A long time coming….

This week I was able to mark another item off of my task board…..

…and it has been a LONG time coming!!!

I started this quilt back in 2011 after a trip to China. HERE is the original post about that quilt. The post is aptly titled “Congratulations Mrs. Arnold…. it’s a boring quilt”!!

Then, after sitting for 8 years, I decided to make it unboring!! You can read that post here…..

So all that was left was the quilting. Easy right??

If it was so easy, why has it taken me 2 years to get it done? That is a question for the ages!!

Early on in the process, I started with the straight line quilting in the bamboo and was happy with what I had done…..

After a bit of hesitation, I decided to quilt the striped borders simply….

And then I got stuck again!!!

How was I going to quilt the outside border?? I thought and thought about it and actually started quilting a few designs that I didn’t like and picked out.

THEN….I was listening to an Angela Walters video and she made the profound statement…..”If you are not going to SEE the quilting, then don’t spend a lot of time on it”!!

WOW. That was a refreshing thought and you would definitely NOT see the quilting in that outside border!!

So, wavy parallel lines it was….

I even got lazy and used my sit-down long arm to put the facing on!! The only thing that I did differently was that I put my left hand behind the needle and used it to pull the fabric thru……

And boom….just like that it was finished!!

This has definitely been one of those projects that was in my “too-hard” basket and boy does it feel good to have it done!!!

“Blew” Two….

Yesterday, I posted about my entry in the “I’m so Blue” guild challenge.

Normally, I am finishing my challenges on the day that they are due, or maybe the day before if I am really organized, but, with this one, the idea came quickly and I was finished over a month before the due date…. UN-HEARD OF!!

Just after I finished it, I was talking to another guild member (Sue) and she said that she would make it different by using the other spelling/meaning of blue……ie BLEW!!

Just after our conversation, we made another trip to Kunming, China where I spied this wonderful bronze statue…..

I adored the look on the man’s face….

….not to mention the little boy at the back…..

Now THAT is a great example of “BLEW”!!

When we returned home, I called Sue and asked if she had ever acted on her inspiration. She said that she had not and that I was welcome to use the idea.

I started with the photo itself, tweaking it to enhance the color…..

I used the pinwheel as my inspiration and added a bunch of small pinwheels and two larger 3-D pinwheels….

….and added the beaded “stick” to meet the embellishment and blue requirements.

I made a couple of paper quilts to test out the quilting designs….

….but finally decided on wavy parallel lines in a metallic thread….

I love the final product…..

…particularly the way that the fabrics worked together.

And, as a plus, it is another fun “Travel Log Quilt” that reminds me of a trip to Kunming!!

Escala Azule

Several weeks ago I showed a quilt that was made based on a photo taken in Porto, Portugal. You can check out that post HERE…..

Here is an excerpt from my blog about the next day…..

As I walked back across the bridge, I noticed a long set of stairs that went up the hill to the area that I was trying to reach. I also saw a small tram that would take you up the mountain. As I was debating about which to use, I noticed that there was a fairly long line for the tram and that the ticket machine was not working well and there was a tram agent banging on it to try to get it to work. SO, I decided to climb instead.

After I had climbed the first 100 steps, I turned a corner and found that there was ANOTHER set of steps and terraces that ended up being 114 MORE steps. However, it was a very interesting walk as there were homes located along these terraces, with kids, dogs and small shops along the way. I watched as one woman walked out of her door and up about 90 steps to get to her car. I can’t imagine how they manage to live there. Also, one of the train lines ran just above the houses so I would imagine that it is relatively noisy as well. But, the views were wonderful!

After I had finished “Casa Amarela”, I wanted to continue working on perspective in stairs, so I decided to use the long flight that I had walked up first.

I printed the photo in black and white and enlarged it to a full sheet of paper. Then I took a fine-point sharpie and traced the lines on the copy…..

The good thing about using a sharpie is that the ink soaks thru to the back…..

….leaving a perfect “reverse image” design for paper piecing!!!

I started piecing at the bottom….

….and worked my way up the stairs.

I was thrilled with the final quilt……

…and left with a memory of a fun day AND a lesson in perspective at the same time!!

Casa Amarela

Today’s Travel Log Quilt comes from the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal. Michael has been there many times, and I have had the pleasure of joining him for two of those trips.

Having grown up in West Texas, I know what a FLAT city looks like…..Porto is NOT one of those…..

The city is nothing but up and down and up and down and up and down….you get the picture!!

On our first trip, as I was trying not to get lost….and failing (this was prior to Google Maps), I came across this sweet street and loved the yellow house at the top of the stairs. I quickly snapped a photo as I walked past…..

This image stayed in my mind as I returned home and I finally decided that the only way to get it out of my mind was to make a quilt from it…..what else!!!

The things that excited me about this project were trying to get the perspective of the steps and adding the details to the house. I decided that I wanted to piece this as much as possible which meant having to come up with a paper pieced pattern.

I first blew the photo up so that it filled a sheet of paper and then printed it in black and white. I used a fine-point Sharpie to trace over all of the lines that I saw in the photo…..

Now the good thing about using this pen on paper is that some of the ink soaks thru the paper, providing a reverse design on the back….

exactly what I needed for paper piecing!

I blew this reverse image up to the size that I wanted………

and started playing with fabrics…..

I had so much fun quilting in the details…..

The final quilt is a fun reminder of a sweet day roaming around the hills of Porto…….

“Casa Amarela” (Yellow House)

Geese Opt In

Peacock Pavilion

The next quilt in my “Travel Log Quilt Series” is one of my favorites and there are several reasons for that….. firstly, it came from a trip to India which is one of our FAVORITE places to visit. Secondly, it is a peacock and I have a major crush on peacocks, and thirdly, it was the first time I had made a collage style quilt.

Story First

In 2008 Michael and I first visited India. We were only there for 10 days but quickly came to love the people that we met and the places that we visited!! We spent most of the time in the city of Bangalore, but for 3 days Michael and I were escorted to the state of Tamil Nadu, visiting the Mudumalai National Park. As we were traveling back to Bangalore, our host suggested that we stop at the Mysore Palace and, as usual, we were game for anything!!

The palace was gorgeous…..

Mysore Palace

….and we were so excited about seeing inside, but there was a problem…… a BIG problem for me…..

And they were serious about no photos….they wouldn’t even let us take cameras inside the palace. We had to check them at the door!!

The palace itself is gorgeous, as you can see from these photos that I found online…..

….but the most beautiful part was a great hall that had the most amazing stained glass dome with PEACOCKS!! I stood looking at the amazing windows and couldn’t stop thinking about the quilt that I wanted to make. I even ventured the thought that I would surreptitiously take a photo with my phone but the sight of a guard holding a machine gun quickly quelled that idea!

Instead I made a quick sketch….

…. and figured that I could find photos online when I got home. I WAS WRONG!!!

I searched and searched and the best photo that I could find was this one…..

Between it and my “drawing”, I was able to come up with the basic design….

Time for the quilt….

Now I had to figure out what fabrics to use and, at that time, I didn’t have a bunch of solids in my stash. I was super excited to visit my local quilt shop and find these gradation fabrics from Caryl Bryer Fallert…..

….and even better to find out that they were on SALE!!!!

I made an idea board with photos of peacocks…..

….and started playing!!

Unfortunately, I don’t have step by step photos of the process but I did have a wonderful time placing the fabrics and then machine stitching over them with beautiful threads. After I had finished with the design I then added the bias tape “leading”.

The final step was to add lots of quilting and the back really shows the designs…..

I used a monofilament thread in the bobbin and was pleased with the result…..

I love the final quilt…..

….and it is an incredible reminder of a fun trip!!