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Monday, February 26, 2007

 

Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX



Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX
Originally uploaded by Christina.
Now that I occasionally find myself at home during the day, but with limited ability to actually work on things on my computer, what do I do with myself?

Today, the answer to that was Honey Bee Quilt Store (9308 Anderson Mill Rd, Suite 300, Austin TX 512-257-1269 www.honeybeequiltstore.com). Honey Bee is just about two miles from home, so I don't know why on earth I'd never been there. It's even across the street from Springwood Park, where I like to take Elizabeth in her stroller.

It turns out to be a charming place. It's warm and friendly, with well-populated but not crowded shelves of fabric, aisles wide enough to drive a monster stroller through, helpful staff and clearly loyal customers.

There was a good variety of types of fabric for sale, but my interests these days are a little skewed towards kid stuff. I got away with: a yard each of two different 'Dick and Jane' fabric prints, a Japanese print with children playing, and (not kid related, exactly) the perfect number fabric for that Sudoku quilt I mentioned a couple days ago. ["Hey, I'm looking for fabric with numbers printed on it - do you have any?" "Well, just this one with sock monkeys on it; will that work?" "Will that work? Numbers AND sock monkeys? Sold!"]

I have a feeling I'll be back. They also seem to have a fun variety of classes and meetings, meeting at different times of day and evening to suit different schedules. Check out their website: www.honeybeequiltstore.com.

Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX____Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX

Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX____Honey Bee Quilt Store, Austin TX


(Click images to see them full-size.)


Friday, February 23, 2007

 

Inspiration from strange places.



Fractal edge.
Originally uploaded by Christina.
I've come to the conclusion that what I really like is not as much the actual piecing together of a quilt (although I like that a lot) so much as the designing. At least, I usually have several quilts in some stage of design but not yet realized in fabric.

Let's see. Right now there's:
1. the godzilla quilt for my husband who loves B movies,
2. the bunny quilt (for the baby - fabric bought but not cut),
3. the rubber ducky paper pieced quilt (for the baby),
4. the panda bear / bamboo quilt (this one I cut all the fabric for over a year ago but have done no sewing),
5. the sudoku quilt, which will be a functional sudoku grid.

And of course, I'm currently working on a quilt, but it's from a pattern I bought, so it's not even on that list. The baby may be in high school before she gets her other quilts.

The problem is, it's so much easier to come up with a cool idea than it is to implement it. Inspiration is all around.

... Okay, so maybe that's not so much a "problem," but it does tend to lead to dusty piles of unfinished projects.

Take the first, and so far the only, baby quilt I made for Elizabeth (picture of the finished quilt here - look under the baby). That started from boredom in a meeting. When I'm bored, I doodle. Since I'm a math nerd, I sometimes doodle nerdy things. In this case, a fractal edge:


Draw a straight line: ______

Put a square in the middle of that: __[ ]__

And then put a square in the middle of every straight line in that, and so on and on. You end up with a line that fills space. If you start with a square, you end up filling a larger square, in which the original square is centered, on point.

So I'm sitting there, drawing smaller and smaller squares. I've long since stopped listening to the substance of the meeting, although the beauty of intense doodling is that it looks very much like intense note-taking. Then I realize that the pattern is basically a set of nested nine-patch blocks, set on point. And I had a quilt design.

Now, I realize I'm a little strange. Not everyone finds inspiration for quilts in math. But that's the thing; inspiration is everywhere. It might be the first spring flower, a beloved t-shirt you can't bring yourself to throw out, or just a cool fabric spotted by chance.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

 

Do people use your quilts?



Suzie inspects the quilt.
Originally uploaded by Christina.
Has this ever happened to you?

You spend days/weeks/months on a quilt as a gift to celebrate a friend's or relative's wedding, baby, or whatever. You pour your heart into the design, color choices, and so on, making it the perfect quilt for their specific personality. The big day arrives, they open the gift, and say thank you, wow, and 'Oh, this is much too nice to use!'

How do you convince people that it's really okay to USE the quilts you give them?

I always color test the fabric before assembling the quilt, I frequently stich in the ditch after every seam, and I always, always include a little card explaining how to clean the quilt (usually: wash in cold water, tumble dry low, scotch gaurd if you're feeling really paranoid).

Quilts aren't made, usually, to sit all pristine and lovely on a high shelf in a closet. They love to be snuggled under, adopted and loved by the local cat, kid, or grandmother.

The first full-size quilt I ever made was for the wedding of a friend from college. It's been a number of years, now. I look through their photos on flickr.com every so often, and pretty fequently, that quilt will be there. Not front and center of course, but tossed over the couch, underneath their cat, or wrapped around their beautiful little girl.

It makes me smile every single time.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

 

Hi, I'm new here.



Prettier Valentine.
Originally uploaded by Christina.
Hello -

I'll be posting here from time to time. I got into quilting about 10 years ago, when my mother- and father-in-law (you might know them as Lynn and Rob) bought me a sewing machine and a beginning quilting book one Christmas. There was no going back.

Now I have a small baby at home, so my quilting time is greatly reduced. She's cute, though, so I suppose I'll forgive her. My most recent projects are, predictably, baby related: baby quilt, spit-up "rags", baby bibs. Baby quilt #2 has taken up residence in our bedroom, about 25% done. It appears to have stalled out, but I still have high hopes for it. Perhaps that'll be the topic of my next post.


 

Finished



This weekend I decided to start on my Finish Things Crusade. I have UFOs that are the grandprojects of some of my projects. This weekend I happened upon some rabbit bodies (cloth, don't panic) that I know are at least 22 years old. I know this because I vividly recall a conversation with a friend about needing to put faces on and dress the darn things because they had gone unfinished for some time, but that since I had a new baby (she will turn 23 this month), I was having trouble finding the time. Interestingly, I also found the pattern for the bunny clothes last weekend, so maybe the stars are converging for the bunnies. And maybe even stupid chicken before Easter, but that's another story.

Right now I want you to think Halloween. Along with the bunny bodies, I located my pumpkin guy, "Too Much Candy Corn" by Kimberly Whritner. He was all done except for his clothes. Although he was separated from his pattern and fabric, I knew where to find all the pieces, so yesterday I put the finishing touches on him. Finished.

All ready to go into storage with the clearance witch I bought at Tuesday Morning.

Which reminds of what I did to make myself feel better right around that time 22 or so years ago. To make myself feel better, I kept a list of everything I completed, to help me focus on the positive. Of course, it didn't help the still naked bunnies, but it helped me. So here I am again. But now, I use technology. And I have witnesses to put on the pressure.

Posted by Lynn


Sunday, February 04, 2007

 

Making Big Santa


I'm working on getting back to one of my favorite cloth-related activities, doll-making. For a few years I belonged to a monthly Santa Club at a quilt shop, and the structure was very helpful. I had to get certain things done before class, and then I had "mandatory" time to work on the doll at class.

Unfortunately, after about a year after I joined, the instructor moved to another state and the group disbanded. I signed up for yet another Santa group and it, too, lost its instructor and dissolved. Although I have collected many wonderful patterns, very few Santas have been completed since then!

So I am starting my Santa crusade with a very large project, the Yuletide Greetings Santa from Seams Like Home ( www.seamslikehome.com). Two summers ago my daughter painted the clay face for him, and I bought all the fabric for his clothing. Big Santa needs a wooden armature, so a while back Rob went to Home Depot with my supply list and bought all the needed stuff. Last weekend he announced that he was tired of tripping over all that lumber and what was I going to do with that anyway?

This weekend he will cut all that lumber and begin to help me construct Santa's frame.

However, Big Santa needs a stand and the pattern suggests a log round.

Here's the problem—I live in the city. I (or really Rob) can't just go into the back 40, find a fallen tree and chain saw off a cross-section. Luckily, I live close to a specialty lumber place that has things like firewood and whatnot. Not wanting to make an unnecessary trip, I called them yesterday to inquire about the possibility of obtaining said log round from them. Not the most productive call I have ever had, and after a trip to the store's location, I still have no log round. I'll keep you posted on my quest, and on Big Santa's progress. That will force me to be accountable!

Posted by Lynn


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