Sunday, March 30, 2014

Intermediate Quilting Class 2014 (Session One)

A friend and I again taught an Intermediate Quilting class.  We taught it a few years ago for the first time.  Last year we taught Beginning Quilting, and this year we are teaching the intermediate class.  I should state for the record that these classes have been taught for quite a few years, through our quilting guild, PPQG, by some very, very capable teachers.  I've taken both of these classes.  I can only hope that my friend and I can fill their tennis shoes.

We have an excellent group of students this year, 7 in total, which is a really nice number for the class.  Not too big and not too small.

The first week we taught "Y-seams."  Specifically, the Attic Windows block and Tumbling Blocks.


This is the basic attic window pattern.  


When sewn together a nice window pattern emerges.

Tumbling blocks, as you know, are made up of just three diamond shapes, light, medium, and dark.  With the shading, they make a three-dimensional effect, as does attic windows.


I have a little (!) experience with tumbling blocks.  You can see some posts here and here.



 Our students are really great, and catch on quickly.  In fact, we had some extra time after they mastered these Y-seams, so we also taught them a free-form method of making blocks out of just strips of neutral fabric and scraps.  I learned this method from a blog I follow, called Oh Fransson.  I  made a quilt using this method back in this blog post.


One of my "free-form" blocks.

A happy student with her "free-form" block.

I always have fun re-making the blocks for the beginning and intermediate classes before we teach them.  This way they are fresh in my mind, and I'm aware of any steps or procedures that might be confusing to the students.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Acceptance Letter


I was so excited to received an acceptance letter a few weeks ago from 
QuiltFest Destination Savannah.  My quilt, Nature Redesigns Highway One, was sent off today to appear in their show March 27-30.


I saw that their theme was "Destination," so I thought a quilt with a highway in it 
might be good for that.  And sent in my photos.


I'm excited because this is the first judged show in which I've had a quilt.  It will be really interesting to see what comments the judges have about my quilt.  Or maybe not.  All of a sudden I'm feeling a little insecure about my sewing abilities.  {Tee-hee!}


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quilt Retreat 2014

Our guild's annual quilt retreat was held in February.  This is truly one of the high points of the year for me!  We go away for three nights to a hotel.  We set up all our sewing machines and irons in one of the conference rooms.  Then we sew away!  All day and sometimes all night.  We do, however, take breaks for food, happy hour, and hot tubbing.


Here are a couple shots of our little sweat shop, with people busy, busy, busy.  It's really a treat for us to be away for 3+ days with no cooking and no bed making.



One of the projects I worked on this year was quilting a Quilt of Valor.  These are quilts that are given away to wounded veterans to help comfort them in their recovery.  I was actually given this quilt top already pieced, so I can't take credit for its beauty.




I'm happy I was able to get this quilt sandwiched at home before I went to retreat.  I like to use a quilt like this as a way to practice my free motion quilting.  I used a variety of quilting patterns on different areas of the quilt.  I did simple loopy lines down these red stripes (below).



Here I have marked a removable line down the center of a border strip and am quilting a different design.



Unfortunately it doesn't show up real well, but I found a cute design to use in the square star centers. It is called "circuit board" and is made by making random square-cornered meanderings.




* * * * *

After I had all that quilting done, I started on a baby quilt.  This one is made from 5" charm squares that I received from Bear Patch Quilt Company.  I belong to their Bear Patch Bits club, where I receive 20 charm squares every month.

I chose 72 of my blue squares for this quilt.  Then I sewed them into half-square-triangles.  This is a photo of all the half-square triangles placed on my design wall, before I sewed them together into rows.



Then, of course, there is always a tremendous amount of inspiration to be found at our retreats.  Everywhere I looked I saw beautiful quilts in different stages of completion.  And I always want to 
make each one for myself!


My friend Gail's beautiful color combinations coming together.

This is Dee's quilt, pieced from very small bright scraps that she stores up.
 I just love the brightness of it!

I just adore the beautiful colors--and the color combinations--in this
quilt started on a design wall.
These small squares were appliquéd on, rather than pieced in, in order to preserve
the beautiful prints in the background fabrics.
Isn't this amazing!?!  Circles appliquéd to small white squares.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beauty

There is beauty all around us, isn't there.  Here are just a few photos I've taken from some of my recent walks around my neighborhood.

These bright red leaves really caught my attention in the undergrowth.

While we aren't always fond of the effects of thistles, they really are a pretty flower.

The following photos are of a single small tree I saw at Gualala Arts Center.  I was struck by how the colors gradually shaded from one hue to another.  Bright red at the top through orange, with golden and bright yellow at the bottom of the tree.






I'm thinking this tree photo might be inspiration for a quilt.  Colorwash, maybe?  Or perhaps lots of little hexagons?  The possibilities are there.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Hexies

I'm still making 1-inch paper-pieced hexagons!  A few months ago I told you about the gift SisterStitches had given me of a cute little plastic container she decorated and filled with 2 1/2" squares of fabric.  You can see the cute container here.


Here you can see  one of my stacks of hexies. I'm steadily making my way through all the little fabric squares.  Here are some of them.




Lots of cute and colorful fabrics.  
I'll soon be done basting, then I'll have to think of a way to use them.
That will be the fun part!


Friday, January 31, 2014

New Members of the Family!

MisterStitches and I have two new additions to our family!  In December we adopted these two squirmy little black kittens from our local humane society.  

I'm trying to hold these two wiggly kittens, but they won't cooperate with the camera!


Their names are Cassie (on the left) and Percy.  Short for Cassandra and Persius.


They are extremely playful and energetic, which means the house needed to be baby proofed.   It's been almost two years since our last cat died, and she was older and more tame.  These guys can't be trusted anywhere!  They are only allowed in my studio under my supervision, and then are sometimes tossed outside the door!

Since they arrived in December, we had only about three Christmas decorations put up that could be called kitten-proof.  The photo below shows a really simple decoration I like to put in the tall narrow windows by our door.  I used dental floss and little round white stickers from the office supply store to make these "snowflakes" falling down the windows.  Well, those falling snowflakes were just too tempting, so the bottom parts had to be cut off and they only "fell" down the upper half of the windows!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crochet Factory

I've not been getting much quilting work done lately, but I've been doing a lot of hand sewing and crocheting.  I've completed several more baby afghans, and I'll show them to you here.


This light blue afghan is made of real heavy, thick yarn.  It's so soft and cuddly; it almost feels like minky fabric after it's crocheted.


The photo below shows how thick the yarn is.  I simply did rows and rows of double crochet for this afghan.





Another afghan made with the thick, cuddly yarn is this multi-colored one.




For the next afghan I actually followed a pattern, instead of making up one of my own!  The pattern was on the inside of one of the yarn skeins.  It is basically a big modified granny square that keeps growing and growing! 


 I went back and forth between a light yellow yarn, and a variegated orange-y yarn.

                                             



I made this afghan by double crocheting around the post of the previous row.


I really like the sort of basket-weave effect this stitch gives.



I used the same peach-y variegated yarn as in a previous afghan to make this one.  


 It is simply single crochet back and forth, with a couple rows of treble crochet thrown in occasionally for variety.



This next one isn't the best shot, but it's another orange-y peach-y variegated yarn, with a yellow scalloped border around the edges.


I basically do these because they are fun to do, keep me occupied when riding in a car or watching tv, and are an excellent take-along project.  Very portable.  That's why I tend to keep the patterns ultra simple, so I don't have to concentrate too hard, or read directions while I'm doing it.  So far I've been giving some away, selling a few to friends (for the cost of the yarn!), and sticking the rest in a cedar chest.  When I get too many I'll find a charity that would like to have them.