Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sunday to Sunday!

Leaving on Sunday and coming back the next Sunday!
I am going on a quilt retreat!
I am signed up for two machine quilting classes and I plan on listening to some lectures and browsing over 60 vendor booths! 
"Ostentatious" will be displayed along with 13 other quilts from PTQ guild for this year's guild challenge. (Which is being offered as a Giveaway from this blog! Comments on this update will also get you entered.)

I'm supposed to be packing and getting ready for this upcoming trip, but I'm too excited and can't keep focused!  Sooo... I'm starting another quilt top 😁.  Well, the planning and cutting out part. Then the pieces will go with me next week just in case I need a second project (first project is my brother's black and white) to keep me busy during "down" time (I guess vendors and teachers need sleep during these events. Go figure 😋.)

This is the picture that caught my attention. I LOVE scrappy and I have plenty of fabrics to make it happen. This pattern was published in the Fons & Porter's Scrap Quilts Spring 2015 magazine.

Quilt by Christine McCourt
Machine quilted by Gina Jane's.

Yes, I have plenty of fabric. Purchased because it caught my eye and I had to have it.  Or purchased because it was a "good deal" (clearance or yard sale) and I might never see it again.  And of course, fabrics given to me by generous friends, I never say no!!
Fabrics from so many sources makes for a motley collection, that's for sure. Yet, "scrappy" has an implication that anything goes!
That's not always quite so. 
For me the most time consuming part of making a quilt is getting the fabrics together.  This time gathering from my stash wasn't as difficult as it usually is.... I thought...

The pattern calls for 15 fat quarters in assorted dark prints.  I used "Calico Butterflies Kaleidoscope" print I had purchased a few years ago while working at Joann's. (I did a Google search and believe it is discontinued :( so I will have to use it wisely 😊)
With so many colors, it wasn't so difficult picking out 15 prints. 

They're not perfect matches, like the orange could be a bit more rust, but it works for me. The floral is #15 and I'm wasn't planning to use it as a focus fabric.  I cut all the pieces out according to the directions... Except the brown which is intended for the background.  I couldn't wait to see how it was going to look together and laid the pieces on the background...
Maybe the background should be solid and not a print. I'm thinking it probably needs to be a darker richer brown. But that's not something I have in my stash at the moment. 
So, I'll switch to a light background.
Much better, but still not completely happy.
... Maybe the floral should be a focus fabric!
Not quite right.
 I don't like the floral as the 4 squares and there's too much turquoise...
My solution to this dilemma is to play with the pieces, repositioning over and over,  for as long as I need to until it's right for me. And take pictures (my phone camera is my best friend!) Then step away, serve myself another cup of coffee, and come back a few minutes later for a new look.
I've finally found my "Yes" placement by adding two more browns and putting the floral on the corners.

With this layout, I want the floral corners to be a whole square, not four triangles coming together.  I'll have to re define the blocks and do a tiny bit of redrafting to make it work.  Should be easy enough.

So, my guild has a contest each year.  You put money in the pot, write down your goals for the year, and at the end of the year those that have completed all their goals get a chance to win the money.
My goals this year:
1.  Give a quilt away (hoping that will be my brother's black and white quilt, but not ruling out one that's already in progress.)
2. Keep a quilt for myself (I usually give them away.)
3.  Sell a quilt. (Maybe this floral focus scrappy quilt will be up for sale in the near future!!)

Ok... Now I better start gathering the supplies I need for the classes I've signed up for! Lol, at least it's a check list to keep me focused today 🤣.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Well dog gone! I mean "dog ears" gone!!!

I love my Chewie's ears! When he goes on alert his ears point straight up.  His head lifts as high as he can stretch it and his chest puffs out. He looks so proud and ready for anything... 
And I love rubbing those soft velvety triangles on top of his head. He leans his head into my hand and looks at me ever so adoringly with dreamy eyes and melts my heart.

 If you have a special attachment to dog ears, maybe you shouldn't read any further!!  I'm about to tell you something you may not know about quilters and the danger to dog ears.  ...

These are half square triangles.
In the past week I have made over 300 half square triangles. In truth, I only needed 160, but that's not part of this dark story...

When triangles are sewn together and pressed open there's this little piece of seam allowance that's extra.
Some time ago a quilter dubbed it a "dog ear."
I guess if you were to hold the square just right and use a little imagination, those triangles that stick out could remind you of cute floppy dog ears!
But in piecing a quilt top together, this extra fabric will cause bulk, which will cause distortion and make it difficult to line up seams perfectly and becomes a nightmare to quilt though.
So now we have unwanted "dog ears."
And the sweet quilter you know, fervently and unapologetically takes her sharp shears and snips all those dog ears off!!

Here's a portion of a day's work.

"Dog ears" swept into the waste bin.
Such a gruesome tale, huh? And yet, quilters continue to do this activity daily with no remorse!  Not quite as sweet as you thought, huh?!!

Speaking of fervently. I have been testing a pattern written by my friend Karen Arzamendi. It's called "Tree of Life"and features dimensional embellishments. You can see a picture of her quilt Here in the class info at Stitch-N-Frame quilt shop in Vicksburg, MS.

The flowers are made with fabric yo-yos, ruching, fabric folding, and ribbon techniques.
Since Karen is teaching a class this week, I self imposed the date as my deadline.
The pattern is written with the thought that it could be a take along project as hand work. I started on Feb 21 choosing fusible/raw edge applique because of the need to put this together quickly.
Fusible applique is not my favorite technique but once the blocks started coming together it's not difficult to continue!!

At this point I have most of the applique in the center done. I will tell you I am in love with all the dimensional techniques used for the flowers! I want to make more. I still have to add the embroidery stitches and embellishments,  but since I'm testing the pattern I decided it's best to move on to the borders.

The first border is a very thin 1/4" finished strip.  Honestly, it was a tiny bit intimidating for me. I was nervous about keeping the seam to exactly 1/4".  I needn't have worried. It worked perfectly and I didn't have to unstitch any!!
I loved the Flying Geese in the second border. The yellow background brightened the top. And the little tip about how to make the border fit is ingenious!!
Karen's pattern has more flowers for the corner squares. My signature shape on all my quilts is a heart. So I decided the corners would be the  perfect spot for my hearts.

Moving on to the next borders.  I love red, yellow and purple together. So for the fourth border I was certain that I wanted dark purple for the background color of the PinWheel blocks. This is where the half square triangles come in. I made 160 units with the dark purple for the background. Then started setting them up on the design wall to see how they look with the quilt....
I arranged with scrappy in mind.
I was not all that thrilled...
But determined to have that purple, I rearranged the squares to not be so scrappy.
It still wasn't working for me...

I tried only similar colors like the bright pinks and oranges....
Ya, not happy. It actually hurts my eyes! And I'm suspecting what the problem is, but refusing to give in to it.

Ok! Only blues and greens must be the answer!!
Nope. Still makes my feel blah and my heart is starting to sink. Because in just two days, Karen is going to teach her class and I want her to have my top to show a different color option to her students.
None of the arrangements gave me that "YES" feeling.
I decided to consult my artist Sweetling. In my heart I already knew I was going to have to remake all squares but need it confirmed.  I kept a sliver of hope the purple wasn't the offending culprit.

And wouldn't you know... I didn't give her my opinions and just let her look at the pictures. The very first thing she said, "the purple isn't working." She had more explain as to why, and it was exactly what I already knew, but hearing it from someone else gave me nudge I needed to move on and start over.
The next 5 hours was a mad dash to make 40 new Pinwheels (160 half square triangles) with yellow backgrounds. This time I made just a few first. It only took 3 pinwheel blocks on the design board and I was "YES YES YES!!!" 
Lol, even if I wasn't trying to complete this border before handing it over to Karen the next day, I wouldn't have been able to stop working on it until it was done. 

I forgot to get a pic after this.. but don't those bright crazy colors make you feel happy!!!

BTW, from the moment the first leaves were appliqued on, I knew who would be receiving this quilt. And I believe I have a title for it too, but can't tell you yet because that would give away the recipient.  With this knowledge, working on this quilt top is that much sweeter for me. 
My quilter soul sings joyously as each piece is added on.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Can I do it? Going for 3 for 3!

"Ostentatious" 30" sq wallhanging.
Made by Naomi Hernandez Perry, as part of a black and white and one other color gold challenge.
Completed Feb 2017.
Ok!! I think I have a minute to breath now. I've been very focused over the last month. So much so, that I didn't dare stop to blog even though I wanted to tell you so much!

I did get lots done...
Two quilts completely finished and we're still in February!
"Ostentatious" was made for the Mountain Quiltfest 2017.  The theme was Black and White and One Other Color.  
A Pintrest pin caught my attention.
It lead me to the tutorial at Spotted Stones: cathedral window
I've always been very intrigued by the dimensional element that folded fabric brings to quilts. And I adore Cathedral Window quilts!  The amount of handwork in them is truly amazing.  
Here's my blog post with details about starting "Ostentatious", which is now on it's way to Mountain Quiltfest 2017 to be displayed with 13 other quilts from my PTQ guild!  I am so blessed to be part of a group of so many talented women!!

I tried super hard to get this second project done in time to send to the quiltfest too. But I just couldn't make it happen.  But to ease my disappointment, our local library Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is hosting a reception in celebration of National Quilting Day!  I even got a personal phone call with a request for me to bring in any quilts I'd like to display this year. 
It was a great project to show myself that I CAN free motion quilt on my regular home sewing machine.  I spent too many years thinking it would be too difficult to maneuver a big bulky full sized quilt in the space of a regular machine.... Thank goodness for youtube tutorials like Leah Day's tutorials on getting started.

Here's some of my favorite blocks.

And here it is before the binding, which the ladies at Maple Street stitched down on the day it was submitted to the Library for display! ... just in the knick of time :).
The quilt top, named "Midnight Sail",  was pieced in Stack and Whack method by Lawana Shultz of Columbus, MS,
quilted by Naomi Perry.  Made by/for the Maple Street Charity Wednesday morning group.  completed Feb 22, 2017.

Actually, I did manage to get a second quilt sent to Mountain Quiltfest!  My friend Judy Stokes encouraged me to enter "... Beauty of the South" to be displayed.  It's amusing to be excited that I've kind of lost count of how many places this first quilt made specifically for entering into shows has been.  Two years old and it's been entered/displayed in at least 6 venues.  (I usually give away my work and never see them again, so this is a new experience for me!) 

At the Possum Town Quilt guild meeting in February, I helped along with a few other guild members to put together a charity quilt from appliqued Heart blocks that were donated to the guild. Guildmate Carla did a fantastic job organizing this effort!  I am so tempted to make a similar Heart quilt (if I didn't already have too many projects waiting to be worked on and finished, lol.) 
The Possum Town Quilters are offering a chance to win our Broken Star Log Cabin Quilt. Raffle will be held on April 8, 2017!  Keep in mind, my cellphone-photo does NOT do this gorgeous quilt justice!! 

At Maple Street, Lawana is working on a new quilt. It's going to be a smaller size, more like a cuddle quilt, but I think it's already beautiful!!
There is a new quilt loaded on the quilting frame, with bright primary colors, but I forgot to get a picture... Maybe next week 😉.

and a little sneak peak at what I'm busy with at the moment. My friend Karen Arzamendi asked me to "proof read" a pattern she just wrote. And in my excitement I thought she asked for a tester and started making the quilt, lol!  She'll be using this pattern in a class she's teaching in March. I've made the class date my deadline date, so in theory I'll have 3 quilts in 3 months. Not bad for 2017!!
I'm using a pin cushion my Aunt Mary gifted to me this last summer.  She's seems to be quite happy sitting on these wild bright colors, I just had to get a picture of her and two pics side by side seemed appropriate :p.

OH YES! As a celebration of 2's -- 2 quilts, 2 months, and my blog has finally reached over 2k views!
  I am going to have my first blog Giveaway!! If you're interested in winning "Ostentatious," a 30" sq wallhanging or it could be a table topper,  leave a comment (make sure I know who you are!) on this update and I'll put your name in the basket to be drawn when I get the quilt back on March 29.  Once it's yours, you may keep it for yourself, or give it as a gift, or donate it to an art auction, or whatever. 
one small caveat that there be at least 25 names entered :). 


Friday, February 10, 2017

no end in sight! How blessed I am :)

My Black and White and One other color quilt is complete. I have named it Ostentatious. But I don't have a good picture of it yet so I think I will write more about it in the next post... plus, I think I'll have a surprise for you :). I can hardly wait!!

Apparently, I have a very difficult time working on only one project at a time. 
While trying to figure out how I was going to quilt Ostentatious, I was inspired to finally at least baste this top that the Maple Street quilters kindly allowed me to practice my machine quilting. I've had the top for close to a year now and haven't had the courage to attempt this on my home machine. Then seeing how well Ostentatious was turning out (and the encouragement of one of the ladies saying it would be nice to see it hanging at Mountain Quiltfest too) gave me the spark I needed to begin! I'm not sure it will be completed in time for the Mountain Quiltfest deadline (I will really have to push it now), but I am so pleased with the progress on it. 

And because I got stumped on quilting designs for both the B&W+1 and the Maple Street quilt, I had to distract myself with organizing in my sewing room and I couldn't resist playing in my scrap boxes.  The result is 60  2.5" crumb squares! I couldn't stop making them. My Sweetling (14 year old daughter) was so intrigued by these little squares that she asked if she could make one.  She has sewn a few articles in the past but hasn't cared to sew anything for a couple years now.  I quite enjoyed watching her at the machine.  She didn't care to autograph her block like I suggested, and I'm sad to say can't pick out which one she made from this picture, but it's in there!! 

In the meantime, I am VP of Possum Town Quilter's guild this year.  It looks like my main duty is scheduling education opportunities.  It's an hour drive from the town that I live in to any quilt shop.  I decided to organize day trips to visit some of the surrounding shops. 
Our January day trip consisted of two cars and seven ladies. We first went to Heirlooms Forever in Tupelo.

Kaffe Fassett is one of Heirloom Forever's featured fabric collections.
Kathy Pizza (pronounced Peeza) gave us a fantastic presentation explaining the anatomy of a sewing machine needle and suggested sizes and threads for  projects. 
Since we arranged to arrive first thing in the morning
Kathy had coffee and donut holes waiting for us :).
But she definitely has our total attention!

I had to take a close up of the
simple yet elegant quilting on this circle quilt table runner.

Circle quilts by Kathy Seymour were featured

We had lunch at Peppers in Tupelo, then made our way to the Oxford Fiber Arts Fest 2017.   I got so caught up in looking, that I forgot about documenting and only got this one picture.  Just about everything you could think of for knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, tatting, and quilting... all fiber things were repesented there!! 

Lustrous 100% silk skeins shimmering in the sun rays.

Our last stop was to the Sit and Rock quilt store in Oxford. Again, I only got one picture.  I decided I might need this book.  It shows how to quilt a project on the long arm, and how you can also quilt it on a home machine. 

It was a long day. And in the end I concluded that our first day trip was a success. I was quite pleased and the ladies say they want another trip soon!

And I guess, since I was still struggling with a quilting design, I figured another distraction was in order, and decided to try out a new piecing technique. This one will also be in a future post.  But another couple days away from the B&W+1, and the deadline gets closer! Crazy as it is. When it seems I am no longer thinking about it... finally, in the nick of time, the border design magically presents itself! What a relief. And "Ostentatious" is ready to go!! More about it in the next post, I promise :).

Last, but not least. Yesterday at Maple Street, we finished quilting one quilt and another takes it's place on the frame! We'll get started working on it next week.

I've been really busy this past month.  Much of my time inbetween taking care of my family is spent in the sewing room. I estimated maybe 6 hours every day.  So you see...as soon as one is finished, there's always another to work on, another idea, another technique to try.... I could quilt day in and day out, and still never run out of projects! Oh, how blessed I am!! 😊💗