Friday, February 27, 2009

First deadline

It occurred to me that some people may not know what I'm talking about when I constantly bring up this auction quilt. Well, here is the story. My wonderful four year old is going to a private school which has an annual fundraiser auction. There is a silent auction with all the typical silent auction type things (I'm donating one of my beginner classes for that). There's also a live auction, and each class is making a project which will be auctioned off. The auction is at the end of March, but they wanted the class projects to be in the lobby for today, which was parent-teacher conference day.

I had everyone in Molly's class (23 total; one has moved away) paint fabric using Dye-Na-Flow. This fabric paint works essentially like dye and is very easy to use. I took the kids' finished fabric and made the auction quilt out of it. The theme of the auction is New York, New York. So, the quilt is of a skyline (not specifically NYC's skyline). Each building represents a child in Molly's class. The design is mine. I have done all the piecing, couching (of yarn), free motion quilting and most of the embellishments. Here, finally, is a crappy photo of it hanging in the lobby for conferences:

And here is a photo of the whole display:

It's not quite done. The tallest building (the blue one on the right) needs embellishing. I also need to glue down some of the knots on the back so the beads don't come loose over time. And I need to label it. And I need to get good photos of it. So far it has about $250 worth of materials in it and countless hours. I have to figure it out, but it wouldn't surprise me if I have 100 hours in it by now. I hope it gets a lot of bids!

In other news, I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show today. Lots of eye candy, only some shopping. I'll try to post photos of what I bought later.

I am hoping that whoever wins the quilt will donate it back to the school for display. And I'd love to try to enter it in Mid-Atlantic next year (if it's good enough). Maybe the winner will let me borrow it? We'll see.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The deadline looms

Friday is parent teacher conference day, and the auction people want to have the class auction projects hanging up for that. So, my deadline is basically tomorrow afternoon. I teach my newbie class tomorrow night, so I won't have much time to work on it then. My goal is to drop it off when I pick up Molly. I have nearly all the beading done and I have sewn down the hanging sleeve. I haven't done the label yet, but that can wait until after the auction. It has to be the last thing because I don't want any beading threads to go though it. So, here are lots of photos!

First, some lovely embroidery by Sew~Amy (whose birthday is today!):

Then some embroidery by me:

And two photos of beading that I like:

Some beading I'm so-so about:

And one I just don't like. I'm taking it out tomorrow and doing something else. I think it looks like candy (and not in a good way):

Friday, February 20, 2009

More beading

I've done some more beading. I thought I'd just post a few photos. More fringe, some triangles and some very interesting purple spheres that catch the light well. They positively glow!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, I taught my beginner class tonight and now I'm exhausted. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. I teach again (same group) on Friday. It's the makeup class for when I had to postpone due to the funeral. I don't have a ton of pain (I took two painkillers instead of one) but I feel like I'm sick. All flushed and sweaty. I think I'll just sleep tomorrow.

So I decided to post another older photo. This is a quilt tote I made. It was my first attempt at a bag. The handles are old towel rods we took down from our bathroom.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And she's down!

I haven't posted in a while because I hurt my back really badly over the weekend. A few years ago I ended up with a bulge in one of my lumbar vertebrae (don't ask how; you really don't want to know). It manifested itself as a very bad case of sciatica. I was in physical therapy for over three months for it. Anyway, my husband and I started doing this exercise program and I noticed just the slightest little twinge down my left leg. Just a reminder, really, of things past. Then we drove to Michigan and back for a funeral and slept on a really horrible mattress. That made it worse, but still bearable. Then I was working for a long time beading the auction quilt on Saturday. I was sitting on the floor leaning against the sofa with my legs more or less straight out in front of me. I woke up Sunday morning in agony. It hurt so much and I could not find a way to be without pain. I took some way expired drugs but it barely helped. So I called my doctor and she told me to go the ER. So now I'm on pain meds, steroids, and muscle relaxers. I had to cancel a class Sunday and wasn't able to go to work yesterday or today. Tomorrow is my beginner class and I am determined to go to that since I already had to move one of the classes for these students because of the above mentioned funeral.

Anyway, I've gotten more beading done on the auction quilt (at least up until Sunday) but I don't have photos at the moment. So I thought I'd post a bunch of photos of previous projects.

First is a huge baby quilt I made for my friend Sandy's baby.

This is Molly's quilt. I actually made it before she was born, but she sleeps with it every night.

This is a quilt I made for the children's librarian who did story hour for Molly. I had the kids in story hour color pictures on paper-backed fabric and put them together like this. The dotty fabric is from The Very Hungry Caterpillar line.

This one I made for the graduation of Marie, the girl who lived next door to me (before she went off to college). It's a lap quilt.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beaded fringe!

My blue beading is done, at least on the building I was working on most recently. I will most likely put the same blue beads somewhere else, too, for unity's sake. I like the way this one came out, and I'm gaining confidence. Sometimes when I start something new, I'm so worried about how the whole thing will come out that I don't want to do anything. But once I jump in, I start getting more creative and take more chances. So whatever building I bead last will probably be pretty wild in comparison to these first few.

I have also played with some beaded fringe. I think it looks really nice and adds some texture. This is all the beading I'm going to do on this building. The quilting isn't anything to write home about, but it has some interesting color that only happens in a couple of the buildings. This, of course, is a sideways view. The beading does succumb to gravity in real life.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another building done!

Okay, this beading thing is finally going a little better. I put all these gorgeous green beads on one of the buildings and I think it came out great. The beads have this luminescence that's mesmerizing to me. And once I realized that I don't have to cover every square inch of space, the job became more realistic. In this case, there is no quilting; the beading will act as the quilting. I just did seed stitch in big stripes.

And this one is just started. I'm going to just make several small rows of seven beads each. Just random blue beads. I'll probably do this in every other quilted row.

And I have half the stars in the sky done! I'm just putting off those pesky rectangular window shaped beads until later.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Well, I've started beading in earnest now. What a pain. I didn't realize it would be as difficult as it is. It sounds easy: "Thread needle, tie a knot, bring thread up through quilt, add bead(s), thread down through quilt, travel to next spot, repeat." Yeah, not so much. First the needle is super tiny. It's hard to tell which end has the eye, and the eye is too small to use a needle threader. And the beading thread is very fibrous and splits easily while you're threading the needle.

I really don't mean to complain. I'm sure things will get better as I get more practice. But I got really behind when I had to go to Michigan for the funeral, and just from general burn-out. I got back from the funeral a week ago and just started the beading again today.

Here is a shot of some of the beads on the fabric. I used Swarovski crystals held on by a clear, silver-lined seed bead. I also just used the silver-lined seed bead in some places. I'm using them to portray stars in the sky.

I also found these cute rectangle beads to be windows. They're actually harder to put on than the crystals are. I think it took me probably 45 minutes to put eight of them on last night.

So, anyone feel like beading with me?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Class sample and new fabric

So, I was teaching a class on Friday night. It's part of a series that helps people use up piles and piles of scraps. There are cutting sessions for cutting perpetually breeding scraps into usable pieces, and there are several upcoming project classes for actually using the pieces. Friday was a cutting session and tomorrow (Sunday) is the first of the project classes. So when I was in the shop Friday night, Joyce (boss lady) and I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to have something put together for the next project class by tomorrow's class so I can drum up interest and get people to sign up. So, I whipped up this sample today — the whole thing is done. Quilted, bound, everything. Yes, it's just a placemat, but still, it's quilted! And bound! Okay, fine, it's flip and sew, but did I mention it's bound?

In other news, my fabulous step-niece (that's an accurate term, right?) is graduating from high school this June and she has asked me to make a quilt for her. She picked out most of this spectacular array of fabric. (If you're following this from facebook, you may have seen some of the exchange.) It's just going to be large squares, but I think it might be really cool. I was skeptical as I was starting to gather these fabrics together, but the more I look at them, the more I think this might be very cool. I probably won't start on the quilt for a couple of months — certainly not until I am done with the auction quilt — but I'll be posting progress.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Okay, I know, like I needed a new project. But we were in Michigan for my aunt's funeral, which meant I was with Marie, my quilting sister. So of course we had to go to a quilt shop! We went to one that has a lot of flannels and I bought this collection. This is actually a couple of bundles plus two more fabrics I bought from a shop we visited during the drive home. The darkish purple on the right is for the back. The starry print will be the main print -- it's what I have one yard of. The rest are half yards and fat quarters. It's all flannel! I haven't done anything with flannel before, so this will be fun. And since Molly moved to her twin size bed, her existing quilts don't fit any more. So yeah, that's it. She needs me to make her a new quilt. Right? Exactly.