Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More Progress and Some Decisions...

Still making progress on this quilt.  This step shows more "petals" being added to each of the large outside pieces.  You can see that I haven't sewn the stars together yet.

The large flowers are all all completed although not sewn together.  So they join the stars which are also not sewn together.  I will not be opening any windows any time soon or putting on the fan!!

Here I have added the dark green petals on the outside.  I now have three different dark greens in the quilt!!!  I only  had a quarter yard of the last piece and literally just enough to make these blocks!  Looks like I didn't run out of the pale blue either which was a relief as I was cutting it close on this one as well!  

I did want to repeat the fuchsia in the middle somewhere around the outside as it needs to be repeated and I have very little of it.  So I have decided to replace some of the leaf blocks (like those ones surrounding the center block) with star blocks using the fuchsia for the star points.  I will use these in the four outside corners.  I will repeat the yellow with a thin border strip (maybe 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch).  There are setting triangles outside the leaf blocks that surround all this.  I have decided to repeat the orange there as there is a lot of green and purple and I do like a green, purple and orange palette a lot -- my favorite colors together.  I reserve the right to change my mind on this if it is too much.  The other alternative is a darker sky blue.  We shall see!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

And On We Go!

Okay, so I went back and looked at the pattern and it does say "Easy".  Well, Each block is really really easy to construct and they come out perfectly.  However, that is the only easy part!!  If I had used just the colors on the pattern and had just the right amount of each fabric, it might have been easier, but there are so many abbreviations and charts, I am not sure that would have been the case.  Anyway, I didn't want to use her colors and I didn't have enough of any fabric as I challenge myself to only use the fabric I bring down with me and this year I chose to bring a lot of fat quarters and half yard pieces.  The challenge now is to find enough of each fabric that it looks like it was supposed to be different colors or shades of colors.  So far, so good!!  I have chosen white as the background "color" as I do have some of that and it gives a nice clean look to the quilt and I have found I like doing quilting in the white areas.  Here you can see that I have completed the center block and the eight leaves blocks that surround it.

Well, here I  have added the "petals" to the big flowers.  They look blue in the picture but they are really two different violet/blue fabrics, one a hand dye and one a fabric that I had three fat quarters of.  The dark greens are different from the green in the middle as well.  I am using orange around the outside flowers as I wanted something a little calmer than the bright yellow in the middle.  I do need to repeat that bright yellow again but you have to be awfully careful with yellow so I will probably just add a very thin yellow border as well as a little wider fuchsia border as I don't plan on using the fuchsia again anywhere and don't have much of it anyway!  I do have quite a bit of the yellow which is one of my hand dyes.  You can see here I have decided on a pale blue for the stars between the larger flowers.  I have just enough of that to complete the stars (I hope).    It is a batik that I found in my stash for down here.

Ah, here you see the difference between the purples on the four corners and the ones on the inside.  Making progress.

This is as far as I have gotten this week.  I haven't sewn the stars together yet so hopefully no big winds will take them off my design wall while I visit my daughter in Charlotte.  Of course, my first day here she managed to break her big toe on a Friday night and we had to go off to the Emergency Room!!  I told her not to move that big tv.....

I was auditioning fabrics as background for the leaf blocks around the outside and have decided to go with more of the white although I toyed with just using a slightly darker shade of blue but blue can get really overwhelming and for some reason, even though blue is one of my favorite colors, I hate working with it.  Blue and white quilts I have made are torture to finish and I have given many away so I don't have to look at them anymore!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Starting Something New -- It was Supposed to be Mindless.....

Each year when I head south, I bring projects that I just haven't gotten around to doing and probably won't at home where I have so many options!  I had picked up this piece of fabric, knowing that there was another kalaidoscopic quilt in my future.  I have made so many of the Serendipity quilts, I thought I would try a pattern for a four repeat kalaidoscopic quilt that I picked up in Florida at a quilt show a couple of years ago.  Figuring a four repeat would be mindless, I lined up the fabrics and cut my strips and squares. That was simple!  And then.....

This is the pattern, and naturally I am going to do the queen sized version which is the bigger quilt on the cover (92 x 92).  This is NOT a simple quilt!  And the only way I am comfortable making the color choices (which is usually a no-brainer for me) is to do sample blocks to see if I like the colors.  I wanted a much more subtle pallette as I want it for the beach here and the beach just calls for a more pastel pallette.  I think the color choices made in the pattern overwhelm the kalaidoscopes and I wanted them to shine through.

Making the blocks begins.  Nice to just do the four repeats once you get the knack of switching them in the right directions.  Sewing together is a snap, especially when watching Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time - a very soothing background for sewing.

I made so many blocks that I had to clear off my big design wall and put up the blocks in their relative places although they are all oriented on point where I only show the big ones on point here.

Here I have made the flying geese and squares that finish off the so-called "leaf" blocks.  Four on the inside have this arrangement and all the ones on the outside will be this too.  I am using white fabric for the background and miscellaneous hand dyed greens for the leaves.  The designer uses a clever way of making the four flying geese blocks fairly easily and very accurately but some odd cutting sizes for sure!  You make four at a time starting with nothing but squares.

I would like to get the top done before I head home in a few weeks.  I have guests one week though and a trip to my daughter's for another week so we shall see how I do!  Complicating this, is the fact that we are having beautiful weather so I want to be outside all the time!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring is Finally Here!

There was a whole row of Royal Terns down at Ft. Fisher on a rainy day last week.  They are all banded but I can't read any numbers but probably the color means something.

One of the Terns is quite vocal and you can actually almost see the eye here!

There was a conflagration of gulls down by the rock wall at Ft. Fisher and I took pictures for identification later figuring they were probably Ring-billed or Laughing Gulls.  Surprise, surprise, they were Bonaparte Gulls which I have seen before but not in this number.  I still have to identify the other strange birds in this picture (the dark ones).  

Ft. Fisher was beautiful today with these big billowy clouds that just dissipated as I was walking.

There are always House Finches belting out their songs by the house.  This is a very colorful male.

I finally finished quilting the Houses quilt that I started in the Flavin Glover class.  Of course, having it sit on the wall, I noticed two mistakes in it!  I am relatively pleased now that I have done the quilting.  I wouldn't do another one though as much as I like log cabin blocks.  I don't like making quilts that someone is well known for!!  The good part is that all the fabrics in this quilt are either my hand dyes or my hand marbled fabrics.

This is just a closeup showing the quilting more clearly.  There are curvy lines in the sky, twirlies in the trees and then just straight lines in the houses, one one the seam line and then one bisecting each piece.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit From My Florida Friends!!

For the past week, I have been entertaining visitors from sunny and warm Florida.  Luckily I was able to provide them with a couple of fairly nice days of tourist activities here in the Wilmington area.  Because of our severe cold a couple of weeks ago, our flowers are behind schedule this  year  Here you can see one of my visitors, Barbara, looking at this beautiful pink magnolia.  It was a gorgeous day

There was lots of beautiful scenery to photograph at Airlie Gardens, one of my favorite tourist spots in Wilmington.  There are two large ponds and lots of trees with Spanish moss.  Depending on the season, many ducks make their home here as well but make themselves scarce for visitors.

There were Gadwalls (here) as well as American Widgeons and Hooded Mergansers on one of the ponds.

I spotted this adult Black Crowned Night Heron hanging out by one of the ponds and barely visible in the Spanish moss.

There were quite a few Blue Grey Gnatcatchers flitting around.

There were also a number of male Cardinals singing like crazy around the Gardens

Airlie Gardens is famous for their Camellias and we were not disappointed with the showing!  Loved this pink and white variegated one.

Another really pretty white Camellia.

The Yellow Bellied Sliders were out in force sunning on every available log.

This is a closeup of one of the Sliders.  You can see where he gets his name!

I finally got all the ladies to pose for me.  Left to right are  Barbara, Jean, my friend Vicki (the ringleader of this group and my best friend from high school), and Vicki's SIL Joan.  Joan and Jean are fellow quilters.  Barbara, Jean and Vicky were up here to play in a sectional bridge tournament.  They come up early to try to get me retrained so that I can play and not embarrass myself too badly. 

We left Airlie Gardens, ate a lovely seafood lunch at the Boathouse and then headed to downtown Wilmington again and took a one hour cruise down the Cape Fear River (or rather up the river as we took the northern trip).  This is the courthouse downtown.  A new factoid I didn't know is that this is the opening scene from the old Matlock tv shows with Andy Griffith who I did know owned houses down here at Wrightsville Beach.

I had just  left the boat when I spotted this bird landing in a tree right next to me.  At first I thought pigeon but looked closer and realized it was a Eurasian Collared Dove.  I knew they were down here but had never seen one before.  This picture made him easy to identify!!

Playing bridge the first two days was pretty disastrous.  My partner had many raised eyebrows and was frustrated with me by the end of the second day.  However, I really redeemed myself the third day where we won just about everything we played in!!  I really feel like I am a better bridge player than I ever was 50 years ago when I played all the time but so much has changed in the game bidding, it is difficult to catch up.  The ladies were  happy as they got a much desired master point plus.  If I didn't have so many hobbies already, I might be convinced to start playing on a regular basis again.  The people were nice and the game is challenging.  Vicki and I never played when we were in high school.  She only learned about four years ago and already has close to 200 master points!!  No wonder she gets frustrated with me but we do have to play with more competent players because of her master points -- that is my story and I am sticking to it!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quilters By The Sea Guild Quilt Show

In this blog, I have included many of my favorite quilts from the show which was held last weekend.  The judges and I agreed on many this year including this adorable cat quilt by Becky Bucci.  Colin didn't stand a chance against this one which got a first in its category.  My Colin Reconstructed came in second.

We all really liked this small Tiger Lily quilt by Lynn Flaherty. 

This is Natural Curves by Mary Harned.  I tried to keep the picture size in proportion for the quilt size

This is Great White Flight by Terri Hemeon.  It is in three parts.

We loved this quilt which the judges loved too and I know it won a first place in its category.  It is called Under the Msasa Tree by Patti Larsen.

Of course I loved this one with all the birds!  This is All About Birds by Donna Bergman.

This was done by my friend Dianne Brisson and is called Swirl.  It won a first place as well as a Best Use of Color award.  And she wasn't going to enter it!!

Loved the colors in this one.  It is Stash Buster by Eithne Scelzi.

This is Circless of Life by Beverly Kern and was beautiful.

This certainly placed first in its category -- beautifully appliqued.

It is Now I Know My ABCs by Mary Anne Coadic.

I don't know if this won any prizes but I loved it!  It is Night Sky by Angela Bridger.

I also loved this very simple scrap quilt.  It is called Vertical Drop by Terri Hermeon. 

Who wouldn't love this kitty quilt with kitty fabric!  It is called Fabulous Felines by Joanne Foster.
This won for the Best Scrap Quilt in the show.  Pictures don't do it justice.  It is called Obsessiveness by June Bell.  Look at all those little nine patches!!

Well, I didn't include all my favorites nor all the judges' favorites as I just didn't have the space.  I don't know whether they sold all the disks I made with the whole show on them either.

My guests who were up from Florida included two quilters who enjoyed the show tremendously.  

I would really like to say that the people who hung the show did an exceptional job.  I know from experience how difficult it is to fit quilts into a rather small space and still have them look good and not crowded.  They did a better than excellent job.

These are the quilts that I entered below.
This is Fiesta.
This is X's and O's (otherwise known as the hated quilt) which won a third place in the pieced bed quilts.

This is the Lone Star Mola quilt which won a first place in its category.

This is Colin Reconstructed which won a second place.

This is the Strata quilt.