Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cookie Night Catch-Up

Tonight was cookie night--gingerbread, sugar, and chewy chocolate; all are safely packed away for family gifts. I've been making my Christmas cookies from the same special cookies-only edition of Martha Stewart Living since 2001. Say what you will about her personality (and ethics), every darn recipe I've made from her cookbooks or magazine comes out wonderfully. This year, both of the kids were old enough to help with the decorating, which was both hilarious and horrifying. Luckily, good taste and good taste need not go hand-in-hand.

Since I'm feeling productive, I thought I'd go through my picture file to see what I haven't posted. I'm realizing that I never posted the quilts I made for my son. So, here goes.

The first is based on a Country Threads bulls-eye pattern. I think it was *the* pattern that inspired all the raw-edge cut-n-piece blocks that appeared a few years back. His nursery was blue and yellow, so I knew my color scheme--and again, all these fabrics were from my stash at the time. Here's the weird thing--I know exactly when I made this quilt because I was sewing it the morning of the Columbia shuttle disaster. Initially, I just had on CNN because it was background noise. Then, I looked up because I started to hear those eerie calm tones in the NASA radio announcements; the same ones you hear from doctors when things have really gone wrong. I had already decided to name the quilt "Digable Planets," as a nod to a long-ago trip hop band and to the fact that I had put up star curtains in his room, but the events gave the name an edge that otherwise wouldn't have been there. I quilted it with lots of spirals. At a distance, the disjointed blocks in this color scheme have a real Eric Carle-feel to them that I like very much.

I made both of my children a pieced and an applique quilt. Initially, I bought the Monsters pattern for another quilt for my daughter, but life intervened (literally). So, I redirected this project for my son. As it turned out, the Monsters quilt suits him perfectly, my wee little beastie. When he was still in his crib, I would take both children over to touch each monster at night. They especially loved the green one in the lower right with perle cotton "fur." Now, it hangs above his bed, and he fiddles with the bottom when he tries to fall asleep. So, at least once a week, I rehang it to get the weird wrinkles and warps out. This pattern was a block of the month through a neighboring quilt shop, but I skipped the massive triangle overload border in favor of a plain one (quite honestly, time was of the essence at that point). I still love this border fabric; it's such a fun red. The blocks are closely stippled on the interior, and the border is looping squiggles. I remember that I initially stippled a couple blocks in variegated primary, but it was so distracting that I ripped it all out and did it again in plain white.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fresh Market Madness

I have succumbed to Fresh Market Madness, which is now an official disease in my town. I went on the first day it opened, went back two days later to buy even more for a party we were having that night, and then stopped by the next day to buy meat on the way home from a party. Clearly, much of this is my way of dealing with the stress of my friend's death (on the day of her funeral I bought a giant blow-up snow globe for the lawn). Still, nothing beats tackling a quilt room cleaning and new project empowered by Peet's coffee and gourmet ginger cookies :) A guaranteed way to beat the blues. So, I have several photos to tell my story.

The first three are of my quilt space, half of a room I share with my husband's video and music editing system. What's extra nice is that the window directly overlooks the backyard, so that I can watch the kids play while I work. The project on the wall is done now and more pictures follow. I bought a bunch of stock cabinets to organize my life at my last house and they've come in very handy repurposed for the quilt room. I also used to have to keep all my fabric in the garage, hence all the labeled plastic bins. You can see all my dissertation materials on the shelf above my sewing machine; I use this same desk to write my diss in marathon multi-day sessions when I can manage some time away from work. That's Jack on the chair.

Earlier I mentioned that I was working on a new holiday quilt. I've called it "The Merriest" after a June Christy song on my Holiday iMix. It's kind of an abbreviated version of the APQ cover quilt this month. All of the fabrics, including the border, were in my stash, and I even had the black to white variegated thread that I used to quilt the border. I quilted the interior with looping squiggles in a bright variegated and the border with loopy-linked stars. The applique is simply iron on. The quilt is hanging next to the front door, so I couldn't see even machining it. I finished it today and then whipstitched the binding while catching up on TIVO'd Ugly Betty's. I really like it. There are four of each item because we're a four person family :) I also took a close-up of the quilting.