Saturday, June 28, 2014


 I'm very fond of a French magazine called Quiltmania.  I can generally find the monthly magazine locally, but not their seasonal special issues or their books.  Rather than order them from France, I took the opportunity to pick up some things at the International Quilt Festival.
 Above is a spread and below the cover of a lovely book full of my type of small projects.
 I'm not a fan of beige, usually, for for some reason the Japanese use of it just fascinates me. I want to be able to use color like that. 
 This book was the sample so it was half price.
I was really intrigued by this weekly hexagon project. They're mostly wool and it makes a nice spread with 52 hexagons.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts

I really enjoyed the displays at this year's International Quilt Festival. I took a few photos (in the areas where this was allowed.) This quilt was quite dimensional--see below.
Isn't this lovely?
The detail of this piece, with little teeny fabric pieces, was astounding.
I took this picture to keep as an idea--what if I made my own drawings of my family for a quilt?
Of course, I did some shopping, too.  I got a frame for the Blue Crewel design--I adapted the pattern I made to fit the frame. It's a bit smaller than I'd hoped, but exactly the right shape and color.
I got a couple of kits from Just Another Button Company.  I love working with wool and their kits are quite charming.
The hexie potholder is going to be a gift. The fabric is just 'cause I liked it a lot. And more of my favorite hexagons...this time for a purse in two sizes.
Another Just Another Button Company kit. I got all of the pieces for both kits cut out on the weekend. I was hoping to have time to stitch in the evening this week, but it hasn't happened yet.
One last quilt--this is a tribute quilt from Australia. It was astounding.  I love how the piecing segues into the portrait, done in thread. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Social Butterfly

 Last week I did more socializing than usual.  First up was a work celebration for the 25 year milestone. It's already been 26 years--there's quite a lag. I got to shake the University President's hand and have my picture taken. This is after, me and Hubby, outside at the buffet.

I got a new dress for the occasions (a wedding came later in the week), in a style not my usual. It has a twirly skirt and I felt rather like I did when I was 6 and got a dress with a twirly skirt.
 This was the certificate in the envelope he's holding. 
 And when I got home, he gave me this lovely bouquet.
 On Friday I met my sister at the International Quilt Festival at the Rosemont. The display seemed huge this year, so many lovely things to see. (And to buy, the market also was quite large, varied, and tempting...more in the next post.)
Here's taste of the show. A sweet quilt by Laura Wasilowski. 

I ended the week with a beautiful wedding.  Two partners who had been together for 57 years were finally able to wed!  All in all, it was a happy, happy week.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fun, but no embroidery

Well, I have been doing a lot of needlework, but nothing I can show here. I almost have Homewood's Summer Challenge completed. I'm working on the finishing. I'm working on the Hardanger tablecloth, but it's just more of the same over and over.  I heard back from Judith Baker Montano on the EGA challenge already...I'm still digesting her lovely letter, notes and very generous gifts and ideas. And I pulled out the NANI challenge to work on, too.
The reason I'm anxious to get things going is that I've scheduled my second knee surgery for August 5. I'm a bit panicked about it. Knowing I would be I took a bit of a break from work and Hubby and I went shopping!  
 We went up to Lombard to Alien Entertainment. Whoa! Do they have great stuff for the inner nerd in anyone: Buffy, Star Trek, Star Wars, comic book heroes, Lord of the Rings, much more, and, what we went there for, Dr. Who. My loot is above. A tote, a couple of patches, and a pin of the seal or Rassilon.  They had all sorts of videos, movies, tributes, and all of the BBC radio program. Plus red fez hats, t-shirts, and softies, models, and stuff of all descriptions.  It was a very nice break from our usual.  To add a dose of reality, we followed this stop with one at the grocery store.
The night before my doctor appointment, I found this sweet bag in the mail from Lelia Evelyn of the Stitches of Life Blog.  A total surprise out of the blue gift that came at the perfect time.
The project for Homewood fit perfectly into it so I could work on it during the hour long wait at the doctor's office. Here it is all packed and ready to go. It really made my day!
Over the weekend, I ventured into the garden and picked a bunch of baby lettuces. I'd planted seeds last year and got busy and promptly forgot them and found a bunch of plants gone to seed in August. This year I have been a bit more attentive and here's the result.  There's lots more where they came from.  We had a nice salad with fresh corn and burgers for dinner.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Work Anniversary

This may I passed my 26th anniversary at the University. Given the way these things work, this week I was invited to participate in a group recognition event for my 25th year. It was a huge event--if everyone who celebrated their 25th anniversary here in the last 18 months had shown up, we'd still be there!  There were 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and one 50th anniversary celebrated at the event.  

A couple of people I know were there for the 45 year group. I think it's astounding. I'm amazed I made 25. 
I shook hands with the University President and got my picture taken. I was given this certificate and a link to a gift catalog.  We were plied with wine, champagne, hors d'oeuvres, and a buffet of tasty bites.  The event was inside a room that I've heard called the closest thing in the U.S. to the hall at Hogwarts. The buffet was set up outside. It was balmy but not too hot.
When we got home, hubby handed me this lovely bouquet of carnations.  I feel truly celebrated and honored. 
For the occasion (and a couple of others coming up), I got a new dress in an uncharacteristic for me print. A dress with a fitted bodice and swirly skirt! I got some new sandals that are more delicate than my usual.  (I tend to wear baggy dresses and clunky sandals.) I even painted my toenails lilac to coordinate. They had been peachy orange which definitely would have clashed!  A friend took a photo of us, I'll post it after she sends it to me.

Monday, June 9, 2014

EGA Challenge with a Twist

I'm twisting already.  I think once I get underway, I'll be fine but right now I'm twisting away, not able to decide which of my three images would be the best one for this challenge. So I packaged my photos, some (pretty awful) stitch samples, and notes up and sent it off for commentary. I'm a bit worried that it's too soon, but this is where I'm stuck.  So, now to wait.
 I can see challenges and envision stitches and fabrics for all three designs. I posted them here a while back--the voting was a three-way tie (some comments came to me in personal conversations and e-mails, in addition to comments on the post). It told me I was on the right track and all three designs have interesting features. But it didn't help me stop my dithering.

I did keep my designs and copies of the notes so I can start working if I want to.
 This is stitch sample one...trying out sheers for sky and water and some knots for the waves on the shore. I tried ribbon for the figure. I'm not thrilled but I can see potential. I like the sky.
These are bushes and grasses at a distance (above) and close by (below). It feels really trite and stilted to me, but I think I'll loosen up and be fine working on the actual piece. I've never been a great one for samples, beyond trying something in a margin or tiny bits.  On the top piece, I attached a small stone, wrapped in tulle and stitched to the ground.  I like it.  I've been rereading Judith Baker Montano's books. 

This weekend I worked on the Homewood Guild summer challenge (which I can't show until September). And I've been working a bit on the Hardanger.