Seen on my morning walk…

You just can’t beat a morning walk that includes the ocean. That may be one of the most rejuvenating parts of taking part in an Empty Spools seminar. 

I would happily live in this house…

There were people snorkeling this morning, in wetsuits. And fishing, and taking photos. 

Someday I’ll master the art of the selfie. As it is, at least my nose isn’t huge :-). 


Lots of purple/pink/blue flowers are blooming. Wish these would grow for me in north Texas. 


The quilting fun starts later today. I am looking forward to spending the week with 13 happily sewing women!

Weeding tips…

anudge asked for tips on how I weeded out my stash. Here goes:

I used to keep my linen, vintage, hand-dyes, etc., in their own separate groups. I realized that I forgot about them when I was pulling fabrics for a quilt so I decided to merge all of my fabric.

I emptied the top shelf in my closet. I worked standing up at the long dresser in the bedroom where my fabric lives. I worked with one stack of at a time. I touched every fabric and decided to keep it, or not. The ‘nots’ went into bags.

The keepers were sorted into stacks of solids, lights, mediums, or darks. Where it made sense, I grouped similar shades of a color together. For example I have yellow-greens in one stack and blue-greens in another. I know that my stacks are going to eventually get messed up so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on this.

Next I pulled my ‘special’ fabrics, sorted them and added them to the cottons in the closet. 1-yard big print pieces that will be used for backings are still separate.

Fabric Weeding 4

Let me show you how it works with a much smaller group of fabrics. The back story is that I have been inspired by friends to work on a quilt using Liberty of London fabric. My friend, Kathy (hi Kathy!) sent me a fat quarter bundle from the Liberty shop in London — how cool is that! I do love these fabrics from the bundle…

I don’t love these 4 fabrics. If they were just plain old fabrics in my stash, they’d be gone.

But I’m going to make a Liberty of London quilt and can’t afford to be picky! Plus all the fabrics in the bundle actually do play well together. (It goes to show that you can make just about any fabric work, but that’s another story.)

And the bundle fabrics look really good with my other Liberties…

So what does this mean? It means that there are some fabrics I like and some that I like less. When I have too much fabric, I have to decide what no longer fits. Making decisions is hard and it can wear you out if you over-think it. So I don’t think too much as I’m sorting. I put the cast-offs in a bag so that I’m not tempted to bring them back.

If you have more fabric than I do (and that’s a real possibility) I would suggest tackling one color at a time. If you start with yellow, pull all of your yellows, from everywhere. Put them on a big table or bed. Work through them. Put your tidy stacks on the shelves, ignore the cast-offs, move on to the next color. Don’t give up (you’ll be tempted). Power through it, you’ll be glad you did

 

Christmas pillows…

My DIL, Celia, always puts the cutest Christmas pillows on her sofa and bed. I admit to being inspired! I often buy pillows but you know what? We can sew and pillows are EASY! I made these 2 blocks when I was teaching Pick-Up Sticks (from The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color) with the idea in mind that they would make a good pillow.

pillow-1

The four 8″ x 8″ blocks in each of the larger blocks are the same, they are just turned differently. I sewed the blocks together, being careful to leave an opening for stuffing. You could insert a zipper on one side and insert a pillow form if that suits you better.

pillow-2

I turned the pillow right sides out and pressed with steam, using my new Laura Star iron. (More on that in a future post.) It did not take long to stuff it with polyfil and sew the opening closed.

pillow-3

I love a fast project! I’m not sure which side I like the best.

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The Santa pillow came from Hobby Lobby. It didn’t look nearly as good in the store as it does on my sofa :-).

pillow-5

 

A new look Thru Grandmother’s Window…

Linda has been busy updating our what was our very 1st block of the month, Thru Grandmother’s Window. Isn’t it beautiful!

tgw-9block

Linda also made the original 12-block quilt in 1995, below.

thruquilt

Linda updated all 12 blocks for the pattern covers, even though she only used 9 of the blocks in her quilt.

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Each pattern includes new yardage, cutting, and border instructions. Color photos of both quilts are included in each pattern, along with a color photo of the new block.

The patterns are available individually or in a set of 12.  Click here to find Thru Grandmother’s Window Downloadable Patterns. I don’t have fabric kits but these colors are readily available in quilt shops and online. I encourage you to go on a fabric hunt.

You saw it here first! I’ll send a newsletter announcing the updated Thru Grandmother’s Window Downloadable Patterns tomorrow. Happy stitching!

Desert views…

Linda and Paul live outside of Buckeye, AZ, and the landscape is beautiful in a flat, dry, desert-y sort of way. The colors are intense and the sky is so big! I like the look of power lines running off into the far distance in the photo below.

powerlines-buckeye-01

Sun City Festival, the community where Linda and Paul live, is planted with mostly native plants that don’t require a lot of water and can tolerate the heat. I’ve been walking this path in the morning.

buckeye-walk

I had forgotten how green the bark is on a Palo Verde tree. They make me happy, especially against a blue sky.

buckeye-paloverde

There are palm trees, but only where they get water.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such an open place. It feels good, more relaxed, but maybe that’s because I’m on vacation with my best friend :-).

Figuring it out…

When designing a quilt from a photo, you have to figure out where to start. I opened my photo in Photoshop and cropped in to focus attention on the part of the photo that I liked best.

KauaiRoad-01-Cropped

I usually work in Adobe Illustrator where I can make layers and trace over a photo to make a pattern. But there’s a cool filter in Photoshop called Find Edges. I used it to generate this almost-drawing:

KauaiRoad-01-Edges

I am not going to fuse or glue this quilt. The pieces will be pinned, then basted on a light fabric base. I projected the image onto a 60″ x 60″ piece of thin, prewashed, white muslin on my design wall. I used a soft pencil to draw a stylized version of the image onto the fabric.

I decided to work loosely, cutting fabric to fill in the different areas without making templates or pattern pieces. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the drawing needed to be on an overlay so that I could still see it as I added fabric to the wall. I cut a great big piece of upholstery vinyl, pinned it over the muslin, and traced the lines with a regular Sharpie marker—the kind that comes to a blunt point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not aiming for photo realism here. Instead, I’m working in a looser, slightly more impressionistic fashion. It is both scary and fun!

You never know what you’ll see if you just look…

I stayed in San Clemente while visiting the Surfside Quilt Guild and my hotel was just a mile from the beach. The one mile walk down to the beach was very nice, the uphill mile back to the hotel was good exercise :-).

I walked to pier for the last time Wednesday morning and took photos of seagulls because I think they are cute.

SEAGULLS-1

They look like birds with an interesting attitude… sort of nonchalant and friendly. And these guys were posing for me so I got closer…

SEAGULLS-2

Close enough to notice that their tails are dotted!

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Who knew! And once you notice the dots, don’t don’t you think that they pull the black and white color scheme of the feathers together? Nature is just jam-packed with little quirky details.