Sunday, March 28, 2010

The End of March

Since the last post we have experienced a few more days of winter, but spring is definitely pushing forward. My lilac has green showing from the leaf buds, I see some green on the butterfly bushes, an a maple tree is starting to bloom; and in the pots on the front porch a volunteer strawberry and some marigold seeds? Or are they weeds showing some green?

I hosted a regular meeting of the small group on St. Patrick's Day… for lunch and afternoon of quilting social. Can’t say we do much sewing… but we sure cover a lot of quilting with talk!! We meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month for lunch and sometimes some of us actually have something to work on! Since it was at my house I didn’t have a hand project. I spent all my time cleaning and cooking. For lunch I served a Zucchini Soup, a spinach and strawberry salad and hot from the oven mini ‘mufkits’, (light like a biscuit but shaped like a muffin) with honey butter and for dessert an apple cranberry cake. Wish I had thought to take a picture.

But, since then I have been playing in and straightening up the sewing space. Remember the partially embroidered elephant from my last post? I started it in an African Folklore Embroidery class, with Leora Raiken. Well my elephant is done and I have even incorporated it in to a project! I rearranged him a little. I thought he needed a bigger ear, so I again took a few stitches out and made the correction. He has a beaded eye, although it appears to be white, it is a pink glass bead. I am debating on whether to add more beads to the piece as a whole…. I will get opinions on Wednesday. I host the small group again, it’s the 5th Wednesday of the month, and I offered to host those… as a project day… what was I thinking?

I am working on a small quilt for a family baby. I have been working on it for several weeks. I am down to stitching the binding to the back… I am also working on a play piece, about the size of a baby quilt in pinks and grays…. Made mostly to practice machine quilting on the domestic… I still need lots of practice!!! I need to make several quilt labels, but will work on that later this week.

DH arrives home from South Africa tomorrow. I pick him up at the airport. It has been a very interesting and fun year. He left last year on April 2nd to spend 6 months working in South Africa. He liked it so well that he volunteered for another 6 months. I have visited him twice in the last year and he came home for a month about the halfway mark. There will be more on South Africa coming up… so stay tuned.

As always….. more later… much more! 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Workshop, Starts and Finishes...

Yesterday I took a workshop from Leora Raikin, on South African Folklore Embroidery. It was a very fun class and she is such a kick. On Tuesday evening she did a lecture for the guild (Riverwalk Quilt Guild), about South Africa, the animals, the people, languages and the arts and crafts of the country. The embroidery threads were also from South Africa, and hand dyed too. Her kits are clever, and you could choose what you wanted to do in class from many. There were teacups, teapots, baskets, villages, flowers and animals, (I chose the elephant). In the class you do the embroidery work and she leads you through the stitches, if you are new to embroidery. So, I started out with what I thought was a berry color of pink, (it looked that way against the black), but when I went to choose a pink to with it, discovered it was red. Tried to work with the red, but really wanted pink so just before lunch I ripped it all out. So essentially, I had a bare canvas again. I am behind, way behind, but it won’t take long to get it done… I have a plan… well an idea… we’ll see if it gels… The black square is the piece I began in class, and the pink elephant fabric I picked up in South Africa, and I thought it would be a good way to use the embroidery... how... well we're still thinking about it.

But the bottom line is it was a fun class and if you ever have a chance to see her… DO IT!

If you want to see more of a picture, you can click on it for a larger view.

On Monday, I worked on some foundation pieced blocks for the Riverwalk Quilt Guild Raffle Quilt. We are using handdyed fabrics. I have all the sections done, and need to stitch the sections into units. The quilt is going to be very bright and beautiful. I think I am going to have to buy extra tickets!!! I will share a photo when the quilt is completed and ready for chances.

I have two finishes to share as well. In November I took a class on Altered Photo Artistry with Beth Wheeler, (her blog is here). I worked on the piece a bit after the class, but I had some other deadlines and a departure date for South Africa, so I finished it about a week ago. To enhance the thread work I added beads, lots of beads, (sorry they don’t show so well in the picture) to enhance the texture of the center and the 2 closest petals. Out in the background and the other petals are some crystals scattered about, just to help the eye wander. The whole piece is 16x20 inches. A view of the original photo is here.

The other piece… I made in Nebraska to fill up some wall space in the master bedroom. After living in California, and the chance of earthquakes, you don’t hang anything heavy or hard over the bed…. In case it comes down while you are in bed… Anyway, the wall in Nebraska was big and plain and I wanted to sell the house. So I copied a motif from the duvet cover, cut it out and stuck it to fabric and then stretched it on a frame. Did the trick… we sold the house. However, in the move to Chicago, the frame got damaged… and it just didn’t look right, so I pulled it off the frame, squared up the sides, sandwiched it with a cotton batt and backing, and started quilting… NO plan, no lines -just thread and go, and since I wasn’t sure I would like it… wasn’t too careful… and from the end of the bed who’s going to see any ‘not too carefully’? I did mark the outside frame and straight readiating lines, the rest was no mark no plan quilting. Size is about 36x48 inches.

Last post I mentioned Spring. Well I think it is here. Yesterday I spotted Robins myself and this morning we are having our first thunderstorm of the season. There will be many more T-Storms in the next few weeks.  These are always fun, Axel dislikes the thunder- not fear, but disturbing his peace so he thinks that by voicing his concern he can make it go away, oddly he does the same thing with firecrackers, but not with guns. The other thing, is when the weather radio goes off, he runs to it to listen... because that is what I do. The audio part is very low, so you have to stand next to it to hear the warnings.

More Later-

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Well Hello stranger! Ok, so maybe the stranger is me. I’ve let the blog go. Why? Because I haven’t much to tell, and it might be that there isn’t anything one would really want to read about. Since my last post… made on February 17th… I have been back to Shipshewana, because one of the items I picked up for a friend was broken, so I had to return it. I called another friend and quilter, Janet, that I haven’t seen in months to see if she wanted to ride along. She said she hadn’t been to Shipshe in years… Of course we stopped at Lollys Fabrics, Yoders and a quick dash into Erica’s of South Bend. However since then I have been struggling with neck issues, so it’s been slow or no go for about 10 days.

The only other thing of note is that I think Spring is finally on its way. We had a mild morning the other day. By that I mean the sun was out, the wind was NOT blowing from the north at a fast pace, which means one can go outside without bundling up. The ground was/is still frozen in the mornings, but thaws… on the top by mid afternoon. So the only photos I have to offer are… the daffodils or tulips (I can’t remember what I planted there) are breaking ground (yes an awful picture) and a blue heron I saw wading in the neighborhood pond in February. Remember  if you want to see more of a picture, just click on it for a larger view.

I also feed birds… and while friends have said they have heard the Robins, I haven’t seen or heard any. But I have some Chickadees feeding, (pardon the terrible picture, but I had to take it through a window) and yesterday I saw a Purple finch. A very bright little male, and if the house hadn’t been casting such a deep shadow I would have snapped a picture.

To bring you up to date. I went to a local quilt guild quilt show yesterday and I have a few pictures to share. It was the Salt Creek Quilters Guild of Western Springs, IL. A big show in too small of a venue. Some of the quilts really need some distance to see, while others do just fine up close. There were approximately 450 quilts on display!!! So if some of the pictures have a different perspective… I couldn’t get back far enough for a straight on shot.

First up is “Grandmas Baskets” made by Mary Wakeley. The maker used some embroidered pieces from her grandmother and some Authentic Shwe Shwe (African fabric) that she purchased at the Rosemont Quilt Festival. Great use of blue Shwe Shwe!!! I brought some back this time!

Next is “Say Cheese” made by Tommy Fitzsimmons. It is made up of a bunch of little quilt-lets. Just cute! Well and a little interesting too.

And last “Unbridled Passion” by Denise Halvan. It was taken from a picture in book (saw it open at another table) and was made completely with a domestic sewing machine!!! I’m sure it will win ‘viewer’s choice’, because it makes everyone stop. The machine quilting was superb, as you can see in the detail picture below.

It was a nice show, if too close and the first of the season here in the Chicagoland area. There is another one next weekend, which I will be attending too.

As always- More Later!