Monday, October 31, 2022

Cornucopia For October

Happy Halloween! This past month, I've gotten around online, and here's some of the links to useful or interesting things I've consumed, enjoyed and/or learned from.


Happy Sew Lucky has another great topical and timely paper pieced pattern to support the incredibly brave women's protests going on in Iran right now. 


Join in and help create large-scale crocheted murals with Love Across the USA.


Personal and collaborative art about climate data representation, knitted, crocheted, etc. with The Tempestry Project. The National Parks Tempestry Project photo album is absolutely beautiful.


Some possibly useful advice about getting out of a creative rut.


Here's an interesting combination of Meditation and art.


Repurposing old quilts, some ideas are hmmm, but some are pretty cool/innovative.


An alternative to the now unfortunately Muskified twitter is CounterSocial aka CoSo, it's a lot more actually social for a social media app, surprising and refreshing! You can find me over there: @JulieZS


This was a nice and spooooky surprise from Neil Gaiman, if you're reading this post today, check it out.


I really recommend re-watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Halloween tv special from the 1960's, it definitely holds up. Supposedly free to stream on that Apple TV link.


Also, go watch WolfWalkers, one of the most beautiful animated films I've seen in a while. Very unique.This is the third in the trilogy of Irish myths and legends movies made by the same Irish studio, The Book of Kells and Song of the Sea are the first two. 

The trailer:










Sunday, October 30, 2022

Come On Through Done

Thanks to these lovelies, I was able to sink allllll those thread tails. Whoever invented these self-threading needles ia a freakin' genius, seriously.
This is a quick non-official shot of the finished quilt, woohoo! We changed all the lights in my studio today to daylight bulbs and wow wow wow what a great bright clear difference it makes. Thanks to my tall (and human) studio assistant for the ladder work on that project.


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Collective Rainbow

My first Color Collective arrived and its an absolutely beautiful rainbow so I'm already quite happy about the whole thing. For those not in the know, this is a fabric/block club via Sewtopia, curated by Tara Faughnan. Someone from BAM posted about how much they'd enjoyed doing Color Collective last year and it sounded like fun. Apparently I'm getting in on the tail end of things as this is the last time it's being run.
Ten clear beautiful colors and two intriguingly textured ones as well. This is going to be the deal going forward every seven deliveries. Well, it's 10 solids and 2 textures, don't know about whether the "clear and beautiful description" will hold through the other six deliveries. I'm honestly very interested in the the textures and how they'll play with the solids.
It was hard to stop taking pictures from many angles. The Color Collective block of the month isn't available for a few more days (11/1), so I'll have time to wash these beauties. I go back and forth on liking working with Kona solids, they're very hefty compared to other solids, and sew up differently than others. I hope Tara Faughnan will have some tips on that, especially in getting accurate 1/4" seams, bulk at seam intersections, etc. There's an interactive portion of this thing every month and a Facebook group, so I guess I'll get to ask.
I took this picture with the little labels with the color names for future reference. The solids are all Kona, and the two textured ones are both Robert Kaufman. The violet is Manchester 92%cotton/45%lurex/3% Polyester. and the green is Essex Yarn Dyed 55% Linen-45%Cotton blend (btw that's a link to the color Lime not Pickle as Pickle is not listed on the Sewtopia site but here it is on Hawthorne Supply.) I might probably definitely need some more of this Pickle's basically the color of our living room couches which could use some arm and corner covers at this point.

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Binding Tool

I was recently searching for a ruler in my ruler drawer, and found this gizmo that I've never used, The Binding Tool. It has pretty unhelpful instructions printed on it and a now-defunct website on it. 
I had a couple quilts that I'd nearly finished sewing on the binding for and was at that final dreaded step that always gives me so much trouble so I thought I'd search and see if there was any information online about using this thing.
I found a very helpful video from Missouri Star Quilting Co. from 12 years ago detailing its use. And what do you know, it worked for me! Really really well, like perfectly. I feel silly for not having figured out The Binding Tool, but now that I know, I will never dread that final going round the quilt step on sewing on binding. 

In Conclusion: If I didn't have one, I think I'd buy one. That's the best review of a tool like this I suppose.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Pantone Block Mixture

Time to play around with the Pantone Project once again. This is a picture of the cards I've received on the left and the corresponding color squares I've cut out on the right. 

I still haven't sent or handed over the blocks I've made to friend Jaye (soon though!) so I've been pinning them up on the design wall all together along with the postcards pinned next to them.
Here's how the same setup looks with the blocks that Jaye has given me, but it's quite hard to see the point of the project, with all of the cards in the way. They're not going to be on the quilt after all, right?

So, I rearranged everything, and here's how Jaye's blocks plus only one of mine look, with them next door to the corresponding colored squares. It's exciting to see a little more of how this project will end up looking. The colored squares are not necessarily going to be used in the quilt top, but might be a border, that's a long ways off though.
Here's how the blocks look a little bit more mixed up together. I really really like how this is going to end up looking. Definitely time for me to make some more blocks! I've got all the fabrics picked out and ready to start in on making them.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Now to Bury and Bind

That title sounds a bit ominous, but hey it's "spooky season" so I'm sticking with it. The good news is I'm done with the quilting on the Ruby+Bee challenge, Come On through.

I have lots and lots of threads to bury. I very much wish I had a baseball game to watch. 
I'm very pleased with how the quilting and the quilt turned out. A lot, well most, of my points remained pointy and the ones that didn't aren't visually bothersome to me.
As you can see I stuck with the linear echo quilting of each shape, and I think it worked. Switching over to something snoopy or even circular would have been a bit jarring. But overall, so much texture, I love it! I'm interested to see how it photographs...

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Happy 18th Birthday Dear Blog

41 Easy Birthday Cake Decorating Ideas That Only Look Complicated

 Well, it's that day of the year, my blog-i-versary. Way back in 2004,  eighteen years ago, I started this blog, a lot unsure about what exactly it would be for, and what purpose it would serve for me. It's been a lot of things over all of these years, but in the here and now, I see it as a record for myself, of what I've done and how much (or how little)  I've changed.

Back in 2004 I was 39 years old, my oldest was about to turn 11, my youngest was 9, our house was quite a bit smaller than it is now, and I had a teeny tiny sewing room. I had been quilting for a few years and had recently thrown myself into what was then called "art quilting" and wow was I ever into it!  I was sewing on my very basic Pfaff and doing a lot of dyeing and fabric design. I shared very very blurry photos on here, taken with our first digital camera.

And now I am still here blogging, now 57, my oldest is about to turn 29 (what!?), and my youngest is 27, our house has greatly expanded, and so has my sewing room. I have been quilting this whole time, and am on my second Janome. I'm not dyeing or surface designing like I used to and I have a hard to imagine back in 2004, totally great camera in my cellphone. 

It's interesting to look back at that first post where I referenced three blogs that had inspired to start my own, out of those three, one of them is still going. Musing In Textile, Dijanne Cevaal's blog as always been inspiring over the years. One of the others, is someone I actually know from the old days in a yahoogroups, and have even met in person (so wonderful), and she has been documenting her stuff mostly on Facebook. The other, I have no idea and honestly do not even recall her work I am quite sorry to say and well, the blog is just gone.  

The infinite cats website I highlighted in my second ever post is still up, but I'm not sure if it's being updated. But they are up to 1,856 cats in the chain which is quite a lot more than required for the cats to take the world back over according the Neil Gaiman's The Sandman - Dream of A Thousand Cats.

I'm glad I've kept blogging, for a lot of reasons. The continuity of it as a personal history of my artistic interest and endeavors is useful to me. Personally though, the publicness of it is sometimes challenging. I'm glad to have kept up some personal connections here by sharing my work and thoughts, etc. In this current era of influencer as a career choice, it's a bit odd to be off here in blog-land still doing my thing. But it works for me, and I'm really glad you're still here reading along.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Coming On Through

The quilting is progressing on the Ruby+Bee challenge quilt, Come on Through. I'm liking how the quilting looks on this so far entirely walking-foot quilted pice. It almost looks like it's been washed once, I wonder what it'll look like when it actually washed? And oooh now that I think about that issue, should I do that before I take the pictures or not? Usually with the art quilts I've made and submitted to shows, I have never considered washing them.
I'm leaving tails of thread to bury, with the new self-threading needles I bought recently, hopefully that part won't take too long to get done.
As of today, here is how it looks. The only un-quilted sections are the outer dark navy border and all of the cream. So, I'm getting close to finishing the quilting, but that deadline is looming (10/31).

Saturday, October 22, 2022

To The Center


So far so good, almost all of the colors are quilted on the Come Through quilt. I'm really liking the look of the fabric as I'm doing the walking foot echo lines. I am getting a little tired of all the linear stuff and am thinking of doing the cream (background-ish) sections free-motion and curvy. I think in the center of each square I'll do a hand-embroidered X as well. I liked the look of that combination of hand and machine quilting on the Doors Unopened quilt.

Friday, October 21, 2022

18 Days

 I've been using my hands up lately on painting and writing Postcards to Voters. Mostly I've been sending them most of the way across the country to Georgia. It's so easy to do (not according to my hands) and I feel like I'm doing something to help, hopefully, maybe, etc. I work on painting these colorful cards and think that if I received one in the mail, where I could see a fellow citizen of mine took time to make something and send it to me, I'd get up off the couch or whatever and go and actually vote. It would totally work on me if I received one of these. 

I hope that a high percentage of the people who receive one of the thousands and thousands that all of us postcard writers are sending actually do get out there and vote, like now, early, or on the day, November 8th. 

Have you checked your registration?

Have you asked your friends and family if they've checked their registration, especially if they've moved recently? 

Can you vote early?

Yes, that's a Pantone Project postcard in the picture, a little spoiler-y hopefully it's already arrived.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wandering Wednesday - Arboretum Again

One of our semi-monthly "hikes" with my sister-in-law's family happened last weekend. It was a lovely, cool and mostly foggy day to meet up at the UCSC Arboretum. I love coming here with people who haven't been before, it's so fun to hear the reaction to the weird and wonderful plant collections that they have growing. I've been coming to the arboretum for a long time, and have made a couple posts about it. It's fun to look back and see which pictures I've posted, and what I've said over the years about this wonderful place.
The above is a protea from the South African collection. Looks like feathers, doesn't it?

This was so soft to the touch, even though hit totally looks like a spider. I love those leaf shapes.
This is a Banksia from the Australian collection. As you can see the bees were pretty excited about the pollen situation.
They are tremendously weird looking!
This nearly neon orange cut through the gloom of the day. I like how the color is also in the stem and leaves too.
Those leaves remind me of Tule Reeds! And the flower/fruit is right on the branch.
This is what the Banksia flower looks like after it's done being all pretty. From far away it looks like a fluffed-up owl sitting on a branch.
The open seed pods look like little mouths don't they? I think there should definitely be an Australian kid's show with these talking.
Every time I see the Australian collection, it makes me really want to go visit Australia and see these out in the wild.

The edge of the arboretum is surround by a redwood "forest". I'm guessing that it's 3rd or 4th growth as it is clearly planted all in neat rows. So, not a forest, but more of a wind break. But still, it's fun to see a bit of home right next to all the strange Australian plants.

We had fun in the faux forest.

I like this color combination.
This is a plant called a wattle, which makes me think of "wattle and daub" which is not this.
One last neon glowing banksia "fruiting cone".
The arboretum is definitely not a place to run around and crash into plants.
I like the demonstration grow domes they still have, they've been here since the 70's and updated over the years. It has fans in the top to take the hot air out. They are part of a program to figure out how to grow our plants even when the climate conditions change drastically. Glad someone is working on figuring out that issue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Well Repaired


As I was folding up my newly washed PIQF purchases, I encountered an odd lump. And it wasn't the usual tangle of edge threads. Nope, it was a satin-stitched repair, presumably of the greige goods before it was dyed or batiked. I say that because the thread color matches nearly exactly, which is as we all know is quite hard to do. So, they used a cotton thread that took the dye the same as the fabric. It's a pretty well done repair although noticeably lumpy. It was pretty close to the selvedge which would leave the fabric usable. I guess if I keep the repair in the seam allowance it'd be cool. I wouldn't want it in the center of a block or whatever though. It will also be a bit harder to stitch over when quilting.

With the millions of yards of greige goods that go through the mills every year, mistakes get made, I totally get that. But this is being sold as a quilting cotton, at quite the price premium of course. It reminded me of this printing error I encountered a couple years ago. I guess there are all kinds of standards that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the chances that you get something like this are pretty low when you buy quilting cotton all the time. It's unusual and unexpected because that's what we're used to. Not mad about it, just a little surprised I guess.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Only One Bag Full

A big bag full of PIQF purchases all stacked up on my table. I took some pictures before I put everything away so I can remember where this stuff came from.

This Halloween FQ stack came home mainly due to the hilarious grinning bug print. 


The others are also great together. I think I might make another table runner (I know I know), this time for our coffee table. Then that's 24 (2 per month) that I "can" make without too many eyebrows being raised.

In the same booth, Quilts by Kat, I met Kathy Allen who is the author of this super interesting book, ModernScot. She even signed it for me, how fun is that? What a brilliant idea, to make quilts based on the traditional tartan patterns. The booth was filled with examples from her instructions and they are really beautiful quilts, I can't wait to make one for my mom inspired by her family's tartan.

ThimbleCreek Quilts had this really nice selection of Alison Glass +-sign batiks packaged up, and sometimes I just can't resist a rainbow.... I almost almost bought this halloween quilt kit.

This was the first thing I bought, the barkcloth Charley Harper skull with a bird in the eyehole print will become a bag of some kind. The two Tula Pink solids were just because the colors sang together. Can you imagine an entire quilt made out of this fabulous combo? Or maybe we should change Christmas colors to this pairing? A Christmas quilt in these colors, that's the ticket! I may have to get my hands on some yardage...

And lastly, an interesting new-to-me tool, Scrap Tape, from the Batty Lady booth. It's a water dissolving stabilizer to make 2.5" "fabric" out of your scraps, sew, flip and then sew in to a quilt. Then the stabilizer washes out, stay tuned...I'm interested in how this will work. Super Scrappy Sashing in a solids quilt, or?

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Come On Through Quilting


The challenge quilt I've been working on, "Come On Through" is actually getting quilted now, after some struggle with deciding on how to quilt it and choosing thread colors. For instance, two of the six thread colors in this picture got swapped out for more suitably match-y ones.
My studio assistant was very tempted to make off with all the spools, but thankfully changed her mind at the last second.
Using the walking foot and it's going well so far.
This is a really really dark blue, nearly black in some lights, so I ended up using my very darkest navy blue thread, as the black was too black and the royal blue much too bright.