Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brownie's Bloomers

I finished the Hopkins's Aunt Agnes's Bloomers, which I'm calling Brownie's Bloomers because of the color palette.

I especially like the faded border. I found this fabric on a sale rack at one of my favorite quilt shops and bought the remainder of the bolt. It looks so worn and faded, while being brand new and workable. My ideal fabric!

I cleaned up my quilt room after finishing this project so I can use it as an office for the next few weeks to finish off work-y projects (degree program proposals, etc.). So, if I get to any quilting, it will be applique.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fluttering By

I just got the beautiful summer Four Seasons Quilt Swap quilt sent by Bea. You can see her lovely work at Capricorn Quilts. Bea lives in Germany, and she kindly included some genuine German gummi bears for my children (who have already gobbled them up!).

Here's the quilt--with bright, cheerful butterflies floating through the summer:

Now, here's the odd part. After taking this photo on the patio, I followed my dog to the back part of the yard. And, for the first time I can recall in the three years we've lived here, I saw a real butterfly on one of our flowering trees. I had my iPhone with me from taking the quilt pictures, so I immediately snapped several of the butterfly:

Clearly, it was attracted by Bea's quilt. It even posed like one of her butterflies:

Thank you, Bea, for such a summery quilt!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Projects Old and New

Last weekend, I was cutting a piecing a small wall quilt that I thought would make it into a December show. About half way through, I realized it was horrible looking. The background was dull and didn't pull the fabrics together at all. People who don't quilt sometimes think that smaller quilts are intrinsically easier to make. Well, only if they don't have a lot of pieces. This one had a ton, and I was completely depressed when I realized how unattractive it was. Wanting to make sure I wasn't way wide of the mark on my assessment, I asked my husband to look at the quilt. Before responding, he paused . . . dead giveaway. So, I swept up the many pieces and deposited them in the circular file.

But, I needed to get right back on the house, so I looked over my shelf. I had a nearly decade old finished applique piece sitting there. It was my first ever hand applique, from a needleturn class taught by Mary Sorenson from her original pattern. (She was a fantastic teacher and I use the methods from this class to applique to this day.) I was compulsive about getting it right, so the piece is really nice. I'm especially pleased with the teeny vines, all needleturned. The applique heart vine just needed a border or two to be done. It's nothing I would ever keep, so I thought it would be perfect to show and maybe even sell.

I settled on a thin olive-y green inner border and a checkerboard outer border of blues to capture the blue flowers in the heart wreath. I dug all the blues out of my age old stash; some of these lines pre-date my children! Here is the finished quilt, which I called In the Heart of the Night:

The gallery curator has been bugging me about photos, so I sent her this one last week. And she immediately emailed me back that she wants to buy it. How funny . . . all because I started a crummy project and needed to bounce back with a better one!

This weekend, I went back to a quilt I had cut a couple weekends back. It's another small piece, from a pattern by Carol Hopkins Designs called Aunt Agnes's Bloomers. Lots of teeny pieces (3/4 in squares!). In my typical more-is-more strategy, I used 32 fabrics in the quilt, which finishes to just 13" x 18" before borders. I stuck with the pattern's color palette of browns with some pinks. (I think I'm on a pink and brown kick--over the past few months I've bought a slew of it in all sorts of varieties: cupcakes, chocolates, polka dots, modern florals, checks.)

The Hopkins patterns are designed for repro fabrics and involve a lifetime of cutting, seam matching, and pressing. All the seams are pressed open, which is fun for the fingers. Each little block in this quilt has 13 pieces.

Here's the array of pieces pre-sewing:

And, here's the finished top as I try out borders:

I'm going to use four of the leftover darker brown 1 and 1/4 in strips for an inner border (a different one on each side). In the background is a faux-faded repro that has a great mix of pink, tan, and gold/green that I'll use for an outside border. The quilting will be fairly straightforward--straight lines to emphasize the horizontals and verticals. It should be done next weekend.

I took these last two photos with my iPhone. I upgraded the software this weekend and have been hypnotized by Pandora, the build your own music station. If you haven't tried it, you need to. It works on any internet-connected computer in addition to the phone version and is free. I now have a slew of me-centric streaming radio stations each based on my favorites artists. So, depending on my mood du jour, I can listen to my Madeleine Peyroux station, my Kanye West station, my Amy Winehouse station, or my Gillian Welch station. How fun!!