Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is it still September?

Whew! Just barely. So, I still have time to sneak in my September mini needlepoint teapot. Please notice the sad little bouquet of pencils. I would have sharpened them, but I'm already doing several things at once and running out of time.

New Amy Butler reinforcements arrived last week. I finished all of my wonky log cabin blocks (25 in all) and am currently working on adding the white sashing.

I also received some lovely Heather Bailey Fresh Cut.

Yesterday morning I went to the NW Quilting Expo in Portland. I have never gone to this particular event before and was really looking forward to it. However, I have to say that all-in-all; it was a bit of a disappointment for me. Maybe it was my mood – I don’t know – and it may have been what many others wanted or needed, but there was very little that truly inspired me in the way of color, fabric, or design. As far as technical skill – there was some fabulous and very impressive quilting and piecing, but I just didn’t get my usual “fix.” I think I was looking for traditional quilts with a modern twist (ala Material Obsession), simple, clean, and modern quilts (ala Fresh Modern Quilts Flickr group), or bold use of color (ala Kaffe Fassett Collective). Even in looking over the fabrics and patterns available from the vendors, I just felt like I was seeing the same things I have been seeing for the past decade or more. I would say that many of the vendors catered to a country or primitive style, but I also saw 30’s reproductions and civil war reproductions. And batiks everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE. Nothing is wrong with any of these, but I wanted more variety. There were only about 3 vendors carrying any KF fabrics, and I didn’t see any fabrics from designers like Anna Maria Horner, Jennifer Paganelli, Amy Butler, Tanya Whelan, Sandi Henderson, Tina Givens, Heather Bailey, Heather Ross, etc. So, apparently, this particular show and it's vendors didn’t cater specifically to me and my tastes or introduce anything that would convince me to try a new look or style. If only they would have consulted me (tongue in cheek). That said, there were some standouts (in my book) for various reasons.

I loved the colors in this one and the fact that it is very Gee's Bend-like:

Lovely appliqué:

This quilt looked like a painting or photograph. Amazing!

Inspired by Jane Sassaman:

This one was made from fabrics from Guatemala.

I like the blocks on this one:

I thought this was an interesting pattern, and reminds me of one I have tagged to do in the Fall/Winter 2009 Quilt Sample magazine: Out-of-the-box Argyle.

I have started working my way through block one of the Material Obsession/Sue Ross BOM. I haven’t done very much curved piecing, and not for a long time. I almost quit before I got started – in fact, I have almost quit several times. Curved piecing – you want me to do what??? But, with pins galore and careful machine sewing, so far so good. Breathe.

And Dear Readers, I can’t believe how many of you seemed to take Samantha’s side and only see her playfulness and cuteness. I can see I will get no sympathy from any of you. But if you send me your address, there are days when I just might pack her up and send her off to sleep on your fabric, play with your strips, and plop herself down in the middle of your cutting mat.

With wishes, true and kind (even for sweet Sammy) -- Joan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little more of the same....

Remember this little pill? The one who likes to sleep in my basket of strips?

Sammy has decided to be my constant companion when I sew. She is afraid of the vacuum cleaner and hair dryers, but whenever she hears the sewing machine, she comes running.

Tonight she was peeking at me through here…

…and trying to bat at threads and fabric as I pieced. I almost caught a picture of her paw reaching through.

And she shows no fear of rotary cutters and thinks I need help and supervision whenever I am cutting fabric. Sammy is very lucky her tail is intact and her paws have not been sewn to a quilt!

Remember the wonky log cabins? I started sashing 17 of them in white Moda Bella. I need 25 blocks all together, but I’m waiting till I receive more fabric from Etsy. I ran out of many of the fabrics in the strip sizes I needed and was making do, but my blocks were starting to take on a whole new character, so I ordered more fabric. What’s a quilter to do? Sorry for the terrible picture:

And remember my beautiful, but lonely Jennifer Paganelli fabrics in search of friends? Some help arrived by mail, but I’m looking forward to finding more and then using them in something really special. But -- for some reason the more I love a fabric or line of fabric, the harder it is to find a pattern that seems right.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I caved...

After mentioning to several people that I wasn’t going to start my wonky log cabin blocks until John had posted the directions to all four variations, I went ahead and started anyway. My Amy Butler fabric strips were all laid out and kept calling to me, so I finally caved. A few people mentioned in recent comments that Amy Butler was their “gateway drug” into a designer fabric addiction. Well, make just one wonky log cabin block, and you will find yourself with another addiction. Here is my first block:

Oh, no! They’re multiplying!

My log cabins keep fighting the wonkiness. I think they are like most of us: a little wonky and just trying to pass for normal ;).

And look what else came in the mail yesterday all the way from the Land Down Under – blocks 1 & 2 of Material Obsession’s Sue Ross Block of the Month. So, I’m a little behind, and they look a little intimidating, but I can’t wait to get started. Maybe later today or tomorrow -- I’ve already been neglecting my housework all morning, all week, all month….

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, September 11, 2009

And the winner is...

This has given me a good laugh this morning, because John ( has been very lucky lately. -- which shouldn’t actually be that amusing to me as I have NEVER won a blog giveaway. Not once! But one of these days…. Anyway, I’m happy that the lovely AMH fabrics will go to a good home. And the giveaway was SO MUCH FUN! I met some new friends, found out about some great blogs, and got a few lurkers to come out of the shadows so that I can see what lovely people they are.

Last night the family (including Molly’s boyfriend, Peter) went out to dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant near Molly’s college. We met at her dorm room, and I really wanted to take some pictures of dorm room chic, but even though they have a suite with three rooms, it was bursting with all four roommates, several other friends, Peter, my husband, my son, and me. I did manage did take this snap of her bed, which she and her roommate have lofted so that a small chest of drawers and her shoe organizer fit underneath. It makes me very happy to think of her under the quilt every night.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Oh, and p.s., how much do you LOVE this:

Friday, September 4, 2009

The start of something...wonky!

Does everyone know about the great quilting groups on flickr? Below is a sneak peek of my fabric strips for the Old Red Barn Wonky Log Cabin Quiltalong led by John (Quilt Dad). Take a look and consider joining in the fun. They are all Amy Butler, but from at least five different lines: Gypsy Caravan, Charm, Temple Flowers, Midwest Modern 2, and Daisy Chain. Can't wait to see how they look as wonky log cabins.

Now I’m off to shower (finally) and get ready for a quick trip to the beach house. We leave in a couple of hours and will host extended family for a day at the beach and fabulous dinner (featuring grilled salmon, caught by my husband, and marinated flank steak) tomorrow, then back to town for a wedding on Sunday. I hope to be able to squeeze in a little sewing sometime!

And don’t forget about my Anna Maria Horner fabric giveaway. Just look at the post below this one. See you soon!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A long story (not made short) and a GIVEAWAY

My name is Joan and I heart designer fabrics. I used to pick out a quilt pattern and then go shop for fabrics in the colors and styles to go with it. Then I discovered designers and fell more in love than ever with design, color, and style. So now I find myself collecting my favorite fabrics and designers and then choosing quilt patterns to best show off the fabric. First it was Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett. Then I took a little break from quilting (perpetual grad student) and returned to discover Anna Maria Horner and Jennifer Paganelli (ooooo, ahhhh). Then I met other quilters online (Facebook, blogs, and then flickr). Through them I now know of and covet fabrics by Heather Ross, Heather Bailey, Denyse Schmidt…. Where will it end???
But I’m still back on AMH and JP. I started by purchasing ½ yard cuts of some of their fabrics on sale online (AMH – Good Folks and JP – Mod Girls). Then I found more Good Folks on sale at a large local fabric store (accidentally purchasing more of some of the same fabrics – oops). Of course, I just HAD to have the whole line, so I went a searching on Etsy. Being a newbie (and a bit silly) I somehow managed to purchase more ½ cuts and the entire line of 24 fabrics in fat quarters. I can’t really say I’m upset to have ordered more than I intended, except that I just spent the money that I would have spent on more Mod Girls (or Pretty Please) – and, of course, I need some Amy Butler Belle... Anyway, I feel I can somehow manage to use up all my ½ yards and fat quarters, but it only seems fair to spread the wealth a bit and give away my 4 extra ½ yard cuts (for a total of 2 yards of AMH fabric-y goodness). I’m typing this quickly so that I don’t change my mind.
And here are the beautiful Anna Maria Horner fabrics, just waiting to be adopted to a loving new home where they will be cherished as I have cherished them here.

Don't you just ADORE these Jennifer Paganelli fabrics?!?! And don't they look lonely?!?!? They definitely need friends -- soon!
I just love that this fabric is "Molly" -- because that is the name of my adorable daughter!
And so, if you want to get in on my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY, (1) leave a comment telling me who your favorite designers are and/or (2) follow my blog. So that will give you up to two chances: one for a comment and one for following. The giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. US Pacific Time next Thursday, September 10. Good luck to all and tell your friends!
With wishes, true and kind -- Joan