Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taking the Scenic Route to Houston

Can you guess where I am paused on the way to Houston?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:E Lawther Dr,Dallas,United States

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Traditions Transformed: The Artistry of Quilting

Yesterday I went to the Northern New Mexico Quilt Guild's Quilt Fiesta 2012.

It's a compact show with only a handful of vendors, but I managed to take a couple hundred photos anyway–though that number includes photos of the labels so I could identify the quilts and photos of the ribbons so I could remember which ones were judged as best in their category.

Detail from We Used to Go Dancing The theme of the fiesta was Traditions Transformed: The Artistry of Quilting. This is a detail from an unassuming little quilt in the show that I loved for it's transformation of a traditional bow tie block.

The quilt, named We Used to Go Dancing, was made by Esther Milnes of Santa Fe in memory of a gentleman, using his ties and pieces of his favorite tuxedo jacket.

I loved the cleverness of it ... and apparently one of the judge's did too. It didn't win a ribbon in its category, but had a Judge's Award ribbon.

We Used to Go Dancing

It's interesting to go to a guild show if you're from out of town or newly arrived but haven't yet met anyone from the guild or joined it.  You may not know the story of 4 or 5 quilts made from the same pattern–in this case, it was Edyta Sitar's appliqué quilt, Hop-to-It–but there's usually one or two patterns/workshops that seem to have been popular. This version was named, Thumper's Garden and was made by Toni Bolton of Santa Fe and quilted by Lynne Horpedahl.

Thumper's Garden

As you walk through the show and read the labels, you quickly learn the names of the Long Armer's who quilt for others and notice overall how many quilters quilt their own quilts ... or not. 

You might get a feel for the balance of traditional quilters/modern quilters/ art quilters in the guild or in the area (you don't have to be a member to enter quilts in this particular show).  Art quilts were well represented here.  This one, a color study by Gretchen Garnand of Santa Fe, is called Finding Balance

Finding Balance

I don't know if the trend to print photos on fabric and stitch over them to create thread paintings is growing or dying, but I especially liked an example of the technique in the show named Larry is a Quilt of Larry, by Jennifer Day of Santa Fe. Here is a detail:

Detail from Larry is a Quilt of Larry

Just inside the entrance of the show were examples of work from the three small groups within the guild: Crazy Quilters, Art Quilters and Appliquérs.  This small 2-color appliqué quilt by Barbara Bogart  seemed very timely. 

Barbara Bogart's Appliqué

Did this show help me make an informed decision about joining the guild?  I think so.  Although half their meetings and 2 of 3 of their small groups meet during week days and so my participation will be limited, I plan to check them out at their next evening meeting.

If you'd like to check out some (many) of the rest of the quilts from Quilt Fiesta 2012,  here's the link to the slide show version of my photo set on Flickr: 

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Baked!

It sounds a little crazy, but I haven't baked since moving at the end of April to New Mexico and 7,000 feet. I wasn't sure I could make the right adjustments for altitude and I'm not much of a baker even at sea level. This summer, the little adobe casita often felt like a little adobe oven itself–doing anything that would heat things up was out of the question.  

But I felt like something warm from the oven one morning earlier this week and made biscuits.


I know, it's only biscuits, but I am pleased that my guess at the changes needed (more liquid, less time) worked.  Yay!  With a little of Heidi's Raspberry and Red Chili jam, it was a tasty breakfast ... and I've opened the (oven) door to more baking.   Next up ...  Pesto Pizza!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quilting in Progress

Wendy asked what free motion quilting projects we're working on.  Here are three that are on my table right now.

I've been quilting

On the left are a pair of large pillow covers with the quilting complete.  Nearest the machine is a project made from selvages that I plan to work on today. In the background is a a very, very old project, a throw that is now backed and pinbasted and ready to quilt.

Here are some detail photos of the quilted pillow cover fronts--front(finished) and back(with only the star element completed).  As I was quilting these, I thought that they're not exactly "feathers," more like amoebas on a string.  I drew the main curve (string) on each half of the Split Star blocks, but everything else was completely unmarked FMQ--my favorite way to quilt.

Quilting Detail   Back of one star block without fillers added

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Cool Doggie

Railyard DogYou can see this dog sculpture from Cerillos Road, a main commercial drag in Santa Fe. He always makes me smile when I drive past.

The last time I went to the Farmer's Market, I decided to take time before I hit the market and to smell the roses in the rose garden in Railyard Park and enjoy an up close look at the cool dog that catches my eye every time I see him.

The first surprise was the bench swing hanging beneath him.

I also liked his dog tag, which identifies the artist and the work.
Dog Tag

Here's one more photo, with people, to give you an idea of the scale of Yard Dog. I don't know what breed of dog he is meant to be, but I love him.

Railyard Dog
Railyard Park

He's located in Railyard park, a little urban park built on a former railyard.

I love how they filled in the rails to create paths.

Native PlantsI actually did take time to check out the rose garden in the park and enjoy the last roses of summer as well as some of the other native plants in the park ... even though I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm quite allergic to the pollens produced by those yellow flowers on the Chamisa in the foreground.

Monday, October 08, 2012

What is it about October?

With October comes Socktober, Octoberfest, Blogtoberfest and other events, ad nauseum.

I am a little bothered by some of the "it's October so I must blog every day even if I have nothing to say" posts, but the pretty Sockober knitting I am seeing in blogland has prompted me to pull some sock yarn out of my stash, along with an old, straight-forward pattern.  After two days of TV knitting at night, I'm one sock done, one to go.

Simple Sox 

The yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox; the 60% alpaca yarn is so soft, I can't wait for the first cold day I wear these on a test run ... but first, I need to finish that second sock.

The basket is intended for stitching (notice the clever rod for holding thread spools, but it's also right-sized for small knitting projects (and easily put on a high shelf or in a drawer or closet to keep the curious cats at bay.

Friday, October 05, 2012

56 Shades of Gray ... and more Goodies from the Post office

It's so much more fun to go to the post office when you come home with fabric and other quilty goodness.

I participated in the Shades of Gray fabric charms swap–my first fabric swap in years.

It reminded how, when I first began to quilt, I joined many, MANY fabric swaps in online groups.  It was a great way to build a scrappy stash and I still have a few of the many 4-inch wide-of-fabric (WOF) strips, 10-inch squares, fat eighths and fat quarters swapped so long ago.

My Gray CharmsI gave up my swap-a-holic ways long ago, but since I didn't have much variety in the gray fabrics in my stash, when I saw the shades-of-gray swap, I saw an opportunity to enrich my collection.

Here's the stack of 56 charm squares that I sent  and the 56 shades of gray that were returned to me–I'm not sure they'll sit in my stash for long ... I keep thinking of things to do with them.

56 Shades of Gray

Also in my post box were the patterns below, won in a giveaway on Glen's blog, Quilts and Dogs.

I love Edyta Sitar's patterns and I love these tulips–I'm thinking wall-hanging to be ready to hang next Spring.  The Hula Hoops pattern looks like a great pattern when a large quilt is needed quickly. Thank you Glen.

Patterns in the mail

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I'm Ambivalent

When I went grocery shopping earlier this week, I was greeting by a sign letting me know that if I am 55 years old or older I can benefit from Senior discount day.

I don't think the young cashier got it when I told her that, "I can't believe I'm old enough for a senior discount."  Like I told her, "One day, you'll understand what I mean."

I'm a little ambivalent about counting myself as a senior citizen, but, I stocked up and, yes, I asked for my discount :-)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Feeling Fall-ish

With the first cold snap of Fall, I feel the urge to knit, make soups and roast vegetables,  get outside and enjoy the outdoors during the day and curl up in the evening with a pot of tea and some hand-stitching.

Last night, I finished this beret. It's a quick knit from some wool-cashmere yarn (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino) in my stash using the Meret Mystery Beret pattern.

The fit is pretty good, but I'll probably add a ribbon on the inside to maintain the correct head size and keep the edge from stretching. I also need to block it so lace pattern will be more apparent-last night I tried a large dinner plate and a round serving platter and neither was quite large enough.

Last week, I finally sewed down the binding on an old quilt project and am basting the layers of an older one so it can be finally finished and enjoyed–photos soon.

The makings for vegetarian stock are in the fridge along with a butternut squash.

Are you feeling Fall-ish?  What does that inspire in you?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Blogging the Block Lotto

A friend asked a while ago if the Block Lotto was taking a summer break ... and I realized that I hadn't blogged much about it here and she came to the logical conclusion.

This month, we're making this diagonally sliced variation of my go-to block, the Sawtooth Star (AKA Square & Points)

(Still no design wall in my new place, so these blocks are on the design floor–but, I'm linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday anyway ;-)

Our lotto blocks are 9-inches (finished size) and made in white solids + 2 more solid colors. Not exactly a Fall color way, but I think it's going to be interesting. You can download my print-friendly block pattern here:

Split Star Block Pattern

The pattern includes the cutting measurements for making the block in five sizes (6, 8, 9, 10 and 12 inches) and a coloring sheet for playing with your own ideas about color and layout.

With the arrival of Fall, I start thinking ahead about theme and blocks for the Block Lotto for NEXT year ... and this year is no different.  If interest in the Lotto continues, I'll be ready.

I never know how my ideas, whether they are about colors and fabrics or the block itself, will be received.  Based on the numbers alone, last month's 3-D Flower block would probably have to be considered a flop.

Sophie's Flower #2  Sophie's Flower #1  Sophie's Flower block #3

These are my three blocks.  Even if they weren't popular as lotto blocks–14 quilters made a total of 44 blocks–I know they sparked some design ideas for using this technique and I know the quilter who won them is happy.  I try to vary our block choices so that we all have an opportunity to try something new and/or work out of our comfort zone a little. Earlier in the summer, we made this block, that I called Silly String: 

Sophie's 2 Silly string blocks

I think curved seams seem formidable until you try a few gentle curves ...  and making a block or two (or nine) for the block lotto is an easy introduction. 

I've also been working on some housekeeping tasks for the Block Lotto site.  I finally created the 2012 Block Index which shows the blocks we've made so far this year with links to block photos and block pattern directions or guidelines.   

And I've been updating some of the old block directions to make them less block lotto-specific and more print-friendly for those who have been looking for them, starting with the Violet Block in 6 Sizes for which I've received hundreds of requests since it was shared on a Facebook page a few months ago. 

The last task for the Block Lotto is to update the template ... even though I have made a living as a techie for nearly my entire career, I hate spending my OWN time on that sort of the tedious administrative stuff at home.  I have procrastinated it all summer long ... Fall's here and it's time to get it done. 

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