Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Class of Color

Last night I took a class on color at The Patched Works. Color 101. It was presented by Amy of Blue Underground. She and her partners design quilt patterns. She was an excellent teacher and fun, too.
I needed this class. Sometimes I find a fabric and am then at a loss. Or, I think I find what I like and by the time I purchase all of the fabric, with the help of the quilt ladies, end up with something different and much, much better. They are much better at seeing which color/fabric goes or adds to other colors/fabrics. Of course, that's their jobs, but I can be very intimidated by this process.
Amy gave a lot of suggestions on how to look at color that I was impressed with. Now, I do see color in nature. I love looking at trees and seeing the hundred different shades of green or looking at a lake and seeing all the different shades of blue. Out in nature I can see all different shades, patterns and textures that work together. Color is a wonderful thing I think most of us take for granted. I believe I am good at "seeing" color. It is just picking it out in fabric that can drive me bonkers.
One suggestion Amy made that I am going to try is to sit down with a picture (of a drawing, advertisement, piece of art) and a color wheel and place a dot on the color wheel for each color I see. Amy had several examples and they were really impressive. I can see where this exercise would be very helpful in learning about shades and hues.
Amy also brought along tons of quilts to use as examples for her collection. That was interesting and fun. Those quilts were gorgeous. There were a quite a few I would have liked to tuck in my purse and taken home! LOL And, there were some I didn't care for. But, each example showed different techniques of color usage. Amy stress that it is OK to mix fabrics, too, which I am slowing learning on my own.
It was a fun evening. There were a lot of nice ladies in the class - many of them "newbie" quilters like me.
Learning more about color is something I would like to explore more now that I've taken Amy's class. That says a lot about the teacher! Thanks, Amy! And, thanks to The Patched Works for offering the class!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I really like fall. I think I enjoy this season even more than spring, but not as much as summer.
Here's some of the things I love about fall:
Apple cider, crisp apples, candy corn (Yikes! all food so far!), watching the squirrels gather food, cleaning up the garden, the sound of the leaves in the trees, watching the leaves change color, the changing colors of the birds such as the gold finches, hearing the geese flying overhead and watching their formation, smelling burring leaves, harvest, good sleeping weather, wanting to bake pies, perfect fall days with a slight crisp to the air and blue, blue skies, sleeping under more blankets, knowing that while the plants are straggly they are just getting ready for a long sleep, kids are in school, Halloween and everything related to it - all this and so much more.
What I don't like about fall? I live in Wisconsin. Winter is close behind!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Unknown Quilt (aka Quilt from Hell Project)

Blocks 1 and 2 - Homespun Block (top) and Georgetown Circle (the easy one bottom). Fat quarter was the brown fabric.

Jeannie, of Ye Olde Schoolhouse, gave us blocks 3 and 4 of the quilt we are making this year. To recap a previous post, she gives us one fat quarter a month and two block patterns. The only requirement is to make the blocks and use the fat quarter fabric in each block.

She also said that each month one block would be "easy" and one "more difficult." If you remember from a previous post, the directions are almost nonexistent.

Close up of the Homespun block, which, despite some real difficulty for me, I just love.

This month the "easy" block I did put together in a few hours. The "difficult" block took me at least 12 hours. I'm not kidding. Seriously, there are no instructions - just pictures to go by. Jeannie did give us a couple of key measurements such as the flying geese should be 2" x 3 1/2" but that is the extent of it.

Blocks 3 and 4 - Arrow Crown) (top) and Old Favorite (the easy one on the bottom) Fat quarter was the center square in each block

Arrow Crown block must have been designed by a very wicked quilter!

I am finding this very difficult, frustrating and hair pulling! However, I am learning about color placement and how to dissect a quilt block. So, while I may be bald by the time this quilt is finished I will have learned a lot!

I am also using more color and fabric in the difficult blocks and trying to make the easy blocks very simple (3 fabrics only thus far). Maybe I am making more work for myself, but I like the look.

Four blocks down, 20 more to go - if I survive.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Colorado Trip

Cousin Peg, Aunt Virginia, Cousin Ellen, Me, Sister Suzanne

We had a great time visiting my Aunt Virgina over the Labor Day holiday. She seemed to really like the quilt I made her and we had fun posing for the picture.

I always forgot how wonderful it is in Colorado. I love watching the mountains. We tried for a picnic at Echo Lake, but got rained on. However, we did enjoy the beauty of another area.

We made the short trip to Golden and toured the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. The museum had moved a month before and are still raising funds to expand their exhibit area, but we really enjoyed the dozens of quilts they had on display. Fabulous quilts. We also went to 2 quilt stores while we were there and, of course, I bought fabric and a kit (thanks to my very "evil" sister and aunt! hehehe)

But the main thing was enjoying the company of my wonderful Aunt Virginia. Seeing Ellen again after many, many years was great. And, finally meeting Mary Kay and spending time with her and Peg was delightful

Check out Ellen's website. She is a first class mandolin and guitar player. Peg has a second career now as a writer of personal history.

And, the mountains. Ahhh, the mountains . . .

Friday, September 04, 2009

Go West, Young (?) Girls

I'm heading today to visit my Aunt Virginia in Little, CO. My sister, Suzanne, who lives in Atlanta will be meeting me at the Denver airport.

Aunt Virginia is my Mom's youngest sister and the last sibling of her family. She is 88 and a very remarkable woman. She loves her adopted state and loves going up to the mountains, participating on an annual camping and fly fishing trip every spring with 2 of her children. Up until a few years ago she still golfed (a passion of hers). She has traveled all over the world. Suzanne and I joke that we strive to be like our Aunt Virginia! (We are very serious though!) I adore hanging out with Aunt Virginia. She is smart, fun and a little sassy!

I'm looking forward to visiting with my cousins and their partners and hopefully, their children.

Now I don't mean sound like this will be the highlight of the trip, because it won't, but our plan is to go to Golden, CO and visit the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. I squeal with delight every time I think of it. I have never been there before, but checked out the website. It looks fabulous.

I am sure we will get up to the mountains, also. For those of you who have ever spent time in the Colorado mountains, you will know what I mean when I say it is one of my very favorite places to be.
I have a surprise for Aunt Virginia, too. Pictures will be posted when I get back.

Hmmm, between my dear aunt, the mountains and the quilt museum, maybe I'll just stay there! Oops, forgot about my doggie girls. Guess I will return.

Tea Time Part 2

The 2 times I have received my block of the month material and pattern for this quilt, I have been disappointed in the colors of the fabric. I think, "Oh, they are so drab and and dull looking." And, each time after I finish piecing the block and get it all together I start to like it. While most of the fabric is something I would not choose, once together the quilt is turning into a very soft and pretty piece. I can't believe how vibrant the colors look in this picture! Click on it for a better look.

I enjoy BOMs. It takes a few hours to get the work done for the month and then I pack it away and forget about it for another month. However, I am starting a BOM called "Green Piece" in October. Again, I ordered it online through The Quilt Shoppe . This quilt will consist of 2 blocks to sew and 2 blocks of applique every month. While my Tea Time is a 6 month project, Green Piece will be sent out over the couse of 10 months.

Now, that will be challenging!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Office/Sewing Room

Please click on picture to really see how pretty this piece is.

I live in a house that is 121 years old. Over the years owners have remodeled and updated so that not much of the original character remains; however, the basic plan of the house is somewhat the same. It has relatively small rooms and hardly any closet space. It does have a cool built in china cabinet, wide woodwork, wood floors and cool stucco walls in 3 of the first floor rooms. I have a cool back hall pantry area and a great screened in porch. So, while it probably looks totally different from when it was built, it still has a funky character to it.

Off the dining room is a little 8' x 11' room with a cubby hole closet. Because of the little closet, it can be considered a 3rd bedroom. I have always used it as my "office." I have a beautiful antique piece that was suppose to be in my upstairs bedroom, but we could not maneuver it up the stairs on moving day 11 years ago. It is full of winter hats, gloves, mittens, purses, swimming suits, doggie coats and other miscellaneous junk.

Since I hope to retire next year and sell my house, I recently had my handyman come over and make a lot of repairs that needed to get done before I sell. I figure the repairs are now completed and it will be one less thing to worry about in spring when my house goes on the market.
He did some repair work on the ceiling in my office and changed the ceiling light fixture so that instead of being a pull chain it now can be turned on and off from a switch on the wall. What a concept!!!!

I also purchased a laptop so I would have more room on my desk. It is a huge desk and was my Dads. I decided to turn this room into a sewing room/office/storage place. Now-that is asking quite a lot of this little room, but it is working.

I removed all of my books from the bookcase and either gave them away packed them up. I kept only the bare essentials in my book land. I purchased decorative boxes to hold quilt patterns, blocks, kits and excess fabrics. I moved my sewing machine to the desk top and out of the kitchen. When I work on larger quilts, all I have to do is unplug the laptop and move it. I have just enough room to keep my ironing board up all of the time. No more ironing board in my kitchen! I still need my dining room table to lay out quilt blocks and for cutting, but that is only a couple of steps away. Now my kitchen will always be neat and tidy!

I tried to empty out or clean out the antique piece, but it is still full of stuff. I will make another attempt at emptying out 2 drawers and maybe 2 shelves inside.

My dining room is still full of fabric, cutting boards, rulers, a plastic storage drawer thingy full of fabric and other quilting related stuff, but I'm trying to keep it tidy. It really is an organized mess. No picture of that room!

I have some wall space available for quilted wall hangings in my new space. Once I get a rod, my little lady will be ready to hang on a wall and not tacked to the bookcase! I will soon start a large wall hanging for above the desk. (The room needs color.) The stained glass piece in the window, believe it or not, I just purchased on sale from Penney's. I love it as my Mom loved humming birds and there are books and a coffee mug incorporated into it - both things I love. So, I have a little of both my parents in the room.

Hopefully, when I retire I will have a bigger room for quilting and will not have to use other areas. Right now I am thrilled with this room!