February 2011

Block Nine

Just a few more blocks and it will be time to set this quilt together! This is my ninth block for the Moose on the Porch Layer Cake Quilt Along.

This modified Ohio Star block was submitted by Jovita Goldschmidt. There are at least four ways this block can be arranged and it was fun spinning it around and deciding which layout worked best. I like the center block highlighted so the bird stands out and I know I am going to use white setting strips to put it together so I didn’t want any white on the outside edges.

The fabric line I picked for this challenge is continuing to give me fits. It’s “Give a Hoot!” by MoMo and it features fairly large scale prints. The polka dots are not dots but ovals so they have directionality that I really have to watch. The little pink and red polka dots in this block are not from the line but I used them to accent the bird in the center. I do love the bright, bold colors and the finished quilt is sure to be cheerful.

Yarn Bombing!

This is enough to make me want to learn to knit.

Two days ago a popular downtown restaurant in Walnut Creek was yarn bombed. The light pole outside the front door was wrapped in what looked like a giant leg warmer and the metal railing leading to their outdoor seating area was also shown a little love. Although the restaurant owners pleaded with the City to leave the urban art in place, the City Public Works Director declared it an act of graffiti that should not be encouraged. She sent the City maintenance workers down with a pair of scissors and they cut it off. Booooooo!

I have to admit that I had never heard of this form of guerilla knitting, but I did some searching on the internet and found that this urban art form is becoming very popular worldwide. You can see some amazing photos online at http://www.yarnbombing.com/. Here are some I love:

And here is some really serious needle work:?

This might be a great anti-war tactic. It’s hard to take a tank seriously when it’s covered in pink yarn, completed with pom-poms.

?Looks like a little crochet was included on this one.
I found several Flickr groups that are dedicated to collecting photos of yarn bombing. Check out Yarn Bombing DIY, Guerilla Knitting and Urban Knitting on Flickr for more fun photos of this outrageous urban art form!?
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February Frolic for Electric Quilt BOM

Here is my block for February in the Electric Quilt Block of the Month challenge.

The block pattern is called February Frolic. I am loving the strong graphic nature of these blocks. Lots of strong lines. My focus fabric, “Newspaper” by Alice Kennedy, seems a good fit for the blocks so far.

I have had this fabric for awhile and just haven’t been able to figure out how to use it. If it were cut into small pieces it would not make any sense. The ability to feature parts of the print is perfect.

Visit Electric Quilts’ website, type Block of the Month in the search box, and download the patterns for free. You don’t have to own EQ software to use the patterns. Who doesn’t love a free new design?

Eulogy for Salt the Parakeet (2002 – 2011)

This morning I noticed Salt huddled in the bottom of her cage. When I stepped closer, I saw she wasn’t moving. She was not breathing, just very still.

When my youngest daughter (who is a senior in high school) was in fourth grade, her science teacher bought five parakeets for the children to study during a section on birds. Each table in the class had a parakeet in a little cage that the children would observe. They drew bird beaks, bird eyes, bird feathers, bird feet. When the bird study was finished the teacher found herself with five birds with little room to keep them. We could debate her wisdom in purchasing them to begin with, but that is history.

One afternoon I picked up my daughter from school and she was so excited she couldn’t sit still. She talked so fast I could barely understand her, the way children do when they are super excited. “Mom, Miss Dee said I could have all five parakeets and she said she will give me their cage and all their food and all their toys and all the things I could possibly need to have parakeets isn’t that great mom she said if you said it’s okay I can bring them home tomorrow can I mom can I? Mom, please?”

I should add that this particular child had adopted two mice from her first grade teacher who swore they were two girl mice…..nope, boy and girl, and we quickly had 17 mice on hand, as well as two hamsters and a puppy. Obviously, I am a pushover.

So the five parakeets came home and were a raucous bunch. Lots of tweeting and chirping and fluttering around but they were very happy in the super luxurious huge cage we bought for them. My daugther was very responsible in caring for them and over the years, one by one, they died of natural causes, except Salt. For the last four years Salt has been in the cage by herself, but developed a wonderful relationship with one of our cats. The cat slept on her cage during the day, they rubbed noses/beaks and they kept each other company.

I am waiting for my daughter to come home from school so we can bury Salt along side all the other little animals that have been part of our family. We will miss this very sweet little bird.

Happy Valentine’s Day

It must be because it’s Valentine’s Day, but I was really in the mood to sew something red today. I stumbled across an announcement a couple of days ago that Electric Quilt is doing a new Block of the Month. It started in January. I love EQ. Here is my block for January:

This is a new block design by Andrea Bishop called “January Jumble.” Andrea designs blocks, applique and quilting stencils for EQ. Each month she will be posting a new block on the EQ website. These blocks are new designs and are not available in the software. The great thing is you do not have to own the EQ software to participate. You can download the blocks for free from the site. If you make the block and send them a photo, you qualify for great gifts each month. The blocks are for personal use only.

I have decided for this BOM challenge I am going to use “Newspaper” designed by Alice Kennedy as my focus fabric.

It is newsprint with lots of ads and occasional photos in black and white with red accents. Decidedly retro. I am hoping for a 50’s comic book? look. We will see where this goes after the next few blocks. Hop on over to http://www.electricquilt.com/ and check it out! Just type BOM in the search box on the home page and you are there.

The Popular Disappearing Nine Patch Block!

The Disappearing Nine Patch is a very popular block right now. Easy to sew and quite versatile, and a particular favorite if you like modern quilt blocks.

Mary Anne Ciccotelli of http://www.nyquilter.com/ has chosen this block for the eighth block in the Moose on the Porch Layer Cake quilt-along.  Here is Mary Anne’s block:

And here is my version:

Depending on your color choices and placement of the four blocks you can get completely different looks, which is the exciting thing about this block.

I have been working on the blocks for my niece’s quilt and here are some of the new blocks:

I have learned I need to be careful about how many different fabrics I use in one block. I have made 15 blocks and I have thrown out three of them because they look like they got hit with the crazy stick!  The blocks grouped together on my design wall are looking great and I am enjoying seeing the quilt grow.

Friday Flickr Four

Friday inspiration provided by the color lavendar….

1. Lavender at Lordington, 2. lavendar skies, 3. Crochet/Patchwork: Kaffe Fusion, 4. Lavender Rose – d2x_4_12_09_20560

Modern Nine Patch Project

Today I spent some time looking at these….

I wrote about them a while back. They are two-inch squares that my 30 year old niece lovingly picked apart from her baby quilt that she had quite literally loved to death. She could not bear to part with it so she asked me to put them into something new for her. Her birthday is in mid-May and I want to give it to her then so I need to get cracking on this project.
When I asked if she had any ideas for the quilt, she drew a little picture of a nine patch block and said that was the only quilt block she could think of.
I have decided to take a stab at making her a modern nine patch and here is the plan.

Nine four-inch blocks. One or two of the blocks will need to be pieced so I can work in those little two-inch lovies. She gave me four fat quarters of fabric that were pink, blue, green and gray so those are the colors I will use.?

Sew the blocks together….

Cut the block through the center vertically and horizontally…

Spin the four quarters around until I find a combination that I like and then sew them together.

My niece is a very urban young woman so I am hoping the modern nine patch will appeal to her.

Stay tuned!

A Sweet Gift from Ros

Yesterday when I checked the mailbox, I found a little packet from Ros Burton in the United Kingdom. Inside was this….

Five pieces of beautiful blue and green batik fabric, two packs of Mouline’ Sticktwist embroidery floss in matching blue and green, and a postcard depicting an area of villages called The Chilterns where Ros lives. My family was lucky enough to visit this area of England about ten years ago. It is such a charming area – truly right out of a storybook.

The batiks are a terrific match for a project I am working on right now so I am going to put them to work immediately. I am so excited about the embroidery floss. It is German made and not widely available in the U.S. Don’t you just love a surprise gift? Thanks so much, Ros! I love it.