Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TST #22 - My Milky Way

In 2005 at a Mary Ellen Hopkins II class hosted by Di-Versity Quilting in Pritchard, British Columbia I had the opportunity plan the colour placement in a quilt.  I had brought along a large number of fabrics with an autumn feel.  When I asked Dianne the instructor which ones I should use, she suggested all of them; “Make it scrappy”.

I drew out the plan on graph paper, apart the fabrics, sewed them back together; mounted them on a flannel board and didn’t like the result.  One of the students said it would work; I just had to let it percolate for a while. I felt I had wasted some very pretty fabric and there was no rescuing the project.  Dianne assured me that if I just took the pieces home, and left them on my design wall they would eventually "reveal themselves" to me .

The patches sat on my design wall for several weeks.  Each time I looked up, I would move some of the patches around.  Then…EUREKA…it finally clicked; with some minor adjustments it started to take shape.  I sewed additional patches and decided that the quilt was becoming too square.  Using the left over four patches, I added borders to two sides.
You can see from the picture the end result.  The quilt was donated to Hawthorne Lodge, a seniors’ center in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

TST #21 - Saturday Playtime

In 2005, a friend asked me to join her at a local quilt shop called the Thread Bear for a “Saturday Playtime”.  This was a once a month gathering at which we would receive instructions for a patchwork block and pieces of feature fabric. The feature fabric was designed by a Canadian designer and was called “Ravenswood”. 

An admission fee entitled you to attend 12 sessions, receive instructions for a different block plan each session, fabric to complete that month’s block; and the company to enjoy it with.  We were to choose a background fabric. I chose a dark green from my stash.  In order to get the next set of instructions, you were to return the following month with the previous month’s block completed.  At the end of the 12 sessions, we would have enough to create a quilt. 

I attended all of the sessions, and completed half of the top and set it aside.  The balance of the blocks sat in my UFO pile until some years later (2008).  I took the unfinished top with me to a retreat hosted by my Guild, finished the top, sandwiched it and took it to my favorite long-arm quilter.  She did a wonderful job, but I did not like the style of the quilt, so I offered it to her. She really liked it and now it hangs in her studio. 

This is a picture of the finished quilt.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekend Retreat ideas

As mentioned in yesterday's post, some of the quilters that came to Quilting in the Mountains were setting up their workstations and it was surprizing to see what they brought along to make their work easier.  Here's a unique way of auditioning fabrics that you want to use in your project.
One of the girls had brought this rack to hang her fabric on so that she could easily see what she was working with.  Can you imagine what this would work like if you already had strips cut for your project and could just pull them off as needed?  How ingenious is this, eh?
And for those of you who like to go barefoot when sewing, here is a great idea.
Yup!  That is a bath mat that you see there.  Keeps the sewing machine pedal in place and gives you something soft and cushy to set you foot upon. 

Here's is just a glimpse of what went on at the retreat.  Of course there were some that had to do a bit of collaborating (or dare I say conspiring)....
some had to really concentrate on what they were doing to avoid a whole lot of re-stitching affectionately called "frog stitching".  You know...rip it, rip it, rip it!
Some considered doing a miniature similar to what the hosting teacher showed as a sample.  If I remember correctly this "Inlaid Tiles" piece was constructed with 1 or 3/4-inch strips.
The teacher, Dianne Jansson, showed a sample that utilized simple Rail Fence and Nine Patch blocks to enhance a wonderful print and produce a quick and easy quilt.  The pattern was developed by Jackie Robinson of Animas Quilts for a specfic fabric line.  Looks great in those reproduction fabrics, don't you think?
Another member of the group decided to go bigger.  Despite its appearance Lyn assured me that the piecing for this was easier than it looked. 
I really like the colours in this one.

What did I work on you ask?  I worked on several things, but most of my time was spent working out what I could do with some leftovers that I picked up.  This is what I came up with.
The leftovers are the printed fabric pieces, and were from a guild member who gave them up to the Guild.  I thought I would challenge myself to see what I could do with the pieces.  Of course I had to buy more fabric (the grey) and I'm now working on putting on the border.

Well now I'm off to finish this piece so that I can donate it to a senior's centre.  It should be just big enough to cover a lap.

What a weekend

I was away last weekend for Quilting in the Mountains at Sun Peaks Resort.  It was wonderful to join with 21 other like minded quilters and sew to our hearts' content.  This was the 8th annual QitM.  The lodge that we used for our "workshop" had a wonderful stained glass piece hanging in the window.  This is what it looked like.
The village was quaint but a little different looking than in the winter months.
There were several visitors that stopped by too!

There were other sights to see like BMX racers going up and down the mountain, and these tiny little treasures of Mother Nature.
But then there were the ingenious things to see that some ofus quilters brought and were creating.  Stay tuned for those pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TST #20 - Sailboats

I wanted to give a special gift to my sister, but what to come up with.  I had little money and thought a hand made gift would be from the heart.  While searching through our family sewing room, I came across some partially completed quilt blocks, some extra fabric and a pattern that my sister had started some years ago, but never quite finished.  Eureka!  I found my answer.  I finished the remainder of the blocks, made some extras so that the quilt would be bed-sized, and sewed on a label in time to present it to her on Christmas Eve 1998.

The pattern had come from an out of print arts and crafts magazine.  It was challenging to work with the fabrics initially used because they were not the quilting cottons ordinarily used in making quilts.  I chose to use the ‘Attic Windows” setting for the blocks.  I think it turned out quit nicely.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TST #19 - Those 1.5 inch squares.

Remember the 1.5 inch squares that I had posted about here?  Well this is what I did with the green squares that were left over after the Jacob's Ladder quilt was finished.

“Dad’s Green Stars”

The central square of each star consists of 16 of those 1.5-inch squares for a total of 144 squares.  The black and green points of each star were paper pieced and formed the remainder of the block.  Each of these blocks were then set on point, with the setting squares being hand quilted with a feathered wreath.  I presented this quilt to my Dad.  He used to use it whenever he had his afternoon nap.  He has since passed away and it still sits on the back of the chair where he used to sit and look out over the valley from his home in Vernon, British Columbia. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What is it called?

I enjoy a periodic trip to a garage sale or swap meet.  A friend of mine recently went to a garage sale and made a wonderful find.  However we haven't been able to figure out what the piece is called.  Here is a picture

and a close up.

It looks like plastice rings were covered with crochet cotton and then joined together.  Anyone have any idea if this has a specific name?  or when this particular technique may have had its heyday?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

FMQ - Ann Fahl inspired

It's been a while since I posted about my FMQ.  I have been following the FMQ Challenge at SewCalGal's site.  Trouble is, I have not had much of a chance to actually practice the FMQ until recently.  Now I'm spending some time catching up with the tutorials. 
Here is my practice piece for the loopy pattern that was provided during March when the session was lead by Ann Fahl.

I finally went to town on this piece I call Mentors' Flowers.  It was a sample piece mentors in my Guild put together to demonstrate the various methods of applique.

I taught my favorite technique; needle turn.  Each of the mentors designed a flower to demo their specific technique.  I designed the purple tulip.  Here is a close up of the quilting.

Now I'm off to try the FMQ technique from April with Don Lin.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TST #18 - More donated scraps

As I mentioned last Tuesday, here are some more of the quilts that helped use up my scraps and were donated to local organizations.

“Jacob’s Ladder” – I had collected 1.5 inch squares in an online exchange. I had no idea at the time what I was going to use them for, but I figured it was a great way to increase the stash.  After several months of collecting I had amassed quite a number.  They sat for a long time and soon became just a heap of "scraps".  It soon came time to deal with them.  After taking several days to sort them by colour, I sewed them into what I thought was a pleasing colour arrangement. I still had lots of little green squares left when I was done. This little quilt also went to the local hospital's neonatal ward.

"Pinwheels Aplenty" – Remember the CIS Mystery Quilt that I posted about here.   The pinwheels are made from the leftovers of the “CIS Mystery Quilt”.  This was a bit of a challenge.  After using all the HST to make the pinwheels, I had sufficient number of them to make a lap quilt, but I didn't want to put them into a straightforward grid.  I ended up offsetting two rows which I thought looked pretty good.  This quilt was donated to senior's care lodge so it could be distributed to a resident.  I was very suprised when I received a thank you note from the recipient, because the label did not have my address but rather the address of my Guild.