Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Off The Beaten Path with Henry Glass and Co

I accepted the Desire to Inspire Challenge for May on the Henry Glass & Co blog recently and was sent a gorgeous pack of fabrics from Amy Hamberlin's #Laugh Love Quilt collection. It is a pretty blend of modern and floral prints. I knew right away that I would need to design something scrappy in order to use all of these prints to their advantage. Since the navy stood out from the rest, I wanted to use it where it would make a splash.
#laughlovequilt collection by Amy Hamberlin

My cats always manage to wake up and come running when I start cutting a new project. Smokey and Conrad like to keep an eye on how the project is progressing.

I knew that I wanted to make several different, but similiar blocks for this scrappy quilt, so figured out a design that was simple but intriquingto look at. I like quilts that have interesting design elements incorporated into the design...it keeps you searching for more. I quickly made some pieced sections for the center of most of the blocks and pieced the rest of the quilt. 

Since I had used the navy for the star points, I decided to cut a smallish border out of it to bring it out in the quilt. I added it to 2 sides and hated it. It took over, or was too much...something wasn't right. So I tore it off and made a pieced border with scrappy rectangles and squares instead. I realize as I'm writing this that I didn't take a picture that shows the border well, but it's a combination of pieced strips strategically placed and rectangles. I liked it much better!

Unsewing the border...

I quilted it using a pastel variegated thread and the Starburst panto. It was fun to see it come to life with the quilting!

I always take pictures of the quilt, front and back, as I take it off of the frame. I like to have a record of each quilt and this way if I forget to take a pic later, I have these.
When the navy didn't work as a border, I decided to use it for the binding. It didn't take long to trim it down to the right width. 
I think it's just the right amount of navy for this scrappy quilt.

It was fun taking it out for a photo shoot....though I don't think my camera caught the beauty of the fabrics like I'd hoped it would. They are always prettier in person!
Off the Beaten Path
I feel like I grow as a designer and quilter when I take part in a challenge like this with parameters and a deadline. You don't have the luxury of weeks of planning, or designing, so you have to know just what the fabric is trying to say, or what it's saying to you. I think you learn a bit about the fabric designer as well, using her fabrics. There was a large print fabric with this collection that I got, but couldn't use as I couldn't cut it up. I didn't have time to incorporate it into a pieced backing, so now I need a plan for it. Still thinking about that one!

Thanks to Vanessa and the folks at Henry Glass & Co for the chance to participate in this engaging challenge. Visit their blog today to see the post about my challenge quilt, Off the Beaten Path. Go back tomorrow to see which collection will be used for the June Desire to Inspire Challenge and get a chance to participate yourself!

Monday, May 30, 2016

A fun quilty day in Des Moines....

 Some friends and I went to Des Moines on Saturday for the America Quilts Expo. Not only did we get to see my quilt, Shortcut, as part of the Be Creative!quilt Challenge display, we saw many other beautiful quilts as well. I had seen pictures of the other finalist quilts, but it was fun to see them up close to see the design aspects better as well as the quilting.

 They are all beautiful and different in so many ways. That's what is fun about a design contest with specifications that need to be met. I wrote about that in more detail here, but probably one of the hardest was using 8 of the 12 fabrics in the fabric bundle in the quilt. They were mostly quarter yd. cuts with a couple being a bit larger, so coming up with a design that used that many, plus in those amounts was challenging for me. I thought about it and worked on design ideas for several months before committing by buying the needed fabric bundle. You could add up to 3 other fabrics as well, so more head scratching to figure out what else to use...what, more fabrics? In the end, I'm happy with it and it was fun to see it as part of the exhibit.

 The quilt above and to the right took the top prize and I thought it was too bad they didn't show the back as well as she made a patio and swimming pool on the back to go with her house on the front.

 I don't take as many photos at shows as I used to, as I found that I wasn't looking at them as closely when I did and they never look as good in a photo as in person. But I had to take pictures of this one as the techniques were so unusual.  It had to be taken from a photo, but then the shading was accomplished by using gauze. We got as close to it as we could to try to see exactly what was involved in this stunning quilt. Unfortunately, we only guessed at what we thought was done, and don't know for sure, but it doesn't matter as it truly was a work of art.

 I love this one as well...great illusion. They were both part of an exhibit by the Studio Art Quilts Association titled Celebrating Silver. It was interesting with many different aspects of silver.

 After the show, we stopped at Piece Work Quilt Shop in Winterset, Ia. It is sort of on the way home. It was a nice shop, and we managed to find a few things we needed!

I finished the quilting on the Henry Glass project on Friday night, so spent some time yesterday finishing it. You might remember the darker print border I had added and then taken off because it didn't look right with the scrappy quilt. I trimmed it down, and re-pieced it to use as the binding. I got my pop of color on the edge without overpowering it. I took it on a photo shoot and will post more about it tomorrow when it will be on the Henry Glass and Co. blog as part of the Desire to Inspire Challenge this month.

I got a few things planted in the garden yesterday, but need to mow today. What are you doing for the holiday?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

America Quilts Expo

 The America Quilts Expo opens today in Des Moines. It is part of the Original Sewing and Quilting Expos, so will feature the exhibit of quilts from the Be Creative! Quilt Challenge. Since my quilt, Shortcut, is part of this exhibit I am excited to be going to the show on Saturday with friends. If you are traveling to this show, and you see my quilt, let me know...better yet, take a picture of yourself with it. I'd love to see it.
I met with two of the Sampler Clubs this week. Monday and Tuesday nights were both Larkspur groups, but they are working on different parts of the quilt. Both classes had some quilters missing (busy time of year) but here are some pics from Monday night. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics on Tuesday night. 

I'm still working on my Henry Glass Desire to Inspire #LoveLaughQuilt project. I pieced a backing and loaded it and the quilt top on the longarm last night, so I will be ready to begin quilting it tonight. I have a panto that is a loose star shape bouncing around that I think will be perfect. I'm anxious to get started on it. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

We all have lots of catching up to do...

That's why my UFO Saturdays are always popular and lots of fun. Dianne has been working on this new quilt for her bedroom for a few weeks and got it finished on Saturday. Such gentle colors...

Dan and Patty brought their Spinning Parasols tabletoppers to work on and made some great progress. Dan had all three blocks finished, didn't get a pic of that third block and Patty had her center finished and the pieced border sections as well. They are looking good.
Ruth worked on a runner she started in a different class and got lots of her tri-recs finished and another diamond or two. She will be ready to put it together soon.
JoAnn worked on a some teeny tiny half square triangles for another project and then made another Quilted Boxy Corner Pouch. She made one last time too, and loves making them. Everyone was curious as to how they go together.

Julie got the second half of her Lone Star sewn together and the setting corners sewn in. She worked on this quilt the last time she came for UFO Saturday, so it was fun to see her getting it closer to being finished.

Elsie had purchased the Curvy Log Cabin ruler a few months ago I demo-ed it at Cut Up and Quilt, but when she went to use it, she couldn't remember how to use it. She had her strips all cut and ready to start sewing when she got there, so she got quite a few sections made, plus sewed this block together. She is using all pinks for this lovely.
I finished sewing the Henry Glass #LaughLoveQuilt project together yesterday, so now I have to quilt it. I had an idea for a backing, but it didn't work out, so I have to get some fabric today to make a backing. My deadline is looming and not sure it will be finished by Friday.

It took me a bit longer than I thought yesterday as I had to go back to the drawing board when I didn't like the darker print border I had added. It just didn't look right. So eventually, after much thinking and head scratching, I decided on a pieced border. Makes sense.
 Sewed more strips together...
 Cut out some rectangles too...then came the unsewing....sigh....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We almost have quilts! and other class news...

 I'm teaching this session of Beginning Quilting, More Peas in a Pod as a monthly class. It's really different teaching it this way, as I'm used to a more hectic 6 weeks in a row set of classes. I really like keeping them going and coming out at the end of the 6 weeks with a quilt. This group seems to be doing fine like this, however and we almost have quilts! It was fun to see that first border go on to enhance the quilt center.
 They are different and so pretty! Bev was ill, so we didn't get to see her quilt top. Hopefully she is working on it....next time!

Their homework: finish that last border! Next time we meet they will be piecing their backing fabrics, layering and tying their quilts.
 Last night I met with one of the sampler clubs making the Modern Cathedral Window Pillow. Melinda was ready to put the envelope back on when she got there.
 Sheryl made a tablerunner for her kitchen table. She layered it and tacked it with her sewing machine to hold the layers together. She wants to finish with a red binding.
 Billie Jo was busy working on her blocks. Four more to go! Marta was out of town so we'll have to wait to see hers next time. They will be starting a new small project next month to work on for the next 3 months. They are choosing their own project out of several I've designed, so might all be working on something different.

If you are interested in joining them and working on a runner, pillow or other small project, let me know and we can talk over some options.

I haven't gotten much done on the #Laugh Love Quilt project this week, but hope to finish it this weekend. I do have some of the blocks finished, but I'm not sure how much I'm going to share until it's finished.