Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sylvia's Quilt Done!

I finished my niece Sylvia's quilt tonight.  I think she'll like it.  I tied with embroidery floss, as I did for the many quilts I made for relatives years ago.  55" square.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sylvia's Quilt Top Finished

Here is Sylvia's completed quilt top.  I may finish the quilt tomorrow, since I have the day off.  I'll be tying with embroidery floss, as I have done with most of my relatives' quilts, and I figure I'd might as well be consistent.

Backing Fabric for Sylvia's Quilt

I found this fabric at Beverly's today on the half off table (yippee).  It's from Mark Lipinski's Krakow line.  I think it will be great as the back for Sylvia's quilt.  The print has a bit of an edgy feel to it, and I think it suits Sylvia's personality.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sylvia's Blocks Finished

I finished the last two blocks for Sylvia's quilt.  Below you can see the blocks laid out on the design wall, along with close-ups of a few of my favorite fabrics in the quilt.

I started with the white and black damask in this block.

I absolutely love the tennis shoe fabric I found on vacation last October.

The little blocks with the black dots are cute.

The white tone-on-tone print has what I call Chinese coins as the motif.  I used the coin fabric in another quilt many years ago, and decided this was a great place to use it again.

The  border will be a red tone-on-tone, which I purchased originally for On the Ocean Blue, but didn't use.  The red fabric appears in the bottom left and top right corners of Sylvia's quilt (see the first photo in this post).  I almost forgot to include the fabric in the quilt blocks.  I had cut a couple of strips of another red that I wasn't thrilled about due to its stiffness and waxy feel, when I remembered the border fabric (on the floor in another room).  I was really happy to abandon the "inferior" fabric.  By bringing the border fabric into the quilt blocks, it won't appear as an afterthought.

I'll start assembling the top with borders in the next couple of days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sylvia's Quilt Preview

I've made some progress on the quilt for my niece Sylvia.  It is a sort of checkerboard pattern in red, white and black--the same color scheme as She Loves Lucy, which I made for my daughter-in-law Laurie.  Like Laurie, Sylvia also loves white and black damask, and I will include a little of it in Sylvia's quilt.

Below is a sketch of Sylvia's quilt.  The real thing will be scrappier.

As I often do, I'm using my Organized Chaos Grid and System.  Below is my Organized Chaos map.

I've finished almost half of the 16 blocks, which you can see below.
I picked up a couple more black tone-on-tone fat quarters today, to add a little more variety.  I was surprised at how little black there was in my stash that would work with the quilt.  I don't want to do much repeating of solid black, and I think I'll be fine with the addition of the two new fabrics.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Fabric Shopping for Paris Brown

Today I went shopping for Paris Brown, a Paris-themed quilt for myself.  The theme fabric is basically the colors of Neapolitan ice cream:  off-white, pink, brownish-red, tan and dark browns.  I was looking for light pink background, a medium brown and dark red.  I went to Beverly's, which happened to have their fabric 25% off this weekend.  I took quite a bit of time selecting fabrics and auditioning them with my theme fabric and a medium-dark brown print from stash.  I finally chose a deep chocolate brown, a mottled light pink, and a sweet vanilla and pink butterfly print that I fell in love with.
Unrelated to the quilt, I also found a black and white Project Runway-themed print; I bought half a yard of that.  I have no idea what I'll do with it yet, but I'm a big fan of Project Runway, and I couldn't let it disappear on me.

I'm happy with my purchases today.  I am still in need of a medium something for the quilt.  I'll check my stash to see if anything wants to join the party.  If not, I'll check Joann's in a few days.  For now I've satisifed the emotional desire to work on this quilt and I can set it aside to work on other more urgent projects.

So I've started working the quilt for my niece Sylvia.  I pulled the bag of mostly new fabrics I'd collected, and shopped my stash for some more.  I worked on the pattern in EQ6--a sort of checkerboard in a medallion type of setting.  Tomorrow I'll wash the new fabrics and begin sewing in a day or two.

Cirque du Soleil Ovo

Yesterday I went to San Francisco to see Cirque du Soleil.  I bought a ticket for a 4:00 show in order to get home at a decent hour.  Leaving much later than I should have, I drove to BART in Pleasanton and just missed a train.  I caught the next one about 20 minutes later and rode to San Francisco, getting off at Embarcadero station.  I found the Muni station and got on the T line.  I had map in hand, needing to get off at 2nd and King Station, just across the street from Giants Ballpark.  I asked a passenger if our car would stop automatically at the station.  He didn't think so.  I told him I wanted to make sure I pulled the string to let the driver know I needed to get off, and I didn't want to miss it and have to walk extra blocks.  He said he'd keep an eye out and let me know when it was time.

A few minutes later I could see what looked like the ballpark across the road.  I asked the guy if this was it.  He said yes.  I reached to pull the string, but someone else had already done so.  No problem.  I said thank you to the guy and got off the streetcar.  I crossed the street and walked along with about a dozen other fellow riders.  I asked one couple if they were going to Cirque du Soleil, and they said yes.  Good.  I followed the crowd.

It was several blocks till we got to the parking lot where Cirque was set up.  I made my way to the entrance, and since it was just a few minutes till the start of the program, I asked the ticket taker if I had time to go to the restroom.  She said I had plenty of time, so I took the time for that.  Thank goodness the line for the restroom was pretty short.

Necessities taken care of, I entered the big tent and found my seat.  Sure enough, there was plenty of time to get situated and relax before the show started.  While I waited I text messaged my daughter-in-law Laurie to ask about a good place to have dinner.  She and my son Robbie have seen lots of baseball games at Giants stadium so I was sure Laurie would know a nice place to eat nearby.  She mentioned Delancey Street Restaurant, about a block away--nice, yet not fancy--and staffed by former criminals.  (I've learned since that Delancey Street is a self-help organization for former drug addicts, felons and homeless.)  I recalled Robbie and Laurie going to the restaurant in the past.  I decided to try to get more information after the show.

The lights went down and the show began.  The show's theme was bugs and the costumes were great.  As usual, there were lots of acrobatics.  One of my favorite parts was a group who used their feet to spin in the air what looked like giant slices of kiwi.  Then half of them lined up like bugs on their backs, and each of them supported another bug on its back, the top bug spinning the giant slice of kiwi.   The top bug would kick the kiwi into the air while the bottom bug tossed her to the bug on her left--the "new" bug continuing to spin the kiwi as it came down.  And so they would continue down the line.  It was amazing.

Another favorite was a rock wall, maybe 20-30 feet high.  The bugs would bounce on trampolines and land on the rock wall.  Some bugs clung to the wall head side down like a spider.  The exciting part was when one bug would jump on the wall, move over a little, while bug number two jumped into the spot where the first bug had been.  Then the first bug would fall to the trampoline.  Bug number two moved over while bug number 3 jumped up.  There were several of these teams across the width of the wall, all of them jumping, moving and falling in succession.  If one person got out of sync, someone was going to get smashed.  I loved it!

I enjoy striking up conversation with strangers when I go to concerts by myself, and during the intermission I talked to a couple of young girls sitting next to me.  They were there with their parents and this was their first time to see Cirque du Soleil.  We had a nice conversation about different Cirque shows.

After the show I followed the crowd back out to the main road.  I called my son to get more details about the restaurant.  Since I was on foot, it was really important to know how far it was, and in which direction.  Robbie told me it was at Embarcadero and Brannan St.  I remembered passing Brannan station on Muni, just one stop before the ballpark.  Easy!  I called to see if I needed reservations, and it wasn't a problem if there weren't more than two in my party.  Wonderful. 

I hopped back on Muni and got off at Brannan.  Delancey Street was directly across the street.  It only took a few minutes to get a seat.  The restaurant was a nice-looking white tablecloth place.  The wait staff was dressed in black pants, white shirts and ties.  I felt a little underdressed with my tennis shoes, but I looked pretty good otherwise.  The prices on the menu were amazingly affordable.  I had delicious rack of lamb, a beverage and dessert--about $30 with tip.  I'll go again.
Delancey Street, San Francisco

After dinner, I got on Muni again and headed back toward the ballpark, where I had spied a Borders bookstore.  At the store I pulled a few books and parked myself in a chair for a half hour or so while I skimmed the books.  When I finished the stack I felt it was time to start heading home.  I caught Muni once again and headed back to Embarcadero Station where I switched over to BART.  The car was very crowded and I had to stand for a while until a seat became available.  I rode to the end of the line in Pleasanton, and drove an hour home.  I got home before midnight, relatively early for me.  I had a great day.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

San Francisco and Cirque du Soleil

Today I'm off to San Francisco, about 90 miles away.  I'll be seeing Cirque du Soleil's Ovo in the parking lot of the San Francisco Giants' stadium.  This will be the second time I've seen Cirque du Soleil live.  Four years ago I saw Corteo at the same venue, with my son and daughter-in-law (Christmas present).  They won't be coming this time, and the show is too expensive to ask anyone else to come along, so I'm going by myself. 

As usual, I'll drive to BART in Pleasanton and ride to San Francisco.  At Embarcadero Station I can transfer to Muni's T Line, which will drop me off at Giants' Stadium.  I'm hoping there will be a shortcut for pedestrians like me to get in the gate.  We drove to Cirque du Soleil last time, and the entrance to the parking lot was at the back.  I'm hoping I don't have to walk those extra blocks to get in (and out).  We'll see what happens when I get there.

I'll probably do a couple of other things while I'm in the city.  I chose the 4:00 show so I wouldn't get home too late.  It will be fun!

Link to Cirque du Soleil Ovo:

Between Quilts

I'm between quilts at the moment.  I haven't quilted since I finished my granddaughter's quilt Blue's Clues (see previous post).  I took some time to get caught up on some bookkeeping, and after I sew a pair of pants, I'll be ready to quilt again.  That is, when I figure out which quilt to work on.  My choices are:  Sylvia, a black/white/red quilt for my niece Sylvia who married into the family not long ago; Paris Brown, a quilt for myself from a Paris themed fabric I bought several years ago; Cathy's Southwest, a quilt inspired by a co-worker's Southwest-design shirt, and which I worked on during last April's seaside quilting trip. 

Here's the deal--I want to work on Paris Brown, but I need to work on the other two.  I have the urge to shop for accompanying fabric for Paris Brown, which is pretty compelling.  Sylvia's quilt has the nearest deadline, and would be a quick quilt.  I could finish it in a week or so.  Cathy's Southwest has the next deadline, late January to mid-February.  It is more involved, and would take 2-3 weeks.  Paris Brown is also more involved, and would take about 3 weeks.  Since it's for me, there's no real deadline.  But I can't stop thinking about it!

Decisions, decisions.  I'm torn between following my heart and my head.  We'll see how I feel over the next few days.  Meanwhile, I'll shop for fabric for Paris Brown.