It’s a “Hazy Shade of Winter” at SHWS, but I Will Conquer Xmas!

Despite not having to tackle my traditional major family party on the 24th, I have a feeling that Christmas is running away from me this year. We’re already in double digits on the December calendar?!? Where did the time go between that last bite of pumpkin pie and today? [soundtrack:  primal, panicked scream!] Keep it together, woman!

Okay, enough with the hysteria, here’s one of my accomplishments from this week:  a completed quilt. You might recall my posts on a quilt of crosses called Purple Haze (here’s the first post). I was on the fence about the finished quilt top. The good news is that I am a fan now! That attitude switch comes courtesy of Kathy August, the long arm quilter who took my quilt from slightly odd to FAB-U-LOUS!

Quilt-J:  Detail of reverse side of Jennifer's Purple Haze
Long-arm quilter Kathy August outlined each bird and then quilted the top in unevenly spaced horizontal lines.
Quilt-J:  Detail of Jennifer's Purple Haze
Front side of Purple Haze–can you see the bird outlines?

Kathy actually finished the quilting in October, along with my son’s birthday quilt, but I pretty much ignored the purple monster until last Thursday night when I picked up the folded quilt from the corner of the floor of my husband’s empty office-in-the-making, where it had languished for many weeks.

Quilt-J:  Auditioning binding for Jennifer's Purple Haze
Auditioning the Kaffe Fasset stripe from Westminster Fabric.

A striped fabric was my top choice for binding, although my stash was a bit thin on color/quantity candidates. I found about a half-yard of a Kaffe Fassett Westminister stripe with a sizable bias-sliced chunk removed. No way sufficient for a queen-size quilt. Ah well. I gathered the candidates and, the next day, took them to my friend Cyndy Rymer’s for an impromptu lunch with my quilt/dining group. Turns out they were in unanimous support of the stripe, which put an annoying internet fabric search for more yardage on my agenda. Until, that is, Cynderella went stash diving in her collection and found a complete set of 3-inch strips of that very fabric in her Kaffe box. (She’s got some wonders locked away in that fabric treasure trove!) Christmas lesson:  Seek and ye shall find.

Quilt-J:  Detail view of binding, Jennifer's Purple Haze
Detail view of finished binding

It’s truly amazing how well-planned and executed quilting (Kathy August’s amazing spin on my original minimal idea) plus a perfect binding candidate can win over a doubting quilt maker. I am enchanted by the result. I love it! That’s very good because I’ve got bedrooms to furnish for the return of my fellas for the holidays . . . they’ll have to flip a coin for the bed with the fancy new quilt.

Quilt-J:  Jennifer's Purple Haze
I had the B Team holding the quilt today, my A Team has grown up and launched. Looks like I’ve got to train the new guys on quilt holding techniques cuz, among other things, I just realized the quilt needs a flip to the right.

See ya Friday here at SHWS . . . perhaps I’ll reach holiday zen by then, but I’m not optimistic. In the meantime, though, take a gander at my stress-relieving effort for the Christmas season–month-long Ballet Conditioning classes led by Katarina Wester, a former soloist at the Royal Opera Ballet in Stockholm, Sweden and an incomparable teacher. (Jennifer was not harmed as a result of Katarina squishing her straddle split because she weighs nothing, but J. may be very sore tomorrow!)

Inspiration-J:  Katarina Wester's hard-core conditioning class

p.s.  Hazy Shade of Winter–Paul Simon!


Jennifer Signature


Another Week, Another Quilt, Another Giveaway Winner

Quilt-J: Fat Quarter Quilt
Freshly pieced and now ready for quilting.

Another week, another quilt. Yeah, I’m slowing down and looking for a break from the quilt-making frenzy after this. I’ve got a deadline though, a serious deadline to finish this next quilt. My sister-in-law Laurence is coming from France for her daughter’s bridal shower here in the U.S. and I’m making her a quilt for a milestone birthday she celebrated recently. I was going to take it to Europe for the wedding, but as she’s heading my way . .  . might as well use her arrival as my finishing goal.  I’ll probably have to stitch on the faced binding as we drive to the shower.

Book-J:  Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott

I picked up Jelly Roll Quilts by the Lintotts, an English mother/daughter duo,  at Back Porch Fabric last fall. Gail Abeloe, the shop owner, had a colorful sample quilt from the book in the shop when I visited. Gotta admit, I’m a sucker for quilts with lots of colors paired with white and so, naturally, I succumbed and bought the book. Like Gail, I’m going for a multi-color palette. I’m stash-busting again and pilfering the leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett hexagon quilt I just finished.

Quilt-J:  Fat Quarter QuiltOf course, I like designing my own quilts, but sometimes, following another’s inspiration is liberating, especially when the instructions are so easy to follow.

Quilt-J:  Fat Quarter Quilt DetailWouldn’t you know, I even found leftover strips in my stash from a tenth-anniversary quilt I made for my brother and sister-in-law that I had to drop into this new quilt. See those Hoffman Fabrics butterflies? I loved those butterflies back then and I’m still attached. It’s a great print and I wish I had more, but as we well know, there’s always something out there even more tantalizing.  Just check out my backing and binding options below . . .

Fabric-J: Faced Binding Fabrics for Fat Quarter Quilt

A trip to my local quilt shop Wooden Gate Quilts yielded a trove of new Westminster Fabrics. The paisley is the backing, the zigzag print is the binding, and the green floral will be the corner triangles. Yes, I’m doing a faced binding just like the one in my Tuesday post. If you’re fabric shopping in the Danville, CA, area this weekend, do take advantage of a special at Wooden Gate Quilts on the third Saturdays of the month–a discount for the purchase of backing fabric when you bring in a completed quilt top. Follow the rules–the completed top is essential for the promotion.

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks so much for all the interest in faced bindings. That method (and its iterations) is a wonderful addition to your arsenal of quilt-making techniques. Keep your eyes peeled for the June issue of The Quilt Life and check out the comment from Sally2 who used American Quilter Projects 2007  for how-to’s. The winner is Brita, who would like me to make her a sunshiny quilt–Ha! Congratulations!

It’s been a tough week for the American psyche so I’m going to close with a floral tribute. We quilters celebrate beauty, charity, and goodness–all are defenses against malevolence. Jennifer

One element of a design--a ranunculus blossom.