Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Princess and Niko

"Princess and Niko"

I needed something easy to do while I cogitate over the sky for the pelican in the previous post.  Rosie and I met Princess and Niko today  on our walk and I snapped a couple of pictures.  I did a little bit of Photoshopping, then printed out the result on fabric.  I added borders, some thread and paint, and voila!
Princess is a rescue.  She doesn't bark; she squeaks.  Apparently, she was a breeder's dog and he had all of his dogs "debarked" so he didn't have any noise from his kennels.  The breeder died, his dogs were rescued, and now Princess has a pretty nice life with her person and Niko.  These dogs are so white and fluffy -- it seems to me that having one is a lot like trying to have white carpet in a houseful of kids.  And these two always look perfect.
These dogs bark all the time.  The neighbors are going nuts.  They are still puppies and a little training would go a long way.  Just sayin'.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Bother With a Fiber Sandwich?

I have been working on my quilt for a show entitled "Turning Point.  I chose to do a pelican in silhouette against a sunrise (or sunset) on the water.
To do the pelican, I made up a test sandwich with the same wool batting and two pieces of hand-dye.
 In order to make it as similar as possible to the actual quilt, I fused some of the scraps from the pelican to the top piece of the sandwich.
Then I used safety pins to hold it together.  Normally, I would use spray adhesive to hold such a small piece together, but I didn't use it on the "real" piece, so I didn't use it for the test sandwich.  It was really windy on the day when I layered it and I don't like to use sprays in my house, so I safety-pinned it.
I use the sandwich to test tension and needles for the different threads.  Every time I change the thread or needle, I get out the tester and stitch a bit on it.  In the photo above, the tension isn't quite right.  It's easy to fix it here, rather than "unquilt" the real piece.  The loops in the two samples above were "fixed" by replacing the needle.
I also used it to audition threads and quilting patterns.  I auditioned three different threads before I decided to use the one on the right for the wings.

I have finished the thread work on the pelican and next I'll tackle the water.
This is the new sandwich to duplicate the sky/water area.  No fused pieces.  I am going to add some paint over the quilting on the water portion, so I chose colors that were close to the ones in the "real" piece.
And the backside -- tension looks pretty good to me.  Next up:  quilting the water.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall is Here (Sigh)

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence."

--Thomas Hood, English author (1799-1845)

I saw all these things on my walk this morning with Rosie.  A flock of geese flew over while I was out, but by the time I got the camera turned on, they had passed.  They'll be back, though.  They never really leave -- they just fly back and forth from the pond that's northeast to the other pond that's southwest of here.  It's funny though, I usually hear them honking only during the spring and fall.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blue (and Green) Monday

My design wall for today holds those star blocks I've been fretting about.  I'm trying to create a zigzag frame for the feathered star.  It's going well -- but I worry that it will be too "heavy" for this delicate looking block.

Then I need to figure out how to sew them all together.  I have three or four more blocks I want to make for this and I'm thinking that I want to create four more frames.  Hmmm... having the blocks on point may make a quilt that's too big for me to quilt myself.  But I was really looking forward to piecing something cool in the setting triangles.

If you want to see what's on other design walls this Monday, click here to go to Judy's blog.

This is Rosie helping.  She's not crazy about Mondays either.  And now for something completely different...

Ahoy me Beauties!  So yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  And I missed it!  AAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! I been awritin' me post in me 'ead fer nigh onto a yar now and I missed it!  Arrrrggggghhhhhh... now I will have to be awaitin' on next yar.  Arrrggghhh!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mag32 -- The Wrong Side of the Line

On quicksand, tiptoe.
Shifting silently for and fro
barely balancing between
fine lines that've been drawn

the grains slip through,
immortal, pouring to
the end of the line.
The end of my time.

-kls 2010

This was written in response to the picture above, which is courtesy of Magpie Tales.  

Write your own and click here to link up.

Hailstorm Hits

Last night (no, this morning) I was awakened around 3ish by lightning and the sound of raindrops tapdancing on the window shade.  I nudged DH -- it was his window -- to close it before the furniture got wet.  As I lay there, listening to the growling thunder, it quickly escalated to the sound of fist-sized rocks hammering the roof. Yikes!

I ran downstairs to get the camera and the percussion of hail beating against the skylights  made me pause -- it sounded like they could come crashing down.  I bravely grabbed the camera (by this time both DH and Youngest Daughter were up) and we went out on the front porch to take pictures.

Rosie the dog was distressed by all the racket and doing her velcro-dog impersonation.  The white blobs in the pictures are the falling hail.  My neighbor ran out (wearing pajamas)  to close the windows on his car.  We picked up a piece for YD to hold.  Not quite golf-ball sized.

This morning, the damage was amazing.  It was as if the trees had held a war.
There were no leaves left on the stupid fake fruit tree (of course, the stupid fake fruit is still there).

My pumpkin vines were shredded.

Tomatoes were all over the ground.

Lemons were knocked off the tree.

The fireplace cover had large holes.

The siding and gutters were smashed and dented.

And my new window screens were ripped.  The damage to the house seems to be confined mostly to the west-facing side.

My neighbor said that their skylights were broken in by the hail.  There are branches down and the noise of chainsaws, mowers, and blowers (I hate those things) have sounded a cacophony since first light.  My cars were safe in the garage, but cars that were left out were seriously dented.   I checked the forecast -- there are storms forecast for most of the next week.

And the teenager lay calmly in his bed, reading a book.  "Yeah, I heard the hail," he said.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stars With Pizazz

I have been working my way through the blocks in the pattern my First Thursday Piecers group has been doing, but I was getting bored with the blocks.  Part of that is my usual reluctance to do "someone else's work" and part is due to my desire to be challenged.  So I got out my EQ7 program (which doesn't need the internet to work once it's set up) and created some new stars.

This block was inspired by a quilt I saw at Quilt Expo last week.  Of course, I had to make it different for me.

This block is one I saw in the latest issue of Quilter's Newsletter called "Double Windmill."  I recreated it in EQ because then I could play with it in my virtual quilts.  Also, I wanted to do different colors and values than they did.  That was easy to do once I had it in my virtual sketchbook.

You can get directions for it here.  Apparently it's in the block library, but I didn't really look for it -- I was having too much fun trying to create it in Patch Draw.

This feathered star was in the block library, but I added the little rays in the background areas.  I'm not afraid of set-in or partial seams, but this was a nightmare to sew together.    I pretty much used the directions in this book (click here), but Marsha McCloskey must not be a smarty pants.  All of her stars have half-square triangles here where the little green squares are, which makes piecing them much easier.  Oh well, I wanted a challenge.

This was the first of the virtual quilts I made.  I put the feathered star in the middle to showcase it, but I think it's too, um, feathery.  It's too light for the middle --it looks insubstantial there.  I haven't made the star that's in the four corners yet.  It's next on my agenda.
Once I had them created in EQ, it was easy to make up a bunch of quilts.  I would never make these in real life because I would never want to make more than one of a block.  But it's fun to play.  I really like the secondary pattern the rays create here.

This is more of a sampler -- but it still has four of each of the new stars.  I like the way that EQ allowed me to use part of the star in the triangles on the edges.  I think I still need to add a couple of borders on this one.

The Mail Box Has Been Very Busy

I received this cute little pattern and fabric from The Quilted Kitty yesterday.
It was another of the prizes for SewCalGal's virtual show "Pets On Quilts."  I like the fabrics they included -- OK, I love those bright colors.   The pattern looks like it will be fun and easy to make -- I think it will make a fine project to do with my daughter.  And look at the little bag they sent -- it has pawprints!  Cute cute.

I also received this wonderful coaster from my friend Beth in South Africa (who blogs here)!  Wouldn't this make the best quilt?  I may try to do it in EQ7 soon.

The last few days (um, maybe all week, actually) our internet has been up and down.  It stays up long enough for me to check email, but not long enough to write a blog post or respond to those emails.  They're just piling up.

Somebody (not me) had the bright idea that we could cut some costs around here by getting rid of a phone line that we don't really need and some extra ring tones (that the kids aren't using like they were supposed to).  This led to some new internet configuration -- I don't really know what we had or have -- as long as it works, I try to avoid worrying my pretty little (brunette) head about it.  But it hasn't been working.  I will catch up on the emails.  Soon.

So my apologies to everyone who has something in my inbox.  And thank you for trying.  As soon as it is fixed, I will also catch up on some blog posting.  Oh -- and I am in favor of cutting costs.  As long as it doesn't interfere with my life online.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flora is Finally Finished

For Real This Time!  
Because I had to turn her in for the show today.  But I was done anyway.  Really.  
"Flora Checks In"

Here are a couple of detail shots showing the embroidery I added.

The flowers needed some stems.

And the butterfly needed antennae.

This little quilt is part of an every-other-year challenge for the Olbrich Gardens show "Quilts in Bloom" and will be on display from September 25 through October 17 in Madison, Wisconsin.

So where did I use the challenge fabric?  Look closely at the group of flowers at the lower left side.  And the ears.  Click on the photos for a better view.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday -- Logs, Leaves, and Shibori

This is on my design wall today -- a few more blocks than the last time I showed it.  It still needs some more leaf blocks.  I think I want to use some more to fill in where some of the log cabin blocks are currently positioned.

Some of the fabrics in the darker portion of the blocks are from a shibori dye day that started with this.

Then I over-dyed a couple of the pieces and got this.  The pieces on the right were dyed underneath the shibori over-dyes.  I folded half yards in half, then set them on the dye table.  I put the shibori pieces on top and poured dye over the whole thing.

To see what other people have on their design walls, click here to get to Judy's blog.