Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rearranging Colors. And Priorities.

Yesterday I showed you a picture of a large HST (half-square triangle) quilt I had started for my son.  As he is an artist and graphic designer and has always - since the age of 6 - painted with oils, the fabric with the artist paint colors on it was a no-brainer. However, I wanted to keep the quilt masculine, so we selected charcoal gray and a bold design off which to bounce the colors.

This was yesterday’s picture, and the more I looked at it, the less happy I was.  The paint pieces are chaotic and need to be tamed. I had originally tried the layout using the same color or fabric for each concentric circle (an orange circle, then a multi circle, then blue, etc).  That didn`t look right, and I didn`t have enough of some colors.  Then after taking the picture below, I also noticed that one of the multi pieces is positioned sideways (second row down, just to the left of the orange).

So today I got busy and deconstructed most of it. I decided that solid colors around the central diamond would work.  That bulls-eye effect draws your eye there, and it is the most important area of the quilt. So I added a yellow HST, and the remaining pieces inside that gray circle were given over to the multi-print, all with the correct orientation. Much better.

The rest of the quilt can and will be randomized as far as solids and prints, but as long as that central part is in order, I think it will work.  There are six rows pinned up there and three more that will join them.  I hope to have this sewn up today and/or tomorrow.  It won`t be finished for 2014, but should end up being my first finish for 2015.

Thanks to my readers who have stuck with me through thick and thin this year. My posts have been sporadic, but I think I am getting my groove back. The most important thing for me this fall and winter has been to “clear my plate” of commitments and things that have been taking too much of my time.  I spent November and December hunkered down, stitching, sewing, planning my weeks, then days, just to get every last thing done. And my Etsy shop was hugely busy with special orders.  And I did it. But I do not want to repeat that.

My Etsy Shop
I am going to simplify my Etsy shop. Hand-painted lace is being phased out. I will offer white and golden-dyed lace trims and a few appliques. I have been working as a rep for a lace mill for a few months, and love working with large customers (bridal shops, clothing and lingerie makers) and large orders. More human contact, more lace, more money, fewer tiny details than selling by the piece. 

The fancy fabric packs are being phased out; I will instead concentrate on selling off my drawers of vintage fabric, both fancy and cottons (vintage sheets).  And vintage patterns. I have hundreds and need to list those.

My 2015 Plans

Going forward into 2015, I want to have more fun.  If I plan on a handmade Christmas, I will begin much earlier. My granddaughter London has started school, so there is no babysitting in the near future (although my son Ryan and his wife Kim are pregnant and will welcome Baby Flox in July 2015).  And as for my online CQ activities, I plan to take a back seat. I will not be planning any retreats. The Yahoo Groups forum is dying, and I am tired of trying to resuscitate it. We added CQI to Facebook, but there is already another thriving CQ community there, and I wonder if it is necessary to re-create the wheel?  Besides, running an online group is a giant time suck, and few realize the work and effort it takes if you are organizing activities, challenges, etc.  That’s not what I want to continue to do with my time. So, I will be stepping back into the shadows as far as crazy quilting.  But I do have 2-3 projects that will go on my 2015 calendar to finish.

And then there is the sewing and quilting.  I have joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and in between making quilts for family members, I will make blocks here and there that will eventually come together in scrappy quilts.  I want to sew more clothes. Spend more time in the garden. Take more walks.

Times are changing, and so am I. So are my interests. But I will always be Crazy. By Design.

Cathy maroon

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year-end Projects Completed

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas??  Ours was great, and the weather was perfect. It began snowing lightly on Christmas Eve, and we woke up to white ground on Christmas Day.  It continued to snow throughout the day on Christmas, steadily but not heavily enough to disrupt family traveling. With everyone coming to our home, plus a fire in the fireplace, it was such a cozy, wonderful day!

I was able to finish up all my planned Christmas projects. Unfortunately, I did not get any great pictures of the entire cream-on-cream crazy-quilted wedding commission wall hanging I did for a client. I will share some (poor) block pictures I took, however.  I don`t know why they are so dark here. They look much better in my photo editing program.....

(Above) This is the center medallion area, 2 blocks tall. It is outlined in a dyed gimp trim, and the bow used to tie the flowers is from the wedding dress. There are rolled roses, gathered velvet flowers, yo-yo flowers and others. Carved MOP buttons and vintage millinery too. The woman for whom this was made used to be a florist, so we wanted to include a lot of flower motifs in the quilt.

(Above)  There is a lot of lace included from the wedding dress.  In addition to what you see above, there was a marquis-shaped motif that we used a lot, and actually influenced the shape of the center medallion.

(Above)  You can see the marquis motif in the lower left of the above picture, as well as in the one below.  As well, I included lots of vintage laces, doilies and buttons.

None of the blocks are too elaborate, because my client wanted to keep the look elegant and simple, without a cluttered (what we would call encrusted) look.   Below you can see the second bow used in another block. 

Naturally, there had to be the traditional Victorian good luck motif of a spider in a web. As it turns out, that motif also has a special meaning for my client.  See the butterflies in the cluny lace?

This is the picture, poem and other information that was printed on silk and attached to the back of the quilt.

We hope to get more formal and better pictures in the new year.  :-)  The quilted wall hanging finished out at about 44” across and 34” tall.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This is the Frozen-esque flannel nightie that I finished up for my DGD London for Christmas. It fit her perfectly and she changed into it to hang out in all day!  :-)

Finally, I have begun a new quilt for my son Shane.  He wanted dark, bright, geometric. And since he is a painter/artist/graphic designer, I had to use the paint print fabric.

As you can see, my design wall is waaaaay too small. I am currently working on rearranging my sewing studio so I can double the size of the board.  So if that looks funny (only the first 2 rows are sewn; the rest are pinned), it is because it is curling around the bookcase. Make do.

Finally, I am having a year-end sale in my Etsy shop. 20% off everything (even the Clearance section) with the code BYEBYE2014.  Link to my shop is on the sidebar. I hope you will drop by!

I may have a bit more to share before the New Year rings in officially.  In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying your Holidays!

Cathy maroon

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kahlua and Cream-on-Cream

I thought that title was rather clever, for me. No, I am not drinking Kahlua and cream.  But I will explain.

The cream-on-cream refers to the wedding crazy quilt I am still working on.  Currently (as in yesterday, today and tomorrow) I am basting the quilt and a layer of thin batting to a false muslin back.  Hand quilting, actually, with large stitches.  It doesn’t show on the front, and it is just boring stitching on the back, so there are no pictures. But if that bothers you, raise your hand. . . .  Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, we will move on.

Yesterday my cousins Carrie and Kim (who are my age; I am actually their aunt by marriage)  came over for our regular Sunday “Sewing Day”.  Carrie’s daughter Jenny plus Kim’s granddaughter Trinity also came. I helped Trini finish her sewn Scottie Dog (no picture of hers, in peach and white). But that is all the sewing we did.  Oh, I know. I can show you the scottie I finished for my daughter Megan.  It`s an old vintage patchwork pattern from the Forties....

But getting back to “Sewing Day”.  It was actually Making Kahlua Day.  We made a quadruple batch (to divide up for 4 families).  Jenny shared this picture on her Facebook page and captioned it  “I hope we have enough...”.  One of her friends wrote back, “For what? An army?"

Oh yes, we take our Kahlua very seriously.  
Our Kahlua efforts. .  in any jar we could find !

Now we will need to soak off some of the old bottle labels so we can cover them with printed Kahlua labels.

Well, Bruce is home... so I am going to go upstairs to greet him. Then pour myself a Kahlua and eggnog.  Mmmmmm.... try it!

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

I am currently working on a commission quilt/wall hanging for a woman in Park City who has, during this long process, become a friend. This has been one of the most delightful projects I have ever worked on, and as the process draws to a close, I am simultaneously excited to see the finished project and sad that it will soon be over.

This will be a cream-on-cream wall hanging comprised of 20 8-inch blocks.  My client is giving this to her mother for Christmas, and we used her wedding dress that I salvaged from remnants of the dress and another strange wedding quilt (that someone else had tried to make. It had the entire bodice as the central piece and looked as though someone was coming through the quilt...... enough said). 

Every block contains a piece of the wedding dress fabric, and much of the lace is from the wedding dress as well. The recipient (my client’s mother) was a florist, so there are lots of lace, silk ribbon and other flowers throughout. The marquis shape of the center medallion echoes the shape of the lace pieces from the dress that are scattered throughout. There is even one entire sleeve cuff on the right side (to the right of central medallion). The central portion is all ribbon flowers (or yo-yos). I still need to add in a stem and some leaves. there will also be some seamwork below it. Lots of the blank-looking areas will be covered (as will many seams) by lacy little doilies or other lace motifs from the wedding dress.  Plus I will need to re-check that everything along the seam lines is secure after trimming/sewing the blocks. 

The back will contain a dedication with a picture of the wedding couple printed on silk.  I should be able to finish it this weekend or early next week. 

While I`m working on this, I am also working on a couple sewn Christmas gifts, which I will reveal at a later date. 

I`m linking to:

Cathy maroon

Friday, December 5, 2014

Saltwater Wedding Quilt Finished!

I am linking this post up to the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. Visit and vote here.

This quilt has been rumbling around in my head for a year and a half, since my DS Ryan married his love of many years, Kim.  We all went on a cruise in the summer of 2013 and then they got married on the beach at Cocoa Beach.

First, Ryan and Kim got to pick the colors, and then I showed them lots of pictures for style.  The quilt was loosely based on the pattern for a baby quilt called Flowers in the Sunshine by Sweet Jane on Etsy.  But we wanted a larger quilt, so essentially I began collecting fabric by quadrupling the size and fabric requirements.  Sometimes collecting fabric for a project is hard to stop, so I ended up with lots to chose from.   :-)

As I started the piecing process, I realized I wanted large motifs in the quilt, so worked out a plan to have four; a seahorse, a starfish, an anchor and a dolphin.

But I couldn`t leave out the octopus which was the featured character in Saltwater. So, he got pride of place as the large central motif.   For the octopus image, I traced the octo from Tula’s line, then kept enlarging and simplifying it (knowing I was going to have to stitch down every tentacle).

The other images I just pulled from the internet or my imagination and then enlarged.  All fabrics were backed with a fusible onto which I drew the pattern in reverse, then cut out.  They were fused to the white fabric and then stitched down before being pieced into the quilt.

I was waiting for a sunny day to get outside to take pictures, and once I got out, I kicked myself for not taking pictures when it was cloudy with more diffused light. So, these will need to be retaken.

After finishing, there was a lot of time spent snipping threads so they would not show through the white. And then it was off to be quilted (by Quilted Works in St. George, UT).  I love the swirls they did - reminds me of ocean water and looks especially nice with the backing print, Sea Debris from Saltwater.  The binding is scrappy leftovers.

Quilt Stats:  
Finished Size: 86 x 78”
Fabric:  Saltwater by Tula Pink (with bits of Les Amis, Luxe in Bloom and others) 
Backing: Sea Debris, Saltwater
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Easton, Kim, Ryan, Lauren

Although it’s been a year and a half since the wedding, (and over 8 years that they’ve been together as a family) this is the first wedding picture I have posted.  

Cathy maroon

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2015 Pantone Color of the Year

.....and YOU thought it was going to be teal, after all the Frozen/Elsa ice dress madness.  Ha!

Welcome to Marsala, a rich red-brown.  (I’m thinking chocolate....)  Pantone, Inc., who professes themselves to be "the authority on color, provider of color systems and leading technology for accurate communication of color” has named Marsala the 2015 Color of the Year.  

Now we can all run out and get Marsala lipstick, Marsala-colored fabric and shoes, Marsala wine (just for the heck of it), Marsala nail polish, Marsala this and Marsala that. Or not.

The entire Spring-Summer 2015 color palette is below and consists of (L-R, top to bottom): Aquamarine, Scuba Blue, Lucite Green (a retro color making a comeback), Classic Blue, Toasted Almond (warm neutral), Strawberry Ice, Tangerine, Custard, Marsala, and Glacier Gray (cool neutral).

If you are interested (color fascinates me), here is a link to the Pantone website.
(click here) .  There you will find a video of Lee Eiseman talking about these colors, as well as information on how colors are selected (who influences the choices).

So, will you be incorporating any of these colors into your art or wardrobe?


Cathy maroon

Eight Months Later. . .

This post could be subtitled “How I Spent My Summer” (and spring and fall. . . ), but hey. Life gets in the way. And it has been a great ride these last few months. . .   :-)

So, let`s do a whirlwind recap of what has been going on.

I think I last showed a picture/teaser of this pile of fabric.  It has since been made into a block and published in a calendar. Specifically, Pam Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs asked me to do the block for the 2015 calendar that accompanies her quarterly publication, Crazy Quilting Quarterly (to begin in Feburary of 2015).

From scraps. . . 

. . . to naked block. . .

. . to embellished block for June, 2015 calendar

Pam assigned me the month of June, with colors of pink and aqua (which I changed to blue) and a Marie Antoinette theme (which I changed to just 18th century French). I was able to use a lot of golden-dyed laces from my Etsy shop (link in sidebar).  Pastel blue and pink are not normally colors I work with, but I really enjoyed the creative stretch.  (Now, what should I do with the finished block??)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I also did a baby quilt for my daughter’s longtime friend, Riley, who had a cute baby girl last summer.

Baby quilt for Marlee

Beginning in early spring, my cousins (actually, Bruce`s nieces, who are my age, but it is easier to call ourselves cousins) and I began having regular sewing sessions at our place every Sunday. During the nice weather, we ate out on the patio and watched as the garden went from dirt, to raised planter boxes filled with dirt, fertilizer and seeds, to sprouting vegetables to a monster garden of tasty delights. Then back again to dead/dying plants that were dug up, mulched, etc. etc.

Before. Sorry, there are no “After” pics, LOL!

In my Etsy shop this spring, things were booming, so I hired my friend and neighbor, Mary, to help me for 10-12 hours per week.  Together we dyed and painted lace, ironed lace, shopped for and cut fabric into fabric packs. Mary took up a lot of the photography, which allowed me more time for listing and working on bookkeeping. I also now am a rep for a family-owned lace embroidery mill on the east coast, and have three large-ish customers who buy laces in bulk directly from me. They are a wedding store, an Australian bridal designer, and a lingerie company. Since school has started, Mary`s hours are fewer, but we still get together once or twice a week to catch up on all the “work” (too much fun to be called that) of running an Etsy business.

And here are sneak peeks of three quilts I have been working on.  My next post will show the finished sea-themed quilt and talk about that.  The cream-on-cream CQ is a private commission that I will publish after it is given to the recipient after Christmas.  The third one is a quilt for my son, Shane that I will finish later this month.

Top half of “Saltwater Wedding” quilt (pieced top)

Early progress on private commission crazy quilt

Testing a layout on quilt for son Shane. Design board was in use!

I plan to begin posting more regularly, with a shift toward regular quilting projects and sewing. I will still be crazy quilting, too, but for the foreseeable future will be primarily finishing UFOs (unfinished objects) and projects that have languished.

Watch for my Saltwater Wedding quilt post!


Cathy maroon