Cheri Chatter

Cheri Chatter

Friday, May 16, 2014

I Love Color

As a kid I experimented with color using my Mom's food coloring. I'd pour a big glass of water and start mixing colors: red and yellow to get orange, blue and yellow to get green, or red and blue to get purple. 

I'd alter the ratio of one color or another to get different results until the water got muddy. Then I'd dump out the contents of the glass and start all over. I ran out of yellow first. Then I ran out of red. With only blue left, I moved on to playing with vinegar and baking soda, but I digress. That had nothing to do with color.

I don't think my mom knew about my scientific experiments in her kitchen, but I do wonder if she ever noticed her dwindling bottles of food coloring? I'll have to ask. In any case, I know how those early lessons in color translated into my current color experiments with fabric.

This week my Color Basics class at Glad's finished up it's last session.  My students now know why yellow is the first food coloring to go and blue is the last one standing.

This fall I will be teaching the Color Club class at Glad's. The color experimentation will continue!

"When I'm 64 . . . "

I remember when that song was brand new. Sixty-four seemed like a long way off back then, but it quietly snuck up on me last week. I'd forgotten it was just around the corner.

Then Bosca and I arrived home from a walk one day to find this on my doorstep. Very puzzling. I hadn't ordered anything, had I? Even though I'd forgotten about my upcoming birthday, my secret sister hadn't!

What could it be? I anxiously tore into the box to find two fabric wrapped smaller packages. One contained a fancy new (pink) seam ripper that I've been wanting and the other enclosed a very fun wool applique project - a snowman in a snow globe - packaged in a canning jar. How cute! 

I now have enough hand projects to keep me going for a couple of months anyway. Thank you, Secret Sister, whoever you are!

A couple of days after the gift from my secret sis arrived on my doorstep, a few of my friends celebrated with me at our favorite Irish pub. (That's Colleen, Irish to the core.) We've decided to stop gifting each other with more "stuff" and go for what we all need and can use . . . wine. They brought bottles of red wine that I'm looking forward to sampling. 

And then on the very day I turned 64, my neighbor and his little boy delivered yet another bottle of wine. (How did he know? :) This bottle had a lit birthday candle attached. I felt really special, and have decided that being 64 is not only better than the alternative, it's something to look forward to!

"Birthday greeting, bottle of wine . . . "

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Friends

I haven't blogged about the activities at my Tuesday Friends group for a while.  We've been having fun putting the finishing touches on some raffle quilts. We're hoping to raise funds to pay for some supplies that we don't tend to get as donations, like batting and rotary blades. 

Here's one we did with ugly striped fabrics and a few solids mixed in. We didn't think they were ugly any more after it was put together with sashing and borders.  Now we all want it!

And we're learning how to get blood out of a quilt when we stab ourselves with a basting pin. Hydrogen peroxide is a miracle worker!

Here's a log cabin that we had a lot of fun with. We're still learning about what constitutes a dark versus a light in order to create the effect we want. The red centers pull it all together. We really like the unusual arrangement of blocks. It's an interesting design, don't you think?

And here's a different raffle quilt I just finished to raise funds for a Little Earth basketball team in memory of Trini, their biggest fan and scorekeeper after he was unable to keep playing. I hand quilted this one with a big stitch and perle cotton.

Do you see Rhea in the peach shirt above? She's becoming quite accomplished at machine quilting. She quilted this star quilt made by Jolene. They both did a beautiful work and can be very proud of their quiltmaking skills.

And finally, here's Mary and Caitlen (sorry if I spelled that wrong) with their most recent star quilt. They only have one corner to add.

I love how the colors move from strong to delicate. It almost looks like it's twinkling. Gorgeous!!

I can't wait to see what's in store for us tonight. It's always a surprise to see who shows up and what projects await.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hexie Addiction

I've resisted the hexie craze for at least a year, but then the latest issue of Quilt Mania arrived at Glad's. I fell in love with the project on the cover. I've been needing a good, portable hand project, and this one fits the bill.

I'm using mostly Kaffe Fasset fabrics because I have the perfect one in my stash that will serve as the background. It's just been waiting for the right project.

I sorted through the rest of the Kaffe stash, setting aside fabrics I wasn't sure would be a good fit.  That still left me with a pretty big pile of mostly fat quarters.  I cut one strip from each fabric, which yielded about eight 1" hexies from each 20"+ strip and left not a dent in my stash! Sheesh. 

I spent yesterday afternoon at my friend Dee's house cutting out hexies. She talked me into layering marked strips on top of several unmarked ones to rotary cut the hexies. In no time flat I had all of them cut. I believe I have enough now for three or four of these quilts. I'm anxious to get started!

But look what I have left from the cutting. Millions of little colorful triangles. I couldn't throw them away, so they may end up fused together somehow. Maybe little flowers? I know. I'm crazy. But I've accepted that about myself.

I now have choices about the construction method. Do I baste the hexies or do I use glue to speed up the process? Or do I substitute starch for glue? We are so lucky in the quilting community to have fellow enthusiasts, and great tips on every aspect of quilting are everywhere. 

A customer and fellow hexie fan sent me this tip and included a tool. Thanks, Deb! And yesterday Dee clued me into a method for tying knots that will make the stitching very secure when I start sewing hexies together. I can't wait!

I'm still whittling away at other priorities, so the hexies are going to have to wait a little longer. I'm off to clean the oven and pay bills. Yippee.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Is Sprung

Or at least it's trying to spring. I see buds on trees and bushes. They're almost popped out. 

I'm anxious to see the blooms on the magnolia tree that Bosca and I pass on our way to check out the water level in Minnehaha Creek.

But the surest sign of spring is what's happening right here at home in my Easter basket (or what's left of it). The Peeps have matured and are hatching. Two have already flown the coop.  The other three are about to emerge.

Where do Peeps go when they hatch? Straight into the microwave. Five to fifteen seconds depending on the age of the Peep. Add a little bit of Carrot Patch Pete and a graham cracker for Spring S'mores. Yum!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Double the Fun!

I met my goal and more! I got a backing pieced for Mystery #53, the latest mystery at Glad Creations. I would show you a picture of the quilt top if I could, but I can't. It's still a big secret. What I can show you though are my fabric swatches and the backing.  

For my color story I chose violets ranging from blue to red, rich greens that lean a bit toward yellow, and some multicolored orange/rose/browns. For the sashing fabric I picked a grayed teal that shows up in tiny places in the other fabrics. I'll post a picture of the completed quilt when it's back from the quilter and safe to reveal.

It took no time at all to piece that back, so I decided to do a second one of yellow daisies for the back of "April Showers and May Flowers". 

I truly think it's the prettiest group of fabrics I've worked with. Maybe I'm feeling that way because I need spring so badly. Easter has been over and done for two weeks, and we're still waiting for spring here. This quilt could not be more spring-like if it tried!

The fabrics are lovely little florals that remind me of teacups and are set into a minty green background with mustard green polka dots. 

The background fabric was a panic buy.  I watched the bolt get skinnier and skinnier til I panicked and bought what was left. (The hazards of working in a quilt shop!) It turned out to be the exact yardage I needed for this quilt.  Funny how that works! 

Here it is on the design wall waiting to be assembled and borders added. I found the pattern in the book, 40 Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts. It's called "Spring Fling" and was designed by Evelyn Sloppy. 

I pieced most of it last weekend at a retreat that I attend every year and that is also called "Spring Fling". How appropriate is that? 

See if you can track down a copy of the book.  I think you'd have fun making this easy peasy quilt too!

And check out that quilt on the cover. It's on my list of must-do projects . . . someday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sew Many Quilts, Sew LIttle Time

I'm in trouble. I have sew many projects in the works that I have (almost) lost track.  I definitely need to prioritize. Here's what's on the list:
  • one quilt to bind, label, and attach a hanging sleeve
  • five tops ready for the longarmer
  • backs and battings to get ready for three of those tops
  • two hand quilting projects
  • two tops ready for assembly
  • one piecing project half done
  • one hexie project started
  • a baby quilt to cut out

All are active projects, and I bounce from one ball to the other trying to keep them all in the air. It's fun! (Mostly.)

I like bouncing. It keeps my interest level high. I get to work on what I am in the mood for. But since I am almost never in the mood for piecing backs and doing bindings, those balls get dropped, and I get stressed. That's not fun.

I admire quilters who can pick a project, go buy the fabric, and work on that one quilt start to finish. What a concept! But I know I will probably never work that way. Plus, I love prioritizing and tackling a list - one task at a time - so here goes! Today's task: assemble one back.