Monday, June 29, 2009

Quilt in use

I finally got a photo of my MIL with the quilt I made her. This was
the first quilt I made where I had to control value very carefully and
I love the way it turned out. You can't see it well in this photo but
I will post more photos from my real camera when I get home. This was
the best I could do on my phone. I may not have computer access until
the weekend. Have a wonderful week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

City girl

On my way to New York! Flying out of Indianapolis, faster and easier
than Chicago. Great new terminal here, a pleasure to use. But this t-
shirt in an airport store reminds me that Indy is not NY. At a recent
Linus worknight I got called "city girl" when I couldn't identify
( and didn't own!) any of the cows in a farm animal fabric.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Testing mobile posting

Mary at Mary Quilts kindly sent me info on how to make a post from a
mobile phone and I'm trying it out. These are raspberries in my yard.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

From inspiration to quilts

I've been meaning to post this link all week and keep forgetting! I really enjoy Laura West Kong's blog, Adventures of a Quilting Diva. Last Monday she had a wonderful post that shows her moving from inspiration (donuts!) to several possible quilts, some artsy, some traditional. You can read it and get inspired here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunshine strings top done!

Thank you everyone for your extremely helpful comments on my last post! The Liberated Quilters group had a virtual retreat today, so I took advantage of that to make more strip sets for the border and to use in the second top (more on that later).
I trimmed all the blocks to make them fit perfectly so I would be less tempted to stretch a bias edge, and of course I overtrimmed one of them. Took me a bit to deal with that complication, but otherwise it went pretty smoothly. Better than that, it was fun!
And for the second top -- I'm going to use the hourglass blocks I showed yesterday in a column down the left side, a row of 3" blocks like the ones above across the bottom, and the rest of the quilt will have sets of Chinese coins using these strings. I should be able to use all the waste pieces from this quilt plus all the animal strings I've cut. I'm excited about it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sunshine strings

Susan at Hanging On by a Needle and Thread just took a class from Ami Simms -- the same class Ami gave when she visited my guild a year ago. It inspired me to pull out my almost finished project from that class and finish it. As Ami says, the babies are cold.
I used strings from animal fabrics donated for Project Linus quilts (and this quilt will be donated), but decided to make the blocks bigger than Ami suggested so the strips could be wide enough to see the animals a little better. Because I didn't think it through carefully, I thought a 9" yellow strip would give me 9" block. But duh, it gives me a 12" block! That's a lot of blank yellow space.
I sought to liven up the quilt a bit by using the waste pieces (my miscalculation gave me lots!) to make an interesting border. I was also hoping that the quilter might practice some clever quilting in the yellow, or I thought I might cut some animals out of fabric and do a little brodie perse in the blank spaces.
But it occurred to me I could cut each block in half on the diagonal (I have more blocks than are on the design wall) and reassemble them as shown above to chop up the yellow space. But since I hadn't planned on doing that, I would now end up with bias edges on all sides, eek! I could stay stitch the edges and sew carefully. Would that be ok? Any thoughts on what I should do would be welcome!
Also sewed some blocks using pieces from a fabric exchange. These are for Bonnie Hunter's Sticks and Stones quilt. I have been getting my sewing area cleaned up by folding, stacking, organizing, and stitching UFO's. It has gotten my creative juices flowing and I have lots of ideas. Finishing up these projects so I can move on will feel great!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Class with Cynthia England

Guild dues are definitely worth it when they give you the opportunity to take a class from an amazing quilter. This totally awesome quilt was pieced (NO applique, all piecing) by Cynthia in a quilt that took Viewer's Choice at Paducah. I love this quilt!
She told us that she had been using a freezer paper technique that has you work in reverse, with the freezer paper templates ironed on to the back of the fabric, but once she accidentally ironed on to the front and realized how much more forgiving it was to work that way -- if something is not exact, then you move the template to where it should be and keep going! And it's true, this was an amazingly simple technique and it's extremely forgiving. I never would have believed it!

Here's a closeup to show some snow and tree branches. You can click on all these photos to enlarge them and take a closer look.
And I love the tree trunk!
Another quilter in the class put her hand down (Cynthia let us touch and photograph) to give an idea of scale. I love her fabric choices in the snow -- that bit of pink is just perfect!
I couldn't get a good photo of the back of her quilt, but here's an angled one. Very simple, but it was also beautiful.
And here's her pieced bird on a branch on the bottom of the back. It made me realize that incorporating her technique for a small area can be very effective -- I don't know that I have the patience to make an entire large quilt like this!
Here's a detail of the border of one of her quilts, again, all pieced. You can see the full quilt on her website, here. If you go to her home page, you'll find links to videos, a step-by-step tutorial and a few free patterns to help you learn her technique. It's not nearly so fiddly as you might think!
And what did I made in the class? Here's the beginning of her Country Roads design. She asked us to make one of 3 patterns. You could use your own fabrics or buy a packet for the kit, and I did the latter. I wanted to learn the technique and knew I'd spend the entire time making fabric choices if I didn't use what she gave us. In addition to teaching this piecing method, Cynthia also showed us several shortcuts she's developed over the years and demonstrated how to take a photo and turn it into a pattern for this method. Great class!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vicki's lovely hand dyed fabric

Are those gorgeous colors or what?
I always drool over Vicki's dyed fabrics (at Field Trips in Fiber), and now that she's opened an Etsy shop, I got to buy some! I didn't know which of her color palettes to choose, but finally went for the bluebird. The blues are gorgeous and I need to broaden my stash with browns and neutrals -- and all of these will be perfect for landscapes, which I would like to make (more on that in the next post). Thanks, Vicki! I love this and could not be happier!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Catching Up

It always happens -- I put off something that seems like an overwhelming task, and then when I finally bite the bullet and do it, it really isn't so bad. I was way behind in the blog I keep for my guild's Project Linus Committee, Hearts for Linus. My old computer made dealing with photos extremely difficult, so I thought I'd wait until I got my new computer to update that blog. But when I got my new computer, I was soooooo far behind, the I felt overwhelmed and just kept waiting. Finally, yesterday and today, I got caught up! Only took a few hours max.
Because I was catching up on Linus, I didn't work on my own projects. Since I showed you some of the cut strippie quilt kits in the last post, I thought I'd show one of my favorites all made up. These strippies show novelty fabrics off so well, and I had a great time rummaging through our Linus stash of donated fabrics to find things that worked together. It's great practice in design!
I didn't notice until I looked at this photo that the cats look stretched out behind those middle strips! Next time I'll be sure not to put the strips in the order they were cut -- though a kid might have fun looking at that.
And just for fun, here's a close-up of another one with really cute frogs. The colors in the photo are off (that's a beautiful lime green in the middle), but it's still fun.

Tomorrow it's quilting time for MY projects! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How clever is this?

I wish I could take credit for this Drunkard's Path quilt, but it was in with some fabric I bought at a guild auction.
This is no larger than a placemat, and the Drunkard's Path is not pieced, but it's fussy cut from circles. What a great result!
Along with the little quilt came the fabric that was used to make it -- look closely and you can see the holes where the circles were cut out for the little quilt. I discovered the gaps when I started to cut a strippie quilt for Project Linus with them. I'm not going to be able to cut enough strips from the Swiss cheese fabric, so I'll end up making a different quilt with them. No big deal -- they are such fun fabrics!
Here are 6 strippie quilt kits I cut today (which is why I haven't been making progress on my own projects -- we have a worknight tomorrow and I'm getting prepared). Just in case you don't know about Mary Johnson's easy but wonderful patterns for donation quilts, hop over to Mary Quilts and take a look. It's an incredible resource and Mary has generously donated her time and talents so that quilters can download these patterns for free. She also has a blog, MaryQuilts - Making Scrap Quilts from Stash, and runs the Heartstrings Quilt Project. I've decided to make strippie quilts tomorrow night (listed on Mary Quilts as Quick Strippie, under Q) because we can piece lots of tops in very little time. At the moment my friend Joe, who has a new longarm machine, is practicing on Project Linus tops, and we aim to keep him very busy!