Monday, April 30, 2012

At-Home Quilting Retreat Begins

Music Themed Fabrics, mostly from stash

Background fabric

A few fabric possibilities

Cadenza Design Sketch

I'm off of work all this week. My big event this week is to play the piano in the orchestra for the musical Pirates of Penzance for a local high school. Most evenings will be spent in rehearsals, with performances on the weekend. With no day job to go to this week, all I have to worry about is getting to my rehearsals and performances on time. I did the same last year and it worked well for me.

Also, like last year, I'm spending the non-music hours doing an at-home quilting retreat. As it so happens, I'll be working on a music-themed quilt that I've named Cadenza. According to Merriam-Webster, a cadenza is "an impressive solo part usually near the close of a musical composition." Typically the orchestra or pianist/accompanist stops playing while the soloist does his/her thing. My joke definition for cadenza is "Italian for showing off."

My idea for the quilt is to have several rows containing sprinkles of wonky squares that represent musical notes. The squares would be scrappy while the backgrounds will be all the same fabric, a tone-on-tone off-white leaf design. Between the rows would be big chunks of scrappy fabrics, a few of them music-themed.

I already had a bag of fabrics set aside for a music-themed quilt from last November's quilting retreat in Pacifica. I'm using a lot of those, and I pulled more from my scrap collection and stash. So far I have bought just three new fabrics, so much of the quilt will be from stash.

I intend to work on the quilt each day of my vacation, and hopefully have a finished quilt by the end of the weekend.

Linda's Plaid Quilt Finished

Linda's Plaid
For co-worker Linda P.
Patriotic Plaid Block
Original Design
51" Square
Completed 4/29/2012

Plaid squares have colors of neighboring strips: Green/Green, Red/Red, Green/Red.
Background rose print refers to Linda's love of roses.

Inspiration: Linda's shirt that she wore to work

Original coloring based on Linda's shirt
Changed coloring after conversation with Linda, who has burgundy and green in her home.

I just finished Linda's Plaid, for co-worker Linda P. The inspiration is a plaid shirt that Linda wore to work. The quilt is a surprise, a belated birthday gift. Linda knows I want to make a quilt based on the shirt, but she has no idea that the quilt is for her.

After a frustrating attempt to mimic the plaid, I chose Patriotic Plaid Block. Originally I had planned to make a quilt in a similar color scheme as the shirt. I started wondering if the color scheme would work in her home. So after a sneaky conversation with Linda, I found out that she likes red, but has more burgundy in her home, as well as green. She also loves roses. Immediately I changed the color scheme to burgundy and green. While shopping for background fabric, I found the white/black/red rose print, which I also used on the back of the quilt. I used three plaid fabrics to go in the intersections of the different colored strips: green/green, red/red and green/red.

I'm on vacation this week, so it will be a week before I give Linda the quilt. I hope she'll like it. She definitely will be surprised.

Update: I gave Linda her quilt on Monday, May 7. She was surprised and seemed to like the quilt. Enjoy, Linda!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Calling the Quilt Top Done

Linda's Plaid Quilt Top

I just got the red border sewn to Linda's Plaid quilt. I've decided not to attach the wide green border. It looks fine as it is, and leaving it off will save me a couple of hours' work for tonight. Also, I think that leaving off the green border will keep the quilt from going more Christmas-y than it may be already. It is not a Christmas quilt.

The finished quilt will be about 51" square, kind of a small throw. However, Linda is about my height (very short) so it shouldn't be a problem.

The back will be made completely of the rose print. Linda loves roses, so she should love the abundance of them in the quilt.

My intent is to finish the quilt completely tonight, but my Plan B is to tie enough knots to hold the layers together so I can take it to church tomorrow to show quilter friend Judy P. I can finish tying knots later in the day.

Linda's Plaid Blocks Done

Blocks for Linda's Plaid quilt - Patriotic Block

Last night I finished the last of the blocks for Linda's Plaid quilt. I'd really love to finish the quilt before I go to bed tonight so I can show it to quilting friend Judy P. at church tomorrow. 

Finishing Linda's Plaid will free me up to start the next project, Cadenza, a music-themed quilt that I'll be working on during my vacation week that will officially begin after church. I plan to do an at-home retreat most of the time. Most weeknights will be spent in rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance, a local high school musical that opens next weekend. I am playing the piano in the orchestra for the musical. If I am disciplined I should get a lot of quilting accomplished during my non-show time.

Marysville and Yuba City

Last Saturday Sacramento Modern Quilting Guild met in Marysville, CA. It's a long drive from my house, so at guild member Kathryn T.'s invitation, I drove to her home near the Sacramento Zoo, then we rode together to Marysville Public Library. Our group was small but we had a good meeting.
Sew So Shop in Yuba City

Gotta Luv Books, across the parking lot from Sew So

After the meeting most of us drove to nearby Yuba City to Sew So Shop quilt store. It's a nice store, and well worth visiting. I picked up a yard of a cute Paris/Rome theme print; I have no idea what I'll do with it yet, but I love things Parisian, so I couldn't pass it up. I also picked up a couple of fat quarters, one with Roman Numerals that will go into my next quilt.

Kathryn and I went across the parking lot to visit Gotta Luv Books, a used book store. I picked up three inexpensive books, including It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. My granddaughter Reghan likes to watch Charlie Brown shows, and I have several on my DVR, including the Great Pumpkin. Reghan will enjoy the book, I'm sure.

Casa Lupe Mexican restaurant

Look carefully in the shade between the bushes to see one of The Wild Chickens of 99.

On a recommendation at the quilt store, Kathryn and I went to Casa Lupe for Mexican food. While I was trying to get a photo, Kathryn and I heard chickens nearby. I hung around for a few moments and saw this rooster. I learned later from co-worker Liz M., who knows the Marysville-Yuba City area well, that this is one of The Wild Chickens of 99. Many years ago a local stockyard closed down, leaving its chickens behind. They wander up and down Highway 99, which can be seen in the background of the photo. Amazing! See a news article here.

The Cookie Tree bakery

After a wonderful lunch at Casa Lupe, Kathryn and I drove back near the quilt shop to visit highly-recommended bakery The Cookie Tree. I bought two snickerdoodles, a peanut butter, a lemon shortbread (I love lemon!) and two chocolate cookies. The chocolates were for my daughter-in-law Laurie and granddaughters Reghan and Piper, all of whom love chocolate. I intended to give a snickerdoodle to my son Robbie, but it fell apart before I got home, so I gave him a peanut butter.

A day after I gave the cookies, I remembered that Robbie likes chocolate chip. How could I forget that? We always had a package of Chips Ahoy in the pantry just for him. Bad mommy.

I had a fun day with Kathryn and it was nice to get to know each other.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday 4/25/2012

Four Patriotic Plaid Blocks
Linda's Plaid Quilt

I've sewn four of nine Patriotic Plaid blocks for Linda's Plaid quilt. I like the way the quilt is looking. I should have the rest of the blocks sewn in a couple of days. I'm not going to be able to get the quilt to co-worker Linda P. before her Friday birthday. Normally I could bring it on the Monday after, but I'm off work all next week. So I'll get it to her when I return to work. The quilt is a surprise so it won't hurt to get it to her after her birthday.

I'll be close to home next week. I'm playing the piano in an orchestra for a local high school musical. There will be lots of rehearsals in the evenings and performances on the weekend. During the day I plan to do an at-home quilting retreat, during which I'll create a music-themed quilt that I have named Cadenza. The inspiration came to me a couple of days ago while I was walking through the parking lot into work.

Hopscotch Blocks
From my April 2009 quilting retreat in Pacifica, CA.

My idea is to create several horizontal rows of Hopscotch blocks (from the book Quilters Playtime by Dianne S. Hire), which should look sort of like music notes on a page. I'm thinking of an off-white plain background, with wonky squares of solids and tones-on-tone in black, brown, blue and rust. Between the rows would be some music-themed prints. I already have a grocery bag full of fabrics, just waiting for inspiration, which arrived just in time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday 4/18/2012

Springtime - Mixed Media Quilt

This week I created Springtime, a mixed media quilt. I started with a greeting card and added fabric, lace, beads, stones, glass and silk flowers - most of which were found on-hand. I like how the little quilt turned out. I have it on display at my desk at work.

Electric Quilt sketch of Linda's Plaid

Background fabric for Linda's Plaid
Linda loves roses and this fabric fit the bill.

Plaid fabrics for intersections of color strips
Left: for intersection of red/green
Center: for intersection of green/green
Right: for intersection of red/red

Fabric collection for Linda's Plaid

Linda's Plaid is a quilt for co-worker Linda P. The inspiration for the quilt was a plaid shirt that Linda wore. I found out recently that Linda loves roses. I was hoping to find a white-on-white rose-themed fabric for the background of Linda's Plaid. I found one possibility at one store, then tried another store. On the third pass-through of the second store I spied the white/black/red rose print which told me it wanted to be in the quilt. I bought a couple of yards. The next day I went back and found three plaids to go in the little squares where the color strips meet. I prefer the clean look of nearly solid background, and I was a little concerned about the busyness of the rose print. However I think the strong lines of solid green and burgundy will help create the graphic feel I like.

I'll start working on Linda's Plaid in a day or two.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Springtime - Mixed Media Quilt

Mixed Media Quilt
Paper, fabric, silk flowers, lace, semi-precious stones, glass, beads.
Original design, made mainly from items on-hand.
9" x 13". Completed 4/15/2012.

Pink stones are held in place with tiny beads.

Needed a dark green in this spot. Large glass heart with flower inside was just right. Quite heavy. Love it!

I intended to make the quilt for Easter, but missed that deadline. However, the card was springy enough to last through April and May. I love the soft, feminine feel of the card, and chose elements that seemed to support that vibe.

To see how the piece came together, please read on.

Started with greeting card from grocery store. Four different possibilities for background fabric.

Love this fabric, but can't get past the snowflakes. Tried to imagine they were lace doilies, which would be great for the romantic feel I wanted to create. But still saw snowflakes.

Seems too dark

Like the pink, but too much like the card. No zing.

Green print is the winner. Card and fabric seem to hold their own even when close together.

Gathered different bits and bobs. May or may not use all of these.

Background fabric

Sizing up for a cut

Folded back on itself. Size is good, back will be same pretty fabric. Note: cut free-hand with scissors, not with straight-edge and rotary cutter.

Cut along fold, placed scrap batting between layers, aligned edges of fabric as best I could.

Using flower head pins to hold layers in place

Auditioning threads for quilting

My picks

Sewed about 1/2" from edges


I've had these Dollar Tree scissors for a few years. They don't work well on fabric. They barely work on paper.

Tried a wavy cut with regular scissors. Don't like it that much.

Trimmed edges straight, used fancy stitch to enclose layers.

Cute stitch, first time using it

Did some free motion quilting with darning foot (first time using it).

I like this group of embellishments.

Trimmed card to very narrow white border.

Card taped in place. Silk flowers tucked behind card, to be caught in edgestitching.

Card stitched in place

Laces stitched with very small stitches to deliberately paint myself into a corner. Wanted to make it difficult to undo, force myself to find creative fixes.

Pretty good so far

Added pink lace flowers. I like the off-balance.

Here's what I accomplished in one evening.

Side view of silk flowers. I like the 3-D effect.

Took piece with me to fabric stores to find more embellishments. Found the green glass heart, among other things.

I love the green glass heart with the flower in it. It filled the spot with the dark green that was so needed.

Small pink stones held in place with tape (upper part of quilt)

Using long, thin beading needle to sew on stones, which will be held in place with tiny clear beads. Although the stones are angular, I like the different texture that they add to the piece.

Pink stones sewn

Considered using embroidery floss to hold glass heart, but opted for ribbon which seems stronger.

Once again, the finished quilt.