Friday, April 25, 2008

Pajama Party

This week the girls are having a party to celebrate SPRING... a pajama party! So, of course, they have to break out the happy colors for their festive "sleep" wear.

Willow's jammies will be perfect for a midnight giggle fest since they almost glow in the dark! I doubt if they'll get much sleep, an any case.

The contrasting details make these simple PJ's special. I think the perfectly cut pocket and the pant cuffs are the icing on the cake. These would be just as exciting in the black and white or green and yellow Starry Night combination.

Fair Clair indulges Burnt Toast in her favorite pastime wearing sleepers made from the Willow Leaf fabric and jazzed up with some red hot Dots.

I really LOVE this color combination! In fact, I long to have a small overstuffed reading chair covered with these fabrics. But then we'd lose Fair Claire altogether... yikes, it's a little hard to find either of them on the duvet. Sassaman camouflage!

Thanks to Susan for bringing these designs to fruition- hope your eyeballs are OK.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Sprouts

This week was a typical midwestern spring... 65 degrees and sunny one day and cold with driving rain the next. The weekend was wonderfully warm and bright and the whole world was optimistic again. Happy crocus and enthusiastic daylily sprouts poked through the thick cover of oak leaves.

Our property is divided between areas of native prairie and sections of cultivated garden. Every spring Greg burns the prairie, a ritual of renewal. But the timing must be right. If you wait a day or two too long, you risk singeing the new growth and this weekend seemed to be the perfect time. It is a dramatic and exhausting event because you must guide and contain the fire. And the results are always a bit shocking. The once wildly textured landscape is suddenly black and bare- as if a meteor has crashed on your lawn and disintegrated everything in sight!

But when you look closely at the sooty remains, tiny buds and shoots are peeking through. You can't beat spring in the lands of four seasons. It's always worth the wait!

Daylilies are always one of the first plants to break the surface each spring and I am always amazed by their hardy life force and lovely growth pattern of alternating leaves. Infact, I admire their energy and design so much that I once made a giant quilt based on those tiny tufts of life, Tree of Life: Spring.

As Greg was out of doors this weekend I was in the studio, as usual. I'd been wanting to try a LeMoyne Star quilt with the Hothouse fabrics, thinking that the symmetry of several designs would work nicely. But I have never made a star quilt before, so I thought of my friend, Jan Krentz, who is the Queen of Diamonds and discovered she has designed a wonderful "fast 2 cut" large diamond ruler, the Fussy Cutter Ruler, 45 degree Diamond Guide.

Jan's ruler is perfect for working with large patterned symmetrical fabrics like mine. When the fabric is wild it needs to be used in big pieces with simple piecing because the fabric is the star of the show. Along with the Diamond Ruler all I needed was a 9" square and a 9" half square triangle. Here you can see the beginning of the first star, next to last weeks project on the work wall. I started by fussy cutting the Ruffle fabric and exciting relationships started happening right away. I was hooked! So I just kept fussy cutting and building on with other symmetrical fabrics from the same colorway.

I have to admit that this piece is hard to absorb up close. But when you stand back the kaleidoscopic effect is awesome. I was having so much fun that I took it's picture to record the placement of the pieces and started another one immediately.

By this time I knew how to position it on my wall so it was straight. This one is quieter and kind of sunny because of the turquoise and yellow tufts of grass throughout. I am planning to miter the corners

For the first top I used 3 yards of Tree of Life, 3 1/2 yards of Lily Pad, 2 yards of Ruffles and 2/3 yard of blue for the border. For the second I used 3 yards of Cabochon, 3 1/2 yards of Lily Pad and 5 yards of Grass.

I can't wait to start another quilt top, but in the mean time I have other things to look forward to, as well!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Beth and Jane's Big Adventure

I have a good excuse for missing last weeks posting... I was a guest on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!! I shared the honor with Beth Wheeler, author of "Altered Photo Artistry" and creator of "Threadography". Beth and I met up at the airport and shared a scenic car ride to charming LaVeta, Colorado, where the show is taped.

When we finally arrived, we were greeted by a happy crew; it felt like a family reunion instead of a work sight. And it was a kind of reunion, as this was every one's first day back on the set to tape the final episode of one series and begin shooting the next.

They tape two shows a day and Beth was the first one up. She looked relaxed and very professional during the whole process and her work looked wonderful hanging on the set. It was reassuring to see the whole procedure before my turn in the afternoon.

All went well, thanks to Alex and Ricky's friendly professionalism and a receptive studio audience! They allowed this quiet quilter to step out and show her stuff. Our programs are to be aired at the end of June and the beginning of July, respectively, so stay tuned and subscribe to The Quilt Show to see all your favorite fabric friends.

Back home, I have finally gotten the chance to play with some fabric. I have designed a new set of "Simple Silhouette" patterns based on Mexican folk art and they look perfect in the Mexican colorway of the Hothouse fabric. One of the four designs is the skull motif from the Pushing Up Daisies quilt, since I have had many requests for a pattern. The instructions are in production now and I will let you know when they come off the press.