Monday, December 25, 2006

California Dreamin'

It's Christmas at last, so I can finally post this quilt! This will be a long one. It all started with a photo of Brian that I took at Ano Nuevo State Park (just south of Half Moon Bay), which we visited in the winter/spring of 2005. It's one of my favorite photos of him:

Time passes. One morning I watch an episode of Simply Quilts in which the guest (sorry, I can't remember her name -- just that she lives in San Jose) showed her Andy Warhol style quilts of the same person done several times, each time with changing colors in the style of Warhol's Marilyn Monroe images. Then one day it occurred to me that Brian's photo would lend itself to that kind of stylization. Could I do it? The first step was to print the photo and see if I could reduce it to clear lines. After a couple attempts, this is what emerged:

More time passes -- not sure where to go from here. What kind of fabrics? How big? How many images? Would Brian like it? How would I do the applique? Summer passes. We are into autumn and I decide it would be a great Christmas present for Brian, or at least I hope it would be. I decide to fuse the fabrics and then do satin stitch, but my one attempt at satin stitch (on a Linus applique) was pretty dismal. Harumph. But after practicing on the word purple, I think it might happen. Meanwhile, Jocelyn has come to visit and we picked out fabrics (also posted earlier this month). So the plan is to make the quilt while Brian is in New York visiting his family. The good people at Sew Sassy have already told me to use a fusible interfacing on the lame (pretend there's an accent on the "e" -- it's not 'lame' as in limping) sunglasses, and I am ready to proceed. It's not as straightforward as simply switching the fabrics out -- the border fabric can't be a background, the shirt fabric touches not only its own background, but others, etc. -- it's a bit like solving Rubik's cube. Eventually I get it so the fabrics are never in the same place twice and never touch each other. Then I fuse and cut and lay out, and this is what I get:

I hate it. I think Brian will hate it. It's not that the fabrics don't work together, but I wouldn't want to look at them again and again. And it doesn't mean anything. It's an exercise -- what does this have to do with Brian???? I moan and groan. Finally, inspiration strikes! The photo was taken on the coast. Brian loves the California coast -- he sometimes visits Half Moon Bay before driving down to see the kids! Why not have Brian and the coast intertwined in this quilt? The design morphs from "Cool Brian" into "California Dreamin'" -- I just need landscape fabrics. So it's back to Sew Sassy.

I love these! There's ocean, sky (see the shining suns?), trees, sand, dry earth, and -- already in my stash -- pebbles. I need only 5 of the 6 fabrics and finally push aside the pebbles. I liked the idea of them, but I needed the warm color of the dry earth fabric to give the quilt a little zing, a little golden glow of the California hills basking in the sun.

There are problems, of course. I learn how hard it is to do a really smooth satin stitch around curves. I find that metallic thread can be temperamental. I become acutely aware that only an idiot or a masochist would ever choose to work with lame -- I won't go there again! But it gets done, and I like it. I really like it. I realize it's maybe even an art quilt. Brian may even like it. Except for the binding, it's done!

Doesn't it look like Brian?

Have yourself a fuzzy little Christmas

Val has her minkee blanket! I tried to make her one a few weeks ago (when I made Jocelyn's), but I made some mistakes... ask me how I know you need to pin with safety pins and not straight pins to be sure everything lies flat together. So we went to the new quilt shop in Mahomet and picked out flannel and minkee. Val knows her own mind -- we were in and out in nothing flat because she immediately knew what she wanted. I stitched it up a couple nights ago when she was with her old friends from high school and put it under the tree for her to open this morning.

Val is no longer on Italian time, so waking up for Christmas morning was a little harder than it would have been a few days ago. So she cuddled with minkee and our Merry Christmoose (push his stomach and he plays Christmas carols). Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Frances' Quilt

Finally, now that I have sent Frances her quilt, I can put up a post about it! Here's the quilt after the quilter returned it but before I put on the binding. (The photos of the bound quilt did not come out so well. The binding is the same color as the dark purple border - just pretend the white batting around the edges isn't there.)

You may remember seeing the pattern in an earlier post. The fabrics here are different, though also with a somewhat Asian flair, and so the quilting is different. I sent this out to be quilted and what a beautiful job Connie Lightle did again! She did the quilting on Val's quilt, too. Look at the details:

Connie does such a fabulous job, but I do feel like I'm cheating. I do all the fabric selection, all the cutting and piecing, and then the quilt is transformed by her quilting!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Seeing purple

Chris Lynn Kirsch, author of Replique Quilts gave a workshop at our guild. Alas, I was out of town (well, don't be too sorry for me -- I was on vacation in British Columbia). But the chair of the Project Linus committee talked to her about making some of her cute quilts for Linus. She gave us permission to work on one of her cuddle and learn quilts (to be published in a forthcoming book, possibly with photos of the quilts we make!). Here's the purple block I made for a quilt that will have lots of color names. It looks like applique, but uses her technique instead. You'll have to get the details from her book, but basically you stitch from a pattern on the back of the block through two layers, then cut away some fabric and satin stitch around the edge. Fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sock it to me!

A present! For ME! Yay! It's a beautiful sock that Jocelyn knit with self-striping yarn. I love the colors and it fits perfectly. I was afraid that hand knit socks would not be comfortable, but in fact this felt wonderful on my foot. I have been promised that sock number 2 will be forthcoming after Joss's very long plane rides to and from India. I can't wait!

Fun Fabric

Such fun colors! Wonder what these are for?
You'll have to wait and see...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jocelyn's minkee blanket

Soft indeed! Jocelyn was just home for a visit, ostensibly to see her parents but I think it was really just to check out her minkee blanket. Definitely soft!

And apparently also good for hiding.

But not quite big enough to cover disrespect!