Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Morning Bark

It's gotten hot again in Minnesota.  In the 90s yesterday and heading that way today.  I haven't been blogging much because  I've been feeling like a slave to the computer and not accomplishing much else.  Thus, I've been in the sewing room working on a new quilt top. Yes, another one.  But, I can't help it.  People just keep coming up with wonderful patterns that I've gotta try.  

The guest speaker at the quilt guild last Thursday night was Marilyn Foreman designer of kaleidoscope quilts.  She brought four suitcases full of quilts she designed using large print fabric.
 It's basically a stack 'n wack method and she has designed the quilt blocks using the kaleidoscope block in the center of  a 12-inch block.
 That's Marilyn and her arm on the left and her daughter Clare. I'm such a professional photographer!   She also brought fabrics, books and patterns and, of course, I had to buy the book..
 and the focus fabric..
 then, I had to start making kaleidoscope blocks.
 These are kind of addicting.  I had to make a trip to the quilt shop for more fabric.  Do you think I need a 12-step program?   I guess there are worse things to be addicted to.

I finished the top.  What do you think?  It measures 60 x 60. Now, another quilt shop visit to search for backing fabric.  It never really ends, does it?

Marilyn has patterns to construct 9 blocks in her book along with project options.  You can construct large quilts, wall hangings, table toppers or runners using her designs.    I'm going to keep my eye out for more large print fabric for future projects to feed my addiction.

Stay cool today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

FMQ Challenge for June

This months FMQ Challenge lesson was given by Cindy Needham and she urged us to quilt out of our comfort zone.  When I first read her lesson I thought this wasn't going to go well for me.  But it just goes back to practice, practice, practice.

As I pondered on this lesson, I decided it would be something I could use on one of my WIPs.   County fair season is fast approaching and I need to get this year's entry finished.  I focused on using June's lesson for the borders on my crazy quilt.

First I doodled.
 Then I practiced on a sample of the border fabric I wanted to use and various threads.

 I then did the FMQ sample quilt block.  This is a flannel quilt which will eventually be finished up for a baby.

 I eventually settled on this design for the top border on my crazy quilt.
 I used the practice pieces as hanging loops.  The spine of the feather design is embellished with red hot-fix crystals.  

And, here's another closeup of the motif on each end.
 I know the light is reflecting but I couldn't fix that for some reason.  I'm unable to show the entire crazy quilt because it is going to be a fair entry and I hesitate to go public with it at this time.  After fair time, I'll share the entire piece.

Thank you Cindy Needham and Sew Cal Gal for this wonderful FMQ lesson.  I'm finally approaching free motion quilting without any fear. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Has This Ever Happened to You?

Click to show "Fainting" result 25 

Yesterday was hot..90s hot.  And humid.  I didn't drink enough water, I was tired being up in the night listening to the weather radio blast off and watching the hail and rain at 4 a.m.  And then I went to give blood in the afternoon.  Well, guess what?

 I've never fainted before except for that time in second grade when I slipped on the ice and hit my head.  The nuns just picked me up and propped me up in my desk.  That's where I woke up and everyone was looking at me.

Yesterday, I woke up with two or three nurses looking at me and asking if I was okay.  I am so impressed with the Red Cross staff and their efficiency.  After about 45 minutes and a couple of vital checks they let me go only if I called for a ride home.  No. 38 had to walk downtown to pick up the car and rescue me.  

So there, I confessed to my frailties.  Will I give blood again?  Of course.  I just need to prepare myself better.  Eat a good meal consisting of protein and drink plenty of water.  Oh, and take an extra pair of pants along, just in case.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm Humbled

A few images from the Minnesota Quilt Show.  I came away feeling I know nothing about quilting.  However, I am inspired.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Morning Bark

I'm going to rant..I spent over an hour doing a new post last night with the intention of putting it "live" this morning.  Well, sadly, none of my posts are visible in the design.  Where did everything go?  I have a sneaking hunch my computer needs a tune up and I really hate the thought.  I don't have the patience any longer to deal with techno crap.  Nor, do I even want to think about it.  It makes me crazy.

Okay...I will briefly touch on what I posted about last night and hope that both posts don't show up at once.

Tuesday I went with my friend Tammy to a yarn shop in Mankato.  She needed a new project and I needed to visit this shop.  I haven't been in a real yarn shop for donkey years and I was in awe.  More like in love.  We visited Mary Lue's Yarn & Ewe and what a beautiful shop.   Naturally, I had to buy a skein of sock yarn.

 This yarn says it was made in Turkey and I believe it is 50% Merino wool, 25% bamboo and 25% of something else.  Nothing was in English.  Wait, does bamboo grow in Turkey?  The only thing I understood about it, besides the beautiful pattern it creates when it's worked up (check out the picture on the label), was the $16.00 price tag.  Ouch!  I'm afraid I could get the knitting bug again.  I will have to wait with the sock project until later because there are other irons in the fire.

The owner of the Blue Beast gave me a few more projects to finish including this top.  She just wants it tied so it won't take long.

 She also wants a couple of pillow shams and doll quilts made out of left over blocks from the Blue Beast.  Speaking of doll quilts, I finished the June quilt for my partner in the Doll Quilters Monthly.It will be on its way to Sweden in a few days.   I would love to show it to you but it will spoil the surprise.  I'll post about it once I know Lizzie received it.  (If the computer is still working, that is.)

The garden is looking beautiful.  I've never seen it look this good.  Look at this zucchini.

It about takes my breath away.  If I get a zucchini from each of those blossoms, I'll be a happy woman.  Usually, the first one or two don't pan out but this looks pretty promising.  And, while I'm on the subject of blossoms, Barbara over at Cat Patches found  an interesting recipe for chive vinegar from Marisa at Food In Jars.  Click on the recipe tab and put "chive blossom vinegar" in the search tab.  It's really simple.   I prepared the mixture and put it away for two weeks as instructed. 

Isn't this pretty?  No. 38 almost threw this out thinking it was something that turned bad.  I tested it on my salad and it's actually pretty darn good. I strained the mixture and  mixed  one cup  with olive oil, Italian seasoning and some fresh basil. It's similar to balsamic vinaigrette.  Very tasty.  The chives are done blossoming but consider this for next year.  I think this batch should last me until then.

Saturday I'm off to the Minnesota Quilt Show in Rochester.  Our guild is taking a bus so it will be a fun trip.  I have my list and camera ready to go.  I will share all the wonderful quilts and new goodies..hopefully.  Until then, have a good day.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sound the Trumpets

The Blue Beast is finished.  Do I hear a drum roll?  It finished up 82" by 99".

The little brown beast jumped up on the bed right after I took the first picture.  

Here is just a portion of the backside.

I'm very thankful it's finished with no disasters. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You'll Get a Kick Out of This

I  saw this book in the AQS catalog and I had to have it.
 I saw some canvas shoes decorated with quilt blocks somewhere on the web and they could be ordered for about $60.  That was a bit more than I was willing to spend just for some canvas slip ons.  Then, this book caught my eye.

It came in the mail a couple of days ago and last night I gathered an old pair of canvas slip-ons (freshly washed) and all the fabric paints I've had laying around for eons and went to work.

Here are the old canvas shoes I decided to decorate.
 The directions suggested stuffing something inside the shoe to give it more stability when you're drawing the pattern and applying the paint.  I ended up taking it out as it got in the way.  First, I drew a pattern on the shoe lightly with a pencil.  You want to do it very lightly because the marks may show through the paint.
 You can tell these shoes are old.  They're kind of dingie.  For paint I tried the embroidery paints I had but they were too difficult to use since I had to press down on the tip of the paint tube to get the paint out.  Then, I had a bunch of Squibbles and I used them along with a couple of Sharpee Markers.  So, what do you think?
 Aren't these a hoot?
 I'm going to wear these to the Minnesota Quilt Show and see if anyone notices.LOL.  

The book has wonderful designs and instructions for rubber and vinyl shoes as well as leather and manmade leather.  I'm going to check out the thrift stores for some possible footwear to decorate.  

You can order the book through  AQS.
If you're a member, you'll get a 20% discount.  

I'm off to dig through my closet to look for more shoes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FO Challenge for May

I feel like I haven't done anything new in the month of May.  I've been working on the Blue Beast almost daily.
 I see a finish in the next few days.  Just one and a half side left on the binding.  So, technically, not a FO Challenge for May but still worth mentioning.

I started and finished knitting a pair of socks.  These are summer socks as the leg is shorter and they're made from a cotton/lycra blend.  Looks like a hole on that upper sock.  I can fix that.

Started a doll quilt for my June swap partner, Lizzie in Sweden.  Here's a little peek.

Also, managed the May block on the Sunbonnet Sue quilt.  Had to take a break from the Blue Beast one afternoon.

 That's it.  Two weeks from today I'll be attending the Minnesota Quilt Show and will come back with renewed inspiration for the coming months.