Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sewing Things Not Flat

It's that time of year when the trip to Houston is looming and I HAVE to get my garments made.  Yes, I've had the fabrics for 2 months, and yes, I've put it off but now I have to get going.

So I stopped making quilt things and started making clothes things, which are not flat.  Flat is easier.

First, I worked with a collection of fabric from Cotton + Steel, a new division of RJR Fabrics.  We were introduced to this line at Spring Market and the 5 great young women who made this happen--see their story here.  I bought a pattern which used lots of pieces, a good way to showcase this more modern line.  I should have known there would be a problem when it took 5 hours to trace the pattern and then cut out all the pieces.  After another 4 hours of construction, I was able to try on the body of the jacket and it was NOT going to fit properly.  I made one sleeve and it was absolutely NOT going to fit.  So, stop now, waste not another minute on this project.  The next day I took my rotary cutter to it, cutting out the largest hunks of fabric and went to my go-to garment, a simple vest that is easy and fits. 

One down, one more to go.  This time the fabric is a beautiful line from Moda, designed by French General.  It's a new line, Rue Indienne, not shown on the website yet. And best of all, a few pieces were available in a great linen.  Once again I used a new pattern, a very simple jacket pattern, and one that was sure to fit.  I bought a beautiful lining fabric, Radiance by Robert Kaufman, half silk, half cotton.  Lovely stuff.  The pattern was much easier than the last jacket fiasco, and not only did it fit, it was BIG!  That never happens.  And the linen fabric is hefty and so, guess what?  This garment is like a fall outdoors jacket, way too hot to wear running all over the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston.  Oh, NO!  Now I have to make yet another garment. 

Back to my old trusty vest pattern.  Fortunately, I had 2 yards of another red from French General, the same linen, and it worked nicely in the vest:

As this is the 40th anniversary of International Quilt Festival in Houston, the Ruby Jubilee, we are featuring red everywhere.  So this vest will work most of the time.  It fits, it's comfy and it's certainly red.

Now I want to make a red rayon blouse to go under the French General garments, and a small purse from the French General scraps.  And another quick garment I have to make for a fabric designer.  So there is much to do in the next 3 weeks before flying way south to Houston.

Flat is easier than not flat!

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Few New Projects

I'm still working on the Simple What Nots quilts for the Club we are doing at my local quilt shop.  Here are the latest I've gotten done:
Widdlytinks, with buttons instead of Yo-yos, 12" x 15"

Hopscotch with applique' center--a pieced center is an alternate variation
28" square

There is one more to finish then I can take a short breather.  This first collection club was so popular we are doing it again, January to June 2015.  See Collection 2 from Henry Glass Fabrics here. 

A look at the happy folks with their little quilts done--I love when they change the pattern to make it their own, adding borders or extra rows, making a placemat, changing colors, what fun:

In between this I made a small quilt "Inspired by Gee's Bend".  Our 2015 quilt guild show will have a special exhibit of quilts inspired by Gee's Bend quilts that will be for sale.  The committee will be meeting again soon and I wanted to have this "flimsy" made to give them an idea of what can be done.  All of them must be 24" square.  Here is my first one:

It was so much fun I'll be making at least one more.  One will be donated to the special exhibit sale and one I think I'll enter in the show.  It was hard for me to do "wonky"--you'll notice the borders got straighter the more I added. 

Four weeks from today I'll arrive in Houston.  I look forward to this so much every year and this year is just extra special.  So much to do before then so I've got to get busy!

Let's Quilt!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beach Vacation--I'm Good!

The last time I had a week's vacation at the beach was 30 years ago when we took our two young sons to the Outer Banks of NC.  I was more than ready for another beach vacation.

To celebrate my "retirement" from H&R Block, last winter I told my husband I was going to spend a week at the Gulf coast.  If he wanted to come with me, that was fine; if he didn't, I was going by myself with my sewing machine, and that was fine too.  He is no fan of the beach.  He decided he would go and we had a wonderful, relaxing time.

He has family who live in Gulfport/Biloxi/Ocean Spring, MS, so that was our destination.  I found a great condo to rent at the Legacy Towers.  The Towers are right on Hwy 90, Beach Blvd, and it was easy to cross the street to get to the beach.  Three swimming pools, spa, fitness room, fully supplied kitchen, full size washer and dryer--just like being home except there's a BEACH out the balcony.

We drove the 7 hours down the Sunday before Labor Day and got settled by late afternoon.  Then we headed out for dinner along with everyone else who was enjoying the weekend at the beach and had to wait a while for our first seafood meal.  No worries, we're on vacation!

The next day I learned I really had picked a great week for the beach--everyone left.  For the rest of the week, I was the only person on the beach, the only person in the pool after that, and we never waited for a meal again.  The weather was perfect, the Gulf water was warm, it was all good.  We relaxed all week, reading, napping,  the biggest decision each day was where to eat.  We met up with family twice for dinner.  We went to a movie.  We just took life easy at the beach.  Lovely!

We made one trip, a boat excursion to Ship Island, 11 miles off-shore.  There is an old Fort there, Fort Massachusetts, and it's part of the National Seashore.  A park ranger accompanied us on the one hour boat ride out there and then gave a tour of the Fort for those interested.  The first tour was for 3 couples, and of the six of us, four of us had served on active duty, so we kept asking questions, and he kept giving us info.  At the end he said we held the record for the longest tour ever--an hour and a half--he usually wraps it up in 45 minutes.  Then we went to the beautiful beach beyond the fort and enjoyed the water there.  I found a few shells but the two beautiful ones had live hermit crabs in them and it is a big No-No to take anything living, flora or fauna, from a National Park so I returned them to the sea.  It was a great day, even though I got a little fried from the sun. 

Though I took a lot of handwork with me, I didn't touch it until the last day when I had finished the book I was enjoying and really needed to get a small project wrapped up.   All in all, it was a wonderful vacation, one I hope we repeat next year, and even my husband had a good time--he mostly just needed to relax as he is still working, way too hard and too long. 

Here are a few shots: How I Spent My Summer Vacation:

Afernoon nap location

View from our balcony of one of the 3 pools

Comfy living room

Lunch:  hummus, crackers, chips, salsa and WINE

One of several rays in the water at Ship Island

A bunch of starfish floated by--near the ladies foot

We didn't plan to both wear lime green shirts on the same day, really!
Back to real life and it's quilting time again--let's quilt!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Design Wall Monday September 8, 2014

While on vacation last week, I finished the applique' for a future Simple What Nots Club quilt--I am coordinating the Kim Diehl Simple What Nots Club at our local shop.  For more info, see here.

This one has instructions for both a pieced and this applique' center--you choose which you prefer.  I have another outer border to go, then this one is done.  I used 3 different methods for sewing on the vines, two by machine, one by hand.  I prefer to fold bias vines in thirds, then stitch in place, rather than use bias bars as the instructions say to do.  In class, I provide as many options as I can think of so students can choose or even learn a new favorite.

Hope to finish this one this week and I'm currently hand-appliqueing another one, Tiddlywinks!

Class is this Friday night so I have to prepare a few samples to demo this one:

Idaho Lily
Let's quilt!


Quilt!Knit!Stitch! Portland 2014

Quilts Inc. held the first Quilt!Knit!Stitch! Show in Portland, OR in mod-August, 2014.  If you are interested in any of the needle arts, there was something for you.


Wonderful exhibit of children's clothes from Switzerland:

There was a terrific exhibit of Kaffe Fassett Sweaters I must not have gotten a photo of--loved them!

Each day at 1 pm there was a Style Show that was very popular.  The garments were different each day and professional models walked the runway.  Garments were on display on the show floor, different garments each day.

Diane Kimono Dress, Serendipity Studio, Kay Whitt, designer

Great vendors:

Superior Thread

Patterns for sewing/needlework bags

The Education Team at our Community Garden

Big shows like this don't often come to the Pacific Northwest.  If you are anywhere in the West, plan to attend next year, August 13-15, 2015.   
Three of us stayed over a day to see some of Portland: 

At the lovely Rose Garden in Washington Park

Everybody has to do Voodoo Doughnuts once!
Hope to see YOU in Portland next year!
Let's Quilt!