A Yoyo Lei for Rosalie

Looks like it’s my turn to wax nostalgic. Last week, my Friday class of 10 students met for brunch to bid our farewells to one of our dear friends, Rosalie. After spending the first 84 years of her life in California, she is now moving to Hawaii to be with her only daughter and family. Although we are delighted that she will be close to her family, we are saddened to see her leave. Wanting to gift her with something meaningful from all of us, we came up with the idea of making a yoyo lei; so perfect for her new home on the big island.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the yo-yos were placed into a small basket. During brunch, the basket was passed around and one by one we strung the yo-yos. It was such a lovely gathering of friends, remembering . . . .

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the special moments we shared together over the past 10 years,

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the many friendships that were formed,

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Rosalie’s joyful spirit and contagious giggle,

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her love of quilting and sharing stories of her dear grand dog, Finnegan,

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and the day we named her our team captain. You see, we often took breaks during class to shoot baskets on the basketball court next door to our classroom. As hard as we tried, no one could complete with our Rosalie! Here’s a photo of her with her jersey. She says it’s time to pass the torch. However, we must come to Hawaii to claim the title and the jersey! I see a trip in my future.

 

Rosalie with her team jersey.
Rosalie with her team jersey.

When the final yoyo was attached, the ends were joined and then placed over the head of our special guest of honor. The expression on her face says it all.

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Aloha, Sweet Rosalie.  You will be missed.

Laura Signature

Drafting From Ceiling Inspiration

It never ceases to amaze and excite me when and where I find inspiration for quilt designs. Last week during the final Shivassana, resting pose of yoga class, I opened my eyes to look closely at the ceiling tiles in the new studio. I have probably looked at this ceiling more than a dozen times, so why today did I see it in a new light? I’ll probably never know the answer to this, but I didn’t waste a minute to pull out my phone and take this photo.

Ceiling tiles at Indigo Yoga.
Ceiling tiles at Indigo Yoga.

I like all three of the block designs but decided to start with the one on the left; with the melon shapes. Out came my pad of graph paper, ruler and pencil to draft the block.

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It’s a pretty simple block and easy to construct. I could leave it as shown but the shadows in the photo inspired me to divide the shapes with more lines, allowing me to play with color and shading.

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I’m excited with the many possibilities and already starting to pull fabrics. I think I will work in neutrals. What do you think? The print in the foreground is the inspiration fabric I used for developing the color scheme. I may or may not use it in the quilt, we’ll see.

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I’ll share my new blocks later this week, or early next, so be sure to check back.

While I’m playing with fabrics and construction, please enjoy some photos of quilts from Quiltcon 2015, taken by our contributor, Carol van Zandt.

Piecing Category – Part 1 

Piecing Category – Part 2 

Would love to hear if you have recently “opened your eyes to any new and exciting quilt designs”. We always enjoy reading your stories.

Until next time, stay happy everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

Inspiration from Denver

Hello dear readers. March was such a whirlwind of travel adventures. It began with a family trip to Omaha, NE, then on to teaching a workshop at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, next to the Lakeview Quilters Guild in Texas and finally filming a new class for Craftsy in Denver. Whew! I am so very grateful for all the wonderful people I have met and worked with along the way but as Dorothy says, “there’s no place like home.”

While I was busy working, my husband was out enjoying the sites of Denver. There is a permanent quilt exhibit on display at the Denver Art Museum and when we returned home and I browsed through the many photos he took, I was delighted to see that he had taken some of the quilts. I must say I was a bit surprised but oh so happy that I can share them with you.

Here’s one I especially like.

"Silk Ties" by Sue Bulkeley, 1883-1970.
“Silk Ties” by Sue Bulkeley, 1883-1970.

The sign next to this quilt reads “Max M. Bulkeley (1883-1958), a lawyer in Wray, Colorado, served one term as U.S. Attorney and then lived in Denver. His wife, Sue, pieced together dozens of his neckties to create this kaleidoscopic pattern. Among the geometric designs in a nude woman wearing a floral lei – a risqué figure that would have been on the underside of the tie and only visible when the wearer picked up the end to reveal the island beauty beneath.”

Don’t you just love it when there are little surprises hidden with a quilt? Here’s a detail of the same quilt. Clearly it was tied but I’m wondering if it was foundation pieced?

Detail of Silk Ties by Sue Bulkeley.
Detail of Silk Ties by Sue Bulkeley.

Here’s another interesting quilt on display at the same exhibit.

'Labels" by Libbie Gottschalk.
‘Labels” by Libbie Gottschalk.

The sign next to this one reads “A mending project gone mad, Libbie Gottschalk’s label quilt started out as a way to preserve a beloved quilt that belonged to her grandfather. Over a thirty-year period she mended each new tear by applying labels from various articles of clothing and other possessions. Eventually, she decided to cover each side completely. This amazing assortment of logos and trademarks, many from Denver-area businesses, is a time capsule of retail-and produce-related graphic art.”

I wish I had been able to see this quilt in person, as there appears to be a real $1 bill stitched into the upper left-hand corner. Here’s a detail image of the same quilt.

Detail of Labels quilt by Libbie Gottschalk.
Detail of Labels quilt by Libbie Gottschalk.

We stayed at The Curtis Hotel, a uniquely fun downtown Denver Hotel. From the moment you walk through the front doors into the lobby you know you are in for a fun adventure, with cartoons playing and a five & dime offering treats from the past. Each of the guest room floors has a personality all its own. We stayed on the “Perfect Hair” floor where we were greeted with this wonderful carpeting. Please excuse the poor photo as the lighting in the hallway was terrible. Can’t you just imagine this as a quilt?

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I just may have to give this a try. I’m anxious to share with you more details of my new class with Craftsy. The editors are busy making final tweeks then it should be ready to go live around the end of May. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, as the recording in the hotel elevator says when you return to the first floor, “Stay Happy!”.

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

New Wedge Project Revealed

I just returned from a quick overnight getaway to one of my favorite places, The Monterey Bay Aquarium. My wonderful husband purchased “Behind the Scenes Tour” tickets for us to get up close and personal with the sea otters. The tour was spectacular, complete with fluffy baby otters. The tour was almost as good as the previous one we took last year on the jellies. I must admit however, the highlight for me was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus on display in the newly installed Tentacles exhibit. What a fascinating and magestic creature!

Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Our final walk on the beach this morning gave me the perfect setting to photograph my new beach totebag. My vision for this project was to design a circular beach totebag that would double as a groundcloth.  I used the large 36 degree rulers to cut fabric wedges. I doubled alternate spaces creating pockets for holding some beach necessities, such as sunscreen, flip-flops, sunglasses and waterbottles. There would be enough space in the middle of the bag to carry your towel, beach coverup and bikini ; ).

Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.
Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.

I used Kim Andersson’s new Tidal Lace line by Windham Fabrics and our new Making Waves pattern as inspiration to create a beach ball design on one side of the tote. The opposite side is a solid piece of vinyl covered cotton fabric. Everything was running smoothly until I came to adding the casing to the outer edge of the circle. Notice the rippling in the casing? Ugh!

Here's a close up of my problem.
Here’s a close up of my problem.

I’m generally not one to encourage pointing out disappointments, but in this case, I think there are two valuable tips I can share here. First, since I was working on a circular design, the casing strips should have been cut on the bias to prevent rippling. I didn’t have enough of the backing fabric to cut bias strips, so thought I might get away with some wide straight-grain cut strips . . . WRONG! I know better than this ; ). Second, I didn’t have my teflon presser foot with me while sewing on the vinyl fabric. Stitching with my regular foot only contributed to the problem. In an effort to resolve the situation, I put some blue painters tape on the bottom of my regular presser foot. This works in a pinch but I highly recommend using a teflon foot for any serious  sewing with these fabrics.

Sooo, not being happy with the end result, I decided to cut off the wobbly casing and attach a new bias cut strip. Finally, I inserted some cording/rope through the opening to create a drawstring strap. Ready to insert all my gear and head off to the beach.

A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.
A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.

I found a comfortable spot, spread out the tote and began setting up with some goodies purchased in town . . . local wine and Ghirdadelli chocolates!

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While I was setting up, I noticed that one of the locals was keeping a close eye on me!

One of the locals on the beach this morning.
One of the locals on the beach this morning.

Goodbye Monterey, until next time!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

Playing with Wedge Rulers

It’s been a crazy, busy week here but just want to pop in and share an apron design I made using some new and very large wedge rulers from Quint Measuring Systems, Inc. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the skirt is so cute and swishy when worn. Since I’m a huge lover of all dotted fabrics, this black and white became the perfect choice when combined with the beautiful large scale floral print. It’s super simple and sews up fairly quickly.

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Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.

Apron back sml

 

Ok, just one more shot since I couldn’t resist having the adorable Jamie Hirano of Wooden Gate Quilts model the finished product. Love the look on you, Jamie!

Apron Jamie sml

 

Here’s a sneak peek at another wedge project I am working on. Any guesses on what it will be? It was inspired by our new Making Waves quilt pattern.  It will be something that can be used along with the quilt. If all goes well, I’ll reveal the completed (not going to tell you) in my next post.

Hmmm, wonder what this will be?
Hmmm, wonder what this will be?

It’s been fun making these easy projects but I’m so anxious to design and make a new quilt. Feel like it’s been way too long.  I’ve just not been inspired, until this week when I came across this gorgeous print by M&S Textiles Australia. Yes, it is one piece, NOT pieced. Circles and stripes in jewel tones, oh my! I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll be away teaching at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next week and hope to find a few minutes in the evening to play and work out some new designs. Fingers crossed.

I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!
I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!

That’s it for today. Hope wherever you live, you are staying warm and cozy. It’s such a perfect time to be inside working on projects. Take advantage.

Until next time, keep your eyes open for inspiration, it’s everywhere.

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Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Linderman Shares Her Frida Kahlo Inspired Projects

Here she is, all decked out in her Frida Kahlo inspired vest. With a passion for color and design, quilt artist Margaret Linderman finds inspiration in the works of painter, Frida Kahlo. From quilts, to wearable arts and collage works, it’s evident that this talented woman just oozes creativity. It’s who she is and what she does.

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.
This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.

If you missed my last post about Margaret’s recent surprise birthday party and beautiful Frida Kahlo quilt, simply click here to read about this special day. As promised, here are just a few of the many projects Margaret has made over the years. Enjoy!

Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.
Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.

 

Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.
Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.

 

Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.
Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.

Margaret joined the hexagons with marigold as she tells me that this color is the custom used on graves for All Souls Day.

Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret's granddaughter.
Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret’s granddaughter.

 

A beautiful example of Margaret's collage work used to border her silk jacket.
A beautiful example of Margaret’s collage work used to border her silk jacket.

 

A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.
A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.

 

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Couldn’t resist sharing with you some of the beautiful silver bracelets Margaret is known for wearing.

A sampling of Margaret's collection of silver bracelets.
A sampling of Margaret’s collection of silver bracelets.

Here’s the cover of one of Margaret’s favorite books on Frida . . . obviously chock full of inspiration.

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Thanks for stopping in today and wishing  you all a week filled with inspiration. Until next time…

Laura Signature

 

 

Quilter, Margaret Linderman Inspired by the Works of Frida Kahlo

Margaret wears a beautiful Frida Kahlo inspired headpiece made by Erica Cronin.
Margaret wears a beautiful Frida Kahlo inspired headpiece made by Erica Cronin.

Classy, kind, generous, talented, and gracious are just a few of the many adjectives one could use to describe one of our beloved local quilters, Margaret Linderman. Although Margaret has been the subject of a past post, her recent surprise birthday party inspired me to share with you the magic of that special day and  Frida Kahlo, the woman whose  paintings inspire much of Margaret’s beautiful work.

If you are not familiar with Frida Kahlo, you can visit this website which contains a wealth of biographical information along with images of her work.

Margaret has many interests, among them being quiltmaking and  wearable arts. Her work has been featured at both local quilt quild shows as well as the Pacific International Quilt Festival. In a recent interview, here’s what Margaret has to say about her interest in Frida Kahlo.

1.When did you first become interested in the work of Frida Kahlo?

In grade school (I was a student at the lab school at SDState) we studied murals. The school had a wonderful one in a hallway, so I became familiar with Diego Rivera, Mexico’s preeminent muralist. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in late 70s, I was invited to view a documentary about Frida Kahlo at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. I only knew that she was the wife of Diego Rivera. My eyes were opened and I was curious to find out more about her. I particularly loved her costumes, her passion for animals and native plants that were evident in many of her paintings. I had always loved folkloric colors, costumes, and fabrics. At that time I was primarily interested in Art-to-Wear and small fiber constructions. When Alexander Henry issued their first Frida Kahlo fabric, I knew a Frida vest and jacket were about to emerge using techniques I had just learned at Empty Spools Seminars, a fabric collage class taught by Rosemary Eichorn.

Frida Kahlo fabric by Alexander Henry.
Frida Kahlo fabric by Alexander Henry.

2. What is it about Frida’s work that inspires you?

I saw the fabulous exhibit at SFMoMa of Frida’s work. I also saw the photographic exhibit in San Jose. Frida’s use of bold colors, dark subjects, and native flora and fauna inspired me to incorporate them into my work.

Magnolias by Frida Kahlo
Magnolias by Frida Kahlo
Fruits of the Earth by Frida Kahlo
Fruits of the Earth by Frida Kahlo

3. How do you use her designs, colors, etc. in your own work?

After taking Alethea Ballard’s  wonderful dream chair class, I knew I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of Frida’s paintings. The Frida and Diego Dream chair was that piece. I have continued to use images that were reminiscent of her work–but perhaps a little brighter. I am also a huge fan of the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day customs. Those images play well with Frida themes.

Margaret Linderman's "Dream Chair". Pattern by Alethea Ballard.
Margaret Linderman’s “Dream Chair”. Pattern by Alethea Ballard.

 

4.What types of projects have you made that reflect this inspiration?

Several quilts, vests, coats, and wall pieces dance with folkloric themes that are already completed.
I have a couple in the design process that incorporate floral tributes, skulls, and images of Frida.

It was no surprise that Margaret arrived at the party wearing one of her Frida inspired jackets.
It was no surprise that Margaret arrived at the party wearing one of her Frida inspired jackets.

In addition, I was lucky enough to have been gifted a lovely book about Frida Kahlo with commentary by Judy Chicago:  turning pages brings me information and images. And now I have my very own Frida quilt made for me by my friends and organized by my daughter, Janis and friends.

Margaret shares a special moment with her beautiful daughter, Janis Stob and dear friend, Alethea Ballard.
Margaret shares a special moment with her beautiful daughter, Janis Stob and dear friend, Alethea Ballard.
Friday Kahlo inspired birthday quilt for Margaaret.
Friday Kahlo inspired birthday quilt for Margaaret.
Detail showing center of quilt.
Detail showing center of quilt.

Be sure to check back on Friday as we share a gallery of Margaret’s work.

Until then, Happy January everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

Simple Wedge Tree Skirt

Friday already? Yikes! I’m still curious about where November went. I’m guessing like many of you, this is a busy time of the year. Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on me and then I start rushing in preparation for Christmas. I’m not one to purchase gifts throughout the year, but instead I wait until I’m inspired. I guess that’s why they call me “Last-Minute Laura.” Oh well, it works for me.

I’m still organizing my sewing/quilting room and promise to share photos as soon as it is ready for viewing. It amazes me how much stuff one person can collect over a 30-year period. I am happy to report that I HAVE donated lots of it, but there is still so much left to organize . . . one box at a time.

I needed to take a break from all the boring work and decided to do something simple and creative. I may be one of the last sewers/quilters who wraps the base of the family tree with a piece of holiday-printed fabric. Not this year, I decided it was time to actually make a proper skirt for our tree.

Our tree isn't up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.
Our tree isn’t up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.

I was recently given a 9-degree wedge ruler and thought it might be fun to cut and sew pieces together to form the needed circle. It’s pretty simple, and just 5 fat quarters are needed to make this skirt.

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After sewing the 40 wedges together, I felt it needed some decorative trim around the edge. Prairie points! After sewing them on I preferred the look of them folded inward and so I decided to secure them through the layers with red beads. I think it makes for a nice finishing touch.

Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.
Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.

OK, skirt done. Now I just need to get the tree up so I can enjoy the new look, at least until the presents make their appearance. Speaking of presents, here’s a fun website I stumbled across today. If you enjoy unique gift wrappings you will enjoying watching the many tutorials. I am anxious to try the pleated one, it’s adorable. Click here to watch the beautiful Japanese gift wrapping by SHIHO Style and Design.

Enjoy!

Laura Signature

Blackbirds & Blossoms OH-LA-LA! Our Completed Quilt-Along Quilt

Quilt-Along-J:  Center blockHow did December sneak up on us so quickly? Seems like were were just introducing our first Quilt-Along quilt and, in the blink of an eye, we are revealing the finished product. With the help of our talented friend and long-arm quilter Cyndy Rymer we were able to complete it in time for this post. I attached the binding last night and, since we had a bit of sunshine today, I was able to take a few nice shots outdoors.

We are quite pleased with the quilt and hope you feel the same. If you have been following along and have any photos to share, we would love for you to send them our way. We always enjoy seeing your work.

Sooooo drumroll . . .  here are some photos showing an overview as well as details shots featuring some of the design motifs Cyndy used throughout the quilt.  I am also adding some notes that Cyndy made about her quilting design process.

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Cyndy: “I have to admit it was a terrifying honor to be asked to quilt the fabulous quilt-along project that Laura, Jennifer, and Pati created. But hey, I love a good challenge. And the quilt suits my taste – very whimsical and fun. I’m still a young punk in the world of long-arm quilting, and I admit to hanging out on every pro quilter’s corner looking for tips. Last year, I bought a Nolting Pro 24 machine with an Intelliquilter computer system, which allows me to use other designer’s digitized designs as well as those of my own design. And, I have to admit, this was my first stab at designing. Let me tell you, it is NOT easy. I created the quilted designs in the large triangles, but the stitching path was not very elegant. I used the repeated circles in the quilt as the inspiration for most of the quilting, but did free-motion echo quilting in the areas around the center of the quilt. I thought about feathers for the outer border, but thought a vine with circles and leaves to be more appropriate. Hope you agree! What fun.

 

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Check out our Pinterest Board to see all the photos of the quilt, and all of the projects that were inspired by this quilt. Blackbirds and Blossoms Pinterest Board

Happy December everyone! Hope you have enjoyed the project as well as the insights of our quilter, Cyndy Rymer.

Until next time, happy holidays!

Laura Signature