21 November 2017

Just Quilt It

Detail of My Flower Bed by Jeanne A. Hurt
The Denver National Quilt Festival was a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me for 10 years.

Quilt shows were a huge part of my life for ten years, but now each of the shows I looked forward to and enjoyed are gone. Quilting magazines and blogs are about as close as I can get to the thrill of quilt shows these days.

After five years of lurking on inspiring quilting blogs, I finally worked up the courage to actually post about one of my quilts and then later join a link-up. Now I routinely join three different link-ups almost every week.

I'm no longer afraid to post, link or comment on quilting blogs anymore. I've finished a bunch of quilts. I'm gaining confidence in free-motion quilting. I've made new friends. And the inspirations aren't going to run out anytime soon, thank heavens!

One of my most recent inspirations has been scrappy fabric postcards. I'd been working with my 8-year-old neighbor, teaching her how to quilt. She has been working on a ticker tape quilt for several months now. Her youth and many interests are cutting into quilting time, and let's face it. Ticker tape quilts can take a long, long time.

I thought it might be fun to work on a few projects she could finish quickly while skill-building with the sewing machine. (Plus a great way to use up tiny scraps!)

Here is a select sampling of more inspiration that keeps me going when I can't be at my sewing machine. These are just a few from my extremely long list of favorites - sites that inspire me beyond measure.

The Other Side of the Quilt
(The link at the bottom of the post still works, and for the next three pages, what a magnificent collection of quilt backs!

Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache

Quilt Inspiration

turning what you see into quilts

Crazy Mom Quilts

Alycia Quilts

Busy Hands Splash of Color Quiltalong

The Block Lotto

Whoop Whoop Fridays

The Free Motion Quilting Project

Sassafras Lane

Libs Elliot

Flossy Blossy

Crazy Quilts

I hope to do a Dear Jane one day, with my own spin, of course.

Rainbow Quilts

More Rainbow Quilts

Aren't these (this and this) the coolest baby clothes recycling projects?!?

May the quilt be with you!

I am so in love.

Must. Try. This.

20 November 2017

Snowflake Monday

Don Komarechka is another of my favorite snowflake photographers, and his First Snowfall snowflake inspired today's pattern.

We've had more than one snowfall so far this year in Colorado, including unexpectedly last weekend, but I've yet to capture any intricate snowflakes on camera because the temperature hasn't been cold enough yet for ornate flakes to form. Still waiting and wishing for some big, fat crochetable snowflakes to fall! Back to the drawing board, or more appropriately, back to the 30-degree sheet of picture frame glass I've been using to catch flakes to shoot...

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 4.75 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, 1 optional pearl or bead, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

First Snowfall Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through 2nd ch of starting ch 2 and replace loop on hook, pull loop through ch (popcorn stitch made), * ch 12, 1 sc in 4th ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch (spoke made), * 5 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc (popcorn stitch made); repeat from * 5 times, omitting last popcorn st of final repeat; sl st between top of starting popcorn st and last dc of 1st spoke. Pull magic circle tight.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
NOTE: Look how cute a snowflake you get if you bind off here!

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * working up bottom of next spoke, sk next 2 dc, 1 sc in bottom of each of next 3 st, ch 5, sk next 2 st, 1 sc in next st, ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, [ch 2, 1 dc in same ch] 3 times, ch 2, sl st in same ch, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 sc in next spoke sc, 1 sc in ch 3 tip of spoke, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch, ch 2, sl st in same ch, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 sc in same ch 3 spoke tip, working back down spoke 1 sc in next sc (1sc of spoke), ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, [ch 2, 1 dc in same ch] 3 times, 1 sc in next sc of spoke, ch 5, sk next 2 spoke st, 1 sc in each of next 3 spoke st, 1 dc between final dc of spoke and next popcorn, 1 dc between popcorn and next spoke dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

without and with center bead

NOTE: I designed this snowflake to look like Don's snowflake, but when pinning, I decided the center spoke bumps looked better pinned as sharp points than as flat half hexagons, but feel free to pin as desired. I also glued a bead in the center of each snowflake because Don's snowflake has the appearance of a gemstone in the center.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

16 November 2017

Black in Scraps

Have you seen the black and white photo challenge? No people, no pets, no explanation. Today's quilt finish fits in quite nicely!

I didn't particularly like the "no explanation" portion of the challenge, but I've been seeing some pretty cool black and white photos. All my journalism years were spent during the era of black and white newspapers, so black and white isn't really a challenge for me. I enjoy seeing how others who haven't worked exclusively in black and white interpret the challenge.

However, I want explanations!!!

When I finally got tagged in the challenge, I posted a mythical and curiosity-provoking creation in a deliberate effort to stimulate conversation.

I asked whose idea the "no explanation" portion of the challenge was - someone who doesn't want to take the time to read but just look at the pretty pictures? I noted that I like reading what people write about their photos.

Conversation ensued. Yay!

Lizard said I should weave a fantasy about my outlandish oryx, mirrored in Instagram so I could fit the entire antlers into the post. So I commented the creature is real, thriving in the highlands of the San Juans, inspiring retired journalists to compose whimsical tales and offbeat novels. Now I suppose I need to come up with a two-headed hero in a half NaNoWriMo, right?

How about a fanciful fairy tale about colorful autumn leaves still dangling from trees in mid-November?

Or perhaps the stone cold bighorn guarding the courthouse steps could come to life in search of quilted heat?

Maybe super heroes will swoop down into the city to rescue a scrappy quilt from mischievous squirrels unhappy with the end of baseball season because that means no more nuts until April?

Now that I have your attention, you'll probably think the wacky details of this quilt are fictitious, too!

I had nearly finished pin-basting this baby when I noticed a pin prick blood spot on one of the white blocks. I quickly tried removing the fresh blood with cold water and a towel. No telling how many blood spots might be hidden on the black squares!!!

After I finished cleaning up the damage, I returned to pin-basting, and the backing was two inches too short on the final side. I'd added a couple of inches to the perpendicular side when cutting the zebra stripe backing to make sure it was big enough. When I taped the layers to the floor (one by one), I thought everything fit. When I smoothed everything out before pinning, I apparently didn't notice the top layer overlapped one side of the backing.

I had just finished taking everything apart, trying to make sure there were no more blood stains because I still hadn't figured out from whence the blood came. I had been dreading quilting this monster for months because it's so large, and the throat of my little Brother sewing machine is so narrow. This quilt definitely wasn't being user friendly!

I decided a strip from the camo might look good down one side of the back. It was the only black and/or white scrap with enough left for a long strip. After pin basting one more time, I had to take a four-day break from quilting altogether, not only because I didn't have time, but because I had officially hit burnout.

It was a big black bear to quilt. I wanted to throw in the towel several times. It took four nights after work and two weekend days to finish all the quilting, then another night to cut and finish the binding, which also incorporated scraps. Piecing the binding was a baby grizzly bear because I had to keep adding more. The quilt was too big!

But now the whole project is done. Now I have only three more quilts to finish for my quilts for Christmas project. The next three aren't this big. And they all have color! I get to break free from black and white, even in photography!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

14 November 2017


I'm nearly halfway through my November Reign III project... capturing sunrise (or the moment of hidden sunrise) every day this month. I've been so excited about some of the results!

In preparation for Veteran's Day, I wanted to include my patriotic Honor Starflake in some sunrise photos. I decided to string a few more recent favorite flakes to get sunrise shots of them, too, while I was at it.

Because I was on my way to work while snapping the photos, I didn't take my good camera. Thanks to elbow and neck pain earlier this year, I've been trying to minimize my commute load so as to give my body time to heal.

The little Nikon and the iPhone aren't always so good at capturing snowflakes during a sunrise...

the iPhone

the little Nikon

Last weekend, I'd planned to do a re-shoot not only to mark the actual Veterans Day, but also because I wanted better photos than what I'd snapped the week before. Some distressing family news took me out of inspirational photography mode for a good 24 hours, so I shot only the Honor Starflake the second time around. I now regret not taking more photos that morning because the sunrise did sport some amazing color, but at the time, my motivation just wasn't percolating.

The night I learned my parents' home had been broken into, I wrote a blog post, mostly to allow all the pent-up emotions to escape, but also to share what my family has learned and to hopefully help others avoid what my parents are now being forced to endure. Ultimately, I decided not to post it right now, in part because the investigation is ongoing, but also because this trauma occurred so close to the holidays. The experience has already made it difficult enough for my parents to regain their confidence and happiness without me bringing it all up again. So my angry blog post is on hold for a while. I'd rather spread sunshine than sadness.

So here are a few sunrises so far this month, as well as a couple of delightful sunsets, too. Spread sunshine. Make the world a better place.

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