Thursday, July 9, 2015

At the Show

The Seven Sisters Quilt Show!

This is a local, regional quilt show. Members of participating guilds can enter quilts into the show without having to be juried in. There is a great variety of quilts: modern or traditional, hand or machine quilted, prize-worthy and humble, all shapes and sizes and colors... And there are lots and lots of vendors, with lots of fun things to see and try and buy! Here's a SLO Tribune photo page.

I had three quilts in the show.
For the Love of Sewing

For the Love of Sewing is the 2015 Skill Builder BOM Quilt by Alyssa Lichner.
This is the quilt I used as an example for my demonstration of Quilt-As-You-Go sashing at the guild meeting.
 See? Each block was quilted before I put it all together.
Click on the picture to make it bigger.
What on earth will I do with it now? I don't have a wall space big enough to hang it, and it's not really a bed-size quilt. Someday I gotta try opening an Etsy store. Could I really part with my creations, though?

 My son and daughter in law went to Hawaii, and brought back a fat quarter pack of Hawaiian print fabrics for me. Here they are, in Camilla Roskelly's Fireworks pattern.
Fireworks in Paradise
There was another quilt in the show made from the same pattern. It was bigger, with pieced borders, and more sophisticated, made with batiks, and quite lovely. (It's in the slide show linked in the newspaper article, above.) I'm very happy with the chaotic cheerfulness of my version!

 I dyed the fabrics for this next little quilt in a tie-dye workshop with a friend in Pittsburgh. My tie dye job was pretty amateur, and not very attractive, but I salvaged sections of beautiful colors for this Storm at Sea pattern, taught in a class by Wendy Mathson.
Fire and Ice
This one is hanging in my entryway. That means it's on a green wall. No, it doesn't match my decor, but it sure adds a nice bit of brightness and color. I think that's a nice feature of quilts: they fit in anywhere!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Professor Q

 I'm the current president of my quilt guild, Central Coast Quilters. I followed a succession of really good presidents, women who exemplified organization, competence, experience, sincerity, creativity, generosity... hard acts to follow! So when I took on the role, I did it in costume. A little hiding, a little distraction and deflection, and a lot of fun!

This month's guild program was Quilt University, and I was Professor Q. Four of us demonstrated skills and projects, and the membership rotated to each demo through the evening. Sharon demonstrated faux-piped binding, Janie taught how to make flying geese, four at a time, Maryann showed how to make the magic pillowcase, and I demonstrated Quilt-As-You-Go sashing, as I learned it from Alyssa Leichner's Skill builder BOM 2014 class.

I started with these quilt blocks; most are from the 2013 Flickr3x6 Bee (I'm sorry it no longer exists. That bee was such a great starting place for online quilty learning and relationships!)

Everyone who sat through the demo got one of these, a bottle of Professor Q's top secret, ultra high-tech, polymer adhesive.  AKA Elmer's Washable School Glue.

The really cool thing about Alyssa's method of joining the quilt blocks is using glue to adhere the sashing strips before sewing them.  The sashing stays in place, even when stitching several layers, and you end up with nice, straight sashing, front and back.

I started with blocks that were individually quilted,

then, once the sashing was done, I had an almost finished quilt!

I used the same technique to add borders, and I bound the quilt using that faux piped binding that Sharon demonstrated at our guild meeting. Done! Cute little quilt!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


This has arrived, and I'm thrilled.

Stars In Their Eyes is a group of quilters who met on the now defunct 3x6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee. (That was a great way to get started in an online quilting group.) We wanted to keep sewing with each other when the group folded, and started with each of us taking a turn as Queen Bee, and receiving blocks we asked for from each of the other members. I made my Feathers quilt with blocks from SITE. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Next, we decided on a round-robin exchange. Each of us would state a theme and make one or two blocks to start our own quilt, then send them to one after another. Every six weeks we'd add to another member's quilt in subsequent order, until the quilt came back home. Along the way, we posted sneak peeks of our work, but the final outcome would be a surprise. I started with this:
Hand appliqued, I stitched this last summer while I was in Pittsburgh with the little family.
I needed something to work on  while I was away from my sewing machine for five weeks!

Here are some of the teases my bee mates sent. I knew they were making good stuff, but I didn't know what to expect.

I certainly didn't expect a whole, complete quilt top! And a true medallion quilt, with borders going all the way around! And such artistry- well, I think I knew it was going to be great. But really, this is so, so great! I love the colors, the designs, the balance, all of it!
It's hanging over the couch, next to me, and I stare at it, loving it. I can hardly wait to quilt it, but I'm enjoying it as it is, for now.

Not all the quilts have made it home, yet, but all that have are fantastic. You can take a look here and here and here and here. This has been a lot of fun. I think everyone loves their quilts as much as I love mine.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

While I keep vigil for the mailman...

Here's another UFO (unfinished object) from the closet. I wanted to sew something, but didn't want to start on a new project. (More on that, later.)

I was part of a swap; lots of little squares sewn together and sent to one another around the US to make scrappy patchwork quilts. Then I got tired of the patches all crowded together, and re-shaped them into asymmetrical blocks and sewed them together. Then I got tired of the whole thing, and put it away.

I mindlessly sewed some neutral strips around the edges, then wondered why I had bothered with that. Then I got distracted by all those little pairs of squares that had been saved with the quilt top. Had I meant to use them as a border? A scrappy binding?

Now I thought I'd like to just sew them up as a traditional patchwork.

Then I quilted them, using one of my favorite designs. As I'm sewing, I see all the little wobbles and inconsistencies, but when it's done, the overall design takes over. My not-so-circular lines appear as lovely, interlocking circles.

Even better once they've been washed! (Yes, we're in a drought, so it had to wait to take a ride with a full load of laundry.)

I sewed two panels back to back, to make a pillow. No piping, no zipper, because I wanted to see the checkerboard pattern all around. I'll just stuff this one, and sew it shut. When it needs to be washed, I'll un-stitch it and redo it, no big deal. Nice, summery colors, soft, squishy, ahhh.

The quilt top? It's back in the closet. I'm clearing the deck, getting ready for this to come home:
A year ago, I took a workshop to learn hand applique, and made this big panel. (Pattern by Piece o' Cake) Then I sent it off to its travels to the different members of my Stars in Their Eyes quilt bee. Each one, in turn, has added to it, and today it's supposed to come home to me via USPS! I have no idea what I'll get, but I have seen what we've been adding to one another's tops as it's been my turn on their travels. I'm trying to keep my mind open, to be ready for anything, but really, I have great expectations!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Quilt colic?

I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption: "Working on a quilt I don't love. It might get better." What's not to love?

I started the quilt in a class, using this gorgeous fabric, Morris Meadows. I love the colors, and the art deco design. I already had a yard in my stash, and I ordered another yard online from Loom in Pittsburgh so I'd have enough for the class project. 

There was a lot of fussy cutting with a special ruler, resulting in a lot of wasted fabric. Boo. And I wasn't thrilled with my arrangements of the resulting pieces; I wished I'd featured more of the floral edge. After cutting apart and sewing back together, I thought I might as well have simply bought a fabric printed like this. It helped me realize I really do prefer scrappy quilting. I like seeing what happens when lots of fabrics are combined, instead of using one fabric, or one designer's collection of fabrics.

The addition of quilting added another dimension to the little quilt, as did some more favorite fabric from stash for a border. It's getting a little likable. However, as I quilted a cable in the border, the bobbin thread ran out with two inches to go! 

And even though I laid out the binding on the quilt before stitching it on, I ended up with a seam in the corner. Out came the seam ripper, and the binding was cut and resewn before sewing onto the quilt. This quilt is testing me!

Here it sits, ready for the binding to be hand sewn to the back. I like to do that while watching TV in the evening with my husband. It might have to wait until summer programming begins. 

Edited: Red Box to the rescue! Rented a movie and sewed the binding. Ralph doesn't understand why those two go together, but I get antsy just sitting in front of the TV. (Movie was Still Alice, sweet movie, but always with the sense that the actors were telling a story, rather than making believable characters. Just as well, since it would have been super-emotional if I'd connected with them, and I resent being emotionally manipulated by movies.)

Here's a detail of the quilting. It probably wouldn't matter what I did, since the fabric is so busy! Orange peel in the center, sweet cable in the border.
Here's the finished quilt!

Okay, I'm feeling a little love for this little one, now. 40x48" Maybe someone else will like a sophisticated, art deco baby quilt.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Indie Groove

It seems I've had a serious case of blog flu, unable to write or post without being intimidated by ideas and overcome by procrastination. Now I need to use it or lose it, and I'm not quite ready to give it up.

I never showed you this quilt in its entirety, did I?
Indie Groove

Two years ago I won some of Pat Bravo's Indie fabric from Lily's Quilts. It seemed ideal to pair with Sujata Shah's Painted ZigZag quilt pattern. I think it's fascinating to follow the flow and break of the colors in the zigzags. 

I quilted it with a metallic copper thread. Maybe it's lost in the busy-ness of the fabrics, but I like to think it adds to the pizzazz of this pattern!

You can see here how I quilted from the back of the quilt, loosely following the floral pattern on the backing to get an overall floral design on the front.

Now this quilt has gone to live at Cris's house. The colors are perfect for her! It was great fun to surprise her with this gift for her birthday. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sugar Skulls

A lot of life and projects have happened since I was here last, but let's just jump to this project:

I posted this little tease on facebook, and I was happily surprised at how many people liked the sugar skull fabric.

This is what I made with it:
Matching dresses for Poppy and her doll, Becky.

Becky was Bethany's doll when she was a girl,
and we're delighted that Poppy loves her
as much as Bethany did.

Bethany says Poppy loved the sugar skull fabric when she opened the package, and she loved the dress when she unfolded it. But when she noticed the little doll dress that was included, she really got excited! She ran upstairs to put them on, and Bethany heard Poppy talking to Becky about loving the dresses. In fact, when Bethany heard a squeal of delight and asked what it was about, Poppy said, "Oh, that was Becky!" That makes me so happy!