Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ending This Year


Here’s my Year of Colour for 2020. This is based on the 140 picture posts I made to Instagram last year.

Colors including Green Smoke, Costa Del Sol, Buccaneer, Golden Grass, Limed Spruce, Wedgewood, Nepal, Persian Red, Scooter, Mariner, Purple Heart, Venice Blue, Peach Yellow, Finlandia, Lima, Turquoise Blue, Havelock Blue, Winter Hazel, Seance, Gossip, Bouquet, Gulf Blue, Forest Green, Grain Brown.

Interesting to see how it all adds up through the year. 

This has been a hard year, and I know I have it easy compared to most. Here's to next year being a whole lot better and giving us all of us a chance to be together once more, even if it is masked and distanced.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Lone Round Robin - Round 1


The first round prompt for the Lone Round Robin is "anything you choose", so I went with an improvised checkerboard-ish sort of thing. Turns out I like combing squares and rectangles.

It's a little odd and awkward so of course I like it, and the center fabric leading out into the first round gave me an idea. It will now form a pathway through the quilt top on each subsequent row...somehow. More on that as I make it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020



One of my very favorite Christmas gifts this year came from friend Jaye, it's a mini-maker case, with an awesome surprise inside. Let's just say there was a lot of squealing on my part as I opened it which greatly amused my family.

The fabrics she chose are just so perfectly perfect for what the case holds inside.
The Paris print on the top really reminds me of one of my favorite picture books as a kid that we had, This Is Paris by Miroslav Sasek

The back of the case.
And inside, the most adorable mini-iron, the new one from Oliso.
Close up of the pull tab which says refresh.
Top down view. I really like how she used the fabrics for the various pieces of this case.

For instance, the bottom has a davenport perfectly centered.
The inside has a really nice print set off with a lovely raspberry.
I love it so much, and can't wait to actually get to go to a class or sew day with Jaye to use it outside of my house. We live in hope, right?!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Starting Point


Here it is, the starting point of my Lone Round Robin quilt for SBAMQG. This was the common fabric that we were all to use for our centers. It's from Ruby Star Society designer Alexia Marcelle Abegg, her Alma collection - Field in the color Persimmon. At the retreat this year (which was held online but on a weekend I couldn't participate unfortunately) ten round prompts were chosen. A round is four sides around the center. It's a one block log cabin inspired by this. I like the idea a lot and wanted to try it out, so here I go.

If I get it done in time it can be shown in the PVQA virtual quilt show along with the other completed ones from our group. I love their theme for the show Keep Calm And Quilt On.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Weirdest of Holidays

How were your holidays? We've had a weird go of it this year, just like everyone else.
A portrait of Meg as usual being my mirror. Expressing the wariness and concern I had for even going out of our house to see our family in person. We were outdoors, all of us with our masks on, six feet apart, no hugging, very brief visits to drop off and open our presents. But, hey,  at least we got to lay eyes on each other. And we got to split a honey-baked ham with my parents, we brought them sides, they gave us ham-to-go. My daughter and her partner made us tiramisu and egg salad sammies and tea which we ate outside on their stoop. We opened presents just as the rain started. It was worth all the driving, because we got to see our people. And I got to pass on my old art table to them too. Glad to see it getting used instead of taking up room in our garage.

We came home and had our Christmas dinner, just DH and DS and me, giving thanks that we're together, warm, safe, healthy and relatively happy. After dinner DH and I watched the new Wonder Woman 1984 movie. Loved it, they really captured the vibe of the 80's and the movies of that era. I would have enjoyed seeing it on the big screen in a movie theater, but alas, not to be this year. 

HBO had the 1970's Wonder Woman tv show up next, and I watched the pilot episode. Talk about a blast from the past. It was so over-the-top and campy. Some terrible overacting also, very very 70's. Then there was this scene where they were wearing masks in the hospital. Brought me right out of the story seeing those masks being worn. But then they started talking about Wonder Woman. "She was strangely dressed, very attractive, quite strong and unfemininely pushy." That's when I remembered why I was so into WW.

Anyways, hope your holidays were as good as possible and that you stayed safe. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Final Final 2020 Fabric


Okay, now that the USPS has burped out my final fabric purchase from Fabric Bubb, here it is, my final final fabric purchase for 2020. Three more solid Konas for the BOTEOM for SBAMQG. As soon as I get them washed, I can get them incorporated into the cutting I'm doing for the blocks. And yes, I've purchased that ruler fabric before, but it's just that perfect color, and it has numbers. 

I think these four fabrics would make a lovely quilt all on their own.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Cornucopia Finale of the Year

A final Cornucopia post for 2020. These are just a bunch of links that I've been perusing and obsessing over, and who knows...maybe you'll find something you haven't seen yet.


I'm not sure how to feel about this artist's works using pre-1900's antique quilts, it's very intriguing art and I think it says a whole lot about topics it is hard to make evocative art about without being too in your face. Many of the pieces are beautiful (mostly because of the quilts themselves) and it's interesting to see quilts used in such a different manner. As a quilter though, it is extremely hard to imagine myself cutting up antique quilts to make art with. I just don't think I could do it. 


This article about how to stop buying more and more *things* had made me re-think how I buy stuff to use in my quilting and artwork.


This ProPublica project analyzing county by county projected near-term climate change effects. Interesting way to approach the issue and visualize the data, very useful.


I really enjoyed this article about using discarded materials in your fiber artworks, great examples from five fiber artists, one of whom is here in the Bay Area and another fan of FabMo.


To start out 2021, how about a Doodle-a-Day challenge for January? ElloLovely is hosting it with Spoonflower. I've been doing more and more sketching on my iPad, so I'll try to dive in and post some sketches. 


There's a big year-end sale on classes over on Craftsy. I've just signed up for one and it was about 70% off.


I was just checking out Christa Walton's page of quilt-a-longs, there are a whole lot of cool ones on there, very tempting.


Friend Jaye pointed me to Wombat Quilt's great page of paper-pieced patterns, all free.


This jelly-roll friendly quilt looks like a good one to try, Sugar Bloom.


Memo to me, make this Can of Sardines ornament for DS Alex for Christmas next year. I saw the instructions a little too late to get going on it.


Seems like it might be time to try cutting out some stamps with my Cricut, maybe this blog post will help.


Another mask pattern to try out, this one comes in six graduated sizes.


Monday, December 21, 2020

Block Printing Webinar

Last month, I was lucky enough to notice that there was a webinar through the Modern Quilt Guild about block printing, specifically Block Printing Repeat Patterns. I've done block printing, but haven't really tried to do repeat patterns. So, I signed up and I *gasp* actually remembered to watch it. The seminar was awesome, the presenter was very clear and thorough as well as entertaining. Pantera Saint-Montaigne has a retail textiles business in Brooklyn called Brooklyn Mojo. I loved the step by step videos she shared and all of the resources that she provided. 

Based on her recommendation, I bought a baren to help in getting good, even contact with the entire block. That's always been one of my bugaboos, so I'm hoping this tool will help with that issue.

I also bought a couple things from the Brooklyn Mojo store for holiday presents this year. They are very high quality and the printing on them is very well done.

Pantera mentioned she'd learned a lot of her printing techniques from Jen Hewett, who also teaches online, I've just signed up for her block printing class on Craftsy.  There's a big sale on Craftsy classes right now so go check it out if you're at all interested. 

Jen Hewett's blog has all kinds of cool info, including a weekly print series called 52 Weeks of Printness, very fun and inspiring to scroll through and get ideas. 

I really love carving blocks and I'm looking forward to carving some more. I'll share my progress as I go through the Craftsy class.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Last of 2020


Here are the very last fabric buys of 2020 for me. First, from Spoonflower, a yard of the Calamityware design, Things Could Be Worse. I will either make napkins or placemats to go with our plates. And two of the matchstick quilting panels in case I jump off the waitlist in to the class with Cassandra Beaver. She has instructions on her blog, so if I don't get into the class I can try it out myself with these panels. I noticed that Spoonflower had masks and mask making kits for sale as well, but I didn't buy any.
From Sewtopia, I bought the RubyStar mask panel, a lot of those designs are really cute, and I'm definitely keeping the octopus one for myself. I got the Ruby Star Rising Alma Field Rising in Persimmon for the center of my Lone Round Robin quilt for SBAMQG. If I get it done in time it will be in the PVQA exhibit. And one more Ruby Star, the cool stripe on the left. I loved the mint chocolate truffle they included in the package, yum.
From SFBayQuilts, I got a Marcia Derse panel and the Kona solid Grellow for the SBAMQG Block of the Every Other Month. Such a perfect name for that color, Grellow. They threw in a freebie which is that cute Paris print.
And for local pickup, from Hart's Fabric I got three solids for SBAMQG Block of the Every Other Month, and a pack of bobbins. Memo to me, the back door of Hart's is inaccessible because of having to limit how many people at a time come in the store, so don't park there unless you want to walk around the whole building. And Hart's has a fabric they're recommending for mask making, it's a very finely woven cotton, smooth and soft, the one on the right, this one is a brick red. 

I'm still waiting on a package from Fabric Bubb that has the last of the Kona solids I need for the BOTEOM, so this isn't strictly *the last of 2020* after all. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

EQ8 Confessions

A major announcement: I finally installed my copy of Electric Quilt 8!! 

I bought it for myself back in November 2017 from MassDrop (RIP MassDrop). And then it just slipped my mind. I'm not sure exactly why, probably has a lot to do with having bought it in the immediate post-hip replacement surgery time. A lot of stuff came and went and I legitimately do not remember a lot of it at all (terrifyingly real).

Anyways, the box got put away with a stack of books. I found the box a year ago. And I didn't install it at the time, because I had some issues with space on my laptop. I finally got that resolved and had room. Then my next excuse was because I thought the program was on a disc, and my laptop doesn't have a disc drive. We have one that plugs in, but I kept putting it off because I had to go find it and plug it in and make it work. Wild how the procrastination just piles on itself huh? 

Over the summer I signed up for a couple EQ8 related classes at QuiltCon 2021 as a way to make myself install and learn this program after all this time. They recently sent out the class supply lists and I was reminded that hey...I need to install this program and actually get some facility with it before going into a class to learn something else about using it.

But as I wrote about yesterday, friend Jaye sent me a link to an EQ 7 and Cricut project, and it made me get the actual box out.

Here it is, and look, on the back, a coffee cup stain! This box has been around here 3 years.

 And what do you know, once I actually opened the box, lo and behold, it's a digital install, no disc. Just easy peasy, took all of five minutes once I got signed in on the website. So now, down to learning...

Friday, December 18, 2020

Cricut and Electric Quilt Applique


Friend Jaye sends me interesting links about using the Cricut for quilting stuff. And this time it was about using Electric Quilt 8 appliqué images with the Cricut. I thought it would be worth the time to give it a try. I chose the fabrics, all prints, except the grey and very light grey and ironed on some lightweight fusible web on the back. I downloaded the file at the link and imported it into the Cricut design space software as an .svg file. I resized it in the program (didn't have to use Inkscape this time) and was ready to cut in moments.
I misread the instructions and chose as the material fusible fabric, so the tool recommended was the knife blade instead of the rotary cutter. That led to this lovely disaster. Luckily no cuts were actually made in the material before it got all bunched up. 
I smoothed it out, chose cotton fusible and with the rotary cutter all was well.

It's funny to me that after the cuts have been made, it's very hard to see that anything has happened right up until you peel back the background and see what's left behind on the mat. You will note that I removed the backing paper and stuck this fusible side down on the mat. Sticky meet sticky.

All the parts got cut out with no problems, I used the picture of the final project to arrange the pieces in the right order.
Pretty cute, huh? Now to fuse it down and stitch the edges. I really like the prints that I chose. 
And also now to install my copy of Electric Quilt 8 and see what other appliqué images are available.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Cord Stopper Bonanza


I've been getting tired of tying and untying the straps on my favorite go-to mask. So I ordered some cord-stoppers. It really works well as long as I take care not to get my hair taken up in the thing. You can get a good fit on the mask and they don't slip.

I didn't check the quantity. And when the bag arrived I had a good laugh. Anyone needs some cord-stoppers? Let me know and I'll send you some.

And then of course I had to sort them out by color. I couldn't resist. Is that an OCD thing? I have no idea, but it was rather relaxing to do.

I think this might be one of my favorite inadvertent cellphone pictures I've ever taken by accident. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hold the Mud, Thanks


We got almost 2" of rain over the weekend. But most importantly, not all at once or too fast. We're very worried about a new thing around here now: debris flow after the fire. Our mountains are very very steep and the soil may not stay in place after everything that's gotten burned.  A lot of the plants and trees are integral to holding the hillsides in place. 

We happen to be on the "safe" side of the highway/river so thankfully we're not impacted. But we're still worried about our community. There are warning signs up all over the entrances to town, and the local authorities have been working really hard to contact everyone and have people be prepared to flee. They're worried about a Santa Barbara style catastrophe happening here. We get a whole lot more rain than Santa Barbara ever does, and we sometimes get incredibly intense rainstorms. 

 Welcoming the return of the rain is of course, still an annual thing, the continued survival of the forest and our community is depending on it being a gentle rain season for this year and probably the next several years. We're hoping for the same amount of rain as usual so that the forest gets what it needs, but having the rain arrive spread out evenly over the months instead of concentrated into a few weeks. I'm

Monday, December 14, 2020

Color Bars Stitched


All of the quilting is now done on the Color Splash table runner. I am now an expert on thread changing on my new machine. Yes, I color-matched each bar of color in the design.
I used a wavy stitch for the quilting in each bar, instead of more free-motion. It's one of the pre-programmed embroidery stitches the new machine came with. I really like how it turned out. It gives a visible texture that is also fairly even.
Now to get the binding sewn on.

I decided this will be the table runner for June, as it is Pride Month. Seems like a good month to have a rainbow on the table.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Shiny Happy


I tried something even more new the other day. I bought the brand new foiling kit from CriCut, it comes with a special foiling tip and sheets of foiling material and this very nice white tape. The hardest part of the whole endeavor was figuring out where exactly the foil material needed to be relative to the design on the mat. Once I had that measured out, I realized the design needed to be two sheets wide. I overlapped two of the sheets and taped them down really well and kinda crossed my fingers that it wouldn't get messed up too much once the machine started working. The second hardest step was getting the sheets taped down without any gaps or wrinkles. Luckily the tape is repositionable and doesn't wreck the paper at all.
The foil embossing tool is slightly blue so you can tell it apart from the other ones. I liked the clear instructions about having the shiny side up on the foil. 
This is what the foil looks like after going through the machine. I guess it's not reusable? Not sure on that, might have to play around and find out. At the very least I'll use it in a collage somehow. This design element was on the flap of the envelope which I thought was very clever.
Here's a close up of the design, you can see where the overlapping sheets of foil were joined, but just slightly, so I called it a win and sent it off to the intended recipient. Hopefully Cricut willl sell wider sheets, or I can find another brand that has a bigger size that will work. 
The whole card in all its shiny glory. Now I can still have shiny without spreading the herpes of the crafworld around--glitter. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Bigger Feet


I'm finding that I'm still getting used to the size of the feet that work on my new sewing machine. On the left is the foot from my old machine, and on the right, the same foot for the new one. The cross-bar part where you clip in the foot is 9mm wide, it's quite substantial and solid feeling. I think it gives noticeably better control of the fabric as you sew. At first I was a little bummed that my old feet don't fit, but I'm over it now that I've figure that out.

A new 1/4" foot and a walking foot is on the way, and a box to fit all the feet in. A little weird that this machine didn't come with one for some reason. The Janome website is terrible for figuring out what foot goes with which machine, so I hope I ordered the right ones. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

New Free Motion


Trying out the new machine with some free-motion quilting. It's a whole different experience, it's so quiet! And so very very smooth. I really like the fmq foot that it came with. It has three feet that you can swap out.

I'm still getting used to the needle threader, but it works very well. When you get set up for free motion quilting, the recommended stitch plate is the single hole, and it's just the push of a button to switch. Wild, huh? And then the machine knows that you are no longer allowed to do anything other that a a straight stitch. No more smashing needles when I'd forget and do a zig zag, oof, I hated that. So it's nice to have a machine that has a better memory than I do.

I'm not sure what the white dots are, they aren't the bobbin thread or the batting, I think it's something to do with the way the fabric is printed. If I remember correctly, sometimes the griege goods for darker fabrics are dyed a dark color to start with or even woven with black thread from the get-go and then overprinted with a design. But in this case, I think it was just printed over a white background. In person it looks like salt crystals sprinkled on the surface, which will work well for a table runner, hah!

One side of the background done just like **that** (makes snapping noise)

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Wandering Wednesday - California Skies


Last month, for my third appointment for the clinical trial I'm participating in, we drove to Los Angeles and back again in one day. We were trying to avoid any unnecessary interactions while out of our area because the Covid numbers were really on the increase. It made for a very long day in the car so I took a lot of pictures of the sky as we went.  In the early morning as we passed the reservoir, the rainy skies were lifting and clearing.
I like the framing on this one with the oak tree and the sunrise.
I really love those hills surrounding the reservoir. This one reminds me a bit of some of those religious paintings.
There was a lot of cloud activity as we drove down the state and back.

In the afternoon on the return trip, there was a rainbow.
I like the shadow of the car in this one.
The brilliant blue of the sky at this hour always gets to me.
The vineyards turn a seasonal orange this time of year. It goes really nicely with the sunset colors.

It's really a sight, those grapevines on their way out for the season, really beautiful.
I'm glad we took the chance on me participating in this clinical trial. I'm hoping that it will be okay for me to go to the final appointment a little over a week from now. The doctor travels from Arizona, and the travel restrictions in California are tightening.