Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fish Out of Water?

This wonderful fish sculpture is on the bank of the Santa Fe River.

These days he really is a fish way out of water ... Because the nearby river is dry.

There was thunder as I walked to Tia Sophia's for lunch. I hope there is rain to follow ... even if I get wet walking back to the office.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 06, 2012

Revisiting the Cotton Robin

Earlier this year, I participated in a Round Robin, organized by Julie.  Everyone in the group made a center and sent it, with some fabric and guidelines to Julie, who figured out which other people would add the borders (twice) and back, quilt and bind the quilts to finish them and send them home.

Exactly who made the quilts was a big mystery until the big reveal. I really felt challenged and had a blast.

Center #1This was the center I received first.  I loved everything about it ... except that–before I had read the enclosed notes– I wanted to do with it the thing the quilter explicitly said she didn't really like.

And so I decided to add three different borders and add a bit of whimsey to the design ... and some of the bright color she said she did like.  I also changed the proportions and made it a rectangle.  I wanted to leave a lot of room for whomever followed me with the second round of borders.

Below are photos of the quilt-in-progress that I sent on and the finished quilt with second borders by Julie and finished by Gwen.

The quilt went home to Laurina.  I know that everyone doesn't like words on quilts and I was taking a bit of a design risk, so it made me happy to notice that Laurina had also added words in a border for another quilt in the group.

Quilt #1 with my borders

Quilt # 2 as I received it
The second quilt-in-progress had such a great and intricate first border, I wasn't sure how to follow it. 

Andrew designed and pieced that incredible paper-pieced wonder.  As I was considering possible border designs, at times I wasn't sure if I should praise him or curse him. 

I decided that because the piece had such a formal feeling, that I would add classic, framing borders with mitered corners, letting all that work that Andrew did shine, extending his blue outer edge to emphasize all those precise points (surprisingly with a completely different fabric from my stash that was a good color match)  and leaving some space for some pretty quilting. 

Here is Andra's quilt, with borders added by Andrew and me, finished by Laurina.

The last quilt-in-progress I received was a stunning finished top. Begun by Tami, with borders added by Julie and Jay.  I had so much fun finishing it ...  and discovered a trick that I know I'll use again. 

quilt #4 - quilted and bound 
Quilting Detail
I wasn't sure how to quilt the polka dot circle in the center of the quilt. I liked the idea of cross-hatching but knew that if my lines weren't perfectly straight, because of those polka dots, it would be painfully obvious.

Here's what I learned: by USING those dots as a guide for my lines, I was able to sew perfectly straight and evenly spaced lines WITHOUT marking.

This was so easy and seemed so cool to me that I imagine myself using polka dot fabric with the intention of quilting it like this.

Another interesting thing about those polka dots.  The fabric in in the center is different than the polka dot fabric in the skinny border and they are both different than the polka dot fabric I chose for the backing ... but even when you are holding the quilt in your hands, you really can't tell.

And then there was my quilt.  I had this crazy idea that was somewhat squashed by two job changes and a long-distance move over the course of the robin.

The TWIN ideaBecause I had TWO sets of these fabric samples, I thought it would be interesting to make two starter blocks and make a nesting robin quilt of my own to see what would happen to my twin quilts, separated at birth.

Here are the blocks I made.

The "twins"

I knew I wanted to do stars with fussy cut diamonds cut from that crazy, not exactly striped fabric you can see at the bottom of the samples ... but I guess because it's been a while, they really didn't turn out as perfect (and flat) as I wanted.

But you honestly cannot tell in the quilt that was made from the star on the right by Laurina, Nan and Andra.  I am calling it, A Star is Born.

It's twin is still waiting to be "born."   I'll be sure to post them both when I'm done.

You can see more of my in-progress photos in my Flickr photoset, Cotton Robin and photos of all the Cotton Robin quilts on the Big Reveal post of the Cotton Robin group blog.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I'm a Sucker ...

I am a sucker for good graphic design ... and I love this train.


The New Mexico Rail Runner travels between Santa Fe and Albuquerque ... and looks good doing it.

There may be some artifacts from my windshield, but that storm rolling in when I took this photo Monday afternoon was real and much appreciated.  The little adobe casita oven has even cooled down a bit.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth of July on the Plaza

Pancakes on the Plaza 2012Independence Day in Santa Fe begin with Pancakes on the Plaza, an event that combines food, live music, art and classic cars.

I didn't have much of a plan for today, except I knew I'd walk to the plaza and check out the pancakes and art.

Although I arrived soon after things officially began, the pancake line was impressively long, those people below are at the head of the line that was ...

Pancake Line 

 ... so long that it started on one side of the plaza and continuing across the Plaza to the other side and into the row of artist's booths, making for quite the pedestrian traffic snarl. 

I decided I didn't need pancakes and would check out the art instead. 

GingerThat's where I discovered Ginger, the coolest cat I've ever met, calm and oblivious to the chaos around him.

I bought a lovely mixing bowl with a spout and handle in a style similar to these pieces from Ginger's owner, Sandra Garcia.  It will be perfect for making ... my own pancakes.

I am not nearly as cool as Ginger the cat when it comes to big crowds in close quarters, so, after I finished my tour of the artist's booths, I headed away from the Plaza in search of coffee.

The line in the coffee shop was also pretty impressively long, but at least I could see from beginning to end.

I left the house not knowing if I would decide to spend the day as a tourist or come back and work on some quilt blocks, but at the coffee shop, I decided that a cool calm museum environment would be perfect, so I walked over to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.  Even though I had checked their website, I wasn't really 100% confident that I'd find them open on the holiday ... but I did.

There are no cameras (nor large purses or bags, day packs, knapsacks, totes or shopping bags) allowed and so I cannot visually share anything beyond this image (from their web site) of an oil painting from the exhibit, Georgia O'Keeffe and the Faraway, Nature and Image. It is called, Part of the Cliff.  Along with all of the fabulous art at the Museum, it was fun to see her camping gear, jeans and tennies from the 1940's as part of this exhibit.

I did bring home some images–on a handful of postcards of some of the NM paintings and the book, Wideness and Wonder, The Life and Art of Georgia O'Keeffe. It was an impulse buy, I didn't look too closely at the words in the gift shop and was pleasantly surprised by the first paragraph:
Georgia O'Keeffe's first visual memory was of the patchwork quilt she used to sit on when she was eight or nine months old.  She vividly remembered two patterns: white with small red stars and black with a red and white flower.
Classic Car ShowDuring a docent's talk in the courtyard, she described the 1930's Model A station wagon that O'Keeffe drove on her faraway adventures.  Another museum visitor in the group mentioned that there was one similar to it, though not a station wagon, in the classic car show, so on my walk back home and back through the celebration on the plaza, I went looking for and found it.

The range of cars (and at least one motorcycle) was amazing.

Here are a few more that caught my eye--click for a larger image if they catch yours.

I'm not sure what the status is on public fireworks in Santa Fe tonight, since there's a ban in place for the state ... but maybe I'll spend the evening celebrating my independence with a little sewing.  I haven't done nearly enough of that since I moved to Santa Fe and I think a little bit of creativity today would do me a lot of good.

How did you celebrate the day? Did you have fireworks?  BBQ? Some other local tradition? A parade?  
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