Friday, April 24, 2009

Indigo Blues

I got the blues......the Indigo blues!

Went to the guild show today and stumbled upon authentic South African Indigo. Oh-mi-God. Right up my alley. I was so taken that I really didn't care what it cost, I had to have it.

Bought 8 pieces which are 1/4 yards (18x18). They cost $4.50 each. I had a hard time picking out only 8, but I figured I'm volunteering at the show Saturday and Sunday so I can always pick up a few more.

But then......I decided to research this fabric and found the actual South African textile mill where it is made, and they sell it online for a fraction of what I paid at the show, so I placed an order for 1/2 meter pieces, which, pardon my metric abilities, I believe is going to be something like 18x36 inch pieces. It costs the same to ship as it does to buy, but it's still less than the show price.

I'm excited. I love it's history, I love the prints, I love the color, I love the way it feels after it has been washed (in a washer full of blue jeans). This fabric screams for something special to be made from it. I'm so loving my Timeless Treasures (imitation--but I still adore it) Indigo fat quarter purchase I blogged about last week, but this new authentic Indigo is now the star of the stash.

Look it over and tell me how you think I should use it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival - A Notable Quilt, Though Not a Favorite

Here's my entry in the Spring 2009 Bloggers Quilt Festival being held this week over at Park City Girl blog.

It's the HGTV Strolling the Block quilt from years ago. I didn't start it until well into the monthly postings of the patterns. And I wasn't a quilter at the time. It just seemed like a fun project to do. I learned a lot of about fusible applique (i.e., don't cut out the pattern pieces from the fabric and then cut out pattern pieces from the fusible web and attempt to attach the two together LOL!).

Many summer days were spent sitting by my friend Anna's pool with our daughters' high school friends asking if they too could help with the blanket stitching around each piece....I almost felt like Huck Finn whitewashing the fence, but it certainly knocked a lot of hand-sewing out of my court for me.

To this day, the quilt is sandwiched, stitched in the ditch, and awaiting some free motion in the sky of each block when it can finally be bound and then who knows what will happen to it. There's a lot of embellishment on each block...buttons, seashells in a net, beads, yarn...not exactly conducive to being a quilt to snuggle under. It's definitely a display piece, and I don't really have anywhere it fits in.

My once teenage, eager to blanket-stitch daughter is now 25 and moving out into her own home next week. I'll be turning her bedroom into my new quilting studio, so maybe this quilt will finally have a place to hang. It is, after all, the project that led me to quilting, not to mention a catalyst for the memories of getting here.

I think that this will be the 'inaugural' project for my new space. Finishing up something old in something new sounds like a good plan.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Favorite Quilt Shops - Homespun Hearth

I discovered this shop last Friday when I got an email from one of the hundreds of quilting and fabric sites I get emails from. This particular email caught my eye because it was for a special 50% off promotion.

I checked it out and they were offering a fat quarter bundle of Moda's Zippity Doo Dah line...40 fqs, and 2 panels, for the ridiculously unpass-up-able price of $55. While I never would have paid $109.95 for this in a shop, I couldn't resist at half price.
It shipped the same day I ordered it, and it arrived on Wednesday. What fun. It was wrapped in paper, tied with a ribbon, and hanging from the ribbon was a little 'fabric pocket'. In the pocket was a teabag, a tiny envelope full of marigold seeds, and a business card stating "Wish we could join you for some tea!" thanking me for my order. Too cute. (Apparently somehow this fabric pocket is going to come into play for some other promotion coming up).
The fqs were packaged by the shop (and tied with a strip of fabric), but no matter, it's the Moda fabric. (And seroiusly, how many printed Moda tapes does one need). It was also short one fq (only 39), but while I sent the shop owner an email to let her know, I didn't ask her to send a replacement, as at $55.00 for 39 fat quarters and 2 panels of Moda fabric, I couldn't, in good conscience, ask for one (I already feel like I 'stole' the bundle with the deal I got).

They also included a cheery little one page newsletter, which was nice, and a 5% discount on my next order coupon printed out with my online receipt.

The shop has weekly specials, as well as a good selection of sale merchandise, and their prices are slightly less than our local shops charge for yardage.

I'll be eagerly anticipating their Friday 50% off sales each week. At those prices, I've graduated from jelly rolls and charm squares to fat quarter bundles. Though, I do feel like I need to purchase regular priced merchandise as well, to show my appreciation for the deep discounts they offer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Favorite Quilt Shops - Web Fabrics

My husband wanted to go to the Leesburg (VA) outlets on Saturday, so I jumped at the chance to re-route him to Purcellville for a visit to Web Fabrics. My sister had been a few weeks earlier (and neglected to invite me along...mistakenly thinking I wouldn't have wanted to 'call in sick' for a visit to a quilt shop...what was she thinking?) and she raved about this shop, so I had to go.

Web does online sales as well as having a very cute shop. Purcellville is about 15 minutes from Leesburg, which is a far out suburb of Washington DC...aka 'out in the country'. I was surprised to find the shop bustling late in the morning on a rainy Saturday.

Unfortunately, I did not take any photos, as once I walked in the door I was like a kid in a candy store and totally forgot to, but they have some photos on their site:

The organization and layout of this store is the best I've seen. They carry an extensive line of Moda precuts. Most shops just have a couple different charm packs or jelly rolls or bundles, but Web seems to carry almost all of them. They also make up their own custom bundles and rolls.
Throughout the store you'll find drawers and baskets full of fat quarters, a well as 1/2 yard pieces (which is something I've never seen in a shop). There are many colorful quilts draped across chairs. The staff is super-helpful and very nice (the owner offered to draw out a pattern of a quilt I was admiring that she had made).

I found exactly what I wanted (backing and sashing for the black and white quilt...note the tags...sweet!):
and a couple more Timeless Treasures fat quarters for the blue strip quilt that's next up. Dwight found a fat quarter bundle of animal prints he would like me to use, but I didn't buy it me an excuse to get back there. I was so 'on a mission' for the green fabric that I didn't really get to pay close attention to the rest of the fabrics on display this trip, but I did note there was an extensive selection.

It's probably for the best that this shop is a 52 mile drive from my house, or I'd need to find a 3rd job to support my new Web Fabrics habit.

Check back tomorrow when I review Homespun Hearth, which I discovered last Friday through their Friday Online Special.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Is it the Weekend Yet?

Here I sit, brokenhearted
in my office--no quilting started
Watching the clock, the hours tick by
Ever so s-l-o-w-l-y....heavy sigh

Okay, enough waxing poetic. I need to get out of here and run over to Capital Quilts to see if I can find some lime green fabric to use on Jen's guestroom quilt. I finished up some more black and white blocks last night and I'd like to finish this quilt top tomorrow (Sorry Margaret...afraid we might be bringing store-bought cookies to the Easter dinner on Sunday).

Let's see if I can get a decent photo of the block sets on my cell phone so I can post them...

Alrighty then. What I did was choose a predominantly black with white print and a predominantly white with black print and used them with solid black or white to make a traditional pieced block.

I took the two prints and made a same size block of alternating strips. I made another slightly larger strip block, cut the strips in the opposite direction and sewed them together to make a 'checkerboard' block of the two prints.

Each two 'opposite' prints yielded 4 different blocks, for a total of 16 at the moment.

I'm thinking that somehow I should also make a block that mixes the white print with the solid white and the black print with the solid black, and I was thinking diagonal strips. That would give me 2 more blocks for each 'set' of prints. I also have a few other prints I can use to add a couple more block patterns--depends on how this lays out size-wise.

I'm off to find some graph paper.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So Many Fabrics, So LittleTime

I'm telecommuting today, wishing I were a student on Spring Break so I could be up in my sewing room playing with my latest fabric (Okay, I know, if I were a student on Spring Break, I most certainly wouldn't be playing in my sewing room...I'd be baking in the sun on the beach, sucking down Coronas with Margarita chasers).

In order to make myself even more miserable, I've laid out the fat quarters I bought at the quilt shop last night. As I'm waiting for work files to download I shuffle them around to see which should lay out next to each other when I turn them into an arty strip quilt. If it's not Moda (any and all), I seem to gravitate toward anything blue. This is the Indigo line from Timeless Treasures with a couple of their Contemporary fats thrown in for good measure (not to mention they were excellent coordinating prints).

Of course, I need to finish Jenifer's black and white quilt, which is currently on hold until I can get her to the fabric store to select the backing and borders. I have red, but now she wants it to be lime green--she's's her quilt, she wants it more 'fresh' than 'classic'. Whatever. I like lime green, so I think she may be on to something.
Back to work (and fabic shuffling).