Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red and Green Quilt...finally!

Well, actually, I participated in the creation of a red and green quilt!
A few months ago Renee Plains, of Liberty Star fame, honored me by asking if I would help her get ready for Spring Market by piecing a large quilt for her...
Potting Shed
It was a collaborative affair...I did the piecing and she did the applique.
Whitney Erickson, co-owner of TOWQS, did the machine quilting.
As usual, it so much more vibrant in person! 

No wildflowers to show here in AZ!  The heat isn't as bad as I had imagined. 
 My R&W quilt will definitely be slow going here.  I am using my daughter's machine and I don't quite have that scant 1/4" seam allowance thingy figured out yet! It took me over an hour this am to piece just one 3" block. 

 I had a delightful mid morning visit to the shoppe and picked up some FQs I just had to have for Caroline's Pinwheels.  Let's see...I started this quilt to use up stash...I have used the last of 4 different fabrics so far...I purchased 10 new FQs...I don't think I am making progress!
But you can't wipe the smile off my face!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pinwheels for Caroline... Lori Smith.
I needed a break from my R&W quilt, so working on my Caroline's Pinwheels seemed like the perfect answer.  I make one 3" R&W block each day before I allow myself to start playing with the fabrics for this one.  Her instructions suggest using 4, red, green and gold, besides the neutrals--brown and black...which I found dull. So, I spruced it up a little with some pink and cheddar. I am finding the most important element in fabric choices is value, especially in the ocean waves border.  I am having difficulty with the ocean waves blocks.  I have never made them before and with each one I make I learn more about which areas are critical to points matching.  Hopefully, I will have it figured out in the next few attempts. Have any words of wisdom?

It is a melancholy Monday for me.  Both Serena and Venus lost today, so the women's game now holds very little interest for me.  Still have my favorite male players in the mix though.  Sad for American tennis, but Mardy Fish is the last one standing in singles.  We can always count on the Bryan brothers to make a good run for us though! 

Wimbledon takes the first Sunday of the tournament off, so we hiked a new trail on the east side of the San Juan Mountains.  I was very proud that I climbed to an elevation of about 12,600 ft.  If you are wondering, I am training so I can hike Macchu Picchu in the fall.
I have added a page at the top below my header if you want to see more of the wildflowers I photograph.  I have also identified them.  Here is the highlight pic of the hike:
White Globeflower...found in marshy areas near streams and creeks. 
The boggy slope of Kitty Creek was covered in them.  Some almost had a peachy hue to them.
First time I had seen this one.
Also liked the vibrant Parry Primrose...also an alpine stream dweller.
I am flying back to AZ on Wed. 
I am anxious get some retail therapy at TOWQS.
New wools arrived as well as some new fabric lines. 
Hope I can show some restraint!
A new coiffure is badly needed as well.
We'll be headed to Napa to celebrate my mother's 80th.
It will be sort of a family reunion. 
I'll take my opportunity now to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Secret for Me... getting multitudes of HSTs made is to have a tennis tournament to watch! 
 And that would be Wimbledon, especially with the return of Venus and Serena Williams,
although Venus's attire is atrocious!
I am challenged with the use of the high contrast solid fabrics, so it is slow going. 
I've already started to plan a border.  Thinking maybe some red on white applique, but not floral. 
We'll see if I have any enthusiasm left once the center is finished! 

The tennis was rained out the other day, so we fit in a hike to the very sedate Coal Creek...which is more like a babbling brook.  Tall ferns and giant flowering plants surrounded the creek and made for some great photo opportunities. 
These flower stalks were on plants that were chest high and had fernlike leaves.  My best guess is it is a subalpine Larkspur of some sort. Our hike was cut short when I saw an animal print in the mud around the creek and asked my DH what it might be.
  "Probably a large cat," he said. 
 Suddenly realizing the effect that would have on me, he tried to change his opinion.
"No, probably someone's dog," was his second answer, even though we had seen no other prints besides sign of free range cattle on the entire walk.  Needless to say, I decided I had had enough for the day.  Still managed to get a fair amount of uphill cardio before my downhill retreat.

Back to HSTs and tennis!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Weekend's Work

I decided to get at least one of the samples for TOWQS done to take back with me. 
This is Winter #577 by Country Threads.
It is fusible applique, so the next step is to decide how to anchor the shapes...
buttonhole stitch around them all or
stitch them down as I quilt.
The second choice will be faster, but I will let the girls at the shoppe decide which finish they want.

I also managed to catch up with my Civil War BOWs.
Ladies Aid Album

Calico Puzzle

I have been talking about a red and white quilt for some time now, so I finally started it.
I am fascinated by the illusion created by these two color HSTs.
Half the block looks like white triangles on red and the other half looks like red triangles on white.
I'll be using this illusion in my setting design.
I only have 540 HSTs to make and 57 more of these 3" finished blocks!
Better get busy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Rare Find!

This post is not about don't have to look at Autumn Houses one more time!
Yesterday we hiked to Fourmile Falls and on the way I spotted a small speck of purple off the trail.  When I went to investigate, I was rewarded with the Calypso Orchid, or Fairy Slipper.  This delicate orchid tends to favor sheltered areas on conifer forest floors and is endangered in the US.  It is also only about 1" in size and we all know how I love miniature things!
A side view of this divine orchid.

Little white Trillium was abundant as well.

Our destination...
Fourmile Falls!
Thank goodness it isn't four miles of hiking to get to the falls, because the last climb had my legs feeling like lead weights.  I am still not elevation acclimated.

Good news...Midnight accompanied the cowboys out to the meadow this am.  He stayed clear of the skunk's lair and ran to his heart's desire.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweet Carolina

I saw this little quilt first on Quilt Hollow's blog; and when my magazine arrived, I just could not resist it.  It will end up as a pillow or a wallhanging in the guest bedroom. It can be found in the August 2011 issue of APQ magazine and was designed by Annemarie S. Yohnk. Now I just need to find the perfect medium value tan for the first inner border and then I will try to mimic the quilting design.

I have made lots of progress on Autumn Houses.
Even though the shapes are made, there are many little applique stitches that still need to be sewn.
Block 1, 3 and 6 are totally completed and 4, 5 & 7 are half done. 

I was thrilled to see that Nives, from Northern Italy, and Kathie, from Sydney, Australia, have posted their recent 1880 sampler blocks on the flicker site.  Nives' blocks are closer to the same colors as mine, but Kathie has chosen a brown and pink theme that is very warm and inviting.  I hope to have collages of their blocks to share, but if you can't wait to see them, check them out here

Today's goal is to get my exchange blocks made for my SSQSG meeting in July.  They need to be 4" finished blocks and I need 6 of them.  We exchange blocks every other month. I missed the June meeting, but you can read all about it on Merumo's blog and see her collection of blocks so far.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Funnies

I'll get to some quilt related pics after I share a little tale with you.
There is a riding stables near our cabin and every evening, they release the horses into the meadow behind us to graze and romp around.  Each morning the cowboy rides out to round up the group accompanied by his dog, Midnight.  
 How do I know the dog's name?
Yesterday morning, the dog meet our other evening guest in the meadow and being a curious fellow, decided to check it out.
Next thing I hear is, "No, Midnight, No!"
Too late! 
 Poor Midnight was pawing at his nose and rolling in the grass while the horses made a speedy retreat into the trees.  I don't know who I felt worse for...the dog or the cowboy.
Needless to say, Midnight didn't join the cowboy on this mornings roundup!

Autumn's Finale by Ruan Robertson arrived in the mail.  I could not be more pleased with my purchase and donation to the AAQI cause.  I love her use of decorative stitches in the quilting and applique.  According to the info on the site, the background fabrics were hand dyed by her, and don't you love the striped binding she chose.  A true work of art!

I managed to get another Autumn House done.  I am working furiously to prep as many of the blocks as I can before I return to AZ.  I won't have my machine for 3+ weeks, so I need some handwork.  My daughter has her machine that I can use, but I can't take all my fabrics home on the plane.
We did fit in a hike to the stunning Silver Creek Falls yesterday.  With the snow still melting in the high country, all the rivers and creeks are running high, making for some impressive cascading water.
We continued above the falls, and around 8,000 ft I captured some pictures of a very unusual vine that was winding its way around the trees and bushes.
I have been unable to identify it in my Guide to Colorado Wildflowers, but later today I'll do a search and see what I can find out about this ephemeral beauty.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I managed to get this week's CW block from Barbara Brackman's site done.
I didn't like it until I saw my blog friend, Merilyn's, block. 
I didn't have a fabulous floral stripe, but this came close and looks rather handsome on point, which is how I plan to set my blocks.  I have become obsessed with on-point settings recently.

On the topic of the anniversary of the Civil War, I found a new blog to follow called The Civil War Quilter.  Becky is working on a book that I will be anxious to see and reproduces Civil War era quilts.  Make sure to read her April 30th post about Love and Valor

My feet are on ice, hoping to reduce the inflammation so I can get back in my hiking boots.
But, until then, I am making lots of quilting progress...
3 more 1880 sampler blocks, more pinwheels and some gifts that I can't show.

I can't go exploring for wildflowers to photograph,
but at least my garden is starting to bloom.
My favorite color in the garden is purple...can't you tell!

And these are the pine cones on the Colorado Blue Spruce that are planted around the perimeter of our land.  My Snow in Summer is finally getting its little white flowers and I love the contrast with the Dianthus.  I am an amatuer gardener, but sometimes my combos actually work.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Grandpap's Cards

Nothing like a weekend of French Open tennis and broken down internet service to get a small quilt pieced!  I don't have a good inner border fabric in my stash; so unless the LQS has something, Grandpap's Cards will have to wait until I get back to AZ and TOWQS to qualify as a real finish.
I drafted the Crosses and Losses blocks down to 3" and have the perfect spot for it on my bedroom wall.  I also think I will try tea dyeing to make it look even more antique.
On the subject of our LQS here in Pagosa is a small cubby in the back of the local Mercantile, where hunting and fishing supplies seem to be the main fare.  The owner still manages to have a fairly good selection and carries mostly Moda fabrics, some reproductions, and a sampling of batiks.

I also spent some time getting block #3 of Autumn Houses done, sans the embroidery.
It still needs a little squirrel in the bottom corner, but I don't have the perfect fabric for that either.  That makes two things to look for at the LQS.  I use the starch and glue prep method for my applique and I am trying out a new archival glue from Jillily Studio called Appli-Glue.  Like it so far, especially the non-clogging tip; but the real test will be to see how water soluble it is.  I always rinse my applique after it is done to loosen and remove the glue.

We have been experiencing heavy smoke in the skies from the fires burning near Alpine in AZ.  I have several friends with cabins in the area and pray they are safe. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

This is the quilt I just purchased over at the AAQI sale.
Sorry the image is so fussy, but I snagged the picture from the FOR SALE site.
 I received an email from Ami Simms asking for help with their current sale.
There are a wide assortment of small quilts to choose from and a variety of price ranges as well.
Go take a look here and see if you can help too!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Update on my Barbara Bucher Snyder Sampler

I finished another row! Yippee!
Sorry that I posted this week's block a little early...I got a little over zealous and pushed the wrong button.
I am loving this quilt even more now than when I first started it.
I'm also enjoying seeing a few (13 out of the 90+ followers) posting their blocks on the flicker site.
I would really be pleased if you would share your blocks with me if you are sewing along!
Visit the flicker group and see the others' blocks.
They are all stunning!

Wildflower collages courtesy of our hike along the Piedra River.
We found a field of Wild Iris near a natural spring.
I sure enjoyed the hike, but I'm a little hobbled today.  New shoes, but I had worn them several times previous.  Oh well, a few days with my feet up will just mean more quilting time.

A special welcome to my 200th official follower...a very dear quilty friend!  She knows who I am talking about and she has been lurking for quite awhile. 
Will I start to see her leave comments next?? ;o)
 Funny that my 100th follower was a quilty friend also. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Progress on Two Fronts

Our attempt to hike at the Continental Divide was a total wash...literally!
There is still 1-2 feet of snow on the ground at 11,000 feet. 
Instead, we stopped at Treasure Falls.
Memorial Day ushered in a cold front and howling winds that dropped the temperatures in Pagosa Springs down to 29 degrees.  This is the effect it had on the surrounds of the lookout area of the falls.
Stunningly beautiful icicles everywhere!
We will just have to hike at lower elevations for awhile.

Autumn Houses is progressing nicely.  Hope I can keep up my present enthusiam for this project. I've said it before...I love fall colors and pumpkins and quilts with houses in them.

Also managed to get a handle on the weeds in my perrenial garden, plus add a few more plants and subdivide others.  Since our growing season is so short, my garden will not be in its full glory until later this summer or early fall.  Today's goal is to get the vegetable garden planted and my tomato plant installed in the greenhouse.  Maybe I'll put in some bell peppers to keep it company.  DH wanted strawberries, so he has built a screened cage to protect them from the birds.  Hope it works!  Carrots, green beans, zucchini and pumpkins will join them.  We are keeping the garden small this year.

My goal today is to finish one more 1880 block and then sew together the next row.  It will be just over half done then! I am anxious to get to the black and pink border!

If I get that done, then I give myself permission to piece a quick small quilt.  Got the pattern for Grandpap's Cards by Carol Hopkins Designs in the mail yesterday.  I had seen the quilt in Temecula and managed to find the perfect taupe fabric, so stay tuned.

Fell Off the Wagon

 It was bound to happen. I had stuck to my guns until I saw Laundry Basket Quilts' pattern, Alaska Magic. I told myself,  "It is te...