Posts Tagged ‘quilts’

the big surprise

A month ago I took a big chance and entered a couple of quilts in the NW Quilt Expo in Portland. When the acceptance letter came, I got all excited: “We are pleased to announce that your quilt has been accepted into the show!” Whoopee! Wait – which one???   I called, gave my name and the woman in charge called back and said gleefully ‘both of them’ .  Not at all what I had expected.  Wow. So I get them dropped off via a friend who was making the trip to the big city.

Then,  a couple weeks ago the phone rings: “Hi, it’s Shelly from the NW Quilt Expo, and I was calling to invite you to our awards ceremony. We hope you can make it.”  “Uh, okay, sure, I’ll try to be there.” (The whole time I’m thinking that they are calling everyone who entered so that they can get an audience for the awards/ sell me something/ or who knows what.) Shelly then says ( because I sound so nonplussed) “I’m calling because you won! If you’re at the ceremony, I’ll hand you your certificate and an envelope with the cash.”   Did she say cash? Won? Wait – does she have the right person? I’ve been to that show, and truly the things I’ve seen there are nothing remotely like the work that I do. Incredible quilting, stunning design. I might get points for creativity, but the technical skills, well, lets just say I have a long ways to go.

So, last week I set out for Portland to go to the NW Quilt Expo. I picked up mom in Kelso ( she rode the train from Seattle) then we were on our way.  Of course a stop at Fabric Depot is somewhere in the unwritten rules of going anywhere near Portland, and we both found a few things – well, how can you not?

The next day we hit the Expo Center for the big show. They should have renamed it the explosion of all things glittery. I was sort of taken aback by the amount of metallic threads, crystals, and overall embellishment on the majority of the quilts.  This quilt won Best in Show with a mere 40,000!!! crystals added on: A close-up of the stitching and some of the crystals  and a small representation of the dense quilting from the back side      We walked around, visiting the vendors ( boosting the economy) and looking at the stunning quilts on display. There was indeed some amazing quilting on most of the entries. Like this:     and a close up shot: 

I found the first of my two entries    ‘Room with a View’ and no ribbon attached to it, so I knew that it was the little dresses that got the prize. When we found  ‘Dressing the Part’     I could barely contain my excitement.  There was a pretty pair of ribbons pinned to it ( why there were two on each of the winners, I don’t know???) that read “Judges Choice”.  Really? I must have hit a soft spot with another lover of vintage fabrics.  This quilt was certainly the plainest jane of all the quilts at the show. The only embellishment being the little embroidered hangers on each of the ninety-nine blocks.  And just a minimal amount of quilting.  Mom insisted on taking my picture with both quilts – it’s so cool to be a grownup and see your mom so proud of you.  And I was there for the award ceremony, and received my certificate and a sweet check.

We walked and shopped and looked and took pictures pretty much the whole day. I saw so many inspiring quilts, lots of really beautiful patterns and some awesome fabrics. There were notions that sort of made my head spin . Now truth be told, I am a notions junkie (just ask my friend Julie) – I love a new tool or gadget in my sewing room, in the kitchen or something to make painting just a little neater/easier. But this thing – I just stood there while the nice lady demonstrated it, my mouth open and dumbstruck for words. I started laughing a bit, then just stared at it for a few minutes trying to figure out who would spend the equivalent of five or more yards of fabric  on such a silly thing ( that you have to put batteries into!!!). I sort of thought my head would explode if I kept contemplating it. So we left.

Then it was north to Seattle for a few days.  I think I drove there on a cloud.                                                                                               With my proud mom.


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little sewing

 This past week or two I’ve gotten a little sewing done.
I made two little girls’ dresses using vintage patterns as a guideline. I changed a few things, and re-drafted the pieces some. Funny thing is that as garment sizes for women have changed, even in patterns, they’ve not changed for children. At all. If I’m using a fifty year old pattern for myself, I’d sew a size 20 or 22. In today’s patterns I sew a 12.  But for the last half century, a child size 2 has remained the same. Obviously it’s just us women that have the vanity issue.  Here are my two first test pieces:
       and     I like them, but they seem big for a size 2. I’ll make a few more and then, I need a model, which shouldn’t be too hard to find. Then I’ll list them on etsy.  
I also finished this baby quilt using scraps ( yay!) from my HHJJ quilt that I did last fall:
 It’s bright and cute and I love it.

After a lifetime of sewing you’d think I’d know by now that the planning of a project takes three times longer than the sewing sometimes.  I’ve been collecting selvages for a year now, and yesterday I pulled them out of the box and loosely sorted them out according to color. My piles look like this right now:     I’ve decided to attempt to make them into a spiderweb quilt . I’m going to do mine a little different, with both big and little spiderwebs in the blocks. We’ll see if I loose steam, although using selvages seems like less work than all the stitching and flipping that usually happens in making one of these quilts. I’ll do a few blocks today and see how it goes. I’ve begun to really use the ‘image’ tool when using google to search for an item for inspiration. Its an easy way to see hundreds of pictures without trolling through countless websites. 

I also need to make a quick couple of charity baby quilts before the next guild meeting. May is when the coordinator for the local DHS new baby wellness classes comes to pick them up. I can use up some of my fabric stash, and do some good at the same time. 

Time to get busy.

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 In keeping with the week’s them of quilt shows, if you want to see some amazing work, check out this link to the Tokyo Quilt Festival pictures. But, be warned, there is a ton of stuff there  ( 1551 tagged items, to be exact, and I haven’t looked at them all yet ).  There are so many fabrics used in their quilts that are uncommon here. Fine lightweight wools, silks of every sort, vintage kimono fabrics to die for ( mostly silks ) and of course cottons. I always used to associate quilts and quilting with the pioneer women of America, history-wise. And of course the frugality of depression-era quilting. And now there are ‘art quilts’ in abundance everywhere, but the Japanese have really taken quilting to another level.

I’m still pondering those wrapper bags. Maybe I’ll try out the process using some magazine pages, to get a better idea of how many of the Kettles Chips bags that I’d need. I went to sleep last night thinking about the orange, yellow and green ones and what cool patterns could be woven. Just maybe I could put a notice up on the big bulletin board at Jacks Country Store or in our local paper asking for them. Am I crazy? I think so, the idea is eating at my brain.  

Today is getting ready to go to Portland tomorrow morning. We put Richard6 on the plane to go to SD for a week. It will be oddly quiet, and I’ll miss him. Just maybe we’ll leave Sunny at the dog-sitter’s and spend the night in Portland and do a little sight seeing. 

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kite festival

On Saturday it was beautiful out, so we went to the Ilwaco farmer’s market, then on to the Kite festival in Long Beach. It is always the third week in August – usually a safe bet for nice weather here. We parked south of the main event, and walked along the great  long boardwalk to the main gig.   We were just a little too late for the ‘mass ascention’ of flat and bowed kites – but it was pretty impressive nonetheless. There were lessons – or not.  oops! guess someone didn’t plan for the tide?? coming in at the beach. And a few of these ( which we unfortunately didn’t see in action )  But it looked like that would be a really good time on an empty beach.
No handlebars – I assume that you hold the large kite which pulls you along, and you steer with the footpegs and the kite. Looks like way more fun for a tenth of the price – I found one here for under $600.
I was oddly mesmerized by the huge octopus kites – they are around 80 to 120 feet long and the tentacles float along with the wind. Personally I don’t understand spending $5-8K on a huge kite like that, but I’ll gladly watch.This seems to be the only one out there for such huge kites, and from the looks of it at Long Beach on Saturday, there is no shortage of buyers. Seems there are kite festivals everywhere along both coasts throughout the spring and summer. There is good video on youtube of the Berkley event where there are a lot of those gigantic kites.
I attempted a couple of videos:
This is one is a group of folks practicing for a quad competition.  
And this last one is a related video showing an attempted record event that we missed seeing-
I can only imagine the hours of practice needed to attempt to pull that off.
We only stayed a couple of hours – enough to get sunburned a bit.

That’s my big time out – back to the sewing room now. New quilt started; I hope to finish it in a week so I need to get busy.

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city time

Today we are driving into Seattle. We’ll stay until Saturday, giving us time to visit with family, and sort of act like tourists. Richard has never been to the Arboretum, so I’m hoping for one non-rainy day in there.

I’ll help Mom with the hanging of quilts for the big show for her guild on Wednesday, which means I get a good look at them as they go up.

I’m hoping that the President’s announcement regarding small business lending has the intended effect. We’ll think hard about revising our business plan and maybe take another stab at getting a loan. I joined the local quilt guild a few months back;  there is a lot of wishing for a fabric store here now that the exixting one has been closed for a couple months. One of the issues here is that there are a lot of retired people who have a chosen hobby that they want to spend money on, and now have no local shop to part with their dollars. 

One more word on the economy: Here I am, having made a decision to be positive – and yet the news – lets just say its making me totally crazy! Last week when the stock market went up, the news kept saying "the Dow is up, but it’s just one day, not a trend" . The same the next day, and the next – insisting that though the market was up, it didn’t mean anything. They were essentially denying what was happening. They would move off of the positive news so fast, then onto more, more, more negative crap. I really understand there is a lot of negative stuff happening, but there is merit in focusing on the positive.

Gotta get ready to go – it looks like a drive in the rain today.

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Here’s what I’ve been working on these last couple weeks.
On Saturday morning Richard and I hung the ‘new’ light over the dining table.
This started out as a big ugly lampshade that was given to me by the owner of a local thrift shop that we’ve donated a lot of stuff to. It was meant for a table lamp, I’m guessing some 40 years ago. It was covered in an off-white nubby textured cloth, and with large gaudy braid both top and bottom.
          I began by stripping off the trim, then the fabric, which caused the whole thing to totally come apart. So, I then made a pattern from it, and figured out what I wanted it to look like. I had the linen that is now covering it, and embroidered the designs from some that I had in the collection. That was the hardest part, laying out the sixteen embroideries, flipping and rotating as needed, and getting it all spaced evenly around what was a large, curved piece of fabric. This was about eight hours of embroidery time, over a couple days. Then, I had to figure out how to reassemble it all, this time with a diffuser on the bottom ( of an ivory colored linen ).  Richard used some of the insides of a light fixture that was once in the garage, and was able to make it work with the frame. It illuminates the table well, and I think it works perfectly with the curtains. Yeah, I know its a little kitchy, but I’m happy with it.  Slowly, we will get all of the lighting changed out in this house.

The other thing that I finished was this little ‘quilt’ for a friend of mine ( she has a pug ) :
 and because I liked it so much, I made a second one to keep: It is small – only about 15 x 18 inches, and is meant to hang on the wall. It was a pattern that I bought, and it worked like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s appliqued, and stitched down with matching thread- here is a detail shot:   and   

The best part of working on these things is that it gets me thinking of other things that I want to make. I have some clothes to alter for myself, and at least a couple of real, bed-sized quilts that have been started, planned, or cut out. Now to decide what’s at the top of the list.

Maybe a walk on the beach, since it’s still beautiful weather.

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