Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One step at a time

The first technique we all learned at Marilyn's Melrose Inn Quilting retreat was called split fingers.  In most cases, we chose two strong colors and two complementary ones, sewed one strong to one complementary in a long strip on both sides of the strip and then cut out our wedges.  In my case, I used a strong teal and a light fabric with light teal and fuschia on it, plus a strong fuschia with a light pink. That made two sets of split fingers for me, which I could use as wings for butterflies or flowers.  The quilt above is one of Marilyn's critters, and down below is another example of how that technique can be used.

In this picture, it is the circle made with the pinks on the far right, lower section that uses the split fingers.  Some other techniques you see in this picture are the spiral (lower center, left), the chevron (blue, above center) and the blaze (far left). 

This is one of Marilyn's sample quilts that shows the flip flop method of cutting the strata.  It looks so pretty -- like stained glass.

And lastly, here's a teaser using several of the techniques to make flowers and bugs.  The leaves were another part of the class and will come later.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Melrose Inn and Artist Retreat Center

 Last Saturday my quilting buddy, Mary, and I embarked on an adventure.  We traveled to the quaint little town of Tryon, NC in order to take a week long course in design using the 9 degree ruler developed by Marilyn Doheny.  The trip was going to take us several hours, some of which were planned to be spent shopping at quilt shops along the way.  But first, in Greensboro, NC, we came upon the Gingher factory sale!  Mats, rulers and scissors for $1 or so.  We loaded up, and so did many other individuals as well as shop owners.

It was like Christmas!  We also took in Mary Jo's in Gastonia, NC, which, if you have never been there, is worth a day trip at some point in your life.  After these two shopping sprees, I was feeling overwhelmed.  Eventually we found a darling little tea shop in Gastonia and had  a delicious lunch at Chantilly's Tea Room and Restaurant. 

Finally, we arrived in Tryon, NC and cautiously drove up the hilly and winding streets until we came upon the lovely old Melrose Inn.  Presently, Marilyn Doheny is refurbishing it, but in the midst of decorating the rooms, the plumbing failed, and she had to attend to more basic needs before she could continue.  However, eight of the nineteen guest rooms are prepared for guests, each with a unique theme.  My room was call Floral Abundance.  Mary's was the Egyptian Room.  There are other motifs in play, such as the Equestrian Room and the Angel Room, but you really have to see it for yourself.

The Inn presents as a bed and breakfast, complete with downhome welcome and resplendent with European old world charm.  Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Marilyn is developing it as an artist retreat and offers week long classes in her signature style of art quilting as well as acting as its gourmet chef.  No French fries and hotdogs here -- you will dine on intriguing dishes like braised chicken with blueberry chipotle sauce and butternut squash sprinkled with olive oil and baked until meltingly smooth on the palate. 

As finances and planning permit, the 112 year old Inn will be brought back to its original glory, but this will be many years in the doing since Marilyn is also a well known quilting teacher and author, traveling to Europe and Australia as well as across the United States in order to educate those who wish to challenge themselves with quilts that are truly unusual.

You will see some of those quilts as I show you my progress in my own development along these lines, but for now, here is my background quilt, on which each lesson was auditioned, pinned and will be appliqued at some point.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Racing to the finish ... or should I say, Start?!

Here we go!  The countdown is on!  And Mary and I are racing towards the finish!  Or should I say the start?  We are going on an adventure to Marilyn Doheny's Melrose Inn and will be working with the 9 degree ruler to make a garden, complete with flowers and critters!  But first, we have work to do.  At least, I did.  Do.  This lovely quilt above is Dot F's granddaughter, Danielle's first quilt.  Pretty neat, isn't it?  The colors are lovely, and the log cabin design is very pleasing.

Here's a closer look at the junction of four of the log cabins.  I used feathers in the lighter half and bars in the darker one.

Danielle loves hearts, so I put them in wherever I could.  This is one of the small borders.

And here's the outer border.  The hearts here are upside down.

I also needed to finish Jane R's quilt before I left.  Don't forget that you can click directly on a picture, and it will enlarge for you so you can see the detail better.

But, just in case you want me to do it for you, here's a closeup of the pantograph.  It's called Sweetheart Garden and is one of my favorites.

Last, but not least (well, maybe least...) I finally quilted this one called Cubic Ribbons, made from one of Marilyn Doheny's classes on the 9 degree ruler.  I like the play on perspective, don't you?  And the Escher-like winding of the ribbons across and down each other.

And now, off to my lurkim.  (Who can tell me where I got that word?)  I still have all my strata to cut and sew.  Mary is way ahead of me on this one. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Well, looky here!  Armed with new timing, a non-copper gasket and a new carburetor, DH once again took to the dirt track in his go cart AND WON FIRST PLACE!!!  Atta boy!  I think I am more proud of him for patiently, time consumingly, tirelessly and systematically going through each "organ system" of his engine and finding out the (multiple!) causes of its failure to perform than I am of his actually running the race and winning!  Talk about sticktoitiveness!

I'm taking a page from his book to finish this week's customer quilts.  I have two more to do, and hopefully one of my own as show and tell,  before I can jump in the car with best bud Mary and head for the Melrose Inn, Marilyn Doheny, and Tryon, NC.  On the way, we're going to stop at the Gingher factory's closeout sale in Greensboro, NC, then to Ye Olde Forest Quilters, also in Greensboro, to Mary Jo's in Gastonia, NC, and then finally to Tryon and our week long quilt retreat!  O frabjous day!  Calloo! Callay!  ( Does anyone know where I got that phrase?)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

60 and counting

Today is DH's 60th birthday.  He's in mourning.  Now, I am 6 years his senior, so to me  the 60's are no big deal anymore, and they carry with them RETIREMENT!  Well, I retired, technically, 10 years ago when my knee got busted up too much to continue working.  But that magic "65" or even "62" looms brightly just at the horizon.  He believes he is going to have to work until he falls over dead, given today's economy and the fools who are running the country at the moment, so turning 60 is a bummer for him.  Considering his lifestyle in his youth, it's a wonder he's made it this far, so I think it's tremendous cause for celebration.  In my humble opinion.

So, after putting in a full day of work, after dinner most evenings, he putters about in his man cave, rebuilding motors and replacing gaskets.  These high performance motors blow when conditions aren't perfect, and he has had his share of problems with his engines.  I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about timing wheels and top dead center (TDC)  and before top dead center (BTDC) and how many degrees it has to be for the spark plug to fire on time.  I feel like Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny", only I'm not as cute.  And my biological clock stopped ticking a long time ago.

He says he relaxes with his go cart racing.  Now for me, this is NOT the way to spend the hours -- going around in circles and getting nowhere, but it seems to hold tremendous appeal to those of the male persuasion.  And as I tell my friend, Mary, if he has to obsess about something, I'm just glad it's not a red sports car and a hot blonde.

So, you know how you wish an actor luck on opening night?  You say "Break a leg".  Of course, you don't really mean that you hope the poor guy actually breaks a leg, but supposedly it's bad luck to wish an actor good luck.  So you say break a leg.  I guess that's supposed to deflect the gods' malevolent attention to your looming success onstage.

Well, in racing, it's similar.  At least, in our household it is.  Because of all the rebuilding and parts replacements and redrilling of these motors, when DH goes bounding out of the house on Saturday mornings, heading for the racetrack, I say, "Blow a gasket!"  Now, wouldn't you know, this is the only time in his life that he actually pays attention to me and blows the gasket -- regularly -- every race!  If he can keep the darn thing running, he should win, place or show.  He's been bringing home trophies up until about 4 weeks ago when his newest engine just decided to stop in the middle of the track on several occasions.  I hope he's got it figured out now.  Meanwhile, I think I should keep my mouth shut....

And that's how he's spending his birthday night -- working on another engine in preparation for a big race this weekend.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I have finally finished Joyce T's quilt.  Poor dear.  Hers was the quilt I was working on when my Y axis motor to the IQ broke down.  Not only did it take several deliveries of parts, but it took me several days to know that other parts were needed as I fumbled my way through replacing my own motors!  Hmmmmm.  There's a theme in this family... 

I tried out the new motors with some practice quilts and then  determined that it was safe to finish Joyce's quilt.  Here's a closeup of the pantograph I did for her.  If you click on any of these pictures, they will come up in a much larger size so you can see details better.  I used one of my favorite variegated threads by King Tut:  Joseph's Coat. 

Tomorrow is another day, and another quilt on the frame, all ready for me.  Hurray!