Monday, September 29, 2014

Stretching my Boundaries

One of the best things that quilting offers is the "first". So many projects require a new skill that we have many firsts in our lives. After quilting for 14+ years, I had a first this summer. I belong to The Applique Society, aka TAS and our fearless leader Jan volunteered the Bellingham, WA chapters for the annual quilt giveaway.  Every year the organization has a chapter volunteer  to make a quilt top and it is given away to one member every year.  It started with a line drawing.

I've never worked from a plain line drawing with no pictures to refer to for color.  I've also not worked with applique blocks that are being done by 8 other people and have to all be cohesive in one top.  When I offered to help, I thought I could be the long arm quilter, but oh, no.  They look after all that at corporate level.  Great.  We had a group meeting and some people brought some fabrics to swap out, I got a green and a pink.  We all are using some of the green for some of the leaves.  I looked at this blank piece of navy fabric for about 6 weeks and was paralyzed. 

Then I saw a finished block and I really knew I was in trouble.  Way over my head!  Yikes, how could I even think that my block could be in the same quilt as Patty M.'s. That prompted me to fill a bag with fabric choices and bring them to our August meeting.  Throw out stacks of fabric and ask for opinions at a table full of quilters and just watch the inspiration and creativity start flowing. 

I'm left with a little bit of embroidery and French knots for the flowers on both sides of the basket.  I also shared some the purple metallic fabric that I used for the big Iris with another member.  Now my fear was what will it look like with some of the other blocks.  My guy told me the yellow stuck out, but I was sure someone else would be using yellow and explained the plan. 

Then I saw C.O.'s block at our Sept meeting and yes!, there was some yellow in her block.  She still has to add another flower that is going to be shades of pinks.
Here they are side by side.  I think mine will hold it's own in the completed top.  I'm thrilled that I signed up for this challenge and once I got going on it, things seemed to flow.  It was the start that I had issues with.
Here is a piece that C.O. was working on at our Sept meeting.  The prep work is for a Sue Spargo class being offered at Quilt Fest in La Conner, WA Oct. 3 - 5th. There are more flowers and a few birds to land on this luscious piece.  Don't you just love that lime green wool background.  I don't know if you can enlarge the picture, but C used a lovely batik for the stems.  At class she will start all the embellishing and learn some new tips and tricks.  I can't wait to see what she shows at our Oct meeting.

What have you done that has stretched your quilting boundaries in 2014?  Please share, you might inspire me to try something new in 2015.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Keeping Busy

Crazy little 4 patches. I'm making these in batches of 6, 3 for me and 3 to swap out with a fellow quilter. She has a project specific to 3 matching 4 patches, but me, I'm just going to have them in my bag of tricks. Maybe they will be a round in my medallion quilt that I'm working on?

I taught a workshop where one student was using red, white, and blue for liberated stars and I fell in love with them. I had to start a few of my own. I'm trying out variations of sizes, I like how the bigger one has elongated star points compared to the center square. Now to make a few more. This will be a great quilt for next summer's 4th of July.

As a quilter, we have the ability to give back in ways that many others cannot. A local business is doing a fund raiser for a family that has lost the father. A little baby is involved and there is going to be a silent auction. I decided to donate a piece to this but I'm always concerned at the amount of money craft items generate. They seem to have such low value to non quilter and I just couldn't bear to see this go for under $200. I spoke with the organizers and we decided to raffle this so 100 tickets @ $5.00 each will generate $500 for this family that is in need of a hand up.
I had two tops in the same pattern as I made a shop sample and then taught the class. I'm keeping the one in CW prints, and donating this.
I added a sleeve so the piece can hang this way, which I think looks better. We have sold 1/2 of the tickets this week, and will sell the rest the evening of the event. I don't have $500 to donate so it sure makes sense to help out in this manner.

I'm continuing to stay on top of my customer quilts. I've managed to sneak one of my own on right now. It's a log cabin from a few years ago, so far, I'm loving it. Will share once it's off the machine.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Squishy In the Mail

I got a squishy envelope in the mail last week. Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts did a little giveaway and I was one of the lucky recipients of her generosity. The deal was to make two mini's using the two sets of 1/2 square triangles that were sewn from the 3" blocks she mailed. My method was to split up the squares into light and dark, and then pair them together. I tried to put the darkest light with the darkest dark for contrast and other than that, I just like to put blue with green, red print shirthings with brown and keep it mixed up.

All the triangles got sewn up and I took one pile, pressed, trimmed and started to design with them.

Here was one option I worked with. It all seemed too jumbled for me, so I kept at it with different borders and layouts.

The finished first piece.  This one is for me, as I wanted red on the border. I know, not very original on the setting, but I liked the simplicity of the design and the fabrics are so interesting that that is what draws you in to take a closer look.

Decided that I wanted the binding to match the border and after cutting up the left overs from the border, all I have left is a partial strip less than 2" and a small square.  These are perfect pieces to go into my CW scrap bag.  I'm working out of it for my Medallion piece.

Next up is the second set of 1/2 square triangles.  I wanted to finish one and put it away before I started on the second layout.  I didn't want to be influenced by my first piece as the colors are identical.  Since it is going to my gal pal who doesn't quilt, and lives on a farm, I knew the red would not be a border choice.  Out came the browns. 
"side note"
My gf and I  have a standing joke about what is "Up North". We both live right on the US/Canada border, I'm in WA and she is in BC.  She was at a party at my place one night and asked if someone was coming.  One of my US friends replied, "No, they have gone up north".  My gf is thinking north, as in Dawson Creek, Prince George, Whitehorse; all places that someone from BC would think of when they here the term "up north". She asked where they were and was told Burnaby, that's 20 minutes away from here, so certainly not what we would call north.  We had a very big laugh over that, and we continue to enjoy the joke.  It's funny, most of my US friends all refer to British Columbia as "up north" yet none of my BC friends call WA "down south". It we heard that term here, we would think Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, etc. 

OK, back to the quilt.  Since she is getting this, I thought I'd call it "Up North". Pretty good, huh? It's great when you can piece and quilt a joke into something that a friend will see and smile whenever she thinks about it!

Here are the fraternal twins, side by side.  Yes, the red one is definitely my style and I'm confident that Up North will be loved by my gal pal who doesn't own a needle and thread!

These are fast, fun, and will be perfect 'take alongs' for hand quilting them.  I'm seeing baptist fans on the red border, I'm not sure yet what the brown one will have.  Both will be bound with their same border fabrics.  I might look for some fun backings, something completely contradictory to the front, just for fun!

Thanks Kathie, I love both of these and it was a great side project for me this weekend.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Fair

The NW Washington Fair has come and gone, but I just realized I did not post any photos. I shall let the pictures do the talking. It seemed that there were fewer quilts this year, yet I was told the numbers were about the same. Maybe there were less large pieces? Certainly a lot of artsy pieces, which I always enjoy seeing.

Congratulations to all the ribbons winners, and to all how took the time to enter their work into the fair. The Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver BC was a huge part of my summers when I was a teenager. I showed my beef animals through 4-H every year and we spent a week living in dorms across the street from the venue and showed and sold our animals. It's important for me to continue to support local fairs, they are a fabulous place for a lot of life lessons.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Really? Seriously?

Has is been since Aug that I posted anything I've been working one? Well, yes it has and thanks to one of my fabulous blog readers, I have been reminded of this. Thanks M, you gave me the nudge that I dearly needed.

I have a few excuses, but I'm sure none of you are interested in them. I know a few of you are anxiously waiting to see what the next round in my cheddar medallion quilt is going to be. Well, so am I. Just kidding. I auditioned several ideas, and the one that I really wanted to use stayed up on my design wall for a few weeks, but I just couldn't buy into it, and ended up going with my very first fabric that I sampled.  It's interesting how I'm so sure something will work, and then I just don't like it, no matter how long I kept it on my wall.  This is one of them that just didn't work.

Here is what I ended up using.  This is the inspiration fabric that I am basing this quilt on.  I love that it has reds, cheddar, blues, greens and it one of my favorite pieces that I own.  I just wish I hadn't been so cheap and bought more than 2 yards when I saw it. 

What can I say, we have all been there.  Agonizing over a decision for weeks and end up going with the first thing that we tried.  I'm ok with that, it validates that it was a good decision and I will not second guess it once the next round is attached.
Now I have my center on point, and once I do the math for my next round, I can trim down the setting triangles.  I intentionally over cut them to give me that wiggle room.

Speaking of the next round, I've already got that decision made, just not all the blocks that I need.  It's the process that intrigues me on a medallion, making decisions as I go along, not having a true vision of what the final outcome will be.  I shall continue with this journey until it tells me it's finished. I don't have enough of these little blocks made, yet again, like the center, they are being made with the trimmings of flying geese that I'm still working through. 


A few bindings have seen sewn down, which means I've had a few finishes in my sewing room.  I just can't share them all with you just yet, but as soon as they are available to post, I shall reveal them to you.

I welcome fall with open arms, it's my favorite time of year.  I have to admit, I've had one of the best summers that I can remember.  Most of that is due to my guy living on the ocean.  For the first time in years my legs are tanned, I've tasted the salt water, (sometimes more than I wanted to!) walked for miles on the ocean bed, sailed on a HobieCat every chance we had, and spent more nights with a fire on the beach than I can count.  Because of this, I count my blessings every day.  We both do, there isn't a day that goes by when we thank our lucky stars and verbalize how blessed and lucky we are to live in such an amazing place as the Pacific North West.  Yeah, yeah, we know it rains here, but that's just to clean the dust off everything once in a while.

I'm  SO grateful,