Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Zebra Pillow

Back in November when I was at the Houston Quilt Festival, I bought a random piece of smooth furred fabric printed with a photographic image of a zebra. It was tactilely so inviting; it felt like you were petting a puppy dog's tummy. I originally planned to buy a solid cream colored piece of velour or velvet as a backing and make it into a shaped pillow. The zebra is not stark white and black as you can see from the difference against the pure white background

Then I got this revolutionary idea (ha, ha). Why not make the backing with some fabric from my stash? I stock almost no solids and certainly not velvet or velour, but surely I would have a selection of black and white prints. I dug into my cuts of half-yards and here are some options I considered but rejected. 

The one far most on the left I had used to cover a lampshade (April 18, 2014 post) shown in the following left photo and also as a backing on a bunny pillow for my son (December 25, 2016 post) shown in progress in the middle photo. The chevrons in the right photo went into a quilt block submitted for a college commemorative reunion (November 12, 2013 post). I considered a classic pinstripe and entertained the possibility of a cheetah print that maybe-sorta-kinda would go with a zebra theme. In all of these options, the stark white was too strong.

Then I spotted a creme and black polka dot. "Why not?" I thought. I had a yard of it but only needed about a fat quarter's worth. On the wise advice of the vendor from show from whom I purchased the zebra cutout, I first put it up against my window in the daytime and using the window glass like a light table, drew the outline edge of the zebra on the back side so I would see more clearly where it was when I stitched. I then laid the zebra face down on the face up polka dots and cut crudely and roughly around the zebra panel, mainly just lopping off the pointed extensions.

I chose not to remove the white from between the zebras legs because I wanted the shape usable as a pillow and because I thought three long stuffed legs would bend and not hold up well. I stitched a quarter inch outside the drawn line outlining the zebra. Doing so would leave a thin white outline on the pillow when I turned it right side out. This method allows more of the zebra contour to show, not being curved over into the seam allowance. Ta-da!

I did like my selection of cream and black polka dots. They are kind of a surprise on the back. 

Now this zebra can join the ones on my Christmas rug and Christmas pillow.

Zebras reminded me of an old legend. Whenever you go on safari through a jungle you will most likely run into Tarzan painting black stripes on white zebras, white stripes on black zebras, and black and white stripes on invisible zebras. Why? Because 

  🎶🇺🇸  Tarzan Stripes Forever  🇺🇸🎶 

Ba-ba-boom, ching! On that off-key note I will link up with Let'sBee Social #206.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tree Skirt in a Day

The Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, my daughter-in-law texted me a photo showing they had put up their Christmas tree. She add the tongue-in-cheek remark that the tree still needed a homemade tree skirt. Apparently I had forgotten her request from last year. Well I certainly could not create anything heirloom quality between now and Christmas, but surely I could whip out a quick one. When she comes for the holidays I will grill her on what specific she had in mind for a fancier one. Quilted? Ruffled? Circular that lies flat? Color preferences?

I had made a simple drawstring tree skirt for our own home out of some leftover decorator fabric from IKEA and described it in my post for December 3, 2014. It was single layer and made from one yard of 54" wide fabric that I configured to be 18" wide and 108" long.  I rummaged through my stash and selected four yards of a Christmas print of all package bows that I had set aside for a backing for that nebulous "something" on that indeterminate "someday". I decided to use it for the tree skirt as a double thickness rectangle ½WOF (~23") wide by 144" long.

I thought some red ball fringe around the lower outer edge would spice it up. So I dove into my plastic storage boxes and dug out some that I knew I had. But I only had five times 18", roughly 90+ inches in yardage. Hmmm. I could make that tree skirt 90" long perhaps to accommodate the length of red trim I had. Then I looked more closely at my ball fringe. I had snipped off most of the balls, probably for some noses or pom-poms on something. Better try Plan B. That meant dashing out to the local fabric store, on the Saturday afternoon of the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year, for some red ball fringe, the odds of which being in stock were very slim indeed. My husband was up for an adventure though, so he said let's go, even if it meant fighting traffic and braving the crowds.

Of course at my local fabric store there was no red ball fringe, only pink, and it was $12 a yard! No way even if the fabric was from my stash and free – sort of – was I going to spend nearly $50 on the wrong color ball fringe! I started exploring other trim types and also learned decorator trims were 30% off. I liked this red and gold string fringe, much less expensive at $5 a yard, and I liked it better. Sigh. They only had three yards in stock, but the sister store, 11 miles away, had 6 yards in stock. I stood in the cutting line and waited and waited to get the three yards they did have. It was 30% off and I did get 50% off on top of the 30% off for the last yard that was end of bolt. Then my husband and I drove on over to the sister store to get another yard.

My husband dropped me off in front of the second store and I ran in immediately and went directly to pull a tab for my place in line at the cutting table. I pulled "00" which I have never ever done before. Sometimes the quirkiest things amuse me and getting a "00" was one of those things, so I documented the incident with a photo. I then found the fringe I wanted from the shelves and went back to the cutting table. They were on "98" so the wait was short.

Having the four yards be in two separated lengths was no problem since I would be enclosing the upper edge in a seam and the joint would not be visible. I did need to be careful to orient the fringe with the same side showing in the two lengths. One side had a bit more gold peeking out at the upper edge.

I sewed the fringe along one selvage edge. Then I layered the second selvage edge over that right sides together, encasing the fringe.

I turned the four yard long tube right side out and pressed a sharp crease at the upper edge opposite the exposed fringe. Instead of marking 1.5" and 2.5" lines from the upper edges for a casing, I pressed masking tape to my sewing machine cabinet as a guide for the two parallel stitching lines.

After stitching the casing I top-stitch closed the short ends of the rectangle. I threaded cording through the casing and here is the completed tree skirt, ready to be gathered and wrapped around the trunk of the tree.

I did sew through the cording and casing in the very center so the cording would not slip out.

I had to try out if my guessed measurements would work out, so here is the tree skirt modeled temporarily by my Christmas tree. My tree is still undecorated. I was busy making a tree skirt instead.

The tree skirt folded up nice and flat, ready to be mailed off on Monday. Mission accomplished all within a day. But how much time did it really take me?

It took me less than two hours to sew. But I am choosing to mention but not count 
  • the time to sort through my stash and select this Christmas bow fabric
  • the time expended to search in my closet to find and assess the inadequate ball fringe
  • the travel time to, between, and back from the two stores to buy the fringe I did use
  • the time of shopping distraction within the first store
  • the time to put away everything in my closet I'd removed to find the red ball fringe
  • my time to write this post.
Everything beyond the sewing was all a happy Christmas adventure. Oh, and the sewing was happy, too! Don't you just love the feeling of a project completed? My daughter-in-law texted me that the tree skirt arrived today, Wednesday, so I can publish this post. Conveniently, it is timed right to link up with Let's Bee Social #205.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Whirligiggles Prep

Yesterday evening was the night before Thanksgiving and, since we would be eating out this year (alleluia!) I did not have a lot of prep work to do in the kitchen. I decided to resurrect my Whirligiggles quilt. It has been a long time since I have made any progress on it, my last related post titled Changing and Rearranging having been published in February. I stalled, as I usually do, in the sandwiching stage where I add the batting and backing. I had finished joining the five vertical panels back in February but had yet to press those four vertical seams to one side. I started pressing the seams last night and got frustrated. The seams of each hexagon had behaved nicely, swirling obediently even in the multi-intersection centers; but those vertical joining seams were very lumpy bumpy at the multi-seam intersections and would not lie flat no matter how aggressively I commanded them to. Further complicating the issue was that I kept bumping the correctly-lying seams in the process. I set the top aside in frustration, swearing never again to make a quilt with so many @#$% seams.

Either my standards were lower or my patience was higher, but the next morning, Thanksgiving Day, I got up early and completed the pressing with no problem. Thanks be to the quilt gods. I surely did not want this project to be stored in limbo after all the effort I had put into piecing it. I tried several times to tape the layers first to my cutting table and then to the floor in my upstairs sewing room, but conceded that I needed more space to spread out. Off I went to the area at the base of the stairs, between my kitchen nook and family room. I taped the backing to the hardwood floor and then smoothed the bamboo batting on top of it. Then I folded the top in quarters and placed it with the folded corner in the center.

My husband came downstairs and laughed to see me sprawled out and crawling around on the floor in my bare feet, grumbling that I was too old for this and that my knees hurt.

Once I had the top opened up, centered, and smoothed out, the bright colors smiled and winked at me and gave me renewed energy to continue and spray baste the layers together. I remembered what I liked about this quilt.

I protected my floor and carpet from the fine overspray mist by laying out a few pillowcases. There is not a lot of stray adhesive and it is water soluble, but still I wanted to protect my floor and carpet. I used to use newspapers but they would blow around if I did not tape them in place and then they would rip when I tried to reposition them. Pillowcases work great. They are heavy enough to stay put and I just throw them in the washer when I am finished. First I folded back the batting and backing and sprayed the 505 basting spray on the batting and adhered it to the backing, one half at a time.

Once the batting was adhered to the backing I did the same process with the top. I folded the top back half way and sprayed the batting.

Then I walked the top is place laying it down as I walked over it.

Surprisingly enough, it settles itself down very evenly without wrinkles. Then I crawl around and smooth from the center out to make sure the layers are stuck to each other.

As I was crawling around and smoothing my husband asked me "Is that called basting a quilt?" I said yes, that I was spray basting. He remarked, "Huh. Most people baste a turkey on Thanksgiving!"

As I stood up and admired my efforts I noticed - uh, oh – a MISTAKE!

The top edge has a zig zag border, green/red, green/red, green/red alternating with grey/white partial pinwheels.

The bottom edge is supposed to have a zig zag border, red/blue, red/blue, red/blue, alternating with grey/white partial pinwheels. Oh, but wait! It is red/blue, blue?/blue, red/blue. It looks like I need to rotate that triad just left of center, 120° counterclockwise. Then all the checks, not just three out of four, will also align with the grey partial pinwheel.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I am of course thankful for family, friends, food, health, a nice home, my fabric stash but also for a few extra quilting details. I am so thankful I noticed this anomaly before I quilted it in, I am thankful it is close to the edge so I can access it to fix it, and I am thankful that the 505 basting spray is tacky enough to be peelable and forgiving. I am also thankful I took the time to take a bath before going out to dinner. Otherwise I never would have noticed all those strings and thread scraps stuck to the soles of my feet. Fair warning... there really is a tiny bit of overspray with the 505 basting spray. Linking up to Let's Bee Social #204.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Minky Mishaps

A vendor booth at the Houston Quilt Festival carried woven cotton yardages in 30" squares and furry Minky in 40" squares to be paired to make a baby blanket. The simple assembly involved sewing a cotton and a Minky square, right sides together,  mitering the wraparound corners, and then turning right side out. It sounded easy enough and I knew to pin a lot and be careful since Minky is so stretchy. This is the fabric pairing I chose – the "oh boy" Micky Mouse print was the woven and the black with large white dots was the Minky.

I sewed my four sides together without a problem, from the center out to each  edge. I faced the print down so it was the fabric against the feed dogs. The instructions for the mitering of the corners could use improvement and the diagram had me scratching my head for a bit before I managed to figure it out.

When I turned the blanket right side out, three out of the four corners looked fine. Not great, but adequate. 

The overall blanket looked like the gray Micky Mouse print was centered on the black dotted Minky. This left a big central 30" square with a big uncertainty on how to tack it to the back. I'd heard that Minky creates a lot of fuzz and lint and so I was wary, since this my first experience with it. So far the fuzz aspect of it had posed no problem for me. Never the less, I did not want to put the stretchy Minky on my long arm. Also the lower left corner appeared to pull awkwardly and twist the lower wrap-around band. This fourth corner was a disaster and I did not know why. A blah problematic center and a twisted edge and corner did not make for my proudest moment.

I had already sewn around the edge of the print and so turning things inside out again to fix the fourth corner was not an option. The offset I had somehow introduced on the fourth side did not seem to stem from the top stitching but rather from the corner miter – or so I first thought.

I ripped out the corner and tried just top stitching it from the outside, pushing and shoving it where I thought it should go. Yuck. What a mess! How can you fix something when you do not know what you did wrong?

Oh, well. Maybe I could patch it later. I did still have some Minky from when I trimmed the excess off the mitered corners. I decided to move on to running a few straight lines across the center woven section to hold the back Minky together with the front Mickey Mouse. No matter how I stretched and eased I wound up with an excess lump of woven by each "oh boy" balloon at the right edge after I'd sewn from the left.

I added more and more pins and still a bulge appeared at the end of my stitching line. I surmised that during my other assembly stitching, I had been able orient the woven side against the feed dogs. Since I had to do my quilting lines from the front to see where the "oh boy" bubbled phrases were, the Minky was against the feed dogs. I guessed it did not slide as easily. Its dragging behind probably created the surplus of woven on the front.

I then noticed before the final horizontal quilting line row that somehow the lever that engages the even feed feature of my Pfaff was up. Once I lowered the lever, the final row came out more even. See the stitching at the border by the lowest "oh boy" bubble in the next photo versus the lump to the right of the next "oh boy" bubble further up. I really did not want to rip out the other rows that sported that right lump/bump feature.

I began to wonder just when I had inadvertently disengaged that oh-so important feature, especially for Minky. Aha! The lightbulb moment! I retroactively guessed that I must have bumped and disengaged that even feed feature as far back in the construction as on that fourth side, and that is why it was so uneven and twisted, even though I had pinned it quite generously. And to think I was blaming the Minky when it was my own clueless action. Live and learn. Also, in retrospect, the long arm would have been a better choice for the quilting lines since there are no feed dogs to drag layers unevenly. I do not have the desire to rip out those shifted quilting lines so I will leave them as is for now. That fourth corner? I still have to ponder how to patch that problem. I suppose since I have another 30" square of the Mickey Mouse print and I could give up on the mess and get some more Minky - maybe without the big white dots I liked but surely in solid black. 

I bought this combo because I thought it would work up fast and be a new experience for me. With all my fussing and tugging and correction attempts, it surely was not fast. It was indeed a learning experience, however. I botched it royally and concluded that my first experience with Minky could very well be my last – at least for a while. I really should give it a second chance but I am in no hurry to do so.  Instead I will link up to Let's Bee Social #203.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Houston Quilt Festival

I was fortunate to be able to attend the 2017 Houston Quilt Festival for two days last week with my daughter. I flew out from Oakland, California and my daughter flew down from Oklahoma City and on Thursday, November 2nd and we got to spend Friday and Saturday in a mother/daughter bonding feast amid gorgeous quilts and myriads of vendors. Hotels at the George R. Brown Convention Center were booked (and expensive) so we stayed very near Hobby airport and drove in both days. This is going to be be a long post so hang in there and scroll ahead as you please. Family comes before fabric, maybe not in the dictionary but in real life and even in the quilting world, so I will post pictures in the following order:

  1. Robin and Me – photos of my daughter and me, travel pics, convention center orientation
  2. Quilts  – photos of a handful of the many quilts that caught my eye 
  3. Purchases – photos of the purchases I made
  4. Travels Home – tales of leaving the International Quilting Festival
Robin and Me
My first inkling I was in the Houston airport was signage pointing me to the baggage claim area.

Robin had arrived three hours earlier so she took the shuttle to the hotel upon her arrival. She returned to the airport on the shuttle to meet me just outside the secure area and waited with me for my luggage.

We decided to eat at the airport. Our restaurant displayed a marquee congratulating the Astros on their World Series win. It was the first World Series win for the baseball team in 51 year in franchise history. The celebratory welcoming home parade for the baseball team was actually at 2:00 pm on our Friday at the show. It was only a half mile away from the convention center so we could have walked to it but we opted to continue our trek throughout quilts and vendors instead. During our break for a late lunch though we did view people in various team apparel strolling back in good spirits from the parade.

Friday morning came and we got up in time to get to the quilt festival when it opened at 10:00 am. Unfortunately parking at the convention center garage was already full. We went to a Toyoto Parking garage a couple blocks away and waiting in long line of cars to file in. Just as we were about to enter the structure one of the attendants called out it was full. We could not back up because there was a line behind us. We could not continue down the road because we were already in the driveway entering the structure. So we sat. And we waited. The attendant told us to inch forward and they lowered the steel mesh garage gate after us, barely a fraction of an inch form the rear bumper of teh rental car. Yikes!.We were the last car allowed in. How is that for luck? At first they told us to park in a handicapped spot. We were hesitant about getting a ticket but if no one else would be entering it would probably be safe and not be denying the space to anyone. But apparently they were filled, also. Instead they directed us to a very narrow valet parking spot. Robin let me out before pulling in.

Then she squeezed herself out of the car.

I took our first symbolic photo that we had arrived. It was of our feet outside the convention center.

After buying tickets we were in! Yay! Robin assumed the "Ta-Da" pose under the International Quilt Festival sign.

Soon after we went in the Hall D entrance, on the quilt side rather than vendor side of the center, I noticed a sign off to the right that my husband would have appreciated. I texted him the next four photos.

When he and I go into a quilt shop together he immediately asks where they have their husband's chair so this was such a kick to see.

It was nicely outfitted, too, with lounge type seating and a TV.

There was a table off to the side stocked with magazines that would typically appeal to most men. Notice the titles: WWII History, NBA, Texas Salt Water Fishing, Field and Stream, cigar aficionado. Men's Journal, and Golf Digest. Lest the men feel they were being stereotyped, there was also Texas Monthly, National Geographic, and Fortune which were a bit more generic. Someone at that convention was being very thoughtful.

When people asked me what I thought about the International Quilt Festival the first word that popped into my head was HUGE! Here is Robin standing near the floor plan. The arrow is pointing at Hall D. Hall D and Hall E were for quilt displays. Halls A, B, and C were for vendors. 

This view through a second floor portal gives a better feeling for the size when compared to the people milling about looking at the quilts. This photo shows aisles A through D.

This photo shows Aisle C through Aisle J at the far, far right. The aisle labeling ran beyond the right edge of the photo, up through Aisle T.

The quilts were organized in regions of display. Realizing we could not see it all in detail, Robin and I gradually figure out which areas interested us most and lingered there, skimming through others that were not quite our cup of tea.

The vendor section ran almost half again as large. It was housed in Hall A, Hall B and Hall C. Here I am pointing to where we would go next in the afternoon. We did some quilts and some vendors each day to mix it up a bit. All in all I think we time managed very well. Energy management? Well, that could have used some improvement. We tuckered ourselves out.

Robin and I posed into front of the Stitchin' Heaven steer. I am wearing my bobbin necklace and she is wearing her Super SewerT-shirt. This photo got texted back to hubbies.

We each had to have our own up close and person shots, Robin first. Doesn't that steer look like it adores her and is nuzzling up for attention?

I took my turn with the steer. Looks like vice versa, me adoring the steer! 

Here is that glorious steer alone, view not obscured by any quilters hamming it up in the photo.

As Robin and I were leaving the show on our final Saturday, we had one of the staff take a photo of the two of us under a sign with rotating advertising. She was very patient and indulgent with us. We had to time the shot and our smiles to synchronize with when the sign said Quilt Festival and not other ads. It took several cycles of the sign and several bouts of giggling but we prevailed!

Our second day, Saturday, we had been wise enough to get before the show opened to score a parking spot in the garage across from the convention center. As we were leaving it occurred to me to take a photo of the convention center itself. This is the best I got. Oh well, there are probably better ones online. The quilts were more important and I have several photos of them coming up next.

The Quilts
The rules at the show stated that photography was allowed only as long as credit was give to the artist who made the quilt. Here were a few of my favorites.

I liked the cheerful colors and simple lines of Eichler Homes by Mickey Beebe from Santa Cruz, California. These style homes are prevalent in the San Francisco Peninsula and Silicon Valley area.

My preferences lean toward traditional quilts over modern but I love the modern colors and ombre looks. A Splash of Lime by Susan Garrity of Wilson Wyoming combines both of these with her pairing of Snail's Trail and Ohio Star blocks for a stunning result.

On the left is Family Celebration by Becky Grover of Ann Arbor, Michigan. On the right is My Inner Yoga by Debbie Schulze of Taos, New Mexico. The poses of that skeleton guy really cracked me up. Both of these quilts were associated with the A Celebration of Color category.

This series of quilts, each with pairs of red X's of varying sizes and styles across them, has a very sombre story behind it. Called the 70273 project they commemorate the murder of 70273 physically and mentally disable persons of all ages and genders by the Nazi regime between January 1940 and August 1941, before the Holocaust began. The double red X's represent the signature of two physicians authorizing their deaths. Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is the founder and leader of The 70273 Project. She is shown here in front of the one of many quilts of all sizes in the display. Check out the 70273 project link if you want to get involved.

Red Hot was by Deborah Ross from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I loved the color gradation in this string quilt.

The swirls and color gradation are what drew me in to It All Comes Around by Karlyn Lohrenz.

Happy Alps, original design by Enid Weichselbaum from Minnesota. Looking at it did indeed make me happy. It has a sort of Charles Wysocki feel to me.

The swirling tools and cheerful green background of Wind in the Workshop by Shirley Gisi of Colorado Springs, Colorado appealed to me and I thought it might evoke a woodworking mood for my husband.

This dress by Gilbert Muniz of Houston Texas was titled Zapped! The font on the front reminded me of the annotations of POW or BANG in the comic books of my youth.  My daughter 's family is into the heroes of Marvel and DC graphic novels and movies so I had her pose by this dress.

This jacket, also by George Muniz of Houston, Texas is titled Color Theory. The embroidered circles are his adaptation of shisha embroidery, which typically entails mirrors within the circular medallions.

Six blocks were combined to form Mystery Quilt by Yoko Saito of Japan. She was inspired to add random staircases going nowhere to the border, giving the quilt a magical feel. Normally I am not a fan of gray or muted tones but this quilt seems to speak color to me from within its neutral tones. Maybe that is the magic?

These United States by Carol Price measures 12 feet by 14 feet and contains fun facts and details about every state plus Washington, D.C. The letters U S A and two other block were added to fill in the configuration to seven blocks wide by 8 blocks tall.

I am originally from New Jersey so I photographed  the block for my birth state.

My daughter now lives in Oklahoma so here is her block.

My husband hails from Washington, D.C.

My home state now is California. It was so high up on the quilt I had to zoom in to get a photo so its resolution is a bit lower.

My sister now lives in North Carolina so here is her state.

In the handmade category was Marchen (Fairy Tales) by Kayoko Hibino of Japan. I thought it was exquisite.

My husband said that after spending money on air fare and hotel and making the time and effort to travel, I'd better purchase a lot to make it all worthwhile. There are suitcase capacity limitations however. What did I buy from the vendor half? Here is a quick (I hope) rundown.

This is a small paper pieced pattern for a birthday celebration that came with the fabric to make a present and a piece of cake. I plan to make it up as is and possibly enlarge it for a couple of birthday banners to be made with my own stash fabrics.

I love colorways like this and they are often present in Me and My Sister fabrics. My daughter loves those designers also so we made a point of visiting their booth. I bought two 1 yard pieces of Christmas flannel that will make four burp cloths.

I also bought a blue bunny print that was too adorable to leave behind. It was the last one left, too so I didn't dare wait to decide and come back later! What if it was gone? It was from their new line so I could have waited and gotten it elsewhere but that logic never prevails during a fabric fixation moment.

We both bought Me and My Sister's new book and specialty Double Wide Dresden Ruler.

We then had some one take out picture with the sisters. During the shuffling about for position, we all heard something drop to the floor. Had one of us dropped our ruler? We searched and could not find it. They said never mind, they would find it later and handed us another ruler. Back in the calm of the hotel that night we found three rulers. We returned the third, first thing the next morning but never did figure out what had fallen.

I came across a vendor selling quick-make baby blankets made up of a 30" square of printed cotton and a 40" square of plush Minky. This would make up very quickly, placing right sides together, sewing around and turning right side out with self mitering corners. Hey, this could be my next burp cloth alternative.  I'd never worked with Minky before so I thought this could be a new experience. I really  was initially attracted only to the grey Mickey print fabric that claimed "oh, boy" but yardage from this booth was not an option They were set up to sell only 30" squares or 40" squares. I decided to try the Minky pair option but was still reluctant to leave behind the "oh boy" fabric and its lovely coordinating coral mini-print. I got both.

Also in the boy vein I found some fabric at another booth that went with a collection of houndstooth basics in soft muted yet masculine colors. 

The coordinating print fabric had a soft look to it and was printed with kind sayings – be generous, be brave, be humble, be grateful, be gentle, etc. The critters were exceptionally cute and detailed, also.

I picked up a couple of patterns that appealed to me. This one for a girl's skirt was sold out but will be shipped free to me. I am anxiously watching for it. I have three granddaughters so it will definitely get used.

These two fabrics, llamas and birds, are strong candidates for that skirt pattern.

This other pattern is for a quilt with pockets to hold items. I thought it would be cute for a nursery school or for Christmas time.

These barns came as a kit but I  liked only the barns themselves. The vendor had several purchasing options, one of which was flexible enough to let me buy only the barn panels and they came with a free pattern.

Speaking of kits, I have a goal of not to buy any more. Well, I caved. This makes up into a small wall hanging and I'd had a pleasant experience once before sewing up a set of laser cut pieces into a storm at sea pattern. These colors and design caught my eye and there will be no leftovers. Yes, there are curves but the pieces are all pre-notched and all dog ears have been lobbed off ahead of time requiring little guesswork in alignment. I am looking forward to starting this with no cutting out first!

Of course there was an assortment of random fabric purchases I could not resist. Probably the most random was this collection of fat quarters of barbecue fabrics. The bundle was missing a fat quarter  per the vendor's consternation so he added for free extra a 1/3 yard end of bolt cut of the Campbell's tomato soup red fabric in the upper right corner and the aqua one in the middle of the bottom row. I think this collection of nine fat quarters will make whimsical placemats. I am already contemplating what pairings I will make.

These three half-yard cuts of the identical Kaffe Fasset dotted stripes will make a quick quilt on their own merit. I can run the stripes alternate up and down or sideways to create a rail fence design with very little effort. It will stand on its own just due to the colors. I love polka dots – the crookeder the better.

I bought a collection of six one-yard cuts of floral fabric from a vender from Hawaii in rose, orange, yellow, purple, aqua, and blue – luscious colors I just drooled over.

Another random item that called to me was this zebra panel. It is printed from a photograph on really plush feeling fabric like velour. I have slated it for a fun pillow in my living room where I have a scattering of zebra stripe accents in my lamp shades and coat hooks. I need to find a cream colored soft stretchy backing fabric. I want the look of wale-less corduroy but I think it needs to have some give and not be rigid. Maybe not. I need to rethink the rigid versus stretchy aspect. I kind of want that wale-less or pinwale corduroy or velour or washable velvet.

This random one yard cut of wing-tip shoe fabric was just too funky to leave behind. I think I might make a living room pillow from it. I suppose it could also be a pillow case. It's fate is to be determined. I want it to be something simple so I make it up quick. The fabric is too unique to be stuffed away in my stash and not be enjoyed. 

There was also this one yard piece of wonky green check on sale for 50% off. It is a nondescript basic so, unlike the shoes, it may very well linger in my stash for a while.

Oh, I also bought a package of basic threads. I do always seem to run low on these tones. This is a brand I normally use and I am quite happy with it, even in my Handi-Quilter Sweet Sixteen.

Travels Home
After Houston I went back with my daughter to Oklahoma City for a few days to visit the grandkids before flying home to California. She of course knew I would have brought gifts for her kids and be cramped for fabric space. Bless her heart, she packed a large bag of lightweight packing peanuts taking up space in her suitcase so she could ditch them in Houston and create space to carry my fabric to Oklahoma for me. There was one hitch to the plan. When Robin and I arrived at Hobby airport in Houston to fly to Oklahoma City there were signs on each of the check in terminals. Apparently something about the Commemorative Quilting Program was setting off security alarms in the checked luggage so programs had to be carried on only. We had packed our programs. Fortunately the majority of all our quilt show purchases were in one suitcase – hers. She found a space behind one of the unmanned ticket counters, sprawled herself out across the floor and dug through her suitcase, essentially dumpster diving amongst the dirty laundry and show purchases to find those two programs. We were glad we were early and that she only had to go through one suitcase. I wish I'd taken a picture of that!

For my Oklahoma to California return trip four days later she told me I was I was on my own but could borrow an extra suitcase. It was not needed. I had planned ahead and packed few clothes. I'd wore items multiple times to conserve on space. I had also gained space once I distributed the kids presents. Here is my suitcase upon opening it once at home and removing the clothes I had crammed in around the fabric. Except for the small cosmetic bag and slippers peeking out from underneath the purple sack, this is all quilt show purchases. I have my priorities.

One more thing. My commemorative program was not in there. I knew not to pack it in my checked luggage.

I am down to the wire with this post, but I am linking up now to Let's Bee Social #202. I'll catch and fix any typos later.