Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cat Fur

I've been busy with work, but have been slowly making progress on the cat fur, hand quilting.

Thanks for all the great comments that I received on my last post.  I used Marley-cat on purpose for scale as I had suspected that there were many people who had not made the connection between the terms "Big Ass Cat" and 64 inch realize this is a REALLY  big cat applique.

My next blog is #200...and occasion for a big fabric, thread, gadget, give-away.  I am also using this occasion to "tip my hand" and let you see what I do as my day job.  I am launching my professional blog as "Marjorie Rich, Nutrition Expert".  In a weak moment, I promised to blog, tweet, Facebook, If you are interested in how food relates to disease (including prevention and treatment), I invite you to follow my blog-tweet-FB-web as I post ideas over the next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cat Progress

The Charley Harper Calico Cat is finally whole.  Although, after snapping this picture, I realized I still needed to add a branch under her head and a spot on the thigh.

And whiskers.  I forgot the whiskers before I started sandwiching the quilt too....I'll applique them on top when the quilting is done.
My cat was most helpful (not) as I was basting the quilting sandwich together on my living room floor.

The good news (from my last cat quilt post) is that I discovered I had enough of the sage from where I cut away the background fabric from the cat body to make the leaves that I still needed.

Yesterday I dug through the garage stash (that's where large cut yardage and non-quilting fabrics live) and found enough of the same color to use for a backing.

Normally, I like to do a pieced back for 2-sided interest.   This time, I think the front is so interesting that I don't want to detract.

Also, I am going to hand-quilt the cat and the branches b/c I want that extra texture that only comes with hand quilting & cotton batting.  Here's the cat fur from the back.  This was about an hour's meandering quilting.  I quite like it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mr Postman

A little mood music from the Carpenters....
Or from Stevie B....

Bottom line...before the week is over I'm getting to the post office.
To send Natasha some Christmas Scraps.
I wish I could have sent Christine the batik triangle scraps...but "no-reply" blogger means..."compost pile".
And Victoria needs her Signature Block
What I love about this block is that I used really modern style fabrics and a very traditional style and font for the signature.  My challenge was taking a Hawaiian style block and shrinking it down to 6 inches.  And I did needle-turn applique, which means the shapes ended up to be slightly different from how I imagined them.  I used a Bic permanent marker, which bleeds into the fabric more than the Pigma pens I usually use.  I guess it's an OK trade-off for being able to sign with a dark burgundy instead of black or brown.

I am in the midst of several home improvement projects as well as a busy work schedule, which frankly drags me away from my quilting time.  I'm also being very frugal with my posts, as I'm approaching my 200th post which means PARTY mean...CRAZY GIVE AWAYS!  Since I'm a hobby blogger, I don't have corporate sponsors, so I've been purchasing some extra goodies with all my % off coupons.  There will be more of my custom Charm Square Packs and a " Favorite Things" Hand Applique gift package.  I may even buy a gift certificate at my favorite LQS (who has a great on-line shop).  What else would you like me to include?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cat Top

The top half of the cat is finished.  This was earlier this afternoon when I was testing the lay-out.

Since then, the leaves that lay flat as well as all of the cat have been hand-appliqued in place.  The quilted leaves that needed to be tucked in behind the cat were also included.  I'll add the rest of them later.  I know that I could have machine quilted these down, but there is something incredibly satisfying to me about the look of needleturn.

For the flat leaves I stitched an extra-lightweight interfacing onto the right side of the leaf fabric (left leaf), cut a slit in the interfacing and turned it right side out (bottom right) then pressed on the fabric side (the interfacing didn't like my hot iron).

The bottom half is laid out, but I'm at an impasse.  I bought 4 fabrics for the leaves before I'd done anything silly like figuring out how many of each color that I wanted.  It wasn't until I started sewing the leaves that I realized that I'm short 6 leaves of the less desirable fabrics 3 &4.  I have more of color 1 so I can still make it work, but will have to completely   re-layout my kind-of-carefully planned color distribution.  And I was all ready to do that, until I realized that I'm also out of the sage background fabric that I've been using on the back of the leaves.   Which leaves me wondering if I have something in the stash that I can use rather than going to buy anything else.  Which in turn, makes me wonder what I'm going to use for the back of the quilt.   Ack.  I wonder how many days I can leave it on the living room floor before I get complaints?

Last night I finally finished the Quilt Crossing (Boise) shop hop block.  There is supposed to be a small purple flower with a pink center in the very center.  It's fine as is.  The flowers were designed for Accucut flowers and top stitching so they were a royal pain to needle turn.

I guess I'll wait for a solution to come to me and get started on a friendship block that I added to my "to do" list.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday - Spring Cleaning

I had great plans to work on Big Ass Charley (the Charley Harper Cat on a Limb) today, but I needed to do something about the project creep that was happening in the living room.   I started by going through the 14 project bins and the piles of new fabrics.

This is the Tower of Scraps.  Months ago I started buying and saving the plastic bins from organic salad greens.  Today, I pulled all the scraps from misc. projects and sorted them into my color categories.  Frankly...I was shocked that I had the same color of scraps in 2 or 3 different project bins.  I moved most that was less than 5" or-so in size to these bins.

By moving all my print yardage ( 1/2 yard or less) into one drawer, I was able to put all my random batiks into a single drawer as well.
I have several other bins of batik...these are just ones I love...not ones with a specific mission.

I came across my stash of little batik triangles that were left-over from cutting hexies for Rita's quilt.  I had this Evil Plan for scattering them around and making a fabric from them.  I also ran across the fuchsia print fabric that I had put the Wonder Under mistakenly on the "right" side when I was making Stephanie's Baby Quilt. I did my best of randomly scattering the triangles.

After ironing them in place, I did a 1/2 inch-ish grid of stitching to hold them in place.

Which lead to a project that took most of the rest of the day.

I ended up making a 20" pillow with the  new fabric,  adding  chunks of fabric I'd found in the cleaning process plus some from the hexi project box.

Here it is in the spring garden with the bit of the Rita's Hexi quilt that I have done.
You know me...I had to make it reversable.  There are 3 scrap hexies, 2 fabric hexies and a bunch of random triangles attached with fuseable web and raw edge stitching.  Yea...people who really know me are ROFLMAOing  b/c they know how much I hate both this process and the outcome.  As long as I keep saying "it's a pillow, not an heirloom" it's all good.

I REALLY wish that magnolia blossom that popped into the photo was on the pillow.   Hmmmm...maybeeee  if I.... No.  not this project.  Never mind.

I have about a quart size baggie full of these triangles. If you want them to be yours, leave me a comment with what you will do with them.

Also, if you'd like these scraps...they're up for grabs. Leave a comment specifically for these.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Even More Shop Hop Blocks

This block from the Charm Shack (Ontario) was one of my 3 favorites.  Unfortunately, when I pulled the material out, I discovered that what looked like a fuchsia batik at a distance, was actually a print fabric, and quite orange.  It was swapped out for this batik.

The blue is more grey than the others I've been using, but hopefully will blend in the long run.

The "Two-Fer" block from Quilts Plus (Halfway) was much more rainbowy than I was looking for.  The yellow and red definitely had to go.  The pink was if-y...much more orange in real life than the photo.  And as much as I like a good leprechaun green...this just wasn't doing anything for me.   Fortunately all but the green are great batiks that I will certainly use in other ways.

 I kept the dk blue, lt purple and dk green as well as the provided black and pulled the rest from the stash.

Huge thanks to Bailey who is picking up a kit for me in Crouch tomorrow.  That was 10 hours into the hop for us and I didn't realize until I got home that I forgot to buy a kit while I was purchasing my huge stack of other fabrics.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Shop Hop Blocks

I have to admit that I didn't like this block much before I started working with it today.  Now I think it would be great for a whole quilt.  This was the block from Nancy's Quilts (Nampa) except I substituted the lime for white.  Both the black and pink were part of the original kit.  I LOVE it with this color combo!!!  It was also super easy.  It's a 9-patch block that is cut in quarters and re-assembled.  Very nice.

I also sewed up the "Whimsy Heart" from Granny's Attic (McCall) as it was in the kit.  I hadn't done foundation piecing for a while, so I sewed several sections down the wrong way.  I also was concerned the whole time that I would run out of fabric if I'd misaligned something.  The only negative about this block, is that I liked Ethne's suggestion to put these all on point...but I think the tipped heart might look weird.

My goal is to keep chipping away at the kits, at least one a day on the average.  I say that b/c the Quilt Crossing block is an applique. Since it was my first block, I started it by hand...and feel obligated to finish that way.   The stems & flowers are done...and the leaves basted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Color and the Shop Hop Blocks

I have a confession to make.  I have issues with color.

I don't know if there's a term for the color equivalent to "perfect pitch"...maybe "color memory".  Whatever it's called, I have it and it drives me absolutely batty to see colors that don't go together, put together.

Silly me... I thought it would be "fun" to buy the block kits at each of the shops since I intended to visit all of them this shop hop.  I was about 4 shops into the process before the coffee kicked in and I realized that I didn't really like the quilts being made with the blocks.  This is the way one shop put them together. (sorry about the glare from the pattern photo)

After a couple days worth of contemplation, I decided to see if I would like it if I used black for the background color of every block, and swapped out any light or pastel with dark lime, blue, fuchsia or purple.

This block is the Bluebird Quilt Studio (Caldwell) block called "Cat and Mouse".  The only substitution I made was fuchsia in place of the white-on-white that was included with the kit.

Although I like all the fabrics that were included in the Quilt Expressions (Boise) block, I opted to stick with the black background idea, and picked a stronger blue to balance out the purple that was included.  Since I want all the colors to have a blue undertone, I swapped the strongly orange-print fuchsia for one with blue and green.

My current plan is to make 9 blocks using my new substitution rules.  If I don't hate it at that point, I'm considering adding an outside border of Gerbera Daisies to include some of the omitted fabrics.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charm Squares

I have been busily cutting my new batiks into jelly roll strips and charm squares. 
I took far more time that necessary to put together sets for my give-away winners (I kept editing).
Here's what the recipients requested, in the order in which they appear in the photo:
                              Anything     *     Clear and Brightly Colored    
Blue-Green Like the Sea    *       Pink & Purple         .     
            Anything      *       Pink & Purple
Pink-Blue-Purple     *       Pink & Green
I hope to get to the post office tomorrow!

Give Away!!!

Vreni is doing a give away on her blog with 3 chances to win!
Hullabaloo Layer Cake by Urban Chiks for Moda SKU #32400-LCIf you win this, we can compare projects since I won a layer cake of Hullabaloo this week from Angela at Cut to Pieces.
Moda Modern Workshop 2-1/2'' Jelly RollFollowers have a chance to win this.
Whatever you do, don't blog about it because I want these babies to be mine!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shop Hop - The Little Loop & Llamas

Despite being exhausted from yesterday's adventures...I headed out at 9:30am to finish up the Shop Hop.  Today was only 3 hours and 80 miles.  Lesson of the day...don't ask directions from locals that don't get out of town much.  The "just take Amity'll take you into Nampa" advice failed to point out that it would dump me 7 miles South and 1 mile West of where I needed to be....though I would have been in Oregon before I realized there was a problem if I didn't have a good sense of direction.

Although I was within $11 of my official budget before the day started...I still came home with 18 1/3s.  For those of you who are inconsiderate enough to be mentally calculating my expenditures...may I remind you that my amazing stack of batiks is still less than the cost of one month's Harley payment.  (Including the cost of gas and food for the shop hop.)  Just sayin'.

More amazing gifts.  A fat 1/8 of my choice, a fat 1/4 of theirs, a coaster, flower seeds & coupons, and a VERY cool ruler from Cindy's!

5 more block kits.

The best version of putting these all together was at Knit One, Quilt Too in Kuna.  They have a kit too.  If you really want to put these all in one quilt...that would be my recommendation.

Hullabaloo Grey and Pink Pastel Zoology Yardage SKU# 32403-13
    When I got home, I had an email from Angela at Cut to Pieces.  I WON THE HULLABALOO Layer Cake from the Fat Quarter Shop.  That is very cool. But as I was browsing the collection I saw this bit from the Zoology yardage.  Oh Dear Karma....please, oh pretty please let there be a pink llama in my cut of the layer cake!!!
    My 14 year old daughter, Skater Girl, loves llamas.  For Christmas, we "gave" her a llama through Heifer International (which she was more excited about than the ipod).  Last week, she was suspended from school for a day because she defended a friend who was being sexually harassed by a male classmate, with one well placed foot to the groin.  Creeper-boy dropped to his knees, cried and vomited...then turned her in.  He was not suspended. We do not condone violence as a way to solve problems.  However.... well, like I was saying...she really likes llamas.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shop Hop - The Big Loop

12 hours and 435 miles later....I have arrived home from the 8 most distant shops on the Treasure Shop Hop.   A HUGE Thank You to my BFF Emily, who was totally ready to be done at mile 250.  Unfortunately for her, I was driving her car at that point and convinced her to go the extra 60 miles out of the way to hit 3 more shops and saving me a 5 hour trip tomorrow having to double back to go to them.  She was a rather pleasant kidnap victim. (It probably helps that I drove the 300 miles on the winding mountains roads.)

This was my mission - batiks!  There are 28, 1/3yard cuts plus a fat quarter.  You all need to be impressed that several of them are pastel.  (I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone...) 1/3 yard is my favorite cut because I can cut a 2.5" jelly roll strip, then a 5" strip to be cut into friendship/charm squares, and I still have 1/8 yard left for applique.  As you can see...I was actively seeking purples to round out the stash.

The doorprize/hostess gifts were AMAZING!  In addition to water, cookies, and snacks were several patterns, home made soap, a seam allowance guide, a fat quarter of my choice, pre-cut triangles with a pair of scissors (!!!!), a glasses case kit, a tape measure and some random chunks of fabric.

I was a little distracted by some non-batik a fat quarter of red, red & black 5" squares, and pearl cotton in neutral colors.  I picked up some Thread Heaven for a give-away that I'm planning while I was in Oregon and didn't have to pay sales tax.  And the cute dotted scissors were from a brand new shop that just opened in Baker that wasn't a hop shop.  There were lovely fabrics - just not my style...but I couldn't leave without buying SOMETHING to help keep a new quilt shop going!

Each shop put together a block kit, of which $2 will be donated to Project Linus.    In all honesty, the blocks don't coordinate and I only like 3 of the 15 patterns.  I will most likely dump all the fabrics in one pile and make something entirely different.

One of the shops included some "grab bag" type items that neither of us are inclined to use.  These are free to a good home - first come first serve.

The blue is a panel that includes 10 different nursery rhymes - 6" squares to the edge of the gingham.

The tan and green fabrics are fat 1/8ths

The pattern is for a 42"x 42" quilt that includes piecing, applique and embroidery.

Now...I'm off to a hot bubbly and bed!

Friday, April 8, 2011

8413 Wii Knit Funny Cartoons Birthday Greeting Card by Tim Whyatt
I just went out for sushi & Ben and Jerry's with my daughter and bought this magnet while I was out and about for my partner in crime for tomorrow's shop hop venture....

Vote & Enjoy!

photo-contestsThere are 49 submissions. I have my vote narrowed down to 7 submissions. Don't feel any obligation to vote for mine. (Is it OK to admit that I don't really like the prize...which is usually when I win something.)  One vote per IP address.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Treasure Valley Shop Hop

OK...I'm a little annoyed.

I've been in 2 of my LQS's in the past week and only inadvertently discovered that the Shop Hop in my area starts TODAY.
In shop #1...they were cutting FQ of batik in preparation for the hoards.  Cool.  So I went to shop #2 to find out more details, and only the owner in the back (who was consulted twice) could provide any info before it "officially starts on Thursday".  Seriously?  Have they never heard of SOCIAL NETWORKING?   Shop Hop was not on the blogs of either of my LQS.
Even my most  Internet-savvy shop had nothing.

The reason that I was even made aware of this was that someone "Googled" Treasure Valley Shop Hop and stumbled upon my random entry at #8 saying I was looking for someone to go with Oregon with me and she left me a post.

Sheesh.  So...this is my Public Service Announcement.

Treasure Valley Shop Hop, is listed as Treasure Shop Hop and starts today.
Boise Basin Quilters (BBQ) have the most comprehensive description that I could find.

Most of the links to Treasure Shop Hop don't work, but after tons of searching found this one that does.

Emily and I are doing the Oregon loop on Saturday.  Look for a tall brunette cruizin' with a red-head.  Buy us a round of fat quarters when you see us.

Winners & Voting

The Random Number Generator has spoken.  Emails have been sent to Debbie, Lenka, Lisa Marie, Heidi, Ann Marie, Snoodles, Catswhiskers, Ann Marie and Donna.  Apparently the secret to winning is having the middle name Marie.  I think that requests for purple have outpaced my stash.  Good thing I'm going on a shop hop this weekend!

Logo: Quilting Gallery
Julie convinced me to enter  the "Weekly Quilt Contest" at Quilting Gallery since this week's theme is Applique.  You can join the contest until Thursday night, then the voting begins Friday and runs through Sunday.  The direct link for voting isn't available yet, but I bet it will show up on this page.

I'll be teaching the technique I used for the bird quilt at the workshop in West Yellowstone, Montana on May 21st. The workshop will include your choice of kits to make either one of the black & white birds, or or one of the Batik Mayan Critters.