Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving prayer

Franciscan Starburst teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl

A couple years ago my grandmother presented my with a stack of index cards, requesting that a write a prayer to say before the Thanksgiving meal. By stack, I mean at least half a dozen cards: she evidently thought I was going to prepare a heartfelt, touching, lengthy statement on the bounty of the previous year and hopefulness for that ahead.

She should have known better. I don't do sentimental.

This is what she got:
Dear Lord,
Thank you for food, family, and Franciscan Starburst dinnerware.

My parents and Youngest Brother, endowed with more of a sense of humour than Grandma, were amused. She herself, of course, was less than impressed by the brevity and lack of solemnness. But it was not going to be a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving meal anyway—with a resident alien (the Mother) in the room, my grandfather's comments about the irrelevance of foreigners guaranteed a tense dinner. So much for the family part.

Franciscan Starburst, however, continues to be worthy of gratitude, so I offer my prayer once more. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quilt number 2 all done

Plain Spoken quilt

Once again, the blog seems to have got away from me, this time because I've been stitching like a madman to get the binding sewn onto my Plain Spoken quilt. But now it's done! This is my first real quilt—the first one that's fully pieced together. I wasn't expecting the quilting to make such a difference to the texture, but it makes all the difference. I love it.

It also has the seal of approval from the pattern designers themselves, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of FunQuilts (and authors, of course, of The Modern Quilt Workshop)! After listening to the fascinating interview with Weeks on CraftSanity, I sent a photo of my Plain Spoken top to enter the drawing for a copy of their Color Harmony for Quilts book, and much to my delight I won one. So today, only a day after I finished the quilt, the book arrived with an inscription from the authors: "Your Plain Spoken quilt ROCKS!" Thanks to Weeks and Bill and to Jennifer at CraftSanity—I'm thrilled.

So what have we learned this time?
  1. Press better, lazybones. This was the Mother's friendly admonishment. Ironing is one of my most loathed household chores, so I tried to get away with just pressing the seams from the back of the fabric. But no. I should really press from the front, too. This pattern was forgiving enough; triangles not so much. Will do better next time. A side note: I think ironing fabric added about ten bucks to my electric bill last month.
  2. This big and no bigger! At 96.5 inches long, this quilt tested the limits of the Mother's free-motion machine. I probably could have done with a row or two fewer, since at this size the quilt really needs a pillow tuck. That's actually fine, because I'm not sure how it'd mesh with pillowcases, but if I expect to keep getting freebie quilting jobs from the ever-patient Mother, I'd best keep her—and her machine—happy.
  3. Mitering corners takes practice. I had a breakthrough when I was sewing the back of the third binding corner. I wish I could explain what it was. I think it's too complicated to describe clearly. Nobody tells you how to get the miters to look right when you're hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt, and maybe that's why. I just had to pop the excess bulk on the front the other way. Does that make any sense? No, I didn't think so.
For my next trick, a quilt of my own design. That is, after making Christmas pressies, if I can restrain myself. Maybe a little of both for the Thanksgiving break?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tchotchke Tuesday: Eggplant lady

Eggplant ladyOrigin: somewhere in Africa

Apologies for the break in tchotchke regularity—sometimes you just don't have that bric-a-brac feeling. Taking the slot tonight, however, is this thing. An eggplant with a face and appendages, she serves no function whatsoever. My dad brought her back from a business trip to Africa when I was in seventh grade. Somehow she seems to have made her way into my current apartment—there's a nice little ledge for her in my bathroom, so there she sits, waiting for something better to take her place.

The Queen and a stand on spelling

QE2 card catalog card

My bathroom is home to a smattering of Queen Elizabeth II paraphernalia. And I've been pondering a quilt using library card catalog cards as blocks. Lo and behold, what did I find in the scrap pile at the library yesterday but cards about the Queen herself? I swiftly snagged the author and subject cards for Lilibet: An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II. Bibliographic details and QE2—two of my more peculiar interests merging beautifully.

I saw The Queen this weekend, too. The more I digest it, the better I think it was. And Helen Mirren as a clopping, little old lady of a queen was superb.

All this talk of Her Majesty leads me to something I've been mulling over for a while. I live in America, but I'm also Canadian and have spent much of my life in the UK. I (mostly) grew up using American spellings, but I often feel more at home in a British—or loosely, Commonwealth—style. In general, I adapt the style to the audience, but on the Internet, where are the lines drawn? Need I broadcast American language from my own little corner of the web? I daresay I needn't. So from here forwards, I shall spell things here however I like—and I will likely like British spellings. Perhaps it will look affected (much like the sentence 'I daresay I needn't'), but I think of it as a personal solace from being compelled to use American English the rest of the day. Expect cheques, programmes, colours, and group nouns conjugated as plurals in future. Cheers.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fabric shopping in the Bay Area

When I was in California last month, I dragged the Other along on my first adult trips to quilt shops. I've clocked hundreds of hours in them, but previously only as a grumpy child.

Sometimes it felt like I grew up in fabric stores; Joann's was a particularly loathed locale. Middle Brother and I would try to make the hours pass by scouring the floor for stray sequins, which, because they were shiny, seemed like they were virtually currency. Then we'd play hide-and-seek in the round racks of fabric, driving the Mother bonkers. I could never understand how she could spend SO BLOODY LONG in a single shop.

But now I know. It's a disease.

Philadelphia, as I've complained before, is sadly lacking in the realm of quilt shops. I think there's a magnetic pull to Lancaster County (where I once spent a family vacation that felt like a week stranded at Joann's), leaving city-dwellers with nothing. So since the Other and I were renting a car, I made sure to look up a few quilting stores, relying heavily on this posting.

I nearly passed up StoneMountain & Daughter. Their website hadn't got me excited, so I was going to give it a miss. But in the process of trying to find our way through Berkeley, we happened onto the street where the shop was and I thought we might as well try it out. And thank god we did! It was amazing. The prices were good, and the selection was better. The Other dutifully served as pack animal for the bolts I voraciously grabbed from the shelves. In exchange, we found a print he had liked at Britex but this time at a price I could afford. And I found a few I'd had my eye on for the text quilt (as mentioned previously). It was heavenly. The quilt shops I knew from my Midwestern youth were country-corny granny enclaves, but StoneMountain had modern quilts up on the wall, advertising classes I would actually take, were I anywhere nearby.

New Pieces was another good find, though the prices seemed better at StoneMountain. They'd just received a huge shipment, so there were bolts everywhere. I rifled through all the fat quarter and remnant shelves, since that was at least a way to focus—there was a ton of stuff. I dream of being able to get to places like this in my normal life. (That's the disease talking.)

Legend has it that there are male quilters, and straight ones at that, but even near San Francisco the Other and I were the only men prowling the aisles of bolts. Not that anyone made us feel uncomfortable—they were more than happy to chat with me about my projects. Too happy, in fact: at New Pieces, they got me flustered by asking what sort of things I quilted. What did they mean? Pieced or appliqued? Traditional or modern? What did they want from me? Modern quilting is difficult to describe to a quilter sometimes, 'cause you can't just say, "Oh, it's nine-patch blocks set on point." I guess at this point I only really talk about quilting with people who already know me, who know my taste and my general aesthetic sense. Or perhaps I just felt weird that the fabric I was buying was mainly for building a stash instead of for a specific project.

vintage check fabric vintage bird fabric

We also found a great antique shop with an enormous pile of vintage fabrics—the mythical kind of pile I kept hearing was out there, but had never actually found. I bought a nice mustardy check for the Other's quilt and some bird print for me. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but I love it. It looked like one of those vintage fabrics that incite blogospheric swooning (like almost anything Lisa at A Bird in the Hand posts—where does she find that amazing fabric?), so I knew it had to be mine.

A lesson I learned from the Mother after I came back from vacation: do not be deceived by fat quarters. For cheapish fabrics, a quarter yard cut from the bolt can often be less than the precut fat quarters, so unless you need a big square, beware. But am I the only one a bit hesitant to ask the ladies to cut something? It feels like more of a commitment to the fabric, I guess. That's how they getcha.

And speaking of the Mother, she called Friday to say she finished quilting my Plain Spoken quilt! I'm getting my binding fingers ready as I type.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Halloween monster wreath

Happy Halloween, everybody. I just remembered I made this last year and promptly hung it up on my door (on the inside, that is; the neighbors probably already think I'm crazy). I can't take credit for the design—it comes from callakat on Craftster. Loads of people have been making some really creative ones this year, so take a look.

You know, I don't think I've even touched my hot glue gun since I made this thing....

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Day at the Beach quilt all done

A Day at the Beach quilt

Blame the recent radio silence on Day at the Beach, the super-basic Denyse Schmidt quilt that I just finished. As in, completely done. Quilted, bound, everything. Saturday night, I was up late with the sewing machine, figuring out how to get the binding on the top layer, and then I hand-sewed all day Sunday and for the next couple evenings to get it sewn onto the back. And then the following evenings were inevitably taken up with swooning over the finished product. More photos of the project here.

So what have we learned, class?
  1. Use cotton. I could blame the local fabric stores, but I'll take responsibility. In my overzealous ignorance, I bought a bunch of cotton-polyester blend and used it here in the black section. (Actually, it feels like some of the prints have a bit of poly in them, too.) Cotton feels so much nicer, and the Quilt Fascists would of course lynch me for even touching a synthetic fiber. Even so, I'll be damned if I use 100% cotton thread—mostly because I can't find it.
  2. Big chunks of fabric are a pain to cut. This pattern was an obvious choice for a beginner because the piecing is so simple. But measuring and cutting such enormous swaths of fabric is much harder than slicing up a pile of six-inch pieces. I needn't worry, though; I've plenty of small-chunk projects simmering in the brain.
  3. Binding is fun! The Mother said she liked doing it, but I thought she was mad. She may still be, but she's also right. I couldn't stop binding. If there'd been a child or small animal in the apartment on Sunday, I probably would have bound its lips together just because I could. My stitches aren't perfect, though I think I made a pretty decent effort for a first go (but see no. 4 below). Part of the delight was the binding fabric, which I'm really pleased with.
  4. Mitering corners is hard. I was warned about this. It'll take a few more quilts before I get it right.
  5. Don't use a sheet for backing. I thought I was being clever. Far from it. El cheapo sheet did have about the same weave as el cheapo cotton, but the sheet wasn't quite wide enough, so the finished quilt dimensions are a little weird (the top had to be cut to size). I could have pieced something else to the backing, but I was lazy and this was a learning project. So mission accomplished.
  6. Run a sweatshop. After the fabric-buying excursions in California, it's clear I couldn't afford to quilt were it not for the free labor of the Mother. Her machine-quilting service was quick and friendly, and the price, of course, could not be beat. She considered binding the thing herself; I'm glad she left the fun for me.
  7. There's nothing better than curling up under something you made yourself. Well, it might be better if the Other were here to curl up with under the quilt. Some day.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

Charles Harper bird

Charles Harper bird

My birthday was last week while I was away, and look what I got from the Mother! I've already posted some of her great quilts, and she's showing off once again with these fabric versions of Charles Harper prints. Harper did some great midcentury illustration, especially of birds. When the Mother saw them in a book I have, she thought they'd be great reinterpreted in fabric. These are the first ones, based on these prints:

The Mother dug through her stash to find the fabrics and then snipped them into shapes, which were then fused to the background fabric. The details are in pen ink. The print fabrics are a nod to the textures of Harper's prints but also lend an extra depth—the Mother searched high and low to find a scrap that replicated the warbler's shaded breast. Then she stretched the fabric around canvases.

I love them both, but my favorite of the two is the top one. It's always been one of my favorite Harper birds, and there's an extra mixed-media quality to it with the bleach splotches. I'll try to get them hung up this weekend so I can gaze at them all the time. They're be the thing that people comment on whenever they're introduced to my apartment. Is the Mother fantastic, or what? What she can do with textiles always amazes me.

As if that wasn't enough, the package also had a copy of EQ5, which is software for designing quilts. I've been playing with it for a few days to figure it out, and I'm quite excited. Modern quilts with irregular blocks are a little trickier to do than traditional grid patterns, but I'll get there (hell, I managed QuarkXPress). I've been sketching quilt ideas in a book of grid paper, but as a child of the digital age, I can't properly play with designs unless they're on the screen.

And that's still not all—the Mother also stuck in a bunch of fabric. She knew I was planning a quilt with lots of text prints, and she thought the dots would look good with my Plain Spoken quilt. Perhaps in some pillows?

fabric for quilting

So as I'm sure this blog makes apparent, I have lovely parents. Thanks Mother!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tchotchke Tuesday: Moon globe

Moon globeOrigin: eBay

I had hoped to show you some tchotchke from my vacation this week, but it turns out I didn't buy any, much to my surprise. This moon globe came from a moment of less restraint. In the last installment, I mentioned the space-age bedroom plan, and this leans in that direction too. The globe's marked with the sites of orbiter landings, but since it was made in 1963, it doesn't show any manned missions. These things come up on eBay fairly frequently, and after hemming and hawing for a while, I decided I well and truly wanted one. That's the trouble with tchotchke: you want it, you buy it, and then it just sits there. Doing nothing. Though I will be able to locate craters the next time somebody asks. Which they're sure to do frequently.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Crewel and unusual in California

Crewel flamingo hand towel

OK, forgive the cheesy pun. I got back Saturday from visiting the Other in California and have just finished stashing all the fabric I bought (which is another story entirely). My quilting projects all require a sewing machine, but the Mother has passed on a genetic defect requiring a needlework project to be on the go at all times, so I embroidered my way across northern California. The Other likes a good flamingo, so before I left I creweled this towel for him based on a design in a Charles Harper book (more on him later, too).

Well, I say crewel, but The New Crewel defines crewel as embroidery with wool on linen twill, and since I'm using pearl cotton on a cruddy Ikea hand towel, it doesn't technically qualify. But the stitches are the same, and so is the basic look. The stretchy terry cloth was hardly ideal, though.

Crewel stars in the embroidery hoop

This grey cloth leftover from recovering my sofa works much better, as I discovered when I started embroidering these starbursts with spiderweb stitch and French knots.

The Other seemed to like my housewifely embroidering while we watched TV or drove on the freeways, though I made less of a stellar impression on the flight over. I'd decided that if I wasn't stuck right next to someone, I'd give crewel at 30,000 feet a go, and I ended up having a row to myself. So out came the embroidery hoop and I set to work. I caught the woman in the row behind staring; she quickly averted her eyes when I noticed. After the plane landed, she asked her male traveling companion if he had liked the copy of Running with Scissors she'd lent him. He had not. "Don't you like memoirs?" she said. He made a quick glance at me. "I'll tell you later." Three guesses what his objection to the book was—first two don't count. She also commented to him that my bag was cool as we trotted off the plane, but he was unresponsive. Behold the power of men with needles.

I can't be blamed entirely for the substandard nature of my materials. Despite begging the Other to stop at every craft shop in northern California, no crewel wool was to be had. We popped over a hill in San Francisco, an embroidery shop appeared, and I made one of those "STOP THE CAR NOW!!" demands. But though they had "crewel" painted across the window, there was still no crewel wool except that already packed up in kits for embroidering flowers and leaves and other grannyish patterns. So I'll either be pulling apart tapestry wool strands or sticking with pearl cotton.

Denyse Schmidt oven mitts

In other news, just before I left I made these Denyse Schmidt oven mitts for Mintyfresh, who's just moved. She helpfully left a comment here a while back to let me know what colors she likes together. Good luck, Minty! The mitts are quite fun to make (I made one for me a couple months ago), though I've yet to bind a pair without cursing like a sailor.

Stay tuned for more on crafting and thrifting in the Bay Area....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Tuesday without tchotchke?

To anyone listening out there (tap this thing on?), apologies for the lack of posts. Work has got the better of me. I have all sorts of projects I want to write about (latest craft technique: crewel embroidery), but I don't know that I'm even going to get time to enter my robot in the Craftster challenge!

On Thursday, though, I'm off for a week-long vacation to see the Other! Hurray!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tchotchke Tuesday: Space capsule vases

Space capsule vaseOrigin: Antique shop
Cost: $8 for two? $10? I can't keep track of these things.

OK, I know this has nothing to do with space capsules. But doesn't it look a bit like a Mercury command module? It came as part of a pair, which I had to be talked into buying (by the Mother, back when I was living at home, looking for a job, and furnishing the then-imaginary apartment). I'm really rather glad that I did, as the mottled, part-metallic texture is a nice contrast with the mostly smooth finishes on a lot of my stuff. The slight space-age look is cool too, as I'm trying to encourage more of that in the bedroom. Though they feel like they're made for a mantel I don't have, for now the vases are on crappy Ikea bookshelves in the bedroom. (Sorting out the shelves is one of my lingering big projects, but I just have too many bleeding books.) Somehow I haven't managed to find a place for the vases where they don't seem to recede into the background, so they're slowly migrating around the apartment. Orbiting, if you will.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brothers' quilts

Middle Brother's quilt

Lest we think I'm the only one putting the Mother to use as sweatshop labor, above is the quilt she's working on for Middle Brother and his fiancée. As is probably evident by now, I'm a big fan of aqua, so I love it, and I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Middle Brother will too. Isn't the Mother something? I can't even count how many different fabrics are in there.

Youngest Brother's quilt

This is the quilt she's making for Youngest Brother—it's Love Beads from The Modern Quilt Workshop (the same book that had the pattern for my Plain Spoken quilt). It's apparently sewn together now, but here it's up on the Mother's design wall in her purpose-built sewing room, the lucky cow. I'll be interested to see what she does with the quilting; I keep forgetting to ask her.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tchotchke Tuesday: Gumby and Pokey salt and pepper shakers

Lord knows I have plenty of it. So I shall endeavor to post on a random objet each Tuesday—my life needs structure.

Gumby and Pokey salt and pepper shakersOrigin: Antique shop in Michigan
Cost: Free—'twas a gift

These salt and pepper shakers, I'm afraid, are not the only presence of Gumby and Pokey in my apartment. In fact, they've penetrated into every room in some incarnation. "Are you a big Gumby fan?" people ask. Well, no, not really (though there was a bit of a phase in high school), but how could I argue with the aqua and orange? It's like they were made for my color scheme. Seeing all the photos up here makes me wonder if perhaps my colors are too schematic, but it's not really that oppressive. It just looks a bit like a HoJo. A HoJo with Gumby and Pokey lounging round the pool.

As a side note, these are the kinkiest shakers I own. Why? Because Pokey's shaped perfectly to—ahem—get intimate with Gumby's leg. See how G's elbow would slide right into the crook of P's neck? A bit like way-back plate tectonics, with all the continents fitting together like a puzzle. I prefer G and P to maintain a bit more personal space.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Foundation-pieced pillow

Chair with my pillow

Okay, it's past my bedtime, but Minty kindly made a post about this here blog, and it seemed a shame for crazy batting hanging out of a quilt top to be the first thing people saw on the page. So here's a pillow I made a couple weeks ago. The print fabric came from Melinamade, which has some great stuff. The pillow belongs on my bed, but in this picture it's blending in a naugahyde chair I scored for $10!

A Day at the Beach quilt

A Day at the Beach quilt

Fresh news from Parentland: the Mother has just finished quilting my practice quilt top, which I made out of Denyse Schmidt Quilts. The color's a bit wonky in the photo (the Father has the same elderly camera I do)--the blue is actually a greeny aqua. The book called for a figure-eight quilting pattern, but this zigzag makes it look like a moving blanket, which I like much better (it works really well with the lava-lamp-like printed fabric on the left end of the center strip). Here's a close-up of the quilting:

A Day at the Beach quilt close up

Despite the Mother's kind offers, I thought I'd better learn how to bind the thing myself, so that's next. And I'm still dragging my feet with sending the Plain Spoken top to Parentland—though from what I hear, the Mother's stack of to-be-quilted projects is starting to tower.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A beautiful family heirloom

Ceramic figure
Back in the seventies, my high-school-aged uncle thought this was a lovely gift for my grandmother. If I remember right, he proudly picked it out and payed for it himself. She, generally a bit more floral in her tastes, nevertheless dutifully displayed the African statuary in her living room for many years. It had become a gag gift by the time I reached an age of sentience, entered regularly into the Christmas white elephant swap. I think it's found its way into various wedding and/or baby showers, too, but somehow my parents ended up with it.

It lived in Middle Brother's room for a while, but it's now found a home in my apartment, where it looks oddly appropriate. With all the strong color around the room, the occasional black accent is help, so the Mother insisted I take it with me when I moved away (she was only too convinced that it looked smashing next to the lamp in the background of the photo; I'm sure her enthusiasm had nothing to do with wanting this thing the hell out of her house). The end table where the figure sits would look empty without it, but with Middle Brother getting married next summer, perhaps the time is nigh to regift such an elegant piece of our family history.

Funnily enough, the Mother and I saw an identical item, priced at $35, in an antique shop. I wouldn't have thought I could get more than a couple bucks! Of course, it wasn't exactly flying out of the shop....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Plain Spoken quilt top finished!

Plain Spoken quilt top
The piecing for my first real quilt is all done! I spread the top out on the bed, and here's what it looks like. I'm so pleased with how it looks—my aging camera doesn't do justice to the different shades (seven greys, six reds, and an orange), but I'm glad I didn't give in to deceptive lighting and leave out some of them.

My mother (a very accomplished quilter) assured me while I was working that everything didn't have to be perfect, and there are plenty of wonky seams on the back, to be sure. But she was right: even without perfect quarter-inch seams, there's a real geometric look to the quilt. It reminds me a bit of the sides of skyscrapers, which might provide some good quilting ideas.

The next step is sending it off to the wonderful aforementioned mother so she can quilt it with her free-motion machine (or is it a long-arm machine? I thought they were the same thing, but apparently not, and I can never remember which is which). She's already got what's technically my first quilt, but it was a super easy design that I'm not really counting. So I'm taking advantage of the cheap sweatshop labor, but what are mothers for? No, of course I don't mean that—my apartment wouldn't be half as lovely without the time and talents of both my parents.

In the meantime, I have my living room floor back! And I can clear the sewing machine and fabric scraps off my kitchen table! That all sounds rather appealing right now, but this quilting thing (as I've been warned) is addictive, and I'm sure the next project isn't far off. The Other already thinks he's getting a quilt next, but greedy-guts here might want another one all for himself first.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Flea market finds

Flea market season is ending, and I just made it back with some good scores. This tea towel was $2! I liked the colors and the design of it, though I'm not quite sure what it's meant to be—is the queen a chess piece? And what on earth does "no yours" mean? May have to do some investigating. Whatever she's on about, this queen has an hourglass most of us can only aspire to. The squares are brill too and something similar could work for a quilt.

I've got a bunch of Queen Elizabeth II stuff in my bathroom, so the towel may live there, but I worry that might dilute the cultivated strangeness of abundant QE2 kitsch. Hmm.

I also picked up a couple of DIY furniture books from the seventies. How to Make Furniture Without Tools has instructions for lots of furnture made from single sheets of plywood, which might be useful if either 1) Lowe's could be trusted to make precise cuts, or 2) I had the space to do my own cutting. More immediately inspiring is Nomadic Furniture. The authors say that some of the projects predate the book by a good twenty years, so the designs run the midcentury gamut. The two tables below were a couple of my favorites from this book, but there has to be a moratorium on tables until I'm in an apartment with more floor space.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Suitcase table

I was flipping through Home Cheap Home (by the editors of the now-defunct Budget Living magazine) with the Other a while back and found the suitcase table project you see above. I've had this suitcase from my mum's middle school luggage for some time now (she had a bit of a tantrum at the time because she didn't get the matching train case, which her mother declared impractical), and I snagged these taper legs out of somebody's trash this summer.

This promised to be one of my quickest furniture projects to date, but typically, the bolts on the ends of the legs did not have a standard thread, so two trips to different hardware stores yielded no suitable nuts (har har, he said nuts). Eventually I just drilled through the suitcase, shoved the bolts through the holes, and sunk some screws into the legs to secure them. And it's lovely, no? The bangs and bruises just add to the history.

Of course, I've no more room for furniture. The table will hold my printer for now, Youngest Brother may inherit this little avocado number when he goes away to college, as I'm told he's planning a green and brown color scheme.

Plain Spoken progress

Finished piecing the quilt rows together late last night and took this picture before I stacked the rows to reclaim my floor. I still need to press the seams and get the rows sewn together, but I've spent the afternoon frustrating myself by trying to fashion a Palm Pilot Notebook (perfect for the MacBook-deprived) without using a soldering iron. Alas, I am foiled. Soldering is next on the list of techniques to learn.

I checked on Flickr to see what other people had done with the Plain Spoken pattern (links below). They make me want to do a bunch of other ones in different palettes, but I'll probably try something new for the next quilt. Particularly since I had to rely on my marvellous mum for solid fabrics—there's not a quilt shop to be had in this town!

The second link shows a quilt with some patterned fabric thrown in, which makes for an intriguing variation.

Blues, creams, and browns
Two different versions by hey skinny
Autumnal colors
Bright and cheerful on Dioramarama

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Plain Spoken quilt

I've been working for a couple weeks on the Plain Spoken quilt from The Modern Quilt Workshop. I'm rather pleased with how it's shaping up, if I do say so, though if I were to make it again I might use less red. I spent about two hours crawling around on the floor this morning trying to get rid of color adjacencies—it's like visual sudoku. At least, I think it is, but I've never played sudoku, so maybe I'm talking bollocks. Anyway, I need to get the blocks sewn together so I can have my living room back and stop treading all over the fabric. So far the mice thankfully haven't thought it fit to nibble on.

The blocks laid out with no red touching red and none of the same greys touching. When it's all sewn together, the lines will be nice and straight (that is, assuming my piecing was accurate, which is a big assumption). If I only had a design wall...sigh. At least there was enough floor space.

Welcome to my apartment!

There's a story behind everything in my apartment, so I have to warn anyone who comes in to shut me up before I carry on forever. Of course, everyone's too polite to stop me. But on this site, I shall blither to my heart's content about things I've made or bought (usually secondhand) for the apartment—I hope you enjoy it, but I'll try not to be offended if you move along to another part of this vast interweb.