Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Projects

Oh my. I visited a couple of quilt shops yesterday and can anyone say "New Projects just jumped out at me?"

Tayo's is great! I know I will be back. One of the good things is that it's right by a walking bridge across the American River. We had a lovely stroll after our shopping spree.

I guess I'm giving them free publicity, maybe odd for someone that works in a quilt shopand Ought to be Loyal; but quilters need plenty of variety, and not all shops are the same. Every buyer has different taste; nobody could carry ALL of the wonderful fabric that is out there.

Tayo's has a youngish feel; lots of baby stuff and lots of wonderful brights. Lots of panels for easy and fun gifts. I was inspired to do more brights just by being in the store. They carry a line of stuffed animal patterns, some with noses included! Also some clothing patterns, and lots of minkie and oh-so-soft stuff that I successfully resisted; and great batiks.

The other store I visited was Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. What a lovely, quiet, reserved atmosphere! I can see that the owner/buyer's personality really influences stores. This one has a more old-fashioned feel to it. A project jumped out at me there too; very different from the first shop. This is a spot that you can rent time on a longarm. There are classes you can take to get started. I also got some embroidery floss there; that's getting harder to find.

I enjoyed both shops. And I also enjoyed that my husband went with me and helped me pick out some great stuff-- and used HIS credit card! What a guy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Trip in Miniature

One of the things that I do is displays. Usually it's purses or table runners, things I can finish quickly since I seem to pack my life with little jobs instead of having ONE like a Normal Person.

I've been wanting to try Eleanor Burns' Quick Trip Quilt since it's similar to what my mother used to do. My thinking was I'll just start with a miniature one, it will be fast and easy. Well it has been, I finished the center part in just one day. The hardest part was sewing the two halves together. But I'm not the world's most accurate "scant 1/4 inch seam" sewer yet; and this is in MINIATURE! Trust me to start with the more difficult. But I love the way it is turning out! I should be able to get the borders and binding on later in the week and maybe even finish by Friday.

The method is quick strip piecing. I've never done this before. You sew in strips, then sew those strips into a tube, then cut those tubes into rings, cut those rings in just the right spot and sew everything back together. You have to focus, but it isn't difficult. Next will be a bigger quilt. I'm saving up blues and yellows for my sewing room bed.


Oh have I been sidetracked today! I was thinking about how reluctantly I have gotten into quilting. My mom and grandma and great grandma all made wonderful utilitarian quilts. I grew up comforted by their hard work. Yet I didn't catch that bug until I was over 50.

I've been trying to come up with a more descriptive name, and "The Reluctant Quilter" sounded good. But lo and behold, there is already a reluctant quilter out there blogging...

The Reluctant Quilter

and she, like me, was not a teenage quilter. So I guess I will just stay who I am. :)

Of course I visited her blog, and saw her quilting bloggers link, and had to go there, and her "quilters get listed" link, and had to go there, and then there was the catzonmyquilts link, and had to go there, and then I had to rush to get to the post office before it closed. There went the afternoon. But it was fun, I learned a lot!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Since I am a new quilter (less than 2 years if you don't count my halfhearted attempts as a child and the king sized block bedspread as a newlywed) there is a lot I am learning. Lately I have been learning more about color. There are a lot of resources out there. My favorites so far are from Joen Wolfrom. A quote to tease you from one of her books:

"To my amazement, I found that I could learn wonderful color concepts from nature, and the same effects could be created in art by following nature's lead. "

For my batik quilt, I just picked from the basic pattern colors. It's easy that way, and I don't have to worry if the colors will match or anything. I love it. Then I did a table runner. On the bolt, the fabric looked great. But the finished table runner didn't have enough contrast for my taste. I like it, but I don't LOVE it. I made a quilt for my daughter, black and red and white. I love it-- but it's a tried and true combination. Other quilts have been scrappy ones, just squares, nothing brave. Purses don't take much color sense, they are usually just one fabric, maybe two. I made one purse out of upholstery fabric swatches; easy, all one color family.

Now I want to do at least one quilt in my lifetime that is Absolutely Stunning. Maybe that's everybody's desire! I am not fooling myself, there's a lot to learn. But I watch customers in the shop and take mental notes of what they like and don't like. It's always wonderful when someone comes in and picks colors that really go together for ME-- then of course I want to buy it all and make something.

I see that we all choose totally different color palates. When Diane and I are choosing fabrics, she's focusing on the yellows, pinks, greens-- they stand out for her. The rich blues and greens and purples are my favorites. Both of us melt when it comes to batiks. Some people aren't that fond of batiks (imagine that, lol!) They may choose 30's, or Asians, or Civil War prints.

Really, I don't have to please anyone but MYSELF. Even when I am quilting for someone else, I am giving a piece of ME. I think it's harder trying to please someone else's taste.

So I will keep looking at books about color, and try to keep an open mind and let you know what I find.

About Me

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just a crafty grandma experimenting with all sorts of things. My main interests are paper craft of any kind and quilting/sewing. But I've done leatherwork, polymer clay, on-the-wheel pottery, painted molded ceramics, papier mache, stained glass, plaster casting, linoleum printing, paper making... you name it, I've probably tried it. A few I actually stuck with. :)