Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Joy of Sets

I said The Joy of SETS.

As in Sharyn Craig's books Setting Solutions and Great Sets.

Sharyn came to the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild last week as our speaker on Thursday and then to offer a workshop on Friday and I was lucky enough to get in.

Her talk on Thursday, entitled "Sets Education" was witty and informative and I especially appreciated that she presented a trunk show as opposed to a slide show. The slides just don't do justice to the quilts--and even the pictures in the book don't show up as well as the quilts do in person. Sharyn's specialty is taking those Swap Blocks we all have lurking in the back of the closet and finding ways to set them together that maximize their beauty (or hide their ickyness). She has a million tricks up her sleeve to make the blocks all the same size for easier setting and ways to correct for color. Heck, she can even put a quilt together with colors that don't even appear in the original blocks and knock your socks off! She's truly a magician with these blocks. I was fortunate to get to her Sharyn speak at Road to California a couple of years ago, so I knew I had to be in the workshop.

Each participant in the workshop was able to bring some blocks and as part of the group activity, and Sharyn would help us brainstorm a way to set the blocks to their best advantage. The blocks I chose to bring were some I won in a monthly block Lotto conducted by the Fat Quarters, a Yahoo group of gals I've been involved with for about 10 years. Two years ago, I won blocks made with fabric my former next door neighbor Sandy Brown selected, Seaside Rose by Moda. I won the blocks for July and Sandy passed away on Labor Day Weekend (First Monday in September for those not in the US). She was only 62. She is pictured at left (on the left) with our mutual pal Kathy B. on a visit to my house for a couple of days' sewing. LOLOL

I'd been hoarding the blocks and leftover fabric Sandy sent me, not wanting to get into it, but I decided to use those blocks for the class because I wanted the quilt to be just right. When I put the blocks up, Sharyn pointed out (and everyone agreed) that they were "mushy" in that the colors were pretty much the same value and there were not enough highlights.

Then inspiration struck and she pulled out one of the flimsies she brought to demonstrate with and placed my blocks on top of the blocks in the quilt top and voila!! Perfection! Even the colors were just about right, though I'll use a lighter burgundy (perhaps like the one in the first block at right, since I have something very similar).

The beauty of Sharyn's system of assembling swap blocks is that she uses many, many fabrics and therefore doesn't need tons of any one fabric. Since I have acquired much of my fabric in smaller quantities, this method suits me perfectly.

Now to find more SWAPS!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bottle Shock!

Or, Be Still My Heart.

Living in one of the greatest wine-producing areas of the world, and being great wine lovers, we belong to *ahem* a few wine clubs. Today, we decided to drive out to the Valley of the Moon, an enchanting little valley that separates Santa Rosa from the town of Sonoma.

Following a wonderful lunch at Cafe Citti in Kenwood, we stopped by Kunde, home of one of the oldest winemaking families in Sonoma County to pick up a shipment. Driving into the parking lot, we noticed a slew of trailers, many with cubbyhole rooms, each with its own door and we assumed that they'd brought in temporary housing for the farm workers who will soon be harvesting the grapes. But no.

As we approached the entry, we saw tons of people loitering around and some very large cameras and after speaking to one of the Kunde employees, we found out that they were filming the movie Bottle Shock, which will be released early in 2008. Bottle Shock is the story of the wine-making boom in the Napa Valley (just over the ridge from here), and the famous 1976 tasting in Paris when the when Napa Cabernet Sauvignons swept the French Bordeaux.

And who is the star of this film? Alan Rickman!

As I said, be still my heart.

We stayed and watched them do several "takes" of Rickman walking from the entrance of the cave (the actual cave where the wine is aged is bored into the side of the mountain behind the facility), and get into a beat-up pickup truck and start the engine. Hopefully these scenes will make it into the final cut.

Now its time for a nap!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Four Seasons Quilt Swap I

Margaret has started a new swap of doll-sized quilts and I have decided to join in the fun! She asked that we pass the word along to make this a big and fun swap, so here goes, from Margaret's letter:

Here's what I propose for the first swap...
This is the Four Seasons Swap. If all goes smoothly, over the next year we can collectively create a quilted project for each season. With Summer approaching it's end soon, let's begin with Fall.

Create a doll-sized quilt depicting your interpretation of fall. There are no design guidlines; use your imagination and you cannot go wrong. Keep the size between 12" x 12" and 18" x 18", with rectangular or square being OK. It may be for a wall or for a table (as in a runner or centerpiece). Please use prewashed cotton or cotton blend materials if possible. Embellishment with anything that sews on is great (ie., trims, ric-rac, buttons). Please no glue though. Specify to your swap partner how quilt should be washed. The back of your quilt should include a personalized label with the name you selected four your Fall quilt, the date and your name, at a minimum. The quilt top may be pieced, applique, or whatever floats your boat. Consider possibly a pieced quilt in fall colors, or something depicting fall, or a quilt for one of the fall holidays, OR WHATEVER SAYS "FALL" TO YOU!

August 20, 2007 - The deadline to commit to the swap challenge. The quilt must be completed by September 30, 2007 and mailed to your swap partner. Depending on the response, the registration may close.

If you are interested, email me
msolomo1@maine.rr.com . Please include your full name, mailing address, blog URL if you have one and whether you are willing to ship internationally. Note: your last name & address will not be given on the internet, only to your swap partner. I encourage you all to indicate some of your preferences to style and color so that you may be matched with an appropriate partner - both in what you like to make & what you like to receive. If you do not have preference and would rather be surprised, that is great too. On approximately September 15 I will email each of you with your swap partner's information, and get an update on progress. I encourage you to post pictures of your quilts, though you may wait until after your partner has received it. I will also set up a group share on a photo site for these pictures to be viewed.

I encourage all of you to please spread the word about this to friends & family you may know that may be interested.
This should be fun!! For some reason, Blogger is not letting me add the logo to my sidebar, but that will be coming soon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Ok, now I've done it.

Today, while changing my web browser home page to Google from Yahoo, I decided to link up my g-mail account to the front page. Lo and behold, I have just a few posts in the in-box.

Well.....as most of you probably know, replies to comments go to g-mail. I thought I'd enabled replies to comments, but wondered why it didn't work, well its because of Operator ERROR!

So, if you've replied to a comment I've made on your blog and I've not responded this is the reason.............

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pay It Forward

The company is gone and the visit with the boys done, so now its time to take care of business.

I'm one of the lucky winners in Nancy of Blogging, Near Philadelphia's "Pay It Forward" give-away.

So, its my turn to Pay It Forward, and the first three people to make a comment will get something handmade by me.

I don't care where in our big, but also small quilting world you live, I'll mail internationally.

My plan is to have it in the mail by Labor Day.
UPDATE 08/06/07 5:55 pm, pdt:
DEB: email me directly
Still TWO openings!