Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Quilter Goes to San Diego

While teaching for the Canyon Quilters of San Diego recently, I had a couple days off and was so pleased to have my contact person, Sylvia, show me around--I had never been there before.

The first trip was to Temecula, a little over an hour north of La Mesa where I was staying. I am a huge fan of Temecula Quilt Company so was very happy we could visit there:

I walked in and told the owner I was a fan and was there for a "bucket list" check. Most amazing, the shop is small, from the front door you can see the entire place. This company has such a large presence on social media, and the free patterns offered on the website and blog have been so important to me, I expected a huge store. No, it is just a perfect little shop. If I lived there I would hang out there, as a small group was doing that day for a "Sewcial". Enjoy a few shots:

My purchases--I got the one thing I absolutely went looking for, papers and templates for the Summer Circle quilt, and a few other "must haves":

The next stop was only a few miles away--the western location of Primitive Gatherings. The Mother-store is in Wisconsin and most of us first learn of this shop when they are vending at big quilt shows. Enjoy a little tour:

A small class was meeting in the classroom--Long Time Gone--a Jen Kingwell pattern. It was fun to meet the instructor and exchange thoughts on doing this quilt as a six-month class.

Another funny thing happened--one of the employees told me she and her family are moving to Huntsville in the next year. She'll be visiting in July so she has my card and may call for a bit of a "quilter's tour" of Huntsville. In fact, every time I was introduced and people learned I was from Huntsville, AL, at least one person  had a connection to my hometown--a relative or friend lived here, or they were moving here. I must say it was a little scary since I love my "big" small town and don't want to see it explode into Nashville South. But as Southerners, of course, we welcome all people. And I assured Cindy she has a thriving quilt community here who will welcome her with open arms.

Soon it was time to hit the road back to San Diego to prepare for the evening meeting. I was picked up at 3:30, headed to "happy hour" and dinner.

It was a great day and I was so pleased to get to these two shops. A big "thank you" to Sylvia for being a great tour guide.

Let's Quilt.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Canyon Quilters of San Diego

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting this guild to teach and lecture. While this had been planned for more than a year, it was extra special that the weather there was perfect, 70 or so, when it was in the upper 90's at home in Alabama.

We started the visit with a full day workshop of Smitten. About 20 students spent their Sunday with me, learning how to make hexagon blocks and Y seams. Here is the class production at the end of the day:

 A few shots of students in action:

Love having young students in class

Sylvia and Cathy hard at it

Karen just kept sewing and sewing...

Striped fabric adds bang for your buck

Notice her first block on the wall above her head
The class was held on a Sunday at Rosie's Calico Cupboard--what a great shop! I highly recommend a visit should you find yourself in San Diego. Here are just a few shots, so much more too:

Monday night the guild met and I gave the lecture, "Time Management for Quilters". They have a CFO--Chief Fun Officer--who determines each month what the theme will be. Those who dress up to support the theme get their name in the hat for some great quilt shop gift certificates. June was "Bridal Month", interpret that however you like. How about a Zombie Bride:

Or the bride on her Honeymoon:

Or a real bride, gown bought at a thrift shop and a perfect fit:

The entire group of good-natured participants:
Just before the lecture, the workshop students showed off their blocks:

I brought quilts to share:

Occasionally, I am asked if I get "scared" speaking to large groups. The answer is "No" when the topic is quilts. The only challenge is can we get the technical side to work--connecting my PowrPoint on my Ipad to the projector. This building had a top-notch built-in system and a 20-year old who knew how to make it all work. With the connection of AppleTV and a few clicks, my Ipad was flawlessly displayed on the large screen--easiest technical hook-up so far.

Thanks to the Canyon Quilters for San Diego for a terrific visit. I  hope you appreciate that glorious weather!

Let's quilt.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

String Stars--A Local Event

For my local friends, you all know what a treasure we have in Burritt on the Mountain. Did you know they offer Folk Art Workshops too?

Saturday, July 14, 2018 I will be teaching String Stars--Save Our Scraps from 9-4. All the info you need to sign up can be found here. You can even order a boxed lunch:

Burritt on the Mountain Folk School

 Easy or more challenging, you decide:

There is info on their Facebook page as well:

Burritt on the Mountain Facebook

The deadline to register is July 7 so don't delay. Why not grab a friend and spend a day making star blocks from your scraps?

I hope you can join us.

Let's Quilt.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Flying Home

Today is a travel day, pretty much all day from the West Coast to Alabama.

As much as I enjoy being with quilters who want to make quilts, and seeing new places, there is nothing as good as coming home.

I hope to have lots of class photos to share soon.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Temecula Quilt Company

I have been a fan of Temecula Quilt Company's free sew-a-long projects for quite a while. The baby quilt I made for my first grandchild, Stella, is their Little Letters. :

At one month:

 At 11 months, end of the photo shoot:

This week I am teaching for the Canyon Quilters of San Diego and hope to visit the shop Temecula Quilt Company.  There will be photos for sure.

The class I am teaching is Smitten, so much fun, and the Lecture is Time Management for Quilters.

Let's Quilt !


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How Many Projects?

Do you have more than one quilt project going at a time? I bet you do.

My "active" works in progress.

1. The Patchwork Barn by Edyta Sitar for The Quilt Show--63 six-inch blocks done so far. Keeping up is not an option, I must. The first of each month I publish a blog with tips for that months' blocks:

2. The Temperature Quilt--this is winding down. I've decided to do 26 weeks so only have 3 weeks to go. I lost interest and it will finish at 29.75" x 26", without a potential border, big enough. More info on the color selection here.

3. 1880 Sampler Sew A Long, from Temecula Quilt Company--I am a sucker for their simple little block sew-a-longs. These are 4" blocks. This quilt will be 40" x 48" and is based on an antique quilt with Pennsylvania origins. That's where I'm from, I saw my first quilts as a Girl Scout in Lancaster County, so I had to make this one--how long can it take to make a 4" block, once a week?  I'll be in their area next week and a trip to their store is high on my list of "most-do" things:

4. My Favorite Things--my latest six-month class. I'm on the horns of a dilemma again--there is not much sashing in this design but it will be an important element. I "decided" on this gray/white but after living with it for a few days, I'm thinking black or very dark gray will be better. Not wanting to "unsew" a quilt again, any time soon, I'm just going to ponder this for a while AND cut a few black strips, photograph them and then decide:

5. My Lifetime Quilt--is getting there. It will be 100" x 100". I only  have 5 more 20" blocks to make--the triangles are 1.25" finished--there will be 12,800 triangles total. The most important decision as this wraps up is What Do I Make Next? for my ongoing Leader/Ender project:

6. I don't machine quilt near as much as I wish I did--I am so eager to get going on this one--it's been basted for a while. Top production continues to outpace quilt completion:

7. Another basted quilt, fairly small, I am eager to quilt. Xs and Os was all the rage on the internet 6-7 years ago, I'm just a bit behind:

So there you  have the active projects I can easily see in my studio. There are many more behind the closet doors but these are the most pressing.

 And, there's a brand new finish I can't show you--my entry in our guild's "Stitchin' the Blues" Challenge--only blue and white fabrics can be used and it can be no smaller on a side than 18" and no larger than 36". In the past week, I designed it, made the top, quilted it, and bound it. After the Challenge show, July 19, I'll be able to show it to you.

What about you, how many quilts are you working on right now?

Let's quilt!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Links for Students

I recently started teaching a brand-new six-month class locally, called My Favorite Things. During this journey, my goal is to teach the 12 students ways to improve their quiltmaking and become a bit more creative in their work. They can follow my pattern for the class quilt project, or make smaller quilts on their own, whichever they prefer.

The first session features Basic Pieced Units--Half Square Triangles, Four Patches, Quarter Square Triangles and Nine Patches, the building blocks of thousands of pieced quilt blocks. Once you can make these accurately, you are set.

Students receive handouts of the pattern and the class instruction, with links to helpful online videos or blogs. To make it easy to access those links, here they are, for anyone to find.

For those who are less experienced with piecing, I recommend:

Perfect Piecing--the Cutting--the First Step to Accurate Blocks-- it all starts with the cutting, strips or individual units. There is lots of info here to help make your cutting as accurate as possible.

Thread--Why Quality Matters--good thread makes for good piecing results

We use half square triangles a lot, here are three ways to make them:

Two Methods for Making Half Square Triangle Units

The Grid Method for Making Half Square Triangles--when you need a lot of the same two fabrics. This post also contains LOTS of tips/tricks for precise pieing.

One of the fun things I showed the class was the Fast Method of Making Nine Patches:

This method makes these two blocks, one with four neutrals and one with five neutrals. It's fast and fun and if you can work with those two block designs, well worth a try.

Here I made two sets at once and shuffled them up a bit:

The other skill that I preach about often is using Leaders/Enders, or Thread Kittys or Startie/Stoppies, at the beginning and ending of chain piecing. Find out why here: Time Management for Quilters.  I make "free" quilts from the small units made as Leader/Enders, I improve my piecing, save thread, and could not chain piece without this method. This link also takes you to Bonnie Hunter's info on this method--she is the Queen of this method. I can often convince new quilters to establish this habit more easily than I can convert more experienced quilters--but if you try it, I think you will see the advantages. Many tell me "I wish I had learned this trick years ago" once they do it.

Nothing is as good as being in a class, seeing the actual sewing demos, and hearing the answers to students great questions. But these links will help provide a taste of the skills this group of students will learn.

We also talked about fabric selection--I showed many quilts in class to see how these units, even though simple and basic, can make great quilts. The one that got the most attention was this one. I call it Hot Summer Nights, made it in 2000, and it's only half square triangles with a quarter square triangle border. What they liked the best was the rich, saturated colors. I used the one multi-print fabric to help me select the palette:

Find out how I selected fabric for the class project quilt, My Favorite Things, here.  The class project quilt will look like this--I am making this as we go, I just have to keep ahead of the students:

This should give you plenty to read for a while.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sometimes You Change Your Mind

My Foothills Quilt top is done and I am very happy. For more info on this quilt-a-long by Mary Elizabeth Kinch go here. 

There I was, zipping along, sewing Foothills blocks into rows, using a dark green fabric for sashing. I was in a hurry, trying to get this done as quickly as possible. When I stopped for the day, about half finished, I took time to really LOOK--and I clearly saw the dark green sashing was just TOO dark. I loved these blocks but I did not love how the quilt was coming together.

I thought about it overnight, looked again in the morning, and knew I had to take all that work apart and change the sashing. Here are some options I considered as I "shopped" in my closet:

I liked the gray that is on top of the pile the very best BUT there was not enough fabric for the sashing and an outside border. None of the others were just right--if I was going to go to all the work to take apart a half-day of sewing, the replacement fabric better be perfect!

Here is the design wall with the dark green sewn part on the bottom and a strip of that gray on the top:

Yes, I really liked that gray so I used it on the top two rows, being sure I really did like it, Yes, much better:

So I spent some time unsewing the bottom three rows, removing the dark green. When the gray sashings for the middle of the quilt were all cut I had exactly enough gray fabric left to cut 1.25" wide strips for a narrow outer border. You know I had PLENTY of dark green strips cut. I made a narrow gray outer border, on the outside of the quilt, followed by the 2.5" dark green strips for the final border. I still have plenty of dark green strips cut and lots more of that fabric, so that will be the binding.

Lesson to be learned here: be sure you are happy with ALL your decisions going forward. Being in a hurry cost me lots more time over all. It's not that I didn't have any more options:

Considering a few more fabric options before settling on the dark green would have been time well-spent. 

Now the top is done, a medium brown has been selected and prepared for the back, and once I get it basted I can quilt it. You can bet I'll spend a little time considering my quilting designs before I begin--I learned that lesson a few weeks ago--I had to spend a lot of time removing quilting stitches I didn't like, two hours worth of stitching, because I didn't think it through very well before I began. Sensing a bad trend here...

Sometimes I make a quilt just because I love the design or the story that goes with the pattern. That was the case with this quilt. It won't be a class--the designer asked that no one teach her design as she loves to teach it herself and there is no printed pattern. Perhaps she'll add it to a book someday. For now I'm just glad I made it and look forward to coming up with a good quilting design to enhance it.

Let's quilt!