Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Progress and the Ugly Quilt

I've been working on a few projects, as usual.  Here is the top for Kisses + Hugs, also known as the Japanese X and + blocks:

I added 3 more rows to the top I had prepared for my Quilt-In class and am now declaring this top "done".  Some simple straight line quilting, a binding and a label, and it's finished.  Very bright and cheerful. 

Last week I quilted both Box of Wine and the Ugly Quilt, with free motion and straight line quilting.  They turned out all right.  That free-motion process takes lots of practice and I just haven't put in the time yet to improve beyond "OK".  More tops, more practice, more classes, I'll get there.

Box of Wine, class sample for Color College
 I'll be teaching a series of classes about color, using the wonderful new book by Becky Goldsmith, The Quilters Practical Guide to Color.   I wrote about that here.

The Ugly Quilt
This will be donated--it's just weird enough to appeal to a young person, I hope.

This is my Tumbler Leader/Ender project.  Bonnie Hunter does an annual Leader/Ender challenge, learn about this one the 2015 Leader/Ender Challenge,  There are four rows of 60 tumblers laid out, not sewn yet, no rush.

New start, Smitten by Jen Carson Kingwell.  I saw this a couple months ago on Instagram, most people are doing the blocks with English Paper Piecing.  Some are hand piecing, some machine piecing, and some are doing the hybrid method, some of each.  There is a set of Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates, Set H, that has all the pieces necessary for all the blocks so I am using them.  I machine pieced this block, Y seams and all, and will keep going with that process.  No rush on this one either. 

What are you working on this summer?  It's too hot here to be outside much so quilting keeps me cool.

Let's quilt!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simply Moderne--A New Magazine

There is a new magazine just out from the folks who publish Quiltmania.  It's called Simply Moderne and the focus is on the world of Modern Quilts. 

Here is the Premier Issue, No. 1:

 I've been asked to review this new publication for you.  First, I must say, as with all the Quiltmania publications, this one is just beautifully done.  The images are clean, clear, colorful and very inspiring.  There are 128 pages of inspiration, ideas, new patterns, quilts with traditional connections, all the things that make the Modern Quilt Movement fresh and exciting.  Advertisements are not obtrusive and are just as beautifully created as the articles and photo spreads.

There was a big spread with photos from QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, TX,  The photos occupy the space while  the captions off to the side make each easy to identify.

There was a spread of local shops in Austin, fun and funky--places I'd like to visit.

There is a very well-done feature of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Modern Quilter, author, all-around great person. 

Following Victoria's story, there is a photo spread of her favorite NYC shops, those not to be missed when you make a trip to the Big Apple.  A great way to follow up her personal story.

There are 12 complete projects you can make, with exceptionally clear photos and instructions, with measurements in both inches and centimeters. 

One of the projects that caught my eye, along with the terrific saying on the Contents page. 
While I am more of a traditional quiltmaker, I am all about anything that keeps our industry alive and brings more people to the art of quiltmaking.  Big pieces, bright colors, simple machine quilting, smaller quilts that can be done in a week, not a year, all of these things are attracting the next generation of quilters and that's a good thing. 
There are four issues a year and subscription information is available here.   NOTE:  the US portal will open August 17, 2015.  It will operate from Georgia, which will make shipping faster for US customers.  If you want to subscribe before that go here.  The magazines are available in print and  you may bundle your subscription to include other Quiltmania publications as well.  These are not magazines you flip through and discard--they are keepers. 
I hope you will take a look at this new publication and see if it inspires you to create. There are many more wonderful articles and photos here than I have shown, something that is sure to speak to every quilter.
Let's quilt!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Quilt-In and My Ugly Quilt

Our guild did a "Quilt-In" on Saturday--I was one of the 6 teachers.  After teaching my 3 hour class in the morning, I had free sewing time in the afternoon and early evening.  It was wonderful!  As the weather is very hot and humid, being indoors with my Featherweight and my friends, was a great way to spend the day.

I taught Kisses and Hugs, also known on the internet as the Japanese X and + Scrappy Quilt.  It is really just an old Nancy Cabot pattern from the 1930's, made modern with bright colors.  Here are the blocks the 15 students made during the class:

They had fun, most learned a few quick tips they didn't know, which they can use on all their future quilts, and their blocks really could all go together.  Very scrappy, very bright.  This would make a great baby/kids quilt and it's pretty fast.  Here are 4 blocks Mechelle did after class, during her free time sewing:

During my free time sewing I made 8 additional blocks for my replication of the top I bought in Minneapolis, I wrote about that here.
On the left are the blocks I just made, on the right is what the quilt looks like with sashing and cornerstones.  They are about as different from one another as two quilts can be--I love both the old 1800's fabrics, and the new bright fabrics.  It's all good!

The Quilt-In did not get enough guild support to go on next year and that's a sad thing.  We had 37 people out of a guild of over 200.  And of those, at least 20 were on the committee or teachers.  Some people said $50 was too much.  Here's what we got for our $50:

Up to 7.5 hours of classes: two 3-hour classes morning and afternoon, and a 1.5 hour evening lecture/demo class. 
Light breakfast with fresh fruit, sweet rolls/cakes, orange juice/coffee/water
Time at lunch to go to the 3 area quilt shops that all provided discounts just for Quilt-In attendees, ranging from 15-25%
A great dinner catered from Carrabba's with a delicious salad and 3 decadent desserts
Each person present received 3 door prizes, with the top prizes being a brand new Rowenta iron and a large brand new Ott Light.  I got a new binder tool, a bottle of Retayne, and a $10 gift certificate to a local quilt shop. 
A notions grab bag that went to one lucky winner--filled with lots of notions people brought in, including a Sidewinder bobbin winder
A fat quarter basket filled with well over 40 fat quarters people brought in, that went to one winner.
Two people won sets of scrap blocks that people brought in, more than a dozen of each block. 
A day full of fun and friendship with like-minded quilter friends, old and new.

This was the second year for this event and we hoped it would really grow.  It's just too much work for so few participants. 

If you're involved in a group, try to support the events that are planned.  As co-chair of our upcoming quilt show, I know just how much work is involved in making a great event happen and how we have to beg for helpers to get all the jobs done.  And, after all, we are ALL just volunteers trying to provide a service for our quilters and our community.  Stepping down from my soapbox now...

A couple weeks ago I read a blog about a swap someone was doing with a few friends.  It sounded fun so I thought I could get a group together to do the same.  It involved making a 20.5" block, basically like a Log Cabin, then cutting it in quarters.  The group I read about was using very similar modern fabrics.  So I thought I better make a few first before going forward and used fabric from my scrap shoeboxes--totally scrappy.  Well, after spending more than 3 hours, more or less, to make 4 of these blocks, I declared this idea a "no go" and am now calling this the Ugly Quilt:

It was improved a bit with the addition of 1" finished black solid sashing.  But not by much.  This is going to be a practice machine quilting piece.  The plan at this point is to use four different free motion designs across the surface, to practice quilting and to finish this.  It's 44" square.  I hope quilting it, improves it yet again, I really don't think it can hurt it any.  And it saved me from starting yet another swap project...

Stay cool and let's quilt!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Big and Little

I've been working on projects Big and Little:

Big Stitch quilting on my Antique Rose Star quilt:

Making a miniature Churn Dash quilt:

Block size 1.25".  Quilt is about 8" square

Yes, I know some of the points are "hidden"--sometimes, finished is better than perfect.

I recently taught a Lone Star class by special request and this was the project I used for my "step outs" in class:

The center of the star is about 18" and the piece is about 22" square.  I'll hand quilt it when the Antique Rose Star is finished.  I found a bundle of 5 fat quarters when I searched my closet for things to sell at our guild yard sale later this week--they were perfect for this project.  The outer border is the size it is because that is ALL that was left of that fat quarter.

Here are a few shots from class:


Janie adding a corner square

JoAnne making the points match
Mary cutting quickly with her strip cutter mat
Sharon completed her block.  The book is All-Star Quilts by Helen Young

Another class project, this one hand pieced

Lois wanted to learn the Antique Rose Star so I taught her privately as the others sewed on their Lone Stars

Four of the six students had driven up from South Alabama for the class.  They stopped at many quilt shops along the route, taking 12 hours to cover what is normally a 6 hour drive.  It was Row by Row time so they planned their route to hit participating shops.  I was so pleased to have them request this special class and make the time to come "up North" to spend time with me.  Great ladies and it was fun!  Hope to see them again.  And the two local students were happy to have this class too.

This week I am determined to get all 50 of my kits made for Make It University at Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland next month.  More than half way there so I'll make it. 

Let's quilt!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

A New Finish and Chair Seats

Finally got my Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt completely finished:

The pattern is from Bonnie Hunter and will appear in a future book.  She offers a mystery quilt each year around Thanksgiving.  This one has colors that were inspired by the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Mine is half-size--that was enough for me and I added the narrow black sashing around the blocks.  See Bonnie's original here. 

The best thing about a rainy couple of days is that I really worked at getting my studio cleaned up.  My friends will be amazed--you can actually SEE the chair seats in my two cozy chairs and could sit in them if you wanted to visit:

It's been quite some time since those have seen the light of day.  I also cleared off the cutting table, mostly, as I am cutting Tumblers and 1.5" squares for leader/ender projects:

AND, I cleared off the ironing surface--that had way too much stuff piled up on it:

Next up, I'll machine quilt the Box of Wine quilt--jumping into free-motion with fear and trepidation but the determination to get it done in a satisfactory manner:

And the design wall has been freed up now that I finished the Simple What Nots Club sampler, shown here:

If the studio still looks messy to you, all I can say is "You should have seen it before".  This is a vast improvement and I feel free to create and make it messy again.  Several more projects have to get done before this year is over but I'm getting there. 

I hope you had a great 4th of July celebration--let freedom ring!

Let's quilt! 


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Three Amigas Retreat

My two best quilting buddies and I get together each summer for 2 days of quilting, talking, laughing, some eating, and mostly reconnecting as one of us moved 125 miles away some years back.  We look forward to this time and have already decided next year HAS to be 3 days so there can be some retail therapy too.

A few weeks ago I cut the strips for this new class sample and got it made at our retreat:

Box of Wine  40" x 48"

It's from a great new book on Color:  The Quilter's Practical Guide to Color by Becky Goldsmith.  I first wrote about it here.  I will be using this book to teach four separate classes in a series I'm calling Color College.  This is for Fall Semester--it shows how clear and grayed fabrics can work well together.  This book is packed with practical, easy to understand information about color but you DO have to read it to get the most out of it.  My hope is that those who take all four classes will have read the entire book by the time they finish the fourth class and have a better grasp on using color in their quilts.  Now it's on to the quilting.

My other finish is this, a compilation of blocks from the Simple What Nots Clubs I led over the past year.  Rather than make a bunch of small quilts, I put the parts and sample bits together:

Simple What Nots Club Parts 1 and 2, approx. 60" square

Then Ellen surprised me with a birthday gift, a quilt for my grandchild (ren), called "Sleeping at BB's":

"Sleeping at BB's", 40" x 48"

I love how bright and cheerful and scrappy it is and the beautiful machine quilting Ellen put into it!

Here are a few shots of their work, except that Sharon won't let me post several of her pieces as they are class samples for our Quilt-In July  18:

Ellen--we do love our scrappy quilts!

Ellen--always uses her leftovers for another little quilt

Ellen--she makes big quilts too

Ellen--this looks familiar--her guild did a red and white swap block challenge

Ellen--had to make a little one too, great quilting!

Ellen--Snowballs and Nine Patches

Ellen--GREAT Quilt of Valor, she almost finished during our retreat

Sharon--after she bound 4 quilts for her upcoming class

Time spent with these two is always so special, particularly because it doesn't happen often enough and we really have to make time to be together.  The first night Sharon's husband, Rick, grilled chicken and we all shared a terrific dinner at her house, including my husband.  Great times!

Time to scour the closets and bookshelves again for more stuff for our guild Yard Sale.

And look who is one month old today:

Let's quilt!