Thursday, December 20, 2012

Material Girls Row Quilts

I am so fortunate to belong to a small group of quilters called the Material Girls!  Unlike that other "Material Girl", we keep our clothes on, but we have been known to break out into song!  Every year or so we like to challenge ourselves to think outside the box. Our latest challenge which we just finished was to do a row quilt.
Seven of the group took up the challenge.  We started by writing on an index card a theme we would like for our quilt.  We also indicated row width, colour preferences, fabric preferences.  In some cases we included some fabric with our card to help give inspiration.  We have kept the rows hidden from the intended quilter, and have had fun sharing at our scheduled trade offs.  We took it slow, and generally had two months to make the row.  At our Christmas breakfast this year, we had our big reveal, and we finally got to see our own rows!
Connie was our hostess, and fortunately she has a nice big design wall that we could layout the rows.  Connie requested 30s repro fabric in primary colours (red, yellow, blue, and green).  The row I did is the baskets with the single Irish Chain!
Bev loves brights!  She wanted some traditional blocks, and some non-traditional blocks!  I love the bottom row of raw edge applique on a pieced background.  No, I didn't do that one, Carol did!  I did the next one up, with the appliqued flowers on the rolling hillsides!
This is Carol!  She wanted Civil War prints in blues and tans.  I did the paperpieced flowers in the log cabin squares at the top!  I had to borrow some fabrics from Bev, as I don't have a lot of Civil War fabrics in my stash!
Kim doesn't like to smile for the camera, so this was the best shot I could get!  Kim wanted batiks with an autumn theme!  Aren't those rows yummy!  I did the second row down with the paperpieced pumpkins, acorns, and maple leaves. I love the one just below mine, it looks like ceramic tile!
Marcia is another 30s repro fabric girl!  I got her row last!  My row is on top, my inspiration is Mickey Depre's Pieced Hexies! It was so much fun playing with those hexies and coming up with a fun design!
Patti wanted neutrals! OY vey!  What a challenge!  We are all very proud of our rows!  My row is the second from the bottom, with the dark squares in the center.  Can't really appreciate the piecing from this picture...sigh!  I love the row above mine, again is looks to me like ceramic tile!
Here I am with mine!!!  I wanted a Christmas theme!  I am so happy with my rows!  I now have to decide arrangements, and if there is to be any sashing or extra rows.  Then to get it quilted.  We hope to get them all done so that we can enter them into our guild quilt show October, 2013 in the group category!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Houston, Part 2, Friends

The best part of the International Quilt Festival at Houston is connecting in person with so many quilting friends!  Thanks to the internet, my circle of friends is very wide!  Through Facebook and The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims I have gotten to know so many wonderful and fantastic quilters!
Taking a class with Teri Lucas was a major driving force into going to Houston this year!  This was Teri's first time at Houston!  We were afraid she wouldn't be able to make it, as she lives in New York City and Superstorm Sandy played havoc the week before she was to leave!  But things did fall into place for her and she made it!  This is Annie Smith, Teri, and myself after Teri's lecture "Quilting is a beautiful and complicated art!"
I also took Teri's class, "And now what, Designs in Machine Quilting".  I got to be the teacher's flunky for this class!  We all had a lot of fun expanding our thought processes and learning to sketch out quilting designs on paper!  Here is Maureen Capps with Teri and me!  Maureen and I hung together Wednesday night at Preview night and had a ball cruising through the vendors!
Another long time internet friend is Sarah Ann Smith!  Sarah and I became internet friends through a Yahoo group for Janome 6500.  I took classes with her at Paducah, and love catching up with her at the shows!
Friends and food!  The Quilt Show gals like to get together one evening in Houston for eating and fellowship!  And of course, the cameras always come out! 

Hubby went with me to the dinner!  As Sharon Engel said, he was the rooster in the hen house!  He had a great time chatting with all the ladies!
Thursday night after the TQS dinner, I had the opportunity to visit with Hanne-Grete Brink from Norway via Skype!  Hanne-Grete was going to come to Houston, but SuperStorm Sandy got in the way!  So this was the next best thing!  I am here with The Amazing Nine (Mary Kay Davis, Karen Fitzpatrick, Mary Holm, Cindy Neville, Dana Lynch, Wanda Myers, Carol Moellers, Hanne-Grete, minus Bridget Lilja) plus Teri Lucas.
Got to love Texas and Shiner Bock!  I love it almost as much as I love my Guiness!! 
Hubby loves his Drambuie!  Life is good!



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Houston 2012, part 1

I am still mentally and physically exhausted from attending the Houston International Quilt Festival this past week!  Those of you who follow me on Facebook have heard of the nightmare of our return flights, so I won't bore anyone with that.

I am still trying to get back into a normal swing of things at home, so I will be doing several short blogs on IQF Houston!
Several years ago our guild got a letter requesting a quilt block that had our guild's logo for a quilt they were doing.  I volunteered to take on the project, and sent off a block, and promptly forgot about it.  While hubby and I were viewing the quilts at IQF, this quilt caught my attention!  Could it be...
Yes!  There's that quilt block I made!  So I guess that means I have had a quilt in the Houston show!
Stay tuned for more show news!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Free Motion Machine Quilting challenge

My internet friend and quilting mentor, Teri Lucas, is the guest teacher on this month's Free Motion Quilting Challenge at SewCalGal. I will admit that I have not been doing the monthly challenges, but have been inspired this month to try Teri's!
The first part of the challenge is draw out random quilt designs, starting with your name. Then you echo around your name. Then, without a ruler (or a safety net!!!) you do some cross hatching! Onto some clamshells, then let your imagination go wild! I was pretty satisfied with this.
Then to translate it to fabric. She suggests using a silky cotton fabric like Robert Kaufman's Radiance. I happened to have some in my stash. I used a batik for a backing, and I had some silk batting that I used. She suggested using a number of different thread types and colours to get a feel for look and tension. I ended up using Superior Threads' King Tut, Kimono Silk, Highlights, Rainbows, Magnifico, Signature Thread, and Quilter's Choice by Golden Threads. The challenge is to do this on your domestic machine, but I decided to do mine on my HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen as this is where I intend to do the lion's share of my quilting.
GRRR!!! First mistake, I misspell my own name!!! But the stitching was going so well, that I elected to leave it in, just to keep me humble. This was a great exercise, and I can see that I am improving, although I still need lots more practice to get to where I want to be!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Piping Hot Macaroni with Susan Cleveland

This week, my local quilt guild, Illini Country Stitchers, had the pleasure of hosting Susan Cleveland for a lecture and three workshops.  I had taken a class with Susan at Paducah, so I knew she was a fun person.  And I have watched her videos on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!

I was privileged to be a quilt holder during her lecture!  Although you don't get to look at the front, it is great to see a behind the scenes look at the back, and closeup of the binding.  She gives a great lecture, and has the most funny tales to tell!  I was unable to take her Friday workshops on Binding and Mitering, as I had to work.  So that made Saturday's workshop that much more specialer (yeah, I know, bad grammar, but it really was more specialer! LOL!)
This was what Saturday's class was on...Piping Hot Macaroni!  We learned how to make the piping, apply it to the curved macaroni pieces and with precision apply our piped macaroni onto our background piece by careful stitch in the ditch.
One of the secrets to getting all this done perfectly is the Clover Ball Point Awl!  It truly is my newest favorite notion.  It was a breeze to use and made the whole process so painless!
That rounded tip just glides in front of your needle, and made stitching in the ditch SOOOO easy.  I only popped out once!
At the end of class, we were all awarded the coveted  Piping Hottie button!  Because we all were able to finish at least one Macaroni in class!
It was a day full of laughter, and happiness!  No machine mishaps, and good homemade brownies for a lunch treat!
Yes, overachiever Maggie got two done, but so did at least half of the class!  So if you EVER get a chance to take a class with Susan, by all means take advantage!  She is an awesome teacher, and has some terrific tips and points to help make your quilting sing!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brian Haggard Crazy Quilting workshop

Well, I guess if we are talking crazy quilting, it is only appropriate that the picture of the book is sideways!  This past week I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Brian Haggard at Threads of Time in Danville, IL!  I have started a small group with my local guild dedicated to crazy quilting (no comment as to the mental status of the quilters within the group!) so was eager to learn some more about this art form!

Brian is a delightful gentleman!  As you can see by his unique style of book signing, he is a larger than life character!  His love of the art of crazy quilting and for teaching was so evident throughout the two days of the workshop! 
Our first assignment was to email a family photo that we wanted to make into a project.  This is my favorite picture of my mom's mom and dad!  Grandma had had a stroke when she was in her late 40s.  Grandpa was a character, as you can tell by his Hawaiian shirt (I love Hawaiian shirts, and would wear them everyday if I could!). So I was a bit dismayed when I got to the workshop and found that they had not received my picture!!!  I would have to pick out a picture from their stash. Long face...until they discovered that my picture had ended up in their spam folder!!!  YEA!!!
Here's my project before I start the handwork and the embellishing!  Brian used his dyeing technique to add the keys to the border!  I sat at a table with some great ladies, two who are from my local guild.  One lady was from Chicago and was such a delight to chat with.  We all had a great time chatting as we worked on our hand stitching!
Here is Brian and I at the end of the workshop!  I got a lot done, but still had some stitching to do!  This picture was taken in Mae's Garden behind Threads of Time!  It is a delightful place to sit amongst nature and contemplate your next project!
Need a label for my project?  Nope!  Brian even signed the backing that was provided in our kit!  How's that for making a great memory!
Voila!  It is done!  I probably could have done more stitching in the crazy patchwork itself, but I am very pleased with the outcome!  I know Grandma and Grandpa are smiling down on me!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

AQS Grand Rapids

Well, I have noted that my last blog was a month ago.  Sheesh, I have been busy though, and thinking about blogging, just haven't taken the time to do it!
This is what kept me busy for one week!  Hubby and I took a road trip to Grand Rapids, MI and attended the AQS show in Grand Rapids.  I have got to say, that this was a great show!  The venue was awesome!  Lots of room for the quilts and the vendors!  The classroom space was awesome!  The food court was awesome!  Even the restrooms were great!  Never stood in line once!  And plenty of great places to sit and chat with other quilters!
This is just a partial shot of the entrance hall of the DeVos Center.  Lots of light, definitely no claustraphobic feeling!
This is a view from the balcony.  I ate outside everyday and enjoyed the view of the river.  The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is across the river, and looks like a great place to visit, also!
I took 4 classes while I was there!  Yes, I am a class junkie, I just want to learn, learn, learn all I can about quilting.  That, and practice, practice, practice!  I think that truly is the secret to success.  The first class I took was a half day class with Leigh McDonald on how to use a sketchbook.  She showed us some of her sketchbooks, and we got to work on some color and texture ideas in our own sketchbooks.  She had us bring watercolor pencils, which I had never used, and had a lot of fun with them!
The next day I took an all day workshop with Sue Nickels on making whole cloth feather designs!  I can't tell you enough what an awesome teacher Sue is.  I could have taken a whole week of classes with her!  I was so sorry when the end of the day came!
Plugging right along, the next day I took a class with Sally Terry called "Can't Leaf it Alone".  Awesome class!  It was only a half day class, and again, I could have spent a week with Sally learning from her.  I did buy her books and DVDs and will be spending time learning more on my own!
My final class was with Anita Shackelford, and it was on designing infinite feathers.  I have had her book, but didn't have the template.  Now I do, and know how to use it!  Another great class, and I am going to be using all this newly learned information to hopefully take my quilting to the next level.
And speaking of taking my quilting to the next level, look what followed me home!  I have been thinking about a sit down long arm for a while, especially after getting the Bernina 550, with its shorter throat space as compared to the Janome 7700.  I tried APQS' George, I tried the Tin Lizzie-18, but I kept coming back to the HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen.  Hubby went with me on Saturday to the show, and watched me try out the different machines, and he felt like this was the best machine for me also.  So with his encouragement (and also his fabulous bargaining skills!) we struck the deal for one of the classroom demos!  I have already finished one stalled UFO (which I will show in a future blog).
And what is a quilt show without meeting with friends!  Patti Perkins has been a quilting internet friend for years through The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  And we finally got to meet in person!  Patti is such a delight.  Hubby and I had a great time visiting with her.
Speaking of The Quilt Show, here's Alex Anderson manning the booth for The Quilt Life and recruiting new members for TQS.  I really have to admire Alex for her stamina.  She always has a smile on her face, and such a great personality!
Another friend I was so looking forward to meeting was Stephanie Peterson!  We also have been internet friends through TQS.  We had a great time visiting, and went to eat at a fabulous tapas bar in downtown Grand Rapids.  That was a new adventure for hubby and myself, and we all had a great time! And yes, that is an empty beer glass in front of me!  I had two of a local brew from Kalamazoo (that was rather poetic, without even meaning to be!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thread Magic with Ellen Anne Eddy

This past weekend, my local guild, Illini Country Stitchers, was host to Ellen Anne Eddy, author of Thread Magic and Thread Magic Garden.  I had previously blogged about these two books.  I have been anxiously awaiting to meet her in person and to learn more about working with threads!
Friday was broken up into two half-day workshops.  Friday morning was "Gilding the Lily".  Here we took a large print fabric, and augmented it with thread!  It was hard to pick a fabric...and even harder to stop thread painting!  I got carried away and did a lot more than was really needed!  But it was totally fun!
Friday afternoon was a class on bobbin work!  It was so fun to work with those heavier threads that can't go through the needle.  I used some of Ellen's hand-dyed perle cotton for the leaves, and Razzle Dazzle by Superior for the flowers.  We also learned that Sliver, and other metallic/mylar threads, are best used through the bobbin!
Saturday was Thread Magic, and for me, it was pulling it all together from the previous days.  I decided my quilt was going to be a bunny hiding amongst the hosta leaves, with a canopy of coneflowers.  Using a pattern that Ellen had brought, and some brown variegated Sashiko thread, I bobbin work made this bunny.  The variegated thread made easy work, without having to do any shading.
Of course, a garden is going to have  insects, and mine has a dragonfly!  I used lime green Sliver in my bobbin to make those cool eyes!  Angelina is on the wings to give it some shimmer!
And here is the finished product!  I had lots of fun thinking this project through.  I used Texture Magic to give dimension to my large hosta leaves.  And I used her corded buttonhole binding technique!