Saturday, August 30, 2014

Catching Up!

This summer was so busy with trips: Pittsburgh, Houston, Japan, Houston, and Baltimore. It's nice to be back home, but the road trip to Houston has perked my interest in RVs and traveling across this beautiful country. I have spent many evenings not quilting, but researching RVs and reading blogs from RVers that are full-timers. It's fun reading their blogs. So, I have decided to start another blog called "Tootling Along". For now, I'll be posting places that I travel and research information on RVs.

I also spent one week preparing for a class. I was asked to teach the Interleave Quilt at a local quilt store, Wooden Gate Quilts. There were five people interested in learning the method. They couldn't figure out the directions; so, I was asked to help them out. Here is a photo of the one I used to demonstrate the technique and that I worked on during class. I still need to complete the binding. These are fun to make, but my interest has waned since making the large size graduation quilt for my daughter. So this is my last one.

My interests have moved onto making the crab themed quilts. Today, I pulled out three different red fabrics from my stash that will be used to make the crabs in the larger quilt with the off-white, or sand, background, shown in the previous blog post.

This project will take me numerous weeks to get it complete since I'm taking three online classes on child development this semester. I miss working with young children. The goal for now is to be an assistant teacher at a child care center. So, college studies come first and on weekends I will spend time on quilting projects and hiking around the Bay Area.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maryland Crabs

Recently, I took a trip back home to visit my family in Maryland. While there, I went shopping at a lovely quilt store (Bear's Paws Fabrics) and purchased some fabrics that I can use for two different quilts that have a Maryland motto...

... Maryland is for Crabs.

Well, this trip home reminded me of a quilting project that is on my to do list.
For a number of years now, I have wanted to make this one quilt with a crab motif. The fabrics on the left will be used as the background for this pattern.

While the fabric with the newsprint will be used as the background in the Crab Twist pattern, Handcrafts by Jennifer.

This crab twist pattern and the newsprint fabric reminds me of eating blue crabs, which turn red from cooking. Marylanders always pick (eat) their crabs on top of a layers of newspapers that are used as the tablecloth/plate. How to eat Maryland crabs (I don't know this person, but he gives a quick lesson on eating blue crabs for those that wish to learn how):

For now I leave you hunger for blue crabs, while I go off to quilt. Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Life Comes to a Halt

Last week was a difficult week for my family. My mother-in-law past away rather quickly. She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday evening and died early Monday morning. She had been sharp and alert up until her last week of life. Her only complaint had been that she was slowing down, which is normal for an 89 year old.

This photo is one of my favorites of her since she looks so happy and relaxed. It was taken on my wedding day, 26 years ago. She is holding a wine bottle; and yet, she never drank. She was just being silly, which she would do from time to time, her playful side.

Last week was spent reflecting back on times spent with her. In Japan, there is a custom of setting up a memorial in the home. This is my memorial to her that I have set up in my home. She will truly be missed.

I had a difficult time focusing on finishing the scrappy Irish chain quilt for my bother, but I did get it done in time. My mind kept difting to my recent travel to Houston with my son. That trip rekindled my desire to travel in an RV around the US and Canada with my husband. My mother-in-law's death made me realize that my husband and I need to start camping again. So, I started reading blogs by RV travelers and researching on RV vans. I'm getting too old for tent camping. Plus, I just want see more of the country, and so many National Parks are there to be visited. The RV van may have to wait until son is through college, but the camping travels don't need to be postponed.

From scraps of fabrics, a quilt is made...from dreams and desires, adventures are formed...and so my journey continues on.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Many Roads

I haven't done any quilting the past two months since I have been busy traveling. The first trip was to Japan with my son. I quickly tried to capture my son walking through the gates without others walking beside him at one of the shrines in Kyoto.

And this is me at a temple that is dedicated to praying for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby. Heehee, Well I'm too old for pregnancies, but the buildings and grounds were very pretty at this temple.

While in Tokyo, I purchased some fabric in a small fabric store in Shimokitazawa not too far from the Peacock grocery store. The fabric store is packed with beautiful fabrics from all over the world. I purchased this fabric since it was made in Nara. The print reminds me of my summers as a child picking flowers with my mom on the side of a country road.

Well, that all happened in June, and purchasing the fabric was the closest to quilt making for that month.

My second trip was driving to Houston from the SF Bay Area with my son. This is view from Carlsbad Cavern Park of the New Mexico basin with Texas in the far distance.

Carlsbad Cavern's natural entrance to the cavern is spectacular! It is worth spending a full day walking down into the cavern, taking the tours, and exploring this natural marvel.

On that road trip, I had many hours to think about my present quilting project, a scrappy Irish chain quilt. So after a couple of days of rest after returning home, I got out my scraps of fabric and went to work. I cut out 750 pieces of fabric.

Today, I started piecing squares into large 12" blocks. I hope to get this quilt done before my next trip; a trip to visit my family. This quilt will be a birthday gift for my younger brother.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Graduation Gift for My Daughter

My daughter graduated this past weekend from Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture. She is the gal looking straight at the camera and wearing the brown graduation honor cord.

My husband and I are very proud that she survived five long grueling years of architecture school.

For her graduation present, I made her this quilt which she can now snuggle under while reading something for fun or while just watching a tv show. The colors in the fabrics are the Carnegie Mellon colors that are found in the Carnegie Mellon's tartan fabric which is also in this quilt.

The pattern is the Interleave pattern by Lorrie Cranor:

Since the mascot of Carnegie Mellon is the Scottie Dog, I use a fabric with a motif of scottie dogs. The large white dog has information about my daughter's graduation.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mother's Day Gift

This is a gift to my mom who loves to decorate her dining room table with runners and flowers from her yard. She loves receiving new runners; so, I thought this one would be fun for her. The fabrics are from her stash of fabrics that she gave me a couple of years ago when she decided she was too tired to tackle quilting projects.

These elegant origami pinwheels are simple and quick to make.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Grandmother Flower Garden Half-Hexis

A numerous years back I made a quilt using half-hexis and the grandmother flower garden pattern using Bali-pops. Since I enjoyed that project, I decided to make another one using the quilt-as-you-go method to attach the rows. After selecting and grouping the Bali-pop strips, I cut them into half-hexis.

The half-hexis were arranged into flowers for the front, and leftover half-hexis were incorporated onto the back. I used my Singer 224 to attach the half-hexis to the back fabric with a decorative stitch.

For the front of the quilt, I pieced the half-hexis together into rows.

Next, I hand-basted the sandwich of muslin, batting, and back of quilt together. After drawing my starting line onto the muslin, I placed my first two rows down on the line and stitched them into place.

From there, I continued to add rows using my Davis NVF.

I decided to use the quilt-as-you-go method for quilting since there would be no quilting lines to distract from the simplicity of the flower garden motif.