Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Quilters Select Rulers, Mats and Rotary Cutters

Sometimes a new product comes along you have to try to love. Last Fall at the 2016 Fall Quilt Market in Houston, I was introduced to new rulers, mats and a rotary cutter under the brand name Quilters Select. Alex Anderson is the face of these products and she showed them to me.

I bought the large and small mats, several rulers and the rotary cutter:

What I love:

1. The mats have a light gray and a dark gray side, perfect for any fabric

2. The mats have a solid feel but also feel almost soft--hard to explain but very nice to cut on.

3. The rulers have lines that are easy to read and a wonderful non-slip coating on the bottom side. My cutting is much more accurate and I am very unlikely to slip when cutting. The yellow color is good to use on any color fabric.

4. The rotary cutter is heavy--most people say that the minute they put in in their hand. They think they won't like it but I'm here to tell you, that extra heft makes the cutting easier, and requires less pushing with your hand and shoulder. AND changing a blade is a snap--a magnet keeps it in place and it is impossible to assemble incorrectly. Left and right handed folks can use it from the start, simply slip the protective guard in the proper position for you. Easy!

At Spring Market new sizes of the rulers were added. Here is the Current List. Great sizes for everyone.

Don't believe me? Watch Alex show you their amazing features Quilters Select Video with Alex Anderson.  Try them, you'll like them.

As a teacher, especially for beginning quilters, I see students struggle to handle the rulers and use a rotary cutter, often for the first time. These products really help them cut accurately. The difference is noticeable to me as a teacher. 

I encourage you to try these out as you are in the market for new rulers/mats/cutters. You will be surprised at how nice these tools are.  By the way, they also have lovely cotton threads, 60 wt. and 80 wt. I love these too but will save that for another post.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pre-Houston Rush

Everyone who works at Market and/or Festival is in the pre-Houston rush stage. Just look at #quiltmarket on Instagram to see a bit of all the great stuff that will be revealed soon.

For me, it's getting clothes and paperwork ready for 13 days at the Hilton Americas, a great hotel I love staying at. The staff is wonderful and I really look forward to seeing so many of the same people year after year.

Yesterday I taught two classes, 3 hours each at two different shops, 21 total students. First, was a Creative Log Cabin class, using the Creative Grids 8" Log Cabin Trim Tool. It was a fast-paced class, helping all 8 students learn the basics and the easy but specific steps I've come up with to make these blocks fast, fun and accurate. Success!:

Class scenes:
Rhonda with her Featherweight and Quilts of Valor fabrics

Sharon's contemporary strips

My Class Sample:

At noon, 5 of these students and I hustled on to the next location for our Monthly Long Time Gone session. This was session 2 and I was thrilled to see the great blocks 13 students had made this month. Did I think to take a photo of the design wall covered with all those blocks? No... Next month. Here is my Section 1:

My Section 2:

We meet for 3 hours once a month for 6 months. I give tips and tricks for that month's section. The students take notes, ask questions and play with their fabrics--no need to bring a sewing machine for only 3 hours when I have so much to teach for each block. They are making wonderful quilts!

My Spellbound sample is now on the wall at Huntsville Sew and Vac.  Class is two sessions, Saturday November 11 and Saturday December 2. Any two Jelly Rolls, exactly the same, will work for this simple yet graphically dynamic quilt:

 Today I made the splendid little Stella a splendid little pillowcase for her Splendid Sampler quilt:

I'm eager to see her reaction--this makes a terrific I Spy quilt.

Have I mentioned how much this family LOVES Halloween?!

Lauren, Stella and Andy as Rick and Morty, whoever that might be...

I also quilted and bound the Palmateer Point mystery quilt I made a few weeks ago:

My stack of small quilts is growing by leaps and bounds--I think I'll add a dozen or so to my Etsy shop when I get back from Houston. Most are small, this one is about 25" square.

I probably won't get time to blog much while working in Houston but I'll add photos to Instagram and Facebook regularly. See you when I get back.

Let's quilt!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Salt and Pepper

Here is my new block, "Salt and Pepper":

I was excited to be asked to make a block for the StudioE "RSVP Designers" program to be unveiled at Quilt Market 2017. It is 16" finished and made completely from StudioE's wildly successful Peppered Cottons fabrics. The stars are 6" finished with a .5" cheddar inner border and 1.5" checkerboard outer border.

If you will be attending Quilt Market in Houston October 27-30, 2017, see the works of several designers during the StudioE Schoolhouse on Friday, October 27, 1:55 p.m.--2:25 p.m., room 352C. Shopowners will learn lots of ways to run their own "RSVP Designer" program in their shops. And be sure to visit the StudioE booth, #2319, to see the blocks again, up close and personal. I will be at the Schoolhouse Presentation and would love to meet you.

I enjoy making "Lemoyne" or "Eight Pointed" Stars. Using the Perfect Patchwork Template Set E makes it easy to cut the star points for either a 6" or a 12" star. These were foundation pieced on telephone book paper.  Read more about this FREE sewing notion here.

Here are the other designers for these blocks. Check out their blogs to see their work:

Sue Pelland Designs; http://suepellanddesigns.com/
Janice Pope of Anything But Boring Designs http://anythingbutboring.com/
Valerie Bothell; http://www.valeriebothell.com/
Robin Koehler; http://nestlingsbyrobin.com/
Barbara Black; http://bbquiltmaker.blogspot.com/
Allison Aller; http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com/
Susan Marth; http://www.suznquilts.com/
Kathy Delaney Quilter; http://kathydelaney.com/
Bonnie K Hunter; http://quiltville.com/
Gyleen X. Fitzgerald; https://www.colourfulstitches.com/
Pepper Cory: http://www.peppercory.com/

Let's Quilt!


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!