by Patricia T. Mayer and Karen Watts. The only Dear Jane quilt in the entire show that I could find, and then, not in one of the judged venues, but rather, in the Texas Guilds' Award-Winning Traditional Quilts display area. It is a fine example of the Dear Jane traditional style, with the triangles being done whole-cloth style in muslin, with the original patterns quilted into the cloth. Very very nice!

Best of Show - "On the Wings of a Dream" by Caryl Bryer Fallert of Paducah, Kentucky. Congratulations on winning the Handi Quilter Best of Show Award ($10,000). Ms. Fallert also had four other quilts in the show, one of which, "Watch Master" won First Place in Digital Imagery ($1000). I don't have a picture of that one or "Adelpho", but I do have pictures of her other two entries.

Innovative Artistry - "Clam Session" by Karen Stone of Beaumont, Texas won the Maywood Studio Master Award for Innovative Artistry ($5000). I was fortunate to meet Ms. Stone who graciously posed for a picture with her fabulous quilt and winning ribbon. She calls this a "one patch", ladies!

World of Beauty Award - "Hearts and Garlands" by Liz Jones of Leominster, Herefordshire, UK won the World of Beauty Award ($7500). Ms. Jones was answering questions for the crowd. She claimed that "Hearts and Garlands" took her only 10 months to complete, because she "works very quickly". I'll say! Congratulations, Ms. Jones, on winning the festival's second highest award for your magnificent quilt.

Art - People, Portraits and Figures - This category had four quilts that really caught my attention, including "Bailout" by Liz Joe of Dallas, TX that I featured in my slideshow on the Dallas Quilt Celebration. Another standout is the Australian Entry by Jocelyne Leath of Perth, which won first place ($1000). Congratulations Ms. Leath!

Boston's Fenway Park a group quilt by Bobbie Sullivan, Lynn Conover, Betty Crowell, Ann Marcin, Sandy Gregg, Geri Barr, and Penny Myles of Scituate, MA. Congratulations on your third place finish in the Group quilt category.

Wearable Art - Incredible fashions! I took LOTS of pictures of the 14 entries in this category.

Friday, October 16, 2009

International Siggy Swap - The Summer Haul

I didn't initiate any swapping this summer, so I was lucky to be chosen by the following four ladies as a swap partner. Here is Inge Slaats' siggy from the Netherlands. I love the bright yellow fabric combined with the little appliqued dutch doll.

Poor Silke in Germany had to wait forever for my return siggy; she caught me at a really busy time! I couldn't even remember if I had sent her a siggy at all. Fortunately a quick email exchange cleared that up. Isn't the giraffe cute? It looks like a pretty postage stamp for kids to me. This was the only one of the four I got this summer that wasn't made of bright fabric. I love the delicate blue plaid.

I had to look at this one closely to understand what I was seeing. My eyes just did not want to read two tiny little mice sitting down to a delicious cheese dinner. lol Tini from the Netherlands sent me this one. I really like the batik she has chosen; I bet no two of her siggies look alike.

This little teddy bear is from Sieglinde in Germany. She has feather stitched the little bear in place and hand-embroidered a leafy box in variagated thread as a frame to the applique. That's a silly blue bit of thread laying on the bear, not a nasty pen stroke or anything bad! I really like the orange fabric; this is not a great picture of it. The fabric is actually bright orange and the little branches blend into the fabric instead of standing out. They aren't really pink either. I really should get a new camera. 8-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Giveaway at Bitty Bits & Pieces

Kim is having a Fall Giveaway over at Bitty Bits & Pieces that is well worth visiting. She's giving away a beautiful Dresden plate charger that I would dearly love to win! Go take a look and see for yourself. I've had Bitty's as a blog link on my sidebar for nigh on FOREVER, so I'm not sure if I'll get the extra points for adding it; here's hoping I do!

Here's a fantastic tutorial for the charger, as well as several other coordinating items. Check out the fabulous table runner!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quilted Xmas Tree Ornament - the next steps

I'm still working on the pink & green Christmas ornaments. Last night I paper-pieced the side sash pieces, because I really didn't want to deal with 1/4" square cornerstones by themselves. Here you can see the two rows of blocks next to the pre-made sashing.

This sashing was really easy to make by paper piecing because I just measured it out on graph paper and luckily all the seams fell on grid lines. You can see I labeled the paper "P" for pink and "G" for green. It's surprisingly easy to get messed up, even on a simple thing like this!

I may have gone over the legal limit for pins per inch here. It took 12 pins for less than 5 linear inches of seam - and I had to do it four times over.

It ended up being much more accurate than it would otherwise have been without the pins though.
Now I just have to figure out what to do next. Do I bead or do I make my tiny little quilt sandwich and quilt it, then bead it? Any hints? I'm afraid if I bead it first (and I plan on LOTS of beads) then I won't be able to quilt it without running into the beads, even with my 1/4" foot. It's a worry; I guess I'll sleep on it. 8-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pink & Green Quilted Christmas Tree Ornaments

I'm working tiny today. I just got my secret pal gifty posted, as well as my last owed siggy, so I decided to get to work on some pink & green quilted Christmas tree ornaments that I designed in EQ6. My Sister's SIL, Vickie, decorates for Christmas in a BIG BIG way. Last year she had 9 trees decorated, each in a different theme. My DH and I have been invited to parties at Vickie's home in Green Bay the past two years (or maybe we just crashed them because we were in town) anyway, we were made very welcome by sis's inlaws, so I wanted to make Vickie a thank-you gift I know she will appreciate.

When I saw Vickie's pink & green Christmas last year I immediately thought of the pink & green quilt I had been working on, since it matched the tree perfectly. I have some fabric leftover, so I came up with these: (I wish they would lay flat for the camera, since they came out so nice and square.)

I'm going to add green 1/4" sashes and tiny little pink cornerstones. I strip paper-pieced the first seam to get these blocks really accurate, then cut them to the right length and sewed the blocks together. I plan to add the green horizontal sashes so I'll have two vertical strips of little blocks. I'm going to use large green chunks of fabric for the horizontal sashes, then cut them to fit. No sewing with 1/4" strips of fabric for me! I then plan to strip paper-piece the vertical sashes and cornerstones together first so they'll be super accurate. I don't want to work with tiny little pieces here either, so I'm not going to cut the paper-pieced strips apart until they are sewn onto the blocks. It sounds harder than I think it's actually going to be... I hope!

My second Christmas ornament is going to be a simple 3" square pink & green friendship star made with Thangles. I've made lots of friendship stars this size before, so they're not a big deal for me, not like the little quilt. I may even make two and reverse the colors.

Finally, I plan to embellish them with the pink & green beads I bought 9 months ago, when I first thought of making these ornaments.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Peppers & Pinatas - My Quilt, Starry Night

I designed Starry Night using EQ6, then pieced and quilted it myself. It's the main reason I didn't have anything else completed this summer. lol I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. I started with the basic Ohio Star, and chose 3 other star variations and paper pieced the lot of them. Starry Night follows the color wheel around the circle, dropping one color and adding the next in line; yellow/orange/red, then orange/red/red violet, etc.The first set of blocks I did were the yellow/orange/red Ohio Stars. I had never paper pieced before, so this was very much a learning experience. You could really tell from the backside which blocks were my earliest paper piecing attempts, lol I was very glad to get the quilt sandwich made up so all that could be hidden away permanently!
I stippled, of course, this is me after all, with red on top and blue on the back. The backing material is the same blue fabric as the blue in the red pointed star. I didn't have enough of the orange in the first set of Ohio Stars to make the last block, and wouldn't you know this was fabric I bought in Canmore, Alberta! Fortunately, my friend, Neelu, and her family went to Calgary for a lovely Indian wedding and then on to Banff for a vacation. For a very small bribe Neelu happily went to the quilt store in Canmore and found a VERY similar fabric. If you look very closely (don't) the orange fabric on the star in the upper left corner is very slightly different from the ones all in a row. Thanks again Neelu, and also to your two boys who were sooo not thrilled about going to a fabric store on vacation.

Here is Pat of Marty & Pat's Frame Shoppe, on literally the day before the Peppers & Pinatas silent auction. Talk about being just in the nick of time! Next time I hope to work a little further in advance of need, because this one was a killer!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Peppers & Pinatas Group Quilt

What a busy summer this has been! I ended up making my own quilt for the Peppers & Pinatas silent auction last Tuesday as well as putting together the group quilt. They both turned out just lovely.
Here is the group quilt right after Larry and I decided which block went where.

It took us about 45 minutes to decide on the layout. We knew we were done when our last three changes got changed back to the way they were.

Here is the quilt top, ready for our quilter, Karen, to work her magic, and what a relief it was to finally turn it over to her for quilting and binding (thanks again for binding it, Karen!)

And here it is upon delivery. I thought it turned out great! Look at the pretty quilted hearts Karen quilted.
That's Virginia on the left, who made 4 of the blocks, and Pat on the right. Pat is coordinating the Peppers & Pinatas silent auction donations.

Let's see if I can remember who did which block: From the left:
Top row: Virginia, me, Sheila, Mary
Second row: Brandy, me, Sheila, Virginia
Third row: Rhonda, Rachel, Mary, me
Bottom row: Virginia, Sheila, Bea, Virginia
Quilting and binding: Karen
Way to go Blanketeers!