March Cross-X Blocks

February CrossX Blocks

th_friendshipswapbutton_zpseeb9f31a

It’s Cross-X Blocks time again!  The last Friday of every month, Krista of KristaStitched and I post about our swaps that we’ve done.  Above are the eight blocks I made for February, four for Krista and four for me.  Our Flickr group is *here* if you want to see what everyone is doing.

February CrossX blocks_2

Here’s mine, all alone after sending my blocks off to her.

BLocks as of Feb 2014

My organizing fetish surges to the front at times like this, as I like to see our progress.  Krista’s ahead of me, having sent me two March blocks.  I have to get going to keep up with her!

All Blocks Feb 2014

And here they are, all together.  I can’t believe the number of blocks is growing this fast.

Fav CrossX Block_1

I like playing with the blocks because I get to look more closely at what Krista’s been up to.  Here are four of my recent favorites of hers (above and below).

Fav CrossX Block_2

Fav CrossX Block_3

Fav CrossX Block_4

February CrossX blocks_Madrona Road

And one last shot of the blocks, made up in Madrona Road (with a few oldies).  I hope Krista has her sunglasses!

Tiny Envelopes Quilt

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_front

Tiny Envelopes
Quilt #129 on the 200 Quilts List

I was happy and pleased to hang this one out on my back-fence studio, and be able to see the shading of the Kona Snow and the Kona White in the background.  I smiled.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail2

This quilt had its origins in another, my most recent Four-in-Art, and instead of discarding the small envelopes, I let the fabrics and little squares and colors and strips guide me to another quilt, an interesting journey.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail1

Usually, with me, it’s always a block in my head, or a pattern done up in my quilt software, or a photo of a quilt I’ve seen and want to make, but this one?  It formed itself.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail3

I quilted wavy lines, an occasional circle to designate a postmark, and loops in the borders.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_quilting

The backing is one of my favorites, with pictures of a samara, those little maple seeds you split apart in summer and affix to things — like your nose — little seeds destined to fly away, like a letter to a friend.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt sleeve

The quilt sleeve and binding, a batik fabric, shown close up.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_sofa

It’s not so big, really, but it was the size it needed to be.

Updated Goals List

I put two stickers on my Goals Chart–two things finished!

Someone Novel

I’m listening to Someone, by Alice McDermott and find that I’ve worked for hours, swept away as I am in this tale.  I’m more than halfway through, and need to take up another project so I can finish the novel.  Recommended by my mother, but really recommended by my sister Susan, who told my mother about it.

wysteria_1

Believe it or not, California is supposed to get some rain.  So far right now we have about 1″ of rainfall, when normally it is 10.”  We’ve contacted a garden designer to rip out our lawn in front and put in some xeriscaping–plants that are more native to our area and require little water.

wysteria_2

But this weekend?  It’s supposed to pour, and I know it will knock all the blossoms off my lovely blooming wisteria, the heady fragrance a spring’s welcome when I walk outside to photograph quilts.

wysteria_3

wysteria from above

This is the view from the top of the trellis–a thick carpet of lavender and purple.

wysteria_4

wysteria_5

I hope that lovely blossoms are in your future, and that you receive some tiny — or large — envelopes in the mail, tiny, but with grand messages. Which reminds me that I need to get going on my Bee Blocks and my Cross-X blocks, and get those envelopes out in the mail!

Linking up with Lee, of Freshly Pieced on her WIP Wednesday.

A Grand Day Out: The Valley Quilters Quilt Show

Beautiful Day

It was a beautiful day that the Valley Quilters held their quilt show, and I had a morning free, so I headed down to Hemet, about 40 minutes away from my house.  I like going to this small show–it’s kind of the antidote to all the craziness  and glitz and flash and overwhelmingness that is Road to California.

Vlly Quilt Show

This is it.  I think they had about 50 or so quilts.  I was joking to one woman that it was the tonic that cured me of my exhaustion from Road.  “Oh, Road!” she said.  “Too much walking.”

Glacier Star

This is what greets you, as you enter the community center gymnasium: Glacier Star, by Shirley Mykris and quilted by Diane Best.  I meandered through their display, so these quilts are in no particular order.

This Is Me Quilt

This Is Me, by Beckie Stabile and quilted by Marvel Dorf. She said in her notes that these are her favorite quilting things.

Helper by Quilt

All the helpers were wearing decorative tabards.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_detail

Here’s a detail of the quilt above.

Kaleidoscope Quilt

The name of this is Kaleidoscope, but Dawn Guthrie-Clark and quilted by Debbie Blair.  (Hey!  I have a quilt named Kaleidoscope!)

Twin Ladies in Quilted Jackets

I thought these ladies looked great in their coordinating quilted jackets and they agreed to let me photograph them.

Beginner Quilt_detail

This is a detail from one of the beginner quilts that was displayed in this show, and they are all basically the same with different details.  I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked at these quilts, for these young quilters were working hard to master the craft that I love so well.

Beginner Quilt

Some have thought that my choices of the Most Ugly Quilt at Road to California were a dagger to the heart of beginners, and some took me to task believing that we should never say anything bad about another creation.  (I agree, up to a point.) But beginning quilts should be in this type of show: a guild show, which displays a wide range of skills and talents.

Beginner Quilt2

Beginner quilts do not really belong in a national juried show, unless they are working at a very high skill level, which my Most Ugly Quilts (MUQ) were not.  And all of these beginner quilts shown here are heads and shoulders above some of the MUQuilts, as they are authentic.  And charming. And well made with a central, balanced design.

Beginner Quilt3

And they make you smile, not cringe, especially when one young quilter noted that making a quilt is not as easy as it looks, and that “it was my first time using a sewing machine.”

Circle of Hope and Quilter

Mary Myers just happened to walk by her quilt, Circle of Hope, when I was looking at it.

Circle of Hope Quilt

It’s quilted by Nancy Williams.

Circle of Hope Ribbon

Wouldn’t you love to win this ribbon, with it’s tiny Sunbonnet Sue bonnet? And don’t you love the little decorated clothespins with their colorful yo-yos?

Green Tea and Sweet Beans full

Green Tea and Sweet Beans was made by Susan Bailey and quilted by Laural Arestad, from a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  This, or a version of this, is definitely in my future.

Classic Basket Quilt

A lovely classic basket quilt.

Snowman Quilt

Little Snowman peeking out

I loved the cute snowman peeking out from different places on this quilt (sorry, didn’t get the name).

Thyme to Water

Thyme to Water was made by Alice Novak and quilted by Chuck Anderson. I loved the detail on her watering cans.

Thyme to Water_detail1

Thyme to Water_detail2

Thyme to Wear Ribbons

And check out those ribbons–TWO of them.  It was well deserved.

Pioneer Braid full quilt

I just couldn’t get a good photo of this quilt, titled Pioneer Braid, but it was vibrant and colorful, as shown by the detail below. Jenelle Pickett made this quilt, and it was quilted by Nancy Williams.

Pioneer Braid detail

There is something so appealing about a scrappy quilt.

Japanese Quilt Shop

Japanese Quilt Shop is another quilt by the duo Alice Novak (maker) and Chuck Anderson (quilter).  When I put this up on Instagram, I got a lot of questions about the pattern.  She credits her design source as Piece by Piece Quilts by Joe Wood.  But Barbara Brackman, on her blog, has a free pattern that may work for you, if you substitute in a quilt block or two in the houses.

Japanese Quilt Shop _detail

Quilt Show Decor

There was obviously a lot of tender loving detail given to this small show, as witnessed by this antique stroller filled with dollies.

husband chair

There were even a few vendors, and this great chair at one of their booths.

Alice's QD Christmas 2012

Bonny Tucker made and quilted this quilt, titled Alice’s QD Christmas 2012.  She used a coloring technique, then embroidered them to make the blocks, but it wasn’t until the Christmas 2012 Quilter’s Dozen came along that she knew what to do with them.  (I assume it was a guild program.)

Alice's_detail

A is for Apple full quilt

Jan Dolan’s “A” is for Apple was a lovely gathering of alphabet representations. The story of the quilt is complicated: it was originally started as a block-of-the-month at one shop, but the shop was sold and the designer/teacher was injured in an auto accident.  The pattern was still given out to finish on their own.

A is for Apple_detail 1

Apple quilt detail

Flourishes

Mary Myers made Flourishes, and it was quilted by Jodie Krot.  The design source was Piece O’ Cake Designs.  She writes that this was a tribute for Edward Myers’ life:  “I took the squares with me everywhere.  Many doctor & hospital visits.  I started it in October, 1999 but it was not completed until April 2007, six-and-a-half years after his death.”  I don’t know if Edward was a son, or a husband, but it is a wonderful memory quilt.

Flourishes_detail

Dancing Wonky Wildflowers

Dancing Wonky Wildflowers was made by Jacquie Buchanan and quilted by Jami Doto, with the design source noted as “Wonky Wildflowers” by Sandra Workman.

Hunters Star quilt full

I’m a sucker for a well-done Hunter’s Star quilt (sorry, no name on this one either).

Hunters Star quilt detail

Critters Quilt

I’ll close with two appliqué quilts.  The quilts I’ve shown are only a sample of this show, so come on over next year!  The quilt above, titled Critters, is by Billie Kercmar, quilted by Karen Gehring (from Woodland Creatures by Rosemary Makhan).

Ladies of the Sea quilt

And this stunner is Ladies of the Sea, made by Deborah Morrione and quilted by Better Barney.  (Design source was Sue Garman.)

This and That, February Version

Dilbert work-life balance

This made me laugh this week, as I had NO life, yet TOO MUCH work.  A bit out of balance.  Papers to grade, lessons plans to prep, more grading, ACK!!   Finally, yesterday afternoon I pushed back from the computer, and went outside to breathe in some balmy Southern California air.

Justin Genius

First, a visit to the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, where they exchanged my Christmas-present phone for a new-to-me phone.  That should fix the battery problem, the Genius said.  Thanks, Justin.

Goal Sign

Next, writing out my quilting goals for a couple of months.  I tried to be judicious in my choices, not throwing EVERYTHING up there, but just the things I’ve committed to, or think I can do. I’m not doing the Finish-A-Long this quarter, but do like the push it gives me, so I have to generate my own push.  I think I’ll tackle the quilting on my Tiny Envelopes quilt.  It’s been pinned together for several weeks, waiting for me to finish my grading.

FMQuilting Notes

I always “test” my quilting in a doodle, then mark right on the fabric what the upper tension needs to be.  Here are a few other test drives.  I’m using King Tut thread by Superior Threads in the top, and So Fine thread in the bobbin.  I LOVE So Fine.  I often use Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, but then need to loosen the upper bobbin tension more.  Bottom Line is very fine, so “sinks” into your backing nicely.  I found the upper tension also varies between using my free-motion foot (needs to be lower), and my walking foot.  Test, test test.

Quilting Envelopes

First, quilt the little envelope shapes.

Postmark 1

Then I started looking up ways to quilt the larger design on the quilt, looking at all different kinds of postmarks on Google Images.  Did you know you can send your envelopes to North Pole, Alaska and they will cancel your Christmas letters for you, with a postmark that says “North Pole”?

Postmark 2

I thought this design had some potential, but I kept looking.

Postmark 4

The one in the upper left corner — a square with wavy lines — that was the one that pushed my quilty buttons.

Quilting Doodles Tiny Envelopes

I always print out a “faded” version of my quilts onto paper, then doodle some designs.  I’d been doodling for a while before I found that one.  I recreated it in the upper left corner, then went to work.  I Googled “wavy lines template” and found one here:  cutting_wavy_lines.  Click on that link and you’ll get a PDF file of some wavy lines.

Tracing Wavy Lines Quilting

I traced one of the wavy lines onto some heavyweight plastic from an old binder divider I had laying around, then traced the wavy lines onto my quilt with an air-disappearing marker.

hitting the wall baseball players

After a couple of hours of quilting, I hit the proverbial wall, but since the marker is a disappearing marker when exposed to the air, I knew whatever marks I had made would be gone in the morning, so I quilted until I ran out of thread in both the bobbin and on the spool.  I got the message, so called it a night.

Olympic Geese

Valentine's Day Card

Well, first, Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
(card is from my husband)

Valentine Cookies

And I made some cookies (recipe *here*) for the occasion.

Geese 1

But in amongst the papers that had to be graded and the handouts that had to be written, I wanted some form of Olympic quilt.  Something. . . somehow.

Geese 2

So I laid out some snips from some recent projects in circles, playing with this layout and the other.

OlympicGeese Quilt_front

So, here it is.  Olympic Geese.  Little triangles flying around in circles.

OlympicGeese Quilt_detail

While free motion quilting, I decided to try different ways of tackling the quilting.  I figured out about twenty different ways to quilt a triangle.  A little self-tutoring while goofing around.

Olympic Geese Quilt_casual

Then I quilted lines radiating out from the center, close together.

Patchwork Bag_flat exterior

While at Road to California, I found a pattern for a bag I’ve wanted to make for just about forever.

Patchwork Bag_flat interior

So it starts out with lots of squares, with batting and backing, then stitched around. This is the interior.  I used heavy thread, like a sashiko thread, to create the stitched lines.  I then stitched it in rows, then the rows together.  Of course, all done while watching the Olympics and cheering on Noelle Pikus-Pace.

Patchwork Bag_front

I then stitched the sides together, which about broke my already burdened brain (remember?  the grading?  the handouts?).

Patchwork Bag interior

And here’s a picture of the interior.  It has woven faux leather handles, which I zig-zagged onto the bag, and will cover the cut ends of the handles with more fabric. It’s kind of an odd shape, but it intrigues me.  I’ve got to find a way to put it together more easily–this hand-stitching of all the squares together is for the birds. And I think I’d like to try it in bright colors, and smaller squares. And I’d also like to fly around the world, too.

Okay, back to grading tomorrow.  Then to do our taxes.  Who says it’s a holiday?