Quilting the Red and White

I glue basted the quilt, it might very well be that I will end up with some folds and kinks on the back, I don’t care. This will be pretty heavily quilted, it will be lovely.

I know, you can’t tell, but I did some basic walking foot quilting with monofilament. That is a good way to stabilize the quilt so I can move wherever I want along the surface. This is the first time I’ve stood back from the quilt and looked at it carefully. Yes, I had it up on my design wall when I finished the top. That was a long time ago, and the room the design wall is in doesn’t give me much distance. I love the design, I love how I placed the lighter and darker reds. Yes, there were many rip-outs as I went along. I didn’t have the whole design mapped out before hand. Just a general idea. As it grew I ripped out and changed fabrics. I’m sure I could have narrowed the selection down some more, but I do like the scrappy red feel

A shot from the back with the light shining through. You can see my basic grid with the monofilament. I love the shadowy look of the red.

It is very different quilting with a large table. I don’t have that heavy drag of a quilt falling over the edge and causing all that stress and pain in my shoulders.

Having the quilt on the table, all the same level, it’s heaven. I also love the acrylic insert that keeps the machine flush with it’ surroundings.

First of all, I quilted the compass rose with red thread. I tried to leave the lightest areas un-quilted – to give that wonderful dimension. I’m using wool batting which helps a lot with that affect. Then I drew a simple grid with my frixon pen. I want the orange peel pattern, which isn’t too hard to do – unless you have all the ins and outs of the star rays.

I’m doing some ruler work, I love the echo affect. Taking pictures really helps, made me notice that I forgot to quilt a certain area, so back under the machine! I’m quilting the red areas in red and the background in white. Yes, there are a lot of starts and stops. This isn’t about speed, it’s about enjoying the quilting process and having a quilt I adore.

I think I’ll be quilting most of the red before I decide how to fill the white.

It was fun to stop, put the quilt on the garden wall and take a picture of the progress.

I am loving this so much. I ended up doing some ruler work on the inner border of stars. I want to think carefully about the quilting designs as I move out to the edges.

In keeping with the red and white theme, the back is solid white. So it’s interesting to see the quilting on the back, both the red and white.

Ok, I got some birds nests in the back. Even though I’ve been bringing the bobbin thread to the front, I guess I missed it a few times. Also, I now see that I missed an in the ditch seam. No, I won’t be going back, unlike the orange peel background, this is really not noticeable.

And now for a break, while I make my grandson a sleeping bag for pre-school.


Lake Arrowhead close ups

You know how much I enjoy the close ups on my camera. Even with the regular lens, I get great images. Like each individual owl on the totem pole.

From bottom, going up.

I’ve seen bears and eagles, it’s nice to see owls.

What sewer or quilter wouldn’t want to live on Bernina Dr?? I know, it’s a region and a tunnel in Switzerland, but really the only people who recognize that name are those of us who sew!

Huge pinecones. Not all the pines died in the beetle blight of a few years ago. There are some trees here that produce giant pine cones. I saw them all over town, it was nice to see them on a tree looking out of our balcony.

Dead tree stumps always fascinate me.

As well as the live bark that was peeling off this tree. The old bark is a red brown, the new tree underneath is bright green. It will probably darken as soon as the old bark falls off.

We stopped to see an old Fire Tower on Strawberry Hill. Although a sign said it is open from 9-5, I guess that didn’t include weekends. A lot of radio towers around. As well as a cute couple from Australia who took a very nice family photo of us.


Lake Arrowhead

After taking one son and his family to Mexico, we took another son and his family to Lake Arrowhead for a weekend. Yes, we need to take third son and his family somewhere soon.

I think it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been here, and it’s only 80 miles from home. A gem of a lake. This is our view from our rented house. First time we used VRBO, not a bad experience, although, the bedroom situation wasn’t quite what we expected. Luckily the two bedrooms there were connected worked fine for the kids.

We started out in the village where we promptly took a boat ride on the Arrowhead Queen. I learned that although the lake was started as a reservoir for the farmers in the San Bernardino Valley, a law suit ensured that didn’t happen. It became a playground for wealthy weekenders instead.

Enjoying the views and the breeze. Earthquake damage threatened the dam that holds in the water. Residents got together and bought the Lake which is now owned by Lake Arrowhead Association. So, it’s now privately owned, with rules on boating and fishing. They also found an engineer who helped save the dam, by building a smaller dam and creating a small lake on the other side of the original dam. The pressure from both sides stabilized the dam.

We had two very cute captains steering the boat. There were others, but since they aren’t related to me, I felt no need to take their pictures.

Carved bears and eagles are very common in mountain communities. It was fun to find this owl totem pole. If you look carefully you’ll see the photographer reflected back in the glass.

There were also photo opportunities with dinosaurs. The Village is cute, definitely touristy. We enjoyed an early dinner overlooking the lake. As well as a concert in the evening. There seems to be a circuit of cover bands that go from one community to the next giving free summer concerts.

The waterfront stores sell duck food. Not surprising that this mom and her chicks came by to eat. As did carp and trout.

Our unit had a large balcony with a swing, a jacuzzi, a fire pit where we roasted marshmallows as well as a Bbq.

I brought a 1000 piece puzzle, we finished it the first day. So the next day, another one was bought and also finished within one day. Even the boys got in on the puzzle work.

We bumped into a friend who took us out on his motor boat. The boys had another chance to drive a boat. Then we went for a walk along the lake. The whole lake front has one dock after another.

The blue tower was meant to be where the was intended to flow down to the Valley, it doesn’t get used. The lake is only fed by rain and snow, no rivers near here. So there were many years of drought, and the level dropped. The last few winters have been better. This last winter brought the kind of storms that raised the level by 6′ in a very short period of time. The lake is back to it’s original height.

I think this tree is surprised to find itself in the water. If the level stays high for a while, this tree won’t survive.

It was a great weekend getaway, we shouldn’t wait another 20 years to go back.


Knitting and hand appliqué

So my yoke sweater is coming along. This one has a very interesting construction.

In the past, I’d cast on at the neckline and knit the yoke down and then separate for the body and sleeves. In one case there were some short rows to make the back higher. This pattern starts with waste yarn below the yoke pattern. there is some short row work in the main body color and then the pattern starts.

What stranded knitting looks like from the back.

Another interesting element of this pattern is there are about 3 rows with three colors, not just two. This of course makes for a more interesting pattern and is well worth the effort.

I started this sweater on larger needles and yes, it was more than the gauge that the pattern called for, but I though it would simply make for a looser knit sweater. It felt huge, so ribbit, ribbit, out it came and I started over with the smaller needles. I’m very glad I did.

Another advantage of this method is that I can try on the yoke. My big concern was that the neckline would be too open. Another concern I now have is that the blue and yellow are too close in value. This is a problem when you buy your yarn online. The closest knitting store to me only carries hand dyed or bright many hued yarns. They don’t have basic solids. So I ordered online and it’s hard to judge how the yarns will look next to each other. It will be fine, but….

Yoke complete, it looks al little wonky now. But once the weight of the sweater pulls the yoke down and I block it, I’m sure it will be fine.

Next I removed the waste yarn, did the tedious job of picking up 25o stitches and am now knitting down. There is more pattern at the bottom of the sweater as well as the sleeve edges. Otherwise, I’m in a stage of just knitting the green. There is some shaping so that will keep me on my toes.

I am continuing to make hand appliqué blocks.

So far, only flowers, but since this is Baltimore album inspired, there will be baskets, maybe a ship, maybe people. I may combine larger and smaller blocks. All ideas I’m toying with.

I am working off a pattern for this block, but the placement of the elements is more freehand, so the block won’t be completely symmetrical.

Great news, I just signed up for a class at Road2CA, with Rosa Rojas Rienda. She developed the Appliquick method. I am really enjoying her tools. The class is a master Hawaiian class. We will design our own Hawaiian style block. Her sample is quite large, I am very interested to see how this goes. Working much larger, not on small pieces. Anyway, I have to wait for January for that. Something worth waiting for.


More cactus

I don’t need to wait for a fancy cactus show, although those are a lot of fun. I put on the macro lens on may camera and went out for a walk.

The macro lens really captures a lot of the details that one normally overlooks.

Shades of grey and sharp spikes.

This close up, the spikes look deadly. To someone, they are.

All the dust and webs make their appearance. Look at the pattern created by the shades of green.

Yikes, look at that gravel, when I brought this home the box tipped over and the gravel settled everywhere. In my purse, all over the car seat and in the crevices of the plants. Since then I’ve hosed this guy off.

Storybook image of a cactus.

Pull back a little and just enjoy the textures.

Ahh, the prickly pear. Native to Mexico, it found it’s way to Israel where it is called the Sabra. Prickly on the outside, sweet on the inside, just like most Israelis.

These are sports, a freak of nature, the only way they can survive is being grafted onto a strong base. I’m seeing all these little babies, that is how you get more.

These were not growing in someone’s garden. They were outside a store on Ventura Blvd. I remember the first time I saw a red sport, I was amazed by the color. Someone is propagating these, you can find them everywhere. Grafted on simple cacti of course.


Happy Birthday America

I love celebrating the 4th of July. I always put out a flag.

Not a lot of neighbors do, so I always appreciate seeing the patriotic decorations.

For the past 15 years we have celebrated the 4th with our friends from Operation Gratitude out at our Friends house.

Here we are, well some of us. There were other OpGrat women there, but it takes an effort to get everyone together. So I’m thrilled with this picture.

When it gets dark, there are always backyard fireworks. Some of the towns around LA sell fireworks. In this case, South Gate sells the fireworks and the money goes to the local boyscouts. Works for me, what can I say, the could of smoke over LA is so heavy – everyone is shooting off fireworks.

I had gone online to see how to photograph fireworks. I probably got way too much light, but hey, it will be at least a year before I have the chance again. Here are my best, and I don’t think they are too bad.

Capturing light is pretty amazing, most of these pictures are cropped down and I like what I see.

One shiny star!

This is just so cool! Capturing light really is amazing.

A rainfall of light.

Aaron would go to the little table, light the fireworks and then step back to this chair. It was by accident that I caught this image and yes, this is a crowed image.

I am taking more images with my macro lens. I’ll be sharing more of these pictures, because personally, I love them. This one just looks like nature has made this firework. It is a bush in my garden, a version of Bottlebrush. This close up makes it looks all different.


Dapper Dan

So what name do I give this quilt? Why Dapper Dan of course.

I have to relearn how to quilt FMQ,, since I’m not fighting with the quilt keeping it in place!

I had fun with the quilting. I tried to make a cohesive spiral behind the boy, it’s a little wonky, but fine for free hand. I did use my walking foot, which created the drop on the fabric, I do need to wash this, so it might just pucker up a little more.

Just the boy.

Close up of the head and the swirls in the background.

The legs and the more angular quilting on the bottom.

Boy and girl together. I’m not sure why the girl is slightly smaller. I like that behind her I have a diamond and behind the boy I have the spiral. I also rounded the corners on her quilt and left the corners on the boy quilt square.

Side by side. I am hoping that some friend either has a baby or a grand baby. I have no one in mind for these yet. I’m sure someone will claim these soon. I have to say, I feel the boy colors are much more vibrant, I wish I had used stronger colors for the girl. Live and learn.

Artistic shot that isn’t all that artistic.

I’m so glad I had these labels printed up at Spoonflower. I even left some room for a baby’s name.

So, did I love this project? No, I’m not sorry to have made these, but no, I won’t make anymore. I know, the irregularities are part of the design, but I like a little more accuracy. That is a lot of work to create what sort of looks like cross stitch. I know that some very happy baby will get these at some point.

I have my Red and White to quilt, but I’m going to wait a bit, like a few days. I want to think carefully about how I will quilt it. These two I sort of thought of the diamond and swirl and then just used filler, I think I want to plan out the red and white a little more.


Making a pink elephant

You probably have seen some of the Stuffed animals I’ve made, two cats, a fox, and these are the only ones from Pauline at Funky Friends Factory. A few months ago I found out that Teressa Coates would be teaching a class at Sewing Arts Center. I immediately signed up. I’ve known Teressa for a while, she is the teacher for Shannon Fabrics, they make the wonderful Cuddle fabric.

Here we have the cat as caticorn and the fox made out of cuddle.

Julie bought a lot of cuddle for the shop, so we had a lot to choose from. Yes, I bought more fabric and will probably get even more… First step, enlarge the pattern, in this case, 120%, it makes it easier to work with the cuddle. Then we traced the pattern with a sharpie, using these heavy washers as pattern weights, I need to get some. These two fabrics are left over from my cat.

Yes indeed! I was determined to make a pink elephant. Yes this is a term for being so drunk one sees dancing pink elephants. Even Disney used this reference in Dumbo. (the original, something tells me that didn’t do this in the new release). Well, now in my house, one doesn’t need any alcohol to see a pink elephant.

I have to say I am impressed with the workshop space at Sewing Arts, there were nine students, we each had our own table and a very nice Bernina sewing machine. I didn’t take pictures while I was assembling the elephant. Well, except this one, when the head was finished. Pauline is very smart, she has you start with the head – in every one of her patterns. That way you see the personality of what you are creating and don’t get discouraged. Yes, I used the seam ripper, putting the body together had some challenges.

A limp elephant.

And here is Teressa holding him up. At this point she reminded me that I had to poke out his tusks.

All stuffed, just waiting for the final hand sewing up his back. One of the wonderful things about cuddle, aside from being so soft, is that you can’t see the seams at all.

And here he is!

Side by side with Teressa’s more traditional grey elephant.

Of course we took a picture each holding our own elephants.

Then Hillary finished hers. I couldn’t stay till the very end, so I didn’t see the other elephants. There were many colors, from grey, orange, green. I’m sure they all are great.

So why am I calling this pink elephant a he? Well, because once we got home, I introduced him to a Liberty Mouse that a friend brought me from London. So the elephant is now Ganesha and that is now a rat, the vehicle that Ganesha travels with.

I so want to make the lamb and the monkeys, but first I have a squirrel and a mouse to make.


Bright color

Lets start with what nature provides.

I walked around taking pictures of tropical flowers.

I’m thinking this is some kind of poinsettia, either way, I love the salmon bracts and the little yellow flower.

A simple Vinca, everyone used to have them here in LA, but they’ve gone out of fashion.

Some sort of Trumpet vine.

White is so refreshing here.

Back home, my hibiscus is providing so many flowers this year, I know, I shared these numerous times, I can’t stop.

Then there is bright manmade color. And now I won’t appolgize for liking plastic, I don’t want to live in the Stone Age.

Someone brought this to the pool daily. Rainbow Unicorn Pegasus floating device.

Another toy, left in the pool.

Finally, the creative use of towels and flowers. A dog.

A turkey? A peacock? A swan?

An elephant. Our room had the upturned truck. The kids room had a downturned one.

I say Santa, Shira says a gorilla.


The backside of water

Disney fans will get the reference.

Since I brought my nice camera, I felt the need to take it out and get some of those pictures that a good camera provides.

The water spilling onto the sand.

That water, from a different angle.

The small bubbles that form.

A small rock, forming a very small tide pool.

Yes, I do find rocks to be fascinating.

There is a small area of real tide pools. Well also manmade, but much bigger rocks.

How clear is this water? I love that the camera caught the movement of the water, even though it is very clear.

These two pictures of the shells I took with my phone. I think the better camera would have shown the iridescence that you simply can’t see here.

Green algae. As you can see, sandbags were used here.


The wonderful quiet part of vacation. This beach is amazing, loved walking along it. What I will miss most about this location. Meanwhile, grandkids are off at summer camp and still having a great vacation.