Monday, June 23, 2008

For Tresa

My niece, Tresa, loves irises, and so when I saw the beautiful irises in my garden this morning, I knew I would have to take a picture to share with her. They are quite stunning this year, and if I were an art quilter, I would make a fabulous wallhanging using this picture, but, sadly, that is not where my talent lies. So, Tresa, this post is for you. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They're Quiltains

Yesterday I showed you the blocks I made using Fons and Porters Half & Quarter Ruler. Today I'm posting a picture of what I made using those blocks. I made curtains for my bedroom, and since they also have patchwork in them, I'm calling them quiltains. Aren't I simply too, too clever? I think they turned out well, although you can see all the seams during the day with the light behind the curtains, but oh well. I pressed all the seams the same way, and so now they are now what I like to call a "design element".

I'm going to make curtains for the other two upstairs rooms. One is my office/laundry room/sewing room, and for those quiltains I'm using fabric my son and daughter-in-law brought back from Israel for me. It's lovely fabric, very brocade in blues, golds, and whites. I'm going to do a braided design. The other bedroom is going to get something done in tan and black and red, not sure what pattern yet, if any.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kudos to Fons and Porter

Not that Fons and Porter need my congratulations or anything, but yesterday I used their Half & Quarter Ruler for the first time, and I must say it was excellent. First of all, it's very easy to use and gets rid of some of the "dog ears" you have to trim off after sewing triangles together, and, second of all, it saves so much fabric.

For those of you not familiar with this ruler, it allows you to cut both half-square and quarter-square triangles from the same size of strip, not to mention any squares you are using for the quilt, thus saving you time, money, fabric, and frustration. No more cutting squares with weird measurements like 4 7/8 or 5 3/16 and then cutting them in half or quarters. On the ruler are yellow circles with numbers in them that correspond to the finished size of one side of your triangle, hypotenuse or long side for quarter-square triangles, and leg or short side for half-square triangles. Follow those dots to the right or the left, depending on the kind of triangle you want, and, voila, there is the width to cut your strips. Here is a link to their website and a picture of said ruler. I am not affiliated with Fons and/or Porter in any way. I just love this ruler, and I think you will too.

And here is a picture of some double pinwheel blocks I made using the ruler. Awesome!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where Are All the Cute Dresses?

Today's post is a bit of a rant. Sorry in advance. I am looking for a nice dress, nothing too fancy, for a special occasion. Do you think I can find one? No, no, a thousand times no. There are plenty of pants around, many of them cute, but the dresses are either non-existent or made of such ugly fabric or in such a style that nobody would want them.

Here are the questions I would like to ask the clothing manufacturers:

1. Why do you think we want dresses in garish shades of giant pink and orange flowers or yellow and black zebra print or too bright blue swirls?

2. Why do you think we want dresses with no sleeves, no backs, low necks, or short skirts?

3. Why do you think we want dresses with gigantic beads around the neckline, giant gold rings holding the front or the back together, or huge cutouts around the hem?

4. Why do you think if we want none of the above that then we must want a plain black dress?

If someone out there started making pretty, modest dresses with beautiful, subtle fabric, in wearable colors, they would make a fortune. Just my opinion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Art of Quilting

I was watching a Bonnie McCaffery vidcast yesterday of the Houston Quilt Festival from the fall of 2007. What gorgeous quilts! But I noticed that all the ones she showed, which I realize were not all of them, were what I would call very "arty" quilts. They fell into one of two categories, firstly, a quilt done by someone who is obviously an artist, with the ability to paint and draw not only recognizable objects but absolutely stunning objects, faces, flowers, landscapes. They are quilts that are like paintings with fabric as the medium. I do not have the artistic ability to do one of those quilts. The second category is abstract quilts, quilts with swirls and twists and cubism, quilts that have no recognizable blocks, often no square edges, and often very unusual color combinations. I could probably do a quilt like that, but I really don't want to.

So I wondered, as I looked at these quilts, done with great artistry and certainly worthy of a ribbon or money or both, where I fit in in the quilting world. I would call my style more traditional certainly. I do like order and symmetry, but I'm not opposed to a little chaos. I like some of the modern fabrics, some of the reproduction fabrics, some of the batiks, some of the brights and florals and novelty prints. I enjoy piecing more than applique, I think, but then I love looking at quilts with really beautiful applique and fanatasizing about making one of my own. I really don't think there is a category that I fit neatly into.

Not that I am planning on entering a quilt into the Houston Quilt Festival any time soon, but I wondered as I looked at these quilts, what I would enter if I could. If money, time, and talent were no object, what would I create? I would do something stunning with applique and piecing, something with beads or some other embellishment. It would actually look like something recognizable and have some order to it. It would probably not be done with batiks or reproduction fabrics, either one. It would not be abstract or have faces on it or require me to dye my own fabrics. It would tell a story, some story that was special to me or my family. It would represent something close to my heart.

Well, don't hold your breath. It's easy to think about such a quilt, very difficult to create it. I for sure don't have the time and money right now, and, to be honest, I wonder if I have the talent or the ability. In my head it's absolutely beautiful, though, and it certainly deserves best of show at Houson Quilt Festival!

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Kind of Columbine

I have noticed over the years that I have a hard time choosing just one color. When I got married, my colors for the wedding were spring colors, purple, pink, yellow, green. I loved it. I find myself drawn to multicolored fabric and variegated yarns and threads. I don't know why, but I just can't seem to be satisfied with one color when I can have several. It doesn't always make for the most pleasing quilt, unfortunately. It can be too overwhelming, and everything jumbles together so much that the design is lost.

So yesterday I was out in the back yard and I noticed that my one columbine plant has two colors of flowers on it, pink and blue. Now, I don't know if this is common, but I don't remember ever seeing it before. I'm sure it has something to do with pH levels or sunlight or something, but I thought, Hooray! A flower with my kind of color sensibility. He obviously couldn't choose either, so, what the heck, let's do both. I say why not?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Alice's Quilt

I finally finished the quilt for Alice, my mother-in-law, that has been on my quilter since March. I had grandiose ideas about my quilting ability and have since had to downgrade to my beloved, albeit it too-well-used, loops and something else. On this quilt I chose two something else's, flowers and hearts. I think it turned out fine, although certainly not the heirloom quilting I had envisioned. I guess I have to quit thinking I am above such mundane things as practicing.

Alice had her 80th birthday in March, which was the reason I was making the quilt in the first place. I was able to use fabrics for the entire quilt from her fabric stash in her favorite shades of rose and green. Sadly, I do not think she will remember any of these fabrics because my mother-in-law has Alzheimer's, and she is getting very forgetful. It used to be things like addresses and whether she bought bananas, and now it's things like her children and her husband. She asked us just last night where he was, and we had to tell her again that he passed away nearly two years ago. She said, Oh, okay, I'll have to write that down. It breaks your heart, but she's relatively happy in the world in which she lives now, the world of her childhood and early adulthood. She often thinks my husband is one of her brothers, and we just go along with it.

So here is a quilt for you, Alice. You have been good to me and my family, and now it's time for us to take care of you. Sweet dreams.