Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top 10 holiday gifts for quilters and knitters - Happy Cyber Monday

Need a gift idea for your favorite quilter or knitter?

Looking for the top 10 gifts of the year?

How about picking up 10 copies of the Quilt Otaku 2011 wall calendar?!

Back again by popular demand. There is a preview of all the pages if you click the button below (click on the title, then click 'Preview').

Happy Holiday Season!

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks - in my Catherine Wheel Scarf!

That's me above, in all of my Catherine Wheel scarf wearing glory.

If you have the urge to make one of these, please do, you'll love the relaxing process of these little crochet wheels.

If you're hungry for more images, I have new flickr sets:

Catherine Wheel scarf #1 - crazy colors, using Zauberball yarn

Catherine Wheel scarf #2 - sunset colors, using Joyland Melody yarn.

and by special request for Kathie - a flickr set from the Los Altos museum with some of the quilts there.

Here's what I'm thankful for this year:

  • My family, and their health - we have been so blessed, we are all our own strange beasts but we manage to work through our little challenges very well.

  • My darling husband - I'm serious when I say he went to FOUR yarn stores for me while he was on business in Norway. If this doesn't tell you how dedicated he is, I don't know what will!

  • My sons - for being as young as they are, they do try very hard not to kill each other when left to their own devices. Overall, they are amazing little people well on their way to gentlemanhood.

  • My new friends - last year I lost two people who were very dear to me, and this year I am gaining two new baby friends. One unfortunately doesn't replace the other, but they do find ways to help fill in the holes.

  • My passions - this has been a big year for me: learning to spin and dye protein fibers naturally, learning to knit lace (or trying to!) and keeping up with my quilting and blogging. All of it brings a lot of joy to my daily grind.

  • You - without the community of bloggers & online forums, I would feel like I'm the only person on earth who has more fabric than they can actually fit into their house. But, I not alone here...right?...anyone?? Truthfully, I do gain so much inspiration from you all - a huge thank you to those of you who take the time to share it with us who follow you.

    Hope you have as much to be as thankful as I do, I'm thrilled to have such a long list.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Los Altos History Museum: Holiday Bells and Whistles

Sometimes when it rains we visit the Los Altos History Museum because they have a really cool train layout that my sons love to operate.

Recently, we stopped by there, and got a nice surprise. Not only do they have a huge installation of Lionel toy trains that is super cool and appealing to little boys, but for me there were some beautiful quilts!

They are from all over the U.S. and although there are not more than about 10 or so of them, they are mostly antique quilts in Christmas red/green colors.

A nice unexpected treat. They will be up through the start of next year so check them out if you're in the area.

Oh, and have lunch at Esther's German Bakery first - that is worth the trip itself, and very close by.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hand Quilting and Hand Applique Classes

It's been busy around here with my husband traveling lately but the boys are really behaving well for me.

Getting more laundry done and less quilting these days, but I do have some exciting news to share.

My favorite yarn and fiber shop A Verb for Keeping Warm has moved to a new location in Oakland, California and started to carry quilting supplies.

I'm lucky enough to be teaching some hand quilting and hand applique classes there in mid-December.

I am really looking forward to it. If you live in the area and want to brush up on your skills, feel free to join us. I think we are going to have a great time.

I'm covering hand work only which is perhaps a lost art, but not lost on really is my passion.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Field Report From Oslo: Shopping for yarn in Norway

My darling husband is traveling for business and along the way (as a special treat for me) he agreed to do a guest blog post about craft shops he ran into.

Instead of spending time taking photos of the city, he visited several shops I wish I could have visited too.

Enjoy his post below - Thanks Honey for doing this, it is so kind of you.
- Marisa

Jamie's guest blog post:

This is the Quilt Otaku field agent reporting from Oslo, Norway.

Knitting is a popular pastime here, so I have been dispatched to see how easy it is to visit the local shops. It turns out it isn’t hard at all as long as you know the right word to search for.

If you happen to be at the CC Vest shopping center in Lysaker just three train stops west of Oslo Central Station, be sure to check out the Ariadne Garn shop. It is nestled snugly underneath the escalator on the bottom floor, and while it is the smallest shop that I visited it is full of colorful yarn and needles.

Just north of the Vigeland Sculpture Park and Oslo City Museum is the Tjorven Garn shop. They have a large selection of yarn of various kinds, from sport marino to eskimo. They also have a small selection of new and used books for sale hidden on the back side of their cutting table.

I hoped to visit Sofies Garn to the north of the Royal Palace, but when I went by they were closed and had a note posted that probably explained why... in Norwegian of course!

The largest shop by far was the Huslfliden which filled much of the bottom floor of the GlasMagasinet shopping center. They had the most floor space though their yarn collection was perhaps on par with Tjorven. They did have a spinning wheel on display, and while they were the only shop I visited with wool it was entirely Australian imports. Their book and pattern selection was the best, so if that is your goal then perhaps Husliden should be your first stop.

One final note: it seems custom in Norway to provide pattern magazines free of charge, but only along with the purchase of 2 or more balls of yarn. If you are traveling and hope to bring some patterns home, be sure to leave some space for yarn too.

Stay tuned for a field report from London in a few days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Applique Baby Quilt: the big reveal

My dear friend Sharon is expecting a baby girl any day now, so the friends in our weekly knit nite club decided to make her a baby quilt.
Ok, well it wasn't quite like that.

I sorta tricked them into learning how to quilt and talked them into making it.

It was a really fun group project where we had some experienced quilters and some folks that were totally new to it and missing their crochet hooks often during the process.

In the end, all the blocks came out so nice and it looks like a unified whole quilt, which is amazing with so many hands working on it.

I wanted to show you pictures of this since I've been playing around with it for so long now, but it was a surprise gift so we all had to keep photos off our blogs.

More stories about the quilt on the next post. I have a bunch of photos of it. Hopefully I can get them up on a flickr set for you. The group worked really hard on it and it turned out just beautiful.

Now all we need is the baby.