Saturday, July 23, 2011


Oh yeah, and I've also been working on this quilt.  I'd had the idea a while ago to make a thousand pyramids quilt, and actually made this baby quilt in the pattern. 

Well, now it's time to make one for me!


As the title of this post suggests, I'm going for a an evergreen tree inspired look, lots of greens, a few browns, and a rainy grey Portland sky background.

The one thing I felt like I 'messed up' on with the first quilt was the top and bottom rows, I'd intended to make the diamond shape stand out against the background, so there should have been black triangles alternating with the colored ones.  Live and learn though - this time I decided that I'd do the top and bottom rows first just to make sure I got them right.

Triangles are a bit tricky to sew, oh and LORDY they are tricky to cut out.  I have a 60 degree line on my ruler, but it wasn't easy for me to get it to line up with the fabric and not wobble the ruler as I cut the fabric.  But I got all the pieces cut out more or less accurately I think.   

This is all I've got done so far.  Lacking a design wall I just started laying out all the fabrics on my floor.  I got about three rows down before I realized I had far too many light fabrics cut out.  I'd originally cut out about half the triangles from medium fabric, a quarter from dark and a quarter from light.  But the more I look at the trees outside the more I like the contrast of the dark trees against the light sky.  So I'm going to cut out a few more dark fabrics to throw into the mix.  I'll keep the lights, because I want there to be visual interest.  But one of the things I don't like about this quilt.....

is that there are too many light lights.  So I'm going to try to fix this while I can.

This Evergreen quilt is going to be twin sized - 72x90, rather than my usual 45x60, so I anticipate that it's going to take quite a bit longer too.  There may or may not be too many updates as I go, but rest assured, I'll keep plugging away at it.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2011 - Teacher's Tent

As if all of the other quilts in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show were not amazing enough, I've saved some of the best for last.  These quilts are all from the Teacher's Tent, and represent some of the highest quality design & quilting I have ever seen.  The variety of styles and techniques were impressive and again blow away many stereotypes about quilts and the artisans who make them.

 This one's for Exuberant Color.... looks like one you just finished.
Like many advanced quilts, this is one that gives you one impression from father away, but then close up gives some surprises.
I love the little alien getting into his spaceship.  There were also stars and planets quilted into the background - adorable!

This quilt used a fairly traditional pattern, but went buck-wild with the colors.  Loved the batiks.

I really want to make a quilt like this!

So yes, most of the quilters at the show were women, but this flat-out-funky quilt was made by a man, and I actually got to talk to him a bit about his work.
I had kidded him asking "Are you doing your part to get more men into quilting?" and in fact he does quilting workshops for kids - boys and girls.  I just think it can only help the craft to have people with different backgrounds, different interests and different artistic visions participating and creating incredible new quilts.

Check out this stunning example of thread-painting.
It was just so rich, complex and layerd.
This one, in contrast, was modern & minimalist.
Whole-cloth quits like this one show off the quilting rather than piecing.
The stitching was absolutely spectacular, so fine and detailed.
Here's another with dramatically detailed quilting.
This pictorial quilt was like a cool breeze through the crowded tent.
On the flip side, this soft, rich, velvety quilt was radiating warm fuzzy energy.

And that was it for the Teacher's Tent, which wraps up Sister's Quilt show.  It was so much fun, getting to gab with other quilters on the bus, hanging out with my buddy, seeing a quilt of my own hanging up outside with all the rest, just an amazing show all around.  I can't wait to go again!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A genuine finished object!

It's been well established that I am solar powered.  It's hard for me to slog through the 9 months of grey we get in the Pacific Northwest, but once summer makes it's appearance I have about a million things I want to get out and do.

I've started three more quilting projects, picked up a knitting project, pulled out my crochet hooks and even started practicing some new embroidery stitches.  It's a craft-a-paloza in my apartment these days.  But I have actually finished something.  I finally picked back the corners on Moulins Rouge and sewed them back properly.  It's not perfect, but it's finished.

It's been washed and has that nice crinkly look to it.

 Solid pink for the backing. 

I just LOVE scrap quilts and was glad to have so many different kinds of pinks and reds to use.

What I like about this quilt:
- The colors, obviously
- The wavy quilting lines
- It's a classic pattern, and I just love the simplicity of it.

What I learned from this quilt:
- I've 'learned' this a couple of times but I really need to put more time, effort, and planning into the actual quilting part.  Well, either that or I need to accept that I don't particularly enjoy quilting and find a professional quilter to start sending all my finished tops to.  But I'm an independent sort, and I take pride in doing things myself, so if I'm going to be a quilter, I may as well *be* a quilter and put as much time into the quilting as I do the piecing.

- It didn't occur to me until *after* I'd pieced all those bright reds with the crisp whites into a beautiful top that I hadn't pre-washed anything and could very well end up with a big pink bleeding mess the first time I threw it in the wash.  Either the gods of quilting were smiling down at me or the fabric manufacturers have mastered the science of red dyes.  But miraculously it didn't bleed.  I'm torn, I don't usually pre-wash my fabrics, but in the future I'll at least do a little test with reds or hand dyed fabrics.

Overall, I'm really happy with how this one turned out, simple, quick, cute and very fun.  I'm so happy to have my first finished object of the summer.  I hope to have several more FOs before classes start again!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2011 - Part 3

There were quite a few quilts with a Northwest feel to them, but there were also some quilts inspired by foreign lands.

Some were inspired by fictional lands!

Some were inspired by other hobbies entirely.

And this quilt was inspired by the very show it was being displayed in. 

But a lot of quilts were a bit more abstract, just playing with line and color.

Although I felt like I was taking a million pictures, almost spending more time photographing them than looking at them, the quilts I've posted are only a fraction of the quilts I saw, and I didn't even see all the quilts in the show!  My friend and I had been meandering and chatting, we had a nice long lunch and even met up with a couple of friends of hers for a bit.

As the afternoon wore on, there were still several nooks and crannies left unexplored.  We had only entered one or two shops, which were hiding even MORE quilts.  Despite scanning frantically every time we turned a corner, I still hadn't found my quilt.  I was getting more than a bit antsy so I decided to go to the quilt office to find out where mine was hung.  Except that I didn't know where the quilt office was, so I had to do a bit of searching for that too!  Finally I found the office and a very helpful volunteer checked her list and gave me the coordinates... it was a far corner we'd not gotten to yet.... but ironically was only a couple of blocks from where we had been when I decided to hunt down the quilt office.  C'est la vie!

Now I was very excited to get to show a quilt in public for the first time, and I was very happy with how my quilt had turned out.  But after looking at literally hundreds of quilts that were, honestly, far superior to mine, I was feeling a bit out of my league.  My friend was doing a good job of encouraging me and had said "They've probably got yours off in it's own area because it's so unique!"  Which sounded plausible... I hadn't seen any other 3D type quilts in the show.

Until we turned the corner and saw this.

 Gah!  Someone had done *my* quilt, but they'd done it bigger and better than I did!  Seriously, this quilt is amazing and it had much tighter quilting than mine.  So to be honest I was a bit crestfallen.  I know, I know... it's not a competition, but still, it's hard not to compare when someone else has used the same pattern.

My disappointment didn't last long however, because as we walked up the block my friend shouted "I see it!" 
 "Where? Where?"  I didn't see it, I just saw another, similar 3D quilt in Asian prints (didn't get a picture).
"It's right in front of us - you can't see it because it's sideways."
My little heart started pounding and I all but ran up the block to see a handful of women looking at my quilt.  Giddy as a school girl I positively SQUEALED at them.  "This is my quilt!  This is mine - I made it!"  
 But you know... in a totally refined and classy way. ;)

The ladies were very generous in their compliments and one even asked to get a picture of me with my quilt.  It was my own personal 2 minutes of quilting fame, and it felt very good indeed.

Satisfied with seeing my little quilt out there with all others, we wandered off to see another area, and to take a bit of a rest.  But I wandered back later and snapped this picture from across the street... of another person taking a picture of my quilt. =) 

I did try to sneak up and overhear what people were saying about my quilt, but although a few people did stop and look, by the time I got over there they'd walked off.... and several people just walked on by without even stopping.  Oh well... I was incredibly happy to be a part of the show!

Now that I've broken the ice with a fun show, I am super excited to participate in future shows.  I know I'm not quite up to competition level, but I absolutely think it's worth it to show in Sisters again.  Maybe even  because I'm not at competition level.  I want to show that even someone with a full time job and other hobbies, even someone who quilts at the kitchen table without the benefit of a long arm, computerized, stitch- regulated, sewing machine can still make beautiful quilts.  And those quilts should be shown and celebrated too.

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2011 - part 2

Let's continue this tour of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show with some  more of my favorites - Animal Quilts!

Playful kitties.
Majestic wild horses.

Cuddly puppies (and more kitties).

Ok, it may not be from Portland, but 'put a bird on it' anyway.  I really loved this one, the colors, the stitching, it's delightful!

It may be the middle of July, but there were a number of holiday quilts on display.  I thought this was a fun use of the 'snowball' block, but the blocks are just the canvas for a beautiful quilted flower design.

 This 8-pointed Christmas star was really striking from a distance.

I enjoyed these two Halloween quilts featuring some spooky embroidery.

 In addition to thematic or pictoral quilts, there were several abstract and geometric quilts.

 Ok, as much as I love the one in the middle, below, I was disappointed to see it in the show because just this week I'd had the brillianly 'original' idea to do something very similar in green.  I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.  Either that or I'd seem the idea in a magazine & just forgot about it.  Nevertheless, I still plan on doing mine.

And on the theme of diversity in quilting - some quilters love cats, it's true, but some love robots even more!

That's two posts down, I've got at least two more to go.  Stay tuned for more awesome quilts!

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2011 - part 1

There are not many things that I will wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning for, but the Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show is one that'll have me out of bed before my alarm even goes off!

This is my fourth year going and this time I had the fortune of having a great friend stay over the night before and we took the Fabric Depot bus to the show together.  I'm a huge fan of taking the bus. Instead of spending a small fortune to drive myself, I get to hang out with about a hundred other quilters along the way chatting and showing off our brag-books or quilt pictures on our cameras.  And on the way back- near comatose from the heat, the walking, and the visual over-stimulation of the show- I can lie back and close my eyes for a bit - which is generally frowned upon when driving down curvy mountain passes.  Anyway - on to the quilts!

They are everywhere!!!

This year seemed a bit smaller and less crowded than in previous years, or maybe I'm just getting used to seeing a town completely overwhelmed by quilts and quilters.  I will say that the weather was absolutely perfect this year, bright blue sky and plenty of sunshine.  The temperature was in the 80s so I was plenty warm, but people weren't dropping like flies as I'd noticed in years when it was up in the 90s and above.

There was no one specific quilt that blew my mind or particularly inspired me, but I was consistently impressed with (and intimidated by) the quality of the quilts and quilting I saw.  The creativity and workmanship was just amazing.  Readers of this blog won't make the mistake of stereotyping quilters as 'little old ladies' but still I'd like to focus on just how diverse the quilting world is, and how many different styles of quilts there are.

There were, of course, traditional quilt patterns and motifs like these stars

...and this flower that looked like it was just bursting out of the garden.

But quilts like this yo-yo one took traditional blocks and gave them a twist to stunning effect. 

Oh, and since this was Sisters, Oregon, of course there was a bit of local color proudly displayed.

These are the Three Sisters mountains for which the town is named.  

Reflecting the Old West heritage of the town, there were more than a few fun cowboy themed quilts.

 These beautiful tree quilts were part of a challenge and were the perfect complement to the forests surrounding the town.

This is just the first taste of the quilts I photographed, but you can see how much artistry and creativity was on display.   I'll be posting more pictures soon!