Friday, October 13, 2017

Burp Cloths for Baby Girl No. 6

So far in 2017 I have sewn 34 burp cloths for five babies - all girls! Except for one pair of twins, all were born to a random assortment of friends and acquaintances totally unrelated to each other! So no wonder when my daughter-in-law's sister had her baby girl, my flannel drawer was positively void of baby girl and even gender neutral prints. I was also unprepared because the baby came five weeks early; she is small, under 5 lbs, but is doing just fine. I delved into my gender neutral flannel options first.

Just  a couple weeks ago I'd bought this gray, red, and white snowman flannel. The Frosty Folks I had recently added to my stash was from Henry Glass & Co., Inc., designed by Jan Shade Beach. The randomly spotted gray flannel (a supplemental fabric purchase) looked like snow falling to me and so made a good pairing with the snowmen. Baby girl and parents live in Colorado so a snow theme seemed fitting.

I also had this fox print in my drawer and had been keeping my eye out for a complement to it. The Seuss stripe had been in the same drawer, too; but I had never thought to pair the two until now. Isn't there some quote about "necessity being the mother of invention" or "desperate times calling for desperate measures"? The red and white stripes serendipitously go splendidly with the red fox and his white tipped tail. I'd bought the foxes in May of 2016 and no longer remember their source but those wonky Seuss stripes are by Robert Kauffman and may still be hanging around as a staple.

I still wanted to make some more burp cloths to give, especially a few on the more girly side. So, martyr that I am, I dragged myself to my local quilt shop and raided the baby flannels in the back corner. I found some really cuties from the Maywood Studios line Little One Flannel Too

I bought this green trellis and animal print pairing from Little One Flannel Too.

There was a bold stronger colored print from the same line that I paired with a diagonal stripe that sported the same shocking pink.

The large print had delightful sayings on it, shown in the zoomed in photo below

I bought a half yard of each flannel and let the prints fall as they may. How lucky I was that they happened to feature themselves! Note how the elephant is front and center and even the turtle and his advice about speed turned out well-placed along the narrow border. Now I'd better pre-wash all these and get them off in the mail. I did not get them finished before the baby shower happened – I never intended to. But then the baby shower did not get completed before the birth happened, either! So there!

Completion of these eight burp cloths increases my 2017 running tally to 42. I did also buy these blue dot prints to add to my stash. The gender tides are bound to turn soon, and boy, am I ever gonna be male ready!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Birthday and Halloween

Today is my eldest granddaughter's 5th birthday. I spent Sunday working away on a pair of Hansel and Gretel dolls and their accessories from a panel by Stacy Hsu.

I forget how long it does take to sew and stuff these. They always come out cute though. Here, from left to right, are Mr. Bear, Hansel, Funny Bunny and Gretel with her border print dirndl skirt.

This is the front of their blanket and pillow – at least I declare it to be the front. I layered the blanket  with batting and simply stitched straight lines along the squares of the counterpane. For the pillow I added a bit of batting, and stitched around the Home Sweet Home sign and the central house  to give the pillow a bit more dimension before sewing, turning, and stuffing it. 

Here is the reverse side of the pillow and blanket. The print is very cheerful and colorful. For some reason the vertical lines of the mini-quilt are not visible in the photo but they are indeed there.

This is the whole set completed. They will go with the Lil' Red (3/8/16), Coral Queen of the Sea (5/14/17), and Lil Superheroes (April 14, 2017) I've already given her. My granddaughter will not get Hansel and Gretel today, Wednesday, because the post office was closed Monday due to the Columbus Day holiday. Alas, I'd procrastinated and forgotten to allow for the extra day. UPS was open Monday and I sent it that way; it will get there Friday. At least an Amazon package I sent should arrive today.

I also mailed a book of the fairly tale Hansel and Gretel along with the cloth entourage. I read the book first. Yee gads, what a gruesome tale!  I'd remembered the part about shoving the wicked witch into the oven; but that was OK. After, all she was wicked and deserved it. I had not however remembered how Hansel and Gretel got in that predicament to begin with. The version of the book I found to send, told the tale of her father and stepmother having not enough food to share, so they took the kids out into the woods and deliberately left them there to perish. Nice, huh? Oh well, Autumn likes to watch scary movies with her dad so maybe this will not phase her in the least.

This week I also sewed up some block of the month mini-kits from my guild. There was a choice of  a squat pieced house block, a tall pieced house block, or a short and tall tree pair paper-pieced block. I bought one of each block type intending to submit them back into the drawing. The houses came out cute enough and the paper-pieced trees took me long enough that I decided to keep the trio and make it into a small wall hanging. Here is the squat house complete with spidery window and door and a skeleton lurking in the attic.

The tall house had ghosts on the first floor and jack-o'-lanterns peeking out the second story window. I split the tree block and sandwiched the tall house in between the two paper-pieced pines.

I placed the trio on my design wall and plan to add a lawn in front courtesy of green fabric culled from my stash. Perhaps I will interrupt the grass with a couple of angled walkways and bind the unit pretty much the size it is. The blocks with the blue marbleized background finished about 12" each.

Linking up now with Let's Bee Social #198 from Sew Fresh Quilts...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quilting In the Garden

September is a very quilt-y month for me. The weekend after my guild's quilt show (post for 9/19/17) and the same weekend as the Pleasanton Craft Fair (post for 10/3/17) my local nursery Alden Lane Nursery, hosted their annual outdoor Quilting in the Garden show. At Alden Lane, the quilts are hung on clothes lines strung between four-hundred-year old oak trees. They are put up by nursery staff and guild volunteers Saturday morning, taken down Saturday evening so as not to be exposed overnight, then put up again on Sunday morning and taken down one last time on Sunday evening. 

I was part of the Saturday take down; it is a lot of fun. Over the years of this annual event, the nursery has developed and fine tuned the process down to a science. With many hands, the raising and lowering of the quilts works as a well oiled machine. There are pulley and rope tenders, clothes pin attacher and removers, clothespin distribution and collection managers, quilt folders, baggers, labelers and pullers of the fleet of wagons that traverse the aisles of the garden outdoor area. 

Here is just a handful of my favorites sights from the show of close to 300 quilts on display. The quilts are by local artists and, in 2017, by Featured Artist Edydta Sitar, Guest Artist Debby Schnable, with Special Guests Alex Anderson and Jennifer Sampou. Here I am at the entry which sports a mini-pumpkin patch and quilts from some of the local artists.

Although not a quilt, I love this whimsical, welcoming cow at the entry.

Number 177 is a precision pieced Edyta Sitar creation. The mottled shadowing of the oak leaves from the tree branches do not lend themselves to awesome photos but they do create an inspirational outdoor ambience that is further enhanced as the breeze blows and the quilts flutter in gentle undulations.

I particularly liked the colors in Number 193, another Edyta Sitar quilt.

Notice how her background fabric was a subtle stripe, one that she was careful to consistently orient throughout.

You can never go wrong with a the color scheme of Number 91 Living in the Moment Blue and Yellow.

Number 33 was titled Triangle Bubble Dance. I am more of a traditionalist than a modern quilter but the asymmetry of this one drew me in.

I loved the bright colors of Number 13 titled 30 Spools of Thread.  Most of all, the dappled leaf shadows and arching branches of the old oaks represent the feel of the show.

I toured the show, making no purchases from the vendors. Then I sat down for my two hour time slot where I was a volunteer for my guild, selling tickets for our fund raising opportunity quilt. That was all well and good except that our booth was right next to the Sandy Klop booth of American Jane fabrics. Even though I had made purchases the previous day at the Pleasanton Craft Fair (10/3/17 post), I bought an eight piece stack of half yards of her pinstripes from the new line titled Merry-Go-Round. Aren't the colors luscious? I also find good stripes hard to come by so this was a serrendipitous find!

It had been a pleasant afternoon. I helped with the Saturday evening quilt take down. Then I waved bye to the friendly scarecrow as I exited. You can watch the 2015 YouTube video for a more extensive overview of the annual Alden Lane Nursery event Quilting in the Garden. I am linking up now with Let's Bee Social #197.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pleasanton Purchasing Potpourri

Less than a week after my guild’s Saturday/Sunday quilt show there was a quilt, craft, and sewing festival in Pleasanton, the town next to me. I went alone on Friday, September 22nd so I cannot blame anyone for enabling my spending. But since nobody was there to curtail my impulse purchases, I did buy a few items in the couple hours I spent there. Other than a soft spot for panels, previously unrecognized, my selections were pretty much uncorrelated with each other.

There was this small wall hanging of a deer displayed such that it caught my eye.

I bought the source panel of four animals and a 42 - 5" square charm pack of 25 coordinated prints to make some pillows for Christmas. The selvage of the panel reads Merrily by Gingiber ZEST FOR YOUR NEST for Moda. I do think the deer is my favorite but the other three critters are close contenders. Shall I make two or four pillows? Decisions, decisions. Two are easier to store and four are more fun to display. 

Courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop, here is an image of the prints within the charm pack. I thought I might use the darker ones as pillow borders or corner stones.

I must have still been in a winter frame of mind because I also bought these six fat quarters - priced inexpensively at $1.75 each. My favorites were the two white background ones across from each other horizontally in the middle, but I just had to get the snowflakes and gridded squares that coordinated so well.

Here is my previously unrecognized panel fondness rearing its head. This panel will look cute cut apart as individual prints for my laundry room. The border of puffy round sheep on the clothes lines is pretty precious, also.

The square for the hens on the washing and sewing machine is enlarged to show off the whimsy. Note that those puffy round sheep are hiding in the dryer set on wool and the washer set on gentle.

This peacock panel called to me. Why it did, once I returned home, I could not recall. Impulse buy. Purely impulse. I think my daughter-in-law had peacock themed decor at one point but has moved on to a yellow theme so I am behind the times. What more can I say...? Perhaps if I have missed the boat, I will make it up as a community quilt, well-purposed to practice my FMQ. It is not quite 45" square so I will need to come up with a top and bottom border of some sort.

This partial panel of an elephant and a hippo was on clearance. This panel is from the Baby Gone Wild fabric line by Masha D'yans. More pillows? They'd need to be 18" to 20" square. I bought this panel ot two images because somewhere in my stash I have a panel of smaller images each about 5" to 6" square as I remember, in the same soft watercolor palette that will make a nice baby quilt. I went to fetch it to take a photo for this blog but alas, I could not find it. It must have moved while I was not looking. Hmmm. I could not find it on the internet either. I know I was not dreaming!

It hard to tell from the photo but I bought the upper red fabric because of its unusual tone - it stood out from neighboring reds. It is sort of a raspberry red - not primary, not cherry - just an odd hue that will either be just perfect for something or not fit with anything. There is one yard. I could not resist the lower green fabric with milk bottles. I will find a place for this droll one yard piece eventually.

Yes, I did indeed buy another fabric doll panel by Stacy Hsu called Just Another Walk in the Woods. The dolls remind me of Hansel and Gretel. I have made up her Lil Red doll and her mermaid dolls (5/20/17 post), her super heroes (4/14/17 post), eight dolls in total. I've bought Stacy Hsu's bunnies and farm animals panels which I have yet to make up (5/17/17 post) and her Howdy cowgirl/cowboy that I have yet to make up. Surely I cannot allow a gap in the collection and so my backlog of panels to be completed continues to grow. I am getting good at these, so one week I will launch a marathon.

I do not drink coffee (but I love the smell) and my house is certainly not decorated in brown tones, so why on earth did I buy this panel? Weakness. And I liked richness of the colors. Placemats. They will be placemats. Or perhaps mug rugs. But who needs twelve mug rugs? I'll figure it out. Eventually.

I liked this pattern and you cannot go wrong for $0.95. It has a very unique construction method that forms four blocks at a time.

I got this to add to the license plate collection that borders the wall of my sewing room near the ceiling. I only buy the plate if I have purchased something from the store, even if only at a show and I have not been at the store itself. Actually some vendors do shows only and have no brick and mortar establishment.

These cheery flannel snowmen will be used for burp cloths for a winter baby. It is a demonstrated fact that I do make burp cloths.

These buttons were cute. So I bought them.

This post is to document and share my purchases (mainly with my daughter who lives in another state). It think it also hints to me that maybe I should not go shopping alone. There were no HUGE purchases but the quantity of these tiny unrelated ones do give me pause for thought. I think I had fun. Uh, oh. I know I had fun! For more fun, I am linking up now with Let's Bee Social #197.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

DVQ Quilt Show: Entries, Winnings, Favorites

What I Entered:
This past weekend was the quilt show for the Diablo Valley Quilters, located in the Diablo Valley of the Greater Bay Area of San Francisco. This is a second guild I belong to although it is a bit further for me to travel. The show displayed  ~200 quilts.  I had entered three quilts and a pillow. The show entry deadline motivated me to finish off the binding and label on Out of the Blue (8/16/17), my quilt from Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

This quilt is actually going to get deployed for use in my family room instead of being folded up on storage. I liked the result from a kit much more than I initially thought I would, hence part of the reason for the title Out of the Blue beyond just that of the color.

My second entry, Storybook Charm (7/5/17), was bound several weeks before the show, but I needed to scurry to add labels and a hanging sleeve.

The third quilt was a Monkey Quilt and the pillow was a Bunny Pillow. Yes, indeed, these are very creative titles, I must admit. They belong to my youngest son Alex and I borrowed them back from him for the show. He was amused to spot them there when his dad brought him to the show to see them displayed. The monkey panel quilt (5/26/14) had been a birthday present.

The bunny panel pillow (12/15/16) was a Christmas present I'd made for him.

Here is a closeup to show how I quilted the rolling hillsides.

Alex is waiting for his ride home with dad. I stayed behind to help with show take down. I must say that is a lot of work, but the team of volunteers cruise along like a well oiled machine.

What I Won:
Raffle baskets were awarded at the end of the show and I won one! I think I only dropped one ticket in basket number #16 but one is all it takes. I was doubly surprised because a friend I had come with the day before also won a basket. I can add my winnings to those I was also lucky enough to score at the Amador Valley Quilters Show in April. Yes, that is right. I won a basket at each of those shows. With the AVQ show I won a basket titled Christmas in April (5/2/17).  This DVQ basket was titled Elm Creek Extravaganza and, indeed, an extravaganza it was! 

What a haul! I initially cringed because my husband and I are trying to declutter our stuff - especially years of quilting and model train accumulations – and this prize was high volume.  But I must have secretly longed for this collection because, after all, I did drop a ticket in as a contender. Basket #16 was laden with everything you can imagine that was Elm Creek themed, with lots of fabric and notions as well. I must have taken the person who donated the prize years of dedication to have amassed such a complete collection. I feel lucky to have inherited it all in one fell swoop. Even my husband, as he helped me lug the pounds of books and fabric all out to the car, echoed that it would be a shame to break up such a beautiful set. (See why we have such a problem paring things down?)

I was not familiar with Amelia fabrics nor Jo Morton but I was soon to be educated.

The basket was perched on a set of fifteen hard bound Elm Creek Mystery novels.

There were five smaller hard bound books within the basket.

A companion book (on the right) was included as a roadmap through all the novels along with character and plot summaries and a timeline. Wow! There was also a spiral bound pattern book of 140 block patterns,

Four other pattern books were included for the quilts cited in the novels.

I lined the smaller books up within the basket to show off the lovely Longaberger basket complete with custom fitted lining.

The assortment of notions were all useful and some very timely. My current seam ripper is getting dull (Perhaps from overuse?... Nah!) and my needle threader is getting finicky from repetitious depression of its internal spring, so these are both welcome. I have never used a stand for the needle threader so I am curious about that gadget. That Jinny Beyer PERFECT PIECER looks like a real time saver with the the different angles available.

And finally I got to see the fabric. It will be a great complement to my stash. I bet those Jo Morton prints (on the left) will lend themselves to great FMQ work along the scallop lines. There is three yards of each piece. You know how you always tend to buy the same type of fabric over and over? My stash is very lopsidedly brights. The other day I had to go out and buy a fat quarter just to do a tree trunk. I rarely buy soft browns so these fill a big void. The stack has 34 fat quarters! Yoo-hoo! That is one of the big plusses about bargain kits or basket wins - they tend to hit your weak spots and stretch your creativity. I am all set for a fall theme quilt or placemats. Let's not get extreme. I am not all set. I am sure I will need to buy something to fill in here or there ...

What I Especially Liked:
There were just under 200 quilts in the show, in six loosely organized entry categories: Best Use of Color, Innovative, Modern, Traditional, Seasonal, and Nature. There was also a category for the Challenge quilts "Painted Ladies" which ran the gambit from San Francisco Row houses, to butterflies, to impressionistic portraits of women's faces. 200 is too many to show them all, but here were some of my personal favorites. End caps of the rows had clever round tables decked out with reminders for each of the categories.

In the BEST USE OF COLOR I loved the appliqu├ęd flowers quilt titled Flower Garden. The owl wallhanging is titled Oliver. His background is all fabric selvages.

In the INNOVATIVE category table had a whole slew of adjectives to mean innovative.

I was bemused by this clever map of the transit system of Gotham City where Batman lives.

I liked the way the city blocks are quilted in a grid and the water ways  are quilted in waves.

In the MODERN category I absolutely loved the bed size quilts titled Friendly Forest and Jack.

It is very humbling to realize that Friendly Forest was made by one of our junior  guild members, thirteen years old!

The quilt titled simply Jack could equally be categorized as traditional but the print fabrics are from the Aborginal culture, giving a very unique feel to the results. It is named for the nephew who requested it. He picked out the fabrics from his aunt's stash and after being a bit skeptical about his selections she realized he had good taste!

The NATURE end cap featured pine cones, leaves, and feathers but also shells and a pewter scarab beetle, in colors one would expect from nature. 

But my favorite quilt in this category was a black and white baby quilt. I was fascinated by the detailing in each of the woodland creatures, a bear, a fox, a bunny and a large featured owl.

All in all, it was a fun two days – tiring, but a lot of fun. I do not think I will put away my winnings just yet. I am leaving them out displayed on the dining room table to admire for a bit longer. Now it's time to have more fun linking up with Let's Bee Social #195.