Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another fun family sewing day!

I went to Earling yesterday for another family sewing day. We didn't have as many sewers this time as 2 of my nieces had to work, but we still had fun and got lots accomplished. 
 Mom's quilt was started a few years ago. She got the pattern from my sister and the fabric from me for Christmas. She had it sewn into rows when she came yesterday, and got busy pinning them and sewing the rows together. As you can see, it's a quilt center now! to figure out the borders!
My niece, Ashley, has worked on cutting and prepping her T-shirt blocks the past couple of sewing days. After prepping a few last minute additions, she was ready to decide on a layout and cut sashings. Her large Ashley block still needs some fabric added to it lengthwise to make it fit in with the other blocks, but we decided to start sashing to help figure out what color/ type of fabric to use. She has leftover t-shirt backs she could use. Or maybe a cute fabric. So we put that on hold for the time being.
Finally! she was sewing!Once she got started, she couldn't stop! 
Her sashing fabric is a charcoal with black dots.
Unfortunately, she was introduced to our friend, the seam ripper, for the first time. She learned how to use a new tool yesterday, too!

When I left about 4:00, she had many of the sashings sewn in between the blocks. She stayed and sewed with Sharon for a few hours after that and finished sewing the sashings in between the blocks and sewed a sashing row as well. She really seems to enjoy it, especially when she actually got to sew! She is going over during her son's nap today and Sharon will help her add to the Ashley block to make it fit in. I can't wait to see it!
Ashley brought her son along and he played happily all day. So it was sort of a 4 generation sewing day, even though he didn't sew. Maybe next time!
Since Sharon had started her Modern Cathedral Windows Pillow over the weekend, she had one pillow top finished and another one about half finished when I got there. She quickly finished it and decided to put a narrow background border around each one to help the outer ring of circles stand out. 

She made envelope backs for both pillows. (here is one ready to sew together. 

 They both turned out so pretty and match the jelly roll race quilt she made on the last sewing day. It's tied and bound and ready to snuggle with.

 Last time we got together, I showed her how to make the Quilted Boxy Corner Pouch, and she has been making them ever since. Here are a few she has made.

 I forgot to take a picture of all of them. She gave each of us one. She spent the rest of the afternoon making more of them....until....

I had taken my copy of the Cultural Fusion Quilts book to show everyone and Sharon immediately wanted to try out a Peppermint Pinwheels block from the book. She cut one out before I left and later sent me this picture. Yea, she's my sister.

 You might remember Deb's Jelly Roll Race quilt from the last sewing day. Since her previous quilt took about 5 years, this one is moving right along. She chose two fabrics for her borders, cut both, sewed the strips together and got the first one sewn on and pressed.
Deb learning the value of pinning borders! 

 Her teal border is ready to sew on now and it will be a finished top. She told us yesterday that she wants to make pillows next. We all know that you are definitely a quilter when you are planning your next project while working on one.
In between helping them, I got the pockets made and pinned in a working model of the Super Tote I started before I taught the class. I want to get it finished now.

We also celebrated my birthday...Sharon made a yummy Cinnamon cake and Deb and Ashley made a delicious fruit pizza. It was really a fun day. We are going to try to get together again in February. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A bit of this and that...

Recently I taught a class on the Super Tote bag by Noodlehead. I love this bag and was excited to show others how to make it. Class went well, but none of them finished during class time, so I offered to meet with them to finish it this past Tuesday night.

Before that happened, Pat finished it on her own and brought it to show me last Saturday. Isn't it gorgeous?

As luck would have it, we had a snowstorm Tuesday, so Linda was the only one that could came to finish hers, but finish it she did, even when her machine wouldn't co-operate!

 I like the contrast of the striped and floral fabrics with the floral piping trim on the front pocked.

 Last Saturday several quilters made their own Modern Cathedral Window Pillows. They seemed surprised at how easy they were to make. My sister, Sharon, stopped in and loved them so much, that she decided she was going to make one at our upcoming Family Sewing-In this Saturday. I gave her the supply list and she was asking a few questions about it, including could she do some precutting so she would get more finished on Sat. So I gave her the pattern.
She kept sending me updates on the cutting and by Monday had one sewn together. (smile) She told me she is making two, so since I haven't gotten any more pictures, I assume she is waiting until Sat. to make the second one.

Sharon's Modern Cathedral Window Pillow
Or will start another project!
 Last night was the final night for the My Little Pretties Sampler Club. Only two of the five could come last night, the others will make up later. We were treated to a glorious sight....Marta had sewn her quilt partially together. Since they had one more block to make, she couldn't finish until she made it.

 Sheryl put hers on the design wall too, so different and so pretty. They decided they wanted to meet one more time to finish the quilt, so we will meet next month for that. They also decided that they wanted to make a couple of smaller projects next instead of a quilt. Their first project is going to be the Modern Cathedral Window Pillow! That Club will begin in March.

 That was my week so far...How was yours?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A wonderful surprise!

 I had an awesome surprise yesterday! I taught the Modern Cathedral Window Pillow class and at the end of class some quilty friends came in with a gift for me....this gorgeous signature quilt using the Villa Rosa pattern Malaga.
 Jane came up with the idea of making a signature quilt for me for my birthday, and made strips for everyone to write a message on using the blue fabric. She then passed them out to friends. Not sure how long it took to get them back, but she then sewed them up into a quilt using our favorites, batiks. I guess she had some problems initially, but it all turned out beautifully in the end.
 Another friend, Cindy, who has a long arm business, quilted it with variegated thread. She used swirls and curls and it's gorgeous.
 She even had Conrad sign a strip, though I'm not sure how she found him as he usually hides when he hears a stranger's voice in the house.
 I was so surprised and am so grateful to have gotten such a special gift. I loved reading all of the messages! We took some pictures last night after class, but I had to take it outside this morning to get some in the sunshine.
 Do you ever wonder what the neighbors are thinking when they see you outside taking pictures? It was about 2 degrees (-22 windchill) when I went out to take these this AM. But I knew if I didn't take them today, I would forget. So outside I was.
 Isn't it gorgeous on the snow?
I brought it to my daughter's to show her and her cats love it too. (Conrad hasn't had the opportunity to test it out yet!)

See, it fits!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Be Creative Quilt Challenge Finalist

Last spring I read about the Be Creative Quilt Challenge on the McCalls Quilting Blog. I was intrigued as I like doing challenges, but with my class schedule, plus creating new quilts, I don't always have a lot of extra time. So I followed the link to the challenge guidelines to see what I needed to do to enter this challenge. It was actually a design challenge so I was really curious then! I saw right away that some of the fabrics from the Lotta Jansdotter collections were involved. I have to admit, I wasn't familiar with her fabrics before this, but fell in love with them when I saw them.
Challenge Lotta Jansdotter fabric bundle 
The 4.5 yd. fabric bundle included twelve prints of varying sizes, and was available to purchase from the Quilt and Sew Shop.  One of the requirements was to use 8 of the 12 prints. You could add 3 fabrics of your own choice. 

Shortcut after quilting, relaxing on the bars. I didn't want it to get wrinkled !
After much time debating the issue...should I or shouldn't I...I decided to order the fabric bundle. Meanwhile, I played with ideas I had for designs using EQ6. It was difficult to think about using so many fabrics in established amounts. ( I have no problem using lots of fabrics in a quilt, but having a pre-determined amount of fabric caused much planning and head scratching!) I finally figured out a design I thought would work, and planned the fabric placement. I ordered 2 other Jansdotter prints to coordinate with what I had and decided on a white background. Aren't they gorgeous?  


 Once the fabrics came, I plotted and planned some more. After seeing the actual fabrics, I changed my mind on which fabrics I would use where. Plus the size requirement of the finished quilts was fairly stringent, measuring 56” to 60” x 68” to 72". I think this was the hardest part to accomplish for me as I reworked my design many times as I tried to make a design I liked within those boundaries. I'm used to making quilts designed to fit twin or queen beds, but the sizes can be somewhat variable, so it's not that difficult.
I ordered backing fabric, also Jansdotter
 Finally I was ready to cut and sew! Since I didn't decide and order the fabric bundle until late summer, it was almost time to go back to school by the time I started working on it.  With a submission deadline of Nov. 1, 2015, I couldn't waste time either. Once it was finished, I ordered another Jansdotter fabric to use for the backing, though that wasn't a requirement. It was one of the fabrics that was in the original bundle. I had used it on the front and really like it! I thought about taking it to someone else to quilt, but ended up quilting it myself with an all over pattern.

Naming the quilt...sometimes that's the hardest part. To find a name that "fits" the quilt for whatever reason, is an interesting journey. Sometimes it's evident to others, sometimes it only has meaning for me. I decided on Shortcut as it described for me the path the diverse sets of fabrics were taking

Shortcut in the sand....beachy!
One sunny day,I took the finished quilt on a field trip and took some pictures of it in different locations and at different angles. The submission included an artist statement and a photo of the quilt. I sent the one at the top of this post to them. About a week later, I learned that I was a finalist and needed to send Shortcut to them. I knew from the guidelines that all of the finalist quilts would travel to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos in 2016, so I was excited! I bundled it off to them quickly!
The judging commenced and in December I learned that my quilt was not one of the three winners, but would be traveling with all 12 finalist quilts to the OSQE shows plus the America Quilts Expo in Des Moines (which is about 2 hours from me), so I will get to go see the exhibit.
I have been waiting  for them to post pictures of all of the finalist quilts as I was curious to see what other designers had done with those same fabrics. They were posted online last week, so take a look for yourself! They are all interesting with many different techniques used. I'm really glad that I decided to take the challenge. I feel like I learned a lot about adapting to size and design elements that I don't always worry about. Plus using fabrics with so many interesting prints made things interesting as well. I would love to chat with the other challenge participants to see how they felt about the challenge.
Shortcut hanging out after the quilting.
If you go to any of the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos in 2016, please take a picture of yourself with my quilt! I'd love to see you with it!