Friday, July 16, 2010

Smoke, fire but no giant robots

This was the view out of my window at work today. Filming of Transformers 3 is going on throughout the city, and apparently I saw Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel running around, but didn't realize it until later in the day when I looked at some photos on the Chicago Tribune website. Like Oprah, they were little specs from where I sit.

We all marveled at the guy using a hose from the back of a truck to spray dirt over the scene to freshen up the destruction after a few hours of filming. One of my co-workers is now aspiring to be the smoke guy! That does look like a fun job.

Need to tell my nephew about this and finish up that Transformers quilt soon. Still have backing to make for it, and then to quilt it. ... At least the binding's done!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adding to the stash ... again

Didn't find the same cornerstone fabric, but found something that will work. I searched the Internet for a couple hours after I got home from the quilt shops and figured out the fabric I used was Pepper Pistachio from Momo's Wonderland (that took awhile) and it isn't available any more. Oh well.

While looking for a cornerstone substitute, I found these adorable Halloween fabrics from Minick & Simpson. I don't normally make holiday themed things, but the pumpkin stripe (which I see now I have covered up in the photo) reminded me of my Japanese penpal. I will make her a little table topper, and if I start now, I have a chance of finishing and mailing it to her in time.

When I didn't find the cornerstone fabric in the first shop I went to, I had to go to another. In both shops, I was distracted by the first bolts of fabric I saw as I walked in! The two on the left are new from Clothworks, which I found at the first shop. The purple floral from P& B was found at the second shop. I love the colors. No idea what I'll do with these. I just hope when I figure it out, I will have enough.

Everything's being washed now so I can get some sewing done this afternoon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Traditional modern quilting

The block that started it all. More photos below.

Before the long stretch of work travel, I read these posts about modern quilting. I had been thinking about modern quilting some before reading the posts. Seems to me that the current modern look is very much like old, traditional quilts yet I have the feeling the modern quilter doesn't want to have anything to do with traditional quilters. I find myself caught in the middle.

My mother quilted, starting in the mid-'70s, but I was never that interested until in my (early!) 30s when I was looking for a present for her and I wandered into a quilt shop. I was captivated by the fabric and the quilts and took a class. I've been quilting for more than a dozen years now.

I took lots of classes, learning as much as I could about different techniques so that I could make what I wanted the way I wanted. I've followed patterns, more so in the beginning, but I prefer to make up my own designs and pick my own fabric, which is the best part.

I look at the current modern stuff and it reminds me of my beginning quilting: simple designs, lots of white. I like it, but I don't want to make it. Nor do I want to make a Dear Jane quilt. And that's why I feel caught in the middle. Caught between too simple and too complicated. Current modern and traditional. Trying to find my own style by taking a little from this and a little from that, appreciating it all, but not feeling obligated to be one thing or the other.

I started this blog to document the things I was doing (so I could remember when, how, why) and so I'm taking the process pledge and will try to be more articulate about my choices.

Here goes:
Picking fabrics one block at a time.

That block at the start of this post started it all. I was working on the Sue Ross BOM and had ordered some Aboriginal fabric from Material Obsession. The fabric and the pattern came together in my head and I made one block. Liked it, and decided a bigger quilt was in order.
Normally my fabric selection process is to pull a bunch of fabrics, decide what goes together and use that pile. This time I made one block, and decided the background and corner squares would be the constants through all the blocks, and every block should have some Aboriginal fabric in it. Then I chose the fabrics for each block, pulling from my stash as I went, and not paying attention to how all the fabrics look together in a pile. They do seem to look OK piled together, but I'm not sure I would have pulled this particular pile of fabric if I had used my usual selection process.

Tools of the trade include a remote.

I make my half-square triangles bigger and trim them down. I'm a little anal retentive about accuracy.
Here's where I'm at: Six blocks made. Enough cornerstone fabric for 11 blocks. Enough background for 10. Wanting to make a much bigger quilt. Thinking of setting the blocks solid instead of the original vision for sashing.

So off to the quilt shop to see if I can find more of that background and cornerstone fabric.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

6 states, 5 days, and only 1 quilt shop

We didn't fly over the fireworks this Fourth. Weather wasn't cooperating. Plus we are old and have trouble staying up late enough to watch the fireworks, put the plane back and drive home (over an hour away). Pitiful. At least we haven't started lining up for the early-bird dinner special yet!
Sleeping Giant from our hotel in Helena, Montana.

I had said I was going to post some pictures of our April vacation so here they are. Just a few. We had plans, they fell through and so at the last minute we decided to take our plane to visit five of the six U.S. states I haven't been to yet. (Can't make it to Hawaii with our plane.)

We picked state capitals except for Kansas, where we chose a place with a good barbecue restaurant. I'm sure they have some in Topeka, but there's one right next to the runway in Paola!

Day 1: First stop is Bismark, North Dakota. Sorry no photos. We stopped for lunch. I had a quilt shop picked out for a visit. Hubby wanted to keep going. We did.

Next stop: Helena, Montana. Beautiful scenery. A very nice guy who used to live in Chicago gave us a ride to a hotel. Also had a quilt shop picked out for Helena. We didn't go.

Leaving Montana and headed into the Rockies. Not so great visibility for a while.

Flying over the Rockies.

Day 2: We stopped in Nampa, Idaho. My husband was so excited because he saw Bob "The Hurricane" Hannah walking across the tarmac. I had/have no idea who he is.

View from the Nampa, Idaho, airport cafe.

Derek and Carmen had their reception here. The TSA was not invited.

Lunch in Nampa. I had a quilt shop picked out in the Nampa/Boise area. We didn't go. Seeing a pattern here? Then on to Salem, Oregon. We arrived about 10 minutes after the general aviation place closed so we walked with our luggage over to the main terminal. Derek and Carmen were having their wedding reception in the terminal. We found out later that no commercial flights had been in or out of the Salem Airport in about a year! Fortunately, signs advertising hotels had enough current information we were able to find a place to stay, and they sent a hotel shuttle for us.

Day 3: I had a quilt shop picked out for Salem too. And I got to go because we stayed the whole next day in Salem. Greenbaum's Quilted Forest was amazing. I spent a couple hours in the quilt shop while my husband wandered around downtown and the park along the river. Then we went to the Haillie Ford Museum of Art, which was exhibiting work by the senior art majors. I would have loved to have brought home one of the sculptures of extinct animals created with found metal pieces, but it wouldn't fit in the backseat.

Downtown Salem on a Sunday was pretty interesting. The Reed Opera House is full of shops and we had a coffee there and read all about Cyrus Adams Reed. What a character!

The Cascades (and Rockies) were close!

Day 4: Back through the Cascades and a fuel stop in Idaho. Then on through the Rockies to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for our overnight. My husband said it was the only runway he's had to climb to reach. It was a little scary landing here.

Steamboat Springs during "mud season," which is after ski season and before summer.

Flying over Colorado.

Day 5: Kansas for barbecue and then on back home. We beat the weather getting out of town and again getting back, leaving a couple days at home recovering before we had to go back to work.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA

Fourth fabric because every post needs a picture, and I haven't made any more progress on this UFO, which is having its seventh birthday this year. I hope they'll be cake.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Fourth of July. We had our burgers and dogs last night with some fireworks. Maybe more fireworks tonight. We're thinking of going up in our small plane to view them from the air.

For yesterday's party, I made potato salad using this Tyler Florence recipe. I've made it before and it is amazingly good, which is saying something because I don't like potato salad or mayo or pickles! Just be sure to halve the mayo as the reviewers suggest.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Somebody's quilting, but it's not me

Got two quilts back from my longarm quilter, Maggi Honeyman.

She did a fabulous job on the Girlfriends Galore pattern. Each diamond in the star center has a leaf design, and each border around the center is quilted differently to complement the shapes in those borders. You can really see the border treatment on the back (although maybe not as well with my photo.) Looks like a whole-cloth quilt.

William Morris got some special treatment too. I love the feathered border and the interior is a similar pattern that fills the little squares jutting into the border.
I was so excited to see the quilting and take pictures that some of the photos are a little blurry from my jumping for joy.

Maggi has quilted my quilts for years now. We used to both live in Florida, then she moved to Texas, and I moved to Illinois. When I have something I really like and want it to be treated to more than my expert straight-line quilting with a walking foot or feeble free-motion attempts, I send it to her. I tell her a little bit of what I'm thinking for the quilting, but ultimately leave it in her hands because I trust what she's done with my quilts in the past and know I won't be disappointed. Isn't it great when you are the same wavelength as someone else?

No more work travel for awhile I hope. Now maybe I can get back to quilting if only to pack up a couple more quilt tops for someone to help me finish.