Nellie"s Needles

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finding Elvis

Lee and I were in a shop in Kailua Kona, Hawaii looking at tikis.

The background music in the store was Elvis singing Christmas songs. So, of course, the subject of the king came up and Lee wondered if there were any tikis featuring his image. To Lee's dismay ... and my delight ... there were none that could be purchased. However, we were told there was an Elvis tiki in a bar called Lu Lu's at the other end of town. So we walked ... and walked ... and walked until we found it.
The king was heavily adorned with dollar bills along with everything else in that bar, but sure enough we had found him.
On the way out I spied what looked like the top of Elvis's pompadour sticking up above a partition. There was just enough room to take this photo of an "unadorned" Elvis tiki through a crack between the boards. 
Our quest was complete. We had truly found the BIG Kahuna.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

Lee and I are having a wonderful holiday here in Hawaii on the BIG island. Last evening our older son's family and we decorated a tree in the condo we're renting.

I had packed origami papers and scissors with the intent of decorating some form of vegetation to serve as our Christmas tree. We had so much fun making the ornaments that we adorned the tree in the dining area, too.
We are feeling very comfortable in our lovely home for the next 2 weeks.  Lee and I have already established a routine of having our early morning coffee on a lanai outside of our bedroom overlooking the ocean to watch the world wake up. We then have a morning swim with all the family before taking off to see parts of this beautiful and fascinating island. Yesterday we purchased some plastic glasses so we can add the tradition of watching the sun set with cocktails in the pool area and another swim before dinner.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Scrap Quilt

Just playing .....

Right now it's only a pieced top. It will get quilted when somebody needs a quilt. Making it was one of those spur of the moment projects inspired by a baggy of scraps given to me recently by Alison, a fellow Thursday bee member.

She never dreamed that I would piece all the tiny triangles she had trimmed from blocks into the squares that became the centers of my scrappy blocks. In the photo below is one of the finished blocks. That pile of trimmings from a number of blocks are now in a bag of supplies for future "ortwork" pieces.

The block in the above picture is the smaller of the two sizes made. I experimented with their arrangement on the design wall. The main point being to see the effect ... the movement ... of those white triangles.

I chose to surround the larger squares with shades of neutral fabrics to make those bits of color sparkle and stand out. The playful patterning of the white dots on the black sashing fabric with the smaller blocks in corners create a strong grid pattern that holds all those dancing triangles and sparkling colors together.

I couldn't come up with a machine quilting pattern that pleased me on this sample square. I played with couching a textured and variegated color yarn around the shapes. To carry through the feeling of playfulness, plus a nod to tradition, I left lengths for ties on the corners. Unless something else that's extraordinary comes to me before this top becomes a quilt, I'm pretty sure the couched yarn will double as the quilting.
Button, Button - 14"x 14"

Very little that I make goes to waste. The outside edge of this piece is finished with couched yarns and an array of buttons from my collection makes an art piece. It will be donated to the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild to sell at the 2012 quilt show in March.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paula's Quilt

I had in mind for some time that my cyber friend, Paula, needed a quilt. My original thought was to make one for her myself. Then I began to think of a number of other quilters who are also friends of Paula, so had the idea to include them in the creation of this quilt gifted to her over the Thanksgiving weekend.

I had drawn up two different quilt design layouts that were voted on. Once this decision was made, each participant chose a section of the quilt to create. As for the colors and design, each artist was on her own to create whatever is meaningful between herself and Paula. The intent was to give Paula a tangible symbol of our caring about and for her ... to literally give her warmth and comfort.

Here are the individual pieces (and their makers) that comprise the quilt ...
Lisa Call (16"x 20")

Karen Christensen (16" x 16")

 Lynne Croswell (20"x 16")

 Gail Baar  (16" x 10")

 Kim Hambric (28" 10")

Colleen Kole (12" x 44")

Cynthia Wenslow (each 24" x 12")

This is one of the five sections made by me. My intent was for those segments to tie all our creations together. Take note that among my scraps are photos of Paula's art that I printed on fabric. I had fun!
Nellie Durand (16" x 8")

If Paula's other quilting friends had not joined me in this effort, the whole quilt would've been made from scraps like this. That would've been okay. However, it's a much better and more interesting, as well as meaningful quilt composed with all of our pieces.

Here's the back of the quilt ...

The backing fabric for each of the sections was an individual choice, too. I sent everyone a piece of wool bat for their section so each artist could do the quilting on her piece of the quilt. Wool batting is my favorite choice for functional quilts. The ones that I've made with it are my favorite.  They are light-weight, fold up small, and somehow are "just right" no matter the season ... not too warm on a summer's night and warm enough when it's cold.

I constructed the quilt by connecting each our pieces with "butted seams" (placing the raw edges of two sections next to each other and joining one to the other with a wide zig-zag stitch on the machine). Those  zig-zag stitched seams are covered with "sashing tubes" on both sides of the quilt.  The narrow 1/2" flattened tube of fabric (seam pressed open on the under side) was machine appliqued on the back side to cover the zig-zag stitched seam. Then another sashing tube was hand stitched over the joins on the front side.

The irregular and segmented design of this quilt is an ideal format for multiple creative friends to make a perfect quilt for a spunky artist.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Charlie's Quilt

This cuddle quilt was made as a 70th birthday present for a friend. The sashing fabric features cardinals and blue jays which are just two of the many kinds of birds that come to his smorgasbord of feeders. Charlie is also the king of flowers in our neighborhood so there are floral fabrics as well as those that are the colors of flowers in the scrap blocks.

I machine quilted the blocks with an oak leaf design in honor of the huge oak tree just outside his door. The large and small blocks are quilted in the ditch with a clear monofilament thread. A freehand loop pattern stitched with a variegated thread  fills the borders and areas between the scrap blocks.

I like to piece the quilt backs with fabrics that coordinate with the theme and colors of their front side.

This is my favorite kind of quilt to make. When I have a bit of free time, or a friend has gifted me with a bag of wonderful scraps, I like to make up blocks. There is such serendipity in how the patterns and colors come together. With different sashing and corner block fabrics this could easily have been made into a feminine or juvenile  quilt. I'm pleased that my choices are perfect for our male friend who's fond of birds and flowers.