Friday, September 25, 2015

Desk Calendar

I have a desk calendar for 2016 already.  I found it in a lovely independent book store in Saratoga Springs, NY, called Northshire Bookstore.  I love a good independent book store and Northshire is the best I've been to in a long time, independent book stores having become so rare.  They have a store in Manchester, VT, too.  

Anyway, I found this easel style desk calendar with quilt designs. Turns out, it was designed by One Canoe Two, who are now designing fabric for Moda.  So next year, I can be reminded of my hobby/obsession while working at my day job.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XXII - The Loot

I don't think I could go to a quilt show and not buy anything.  It is always interesting to see what the vendors have with them.  My LQS is great but of course, they can't stock everything, and while internet shopping offers endless variety, seeing something on a screen is not the same as seeing it "for real."

I want to make Jen Kingwell's My Small World quilt and have been gathering fabrics for it.  I have a basket of them set aside but the show posed a great opportunity to pick up more, including some fat eighths.

assorted fabric for eventual use in My Small World quilt

Lately, I've had a bit of thing for rainbow colors in quilts and even started a Pinterest board dedicated to inspiration for an eventual project, so I looked around the show vendors for fabric that I could use in said hypothetical project.  I hit the jackpot with these crossweave fat quarters.  Only $2 each!

Assorted crossweave fat quarters - not the whole rainbow but enough

In crossweaves, the thread is dyed (rather than the cloth), and 
woven with one color for warp and one for weft, blue and purple in this case.
The fabric used in Oxford cloth shirts is an example.

Just in case that's not enough "rainbow," I got this bundle of 20 10" squares from Free Spirit Designer Essentials solid color fabric.

And that text print you see in the background of all of these photos? That's a yard of  Quilters Basic Perfect #MCS 13-45 designed by (info taken from selvage).  The text is all in French, ooh la la!  It appears to be from a Danish company so I'm not hopeful about finding more.  

I have enough fabric to keep me out of trouble for a while.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XXII - The Exhibits

On Friday, a friend and I went to Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, an annual quilt show held outside Philadelphia every September.  You may have read my coverage in prior years.  While the internet has made quilt inspiration plentiful and easily accessible, I still like to go to the occasional show and see show-quality quilts "in real life."

Here are my favorites from this year's show:

This feathered star quilt (paper pieced) was spectacular.  The workmanship was outstanding; no wonder it won 1st place in the Traditional category. 

Feathered Stars by Barbara Khan of Weehawken,NJ, 82" x 82"

A close-up of the center star

Close-up of the border

In a funny coincidence, this quilt was displayed across from a booth vending quilting books, where they had copies of A Flock of Feathered Stars, the book used to make the quilt.  So if you'd like to have a quilt like this, all you need is the book, some fabric, and a lot of patience and talent.

When I saw this next quilt from a distance, it reminded me of work I saw at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago during the summer, and sure enough, it was from the same artist, Deborah Hyde.  She uses color placement in Many Trips Around the World blocks to create art quilts.  Fabric pieces are only 1" square!  This quilt, Leda, won 2nd place in the Innovative category.

Leda by Deborah Hyde, West Bloomfield, MI, 71" x 43"

close-up showing color placement

close-up showing block

 Deborah Hyde had another quilt in the show, equally striking in my opinion.  

Sam In Sunlight, Deborah Hyde, West Bloomfield, MI, 59" x 76"

close-up showing block

Ever since I made my Dresden plate quilt, I've been wanting to try another,using the winding chain layout.  All the fabric used in this quilt has polka dots and the outer edge has a flange or small piping next to the binding.  

Lil Bit Dotty For Dresdens by Teri Cherne, Henniker, NH, 42" x 42"

close up showing the quilting and fabric

There was an exhibit of quilts with the theme "50 Shades of Gray,"  all made by members of a guild in Florida.  This first one looks like a black and white photo.  All the fabric used to make it was gray; a darker gray background with the applique in various lighter shades.  

Twizzle, by Dotty Levine, 36" x 47"

close up of the prairie point border 

While some of the quilts used only gray fabric, the rules allowed for inclusion of color with the gray.  I have a bit of thing for rainbow quilts at the moment so this one caught my eye.

Life on Mars, Ilona Farnes, 67" x 71.5"

I vaguely recall seeing a demo for a technique for making this block;
 the technique makes two identical blocks at one time

I like the way the star points in this quilt burst out of the inner square into the border. This entry had a story.  It was started by Edna Depper, who passed away before it was finished.  Cindy Depper finished the quilt.  

50 Shades:  Edna's Last Chapter, Edna Depper and Cindy Depper, 58.5" x 58.5"

 And one more...

Hope, Polly Bech, Swarthmore, PA, 50" x 50"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Text Prints, The New Neutral

I started seeing text printed fabric a few months ago and have developed a bit of a "thing" for it.  Not quite an obsession, but close.  Have you seen the new Moda collection from Zen Chic called Modern Background Paper?  I saw the collection on a trip to my LQS and bought a few half-yard cuts for my stash.

That fabric on the lower left is actually from a different Moda collection but goes well with the rest.  The background colors of the Modern Background Paper line vary from true white to a color I'll call "aged newsprint," giving good variation.  I'm not sure what I 'm going to do with these yet, but I am thinking about using them along with Kaffe Fassett prints in some yet-to-be-determined block.  In the meantime, they are right at home in the stash closet.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Not Quite How I Saw It In My Mind

Somehow, it looked better in my head when I was planning it.  The colors are as I imagined it but they did not come together quite as dramatically as I was thinking.  I was going for modern and graphic, inspired by this quilt by Noodle Head.  What I got is a bit of a jumble.

I think where I went wrong was in the size of the blocks.  I was limited by the size of the pieces of fabric I had left from making Modern Herringbone.  My blocks are 3.75" and the quilt top is 30" by 38" while I judge the inspiration quilt blocks to be more in the 8" range.  

This is not my first quilt that hasn't turned out as planned and doubtless won't be the last.  But I think it will make a decent baby quilt once I quilt it.  Anyway, it is a good top for me to practice machine quilting on.  

Just keeping it real here on Main Street!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Feed Sacks by Fig Tree

You know what a Fig Tree fan I am.  I read the blog for advance warning of new fabric collections and patterns and general "fresh vintage" ideas.  Early in the summer, Joanne gave a sneak peek of her new bag pattern and asked for name suggestions.  Because the bag was made from her new fabric collection called Farmhouse, I thought Feed Sack was perfect.  So did Joanna and the Fig Tree staff.

She thanked me by sending me a copy of the pattern and a few mini charm packs.  I haven't used the mini charms before and I'm sure I'll find a way to incorporate them into a project soon.  I also like the bag (the pattern includes three sizes).  Adding denim is a great idea and I am thinking of recycling some old jeans into the base and handles.  I've saved many old pairs of jeans, thinking I'd come up with a crafty use for them and I think I found one at last.  I only took a quick look at the pattern instructions but it looks easy and one jelly roll makes three bags.  Could be good for Christmas gifts...never too early to plan ahead.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Building Blocks

Wow, after La Passacaglia, anything seems fast.  I whipped up these half square triangle blocks in no time, working on them for a few minutes at a time here and there.  After dinner one evening, I gave them all a trim (more like a shave) to get them to size.  Now for the next step.

Miss Main Street and I are about to set off on the drive back to college.  She has the car packed, literally; I'm afraid something will fall out when I open the door.  Her essential stuff seems to increase in quantity every year.  If she comes up with any more, we will need to bungee cord to the outside of the car and will look like the Beverly Hillbillies going down the interstate.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Fast Interim Project

I'm interrupting work on La Passacaglia to make a quilt for a new addition to the family.  This little guy was born last April; in a great coincidence he shares a birthday with Miss Main Street, but 20 years apart.  His mother is Mr. Main Street's niece and the family lives in Toronto.  He needs his quilt before it gets cold up there!

I have a plan and the cutting went fast.  

I'm using fabric left from making Modern Herringbone so I know I will like the colors!  But the piecing on this one will be fast and easy.  I want something they are not afraid to actually use.  

It will be all half and quarter square triangles, easy machine piecing I can work on in a half hour or so in the evenings after work.  If all goes according to plan,  I'll have something close to finished to show you next week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A New Blankie for Back to School

It's back-to-school time.  Mr. Main Street started back last week with faculty meetings and I'll drive Miss Main Street back to Skidmore on Labor Day.

Years ago, I made Miss Main Street a cuddle blanket/lap blanket out of Minkee and flannel.  She took it to college with her to cuddle with while watching TV.  The years have not been good to the flannel side, which was splitting at the seams and had generally seen better days.  A new one was in order.

The light blue plush is Minkee Dot and the print is a cozy flannel. I got both pieces at Yoder's in Shipshewana, IN, a stop on one of my trips to Chicago this summer.  (If you are in  the area, this store is worth a visit.  Only a short detour from US 80/90 in northern Indiana.)

I followed a tutorial from Missouri Quilt Co, called The Self Binding Receiving Blanket except I increased the size to 45" by 60".  Jenny provides great instructions and it is pretty fast to make. It is even easier when you use two pieces of flannel.  The Minkee fabric is a bit tricky; it is a knit and wants to stretch and curl.