Saturday, February 27, 2016

Researching SAVANNAH, Georgia for QUILTCON WEST 2017

While on a family visit south last week, I was able to go to Savannah and look at the location of QUILTCON EAST 2017.  It made the pain of missing Quiltcon West 2016 a titch easier.

There is a river in Savannah that separates the convention center and one of the the hotels (the Westin).  On the other side, the city and all the other hotels, restaurants, historic squares, etc.   But staying here allows us to walk to the convention center, pulling or carrying bags needed for class.  Getting to the city itself and the other hotels require that you take a ferry across the river, possibly lugging class stuff.   So that is something to consider when choosing where you will stay.  Both work just fine, it depends on your preferences and hotel availability.

Convention Center and adjacent Westin
Here's a map that also shows the ferry locations and areas of interest in Historic Savannah.

When coming from the Convention Center over on the ferry, you then have to take steps up from the river front, of which I see three different sets or there is also an elevator up (see the map).  I do not recommend cocktails and walking over the cobblestones & up the steps!  Below is one of the cobblestone areas of which I speak.  Pretty, but possible ankle-wrenching!

An area of interest is the City Market, shown below.  It is pedestrian only, and you can get a horse-drawn carriage ride from there, or get a ticket for the tourist trolley, which you can get on and off as much as you wish as it makes its way around the city.  We were there on a Tuesday, I think, so not a lot of people out in the market area at the time.

From here is an easy walk around some of the historic squares, which are absolutely lovely!  Majestic, large, live oaks, dripping with Spanish Moss.  Truly a beautiful and easy walk.  Around them,  gorgeous old homes and businesses.  It was a cloudy day, so pardon the lack of blue sky, which would make my pictures sooooo much better!


Along one square was the historic Olde Pink House, converted into a restaurant with great reviews.
Really pretty!

A nice thing about visiting this time of year was that it WAS Quiltcon week, so I could see what the weather might be like while Quiltcon was going on next year.  Very pleasant!   Shirtsleeves.  High 60's to mid-seventies during the day, but cool evenings and mornings, so a light jacket or sweater would be great to pack.

Flowers were blooming.

a hotel courtside planter---lovely!

Walking the gardens in the historic district is a MUST!  Trip Advisor lists some of the other things to do & gives some history of Savannah.

If you're out and about walking, coffee at The Coffee Fox is wonderful---I had the Mexican Latte and loved it!  But forgot to take a pic of it, oh well...

Paula Deen has a restaurant there, easy walking distance, which also has a little gift shop with some fun stuff.  Butter, y'all???  Oh yes!  For sure!

Saw this wonderful bar, but research is showing it may have closed.  Darn it!  Who wouldn't want to go to The Velvet Elvis, Boozery and Music Cavern?????!!  Inside it is The Jinx, with live music.

It looks like we will eat well and have some beautiful scenery!

Here's a few more relevant pics.

You can get a tatto

At least on River Street, you can walk around with a drink in your hand

You & your friends could get a set of stupid matching t-shirts!  Aways a plus anywhere you go!

a building downspout---gorgeous!

You can get a reading
Georgian detail

Beautiful---located on edge of a square
I think we're headed for a good time!  Although....does it really matter where we are?  Quiltcon could almost be ANYWHERE and we would have a wonderful time!  All we need is a great convention center for hanging the quilts, a nice clean hotel to stay, and some restaurants.  And BARS.  Just sayin'.

P.S.  Changed up my blog template just a little, I get bored---what do you think?  I tried so hard to use one of my own pictures for the background, but they were all TOO LARGE.... Technology is so time-consuming.  I could be QUILTING!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Oooops----did I start a NEW project????

Well....... yes. Yes I did.  I deserved it, since I've finished SEVEN quilts since early December, and most of those were UFO's---only one was new, start to finish in about ten days.  The rest were all finishes. So there!

Didn't intend to.  But Monday I started to see the first blocks being posted for The Splendid Sampler.  Hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane), there are more than 80 designers, including one of my absolute faves, Jen Kingwell.  A really, REALLY spectacular list of designers!!

The six-inch blocks will be released twice a week, Sundays and Thursday, with a total of 100 in all.  The project lasts a year, and there are two holiday weeks off. 

Anyone can manage two blocks a week, right?  And you NEED to have some piecing to do!!

I cut into my Mary Elizabeth Kinch Modern Country, and also some Anna Marie Horner Fibs and Fables .  Here's the first block, designed by Pat Sloan.

And the second, designed by Jane Davidson.

If you decide to join in, they have a closed Facebook page where you can post your progress & talk to other quilters working on Splendid.  I think it will be a lot of fun.  I'm going to look forward to the release of the next blocks.  When you go to their website, be sure to look at all the free projects & tutorials they are providing as well---some of that looks great!

Even if you don't want to do it now, save the pdf files, while they're free---eventually they are going off the website and into a book that promises to be spectacular.

It was a busy week, with two of my groups meeting, lots of fun, but maybe not quite as much sewing as I would like.  I did get one new Chuck Nohara block done also.  It was pretty challenging, and I used paper piecing and applique on the same block.  The math for my five-inch blocks was a little tight, requiring use of eighths of an inch to make things fit.  It's done and I'll take it!

And before I go, here's a cute little squirrel, off to meet her friends for coffee.... My friend from guild, Denise, shared this onto my Facebook wall for me & I think it's pretty cute.  She's so stylish.  Just like me.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Spiral Madness & Finishing Things

Since December, I have finished SEVEN QUILTS.  All but one were WIP's.  The exception was  made start to finish in a week (a baby quilt, easy-peasy, as Suzanne would say).

Three, completed in December, were already featured here, so scroll back to see photos of those if you want to.  They were:  Crimson Tweed, a Sue Spargo pattern (wool & cotton applique) started in the fall of 2012; Aerial Grove, pattern by Carolyn Friedlander, started in March of 2015; and the String Pieced blocks with blue background (what??!!!! it's nameless????) that was a 60th birthday gift for my dear friend and neighbor, Deb, started in August 2015.  So ONE of those was older, two were started & finished in the same year.

Since January, four more.   I finished the pink, navy & creamy-white low volume GLHQ mystery quilt from February 2015, completed January 2016.  Not too old.  Gifted to my niece, who LOVES it.  Is there anything better than making someone happy with a quilt?  Nope.  I think not.  That was featured recently too, so scroll back and take a peak, if so inclined.

Then.  Spiral Madness took hold.  Last blog entry, I featured 'Seven Point Two', in aquas and low volume creamy whites, the first of this series.  Named due to an earthquake in Alaska the morning I was finishing up the quilting.  Seemed perfect, as the spirals go out from their epicenter.  Here's another pic of that one, since I'm featuring SPIRAL MADNESS and this was the first whole, complete, spiral quilted top.  I've used spirals before, but not ONE   L A R G E   spiral over the whole top.  These quilting lines are about a half-inch apart, and the quilt is 48" X 60". (12" blocks)

2016 finished quilt #2

Finishes 3 and 4 were actually a very very close tie, I conpleted the quilting on #4 before I started quilting #3, but #3 was bound first, so it gets called #3.   They were finished within days, hours, of each other.

Finish #3 was prepped for sewing during GLHQ's Mystery Quilt Day.  I pulled fabrics for a baby quilt for a close friend of my son Eric, Justin, who had his first child born in November, a daughter, Rythm Begonia.  I used some Moda Modern Basics charm squares, added another dozen charm squares cut from stash.  The block's units were pieced & squared up prior to Quilt Day so that all I had to do then was assemble the blocks and top, which I did that day.  The pattern is X's and O's, and I had decided to leave 3 blocks off of two oppposite sides, creating negative space, and added blocks made of four-patches in place of those, keeping with it's scrappy look, and my preferred way of doing things.

A couple of  days later I quilted it.  Larger Spiral this time, about one-inch apart, using walking foot with guide, my lovely 97D foot and Bernina 820.  Using again Very Kerry Berry's spiral pdf file, which I LOVE.  Thank you Kerry, for that beautiful center!  I've played with it's size, using my copier, enlarging or reducing, to meet my purposes of either 1/2" apart lines, or one-inch.  I pin the paper on the quilt where I want to begin & stitch right thru it, reduced stitch length to make smoother curves, removing the paper afterwards, or if it gets in my way.

It was 22 degree outside, but what the heck!  You just can't beat outdoor lighting, even if it's not sunny.  It's not washed yet, which I like to do before gifting a baby quilt.  It has Winline 100% bamboo batting, my current favorite.  It gets so soft and drapeable, I just love it!  This will go into the mail by Tuesday, so shhhhhhhh!!!!   The quilt is 36" X 45", the blocks are 9" blocks, the quilting lines 1" apart.

2016 Quilt Finish #3

In December, I gave a peek of some older blocks I had pulled out of a box when looking for things I might want to donate to GLHQ's UFO auction.  As I mentioned, I posted on Instagram a photo of the blocks on my design wall, and Mary Elizabeth Kinch said she had a set too, as she went to Gwen Marston's retreat for many years.  She thought we should challenge each other to finish these.  She suggested end of January, I countered end of February, so we were on!

By the end of January, I had the top together, and by Feb 9, it was quilted and bound.  I used the Winline Bamboo in this too.  Washed it, blocked it on my basement design wall (yes, I have two!!) and left it to dry there before trimming up & binding.  This worked terrific. The bamboo gets soft, but was nice and flat.  The extra wall is because I used to sew downstairs, before moving up to an empty-nest bedroom on the main floor, nice and warm, great lighting.  The extra wall downstairs is great for spray basting and blocking.

2016 Quilt Finish #4
I absolutely LOVE how this quilt turned out!  Whole-quilt spirals are definitely my new love, and perhaps my go-to when I'm not sure what to do.

It feels GREAT to have pulled out a couple older things, and some not so old and have FINISHED.  There are so many lovely things among my boxes, and it's wonderful to be on a roll!

Here's a close-up of the spiral on this:

Have a great week---join me in finishing some UFO's!  I'd love to see them!  You can tag me on Instagram, susanlorettasquirrel!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Labels and sleeves

No new glorious finishes to post this week, as of yet, although Wonky Baskets is about 2/3 quilted right now.  The only thing I can say about that is that "Spiral-Mania" continues.  In fact, I'm thinking it's going to be my new go-to quilting design.  A friend with FABULOUS color sense (Carol) is definitely a piecer.  Pulling fabrics and piecing is her favorite part, the very best of fun.  She always quilts her quilts herself, and has no time or desire to spend a lot of time improving her free-motion skills.  So she keeps it simple, sometimes using lines, grid or whatever, but her go-to is a meander.  Similar to a stipple but larger, soft and meandering.  And her quilts are magnificent!

To me, the hardest part of finishing is deciding HOW to quilt it.  The last two or three quilts I've quilted, I was most fortunate to know EXACTLY how I was going to quilt them before the backings were even pieced.  Which makes it sooooo easy to finish!

Otherwise, I have to get out my quilting books and my binders (2 large ones) of quilting designs, and sit on the floor of my quilting room, flipping thru, waiting for inspiration to strike.  A "Go-To" quilting design would make it easier.  So maybe I know have one!  Or I'm doing a "SERIES".  Which quilters do sometimes.

I made labels this week for several completed quilts.  You label yours, don't you???  How?  I type them on the computer, including info about it, who it's for (if gifting) when and where I made it and the batting in it.  If a gift, washing instructions.  I add strips on all four sides from my bin of ! 1/2" strips, turn the edges, press, and then stitch down by hand, always in the lower right-hand corner of the back of the quilt.   I do NOT want quilts I gift you to sit on a shelf!!!  They are to be used----cuddled with, hung on a wall, whatever, but USED.  Hopefully......loved.

Also made & stiched down a sleeve, and mailed a quilty gift to a niece on the east coast.

Record-keeping is important, so I designed something for ME that I think will work very well.  I think that deserves its own blog entry, so more on that later.

GLHQ had their annual Mystery Quilt Day, which I always enjoy.  It used to be just "Quilt Day", but a mystery quilt pattern was always involved.  Somewhere along the line, that part of it became larger than life and Quilt Day is always known now as Mystery Quilt Day.  I don't always do the mystery.  Mystery patterns are difficult.  It's easy to get poor results.  Depends a lot on the pattern and the fabric instructions given, how well that is communicated.  This year's committee did a great job, and there were beautiful quilts in progress by the end of the day.

There's a baby quilt I needed to make, so I used a Moda Charm pack for, added 12 more 5" squares from my stash and some wonderful scrappy backgrounds.  Pattern is X's and O's, which was featured in Block Magazine by Missouri Start Quilt Company recently.

Until this is finished, all you get is this tantalizing glimpse.  Sorry for the lack of pictures today!  I promise, next week will be better!