Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Sew-In 2013

I'm trying something new this year since I'm not going anywhere this long weekend, inspired by friend Jaye:
The Labor Day Sew In 
A group of people communicating over twitter using hashtag #LDSI as we sew all weekend.
If you're interested, come find everyone in the tweetchat room.  People are making everything, quilts, purses, I'm doing ATC's.

So far today I've made this:

I'm calling it Warmed Up, it is 14x14"
It is made using a small portion of the scraps from cutting out a quilt with my friend's Accu-quilt.  As I was sewing I realized that I haven't actually sewn anything in a whole month! Yikes! Out of practice.
So I started out small.  It was meant to be the basis of some ATC's for next Saturday's CQFA meeting, but nope, it was its own thing.

Quilted with orange small satin stitch and lime green zig-zag.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rim Fire

We were just in Yosemite last week when the Rim Fire started really going. Here is a picture of Yosemite Valley taken from up on Glacier Point with the fire on the horizon.  At first it just looked like a big Sierra thunderhead. This picture was taken Thursday August 22nd at about 1pm. I believe that the fire is around 25 miles away from the spot I was taking the pictures.

But then you look closer and see that  it is actually a huge amount of smoke underneath that white cloud.  The smoke is actually causing its own mini-weather system to form.And the smoke wasn't just contained to one spot it really spread wide depending on the winds of course, but thankfully didn't affect us in Yosemite Valley, or up on Crane Flat campground on Highway 120 (which was closed right after the turnoff for the campground).
 There were some better places to take close up pictures of the smoke the next day when we went up the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows but my husband didn't want to stop, he said it was too scary as we were too close to it. And since he was driving at the time, that was that. He was right of course, because he knows how fire freaks me out because of where we live. Let's just say we were so close that I would not have needed the zoom at all to get some of these pictures because where we were driving was right on the other side of those mountains that you see. Also it was a day later and the fire had doubled in size.

I really hope that the fire is able to be controlled enough where there are homes and towns, and that of course the firefighters stay as safe as possible. But I also hope they let the rest burn, this forest needs it, there's been too many years without a fire. Also the sequoias don't grow unless there is a fire, the seeds don't come out of the pods, there's too much shade from other faster-growing trees, etc. Fire is part of what is supposed to happen in these mountainous forests,
 On Friday as we drove back down to the valley to leave on 140, we stopped at a pullout near the turnout to Foresta and looked back up the mountain towards the fire.  The halo ring was new.
All I could keep thinking was this is Nature's Terrible Beauty, unstoppable (at least for a time) by humans, necessary and vital to the ecosystem, and so aesthetically beautiful in a abstract don't think about the trees burning and the animals running and the humans in danger kind of way.

Monday, August 05, 2013


Happy Moon-Day
This is how she looked last month , being cradled by our trees.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Paint Strip Challenge

A Mono-chromatic paintstrip challenge for CQFA.
This is the paint strip that I drew. Not my favorite colors to work with, so it will be a challenge.

We used very simple rules: Blindly pick one paint strip. Trading was allowed.
Make an 11x17" quilt using only those colors.
Here was my process:
 I picked out all these wild materials at FabMo, velvet, silk, linen, vinyl, polyester, upholstery fabric. I used the paint strip to "shop", but had some color surprises once I got them home under my Ott-light and not in the not very well lit warehouse space that FabMo is housed in.  Quite a few weren't even close. So I worked with what really matched the paint strip colors.
 I quickly settled on a design that I liked, and had to figure out how to quilt it.

 All the vinyl rectangles were removed since I didn't want to pin them and have the pinholes to deal with.
 All the edges stitched down.

A lot of additional machine embroidery stitching added.
The stack of reptile-skin vinyl rectangles, cut and glue sticked together, ready to place back on the quilt surface.

 This quilt is all about the overlapping of edges.
 So here it is done, now titled Harvest.
 And a bunch of super-duper close-ups so you can see all the stitching.
 I like how the thread stays on the top of the vinyl, not sinking in at all like it does on the velvet.

Friday, August 02, 2013

At The Local

I recently visited the local Japanese grocery store (Misuwa Marketplace) which is the size of a regular ol' American grocery store but has the added benefit of a very cool bookshop inside of it. This is once you get beyond the awesome factor of a whole refrigerated case of various sorts of tofu, another filled with an amazing selection of mushrooms of every sort, all the seaweed you could ever want, an in-store sushi chef, noodle cafe, a Shisiedo makeup outlet, etc.

It's a bizarre sort of place, but very enjoyable and friendly and I'm glad there's one not too far away to visit occasionally.

I found the above goodies in the bookstore.

  •  A new watercolor brush that holds water in the handle, very handy for travel.  (And hard to explain to Chinese airport security guards, whoops)
  • A new kind of origami paper, which I like to use in collages since I'm pretty awful at origami.  
  • The beautiful red fabric is an official Furoshiki, a cloth that is used (and re-used) for wrapping gifts.  I've been doing my own half-assed version of this when I give presents, especially to quilting friends, but I thought it would be fun to try it with a real one.  Who will be the lucky giftee has not yet be decided but the red and the almost polka-dots is a pretty big hint I'd say.

As I'm on a non-Nook-book diet, I had to put back several crafting, paper, Japanese clothing, knitting (whywhywhy, I don't knit) and art books.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Using an AccuQuilt

I recently got the chance to try out my friend, Debbie Wambaugh's AccuQuilt Studio Fabric Cutter before she packed up and moved away (sniff sniff, miss you already Debbie!).
I don't normally do a lot of traditional block quilting so I had to come up with a project out of my stash to take over and cut out.  I saw Mark Lipinski's great recent quilt design, Goose Chase in Quilty magazine,
You can buy a digital version of this pattern right here.

 I didn't have a lot of time, so I decided to cut out all the small triangles in lime green, orange instead of pink and black for the colors. And instead of a white background, I chose a variety of  white with black prints.My plan is to cut the bigger ones out myself (since there's a whole lot less of them!)

The AccuQuilt triangle die has the corners cut off of the triangles, which is great, it will make it so much easier to fit those triangles together. I always struggle with that, so any help is appreciated.

Gosh it was so easy to use, once you get the fabric positioned, it's just an easy turn of the handle. I can really see now why people are so excited about these gizmos.  I need to come up with some good reasons that I need one because it was super fun to play with, I can imagine a lot of possibilities.  They have a zillion dies in all kinds of shapes (including strips), so I think I'm going to save up for one.

Sometimes holding the rotary cutter for more than a few minutes gets very hard for me, as my right hand hasn't really recovered from my finger injury a few years back. It's a safety issue as well as an accuracy issue.

Besides the fiddling around with getting the fabric the right size and shape to go into the cutter, the only other big downside is that there is lot of fabric wastage using this cutter.  Which I'm sure with practice you can minimize a whole lot more than my first attempt. Of course, since I love using scraps this isn't really a problem.

So two thumbs up from a novice user with this new tool, putting it on the I-Want-List.