Thursday, October 27, 2016

A quick project

So, with no looming deadlines in the sewing room, I wasn't sure what to work on next.  There's too much to choose from!!
Then I remembered I agreed to do a demo back to front machine binding at the November guild meeting. 
I was surprised they asked me to do this, in all honesty, as I thought this was a fairly well-known technique.  So, first I needed something to show people what I am doing.  I dug through the pile of UFO's, but most of them are bigger than I thought I needed. 

Then I ran across a small pile of HST blocks left from this quilt.

 They were all orange, and I was on the verge of throwing them out, when I thought of making pinwheels with them.  There were enough for 6 pinwheel blocks at about 6" unfinished.  So, what to put with them???

I dug into the box of scraps my friend Carol gave me a couple of years ago, because I remembered there were some 6 or 6 1/2" squares in there.  Tada!!  There were even kids prints in there, so I added them in a sort of evenly spaced arrangement.  It made for a small quilt, so it needed borders.  I was about to start digging through the stash for something appropriate, when I remembered some seminole style borders I had leftover from another project quite a while ago.  Then I added a plain-ish border and had a nice sized crib or cuddle quilt.  I had a piece of flannel laying around from making receiving blankets, perfect size for the back!!  To finish quickly, I did a large stipple over the whole quilt.  Turns out, I break the thread more doing this than the dense quilting on that last one for the quilt show- something about going backwards gives my machine free-motion sickness!

In all honesty, I wasn't thrilled with the way the binding came out once it was finished.  I was using the smaller machine and it doesn't have as many stitches to choose from.  I should have used the feather stitch. Sigh.  But it's ready; and once I'm done with the demo, I can hope that a child suffering a family upheaval or illness will be comforted by it.  It's kind of an I-spy quilt, too!  The most fun part is the sheep glow in the dark!


Making this project so quickly was just what I needed to lift my spirits last week. I don't know what was troubling me, but I was in a dark place.  What is it about sewing, creating, that makes us feel better???

It's not easy to find good news regarding climate change, but a recent report released by the International Energy Agency tells that 2015 was a banner year for renewable power, marking the first time that total installed renewable capacity passed coal.   It won't be fast or easy.  I know the coal industry will suffer in the short term.  It won't be easy for the places where the local economy runs on it.  Hopefully the jobs in renewable energy will come to them as more and more production areas come online.  A side benefit to this is that, with the increase in the number of people driving hybrid or electric cars, there will be a reduction in CO2 emissions there as well!! (If you're interested, there's a good opinion piece here)

I am grateful for:
Lots of time with the kids last week.
Lucas finally solved his water issues!
Keeping in touch with loved ones far away.
The kittens are both improving!
The days when I feel like I have a clue.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quilt Week Batavia

Last week was the end of all the meetings, planning, emails, and frenzy of last-minute quilting for a couple of years.  The Stitches in Time 2016 show had finally arrived. 
First is all the quilts I showed- just to see them all in one place.   It's not everything I did for 2 years, but I gave a few away, and didn't show anything I had shown in another guild event (like the challenges)
Patternista Tiles

Diamonds and Doodles (for sale or gifting)

Froggy for Jonathan

Jack (in the pulpit) in (One Block) Wonderland

Jewels of the Reef

Sleepy Summer Afternoon

It's great to see old favorites by my friends on display again, and the surprising things they made just for the show.

My friend Kathi's work just amazes me.  Whatever it is that makes a person an artist, Kathi has it.  She just sees things differently and is able to express what she is feeling in her work. 
This piece is called "Deployment".  She made it while her son was in Afghanistan.  It is a grid of days, each marked off as they passed.  There is a circle on the days he was in true danger.  The overlay is a picture of him taken while deployed.  Very powerful in person

She calls this one "Motherness".  It is filled with memorabilia and  symbols of times shared with her children. 

I love these pieces by Trudy Kutter.  So traditional, and yet in some ways, not.  Look at the stitching around the flowers, adding extra petals to each one.

And the piecing in the "Woven Coverlet" has a very modern feel to it.  Maybe it's the solids?

I think Tracy Jachimowicz made this in a class with Karen Kay Buckley.  I just love it!!!

 Melanie Watson finished her piece from the George Siciliano class back in 2010 (?)
She has worked on it at retreat every year.  I wonder what she'll bring next year now that it's finished.  :-)

 Ann Renica made this very modern quilt as a wedding gift!

 Arlene Kelly is a purely traditional quiltmaker.  The colors and the border fabric in this one just made me say wow.

My friend Mary Lee has been doing some modern quilting on her pieces.  This was made with a pattern by Laura Heine.  They look like a lot of fun, but a lot of work as well.

This was the first time many of the ArtCGirlz fish quilts were all displayed.  It looked pretty cool!

Susan Rathbun

Mary Kozub

Elaine Ross

Chris Kuehl

Mary Ellen Casey

The show is also a great place for chatting with friends.  We don't get to spend much time just enjoying each other's company at the guild meetings.  I told a friend it's kind of a three day party.  (Although most people don't  usually work this hard at a party)

 (OK, so in these pictures we aren't working that hard)

It's also a great place to see quilting friends you don't get to see on a regular basis.  I was happy Mary and Sandy stopped in to say hello!

So, it's almost time- at long last.  This one has been very tough and I think it will not end after the ballots are all cast.  Sigh.  My husband and I had a brief , um- let's call it a discussion, about the framers of our constitution and how that document should be interpreted to fit our times.  I personally believe they would throw up their hands in disgust.
In the final debate, which I did not watch, I understand very few issues were truly debated.  One issue that hasn't come up at all, except for the guy in the red sweater, is climate change.  I wonder why, truly.  Is it not a hot enough topic? (no pun intended)

I am grateful for:
Tomorrow is the site visit at work.  The second big event I've been preparing for this month.  No matter the outcome, I'll be glad when it's over.
Time with the kids.
Tiny kitties to cuddle
Music to lift my mood.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

We all deserved better!

Last week, I downloaded what turned out to be the very last issue of Quilter's Newsletter magazine.  With almost no advance notice and no fanfare at all, the October/ November 2016 issue is the last issue of what was- for many of us- the first/ only magazine available when we began our journey as quilters.
I have been reading this magazine  since I started quilting in the early 1990's. It was full of great tutorials, wonderful patterns, eye candy and news from around the quilting universe.  I "met" many of my favorite quilt artists in the pages.  I have subscribed for over 20 years, and yet I received no notice of the magazine's end, except this page in the last issue.

Not only is this a disservice to all of the long-time readers of Quilter's Newsletter, it is an insult to the magazine itself!  We all held this magazine dear for many years.  We learned, we laughed at Helen Kelley's columns, we drooled over the award winning cover quilts.  We looked forward to getting each new issue, knowing we would find great information and inspiration inside!  And for all of that, all it gets is a side note in the last issue.  Badly done, F&W Publications. You had a chance to honor one of the greats, but you tossed it aside like a used napkin. 
Another example of the corporate mindset, I fear. Sad!

Tomorrow is the turn in day for quilts to be hung at the Museum Quilt Guild Show!!!!  I haven't had a huge feeling of excitement for this show until now- and now I can't wait!!  So you know what my next post will be.

I love finding news like this.  Fossil fuels must become a thing of the past NOW!!!  (I always hope to see that these places are in the US, though)

I am grateful for:
Minor repairs
Kind of good news from the GI
Not having to cook much this week.
Some of my former foster babies have found homes this week!
Sitting in the sun and enjoying its warmth for a change.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Getting it quilted

This is the last piece I needed to finish for the quilt show.  It's also the piece I took with me to the lecture with Jane Hauprich in July. It is now quilted and ready to make its first public appearance!  I thought I would share how I got here.

  Jane suggested printing out pictures of the quilt to doodle on.  Using a mechanical pencil gives a nice fine line!   These two are done on the same picture with tracing paper over it, which doesn't save any paper at all. I hated to waste the paper, but this way is easier than laying out the quilt and drawing on the big piece of clear acrylic I have and risking getting the dry erase marker on the quilt.  I did still lay it on a corner once I had a plan to test the designs full size. 

Anyway, Jane had suggested a curly "ribbon candy" design in the red sashing and straight lines in the triangles, so that was where I started.   But that just didn't feel right to me- or as a friend used to say; it didn't sing to me.

At some point I was doodling different designs and stumbled on the pattern I call MEMEME.  I loved that for the sashings!
I had also recently seen "Beginner Loops" on the Inbox Jaunt, and thought it would work in my border.  As you can see by my note, the thought of marking my quilt didn't thrill me.

The tracing paper was shifting, so when I started again, I made a black and white photocopy and drew right on it.  The ribbon thing felt right in the triangles, with smaller loops.   In the alternate sashing, I blended curves and straight lines with a design from Leah Day, called chain of pearls.

So now I had a plan!  The next step was to  put these designs on the quilt.

I was pretty comfortable with the designs for the blocks, but the border made me nervous.  I am a big believer in the muscle memory thing, so I got out my big drawing pad and drew lines to practice the design to scale.

I did three pages of practice and finally found the size I was most pleased with. (below)

But, deciding I still needed practice, I made a small quilt to practice on- with the same size borders.

This also gave me a chance to refine the design in the corners!

And finally finished my quilting!

I'm very pleased with it.  I have always loved dense quilting and now feel confident enough to do more of this kind of work on large quilts. 

Our quilt show is NEXT WEEK!!  I only entered this one that was unfinished at the deadline, never thinking it would still be this close to the show when I was ready.  Several of my friends are in a race to the finish!

If you're concerned about the climate crisis, as I am, it can feel hopeless.  No matter how hard you try, you know you are wasting paper, or buying things you don't need, or using too much gas and electricity.  The important things is to never give up.  Make one small choice each day and encourage everyone around you to make one small choice.  And, most important of all, make yourself heard- by voting for people who support renewable energy, or stricter regulations, or banning plastic bags; by making good choices when you shop and "voting" with your money.  No one person has to do everything, but everyone can do something!!

I am grateful for:
AUTUMN!- the leaves are changing, the days and nights are cooler, and I can wear a sweater once in a while!
A chance at something different (hopefully better)
Kitty cuddling
Having a child I can take to the children's' movies!
Getting back in a warm bed on a cold morning.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Six down!

I finished another item from my UFO list, as the time nears for the Museum Quilt Guild's show- a great incentive to get things done!

This is called "Patternista Tiles". I started it in the class with Paula Nadelstern last year, using her fabric from the line called called patternista.  

As you know, I have been making her "Opulent Ornaments", and I may have mentioned I love sparkly things, right?  So I decided to add some opulence to this quilt, in the form of nearly 1,000 swarovski crystals..
 Unfortunately, the crystals just don't photograph well
 You can see the crystals, if you look close.  They just aren't sparkly.

 You also can't see the fabulous quilting I did around the designs created in the blocks.  But that's ok.  It's not like it needed fancy quilting.  :-)

I'm very pleased with this piece, and had such fun making it.  The best pieces are fun to make, don't you think?

Voting this year- at least in the major election- is going to be a tough choice.  Nobody seems happy with our choices.  I know I'm not.  So it comes down to one thing- who might work to make changes to help stop climate change.  If you haven't decided, consider using this as your one issue.  In the end nothing else really matters!

I am grateful for:
Oma time!
Sleeping in all snug and warm in my quilty cocoon.
It's cool enough to bake.
Good timing
Hubby getting to enjoy some time with his oldest friends

Friday, September 23, 2016

A few weeks slow again

Well, September is coming to and end and I haven't managed even one post for so far!  So much for my goal of at least three a month this year. 

I still don't have time for a proper post, so I'm sharing a few of the pictures from the retreat my online quilting group had a couple of weeks ago.

Here we all are with our dollies.  I brought the supplies, thinking of what a great time we all had with these at the guild retreat last February.  I must remember to thank Julie for teaching us how to make them.

We met in Denver, PS- not far from all the great quilt shops in Lancaster county! So, of course we did some shopping.

 First stop in Intercourse is the soft pretzel place!

Then I found yummy things of a less edible variety.

This was in the yarn shop in Intercourse. Looks like felted sweaters.

If you're ever down that way, be sure to visit the Shady Maple Smorgasbord

The buffet goes on forever.

 These two projects were all I managed to accomplish.  The angled piece is going to the "Furball"

We all brought a quilt to donate to a local Ronald McDonald House.  I thought mine was on the ugly side, but hopefully someone will love it. 
(the man is one of the husbands, Peter- from Australia!)

I practiced some quilting design to make the quilt more interesting- maybe less homely? 

Not sure you can see it very well on the front or the back.  That thread in the brown border looked darker on the spool.

I'm getting back to the coloring calendar- better late than never (she has a new one for next year, but I passed.  I think I'll use this one with simple printed calendar pages for the dates)
I always fear my background coloring will ruin them, so I do it very lightly and then it doesn't show.

Think before you buy!!!  Does  the environmental impact of that new outfit you "needed" ever occur to you???  It should!

I am grateful for:
Cool nights sleeping with open windows under a pile of quilts!
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Good times with great friends!
Star Trek on BBCA
Autumn is here!