Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nifty's Bow Ties

Last month I quilted two quilts for Nifty Quilts. She loves to make big quilts, and she must have an amazing stash of fabrics.  Here are some pictures of her Bow Tie quilt.


 The setting fabric is a shot cotton and I used a gold So Fine thread.  Shot cottons are a woven fabric made with two colors of threads, one color on the warp and one on the weft.  The gold thread was the exact match of one of the two threads that make up this fabric.

Wikipedia description (Warp and weft in plain weaving. In weaving, the woof (sometimes weft) is the term for the thread or yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. Warp is the lengthwise or longitudinal thread in a roll, while weft is the transverse thread. A single thread of the weft, crossing the warp, is called a pick.)   I love shot cottons that have two totally different colors, such as purple and orange.  This Shot cotton was gold and grayish brown.


 I stitched a swirling C with curves going into each corner of the block.  Hobbs wool batting really gives a nice finish to the quilting.


Look at the mix of prints and colors, it was such a joy to work on this top.  Although the quilting motif was repetitious, the colors just dance across this quilt top.



 Who doesn't love a polka dot bow tie? And you can see the subtle shimmer of gold in the setting fabric.  Shot cottons really allow the quilting threads to shine.


One last shot, just because................

 It's such a privilege to quilt someone's quilt top, I get to see, up close, the choices others make in the execution of pattern and design. It can push me out of my comfort zone sometimes, and for that, I'm thankful. 

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Court House Steps Quiltalong

Are you in?  I couldn't resist joining along with All People Quilt for this 2017 quilt along.  It helps that my quilt is one of the feature patterns.  When I was making that quilt, I never thought of it as a CH Steps block, but that's exactly how it was put together. 

My current piece is more traditional, yet liberated.  I'm making String Steps.  Piecing this block is like eating potato chips.  I just can't stop!


These are 12 1/2" blocks with some 6 1/2" blocks thrown into the mix for a diversion.  It's hard to believe that these fabulous (yes, I'm patting myself on the back as I type this) blocks can be created from this mess.



I wasn't kidding, I just keep making them. I'm working on a commission quilt and in between a stack of 10 blocks for her, I manage to stitch two sides to a stack of CH Steps blocks that sit on my sewing table. Then I take them all to the pressing station, press, move to the cutting table, trim  and repeat the process.


Here is a side view.  I do like the dark strips horizontal.  The small blocks set in between the big ones gives the illusion of hearts in the light section.


Here was the view from my sewing table all week.  Snow days for the kids, so that equated to sew days for me. Roads messy so I just stayed in and worked all week..




I love the snow, even when it's on the roads. I drive slower, stay in when it's bad, but I don't fret over it. It really is winter, and winter is when it snows. I know, it's a pain for many, but I happen to love it!

Especially from the comfort of my sewing room.

So, have I convinced you to join in the APQ quilt along for 2017? They have Facebook Thursday, 11:00 a.m Central time, where they are sharing tips and tricks for making the blocks, there are downloadable line drawing so you can try out different color ways and settings. If you do join in, remember, #apqquiltalong is their tag for FB and IG.

Come on, I know you want to.........

Keep stitching,
Sharon


Friday, February 10, 2017

Exhibit continued.......

Here are a few more pictures of pieces from my current exhibition at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Museum.  And on a side note, they are holding their annual FUNdraiser Feb 25, which was formerly knows as Stashfest. 

This piece was from a workshop I taught on cutting and sewing wedges.  We did this the simple way, stacking fabrics and then moving pieces to the bottom of each pile to get a 'random' wedge block.  When I started putting this together, I wanted to eliminate the printed wedges, I just didn't like them in this piece.  After leaving it up on the design wall, I found that by adding in more of this print, I liked it more, and I really liked the star effect.  This was hand quilted with Perl cotton and has such a lovely hand to it.  I faced this piece, as I did on several others in the show. 


A few years ago I took a three day workshop with Gwen Marston and the second day was Small Studies.  I didn't read up on this very much, in fact, I did no homework at all.  I ended up working on a different piece in this class.  The third day was an open sew day, and I was blown away by the other students who continued working on their small study pieces.
#1.  I was working from a box of left overs from a Lone Star that I had gifted out.  Too much print? Maybe.  Let's keep trying.



Last year I jumped at the opportunity to take a Gwen led Small Studies three day workshop in Port Gamble, WA I felt the three days would give me enough time to muddle through some ideas and then really get to work.    Making the inserts and the super skinny piecing was a good exercise.  I really enjoyed this process.  The binding on this piece is edge to edge, no mitered corners. 
This was piece #2.  Less prints and some added color.



This was the third piece that was created in this workshop.  My intent was to build around this and make this the focal point of a medallion piece.  After hearing many comments on how it looked just like Puget Sound, the water, mountains, sky, I decided to keep it 'as is'.  This piece is very small 7"x7". No, it doesn't wing out in the corners, I'm just not the best photographer.   These pieces have also been hand quilted and I used a single binding.


My first "Gwen" inspired piece.  Liberated Log Cabins.  This started my whole journey into this world of liberated, free spirited, add as you go concept of piecing.  It really took a lot for me to not worry about a star point cut off, a strip cut on an angle, or a piece of fabric being pieced together to make it long enough or big enough.  Hand quilted.


When you try something new, you just never know what it will lead to. Lucky for me, this has led me down a path that is filled with color and joy and a whole new outlook on piecing and quilting. It has also satisfied my need for hand quilting and Gwen has given me permission to do SO much with my quilting. I will forever be grateful to this generous, funny, and amazing woman.

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Sunday, February 5, 2017

La Conner Quilt Museum Exhibit

2017 has started off with a bang for me and my quilting.  I have been so thrilled to have a collection of my work hanging at the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, now known as The Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum

This is one quilt I would grab if my house was on fire.  It was started on Lopez Island in a 4 day Gwen Marston workshop, but it took quite some time to complete.  I'll be doing another post with the details, but for now, this is a Show and Tell.  I've had this piece under wraps for over a year, and to have it be shown at La Conner for the first time, well, that made it worth it for me. Hand quilted.


String Theory has certainly gotten some legs.  It's the cover quilt for April APQ and it's also the quilt being used for their 2017 Quilt Along.  Have you seen their posts yet?  If not, they are doing video posts every week.  Court House Steps is the block and they have sketch sheets you can download and try out color options with your pencil crayons. Hand quilted


This one was finished at the Gwen workshop on Lopez Island back in 2013.  It was made from string patches for the star center, points, and the outside triangles.


The diamond round was created using left over 1/2 square triangles from a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt called Carolina Christmas.  I got that top all together January 2017.  I hand quilted this with straight lines in the string sections and in the red I quilted feathered motifs that I drew to fit each space.  Double half wreaths were done in the corner triangles and the section between the star points have a curling feather filling the section.


Again another piece that came out of a Gwen workshop.  This one took several years to complete.  I hand quilted a different motif in each solid column and stitched a 1/4" in from the seam allowances in the triangle shapes.


Tonya Ricucci was the reason this piece was created.  She threw out a challenge and I call this my recovery quilt.  I never liked the word 'survivor' when talking about people with breast cancer and for me, the word 'thrive' seemed so much more appropriate.  Hand quilted with feathers in the black columns.

 
Who says Civil War prints are drab?  Using a variety of  black solids, and being selective on which string went next, I achieved a bright Lightning zigzag piece.  This one finished at approx.. 42 x 48 but I think this would have made a fabulous bed sized quilt.   Machine quilted.


Main entrance of museum.

Wall view


Another view. 



I hope some of you have had the opportunity to visit and support this NW Textile Museum. Gwen Marston's exhibit runs until the end of March, and my body of work comes down Feb 27. The museum is closed Mon and Tues, so check their website for hours if you are planning a visit.

To be cont......
Keep stitching
Sharon

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I'm a Co-Cover Girl.......Pinch Me

Wow, how exciting to see my quilt on the upcoming cover of American Patchwork and Quilting.  My quilt is the red and cheddar string piece and I'm sharing the cover with the fabulous  Susan, aka yardgrl60 over on Instagram.  You might have seen some of her posts as she took over the @allpeoplequilt account last week.


Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation.
All rights reserved.

The magazine goes on sale Feb 7th, so check your mailboxes or your LQS and grab a copy.  I think you'll really enjoy this issue.  APQ is also launching another Block Party for 2017.  Join in the Quilt Along.  I'd love to see some of your projects as you work through them this year.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation.
All rights reserved.
 
APQ was SO generous and they released this piece back to me early so it could hang at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Museum, previously called La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum


This is a current exhibition showcasing Improv Piecing, and it included many string pieces.



I'll follow up with a post showing more work that is in this current exhibition.

Keep Stitching,
Sharon









Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sew Days are Great Days


My applique group books a workroom for two days every three months.  My gf M and I come prepared with boxes of blocks.  The design walls are fantastic and we take full advantage.  Here are a few 'show and tells' from our sewing days.

Almost all of this are from Kim Diehl's first two collections that were used for her BOM patterns. MF decided to "cut it up and use it up". Great job.  She did get this top together that day!

Work stations quickly filled up with supplies and projects in the making.


Not all of us brought out the machines.  Several ladies worked on hand projects both days.


JB was working of Foxes, but I did not snap a picture. I will share it another time.
M stopped by on Friday and got a few blocks up on the design wall.  A fun baby quilt in the making.


KA started this Pies and Tarts quilt quite some time ago.  She has stayed on it and brought her blocks to use the design wall.

Here is the start of her layout.  I love the brown background and she has made her 'pies and tarts' from Asian fabrics.  Some are fussy cut, some random, and some are from a full circle of fabric.  A great way to let the design work for you!


CD has started on this project.  She took the plunge and trimmed the center section with all the beautiful embroidery and added the pieced border.  I thought this striped border was from one strip of fabric, but her work is so precise, it was hard to tell where the white strips were added. 

Here is her pile of blocks for the next round.  This is going to be a beauty when it's all finished.


GB was working on some EPP with some fun fussy cut centers on some of these blocks.

CO also brought her EPP.  She, and others have gotten hooked on Hexi's and they have been making some amazing blocks.  Again, our fabric designers have certainly helped us out with so many fabulous prints to choose from.  C also made progress on a Log Cabin project over the two days.



Here is a very sweet piece that MN put up on the wall.  Sorry, I don't know the source of this pattern but it sure is cute.  I remember those candies!


As for me, I have been packing this project to our sew days F O R E V E R!!! And this time I finally got it finished. This is Bonnie Hunters Mystery quilt, Carolina Christmas from years ago. I did not start it before I saw the reveal. I don't do mystery quilts well. I loved it and I also saw it as an opportunity to learn the Easy Angle ruler. Making this quilt was a big undertaking, if you've made Bonnie's patterns you will know why. So much piecing. Which means so much cutting. Which translates into so many seams and so much pressing and organizing. Unfortunately for me, and for the quilt, I cut the strips for the border piecing a 1/2" narrower. When I started on the pieced border it became apparent something wasn't quite right. Since this has been in the works for so long, the fabrics in the quilt are nowhere to be found. I did have some left over trimmings from a quilt back in this mottled green, and it was used in the center of the quilt. After opinions were tossed about, the red stop border was added. There is enough of the green to make the binding. Now to get it quilted! I do love it, I'm so glad I persevered on this pattern, and it finished at approx. 90 x 90. Perfect for the bed at Christmas 2017!


I showed this piece and wrote some details to hopefully motivate a reader or two. If you loved something enough to pull the fabric, cut your blocks and start piecing it, pull it out and re visit the project. Even if you only refresh yourself on the pattern and directions, make some notes to keep in the box so the next time it will be easy to start into it. I've refreshed myself on something too many times, and found that just that was enough to stop me from moving forward. Make the notes, put it back on the shelf, and next time you can just start in on it. Finished is SO much better than a box of cut pieces.

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Starts? or Finishes?

January is a strange time for quilters.  It seems some of us are caught between two forces.  Do we finish up some things we started in the past year(s)?  or put some current ideas into action and start something new?  Looking around FB and IG, it seems we are split.  Many finished have happened and it's only mid January.  Me? I pulled out a stack of books to plan a year long project, just for me.  But I know I have too much on my plate and I'm hesitating on even pulling the fabric. 
I've focused on this instead.  Sorry, apparently I can't rotate photos today!


Pattern is a Minnick and Simpson from a few years back.  I finally got the hand quilting, binding and a sleeve stitched on, so I'm ready for next Christmas!


Judi Madson, aka Green Fairy Quilter, has an iquilt workshop that I purchased a while back.  I had the samples made, but didn't get to the quilting until just before Christmas and now they both have binding and sleeves.  Here is her modern pattern for quilting.  This is pretty dense, certainly for show, but not for most of the tops that I quilt for my customers. 



And here is her idea of more traditional designs.  All the motifs are ones that I have in my toolbox, but it was fun to put them together 'her' way.  A new twist on good designs.


What's to not love, feathers and continuous curves with swirls. 


And just for fun, I stitched up a little table topper with some scraps of Xmas fabric that have kicked around for years  Now they are used up and I have a new to me piece for Xmas 2017




So......If you have a closet full of these.........


Let me help you turn them into these. 



Nothing is better then finished.  Start as many new projects that you want, but get those tops quilted up and use them.  If you don't love them for yourself, get an edge to edge, or for even less dollars, get a meander quilted on them and gift/donate them out.

We invest our hard earned dollars into the fabric, we put a lot of emotion into the 'start' of every project.  Don't let all that go to waste.  Every quilt doesn't need, or even warrant custom, higher priced quilting.  And speaking of prices, my E2E all over prices have not been raised in years. 

Now is the time to assess those tops. Contact me through the comments section if you need some help adding to your finished list in 2017.  I'd love to quilt for you.

Keep stitching,
 Sharon