Saturday, October 20, 2018

I Just Can't Help Myself--A NEW SWAP

I have hardly looked up the last few days: A new swap, a sew-a-long completed, another sew-a-long to start, a class sample to deliver, and I started quilting a top today that has been ready for almost two years. I guess I like being busy.

The New Swap: Yesterday I saw a tutorial on Instagram that I thought would make a great swap block--over-sized and points don't have to meet. Perfect. I checked on our guild Members Facebook page to see if anyone else wanted to play.

Very quickly there were at least a dozen interested so I came up with a plan. I am a natural-born organizer, I just can't help it.

First I wrote to the designer for permission to use her tutorial and to write this blog. She graciously granted permission. Here is the wonderful Tiny Star Block Tutorial by Lindsey Weight.  If you are not on Instagram here are photos:

Here are the "Rules" for the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville swap, feel free to create your own rules if you put together a swap:

1.Sign up to make 10, 20, or 30. (So far, everyone wants to make 30)

2. They are due at the November guild meeting--you will get the same number of blocks you turn in, 10, 20, or 30, none of your own.  (That is one month--don't drag it out, these are fast to make)

 3. First quality fabric only.

 4. Blocks are 4.5" finished, 5" unfinished. EASY blocks to make quickly. DO NOT TRIM DOWN FROM 5"--each person can trim their own IF they want to. Mine will "float" so I will not trim. .

 5. Use light fabric for the background, contrasting print for the star. You may choose to put a different fabric in the center, one that looks like it belongs with the star points. You can make several exactly the same but this is a great way to use small scraps vs. yardage.

6. Do your best work--turn in blocks you would be happy to receive.

7. See photos for two pressing options for outer seams. First pressing of block units: middle row in to the middle, top and bottom rows, out toward the outside--do this on ALL blocks.. The two ROWS can be pressed to the outer edges OR open, your choice. 

Rows pressed toward the outside 

Rows pressed open
Today I found these blocks are perfect as leader/enders, startie/stoppies--just have them cut out and sew the units as you sew other projects:

If you like to draw pencil lines as a sewing guide, it can be time-consuming to draw diagonal lines on those 8 small print squares. Here is a trick that makes it much faster.

Cut two 3" squares. Draw a line on both diagonals, from corner to corner, with a mechanical pencil:

Carefully cut the 3" squares into four 1.5" squares:

 There you have eight 1.5" squares with the pencil lines drawn:

NOTE: I tried 3 methods--drawing pencil lines  as above, pressing the 1.5" squares in half to create a crease I could see, and just winging it from corner to corner as I sewed. All three methods worked for me so try all three and decide which you prefer. I know some people use the Angler on the bed of their machine--that is yet another option.

My guild actually used this method a few years ago for swap blocks--those were 9" finished blocks. These tiny ones are just so cute! 

Since I am in the middle of several projects and my cutting table is piled high with fabrics, it will be easy to cut a bunch of these and get them made. I'll be in Houston for two weeks before our November meeting so these will be done before I leave.

If you like this, why not ask some friends to swap with you? It is fun and just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!

Let's Quilt!


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Journey #7 My Artsy Period

When I started making quilts more than 35 years ago there was a bit of divide between those who made "Traditional Quilts" and those who made "Art Quilts", similar to the Contemporary vs. Modern quilts of today.

While I am most known for traditional quilt designs, over the years I have played with more "artsy" designs. Here are a few of those:

Batik Log Cabin, 1997, an early foray into "artistic" design simply with the use of batik fabric, which were just starting to hit the market with a bang at this time. It was featured in McCall's Quilting, February 1998. Today it resides in the master bath where I see it every day:

 McCall's Quilting February 1998:

Off-Center Mariner's Compass, 2001, original design, machine quilted. I am not crazy about this one, there is something "off" about the design. I do love the batiks. Finished is better than perfect:

Oriental One-of-a-Kind, 2002, begun in a "design your own quilt" class. It has both new and antique oriental fabrics, the beading is the first I ever put on a quilt. This one I like a lot, I hand quilted it with large stitches, another first. Today it lives on a guest room wall where I see it often:

Snake Doctor in Motion, 2003, begun in a Beaded Dragonfly class with Nancy Eha, "Snake Doctor" is a slang term for Dragonfly, my favorite insect. The two rows of hand-made beaded fringe took far longer than I expected. Machine quilted with variegated thread. This hangs in my kitchen where I see it every day.

Beaded Dragonfly Detail:

Fringe Detail:

Circle Play, 2004, based on quilts in a book by the same name by Reynola Pakusich. I used some of my beloved oriental and batik fabrics, learned to do machine applique' with decorative stitches, and played with pieced borders as a design element. I have taught this several times, students enjoy the freedom to "play" with their fabrics. One of my favorites and it has the honor spot above the mantel in the living room: 

Strips 'N Curves top that was started in the early 2000's in a class with Louisa Smith. It hasn't come out of the drawer for many years, some day I will finish this, it is about 42" square at the moment:

Black and White and Red All Over, 2007, this pattern was featured in McCall's Quilting June 2007, called High Definition by Beth Bruske. I knew it was the perfect quilt for my photographer/musician son, Joshua--who most often shoots in black and white. Many of the prints have musical notes. The back is deep red. Queen-size. Machine quilted by Lisa Marshall. Here it is at the HQH 2007 quilt show, with a ribbon:

 Color Play, 2011, the pattern was in McCall's Quilting, February 2006 where it was called Art Affair, designed by Jan Douglas. I made two of these, the first with 10" blocks (62" square) and the second with 5" blocks, (35" square) from the leftover fabrics. The large one was longarm quilted by Deanna Plotts:

The smaller one I quilted by machine myself. Both of these are favorites just for the big, bright, bold use of color:

That's about it for my "artsy" quilts. Today I focus on traditional quilt blocks and designs, using different types of fabrics. I still love batiks, Oriental designs, 1800's reproductions, and today's bright, happy prints.

I think having a granddaughter to quilt for made me look at contemporary fabrics in a new way. I am already planning a bed-size quilt for Sam--which he won't need for at least three years, of course. Good to plan ahead.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Class Progress

It's always fun to see how far students get on a class project. Recently, Spellbound was an all-day class. This is a great pattern from Calico Carriage Quilt Designs, home of Debbie Maddy.

A few shots from class, starting with their progress by the end of the day:

The morning was spent organizing, then cutting the various size strips in the proper order. After lunch it was time to sew. They all did great and will continue to sew until their top is done. I encouraged them to add borders if they want the quilt larger and I hope someone does.

In class progress:

Rhonda with her Featherweight

Marilyn has her first several rounds laid out 

Judy made fast progress
Here is mine, all done:

In another class, a student brought her finished Quiltmaking 101 quilt to show me. This is the beginning class I have taught locally for 30 years, this particular quilt has been the project for 10 years. I love it when a student makes changes, making the quilt her own. Nikki added additional wider borders:

Sunday was the monthly Sunday Sew and Sews class, focused this year on The Patchwork Barn from The Quilt Show. We are getting toward the end of this year-long Block of the  Month, designed by Edyta Sitar. It is not too late to get all the patterns for this quilt. They remain FREE for Star Members to The Quilt Show until December 31, 2018. In addition, this year, the 2017 Halo Star Medallion, designed by the late Sue Garman is still FREE for Star Members, until December 31, 2018. Download and/or print them before it's too late.

Three of the Sunday Sew and Sews show off their work:

Janet's before lovely  borders, still to come. She added sashing between the blocks.

Terri used the Crystal Farms fabric kit and she also added sashing between the blocks

Here is Donna's top, all finished. Don't you love how she made the center HER house?!:

My top is done. Now to figure out a quilting plan:

We are getting excited about the 2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show: SIZZLE, designed by Becky Goldsmith. Find more info here.

Yesterday, we had Session 5 of My Favorite Things--a 6 month lecture/demo class featuring the quilt I designed just for this class--it is made of my favorite blocks. Here are a few photos of the works in progress from some of the students:

Rhonda's is done--AND her husband loves it so it will be his Quilt of Valor

Holly got hers done too

Joan has a wonderful selection of fabrics--we all say OOOOHHH! when we see her blocks

More of  Joan's

Kathy has used a lot of Kim Diehl prints along with other lines

More of Kathy's blocks

Sally has a quiet reproduction palette--so lovely

Cyndi is wild, about Kaffe and Tula and lots of  everything

More of Cyndi's work 
It is so fun to see what each student comes up with and I love when they make the quilt their own. My Favorite Things ends in December, I hope to have more finishes to show. Here is mine:

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Journey #6

A bit more of a look-back at some of my early work:

By the turn of the new Century I had two young men in college and was working full time during tax season, and part-time at several jobs, mostly quilt-related, the rest of the year. A lot of my quiltmaking involved making class samples--if I wanted to make it, I would create a sample to teach it.  Another passion that was developing--replicating antique quilts, in my collection or those I saw in publications or exhibitions. 

Yuletide Elegance, 1997, an original design for a simple Christmas quilt. One 12" block, a Carolina Lily, set on-point, with beautiful quilting designs on the large white alternate squares makes this an easy quilt and one that says "Christmas!" each December when I hang it in the living room. I have taught it several times. It was thrilling to have it featured on the cover of McCall's Quilting, December 1997.

Devil's Claw,  1999,  a replica of an antique quilt I bought. This taught me how much I love scrap quilts, those using lots of fabrics. I call it "Planned Scrappy" because each block has one fabric in common with all the rest and the star points, squares and rectangles in each block are the same, though different from every other block. It is hand quilted and one of my favorites:

Living in the Past, 2005, 70.5" square, based on a pattern by Alice Berg published in American Patchwork and Quilting, October 2000.  I hand quilted this quilt, using a feathered wreath in the large squares--which you cannot see because those are print fabrics. One of my most favorite quilts that I  made completely myself--and today it looks like a great Fall quilt:

A-Symmetrical Six-Pence, 2005. 93" x 109", made in a group swap of 13 quilters. We traded "units" with each other, specifying what colors we wanted, each person then cut the units to the size she wanted and created her own quilt design. This one spent a lot of time on the design wall as I worked to get the design flowing in one direction, then making a turn to the opposite direction: 

Bountiful Blocks,2006,  the pattern is Summer Rose by Glad Creations. Another quilt with lots of fabrics, long-arm quilted by Lisa Marshall. This hangs in my living room and brightens it up:

These are just a few of the many quilts I made in those years. At least another 12 bed size quilts and many wallhangings, crib and throw size quilts. Over the years I  have given away or sold many of the old class samples, there just isn't enough space to store them all. But I have lots more to make so stay tuned...

Let's quilt!


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sewing for Houston

This is the time of year I get busy sewing garments for my work at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, TX.

The Education Team is given fabric from one or two manufacturers each Fall to create our choice of garments--jackets, tunics, blouses, dresses, even aprons, whatever we want. to make. We wear these garments on specific days, looking similar but not the same, as colorways and garment designs are individual.

This helps identify us as "staff" on the 3rd floor of the huge George R. Brown Convention Center: Here is a group photo from 2015, when we used a bright pink from MODA in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness:

These garments sure help with "what to wear" for the 12 days I am there. Several pair of black slacks, a variety of tops, and I'm good to go. This year I will wear 6 different garments over those days.

This year I made one of my favorite patterns, one I have used twice before:

It is an easy, kimono-style jacket. I usually line it and that makes it faster to construct, no need to finish the inside seams. Added bonus with this pattern--no buttonholes. This time I made the first one without a lining, using Metropolis fabrics, from MODA:

Now I know I really do prefer this jacket lined so the second one has a lining. The fabrics are Road Trip and Kaleidoscope by Allison Glass for Andover Fabrics:

Since we wear these for 3-4 years, I create labels for everyone to add to their garments--it helps to remember which garment was for which year. It is always fun to see the various garments everyone makes--there are 20 of us on the Education Team.

My friend, Lori D, has just started a Quiltalong on her blog:  Humble Quilts. As this is a small project, I jumped in. She says hers is only 18" square, we may decide to add more borders to our own. She gives instructions once a week, just little steps over time get the small quilt made. She is using French General fabric from MODA. I have a layer cake of French General's Rue Indienne so decided to see how far I can get with that--each week is a mystery. Here is my Part 1, 8.5"  square at the moment::

Now that the garments are done, I can concentrate on a few upcoming quilt projects that need work.

One other little thing that has kept me busy--our grandson was born a couple weeks ago in St. Louis--we took a quick trip up there to meet him, 8 hours each way. Meet Sam:

Big Sister Stella is doing just fine:

Let's quilt!