Finishing School Friday

FSF–Autumn Quilt

I just finished sewing this together, and smoothed back up on the wall to do the next step: audition borders.  Those blocks have been orphaned on my wall for nearly a month now, so it’s nice to have them all sewn together (so I won’t worry about them falling off and never getting them back in the arrangement I’d decided on).

I went up to Bluebird Fabrics, which stocks a lot of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, thinking that his florals might do the trick.  But I decided it was mixing two different time epochs–not where I want to go with this quilt.  So I dug back into the stash, looked through some books and think I’m heading toward a pieced border, with that stripe as a divider to let those edges glow.  It’s interesting how “of a certain date” these fabrics are, as well as a certain look.  I’m trying for a mellow quilt top here, like the golds and reds and browns of autumn mellow into a beautiful display every year.

But Mother Nature always has a leg up on us, as she paints her fall palate.  I noticed when we were in Canada last month, how much better the Halloweeny/Fall colors looked against a gray sky and the softer contrasts found in the northern autumn light.  All those pumpkins look out of place here in Southern California, with our bright light and the continuous greens of plants and trees.  So it’s no accident that we don’t have “fall” here, at least not until January, when the liquid ambers blaze into brilliant reds, then quickly turn brown and fall off the tree.  So, as I work, I try to keep in mind the atmosphere of Montreal and Quebec City and the small island north of that old city as I work on this quilt.  Luckily it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, which will help me stay focused.

Finishing School Friday

FSF–Halloween House

At long last.  After the holiday.  In time for next year:

Binding on and stitched down.  Label is coming. . . later. . .as are most things in my life right now.  We’re in crunch time at school and if you think witches in doorways and skeletons all dressed up going to a party are scary, you haven’t seen midterms and research papers for some time now.  Yesterday the students all dragged in after having taken the fiction exam last week.  They looked, in a word, bedraggled and like that scene in Roger Rabbit where the character is run over by a steamroller.  Only these young adults hadn’t popped back up yet, cartoony-like.  I opened with a few jokes, but really folks, we had more work to do.  My wry comments were followed quickly by a more thorough reading of the Research Paper packet and ideas for drafting.  There’s no way to avoid it–it’s work work work until the end of the semester.

We shifted gears and discussed the play that was assigned to them, as well as the difference between fiction and drama.  I gave them a pop quiz and wrote a condensed version of our final few classes in a modified calendar up on the board.  A few squares, like the quilt above, filled with goblins (essays), research papers (witches), exams and presentations (other scary things).  Finally, one young man spoke up, his voice weary: “It’s nice to know we have a light at the end of this tunnel.”  The ice was broken, everyone laughed, and their spirits rose a bit in order to finish the group projects, get their exams returned (they had all studied hard and did well) and move on out into the crisp California afternoon.

Halloween’s over.  The work continues.  Reading and writing for them, grading for me.  And maybe an hour or few stolen for another quilt project.  Just to keep the goblins at bay.

Finishing School Friday · Sewing

Think Freddy Purse-FSF

Earlier, this week this is what it looked like with the purse laid out, as I’m trying to figure out where everything goes.  I wanted a purse that looked “Think-Freddy-ish” without screaming “HEY I’M A QUILTER!”  You know what I mean.  Clothes, purses — there’s art,  and then there’s I’M-A-QUILTER-clothes.  The best example of the latter was when I went to Houston and some woman had made a vest out of all the tote bags, complete with the handles hanging down all over.  And yes, I’ve made a garment or two that fit into that category. Let’s not go there, because I still like that jacket.

Hoping I’m splitting that line, here.  Side One.

Side Two, with a little pocket.

Same side without the Metro map.

Zipper pocket for phone.  Gazillion pockets for everything else.  I looove pockets in my purses.

Like I said, I like Nancy’s designs, but it does take a rocket scientist to figure out her directions.  It helps if you’ve sewn a purse before.  How do you like that fabric on that lining?  Good way to use that Children at Play paper airplane design.  I love the soft aqua.  Good feelings here on finishing up something this Friday and I hope you’re having some too.

Tomorrow is the Temecula Quilt Show, where they hang their quilts all over outside, kind of like the Sisters Show, but think Cowboys Meet Quilters.  And then the Red/White Quilt show over at Temecula Quilt Company.  I’m looking forward to this all (plus getting a flu shot — must be fall!).


FSF-Pink Junk

So, what I have finished this week?  Well, Quilt Frolic quilt top and back, for one. And I cleaned out one of my fabric cupboards as I was trying to put the Amy Butlers back in.  It was a mess.  Or, as they might say in the art world: I deconstructed it.

And I found this, which I’ve titled: Pink Junk.  It is an idea gone south, a cake that fell, a headache turned worse and a sewing idea that never should have seen the light of day.  I had this idea to sew strips of pink fabric on a fabric base, cut it out and quilt the jacket and then (horrors!) wear this Pepto-Bismol-Mary-Kay color out in public. (No hate mail.  I was once a Mary Kay consultant and even met The Woman Herself.)

I like pink.  But I am actually really glad that this is a UFO.  I’ve pressed it and cut the sewn parts into 6″ blocks.  My plan is to sash them up in some fabuloso fabric.  I’ll probably have to find something darker to make the contrast work because all these colors are the kind you would find on Bunny Rabbits in the Easter displays.  Come to think of it, maybe that was its genesis?  As a planned new Easter outfit?

Saved by inertia.

Today I picked this Kaffe Fassett print at our local fabric shop, as all the Kaffes were on sale.  And she kept calling them “Calfs.”  (I heard from someone who would know that his name has a long a in it, as in KAYfe.) This is the shop that sends out emails with typos and misspellings in them, but at least it makes the shop memorable.  I might have mentioned to her the idea that a spellchecker would help the email writer.  Can’t be sure.  I did make sure that she wasn’t the writer before I might have mentioned it.

They had a terrific Halloween display up with lots of very appealing quilts and fabrics.  This was also on clearance (they had three bolts).  I loved it, esp. the group of witches in the middle with the scribble overhead.  Maybe they’re gossiping?  Trading barbecue recipes?

Lastly, in the back of my now-desconstructed closet, I found this group of fabrics.  I remember distinctly where and when I bought it.  It was in Amish country, outside Washington DC.  Two of the quilting ladies from my guild took me to tour the Amish/Mennonite fabric shops, about 90 minutes from where I lived.  This grouping, by Robert Kaufman in a deliciously heavy-weight cotton, was all in a row in the last shop we went to that day.  What made this place memorable was the lack of electricity (everything was done by hand, including the ringing up of things) and the black Amish buggy parked just outside.  From what little I knew about the Amish, I couldn’t believe that they had a fabric shop set up in the side room, just off the patio.  And the woman who helped me couldn’t have been strict Old Amish, because her clothing was more contemporary.  It was an interesting day, that’s for sure.  About six years ago.  And I have no idea what I’m going to do with these ornate cottons, but the stack is too beautiful to leave in the fabric closet for another six years.

I think I’d recently been to Venice, Italy and as I look at it, it reminds me of the Carnivale Masks with their swirls and flourishes and gilt touches, as well as the tightly inlaid marble floors in the Cathedral. Do you ever clean out a closet and come face-to-face with fabric you had to have, for some really pressing and urgent reason, yet now it languishes?

If anyone has any suggestions for this fabric, let me know. Right now I’m thinking quilt backs.

Finishing School Friday

Red/White Table Runner


Gathered here are:

a block from Sue (Canada)
a block from Kay (Australia)
a block from Leisa (California)
a block from Sarah (California)
a block from Rhonda (Virginia)
a block from Lisa (California)
and a block from me, all combined to make a table runner that will remind me of these lovely quilting friends.  For even if I didn’t know them at the beginning, I’ve made some new friends by the end.  Thank you, one and all.

I stippled it with invisible thread on top, and red rayon thread on the back.

Because I might want to turn it over and use the reverse on occasion, I hand wrote my initials and the date.  But I have this blog to remember everyone by–now to take it to Temecula and enter it in their Red/White Challenge.

(Originally labeled FSF, for Finishing School Friday, a series I ran for a while.)