International Quilt Festival/Long Beach

Emerald Treasures by Barb Forrister
Emerald Treasures by Barb Forrister

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This was the second year I traveled down to So. Cal with my sister to see the International Quilt Show in Long Beach. Based our experience from last year, we tacked on an extra day, stayed within walking distance to the convention center (which was a vastly better experience than staying at the Holiday Inn in the ghetto) and signed up for a couple of classes. Imagine, three full days jam-packed with quilt-y activities.

Radiant Reflections by Noriko Endo
Radiant Reflections by Noriko Endo

I can't tell you how stunning this quilt was. It looked like a dreamy water color painting and even upon close inspection, I was not entirely certain how it was constructed. Once home, a goggle search helped solve the mystery. Endo is featured on Alex Anderson's show on HGTV and her process can be viewed here. It's worth checking out.

A smattering of quilts:

IMG_0064 (1) IMG_0065 (1) IMG_0066 (1) Out of Africa by Linda Humphrey IMG_0067 (1) Gigi Part 2 by Sandra E. Lauterbach IMG_0062 (1) IMG_0080 (1)

This year, I found myself especially drawn to quilts with African themes and fabrics. On our last day there, we took took a class on African folklore embroidery taught by Leora Raikin. More about that later - it deserves it's own blog post.

Many more photos of quilts from the show can be seen by clicking on my flickr link on the right of my blog.

One last favorite!
Red Owls by Karin Peirce
Red Owls by Karin Peirce

In addition to viewing the quilts on exhibit, we wandered the vendor stalls trying to resist the abundant shopping opportunities. I came prepared with a list of "wants", but of course came home with a few more things than planned! I will share the new additions to my stash soon.

Local color
Caffeine fix IMG_0070 (1) IMG_0074 (1) IMG_0071 (1)

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Wating for our Saturday evening class to start

The "Saturday Night Sampler" class was held in the ballroom at the center. There were a total of 15 instructors who each gave short talks on various quilting techniques, i.e., applique, paper piecing, rotary cutting, etc. One of the most interesting topics for me was "creative transparency with tulle" presented by David Taylor. I noticed that tulle overlay is a technique commonly used by art quilters and I'd love to give it a try.


A bottle of wine and some monkeys

My dear friend Amy's step daughter is expecting her first child in December. Amy asked me if I could teach her how to quilt. We started with a trip to Peapod Fabrics a couple of weeks ago and a promise to get together soon for a sewing session.

Friday night; we began with a bottle of Cabernet and then progressed to the pressing and cutting (wisely leaving our wine glasses in the kitchen!). I like my fabrics trimmed and straightened to the grain before I do anything else. I prepped the fabrics and Amy cut out the squares and rectangles. You can see the pattern in the photo above. Rectangles are sewn to 4 1/2 square block centers and these blocks are sewn together without sashing. It's that simple.

Amy picked out fabrics in apple greens, reds and aquas. After I saw the monkeys on the red dots, I thought this would make an extremely adorable and simple baby quilt with the red dots sewn as sashing between the monkey blocks. But this isn't my project!

I also worked on piecing the hexagon quilt back over the weekend. It's going slowly. I do not like piecing backs. I know, I know, it's extremely popular now but it's never appealed to me. This one is pieced by necessity. I probably won't get much done this week. I leave for the International Quilt show in Long Beach on Friday. I can't wait!!!


New camera and fog

That pretty much sums it up.

No more fuzzy-funky cell phone pictures for this blog! I lost my camera (actually, was my son's) about 3 weeks ago and so finally got around to ordering a new one. It arrived on my doorstep yesterday and I had it out of the box and operational in minutes.

We had scorching temps the last few days. It was 100+ degrees inland from San Francisco (where I work) and fairly warm in SF - mid to high 80's. Typically, it remains cool here, particularly out near the coast but the inland heat creates our fog.

I walked around the reservoir near my house last night with my new camera trying to capture the fog but discovered that it's actually somewhat tricky to do.

Sorry, I have no quilt-y pictures to offer you today. I've taken a mini-break from my projects and have been spending my evenings reading from the "Harry Potter" series with my daughter and re-watching the "Dirty Harry" series of films on DVD. It's a time warp back to San Francisco in the late 70's (and I have to admit, I remember these times, having grown up in a suburb east of SF).

Parting shot of guess who:


How I spent my weekend ...

... cutting and sewing together these blocks:

I'm not sure what I think about how well these colors work together. What do you think?

I should backtrack to say that my best friend called me wanting to get together for dinner and she had some "big news" to tell me - in person. She could barely wait for me to arrive at her apartment before blurting out that her stepdaughter is pregnant and she wants me to help her make a baby quilt.

And since she asked so nicely and just so happens there's a wonderful fabric store right down the street from her apartment, we quickly walked down the block to Peapod Fabrics. The place is tiny but the proprietor has the most excellent taste and has a wonderful collection of modern designer fabrics. I helped my friend select some fabrics and even though I had my sunglasses on (I had left my regular glasses in my car and didn't want to back for them as it was almost closing time), I managed to pick up about 10 small swatches of fabric for myself. It's a little maddening because she sells her small cuts in various sizes, all smaller than a fat quarter. I SO wish she sold standard sizes, but I digress.

I ended up with a selection of prints and as I was almost walking out the door I spied a selection of Kona cotton solids by the door. I picked up the deep fuchsia/maroon and the bright/light orange colors. Took them home and looked at them all day thinking about how I might put these all together in a quilt.

On Sunday, while my daughter was at gymnastics, I found myself at Joann's, perusing the Kona solids. I picked up a green and turquoise.

It's not that I want to always feature Axel in my quilting photos but he absolutely insists.

At this point (if you've made it this far), you may be wondering what happened to the hexagon quilt. I'm taking a break from it after having a minor disaster with the piecing of the backing fabric. Every time I attempted to lay out the quilt and backing to plan out how I was going to piece it, Axel would plop his 15 pound hairy body down and vigorously attack any movement of fabric. Finally, he attacked my tomato pincushion with all fours and I asked my brave teenager to remove the offending object from his mouth!
However, I have come up with a plan to repair the botched back and will hopefully have some pictures to share soon.


It's coming along

A slight change of plans. Can you guess?

After deciding on the red polka dot for the borders, ultimately, I didn't care for the look of it with the hexes. I'll probably use the dots for the binding. But I did purchase 2 entire yards of dots! Should anyone care to swap a couple of yards of red dots for something else (i.e., liberty prints, hint, hint!), let me know.

Well, hello there....

The only place with sufficent light to shoot photos of the quilt this morning was in the front entrance. Elizabeth created her sarcophagus in her Ancient Egypt class. We've left her tucked in the curtains to greet guests.


Which border fabric, that's the question

Hexagons are all stitched up, seams pressed open. Phew! This was a little more tedious than I anticipated. Lots of seams to match up and pin. I took the easy way out and used half hexes on the top and bottom edges and left the sides ragged. I will trim those shortly. Quilt measures roughly 52 x 65. A little on the small side. I decided to add borders to bring it up to a useful size.

After auditioning every scrap of fabric from my stash, NOTHING was quite right, so a trip to the fabric store was in order. Can you guess what I came up with?

I decided on the red polka dot for borders, trimmed with a thin white inner border and the top fabric for the backing (the two bottom "reject" fabrics are from my stash). I'm not totally sold on this combo, but want to finish up this project so I start back up on my snowball quilt that I dropped to particpate in Comfortstitching's Half Hexagon Quilt-a-long.

I have this wild idea that I'm going to hand quilt this baby with pearl cotton thread a la Material Obsession (a fantastic quilting book, btw). I've always admired this project from The Workroom on flickr. I haven't hand quilted in several years and I've actually been yearning to do some handiwork. We'll see ...


Hexagon Quilt: Progress Report

The joining of half-hexes are complete and I've started stitching up the rows. Here's the first 6 out of 32. I should be able to get it all pieced in the next day or so. Check back soon for progress.

I'm already contemplating borders and am open to suggestions. Let me know what you think. The quilt with just the pieced hexes is a bit on the small side.

I should mention that I have misplaced my camera! Actually, my son's digi camera and so I switched to my old Canon Powershot but can't get my pictures to download onto my brand new Dell computer. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this picture was taken on my cellphone! Hopefully, I'll be able to purchase a replacement camera this weekend.


My Love Affair with Batiks

"I crossed the lines" (Full disclosure given, but I promise not to quote scripture!)

Last year at the International Quilt festival in Long Beach, I picked up a pack of Hoffman Bali Pops, which are pre-cut 2 1/2 inch wide batik fabric strips cut selvedge to selvedge (Hoffman's answer to Jelly Rolls). You get 40 strips in a pack and they sell in various color schemes. I chose "Strawberry Fields", a combo of intense hues in red, greens and purples, thinking I'd finally make a quilt for my son. The vendor selling the Pops provided a free pattern by Cozy Quilts called"Tradewinds for Bali Pops" (available on Hoffman website). I also bought some neutral background fabric and a nifty ruler that allows you to easily cut the shapes necessary for this quilt. The ruler can be used to make strip quilts as well.

The Pops sat inocently in a drawer until May-ish, after I finally completed the wedding quilt I had been laboring over for many months. This seemed such an easy project and came together in a snap after working on a queen-plus sized quilt with a fancy freeform feather design.

Glimpse of backing fabric. I quilted swirls in the borders using a varigated thread in gold, beige brown and black. The backing fabric reminds me of rippling water.
Close up of quilting. I used similar but a slight thinner and lighter thread for the overall meander interspersed with various leaf shapes for the main body of the quilt. This is my first experience working with polyester thread. It definitely gave me pause to use a synthetic thread, but I was won over by the colors seeming so perfect for this project and they had a wonderful shimmer. The thread turned out to be wonderfully easy to work with, with no "pilling" that you often get with cotton or silk fibers.

I threw all caution to the wind by adding the wild red dot outer border fabric: