San Mateo County Fair 2007

We spent the day at the San Mateo County Fair yesterday. The Fair, in general, seems to get smaller and smaller every year, but they still had a great selection of quilts and other needlearts. I wish more people would take the time to enter one thing.

I attend county fairs for many reasons. I really enjoy it being a coming together of things that people in the county make/participate in. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the bee hive and talking to a beekeeper. The cut flowers and plants were also amazing. My two favorite things are the quilts and frozen bananas. I thought the frozen bananas had gone the way of the dinosaurs after I checked every food vendor and none had them. I finally found them hidden in the ‘international’ area. I never knew milkshakes and frozen bananas were considered foreign food. Oh well, you learn something new every day!

As you may remember, I entered Thoughts on Dots into the fair. It didn’t get a prize, but I was pleased with how it was displayed. I was happy that there were no Sunbonnet Sue stuffed dolls in front of it and it wasn’t folded over anything. You can really see the whole quilt.

I was also REALLY pleased with how flat it hangs (no ripples!) and how well the sleeve looks. No lumps!

While I like, what St. JCN calls, the San Mateo Dotty better, this quilt reminds me of it. I know they are very different, but there is something about it that brought the SMD to mind.

This is a close up and I really like the flower motifs for the quilting.
These were fun! They are crocheted cupcakes.
Detail shots. Do you like the “sprinkles?”
This quilt was tied and didn’t hang very well, but I loved the tree in the middle. That drawing was very well done.

Detail of the tree.

The complete group of photos, unaltered and BIG are here as well as few other needlearts items that struck my fancy.

Quilting Arts "Too Hot" Tips

Quiltings Arts recent e-mail newsletter had some great ideas for quilting when it is too hot to actually put needle to fabric. I am reproducing them here, but the ideas belong to Quilting Arts.

Too hot to quilt? Design!

  • Photograph. Take pictures of your (and others’) gardens to use later as inspiration for landscapes, color combinations, and abstracts or for digital manipulation and photo transfer.
  • Sketch. Draw flowers or vegetables up close, paying attention to seeds, stamens, leaves, and veins.
  • Gather. Beach glass, shells, interesting sticks, outdated maps, seed pods, and so on can provide inspiration and materials for your next quilt.
  • Shop. Now is the time to take advantage of end-of-season sales on fibers and fabrics or to get a jump on the new fall colors and innovations.
  • Plan. Just like gardeners plan their gardens in winter, quilters can get organized for the next “season” of quilting at the end of the summer. Make a schedule of shows to enter and due dates; list gift projects and deadlines for finishing them; take inventory of your tools and supplies, and replenish them, so when inspiration strikes, you’ll be ready!

I don’t see a link to back issues of t he eNewsletter, but you can subscribe to future issues on their site.

Happy Designing

Hanging on By My Fingernails

As you can see, messy crafting runs in the family. I went to a scrapbook night with my sister Friday night. This is her work area. She does gorgeous pages! I created about 10 pages and they were all very basic. My theory is get those photos on pages and be done. When my photos are all up to date, I will take more time for each page. I am still set on the goal rather than really enjoying the process. I’ll get there yet. Sis takes her time with each page and really makes them wonderfully.

Time has been even shorter lately than before. Yesterday, we had a long car drive, so I brought my hand piecing and was able to finish another Cross Block (Flowering Snowball). I thought I would able to do more, but I have to face reality. It takes me about 1.5 hours to make each block.

I can’t help but lay all of the blocks out each time I make a new block. Then I play around with them for a bit. I move them around so that no colors are too close to each other. I also try to make sure the backgrounds are duplicated too close to each other.

This time, I realized that having more choices for foregrounds and backgrounds makes me make better choices. I have been trying not to duplicate colors or fabrics in one block.

Mosaic from Europe

SisterK finally gave me a CDof photos of mosaics from France and Italy. She spent 9 months there a couple of years ago. Before she left I told her to take photos of mosaics for me. I plan to use them for filler when I have nothing quilty to report on. They are gorgeous!

The ring is so elegant and simple. It would make a wonderful area rug. I can imagine it on the floor with a simple,yet elegant round wooden table scattered with books and some of those chairs that Camilla had delivered for her shop today. [I would want the chairs in a different color, though]

This is a mosaic I would have never expected. I guess what I wouldn’t have expected was the sparkle.

Now for the silliness and fun. If you aren’t into complete silliness, stop reading and come back tomorrow.

I gave myself a makeover. I also created a new picture to represent my blog. I just needed something new. Very silly and fun. Hope you like it.

Pineapples and Housecleaning

I finished two side border blocks today. I had started them last week or the week before and finally took the time to finish them. I found, as I was working on them, that I really needed more background fabric. I was coming across too many duplicates in these blocks. I had used up a lot of the previously cut strips and needed to replenish my supply. Interspersed with sewing, I cut about 10 new fabrics for the background and began to use them for these blocks. I found that some of the dots I had not used at all. In looking at the pictures above, I wonder if the corners really look like background fabrics?

The above gives you an idea of how a corner of the quilt will look when the quilt is finally put together. You can see the corner block on the left bottom and right bottom. You can see the side blocks on the left top and the middle bottom. The top middle block is one of the center blocks.

I made one or two more Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball) and laid out all the blocks I have made thus far. I like the way the blocks are coming together. I am surprised and pleased each time I lay them out with the interplay between the fabrics. Laume was right in her comment to the More Quick Bytes post in advising me not to sew the Flowering Snowball blocks together as I went along when she said “Unsolicited advice – I’d hold off on sewing the snowball blocks together until you have them all made. You may find that as you make them you go through stages where you like and use one color more than another, or you run out of one or more background scrap fabrics and add in some new ones. You’ll want those changes to be dispersed evenly within the body of the quilt instead of showing up in little clumps. I assume. And one more thing – they look LOVELY!”. The more often I look at these blocks the more I like them.

A visitor has made me feel like I need to get busy and get rid of some of the junk laying around the house, or at least get it organized. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time, so it will have to be a little at a time. I did starting thinking about some of the organizational containers that are currently available. We’ll see what I get.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I always get a great sense of accomplishment out of tidying and organizing (librarian gene, I guess). I just don’t want to spend all of my limited and precious spare time on it.

To that end, in a previous post, I showed some fabrics that Deirdre sent. I really had no time during the past week to even think about fabric and quiltmaking. In order to get back into the fabric groove, I spent some time pressing and cutting them up for background pieces for the Cross Blocks. It was a good, meditative way to get back into the groove of sewing. I still have some more pieces to cut up. This task was also a way of cleaning up my workspace.

I have been using the red mosaic quilting piece as a thread catcher. I needed to get one of the pieces under control, because it was getting unwieldy. If you review the previous post (see link above), you can see how long and skinny the piece was. In its current state, it is still small (~10″x10″??), but really looks usable now. I want to make it bigger, so I am still working on it. Working on it like this is a little more difficult, because the small pieces don’t get added to the square very easily. I am currently working with some small pieces and making them big enough to add on to the piece shown above.

I am planning on adding the second piece, which is an even odder shape to the square above.

Confidential to St. JCN: here is the purple I thought would work for your sashing. Unfortunately, taking a photo of it doesn’t do it justice. The above pictures shows too much blue, so I will send you the sample.

I know many of you have commented on recent posts and I have not had a chance to respond, but rest assured that you are on my mind and I will get to it. Thanks for reading!

Great Work!

Deirdre sent this to me and I loved the front page so much I had to share.

A story in blues
140 x 90 cm
Machine made and thoroughly

Cotton, handmade felt (both wet and dry), organza, beads. 
For this quilt, I was awarded with the Aurifil price at the 11th Carrefour
d’Europeen in Val d’Argent, France.

Click on the photograph for a close-up.

  blog it

Some New Work & Some Finished Work

Thanks for continuing to read!

This is the piece I made in the Laura Wasilowski class through CQFA. This piece looks like the pieces I have worked on in Pamela Allen’s classes (May 2007 and June 2006). I seem to have a thing going for flowers in my small quilts at the moment. I think it is good to have a theme for classes, so you can try the teacher’s technique out without trying to think up interesting subject matter as well.

I would recommend a class with Laura. She is teaching at PIQF this year, so you may have a chance if you attend that show. She is a calm teacher (though we had none of those people who demand a lot of attend from the teacher – you know who they are), explains things very well and doesn’t try to cram too much into a class. There was lots of fusing going on and she gave everyone plenty of time to complete the various steps. She also sings various Chicago School of Fusing songs, which are quite entertaining.

I finally had a space large enough in my living room to get a full picture of Thoughts on Dots. Not the best picture, but at least you can see the entire thing. This quilt went to the County Fair today to be exhibited through mid-August. I can’t wait to see it hanging up. Hopefully, it will be a location I can use to get a good photo.

As you may be able to see I chose the green fabric for the binding. I was tempted by the red, but went with the green in the end. The green fit in with my theme of cheerfulness better for this quilt. Thanks to everyone who gave me their ideas and opinions. Your time and energy were greatly appreciated.
Block #20: complete! This completes all the center Pineapple blocks.

Corner block #1. Most of it is made of fabric with white backgrounds. The fabrics with the colored backgrounds aren’t quite dark enough. I will try to make the contrast between the back- and foregrounds more prominent.
Corner block #2.
This is, essentially, how the corner blocks will work with the center blocks.

Electric Quilt Freebies

If you haven’t gotten on the Electric Quilt bandwagon, I suggest that it is time. Aside from the software being really useful with tools for making templates, creating rotary cutting directions, working out visual problems, there is a vast block library and GREAT customer service. They also have a lot of freebies and downloads on their website. One of my faves is their fabric library downloads. Each month they put up another group of fabrics for download. These virtual fabrics add to your collection of fabrics in the program and keep you in the latest virtual fabrics for your project. You can use these files in any of your EQ6 (and some EQ5) projects.Check it out.

Download the Fabric Libraries

click to return to the Home Page
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One Last Pass at Binding Thoughts on Dots

After reading comments from Sherri and Laume last night, I decided that I needed to do my due diligence and try out green and purple/violet as bindings as well.

So I got up and applied some green to part of the quilt. The green is really good; I like it a lot. It works really well with the blues, pinks and the darker blue. This wasn’t the corner that I used for the other samples, so I removed the green and put it on the corner I was using for the sample.

I put the green on the ‘common’ corner and I think it looks just as good on this corner.

As a nod to Deirdre, I found a violet with some wavy stripes (with dots inside the stripes). I like the violet a lot, but I think the green is better. What do you think?

As an aside, in looking through my purple bins, I found that there were not really very many good violets in my bin. I don’t know if that is a product of my buying habits or the availability of violet. I’ll have to see as I see what fabric is available.

More Choices for Binding

So, I am at home instead of at the guild meeting, because I woke up with the beginnings of a cold. I have to be well. I have a lot of work and family obligations this week. Being in bed or coughing my lungs out are not on the agenda.

The bad side is that I don’t get to go and take friend, Julie‘s, class. She is teaching Freeform Fabric Collage. I am sure she will post photos on her blog, which I can’t wait to see.

The other bad thing is that going south was, probably, my only chance to see the sun today. While the rest of the universe are seeing over 100 degrees, we are fogged in. It is grey. I don’t know if it is cold, since I haven’t been outside yet, but I am sure it is not hot. However, it is not drippy like it was last night nor is the fog pea soup thick.

The other bad thing is that I don’t get to see my quiltmaking friends or all of their great works. Again, I’ll look forward to seeing them on the site. I even had something to show this time! Bleah.

The good thing, aside from trying to ward off the cold, is that I get to stay home. I have to admit that I have not had enough time to commune with my house lately. I will work on the Pineapples and the binding for Thoughts on Dots. Perhaps I will go with the husband to see a movie, especially since the child is gone.

I did finish another Flowering Snowball block (Cross Block) this week at Craft Night.
I like that I am making more an effort to make the background fabrics all different. I think it makes the blocks more interesting. I am really pleased to say that I have gotten a lot of compliments on this pattern. I am pleased that people have noticed and pleased that people are interested in blocks that have nothing to do with ‘quick piecing.’

In my last post (much too long ago!), I talked about possibilities for binding Thoughts on Dots. I also asked for feedback. Deirdre, Sherry, Sage and Cami all commented. Sherry and Sage thought a bright red or yellow, so I tried those. The red is really good.

Deirdre suggested a black/white stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is what I pulled out first and it frames the piece nicely, but kind of ruins the whole cheerful energy that I have been working on. In all fairness, Deirdre did suggest a stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is not a stripe or a zigzag.

So I hauled out a stripe. I couldn’t find a black and white zigzag, even though I think I have one. Even with the addition of the white, I don’t like the black. Sorry Deirdre!

Sherry suggested a solid red or a solid yellow. I really like the red (see above), but I also like the yellow. Neither the red or the yellow are solid, but they are tone-on-tones and are close to solids. I think the yellow is a top contender.
As I was pawing through fabrics, I also came up with this blue swirl, which I couldn’t not pull it out. I like it, but I think the yellow or the red is better. What do you think?

Make Visual Decisions Visually: Thoughts on Dots

My main goal this evening was to find the right binding for Thoughts on Dots. I have entered it into the county fair, which means I have to do the finishing work (binding and sleeve) fairly sharpish – 21 days from today is the last day to hand in the exhibits.

I thought I would use this Jane Sassaman fabric, but when I put it on the quilt (albeit messily here),I found that it isnt’ the right fabric. I like the stripes, but the colors aren’t right. GREAT! (<- note sarcasm) What a pain! Now what? I have blue on the mind, so my next choice after pawing through a boatload of fabric is a dot. I applied this fabric much more neatly, so I hope it doesn’t give it an unfair advantage. I think it is better, though. If I use this, I will not have much left, which makes me sad, because it is a really good dot fabric. Perhaps fuschia or red? Opinions are welcome.

Here is another bad picture of Thoughts on Dots quilted and trimmed. I am totally in love with this quilt. While it was gone, I forgot how much I like it.
Detail photo of the quilting. It is an allover pattern that reminds me of clouds. I think the quilting looks cheerful and doesn’t take away from the fabric placement.

Pineapple blocks 18 and 19 completed. You can see some of the new Kaffe Fassett dots in the corners.

Pineapple block #20 is on the top. Still not complete, but getting there.

The bottom two blocks are the first border blocks. They are 2 of the 4 corner blocks. I realized, in making these, that I have to use bold fabric for the lines of color since the ratio of color to white is so low. In person, they look quite cheerful.