Sunday, August 26, 2007

Falling Forward

I had a mini-creative crisis yesterday as I worked around the other Four Seasons Quilt swappers' blogs. I've been crazy busy for the past couple weeks: I went to Chicago (pre-storm) to promote my textbook for the sales reps, finished summer grading, began a yearlong city leadership program, tried to finish an article, wrote my convocation speech (day of!), and kicked off our term; the kids went back to school, including one starting kindergarten, and we planned a back-to-school bash; etc. So, I'd let my little fall quilt sit unattended for some time, and when I zipped around the blogosphere, I saw that many of us seem to have come up with similar quilts. For a while, I started off in a new direction, and then decided I didn't like it and came back to the original plan. Here's where I am now:

I abandoned the border, as it seems I can neither read directions nor measure correctly (which may come from working on projects at 4 am), and my quilt was too big. But, luckily, I realized this after adding the borders (sigh) and found my seam ripper right where I left it--on the floor near the pile of fabric I keep meaning to put back into my stash. (I am so far from being the queen of organization that I have no idea how I accomplish anything.) I went light with the leaves so that they'd show. I was too lazy to find a leaf pattern in a book, since I was so happy to just be sitting in air conditioning after a 3 hour outdoor birthday party in the heat and humidity, so I drew these free-hand. I really liked the results. They aren't as light as this photo suggests, as I'm still learning the iMac photo editing program. They're more golden with a darker gold, tan, and purple leaf pattern, which will be accented with the blanket-stitch that's coming next. I'm thinking of quilting it with the word "fall" as the repeating pattern. Now, on to a whirlwind of cleaning in prep for the "lemonade tea party" coming in a few hours.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Small Fall

Here's a quickie of the fall swap quilt I'm arranging/rearranging. I finished grading some essays and can't find my outline for the chapter I'm writing (and conveniently left my laptop at work on Friday), so I decided to start cutting. The quilt has 64 different 2 1/2 squares (2 inch finished) and will have a cabbage leaf Kaffe Fassett border that's also 2 inch finished. Perfect for a table-topper or the like. This isn't the final layout; those two plaids (one real, one faux) in the lower right are too close for me, as are some of the reds. I will likely use the pieced center as a backdrop for some appliqued falling leaves.

Totally different topic: We do a real Sunday dinner each week. Tonight, I made the Meatballs and Macaroni soup from Rachel Ray's 2nd 30 Minute Cookbook--extra easy and a very big hit. Here's an odd thing about Ms. Ray. I dropped a reference to her in my freshman comp class then apologized, thinking that a class of 60% male 18-20 year olds wouldn't get it. They all watch her show. Who'd a thunk it? So, I'd recommend this as an ideal fall soup (even though it's about 190 degrees here and we still ate it).

Monkey Pox!

I really am thinking of calling this quilt--now finished--Monkey Pox because of all the little dots. Although it looked a bit wonky pre-quilting, it actually finished up delightfully flat. I quilted it in a bright variegated cotton thread with big looping swirls. You can see those more closely here:

I had just enough of the Funky Monkey stripe left from my monkey-stash to do a kicky binding alternating the blue focus stripe with the orange focus stripe. All-in-all, I like it very much and think my little great nephew will, as well.

I mentioned before that I'm doing the 4 Seasons swap. Well, a few days ago, my sister stopped by to raid my stash for solidy-tone-on-tones. I pulled all my fabric bins out, and we found all the fabric she needed. So, yesterday morning, before I sat down to quilt Monkey Pox, I decided to grab "some" fall tones before boxing the mess back up. Well, I pulled over 60! fabrics without even breaking a sweat. This should be interesting.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Picture of Me

Thanks to a post on Tazzie's blog, I finally have a picture of me that I'm comfortable posting on my blog . . . my Simpson's Self. So, there I am, in my profile. You simply upload an image to the Simpsonize Me site and adjust the result. After I did it, I called my kids over to the computer, and my son said, "It's Simpson's Mommy." So, I guess it really does look like me!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

iMac Photo Experiments

I'm working on learning iPhoto as an editing tool. I should say that I've been using computers for over 20 years, and this is my first Mac. So, it's like learning to write with my left hand--but on a very pretty tablet.

Okay, here are the fabrics I pulled pre-lockdown retreat (see previous post) for my daughter's All About Me quilt. It's an Atkinson pattern, which means a ridiculous amount of cutting but fairly straightforward sewing. When I got to the retreat, I realized I seriously underestimated the border fabric required. So, I did buy another white ground fun print.

Here is the resulting quilt, with lil' miss skinny legs in the background. (Seriously, I think someone slipped me a DNA cocktail when I was pregnant with her, as she's such a little slip of a thing.) The actual pattern asks for solids in the borders, but I wanted to brighten it up and had yards of the two white grounds in the picture above, so I thought, "what the heck." I think it worked nicely. This is a full-size quilt top. I'll be outsourcing the quilting on this one.

Then, while at the retreat, I also partially cut this Cheese and Crackers (another Atkinson pattern) quilt from Funky Monkey fats and some Funky Monkey dotted white. I had actually purchased a bunch of this when it came out, and this is the second quilt I've made from this massive purchase. So, here's the original fabric set:

And here's the oddly oversaturated picture of the quilt top. What's nice is that the photo calls attention to the stretching I had to do to make the pieced borders work (insert sarcasm here). I'm still looking for the iPhoto feature that can auto-correct this both virtually and actually. This is a lap size, I'll be quilting it, and I'll quilt out the poochiness--which I doubt my 1 month old great nephew will mind much :)

Finally, this is my latest BOAF block. I still need to take the massive seven block photo.

So, that's what I've been doing for the past month.

The Long Hot Summer Just Passed Me By

I don't know where summer has gone. The post's title comes from an old Style Council song that really captures the steamy malaise summer can bring. I haven't been suffering ennui, but I have been suffering from overscheduling. For some reason, I decided to teach a freshman comp course in the latter half of summer. While this unpaid gesture has been great fun and I love my students, it--of course--doesn't release me from any of my other worklife obligations. So, I've been running from pillar to post keeping it all up in the air. I'm currently behind on one presentation, one journal article, one service committee, and an entire house of cleaning. Somewhere in the dustier recesses of my brain, summers used to be slower, more relaxing times. Hmm.

We've been switching over computers--got a new iMac, so sleek--so I should get some photos up later because I actually have been sewing. I went on a cool quilt shop lock-in retreat with some ladies from my guild. We got to sew on our own projects for three days (Fri-Sun), while the wonderful shop owner gave us meals, snacks, and company. It was ridiculously fun to have the run of a closed quilt shop. I felt like Corduroy in the department store.

While there, I cut and pieced a full-size quilt for my daughter and began a lap quilt for my new great-nephew in New Zealand. Those are the photos I'll get up later. While sewing these, I've been listening to Tina Brown's The Diana Chronicles, unabridged. The story of this sad, petulant princess really makes engaging soap opera.

I've also signed up for the Four Season's Swap (see badge on the right). This looks to be great fun, so if you're not over-swapped right now, think about joining!

I'll post pictures this afternoon of all my quilty endeavors once I improve my Mac-literacy.