Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An Obsession


ob·ses·sion

 [uhb-sesh-uhn] noun the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, imagedesire, etc.

I think most people have obsessions, at least in the minimal sense. You might be obsessed with a delicious food you believe you can't do without (although, I'll bet you could), or a sports team, (Go GIANTS!!) or a physical pastime (I know some really "dedicated" cyclists).

Personally, I've always been ga-ga for alphabets and numbers. Anything with a digit, word, name, especially if it's a fun or unusual font. A couple of  months ago I happened upon a Moda blog hop. Three blogs a day for a couple of weeks and a pattern for a letter of the alphabet at every site--Yippee!! I rose early every morning to download the patterns, kept them in a pretty pink folder, collected striped and polka-dotted fabric from my stash waiting for them all to be revealed before I began.

As an added bonus, they included patterns for not only numbers from 0-9 but several punctuation marks too! I had to make the quilt even though I had no earthly need for an alphabet quilt. I know no one having a baby, don't even have a sister OR a SIL to anticipate a niece or nephew. Yes, I have grown children of childbearing age and they even have spouses but, nahh, that's too much to hope for.

Still, I made this adorable quilt anyway and I enjoyed the process SO much! Those blocks are 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" and were pretty darned tedious to make--but I loved every 1"x 5" border strip on every block and every 1"corner square to round out some of the letters. Those 4 non-letter blocks are tiny hand appliqued critters designed by me (I didn't like the pieced block in the pattern).

It's now pinned and ready to quilt (with, what else? a 'cheater' alphabet fabric on the back!) Who will be the lucky recipient? One can only hope.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Splash of Color


There’s something just a little off in my house like a piece of a puzzle gone missing. It’s not quite in my line of vision but just over my shoulder and it’s bugging me.

Over the 12 years I’ve lived in this wonderful house, we’ve done our share of remodeling; redesigning the kitchen, enlarging the closets in the master bedroom, putting in a more efficient fireplace, and, most recently, remodeling two bathrooms. We have one right off the kitchen attached to a guest room by an L-shaped hallway. This whole area was nicely wallpapered and cheerful so we didn’t see a reason to change it--until now.

One wall of the hallway is just visible to the kitchen and living area and I have a quilt hanger there where I’m able to hang a large quilt appropriate for the season. Guests wouldn’t notice it right away as it’s sort of tucked back from an open doorway but usually, sometime in their visit, they realize there’s a wall of scrappy color there and is see them smile.

Last week, our contractor was here demolishing the bathroom and stripping the wallpaper from all surfaces of the bathroom and hallway. Of course, all hardware, light switches and my quilt and rack had to come down. We are left with a talc-colored wall where color should be. I find myself doing a double-take every time my eye wanders in the direction of that cubby-hole. Naked. Bland. Sad.

I never realized how the addition of a colorful quilt in just the right spot could make for a happy and comforting impression on my psyche. Mine was like a cushion for my kitchen’s granite tile and a reward for a nicely cooked meal.

The wallpaper I chose is coming next week as is the paper-hanger. I’ll be sure she puts my quilt rack back up before when she's done!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learn Something New--Take A Class!!

We all love to create beautiful quilts! Whether drafting a new design on paper or in EQ7 or sewing in our sewing rooms, creating something new and beautiful is a wonderful feeling. Personally though, MY favorite way to sew is to do it with friends. Devoting a whole day or two, or on an extended weekend retreat, there's always something new to learn or to discover no matter how many years you've been quilting.

Why not sign up for a class?! Imagine spending time with no phones to answer, no household cares to divert your attention, just a pleasant day to learn, to chat, to create.

I offer five classes in diverse designs (see the left sidebar of this blog) but my newest classes are "CHARMING DRESDEN." and "SALVAGE YOUR SELVAGES".

 The Dresden Plate block has been around for decades but with Darlene Zimmerman's new ruler, you'll be chain-piecing your way to a delightful table-runner or lovely wall-hanging in a few hours. And the "charming" part derives from the fact that you only need one Charm Pack (or 40, 5" squares from your stash) and a yard of background fabric to make these delightful projects. After the 'blades' of the plate are made, you'll learn a slick way to fashion that circle that makes up the center of the plate and I'll then teach you how to hand-stitch the blades into place on the background. No, it's not exactly applique as there'll be no edges to turn under!

What do you do with the printed selvages of all the fabric you use? Why not use them to make something colorful, fun and useful? I offer an organizer for keeping track of all the charger cords we need when we travel or a protective case for your e-Reader, i-Pad or laptop.

I would love to come teach at your guild or in your home with a group of friends. Please
contact me for more information by emailing steeledome@gmail.com or by calling 530-757-1685.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time for a Change!

It has been ages since I posted to this blog--shame on me! I have been concentrating on my other blog RabidQuilter3.blogspot.com which I use to post my quilting progress each and every Monday. Why? Because of the entertaining blog www.patchworktimes.com by Judy Laquidara, a wonderful quilter from Missouri (who's moving to Texas as I write). She posts to her blog 2-4 times a day (!) but her Monday blog encourages quilters to post what's on their design walls and boy, do they! At least 65 quilters from around the world post photos and comments about what they're currently working on. It's like going to a quilt show each Monday and is very inspiring. I encourage you to take a look at it.

This brings me to my topic for today: Change. I found a quote last weekend by Martha Stewart on the occasion of her 70th birthday (!) which was August 3rd. 

"When you're through changing, you're through"  

In this world of rapid technological advances, I see the older friends I have being left behind because they won't take the time to learn to use a cell phone, to text, or learn basic computer skills, even email! How will they keep in touch with their friends and family--their grandkids!--who have learned them, and how will they live without the information available from the vast and wondrous gift that is the internet? Oh, sure, there are problems associated with the World Wide Web but the benefits are spectacular! You virtually have libraries, atlases, museums and universities right in your lap! Every question answered in a few minutes, photos and scenes from every inch of this world. 

One of my favorite things to do is scour quilters' blogs. There are so many creative people out there it boggles my mind! And U-Tube videos? You can find a tutorial for every quilt technique you can imagine. 


How would I ever have gotten the inspiration for this challenge quilt I made without the internet? My quilting group played "Three Little Words" and mine turned out to be aqua, the queen of hearts and fireworks. Cruising through Google images helped me come up with my queen and a mention of Swarovski crystals sealed the fireworks plan (though you can't see them very well in the photo. . . ). I plan on trying new things and challenging myself for a long, long time before I'm through!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Classes For You!

After quilting for about 18 years and working in a quilt shop for 5 years, the next obvious step was teaching quilting classes. And you know what? It's my favorite part of quilting! Getting to know other quilters and sharing tricks, tips and, most of all short-cuts with them, is a pure joy.

A great stash-buster class is "What's in the Box?" This is a fun way to use up the novelty fabric in your stash to make a popular "eye-spy" quilt or a theme quilt. You can choose to make it as small or as large as you want too.






"Woven Silhouettes" is a technique class that's mostly 'no sew'. Using Anna Faustino's beautiful book "Simply Stunning Woven Quilts" you'll learn how to weave and fuse a smashing background for any image you'd like to feature. Apply one of the silhouette patterns I'll bring or use one of your own then add borders and you'll have a lovely wall-hanging.

 
Turn the selvages you might ordinarily throw away into a useful charge-cord travel carrier or iPad or e-Reader case with my newest class, "Salvage Your Selvages"



"One-Fabric Kaleidoscope" from Maxine Rosenthal's inspiring book "One Block Wonders" is a class I've taught over 30 times. I've made 6 "Wonders" personally and have a lot of tricks for cutting, chaining the pieces, making them lie flat and designing with those amazing "blossoms" you end up with.

Contact me through this post or by email, steeledome@gmail.com, to arrange a class for your guild or a private class with your quilting buddies!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Missing Lee


I’ve been a very sad quilter for the last week because a dear friend of mine passed away after an 18-year long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I’ve just returned from her “Celebration of Life” and feel revived with the spirit of love and friendship but still ache for what she went through especially the past 2 years after enduring an experimental treatment at Stanford which, sadly, destroyed her lungs. When her lungs collapsed 2 weeks ago, she refused further treatment, called everyone to say good-bye and left this earth.


Her call to me was to ask “an enormous favor”. Oh, anything Lee, ANYthing at all. Her request was for me to finish 2 quilts she’d started for her daughter and her niece. Lee had only made a few quilts and she was very precise and thoughtful in her process so I hope I can complete them as she would have wanted. These black, white and red heart blocks meant for her niece Caitlin are a quilt-as-you-go method and I’m honored to finish them for her.


Lee lived to see her daughter from college traveling to Oregon only last month to attend the ceremony. She met the boyfriend and his parents and was very happy with her daughter’s choice. I know this meant the world to her. Lee was always cheerful, having that sort of smile that made her eyes squint and twinkle. She was so intelligent and well-read and she was a wonderful cook inviting friends to her immaculate home often. Lee was 61.


I’m so lucky to have had Lee call me ‘friend’ for the past 8 years. Our circle of friends is a tight one and although our light will burn a little less brightly, we will continue to watch and discuss movies together and don our purple dresses and red hats while keeping Lee in our hearts forever.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Calendar Girls!


The first thing I did when I decided I wanted to start quilting was join a quilt guild. I chose the one closest to where I live, of course, the Valley Quilt Guild in Yuba City which, in 1994, had been a thriving guild for 6 years. Within a few months, I’d made friends, joined a weekly group, Thursday Stitchers, who made quilts exclusively for community service, and learned a lot from speakers and classes afforded to members. Within a few years, I’d become the Rabid Quilter I am today and wanted even more!

I’d heard about ‘Round Robins’ and thought it’d be fun to get a few people together and try one. I was allowed to make such a plea on stage at one of our guild meeting and asked people who wanted to form such a group to meet me at the break. I chose a nice large area as I envisioned being inundated by interested quilters. No one, not a single person, showed up! Huh. Not to be deterred, I tried again at the next guild meeting a month later this time with a little more enthusiasm and again, nothing. Was I speaking a foreign language? Did I smell?

The following month was our “Make a Difference Day” sew-in where the majority of our guild got together at the local shopping mall to sew quilts for community service. I hadn’t given up my idea but this time had formulated a better plan: I wrote the names of each month on 12 slips of paper and put them in a bag. I’d carefully chosen 11 other guild members who followed a criteria I thought necessary to have a successful group: 1) they were are women I wanted to spend time with 2) they were decent quilters (at least not TOO much more ‘decent’ than I) 3) they were productive, showing completed quilts on a regular basis so I knew they had time to quilt.

I walked up to each one in turn and asked them simply to pick a slip of paper out of my bag and meet me at a certain table at lunchtime. To my delight, ALL of them showed up, intrigued certainly by the paper with ‘January’ or ‘August’ written on it. I announced that we were now The Calendar Girls! Each was to make 12 blocks that depicted their month in any way they chose. They could make all 12 exactly the same, all different or somewhere in between and we’d exchange blocks at a future date. Only one person declined having just taken a new job but we’d made enough of a stir in the room that others had eavesdropped and one of them stepped right up and volunteered to take her place.

We got out our calendars and decided on a date 6 months hence to meet with our completed blocks. Our first block exchange led to 12 finished quilts six months later and we’ve been meeting twice a year ever since. Next year will be our 10th year together and while a few Calendar Girls have moved away or passed on, we thrive, changing the theme, size and color of the blocks we make each year. We are now 16 quilters and I can honestly say, these are my best friends, more like a family than anything this ‘only-child’ has ever known.

And we’ve made some pretty spectacular quilts too!