Friday, October 1, 2010

Thread Tails and Vapor Trails: A Navy Quilt Challenge

Sometimes it's difficult to find common ground in a marriage when your hobby is quilting and your husband's hobby is working.   He loves to go to aircraft shows though. On on more than one occasion we have gone to the Sun and Fun air show in Florida and the Department of Defense Open House in Maryland.  So, when I saw the Thread Tails and Vapor Trails 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Quilt Challenge, I thought this had to be a perfect match for us.

After researching Naval Aviation for months, I was drawn to the Osprey, a helicopter that could convert into an airplane during flight.  While the Naval Aviation Centennial next year celebrates the influence of flight on a seafaring military, it seemed to me that the Osprey also represented a little of the future of naval aviation: an airplane able to set down as easily on land as on an aircraft carrier.  I selected two photos from the Navy's Osprey web page:

It took a while to figure out how to use Photoshop to create a design I could live with. My first attempt didn't really look like an Osprey to me at all.

Then I remembered that I had ordered some Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) from Leslie Riley a while back.   So instead of printing directly on fabric, I printed the Osprey picture on the TAP and ironed the image to the fabric.   Other techniques tried during this challenge were: using Organza to represent the wings of an Osprey bird, using some shiny halloween fabric to make the windows look translucent, adding charcoal netting to the aircraft carrier runway to make it look gravelly, and stippling in stripes. Here's my attempt:

Usually, when I photograph my quilts, I take them outside on my deck to catch the sunlight.  Unfortunately, the entire east coast was socked in with rain yesterday.  And, of course, I waited until the last minute to finish this quilt.  So, at the Friendship Star Service Project Workshop yesterday, I caught the flourescent light from the ceiling and had a friend hold the quilt for my pictures.  It's not the best picture to send in, but I'll hope for the best.  I should hear from the challenge sponsors by October 8th whether my quilt will be accepted as one of many from all around the country to celebrate in cloth the 2011 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation.  If it doesn't make it in....I've learned an awful lot to improve my quilting skills.    Wish me luck!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dad gets an award!

Last Saturday nite at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia, my father, Bert Robbins, received a plaque declaring him a Stock Car Racing Legend. 

Old Dominion's website tells the story: Over the years, the Old Dominion Speedway has provided the area with exciting NASCAR Racing Series action, Saturday night style. This is where the local driver can come out, try his hand at driving a powerful stock car, and maybe, just maybe, move forward into racing as not only a hobby, but as a way to make a living.

Many drivers who have competed on the 3/8 mile oval have went on to make it big in the top rank Winston Cup Circuit. Drivers like Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Morgan Shephard, the Burton brothers, and of course the "King" Richard Petty. By the way, 2 of Petty's official 200 wins are at the Old Dominion Speedway. Other Winston Cup drivers who have visited victory lane include Ned Jarrett (a 500 lap event), Junior Johnson, and the late Elmo Langley.
Dad is now 79 years old and doesn't race anymore.  He did race at Old Dominion speedway, however, with many of the drivers mentioned above.  I get a kick out of this one race result from the October 1964 Nascar Newsletter.  Dad came in 5th behind Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, and Richard Petty.
Here's a photo of one of his first race cars and his last.
Okay, so what has this got to do with cloth and creativity.   Nothing!   I did make him a single bed quilt once with these pictures in it, but forgot to take a photo of it before I wrapped it for Christmas.  I guess that just makes me a proud daughter!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shameless Plugs

It's so exciting to finish a quilt you've been working on for almost a year. it became a temporary UFO for a few months.   I confess!    Here's my America quilt which I named "We the People".
The pattern is by Debra Gabel.  And, speaking of her design expertise.   Check this out! Amazon has listed Debra's new book due out early next year. 

One more shameless plug....One of the quilt guilds I belong to is having a quilt show next month.
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who knew?

At my mother's 80th birthday party in April, a woman in her nineties was admiring the quilts hanging around my house.  When she indicated she used to quilt in the old days, I asked her if she had any stray blocks around she'd like to get rid of.  Then I didn't think anything of it.  A month later my mother hands me a Woodward and Lothrop box with quilt blocks in them.  All the the blocks were hand-pieced.  A note included said that she'd made a mistake by combining cotton and polyester fabrics in the same blocks.  If I could make a charity quilt out of any of the blocks, I was welcome to them.
I added some sashing, quilted them so that the hand stitches would never come out and ...voila!  Two Linus quilts have been donated to my guilds charities.  The guild is sending her a thank you note along with the picture above.  It makes my heart feel good!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Is anyone out there?

I've been waffling this summer on whether I should continue to blog or not.  Ok, so my old computer's hard drive died a slow death....enough so that I could get most of my data off.   Unfortunately, some of my old programs no longer work on Windows 7.  So, I've been spending my time trying to learn Photoshop instead of relying on my old standby, Picture It!   Aaargh!

Some good things have happened along the way.  Of course, my cache of pictures of the charity quilts I've created is now too many to post, yeah.   But, at least I have a visual record. 

I entered a block in the Alliance for American Quilts New From Old Contest and didn't win a thing.  It was satisfying, however, to know that my quilt was shown with all the other entries at the American Quilter's Society Knoxville show.  All of the contest quilts will also be shown at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos in Chantilly VA, Atlanta GA, Kansas City MO, Minneapolis, MN.  So if you're going to any of these shows, please take a look at my block and let me know what you think.

I entered a block in the EAA Airventure Quilt Block Contest and received 4th place.  While my hubby and I were unable to fly up there during the Oshkosh, WI airplane show due to a conflict with my son's attendance at the Otakon Conference in Baltimore the same weekend, we might make it up there later this fall weather permitting.  The block will hang in the Airventure Museum for one year.

I entered a quilt I titled "Natasha Robbinski" into the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza and just received a letter that the quilt has been accepted into the show.   

Finally, I'm not sure whether this is good news or bad yet.   My 17-year old son just passed his driver's license yesterday.  Advice and sympathy welcome.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Emmmmmbarrassing Secret Sister Encounter

This past week the Friendship Star Quilt Guild had it's year end party.  All the secret sisters were revealed.  So, what's so embarrassing about that?   The day before the party, I took a Capitol Post Card class from Eileen Doughty.  I don't know what came into me, but I declared before all the class members that I knew who my secret sister was and proceeded to talk my way into an embarrassing situation because one of the persons I was talking to was my secret sister and it wasn't who I thought it was!  Ha ha on me!  I have to admit, however, that I was pleasantly surprised to finally meet my real secret sister.  I've been in awe of Betty's work and admired her courage in establishing a long-arm business. 

By the way, the post card class was a blast and I highly recommend Eileen as a teacher and lecturer.  She helped each student make their project their own.  Here's my 5x7" post card quilt:

 I'll be dropping by the Annapolis Quilt Show this Saturday afternoon before I take my Dad out to dinner for a belated birthday celebration.  For my visual record, here's the Linus quilts I completed for our June 3rd workshop:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paint Chip Challenge

What is that?  One of my quilt guilds handed out those paint cards you can pick up at any hardware store.  I was assigned:

Purple, green, and yellow.  At first, I thought I'd hit the lottery.  I imagined making a New Orleans mask with these colors.   Alas, after much research and several drawings, the colors were so muted, I would have been ashamed to associate them with the bright New Orlean's Mardi Gras.   Back to square one!
I started playing around with shapes in my photo enhancing software, bought the materials, and made the following quilt:

How did I make this?  First I printed out my pattern to the size I wanted it and taped together the pages to make a between 30 and 40" around quilt.  I used wonder under to cut out the pieces and iron them onto the background.  Next, put a piece of stablizer behind the background and satin stitched all around the edges of the pieces.  After tearing off the stabilizer, I made a quilt sandwich and quilted it.  Voila! Quilt Done!  Today, I brought the quilt to guild and showed it with all the other entries.   Surprise, surprise....for my effort I was given a certificate:

I've never been a great namer of quilts.  And, when I get stumped, I rely on my backup method....pick one of my favorite cartoon characters and go for it.  I already have a quilt named "Boris Badenov" after the short soviet spy in Rocky and Bullwinkle.  This quilt didn't look Rocky and it certainly didn't remind me of Bullwinkle.  So, I named it "Natasha" after Boris' spy partner.  Since I couldn't remember ever hearing a last name for Natasha, I took my maiden name and added a "ski" to the end so it sounded Russian.  This quilt's name is now "Natasha Robbinski."  People who know me from my past life will know that I have used this name before...but retired Natasha when the cold war was over.  Now, she lives on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some Quilting for Me!

The Beatles handbag I've been carrying around for probably a year now was getting rather ratty looking.  While I had fun making it and even sang "All You Need Is Love" while I was sewing, it's so dirty even the washing machine isn't going to save it.

So with no looming quilting deadlines, I decided to make my next purse.  I fell in love with Debbie Mum's Tuscany fabric last year and went in and out of Joann's to get enough of the four coordinated fabrics to make my next purse.  Some quilting friends of mine have had great success with the Bow Tucks pattern (ps008), so I purchased the pattern at a show. 
I'm really pleased with the outcome.  Of course, I had to make a matching book cover, too.  Why do I like it?   My favorite colors are peach and green. The fabric line celebrates olive groves in Tuscany.  My Italian grandmother used to tell us at every spaghetti dinner to have an olive...because it makes you passionate.  So, I guess this little project will help me to become even more passionate about quilting!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dresden Diskette

The Alliance for American Quilts  has "New From Old: A contest for quilters of all ages that celebrates the past in the frame of the present".   I figured, what the heck, and sent in an entry yesterday.   When I found out about this contest, I was perusing my email while I was getting some old 3.5" diskettes ready to be thrown out.  I must have hundreds of these in my study, the result of a Sony Diskette camera that's now obsolete.  Since everything on them has been converted to cd-rom, there's no use in keeping them.  But, I just didn't want to throw them in the trash as is because while most contain pictures, some contain personal information.  The best way to dispose of these is to pull them apart, throw away the plastic, and remove the disk inside to shred.  Hmmmm, what if that disk inside could be used as an embellishment on a quilt?  Could it be sewn?  I took one to my quilt cave and sure enough I could sew all over it.  So, for the contest, I decided to take an old Dresden pattern and modernize it.   Here's my attempt.

It was a quick 16" x 16" quilt using 30s reproduction fabric and yes, those black rays are cut from a diskette.  It kind of reminds me of patent leather the way it reflects the light... and since my patent leather shoes from when I was a child were my "happy shoes," I guess this makes this quilt a "happy quilt," right?
According to the rules of the contest, members vote for the winners.   If you're a member, please vote for "Dresden Diskette."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane...yes, it's an SR-71

My creative streak was in full bloom this week.   I found a quick, fun challenge to create an airplane block no larger than 12"x12".  Since I've previously made a larger quilt with an SR71 on it, I decided to create a small one.  

I must say that appliqueing in miniature at this level of detail is tedious (especially the satin stitching).  Still, I'm pleased with the results.

It seems as if I'm on a neverending quest to create Linus quilts. 

But, I finished a convergence UFO that didn't work quite right.  The fabric was so bright on a black background that I got to experiment with Neon quilting thread.  Hopefully someone will love it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I finally remembered to make my Alzheimer's quilt

I absolutely love it when an idea takes fruition and results in a finished product all in one day.  Nimble Fingers Quilt Guild in Potomac, MD is collecting Alzheimer's quilts.  Here's my finished 9"x12" quilt:

Here's how the creative process went:  I went to Wikipedia and found some text on Alzheimer's symptoms and copied and pasted that text into Word.   Then I went to google and searched for "word cloud".  A word cloud is a program that takes some text and represents that text in a picture.  The more a word is used the larger it appears in the word cloud.  I found ABCya! word clouds  and pasted the text into the program.   The word "SUCH" turned out to be the most used word.   So, I went back to Word and deleted all the SUCH's and added some "Alzheimer" here and there.  Since I decided to use the Word cloud on an elephant, I selected a grey pallet.  After I saved the word cloud, I printed it out on fabric.  The next step was to google "royalty free elephant clip art" where I found a coloring page with the outline of the elephant.  I brought the coloring page into my graphics program, sized it to 8x10, and printed it out on paper. 

In my quilt cave, I traced the elephant onto a fusible and ironed it onto the back of the word cloud fabric, cut it out, and ironed it onto the background.  A little satin stitching and binding completed the quilt.  This little quilt was fast, fun, easy, and creatively satisfying.  Woohoo!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I guess it must be Spring Fever...

because I've been lax in posting my efforts.   Here's a few cheater panels quilted for charity in March.

In April, one of my quilt guilds, Friendship Star, had their quilt show.   Surprise, surprise.  A couple of years ago, Sally Collins came to our guild.   I bought her book, "Mastering Precision Piecing" and started doing her projects.  When it came time to put quilts in the show, I had none because I've been working on school quilts and challenge I decided to put in the two Sally Collins projects I completed.  They won first and third prizes in the Viewer's Choice miniature category.  Click here for a look at my efforts: FSQ 2010 Viewer's Choice Miniatures

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been over a month since my last confession...umm....posting

No excuses...ok...maybe one.   I cleaned my house from top to bottom in preparation for my mother's 80th birthday party. Thirty of her closest relatives and friends descended upon our home on April 11th.  I enjoyed meeting her friends and seeing some relatives I haven't seen for a while.   A fun time was had by all.   I did learn something interesting...

My mother's friends were pretty loud at a few points.  In passing, I heard..."Ok, let's talk about sex" more than a few times.   After the party, my husband asked me why all those older ladies always seemed to be talking about sex.   So, I told him.   They can get themselves into a funk real quick when others approach them talking about those who have died before, funerals, and other depressing topics.  So, everytime the conversation in their groups starts to go down that path, they change the topic with their declaration.  Pretty clever, huh?

A couple of days after the party, my husband and I flew to Florida for a mini-vacation.   My thread-painted quilt was hanging in the Florida Museum of Natural History
I must say I felt honored to be a part of this exhibition after viewing the quality in the quilts posted here.  It included over a hundred quilts depicting flora and fauna in Florida.  Here are my favorite four:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Secret Sister Sends Spectacular Surprise...

It's always fun to get surprises in the mail.   Today, I received a box in the mail from my secret sister wishing me a happy March and a happy birthday.   Who couldn't be happy with these gems?  There's an Egret Needle Minder, 12 fat quarters from Lyndhurst Studios in my favorite pallet (peach and green with some beige thrown in for fun) and a half yard of Hoffman's Merry Merry which served as the wrapping paper.  How exciting! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sometimes serendipity steps in...

When you work long and hard on a challenge it becomes a part of you.   Right now, I'm feeling that whoosh know, that sigh of relief when your creativity actually becomes a thing.  
This quilt is special because Misty--our dog log, our weiner dog, our dachshund--is a part of our family.   But, the finished quilt doesn't qualify for my guild's challenge.   Yes, it has at least 10 diamonds.   Yes, it has a black background.   No, it's not between 35-40 inches per side....closer to 28-33 inches per side.  Oopsie!  So sad, too bad!  

Actually, it's not bad at all.   Now I can just put it in the regular part of the show and start working on other more interesting challenges. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Five months and a blizzard to completion...

Have you ever had a quilt nagging you for months thinking it might become a UFO if you don't take some action?  I love putting letters on my quilts but hate satin stitching them.  I designed this one in October.  The blizzard made me finish it.
Here's the design from October:

The quilt will be donated to the high school on March 1st to auction off for their Grand Celebration fund raising event.  At my last guild meeting, our speaker asked the question:  What's the difference between an art quilt and a regular quilt?  Regular quilters know when their quilt is finished.  I should probably work on the Madonna some more to make her more realistic.  I'm just not advanced enough in my skills to figure that out.  Oh well...onto other March 1st deadlines.  Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow and a birthday present for Brooke...

Lots of birthdays in February...My grand-niece, Brooke, turns 2 on February 9th.  My son, Mike, turns 17 on February 11th.  My sister, Arlene, turns 56 on February 13th.  The grand celebration party for all three is on Sunday February 14th.  So part of my time during the Maryland snow-in was spent making a gift for Brooke.
This gadget is for hair bows.  Just hang the 8x10 inch Brooke quilt on the wall and clip those little hair bows all down the ribbons.   All I have left to do is embellish with a few lady bug buttons and wrap it with some tubs of playdough.

We're dug out here in Laytonsville, Maryland.  The snow plows came yesterday afternoon.  Hubby and son attacked our decks and 300 foot driveway with the trusty snowblower.  Here's a picture of our deck rails just before the snow stopped:
and here's one of our back yard this morning:
It's pristine (no coyote, deer, or fox tracks). If you can see the red globe on the left side of the picture...that's sitting on a bird bath pedestal.  With 8 more inches of snow due tomorrow, perhaps that globe will be covered by Wednesday.  Until Spring, I'll just keep sewing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snowing time is sewing time...

Yup, I did too much.  I'm supposed to be working on my challenges....and I am....but those charity quilts are too easy to make.  It's been a little over two weeks since our last service project workshop and in that time I've made:
19 preemies, 4 quilt tops, 2 pillowcases and 3 Quilts As You Go (QUAYGOs) ...and...
quilted 5 cheater panels. I guess my priorities are a little skewed.  I'd love to start exploring some new artistic methods with if you have some tips for me....I'm all ears.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Soccer baby on the way...

This Sunday, my family is getting together for a baby shower.  My niece, Emily, is expecting a boy sometime in early March.  My birthday is March 5th, so I've told Emily that if she starts labor before the 5th, she must keep her legs together so her new son will be born on my birthday!  Now, we all know this isn't going to happen because my sister (Emily's mother) tried to tell me to do the same when my son was born.  Her birthday is Feb 13th and Mike was born on Feb 11th.  But, you know fair is fair and now Emily (gosh I hope she doesn't take that seriously) has to bear the family joke.  

Good little quilter that I am....I made her a baby quilt.   The father is into soccer big time, so I went a little overboard on the soccer theme.   Here's her quilt:
It's  a simple pattern...bright, and colorful.   Hope Emily likes it....and if she doesn't...well it might make a good blanket to bring to those soccer games in five years or so....and there's always the gift certificate that goes with it to help curb the cost of diapers.   

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sometimes you win and sometimes you really, really win...

Look what arrived in my mailbox yesterday:

It's some colorful hand-dyed eye candy.   I didn't just win one package of 4 fat quarters....there were two more packages besides.   Hmmm...I guess that means I'll actually have to cut into at least one since I have two more to put in the "I'm not touching that fabric with scissors" pile.  

I won these by participating in the Candy Cane Quilt Block Dash in December.  The fat quarter bundles are available at Ann's Fabrics & Crafts
What ever should I create with these?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gotta get to that guild challenge...

I guess I'd better get sewing.  Our Friendship Star Guild challenge this year is titled "Diamonds are a girls best friend".   It's due March 1 if I want to have it considered as one of 8 quilts that may go to the Knoxville AQS show this year (that is if all 8 are good enough to be accepted by AQS)...a little later if I just want it in our yearly show in April.  The rules of this challenge are: (1) black background (2) must have at least 10 diamonds. 

It may still be a little hard to discern but the left side of the picture consists of some khaki shorts, two knees, two blue and white argyle socks, and a pair of tennis shoes.   To make sure there were at least 10 diamonds, I started by sewing diamonds on the background in copper metallic thread.  There's also a hand with a dog bisquit at the top.   Some feedback I received suggested I make the hand and biscuit bigger and maybe oversized, perhaps add some real shoe laces, and I've got a dog tag that'll hang from Misty's collar that says "Spoiled".  My name for the piece will be, "Say Please".  This is the phrase my son taught her to start her begging routine. 
All it needs now is a boat load of satin stitching, a little thread painting and/or shadowing with paint sticks, and a ton of quilting.  Regardless of the outcome, my husband and son have already laid claim to their Misty quilt.  I'm getting psyched up just thinking about stitching and embellishing this one.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A rare look inside my quilt cave....

I've seen so many of you organizing your quilt rooms since the new year that I felt I had to do something to mine.   So, I started with the stash:

Doesn't it look wonderful? 
Before I show you the rest of my quilt cave, I thought I'd warn you....organizing your stash sometimes results in a bigger mess elsewhere.  

I just love the shiny silver walls and wood rafters to hang stuff from.  All of you quilters that have quilt caves understand my love of hybernating here....well, and it being the only large part of the house I could comandeer.  Here's a look at my ironing table:

with a couple of preemie quilts hanging from a laundry hanger.   And no look at my quilt cave would be complete without a view of my design wall:

There it is, my $5 Wal-mart tablecloth that was attached to a drainage pipe with duck tape.   I know it's falling down, but it's my design wall.   OK, so my resolution this year is to tape it back up.  Seriously, all is well with the world now that my stash is organized.  Anyone who wants to come over now and help me organize the rest of my cave....go away....I'm sewing....I mean hibernating.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One more minute of daylight a day... least that's what I keep telling myself that to beat winter hybernation.  After Christmas, I went into panic mode...worried about guild challenges (3 of them) due by March, getting the house back in order after the Christmas stampede, and moving my Mom by January 31st.   Notice what's first on my worry list?  I try to be a half full type of person, so I'm delighted that I've designed and glued fabric on one of the first challenges.   The Christmas stuff is all boxed and may stay that way for a long long time thanks to my niece volunteering to take over the Christmas stampede next year.   And, moving Mom in 15 degree weather...priceless!   At least I can use my sewing as therapy to get me through it.  So far, I've completed a few quilts for our service project workshops....2 Quilt As You Go Linus quilts, 2 tops, and a bunch of preemie blankets:

I'm not ready to share my challenge progresses here yet.   But, I finally got to my first meeting of the Metrothreads group and was able to get some welcome feedback from a group of local quilt artists.  In fact, if there is any tiny bit of fame in this vast internet blogging world, I got mentioned in another quilt blog: Check out Zebrapatterns weblog.   It is such a joy to create! 

I received one of those little notebooks from my hubby for Christmas and haven't transferred all my blogs over to it yet.  He thought it would be a good idea for me to keep up with my favorite blogs by following them while I'm watching TV at night.  It was a great idea because I'm finally able to keep up with all the blogs I like on a regular basis.   So, if you're following my blog regularly, please leave a comment on what's going on in your world, so I can be sure to keep up with your creative endeavors.