Friday, February 8, 2013

This year I've decided to do TWO Quilt-a-longs (QALs).  One of them is Jo (blog: Jo's Country Junction) QAL using Lori Smith's Fit to Frame Pattern 6   It just started... we are just on our second block so it is still a great time to join. It can be done with either wool on cotton ground, hand blanket stitched down, or traditional applique (yay applique!)  I decided to do mine with the block backgrounds in shades of Moda Bella reds (including one orangey red, and one burgundy). The applique will be done using scraps of Cherrywood Fabric....I have a few of their Scrap Bags for Crazies that are great for applique as well as crazy quilting. I was originally going to use all solids for this project but then I decided it would be fun to use a small amount of prints, so each block will use at least one print from a charm pack of Spencer Museum fabric I've been saving for a special project. And I love applique, so this qualifies as a special project! 

Here's my first block:



Now I have done a bit of applique in my time, and I love the precision I can get with freezer paper applique. I learned it years ago from Elly Sienkiewicz's book, Applique 12 Easy Ways  . I decided to try some other applique techniques with this project.  This block was done using back basting. A really good explanation can be found here. The leaf curves are not as smooth as when I do freezer paper applique, but it's the first time I've tried back basting so I need a bit of practice. I do like how I don't have to deal with the freezer paper unsticking when I don't have a iron handle to re-stick it. And placement of the applique is much easier. 

I'm having a lot of fun picking out the colors for the blocks. My February block will have  orangey yellow flowers and striped stems.....more on that when I have it finished.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Bamboo!

I had been thinking about getting some bamboo plants this fall, once the weather started cooling down a bit.  When I got an email from Bamboo Garden (I'm on their mailing list), it reminded me, and I went back to study their informative website.  If you like bamboo, check out their website...it's well laid out and has great pics and information.

I was only planning on getting 3, but the shipping price difference between 3 and 4 plants was only $5, so it made sense to get another one. :-) The person who took my order was knowledgeable and patient about helping me pick out my 4th bamboo.  My new guys (who will arrive in 5-7 days), and the reasons I like them, are:

Phyllostachys nigra var 'Megurochiku' : black bamboo that is green with occasional black stripe. Feathery leaves like phy.nigra 'henon', which I used to have and loved. Thought I'd try a different one.

Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis' "Gold Vivax" : gorgeous yellow culms (please ignore that this can get 70' tall).  It really won't get that large unless it escapes its container.  And if it does, it'll be really easy to give directions to my house.

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Tsutsumiana’ : neat swollen culms.

Semiarundinaria fastuosa "Temple Bamboo " : burgundy culms.  This was the one they recommended, based on my area and that I wanted a bamboo with culms with an interesting color.

 They will be joining a young Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' which I already have.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kanzashi

I just got one of the Clover Kanzashi Flower Makers -- the small round petal -- and it was incredibly easy to make this flower:

The center is a vintage button that covers the center raw edges of the petals. For the back (not shown) I cut an oval of felt and glued it on (I use either Aleene's Tacky Glue, or their Washable glue). This covers up the raw edges from the back, and stabilizes the flower petals and provides a platform onto which to glue a pin back.
The fabric is a chirimen crepe (synthetic) from a vintage kimono which I got on etsy from vintagemagnet. It has a great hand for these flowers...not too soft, not too stiff. 
The flower itself took about 10 minutes to assemble, then a little more time to glue button and bottom felt on. 
This was so easy, I only have 1 tip to add: follow the instruction's pictures when you are gathering the flower petal...when pulling the thread to make the pleats, keep your fingers on the thread, and don't hold the petal and attempt to help it along...it does better on its own!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another book joins the library....

I'm a fan of Yoko Saito's quilts, and decided to treat myself to her latest book, Past and Present My Quilting Life, published by Quiltmania.

 I decided to order it from Quiltmania directly, along with a couple of issues of the magazine that are hard to find here in Texas.  One was the Special Summer 2011 Issue -- love the Kate Spain quilt and pillow on the cover.  Isn't it lovely?

Another was an older issue, July/August 2005, because I love the red goldfish quilt on the cover (and also because getting a French edition would help me pratiquer mon français).

Again, lovely. The shipping was a bit dear, but very fast...it got from France to Texas in a little over a week! Books and magazines were in perfect shape too.

I already own some of Ms. Saito's books and patterns, and this one does not disappoint.  There are a total of 20 patterns in the book, 10 of which are hers.  All of the 20 are quite nice and if you like her patterns you will enjoy the other quilters's patterns as well. Here's a picture of the table of contents so you can get a glimpse of the neat projects. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Other quilters whose patterns are in the book are Satomi Fumamoto, Nobue Ishimori, Ori Orimi, Yuko Hahashi, Noriko Sakamoto, and Ryoko Handa. 

The book is in French and English, and very nicely done:
  • Separate, full size pattern sheets in an attached envelope inside the front cover.
  • Nice quality, glossy pages in the hardcover book, whose binding lies open well.
  • The book is in French and English. In general, the left hand page has the French translation, and the right hand page has the English translation.  (Also a very handy layout for practicing your French (or English).)
About the only issue I have with it is that the measurements are only in the metric system, and I'd have preferred if measurements were in both the metric and US customary systems.  So, for example, you may be asked to cut four 3.2cm squares.  But really, the toughest thing about this book will be deciding which project to do first!