Monday, October 18, 2010

Kaffe Fassett - Spectacular Quilts

Well, the time has finally arrived.  It's silly how much I've been looking forward to just being in the same room as the textile artist that has inspired me to quilt, knit, do needlework and explore mosaics.  I have been buying his books way before I ever tried any of these things.  Especially the quilting books, I would salivate over the pictures yet I was too chicken to ever give it a try.  Finally a new quilting co-worker came along and showed me the basics.

Kaffe Fassett will be in the Bay area for a few days - I am going to his lecture tonight.  I believe he is going to be focusing on his latest book - "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts".  Then on Wednesday I'm going to one of his all day workshops.  I just want to be in the same room as he and his team, to just absorb and take it all in.

I'm also excited because I'll be staying at the Berkeley home of a former roommate (some 20 years ago!).  We lost touch after her first marriage and only recently became re-acquainted through Facebook.  Tomorrow is a free day to hang out in Berkeley as well as haunt the Gourmet ghetto - which is within walking distance from her home.  We have a dinner reservation tomorrow night at Alice Water's Chez Panisse Cafe.

More to come, I'm sure . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

There's Always A First Time

Well, I did it . . . I created my first "Art Quilt".

Last year, my visit to the International Quilt Festival inspired me to no end to one day aspire to make beautiful art quilts.  So far, I've thoroughly enjoyed putting together quilts by using patterns and fabrics from my favorite textile artists.  And I'm content to continue in that manner for a while longer.  However, I had purchased a bit of fabric while at the Quilt Festival with the hopes of using it for my interpretation of Klimt's "The Kiss".  Realistically, that quilt is a long way off so I decided to make a wall hanging for above the bed in our Master Bedroom.

The fabrics that I considered
My inspiration

Buttercup loves to sleep on my works in progress . . .

There are definitely things I'd change - I wanted to do uneven and crooked pieces yet I didn't know how to achieve that result.

I think it's alright for a first attempt, a first time . . .

And it fills up the blank space above the bed

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yesterday was my birthday - we had a wonderful meal at the Manzanita Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Truckee.

We've been spending the week at Lake Tahoe.

Vacation mode has settled in nicely.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June Project Updates

It's almost the end of June, the summer heat has arrived, and quilting endeavors continue . . .

Hannah and her new quilt - she said she wanted blue and purple and that's what she got!  I made a quick trip up to Oregon to attend her high school graduation and give her the quilt.  Plus I had a chance to see all her brothers, of course!

And to continue with the same colors - I finished the quilt top for the Diamond Quilt!

Last night I finished the binding on the Jewel-Toned Quilt . . .

The quilt top was originally made into a curtain at our old place and I finally
finished it up for the family room sofa.

Can you believe it - I make Ross watch his Tennis games with a head-set on . . . the grunting of the players gets on my nerves (ha)!

Poppy and Buttercup have perfected how to spend a hot summer day . . . 

they are my role models!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Going In Another Direction

Well, I decided to do a different quilt for my niece Hannah’s 18th birthday/high school graduation quilt. The one I originally set out to make would have been too big (the one shared in my last blog entry). Plus I was feeling uptight about all the diagonal pieces – wasn’t having much fun because I was worrying about critical eyes judging my handiwork (not Hannah, just others). I really do like the pattern (and Ross does too) so it looks like that one will stay with us.

I think that when you make a quilt for someone else that it should be made with joy and gladness of heart. I love just thinking about the person while I’m putting together a quilt for them – sending good thoughts of peace and comfort and letting the love flow. Since I’d already shown Hannah the fabric (I had her choose the color combination from a couple of choices – Amy Butler’s modern pastels or Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs bold and colorful prints.) Well the deep colors had won out (a girl after my own heart) and so I bought more fabric and put together this very blue, green and purple (with some pink) quilt top. I cut the fabric out last weekend and sewed the top together this weekend. It’s quite a busy quilt with so many patterns yet I’m hoping that a certain young and talented girl will appreciate it.

Hannah is hoping to go to Culinary School in the Fall. In addition to studying the culinary arts she is also planning to study Textiles. It’s been a windy weekend and the rain started a few hours ago so it’s been easy to stay inside and sew. I still have a couple of months to get the quilting finished.

Yesterday was kind of a funny day, I found myself drawn to the color pink and only realized later that maybe it’s because I’ve had all this blue and purple around me lately. It started with a morning online order with Jackson and Perkins for some bare root roses – one side of the front yard I want to landscape with soft colors – pinks and lavenders. More about garden plans in my other blog “The Making Of A Garden”. After ordering a bunch of pink rose bushes I went up to the Auburn Quilt Show and proceeded to buy a bunch of pink fabric pieces at their “Country Store”. These are a few of my favorite swatches . . .

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How Do You Get Out Of A Quilting Slump?

Not sure what's going on - I haven't been real motivated lately to make progress on my latest project . . . the Jewel Toned Quilt for the Family Room.  I put together this quilt top a couple of years ago, one of my first ever quilts, while we were staying in a wonderful house by the ocean at Sea Ranch.  We used it as a doorway curtain panel at our old place.  I finally got around to piecing it together and have completed the "stitching in the ditch" yet the pattern also calls for hand sewing squares in each window - something I am not good at!  Plus my hands hurt in no time at all.  The thought of stuffing this big thing through my little sewing machine neck to free motion some squares seems daunting so it's just been sitting in my little studio, with no progress being made.

I decided that I better get going on Hannah's 18th birthday/high school graduation quilt.  After a lot of cutting I laid out the pieces yesterday.  It's too big for my design wall so I had to lay it out on the living room floor - ugh, my body was sore after that one!  Maybe I should have paid attention to the size of the quilt - it's going to be my biggest yet.  What was I thinking?

I love the colors of the fabrics - it's a Diamond quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book "Kaleidoscope of Quilts".  I bought the fabric from Glorious Color, which is owned by Liza Prior Lucy (she works closely with Kaffe on his fabric lines and books).

Now the problem is, I've never sewn diamonds before and I can't figure out how to get the pieces to be even.  And it's not clear in the book instructions.  I keep sewing and then ripping out the pieces.  I think I may have finally solved it . . . we'll see.

There are a lot of pieces to sew together!

Monday, February 15, 2010

An Attempt At Felting

One of our most favorite finds since we moved into Placer County is the High Hand Nursery in Loomis, CA.  Situated at the site of an old fruit packing company, the place includes a dreamy nursery, a wonderful cafe in a conservatory and a few shops and collaborative art gallery.  We were out there on Friday night for the grand opening of their Flower Market. 

We also stopped in at the Tin Thimble and I spotted an interesting class being taught the next day to make a Wet Felted Vessel or Purse. 

They still had an opening for the class so I signed up for a new adventure.

Well, adventure it was.  Not sure that it's my thing - the process included seemingly labor intensive efforts in wetting the wool and then later working it, and working it, to get the fibers to mesh together. 

The class was taught by Carin Engen and the wool that I purchased for the project was all Corriedale Wool that she had hand dyed.  She had some wonderful samples of projects and fun stories shared throughout the workshop.
I started out with the intent of making a purse yet that would have been more wet rubbing and after 3 hours I was tired - I settled for a "vessel" - an end result that only a mother (and loving husband) could appreciate.
I don't think I'll be making any other felted items anytime soon.  Certainly not something as creative as Carin's garment featured below - what fun!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pansy Needlepoint

My first attempt at needlepoint . . . pansies . . . maybe I shouldn't have picked such a large project.  I'm about halfway done - I have issues with my hands so can only stitch a little at a time.  I'm itching to buy another kit from Ehrman Tapestries yet promised myself that I wouldn't order another one until the first one is completed.  I started that habit with my approach to quilting (buy as you go and don't stock up) yet that didn't last for long.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Favorite Thing

I may be a new quilter yet one of my most favorite things is the building up of my Kaffe Fassett stash.  Thank you for selecting me as this week's "link of the week".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Calling It A Day

I am now giving myself permission to stop being creative for the rest of the weekend.   Finished the curtain panel for the bedroom

Then I started in on a "throw" to go with the quilt I'll be putting together for the family room sofa.  I had put together a quilt top as a curtain panel for our old house a year or so ago and now plan to use it on a quilt.  Today I took out the scraps from that quilt and started playing with a small lap quilt/throw for the same sofa.

It's been raining all day and it's expected to be wet for the entire week. 
I think it's time to just stop for the day and enjoy the rest of the evening in a non-creative way.  Now if I could just tear my husband away from his work . . .

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Most Amazing Sunset . . . And Guitar Playing

late yesterday Ross and I headed over Hwy 49 from our home to Placerville, 

passing by Coloma and Cool (CA)

the sunset was absolutely amazing - truly the most
beautiful one I've ever seen

the western sky was yellow and orange
the eastern sky was pink and purple

After our stop at Zia's in Placerville (a new gelato and coffee place that my friend Shari recently opened) we headed to Shingle Springs to a home concert featuring internationally acclaimed guitarist Alex de Grassi. My husband is on his email list and had found out that he was going to be in our area. Turns out that the home concert was held at the home of a former co-worker - he used to sit across from me and next to Ross (yes, Ross and I also sit near each other at work - it's sick, I know). The Wall Street Journal describes Alex as “Flawless”. Billboard Magazine says “Intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention.” Alex has performed throughout Europe and Japan, as well as Carnegie Hall, Telluride and Wolftrap.

Ross was in heaven and I got a kick out of seeing how thrilled he was throughout the concert to watch this man play. He was so happy and amazed at his talent. I was a bit tentative about the whole idea of sitting for a couple of hours just listening to a guy play the guitar yet I have become a fan as well. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday night.