Sunday, October 30, 2011

600th Post: Here's to a handmade halloween costume

It's a bit crazy that I have had 600 blog posts.

I should figure out some big post party or a giveaway or something.  I think I said that on my 500th, and am still living in guilt of not taking any action there.  Oops, oh well...too busy to let it fester much!

The above photo is my little one in his handmade Halloween costume.  He's ready to rock this holiday.  He kinda looks like he's casting a spell on the neighborhood.  Count me in as one of the smitten.

When I made the costume, I basically got a ton of purple felt, laid the kid down on the fabric, and started cutting it out around him.  I sorta remember making my DH help cut out the stars and moons very late at night.

I think he would have prefered to be Iron Man or some branded character (sigh, the media) but after a lot of 'testing out' of the costume, I think he's finally embracing it.

We have a nut-free Halloween due to diet restrictions, so we got our candy from Peanut-Free Planet.  It's an awesome place to get treats if you have little ones that don't do nuts.

What are you going to be this year?  Have a safe one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Taupes, Taupes, Taupes

The nice folks over at One World Fabrics sent me a little gift of fabric recently and I wanted to share a quick photo with you.

Their bite sized taupe fabric packs are very high quality and I have already been enjoying using them in a quilt block.

There are general two types of fabrics that they carry:  one is the 'print' taupe fabrics that are similar in concept to American printed quilt fabric.  They are not double sided, but they are beautiful and have those muted tones that I love working with.  The other type is the yarn dyed which are woven and more or less the same on both sides.  These are my true love.  So many beautiful browns....sigh...just awesome.  I made an entire quilt out of these with my sister once and I'm using them also for the birthday blocks for my younger son.

If you have been working with taupe fabrics, I think you'll enjoy what One World has to offer.  When I need a quick online fix I will end up heading there to see what there latest packs have in store.

I also have another finished modern quilt block (in taupes), but will save that for the next post.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PIQF 2011: Market Goodies - Oakshott fabric

At PIQF this year I did not manage to visit all the shopping booths, but of course I had fun anyhow.

I never skip the Pinwheels booth.  It's brimming over with beautiful Japanese taupe fabrics.  By the time I got there, fabric was going fast and serious Japanese fabric addicts were snapping up the good stuff as quickly as they could.  I bought what I could get my hands on.  I think it was a mistake not going there first thing in the morning.

The above fabrics are from an English company called Oakshott from their Lyon line and as far as I can tell, these fabrics are not carried by any other shop in the US besides Pinwheels.  I wish I could pick them up at my local quilt shop, but alas...I get them each year at PIQF.

You probably need to see them in person to appreciate their true beauty.  In case you missed a look at the quilt top I made with them some time back...check out this post.

Other Daiwabo taupes were also there for the blissful taupe-a-holics and I'm using a couple of them in my next house BOM.  

Places I also enjoyed:
  • YLI thread:  They had some new metalic + silk threads.  I have never seen these before so I got some to try.  They also had their hand quilting thread in a 2 ply, instead of 3 thinner.  We'll see if it holds up to my hand quilting strength requirements!

  • Cindy's Antique Quilts:  If you collect quilts, this booth is a do not miss booth.  Her quilts are all in really nice shape and prices are basically market value.  There was a yellow lone star quilt here that I almost bought but I didn't want to have to eat ramen noodles for 2 weeks over it.

  • Reets Rags to Stitches:  I like to play around with felted wool, especially hand dyed.  She had some cool colors and I picked up a few pieces.  I use these in the birthday crowns I make for my kids, and also in other kid projects.  The fun colors really scream 'kids!' to me.

  • Morgan Quality Products:  I picked up hand quilting stencils here.  They have some very nice ones.  If you love to hand quilt, you will love their selection.  Lots of Amish looking designs which are my favorites.  I also ended up trying their soap stone quilt top marking pencil.  I haven't tried it yet, but am thinking of doing a test run soon to see if it really comes out.  I picked up a pack on their Bohin needles (from France!) to try some applique.  I found them too flexible for my needs so I'm going back to my Jeana Kimball ones.
Lastly, there was a flier to advertise the upcoming East Bay Heritage Quilters guild show - Voices in Cloth, so I've marked that on my calendar:  March 17-18, 2012.  I hear it's worth seeing.  I'm looking forward to checking out the special exhibit by the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

PIQF 2011: Pacific International Quilt Festival - wanna attend?

If you wish you could attend PIQF 2011 in person you have two options:

a)  Take a red eye to San Jose, California, as there is still time left: the show continues through tomorrow (Sunday).

b)  Save yourself the travel headache and hunker down with a nice cup of tea to view my latest photos....links below.

The show was pretty neat, and I really enjoyed going with my friends Marianne and Susan.  We saw all the quilts and most of the vendor booths. 

Overall, not a lot of hand work in the show, but that is the norm these days I think.  Some of the hand work we did see was awesome, and some of the machine work was also very beautiful.

The photo above is from an entry from Germany, called Annual Rings by quilt maker Petra Niermann.  Looks so Amish, but more modern with the rectangles.  I loved this quilt.

For your viewing pleasure:

Flickr set of photos here, slide show directly accessible here.  Just under 350 photos for you this year, so set aside a few minutes so you can enjoy them.

My favorite quilt in the whole show may have been a hand quilted beauty seen here.  Quilt maker Myrl Lehman-Tapungot.  No ribbon, boo!

If you have a favorite from the slide show, let me know which one it is.

A couple of highlights: 

There were also some beautiful Dear Jane quilts in the show which I included in my photos.  I met some 'Janiacs' who had not only finished one Dear Jane quilt, but had completed a 2nd one.  That's dedication for you.  They were super fun and one of the gals was the aunt of a quilt maker who had her completed Dear Jane on display here (also no ribbon - ??? Judges - what is going on?)?

I also ran into Annie Smith of Quilting Stash quilting podcast.  It was so fun to see her.  If you listen to her podcast already, you know it's one of the better ones out there.

Joe Cunningham was spotted there as well (he doesn't know me) but I did a double take when I ran into him. 

I'll cover more about the vendors in my next post.  There were some good ones and I picked up some interesting new things.

If the slide show of this year isn't enough for you, I have a lot of historic photos of PIQF through the years:

PIQF Photo Collection: 

1350 photos from the last 7 years of the show, organized by year, 2005 - 2011.

If that doesn't keep you entertained, I don't know what will.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Japanese Crafting: Home Made Notebook with Washi Tape

I did a search recently for Japanese Crafting blogs and it is a shame that there are not more of them out there since Japanese Crafting is so unique and beautiful.

In an effort to make something Japanese and Crafty...I created this little notebook with washi tape.

Washi Tape is basically the cutest thing since sliced bread.  Why would anybody ever use boring old scotch tape again, I'll never know, but I digress.

The basic construction of the book itself was inspired by this post on Angry Chicken blog that shows you how to make some simple board books to keep notes in.

I covered the top cover with washi tape, left some room to write a title on there, and decorated the back with more crazy calligraphy.  More photos on Flickr.

Ages ago I did a little calligraphy tutorial, so if you're bent on making one of these, you can read about it here.

I made some of these books for my applique quilting 'students' (read 'friends') for them to use as a mechanism to track the fabrics in their quilt.  More on that in another post.

Ok, so who went to PIQF today?  Are you out there?!  I'm going tomorrow....hopefully you left some fabric for me to buy!  Only a few photos have turned up online so far.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Langston - a sweater for a pinkalicious girl, and a big event

I finished knitting a size 2 sweater for my sister's older girl recently.

The pattern is called "Langston" by Teresa Cole.  I found the pattern pretty easy and it did not consume a lot of yarn so it was a good use for a relatively small amount of handspun.

More info on it with more photos on my ravelry page.  I am tempted to knit another one of these it was so fun.

The yarn itself came from naturally dyed 50% silk 50% merino by A Verb for Keeping Warm in this super yummy pink colorway.  I forget exactly what the colorway is called, I'll find the tag it came with eventually - hopefully!

Having some silk mixed in with the fiber content really takes the 'itchy' element out of the mix for little ones.  I am sure that my niece will love it, and if she doesn't maybe my sister will make her wear it anyhow.

In other news, my son (with a little help from daddy) decided to ride his bike without the training wheels.  I was such an awesome sight to behold.  I was so proud of his new skill.  I called all of my family to let them know of the big event.

I was reading Ann's blog - Notes from the Quilt Lab -  and she did a post on an antique hot pad from around the 1850's.  I am so amazed that something like this could survive that long and loved seeing it.  Check out her post here

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paper Piecing: new class

Just a quick post to mention that I decided to teach a paper piecing class up in Oakland at A Verb for Keeping Warm.

Paper piecing is something that I have loved for ages.  I'm really addicted to the 'for free' perfection of it.

We'll be making a hot pad that you can use as a holiday gift. 

If you cannot join us because you are not local to the bay area, feel free to give me links to your blog posts about paper piecing you have done.  I love to see what else is going on out there.

One quick question for you - has anybody seen the Richard Scarry fabric in local quilt shops?  I'm looking to get my hands on some (at PIQF maybe?).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Indigo Quilt Fabrics and PIQF 2011

I have spent what feels like a lifetime collecting Japanese Indigo fabrics.  

There was a quilt shop a long time ago when I lived in LA that carried a lot of these sorts of fabrics because there was a Japanese owner and she had a passion for them.

These days, my new indigo fabrics come from here and there.  I don't have a great source of them actually. 

I used some in the above quilt block for a baby quilt.  You can see the half square triangles that I made if you squint and look really hard.  Can you see them?  I can almost see them.

I am looking forward to PIQF though, maybe there will be some good indigo's there. 

PIQF - AKA Pacific International Quilt Festival 2011 is taking place in about 2 weeks here in San Jose.

I'll be taking the day off to run around the show with my quilting friend to take photos and see what the booths have to offer.

Of course I'll post all the photos up for you, but you may want to attend in person if you can figure out how to get there.  It's worth the trip.

Anybody else out there planning to go?