Friday, May 27, 2011

Quilted art bags - for kids, and encounters with handmade fabric

Last weekend my 5 yr old son went to the birthday party of his twin girl schoolmates.

I heard that their favorite things included art supplies, so I jumped at the chance to make some cute art pouches for them.

When I make bags or things that need to hold shape, I bring out my super heavy interfacing: Timtex. I used a couple of different linen fabrics, with the Timtex inside.

It was fun to whip these up. I used Velcro to create a closure mechanism on the inside of the flap. The size of the pouch was designed to house the contents I knew I was putting inside.

Superfun and adorable for two very cute little girls. I hope they enjoy them. I did my usual calligraphy on the front with their names and I had my son sign his name on the back using a pigma pen.

On a different note, I discovered the most amazing fabric printing artist the other day. The very talented Gina Pericini started selling her hand printed fabrics up in the fabric/yarn shop that I teach in.

Her etsy shop is called Flock Home and includes the most adorable fat quarter packs. I find it rare to encounter fabric that is hand made, and even more rare to find it so clean and with such beautiful designs.

I'll take some photos of the fabric I got to show off in a future post. I am thinking of making a protective pocket/holder/bag for my Japanese quilting magazines using her fabrics.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thimble Cage and more fabric I 'need'

Finding the perfect thimble cage is not easy, as it turns out.

Thimble cages are used to hold your thimble in a beautiful cage, as a necklace when you need to pause your quilting, so you don't lose track of them. There is a small ring on top that slides off towards your neck on the string and the cage opens right up.

I wanted to get just the perfect one to hold my favorite antique Simons thimble.

After looking at some pretty ornate ones, I settled on this very minimal version that is available from The Colonial Needle Company.

It is called the thimble teardrop cage by Roxanne, which is a brand that makes various kinds of quilting supplies including needles.

I will warn you that it isn't quite large enough to fit my serious workhorse thimble, though. It's huge so I guess it makes sense, but just so you know...when I go to do a large amount of thimble of choice is the Raised Edge Thimble by the Original Needleart Guild

It looks like there is now a new model out that even includes dimples on the top sides of the thimble. That looks like it would be interesting to try. It would probably give you some additional options in how you use your hand.

I was looking around at Superbuzzy (awesome online fabric shop, lots of Japanese fabric, awesome service too)....and ran into some Lego fabric. If you know me, and how I love to spend time with my sons, you know how much we all love Legos. When I saw this I said, "Wow, I NEED that fabric!" Seriously, does somebody like me ever 'need' any more fabric?

In this case - of course!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finished at last! Table top quilt, hand quilted

I cannot even remember how long ago it was when my mom showed me her beautiful antique quilt top, and I said, "Oh, just give it to me so I can quickly quilt it up for you, Mom!" I think she bought it through a quilt dealer.

Well, "quickly"...doesn't exactly describe the rate at which I get things done sometimes, but I will say that finishing this small quilt was extremely enjoyable and I am thrilled with the end result.

The quilt top itself was pieced out of indigo and white fabrics by an unknown maker circa 1890. Whoever she was, I hope that she's looking down on it thinking - awesome - it's finally turned into a quilt after 120+ years.

My mom's kitchen is an amazing place with more light coming in the windows than any other kitchen I have ever been in. I can only dream of having this much beautiful light in my house anywhere, let alone in the kitchen.

She has it decorated mostly in blue and white, so if she puts this quilt on top of the center of her dining room table, I think it will look pretty smart.

I was trying to finish it for Mother's Day, so I guess it's sort of a belated gift, but anyway I think she'll like it.

Using Pigma Pens, I inked the names of her grandchildren on one of the plain white blocks. This will remain there as a permanent part of the quilt, and will not wash out.

I just love the look of inking words on fabric, and think this turned out pretty cool. She is expecting another grandchild VERY soon, so I left a spot to add the baby's name there too.

I used YLI's hand quilting thread in light brown color (to show off the stitches a bit, how flashy of me!) I have been tending to this use lately, and find that it gets fewer knots than other options.

My next post really should discuss the incredible quilted gift she gave me for Mother's Day (it's another WOW), but I'll need to photograph it for you so you can understand how spoiled I am.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quilt Blocks of Modern Houses: Block 4

I'm getting all excited that our next Block Of the Month is coming up at Verb in a couple of weeks.

The house we are doing this time is very simple, but turned out oh so pretty. I literally cannot wait to see how other people are coming along with their amazing and beautiful blocks.

In case you are in the California Bay area, it's in about a week on Sunday May 22nd, at 2:30 pm.

This weekend is a busy one for us. There is an awesome event at the Children's Museum of Natural History that is all about Wooly Mammoths - in Fremont. We are hoping to find the time to check this out.

It got me thinking about "Wooly" Mammoths. Like "wooly"? Really? Do you think I could knit something out of them if they were still around? Maybe they would be adverse to the idea of a haircut from me?

Anyhow, I mostly never post more than one photo per blog post, but I cannot resist ending this on a funny note. It's the weekend after all. The below is a photo of my youngest son having a conversation with a sheep last weekend at Happy Hollow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Bliss

Yesterday my family took very good care of me for Mother's Day.

My husband really spoiled me by making the boys write out personalized cards to me (including pictures they drew).

We had an awesome brunch, but there were gifts too, so I am sort of feeling like it was my birthday, not Mother's Day.

Anyhow, there was an antique quilt I had my eye on that was floating around on eBay, so he bought that for me. I've always wanted a double wedding ring quilt, so now I have a very classic 1930's example to add to my collection.

He also gave me a vintage sock yarn ball holder made out of bakeware (pre-dates plastic) from Katrina's Wool World. It's adorable and fits my small balls of handspun yarn perfectly too.

If you are a mother, I hope you had a wonderful day. Goodness knows it isn't the easiest job you'll ever have, but at least you can probably say it's the best one.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Patchwork Quilt Tsushin #161

The April 2011 issue of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin is packed with goodies.

On the cover, they feature a redwork alphabet block, which is covered in flowers and adoring little girls. It's a pretty cute alphabet, and the insert includes all the letters (of course).

My favorite page is actually page 41 where Yoko Saito has an article on how to make a bird block and a beautiful flower block out of taupe fabrics. Really pretty.

There is also a beautiful taupe bag on p. 29 that features a swallow bird. Swallows are really famous near the town where I grew up in Southern California. I should probably try putting some on a quilt. Their shape is very unique.

I just heard that another issue of Quilts Japan arrived in the San Jose Kinokuniya shop so part of me wants to run over there and pick it up before they close tonight.

Hope your week is going well. I am finally feeling healthy so I'm back at it with my hand quilting.