Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Beach Quilts Festival

The Long Beach Quilts Festival is just a short walk from my house, so I went to the show on Friday to look at the quilts and get my shop on. Lots of great vendors with plenty for everyone and gorgeous, amazing quilts. Here are some of my favorites. To see the quilt in greater detail, click on the image to view it bigger on your screen. The page may load slowly because the pictures files are big.

Each quilt had a short blurb explaining the inspiration or story behind the quilt, which was always just as fascinating as the quilt itself.

"Spellbound" by Lynda Claus. I love the variety of textures in this quilt.

Design inspiration: My client's fascination for fonts and my stash of brown fabrics.

My client asked if I could make a quilt comprised of fonts and this is what I came up with. I started with one of my favorite sayings, "claim your space", and one of her favorites, "2 more"...

"Skating" by Joyce E. Seagram, Quilted by Edna Koepke. The colors caught my eye as did the quilting lines.

Design source: An important ingredient of the Canadian culture is skating in the winter, whether on a frozen lake, a farmer's pond, or a formal rink with artificial ice. The myriad swirls and scrawls on the ice left by skaters are part of most Canadians' visual images of growing up. The technique I learned from Nancy Crow, the working with blue or red against black, red or white against blue, and the other combinations, provided a fascinating resource by which I could recreate the patterns I remember from my skating at the local park.

"The Dead Sea" by Eti David. This quilt is so vibrant with all the shimmering blues and bright whites. The quilting is incredible, too, and adds wonderful texture to the quilt.

Design source: The Dead Sea itself. The Dead Sea was one of the objects that were nominated to "The Wonders of the World" last year. It was not chosen, but I think it should have been. It is unique. It's the lowest point on earth and it's beautiful.

"Mermaids Wineglasses 2" by Sara McClean. MB, this one is for you.

These tiny fragile-looking plants are a wonder of the world. They only stand 2 inches high. They grow in shallow rock pools in the Bahamas. They are most commonly called Mermaid Wineglasses - a beautiful name! I imagined these tiny plants as towering giants and what it would be like to stand under them looking up. It would make me the size of a grain of sand. It's amazing when you consider that these delicate stems withstand the constant pounding of the ocean and the cups are never crushed by the waves or tides - only when human hands try to pick them. They highlight how wonderful the natural world is around us. Often it is the tiniest things that truly are wonders of the world.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finished: Wedding Quilt

My friend's wedding quilt is finished, washed and ready to be mailed only one month after the actual wedding.

front. picture taken at night.
The zig zag quilting lines took forever. The lines are spaced 3 inches apart and marking them on the quilt gave me a workout from the constant squatting, bending over, and getting up to mark the next set of lines.

back. picture taken mid-day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Third time's the charm

Remember this bag?

I had made it for my mom, but it had a mishap. The snap ended up unsnapping and said she preferred a magnetic snap for better stability. She also said that the shoulder length was fine, but mentioned in passing that a cross-body strap would be nice.

I took back the bag, unpicked all my stitches, waited for my new sewing machine to arrive, and resewed the bag together. Then had to unstitch it all again because my alignment for the magnet snaps was a little off. So I restitched the bag again for the third time after a long internal debate. This time sewing very slowly to make sure that everything was in alignment. The final step was to make an adjustable shoulder strap that converts from over the shoulder to across the body.

Lessons learned: 1) insert a magnet snap in the first place and 2) sew s-l-o-w-l-y.

The end result:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winner's Loot: Share the Wealth

I promise; this is the last post about the Brown Bag Quilt Challenge. Waiting for me in the mail was this package from Rae Ann and JoyLyn.

The quilt patterns are from Lori Holt, one of the judges in the contest, and the fabric is a collection from Maywood Studio. Perfect for a country Christmas theme.

In other news, my new sewing machine came and so I've been trying to catch up on a backlog of sewing projects. Chief among them a quilt to swap for a painting and the belated wedding gift quilt.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flamingo love

A friend loves flamingos. So what to get her for her birthday but make her a flamingo throw pillow.

I sketched the shape in reverse onto no-sew fusible paper, ironed it onto some great hot-pink fabric and a small piece of black fabric, and then secured everything with a blanket stitch in matching thread. It's hard to see in the picture, but the fabric even has a little hill-type that could pass for very short feathers. 

The turquoise cording I picked up in San Francisco at Britex because I wasn't able to find any locally in Los Angeles or Long Beach. Seeing the fabulous buttons, ribbons and bolts upon bolts of fabric made me want to spend a Saturday in the fabric district in downtown Los Angeles.

In other news, being without a sewing machine has been very disorienting, but I've been able to use the time to be surprisingly productive - such as creating the new blog banner, getting the paperwork started to finally transform this hobby into a business, and putting together some tutorials to share at a later time on this blog.

Speaking of the banner, what do you think? Should I just use a single image? No image? All suggestions and constructive feedback are very welcome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Traveling in my head and (score!) Thrift shopping

Every time I log into Blogger, the first thing I do is look at the stats to see from which countries site visitors come because knowing that folks from places like Saudi Arabia or India or Malaysia are taking precious time to check in is just so fun to me. As much as I love traveling and try to make going outside the U.S. at least once a year a priority, I know that realistically I will not get to visit every place on my bucket list so I like to imagine a bit about the people who are checking in from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil or the Netherlands or any other millions of cool places around the globe.

So thank you to all of you who are visiting from so far away.


Today a co-worker and I visited the Scholarship Store for the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Designers and showrooms from the fabric district in Los Angeles often donate last season's merchandise, accessories, seconds, and raw materials to the store and all proceeds are used to provide scholarships, which is a fantastic business purpose.

I have been 5 or 6 times before, but this was the first time that I had some major finds.  My co-worker was wonderfully patient as I geeked out over all the stuff I was seeing and actually wanted to buy. Leather hides for $20 (I've seen those things sold for $200 a piece online.), belts that I can refashion into purse handles, high-quality denim for $1/yard (retail can be $20+ per yard),

4 for a dollar!

beautiful lace appliques that I got just because they are pretty (any suggestions?),

also 4 for a dollar! At those prices, I got two of each.

and some other upholstery weight fabrics (stuff that retails for $50+ per yard) that I will likely sew into some tote bags and clutches. Happy dance.

That ginormous roll of elastic was only $6

So, if you have some time, a visit to the Scholarship Store may be a gold mine for you. Or not. But, for sure, the visit will be an enjoyable treasure hunt.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello Kitty

When I was younger, I loved all things Hello Kitty. Getting to go the Sanrio store to pick out birthday presents was a treat. I'm not into Hello Kitty stuff anymore, but there is always a new generation ready to pick up the mantle of obligatory adoration.

My nieces are having a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. So I disregarded copyright laws and fashioned for them homemade, handmade personalized tote bags.

I traced the different elements of the face onto No-Sew fusible paper and then ironed them onto felt. I then ironed on the pieces layer by layer.  As for Jessie, if she learns how to spell her "e's" backward, well, she can always blame me for leading her down the wrong path.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The ever elusive red bag

My mom has been on a years-long quest to find the perfect red bag. We're still looking, but as a stop gap measure, I made her this one. A friend of hers had one with a similar shape and so she asked me to make one similar in style.

I made a mock-up in paper. She tweaked the size to make it a little shorter. For the handles I did a little Google image research in all the different ways that designers made their bag handles and also looked stalkerishly close at people's handbags whenever I found myself behind someone carrying a shoulder bag.

For the interior, I put in a zipper pocket, a drop-in pocket for a cell phone and another small item, and my mom's staple request: a key fob.

All in all, not a bad day's work. Although I just realized that for all the quilting that I like to do, my time is always getting hijacked by smaller sewing projects. That and the fact that my sewing machine just died on me a second time while I was trying to continue quilting my Fanciful Flowers quilt.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A little late

A very good friend got married last Sunday in a beautiful ceremony in Malibu. The weather was perfect; the traffic not so much. Despite giving myself an extra hour cushion to get to the ceremony in time, so many people were enjoying the beautiful weather and driving to the beaches on PCH that I barely got to the wedding in time to hear the happy couple exchange their vows. So in keeping with my tardiness to the wedding, my wedding present will also be late, inconsiderate friend that I am.

My friend's wedding colors were navy and sage so I'm making them a quilt in those colors and will add a special quilt label on the back to commemorate their special day.

Perhaps because this has been a 3-day weekend and all I want to do is lollygag, this is as far as I have gotten on the quilt. The groom is six feet tall, so the quilt will be a little small for him, but that just means that if they want to share, they'll have to cuddle that much closer together.

finished size will eventually be about 54" square
Happy birthday, America!
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