Sunday, July 31, 2011

A few more from Captain Russell

Here are a few more from the Captain Russell quilt. I am hoping to prepare the center of this one this week so I can get it finished.
Why oh why when I get this close to the end do I lose steam?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oops, road trip continued......

Oops I was unable to post the final purchase picture on my last post. Perhaps blogger was letting me know that my fabric buying was out of control. I think my husband would agree. I was pretty busy on this trip, visiting lots of family so I really didn't get much sewing done. Just a few stitched on one of my Civil War Bride blocks.

Road Trip

The past 11 days have been spent on a road trip to visit family. I live in Georgia and we were going to Ohio and Ontario, Canada. Both my husband and I have an ailing parent so while it is good to see family, a little fabric therapy was in order to keep the spirits up. Well my spirits anyway!

I am supposed to be on a quilting budget these days due to my husband's early retirement (that is a story for another day) and clearly I was not mindful of the budget on this trip. I was shocked when I took all the fabric photos of this trip. I probably won't even be able to post them all.

Anyway, I started out innocently enough in Knoxville with only a few of these pieces. I really don't purchase with a plan as I have LOTS of fabric already, just a few for the stash.
The next store found these lovelies. I just got some new fabric to make curtains for my dining room and great room and these will look great with it. Perhaps a table runner or quilt for over the fireplace.

Once we got to Ohio we spent a few days helping cook and clean at the in-laws and surely a shopping break was well deserved for these things.
Well actually some of the fabric from the first photo was purchased that day too but once in Canada my kind SIL wanted to show me some of her local quilt stores and I didn't want to disappoint her so off we went. She is not a quilter but she was really hoping I would find something. The first store was OK but as they were having a 50% off sale I couldn't resist a few things.
And at the next store I found a companion piece to one of my early purchases.

A slightly different route home meant I was able to stop at Sew Elegant in Port Huron which was a favorite back when I lived in Michigan. Once again I was unable to stop myself from buying and I found these to take home with me.On our trip up to Ohio I had missed a stop that I was looking forward to due driving delays and we made sure to get to the Quilt Box in Dry Ridge, Kentucky first thing in the morning on our last day. What a lovely store where I actually found some fabric that I was looking for as well as much more. I spent so much that they gave me a nice tote bag and made me one of their "Bag Ladies" so I can get discounts on future trips.
I thought I was finished but we stopped for lunch and a quilt store was right across the street. Well you know what that means.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain Russell

Here is another block from the Captain Russell quilt. The pattern for the quilt is available from the Baltimore Museum of Art. I started this quilt soon after seeing the original hanging and tried to keep it as true to the original as I could. I am using solids and mostly reproduction fabrics and I am trying to use colors as I imagine the original would have looked prior to aging. While I like how it is turning out, I am finding it somewhat restrictive using all these solids. The next Baltimore will have lots more shading! I have also decided to skip the appliqued border. Partly due to size and partly cause I just want to get this one done.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hibiscus and Captain Russell quilt

Once again a block for the Chinese embroidery style quilt. I have spent the last few days preparing blocks for applique so that I will have some handwork to do on a long road trip. We were to leave early this morning to go to the In-laws in Ohio and then on to Canada to visit my family but instead are waiting around for our furnace to be replaced. We had finished packing and were just relaxing a bit before dinner when a horrible sound came from the basement. The brackets holding the motor had broken and it had fallen. But it was still running. Fortunately we were home to shut everything down and avoid a possible fire. So I guess there is a silver lining to everything. Anyway I now have a free day to sit and sew or prepare another block. I currently have 5 applique UFO's and really should focus on just one.
Here is one of the blocks of one of the UFO's. This is a corner block of the Captain Russell quilt from the Baltimore museum of art. I have 12 blocks and the center medallion complete except for the very center.
Seems crazy not to finish this but I am struggling with the center. The original quilt has an eagle in the middle and I just don't really want a giant eagle there. I changed a few of the other blocks too and am planning a basket of flowers in the center, I just need to get it cut and prepped. More photos of this quilt to come. I am hoping that by posting I will get the inspiration to finish!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lotus flower block

I am still working away on these Chinese style blocks. This quilt is to have 9 blocks with some sort of appliques border. I still haven't designed the borders but the blocks are all prepped and ready for sewing. This block really does look like the lotus flowers I saw in China. Ponds were filled with them - so beautiful.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My First Baltimore Album

Here is a picture of my first Baltimore Album quilt. Actually it is the only one that I have finished but I am close to finishing the applique on my second. It was started in the 90's and was originally intended to be much bigger but for some reason I stopped after 6 blocks. By the time I pulled out those block again I really wanted to work on a Baltimore with a less restricted color palette so decided that 9 blocks would be enough. I found a fabric that I liked for the sashing and was able to pull the colors together with the vase of the center block.
I added a pretty appliqued border (the design came from a book that I can't locate) and finally hand quilted it. I call it "The Days of Wine and Roses" and once completed I actually like the colors again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just for fun

The last few days I have worked on a fun little project with my DIL. She has never quilted before and has only done limited sewing but wanted to make a quilt for a friends little boy. I suggested she go to the quilt store and pick out a fabric or two that she liked and she could do the rest of the "shopping" from my stash. Since the little boy wanted "dinosaurs driving cars" this is what she bought. And after some stash shopping and some simple designing here is what we made.
She helped pick all the fabrics and I drew the dinosaur in the car using her fabric choices to help. I then had her help cut all the fusible pieces for machine applique and I did that bit of sewing. She did pretty much all of the straight line machine sewing after I cut the pieces and let her decide on placement of fabrics. Finally we both did some of the quilting on my longarm machine and then we also shared in sewing on the binding. She got to at least participate in every part of the process and we had a fun 3 days working and chatting. Here is a closer view of the applique. I hope the little boy will have as much fun with it as we had making it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chinese peaches

Here is another one of my Chinese blocks. I love how peaches are represented in Asian design with that very distinctive pointed end. And that thing at the side with the 4 brown dots is a lotus pod. While I don't recall ever seeing a peach while living there, I saw lotus growing in the pond outside my window. Since we lived in Southern China there were so many plants that I had never seen before and not speaking the language they were difficult to identify but I certainly enjoyed them. I am enjoying the memories that this quilt is bringing to me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blackbird Design Quilt

Today I just thought I would post a picture of one of my favorite quilts hanging in my home. This is "In the Garden" (if I remember correctly) by Blackbird Designs. I made it a few years ago but moved to China before I had a chance to hang it. It is now in the family room of our home in Georgia and I really like it there. I have made many of their designs and really enjoy working on them - lots of nice large pieces for appliquing and usually some piecing too, which I always find a delightful combination.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sue Spargo class

A couple of weeks ago Sue Spargo came to our guild for some workshops and a lecture and slide show. It was so exciting to see her work in person and even more exciting to take 2 of her workshops. This project is from an embellishment workshop. We completed the wool applique pot, some stems and some basic flower shapes before class and then came to class and started adding. What fun. Though this already looks pretty busy I would like to add a bit more embroidery and beads - I am definately not a less is more type person. Sue was a lovely person and if you have a chance to take one of her classes she will inspire you. She has a great blog too, filled with great photos of her work and her students work.

We used so many unfamiliar items that really add to the project, like mixing cottons and silks with wool and I loved her silk velvets and the silk flosses. I am looking forward to using some of the ideas in a future project.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Chinese style block

Here is another block from my Chinese embroidery quilt. Not really sure what to call the flower, perhaps a Dahlia. I am really having fun picking out the shading for the flowers in these blocks. I am finally cutting into hand dyed fabric that I have had for many years (before batiks were even in quilt stores). I also use printed shaded fabrics, large prints of flowers that are shaded and some batiks. I am not really fond of needleturning batiks but sometimes they are the only thing I can find that has the color and texture I am looking for. The butterflies are fun too. I am using mostly prints with metallics on them - some are Asian fabrics and some come from a Christmas line. Picking out the perfect fabric and fussy cutting to fit is probably my favorite part of applique but then again I do love to just sit and stitch once the block is all ready!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chinese Peony and Butterfly

Here is another block from my quilt based on Chinese embroideries. In 2009 my husband and I lived in China for about 8 months. I had never been interested in Asian art before living there but was truly inspired by the beautiful motifs used in the embroideries, pottery and textiles. The colors in the quilt are inspired by the beautiful silk embroideries and bead work that I saw in Hong Kong and elsewhere. We lived in a third tier city in southern China where beautiful fabrics and threads were not available for purchase, so I spend my time using up the stash I brought with me and designing. A sudden family emergency forced us to return before we expected and it is only recently that I have felt able to return to this project and fondly remember our time in China .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Applique Retreat in Lake Tahoe

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely week at an Applique retreat in Lake Tahoe. Our leader for the retreat was Sandra Mollon who does fabulous work with embellishments on Baltimore Album quilts. One of the best things about the time there, besides the great weather, food, views and learning was spending the time with my son. He actually invited me to join him and it was so much fun sewing together and meeting many of his quilting friends. The picture above is of Sandra's work.

This is one of the blocks that I was working on. It is an original quilt design based on Chinese embroideries. I have a few more of these blocks done and will try to post them soon. Still having trouble figuring out this blogging stuff especially posting photos but hope to get the hang of it soon.