Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Color Study Baby Quilt Gifted

"The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. 
Some people have many blessing and hoard them.
Some have few and give everything away." 
~ Fred Rogers ~

I've certainly been on a quilting roll these past few weeks. There's lots of non-sewing stuff to do, too, but I'm incentivized by the number of babies arriving soon. {So much for the plan to have a small stack at the ready. These are heading out as fast as they are finished.} Not that I'm complaining.

The first, larger Color Study was quilted and gifted a couple of months ago to a special friend who shares my love of color. These blocks were the "leftovers"; the extras. Still bright; just enough for a baby/toddler quilt. Only waiting for another person whose heart sings with color. And then...

A young friend is expecting her second baby. Her oldest received Suhavi's Stars and this one almost matches it in cheerful color...

Color Study 2 Chinese Coins baby quilt for a second baby

 especially with the addition of bright orange on the back!

Color Study 2 baby quilt binding and quilting details

My first thought was to bind it in similar bright oranges but they didn't show well with the back. Given all the colors, no binding seemed to work with them all. There are; however, many green and blue fabrics which blended well with this green stripe binding. It looks good against the orange back, too.

Since the idea worked so well last time, I quilted with the same cross-hatching as the first Color Study. Certainly running quilting lines in two directions adds strength; always an important point when the quilt will get so much use.

It arrived just before the baby. Hooray.

Size: 45" x 45"
Pattern: Chinese Coins variation
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: Aurifil 50-wt grey cotton 
Quilting: Walking foot grid

Previous post: Sewing the top

A big Thank You to the many hundreds of you who've updated your blogs to the safer https form. So many people have emailed, posted comments, and actually flipped the switch on their blogs. I'm thrilled. Quilters are a strong, kind, and helpful group. You've shown it again with your commitment to helping keep the internet safe for everyone.  🎉🎉

Let's keep the momentum going. Check your sidebar blogs for https and let those quilters know that their blog needs to be switched also. Simply hover over the blog title. If it starts with https, it's safe. If not, it's not.

The next AHIQ invitation is posted. We hope you’ll join us.

Finally: guess who came to dinner? While walking to dinner last night we spied a pair of raccoons playing in the gutter.

A pair of raccoons in the gutter

They quickly hid but then popped out again to see if we'd share. A reminder that wildlife is more adaptable than we think.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, January 12, 2019

How Safe is Your Site?

Last year I posted about switching to https from http. If you haven't done this, you need to read the post and make the change. It's VERY EASY to do. This is a safety and security issue even if {like me} you aren't a commercial site. Why? Http is an old system and has serious and known flaws that allow hackers to breach your site.

Recently I noticed several of my old linkups mysteriously had a photo of a car added to the quilts. My site is https but the linkup company I used had a flaw that Google warned me about. Simply deleting the linkup wasn't enough. Those linkups with the car photo stubbornly remained. The hackers came through that flaw and added the code into MY post. I had to delete the string of code in HTML. {I'm a not a professional coder so my solution was to delete everything from my signature on down.} If you check, you'll see the explanation I added.

What I did NOT do was click on that car link. That could have compromised my computer. By adding their own link, the hackers could make it point to any site they wanted. I'm sure "sinister people" pay them to link a porn site, a bitcoin or Nigerian scam, or something else through my innocent post. I'd seen an uptick in odd sites to my blog and was trying to track them down.

If you don't have https and/or you link to sites that aren't https, you are helping criminals. Please don't. 

The world moves on.

Lately some of the blogs on my sidebar have been "coming up blank." I click on them but the page doesn't appear. In fact, all that appears is one of these icons.

I use Chrome, a Google product. In May, Google announced they would start flagging insecure sites because most sites worldwide now use https and it's better to call out the laggards. Now it appears they've moved to the next step to help keep us all safe: Chrome won't let me go to sites that aren't https. I asked DH and found out I could override this choice. Hey, I'm an adult. But that would be like taking those stupid ridiculous bird box challenges.

I mean, really.

If the experts {among whom I am NOT included} think it's foolhardy to go to an insecure site, why would I override them? Even if your site is only an innocuous quilting blog, too many nasty people can hack in through it. So...

I checked and I can get there on Safari. But I won't. If you aren't https:, you won't see me until you are.

Please. And thank you. Ann

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Finish and an Annual Review

Still turning tops into quilts and this is the latest. Hooray. Simple parallel lines using the walking foot always make an effective design on Coins. 

Chinese Coins XI quilt
One of my irrational fears is that the seam will fray or rip. Stitching in the ditch is one way to assuage that, plus it helps stabilize the layers when quilting on a domestic machine. Then I stitch a "presser foot" away from the seam on each side and end by halving the remaining space until it looks right.

Parallel quilting on Chinese Coins XI quilt
I planned to quilt with blue thread until I looked at the back. It's all peach so a change of plan was in order.  There was just enough of the daisies on aqua fabric for binding. It makes a good contrast with the back while also blending with the front.

Binding and backing of Chinese Coins XI quilt
After a couple of days quilting, this one is ready to go.

Quilt Details
Size: 58" x 62"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: Peach Gutterman cotton
Quilting: Walking foot parallel lines

Previous posts:

  1. Using scraps
  2. Top sewn

2018 Review

Finding myself in an extremely prolific "quilt-'em'-up-and-move-'em-out" mode, it's difficult to stop and write a thoughtful post about the past year. One lazy excuse is that finished 2018 quilts already have their own page; however, reflecting on my previous goals versus results helped the last two years... although I seem to ignore goals at will. The tally? Seventeen quilts, one Christmas stocking, and one quilt repair. More were small. {Another goal met.} Nine baby, four toddler/lap size and four full size quilts. 

Looking back, this has been a year of Chinese Coins quilts. The overwhelming reason/excuse is the September workshop for my guild. Deadlines are always an incentive. Paying attention to fabric selection was a goal that is visible in these quilts. It is evident {to me at least} in the original fabric pulls as well as the many columns of colors. I enjoyed those first pulls and then sorting them by values, colors, or arranging them randomly.  

Eight finished quilts were Chinese Coin variations while four spun out of the Bars workshop. Only one was specifically for me. Two Coins are held for future workshops but everything else was gifted or is ready to be. 
Most of the Coin quilts have a similar arrangement as I worked through iterative examples of the class but a few explore some other ways to use Coins such as Medallions and Stacked Coins.  

Representative sample of 2018 finished quilts 

I drafted the Racetrack quilt and used templates for the Spiderweb but improvised the others. For me that means working in small units and pausing along the way to see what is needed for the next step. Repetition is important and usually some grid-like structures. While I admire wild piecing, it's not what I create. In fact, the past year is mostly one block designs. Scientific Pinwheels is the only one combining two blocks: Coins and pinwheels in two sizes. I think I'll expand my design choices a bit in 2019. 

About half of my 2018 plans were met: smaller quilts, simpler quilting designs, using scraps + recyclables + new fabrics, and paying attention to color selection. A couple of quilts have more details but that effort could be improved. So far, so good. 

On the other hand, none of the listed quilts was finished nor did I write the baseball quilt pattern. My idea was to post it through Craftsy. However, they've been sold and deleted many existing patterns/contributors so that doesn't seem viable. I'll have to find another way to publish - if I ever get it done. Any advice is welcome.

Overall last year's plans are things I want to continue. {Perhaps those WIPs will actually be finished this time around. Ha.} The Square Deal, which started from leftover Coins, is almost ready to be quilted. Considering how much I like borders, I've become lax/lazy with them... they are frequently missing and that needs to change.

Finally I purchased some clothing patterns and pulled out a few old ones. Finding clothes that fit my more casual lifestyle is difficult and this may be a solution. Ideally I would have clothes that fit in fabrics and colors I prefer. We'll see. 

2019 Plans
  1. Write it up: baseball quilt pattern.
  2. Keep them moving: quilt tops and finish several WIPs.
  3. Consider: borders, stars, and medallions. 
  4. Continue combinations: recycled + scraps + new fabrics; traditional + improvisation + original designs. 
  5. Sew some clothes.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Quilt Repair, Lights, and an Infinity Scarf

Happy New Year! Hopefully 2019 is a year of recovery and peace worldwide; a time for us to embrace the best of our beliefs in common humanity and kindness.

In addition to human grandchildren, I have two granddogs {GD1 and GD2.} GD1 has the charming habit of digging underwear out of the dirty laundry, draping it around his neck and prancing around the house whenever guests are present. {No photos of this; just take my word for it.}

GD2 has a very delicate constitution which somehow still allows him to eat aforementioned underwear, socks, and parts of quilts. The first two are funny, until you have to take him to the vet. The latter is always reprehensible. We hope he is growing out of this stage but truthfully, it's only slowing down thus far.

Last time I visited, several chewed quilts came to my attention. Most of them I tossed and replaced {with their permission} but one had too many memories - a high school t-shirt quilt now hosting three holes. One on the border, a small one in the interior and a very large one {almost one entire shirt.} Home it came for repairs.

Repaired t-shirt quilt

First I washed the quilt. Then, after measuring the holes, I covered them with the same Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly batting, zigzagged around the perimeter of the hole, and trimmed the batting back to that stitch line.

Next I patched the backs. I pulled a red and a blue fabric to patch the smaller two holes back and front. The rectangles were cut and turned before being hand stitched in place. No, I didn't try to "match" the mend on each side. It seemed better to minimize some of the seam bulk by letting them do their own thing.

After much deliberation I used a busy outer space themed fabric to repair the front. I considered making a block {plane, car, flying geese, cross} to fill the area but decided the diner dome {sort of } matched the snowy mountain on the original t-shirt. And the color definitely fits the quilt well.

The largest hole uses some leftover improv blocks on the back. Sadly part of his name was chewed away. The improv pieces seemed to fit that center though; even the colors blend well. Who'd have thought?

Mended t-shirt quilt back

With both sides mended, I free-motion quilted the repairs, then bound the section on the edge.

It's back with the original recipient. Hopefully, GD2 won't need a midnight snack again.


DH outdid himself for Christmas. I mentioned needing LED lights like Lynne posted at Patcherie Menagerie and he bought me two.

Slightly different maker but they certainly light up my quilts. Only 20 watts but 1400-1600 lumens each. What a difference. Thanks for the tip, Lynne.


Going into cleanup mode, I almost tossed the silk remnant I purchased three years ago. Then I found some silk thread in the drawer. I gave myself an evening to finally make the infinity scarf or toss them. The deadline was met.

Silk infinity scarf
Most of my scarves are bright so these soft colors were an attempt to try something different. I'm not sure if it needs edge stitching. It's hard to get a sharp edge on this material. And I've no idea how it will wash. Or if it's only dry cleanable. I'll have to call the shop and ask.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Newest Christmas Stocking

Merry Christmas, y'all!

The year began with the intention of finishing a Christmas stocking for G3 {the newest grandchild} by summer. That plan quickly dropped by the wayside. I finally finished it mid-December, working almost to the wire. It's the cutest one yet - if you like gaudy and loud.

The white rectangle covers the recipient's name for privacy but it's written in green sequins for extra bling. 'Cause Texans can never have enough!

G3 Christmas stocking

All the stockings I've made have a Christmas tree

Christmas tree and mitten on velveteen stocking

and an event from space that occurred in their birth year. This one is the Juno satellite circumnavigating Jupiter's poles. Juno is still actively exploring Jupiter. In fact, NASA posts photos regularly on its feed and social media. 

Juno satellite circumnavigating Jupiter, beaded Christmas stocking

Then it's open season on ornaments. My mother's stocking had pink bells which reprised on her namesake's. That was fun.

Beaded Christmas bells on a stocking

DH suggested holly when I ran out of ideas. Well, I didn't run out of ideas but many don't work out given my limited artistic ability and use of sequins. A tiny manger was one charming idea that was never realized {Who'd believe sequins and mangers don't go together?} although there is hope I might fashion a sheep one day...

Holly and berries beaded on a Christmas stocking

Most stockings have six or seven felt-and-sequin ornaments. Any remaining space is filled with shiny snowflakes, stars, and random buttons and beads. The deer and bird buttons were special finds at a quilt show. They are plastic with a shank on the back. Very easy to add and non-toxic. The bird fit perfectly on the Christmas tree. How lucky is that?

The felt ornaments crowded the bottom this time leaving a bare spot at the top. {Someone didn't arrange them properly.} Hmm. Searching the internet, I found special glass beads that filled it perfectly. Success and a new idea. 

I'll be upgrading all the stockings as I see them. Each branch of the family tree will get the same bead. G3 and her parents have penguins. Daddy dibs-ed them first. {Is that even a word? We said it in the past tense but there's no way to write it.} There are enough beads for a few future siblings, too. Sounds like a fun task to me but hey, we all know I'm uniquely wired.

While the stockings aren't washable and dry cleaning will take the color off the sequins, they can be gently brushed or vacuumed and carefully stored in bins. There are other ways to make them last. For instance: Each seam is sewed twice and zigzagged around the edges. The lining doesn't extend to the toes. It only goes to the ankle so gifts won't put pressure on that angle when an orange nestles at the bottom.

Sewing the stocking after all beading is attached

This stocking is hung by the chimney with care. G3 loves the way it jingles and I love sharing this heritage with another generation.

Previous stockings with construction pointers:
  1. Mine and my offspring's
  2. G1 and G2 stockings in progress
  3. More progress
  4. G1 and G2 stockings completed

Mel Beach emailed me last week that she pulled my name for a set of Lyric Kinard's Start Your Art cards. Then Lyric mailed not one, but two, sets.

Lyric Kinard's Start Your Art cards

They include warm up exercises to help you start making art whenever you feel blocked. I shared one set with my small group. Thank you Lyric and Mel for opening my eyes.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Finish in the Nick of Time

It's gotten cold regularly since Thanksgiving. Funny how that happens. I recognize the air cooling but don't need extra layers until... Bam! It's freezing. Now the bed has an extra winter quilt, my sweaters are front and center of the drawers, and I'm sipping hot tea throughout the day. However, one hardy hummingbird shows up at the feeder several times a day. He must use so much energy in this cold weather.

I've secretly been planning this quilt for the other grandmother of my our darling granddaughter. And finally, it's done. And gifted. Just in time for Christmas. Hooray.

Chinese Coins XII quilt with tulips

Once it was quilted I had some trouble choosing the binding. Green? Blue? I really liked the mottled blue and white {left side} but it's a stripe. Sewing it next to the striped border didn't seem right. Also, while there are busy {and older} prints among the Coins, the  borders and sashing are more crisp. Oddly enough, the blue stripe is only a year or two old; one of the newest prints in this group. So it's not the age of the fabric but rather the style.

The same applies for the busy green prints on top and right. They are just too busy.

Binding choices

The green leftover binding at the top looks best. Some of the greens inside the quilt are a bit more chartreuse but this matches the outer border stripe. The length is a bit short so one of the other greens was added.

I started the back with the center fabric in the spring colors MFG {my fellow grandmother} likes. It matches the purple and blue sashing on the front. There wasn't quite enough {as usual} and this older shirting plaid was the only thing that seemed to blend. It came from the NYC garment district a decade ago. The hues don't work with the front very well but this can just be a two-sided quilt. Aren't they all?

Chinese Coins XII quilt back

Any of those busy binding choices would have worked better with the back but the front is the star. The back will just have to clash a bit.

Spiral and loop quilting detail on Chinese Coins XII

Quilting designs added more fun. Spirals, leaves, loops, and fans. 

Free motion quilting fans, loops, and leaves on Chinese Coins XII

I {sort of} matched the thread with the fabric: peach and yellow were closely matched, light blue thread for blue and purple, green on the border.

FMQ on Chinese Coins XII quilt shows better after washing
These Coins were part of my final push to empty the scrap bag. One top worked very well but the next did not, so I cannibalized those strings, surrounded them with solid sashing, added tulip fabric for fun and ended up with this charmer. Much better.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 42"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: blue and yellowAurifil 50/2 cotton, peach and green Gutermann cotton 
Quilting: walking foot SID and FMQ motifs

FMQ on Chinese Coins XII shows better after washing

Christmas Stocking for G3

The newest Christmas stocking is almost complete. Oriental Trading Company had some darling glass beads screaming my name. My idea is to add the same one to each "family group." {DH, my offspring and I will get the Owls. Dibs.} BTW, the grandchildren are numbered here so G3 is my third.

Glass beads from Oriental Trading Company

My goodness! I wish my kids' stockings were as adorable as the ones my grandchildren are receiving. {Although they looked like the "bees' knees" when I made them. It just shows my beading and bling-ing skills improved over the years.}

Special items like these are only readily available with the advent of the internet. I've no idea what local shops might carry them now or who did in the past. Finding something seemed very random; you had to be walking by a store and it caught  your eye. Once you became proficient in the craft or recipe or whatever, you knew where to get the supplies but it seemed harder for novices to even realize they needed better supplies.

Isn't that what happens with any new endeavor? When we first try knitting or quilting or any other craft, the toughest part is finding good quality materials. Or even finding the materials at all. The internet has made it much easier to source them. Now we can search by photos, too. What a wonderful world and an exciting time to be alive.

With peace and goodwill to all.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Chinese Coins X Completes a Pair for Twins

This quilt is very similar to the previous one. I planned to gift it to siblings but friends expect twins soon. Perfect timing.

The quilts include many of the same fabrics but previous one has yellows on the outside while this one has blues. Also, I was running out of Coins {Is that even possible for me??} so I used the very last of the green leaves to extend shorter Coins to finish columns.

Chinese Coins X quilt

Again it's quilted using yellow and blue threads with the walking foot perpendicular to the Coins. Simple but effective.

Chinese Coins X quilting detail

The photo below contains glimpses of the backs and bindings of both quilts. All are from my stash and binding leftover box. I love the blue pebbles; there was enough for one entire back. The other has an old Kaffe with a sliver of those pebbles to make it wide enough. Another connection between this pair.

Backing and binding details for Chinese Coins quilts IX and X

All this dark binding was already seamed and they make a lovely sharp edge.

Here they are after washing. As always, I like the way quilt crinkles when the batt shrinks in the {tepid water, gentle cycle} wash.

Chinese Coins quilts IX and X after washing and drying

Fair warning, the quilts shrunk about 3-4 inches.

Chinese Coins IX and X quilts folded and ready to gift

Previous posts:
  1. Creating IX and X from leftover Coins
  2. Tops sewn
  3. Chinese Coins IX quilt finished
Quilt Details
Size: 38" x 40"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: yellow and blue 50/2 Aurifil cotton
Quilting: walking foot SID and parallel lines

Quilted, bound, signed, washed, and blocked. In the mail tomorrow.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Chinese Coins IX Quilted

This is one of two similar quilts that were part of my Chinese Coin demonstration. Although they incorporate basically the same fabrics, they look {slightly} different. That makes them perfect for twins and I happen to know a family expecting some. It's time to finish these and gift them.

Chinese Coins IX quilt

Very simple walking foot quilting; parallel lines crossing the coins. I did SID between the columns and switched from yellow to blue thread to match the columns.

Chinese Coins IX quilting detail

Previous post:
  1. Using leftover Coins.
  2. Top sewn. 
  3. Starting the quilting.
Quilt Details
Size: 42" x 41"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: blue and yellow Aurifil 50/2 cotton
Quilting: walking foot SID and parallel lines

Last week I attended Fern Royce's Working Small class at our guild. What a delightful day working on five techniques with an organized, friendly, and relaxed teacher. Fern sews improvisationally in different ways than I so it was a treat to learn new constructions techniques.

First we inserted a simple skinny curved strip {the middle sample.} Then we played with multiple skinny strips {on the left} and dancing squares {on the right.} All of these are small, no more than six inches wide.  One thing I learned was how much more carefully fabrics must be chosen when working so small.

Three samples from Working Small with Fern Royce
Additionally, I worked with these soft tans, something I haven't used in a while.

Fern teaches monthly at Bay Quilts where the work of her students is being featured this month.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

French Clothing at the Getty Center

How do the holidays sneak up on me? I vaguely recall the years everything was finished during the summer which made Christmas a delight of visits, services, friends. Those days are gone. Now I am surprised when Halloween says, "Boo!" Then it's just a skip and a hop to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

With supreme smugness, I sewed several small tops this summer planning to create a stack of baby quilts. Well, I didn't quilt them and now... I need five. Fortunately they are small and should finish quickly.

Here's the first one under the needle.

Quilting Chinese Coins IX baby quilt

The Getty Center

Another post of the previous perfection before the fires. I'm using it as a respite from assembling kits to help survivors. Terrible as they are, there are other disasters worldwide. Let's all help our neighbors - those in our hometowns, across our countries, and around the world. Money is the best donation although we need to make sure it's going to reputable charities.

Anyway, back to LaLa Land.

Darling DH insisted we visit the Getty Center Saturday since he knows how much I enjoy this museum. It's on a hillside with great views of both LA downtown and the ocean... at a distance.

View of LA and the Pacific Ocean from the Getty Center

We rode the bus to the base then took the free tram up to the museum.  {There's also paid parking but you still take the tram.}

It's very modern and open - white travertine and glass. We need sunglasses outside but the weather was lovely. Once you pass the entrance there are a collection of buildings with many terraces on multiple levels. Also gardens, outdoor cafe, indoor restaurant, fountains, statuary.

View of the Getty Center inside

J. Paul particularly collected furniture and decorative items. Not to imply there aren't loads of paintings but many of those have been added since his death. So after a leisurely survey of one exhibit, we went to lunch and then split up. DH chose to view Art of Three Faiths: a Torah, a Bible and a Qur'an displaying illuminated manuscripts while I attended a lecture on French fashion... for two hours. Fabulous!

Maxwell Barr brought a live model to demonstrate the craftsmanship involved in the daily wardrobe of 18th century French nobility. Starting as she arose in the morning, he worked through six changes of clothing. Along the way he discussed makeup - purchased at paint stores and applied with silver knives exactly like painting a canvas. Queen Marie Antoinette had the reddest cheeks; princesses next reddest, etc. Woe betide she whose cheeks were redder than her rank allowed!

The model dressed to receive company in her boudoir. Notice she wore a hat indoors.

Morning deshabille in 18th century France

Mr. Barr copied this luncheon ensemble from a painting which he showed on the screen behind the model. The fichu is only from the 19th century since they rarely last long. Her gown was definitely this short; they became longer as the day wore on.

Maxwell Barr explains details of dressing for luncheon in 18th century France

Evening gowns were one basic style: a skirt short enough to display her shoes {because they had diamonds} then an over-robe that fastened in the front but also laced in back. The pleats in back are French style. English style was fitted in back.

Robe francais

Women's sleeves were constructed to keep their arms slightly bent. In fact, the seams would rip if straightened so servants {or an attentive gentleman} were required to pick up anything a lady dropped.

The live display was matched with slides as he pointed out the details of clothing and fashion. Details matched: prints, ruffles, length, etc. although the diamond buckles were now only paste.

Mr. Barr noted how the clothing blended or fit with household furnishings by showing photos of past exhibits that displayed mannequins in furnished period rooms. One of those was Dangerous Liaisons, a 2005 exhibit at The Met.

He emphasized this point with a photo of these mannequins in a modern living room. Very silly. I'd never considered how our furnishings match our clothing. While our chairs encourage slouching and curling up with feet on the furniture, theirs allowed women to sit while wearing panniers - wide seats and short arms. You know the style.

I hope you have an opportunity to hear him or another costume historian some time.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Square Deal and the Venice Canals

While the outer border is not as blue as I want, it seems to be done. There are enough extra blocks to make one or two toddler quilts. It seems silly to continue making "slightly better" blocks and I'm out of that light blue that looks so good to me. Time to sew it up.

The Square Deal quilt in progress: working on the outer border

Before the wildfires, business took DH to LA and I tagged along for fun. The first day was spent wandering through the Venice Canal neighborhood. Built in 1905 to mimic the waterways of its European namesake, it originally included gondoliers singing in Italian for the tourists. However, most of the canals were filled in by the 1920s (voted by the city but costs paid by the neighboring homeowners) to allow cars. The few remaining blocks were saved because there weren't enough houses to cover the costs of infilling.

No gondolas now. It's all privately owned with one narrow street paralleling the beach that allows autos. Only a block from the beach and so, so quiet.

Here are views of the canals and their bridges. I especially enjoy the variety of homes spanning the past hundred years.
Venice Canals, Venice Beach CA

A few detail shots. Look at the wavy panes in the windows. And the balcony railing would be a good quilt border. Most of the homes had a small yard in front that included a dining room. How lovely to eat al fresco daily. There must not be many mosquitos; no screens.

Details of the Venice Canals
There's a charming fountain in the lower right photo. Loved the casual design with upside down flower pot base and copper spigot mouth. It made such a relaxing sound, too.

History of the Venice Canals can be found on this website.

Sorry this post makes the area appear pristine and perfect. Venice is about 20 miles from Malibu where lives and property have been lost in the Woolsey Fire. The worst fire in California is the Camp fire near Paradise. So many people have lost everything. Photos of the devastation frighten me more than hurricanes. Absolutely nothing left.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bordering the Square Deal and the Grand Canyon

Liking the microdot inner sashing, I was ready to sew the center together but decided to make a Churn Dash of the innermost triangles. The first attempt included very narrow pink rectangles {no photo} but quickly grew to squares for more presence. The extra pink balances the weight of the Square Deal.

The Square Deal quilt in progress: working on the borders

With that part looking good I sewed on the mermaid inner border before going to bed.

In the morning the quilt appears too dark and/or heavy with four black crossroad blocks in each corner. Reducing that to two made it much better but there's another, larger problem.

Where did the blue blocks go? The yellow, green and pink blocks in the outer border make a decent contrast with the red ones but have little relationship with the center strips and HSTs. Looking back at my original layouts, the darker border adds needed presence while the light blues make the center sing.

The Square Deal quilt in progress: working on the outer border

So now I'm reworking the outer border.  I'm not done but it looks better.

On to the Grand Canyon

Despite a lifetime in geology, I'd never been to the Grand Canyon. So glad I made it last week, especially because it was off season {meaning the North Rim was closed.}

My visit started at the Desert View Watchtower. It highlights the Painted Desert  to the east and the beginning of the Canyon. Inspired by native art, the watchtower incorporated Pueblo designs and styles including native artwork on different levels.

The further west along the South Rim trail, the deeper the canyon and the more complex the carved channels. Eventually that appears to be all one can see. I never knew it was this size: 277 miles long, 1 mile deep, 3 miles wide.

Desert View Watchtower

Grand Canyon from Yavapai Point

Elk posed all over the park. While leaving a calf was casually nursing along the road but I couldn't get a photo. (S)he was so tall I doubt mom will allow that much longer. Two more cow elk from a harem of five grazed near the parking lot. The bull elk rested in the trees nearby.

Cow elk grazing near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center parking lot
We're already planning our next trip. So much more to see.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sashing the Square Deal

Once the center {minus one block that kept falling down} was arranged, I started laying out a border. The darker border seemed to make more contrast but a single round lacks weight. A second round on the right creates better proportions.

Starting a border around the Square Deal block

With that start in hand, it was time to think about the sashing and inner border. The inner and outer blocks are different sizes. About six inches is required to get them to fit together. Black was too dark {forgot to photograph}. I next tried some narrow strips of Chinese Coins. {Surely you didn't think the last baby quilt used up all those skinnies.} Now there's no contrast; this is not the solution. Finally I realized the white design wall was trying to tell me something. I cut some mermaids printed on white. All the strips are the same width {and a bit larger than necessary} while I consider whether they should be the same or different widths.

Testing sashing and border fabrics

Making borders and sashing of the same fabric doesn't thrill me either so a different white print was cut. It has blue microdots although it reads white here. After trying it as a border, I decided it looks better as the sashing between the four quarters of this block.

Then I added Crossroads blocks on three sides.

Laying out sashing and borders on the Square Deal

The quilt must be repositioned on the design wall to finish the fourth side.

In the meanwhile, my family and I attended the State Fair of Texas. We went every year while my children were growing so it was fun to introduce a new generation to the Fair. Events have changed. We still enjoy the trained animals, the milking contests, and the beautiful jewel-like jelly competition. We watched pig races and performing rescue animals.

Pig races at the State Fair of Texas
 The murals dating from the Great Depression were restored a few years ago - ready for a new generation to enjoy.

Mural from the Hall of Varied Industries, State Fair of Texas

These umbrellas shading a lunch site are new. Colorful day and night!

Umbrellas shade a lunch area at the State Fair of Texas

VOTE! It's election day in the US. I wonder how different our lives would be if everyone was required to vote like Australians. Much more emphasis on the center; much less from the fringes. It sounds good to me.

Enjoy the day, Ann