Sunday, March 28, 2010

Feeling thankful...

For the opportunity to interact with, be inspired by, and learn from 
an amazing group of local quilters:

Last night was the first official (non-meeting) event of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  We shopped at Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique and then met at Modern Domestic for the rest of the evening. The staff at each business could not have treated us better, and in between accomplishing a lot of cutting, sewing, quilting, and binding, we got to know each other as Portland Modern Quilters just a little better.

I sat in the chair in the lower right corner of the picture to bind a quilt.  Hmmmm.  What is the one thing missing from this picture?

Oh, never mind.

I got an impromptu private lesson in English paper piecing from Tania (who made these little cuties).

I discussed binding techniques with Elizabeth  (this is the quilt she was working on) 

and Jen (attaching her binding by machine before finishing it by hand).

Lots of hard work and creativity going on....

For wonderful online friends who support and encourage me:

I am still amazed by the friendliness and generosity of spirit of so many online quilters.  Just two examples from this past week include Jackie, who wrote me a congratulatory email (as so many others did soon after) to tell me that my blog had been mentioned in Quilter's Home Magazine (I am still amazed and surprised by this)

and Jennifer (whose blog is also mentioned in the above magazine), who sent me this gorgeous fabric from her new So St. Croix line.

Thank you so much, Jennifer!  I'm just thrilled with it!

For finally finishing a fairly old UFO:

My daughter picked out the shoe and handbag fabric back when she was probably in middle school (she's a junior in college now), and I call it "Molly's Closet" because of that very fabric.  It's not the prettiest quilt I've ever made, and Molly and I both agree that we would never pick out many of these fabrics today, but there is something so special about it to me.  Ever since she was in preschool, I would let Molly pick out a fat quarter or two (or three or four or...) whenever I was buying fabric.  She loved them, admired and petted them, and occasionally used them in her many art projects.  We raided some of those FQs for this quilt, so it reminds me of tiny Molly as well as preteen Molly.  

Long arm quilting by Karen Walker.

This pink block in the corner is my favorite.  It may not photograph well, but the pink fabric that reads as a solid has little flecks of silver in it.  I usually have zero tolerance for any sort of glitter, glitz, or sparkles in fabric, but little Molly loved it!  I was mentioning to some of the Portland Modern Quilters last night that when she was quite small, Molly thought that children had different names when they grew up, and she frequently played around with ideas for her grown-up name.  The one that I remember most fondly is Sparkle Rose (and, yes, I know that sounds like a stripper name, but the girl is excelling at Bible College, so I think we're okay).  At any rate, I look at that sparkling pink fabric and I think of Sparkle Rose.  I have other UFOs that I will never finish because I just don't like them at all any more (which would be fun to poll quilters about, and perhaps I will in a future post), but this one is a keeper.  I'm glad it's finished.

For the love and appreciation of my sweet family:

A husband who tried to hunt down a copy of Quilter's Home magazine for me when we were out of town and was so happy for me that I got to spend last evening sewing with other quilters.

A daughter who shared my glee at opening the package and finding the beautiful Sis Boom fabric.

A son who gave me that patented quiet grin from ear to ear when he heard that I was mentioned in the magazine.  You'd think I'd cured cancer.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seaside Liberated String Quilt

I really loved this; really, really.  

But I cut it up, and it became this:

Then this:

And finally this:

And now I really love it!  Really!  Really!

Why do we cut up fabric just to sew it back together?

Because of this:

(Techniques and Pattern by Gwen Marston in Liberated String Quilts; colors inspired by Cherry House's City Park Quilt)

I think after quilting it will come back to live in Seaside permanently.  With maybe a coordinating pillow for the matching wingback chair... 

Wonderful, wonderful Spring Break!  And there's still the weekend!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Monday, March 22, 2010

Distractions -- Spring Break Edition

On the table at the beach house (aka my happy place)

What do I do when I have too many projects piling up?  Start a new project, of course.  Well, maybe it's not a "new" project, but an extension of an older one.  

Okay, true confessions time.  Remember this lovely, lovely project up on the design wall?

I purposefully rounded up (sometimes waaaaaay up) the amount of fabric I needed so that I would have lots of fun Konas leftover to play with.  So I left these up on the wall (what?) and packed up the leftovers (plus a few other yummy Kona colors) to play with in Seaside this week.  Maybe a liberated string quilt a la Gwen Marston....  

After sewing together strings to make a new piece of fabric, I cut 5" strips at a 45 degree angle.

And then cut the strips into 5'' squares.

I forgot to take a picture of the string blocks laid out on the floor before I came back home for the day. (It's approximately 65 miles from driveway to driveway, so we sometimes pop home if needed.  We are headed back this evening for several more days.)  I think it's going to be a pretty quilt, BUT -- I keep looking at the pictures of my strings all sewn together and wondering why I didn't quit while I was ahead.  They really look gorgeous....

What else have I learned from my day of playing with strings yesterday?  "Liberated" quiltmaking can actually be more work.  It took a long time to cut the strings, then cut them into shorter strings, resew them back into long strings, then sew them all together.  The other thing I learned is you have a lot of wasted fabric when you trim and cut at the 45 degree angle (especially when you throw in a cutting error or two).  So now I have all these small bits of fabric already sewn together, which would make wonderful little squares or triangles.  Uh-oh!  I'm already thinking of another project!  I also have lots of little squares and rectangles from evening up my strips, which would make a fun little ticker tape quilt or some other tiny improv quilt.  Sometimes my scraps just seem to multiply....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Too excited to sleep

Tonight was the first meeting of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, brought about by the efforts of Elizabeth Hartman (Oh, Fransson!).  We came from all over the area: north, south, east, west -- approximately 25 of us.  We shared our passion for quilting, our fabric addictions, and our hopes that we are never cured.  We shared ideas, inspiration, laughter, and projects from zippered pouches to pillows to quilts of every shape, size, and use.  We talked about husbands who don't quite get it, making tiny design walls for daughters, the things we learned from our mothers and grandmothers, the things we've learned on our own along the way, and the things we hope to do in the future.  Lots of sharing.  More laughter.  And plenty of eye candy:

Yes -- I'm definitely too excited to sleep.  

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Melissa of Yummy Goods has developed something of an obsession with Jane Eyre.  And since Jane and I are old and very dear friends, I just had to join in the fun.  Are you a fan of the Brontes?  Go to Melissa's blog or click on the button to the right to find out more and join in the fun of the Bronte-along!

"Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt. May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine.  May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love" (Chapter 27).

Masterpiece Theatre: Jane Eyre [DVD]

Let the swooning begin!  -- Joan