Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pugs in the Garden Finished Row

Here is my finished row ready to be submitted for the Row by Row adventure. All the machine applique is complete! The flower designs are from a book called, Table Please by Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart. The pug design is from Swap Quilts Thru The Year by Lyn Brown (this was a free e-book that someone shared with me, sorry, can't find a link).
I am thrilled with it!
Here are some close-ups. I used the blanket stitch (default setting) on my Bernina 1260 and used Mettler cotton thread, 50 weight. I fused my applique shapes to the background and used tear away interfacing on the back. All my fabrics are batik except for the black pug.

My row goes to my friend Pat next. Can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Linking up on Wednesday with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Almost As Good As Being There...

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is having a very special quilt exhibit. The Pilgrim/Roy Collection is on display and it will run until July 27, 2014. The exhibit focuses on color. Ironically, my husband Mike has already been to the exhibit and he told me it was great. His parents were visiting a few weeks ago and Mike took the day off from work and they visited the museum together. Mike's Dad is an artist and Mike's Mom is really into art too. Mike's Dad used to own an advertising agency and at age 83, he still goes to his studio every day to paint.

Mike took a whole bunch of photos for me but his cell phone broke and he hadn't saved them to his computer. Today, my coworker Scott told me that he went to the quilt exhibit over the weekend with his wife. He took a few photos because he knows that I am a quilter and sent them to my email. He is neither an artist, nor a quilter, and yet he was bowled over by the exhibit.
Scott liked the bold graphics in this red and green quilt.
Scott was fascinated by the embroidery in the center of these log cabin
blocks as well as the use of light and dark fabrics to form shadows.
Scott also liked the contrast in this quilt and wanted to point
out to me the tiny stitching (aka quilting) in this piece.
My husband liked the same quilt as Scott. He sent me
this photo in a text message before his phone died.
I can't wait to go to the Museum and see it. Mike said the exhibit was so good he was willing to go again to see it with me.

If you can't get there in person, you can view this small portion in a slide show. There is also a book on the exhibit.
This gorgeous Double Wedding ring is the icon for the exhibit.
Marion and I are planning a visit on Monday, May 19th. Let me know if you want to join us! I promise to take a lot of photos to share!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bright Lights, Big City

This past weekend, my darling husband Mike whisked me off to New York City as a belated 50th birthday gift. We took the train on Friday morning and arrived in NYC around 2pm. After a quick nap to refresh ourselves, we headed out for a delicious 4-course Italian dinner and to an 8pm showing of The Book of Mormon. It was hilarious. Mike treated me to great seats in the Orchestra section. We really enjoyed it.

The next day, we had breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner, which was around the corner from our hotel in Times Square. We could even see it from our room. Usually there is a line around the block, but we hit it just right and didn't have to wait. It was a fun place. All the waiters and waitresses sing and dance throughout your whole meal. I had my favorite, chocolate chip pancakes. They were yummy!
This is our waiter performing a duet with one of the other waitresses.
They are standing on a very small ledge between the booths.
The diner is two stories high. You can see the upper level behind them.

Definitely worth a visit if you're in NYC. Handsome husband Mike caught in profile at lower right.

The girl seated next to us was kind enough to take our photo.
We enjoyed The Book of Mormon so much that on Saturday morning we decided to buy tickets for another show. I picked Kinky Boots because we had both enjoyed the movie and I figured at least the costumes would be great. We saw the 2pm matinee and laughed through another great performance. The show was lots of fun, and I'd definitely recommend it. Wish I could get a pair of those fabulous boots (with a lower heel of course)!

And since it was birthday treat weekend, Mike also took me to  The City Quilter. I never pass up an opportunity to go there! I got to meet blogger Chrissie from Made by Chrissie D. She works at The City Quilter and was just darling. I introduced myself and told her that I was one of her many blog readers. She showed me some samples of new fabric due to arrive at the shop. I bought some Star Trek fabric (future quilt for brother Jeff) and some more New York fabric that is custom designed by the shop. I also bought my first piece of echino fabric in a camera print for Mike.

Too quickly our weekend was over, and we headed home on Sunday afternoon. Our three pugs were delighted to have us back home and we were warmly welcomed with a pug serenade by Elvis and pug cuddles from all three snuggle pugs.

Thanks for all the nice comments on my previous blog. I will write back soon!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pugs in the Garden Row by Row

Next month my Brown Baggers Quilt Group is kicking off a Row by Row challenge organized by the newly-retired Nancy D. Nancy had so many responses that she ended up forming two groups of five people. A Row by Row is similar to a Round Robin. Each person will create a row. The next person adds a row, and so on. If I've counted on my fingers correctly, I think that I will get my completed quilt top back in October.

It took me a while to get my project going. My theme is Pugs in the Garden. I've always wanted to make a pug quilt. I added the garden component so my fellow sewing swappers would have plenty of ideas to work with.

I started playing around with ideas on Tuesday night. This is what I started with.
Pug Flower Power!
I liked it. It was feelin' kind of groovy. I brought my husband Mike into the Studio for a second opinion. Mike is also very artistic and creative and has a really good color sense having worked in the printing industry for over 20 years. Mike immediately suggested a darker background. That was a good idea!

We experimented with a few green batiks to suggest grass, but in the end, this gorgeous turquoise won out. Now my pugs are really popping against this pretty background. Mike also thought that the flowers should have stems, so I cut up some green batik and moved things around some more. And since there were stems, I decided to add leaves as well.

I experimented with different flower arrangements some more on Wednesday night. I tried putting the stems on top of the pugs, as shown on the right, to suggest that they were among the flowers, but Mike didn't like it. I really like the scale of the small pugs with the giant flowers.

 Still playing. Trying to add maximum flower power for lots of color!
This is where my Row by Row is headed. My applique is in progress. I've got all the stems and leaves done and both of the fawn colored pugs. I still have four large flowers, two small flowers and the black pug to blanket stitch.

Here is my real life quilt inspiration!

Romeo, age 12.

Elvis, age 11.

LarryPug, age 5.
I'm so excited about this project. I usually follow a pattern, so I really had to channel my inner artistry to get this project going. I'm really looking forward to working on my friends' rows. Joannie is doing a sewing theme. I've seen her starting row and it is really great too! I don't think I can show you the rows in progress because it is supposed to be a surprise, so you will probably have to wait for the big reveal this Fall!

I hope that all of your quilting projects are going well! Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Richard and Tanya Quilts. Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River. Thanks so much for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Glacier Star, Techniques 1 and 2

In February, I attended my first technique class for the Glacier Star. At the end of the day, I had made one block.
The actual quilt that I am working on is in the background of the photo, or you can see it in detail here. I found the paper piecing quite intense, and when I got home from class I was mentally worn out!

For homework, I had to finish seven more of these units, which are similar to a New York Beauty block. If you look at the quilt behind me, you can see that these blocks surround the points of the star. Fortunately for me, our March class got rescheduled, so I had an extra month to get my homework done.

I want to thank everyone for all of their nice comments on my previous post about this class. You really encouraged me to go finish my homework! I'm really pleased with the Judy Niemeyer paper piecing techniques. All of my curved pieces went together perfectly!

Friday morning, I finished almost all of my homework.
Seven blocks completed out of eight.

This block has a bald spot. See the white paper
showing at the bottom right? Luckily, my teacher
has shown me how to fix it.
This past Saturday, my class met again and we worked on Technique 2. This month, I managed to finish two blocks.

I'm smiling because I got two blocks done this time! My teacher, Ginny Radloff, is on the right.
These curvy flying geese blocks will go around the center of the star. Only six more to go before my next class in May. Ginny also demonstrated how to do Technique 6, which are the smaller flying geese on the outside border of the star. There are a lot of these to make, (one of my fellow students estimated we need to make 48--yikes!), so she is encouraging us to work on these whenever we can. I will have to make additional flying geese units to make my queen size version, so I'd better get to sewing!

Hope you are all having a great day! Adding a link on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday. Adding a link on Wednesday to Sew Fresh Quilts: Let's Bee Social. Thanks for visiting! Your comments make my day!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Attempting the Glacier Star

After my love affair with my Bali Bedrunner (still not done), in December, I was quick to sign up for a class called Glacier Star with Ginny Radloff (my new favorite quilt teacher). The class meets once a month at Emma's Quilt Cupboard in Franklin for six months. You learn a new technique every month. This is what the finished quilt looks like. More information on this quilt can be found here.
This photo is from Quiltworx's website. Isn't this gorgeous?
Of course, I decided that I wanted to make mine bigger, so I opted for the version with extra borders so that I could make it for our bed. File this idea under, "What was I thinking?".
This quilt was made by Becky Ball who was on Quiltmaker's
Scrap Squad in 2013. She blogs at Becky's Quilt Obsession.
My class met in January and picked out fabric for our quilts. This took several hours because the quilt has a lot of different fabrics in it. I am working with batiks. I love them because they don't fray and the colors are the same on both sides. In paper piecing, sometimes I get mixed up on what side of the fabric is supposed to be facing up, so this way it won't matter. I love my color choices. The little paper slips seen in the photo below help you keep track of where each fabric is supposed to go in your quilt. The blue fabric on the far right is a wonderful batik in blues, greens and purples that reminds me of peacock feathers. That is my focus fabric and outer border and I pulled all my other color choices from it. The lavender and light blue will be different background colors, along with the dark purple.
Let's just say that this is the most money I have ever
spent at a quilt shop in a single day.
Our class met once in February and I'll write about that in a forthcoming post. Our March class got cancelled, which was good for me since I was still working on The Job That Ate My Brain and couldn't focus on much else.

Today, I have passed on another exciting road trip with Joannie and Marion to the MQX Quilt Festival  in Manchester, NH, in order to stay home and work on my class homework. We are meeting again next Saturday. I also have to do some baking for Passover.

I hope that you have a great day and that I have some progress to report to you when the weekend is over!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Adding links on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and Sew Many Ways. Thanks for visiting! I love to hear from you.

P.P.S. Got some quilting homework done on Saturday. New blog post soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April Quilt of the Month

Here is my April Quilt of the Month.
The antique feeling of this quilt fits right in with our white headboard.
This quilt is almost as antique as it looks. I started this quilt in the summer of 1996 in a scrap quilt class with Pat Fay at the long defunct Quilter's Nook in West Roxbury, MA. I think it is one of my first collaborative quilts with my friend Marion. We each made two identical nine patch blocks and then swapped them with each other to bolster our fabric selections. All of the fabric came from our respective fabric stashes. This is one of the very rare occasions where my quilt is finished and Marion's is not. Usually it is the other way around.

This pattern is simply a nine patch block alternating with an hour glass block. The colors in my hour glass are consistent throughout: a tiny floral and a cream colored solid. The cream colored solid is also used in each nine patch block.
As usual, the quilt colors are complimented by the tapestry over our bed.

Click on this photo for a close-up of the beautiful quilting.
The wonderfully talented Monty Haubold machine quilted this for me on her long arm back in 2002. I finally finished this quilt in 2004. This is the only quilt that I have ever entered in a quilt show. It hung at Images, a juried quilt show, in Lowell, MA in 2005. I was very proud. Sadly, Monty had a stroke several years ago and is not able to machine quilt any more. Her daughter,  my good friend Kate Mitchell, continues to offer machine quilting services, and her son Justin is also part of the family machine quilting enterprise.

This is the first quilt that I ever put an appliqued border on, and I think it took me more time to make the border than the entire center of the quilt. There are 40 flowers in total in the border. Each one took me about an hour and a half to two hours to machine applique. Each flower has eight pieces in it. For me, this is quite elaborate. I used a heavy thread called Jeans Stitch by YLI which makes my blanket stitch applique really stand out.
Pretty little flowers all in a row.

A close-up of a border flower. Look at Monty's beautiful echo quilting.
Perhaps this lovely floral bordered quilt will help bring springtime to Boston! We are very tired of winter.

Linking up on Thursday to My Quilt Infatuation: Needle and Thread Thursday. Adding a link on Friday to Richard and Tanya Quilts, CrazyMom Quilts and to Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

March and April Show and Tell

Here is some of the work from my talented friends in my Brown Bagger Quilt group. I got together with them last Sunday. Below is the Show and Tell from April.
Marion, at right, made this brightly colored flannel
Yellow Brick Road quilt for her 8 year old grandson.
Now, all it needs is a binding.
Beautifully quilted by our friend Kim P.

She used up her leftover pieces on the back.
Looks like a modern art quilt!

Valerie put the binding on this yummy black and pink quilt,
but I believe that her daughter, Kristen made the top.
It is for Valerie's granddaughter. If she doesn't like it,
Valerie can always give it to me. I love pink and black!
Next up for Show and Tell is my friend Pat, the Bag Queen. She finished two diaper bags at our Sunday meeting and emailed me a third finish yesterday.
Unfortunately this photo is blurry, but I can assure you that the bag is lovely.
Pat made this bag with the leftover fabric from her new kitchen curtains.

Love the chevrons!
Here is Pat's third finish (in two days) with pink and grey chevrons.
We interrupt Show and Tell to bring you some pug photos:
LarryPug, on left, and Elvis have not finished any quilting projects this month.

Romeo, age 12, says that he needs to be in the blog too.
Here are some more fabulous finishes from my 3-day Big 50 Birthday Party Weekend last month:
This is an original pattern designed by my friend Kate
of Kate Mitchell Quilts which was given to all the
party-goers as a party favor. Isn't it great?

This is a brand new pattern design by Kate called Into the Woods.
Check it out on her website here, it looks completely different in woodsy colors.
Marion put together some old birthday blocks in jewel tone batiks.

Lexine is all smiles because she finished the top of her lovely autumnal batik quilt.

This is Cordula's finished quilt in 30's prints.

These are my birthday blocks from last year all assembled into a top.
I definitely need a border. I think I will add piano keys in animal prints.
Maybe I will use that 3 yard piece of leopard print that I just bought for the backing.

This quilt was made by the talented Joanne S., who then
gave it to our friend Nancy D., after she greatly admired it!
It is a 4-patch posy made in corals and gray. Our friend Terri
taught us this technique in a workshop a couple of years ago.

This crazy quilt was made by Kim P.'s grandmother.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I got a lot of wonderful visitors and comments on my Road Trip! blog today from my link to Sew Fresh Quilts! Welcome to my newest followers: Tempest, Kelly, Janie, and Chrissie.

Pugs and kisses,