Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Color

It's that time of year when flowers start busting out in full color. My back yard is just starting to get some color other than green! Hydrangea is breaking open, day lilies are loaded with buds and the daisy bushes are a day away from turning from green to white.
My front yard has some color, lilies in a pot at the stairs....
Kind of wild growing roses, bushes just keep pushing new blooms, they last a few days and are finished, but smell fabulous....
My winter flower pot has come back to life, even the Million bells came back to life!
This basket is lovely, it's sitting by my front steps.
My Japanese Maple is getting bigger each year, I love all the different greens along the walk way.  At night the solar lights are really pretty along here.
Pansies, my favorite flower in the gardens........
and it's raspberry season.  I live in the raspberry capital area, so my 6 foot row gives me more berries than I can eat;  the freezing has begun.
My new job is going very well, I'm having some busy and long days and it's all GOOD!  I've been hand quilting and yard work so that makes for a boring blogger.......
Summer has arrived, get outside and soak up the Vitamin D!!!1

Monday, June 24, 2013

Applique Medallion Quilt

Here is a lovely quilt made by my friend Norma (no blog). It's going to stay in her home and she wanted an overall design.
I've seen applique with machine quilting through it, but have never done this for anyone. It really is good, I used a light thread and the quilting is lovely on all the background areas and it just blends in on the darker fabrics.
She did all needle turn applique, she has become quite the appliquer!
I'm not sure if this is a pattern or one that she built using parts and pieces from various places.  I think the pieced blocks were part of a BOM.
Just a lovely quilt to have on her bed, great colors and prints mixed together and the border applique finished it off.  Great job!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Parts and Pieces

Right now my biggest accomplishment it finding a new routine.  I have a new job and my schedule is 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and that is earlier than I've ever worked.  The up side is I am off at 3:30 and home at 3:35.  Yes, my new job has a very long commute, a whopping 1 mile.  :-)

I've got back to the laundry basket that is holding my Medallion quilt parts from my Gwen workshop.  This is just part of the generous stack of 2 1/2" strips that were so graciously sent to me from Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts I never would have had the fun of working with so many different prints and colors if not for her.

 The challenge for me was to come up with blocks using 2 1/2" strips with all these different colors and prints.  Cut the dark strips into 4.5" sections, cut the shirtings into 2.5" squares and you have flying geese.

Sew together your bonus triangle blocks from a previous project and you have 3" pinwheels.  Use a variety of cheddars in 2.5" squares for corners on your 4.5" piece and you will have a round of flying geese.  By sticking to one color, it will give the definition of being a round of cheddar without being boring.

Take the bonus triangles from the above cheddar flying geese, trim them down to 1 3/4" squares and you can set them together in some manner for the center of your medallion.  Here is my focus fabric, it's gorgeous.  I have contemplated using a piece of it for the center, but opted for a pieced center.  Also if you take a light and dark 2.5" square you can make really cute 4 patches.  Then take your 2.5" shirtings, cut on the diagonal and you have a four patch in a square. Thank you Gwen, I love this little block.

Or you can take your mini 4 patches and add trimmed down 1/2 sq triangles.  I have the values mixed up on these blocks, I want them the have the 4 patch run with the dark value like the top block. This will make a very graphic round. Again, Gwen just has the knack of working with these little blocks and sees the opportunity with the parts and pieces sitting on the work table.

You can also take your 2.5" strips and make a ton of scrappy 1/2 sq triangles using your trusty Easy Angler ruler.  Take some of the 1/2 sq tri's, and sew them into mini hourglass blocks. I think these finish out at 2"

Here are the rows of my parts and pieces.  I have a L-O-N-G way to go as these blocks are 2 - 3" each.  I want to get my center sewn together and then I can focus on each round.  I have enough variety of blocks so I can play around with a few rounds at a time and do a little planning as I work through this piece.
I also have over 100 of these guys, they finish out at 2".  With 1/2 sq tri's, you can make pinwheels..........
Or set them like this........

or in many other ways.  The beauty of this is that you only have to work on the round that you are on.  Decisions can be made on the fly, you don't have to commit too early and can have a lot of design fun with a quilt like this.  At this point I have no idea what size or shape this is going to be.  I do know that my focus print is going to guide me along the way.  It's interesting to work  with someone else's fabric choices, and yet, as I'm piecing away, I add a piece here and there from my stash and it just seems to all come together.

It's that time of year where the weeds and the grass seem to grow twice as fast as my flowers and vegetables.  The nice weather beckons us outside, but once I get the center decisions made, I hope to use the 15 minutes of sewing to keep myself engaged in this piece.

Hope your weekend has some sunshine and sewing in it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gwen Marston * Lopez Island * Long Overdue Wrap up

So here it is, almost 2 weeks later and I'm finally getting the wrap up post uploaded. I'll let the photos do the talking. On a personal note, I've started my new job last week. My commute is now 4 minutes, I have a huge window at my desk, and everyone is so calm and helpful and heads down getting the job done. I know it's the honeymoon stage, but I'm really liking it. It is a start up transportation company and I'm the only office employee, so I'm doing it all, it's kind of crazy as so many things need to be put into play, so I have a lot of balls in the air. I'm learning to on to the photos.
We were doing Medallions, and everyone had their own vision and colors and designs. No patterns used, all the creative juices of each individual. I loved every minute of this workshop, I just wish I has stayed the Sunday night so I didn't have to pack up early. Next time.....

Love the liberated fans and tri's......and how cute is that dog!!!!

Yes, this center is pieced, those diamonds are amazing!
Miss Gwen, giving such encouragement and compliments
Loved watching this one evolve, look at all those 1/2 sq tri's.
Cross stitched center, and a great liberated border.  Great job working through this border.
Baskets along the top are just stinkin' C-U-T-E.  The plan is to have them all around the quilt.  A used "made" fabric for the baskets.
Out of africa, oh my, D had some great fabrics to work with.
Striking appliqued center.  Great colors, makes me want a tropical vacation!
So graphic, and look at that border, Sq in a sq, but random sizes. Fabulous!
Can you see the challenge ahead for this quilter, just look at the appliqued border.  This has been a labor of love and I know it will be amazing when it's finished.
C...what can I say.  She was the young'n in the group, not quite 30 yet.  How fabulous to have someone of that age embrace this craft.  Her fabric choices and designs are young and fresh!
Oh la, la.  Watching this piece evolve was so much fun.  She really used her fabrics to get the maximum punch from them.  It's going to be stunning.
L kept cutting and sewing and staying the course, I loved this one, and look how she is radiating the design out in the corners.  She tried several blocks for the next round and was ready to get to it on Sunday. Her center is pretty funky too, great applique.
Oh, how much is that puppy in the center???  SO CUTE.  I know, it's repeated, but it's cute enough to show twice ;-)
Fish tales, every time I looked at this I could hear the theme song from Jaws.  How wonderful is this.  The boat will have a line and hook going down to the fish. 
Second border option, so many decisions!

My batteries died on Sunday so LeeAnn from Nifty Quilts was gracious enough to send me these photos. Please go to her blog here and see her wrap up, she makes you feel like you were part of the journey in her post.

I haven't had much time to piece, but this workshop got my mojo back. I have started to organize all my bits and pieces from this trip and once I get organized, I'll share where my second medallion is going.

Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement while I was unemployed. I had a list of "unemployment enjoyment" things to do, still have the list! Funny how time can run away from you!
Happy stitching

Friday, June 7, 2013

Gwen Marston * Lopez Island * Day 2

My room at Lopez Lodge is right around the corner from a great little coffee shop and bakery. La Boheme, aka La Bo - M, (spelled out for the non Opera folks) is next door to Holly B's bakery. Today the scone was roasted rhubarb and berry, but just call it delicious! What a start to my day.
Once class got organized and settled, Gwen shared with us a stack of her "sketches" She now has over 50 pieces in this body of work.  Most are on tour in New Zealand but she shared a few with us.
She is a marvel in the quilt world, I just don't think anyone else is in the same category as her. We were discussing how Gwen has made a living in the quilt industry and yet she doesn't publish patterns, hasn't created new tools or rulers for us to purchase, and her techniques do not involve purchasing products from her. Just a needle and thread, an iron and sewing machine, some paper and a pencil. Has anyone else done this? 
A is my table mate, and you can read all about her here.  It's day 2 and I figured out I've purchased her pattern and created her design.  It's the red/white log cabin you will see in the link.  This is where A started out this morning.

Today's accomplishments.  Love the Flea Market Fancy fabrics A is using.  She got a lot done considering we all stopped for the most delicious catered lunch and her and I zipped into town for an afternoon coffee run. I love that each round is using a different shape.  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Here is Nifty Quilts.  This was the start of the day and she was one of the last to leave the school house tonight.  I'm going to see the finished piece first thing in the a.m.  It is so great to be sitting close to L and pondering her fabric choices right along beside her.  I am going to look at my fabrics in a new light when I get home.  I'm sure I can find a place for some prints that have languished in my fabric bins for years.

B flew across the country from Wisconsin to sew with us.  She spent a lot of time yesterday cutting and decision making, and today she got busy with the sewing.  I LOVE how this is turning out, she is across the room from me and this piece just rocks!  Her use of value is great, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Here is my piece and this one is complete.  I feel like there was some cheating going on as I had all the strings put together and the double row of 1/2 sq triangles were all bonus blocks from another project that is in a box at home.  I really only cut the border strips and made the corner stars.  I did have to piece all the 1/2 squares together into strips.  I love how I played the cheddar outer border into the corner of the star blocks, this was a very planned decision.  Binding will be cheddar.  Finished size is 41 x 41, the perfect size for my wall at home.
These are Gwen's samples and they will be my inspiration for my next project. Tomorrow will be spent cutting and pondering........
Love the pink in this one,
Tomorrow is show and tell in the morning, I can't wait to see what people bring.
I just can't express what it feels like to have her in the room when I'm creating.
If you ever have the chance to spend a day or two with Gwen, do it. It will change your quilting life!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gwen Marston * Lopez Island* Day 1

The trip to Lopez Island started at the ferry terminal in Anacortes, what a gorgeous view!
Here is a map of the San Juan Islands and the ferry routes.
I saw this posted outside the coffee shop around the corner from my room.

Day #1.  T. had a jump start on her center as she had started this at a previous Gwen workshop. Don't you LOVE the diamond border?  The photo doesn't do it justice.  She is sitting right behind me so I'm trying to channel some of her creativity!

N. has been working on this one for awhile.  Today the baskets got finished and tomorrow they will get sewn together and added to the center.  What a gorgeous combination going on here......

N has her daughter C. here, she is the youngest of the group.  How dynamic is this? I'm blown away with her choices and I teased her about hand quilting.  Her reply was "absolutely".  How refreshing to see the next generation engage this craft and go with it.  She is learning from one of the best this week!

C. was tucked in the corner, quietly stitching away.  WOW! Wait until you see her other parts and pieces that is going into this quilt, it's going to be amazing.  Look at those diamonds, her piecing is so precise.

I had a jump start on my center, the strings were all done and the 1/2 sq's were in a "parts" box.  Now if only I could sew them with the right orientation?? I have my seam ripper and several strips of piecing that need to be unpieced tonight.
Here is my messy work station, I've spread myself from end to end at my table.  What a joy to be surrounded by so many talented and creative quilters!

Somehow I missed a photo of Nifty Quilts work in progress.  I will make sure that I share her piece with you tomorrow.  If you haven't guessed, the workshop is Liberated Medallions.  Some people came with centers already done, others spend hours cutting and pondering and piecing.  I'm sure the creativity will be in abundance tomorrow.  I will leave you with my view.