Super Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A long time ago one of my quilts won a ribbon at the Marin Needlearts Guild show. That is probably the best prize I have ever gotten. I feel like that prize came from a real quilt show and the quilt did deserve to win.

Still winning at the San Mateo County Fair is pretty great, too. I did win at the Fair. I entered 3 items: two quilts and a pillow. I did not expect the quilts to win, because the ‘made by one/pro quilted’ category is really impacted. I did expect to win with the pillow based on SIL2’s analysis of the best categories to enter to get a prize.

Aqua-Red Sampler with prize
Aqua-Red Sampler with prize

First, the Aqua-Red Sampler Quilt got First place. As you know, I made these blocks in one of my sampler quilt classes. I am pretty pleased that this won. The two color scheme has an impact. Also, Colleen did spectacular quilting and the quilting shows. Definitely click on the image so you can see the detail of the quilting. I am really happy that the judges were able to appreciate this quilt. I think it looks a little modern, but I didn’t dare enter it in that category.

Under the Sea Embellished pillow
Under the Sea Embellished pillow

Second, despite reports to the contrary Under the Sea did win a prize. It won Third Place, which is fine. I am pleased that it won at all, because it was so much work and took so many years to finish. I could have gone on stitching, but this category gave me a deadline and finishing this piece got one more hand project off my list.

Metroscape with ribbon
Metroscape with ribbon

Finally, Metroscape won. WOW! This was a huge surprise. I did enter it into the Modern category in hopes of giving it a better chance, but I really didn’t expect anything. There it was hanging with a Second Place ribbon on it.

I enter quilts because I make them and want people to see them. I didn’t, as I said, expect to win. I don’t know what prizes I will get, but I know I will get a prize for each winner.

3 entries -> 3 prizes. Pretty amazing.


Fair Entries 2019

Last year I let you know what projects I entered into the fair. I saw the post by accident and can’t really believe another year has gone by. I didn’t wait until the last minute this year. Cyndi was kind enough to collect a bunch of entries at the BAM meeting to take to the fair. I gave her mine since it is much easier to have someone else drop them off. I think I’ll have to give her a gift or take her to lunch, because she really does save me a lot of time and energy.

I didn’t enter as much this year as I only wanted the free tickets. I know it is pretty callous, but it is true. There are so many quilts in the pieced-by-one, quilted-by-another category that I have no hope ever of winning for a quilt. I can usually win in the paper category, but didn’t finish the piece that I started with Nancy and Maureen.

SIL2 figured out that the embellishment category was the least populated so we had the best chance of winning, thus I had incentive to finish Under the Sea.


Under the Sea was entered.

Metroscape - finished
Metroscape – finished

Since Metroscape is pretty unusual, in that I haven’t seen a lot of finished quilts using the Quick Curve Ruler, I thought I might have a tiny chance, despite it being in that overcrowded category.

I really ended up liking the Aqua-Red Sampler. It is a striking quilt. Though I have no hope of winning anything with it, I wanted someone to see it and entered it anyway.

We’ll see what happens.

San Mateo County Fair Winners

I talked about my entries a few weeks ago. Once I get to the fair, I like to go and look at my entries right away to see what I won, if anything.

I got some prizes, but not many. Of my entries, two got prizes, the paper wreath which I expected and the Planned Improv quilt, which I did not. It is almost a guarantee I will not get a prize for a quilt, so i was thrilled to even get an Honorable Mention in any quilt category.

I was sad that none of these projects got prizes. The Flapper apron is probably the most ordinary of all of the projects, but it does have a great shape and interesting construction. The others are all very creative, especially the fabric placement on the Cal Shirt and the way I created a corset look on the Superheroine apron. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I did well last year, so I can’t complain too much.

I have some quibbles with the categories. They don’t have a bag category and they should. There were a number of bags and the bags have to compete against everything in the sewn accessories-non garment category. My Zip Away organizer would have been better in a bag category.

I also think they need an apron category. There were a lot of aprons and mine would have done better it they weren’t competing against a tailored jacket.

I really worked hard on the shirt, especially finishing the inside seams with French seams, so it was letdown not to get any prizes at all for it. It will be interesting to see what they say.

SIL #2 cleaned up. She got four prizes including a first for her fabulous two-sided shell table runner. I did well last year; it was her turn this year.


2018 Fair Entries

I entered my projects the other day into the fair. Not quite at the last minute, but the day before the last minute. I entered the following:

Paper Wreath for Beth
Paper Wreath for Beth

Rainbow Paper Wreath

Cal shirt for Paul, Christmas 2017
Cal shirt for Paul, Christmas 2017

DH’s Cal Shirt

Planned Improv
Planned Improv

Planned Improv Quilt

Superheroine apron
Superheroine apron

Superhero(ine) Apron

Zip Away Organizer - open
Zip Away Organizer – open

Zip Away Organizer

Flapper Apron

Let’s see if I can win something!

Book Arts Jam

Last weekend was exhibition weekend. I barely spent any time actually sewing. In addition to PIQF, the Book Arts Jam put on and exhibit and vendor hall with book artists vending. I have gone before and wrote about my visit in 2015.

The event is put on by the Bay Area Book Artists (BABA) organization and was held at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge. I went because I have, as I have said, a sincere but underdeveloped interest in book making. I always went to support Maureen who has sold postcards at the event during the last few exhibits.

Lilly's by Marilyn Howard
Lilly’s by Marilyn Howard

The exhibition has a gallery in one room and the vendor hall in the other. The exhibition made me realize that I am much more interested in the container than in the content of the books.

I know that creating content is important (ahem, see my blog), but for me in the context of this event, I felt myself drawn to the containers.

There were all types of book-like objects, some barely a book and some made from books rather than being books themselves. There were some accessories and a Barbie book.

Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro
Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro

One of the things that has been stumbling block for the next book in my series is the closure. At the Book Arts Jam, I saw one, Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro, artist use a magnet as a closure.

Why didn’t I think of that?

I have a whole bunch of sew in magnet closures I use for bags and they would be perfect! I don’t know how strong the magnet will be in the context of a book, but I can experiment now that I have an idea.

Sliceform Book by various BABA members
Sliceform Book by various BABA members

I saw some paper art that I would consider more like origami or papercraft (perhaps Scherenschnitte??) than bookmaking, but what do I know?

The colors make this look like a Thanksgiving decoration. I would love to enter this into the San Mateo County Fair. I found a site with instructions and some templates that can be printed. I didn’t see fruit, but didn’t look very hard. Looking at various shapes and site discussing sliceform, I can see that I could easily get sucked into that craft.


Vendor book with items for sale
Vendor book with items for sale

There were probably 15-20 vendors. Some were selling items, a number of them were selling cards and others were selling supplies. I saw one vendor selling documents like deeds and other types of contracts.

Maureen was right next to the booth shown above. Her booth looks really professional. Simple and elegant, but visitors can also play with rearranging her postcards. That is an attraction for me. I guess the kid comes out. I am upset with myself for not getting a shot of her booth or the postcards I bought from her! ERGH!

I bought some little tiny journals that I will use as party favors from Kristi Conley-Brockie. I bought 5 and she will make me 10 more before January. I liked the items she had in her booth. I liked her work because the pieces looked like books, but imagery was also important to them. The octopus in the center of the book in the middle photo is particularly interesting to me.

Black Cat Card
Black Cat Card

I found the perfect card for my aunt. It is Halloween-esque, but doesn’t scream Halloween and nods to her love of black cats. I wrote her a letter that very afternoon and sent it off. I hope she likes it.

Sadly the card was not marked with the Artist’s name and she did not include a business card. 🙁

The weekend was busy and I was tempted not to go to the Book Arts Jam. I go to exhibits to expand my mind and I wanted to support Maureen’s hard work as she has always been helpful to me and does fabulous work. As you can see I went searching for sliceform and got an idea from one of the art pieces I might be able to utilize in my own work.


Heard Museum, Part 4: Random Inspiration

Last week, I wrote about the silver collection. Earlier I also talked about the Katsina collection at the Heard Museum. I really could have taken a photo of each Katsina, but I tried restraint instead. The week before, I talked about the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit.

I only had about two hours to see the whole museum, so I had to focus. the collections described above were mostly the collections on which I focused. As I walked around I saw a few other random items that inspired me.

Hopi Baskets, 1968-69
Hopi Baskets, 1968-69

In an exhibit about weddings, there were numerous items related to that event. One was a beautiful flat basket.

One of the things I like about this basket is the texture combined with the color. I think it would look great on a wall. I also liked the description “Numerous baskets were made by the bride’s family and given to the groom’s family” (Heard Museum information). This information, brief as it is, seems to imply that the groom rather than the bride was the property and the bride’s family had to pay for “the property.” 😉

You know I like metalwork, if you saw my Art Institute of Chicago post. I find grilles and grates to be good sources of inspiration for machine quilting designs. I thought these would be great all over designs. They are also simple and would be nearly continuous.

Dextra Quotskuyva, Hopi-Tewa. Jar, 1976
Dextra Quotskuyva, Hopi-Tewa. Jar, 1976

The thing I like about this pot/bowl is the design around the outside. A quick glance shows a flower, but if you look closer, you see some small birds, butterflies or flying insects. They remind me of dragonflies. I like the way they are integrated into the design of the bowl itself. I keep trying to think of ways to do this with a quilt. It might not be possible, but I am thinking.

Inside of an example log house
Inside of an example log house

I thought this was interesting.  It is a painting housed inside of a Navajo hogan, made of cedar and adobe. You can see the painting in situ in an image on the museum site as part of the exhibit, HOME: Native People in the Southwest.

This museum is well worth a visit. There is a lot to see, so if you go to visit, plan to spend some time there.

Heard Museum, part 3: Silver

Last week, I talked about the Katsina collection at the Heard Museum. I really could have taken a photo of each Katsina, but I tried restraint instead. The week before, I talked about the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit. This museum is well worth a visit. There is a lot to see, so if you go to visit, plan to spend some time there.

Phillip Honanie, Hopi, Necklace, 1970s
Phillip Honanie, Hopi, Necklace, 1970s

In addition to the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit and the Katsinas, the musem has a collection of silver pieces that are quite beautiful. They make me want to be part of an organization that has rituals that use such beautiful items. The necklace, though more modern, has really gorgeous designs adorning it.

In quiltmaking, I can see using this necklace as inspiration for handquilting or applique’. I don’t know if it is the metal, but the designs also remind me of the metal grates and grilles I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012.

One of my favorite pieces was a vessel. Enlarge the pictures so you can see the lovely lines on the lid and the droplets, or pussy willows, on the side of the container. I also like the hexagonal shape. The top could be used as machine quilting inspiration.

There were a number of other lovely pieces that were inspiring to me.

Heard Museum Part 2: Katsina

Katsina Information, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Katsina Information, Heard Museum, Phoenix

Katsinas are a Hopi tradition.

Katsina collection, Heard Museum Phoenix
Katsina collection, Heard Museum Phoenix

The Heard Museum has an amazing collection of Katsina dolls. Yes, I used the term Katsina instead of Kachina. The docent who showed us around said Katsina was the correct term. I really have no idea, so call them whatever you want.

“Katsinas are the spirit messengers of the universe. After death a Hopi continues a spiritual existence as a life-sustaining Katsina” (information at Heard Museum).

Hopi Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Hopi Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix

“The cultural and religious belief of Hopi is that Katsinas bring the katsina dolls in their likeness as gifts for young girls. Each gift repesents a prayer for good health, growth and fertility. With this daily reminder in the home, young girls remember the Katsinas and their teachings. Male family members may assist in the learning process by casually singing parts of the Katsina songs within the home to remind other of the prayer songs shared” (information at Heard Museum).

Katsina Doll, Heard Museum Phoenix
Katsina Doll, Heard Museum Phoenix

The black and white doll struck me as very funny. I don’t mean to demean another religion by laughing. He looks mischievous and cheerful. I sent the image to the YM and he enjoyed it.

Katsinas were carved at a variety of skill levels and with differing levels of detail. As people started to collect them, artists began carving them to sell rather than for children to play with.

Viewers can tell the difference between the toys and the made-to-sell pieces by looking at the bottom. The art pieces have a base, which make them easier to display.

I really liked the variety of facial expressions.

Part of Barry Goldwater's Collection, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Part of Barry Goldwater’s Collection, Heard Museum, Phoenix

The collection put together by Barry Goldwater is now in the Heard Museum.

The Goldwater display is separate from the others. The interesting part is the way the collection is displayed: older Katsinas at the top of the case, newer at the bottom. This arrangement makes it very easy to see the evolution of the Katsinas. The newer the doll, the more detailed it is and less likely it is intended for a child.

Ros George Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Ros George Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix

The Ros George Katsina is a good example of the type of Katsina made as art to sell.

I took a photo of this particular Katsina, because of the feathers. If you click on the photo so you can see it larger, you will see the fine carving on the wings and feathers.

Heard Museum-PHX

Back in June, I went to Phoenix for work. It was that week that was incredibly hot and I was actually out and about in 119 degree heat. I won’t be doing that again.

I was invited to a vendor event at the Heard Museum. Since I had nothing better to do and enjoy visiting places unique to various cities, I went. I am not much of a fan of Native American art – I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t float my boat – though I can always find something to inspire me in ally types of exhibits.

I was incredibly pleased to see the various collections that were amazing and extremely inspiring.

Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera Exhibit
Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera Exhibit

They had an exhibit of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera pieces that I felt incredibly lucky to see. Not only were there paintings by the pair, but there were also photographs of the pair and their family. The exhibit was only going to be shown in one other place in the US (not sure what other city, sorry!) and that place was not in San Francisco.

Their paintings have a simplicity, without being simplistic that I like. This was the first time I had seen the sexual aspect of their paintings, as well. This was the first time I had seen paintings of a couple of Rivera’s patrons, the Gelmans. These paintings are great examples of simplicity, without being simplistic.

Kahlo had a number of self portraits in the exhibit. I really liked her hair in a number of them.

She also had some pretty interesting paintings, at least to me. The above photos show a “composition that borrows from the historical motif of the Virgin and the Child with St. Anne in which the saint embraces Mary and Jesus.” (from info at the museum). This is definitely not a boring picture and there is a lot to look at in it.

The bride who becomes frightened when she sees life opened by Kahlo and Landscape with cacti by Rivera are a couple of other interesting paintings. Again they have that simplicity (flatness of the paint application???) that I like, but are not simplistic.

The photographs gave a realistic glimpse into their lives and brought up the suggestion that both artists had other lovers.

Stay tuned for post coming to a blog near you of other art at the Heard Museum.

San Mateo County Fair 2017

The Fair is held in June and with the YM’s broken ankle and a big new client, it took me awhile to get this post together. Here it is.

San Mateo County Fair Prizes 2017
San Mateo County Fair Prizes 2017

I was tempted to call this post 4 Entries, 4 Prizes, but I thought that might a bit too much self congratulation. It is true, however. I entered four items into the fair and received four prizes.

FOTY 2015
FOTY 2015

SIL and I have determined that the way to get prizes is to enter items into the non-quilt categories. I received monetary prizes for everything but the quilt, which received an honorable mention and more criticism on my binding as well as criticism that my seams don’t match. I was annoyed at that since there was maybe 2 seams that didn’t match. I work very hard on my piecing so it looks good. I suppose they have to find something to criticize. The point about my binding was grudgingly well taken. I had no idea what they meant, but SIL showed me what she thought they meant and I took her advice to heart when I did the binding on the Peacock.

Apron - 2017
Apron – 2017

I need to make another apron, so, perhaps, I will wait and enter that in the fair in 2018. In fairness, my niece has been waiting for this apron, so it might be a little annoying for her to wait another year. Perhaps I’ll make two.

The fussy cutting on the apron was worth it. There was a comment that they really liked the way I used the fabric. They also liked it that I finished the seams.

California Shirt with ribbon
California Shirt with ribbon

They did not like that I did not finish the seams on the California shirt. I kind of knew that when I was working on it. I wanted to make French seams like I do on the pillowcases, but just didn’t do it.

Now I want to make another shirt with French or finished seams. It might be a good way to learn to use a serger.

I have lots of pictures of exhibits to show, so I’ll see about writing some more posts on the Fair in general.


Phoenix Art

Recently I went to Phoenix for a work conference. It was a very different Phoenix than I had seen before. I saw a lot of art while I was there and not all of it was in museums.

The Earth Dreaming - full
The Earth Dreaming – full

Outside the convention center were a a few pieces that I really enjoyed. The set of pieces were mosaics called The Earth Dreaming by Isaiah Zager. The pieces were made in 2008.

I like the mosaic aspect of the pieces. There is a spidery element and also the circles.

It is very nice to see art when I walk down the street.

Ellsworth Kelly at the SFMOMA

Monday was a day of outings. Friend Julie came up on Sunday night to stay. She, DH and I headed off to the SFMOMA at the crack of dawn (ok, 9:30, but it was a holiday) for our appointment to see the Diebenkorn/Matisse exhibit that was closing that day.

We had a 10:30 appointment to get into the exhibit and arrived at the museum before the galleries opened. We had about 20 minutes to look at the other galleries on the 4th floor before our entrance time. One of the artists at which I looked was Ellsworth Kelly.

Kelly has a long history with the SFMOMA. The Fishers (founders of the Gap) bought many of his works and donated (or loaned) them to the museum. The SFMOMA has also bought pieces of his.

I have a checkered history with Kelly. A number of his works I have seen in the past were “color fields,” a canvas of one color. I am sure critics and art historians have a lot of positive things to say about such work, but I have never liked them. No matter how famous the artist I see these types of work as works they made phoning it in. This view comes from a very limited knowledge.

Spectrum I, 1953 by Ellsworth Kelly
Spectrum I, 1953 by Ellsworth Kelly

There were different works on the walls by Kelly this time. There were two that I particularly liked. One was Spectrum I from 1953.

As you can see, Kelly gradates the color from yellow to yellow. The information said that the yellow is the same on both sides. It doesn’t look like it because of hte influence of the green on one side and the light orange on the other. I also like the series of violets in the middles -an indigo with a touch of violet, a violet and a red violet. The canvas looks like it bows in the middle, which is an added bonus.

Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance, 1951-53 by Ellsworth Kelly
Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance, 1951-53 by Ellsworth Kelly

Second, was a piece called Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance, 1951-53. He did not phone this one in and I don’t think that blue tape was available at the time (though I really have no idea) to help keep the lines straight. DH found it hard to look at, but I found it inspiring.

You might have noticed that June is nearly upon us and I have not sewn FOTY 2016 together yet. I wasn’t feeling the love. After seeing “Spectrum Colors” I feel a renewed sense of purpose. I am seriously thinking of putting charcoal (not black) in between the colors, but doing it like he has done so there is some interaction between the colors. He uses solids and not all of my fabrics are solids. Still, I think using a solid charcoal or even the cool grey of which I bought about 1000 yards might make an interesting piece.

There are some issues:

  1. Another quilt with a gazillion pieces. Sigh. What has gotten into me.
  2. The squares I cut are 3″. Doubling the number I have might lead to a quilt sized large enough to cover my house. I could cut the squares and might do that. I’ll have to try out a bit and see.
  3. I don’t want to completely depart from the color gradation idea, so I might gradate the colors within the design field even though a solid might be in between some of the colors.

This is why it is good to go to art museums or see exhibits outside of your field. You never know when you will get inspired by an artist or piece of art.

First Gathers

McCall's Apron Fabric & Pattern
McCall’s Apron Fabric & Pattern

Sometime ago, Kelly supervised my work when I cut out the aprons. This apron is different from the Church Lady apron I finished.

The pattern, which has gathers, is from McCall’s and is called Fashion Accessories “The Retro Collection” (#2811). I don’t remember when I bought it, but it has been around my workroom for awhile. I think I might have bought it when I made my first apron in a garment sewing class back in the dark ages. I am pretty sure I definitely bought it before 2010. Too bad patterns don’t have some kind of date on them. Maybe they do and I didn’t see it. Fortunately, for you, it is still available. The link above is an affiliate link.

Mom was over and since I needed supervision for sewing this pattern, we started it. Altogether, the apron took about 3 hours to make. As usual, I sewed other things in between, like the pillowcases, so it took me more time, but not longer.

Gathering the apron skirt
Gathering the apron skirt

My dressmaker (for the Political Wifery dresses) has forbidden me from wearing gathers, so I was slightly horrified when I realized that this pattern had gathers. I also have never sewn gathers. My mom suggested we do pleats instead, which we started. Mom had to leave at this stage so we decided that since it was an apron and I would probably just wear it around the house, there wouldn’t be anyone to criticize the elegant styling. 😉 She helped me start and then gave me firm instructions. I think I did ok. Each time I got into trouble I texted her photos of my status and the relevant part of the directions, then we got on the phone and she told me what to do. What did we do before these technologies became available?

Arranging the gathers was fine, but sewing over them was very strange. It was nearly impossible to keep everything lined up properly. I think I did ok, but it was slightly terrifying. I was afraid I would do something wrong.

Waistband covering gathers
Waistband covering gathers

Mom helped me figure out the waistband, which is very clever once I understood the terminology.

All in all, I am pleased with my effort. I’ll never be a really competent garment maker, but I can hold my own with some projects. Stay tuned for the final!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival 2015

I decided to enter the Blogger’s Quilt Festival put on by Amy’s Creative Side since, for once, I have a really great picture of a quilt that fits the criteria.

Russian Rubix was finished this year.


  • 100% cotton fabric
  • 100% cotton thread


  • Machine pieced
  • Longarm quilted
Russian Rubix
Russian Rubix


  • Year: 2013-2015
  • Size: 85”x85.5”
  • Fabric: various

Quilted By:

  • Colleen Granger



I saw this pattern at Always Quilting when I was visiting there with Susan, the History Quilter. After some back and forth via email, we decided to both make the quilts. I used a selection of fabrics I chose carefully, which I subsequently used for two other projects. I wanted to make the pattern, by April Rosenthal, my own, so I changed it up a little bit by dropping some of the octagons in the center and adding an octagon border. The octagons were a bit of a challenge, but I got into a routine and they went together with no problem.

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2015
Blogger’s Quilt Festival 2015