Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to Normal

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I certainly did!  Had 11 adults and 2 little ones for a 4 day weekend consisting of food and lots of it, wine and lots of it, riding the ATVs, having a visit with THE  best Santa Claus (at the Arts and Crafts Fair in Sonora), games, movies, loud political "discussions" and, unfortunately, no sewing.

My grandsons put on very large cowboy hats: 


 And had a long chat with Santa about swords and bow and arrows and baby dolls and drums:

Isn't this Santa wonderful?  He talks to the kids about the importance of education and being kind to each other and listening to their parents...and that's his real beard!

But now we're back to normal.  Back to work and sewing and my diet...just when I was getting use to eating all that luscious food again! 

So what do I need to get done?  I must get my BA Modern Quilt Guild ABC quilt along top put together.  About 5 of us from the guild have participated in this quilt along and it's time to get the tops together and then we may have a group submission to the San Mateo County Fair quilt show.  The quilt along was to make a block from every letter of the alphabet, using more traditional block patterns with modern fabrics.  We started this in 2011 with one block a month and then stepped up the pace to 2 blocks a month in order to finish the quilt along by October 2012.  It has been a labor of love - that's alot of blocks and a long time to be committd to one project.  The fun part is to see the difference choices in palette, size of block, and arrangement of blocks.  I wanted to make a black and white and red themed quilt using Bon Vivant - seemed like a good idea at the time.  30 blocks later and I wondering exactly what I will do with this black and white and red quilt?

The next decision is whether I should sash or double sash or none of the above.  More to come.

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday with a Beauty...New York That Is

There's nothing like a big snow storm in the Sierras to ruin my travel plans and help me get some projects done.  And there's nothing like a Pillow Talk Swap with a mailing deadline of November 15 to get my...self in gear. 

I finished my PTS9 pillow top over the weekend and got it into the mail on Tuesday.  I showed you the beginnings of the top a few weeks ago, but here's the finished pillow:

A New York Beauty block out of Chicopee and Annie's Seed Catalog text print.  My partner wanted scrappy, so I tried to accommodate that request on both the front and the back.  I wanted to do something special for the back of the pillow, so I made some string blocks out of more Chicopee to make the back a little prettier.   I wish I would have bought more of the text print, as I'm now down to scraps. 


Then, after the pillow was done, I decided to quilt and bind the strip and flip quilt top I had finished a month or so ago (followed the tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew Here).  I am not a person who generally quilts.  I prefer quilting by checkbook, but I thought maybe I should try some straight line quilting for practice.  Luckily, the quilt top was about 45" x 45", so it wasn't too hard to handle.  My straight lines are not as straight as they could be, but I powered through it and got the top done.  

And, drumroll, here it is:

The back is a small bright dot fabric I purchased at the Twaine Harte Pharmacy.

Hope you are having a wonderful, creative week.

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday That Became Saturday

I don't know about you, but I spent Tuesday night watching the election returns, both nationally and locally.  It was a close election, as was expected, and despite Hurricane Sandy and other problems, it seemed that those who wanted to vote had the opportunity to do so.  Voting is a privilege we were so blessed to have been granted when this wonderful country was formed. 

So, I didn't get any sewing done Tuesday night, although I had a light day at the office and was able to get the quilting done on my PTS9 pillow top earlier in the day.  I will be the first to tell you that I am not a great or even good machine quilter.  I hope my partner is not horrified when she sees the lack of expertise in my quilting.  I hoping the New York Beauty block, the text fabric and a wonderful pieced back will make up for the minimalist quilting and somewhat wandering lines.  I did so much ripping that I was beginning to think I would have to re-make the block!

What else have I gotten done this week?  Not much!  I finished 2 bee blocks for Melissa in the Bee Awesome bee.  The block is called Firefly.  I like it.

I went to the BAMQG meeting last Saturday and while I didn't bring my machine for Sewcial after the meeting, I stayed to brainstorm with Kelly, Rhonda, Jaye and Allison about the December partay that we are organizing for the guild and raffle baskets.  We got this great idea that we could make some raffle baskets, raffle them to members and then have some extra money for the guild for a speaker or a workshop.  So, I went out on Sunday with all my Joann's coupons and purchased 2 not very big bags of goodies for the baskets.  Spent a fortune and we still need more stuff to make really good baskets.  Luckily, Julie from Intrepid Thread is donating very generous gift certificates, Jaye and Kelly are making pin cushions, Julie and Allison(?) donated books, and we may get other donations of fabric, etc. before its time to complete the baskets. 

I have received 3 blocks (plus the one I made) from my 4x5 Fall Quarter Bee Hive #8 mates.  I am happy to say that I got my blocks out early, so they are not hanging over my head (like the pillow).  This will be my last round of aqua/teal and orange blocks.  I will likely stay in the Bee but change up my color choices so I can start something new.  I'm feeling monochromatic and neutral these days...

Lots of weekend trips for me in November.  I will not be in the Bay Area for a weekend until the last weekend of November, when I have tickets to see The Book of Mormon in San Francisco.  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away?  (Big change since Wednesday when I wrote this:  massive snow storms in the Sierras made it impossible for me to get to Reno for the long weekend this weekend, so I'm here in the Bay Area sewing up a storm!) 

I hope you have been more creative and productive than I have!  Let me know what you have been up to.

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson hood.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What happened to October?

Whew - time is truly flying!  Here it is November 2nd and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  So much has happened since I last blogged:  Hurricane Sandy beating up the East Coast (my heart goes out to all those people who lost so much because of Sandy); and work and Halloween and a really great workshop with Sherri Lynne Woods last weekend and sewing deadlines. And I purchased a mouse and a keyboard for my new laptop so that I can type without so many typos and jumping around when I didn't even want to move from where I was - now that's progress!

Is your life on fast forward too? 

Well, I'm going to take a break from speeding through life and show you a few bits I've been working on.

First, a little background re. the Creative Curves workshop.  Sherri held the workshop at St. Gregory's Church in San Francisco - what an amazing space!

I believe we had 14 people in attendance and I can tell you it was a dedicated group of sewists from 3 different guilds at that workshop.  BAMQG had 7 in attendance.  After a centering exercise, Sherri had us select our fabrics.  I must have been very calm and centered because I went with neutrals - not my usual style!  I only got this far and did not even begin to sew the parts together:

I hope that I will not let this project languish and find the time to sew the remaining pieces and get er done!  This is not an easy technique and really does require a lot of curved piecing.  I think the biggest lesson related to this technique for me is the lack of predictibility - you can't compose the whole picture and then put it together (control, lots of control!).  Every time you sew a segment, you may or will change the composition (loss of control, loss of control!).  It was fun and I hope I will get a chance to take another workshop from Sherri in the future.

Then, back at home on Sunday, I knew that I needed to get my Pillow Talk Swap 9 pillow kicked into high gear.  I had decided to make a New York Beauty block for the pillow.  My partner mentioned that she liked Chicopee and text fabric and scrappy, so I got started.

I posted two photos for feedback and my partner said she liked them both - makes sense for someone who likes scrappy.

I got started and things went sort of like this:

I knew that I wanted to add a border to the block and I got stuck here for awhile, going back and forth between a black border, a white border and a Chicopee border.  Chicopee won and I moved on to this:

Now I'm working on the back, which is going to be pieced.  I'll show you what I did next time (o.k. you're right - I can't show it to you now because it's not done yet...but I did make my template for the block, dry fitted it to the NYB block and I'm ready to start sewing again!) 

This is my first attempt at a NYB block. It's not perfect, but I think it will look really nice when it is all finished and quilted. I'll show you the finished pillow before I sent it out. It will be 20"x20".

And because I cannot resist sharing my grandkids with you, here's a slightly fuzzy picture of the Super Heroes before they went trick or treating.  At 3 and 5, this was their first year to go house to house together.  Talk about excitement - they were lit up with LED lights in their costumes, had their Halloween bags in hand, knew that they were to say Trick or Treat and then Thank You to each person who gave them candy.  Thank goodness there are still neighborhoods where the kids can safely go Trick or Treating!

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.