We spent the last week in California, visiting friends and family, and giving away quilts. It was a great visit, but jam-packed and a bit exhausting. I'm glad to be back on the boat.
My husband and I met in the San Francisco Bay Area, and lived there for 20 years, so it's a familiar place. However, I only started quilting in 2014 after moving aboard the boat, and never paid any attention to quilt shops when I lived there. On this visit, I had an opportunity to stop by one of the local shops, Eddie's Quilting Bee. It is located exactly three blocks from a little house I rented in 1988!
They had a very nice selection of novelty and children's prints. They also had lots of pretty batiks and the wonderful, saturated bright colors that I love to work with. Ironically, though, I bought two gray-based neutrals and a funky muted fish print, all from the sale table. I just can't resist a bargain, I guess.
I brought five quilts to California: three for Project Linus and two as gifts for friends.
A few days before our trip, I received a batch of fabric in the mail that included several pretty purples and a gray Essex linen. It immediately reminded me of my friend Linda, who has a beautiful home decorated in a sleek modern style with touches of purple as accents. I thought I'd make her something modern, but wondered if I really had enough time before the trip. I had recently come across a Nancy Zieman pattern called "Windchimes." It's sewn up in columns of various widths and pieces up very quickly. I hunkered down and worked on this quilt for three solid days so I could present it to Linda in person.
I quilted it with swirls and horizontal waves to look like wind blowing through the chimes.
Here it is on the bed in our hotel room. It isn't huge, just a lap size, but I was happy with how it turned out. The only patterned fabric is a neat antique map design with metallic silver accents. I love how the cottons feel so smooth next to the nubby Essex linen.
The back is pieced with left overs cut to make the 45-degree angles of the windchimes, plus a few more purples and grays. I named the quilt "Fair Winds." In the boating world, the best wish you can make for a friend is "fair winds and following seas," which means a smooth and pleasant journey. This is my wish for Linda and John, that friendship and love are the winds that bolster them. They seemed to really like their quilt, so I'm really glad I was able to give it in person.
This quilt, which was finished many months ago, was given to my friend Marjorie. I squirreled it away so I could surprise her with it in person. It is a sixteen patch, and among my all-time favorite quilts. I just love how the symmetry of the squares play against the romantic florals and little birds. The fabric was a jelly roll of a line called "Vienna Garden," and I named the quilt "Marmona Garden" after their neighborhood.
This photo from before the binding was sewn on shows the colors a bit better. It contains pinks, burgundies, greens and soft yellows, with just a splash of orange for some interest. Marjorie laid it on the back of their burgundy easy chair and it coordinated very nicely.
The quilting is a simple cross hatch through the center of each square, but that gave it a nice, snuggly softness. You can see it a bit on this rather bad photo of the back. The back was pieced with some cream and pale green left over fabrics: a good unobtrusive backing.
And finally, I had three Project Linus quilts to deliver to Donna, who will take them to the next chapter meeting in Alameda. All three have been written about before on the blog: Cat Family Portrait, Animal ABCs, and Charming Cupcakes. I brought them along to several of the visits we had with friends and family, to show them off. Most of our CA crew have never seen my quilts in person so I seared their eyeballs with my luridly bright children's quilts! I'm going to say the show-and-tell was a success, since one friend wanted to keep Animal ABCs, and another asked to commission a quilt using the remaining cat fabric from Family Portrait.
Each quilt showcases a different quilting technique, so I had a little spiel I did about free motion quilting, turning a fabric soft baby book into a quilt, flannel vs. smooth cottons, etc. The third or fourth time, Sean did the talk himself, which was just too funny! He's really been paying attention...who knew? He's more than just a pretty pair of feet at the bottom of my photos!
Best of all, though, was when I handed off the three little quilts to Donna. Because she's also a quilter, it was so much fun to "talk shop" with her, and to see her lovely home with the gorgeous views of San Francisco. My Mom and I spent the afternoon with Donna and had such a fun visit. Now I have a mental picture of what her sewing and crafting spaces look like, and I got to see a couple of her super cute receiving blankets, too. Wouldn't you know it, though: we were eating home baked cookies and laughing and talking so much that I didn't get a single photo!