Jul 26, 2014

cow quilt finished!

The applique cow quilt is finished! Been working on this one off and on for two months. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I decided to sort of "let go" of all the quilter rules and the neat and tidy techniques and just go with it.

Our family room has a a few touches of black and white cow, as you can see ... so you can see where this one might be hanging!

This was my first large scale applique using raw edge and Misty Fuse.  Up to this point, I've always turned the edges under. There are quite a few dangling threads on some of the edges and at first, this drove me crazy. Then I decided that this is part of the improv approach, and now I have endorsed those edges!

I have posted several times on the progress of this quilt, part two is here and here's part one. Short story - this is an original pattern I drew, using a photograph as a model. The ~100+ applique pieces are convex and concave so they snuggle up next to one another. It is machine quilted with black, white, gray and cream thread that mimics the direction of the cow's fur.

This pebble quilting on the background might be my favorite part. I also love this tidy quarter-inch binding... and the eye.

I still haven't hit upon an appropriate title for this one. I got a couple suggestions in the last post... waiting for that perfect fit. All I can think of is stealing from advertising slogans, the obvious"Got Milk?",  ".... It's What for Dinner!" Or "Eat More Chicken!"

Open to all ideas!

I am linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays. Always an inspiration to see all the art quilts linked up!

Jul 16, 2014

SAQA Dream Collection - Masters of Subtlety

SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) is having its annual benefit auction this fall. I'm so impressed with these small art quilts (all donated by the artists). Here is a Dream Collection of my favorites. I've titled these "Masters of Subtlety."

These beauties inspire me, and I love their quiet colors and subtle imagery. In a world full of color and stimulation, these minimalist works are somehow quite refreshing.

There are many more choices in the auction. Be sure to take a moment to flip through them. Next collection I might go with a Dream Collection filled with color, because some of those are really cool too.

Jul 12, 2014

Texas Roadtrip giveaway winner!

The drawing for the Aurifil giveaway has closed.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful and encouraging comments. I loved reading each one of them and I intend to reply back to those who commented. There were quite a few no reply bloggers... so hopefully I can reach you.

The winner is Jo! 

I will send you an email reply. I used a random generator app and the winning random number from that app was 86.

Thanks again to everyone for reading my post about Houston and for following along on this Deep in the Heart of Texas tour.

Special thanks to Aurifil for providing us the great thread for the giveaways!

Jul 7, 2014

Roadtrip to Houston for the Texas QAL! Plus a giveaway.

Texas QAL
It's my turn to host the "Deep in the Heart of Texas QAL Roadtrip." So glad you stopped by.

Today the roadtrip takes us to the great city of Houston!

If you're new to my blog... I'm Teresa, a native Texan. I grew up in Houston riding horses and lovin' football! We just can't help it, it's what we do. I've been quilting for a long time, blogging for a couple years and I'm in the process of writing a book on Japanese quilts. So, that's me.

Cristina at Pretty Little Quilts and Melissa at My Fabric Relish are Texas QAL Roadtrip organizers.

Here's the rundown on what you'll find in this post.

First - my art quilt of the Texas sub-surface: "Texas Rocks!"
Second - a couple fun facts you need to know about Houston!
Third - the block and pattern for Houston for the QAL.
Fourth - the Aurifil give away!

The Texas QAL is a really cool pattern... and as I stared at it, a new idea started to form. Eventually, this idea took hold... you know how that happens... it was simply calling me: do the sub-surface (you know, below ground - the rocks), make it abstract, use interesting fabrics and quilt it to resemble the 3D seismic lines that geologists love so much. You see, I spent many years working in oil and gas (left a year ago). I'm not a geologist, not even close. But you spend that much time around petroleum engineers and geologists, and some of this stuff starts to wear off on you.

I found this vintage geologic map of Texas, loved it, and set out to reinterpret it.
Vintage geology map of Texas.
Here's what I came up with.

"Texas Rocks!" by Teresa Duryea Wong.
The Texas sub-surface based on a vintage geology map.
Machine quilted.
Clearly, this is a departure from the pattern everyone is making for the QAL... I felt compelled to make an alternate version, and I have to say, it was quite fun to make.

Detail: "Texas Rocks!" by Teresa Duryea Wong.
The quilted lines and fabric shapes resemble the markings from a seismic survey - these point out fault lines, anti-clines, underground 'rivers'... even a couple 'hot spots' in the layers of rock.

To do this right, I used at least half of my Aurifil thread collection! Here's the resting spot for each spool as it went on and off the Bernina. Isn't that just a thing of beauty, all those beautiful spools?

Here's what you need to know about Houston. It's big! Six million people and counting - and you can drive for about 100 miles from one end to another - pretty darn close, anyway. We have a lot of freeways and very little mass transit. Driving a car here is practically a God-given right.

Houston is hot, but we love it anyway. It is home to the Port of Houston (one of the world's largest ports, by the way)... NASA's Johnson Space Center is here... we have a huge medical center with over 60 institutions... and of course, we are the epicenter of the world's oil and gas industry.

But, best of all, Houston is the host of the International Quilt Festival (and Market) every fall. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the festival. It is truly an event not-to-be missed, as I am sure you know.

Thinking of moving here? Well, you should know... we're in the middle of a massive real estate boom! The average time it takes to sell a house in Houston, Katy or The Woodlands? One to three days! Crazy, right? Put your house on the market at noon, have 5 offers by 5 pm! Totally true. Remember those things called newspapers? Read 'em and you'll see!

We divide the city according the Loop 610 boundary (kinda like Washington's DC's beltway). There's life 'inside the loop' and 'outside the loop.' Sadly, inside the loop, there is only one brick and mortar quilt store left standing (that I know of anyway - not counting JoAnn's or High Fashion Fabrics). Luckily it is a darling little place: Tea Time Quilting, on 11th Street at Tulane (in the Heights). It's tucked behind Jana's Flowers... and if the door's locked, just pop in the flower shop and they'll open up the quilt store for you. That's the way they roll in the Heights.
Tea Time Quilting, Houston's last quilt store in the inner city.
Besides quilting, if I were to recommend you do only one thing in Houston - it would be to visit to The Menil Collection! This is our finest art museum, and frankly one of the best private museums anywhere. It was founded by John and Dominique DeMenil and originally housed much of their amazing art collection. You must see the large Rene Magritte collection!

Like Beer? Well, then you're gonna want to stop by the Beer Can House. That's right. This quirky little house is covered in beer cans, what else? The artist/ beer drinker and his wife drank all this beer, and then started putting those cans all over the house. Only open weekends.

The other thing you must do while in Houston is eat! BBQ of course, and fajitas are our favorites. BBQ, or barbecue, is not what a lot of Yankees think it is... BBQ is not throwing raw meat on an open flame. People, that's grilling! BBQ is a slow cooked or smoked beef brisket, pork loin, whole chicken or sausage. And right before we eat it, we douse it in BBQ sauce. There's lots of choices... I recommend Goode Company BBQ. For your TexMex, there's about a million choices. The best fajitas are at El Tiempo on Washington - a Houston staple for the past 50 years.

Last but not least, you must head south to the water! Either Clear Lake or Galveston Bay and go sailing, or just go to Kemah, or Galveston. Both of those places have theme parks now. Or better yet, hook up with one of the yacht clubs and go for a sail!

Which brings us to the QAL block for Houston. A sailboat!

There are 2 pieces of fabric for the background - water and sky. Then applique the sailboat pieces on top using whatever your preferred method is. I used the machine and the satin stitch. Here are 2 images with the pattern. Print these on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

While this image is fairly simple, my favorite part is the front sail - called the spinnaker. These sails are usually very colorful, so have fun with it.

Fourth - the Fabulous Aurifil Give Away
One name will be drawn from comments left on this post. In order to enter the drawing, please leave a comment here. If you follow me on Google or Bloglovin, or you start following me, please leave a second comment here telling me so. Your name will be entered in the drawing twice.

Here's the give away. Aurifil has generously offered a pack of designer thread (like the one pictured, but not this exact thread set). Plus, the winner will receive a sample pack of thread (5 weights, one color) and an Aurifil color chart!

Winner will be drawn at random on Friday, July 11. Winner will be announced on Saturday July 12.

Thanks to Melissa and Cristina for inviting me on the Texas Roadtrip. And thanks to all the great sponsors.

Texas Roadtrip QAL

Jul 2, 2014

quilted yoga mat tote bag

Every now and then you just gotta make something fun... or maybe something useful.  Here's a quilted yoga mat tote bag I made from a couple of batik fat quarters and a yard of purple batik.

For projects like this, I always use Soft and Stable (from - By Annie) for the batting. It gives it a nice shape... and keeps it from flopping over. With the Soft and Stable, this bag will stand on its own, which will make it easy to slip the mat in and out. Soft and Stable is fairly easy to sew through - just be prepared to toss your needle after a couple hours of sewing. 

The bag is fully lined... its 24 inches tall, 6 inches wide - just big enough to toss in a rolled yoga mat, a small towel, and a water bottle!

This is very simple to make. But in case anyone is interested in a tutorial... Here's how I made it.

Cut 8 panels - 7 in x 25 in
   - 4 panels for the outside, 4 for the lining

Note: fat quarters work great, but they aren't quite tall enough, so I added a 3 inch border around the top. This also gives it a nice finished look.

Cut 2 pieces, 7 in square for the bottom panel
Cut a strip for the strap to desired length.

Cut batting or stabilizer: 4 panels 6 in x 24 in, 1 panel for bottom - 6 in square
(Again, I used Soft and Stable product from By Annie. It's truly great stuff for these projects!)

Place the fabric panels on the top and bottom of batting/stabilizer, be sure to place the right sides on outside
Free motion quilt the 4 side panels, or machine embroidery, or secure using straight stitch
Sew a large X pattern on the bottom panel
Finish the strap as desired
Place strap on center of two opposite panels. Secure.
To finish the top: Fold the remaining fabric of top panel over top of batting/stabilizer. Fold extra lining fabric to line up with top. Secure temporarily with binding clips.
Line up the quilted pieces with the right sides together, sew along the fabric edge.
(These can be assembled using using the overlock stitch or zig zag.)
Sew all the edges together with bag inside out. Make sure you are catching all four layers.
Turn bag right side out.
Top stitch around the top edge to secure top and give it a nice finished edge.

Step back and enjoy your new quilted yoga mat tote bag. Take your breath of choice!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.