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Friday, January 27, 2012

Hearts

Our guild has an annual challenge, and this time we had a beautiful red batik fabric to use, as well as the requirement of a heart somewhere on whatever we created. We were given the fabric last January, and I made my piece in July but decided not to post it until after the challenge competition last night. ;) There were some wonderful creations there, all interpreting the theme of "Heart's Desire". 

I used a paper-pieced pattern designed by Carol Doak for my blocks, but I shrank them to 3" in the main part of my miniature quilt and 2" in the border; the quilt finished at 14" square. I set photos of my family members into the centers of the larger (comparatively speaking, of course!) blocks. I decided to make this a two-color quilt, so it's all red, with a white/pink for the background.

At the end of last night's meeting, I was thrilled to find that my quilt had placed second in the miniature category! :D Here's a detail of one corner (at right): 

I quilted feathers in the border and small hearts in the corners of the blocks, with loops in the "bumps" of the heart blocks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another top

At the retreat I mentioned recently, I took a second class. I won't say too much about it, as it wasn't my favorite for several reasons. However, I've now finished the top begun there (it's fused appliqué), though I am still debating whether or not to add borders. That would complicate matters, as I don't have enough of the flower fabrics left, so I'd have to find a "just-right" fabric somewhere. At any rate, here's the top, which I'll quilt when I've caught up on some other projects. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

As promised — and more

I actually have two finishes to show today! :) First, I promised a photo of the finished top from yesterday's post. Before I show you that, though, here is a photo of a couple of the 6-inch "macaroni" blocks we learned to make in class. Do you see the piping that follows the curves? It really adds a great accent! 

But here is the finished quilt top, and I'll be adding more piping after it's quilted; I love piping next to the binding. That background fabric is pretty busy, isn't it?

The next thing I have to post today is a real finish from yesterday. That is, it's quilted, bound and labeled. This is the result of a class I took in Houston in November. It was a class on machine trapunto given by Philippa Naylor, one of my very favorite teachers. She gave us lots of wonderful tips on how to get great results, and she also gave us some patterns to use. I combined elements of a couple of those patterns to come up with this result. 

The center is heavily stippled with pebbles to bring the hearts and wavy border into relief, and I tried to echo the heart theme by turning the border feathers into something resembling hearts. And, of course, I added piping next to the binding to give the quilt a little color accent — and because I really like piping! 

The color in this detail photo is much closer to the color of the actual quilt. This little quilt is about 21" square.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Retreat

I've just spent a few days at a retreat I'd never before attended, and it was great! It was a smallish retreat (compared to some), with only about four classes each day, but it was so well organized that I was really impressed. Our rooms were very nice, and breakfast and lunch were provided, as was a neck wallet, complete with notepad and pens for jotting down information. 


My friends (there were four of us) and I took only two classes each, one of which we all took together. That one, a curved piping class with Susan Cleveland, was well worth the trip all by itself! I really enjoyed that entire day, especially. 


Can you picture yourself spending a day quilting while looking at this view out of the window? Pretty nice, isn't it? :) I'll post a photo of my project from Susan's class as soon as I've finished the top.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Clarus

Clarus — that's the name of the pattern for the second part of the lace knitting class I was talking about in this post. The shawl I made from this pattern was finished, including the blocking, today! :) This one is a good deal larger than the first one was, so that gives me some variety. Keep in mind that I'm a beginner at lace knitting and haven't knitted anything at all in several decades, so there are mistakes in the shawl. Still, I'm pretty pleased with it. The yarn was a dream to work with, very soft and easy to use, and the shawl almost seems to float because it's so lacy. 

The class itself was really good. It's on the Craftsy site, where they offer classes in all sorts of things from gardening to jewelry making, crochet, knitting, quilting, and goodness knows what else. One nice thing about the classes is that there's a forum for showing pictures, asking questions, and commenting; and you can take and retake the same class as many times as you like. Nice!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Experiment

A few nights ago we went out to dinner and had an absolutely fantastic butternut squash soup. Naturally, it had white truffles in it, which I'm not sure I can find, even if I thought they'd be reasonably priced. ;) Still, the soup was so good that I decided to research recipes. I found about a dozen, and most of them were similar, so I bought a butternut squash and some chicken broth and embarked on a test drive today. The result was tasty, but not nearly as delicious as what we'd had. Still, it's a start. This is the result. My next attempt might include some sort of topping, and I should have bought a baguette to have with it and the salad I fixed instead of the crackers.