Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I love ALL the colors!!

Can't remember where I read that, but someone was asking a child about quilt colors, and the child's response was "I love ALL the colors".  Yup!

So many projects it makes my head spin sometimes, and I wonder about that 'look! there's a squirrel' approach to quilting that I have embraced...But it doesn't stop me from starting something new and just moving on ahead.

After I made a car seat/stroller quilt for my friend Deb's newest grand-baby, I immediately made 2 more tops of the same style for Great Lakes Heritage Quilters charity efforts.  I had turned in a baby quilt for charity  previously and a couple of hot dog method pillow cases.  One of the requested sizes is 36" baby quilts.  LOVE that size, so enlarged my previous stroller quilt from 30" to 36.  One of them I just made the blocks bigger before cutting them apart and putting back together.  The other, I left the starting block sizes the same at 16" to start, then added simple borders.  That makes 3 quilts of the same design; a series????

They were really fun, but a little more shrinkage than I would have liked, leaving the quilts wrinkly.  I've been adehesive spray basting for awhile now, and wanted to get that out & have the quilts soft & washed for delicate baby skin.  I also have been using a new batting; maybe that's the culprit for the additional shrinkage?  I always use cotton battings, so you would think shrinkage from one flat cotton bat to the other would be the same. amazing quilter friend Cathy M always prewashes EVERYTHING so her quilts will have minimal shrinkage.  I always wanted that soft, old quilt look, but am re-thinking that a bit.  To do, to do.....

At our guild's charity day, I started a larger quilt from one of their cute kits  to make a zig-zag quilt from half square triangles.  Didn't get as far as I would have liked to, but you also have to talk & enjoy these events.  Can't be JUST pedal to the metal!

Also, last week pulled red and white fabrics.  My small group, the infamous Chickens, have a red and white quilt challenge due in October.  I don't always get as much sewing done in the summer as I do in the winter, so I'd like to have the top done by June, then it can be quilted in September (if necessary).  I had to take this photo THREE times--accidentally included a spoiler.   I had blocks on the design wall behind my machine & it showed.......Ugh!  That would be a bad slip!  I was sure I had angled the camera so they didn't show, but they crept in.  Sneaky red and white blocks!  They are proud & want the world to see!  Well, I don't just yet.....
Also finished my hexie challenge quilt top for Great Lakes Heritage Quilters.  Need to quilt it next & already planning it will go on my living room wall.  If the quilting turns out to my satisfaction.....

That's what I've been  Getting some sewing time in?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Madness & DAMQG Retreat

The month is going by quickly!  I've been quite disciplined about sewing most days & getting quite a bit done.  Last week had 4 very busy days and one more snowstorm, cuz we haven't had enough snow just yet!   GLHQ (where I am doing programs) was hosting Pattye Kent of Bay City, for lecture Thursday, and a Friday small hand-piecing workshop. Then, right after lunch, leave on my first DAMQG retreat the same day.  PILES of things all over my house, for each of these 3 events!

The workshop was lovely----ten participants, at a member's beautiful home on a lake (thank you, Jo!!!), lunch & hand-piecing.  Feed back was wonderful & Pattye was a very good teacher.  As soon as lunch was cleaned up, I headed to Chesaning to join up with my 'modern' friends.   Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild (DAMQG) was having it's first retreat!!  It was being held at Creative Passions, starting Friday at noon (I was last to arrive at about 2:30pm), ending Sunday at 3pm.

First, the place.  Creative Passions specializes in hosting scrap-bookers and quilters.  They have TWO buildings, both former churches. We were in the smaller of the two.  This one holds about 16.  Bedrooms are small and shared, 2-3 beds per room, with a larger 'suite' in the basement (sleeps 5?) that had a bathroom.  On the main floor,  large open sewing room & kitchen, a couple of the bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms (with showers) to share. The small, shared bedrooms are fine, as all your waking time is spent sewing in the large open room,  set up with one long table per person, nice office chair,  lamp, cupholder & scrap bag.  This space is wonderful, great you can all be together in one big room.  There was a cable tv over the top where you could watch something if you wanted, but also MUSIC channels, which we used.  We were sharing the space with maybe 6 or 7 scrap bookers.  Retreat owner brought in & set up continental breakfast each morning.  A few of us walked over to see Creative Passions 2 (also in an old church) on Sunday morning.  That holds maybe 25-30 and seemed really nice----bigger, more recently re-modeled, more bathrooms, still dorm style shared bedrooms 3-4 per room.  Creative Passions was very nice!

At our sewing station, we each had been given this little gift bag, and they all had a slightly different message, but all included "DAM girl".  We had a few products in there with our DAM logo on it.  Sew cute!!!

We did a swap game that was fun where each person started with 3 items they had brought along, a FQ, a fat eighth, and spool of thread.  Using a pair of CLR dice, items moved to left, right or center, sometimes kept.  Last person with one remaining item won it ALL.

We did a great pin cushion swap!  Everyone brought one, then we did the open and maybe 'steal' thing, which can be fun.  It happened to work out that poor Marie was stolen from REPEATEDLY.  Here are the pincushions we made---very very cute!! (the one I sewed was made with selvages, has blue around the edges with the green ribbon & green button).

Our member Lori, was teaching us how to make the Sew Together Bag.  Lori is interested in making a career in quilting & wanted to perfect her teaching skills.  She did a great job!  This is a fairly complicated bag (but really cute) and the lessons were planned to be broken up over the 3 days, to allow us to work on other sewing projects.

Our Sew together bags!!!!

Saturday night when we went to bed we found the surprise of a pillow case made specially with us in mind when fabrics/colors were chosen, and a DAM logo chocolate bar.  How cute is that?!!!
At the end of the weekend, we imposed on a scrap booker to take this photo of us along the staircase.

The weather was DAM cold, but we had a great time!  It was so fun to spend time together, as we are all still getting to know each other.  Everyone was friendly and this guild seems to be very important to all of them.  The energy and enthusiasm are encouraging.  This has the makings of being a GREAT guild with all the positive energy that is flowing these days!  Thank yous go out to Donna, who organized our retreat & made the pillow cases, Vicky, who organized the swaps & swag bags, and Lori, who put a lot of preparation time into her class & was endlessly patient & good humored with us!

I'll be thinking about this weekend for awhile and can't wait for the next one!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Feeling Productive & Enjoying the Sunshine!

First thought for the day.....I saw this on Facebook and loved it--definitely applies, but some mornings more than others!!

My friends and I went north last weekend to visit a member of our group (the FAMOUS Chickens) who hosts us yearly for a weekend of sewing and hanging out together.  This year it was timed to visit the incredible Contemporary Quilts Exhibit by Gwen Marston.  It runs through April 27th 2014 and is a must for all quilt lovers.  Seeing quilts in a gallery is amazing anyway, but the work of this woman is absolutely incredible.  Gwen Marston is a national treasure & we are proud she's from Michigan! As a little teaser, here is my attempt at a 'selfie' in front of the quilts from her book 37 Sketches.  These small works were created by her to try out colors, fabrics etc before maybe incorporating into larger pieces.  They are absolutely amazing!
I think the younger generation has a gene we over 40 don't have though, to take amazing 'selfies'.  I've practiced and practiced and it is very difficult to get a good photo of yourself.  At least for most of us who may consider ourselves not photogenic anyway.  But selfies are a topic unto themselves (HA!) and I must not digress on this trying & mystifying topic!!

Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild (DAMQG) had our March meeting.  For 'March Madness',  members had taken a photo of their stash & submitted to our guild prez, who printed them 8 1/2 by 11.  We then looked at a list of names of participants were challenged to figure out whose stash was whose.  This was really fun to see.  I was only correct on a couple, but then, we are all still getting to know one another.


Here's mine, but my style was tagged as 'slightly anal' and 'nobody keeps their stash that neat'.  I beg your pardon!!!  How can you find anything if it's not neat?  And yes, most of the time it IS that neat!  It's a little dark, but I was challenged by the narrowness of the closet & the folding door that kept wanting to be slightly open.
Our group quilt, all quilted and bound was revealed.  Quilted by Barb, a DAMQG member who has a longarm quilting business.  She did a great job on the quilt!
I have been able to get in quite a bit of sewing time lately, and yesterday ALL day!  Just decided that was top and only priority, and thanks to lovely husband walking in the door around 6pm with Chicken Shack (yummy broasted deliciousness!!), it worked out great!

Ready to gift this stroller/car seat quilt to my good friend Deb's 2nd grandson, born in February, this was washed, which increases its softness, ready for new baby skin.  This was finished a couple of days BEFORE my sew day.  Don't want you to think I am SUPER QUILTER!

This technique was a lot of fun.  This one is small, 30" square.  You make larger blocks, 16", all different, but on similar color scheme, as many as you want in the quilt.  They are cut in quarters and then put together as blocks again.

Baby's big brother get's a pillow case.  Amazing how little kids LOVE having their own special pillow case!  They may be on the pillow, they may be used as toy bags.  Whatever, as my friend Suzanne says "Floats your boat".  Cars and trucks always a BIG hit with little boys!  Then, while I was at it, two pillow cases for Great Lakes Heritage Quilt Guild for our charity collection

Iris joined me on my sew day.  She luxuriated in the sunshine and loves to be up on my big board.  She never jumps up there uninvited.  Sits politely on the floor and meows to be lifted.  Such a good girl!  But if there is a quilting project on the big board, she MUST lay on it!  This slowed me down once or twice as she took naps in the sun.  She doesn't always spend a lot of time around me during the day, prefering to sneak off for 'hidden' naps, so I really enjoyed her company.  Isn't she beautiful?  Her tummy is softer than ANY angora rabbit!
The all-day-sew was devoted to a couple of things; first, cut out and sew two quilts like the one above that will end up as 36" baby quilts for the neonatal care unit Great Lakes Heritage Quilters is giving quilts to.  I mostly used scraps from my bins that are pre-cut in certain strip sizes.  This saves time in some ways, but takes extra time in other ways.  YOU know what I mean!  It's a lot of cutting but well worth the effort for the great scrappy results.  I made the blocks for one slightly larger so it can finish at 36" with no border.  The other will have blocks the same size as above but I will add borders.  Hopefully these aren't too bright for new babies! 

So cutting, sorting, sewing into blocks, cutting them apart, and sewing them together again.  This is as far as I got, plus I made the two pillow cases to donate for children.  All told, I think I spent about 8 hours in the studio, a full day's work by any standard.

What a great way to spend a sunny winter day!