Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flowers, Quilts, and Pixxie

I was awakened this morning to a bouquet of purple flowers, my husband said when he saw these he knew it was the right bunch. In honor of this being "Daytona Sunday" (as in THE Daytona 500 NASCAR event) I clipped the stems and arranged the beautiful flowers in our pop corn bucket to be enjoyed in the man cave as the race was run. Yes, while the rest of the world celebrates Valentine's, in our household it's NASCAR all the way (grin). Of course I've taken a little time out to work in the studio, after all, Sundays are my afternoons off.

So here's what has been going on since I last posted....

First of all, thank you for all the feedback (positive and negative) about my first You Tube. I know the quality and contrast were not good, but the video was made by a special request to "watch me while I work" and that was what I was working on at the time. I may consider doing more videos in the future, but that's not my primary focus, just a pleasant distraction.

Once the quilt on the frame was finished I decided I wanted to continue playing around with these feather puffs - this time on a larger scale and as an all over design. I really needed to work on a personal project as part of my play, and my therapy. Sometimes a girl just has to do what a girl has to do - me time is a part of a balanced quilter don't you think?

Sometimes on my Sundays off I work on piecing, and more times than not it's what I call a "throw down quilt" - just something simple to satisfy my urges to play with fabric. Last spring I pieced a top from a pattern on the internet called Wickedly Easy My goal was to use up fabric scraps from quilts made several years ago, you know the fabrics that bring back wonderful memories? Like the fabric from a quilt finished at a beach retreat, or fabric from a prayer quilt or two, or just fun prints that I've woven into several scrap quilts...

Well, I pieced the blocks and somehow it just didn't look right. Son #2 loves to call it "fabric throw up", he's rather descriptive sometimes, but in this case he was absolutely right. I didn't want to waste the day or my fabrics so I figured out a way to fix it by replacing a center piece in each block with lime fabric to give the quilt some continuity as well as a place to rest the eye. I called it When Only Lime Will Do, and placed it in the Quilts in Waiting guessed it, the perfect personal project to practice more feather puffs.

When I place a personal quilt in the Quilts In Waiting drawer it could be months, even years before I get around to quilting it. Because of that I always prepare the back and the binding to store with the project, that way any leftover fabrics that 'match' can be recycled back into the scrap drawer to find their way into another project. As you can see behind Pixxie, I ran out of binding fabric. Sigh. I'll be digging in drawers later to find more, or using the trim from the backing to finish it off. Sometimes things like that happen in life, connections are missed, but life goes on.

These two photos show a close up of the all over quilting, of course I had to use lime thread! The orange scrap is from a quilt I made Son #2 when he graduated from 6th or 8th grade, I can't remember which as he did graduate from both. He's now 21 so it's been a while. The tropical flowers are from a quilt that he and I did together as a mother son project. His was from a pattern called Turning Twenty (as he was 19 at the time it was appropriate) and I used the same prints in the pattern called Turning Twenty Again (yep, I'd done that twice). We had them on display at a local quilt show that year and I couldn't have been prouder. In the photo below is a strip of blue floral that once graced my living room. I've redecorated since then. Things have a way of changing over the years, yet somehow remain the same. Yes, fabric holds memories...

As much as I love the wild assortment of scraps on the front, I have to say that I love the back of this quilt as much or more - when the light hits it just right you see all this beautiful texture of the quilt designs.....Ta Da....All Over Feather Puffs! The quilt only measures 68 x 84, the perfect topper for a queen bed, or a cuddle quilt for the couch, or a nice beach blanket or picnic quilt for that walk in the park. I used almost 4,000 yards of thread! If I were charging for this it wouldn't be at my all-over price that's for sure! Lots of dense quilting and many hours of deep thinking.

So, what else have I been doing with my time? How 'bout an 80 mile road trip (one way) to a local quilt show? Yes, 80 miles IS local if you live in the Houston area (grin). I had two main purposes for the 160 mile round trip (not to mention the toll fare) One - I had a customer quilt that would be in the show....

And I couldn't be more pleased. I told her when she picked it up last month that it would be a ribbon winner. Her colors in this quilt are stunning. And this was actually my first attempt at Feather Puffs, or rather a variation. For the complete story and more close ups click here to check back in the archives

The second reason for the road trip was to visit with my friend Tom Russell who was the featured artist at the show. Many of you may know Tom's quilts from Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts TV program or may have viewed some of his quilts on exhibit at national shows. The photos don't do the masterpieces justice.

Tom has spoken at several local guilds in the Houston/Galveston area and he keeps the ladies entertained with his stories of how he became a quilter and how he comes up with his designs and unique style. Everyone that has heard Tom agrees that he inspires them to try new things and loves that they have learned that it's okay to make little quilts!

Quilting is best shared among friends. Sometimes it's with fellow quilters as we learn together and discover new things or enjoy a quilt show together; sometimes it's with non-quilting friends who just appreciate the warmth and beauty in the creative process of quilting; and sometimes its just sharing with a cute puppy who very well may be my biggest fan - that or it's just all about the treats that is her payment for being my professional quilt model!

So, that about catches me up on the quilting side of my life....thanks for spending some time with the Quilt Rambler! to be continued (grin)


Anonymous said...

I love a blog with lots of pictures! Great quilts!

Zlaty said...

Happy Valentine's day Karen!

Great quilting and beatiful quilt you share! Thanks !

Happy sewing!

fancystitching said...

Congrats on the ribbon for your customer's qult!! I had planned on going to that show... 6" of snow kept me right here on Friday! One of my customers had a quilt in it, too.

Your feather puffs are really nice.. I MUST find more time to play.