Friday, April 18, 2014

Just can't slow me down

My mind is in a whirl lately, and I dream of projects I want to make & wake up thinking about them.  Sometimes I have to think a minute, wait, did I already start that, or do I just want to?

Last week I made one more April colorstudy for Great Lakes Heritage Quilters as I wasn't satisfied I had gotten where I wanted to go. I do try to incorporate into the color theme something else that I want to try, and here quilted a spiral that filled the entire piece.  It was then cut down from a circle to a square.  It was a fun technique, done entirely with a walking foot, and I would like to do it again on a larger quilt.

This past Sunday, President of the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild, Vicky, taught whoever wanted to learn from our DAM guild, how to paper piece.  She is a whiz at this, and quite a few people showed up to learn.  I am feeling a little more comfortable with this.  Maybe the key is to ALWAYS use a piece that's too darn big.  Nothing more disconcerting than getting a piece of fabric sewn in, and it's TOO SMALL. RIP!  One of our members is a breast cancer survivor, and she knows a group of people who are running the 3 Day race in Detroit.  They have a silent auction fundraiser, and we are hoping to get a quilt done for the auction.  These blocks have been a lot of fun and are perfect for the cause.  These are 3 new blocks I got done on Sunday.  I had already done a couple.  This group at the DAMQG, or the DAM guild, as we are fond of saying, have been very fun & inspirational to me.  I am so enjoying getting to know them, and I think we have a lot of talent in our group.  Maybe we don't have lots of publications and ambition to make our mark on the quilting world, but who knows what is to be!

Then, in the spirit of FINISHING  something, I had a beautiful table runner kit a friend had given me for my birthday in the fall.  The blocks I had sewn at the first DAM retreat in mid-March.  Then, a couple weeks ago, sewn them together into the runner.  Runner was waiting for backing & machine quilting.  It's made of Pepper Cory's shot cottons, the line is called "Peppered cottons" and they are beautiful.  Such a pleasure to work with, and quilt like a dream, playing up the machine quilting very nicely.  The kit came from Guildcrafter's Quilt Shop

This was a fun quilting design to do and I have used it at least a couple of times before.  I've taken many machine quilting classes, including a few on Craftsy and am currently working on one.  This table runner got me a little fired up again that machine quilting can be fun.  I'm also prepping for a live classroom experience soon (info on that in a bit).  So I made up some samples, did some marking of lines only with a blue wash out marker, and tried these new designs I've seen out and out about (internet, Pinterest etc.).  I used a darker thread than I would normall work with for 2 reasons: one, it happened to be in my machine, and two, I could really see the designs as I worked on them.

This is a close up of one called Niki's Puzzle from Lori Kennedy's website.  I found her recently thru Pinterest, and I think she is a very good machine quilter.  She has some nice tutorials on her website.  The flowers (above) in a box done on the diagonal from each other are her designs also, and I really enjoyed stitching them.
THEN, in my email inbox, on April 15, I found an email from Craftsy that Jacquie Gering has a new class, teaching her amazing walking foot quilting!  She does a lot of what she calls "matchbox" quilting, which is lines close together.  I think straight lines are her favorite way to quilt her quilts and I love them.  It's called "Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot", and this week is discounted on Craftsy to $29.99.  Usually I wait til Craftsy classes are half-off, $19.99, but for Jacquie, I didn't want to wait, so I took the 25% discounted offered right now.  I can't wait to start that class!!!

Lastly, I am taking a class with Natalia Bonner at a nearby guild, Cameo Quilt Guild.  My friend thru DAMQG, Lori Miller, is doing their programs this year.  As I am doing programs at Great Lakes Heritage Quilters this year, Lori and I have had a lot of interesting talks about the challenges of doing programs for your guild and how to get members to take classes.  I am proud of the program I presented this year, and I think hers was great too (especially as we had 2 of the same speakers, totally a coincidence, and proof that we are both interested in the same things).  It's been a fun & interesting challenge.

Anyway, for Natalia's class, I had to prep eighteen, yes, EIGHTEEN, 20" basted machine quilting sandwiches (fabric, batting, fabric), and boy, that took awhile!  Got muslin on sale at Joanns, then used coupons to discount Hobb's Heirloom on the 96" bolt and an extra can of 505 Spray Adhesive.  Also had to make an additional sample using a floral applique, which I took from Natalia's book.  I'm far from a beginner, but no expert.  I'm always working on my machine quilting skills & I guess the question is 'will I ever be satisifed with my efforts'?  Not so far!  But I keep practicing and am always happy to see more designs to choose from.  So here's my class samples, ready for next weekend:
I don't always do regular blog entries feeling that maybe this week I don't have much to say.  But once I get going......!!!!

So, thanks for listening!  Hope you're as fired up as I am (if you're a quilter).  And if you're must be related to me, or just reading this to be nice.  Thanks for that!

P.S.  I forgot to mention that I went to a great quilt show last week, the Oakland County Guild Quilt show.  They do one every two years and are pros at it.  Not to mention all the talent in their group!  Anyway, I didn't take many photos.  Don't need to, as my friend Suzanne does a great job on reporting on these shows.  Hop on over to her blog to see pictures of this beautiful show!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring or not?

We're flirting with spring here in southeastern Michigan.  Most of the snow has melted (except some of those giant mountains left by snowplows in store parking lots), temperatures are milder and a few crocuses are peeking up.  We are hopeful....

Our color study challenge for Great Lakes Heritage Quilters in April is "LEMON".    I struggled with this, as always, and feel that the two shining stars in our challenge so far are Sandy Kaufman (last year's guild president) and Patty Kreh ("if you're wearing brown, stand up--you're my volunteers!").  What they have done so far is wonderful and looks effortless.  Are they struggling with these at all??  I always picture myself just whipping up something amazing, but anything worthwhile and beautiful requires WORK.  Mine are not turning out as I picture.  This is my 2nd attempt at "Lemon", and I think it will stand as is.  I need to move on.  Lemon at this time of year made me think of daffodils and lemony sunshine coming in the windows.  Ahhhhh.......spring!  The sun & it's rays are machine quilted in lemony thread, the daffodils the result of some paper-piecing, which is definitely challenging for me.  My first effort at this project languishes on the design wall, sentenced to the scrap heap or being crumpled up somewhere....  Time to move on!

While working on both a guild charity quilt and a red & white challenge for my small group, the Chickens, I had a pile of small HST red and white, cut off from something else.  In my new efforts to use such things, I fed them thru the machine as leaders & enders (while working on other things), then squared them up.  I now have a sandwich bag filled with them.  It took me maybe two weeks to get them all sewed and then squared up.  They look quite pretty and may go in my red & white project.  Top Secret, by the way.  You won't see photos of it here til fall......

Lastly, but not least, what is one of the time-honored rituals of spring?  Why Spring Cleaning of course!  As a quilter, my duty is SPRING RE-STASHING.  Your stash also deserves to be freshened up in the spring.  So I visited a couple local quilt shops and bought some pieces that caught my fancy.

That and two guild-related meetings this week, the Quilt Show Committee for GLHQ's 2015 quilt show, and the monthly meeting of the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild.

That was my quilting week; how was yours?