Monday, October 14, 2013

Starstruck Block Lottery

My guild is starting a new project this month, using this simple block. 

To participate, we make at least one or more of these great little floating stars, in that months' designated color.  The first block made is donated to our Comfy Quilt program, and will be used to make quilts donated to children and adults in need.  Any additional blocks we make go into a lottery and someone gets to take them home for their own use.

The blocks are currently about 9" and can easily be cut down to a smaller size--very important in group swap projects!

This month the colors are your choice--Auburn or Alabama team colors--the Iron Bowl is a big football rivalry here in Alabama so we're going to see if the group that makes the most blocks predicts the winner of the BIG game.

I had a wonderful time at our guild quilt show this past weekend--winning Best of Show was a thrill!  See my post here to see what I wrote about that.  Now it's back to reality so:

Let's Quilt!

And check out Judy L's blog to see what others are doing.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Best of Show Makes My Day!

"Our guild has its' bi-annual quilt show this weekend, October 11-13, 2013.  Our members are a very talented bunch and our show is a beautiful, exciting, and eclectic display of textile art/quilts.  I am thrilled to have received the Best of Show Award for my quilt, Red and White, By The Numbers:

 Inspired by the 2011 NYC exhibit “Infinite Variety”, these blocks were free patterns from 2 websites in 2012.  There are 2770 pieces and 59 different fabrics. 

It was quilted spectacularly by Pamela Joy Dransfeldt, the Joyful Quilter, from Camarillo, CA.  Here are a few detail shots:

On the Frame
So this weekend I get to enjoy this experience, do the happy dance, then it's back to normal on Monday. 

Let's Quilt!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Design Wall Monday--My Feathered Star

Here is my Feathered Star, cut out to be a class demo:

15" Radiant Star with 1" burgundy borders

It now goes to one of my friends for our 3-person Round Robin.  We do these occasionally to commemorate quilt trips we've taken together.  This one was formed in Paducah, April 2013.  We each selected a focus fabric or theme, and each of us bought 2 fat quarters for each other, that went with the stash we were each buying for our own project.  This Round Robin has no rules--we each make a center block and pass it on.  We might pass it back around more than once, might not.  Anything goes.  This works when you trust your friends.

Here is the first one to make it to all three of us, it belongs to Ellen:

Ellen did the center applique' block, I added the Sawtooth and narrow dark borders and Sharon added the Four-Patch borders.  Now it goes back to Ellen to work her magic--I'm betting she adds more applique' next.
Be sure to check out Judy L's blog to see what others are doing.
Let's quilt!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Feathered Star Class

Yesterday I taught a Feathered Star class at Patches & Stitches, my local quilt shop where I have taught for 25 years.  Here is the class sample:

It was a six hour process class, with the primary purpose of the class being to learn how to accurately sew a 15" Feathered Star block.  What the maker did with her block after class was entirely up to her.

Using Marsha McCloskey's great book, Feathered Star Quilt Blocks 1, subtitled "Really Hard Blocks That Take A Long Time To Make", we made the 15" Radiant Star on page 22.   The book has excellent directions and you should check out Marsha's website to see more of her work and patterns/books.  Marsha is the queen of Feathered Stars and a great teacher too.

As I tell all my students, in every class, there are only 3 things you can do wrong in making pieced quilt blocks:  the cutting, the sewing, and/or the pressing.  This block requires you to do your best work on all three of those.  Accuracy is important on this one.

One student, Tina, was making her first ever Feathered Star and she got into the process quickly. 
Making Feathers, the Bias-Strip Piecing Method

Assembling the units--she's getting there!

Two Thirds of the way there, at the end of class.  Great job!

Sarah took this class from me 3 years ago and has made 3 Feathered Stars since then but wasn't completely happy with her precision so she came back for a refresher on how to improve her work.  She used the fabrics and pieces she had made some time ago, and some of them needed trimming before she could get them together.  Back in business:

Christmas Star, on her way!

The third student, Joyce, had also taken the class 3 years before and completed her Feathered Star from that class.  But then life intervened and she put it away.  Now she was ready to actually make a wallhanging with her block.  She asked me if I would help her to complete the project in this class and I said "Sure".  She spent her time in class making pieced borders and learning how to figure out what size to make the floater borders that would allow her pieced borders to fit accurately. 

Cutting Half Square Triangles for the first pieced border

Ta-da!  First solid border cut and sewed on, AFTER the pieced border was made, so everything fits!
At the end of six hours, everyone was tired but happy--each person had gotten what she needed out of the class, and more importantly, was ready and eager to go home and finish this project! 

I found it fun and a little challenging to spend the day going to each student and providing what she needed at that particular moment.   Each was at a different step at any given time so that kept me on my toes.  As they sewed, I worked on my demo star--I'll show that soon--it's almost done. 

Teaching quilting is almost as much of a  passion for me as making quilts--I just LOVE to see the light bulb come on when a student figures out how to do something that had been a challenge.  And when they proudly send me a photo of their finished project:  priceless! 

If you're stuck or need to be inspired, find a great class and get back to it.  All I ask of students, mine or anyone else's, is to try the suggestion a teacher gives before you say "That doesn't work for me"--you won't know if you don't try it.   I try to provide more than one way to do something, saying "That's why there's Chocolate AND Vanilla"--no one method is perfect for everyone.  For example, in this class I showed 4 different ways to make those tiny 1" finished feathers.  After working with Marsha McCloskey last fall in Houston, I tried her bias-strip piecing method, again--I had tried it many years ago and not loved it.  This time I was taken with how well it worked for me now so I changed my preferred method.  Always be open to new, or not-so-new ideas.

Hope you are working on a quilt project that makes you happy.  Next up  for me is our bi-annual guild quilt show next weekend--sure to be a terrific event.  Quilts get turned in early this week, judging happens Wednesday and Thursday, and the show is Friday-Sunday. 

Let's quilt!