Sunday, June 5, 2016

RETREAT!!

I hope you have experienced a quilting retreat. Two, three or more days of concentrating on nothing but your favorite pastime--quilting!! For 15 years now, about 10 of my quilting buddies and I have been traveling about 4 hours north to attend a "Linda Ballard Mystery". You bring the amount of fabric she suggests not knowing what you'll be making and take one step at a time until the quilt is revealed!

I've done over 30 of these mysteries so I don't always participate and this was one of those times when I did my own thing. I brought 5 projects that were at various points of completion from not started to ready to quilt. . .  and wouldn't you know it. . .  I bought a kit from the vendor present (Morning Star Quilts from Chico CA) and made that too!








Aren't these cute Halloween placemats? There's a hexagon table-topper too! Took me less than 2 hours to make the tops and backs before quilting!
I watched a tutorial on Missouri Star recently on how to cut striped fabrics to make "T" and "O" blocks. I tried it at the retreat and it worked so well I shared it with the rest of the retreat participants. You can see it on the "Quartered Stripes" tutorial here.

Every one of us put deposits down on next year's retreat starting 360 days from now!

Now go check out what everyone else has to show on Judy's blog.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bird Seed

I follow a few quilt blogs and one I really love is at SewFreshQuilts. "Let's Bee Social" is written by Lorna McMahon who has a wonderful spirit and wit and obviously loves animals, as I do. Her patterns are well-written and, best of all, they can be (very reasonably) purchased and immediately printed on your home printer--instant gratification!


Her Blackbird pattern really caught my eye and I just had to make one. Here's my pre-quilted rendition. Isn't it cute?


There are a LOT of tiny pieces in her pattern, the blocks of which measure 6" square !! I have to admit that I drafted a larger version so mine are 9" square. I call the quilt "Bird Seed" because the background fabric is 'newsprint' advertising seeds and flowers--something I didn't realize until I was cutting it up.

Seriously, check out Lorna's blog!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

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. Last year 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 (7 years each) 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.

UPDATE:

This is my finished alphabet quilt, only 40" x 40", winning a blue ribbon at my own Valley Quilt Guild's quilt show in March. The title of the quilt is, "For When A Grandbaby Comes Along". When our daughter saw this quilt, she fell in love with it. I raised an eyebrow and told her it could be hers one day. Her reply was, "I think we're going to have to seriously discuss having a baby!"



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!