Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Hoffman Challenge Eye Candy Quilts

If you didn't see my original blog post about the terrifically talented Pratt sisters, go right back here and read it now. Both Kim and Karen use the Hoffman Challenge as an opportunity to try out new quilting tools and techniques.

This post is the sequel, containing Kim's previous Hoffman Challenge entries. To see her sister Karen's previous entries in the Hoffman Challenge, visit Karen's website here.
Kim's 1999 entry, Starburst, which is paper pieced.
Kim's 2003 entry, Cherry Blossom Festival, her own design.
Kim's 2004 entry, An American Symbol, featuring fusible applique.
This pattern was designed by my friends Kim G. and Lynne G.
Kim's 2006 entry, Cats in Baskets, which is paper pieced and has free motion applique.
The pattern is Peekaboo Cats by Love Quilt Patterns.

Kim's 2007 entry, In the Garden. This quilt is a traditional design featuring curved piecing.
Kim's 2008 entry, Endless Ribbons. This quilt is heavily quilted with a
mirror image of the leaf design and uses the Xblock ruler.
Kim's 2012 entry, Branching Out, an original pattern by her sister Karen.
This quilt features a hand embroidered tree with hand buttonhole applique and buttons.
You can purchase this pattern here at QuiltLily Designs.
I hope that Kim and Karen's quilts have inspired you to enter the next Hoffman Challenge! The quilting gauntlet (aka white glove) has been thrown!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Checking in with my Thursday Girls

I haven't seen my Thursday friends for at least a month. My kimono jacket class took up several weeks, and on more than one occasion, the air conditioning was broken at our quilting location, so our get together was cancelled.

Beth was trying out a tutorial for a Double Friendship Star that she had seen at the Missouri Quilt Company. She is planning to make this quilt for a friend, so she made a sample block to try the technique and see if she liked her color choices. It's always a good idea to make a sample block!
The colors are just lovely. They remind me of wine.
It's a winner in my book! Beth was pleased with her finished block. The actual quilt will use smaller, 2.5 inch strips. You can watch the video below.

Karen, who is one of our fastest sewers, whipped up this cute little bag for her stepson's girlfriend. The bag is from Amy Butler's book, Style Stitches. Note that Karen enlarged the pattern by 140% (this was the largest setting on her copy machine), the one shown in the book looks more like a change purse.
This darling little bag has a zippered top.
A couple of the girls were getting ready for the holidays (apparently there are only 18 Fridays left until Christmas!). Nancy Q. is making an adorable applique for Christmas with these cute little mice riding on a train. Nancy's grandson, Ethan, loves trains.
The pattern is called Christmas Express and it is by Holly Hill Quilt Designs.

Ginny is starting a cross stitch pattern that quotes Thomas Jefferson, "I cannot live without books." It will be a Christmas gift for her son.

Ginny is doing her third annual Susan G. Komen 60 mile Breast Cancer walk next month. Go Ginny!
Here is Toni helping Aggy with her table runner.
Here are Judi and Toni sewing away! Judi was working on
tote bags and Toni was making a baby quilt.

Do you ever wonder why sometimes our seams are not straight?
We do sew in a bar...
I worked on my Pink Lemonade Scrap Wave that you've already seen several times, here and here. I have two more panels to finish before I assemble the top. I'm ready to finish it so that I can start work on my blue and purple one.

We missed Pat who was lounging at the beach instead of quilting.

In other exciting news:

Romeo and Elvis are suffering no long term side effects from their experimentation with marijuana.
Elvis on the grass, instead of eating grass.
Romeo (ditto)
I got new sneakers! (I bet you can hear them screaming my name!)
Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Am I Blue?

You bet I am! And Purple too!

Remember this blog post? I finally got around to cutting out all these little lovelies! I'm bringing this project with me when I go on vacation in a few weeks.

All laid out on the cutting table
I am going to make a Queen size reversible quilt that I am keeping for me, me, me, and Mike. One side will be a Scrappy Bargello, the other side will be a Yellow Brick Road. All of these fabrics came from my Stash and it didn't make the tiniest dent. Who cares?

I cut out a bunch of strips with Joannie on Monday night and then finished the rest of my cutting last night. Mike made the most delicious egg white omelets for dinner with home grown tomatoes from our garden.
Handsome husband who cooks! Does it get any better than that?
And check out his fabulous apron!

We have six different kinds of heirloom tomatoes in our garden.
They are all different colors: red, orange and green.
Here is some more fabric porn if you can't get enough of the jewel colored batiks like me!

I'm a sucker for anything with a bow, even if it's my own fabric!
Can never get enough blue and purple!!!
All boxed up and ready to travel!
Maybe this is the best photo? It's hard to get 44 batiks in one picture!
I'm really curious to see what this quilt looks like when it's completed. As you may have noticed, my favorite color value is medium. I did throw in a couple of almost solid dark batiks and a few on the lighter side for contrast. Overall, I'm hoping that it is just a jewel colored cascade of loveliness.

There are a couple of very special fabrics in this quilt. I made my parents a pair of quilts 12 years ago for their 40th anniversary. My Mom and I picked out the fabrics together. I bought half yards instead of fat quarters, so I could keep half for a future quilt for myself. So there are a few of those fabrics in my future quilt. The only photo I have of my parents' quilt was in the blog several years ago, but it is extremely blurry. I'll take a new one when I visit them in Florida this winter.

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

I first read about 10 Quilty Little Secrets on Tanya's blog and was pleased to see that she had included the original source for this sweeping web phenomenon, 13 Spools, who has now added a Linky Party! I'm having a blast reading everyone's true quilting confessions and I encourage you to add your own.

Here's my top 10. Remember, what happens on the blog, stays on the blog.

1. I like big rotary cutters and I can not lie. I use that 60 mm blade for everything! Cutting is one of my favorite quilting tasks. I also love gadgets, especially rulers.

2. I'm a thread snob and converted to Aurifil a couple of years ago. It is expensive, but it takes me a while to go through a spool. I use the basic grey for all my piecing.

3. I re-read my own blog. Otherwise, I can't remember what I did the week before...

4. To quote my friend Margaret, "I don't do hand-jobs." I sew all my bindings by machine, front and back. Life's too short to stop and hand sew. That's why I have no buttons on my pants.

5. I don't quilt anything larger than a baby quilt, and even then I am limited to straight lines using a walking foot. I've never mastered free motion quilting, although I admire it, and I send all my quilts out to be professionally machine quilted. Yes, this can be an expensive hobby.

6. I think that current fabric prices are crazy. I'm not about to start de-boning plaid shirts from Goodwill, but I've stopped buying fabric on "spec", unless I am buying it for under $5 a yard.

7. Despite quilting secret #6, I have more fabric than I will ever sew in 10 life times. I also have enough UFOs to go to the moon and back.

8. I don't "get" mug rugs. Really?

9. I've taken a class with Kaffe Fassett. I still love his fabric and his books, but he's not the nicest guy. Brandon Mably, however, is a great big teddy bear. Remember, this is my blog and my opinion, you're entitled to your own.

10. I don't like to fuss around and make individual quilt blocks with a zillion pieces. I prefer strip piecing. Two of my favorite patterns that use this technique, that I make frequently are Yellow Brick Road and Scrappy Bargello. Scrappy Bargello is a free pattern on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website. I LOVE Bonnie Hunter (and yes, I've taken a class with her and she is VERY NICE!). That being said, Bonnie does have a passion for scrap blocks with a zillion pieces...

Sorry, I'm on a roll and I can't stop.

11. There are always LifeSavers and chocolate in my Studio. Every artist needs fuel.

Fess up fellow quilters! What are your 10 Quilty Little Secrets!

Linking up to 13 Spools, Freemotion by the River, and Sew Fresh Quilts. Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dancing with Joy!

The Pugs and I are dancing with joy--the Pug Pack is the winner this year over at Lily Pad Quilting's Pets on Quilts Show in the Dogs on Quilt category. And for shamelessly pandering the Pug Pack, yet again, (Elvis and LarryPug are now shopping for an Agent), I won a $50 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop! Hooray! Thanks for voting for us!

LarryPug at the park.
Romeo at dog camp last summer.
Elvis on the living room sofa.
Happy National Dog Day!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy, Romeo, Elvis and LarryPug

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Everypuggy Must Get Stoned!

This is a scary story with a happy ending.

On Friday night I came home after having my hair done. Mike greeted me at the door with, "Romeo threw up and Elvis threw up twice." Since I had taken the pugs to the park that afternoon and they had foraged in the woods, it wasn't a surprise. The pugs go off leash in the park every day. They don't always go up into the wooded area, but on Friday afternoon they had spent some quality time there. I don't go in after them because the woods are full of poison ivy.

We took them outside in case they had to throw up again. That's when I noticed that both Elvis and Romeo were swaying back and forth in an odd manner. I called my dog expert friend Cindy who agreed that it wasn't normal and off to the veterinary hospital we went.

We spent some quality time (and a whole lotta money) here on Friday night.
Daddy and LarryPug came along for moral support.
Elvis didn't like the flash.
Romeo hid under the bench.
We are fortunate to have three 24-hour veterinary facilities within a 20 minute drive of our house. We went to the VCA in Weymouth because both Romeo and Elvis had been seen there before, so our records were on file. Although it felt like we were there for a couple of days, it was more like an hour and a half. The staff was loving and kind, and the dog care was excellent.

Both the vet tech and the veterinarian offered us the same diagnosis, "Was is possible that Romeo and Elvis had ingested marijuana?" Really, the pugs were stoned? Well that explained why they were acting like drunken sailors. Sure, it was possible. The local teenagers party in the park at night, so it was likely they had left the pugs a little present. The vet explained that even a tiny bit, like the end of a joint would have been enough. (Please note that the marijuana was NOT at our house).
My blogging friend Lara sent me this cartoon from Pinterest.
We left the pugs there for 24 hour observation. They did blood work, gave them charcoal (to prevent any toxins from binding), and gave them IV fluid. I was able to pick them up on Saturday at 5pm. When I went there to pick them up I ran into a coworker whose dog had ingested weed killer. Luckily her dog had recovered and she was being picked up too.
The scene of the crime
We went back to the park today, but when we got close to the woods, all the puggies were put on leash!
Here we are this morning trying to gather
the three pugs for a photo with Daddy.
Photo shoot in progress. Here is Mike with Elvis and LarryPug
A successful photo with Daddy and LarryPug. Elvis is actually behind
LarryPug in the photo, but is hidden from view.
I am happy to report that Romeo and Elvis are fully recovered. LarryPug enjoyed his brief chance at being an only child, but we think that he was happy when his pug brothers returned.

Don't let your poochies (or kitties) eat marijuana!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Playing Hooky

Last night I played hooky from my Kimono Jacket class and kidnapped my husband from the train station instead. While this sounds kind of drastic, my husband was happy to be "kidnapped" and taken to Pizzeria Uno for dinner (I treated), where he enjoyed a 20 oz Sam Adams on draft and a steak and shrimp combo. I had the Chicago Classic mini pizza and shared a cookie sundae with Mike for dessert as he finished off his giant beer.
This photo has absolutely nothing to do with my blog post, but it does add to the visual appeal.
From left to right: Elvis, LarryPug and Romeo share the large dog bed in my office.
I chose to skip my last class since I was running late at work and would have been late to class AND I really don't like my jacket in progress. So I've decided to take it apart (it's only basted) and cut it out using a pattern that fits me well which will look better than the unshapely work in progress. Had I known that the class was based on "no pattern", I wouldn't have signed up for it. An unstructured jacket made of four rectangles may look good on a skinny to normal size person, but it doesn't flatter a plus-sized goddess like myself.

In keeping with my playing hooky theme, I am also skipping the last session of my Glacier Star class tomorrow morning. This class proved to be a little too much for me for the following reasons: 1. It's a 45 minute drive from my house (I know that those of you who don't live on the East, will not think that is far, but I hate to drive); 2. My class mates are cliquey (one woman is positively hateful) and I don't feel welcome (in fact it feels a lot like fourth grade); 3. There is too much homework and I haven't been able to keep up. For the record, I'm not giving up entirely, I have all the directions and will attempt this again when I'm not so stressed at work. My quilting paradigm is: if work is stressful, do easy quilt projects; if work is easy, do more challenging quilt projects. And right now work is stressful, so the projects need to be easy.

So tomorrow, I will sew with Marion and I will work on easy projects and all will be right with the world. And the next time I sign up to take a class, remind me NOT to unless I enlist a buddy to take it with me. And if you ever need help with rationalizations, give me a buzz, I'm great at them.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hoffman Challenge Quilts

My friends Kim and Karen Pratt have been entering the Hoffman Quilt Challenge for over 15 years. Both of their quilts have been selected for the traveling Hoffman Challenge Show for 2014. You can see Kim's quilt in person at the Houston Quilt Festival in November.

The Hoffman Challenge was started in 1988. You can read all about it on their website which is full of details, including the calendar for each group of traveling quilts, as well as a full list of names and where they are from. There are multiple categories for entry, from dolls to clothing to quilts. Each entry receives a pin unique to that year. The top winners receive cash prizes.
Kim's quilt, above, is Bordered Diamonds from Kaffe Fasset's book, Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts. She quilted it from the back using metallic threads and following the design on her backing fabric. I've seen this quilt in person and the photo does not do it justice.
The inspiration for Karen's quilt, Twists and Turns, came while she was working on a new design for her fall Berkshire Quilt's retreat project using charm squares as the feature fabric. She chose to scale the pattern down to better suit the size for the Hoffman Challenge. Karen fussy cut the set of four patches in each of the nine blocks. To see all of Karen's previous entries in the Hoffman Challenge, visit her website here.
Here are the terrifically talented Pratt sisters!
Karen is on the left, Kim is on the right.
 This is the Hoffman Challenge fabric that they had to use in their quilt entry.
Hoffman Challenge fabric 2014
The fabric for 2015 has already been chosen. Will you be entering?
2015 Hoffman Challenge fabric
Come back soon and let me know if you visited Karen's website to see her other Hoffman Challenge quilts. Kim sent me pictures of her entries from other years and I'm saving them to show you at a future date...

Linking up on Friday to Richard and Tanya Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inspiring Garments from the World Quilt Show

Marion, Joannie, Kim and I went to the Mancuso World Quilt Show on Sunday up in Manchester, NH. Joannie, aka the speed queen, drove (she can make that Prius fly!) and we arrived in no time at all. The show wasn't very crowded and we had a great time checking out all the vendors and seeing all the fabulous quilts.

I used to make a lot of quilted jackets and realized they were all made in my pre-blogging days, so I will need to start taking some pictures to share with you. As you know, I'm working on my kimono jacket, which has reawakened my quilted jacket bug.

In this post, I will show you some of the beautiful quilted garments from the show. I think that I took photos of most of the garments on display.

This jacket is Life's too short, eat dessert first, made by Leslie Peacock of Payson, AZ.
Obviously Leslie and I are kindred spirits, since that's my motto too!
This jacket is Think Pink by Mary Schwarzenberger of Milton, New Jersey.
If you've read my blog before, you know that pink is one of my favorite colors.
Here are some close-ups of the techniques in Mary's jacket.

 There was also this cute little moustache vest!
Moustache Magic vest by Fred Maitland of Cumberland, Maine. Quilted by his wife Beth.
There was a whole exhibit of Rachel Clark's jackets. There was no signage and I forgot to grab a show catalog. I will show you each jacket and a close-up. Each one was a festival of monochromatic color!

I hope that you enjoyed my virtual fashion show. Did you pick a favorite? I still have more photos to share, so I'll do a separate post on the quilts from the show soon.

Pugs and kisses,