Thursday, January 26, 2012

You MIGHT be a quilter if ...

Texas Tamale BagI was laughing at myself at Central Market today when I noticed some tamales with interesting fabric packaging in a freezer case in the aisle as I walked by  . . .  and bought a package to try while thinking about what kind of quilt I could make the printed cotton bags.  FYI, the back is covered with the usual product packing stuff like nutritional info, ingredients and company contact info.  I had black bean tamales for lunch today and am happy to find out that they not only have interesting packaging, they are tasty, too.

I already have some quilt design ideas for these bags . . . what would you do?  And what crazy un-quilt-related something have you bought lately, with quilting on your mind?

They reminded me of those flour sacks from the 1930's with the flour company logos and some cool vintage quilts I have seen made from them, Like this one from the Infinite Variety exhibit in New York last year, where all the logos were re-embroidered to create red work blocks.

Red & White Flour sack quilt

For anyone who's now craving tamales, cursing me and wishing they lived in Texas so they could buy yummy tamales in cool cotton sacks from their local grocer, you might take a look at the Texas Tamale website–where you can buy them and have them shipped to you, wherever you are–US only ;-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Finished Cameo Tote

Finished Cameo tote I didn't finish in time for the guild's Show & Tell, but the large tote I made from the Sunday afternoon workshop is finished now and hanging on the door, filled with a couple projects to share with friends later today.

I hope to be able to fix her smeared "lipstick"–a side effect of choosing to use some leftover fusible batting in the bag and not carefully checking whether or not the red pen I used was, in fact, suitable for adding permanent color to fabric.  The fusing process made the red ink run. I also will probably also darken the beads in her necklace–I was going for something that would look like jade (to reflect the Asian influence in jewelry in the 1920's) and ended up with something that looks more like turquoise.

I do love doing workshops and learning new things and especially love technique classes ... but I often have a hard time finishing those small projects ... so this bag, finished a few days later feels like victory.

What do you do with those small class projects?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

It's been a while ...

It's been a while since I shared my wall for design wall Monday or took a workshop.  Here's my wall today:

From the top, I've got January's Lotto Blocks, the Block Lotto Banner Quilt (because I need a better photo of it),  a portrait I stitched today in a workshop with Lolo Jenkins and my first 6 Just Takes 2 blocks.

I couldn't believe that it's been a few YEARS since this former quilt class junkie signed up for a guild workshop.

Class Room

I was pleasantly surprised at how much light we had in our "meeting" room, despite it's lack of windows--and lots of tables for everyone, too.

Lola Jenkins and her Cameo SampleThe workshop with Lola Jenkins was just about perfect--lots of learning and fun, too. Although I made the standard class project--Lola is holding the class sample in the photo--others in class brought their own photos or portrait drawings and everyone's project looked great ... and I think everyone finished stitching their portrait well before the end of the 6 hour class.

And, I think everyone had fun--even those that weren't that comfortable with free motion quilting before they arrived.  I confess that I wasn't aware of Lola's work, but I wouldn't hesitate if I had another opportunity to spend time, learn some more of what she has to share.

Cameo Class Project - in progress
Since I brought her home, I've made my flapper a little more Cameo like--she's destined to be part of a large Tote--perfect for packing up for the next workshop or taking a quilt to show and tell at a guild meeting. (If I finish in time for tonight's meeting, I'll post an update

To see what's on the wall of other quilters around blogland, check out the links on the Design Wall Monday post on Judy's blog, Patchwork Times

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed ...

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
This phrase popped into my head earlier this week and I realized that besides being a a wedding tradition to ensure a happy marriage, it also is a way to categorize my current set of quilting projects and plans.


Stephanie from Loft Creations invited quilters to join her in finishing Project in Progress in 2012 and  being part of her no rules, loosely connected, group of quilters supporting one another through the year as we finish up projects appeals to me.  

Plaid Flannels
 First up for me is a project to use some flannel plaid  strips that were cut before I left Michigan three years ago.  I've pulled them out, pressed them and,  after seeing the solved Planet Patchwork New Years Day mystery, decided to make a plaid flannel version of Chips and Strips.  Here's my progress so far.  


I put together a few crazy quilt blocks for others, I've never made one of my own.  I joined the crazy quilt journal project and have joined Debra's Tuesday Stitchers.  Most of the group will be following along with Sharon B's Take a Stitch Tuesday on Pin Tangle.  Some are also part of the CQJP.


Julie has organized a round robin and group blog, The Cotton Robin.  I'll be borrowing the quilt projects from three quilters and add rounds and help finish these quilts.  I cannot share photos of any info about my center block because the identity of each quilt's owners is a secret that only Julie knows.

I added a twist and made two center blocks and two quarter yards of fabric.  I'll be making a quilt of my own based on the same center and fabric and am looking forward to seeing how my two "twins separated at birth" look when they are reunited this summer.


 I know . . . when you look at this button or think about the RED & white quilts from the Infinite Variety show in New York last spring, you might not see "blue" . . . but *I* did and am making the blocks for this interesting project using Indigo and Civil War inspired reproduction fabrics.  The quilt was inspired by the Infinite Variety show and designed by Gay Bomers from Sentimental Stitches and Brenda Papadakis (author of Dear Jane), who are revealing the directions in chunks, twice a month on the website, Just Takes 2.  

Here are my first six blocks. 

My "Take" in Indigo and Civil War shirtings
Block Lotto Blog Button Quilt 

I don't know what the quilting equivalent to "sixpence in my shoe" could be . . . perhaps an original block for this year's Block Lotto to ensure prosperity and continued success?   

I launched the Block Lotto as an activity on a quilting forum TEN YEARS AGO.

We've moved to blog land and continued to grow each year–last year we made almost THREE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED blocks.  We've also outgrown the limits of group blogs on Blogger and my biggest Block Lotto project this year will be working on a new home for us ... though I also want to make a sampler quilt from this year's 9 inch blocks.

In the meantime,  anyone can join the fun--here's my four blocks for January.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Quietly Ushering in a New Year

I saw the new year in, quietly, in the company of the cats--all of us snuggling on (them) or under (me) this wonderful quilt that arrived in the mail a few days ago. I read, watched an old movie, reflected on the past year and planned for the future.

The quilt has been in my hands for a few days, but I am still blown away by the quilters in the block lotto community from around the world who created the blocks, put it together and got it quilted and into my hands in something like a month as a get well, Merry Christmas, feel appreciated kind of gift.  It accomplished all of the above.  The blocks are all past lotto block choices, re-sized to be the same size, made in the original colorways–something I personally NEVER would have thought could work so well.

More than a few times, I've admired a block, guessed who of the almost 50 quilters who put this together made it and then looked at the list that was sent along with the quilt to see if I was right.

Here are photos of the quilt on my design wall--my photos are a bit skewed; the actually quilt is perfectly square ;-)

Block Lotto Community Quilt

Laura E organized the effort and put together the blocks.  Cathy S quilted it (beautifully), bound it and sent it to me.

The blocks (and their makers–with links to blogs if they have them ... and I know about them):

Row 1: Jeweled Geese ( Andi), Dutchmans Puzzle (Linnea), Thrifty (Pokey), Stacks (Sue), Log Cabin with Attitude (Cathi), Scrappy Heart (Christa)

Row 2: Log Cabin (Janet H), Cactus Pot (Kathie), Cracker (Deanna), Darting Bird (Wendy F), Hearth and Home (Coralie), Pinwheel (Benta)

Row 3: String Heart (Kim G),  Tic-Tac-Toe (Rho), Maple Leaf (Krista), Wonky Fly (Caroline), Framed Pinwheel (Laura), Variable Star (Laurina)

Row 4: Yankee Puzzle (Corinne), Scottie Dog (Gail), Buckeye Beauty (Ellie) , Asian Star (Céline), Home Circle (Gwen). Violet (Cathy)

Row 5: Sawtooth Star Star (Julie P), Liberated Basket (Cathy S), Amish House (Kate), Modern Clover (Karen), 16-patch (Debra), Oklahoma Boomer (Julie)

Row 6: Scrap Basket (Terri), Shoo Fly (Vivi), Liberated Checkerboard (Maree), Pineapple Blossom (Irene), Quilter's Choice (Andrew), Free style  House (Ginny)

Row 7:  String Squares (Laura E), Ohio Star (Nan),  Reeds (Janet S ), Curved Rails (Helen), Free-style Trees (Kathy S), Sampler with String Corners (Belinda)

The rest of the blocks (and their makers):

Row 1: Pinwheel, Liberated Checkerboard (Maree)), Wonky Fly (Caroline),  Curved Rails (Helen)

Row 2: Flying Geese (Céline), I-spy Snowball (Gail), 9-Path in a Square (Tina), Fireworks (Blondie)

Row 3: Quilter's Choice (Andrew), Scrappy Trips (Sandi), Label, Double Wrench (Barbara)

Row 4: Curved Rails (Helen),  Double 4-patch (Debbie), Bow Tie ( Ginny), Words (Balinda)

If I messed up any of that, I hope the quilt makers will let me know--I am planning to print a key to the blocks on fabric and use it as part of a hanging sleeve.   When it hots up in Austin in a few months, this will hang on the wall near my desk so I can always be reminded of the great quilters in the block lotto community.
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