Sunday, October 19, 2014

TAS Applique Blocks

Here are 8 of the 9 blocks going into the 2015 give away quilt for The Appliqued Society. I somehow missed one of the blocks, but there are a couple of close-up shots. The workmanship is amazing in these and whoever wins this quilt will be able to display it with pride.
Pictures are from my phone, so not the best, but it's what I got!

I'll post more details about the patterns, size, etc. once the top is assembled. I have the honor of quilting this piece, and I'm already running ideas through my head. This was a great project for me, I've never been part of a group quilt like this. I admit, I was intimidated going into this and now I would love to do more projects of this nature.

Hoping you find time for a few stitches today,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Milestone Monday

Yes, it has happened. I have got all the appliqued blocks in the center of this 25 block quilt outlined in the cream thread.  You also might know, I've also done some of the grid work in the background as I've gotten bored with the seemingly endless outlining sessions on this piece.

Wow, 25 blocks, that has been a journey. Now I'm on to outlining  the border applique and will continue the cross hatching throughout the body of this piece. I make sure I do some outlining every time I pick up this quilt.  I use it as a warm before I get to the cross hatch stitching.

As I spread this out to snap a few photos, I took a closer look at my progress.  I realized I'm almost finished all the background grid in the center 9 blocks.  Just a bit left on these two blocks.

Once all the cream hand quilting is done, I will bind the quilt. At that time, I will go back and finish the individual block quilting. Many flowers, vases, and leaves need more quilting, but I want to do this in matching threads.

An outside block that is almost finished. 

This just goes to show that you hand quilt a large quilt just like they say, "one stitch at a time"

And I would be remiss if I didn't share a photo of the back.  I love running my hand over the back, the tactile feel of this is amazing.  It's like running a hand over the past, I see my grand parents, their home, my childhood, and yet, we did not have quilts.  It's just the "feel good" feeling I get. 
Just like the feeling I got the other day when I walked down the driveway at my guys place, opened up the mailbox, inserted an envelope with a stamp on it and put the flag up. Yes, they still pick up the mail from your private mailbox in his neighborhood.

My BTCT goal has been bumped by a year, the new goal is June of 2015. I took the first stitches on the quilting Jan. 1, 2013 but took a good 6 month hiatus from this last fall/winter. It's amazing how a guy can take up quilting time. *vbg*  Now I'm trying to stitch on it every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. That usually extends to 45 - 60 and it's a matter of giving this some priority in my day.

Are you doing any hand work this winter? If so, please share


Monday, September 29, 2014

Stretching my Boundaries

One of the best things that quilting offers is the "first". So many projects require a new skill that we have many firsts in our lives. After quilting for 14+ years, I had a first this summer. I belong to The Applique Society, aka TAS and our fearless leader Jan volunteered the Bellingham, WA chapters for the annual quilt giveaway.  Every year the organization has a chapter volunteer  to make a quilt top and it is given away to one member every year.  It started with a line drawing.

I've never worked from a plain line drawing with no pictures to refer to for color.  I've also not worked with applique blocks that are being done by 8 other people and have to all be cohesive in one top.  When I offered to help, I thought I could be the long arm quilter, but oh, no.  They look after all that at corporate level.  Great.  We had a group meeting and some people brought some fabrics to swap out, I got a green and a pink.  We all are using some of the green for some of the leaves.  I looked at this blank piece of navy fabric for about 6 weeks and was paralyzed. 

Then I saw a finished block and I really knew I was in trouble.  Way over my head!  Yikes, how could I even think that my block could be in the same quilt as Patty M.'s. That prompted me to fill a bag with fabric choices and bring them to our August meeting.  Throw out stacks of fabric and ask for opinions at a table full of quilters and just watch the inspiration and creativity start flowing. 

I'm left with a little bit of embroidery and French knots for the flowers on both sides of the basket.  I also shared some the purple metallic fabric that I used for the big Iris with another member.  Now my fear was what will it look like with some of the other blocks.  My guy told me the yellow stuck out, but I was sure someone else would be using yellow and explained the plan. 

Then I saw C.O.'s block at our Sept meeting and yes!, there was some yellow in her block.  She still has to add another flower that is going to be shades of pinks.
Here they are side by side.  I think mine will hold it's own in the completed top.  I'm thrilled that I signed up for this challenge and once I got going on it, things seemed to flow.  It was the start that I had issues with.
Here is a piece that C.O. was working on at our Sept meeting.  The prep work is for a Sue Spargo class being offered at Quilt Fest in La Conner, WA Oct. 3 - 5th. There are more flowers and a few birds to land on this luscious piece.  Don't you just love that lime green wool background.  I don't know if you can enlarge the picture, but C used a lovely batik for the stems.  At class she will start all the embellishing and learn some new tips and tricks.  I can't wait to see what she shows at our Oct meeting.

What have you done that has stretched your quilting boundaries in 2014?  Please share, you might inspire me to try something new in 2015.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Keeping Busy

Crazy little 4 patches. I'm making these in batches of 6, 3 for me and 3 to swap out with a fellow quilter. She has a project specific to 3 matching 4 patches, but me, I'm just going to have them in my bag of tricks. Maybe they will be a round in my medallion quilt that I'm working on?

I taught a workshop where one student was using red, white, and blue for liberated stars and I fell in love with them. I had to start a few of my own. I'm trying out variations of sizes, I like how the bigger one has elongated star points compared to the center square. Now to make a few more. This will be a great quilt for next summer's 4th of July.

As a quilter, we have the ability to give back in ways that many others cannot. A local business is doing a fund raiser for a family that has lost the father. A little baby is involved and there is going to be a silent auction. I decided to donate a piece to this but I'm always concerned at the amount of money craft items generate. They seem to have such low value to non quilter and I just couldn't bear to see this go for under $200. I spoke with the organizers and we decided to raffle this so 100 tickets @ $5.00 each will generate $500 for this family that is in need of a hand up.
I had two tops in the same pattern as I made a shop sample and then taught the class. I'm keeping the one in CW prints, and donating this.
I added a sleeve so the piece can hang this way, which I think looks better. We have sold 1/2 of the tickets this week, and will sell the rest the evening of the event. I don't have $500 to donate so it sure makes sense to help out in this manner.

I'm continuing to stay on top of my customer quilts. I've managed to sneak one of my own on right now. It's a log cabin from a few years ago, so far, I'm loving it. Will share once it's off the machine.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Squishy In the Mail

I got a squishy envelope in the mail last week. Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts did a little giveaway and I was one of the lucky recipients of her generosity. The deal was to make two mini's using the two sets of 1/2 square triangles that were sewn from the 3" blocks she mailed. My method was to split up the squares into light and dark, and then pair them together. I tried to put the darkest light with the darkest dark for contrast and other than that, I just like to put blue with green, red print shirthings with brown and keep it mixed up.

All the triangles got sewn up and I took one pile, pressed, trimmed and started to design with them.

Here was one option I worked with. It all seemed too jumbled for me, so I kept at it with different borders and layouts.

The finished first piece.  This one is for me, as I wanted red on the border. I know, not very original on the setting, but I liked the simplicity of the design and the fabrics are so interesting that that is what draws you in to take a closer look.

Decided that I wanted the binding to match the border and after cutting up the left overs from the border, all I have left is a partial strip less than 2" and a small square.  These are perfect pieces to go into my CW scrap bag.  I'm working out of it for my Medallion piece.

Next up is the second set of 1/2 square triangles.  I wanted to finish one and put it away before I started on the second layout.  I didn't want to be influenced by my first piece as the colors are identical.  Since it is going to my gal pal who doesn't quilt, and lives on a farm, I knew the red would not be a border choice.  Out came the browns. 
"side note"
My gf and I  have a standing joke about what is "Up North". We both live right on the US/Canada border, I'm in WA and she is in BC.  She was at a party at my place one night and asked if someone was coming.  One of my US friends replied, "No, they have gone up north".  My gf is thinking north, as in Dawson Creek, Prince George, Whitehorse; all places that someone from BC would think of when they here the term "up north". She asked where they were and was told Burnaby, that's 20 minutes away from here, so certainly not what we would call north.  We had a very big laugh over that, and we continue to enjoy the joke.  It's funny, most of my US friends all refer to British Columbia as "up north" yet none of my BC friends call WA "down south". It we heard that term here, we would think Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, etc. 

OK, back to the quilt.  Since she is getting this, I thought I'd call it "Up North". Pretty good, huh? It's great when you can piece and quilt a joke into something that a friend will see and smile whenever she thinks about it!

Here are the fraternal twins, side by side.  Yes, the red one is definitely my style and I'm confident that Up North will be loved by my gal pal who doesn't own a needle and thread!

These are fast, fun, and will be perfect 'take alongs' for hand quilting them.  I'm seeing baptist fans on the red border, I'm not sure yet what the brown one will have.  Both will be bound with their same border fabrics.  I might look for some fun backings, something completely contradictory to the front, just for fun!

Thanks Kathie, I love both of these and it was a great side project for me this weekend.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Fair

The NW Washington Fair has come and gone, but I just realized I did not post any photos. I shall let the pictures do the talking. It seemed that there were fewer quilts this year, yet I was told the numbers were about the same. Maybe there were less large pieces? Certainly a lot of artsy pieces, which I always enjoy seeing.

Congratulations to all the ribbons winners, and to all how took the time to enter their work into the fair. The Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver BC was a huge part of my summers when I was a teenager. I showed my beef animals through 4-H every year and we spent a week living in dorms across the street from the venue and showed and sold our animals. It's important for me to continue to support local fairs, they are a fabulous place for a lot of life lessons.