Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pinatas de Noche

I finished this little quilt for my kitchen table. I've long been attracted to this traditional pattern because it reminds me of star-shaped piñatas. I had originally thought of making it up in bright colors, but instead, I went through my treasure box of scraps. With the black background, it looks to me like piñatas hanging for a party at night.

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my March journal quilt. I really like incorporating photos into these pieces.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

March Journal Quilt

I used my manipulated photo from a couple of posts back as the centerpiece for my March journal quilt. I wanted to underscore the cat-eyes in both figures.

This is the back side.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Size Matters

I decided to clean out my drawer of blue fabrics. I was inspired by this scrap quilt artfulsister posted to her blog. I love the illusion of circles this pattern makes.

I'd been wanting to make a blue and yellow quilt and so I cleaned out my blue drawer and cut up all my smallish blue fabrics. These blocks make up very quickly. You basically make a 4-patch and then attach squares you fold back into triangles in the corners. This went together so fast that I quickly had a lap-sized quilt, but I have more blue fabrics I wouldn't mind using up, so I may go for a larger 80x80 inch quilt.

My only qualm is that I dislike the wrestling required to quilt a larger quilt. I think I can quilt this one pretty simply with straight lines, so I think I've decided to make an exception to my recent tendency to made table-top sized pieces.

I like these monochromatic quilts. I've selected a pattern with which to clean out my brown drawer.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Photo Manipulation

A couple of people have asked about how I do photo manipulation. My techniques are fairly low-tech, because although I have a photoshop program, it's very complicated and if I have to read a manual, I'd rather leave the task for later.

I stumbled on this method quite by accident, but it gives you a nice menu of options if you have Microsoft Word. Start with a photo: I've chosen for this demonstration a cute one of my daughter Allie and one of our cats, Bunny. (Her "real" name: Audrey Hepburn, is on her name tag.)

Paste your photo into a blank Word document.

After you do this, pull down your "View" menu and in "Toolbars" select "Picture." Yes, these are directions for Mac. I hope those of you on PCs will be able to translate. What you're looking for is the special picture toolbar.

Once you select the Picture toolbar, it will appear on your screen:

Click the button that says "Effects."

A menu of photo effects will appear. Click on your photo and then on the desired effect button. Click on the "Apply" button at the bottom of the "Effects" box and see if you like the looks of it. If not, go to "Edit" and undo the effect and apply a new one. Use the scroll bar to see the full menu of effects. There are other manipulations you can make by using the other adjustments in the box.
These are three versions of my photo that I liked:

You can print these photos on paper, on transfer media, or on pre-treated (commercially available or DIY) fabric sheets. I think I'm going to use one of these for my next Journal Quilt. I plan to embellish Allie's lips and perhaps to bead her glasses and the cat's eyes.

Let me know how this works for you if you try it. If you have a PC, let me know how these instructions translate. Have fun!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Design Wall Tour

Recently I saw a quilter on t.v. who had a design wall with multiple sliding panels. She had several layers of projects on these panels and she could shift them around and work on several at a time. I like to keep a number of projects going at the same time. I'm not good at what knitters call Project Monogamy.

I've got an entire wall that I use for my design wall, yet I never seem to have enough space. I've got several projects up on the wall right now. Debra had a block swap on the about forum that I didn't join, but I really liked the block, so I'm making a small table-sized version for myself.

Here is a link to the Quilter's Cache site, which is the source for the pattern, called "All Those Squares." I'm using (of all things) some of the triangles that get cut off when I make binding. I save these bits in a jar, I'm not sure quite why. I've got a ton of them in red, and they work perfectly in this pattern.

I've also got up on the wall some blocks made from the leftover pieces that got cut off of the Pineapple Blossom blocks I made from the pattern on the Quiltville site.

I've got my Winter Madonna up, but you can see that on the Madonna site.

I've also fiddled around with some vintage fabric I've set aside from the huge thrift store score I made a couple of years ago. These orange and brown fabrics give me 70s flashbacks. The little figures remind me of Holly Hobby.

I hope you enjoyed my design wall tour. Please make sure and take all your valuables as you exit the bus, and show me what's up on your wall.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fashion Show

Debra showed her new duds on her blog, so I decided to follow suit. I buy the bulk of my clothes at the beginning of the year when they clear out the fall and winter things. In my neck of the woods we wear long sleeves and sweaters all year, so it's the best time to buy.

I bought this outfit to go to my college friend Bernadette's wedding next month in Portland. I love the sparkly things, which are cleverly on the front of the skirt only. I don't know what they're called, those disk-shaped shiny things,(they're not sequins) but they used them recently on Project Runway, and I learned their name, which I promptly forgot.

And here is my weird weather photo: my poor front yard covered with ice. On Friday we had snow down to sea level, which happens here occasionally. My poor azalea had bloomed so nicely, and then got completely frost-bitten.

Expect more regular posts this week since I'm on vacation. Also, I will post a tutorial on photo manipulation.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...