Post-Houston..

…I’m back. The heck with Sandy my ass. Sandy  destroyed huge swathes of my home town, of my childhood. I purposely chose to avoid as much of the televised experience as I could. I preferred it that way after 9-11, when we had no TV because our antennas had been on the towers. I preferred it that way this time as well.

It hurts my heart to see photos posted on Facebook. It is worse as days go on, and more and more people come back to post, finally with power, and tell their unique, yet universal, tales of woe. It pleases me beyond measure to see my forgotten borough of Staten Island behaving in such civic minded and neighborly ways, via the magic of Facebook. And now, a week out, news cycles later, with the wonderfully Hooloovoo color our country turned on Tuesday with the election, we need to remember it isn’t over, not by a long shot. New York and New Jersey will be suffering for a long time to come.

But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about QUILTS! And fabric. And the International Quilt Show in Houston, TX. (my photos,– none my quilts!– with placards after each piece. It requires a password. IQF/12 ) Enjoy!

The show was amazing. Fantabulous, even. Just inspiring and tiring and crazy large, and overwhelming and just perfect. I met so many wonderful artists at the SAQA/Quilt Art reception hosted by Karey Bresenhan, I met quilters from message boards I frequent, and I even serendipitously ended up next to someone I had tried to reach out to via email and never connected with! And those wonderful Facebook friends that I finally got to meet IRL!

Patricia “Pokey” Bolton and me at Craftsy’s Open Studios—(VERY cool idea)

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A quilted Yurt… (with Jamie Fingal posing for me as “Gert in a Yurt”)

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My “Haul”…or as male quilter I met from Kentucky called it, new items to add to my collection. (the idea being no one is expected to USE the stamps or the coins they collect, so….) ETA:  I had shoppers block! It was odd… I didn’t have a vision of  what I wanted to buy, and was paralyzed by all the choices…. I finally found one booth where I let loose.. and it was over. The fabrics I bought…many feel like Sandy. There is a quilt there, about my home…we shall see.

An overview….T-shirt, yardage and other assorted toys (Emails from China quilt on the wall)

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A selection of the ATC and Mug Rug Swap that was set up by the Craftsy booth.

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A ‘detail’ of some beads, rulers, paints, as well as my purchase from the  Pet Charity postcard booth, by Sylvia Weir (the Green piece)

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And because no vacation should be considered complete without a trip to the beach….We went to Surfside Beach on the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. (plus other random photos from the trip.)

I’m ready to go back. Eithne, Robin, are you up for it??

Houston Bound!

The heck with Sandy. We will see what becomes of her over the next day or two but I am focusing on the other end of this week:

My first trip to the International Quilt Festival ( IQF ) in Houston, Texas!

Long on my bucket list, Timmy decided it would be an awesome Christmas present this year. ( I tend to agree. Both that it IS an awesome gift, and that HE is an awesome husband!Red heart)

Unfortunately, he didn’t give me very much time to squirrel away money to SHOP! I think I may be going for the show (ie, LOOKING at the quilts) and for the friendship….meeting up with 50,000 like-minded souls.

(OK, and the tiniest bit of shopping, but lots of looking and plotting and planning…. if only I could sell my first-born, alas she is a bit old for that…Smile with tongue out)

 

I will be going as well to see two of my photos that were juried into the photo show that is on display at the quilt show, in a special Exhibit called Favorite Things.

“Hovercraft”

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“The Stories They Tell”

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And I will be bringing along a small pile of ATC’s and Mug Rugs to trade!  I have never made either, but I have had a lot of fun working on them (and feeling they may not be worthy, but that is a post in itself, isn’t it?)

I have been on a kick lately of just using up scraps. And using them in a very organic, no-thought kind of fashion, stitching them together until they resemble something large enough to cut into a shape of something else. I did sort a few tubs of scraps kind of by color, so some of the new pieces of fabric have a feeling of ‘unity’, but a good deal more are simply random.  Here is a lap quilt top using some of that ‘new’ fabric.IMG_2058

The ATC’s began as the leftovers of a Drunkards Path quilt called Emails from China that I made.  Very neutral colors, taupe and such. (Very NOT me, but I love it, and it hangs in my bedroom, probably the calmest colored room in the house) An in progress photo of the quilt. Yes, I am feeling too lazy to go take a new photo! of the finished product.

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After arranging scraps on Peltex and stitching,  I decided they needed some color. Out came my wild variety of paints, fabric and otherwise.  I keep saying the one thing I will NOT get sucked into is hand-dyeing fabrics. But over-dyeing and painting on commercial fabrics is fun!

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I made one set of these, and haven’t completely decided if they are finished yet….(but time is growing short, I know….)

Next, mug rugs. Using some of those new pieces of fabric I made with scraps, I then added some fun ribbons, and practiced some really awful machine quilting…. I also am trying to get myself to admit defeat, so I took a rather unsuccessful holiday wall-hanging, and have ‘repurposed’ it into mug rugs. (Think a washable, overly large coaster, where you can place your hot chocolate or coffee on one side and a nice big brownie on the other.)IMG_2495IMG_2498

Last but not least, I made myself a funky fabric covered button, announcing to one and all that I am a Quilt Art online member! (oh, and I got new glasses yesterday!)

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See you in Houston!!!

Scrappity scrap scrap! (quilts!!!)

I am not a quilter who worries overmuch about rules, or about precision (except where REQUIRED and UNAVOIDABLE), nor am I afraid of color, or colors matching, or….well, I think you get the idea….

Earlier this month, I had a revelation about my studio, and so enlisted DH to take a trip to IKEA….sigh…

We came back with the perfect solution to the chaos that WAS the studio….

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We bought the insides of kitchen cabinets, white, wall mount sized, that would fit those wonderful scrapbooking containers.  Mounted one set on legs, to make it the proper height to iron on, tossed the ironing board in the Goodwill corner, and mounted an 18x 48 piece of wood, with batting and Teflon covering.  The other set is without legs so it would slide a bit under the cutting table.

So, now that I have such an organized space, I need to make some quilts, right? Prove to myself that what was stopping me was disorganization?

Enter the scrap quilt. (Wow, did I find a LOT of scraps.) During the Olympics I dumped all those totes into a pile and sorted, very loosely, into color groups. (i.e., all the teal/blue/aqua/greenish into one pile)  I didn’t agonize. I just went with my gut.  Then, I took a container to my quilt meeting, ironed all of the scraps, and loosely sorted by size.

Next, I grabbed a handful and started sewing together in strips. As you see below, there is NO organization. They aren’t the same size. The widths are different. The colors are all of a feeling of belonging, however. I didn’t square up anything, so if it was 2 inches at one end and three at the other, well then it starts to get wonky is all.

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I took a square ruler, and began to cut out 9 inch squares.  (The scraps from the cutting will be sewn together and made into another quilt.)

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Next, cut into diagonals. And choose another fabric to make an equal number of 9 inch squares. *(six, this time)

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Pin those stretchy bias edges like a mad fool and chain piece!

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Press, with lots of starch, and lay out on a design wall.

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All that is left is to settle on a layout, and what color sashing I will use. (Probably black.) Add a nice wide border with some other large-ish piece of fabric that I haven’t chosen yet, and Viola!!! A quilt!

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And, a completely different, yet scrappy project, is another baby quilt!

Spoiler alert:    This is my signature baby gift.

My theory being if the quilt is too ‘precious’ the parents won’t let the child barf on it, so I choose 42 (the meaning and purpose of life) colorful 5 inch blocks, sewn together 6×7 rows. Then half of a length of fleece, a package of satin blanket binding, some fancy stitches to hold it altogether, and a test run through the washing machine later, we have a baby quilt! (Complete with baby’s name embroidered on the edge)

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