Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fanfare 2017--Heritage Quilters of Huntsville Quilt Show

Our 15th biennial guild quilt show was this past weekend and as always, the quilts were fabulous! We have about 200  members and the show had about 200 quilts--though only about half the members entered. Here are some of my favorites, beginning with my entries:

Stella's Splendid Sampler, my quilt
Rajah Revisited, my quilt

Color in Black and White, Small, my quilt

Smitten, my quilt

X Marks the Spot, one of my favorite quilts
Best of Show and Viewer's Choice, Baltimore Rhapsody--Symphony by Teresa Rawson of Fabric Therapy, totally original designs and patterns, which she has available on her site. This quilt won Viewer's Choice at two AQS shows in earlier years. It is stunning:

Teresa's other entry, Contentment, a 25th anniversary quilt, all original designs:

Stars and Stripes by Sharon Stifflemire, I have the fabrics to make this someday:

 Chronicles of the Civil War by Jerry Alexandria:

Daughter's Choice by Lewis Harmon, quilted by Mechelle Armstrong--it won Best Track Machine Quilting:

Contemporary Strings by Teresa Covington, quilted by Elaine Poplin:

Imperial Star by Ben Darby:

Not Your Grandma's "Whitman Sampler by Mary Millhouse:

School Rules by Kari Hawkins:

Masquerade by Ben Darby:

These next five are all by Elaine Wick Poplin, one of our younger members, who is following her bliss and just keeps getting better. You can probably tell she  has a mathematical side--she is a high school math teacher. She quilts on a Longarm.

Touchdown, Alabama April 27, 2011. The radar image of a tornado:


Fusion. This quilt also received a National Association of Certified Quilt Judges Award of Merit:


The Plan Is: There Is No Plan:

We had funny quilts, like Eclipse by Bonnie Spencer. The subtitle is "Totality Awesome":

Bonnie also coordinated a Special Exhibit of Doll Beds and their quilts from our members. These are just a few:

Another special award, Judge's Choice, went to Sue Bartlow for her memory quilt, Life Full of Memories:

We had a few garments too. My favorite is Indigo Patchwork Jacket by Cecelia Bruton:

My other favorite, I Love Purple, by Claire Whitmore:

Last, but by no means least, every teacher loves when a student gets an award. Donna Daniel entered her Smitten quilt, which she titled Meander, in the category First HQH Fanfare Quilt, for those who have never entered our show before. She got First Place:

This is just a small sample of the great quilts we have in our show. Each show just gets better and better. I hope you can make it to the 2019 show.

Let's Quilt!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Simple is Super

If I had to describe the style of quilts I am most known for it would be "complex", "lots of pieces", "small pieces in big quilts", etc. Lately, I've been working on a simple quilt:

Spellbound by Calico Carriage Quilt Designs:

The top is 64" x 84" and is a sample for a class at Huntsville Sew and Vac, November 11 and December 2, 2017, 9-3 both days.

This is SIMPLE sewing--it's just rectangles sewn to rectangles, over and over. But since it is made from two Jelly Rolls, there is a good bit of organization required to cut the specific fabrics for the specific placement. Yes, every strip is cut exactly to fit. The blues are cut 2.5", making the Jelly Roll the perfect solution. The white strips are cut 2" in some places and 1.75" in others. The directions are excellent. But you won't just knock this out quickly--it took me a week of pretty steady sewing.

Another simple quilt I am making is my Lifetime Quilt--I am always amazed at the reaction and comments this project gets on social media when I share it:

As I laid this out on the floor, I discovered the two sections were sewn together in different orientations. I may continue like this, with the quilt changing direction in the middle  OR I may rearrange the sections to keep all those HST marching in the same direction. Time will tell. You can find out more about this quilt here and here.I'm about 2/3 done and there are 6144 triangles here, each 1.25" finished.

I LOVE complicated quilts and today I saw a stunner from a wonderful quilter, Sherry Reynolds. This quilt, "Eternal Beauty" just won Best of Show at Pacific International Quilt Festival:

Eternal Beauty, 94" x 94"
I am eager to see "Eternal Beauty" in person and expect to feel a bit like a rookie as I study it up close. The geometry in this is just a-maz-ing!

Sherry is one of the most humble and kind people you could ever meet. She is also incredibly talented. Her first quilt is "America Let It Shine". This quilt won Best of Show 12 times. If you ever got to stand in front of it, you know why:

While I shared Sherry's quilt and posted Congratulations to her online today, I was occasionally surprised at how many people liked another one of my simple quilts, X Marks the Spot, an entry in my guild show this weekend:

This really is one of my favorites too. Just goes to prove, a quilt doesn't have to be complicated or have tiny pieces or drop-dead quilting to be a great quilt. It does need those things to win Best of Show, so good thing I'm not trying to do that. 

Make the quilts you love for the people you love and celebrate the accolades and prizes of others. Don't be discouraged at quilt shows when you see quilts you know you could never make. Just love the ones you do get to make. We are making "gifts for generations yet unborn". 

I'll be back with photos from our show, the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville--we have really amazing quilters and our show is always inspiring to so many.

Let's Quilt!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Few Finishes

After a busy September traveling, I'm now in the "soon to go to Houston" mode. And I've been busy teaching local classes here.

My "go-to" quilt to make as a gift for nieces and nephews graduating from college is what I call the Super Southern Star--it's from Calico Carriage Quilt Designs. No "Y" seams, only half square triangles. I've taught it many times and have made about a dozen of them, about 75" square.

Here is one a student just completed as a wedding gift:

A quilter won't mistake this pattern for a "real" Lone Star" or Star of Bethlehem quilt but it makes a bed-size quilt top in a weekend and can then be quilted simply or with more complexity.

I recently taught this locally to 5 fairly new quilters. They did great in  our one all-day class, learning all the steps needed to finish their quilts. In the morning they learn how to make one quarter of the center:

In the afternoon they learn how to make one quarter of the side panels:

Two center quarters done, you can really start to see the star


They will all have terrific quilts when they are finished. Here is the one I made as a sample to keep for myself:

My two garments for Houston are now officially done. We are given fabric each year from manufacturers so we can make garments we wear on specific days while working on the Education Team. This helps identify us as staff and helps us in planning our wardrobes--I am there 13 days so having specific jackets I wear on specific days sure helps with  packing. Five pairs of black slacks, a bunch of shells or blouses, and the jackets are all I need. We can make whatever we want and can add one additional fabric to the ones we are given. These fabrics are from Alexander Henry, I added the red:

This is a beautiful rayon from the Menagerie collection of Rifle Paper Company, part of Cotton + Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics:
The other day I just wanted to quilt something so this wallhanging Trip Around the World was basted and ready--a former class sample. In a few hours I quilted  and bound it and it's now added to the pile of potential "gift" quilts:

Today I finished the Palmateer Point Sew-A-Long quilt from Humble Quilts. Lori does a small quilt sew-a-long once a year or so and I usually join in. Without a border, 21" square:

With a border, 25" square:
Think I'll baste, quilt and bind this one soon--no sense adding it to the unfinished top pile.

I have one more bed-size top for a class sample to get made in the next two weeks so I better get busy on that.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Halo Star Medallion--Month 10

This is the Block of the Month 2017 from The Quilt Show. It is available free to members of TheQuiltShow.com until December 31, 2017. After that you can buy it from www.comequilt.com.

It's time for that final border: Delectable Mountains. Here I will show you tips for making them. BUT I chose to do a different outer border.  See the blog HERE for my choices.

The blocks are made in pairs, reverse mirror image. Using the printed patterns and paper piecing them makes this process very easy--just follow the words on each paper pattern to know if you are making a left or right facing block. I recommend you make ALL 6 of the RIGHT blocks then ALL 6 of the LEFT blocks, taking a break between then. It's less confusing than switching back and forth, to me.

The blocks finish at 6"--check your printed pattern to be sure yours do. If you are not paper piecing, you need to know those half square triangles are an odd size, just about 1 3/8" finished. You still need to make 6" finished blocks, however you make them.

Cut all the fabrics as listed in the cutting instructions. NOTE: There are two size small triangles for the Half Square Triangle strips in the middle of each block. If you don't mind wasting a little fabric, all of those can be cut from 2.75" squares, instead of cutting some squares 2.75" and some 2.25". You decide. I find it easier to just use the larger size so I don't have to keep track of small/large triangles--when they are cut in half  they look pretty similar.

Here are some step-by-step photos with suggestions. NOTE: I prefer to add the two outside smaller background triangles AFTER I have the 5 pairs of HST sewn in place--I find the beginning much less confusing so I start with pieces 2 and 3, a background and a color triangle.

1. So you could see it, I drew a pencil line on the back of the pattern where the Half Square Triangle (HST) appears. Line up the outside point of the triangles centered on that line. To be sure you are getting started correctly, remember--put the Butt side of the background fabric (labeled W) on the Butt side of the paper. If you start off with the color triangle first, you'll be mixed up:

After sewing the first pair of triangles, finger press them open, use the Add-A-Quarter ruler to trim the edge, ready to add the next background triangle:

Triangles 2 and 3 are sewn, the edge is trimmed, and triangle 4 is ready to be placed and sewn:

Triangle 4 ready to be sewn. TIP: when you turn the paper over, CHECK CAREFULLY by looking under the paper, to be sure the fabrics have not slipped or become folded back before you sew those tiny stitches:

 I begin and end my tiny stitches outside of the seam allowance and I trim all the threads close, on both sides. You don't want a bunch of threads on your work:

 Moving right along, here you can see there is a pin out of the way of where I will sew--the pin helps keep the pieces from shifting when you turn it all over:

The 5 HST sewn and the 2 outside background triangles in place:
Use a long postcard to fold the edge of the paper over so you can trim the seam, ready to add the big triangles:

 This is a LEFT side of the block, ready to sew the 2 big triangles. Always double check to be sure you are putting each on the correct side:

If you have trouble lining up the triangle so it fits properly, use a pencil to draw a line on the BACK side of the paper, from corner to corner. Now you an place the outer point of the triangle on the seam. Or you could fold the triangle in half and match it to the center of the block; since the block doesn't have a real center, I prefer to draw this line:

Both triangles sewn:
 Now for the important part,trimming the block so it is square. I use a 6.5" square ruler, so helpful to be sure it's square. I found that the paper had "shrunk" just a bit from the sewing since the pattern was exactly 6.5" when printed. I carefully place the ruler so all 4 corners have the diagonal line crossing the corners:

All trimmed:

 Left and Right Sides trimmed, ready to have paper removed so they can be joined together:

There are 6 fabrics coming together where the rows of HST meet. TIP: any time I have 6 or more fabrics coming together at one point, I machine baste that spot first with a LONG stitch--I use 4.5 on my machine. I stitch about a half inch before and after that point:

Take it out of the machine and check it. If you are happy, turn your stitch length BACK TO NORMAL,  then sew the entire seam, stitching right on top of those basting stitches. If you are not happy, it's a snap to pull out the basting stitches, fiddle with the join again and re-baste. After sewing the seam, if I can easily remove the basting stitches, I do. If they are really sewn in there, I simply trim the thread ends and leave the thread. I was able to easily remove these:

The "block" now consists of a Left and Right block, with the center seam pressed OPEN. It should now measure 6.5" x 12.5" unfinished size:

You will make two borders this month. Each has twelve 6" finished blocks, 6.5" unfinished. Alternate left and right facing blocks so your borders look like the diagram on page 3. When sewn together the borders should measure 6.5" x 72.5".

That's it for this month. Next month we make the other two Delectable Mountains borders, exactly the same as this month. So for those of you ready and eager to move ahead, just print another set of this month's patterns and keep  making blocks and borders.

Let's Quilt.