Friday, September 19, 2014

Coffee Break - Show and Tell

What a great way to spend a very gray day...with the ladies at Breakfast Club. Let me start with last month's project. We did the Disappearing Hour Glass quilt as demonstrated on You Tube by Jenny Doan from the Missouri Quilt Company. 

I was a little concerned about putting these blocks together because every outside edge is on the bias but not to worry because the star blocks went together beautifully. Check out all the great quilts from this pattern.

Barb's Purple Batik Version.

This one was the Tidepool Bali Crackers set, by Tanya.

This was also a Bali Cracker set, I think this is Seaholly, Bonnie's version.

Another Bali Cracker...Volocano. Look closely at the stars in this one. Ronnie noticed almost at the end of joining all her blocks together that the four patch in the center did not get rotated, so her star looks different.  Her consistent mistake led to a very pretty wonder she didn't catch it right away.  Of course it isn't really a mistake but a new pattern!

And my version with the Volcano cracker set. 

Some of the ladies made mini blocks from 5" squares. Note you loose the triangles in the corners when you join these mini blocks.

Tanya's mini blocks with several borders to make it lap-sized.

Bonnie makes doll quilts. This mini block was the perfect size.

Now for a little general Show and Tell.
This is Tanya, the newest staff member at our meeting place, Seams Like Home. She is a quick quilter! She made the 10" and 5" version of the Disappearing Hour Glass, this autumn runner and this month's class quilt, which you will see pretty soon.

I have mentioned before, several of the Breakfast Club participants also play in the monthly Strip Club. This is Bonnie's version of, "At Sea," done with a Volcano Bali Pop. I think that was a popular colorway last month! It certainly makes up into stunning quilts.

This was Dawn's, "Rock Candy," table topper from Little Jaybird Quilts using the Sidekick ruler. I bought this pattern and template to play with in Paris. (My effort to make smaller quilts is officially underway.)

Dawn also brought in two huge scrap quilts. I think both patterns were from quilting magazines. I'll have to check with her on that!

Erin is a new grandma! So instead of quilting she is making baby clothes.

This is what happens when I forget to take notes during show and tell...there is always one I can't remember anything about! This is Kathy's and I know the pattern originally called for hexagons joined in rows but she made the blocks and then joined them which meant sewing "Y" seams. She also appliqued the center hexagons on the black hexagons because she really didn't like the black holes she was originally left with.

And here is Barb...I corrupted her! She is now a collector/maker of Susan Cozzolino's Santa ornaments. I don't understand why everyone isn't making these...they are like potato chips...

And Barb's Strip Club quilt, LeMoyne Magic.

September's Breakfast Club pattern was a book. 

The book utilizes acrylic templates to make a variety of designs.

Marcia, our class leader, saw this quilt magazine cover and was compelled to buy it.

She especially liked the cover quilt and finally realized it was designed by Karen Montgomery and used one of the templates from her set.

Marcia quickly pulled batiks from the shop floor and made a kit for this quilt for the shop. Tanya bought it and had it made in time for us to see yesterday. It is so pretty!!! One of these kits came home with me.

Here is another quilt using the book and templates. Made by Bonnie. She followed a color wheel to layout the design. This one is called Sawmill.

I tackled Big Sky. I got three blocks done at the shop and the rest last night. A very quick block to put together...and a biggie at 16 1/2-inches.

Here's a better look at one of the blocks. I had so much fund putting this together...all fabrics from my stash.

Here's a different star block Bonnie was putting together. 

And we always find out what next month's pattern will be...

Marcia even had the sample completely ready. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Weeks

Time to enter the Panic Mode. In two weeks I leave for Paris. 

I am officially done quilting on my Nolting until next spring. I'm so frustrated it will be six months or more before I get back to it. No sunshine, but I did click a quick photo of my final finish of the season.

One last Breakfast Club to attend on Thursday. I spent all day making the borders for the Disappearing Hour Glass quilt we started working on in August. I bought a matching Bali Pop and went with a piano key border. It's the volcano colorway.

Sunday I attended the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters annual show. Here are just a few of my favorites.

"Lost at Sea: Trying to find my way home," by Irene O'Brien. A scrappy batik rendition.

A gorgeous hand applique quilt...I can't get the colors quite right in this photo but it was so lovely.

"Carol's Surprise," by Carol Wright Jones, quilted by Deb Hardman.

Can you tell I am a machine quilter? I focused on those quilts at the show.  Here is, "Floridian Compass," from Kay Fiero. The pattern is called "Isabella," by Tony Lischko in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, Nov/Dec 2009.

"Asian Influence," a panel quilted by Susan Mirau. I had no idea this was a panel when I was looking at it!

The quilting is so simple but effective!

I'm always drawn to Christmas themed quilts! This is "Here Comes Santa," by Jamie Thompson.  Quilted by Jane Hair.

How about these Santas? This is "Sweet Santa," by Lynnette Motz. Machine appliqued with a buttonhole stitch. It's a Kari Pearson Pattern.

There was also a special display of art quilts made by some of Guild members to commemorate 100 years of Anchorage history. 

Here were a few of my favorites.

"Land Auction - 1915, Did They Imagine?," by Gail Ramsay. I love the modern Anchorage skyline at the top of the quilt and the hand written log of auction winners at the bottom.

"Captain Cook Statue in the Sunset," by Marilyn Barnett.

And...because I know a few Alaskan pilots...
"Lake Hood Mid-1940s," by Jan Wills.

And just for fun...artichokes in the flower beds near the building where the show was held.

I bet the moose don't like artichokes!

Hope you enjoyed the little quilt show.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

It's my turn! My thanks to Cathy from Eagle's Wings Quilts for asking me to play along on the  Around the World Blog Hop. I've really enjoyed reading other postings and look forward to seeing more today as I catch up on my blog reading today. 

If you are new to my blog...welcome. I have called Alaska home since 1998. Before that I had lived in San Antonio, Texas for eight years. And...prior to that I was in the military which was only fitting since my dad was in the Marine Corps and I spent my childhood moving...all the time. We even did an overseas tour for two years in Japan. I went to a different school almost every year until my dad retired when I was in high school. And then of course I went to college out of state. Seems to be pattern here! I guess it shouldn't have surprised me at all when my husband asked me three years ago if I would like to live in Paris for a few years. I did have to make sure he was talking about Paris, France...and not Paris, Texas. 

Add into the mix that we had just started building our dream house in Alaska...because we had decided we were going to stay indefinitely...or so I thought. I knew this opportunity for my husband to work in Paris was very important to him...okay...I said yes!

So...just like an episode of House Hunters International, we made a trip to Paris to hunt for an apartment. We looked at 15 apartments in two days. And just like the husband and I both thought the other wanted a different apartment but it turned out we agreed. Our two homes and lifestyles couldn't be more different! We kept our Alaskan home and rely on our sons to house sit for us while we are away. My husband works full time in Paris for Fed Ex and I spend half the year in Paris and half in Alaska. My husband visits Alaska several times throughout the year...even when I am in Paris. I'm sure you can figure out which months out of the year I spend in each home.

This is a street just around the corner from our Paris apartment...yep...we are very close to the Eiffel Tower. I took this photo on Christmas morning last year. The people on the sidewalk are in line at one of three local bakeries near us. Living in Paris, I have learned what good bread really tastes like. Oh...and of course the cheese. European cheeses are so is a fact.

There is still plenty I love about the United States and in particular...Alaska!

This was the view from the back deck of my home in Alaska...just a few days before I left for Paris last year. Those were the quilts I managed to finish last summer. (I only got three done this year!) My Alaska home sits in Eagle River valley and is surrounded by the Chugach mountain range. It is so beautiful...and quiet here!

I get lots of local visitors...moose, bears (brown and black)...and even manage to get a good picture for my blog now and then. I think I could go on forever about my two homes but lets get back to the Blog Hop topics.

First and second questions...what am I working on and how does my work differ from others? I am hand stitching the binding on a quilt of my own design called, "Katchemak Baywatch." It is an excellent example of my work and how it may differ from others. I work almost exclusively in batiks...front and backside. I like intricate piecing. I do my own quilting on a Nolting Fun Quilter which is a midarm. I am quilts grow and often end up being somewhere between a queen and king size. Even when I make patterns designed by others they wind up getting biggie-sized. Most often...I feel compelled to change the borders of most patterns. I have a stack of tops that need quilting and several designs waiting to be started. Like most of you...I have many projects in the works at all times...and two countries. I really would like more hours in the day.

Third question. Why do I create? 
I create...therefore I am... 
I was born this way...

I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't create! I grew up watching my mom sew...usually clothes for me. I remember getting a toy sewing machine for Christmas when I was six or seven. By the time I was in sixth grade my parents bought me my own grown-up sewing machine. I haven't lived without a sewing machine since. In college I did alterations and mending for a little extra money. I have always sewn. Clothing, home decor...and now mostly quilting. Blogging was a natural leap for me since I was a journalism major in college and worked in the public relations field before I became a stay-at-home mom.  I also dabble in many handwork areas with a notable addiction to making Bucilla kit felt applique the point of making detailed videos posted on You Tube with my construction techniques. It has brought me so much happiness to hear from "viewers," who find my videos helpful.

And the last question. How does my creative process work?
 Most often a fabric inspires me. The size of the design in the fabric is where I most often start for the block size. I'm drawn to batiks with animal motifs. I use EQ7 for designing quilts. I learned to type as I wrote in journalism class (before laptops! I did have an electric typewriter). It was an easy step to design quilts on the computer instead of using graphing paper but the fluidity of stitching quilting designs eludes me on a computer screen. I still have to move the pen like my needle across a drawing of a quilt top to figure out the quilting design. 

I've read a few books about the creative process and I have found for me it takes about 15 or 20 minutes of engaging my brain on a project before the process starts to click. I'm a regular exerciser and I find myself working through designs while I'm in the middle of a hike or a Jazzersize routine. Sometimes I'll be working on a hand project (cross stitch or those cute felt stockings!) and I'll have a design on my mind and somehow ideas and solutions seem to just pop up.  My new favorite place to get my mind wandering is pinterest. A picture will catch my eye and I might do something completely different but it triggers the wheels in my head to spin.

I've found two great bloggers to share with you on this Around the World Blog Hop. They will be posting next Monday so make sure and check them out today and next week. 

 First is Lynette with What a Hoot! She hosts BOMs Away Mondays. I love Lynette's projects. She does an amazing job of quilting on her domestic sewing machine. I've tried that...and failed. I am amazed when people quilt large quilts on little sewing machines. She's been working on a beautiful wedding ring quilt this past year...or maybe even two years. There is so much variety to her work. I always enjoy seeing what she is up to and of course I do try to link up now and then with her on Mondays because I do have a few BOMs in progress. (Those projects are in Paris...and I am in Alaska.) I must also say...I like hearing about her cats too. A big downside to this living in two countries thing is I can't have pets...I just have to enjoy other folks cats and dogs.

And the second special blogger is Béa in France. As soon as I got to Paris I started searching for French quilters. Béa's blog, Needle in a Hay Stack instantly grabbed me. Her blog is in French but don't be put off by that because she does have a translate button on the left side of her blog and you don't want to miss the great photos she has of her quilts. You will see some familiar designs on her blog as she enjoys a lot of American quilt designers. Being a quilter in France is a challenge. Fabric is so expensive and the selection is so small compared to U.S. quilt shops. I always read her blog in French first and then hit the translate button to see how much I got right...quilters from different countries do pretty much speak the same language.

Thanks for visiting...I enjoyed sharing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gloomy Outside - Bright Inside

I have all my blocks made for the Disappearing Hour Glass design made from Layer Cakes, or 10" squares. Here's the first layout I tried on my design wall.

Then I tried to organize by bands of color. I'm leaning toward the color bands. 

Oh darn...I'll have to make a trip to a local quilt shop for the border fabric! 

I'm still pecking away on the quilting of "Katchemak Baywatch." 

Did you just hear my squeal of excitement? A new Bucilla stocking release. How  can I resist?