Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quilters are Everywhere

My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter just got back from a week in Hawaii. They apparently strolled past a quilt shop in a small town and thought of me. I was touched. How nice to be remembered even when on vacation and how sweet of my daughter-in-law to tell me so. My very practical daughter-in-law, an excellent chef and an avid hiker but a non-quilter, was a bit surprised that there are quilters and quilt shops "even in places where it is too warm to use them".  This made me smile.

The mention of a Hawaiian quilt shop made me want to dig into my stash and ferret out Hawaiian fabrics I had bought decades ago. We were on a family summer vacation in Hawaii in 1996, when my kids were 10, 13, and nearly 16 so these fabrics are close to 20 years old. That is of course unless I bought them on our trip before we had kids. That would have been fall 1978, making these fabrics 37+ years old. A true quilter has to let her fabrics age. Here they are. Now what to do with them.

I bought one half-yard of each of these colorways intending to combine them in a quilt. I checked the selvage and there is no year of print there. I love two-color prints but always find them hard to work with when the two colors are present in equal amounts. I have a jelly roll of chevrons for example that I am trying to incorporate various places but the 2½" wide strips waver off grain and the zig zags look kind of drunk.  I have managed to use some in my Owl and the Pussy Cat quilt as accent strips and in my Traveling Mandala wall hanging as the geese of flying geese. At first blush these Hawaiian blocks look on grain. I am leaning toward making non-pieced blocks of 2x2 or 3x3 squares fussy cut from this fabric and interspersing them with other pieced blocks containing all three teal, red, and blue colors.

I bought four yards of this colorful beauty probably with the target being a Hawaiian shirt for my husband. The photo shows one quarter of the fabric width. I count fifteen different dye colors for this yardage. No wonder it is so rich looking. I can tell from the selvage it is a Hollytex Screen print but again no year. Could it be perhaps that decades ago putting a year in the selvage was not a common practice? Thank goodness my husband and I write an annual Christmas letter so I can look up such things – dreadfully vital, yes I know. Anyway, it had to have been a long time ago. If the trip had been more recent I surely would have brought home more than merely 5½ yards of fabric.

I really do need to get back in my sewing room after my spurt of traveling. But for now I am linking up to this week's Freshly Pieced's Works in Progress. I see too that her crafty endeavors have also wavered from quilting only. Maybe we quilters all needed a summer break.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Spy in Colorado Springs

Aargh! I have not posted in two weeks and not sewn a stitch in that span of time either! Travel and recovery from travel to Oklahoma City and Colorado Springs took priority. My previous post was about a visit to an Oklahoma quilt store and this post will help me get back in the quilting groove by touching on my visit to a Colorado quilt shop. I had a brief but enjoyable peek at Nana's Quilt Cottage in downtown historic Colorado Springs.

I wanted to collect a fabric license plate from this shop. Alas, they had not yet arrived from the printer, but the owner will mail one to me when they come in. My collection is in its infancy and here are five plates I have so far -  one from Washington, two from Oklahoma, and two from California. My Colorado one from Nana's Quilt Cottage will go in the upper right corner above the door to my sewing room when it arrives.

The shop did have a cute collection of packs of containing forty 5" squares each, in a variety of novelty prints, perfect to be made up into an I Spy quilt. Truth be told, I also loved the novel packaging and that influenced my purchase. Presentation does count for a lot. The acetate container had four overlapping swirls that interlocked to close the packet of forty squares.

Here is a sample of an I Spy quilt, hanging in the storefront window, that could be made from those squares. Because it is backlit, the colors do not pop but at least the idea of the pattern can be discerned. The large squares are thirty-six of the I Spy fabrics from the pack of forty. Nana's Quilt Cottage provided a free pattern which instructs the quilter to supply her own background fabric and one accent fabric. The top without borders measures 39" square. The sample quilt used a rose solid for the accent and borders and a similarly colored mini-print for the background rectangles.

I bought one pack of forty squares because, aside from my fascination with the packaging, I really was attracted to the two prints that were showing at the top and bottom of the stack. Those two prints are the first two in the leftmost column - the zebra and parrot prints. When I got home, I laid out a few of the others out of curiosity what they all were. Most are positively adorable, but a few are just so-so, like the mini-prints in the second column. Even so, the mini-prints still provide a challenge for the look and find game of "I spy with my little eye" for items such as tiny hearts or itty-bitty letters or small chickens. 

I have trouble being totally random so I think I will split up this packet either by color hue, by color intensity, or by theme, and supplement with novelty prints from my own stash. As I arranged the 5" squares, the left most column is mostly greens, the second column of mini-prints is sort of red/white/blue, the third column is bold-toned whimsy, and the fourth column is more pastel whimsy. After all, I have three grandkids now, and each may want to play a game of "I Spy"!

I am hooking up now to this week's Freshly Pieced works in progress for inspiration and motivation to get back to sewing!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Purchases and Plans

I just returned from Oklahoma after the birth of my first grandson on July 16th. My previous post was about a visit to Sooner Quilts in Guthrie, OK with him and my daughter.

I have returned home now and I'm a bit tired from travel. The trouble with a big push to finish something, immediately followed by travel, is the start-up again upon return home. I have two quilt tops waiting in the wings all layered and ready to be FMQ'd.

I am not quite up to that level of commitment just yet, though. I thought I would do some small projects first. This is an excellent excuse to buy fabric. I saw some sets of placemats made up in Sooner Quilts that I thought were attractive and would be quick projects to do at home to practice FMQ and different binding techniques.

I thought these chefs were cheery. They came four placemats to a panel. The store had backed them with a fleur-de-lis pattern, to recall French gourmet cooking I guess, but instead I chose the medallions at the right. I think I may bind it with a black and white stripe.

This rooster print was perky. The fabric was yardage printed with squares of roosters. The samples in the store had widened those squares with bands of another fabric to make rectangular placemats. I am a sucker for the polka dots so I picked them as the widening fabric. I chose the fabric at the right for a backing, enough for four placemats. Binding is undecided but I think I bought enough grey with black dots to use it.

I like the deep rich colors of the wine bottles in this next fabric and bought enough for six placemats of it, too. I will find backing and binding in my stash. I am thinking of doing a two tone "Susie's Magic Binding" in the rich green of the glass bottles and warm rust tone of the foil or wax tops like I did on my Fun Guys quilt this past June .

I bought this stripe just because I loved the color. I will set it aside for a binding of some quilt some day.

I told my self no more big projects until I finish off my backlog of kits but I have a weakness for fabric with printing on it, and more so when there are numbers as well. I also could not resist a sale, as well. These layers cakes were 30% off so I bought two in case I wanted to narrow down the colorways and so I would have more numbers squares. There are six feature number squares in each layer cake. Yes, I know I could have merely bought only the number fabric instead, but then I would have had to decide a color. I could not be that decisive! And in my defense, several of the fabrics in this collection read like solids and so can be repurposed in other projects. I do so love a coral and a turquoise that come in the stack. 

There are 42 10" squares and 8 were duplicates. Thirty five are shown in the following photo. I do not know which print is missing. But I did look into which were duplicates. The six fabrics with plusses were doubled up and the white background with yellow dots and white background with turquoise dots each had a duplicate. I pulled this image of the fabrics from the Missouri Star Quilting company to show the prints. Perhaps some day I will be lucky enough to visit this brick and mortar store as a quilting destination.

What will I make from this? I do not know yet but I have several layer cake patterns and a couple books for pre-cuts so there must be a candidate in my files somewhere that will be just the perfect partner for this and not slice up those numbers a lot. Fractions are great but I think I want this quilt to feature whole numbers.

I'd made this quilt, which I named Vintage Ornaments, from a layer cake pattern by Thimble Blossoms called Piece of Cake {2} but I think I'd be bored if I did the same pattern twice.

This pattern is a cute variation but I think it may slice up the number blocks to much. Hmmm... I could always throw in a wonky non-sliced number block here and there. This is a contender.

 While I mull this over I will link up to this week's WIP at Freshly Pieced.