Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Herschel and Friends

I finished piecing the top of "Dogs in Sweaters" by Elizabeth Hartmann. I am calling this one "Herschel and Friends". The second dog from the top in the green sweater will sport a pair of eyeglasses, yet to be made and added. I am off to the quilt store to get an appropriate backing fabric. I have something I like, but not enough. Maybe there will be more left at the shop. If not, on to plan B.

Kevin the Quilter taught a workshop recently that I had the good fortune to attend.  The project we made was "Sorta, Kinda Amish" and this is mine.

Before you think I went all crazy with the colors, here is the inspiration quilt I found on Pinterest. It is an Amish quilt from Lancaster County, PA circa 1930.

If you follow the link above to kevin's blog, you will find a photo from our workshop at the very end of his post. That's me on the floor in the center with my partially completed top.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Another Baby Quilt

Another baby quilt under my belt. This is the second in a series using this layout. Here is the first one:

It is not as successfully visually because I paid little attention to where the various fabrics were placed. It is still a nice baby quilt, but it could have been better. I was feeling my way here with fabrics I had at hand while at a Sew Day with other guild members.

Weekend before last, my guild had a three day retreat and while I didn't finish anything, I was able to make progress on several fronts. Here is one block of four that I need to make for a throw sized quilt.
It's "Dogs in Sweaters" by Elizabeth Hartmann.

I also completed another round of color on Bonnie Hunter's 2016 Leader/Ender challenge. Photos when I unearth the top from the boxes of stuff I hauled back from the retreat.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Falling Leaves

Leaves are falling here but the bright colors we expect in fall aren't appearing. The summer was very dry and a lot of the trees seem to be going directly from green to brown. Our guild's October optional block is a pair of leaves. In a nod to the "colors" I am seeing this year, I made mine in brown and dull gold. This is the corrected block.

And this is my first attempt. It's easy to get things turned around!

Which is why the blocks from Elizabeth Hartmann's Fancy Forest can be problematic. There is nothing really difficult about the blocks, but there are lots of mirror imaged stitch and flip pieces and it's very easy to get things mixed up. I became very conversant with the seam ripper. I am getting behind on baby quilts for friends and acquaintances. I saw an example in a LQS that was a light bulb moment. It featured one of the animals from Fancy Forest set into a large piece of background fabric, backed with Minky and quilted. This block will go into a similar baby quilt for my neighbor.

I found a gray Minky fabric with rabbits and it was a no-brainer for the back of this quilt.

Monday, September 25, 2017

There's an Elephant in the Room

I finished this baby quilt for a neighbor's little girl. The background fabric is a cheater cloth by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics purchased a couple of years ago at a local quilt show. The template for the elephants I found copyright free on the internet and I used my printer to enlarge the template to different sizes. The circles were drawn using Karen Buckley's Perfect Circle templates. The elephants and circles are fused onto the background with Pellon Wonder Under and then stitched down with a small zigzag stitch. I folded the edges of the strips under and then top stitched close to the edges.

I may use this idea on other baby quilts in the future. The squares on the background fabric are about 5" square, so a similar background could easily be pieced using those dimensions and low volume fabrics. Any animal shapes would work, according to the child's preference. Similarly, the shapes could be hexagons (don't we all have an acrylic hexie template?), triangles, diamonds, half hexies, half circles, squares,etc.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Working in a Series?

Yes, I took an overlong hiatus from blogging. It wasn't intended; it just happened. Here is a baby quilt for Nurses for Newborns made from neutral background fabric and some 2.5" charm packs. One was Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids by FreeSpirit and the other was Moda's Mixed Bag. It was super easy and fast to do. The Modern Solids charm pack has 80 pieces, making for leftovers. So, another was made.

I have shoe boxes of these little charm packs. They are inexpensive and are kind of like potato chips. One just isn't ever enough. Next up? I am thinking of nine patches set in an irish chain arrangement.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Busy, busy, busy

I have been busy but not blogging. I have started the 2015 New Hexagon Quilt Along by Katja Marek. It is an English paper pieced project and I am using the paper pieces from PaperPieces.com. This is the first rosette which has 37 individual pieces in it. These are the first 7 hexagons on the block; they are not in the place they will actually be in the finished rosette. There are 12 rosettes but not all are as large as the first.

I took two workshops with Lynn Harris - one on string piecing without foundation fabric or paper and another on tiny piecing. Here are the results from tiny piecing.

And the baby quilt from the string piecing class.

Last Saturday was a workshop with Candy Grisham, a talented local quilt artist and teacher. The workshop was Modern Dresdens. I had taken this workshop once before at a LQS, but Candy has tweaked the class with even more variations and I really don't like most of the earlier ones I made. The color palette just wasn't working for me. I did salvage a couple of the earlier plates though and have added them to the mix.

Since I began writing this post, the Dresdens have been moved to the design wall when I finally was able to take something else down. Candy mentioned that black and white prints make a good background for multi-colored bright plates. That reminded me that I have several yards of a black and white Ikea fabric, So here they are in no particular order.

Back in October our guild had a workshop with Teajuana Mahone. The project was 3-D Scrappy Stars. I finished mine just today, adding the border using Kaffe Fassett's Leopard Lotus in black. If you look at it up close, the border fabric has many of the colors that are in the stars. From a distance it looks as though it's Christmas fabric.

I am going to have to quilt this myself even though it's bigger than what I like to deal with. The stars really are "3-D" and have free edges. When I had my Halloween top long arm quilted last year, the quilter had a problem with the narrow little flange (about an eighth of an inch wide) that circled the rings. It caught on her hopping foot and she basted tissue paper over the flange to prevent that from happening. I can just imagine what kind of problem the free edges of the stars would present. 

Last but not least, I attended an applique class on Friday with Irene Blanck. She is an Australian quilter, teacher, and designer and the workshop was to learn her technique for making a clamshell quilt. Here is what we learned how to make:  http://www.focusonquilts.com.au/bl_portfolio/clamshells. I have always wanted to make a clamshell quilt but it always seemed fiddly and as though it would be difficult to get everything lined up. Irene has a slick technique and I have a new evening-in-front-of-the-television project. Irene was in town for International Quilt Market which was held here in St. Louis for the first time in 20 years. It is really disheartening to know that all your favorite people are in town for market, but that you can't see them because it's not open to the public. There was a call put out to the local guilds by the organizers for paid help. But they made such a doggone big deal of indicating that you would be working, that you couldn't buy a thing, and that there would be precious little time to even walk around and look that I passed on the offer.

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Optional Block

This is my version of the Optional Block for my guild's meeting tomorrow night. Maybe I will win all the blocks for once. I have good luck winning the fabric raffle, but despite the small pool, I have never one the optional blocks.

I promised to post photos from our recent quilt show, which, by the way, turned out to be successfully in many ways, including financially! Here's a couple to whet your appetite.

This is one of the six I entered. It is from a free BOM published by Gyleen Fitzgerald on her Facebook page.

This quilt is by Dolores Keaton, or featured quilter at the show. This quilt is on my bucket list; it's a pattern by Piece 'O Cake and was our raffle quilt  several years back. This is a duplicate that Dolores made.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Options and Challenges

Besides sewing labels and hanging sleeves on the six quilts I am entering in our guild's quilt show weekend after this one, I managed to finish the February optional block, Due to the weather, the January meeting was cancelled, so this block, meant to be turned in last month, was not picked up until then. There was a block for March, but I didn't bite, because I figured there was enough on my plate already.

There are three challenge opportunities that will be exhibited at the show. One, the Spring challenge, I didn't do. I made two for the Seasons challenge - a winter and autumn. I will show you those after tomorrow night's guild meeting when we vote on them. The third challenge was "Hot Hexies" given out by the quilt show chair. Anything having to do with hexies she said, The sky's the limit. Use your imagination. So I english paper pieced this number and fussy cut a little bit. The outer edges of this small quilt are black. It is on the design wall on top of something else. No other place to put it for a photo. 

It is minimally machine quilted, primarily along the seam lines. There is no binding. The edges were finished by trimming the batting away from the edge by a healthy quarter inch. The backing was then folded in over the batting and the quilt top raw edge was folded in over that.Then I whip stitched the edges together. I was thinking that I would then edge stitch a quarter of an inch in from the outer edge all the way around to simulate a binding. But now I'm not going to do that. It's done. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Spinning Wheels

I have finished (maybe) piecing "Spinning Wheels", an english paper pieced project by Piece o' Cake. This is the small size, 36" x 38". I say "maybe" I am finished piecing this. I don't like the left border - too light. I am using up yardage purchased for this quilt and it was the only other piece left that was long enough for the border without piecing it. Perhaps tomorrow I will swing by the quilt store and see if there is yardage remaining of one of the darker fabrics. It will be a simple matter to change it out.

I have pulled out a hand appliqué pattern that has been resting in a drawer for at least a decade. It is "A 'Maizing' Southwest" by by Arlene Walsh Designs. I bought the pattern at  Southwest Decoratives in Albuquerque, NM quite a long time ago. The copyright on the pattern is 2003, and that probably is around the time I bought it. The upper left and lower right elongated figures are the Corn Maiden,, a Zuni harvest goddess. It features a pueblo, drum, Zuni sun (as seen on New Mexico license plates), feathers, Kokopelli, and more.

I need to have a hand sewing project to keep me occupied while watching a program or two in the evenings on television. Since Spinning Wheels is finished, this will be the next project. I am using similar colors as shown in the pattern above. I ordered three packets of Cherrywood fabric - the four pack teal, mahogany, and ocher medleys. Other fabrics I have selected so far are several batiks from Batiks Plus. I intended to use a harvest corn fabric for the Corn Maiden figures, but cannot now find it anywhere, so on to plan B! 

Originally there was an embellishment kit available with beads and fetish pieces. The kit is no longer available, but there is a list of what was in the kit in the pattern; I feel confident that there will be suitable materials available at a local bead store or online.

There will be any number of bits and bobs to fill in here and there from stash. I am eager to get started, but before I allow myself down this particular rabbit hole, there are three quilts that need hanging sleeves for our upcoming quilt show. My goal is to finish at least one today. I am entering six quilts into the show and three are ready to go. Three down, three to go!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Modern Broderie Perse

Yesterday I was lucky enough to take a workshop with the very talented (and local!) Casey York. Author of two books, her work in applique has a modern vibe rooted in the traditional. See some of her work here. Trained as an art historian, she brings a special perspective (no pun intended) to the quilt world. Besides talented, Casey is a wonderful teacher. Also she is cute as a button, which has nothing to do with anything. Just sayin'.

The workshop was my introduction to Broderie perse, a centuries old technique updated for today's aesthetic, tools and technology. This is my start on the project which I completed in the class. The center motif is already sewn down and I will be working today on sewing the motifs in the first completed corner. The background is a piece of pink Grunge and is cut approximately 42 inches square.

This type of work is where my :new" Bernina really shines. It takes the Superior Mono-poly without hesitation and I can also use it in the bobbin with absolutely no tension problems whatsoever.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Halo Medallion Month #2

Month #2 of thequiltshow.com's BOM Halo Medallion. Lots of paper pieced half square triangles. Onward and upward. Waiting for March 1 for month #3 instructions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Baby Quilt Finished

This turned out not too badly after all. I love making these small quilts. They finish up quickly and I can use fabrics from my stash. 10 Minutes worth of hand sewing this evening to affix the label and I can call it done!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Collection Quilt Finished

I started a new baby quilt, piecing the easy string blocks on my treadle. I love to treadle, but frankly I am not that accomplished on the treadle and string piecing is about all I can manage with any degree of skill. I borrowed a recent idea from Bonnie Hunter and cut the clocks diagonally to insert a contrasting strip. Had I been thinking ahead on this, I would not have used the white prints within the string pieced blocks so as to afford better contrast with the blocks when the white strips were added. Other colors didn't look quite right, so white it is! It will make a satisfactory little quilt for a boy.

I finished the Collection quilt by Carolyn Friedlander. It is hand appliqued and machine quilted. I love that she is doing patterns for applique in a modern style. So much of what I used to do in applique now looks Victorian to me or cutesy whimsical. Neither is a style I like very much. Or at least not enough to stick with finishing a project that has so much handwork in it. One of the small lozenge shapes in the orange section near the bottom of the quilt is way too small. Not sure what happened there, but I can easily remove the offending piece and applique another on that is the correct size.

I seem to be in a bit of a Carolyn Friedlander "rut" these days. I am working on her paper-pieced "Local" quilt which features houses. There are also two projects from her book, "Savor Every Stitch", that are in process. I also can't seem to stop myself from buying her fabrics at the LQS. Not a bad rut to be in, methinks.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

And Then There Was a Baby Quilt

A day spent with other guild members doing some scrappy foundation piecing resulted in this small baby quilt for a local organization. I used up a chunk of fabric that has been lurking in my stash since my early days of quilting. How do I know this?  One of the corners was notched to indicate it had been washed. A procedure I know longer bother with. Neither the washing nor the notching.  There wasn't enough of it, hence the different colored piece in the center. Once it's quilted with orange (?) thread, it is not going to be greatly noticeable. I hope.

I am making the 2017 BOM, Halo Medallion, designed by the late Sue Garman for thequiltshow.com. Due to not taking the photo straight and some over cropping to compensate, some of the star points have been nipped off. In real life, they are all there with a quarter inch of background around them to spare. The paper piecing was straightforward, but there were 19 sections to sew together after paper piecing and I sweat bullets to get the pieces to line up nicely. Not perfect, but I can live with it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cleaning Up

I have not touched En Provence since our group sewing day on December 31. Our guild's quilt show is fast approaching in March and while all six quilts that I am entering are finished and labeled, none have a hanging sleeve. I have figured out a method of sewing the sleeve on using the sewing machine, but it still takes time.

This week I made and sewed on the binding for this quilt:

I made a flanged binding with the main color being black and the flange a black and white print. It is not hard, but I can't sew it on quickly because it is done flipped over to the front and sewn in the ditch. With the high contrast between the white and black, it required slow sewing. I used an invisible monofilament thread as well which helped quite a lot. Here is a closeup of the binding. And, of course, as things happen, you can see one of the places where I veered up out of the ditch onto the black. Sigh. I will fix that before show time.

I have been working on the Carolyn Friedlander BOM, "Collection" over the past year. It is all hand appliqued within the blocks. I like to hand applique but have tired of what I consider the rather Victorian aesthetic I see in many of the patterns. This was a breath of fresh air and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I realized that there was only one relatively simple block left to do, so I pulled out the project and worked on it last night. Tonight should see the last block completed.

A second Carolyn Friedlander BOM, "Local", a paper-pieced pattern, has also been resurrected. I only finished 2 out of 10 blocks so far. The paper-piecing is not difficult, so with any kind of motivation, I should be able to get this finished by the end of January. It's good to have a goal in any event.

I really like her patterns, which you can see here. Neither "Local" nor "Collection" are shown but I think that's probably because they are still being offered as BOMs. I have "Grove" and the fabric for it. One of the ladies in my guild made "Catenary" as a commission quilt for the gift shop at the Jefferson National Monument (i.e. "the Arch") here in St. Louis. The Arch is a true mathematical catenary arch as designed by Eero Saarinen. I also have made a quilt from Carolyn's book, "Savor Every Stitch."I wish there were more quilt designers who made modern applique patterns.

Bonnie Hunter is currently mostly at home in North Carolina for the next couple of weeks and has pledged to spend one hour a day cleaning out and straightening up her sewing space before allowing herself to sit down and sew. I tried that out this morning and accomplished more than I thought I would.  Especially as at least half the time was spent petting the fabrics and looking over the projects I unearthed.

I have now earned myself the remainder of the day sewing, so I think with that, I will sign off.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Big Reveal & Haste Makes Waste

Bonnie revealed the solution to this year's mystery quilt, En Provence. I was so excited that I quickly made up a few of the remaining blocks so I could make one 15" star block from the quilt. There are enough errors in this block to require an hour's worth of reverse sewing. Haste definitely makes waste. This is as far as I got on En Provence. There are a few more blocks sewn and a couple of sashing pieces, but nothing is sewn together yet. To see all the other fabulous finishes, visit Bonnie's Myster Monday Link-Up.

I made up one block from the airplane quilt in Bill Volkening's "Modern Roots" book.  The tail portion of the block involves appliqueing a triangle onto a dark rectangle. I want to be able to quickly machine piece this and also feel that a pieced section for the tail will be more durable in the long run. I drafted a simple paper-pieced pattern that was easy to make. The original is a vintage pattern and was made with the appliqued pieces. There are also circles appliqued onto the wings, but it reminds me too much of the rising sun emblem on Japanese war planes. I will be leaving those off as well unless I can find a good photo of the US Air Force emblem and if so, might use that instead.