Friday, August 25, 2017

The great eclipse and fabric combo trip

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband and I headed down to Missouri to see the solar eclipse, and brought Eclipse Sky along for the ride.  I'll just tell you now, we have no fabulous photos to share, because that requires a good camera and an appropriate filter.  We did, however, get peeks through the clouds at the eclipse before, during and after totality, and it was very, very cool to see.

Here is how the day unfolded.  We drove south for 4 hours, 2 of those in the pouring rain, and arrived in Hamilton, MO just as it started to rain again.  The plan had been to go find an open space to watch the eclipse from, but there didn't seem to be much point in the rain so we headed to Missouri Star Quilt Company instead. (Ooops.  Forgot pictures of that.  Bad blogger!)

Just after spying some Anne of Green Gables themed fabric, we spotted shadows outside the window, which meant there was a hole in the clouds, so we ran out to go grab the eclipse glasses out of the car (where we had left them because, well, it was raining!). On the way, two lovely quilters offered let us peek through theirs in case the clouds blocked the view again again before we got to the car.  Quilters are just plain nice!

So here's what the partial eclipse looked like when photographed with a phone camera, without filters, through patchy cloud. Pretty picture, but not much about it says eclipse!  I did see the disc with the bite taken out of it through the eclipse glasses though.

About 10 minutes before totality,  heavier clouds rolled in and blocked our view, and made my husband face fall, because they stretched pretty far and there was no way they were going to pass before totality.  We did see the sky turn to twilight though, and street lights came on. This was shortly after 1pm.  Away to the east, just clear of the clouds, we saw what hubby has since identified as Saturn becoming visible in the lower light. Look for the white pinprick beside the "Saturn" label in the picture.

And about 1 minute into totality someone gasped, and everyone looked up again to see the clouds parting just a little. Again, lousy picture but in person it was beautiful, a solid black disc surrounded by a shimmering silvery glow.

We watched the rest of totality, about a minute's worth, saw the red beads on the edge as the moon moved on, and a few seconds later the clouds blocked the sun again.  Of course, a while later the sky was clear again as we came out of the shops and took a last peek at the moon almost past the sun.

We did take a photo of the quilt in Hamilton, just to show it was there:

I meant to take a closer shot as well, but the social media director at Missouri Star distracted me by rushing up and asking to take a picture, and by the time we finished chatting I forgot to turn around and snap a better picture.  She got one though and posted it on their Quilting Deals facebook page.  She neglected to use my full name in the post, but Joanne K. is me and that's my quilt :) The post is pretty far down their page by now but I shared it on my Canuck Quilter FB page so I could find it again easily.

What about the fabric?  Well, I don't use precuts much, and I'm pretty spoiled with the excellent fabric selection at Quilting Connection, but I found a couple of collections to bring home.

Up first, the Anne of Green Gables themed fabric from Penny Rose Fabrics.  Not my usual colors, but my daughter and I are both Anne fans.  There are quotes on some of the fabrics, and Green Gables on another.  I have plans for two scrappy throws (one for Laura, one for me) with a period look.

There were charm packs and jelly rolls left, but I didn't want to limit my pattern choices so I asked for 1/4 yard cuts instead.  I did the math, and it was much cheaper that way too!  I don't think the fellow cutting my fabric was as excited by that or by the fabric's possibilities as me.  I suspect he was not a quilter. 

The girl cutting my fabric in the batik shop was much more lively and interested in fabric possibilities.  I think she may be a quilter!  I chose a fat quarter bundle and a little extra yardage of Artisan Batiks: Northwoods by Lunn Studios for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

I had a Christmas remake of Star Steps in mind, but now I have another idea kicking around in my brain.  I wonder if there's enough fabric in there for both?

The four hour drive home seemed longer than the drive down, probably due to the very heavy rain for the second half.  However, that brought a gorgeous rainbow, so the day finished on a pleasant note.

What did you do on Eclipse Day?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Eclipse Sky made its debut!

Thank you all for your encouragement on my last post.  The trunk show was well attended and I think went very well.  At least, it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.

My latest pattern made its debut at the end of my presentation.  Here is Eclipse Sky, in anticipation of next Monday's solar eclipse.

Of course there is some artistic license here, but my astronomer husband vetted it for basic scientific accuracy. He's a helpful, supportive kind of guy! The panels going from light to dark and back to light again represent the sky during the eclipse.  At totality the sun's disc is completely obscured by the moon and you can see stars, as well as the sun's corona flaring out beyond the disc.  You usually can't see the corona because of the brightness of the sun.

I had a tough time deciding what to quilt on this quilt, but when I finally did it made so much sense that I don't know why it took me so long to get there!  In the sun I quilted swirls like the swirling gases in the sun.  Pebbles in the moon remind me of the craters on the moon's surface.  Of course you can't actually see those details during the eclipse, but hey, it's a quilt!  Artistic license, right?

The concentric circles in the background?  Sorry, no great significance there.  I just thought they directed the focus to the eclipsed sun quite nicely. Looking at the quilts I shared last night, I realize I have used concentric circles several times.  I do like them, so don't be too surprised to see them pop up in more quilts.

We're going to head down to Missouri next Monday, hopefully down in Missouri Star Quilt Company territory (hubby does indulge me).  We'll try to get a picture of the quilt with a phase of the eclipse in the sky above it.  Then we'll focus on watching the celestial show for the total eclipse, I promise!  Weather permitting, of course.

Eclipse Sky is now available for sale as a pdf download in my Etsy shop or in print form from Quilting Connection in Ames (they are happy to take phone orders).  It will also be available for your favourite quilt shop to order from distributors very soon (or immediately if they want to order directly form me).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sewing and sewing and sewing...

I am hopelessly far behind in keeping up with your blogs, and also behind in replying to comments on my blog.  I will answer soon, I promise!  Friday is booked for catching up.

Why Friday?  Because that's the day after my trunk show at the Quilting Connection quilt shop here in Ames, Iowa.  Until that's over, I'm staying away from the computer (Except for this brief update) and sewing and sewing and sewing because I said I'd have sample quilts for all my patterns, and some in multiple colorways.  Oops.  I gave some of those away!

Jelly Bean Stars in ISU Cyclones fabrics
So, I have a new sample of Jelly Bean Stars (but I changed it up, so maybe the pattern needs a re-write?).  It was supposed to be a sample of the Stretch runner, but the scale of the prints in those ISU fabrics was too large.  We live in the heart of ISU Cyclone country so I really wanted to use those fabrics, and what do you know, I didn't have a Jelly Bean Stars sample so that's where I used the fabric.

Starlight Wishes revisited

Then there's the sample of Starlight Wishes that I bought fabric for 3 years ago but didn't get around to until now.  Of course, because I bought the fabric 3 years ago and wouldn't be able to get more, I decided to make the quilt larger.

Remake of Wandering Geese in Moda Grunge fabric

Let's not forget Wandering Geese.  I didn't give away Wandering Geese, but that whole collection of Moda Grunge in rainbow colors that came into the shop just begged me to sew them up, and how could I say no?

These are all just tops right now.  I'll share pictures of the full tops (and maybe quilted quilts) soon.  I'll also reveal my latest pattern. I am very excited that the pattern and the quilt are making their debut Thursday evening at the trunk show!  Come by on Thursday evening if you're in the area.  (More details here.)  I'd love to meet you!