Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I wish there had been digital cameras when my kids were little -- I'd have so many more photos! Oops -- maybe it's a good thing we didn't have them. :) I made all their Halloween costumes and was going to scan some old photos and post them, but I can't get the scanner to work with my new computer. Next year!

The girls now make their own costumes. This morning Jocelyn took a photo with her computer at work. This year she's Sarah Palin.
And her sister Valerie is dressing as Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin!

And here's a pic of my favorite Halloween earrings. They are big -- come almost down to my shoulders!
And, as promised, a bit of what I've done since I've been "Here." I finished Otto's quilt! Here's the "back."
I had wanted to put Otto's name on the back, but, as you can see, one thing led to another. I have to say that I love it. It's the first really wonky, free-pieced quilt I've made. Thank goodness it had Otto's name on it, or I might not have been able to part with it!
And this is the original "front." I like it, too. I'm pleased by my fabric selection and would have thought it was a great quilt if I hadn't started on the back...
Otto's mom sent photos of Otto on his quilt.
I think he likes it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The original title of this post was "Here and There," but I realized I won't have time to do justice to both this morning. Stay tuned for "Here" in the next day or two!

There is California, where I went to visit my family and the Pacific International Quilt Festival. On the last post I linked to my niece's slide show of many of the quilts there. I'll do a more in-depth presentation of a couple quilts for now. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite, these are just two that caught my attention again this morning as I scrolled through my finally downloaded photos. Don't forget to click on a photo to enlarge it if you want a closer look.

This quilt by Jo P. Griffith shows the wind farm at Altamont.
I have always loved the look of these huge windmills -- so graceful, so powerful. As I looked at the quilt, I started imagining lots of ways to incorporate that image into a quilt. But the other thing that caught my eye was the pieced background and border. I love pieced squares that are all different but all part of the same. It adds so much texture and interest!

This next quilt, The Gold Lady, was put together by twelve members of the Ocean Wave Quilters of Fort Bragg, California. (Such a gorgeous town, right on the coast!)
They enlarged a photo and divided it into twelve parts. One quilter took each part and, without consulting the others, recreated it using any materials she wished. Then they were all joined together. Much like the pieced background above, this is so much more interesting for the variation. I really like it.

At the show I also got to meet two other quilt bloggers, Tami of Lemon Tree Tales and Julie of Floribunda.
It was wonderful to meet them! My niece Laurel took the photo, and a kindly passerby took a photo of the four of us, but the sun streamed in across the top of the photo and the faces are hugely overexposed.

This little basket photo I took at home this morning, but wanted to put it up after I saw a photo of a similar basket on Julie's blog. She had just purchased a basket from Ghana to use to carry her groceries, and about a month ago I purchased a similar basket from the food co-op. I think I'll keep mine for projects in progress, as I find it's a little bulky for shopping.

The rest of the trip I spent visiting family. I won't bore you with family photos, but I met a new member of the family, born in July, and she deserves a welcoming photo. Here's Maggie (being held by my older daughter, Jocelyn).
And here's the I Spy quilt I made for her and her brother and sister. Their mom (my niece Andrea) hung it on the bedroom. I love seeing my quilts in use!

As a belated birthday present, my daughters took me to the city for dinner at Millennium Cafe, where I have wanted to go ever since it opened. Wow! Scrumptious, delicious, succulent, juicy, superbly balanced -- the list of superlatives to describe the food could go on and on! We stopped in at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art beforehand. There it is, that circular building seen from the Yerba Buena Gardens. I love the circles and stripes in that building!
And finally, on a crafty note, here's a stamped cross stitch sampler I made in high school.
My father used to love that quote, and so when I saw the kit I made it up for him. I asked my mother about it when I visited, and she still had it. I asked to see it because my niece Laurel recently changed her blog name to Set of the Sail, and I got to thinking about it. My mom has now passed it on to Laurel, which is absolutely as it should be. The sampler is clearly made by someone who knew nothing about cross stitch, but the words are powerful.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back from PIQF!

I've been back several days and still haven't downloaded my photos! Fortunately, my niece Laurel, who went to the show with me, has posted a slide show on her blog. It was a wonderful show! I was surprised at how much individual character quilt shows have -- this one was very different from the one in Chicago. The California show had far fewer traditional quilts and the vendors carried different fabric lines. There was of course a great deal of overlap, but it was really interesting to see the different emphasis.

In addition to seeing my niece, I also got to visit with fellow quilt bloggers Julie of Floribunda and Tami from Lemon Tree Tales. So great to meet them!

My quilting time has been taken up since my return with two big things: finishing Otto's quilt (delivered yesterday!) and working on quilts for the Here's A Hug project, which donates quilts to the children of women in prison through Project Linus. The deadline for that is November 1, so I'll be back to my regular quilting by the weekend. All those photos are in my camera and I'll share them soon. I just feel bad for not having posted since my return and decided that photo-less was better than photo-less AND text-less!

And a heads up for everyone -- Jill and I are cooking up some holiday fun! We'll share the news soon. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not my favorite thing

Once the piecing is done, quilting is next. Whoa. Not not my strength.
Otto's quilt is now about half quilted. I took Wanda's advice and am stitching in the ditch around the diamonds formed by the Trip Around the World pattern. I was nervous that it might look weird on the funky "back" side of the quilt, but in fact it doesn't seem to. Whew! For all the delaying, it's not so bad and it isn't taking too long. I need to make it a priority to really learn to quilt. And I'll have practice soon -- I have two more tops I want to quilt before the end of the month.

Tomorrow I take my machine in for a cleaning and check-up. I'll be away for a week, so it's a good time to have this done. I'm off to California to see my mother, my daughter, my brother and his wife, two nieces and their growing families, and hopefully some blogging friends at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. This year I was smart enough to time a visit to relatives to coincide with PIQF. Can't wait! I won't be posting while I'm away, but with any luck, I'll be able to get in some blog reading. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Ami Simms came to our guild a couple weeks ago and gave a really funny quilting lecture, followed by a moving presentation about Alzheimer's. I took her string quilt workshop the next day. I've made a lot of string quilts and went to Kay Capps Cross's string quilt workshop last spring, so I almost didn't sign up for this class. The last thing I need is another UFO! But Elaine Adair raved about a workshop she took with Ami, and Ami had very generously allowed us to use one of her patterns for our Linus raffle quilt, so I decided to take the class. I'm really glad I did!
I decided to use my guild's Linus stash to choose fabrics and make a quilt to donate. We have lots of animal prints, so I cut strips from those. Ami had us make strip sets, but her smart innovation (and the reason that I'm glad I took the class) is in her tube method of attaching the solid fabric for the other side of the half square triangles. So clever, so quick! I haven't finished mine yet (I need to get the solid fabric), but her method worked very well for the people who got that far during class. Follow the link above to the workshop if you want to see what the end result will be. I'll post a photo when I'm done.

I'm also working on another string quilt for Project Linus. Lots of kids around here are big Fighting Illini fans, so I thought it would be fun to make a blue and orange string quilt.
Here's a sample block with two different Illinois fabrics. I thought we'd do orange stripes in the middle of each and then a variety of blues, with the occasional strip of dark blue Illinois fabric thrown in, and then border it with the orange Illinois fabric. We may need a deeper orange strip, and I'm not sure or the range of blues. So I'm not sure if this is exactly how we'll end up doing it -- if you have suggestions, please let me know! We make lots of string quilts at worknights, but I get tired of the same old thing and am trying to make them thematic in some way (like my rainbow strings, which you can see part of in my blog header).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Color Hue Test

My friend Lisa, who's in my quilt guild, just sent a link to a Color Hue Test. I looked at it and thought it would be easy, but it was tricky. As similar colors are grouped together, it gets harder and harder to distinguish among the subtle shades. I didn't have the time/patience to do more than the first section this morning, but when I clicked to score the test, it showed me graphically how well each section was put in order. Give it a try, and have fun!

Monday, October 06, 2008

New computer!

Hoorah! I apologize for not blogging, or reading blogs, for over 3 weeks. My old computer had become a real pain. My photo storage was overloaded and difficult to handle, and the blogger-photo interaction was crazy. Every day I could see fewer and fewer photos on other people's blogs -- really frustrating. But my new computer moves so fast I can hardly believe it! :)

To catch up a bit:
I pieced together the fungly blocks (and have enough blocks now for another fungly top). The blocks were made by attendees at a Project Linus worknight.
The front/back or Otto's top is done and it's ready for quilting. I am so disappointed that I forgot, completely forgot, to put on the narrow inner red border! But I'm not taking this border off to do it. I got so many comments on which outer border to use -- thank you! I ended up going with this one just because it was brighter, which I think is good for a baby.
Kate at Kate's Quilting sent me backings and embellishments for several ATC's. I had never made one and wanted to try. It was really fun! Her background reminded me of streamers at a party, so I decided to add a glass of bubbly and title it "Celebrate" -- but it got a little crooked. That made me change the title to "Tipsy" and put the bubbles trailing out behind. I think it was an accident that worked out better than the original plan. Thanks, Kate, for inspiring me to try something a little artsy!
There has been a lot going on with Project Linus for me lately. This is Make A Blanket Day for the Central Illinois Chapter in late September. Wow -- 700 blankets turned in/completed/made that day! Really impressive. The women in charge of organizing this were absolutely amazing.
I also took a couple classes at the Red Cross to get CPR, AED, and First Aid certification. They had this quilt hanging in the training room. I love the story behind it. One little girl and her friends made the quilt at her birthday party and donated it to the Red Cross. I hope that eventually it gets donated to someone in need after a tornado or other local disaster.

Finally, I used my new computer to take this photo of myself! It's a computer with a built-in camera. What a blast! I've been having fun playing with this new machine, though there's some work to do transferring things from my old computer and installing various other things. My DH and DD have been a huge help! Now that I can actually see the photos that you guys post on your blog, I'll do some catching up. I have missed you!