Monday, February 27, 2017

A new group of quilters = excitement

I had a great time teaching the first session of Beginning Quilting on Saturday. It's always fun starting a new group on the road to quilting, but several of the people are from my hometown, so that makes it even more fun! They are making More Peas in a Pod, which is a variation of my pattern Peas in a Pod that appeared in McCalls magazine a few years ago. This is a great pattern to teach strip cutting and piecing methods.
As you can see, they all chose gorgeous fabrics, so it will be interesting to see the end results.
Cutting is always the biggest bump in the road, as squaring up and keeping the cuts accurate are a big part of accurate piecing. We figured out where the 1/4" was on each machine as accurate sewing makes for accurate blocks too! Many people believe that if they sew with their fabrics next to the presser foot, that is 1/4" but it usually is not. It's nice when you can move your needle on your machine so you can line up with the foot, but it's not always possible.

Their homework is to make the twelve blocks before our next class in two weeks. They were progressing well, so I think they will be ready to sew the blocks together next time.

My More Peas in a Pod quilt

More Peas in a Pod

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fly Away Bluebirds....

 I had a great class yesterday making the Bluebirds quilt from the book Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin by Marci Baker. You can see the pattern emerging as they get more blocks finished.

 There was a huge difference in fabrics, which always makes for interesting quilts.
 Phyllis wanted to make a different quilt from the same book, Colorado Sunset. It was shaping up nicely too.

 I can't wait to see these as finished quilts!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quilters Quilt the Blues Challenge-- 2nd place Fragments

Have you entered any challenges this year? I read about the Quilters Quilt the Blues Challenge on the McCalls Quilting Blog and was intrigued. Blue is definitely a fun color to use, but could become monotonous if the fabrics shades were too similar or if I didn't use the right techniques. There was criteria for size, and you had to get the 16 pk. of blue fat quarters from the sponsors. We wouldn't all get the same fats, but they would all be blue. Then you could choose up to 3 other fabrics to use with them. The finalist quilts would be part of a traveling show with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos in 2017.

Quilters Quilt the Blues Challenge: Fragments

I did some thinking about what I would do before I ordered the fabric as it had to be an original design. Once they arrived, I spent a lot of time considering if my original idea would work with the fabrics I was sent. I wanted to do something using my circle and spin technique, but had a specific idea of how it would look. I wasn't sure I could accomplish it, but I needed to show chaos, and unity in the same design. Once the fabrics came I lined them up to see how they related to each other and if I could use them as I had originally hoped. Many of them were fabrics I wouldn't have chosen myself, but that is part of the use what you are given.

The next decision was which fabrics (up to 3) would I put with them. I wanted to spice things up with another color so decided to use these batiks that were blue, but also introduced the orange, gold and red.

One of them was mostly blue with a little green, so blended well with what they had sent.

It all worked out well in the end, but I had many moments when I wasn't sure the design was shaping up the way I wanted it to. I also had to find someone to do the quilting on the quilt. I can quilt on my midarm, but I wanted quilting that followed the shape I was trying to enhance...showing unity in the chaos of the design.


Corinne Mittag agreed to take a look at it and listened carefully to what I wanted to show. She understood that I wanted the organic lines of quilting to enhance and follow the quilt design to show that unity. You can really see the lines of quilting well in these pictures that I took out in the bright sunlight. She suggested some pebbles in a few places for interest ( and to get more of the rust colored thread on a fabric I really didn't like.)

I found out around Christmas that my quilt was a finalist, so then I had to get the hanging sleeve sewn on and get it ready to send them for the final judging. Fragments took second place! You can see all of the finalist quilts here on the McCalls Quilting Blog. I loved seeing all of the finalist's designs and wish I could've seen all of the entries. It's fun to see what other people did with the same fabrics!

 I am pretty excited and honored that it will be traveling with the OSQE shows throughout 2017. If you see it at one of the shows, please take a pic for me. I even won a prize...a Sizzix machine, 5 dies and gift card to the Quilt and Sew Shop. The Sizzix has arrived, but I haven't figured out where its new home will be so I haven't tried it out yet.

Fragments closeup. 

Here are some close up pictures of Corinne's beautiful quilting.

Fragments closeup. I love the rust colored thread we picked for the quilting.

It's fun to try a challenge with parameters like this. It makes you really think about your fabrics and what you want them to portray. It's so much different than deciding what you are going to make and getting fabrics to enhance the design. If you haven't tried one yet, I highly recommend it! This is my second quilt that will travel as part of an exhibit with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos.  Shortcut just returned home in Dec. from the 2016 shows.