Friday, May 28, 2010

Nearly Insane Blocks 23 & 41

I have been posting here so scarcely lately because I'm so hooked on my Nearly Insane quilt, and mostly I post those blocks on the Nearly Insane Fans blog. But I have had a few requests from readers here to see more of the blocks, so with a lack of anything else to post, I've cut-and-pasted the same blog entry here for you to see. This quilt has really drawn me in, and I'm having such fun working on it.

**For readers not familiar with the Nearly Insane quilt, it's a reproduction of a quilt from the 1870's. Each of the blocks is 6" finished, and some of them have as many as 200 pieces in them. The quilt truly deserves it's "Nearly Insane" status. **

Here are a couple of my recent blocks. The pink one was the last one I needed to add the fifth row to my quilt top.

This is block 23 - love the pink fabric. The thin red pieces were fun to work with - they're 3/8" finished, so seam allowances were so important. Even being a little bit out meant the strips looked too small or large. I did unpick a couple of pieces for accuracy.

This basket is block 41 - and it was fun to have a bit of applique to play with. I love needle turn applique, so that was the technique I used. I was fretting that the triangles weren't lined up well enough in the basket, but it doesn't really show so much. Overall it's a very cute block.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Four Nearly Insane Rows

Even though I have other things to work on (and I have been dabbling with my Turning 4-T blocks), I still find myself absolutely drawn to my Nearly Insane quilt top.

I've now made 49 of the blocks, which is half of them - yay!! And I've added the fourth row. I will need to make up the triangles for the top and bottom of the row before I can add any more rows - and also make up any of the blocks I haven't gotten to yet.

While I've been making up the blocks I've been really careful not to replicate fabrics from block to block numerically, but I'm finding because the quilt is constructed in diagonal rows, the blocks next to each other can be 8 blocks apart in the book. This has meant I've actually altered two of the blocks in row four to ensure that two fabrics (when they stand out a lot) aren't used together. I think from now on, I'm going to make up blocks row by row, and that way I'll be able to control fabric placement so much better.

This weekend I'll be working on some quilting, and I'm going to get busy on other projects that really need my attention. I'll try and resist playing with this quilt some more ... but I bet I'll be drawn back in!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Nearly Insane Addiction

It feels great to be right back into my piecing and quilting after my wonderful holiday. Here are a couple of things I'm working on at the moment.

I'm hopelessly addicted to my Nearly Insane quilt. It's all I want to work on, and at all times. I've completed 45 of the blocks, so I'm almost half way, and I recently had the bright idea that it'd be fun to try and put a few of the rows together. This is as far as I got, I have to put some more of the triangles together before I can continue. I LOVE how this top is looking. I'm such a sucker for a vintage quilt with tiny pieces :-)

And even though I thought I'd all but finished the top of my Turning Four-T quilt, I decided I'd like to make it even bigger, so I'm back to making up blocks. I found a nice selection of conversationals while I was in the US, so I'll get busy again.

My reason for thinking I'd like it bigger? Well, the quilt is celebrating a milestone in my life, so I thought I'd like it to be a quilt I use a lot - so I'm going to make it big enough for our queen bed. This necessitates an extra two rows of blocks. One row all around would have meant the border won't fit properly. And because I'm making extra blocks, I'm also going to replace those three blocks that I don't really like as much as the others.

End result: A quilt I'll love for a really long time. Sounds good to me :-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

And Brushes with Fame ...

Part of the fun when we're in Paducah is the 'star spotting', and catching up with friends old and new. And in some cases, friends that I haven't actually met yet.

I knew well before I arrived in Paducah that I was going to seek out Marti Michell. I love her templates and patterns, and when I met her in 2006, I found her to be just delightful. Kate and I stopped by her booth and had our picture taken with her. And soo, there I was chattering away with her, and you can imagine my surprise when I learned that she remembered me ... and here's the thing that had me simply gobsmacked ... she's been by and read my blog! OMG!! Well, Marti, if you're reading this - I had such a nice time visiting with you again, you truly made my day! :-)

And just before I was due to head into a workshop, I ran into Ricky Tims and his partner Justin. My friend Jenny and I took a workshop with Ricky in 2005, and I credit him with encouraging me to try machine quilting. Even though his workshop was to make his 'Chantelle' project, seeing his work and the DVD I purchased at the time really de-mystified the whole process for me. He's a hero! And Justin is always so much fun to talk to, it was great to see them again - even though I didn't have a lot of time to spend with them.

And here is a fun surprise for you - It's our wonderful blogging friend Cheri! Before I left for the USA, Cheri had given me her cell phone number in the hope that we may be able to catch up in Paducah. We texted a couple of times and were able to catch up briefly in Eleanor Burns downtown shop. I wish I could have spent longer with her, Cheri is just lovely and we had a great chat. How fun to finally meet up in person! Next time I shall try and organise for us to have a day together.

And for the last picture, here is Tara Lynn Darr. When Tara saw on my blog that I was heading to the quilt festival, she commented that she had a booth in the Kentucky Oaks Mall and that I definitely needed to stop by and say Hi. She is just lovely (and had some darling fabrics that had to come home with me) and how fun that we share the same first name!

I had the very best time in Paducah, and I travelled with and also met the very best people. Of course I want to visit again, and at this stage Linda and I are talking about maybe Vermont in 2012. I can't wait, as I've never seen the New England area. I'll start saving now!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Starstruck by Kaffe

One of the amazing things that Linda organised for us to do while we were in Paducah was to attend a lecture on the Wednesday. It was an evening with Kaffe Fassett.

Wow! There simply aren't words. Well ... there are actually :-) Amazing, colour rich, stunning! I have to admit, while in the past I had an appreciation for his work - I didn't actually own any of his fabric, or have an inclination to stitch up any of his designs. But after his lecture, I have a new appreciation for the incredible way his mind works. His view of the world and the way he sees colour is simply mind blowing, and I simply cannot wait to begin playing with his gorgeous fabric (I may or may not have purchased quite a bit!).

The next day, Kate and I virtually raced to get a copy of his latest book, and were just thrilled to have it signed. I was almost starstruck meeting him, and didn't think of getting a picture at the time, but looked back afterward, and got a picture of him knitting away.

And here is a picture of one of his quilts in the exhibition adjacent to where he was signing. I think it may be one of my favourites. In the past I may have considered the colours a little jarring, but I'm definitely viewing his work with new eyes.

Such an unforgettable experience!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Where to begin!

I've had such adventures over the past month, it's hard to know where to begin, and how to narrow it all down to blog posts. I had the very best time in the USA, and among the most important things to me were spending time with wonderful friends. I put some faces to the names of bloggers, did a whole lot of shopping, and almost wore my feet to stubs at the quilt show in Paducah. Good times :-)

Even though it was at the end of my holiday, I'll start with Paducah, and the day leading up to it. The six of us left California on Monday April 19, and travelled to Nashville where we picked up our rental car. Instead of driving directly to Paducah, we headed to Bowling Green KY where we stayed overnight before heading to Whittles in Smiths Grove KY.

At Whittles I undertook some serious stash enhancement, as evidenced by my ever growing pile in the above picture. I had a good deal of my items shipped home. It was a wise move, as I was probably on the verge of being over my luggage allowance, having spent a week and a half in the US already. The girls from Whittles were just darling, and I'll definitely be patronising their store in the future.

After we'd all laid down a considerable chunk of money, we all piled back into the rental and headed toward Paducah. But before we arrived, we made a detour to Backyard Fabrics (sorry, couldn't locate a website). An adorable little shop situated on a farm in Mayfield KY. So much more stash enhancement followed ... and when Kate and I had our fill, we took a swing on the front porch and enjoyed the surroundings. Just blissful.

I love this picture of Gerri, Linda, Donna and Karen. I don't think they even knew I took it, and they'll probably be less than thrilled to see it here for the first time! :-)

Next it was on to Paducah, where we settled into the Marriott Courtyard. We could see across Hinkleville Road to the famous Hancocks of Paducah. Eye candy indeed.

I'll leave it here for now ... and fill you in some more next time :-)


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