Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Crunch

Black Friday is not just a stressful retail day. It's also apparently when I officially begin to panic about my Christmas projects. Every year, I try to go into the holidays with a plan for any quilts that I'm making for gifts. I try to be realistic. I try to have restraint. But then comes November and two things happen:  1. that's when I get my hair-brained, last minute projects way too late in the game. I think "That would work, I could totally do that by Christmas".  And 2. nothing realistically gets done in December. My sewing room transforms into the guest room and December disappears and I get swallowed up in all of the holiday fun with family and friends. I want to be out having fun!

I feel like I need to join a group like "QFDLQFSCPN"(Quilt Friends don't let Quilt Friends Start Christmas projects in November.) I think I would have good company. Fortunately for me, I have other quilty friends who could also be founding members of this group and one of them came over for a fun sewing/eating/project/post-Thanksgiving kind of day ;)

Without giving too much away and spoiling any gift-giving plans I may or may not have, here are just a couple of sneak-peeks at some projects I'm working on.

Added to the normal November-melt down this year, I am happy to report that I have other deadlines. For the first time, I have three quilt patterns being published in the Spring. And when is the logical time for the delivery deadline to the publisher for photos? You guessed it, November 30th! I'll share more on that exciting news when I can but for now, I have to get back to it!

Happy holiday stitching,


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One stitch at a time

Do you hand quilt? Most of my projects are machine quilted. Manageable sized ones I try to do myself, big ones go off to my trusty long arm quilter. But I like to have one hand quilting project going so I have it to work on when the impulse strikes. Those impulses used to be never, then gradually, maybe because I'm getting older, I'm finding it more enjoyable and I seem to have the patience I didn't previously have. It always seems like a big race to finish a project and move on the next one. But I have to say that the quilts I have quilted by hand are really high up on my list of favorites. Especially when it comes to cuddling up under one for a nap!

While I think of hand quilting as the "traditional" version of our craft, of course I can't leave well enough alone. Bigger, brighter, and bolder apparently extend past my choices in fabric and design. I have tried over the last couple of projects to get my stitches ever-so-small and close together. I have taken classes and tried special thimble techniques. To no avail. My stubborn inner quilt diva, naturally gravitates toward this bigger, chunkier style of stitching. This project seems o.k. with it. I think the stitches are bold enough to stand up to the fabric choices. I also really like using Perle 8 cotton thread instead of finer quilting thread. It adds a dimension and weightiness to the project that I like.
So I've given up the fight and decided to accept my natural rhythm of big, bold stitches and be o.k.with it. I won't be winning any hand quilting contests anytime soon but I'm sure there's a good nap in my future!

Happy Stitching,


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Out of the Box with Judy Irish

I recently had the opportunity to take a really great workshop from Judy Irish. She's an amazingly creative quiltmaker and a long-arm quilter extrordinaire. Namedrop alert...she quilts for Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy for all of their books! Kaffe and Liza are the top of my fabric craziness pyramid and I LOVE their work. I have done several of their quilts and I have a serious fabric addiction when it comes to anything "Kaffe."

It was more like a triple workshop since Judy managed to teach three different workshops at the same time! Woven quilts/collage, her lonestar method and free motion quilting. She also did a trunk show and shared many of her beautiful quilts. We also got the chance to pump her for lots of good Kaffe insider-stories. His new autobiography "Dreaming in Colour" is on my Christmas list!

I chose to focus on the woven quilts, something I had never done before and it turned out to be great fun. Really a stretch for me since I would never venture to consider myself an art-quilter, by any means. Here was my end result with the collage and free motion quilting completed.

Here's the woven piece before starting the collage layer.

It was really a very fun and surpisingly do-able technique. My head is already swimming with ideas for others. Maybe more valuable than the techniques learned, was the encouragement to stretch and create and to have fun while doing it. Thank you Judy!

Happy stitching,


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back in the Red & White saddle

I just spent a beautiful and productive day in my sewing room. It was so long in coming. August was a fun summer blur and then September came and went in a back-to-school frenzy. I haven't been able to squeeze in a solid two hours of sewing time and I needed it!

No better way to get back in the saddle than diving into my monster red & white project. Here is some of today's piecing progress:

This is a project called Just Takes 2 put together by Sentimental Stitches and Dear Jane in honor of the fabulous Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts exhibit held in New York City last year. Two color quilts are eternally popular and this project pulls blocks from all of the quilts in the Red & White exhibit into a HUGE sampler. It's basically a block-of-the-month project on steroids. I decided to stick to the red and use different shirting fabrics for my backgrounds.

Someone thought this was a good idea in January (Tracey!) and red is my favorite color so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Well, 75 blocks into it (I think I'm behind by about 20 at this point) and still three more months to go! I can't even begin to think how I'm going to quilt this sucker. I'm just trying to make it to the finish!

One of the great things about this project is that it has made me appreciate more than ever the skills of quilters past. RESPECT! I mean, no rotary cutters, no Omnigrid rulers, no Ibuprofen, etc., etc. There's everything in this project from hand piecing, to applique, to regular piecing, to a never-ending amount of paper piecing. Tons of blocks that I have never even heard of, let alone tried before. Good learning experience!

The real test will be if red is still my favorite color by the end of this project!

Happy stitching,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Doxie love

Do you have doxie love in your house? We sure do. Here's our current member of the family, Seamus:

How can you not love that face? Short of his atrociously bad breath, he's a keeper. Seamus is the latest in the long line of doxies in our family over the years: Ginger, Heidi, Reesey, Tink, and extended doxie relatives Bella and Weenie.


Like most doxie owners, we love all things doxie so I just had to do this baby quilt when I saw the pattern. It's called "Baby's Bow Wow Blankie" by  All Through the Night Folk Art designs.

Fortunately for me a friend of the family was expecting just around the time I saw the pattern in one of my favorite local shops, Fabric-Etc. (thanks Carol!) and that sealed the deal! This one went to baby Sutton.

Look who's sneaking in on this one!
And what better way to close than with a Seamus puppy pic!

Here's to finding your stitching inspiration!

Happy stitching,


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nine patch jazz

I just spent a lovely evening on the bay with my honey listening to live jazz and watching the sunset. A beautiful end-of-summer evening in my corner of the world. Here we least part of us...

Can you see that lovely nine patch underneath? This is my quilt from my grandma. It's a humble nine patch, hand-tied, old school. I'm sure there's not an inch of quilt-shop-quality fabric in it, there's a sheet for the backing folded over for the binding, and even the ties are different colors throughout. She made quilts for all of her 10 grandkids and I'm sure my cousins' quilts look very much like this one. Mine is dated 1988. She hand-embroidered the year in the corner.

It has been our go-to picnic quilt for a long time and has seen many days in the sun. I know I should probably put it away to take better care of it as it's very worn and we're pretty hard on it. But that's kind of how my grandma made it. She grew up during the depression years in rural Pennsylvania, made do with what she had and expected whatever she made to be used.

I don't have my grandma with me anymore but I do have this quilt and I think of her everytime I use it. It's also how I feel when I'm making a quilt for someone else. I think of them a lot while I'm working on it. I like to think my grandma was thinking about me when she was making this one. It's kind of like a never ending hug across time.

Happy stitching,


Monday, August 27, 2012

Moonlight Quilters Eye Candy

Well, the MQ show has come and gone and it was, as always, lots of work and lots of fun crammed into two days. I actually got some sewing time in front of a machine during the show in the Community Service area and the Demo area. Easy to volunteer for that!

Here are just a few of the many beautiful quilts that were on display (over 250+).
Spiderweb string quilt - love the red, of course! I didn't catch the name on this one.
Asterik quilt by my friend Sally S.  I have a block in there somewhere.
Scrappy pineapple quilt by Karen O.
May just be my show favorite. This liberated log cabin was done by Carrie U. in a Gwen Marston workshop. The back is done in a beautiful red silk - amazing!
Happy stitching,


Friday, August 24, 2012

It's showtime!

Hanging out at the bi-annual Moonlight QuiltersGuild show, "Quilting By the Bay". Almost 300 quilted beauties, vendors, tea room and an awesome raffle quilt - "Bellingham Meets Baltimore". Beautiful design concept by Yvonne B. and Jan H. Such a privilege to be a part of this. One more day to get your lucky ticket at the show. Drawing tomorrow at close of show. Here's the link for show info:
The fruit basket block was my contribution.

And some more lovely close ups.

It's a one-of-a-kind beauty and I hope it's coming home with me!

Happy Stitching,


Monday, August 20, 2012

It's fair time!

One of my favorite parts of summer - going to the fair. I have to admit we are pretty spoiled here and we have a great fair (the Northwest Washington Fair, in Lynden.) When I say great, I mean really great. Super clean, yummy food, close parking and very family oriented. All things high on my list.

Also high on my list: the quilt barn! Always a good showing of lots of different quilt styles. I really like working in the barn as a hostess because there are a lot of people coming through, mostly non-quilters. It's nice to see the response people have and their appreciation of the craft.

This was actually the first time I have entered quilts myself. Finally got brave enough I guess. Happy with the results though I must say.

Red ribbon for Casey's "Leaves in the Breeze", a Piece O'Cake design, in the applique catagory.

And a blue ribbon for "Facet Diamonds"! From Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts, in the pieced catagory - what you can see of it!

Some other favorites I saw there:

An original by Darla.
Lovely mini-red by Tracey.

Super beauty by Yvonne. Best of division!
Happy summer stitching!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ready or not...

Well, here we go! Time to play techno-catch-up and enter blog-land. I have really been getting so much creative juice out of all the great quilt blogs out there in the last year I decided it was time to contribute. So I hope this space will be to share what's on my cutting mat, recent finished projects and those that are still but a glimmer in my eye.

I have been quilting for about 8 years now after deciding my baby girl needed a quilt on her first big girl bed. My dear friend Nancy Smith was my mentor and personal teacher on that first quilt and I have been hooked ever since.

I decided to call the blog Eye Candy Quilts because that's what they are to me. I love lush, vibrant color and even more, seeing how they come together to make gorgeous quilts. I think I fall somewhere between traditional and modern in both fabric and form and I try not to be daunted by any particular project by thinking something is "too hard". "Hard" would have been stitching handcut pieces by candlelight in a cabin out in the wilderness so my family wouldn't freeze to death for goodness sake!

What I do, I do because I can, on my own terms and I love it.

Happy stitching!