Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Seeing Stars

Apparently blogging on a regular schedule has not been a strong point of mine.  Life is busy, I let things get away from me and then, wham, it's coming up on Memorial Day and I still don't have the boxes unpacked in my new place.

However, I have been unpacking bags and boxes and drawers in the studio one at a time and have actually been dealing with the contents.  This is the latest bag to be dumped on my cutting table.  Left overs from 3 - 4 years ago.

Perfect for some liberated stars that were in the works.  I found patches of "made" fabric, background squares cut up in several sizes and I got to work.

Since I don't have ANY grey or yellow in my bins that can work in, I opted to add in a few solids of different yellows.

I needed some more white on whites, and my fabric bin did not let me down in this dept.  Now I have a mix of blocks that finish at 4", 6", 9" and 12"  I can see I have to make a few more blocks in order to put this puzzle together.  The best part is that I love making this block, and I needed a bit of sunshine in the long stretch of rain that we've had.

I have also jumped into the "star a day" but mine will be called the "star a week" project.  After marking and cutting them, I still need an hour to do the hand piecing for each block.  This was my take along project on a last minute trip my guy booked for us.  We just came back from a 7 day Alaskan cruise, and this was the sum total of my down time.  4 blocks..

And I'm still picking away at an EPP stars project.  I need 100 stars and I've picked out my background.  I need 200 diamonds prepped in that fabric. 

Here are my bundles of 5, I have a total of 75 stars so I really need to get on the task of making background diamonds.  If not, 200 diamonds in one fabric is going to become tedious in a hurry.

And yes, I'm back at my longarm machine, getting customer quilts finished up for the next phase; bindings, labels, and sleeves.   Here is the back of a commissioned piece.  The top was pieced from her fathers Hawaiian shirts.  It too, needs binding and a label before it goes to it's new home.

Spring has finally arrived this past weekend, it's been long overdue here in the PNW.  We were starting to forget what the sun looked like.  My house has closed, everything has been moved, (but not unpacked or put away or hung up), but I'm at the beach, life is good, and I've got several irons in the fire on any given day!

I will post about my cruise later this weekend.

Keep stitching,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Best Big Stitch Needles

I got a bit jazzed on the Perle #8 threads a few years ago. I bought a lot of it, in lots of colors. Plus I have boxes of DMC threads, so it wasn't that I needed any colors. But these little balls of thread looked SO cute.

Years ago, in another life time when I used to sift and search eBay for no reason,  I bought this vintage top. It was so sweet, and yet so not worthy of a ton of time. I had found the perfect project to use some of these bright threads. Now to find the right needles.

I purchased a multi pack of big eye needles, branded for big stitch quilting.  It was tough for me to pull the eye through the fabric. Then I was bending the needle at the base of the eye.  And breaking the eye off.

Needless to say, this trouble send me packing, as in packing up the project and putting it away. Until I found these.  I've used Tulip needles for other types of sewing, and while we were at the quilt show in Monroe, WA we went into Quilting Mayhem  They had a very good selection of needles and I thought I'd give these a try. I used the #4, (there are 4 sizes in the package)

Although this isn't a very big top, approx 32" x 40", I got it finished in two weeks.  As soon as I took the first stitches, I was in heaven.  They went through like a hot knife through butter.

Since it was so pleasurable, I kept at it during the evenings, and in no time, I had resurrected not only an old top, but an abandoned project.

This sweet little piece just needs binding.  I have a soft yellow solid that is perfect, it's all cut and ready to add, and then it's ready to be washed and loved.

Tools of the trade are very subjective, what one quilter loves another one abandons. Just like methods to making blocks, there are many ways to achieve the same outcome, it's a matter of personal preference. I'm thrilled with this product so my $8.50 was well spent!

Keep stitching

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gwen Marston - It's a Wrap

Photo heavy, word light.  Here are the shots of some work in progress pieces and some finished results from our workshop.  With 20 people creating in one room, there was a bit of sensory overload for me.  I kept focused on my piece and soaked up so much from those around me.

Matt - Seattle Modern Guild.  You should stalk him on IG  @odditease  Everyone tries to pull their hands out of the shot.  I happen to like them in the photo, after all, these are the hands that created the piece that we are enjoying.

Finished? not quite.............

Matt finished and if you check out his IG, you will see the hand quilting he has going on.
Making parts....

Auditioning background colors.  Vera worked her pieces from lots of yellow/green on the right to lots of pink/turq on the left.
Finished the abstract piecing and onto making Liberated Stars

Sally and Mary came up from Seattle to say hello, and lucky for us, Sally brought her corduroy quilt.

LeeAnn and Merry.  Square in a square by Merry, cherrywood fabrics.  Still in process, as a fabulous border showed up a bit later.

Leah M&M for size reference.

She rocked the small piecing and created some wonderful patchwork.

Finished composition. Such lovely work!

Paula with her Mexican Hat center and liberated rounds, medallion style.

Cheryl - we realized we have taken 3 different Gwen workshops together. She has good taste in teachers *vbg* Don't you just love this? She did the patchwork, then cut her big square in 4 to make the outside triangles. Her sewing buddy had some great advise. Stay stitch just beside the cutting lines "before" you cut on the bias. Still more to happen, but not enough fabric or time to have a finish.

Justine rocked the hour glass block with brights all around.  This piece is so lively. 

Fern, as in IG @fern_royce, or www.fernroycequilting.com came up from Berkley to partake in Gwens last blast class.
Fabulous work.  She teaches and lectures.  Check her out!

Ferns sewing buddy, who's small 4 patches took my breath away.  I just had to go make a block for reference.  I love the partial seam technique she used to surround the center. 

Elizabeth continued on a current project she had.  Such good colors in this piece.

Mary green lib log cabins

Gwen shared so many techniques and here is a collage of processes.  Marilyn now has the best note / sketch book to take home.

Merry shared a wool quilt she finished.  I love a good churn dash.

LeeAnn aka NiftyQuilts working on the floor.

Nifty had the floor with her wool strippy.  Is is recycled? or upcycled now?  I just know its a great quilt and someone will be lucky to get this.

Norma also pulled out the hourglass medallion theme.  Love the curves added in the first round.  There's more to come on this piece, but again, time got the best of us.  Norma and I have also been in several of Gwen's workshops in the last few years.

As Gwen continued to show techniques, the work became more complex.  I see Maui when I look at the piece on the right.  Such great colors.

I call this one Vision Accomplished.  I had an idea in mind; sea glass  I came with a stack of fabrics that worked with my newly painted condo and I managed to see it through to fruition.  Strings on the right were from the strip ends.  They have made their way into another piece already.  When the iron's hot, right?

Gwen and I, our last hurrah............

And like the fields of Snow Geese that I saw while leaving LaConner,  Gwen drove away.  It was a bittersweet workshop, knowing that she has truly retired. 
I asked her if she considered taking up quilting in her retirement, she replied, "I've thought about it"

Gwen, thank you for empowering so many of us to find our voice, to be confident in our decisions, and to defend our work.  You are a true gem in this industry and in this world.

Thank you

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gwen Marston's Last Hurrah

I'm sure you have heard the news.........Gwen Marston has retired.  For sure................. it's official.  We had the cake to seal the deal.

Gwen taught one last class in LaConner, WA over the weekend and it did not disappoint.  After showing several pieces of her work, the attendee's got busy and dove right into their projects

After lunch we walked up the the PNW Textile & Fiber Museum.  It was the last days of Gwen's exhibit and we had a tour through the quilts with Gwen.

Gwen told us she was allowed to touch the quilts :-)

Home dyed fabrics made up this piece.

Pointing out secondary shapes made with the border triangles bumping against the inner round of triangles.

The workshop was titled, Abstracts in Solids, but true to a Gwen workshop, everyone was in their own zone and worked in their own style.  Some were working small, several medallion pieces were started, a few strippy quilts got rolling and there were also  squares, triangles and diamonds in the mix.  It was fantastic to be in a room with SO many creative spirits.

As seen on the tables as I walked around the room...........

Organized chaos......
Organized .........
Matt started sewing liberated diamonds, wait till you see what he accompished. It is fantastic.

"Just start".  Best advise ever.  On a road trip from Washington to Florida, I don't think I would know where I was spending the third night.  I would just start and figure it out along the way.  Quilting in a liberated, free style method is much the same. 

We all started, some finished, some finished more than one piece.  We all worked in our own way, different colors, shapes, textures.  And in the end, we will all have a little piece of Gwen stitched into our projects from this weekend.

Stay tuned for more.  I'll be taking over APQ instagram account this weekend.  More pictures will be posted there and I'll have one more blog with more pictures.

Keep stitching,