Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Traveling, but ...

What's a vacation without a stop or two at quilt shops, eh? We've been in Beautiful British Columbia for a week and a half and been in three quilt shops, one of them twice. Batiks and Asian fabrics seem to be the rage up here, at least in the three shops I visited. But wow, is fabric pricey north of the border! I did splurge a little in one shop, but not in the others. Can't wait to get home and use the fabric! Wish I'd taken a photo so I could post it now, but I'll do that when I return.

My traveling craft project has been a counted cross stitch I started maybe 5 or 6 years ago. I hadn't gotten beyond the roots of the carrots, but it's almost done now. I photographed it a week ago, before I added any black. See if you can figure out what else might be done to this, and I'll post the finished project when I get home. It was fun to have this on the trip, but quilting beats cross stitch any day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jocelyn has a knitting blog!

At last, the secret is out! :)

Jocelyn started a knitting blog last week but I couldn't post the link because she didn't want Laurel to find the photo of Julia's birthday present before she gave her the gift. I'd post the link here, but my cheat sheet on how to do that is at home and I am not. So for now, the link at right will have to suffice (at least I remembered how to do that!).

We're having a great time in Vancouver. I went to The Thread Bare quilt shop, well, actually, I went there twice. Got some great fabrics and had a wonderful time. They were so sweet -- since I'm away from home without my sewing machine, they invited me to come sew there.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A pillow for PMac and an inspirational painting

We leave tomorrow for Vancouver and, since we need to get up early, I am of course staying up late. I decided to browse through old photos, always a rewarding experience. I came across two photos that seemed worth blogging.

It amazes me sometimes how undaunted my daughters are by doing something they don't know how to do -- and it seems that just by doing it they learn how to do it. That was the case with PMac's pillow, which Val made for her friend when they went off to different colleges. She'd never made a pillow before (never sewn before), but before long it was designed, appliqued, stitched, stuffed, and finally much appreciated by the recipient. How cool is that?

I took this photo at MOMA last November, Ellsworth Kelly's Colors for a Large Wall. It's the painting that inspired Jocelyn to make her first quilt -- again, undaunted by never having quilted before. You can see the quilt on an earlier post, here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Blurry photo day

I spent an hour or so (but time flies when I'm looking at quilting magazines) looking for ideas for a quilt for Frances, Brian's mother. I narrowed it down to 3, with a fairly strong preference for one of them -- fortunately, Brian chose my favorite! I scanned the picture in, the first scan of our new machine, and it's not a great copy. (Oddly, I see it is in sharper focus here than on iPhoto.)

The quilt, designed by Laura Franchini, is in the January/February2006 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. She used Asian fabrics and quilted koi on it in metallic thread. The pattern is simple, the results -- at least hers! -- are stunning. I plan to use silvery greys and rosy pinks, the colors Frances has in her home.

Pondering the blurriness of the quilt scan, I was reminded of a blurry photo I took last Thursday on a bouncy little airplane from Chicago to the cornfields I call home. The sun had only just set, so the sky and lake still shimmered blue rather than black, and the city lights were on. It was a fairyland, but I wasn't able to capture it through the window. Still, the photo reminds me of how spectacular it was; I hope you can get an inkling of the beauty of night falling over the Windy City.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

New Quilting Blog!

Check it out! My niece Laurel has started her own quilting blog, Laurel's Quilts and Such -- really nice stuff! Now if only Jocelyn will start a knitting blog ...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yellow I Spy top

Done! Well, all done but the borders, but the hard part is done! I really, really like it. What fun to see all those cute fabrics. The piecing was a real bear, and the directions give no help at all -- "stitch blocks together, stitch blocks into rows." Geesh! Matching hexagon points is a lot trickier than stitching up squares. I futzed, tore out, marked, pinned, restitched, over and over, and it came out okay (not great, but okay). Many points are right on, a few are as much as 1/8 inch off, and the rest are somewhere in between. I am less concerned than I normally would have been because the quilt has so much going on that you really don't notice those not-quite-right points. And what kid will care?

Help with my quilting

We could all use a little help, and Whitney was there for me. Jocelyn had her tonsils out and my niece Laurel, who was away for the week, lent us her house and her cats. I brought my quilting stuff with me and used her machine while Jocelyn recuperated. It was the machine I learned on, since Laurel had lent it to me when we were in California in 2005. It's funny, at first I forgot how to use it, but it all came back. My current machine is a Janome and hers is a Baby Lock, and I find there are things I like and don't like about each. What I truly love about the Baby Lock is how quiet it is! Wouldn't it be nice to design your own machine?

Here's the tonsillectomy girl herself. The surgery was more painful and she felt worse for longer than we had anticipated. Painkillers and ice packs helped, and knitting a "Heartbreakingly Cute Kimono" for her new 3-week-old cousin Hannah took her mind off her throat.