A new quilt!!

Aspens on my Mind

And it’s even mostly finished! This is the new project that I started so that I would have a quilt to use for the Swarovski crystals demo at the guild in March, and I do love the way it turned out. I think if I had to do it again, I would use a different batting, probably a very low loft cotton or something like that. I used a chunk of polyester that I had around, and it’s kinda over-puffy, which I usually like, but for an artsy quilt like this it’s not quite right. I think I discovered this once before, maybe, but as I usually don’t do these types of quilts, it didn’t stick in my head. Live and learn, again. That’s what I love about quilting: there’s always more to learn, and sometimes you even get more than one opportunity to learn something!!

My mom liked it so much, she said “Oooooo – I LOVE that one!” and “As a matter of fact, it would be perfect on a wall in the new house…” Since I had thought that I would eventually ask if my Mom and Dad liked it enough to have it, I took the “hitting you over the head with a brickbat” hint (as she put it!) and told her it was hers!

It really needed to be their quilt anyway, since it made me think of the aspen trees in Pine Valley, Utah, where my parents and I used to camp and hike when I was a kid. I do have some fond memories of those camping trips when I was little, even though camping wasn’t (and isn’t) my thing, and I’m positive that I was a complete pain about it all back then (and oh, am I getting paid back in spades by my own daughter now!).

I could hear the breeze in the aspen trees in my head when I looked at this piece, so I quilted tree trunks in the left border area, waving lines in the middle for wind, and aspen leaves in the right border. I will add a few Swarovski crystals to it before it becomes part of Mom and Dad’s collection. I named the quilt Aspens on my Mind. See bigger pics in the Gallery and let me know what you think!

Free quilt patterns galore!

I was surfing the web today (feeling a bit ill, so not doing much else really) and found this absolutely wonderful site: FreeQuilt.com. It’s a collection of links to other quilting and sewing sites around the Internet with free patterns for download. In other words, mega legwork already done by someone else, and nothing to do but click and enjoy! I love all the cat quilts that can be found there, but I’d already found another that isn’t listed there: Cats in the Attic at Pam Bono Designs (you have to register there to download the pattern). This one might even make good placemats, if you just make the four blocks singly instead of putting them together into one quilt.

So now I’ve got ideas for more quilts! This is what happens when your body doesn’t feel like doing much, I guess. Your brain and creativity start up, and then you’re in trouble when you do feel better!

Inspirational Quilting

I found my way to the APQS forum where the longarm quilter gals hang out, and I saw this absolutely stunning quilting, and just had to share. I can’t post the pic here of course, but you can follow these links to the first pic, and the second one (you’ll need to scroll down the page to see the second one).

This is the kind of quilting that raises the bar, and inspires the rest of us to try to claw our way over that bar. And she does this on a longarm machine! WOW! I’m off to start my own quilting for the day. I plan to quilt all day here, and now I have the creative energy to do so after those pics. Incredible!

Weekend recap, a bit of quilting, a bit of surfing

I managed to get almost finished with my UFO quilt that I took to the retreat last weekend. I just have one block left to quilt, and then the binding to do, so maybe today will be the finish! I recorded the Driven To Quilt Podcast Episode 12, and installed a new image gallery on the Driven To Quilt website to accomodate all the pictures I took at the retreat. Take a peek at the fun while you listen in to the latest Podcast!

Other than that busy-ness, it was actually more than “a bit” of surfing, since I found this great website, and it was just enthralling. Fellow quilter Ami Simms has a wonderful site, which I knew existed but hadn’t ever really perused at length. Shame on me. Saturday evening, I spent a couple of hours there at least, because I just couldn’t close the browser window! First thing is, she’s hilarious! She leads a very colorful life it seems, and her sense of humor is priceless. A few years back she ran a Worst Quilt in the World Contest, and the results are on her site, with judges comments and reviews that had me laughing out loud.

Other “not to miss” sections include the “Life’s Ups and Downs” tale of an elevator incident on the What’s up with Ami? page and a short story of how a guy tries to help with the kitty box issue on the What were they thinking? page. These tales and others had me nearly falling out of my chair laughing so hard.

The Ami’s Adventures page is very interesting as well, with Mrs. Simms goes to Washington which really got me thinking, and wonderful e-mails from her nephew and his new bride who joined the Peace Corps and set off for a 27 month stint in Kazakhstan. It’s a rare glimpse into a completely different world, and I’m honored that they and she would share with everyone.

Obviously I’ve not explored her site completely yet, since there’s just so much there and I did have to get some sleep in. I think I’ll have to make a little “Ami Time” in each day so I can get my daily dose!

Deadlines and commitments

Traditional Rose of Sharon BlockI received a response to an email I sent a couple of weeks ago to my oldest DD’s music teacher this morning, and he apologized for the lateness of his reply. He said “I put the band back together I should have my head examined.” My instant thought was “been there, done that.” I wrote back: “Isn’t it funny how we work so hard to do something we think we want to do, and then once we’re in the middle of it, we wonder if we were crazy? I do it all the time.”

Not with a band, of course, since I absolutely don’t play any instruments, but I definitely do over commit myself to myself and my art, and it needs to stop. Take this last quilt for example. I’ll let the cat out of the bag here: the Grasping Reality: Fifteen quilt is headed for the MAQS New Quilts from an Old Favorite contest this year. The theme block is the Rose of Sharon (one variation is shown here), and I brainstormed for a year off and on to come up with an idea for a design. The Rose of Sharon is one of those quilt blocks that I’ve never liked, and I’d never make a quilt out of it using the traditional block, so I thought it would be quite a coup if I could design a quilt that I love based on a block that I dislike.

I’d given up finally when nothing seemed right, because I didn’t want to be rushed on it by a deadline and time was marching on. Unfortunately, though the conscious part of my brain knew that I shouldn’t keep thinking about the contest and a design, my subconscious was still hard at work, and when I saw Chelsea’s drawing, I was inspired to make it into a quilt for the MAQS contest and time was already a bit short.

Maybe I should have had my head examined. Continue reading “Deadlines and commitments”