Between There and Here

Today's post is kind of a mishmash of a lot of different things because that's how the past 24 hours have been. I drove all over town yesterday, from one end to the other, in my wanderings. Yesterday started with me picking up my quilt from the quilt show last weekend. I dropped mine off at a quilt shop near my home, and that was where I picked it up again.

It's Smitty and Gracie's fault that I ended up purchasing fabric while I was there. As I was telling a friend this morning, I should have known better, and I should have walked in, grabbed the quilt and fled the store, keeping eyes carefully averted from the fabric surrounding me. But Gracie's and Smitty's portraits convinced me to look for appropriate kitty fur fabrics. Some of their fur is a little hard to recreate in fabric because it isn't just one color. It's mixed strands of many different colors. In fact, Smitty's fur can be gray or black with white tips at the end. Some people pay a hair stylist lots of money to tip their hair that way. Smitty's grows that way naturally.

So anyway...I did pick up a couple of fat quarters that I liked. The wrong side works as well as the right side. These are the right sides.

I took pictures of the wrong sides too, but the images didn't really look very different. In person, it's easier to see.

And then there was this stack of fat quarters.

Oh my, those yummy colors. I picked it up and set it down at least three times. I walked around the store a couple more times, picking it up and setting it down each time I passed by. Finally, my credit card started whining at me, and trying to jump out of my pocket, and I gave in. I love these pretty colors in my quilts, and I know I'll use these. Here's the attached label.

As for my quilt, I was interested in what the judges had to say about it. I had absolutely no expectation of winning anything, and so there was no surprise there. Still, I submitted it for judging because I want to learn. Here are the judges' comments:

So that was very nice. I was curious about the last line, however, and so I got the quilt out this morning and examined it carefully. And since a few of you asked for a close-up, I'm using that as an excuse to show it here again. If you're absolutely sick of seeing this quilt, then just close your eyes for a few seconds.

Okay, so I suppose if I get out a straight edge, I might see a little discrepancy in the vertical sashings. The horizontal sashings are all one piece, and so the fault can only be in the vertical direction. My quilts are certainly not above criticism, and I actually appreciate suggestions for improvement. In this case, I just don't see it. If that's the worst thing they have to say about the quilt, then I'm feeling pretty okay about it. Some of you have pointed out, accurately I'm sure, that the judges feel a need to make at least one constructive criticism. Maybe that's the case here. Anyway...I'm happy with the outcome, and these comments shouldn't be construed as a complaint on my part.

So after I picked up the quilt, I went for my pedicure. Then I went to the grocery store. Then I went home to put away the groceries, and then immediately jumped back in the car to go in the other direction to drop off my quilts for this weekend's guild quilt show. When I arrived at the show location, I learned that none of my six quilts had been entered into the database, and the forms I'd filled out had vanished somewhere along the way. Fortunately, someone I knew had witnessed me turning them in so I know I'm not completely crazy. 

Anyway, all of that to say that I had to sit there and fill out another six forms for my quilts. It ended up taking about five times as long as I'd expected, and it was just a little bit annoying. That's okay. Other people are doing almost all the work for this show. Mike and I are going over this afternoon for a couple of hours to help hang quilts. Otherwise, it's someone else's baby, and all their hard work is appreciated, even with this little snafu that only affected me personally.

This morning I had some time to work on the Hocuspocusville block. I finished off one section and then rehooped it. Here's where it stands:

Now it's hooped up and ready to go again.

After that, Sue and I walked for the first time practically since the beginning of summer. I think we may have walked one other time. Sue had a birthday last month, and so we had breakfast to celebrate prior to our walk, and then walked on the road at the bottom of our hill. We were expecting a lot of fall color, but perhaps it's still too early. We still saw some nice colors in other ways. These apples, for example, that were the most vivid red.

Sue and I agreed that the white picket fence made the trees even more inviting.

Also this wild sweet pea that seems late blooming. Don't they usually bloom in spring?

Also, these bushes with orange berries. I don't know what they are, but they resemble pyracantha. Just now, I actually looked up and linked to pyracantha, and it seems that actually is what they might be. I always thought the berries on pyracantha were red, but Mr. Wikipedia tells me they can have orange berries as well. 

Oh yes, and my favorite neighborhood barn. Obviously, I'm going to need to include this in my Barns of America quilt since I've photographed it at every hour of the day and in every season of the year. It never fails to capture my attention.

Finally, these trees, only partially turned. I love seeing trees that are still partly green, and also partly in their fall colors.

Mike only works a half day on Friday, and so he should be heading for home soon. Time for me to take a shower and get ready to go help hang quilts. Tomorrow, I'll go see the show, and so I'll have more quilts to show you soon.


Gracie's Portrait

On Wednesday, I spent all day working on Gracie's portrait. It's one of the more fiddly things I've ever done, including the McKenna Ryan patterns I've attempted. Remind me not to write any patterns for this any time soon.

So here's the image I was working from:

The eyes are the easiest part for me.

Next I tackled the nose.

And then the ears and the top of the head. I was able to fuse those parts together.

From there, I was a little worn out on it, and so I took a break. I'd spent hours getting that far...at least half of the time was spent searching for my scissors, my tweezers, the piece I'd just cut out five seconds ago...you know what I'm talking about.

When I came back to it, I was able to work it through to some semblance of completion.

So there's a little too much black on the left side of the face, and I think I need to add one more black piece above the right eye for the eyebrow. Then, it will be improved with some top-stitching. As I'm looking at this, I can see a little hole where the turquoise background is showing through. Do you see it? I can fix that with thread too. In fact, thread just might be my saving grace for this piece.

It still needs fuzz in the ears, whiskers, eyebrows, and some lines for the mouth and nose. For a first try, I'm pretty happy with it.

The hardest part was choosing the colors. Her fur is often a mix of white, gray, and black hairs to give her a gray tone, and so it was hard to choose fabrics that represented the colors realistically.

Today is going to be a day of driving all over the place. I need to pick up my quilt from the Northwest Quilting Expo, and then drop off my quilts for the guild quilt show this weekend. Also, I'm getting my monthly pedicure, which will be a welcome interlude to a busy day, and I'll pick up some groceries. Obviously, no sewing today.

October Goals and Progress Report

Whoa! Didn't we just do January last week? Holy moly, the year is flying by. Given that I was gone for 1/3 of the month of September, I think I did pretty well with September's goals, even if I didn't finish everything. Besides, I needed something to do in October, right? So let's see how it went.

Quilting and Flimsies

1. At the tippy-top of my to-do list is to sandwich and quilt Vintage Tin. It must be finished by the end of the month. Happily, Complete!

2. There are a couple of exceptions to the "no new goals" recipe in September. One is to quilt the Four Fabric Forest. It's a small quilt, and I can probably finish it up in one sitting. Complete!

3. I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt top. It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. No Progress.

Monthly Challenges

4. As is my usual modus operandi, I'm two three months behind on 

and so this is the other exception to the "no new goals" rule. This month's goal is to make a red cat for July, a black cat for August, and an orange cat for September. Complete!

5. I missed participating in July and August for the 

Join me on the Block Lotto Blog

and so I'd like to make a block in September. Embarrassingly, No Progress. Better luck in October.

6. I like participating in

but for this month, I'll just aim for finishing and sandwiching the tablerunner I started in August. Complete!


7. For this goal, I'm going to back way up to a goal I set for myself in June and yet again in August, when I made no progress getting it done. With that in mind, I'd still like to make two more block sets for Yard Art. With great relief, Complete!

8. Another project on my to-do list for much too long is the Mumm's the Word quilt. I'd like to make the next section of blocks for this quilt as well. No Progress.

9. Finally, I want to finish the two blocks that weren't finished in August, Sophie's block and Misty's block. Complete!

Of course, I always like to put something on the list for

As long as I'm sandwiching quilts, I'll want to include Feed the Cat in the pile. Complete!

Well...I didn't finish everything, so no bonus points for me this month. But that's okay because I have high hopes for October. Things are settling down, and it's a long month. Let's see what's up.

Quilting and Flimsies

1. On tap for October's quilting challenge is the Dream Machines quilt. A friend has spoken for this quilt, and so I'm hoping my quilting will spice it up a bit. It's not one of my favorite quilts, but I have some good ideas for quilting it, I think.

2.  I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt top (pictured above). It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. It's been on my to-do list for at least a couple of months, and so I think October might be its month.

3. If I can finish that one, I'd like to stitch to flimsy stage the Vintage Kitchen quilt. This one shouldn't take too long. The embroidered blocks are finished, and the fabrics are waiting. This image is the one made by the pattern designer, Jennifer Reynolds. Mine should look very similar when it's finished.

Monthly Challenges

4. Jumping in line ahead of everything else is my project for this month's

It just so happens I have June Jaeger's book for making animal portraits on my bookshelf, where it has been sitting, probably for years, possibly unopened. Ever. 

And it just so happens that I had the pleasure of taking a class from June Jaeger in September to make a cat portrait. And now I'm anxious beyond reason to make a portrait of my sweet Gracie.

So we'll just see how that goes.

5. And I've been my usual slothful self when it comes to participating in

Without knowing what the October block is, it's hard to say for sure that I'll be motivated, but I really, really, really am planning to make a block for the October lotto. And I say that every month. Sometimes I actually do it.


6. Still on my list of to-do's is the next section for Mumm's the Word (pictured above). I'm really hoping to check this one off in October.

7. I took September off from making any more blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt, but I have four more blocks slated for October. These constitute blocks 29-32 of the 56 blocks I have to make. I'm halfway there. Finishing these will put me on the downhill side of the mountain.

And that brings me to my bonus points wish list.

If I can get all of that finished, I'd like to at least get a start on quilting the Blushing Aspens table runner. I'd like to finish it before the fall season passes me by.

My list is fewer in number this month, but each project is going to take some time. Hopefully, I can get it all finished and move onto some other projects that are calling for my attention.

What's on your October list of goals?


Northwest Quilting Expo: Final Day

Well, you've done it. You're just about to make your way through the last of the pictures I took at the quilt show. Keep in mind that I said at the beginning I was trying not to take pictures of everything I saw, which should give you a clue that this was a very good show. I enjoyed it more than most, and so I looked at and walked by lots and lots of quilts that didn't make it into my picture album. The quilts and artistry in this show really were jaw-dropping, and so I hope you've enjoyed getting a taste of it. Here are the last of the quilts I have to show you.

I loved these first two, for obvious reasons, but on my goodness. The patience this must have taken.

This one gave me more ideas for quilting the Doors of Ireland, set to be quilted in November.

Look at the beautiful details in this next quilt. I only hope I can do as well when I get around to making my Barns of America.

I believe this is the original Garden Patch Cats quilt.

This next one gave me chills. Beautiful work.

This next quilt maker was nine years old. When I see these quilts made by children, I wonder if I'm looking at the quilting celebrities of the next generation.

I love this idea...kind of like zentangles with a lot of pizzazz.

There was nearly an entire wall devoted to quilts to honor Portland's own Pearl District, an area in the Northwest part of Portland that has undergone major urban renewal recently. Even before the push to rejuvenate the area, there was plenty of charm in The Pearl, lots of good restaurants, and plenty of wonderful shopping. All of the quilts in this exhibit were fantastic, but in keeping with my desire not to take pictures of absolutely everything I saw, I kept my choices to a minimum.

This first quilt is a nod to Powell's Books. If you're not familiar with Powell's Books, it's a can't-miss bookstore in Portland that is to books what FAO Schwarz is to toys. Interestingly, I saw the quilt before I saw the quilt maker's statement, and it spoke "Powell's" to me instantly.

This quilt is a map of The Pearl District.

This one just made me laugh. There were lots of Farmer's Wife quilts, but this one was unique.

And that's it! Now, I suggest a foot massage.

If you're sad to see these go, you can rest easy knowing that my own guild quilt show happens this coming weekend. If you live in the area, be sure to head over to our

show to be held this Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Tuality Health Education Center: 334 8th Ave, Hillsboro, Oregon. If you're interested in going, you can find a coupon for $1 off admission by clicking right here. Hope you can make it!