Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting Jazzed for Houston!

I finally had the time this afternoon to sit down and sort through my catalogue for the International Quilt Festival in Houston this November and get myself registered for my classes. Woohoo!

This is the second time I'll be going; the first time was with Mom several years ago. Mom really enjoyed the round-table style of classes they offer so she and I both signed up for one focused on applique, and I could see what she meant. It's a great way to be exposed to several teachers and their techniques in a short period of time, although Karen Buckley particularly stands out in my memory. I enjoyed watching her presentation and later being at her table for her demonstration. She does great work. And I believe I bought stuff from her. So we both benefitted from the experience.

To the same end, this year I'm taking another round-table style class (on mixed-media in quilting), and then focusing mostly on lectures. I like the idea that I can explore a whole wide range of things and then delve deeper into ones that intrigue me later on with books, DVDs, and the like. I looked at several of the classes, too--there were two offered at the same time that I was debating between, only to find out they were both already closed anyway. Problem solved! Nicely, my schedule ended up in neat little bunches so I'll still have plenty of time for the show and vendors and all the other fun stuff they have going on in the show hall.

Registering was the last step I had to take care it's just packing and going! Well, OK, there's a couple of months between now and then, but still...a girl can dream.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back in the saddle again...

Just to let y'all know, I did post episode 20, "In Which We Are Relieved," this afternoon ( It's a response to listener comments over the last couple of weeks and a little bit of update about what I have going on in my quilty life these days--admittedly, not much, but some new projects started and older ones moved along. Altogether not bad, considering. I also talk a little bit about the international quilting scene as I've experienced it through magazines--while sitting in hospitals--and wonder what folks who actually live in the countries from whence those magazines come would say. So chime in!

I am very pleased to report that my son is doing well. He even made a short trip to the mall today with his sister and cousin to pick up my birthday gift (an expansion pack for Settlers of Catan, our families' current fave game). He was a little tired when he got back, but other than that, none the worse for wear. His follow-up appointment with his surgeon is Monday--keep your fingers crossed or send up prayers that he gets released to move back on campus in another few days. He was getting texts all evening from his BFF/roommate who moved back today about the other folks on the hall and so forth. He's missing being part of the haps.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a low-key day at the homestead so I'm hoping to get more sewing time in. I got the fourth charity quilt all ready to be quilted; the fifth one has the backing ready and I just have to spray baste it all together and I'll be ready to let that one rock n' roll too. It'll feel amazingly good to have those five monkeys off my back!

Thanks, again, for all your well wishes and support and encouragement over these last couple of weeks. It meant a lot. I'm looking forward to life returning to normal, however we define "normal" these days.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New QFTRU Flickr Group

Finally--I'm getting more organized! I cordially invite you to join the new Quilting...for the Rest of Us group in Flickr. No longer do you have to wait on my schedule to share your pics with other listeners. Which is a good thing, given what my schedule is going to be for the next few months....

Often listeners will send me photos--which I love!--and I want to share them with everyone else but if I'm on the road I get way delayed in being able to post them to my blog. So from now on, just add them to the Flickr group. It'll be our own QFTRU Show n' Tell--woohoo!

Here's the direct link: Can't wait to see your photos!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The dust is settling...mostly

My son came home from the hospital last night and in about an hour he has an appointment with the surgical practice to check the fact that his incision seems to have re-opened. Bully. We'd originally been told that they weren't going to take all the staples out until next week, then the PA took all the staples out last night before discharging him. And now it looks like he could've still used a few staples in there. Don't know for sure--they'll tell us what's what when we get to the office. Fortunately, he's not in pain--just a little uncomfortable (some of which is psychological--it's a little disturbing to think your insides are open to the outsides).

I took today as a vacation day because I knew it would take us awhile to get into the swing of things with him being home. Sure enough, one trip out to the drug store to pick up some bandages and medical tape so we could rebandage his body parts. And making him his fave homemade soup to try to stimulate his appetite a bit. Washing the blanket we'd brought from home for him to have in the hospital room for warmth and emotional comfort. And now the doctor's appointment. I may take tomorrow off too, so I can rest from today!

Meanwhile, I did treat myself to an early birthday present, my birthday being Thursday. I received a little financial birthday gift early so I just bought myself the EQ7 Upgrade, after checking with my husband that the thought hadn't crossed anyone else's mind. I knew it wouldn't have--that's the kind of thing only my Mom would have ever thought about doing for me, since she had also been an EQ user. I ordered it online so I won't have it for another week or so but at least I know it's on its way. And gee, here I just finally figured out how to use EQ6! I can see another Quilt University class in my future....

I also had plans to put the binding on my square-in-a-square quilt today (see the posting from the podcast episode "In Which I Saved a Quilt from Almost Certain Destruction"), but then decided I really didn't like the fabric I had set aside awhile back as potential binding. That precipitated a dig through my scraps bin to find the scraps from the fabric I'd used for the sashing strips, and fortunately I had a couple of scraps that still had the selvege with the fabric name and maker. I found it online and ordered a yard, so when that comes I'll finally be ready to do the binding.

So my quilty activity today primarily consisted of shopping. Best kind of retail therapy involves fabric.

Wait--I did also prep the Hawaiian applique kit for the next step. I don't recall where I posted about what, now, while I was in the hospital, but I had been working on the smallest/easiest applique kit I'd bought in Hawaii during the hours I was hanging out in my son's room. I finished the applique part and am now onto the quilting and embellishing but decided I needed to press it all out again before I did any of that since it had gotten a bit wrinkled in its travels back and forth from home to hospital. So it's now neatly pressed and pin-basted together so I can take it with me to the doctor later this afternoon and work on it in the waiting room. This poor little applique hibiscus is doomed to a life of reminding me of a not-very-fun time in my life. Hopefully, the memories of having bought it in Hawaii will outweigh the memories of where I actually worked on it!

I'd post a picture of the hibiscus but it's not very good applique so I think I'll wait until it's all done, then do a photo from more of a distance to bring the whole "galloping horses" theory into play. Then you can all think that maybe I actually know what I'm doing, applique-wise. I'm not adverse to using a little photographic trickery.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Radio Silence

I realized I'd posted some info in a couple of other places but never left a blog entry about why there's been radio silence from me the last little while.

My son (19) had a ruptured appendix and emergency appendectomy last Sunday---after a couple of days of thinking he had food poisoning after a rather unfortunate lunch at a buffet restaurant. Seems we can't blame the restaurant after all.

In any case, what's usually a 90 minute surgery was almost 4 hours and then he went straight into ICU following. He was just moved from ICU to a regular surgical floor last night, and will likely be in the hospital for several more days before he's well enough to continue his recuperation at home.

So no podcast episodes or blogs from me recently. At the moment, signs point to him being home by next week and at that point, although we'll still be doing some caretaking, at least I won't be spending most of my waking moments in a hospital--I'll be able to return to some of my usual activities.

I'll be back in touch when the dust settles.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Going Hawaiian

I got episode 19 "In Which We Go Hawaiian" tonight--yay! It took two recording sessions because I'm still struggling with time zone issues and the first time through just didn't ... well... it just didn't. So I re-recorded tonight and decided to just forge ahead. (If you're not a subscriber, use the embedded player on the left to listen to the episode.)

It's a little longer than my usual episodes, although not too far off, but that's what I get for skipping a week and having to play catch-up. The real star of the episode, though, is Anne Fujiwara, quilt designer and teacher of the traditional Hawaiian style. Great interview--I'm very appreciative of her for taking the time to sit with me and talk!

I posted a photo of her in her shop in the show notes to the episode, so be sure to check that out. Meanwhile, here's my other quilty-pics from the trip.

Anne's Hawaiian Quilts, Honolulu. (Listed in the Shops page at

Beautiful sampler quilt designed by Anne.

The subject matter of the blocks is traditional Hawaiian style, but the sampler nature and the use of multiple colors is more modern.
Traditional Hawaiian quilts are two color--usually a white background with navy blue or red single-piece, symmetrical applique on the top. The traditional quilting pattern is echo-quilting.

Anne's student working on her quilt. You hear about this quilt, and this student, in the interview as well.

Her quilting was beautiful, by the way. Very nicely done!

I bought the kit for this cute little hibiscus applique piece as my "starter kit" for traditional Hawaiian quilts. It comes pre-basted with the quilting lines marked. The frame also comes with the kit. A good way to get my feet wet!

In traditional Hawaiian quilting, everything is done by hand, and it's needle-turn applique.

I don't have photos of one of the patterns I bought which was slightly more complicated than this, but a very traditional Hawaiian block pattern. I believe it's pillow-sized. The third pattern I purchased is the pattern for the center medallion block in the sampler quilt in the first picture above. That one will take me awhile, but I couldn't resist!

On to Maui, and Sew Simple. (Information listed on the Shops page at

Some of the samples on their wall. (I asked for permission to take the photos. May not be exactly correct in terms of copyright but I'm not claiming this as my work and I'm basically advertising the store and showing what great patterns are available--I didn't write down the names of the patterns these quilts are made from but I'm sure you can contact the store and ask.) I love the fabrics used in the one on the right, particularly.

Look way to the right--the bird of paradise applique by Nancy Chong. That's the one I bought. Beautiful! Two pieces of fabric, one on top of the other.

I'm also fond of the pineapples on the left, but didn't write down the name of the pattern. I need to dig that one up and buy it at some point!

Here she's preparing the thread from the sashiko kit for me. Her tip, if you buy one of these kits. Tie off the thread shank roughly in thirds, then cut both ends. That makes it really easy to pull out a length of thread for stitching without tangling up the whole shank, and the lengths are perfect for stitching. I gotta say, it really does work! I haven't had a single tangle. I hold onto the far end of it and pull from the near end, holding the whole shank as straight as possible while I do it. It works like a charm.

She also let me snap a picture of the back of the sample piece hanging behind the register so I could see how to tie off the end of the thread. You just go backwards through three or four loops on the back and snip it off. Very simple. I love simple.

And now, for some general Hawaiian eye-candy.

Waikiki/Honolulu from the top of Diamond Head Crater

The "Shower Tree," rainbow variety. (I have a kazillion pictures of these--I loved the meld of pink and yellow on each flower.)

There he is, the bird of paradise! He amuses me.

Gorgeous coastal views along the infamous "Road to Hana."

Waves against lava rock along the shores of Maui. (Also taken along the Road to Hana trek.)