Wednesday, August 28, 2013

At the End of my Rope...

These fabric-over-rope bowls are ones I made to donate for a fundraiser. I had forgotten how much fun they are to sew. I was trying to come up with a small project and our local library had a copy of the book "It's a Wrap" on the shelves. Seeing it jogged my memory. I still have some rope and plenty of fabric scraps. So off to the sewing room I went.

When I made fabric bowls before, I relied on some online tutorials and videos. But what a difference having the book made. Author Susan Breier offered some very helpful tips and instructions. So helpful, in fact, that I'm certain that the quality of these projects is much better than my previous attempts.

The book also had lots of ideas for embellishing the bowls, on using stripes for a spiral look, and on making lids and other bowl shapes. It was a very valuable resource. I still need to add some beads or some kind of accent trim. This yellow bowl is the second one. They're not easy to photograph, but I like how this one looks when shot from above. In addition to using them to store assorted items, I hung them on the wall and thought how pretty it would be to have a grouping of them as a wall display. I think a Christmas bowl is next, and then I'll need to get more rope... I'm about at the end.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Not So Bad....

Well at last the roomy tote bag is complete. And despite the mistake I made in misplacing the center front line on the pattern, the bag is still a success. In the class model, the deep curve you see on each side of my bag is located at the front between the two handles. The result is that my version works better as a market-tote hand bag as there is not enough room to put the straps comfortably up on my shoulder. Since I didn't know how things would turn out once I realized my error, I did not invest the extra time or materials to make a flap or add the inside pocket, The instructions illustrate steps for both. But all in all, I'm happy with the bag. It's called The Tinker Tote, and is the project in Craftsy's online Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags class. I may make a smaller version, too.
Here's the back side of the bag. I'm trying to reduce the scraps in my sewing room, so limited myself to using pieces from two bags of scraps I pulled from storage. They are impressively close to empty now which is a good feeling. I did purchase the medium-weight tan denim for the bag bottom. And when the title of this post popped into my mind, it reminded me of a contest I saw reported in the newspaper some years back. When the Super Bowl was going to be held in Jacksonville, a contest for a tourism slogan was held in order to convey a catchy concept and a positive image for the area. The paper published a list of the top 15 losing slogans which really gave me a chuckle. The one that got the loudest laugh was this one: Jacksonville- It's Not So Bad. Ha- Who thinks of this stuff? And now, that's the one I always remember. I don't know the winning slogan.  Indeed Jacksonville is not bad at all, and I'm looking forward to the big Quilt Fest to be held there in early September. And my bag is not so bad either! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More Quilts from Maine...

Here are some more delightful entries from Maine Quilts, 2013. Several that drew me in were created with an animal theme. This one is "Pig Joy" by Linda Shepard. She designed her quilt using Susan Carlson's Collage Technique. I like the method, and used Susan's books when I made a couple of fish quilts. But I haven't tried one yet that contains as many fabric bits as this one does. You can see that Linda earned a ribbon for her efforts.

Also inspired by Susan Carlson and working from a photo, Kate Rogers made this portrait of her Arabian Horse, "Radly." Great colors!

This is "Meet the Girls (Starr, Ella, Flo and Maisy)" by Jeanne Funk-Gedies. She used a variety of techniques including hand and machine applique, and paper piecing for this whimsical wallhanging.

There were several entries with an Asian flair. Megan Farkas was inspired by woodblock triptychs by Eisho and made her hand-quilted piece "Sakura !: Hanaogi Views the Cherry Blossoms". She used hand applique and embroidery, and added inking. Fabric choices are just beautiful.

And this one by Frances M. Parker is titled "Torii-Sacred Gate" which incorporates a variety of techniques, including "bias-strip clamshells" from a Quilter's Newsletter article ((June/July 2009). Such a pleasing combination of fabrics and design.

It's always fun to see what quilters come up with when they use the same blocks and some of the same fabrics. The Canoe City Quilters of Old Town provided three fabrics from which to make 12 blocks for their Chapter Challenge. They swapped their blocks so each participant wound up with an assortment for a sampler. Then each one joined the blocks in her own setting style. There were more than 12 of these Chapter Challenges, including a Bargello one, an America the Beautiful one, black & white with an accent color. The Maine Modern Quilters did a rip-and-tear challenge where each member ripped a piece from a solid-color fat quarter brought to their meeting by other participants. They had to use all of the pieces they ripped, and they could add other fabrics. Lots of ideas for future guild challenges. 

This stunning whole cloth quilt was exhibited by teacher Pat Ferguson- "Zen Garden." She combined free-motion quilting with Zentangle-inspired quilting worked in bright color thread on a brownish batik (front) and purple batik (back). This quilt looks as good on one side as the other- choose your favorite!

Quilt shows are ever-inspiring and always inspire me to get back to my sewing machine.

Monday, August 5, 2013

East, West, Home is Best...

We're back from a week in Maine and had a lovely time away. The air there is indescribably fresh and refreshing. We do the same things every time we go, creatures of habit that we are. I even take the same photos over and over! You'll see a few more below. These are fishing boats at Cape Porpoise.
The cairn builder has been busy along The Marginal Way in Ogunquit. These intricate piles of rocks and beach materials seem to weather all storms. The Marginal Way is a beautiful public path that stretches about a mile or so from Ogunquit to Perkins Cove. Lots of views like this one along the way.
And we had the opportunity to again attend the Maine Quilts annual show in Augusta. There was a delightful array of quilts from traditional- like this hand-quilted beauty, “Elegance” by Pat Burns, above- to Modern like “Beatrix” by Betsy Cannan, below. Pat made her quilt from a workshop on Blended Quilts with Marsha McCloskey. Betsy's quilt was a pattern in Modern Quilts Illustrated (C&T Publishing).
I'll share some more quilt photos in another post. There was much to see and inspire!
And what trip to Maine would be complete without some “lobstah”? Delish! We rented a small cottage overlooking a marsh and steps from the beach at Goose Rocks Beach. I'm rested and refreshed, and ready to get back into my sewing projects. I was feeling weighed down by the number of works-in-progress before we left. But now I feel hopeful and energized about moving them along to completion. That's what a trip like this does... glad to get away, glad to get home!