Sunday, May 29, 2011

1800's Applique

Two weeks ago I took a one day applique class with Gwen Marston. It was based on her book, Classic Four Block Applique Quilts, a Back to Basics Approach. The main concept of this class was to educate us that back in the 1800's, quilters did not have freezer paper, mylar heat resistant perfect circles, clear vinyl overlays or acrylic templates, and yet they created some amazing quilts.
When I started quilting, I learned to hand applique using freezer paper ironed to the wrong side, I basted the seam allowance over and using a placement pattern, I appliqued the pieces. I love the ease of this method and how nice the shapes are when working this way. We become creatures of habit.  I knew there were many other methods so I forced myself to attempt needle turn applique back in 2005. It was a slow process, my work did get better towards the end of the project.
I also had fusible in my box of tricks. Now that was slick, art in an instant!
Time goes by, quilters find their passion and mine is applique. I enjoy all types, I've taken a variety of classes to learn new techniques and every time I work with a new teacher, my skill set improves. One class taught me that glue and applique don't work together with me. I had more glue on me, the table, the top of the fabric! When you love something, it's worth traveling the road and taking some detours, you never know what you will see. In the summer of 2008, I took a Jo Morton workshop and although applique was not the focus of the class, Jo shared Back Basting applique. It is a slick method, one that was necessary for a project I'm working on right now.

OK back to Gwen's class. We played with scissors and paper, we looked at many of her samples for technique and inspiration, and she shared her knowledge of antique appliqued quilts with us.
A lot of what Gwen talked about, I had already read or heard about. So why was the class so fabulous? Because Gwen got me to BELIEVE.
She put so much into context for me, I felt my confidence level increase by leaps and bounds in one day. Once again, I forced myself to make this project Gwen's way; to put all the tips and tricks she shared into my one little piece. Yes, it is only one small piece. So what did I have to loose, maybe a FQ of appliqued fabric and the background piece? So what, I have lots more fabric.
Here are some class projects.  Love the blue and the diamond shaped leaves.
Here is LeeAnn, isn't hers FABULOUS. Plaids, brights, and a dark background.
Merrie added a little bird. She has her's all appliqued down, she added a funky border and she is ready to quilt it. I've never seen more beautiful applique, her stitches are tiny and invisible. She used the Cherrywood hand dyes and her project has the look of suede. I saw it today, but sorry, I didn't have my camera.
Gwen giving a demo on bias stems applied by machine.
Sharon K's start.
This one is mine. 

A few things have changed on mine since the class, the leaves have different placements, the yellow tulips have some red reverse applique, a first for me, and I've added a couple of berries.  I've got it all appliqued and am now working on the hand quilting.  The background I used was Kona Natural, I've used Hobbs 80/20 batting, a muslin backing and YLI color 01 Natural. I am quilting diamonds in the background, outlining the applique pieces and may do a bit of stitching through some pieces.
I hope you got to stitch this long weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Girly Girl Photos

Update from last post. Photos for a "girly girl" quilt.
Miss Molly is feeling much better, thank goodness for 24 hr emergency vets!
Grrrr. Only could get two photos to upload. I guess we get what we pay for *vbg*

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Girly Girl Quilting

I have a customer in Idaho who loves applique. I love everything she has ever sent me.  Here is her newest piece, there must be a new baby coming soon.  M asked that I make this one "girly", I think I accomplished that.

Blogger is not behaving with picture uploads and I don't have the patience tonight.  I am working on 4 hours sleep.  I had Miss Molly in at the emergency hospital last night; she got a $200+ pedicure.  Seriously, her paw was swollen and she was howling like I've never heard from her before.  Her temp was 105 last night, so a shot of antibiotics that lasts 8 - 10 days, an anti inflammatory shot, a pain killer shot, and a soak of her paw in warm soapy water found a very swollen and sore pad, possibly an absess.  So it was a little more than a hang nail.  Poor little kitty.  So at 2 am I was driving home in the pouring rain, exhausted, but glad I took her in and didn't wait until today. 

I will post photos and a big shout out to JulieK later this weekend!  You ROCK, girl!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Border Decisions

After having the center on my design wall for a week, I've made some decisions.

I put a narrow (1/2") black inner border and a full red border.  Right now the border is about 3" but it may be trimmed down a bit.  I tried several ideas, however this piece is so busy that I thought I needed to 'calm it down' with a solid, basic border.  I tried a few "liberated" ideas, but it just seemed too much, just a bit over the top.
This now moves into the hand quilting pile.  There are several larger pieces ahead but one never knows when something calls out to us to work on!
I'm very pleased with my first effort.  Even though the class was Liberated Log Cabins, I don't think these are log cabins.  I'll have to try this again, I still have some solids left over.

And yes, I did manage to add a few new colors to my stash of solids. I think there will be a few more solid quilts in my future. It was interesting to work with only solids, I had a lot more options than I imagined. Give them a try, you might like it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Liberated Finish

I hope you all out in blog land aren't too tired of seeing this project.  I took the last stitches on it this weekend and aside from a sleeve and label, this is finished. Here is my Liberated Amish piece that was a blogger challenge set up by Tonya over at Lazy Gal Quilting. We looked at Amish quilts and Stars and Bars was my inspiration.  As for the letters, this was my first attempt.  This was a bit of a therapy quilt for me, new beginnings, trying new things.  I really didn't, and still don't, like the word Survivor that is tagged to anyone that has dealt with cancer.  I like the word THRIVE.  Doesn't it sound much more positive?
 The top was finished in June of 2010, thank goodness that quilting didn't have that deadline!
 The liberated stars are a la Gwen Marston.  Since there was Amish in this challenge, I knew I had to quilt feathers.  This was my first attempt at hand quilting feathers, they really are easy.  I did straight lines through the stars.
and I used the star piecing for my border lines.  With the piecing for the letters, there were some thick areas to quilt through, so the straight lines worked very well.  I love how this piece turned out.

Hope you get some stitching time this weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Norma's Quilt

My friend Norma is a fabulous piecer. She allows me to quilt her beautiful work. It has been mentioned that I don't share much of my longarm quilting on my blog so I thought I'd show this one off. My arm is telling me I need to make some decisions about doing custom quilting, but as long as one isn't in a hurry and I can take my time, I can continue to work on projects like this.

OK, blogger is misbehaving with photo uploads, I will leave this post with the few photos that managed to sneak past blogger! I do love feathers, and this quilt has them in the setting triangles, all around the red inner border and inside each heart. I did a background fill of free form hearts. This was fun to quilt.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two Days with Gwen

It was an amazing weekend with Gwen Marston, my new BFF!  ;-)

My Liberated Amish is almost finished. I wanted to show Gwen how Tonya has been inspiring and motivating us. Tonya, were your ears burning? Not to worry, just us over on the west coast singing your praises for your Word Play book. It was a kick to be able to show this piece to Gwen.

I started off the day with a few supplies, a quilting workshop is just like camping. One day or one week, you still have to pack a lot of stuff.
Day one was Liberated Log Cabins and the ideas and designs that emerged were amazing. It was  terrific to not only be inspired by Gwens samples and books, but to see how we all had the same information and yet the individual creativity that emerged from my fellow quilters was fantastic.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Jackie's.  The soft neutrals with the bold accent was striking.  I'm going to have to try this combo some day.
There is always a keener in the group :-) Fabulous finish by the end of the day.  The accents carried into the border really finished this piece.  I love everything about this piece.
I believe these were Merry's blocks.  She brought her finished piece on Saturday, but sorry, no photo.  Trust me, it was amazing.  She had color, slivers of punch, curved seams.  Amazing job!

Indigo Threads, aka Sharon, stayed at my house over the weekend.  Having a roomie made this so much more like a retreat.  We didn't cook or clean, just talked quilts all weekend long.  Here is Sharons Lib Log Cabin.  She even jumped off with the border.  Don't you love the blue/green combo?  And the dark purple just gives her work punch.  Fabulous!
Here was my final layout. I love how it turned out. I've now got the center together and am pondering the border. Do I accent it with black? Do I carry the cream and red into the border? Those ideas are in the mix, but until I get some time to focus back on this piece, it will remain borderless.

There is so much to say about taking a day off work to quilt, but to have a workshop with someone as prolific as Gwen Marston, well, that was the best "mental health" day one could have. She is the most generous and funny woman. Her heart is full of love and passion for quilting and quilters. She made every one of us feel special and talented.

A HUGE shout out to Lee at Two Thimbles for making this happen, without her perseverence and dedication to bringing  world class teachers to our area, this would not have happened. Thank you Lee!

Stay tuned for day two with Gwen.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I'm getting ready for Gwen Marstons class and I'm starting to get nervous.  What if my mind goes  blank? What it I just can't find my mojo to make my project work? What if, what if....
Touring around blogland I saw some great things today, like I do every day.  Today I'd like to share a few links of inspiration.   Check of these posts for COLORHAND QUILTING,  GENEROSITY, PERSEVERANCE, KNOWLEDGE
Maybe something here will help jumpstart your quilting mojo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3 More Sleeps

Yup, that's it, only three more sleeps and I shall awake with vigor, have my morning coffee with my house guest, Sharon, aka Indigo Threads, and we will be tripping over one another to get out the door and drive to our workshop with.............

Have you guessed yet?

Yes, the one and only GWEN MARSTON

The first day is Liberated Log Cabins and the Saturday is 18th Century Folk Art applique.  I will get to meet Leanne aka Nifty Quilts on Saturday.  2 days of Gwen, a chance to get to know some fellow bloggers, Friday the 13th off work.   It all sounds good to me!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weight Loss

I lost 7 lbs......of fabric scraps. I finally got them all rounded up and stuffed into a box and off to the post office. My trash will become someone else's treasure.
Then I got mail in my mailbox. I'd been waiting and waiting and finally it arrived.
I purchased some individual pins while in NYC, but I can't seem to find them now that I'm back on the west coast. Now I don't have to, as I have all of them on my fridge.
Last week I was doing so well with the regular blogging while I was away, I got home and now the dog wants fed, the yard needs mowed, the phone rings, the laundry piles up......what's a quilter to do!