Sunday, December 10, 2017

Halo Sunday Sew and Sews--Wait Until You See!

Today was the wrap up of the Halo Sunday Sew and Sews--we had a Christmas party with goodies to eat and quilts to show off. 

The food was great but guess what? They brought me a gift!! Behind my back, they had a little project going. Using the fabrics from their Halo Star Medallion quilts, they presented me with this amazing top they made as a group:

What a touching surprise! I love it and all the memories it holds, of friendship, fellowship, love and learning. They suggested I add a border with my fabrics--maybe I will. It's pretty perfect just the way it is. Can't wait to quilt it!

The house was ready:

My Quilt-y Tree with quilt, dragonfly and an A-6 ornaments

The new household tree so Stella can see our family ornaments

And I had gifts for them too:

None of us knew everyone when we first met last January 8, 2017 but we are all members of the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville. We started with 15, one dropped out and today 3 were unable to be here. The 10 who did come brought snacks and I had the hot apple cider ready--it's cold here today!

After we ate and they presented my quilt gift, I pulled their names from a hat and each was able to select any quilt they wanted from these shown in the basket. They couldn't open them, just had to choose from the folded part they could see. The last person thought she would be stuck with the last quilt but NO, she got this:

Halo Star Leftovers 24" x 28" 

So sorry I didn't get a photo of Donna and I with this piece--my leftovers from my Halo Star Medallion quilt. She was happy to get it and I think the others wished they were last. As I made this I knew I was going to give it to one of them, so glad I decided to give everyone a quilt. Just like Oprah said:  you get a quilt, and you get a quilt, and you get a quilt...!

Now to show you the wonderful quilts they made. Each quilter stretched herself and learned a lot, especially how to solve problems when they arise, as they will. Enjoy the show:

Jodie--she said this may be all she does and we assured her that was fine--it's a great quilt just like this

Brenda--she may add just one more narrow border

Pam--love that little green border and the funny story that goes with it

Terri--perfect for a large bed. She may take some of the red border off since she will be paying by the square inch to have it quilted

Jo Anne, sister to Brenda--their competition kept them each going

Donna--another happy quilter who learned a lot

Janet--just wow! Can't wait to see this quilted. I want to see this hanging in Houston 2019 in the Sapphire Celebration for the 45th anniversary of Quilt Festival. She will submit it late in 2018 for consideration.
This was a great year for me too--at least my studio got straightened up once a month. These ladies have all become more friends than students and most are already signed up for the 2018 Block of the Month, designed by Edyta Sitar. This time we're meeting at Patches & Stitches so we can accept up to 20 people. Sign up for that class  here. We start January 7, 2018. We will be the Sunday Sew and Sews 2. You must be a Star member of The Quilt Show to participate so you can print your patterns.

Let's Quilt!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pre-Wash: To Do or Not to Do, That is the Question

Quilters can be pretty set in their ways and this is one of those topics that often gets conversation going, online and in person.

I used to pre-wash everything--it came from my car to the laundry room before it went to the studio.

 Some years ago I stopped that and for the last ten years or so I have basically pre-washed nothing. Using a Color Catcher when the quilt was done was enough insurance for me. This is a miracle product, every kid going off to college should be given several boxes and taught to use them. It's magic:  any color molecules that bleed off the fabric into the water are attracted to the color catcher sheet, not the surrounding fabrics:

I did not pre-wash the 59 red and white fabrics used in my Red and White--By the Numbers quilt. When asked how I could bear to sell that one, my funny reply was always: "I had to sell it before I had to wash it.". Can you imagine the fear in putting a quilt like that in the washing machine? No, me neither. I would probably have used an entire box of Color Catchers. And held my breath until the cycle was done. I did sell it so I never had to experience that level of fear and trepidation.

Today I pulled 40 fabrics from my stash, mostly batiks, for a 40th anniversary Block of the Week quilt from a local shop, to celebrate 40 years of the quilt shop being in business, with the same owner. Patches & Stitches has been my "home away from home" for 30 years and the "happy place" for many, many quilters. There will be lots more info about the quilt coming--don't ask me, the details, I don't know all the ins and outs yet--but we will all know soon!

I am not a Hoarder. I am the "Curator of an Extensive Personal Fabric Collection". Here are the fabrics I pulled in just 10 minutes from my considerable stash:

As I looked at those really dark batiks, especially the reds, purples, and dark blues, I thought I better pre-wash all this fabric, including the stark white with white dragonflies. I separated the fabrics into darks and medium/lights and did two loads.  Here are the Color Catcher results:

You can tell which came from which load. I probably should have washed those reds and purples again but I didn't. I was really surprised how the yellows bled. But the white fabric is still pristinely white, no problems.  I will be sure to use a few color catchers when washing the completed quilt, and will continue to use them until fabrics in the quilt no longer bleed.

Here are my fabrics, pressed and folded, just waiting for the first block instruction:

I'm sure this is enough fabric for two or three quilts so I'm already thinking of another project or two to use them in. I want to USE my fabric, not STORE it.

Do YOU pre-wash? Any horror stories to tell? I'm glad I took the time to pre-wash these--it didn't take very long, less than 2 hours to wash, dry and press both loads. I used the Express Wash cycle as the fabrics are dirty, just new.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Classes

I've been digging in my shoeboxes of scraps to make a new sample for Scrappy Trips:

Scrappy Trips 50" square so far

Next, I added  piano key borders--to use up some more of those scraps:

60" square

 Last year I completed one of these with no borders:

Quilts just don't look "done" to me without a final border. I am happy with the piano key border.

This class will be Saturday January 27, 2018, 9 a.m. to Noon, at Huntsville Sew and Vac.

I also had fun using some leftovers from Spellbound to make "Bonnie's Baskets":

Bonnie's Baskets, 30" square

This class is Saturday February 24, 2018, 9 a.m. to Noon, also at Huntsville Sew and Vac. It is paper-pieced and this is a great project to learn that fun technique--even if you think you don't like to paper piece, this is the class to show how how easy and accurate it can be.

Both of these patterns are from Bonnie Hunter and are found on her Free Patterns tab on her Quiltville blog.

In February I'll offer my  one hour Ruler Work Demo on the Bernina Q20 Sit-Down Longarm at Barb's Sewing Center--Friday February 16, 2018, 10 a.m. and again at 11:30. See all the designs you can quilt on your domestic machine, using rulers, also called "Templates". Read more about that process here. Bonnie's Baskets was quilted with rulers in the center and Free-motion on the border. Fun and fast!

Let's Quilt!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Halo Star Medallion--Month 12

This is the Block of the Month 2017 from The Quilt Show.

Normally, the current year  2017 Block of the Month patterns are available free to Star members of The Quilt until December 31, 2017. The great news for those of you who are behind, or haven't started yet: the Halo Star Medallion Block of the Month patterns will be available until December 31, 2018. There is a beautiful Kit you might want to consider--what a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah gift, don't you think?

As an added bonus, purchase of the Kit includes a one-year membership, how great is that?  Purchase the kit here.

NOTE: Here is a link to Sue Garman telling us how we can change the size of a quilt from this size to an either larger or smaller quilt. She gave this information for the 2009 Block of the Month quilt, which fiinished at 85" square, very similar to our 86" quilt this year. What a treat to hear and see Sue and learn from her still. Check it out here. I provided this link on the Forum BOM 2017 way back in the beginning. It's still good information.

We made it to the end of the year. The only thing left are the four Cornerstone blocks, very simple Ohio Stars.

Sue designed these stars to be paper pieced so the pattern is printed that way. Sue loved to paper piece and did it whenever a block could easily be done like that. I made the first one that way, using the December 1 pattern. While it worked fine, I prefer to piece these simple blocks in the regular manner--it's faster for me.  That's why there is chocolate AND vanilla, you get to decide which method you prefer.

For paper piecing tips and reminders, you will find some help here  Month 1, the Paper Piecing Primer.

To piece these blocks in the regular quilt-making method, let's review simple quilters' math:

6" Block
9-Patch design
Each unit is 2" finished, so will be 2.5" before you sew the block together

The "Cut First" Method, exact measurements:

Background squares for the four corners:  cut 2.5"

Background Quarter square triangles (QST) for the 8 light triangles: cut TWO squares 3.25", carefully cut in quarters by cutting on BOTH diagonals

Star Points, QST, cut TWO 3.25" squares, cut into 8 QST by cutting on BOTH diagonals

Center square: cut one 2.5"
Two light 3.25" squares are stacked on top of dark blue 3.25" squares, then cut in quarters
 Lay out all the pieces, carefully sew the four  Star Point units from 4 triangles each, checking to be sure that each unit measures 2.5":

Sew the block together in rows; each row should be 6.5" when sewn:

Join the 3 rows to create a 6.5" star block, which will be 6" finished when you sew it in your quilt:

The "Sew First" Method, oversize measurements:

Background squares for the four corners:  cut 2.5"
Star Point units--cut two squares 3.5" of the dark star point fabric
                            cut two squares 3.5" of light fabrics for the 8 light triangles
Center Square--cut 2.5"

Place dark and light squares in pairs, right sides together, draw a pencil line down the center diagonal of light square, sew 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line:

 Cut apart on the drawn line, press toward the dark fabric, stack the blue/light half square triangles on top of each other, right sides together, with blue fabrics on opposite sides. Draw a new pencil line, sew 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line, then cut apart and press as you wish, to one side, open, or "twirl" the center:

"Trim to Perfection". Place the 1.25" mark on the center of the block, carefully line up the diagonal line on the ruler with the diagonal of the block and carefully trim away the excess fabric:

Turn the unit around 180 degrees, trim the other two sides and you have a perfect 2.5" Star point unit:

Use the steps above to sew the units into a star.

It doesn't matter which method you use, or how you get there, as long as you get a 6.5" unfinished Cornerstone star, it's all good.

Just a reminder, I did a different outer border:

I plan to quilt this myself on my Bernina Q20 sit down longarm machine. Unless I chicken out...

And excitement is growing for the 2018 Block of the Month, the Patchwork Barn Quilt, designed by Eydta Sitar:

There is a Kit for this one too, and it also comes with a one year free membership. Find that info here.

I'll be back in 2018 with tips and tricks and a few alternatives if you are interested. The Sunday Sew and Sews are all ready to go--I hope you'll join us!

Let's Quilt!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Leftovers, a New Start and Classes

About the time I am half way through a quilt project, I'm starting to think about what's next. Halo Star Medallion was no different. My top has been done since mid-August. As soon as I saw the plan for the 2018 Block of the Month in October, I've been thinking about what colors/fabrics I want to use and if I want to make any design changes.

I think this will be the center block and these are definitely the colors/fabrics I'll be using. BUT--this 24" block is too challenging to do quickly so I'm looking for an alternative for a class I'll be starting at a local quilt shop in January 2018. For those who want an alternative center.

Here is the design we will be working with from The Quilt Show., beginning January 1, 2018:

The Patchwork Barn by Edyta Sitar

A Kit is available or, of course, you can make this wonderful quilt using your own fabrics in your choice of colors. I love scrappy quilts and will be using lots of red, green, yellow, and cheddar, with a solid, Snow, for the background.

With my Halo Star Medallion top done, I folded up and put away the leftover fabric--and there was a LOT left--I always pull way more fabric from my closet than I'll need.  TIP:  I decide on the binding fabric as soon as the top is done and I make the binding right then. I have a basket to store the binding in with a note as to which quilt it is for. So when the quilt is quilted, now or years from now, I'll have the binding done and ready.

There were a bunch of small blocks and parts leftover too--from the demos I did each month for the Halo Sunday Sew and Sews group. They became this:
Halo Sunday Bits and Pieces, 24" x 27"

Recently, someone in the Humble Quilts Facebook group showed a photo of four-patches she made for the mystery we were doing. She didn't like them and offered them to anyone who wanted them. I just happened to see her post right then and said I'd take them. Many people tried to convince her to keep them, they were "fine", she should keep using them, they would "grow" on her, etc. But she knew her mind and really didn't want them--so she sent them to me. They became this:

Trash to Treasure, 27" x 27"
These small quilts don't take long to piece together and my wonderful Bernina Q20 sit-down long arm machine makes it a snap to quilt them. The Halo one took about an hour and the four-patches took 45 minutes to quilt. With bindings added, they are now done.

Now I've got some quilt business to attend to, booking airfare for 2018 teaching trips, ordering patterns/templates for those classes, keeping on top of contracts. I spend a few hours a week at the computer on these types of chores, including planning local classes. 

Here are the classes I'll be teaching at Patches & Stitches, Huntsville, AL: Sign ups start soon.

Color in Black and White:   Saturday February 3, 2018 9:00 am--4 pm  

Shiloh: Saturday February 10, 2018 9:00 am-4 pm

The X Block:  Saturday March 17, 2018 9:00-3 pm

The Quilt Show 2018 Block of the Month Sunday Sew and Sews Lecture/Demo class

                Sunday January 7, February 4, March 11, April 8, 2018 1-3 pm

There is also the usual beginning class: Quiltmaking 101, 5 classes in each session, two sessions offered.  
              Tuesday  Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 2018 5:30-8:00 pm
                              Feb 27, Mar 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018 5:30--8:00 pm

There will be more classes to mention soon, at two more local shops. I hope you'll find a class that interests you.

Let's Quilt.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Halo Sunday Sew and Sews--Look and See!

The Halo Sunday Sew and Sews met today and wait until you see their amazing progress! I don't feel like I've been their "teacher", I was more of a facilitator who answered a lot of questions and helped to guide the discussion. As these went on the wall, there was much discussion about whether to add another border, what to bind the quilt with, etc. As I always say in class, "Everyone in the room has an opinion but only one opinion counts--the maker's--you get to decide".

I am excited to share these with you:

1. Janet N--wow, wow, wow. I love this Blue and White version and have told her she simply must get it finished by December 2018 so she can enter it in the Sapphire Celebration of International Quilt Festival 2019, the 45th anniversary of Quilt Festival. She used Seminole Piecing for two of the borders:

2. JoAnne M--still a bit more to go, the Delectable Mountain borders are just pinned in place:

3. Brenda M---sister to JoAnne, there might be some sibling rivalry going on here:

4. Terri T--look at that focus fabric, she cut so carefully:

5. Pam E--despite breaking her wrist and hand in February, Pam got caught back up and we all said "oooohhhh" when hers went up:

6. Sheila C--how dramatic! We haven't seen this in a while and it got a great response--she added wider borders, enough that her Delectable Mountains borders will gain 12" more length:

Sheila is also doing the Delectable Mountains without seams in the large triangles--read how to do that here.:

7. Susan C--she has been out of the country and worked a week with me in Houston so she isn't as far along but she'll get there. We love how bright and happy this one is:

We had 3 more members of the group who couldn't make it today and 3 more who were here but didn't bring their quilts as life has intervened a bit and they aren't as far along as they had hoped to be. It's not a race, everyone will get done eventually.

Aren't these just great?! We are also excited about the 2018 BOM and talked a bit about that one. I'll be making an alternate center block and pieced outer borders for those who don't want to do applique'.

Let's Quilt!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Baby Quilts--Select Your Own

Over the years I've made a lot of smaller quilts, usually as class samples. Some of these are a good size for baby quilts. We are at the stage of life when our kids, nieces, nephews, and their friends are having babies. I've decided to let the prospective parents select their own baby quilt--from these that are done and ready.

This idea sure would have come in handy a few years ago when my husband came home from work to tell me he told a co-worker I would be happy to make baby quilt(s)--for her soon-to-be born twins! He did that frequently. Now I figure I am ahead of the curve.

And if they don't like these, they can put in a color request and I'll make something new.

In no particular order:

1. Opposites Attract  36" x 39"

2. Black and White, It's a Challenge  34" x 34"

3. Hearts and Nine Patches 29" x 33"

4. Strings A-Plenty 45" x 45"  This one is chosen--for Baby Edwards/Wasserman, due December 3, 2017.

5. Italian Shoo Fly #2 32" x 40"
6. Italian Shoo Fly #1  31" x 40"

7. Soft and Simple 26" x 31"

 8.  Trip Around the World  41" x 41"

9. Purple Boxes  39" x 47"
10. Bali Star  36" x 36"

 11. Scrappy Trip 46" x 46"

12. 3 Cheers for the Red, White and Blue  44" x 44"

While none of these are Heirloom quality, each will keep a little person warm or be good for floor use. Most are machine quilted, some in a rudimentary fashion as I improved. These are made to be used and used up, then tossed out. They can be machine washed and dried. Each will get a personalized label for the new, wee little one.

Jessica, you are up first. Do you see something you like?

Let's Quilt!