Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back from AR/April UFO Chosen

I just got back from Fort Smith, Arkansas, yesterday. Emily (my daughter), Cade (my 2 year old grandson), and I had to drive back on our own. (Nate was called back to Indianapolis for a meeting and had to fly back to Indy on Sunday.) Being in a car with a 2 year old for ten hours is a real interesting experience. All in all, he was REALLY good. He didn't spend a lot of time sleeping; I spent a lot of time singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and naming the color of every semi we passed.

The UFO due in April has been chosen. Mine is Number 5--Jan Patek's Four Season Quilt. It is wall hanging/table topper size. (See it in the blog Finally--UFO Challenge Choices
.) I have layered and pin basted it already. I think I may have some of the quilting done. I have a lot of running around to do in April--Indianapolis, Rosemont Quilt Show, Paducah Quilt Show, etc. Also, I'm having some work done on the house. We are having hardwood floors put down in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallway. I'm also having a wall taken out from between my living room and dining room. I think my house will be a mess for awhile. All of that might hinder my ability to work on my UFOs just a bit! I'm planning on taking the UFO with me everywhere I go--maybe I can steal a little time to do some handwork on it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gearing Up!

I'm gearing up for the big UFO drawing tomorrow--what will be chosen? I am unable to attend the Stitch & Bitch meeting where the new project will be chosen, so I have instructed my friends to email/call me to let me know which one is picked.

I've been trying to work on some of the ones that will take me the longest to finish. Last night I started working on the machine quilting of the Amish Shadow Quilt (in blog January UFO Chosen )--Number 6 in the UFO Challenge--just in case that one is picked. I always spend way more time machine quilting than I plan to. That one was not finished because I couldn't decide what quilting I wanted to do. I made those decisions last night, marked it, and started the quilting. Monday I finished my Red/White/Blue Table Runner. Maybe that one will be picked! There won't be much time in April to work on the project, because I'll be attending a quilt show in Chicago and the Paducah quilt show.

Yesterday, I spent some time pulling things (yarns, beads, pics, threads, etc.) I thought I might use on my felt piece. I have picked a horse cave drawing for the piece. Now, I'm looking for some linen thread to use to stitch it. The picture of the cave wall looks like the drawing was "scratched" into the wall rather than painted on the wall. I'm thinking the linen thread could mimic the etching. I thought I had some but haven't been able to find it--what a surprise!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wet Felt Workshop

I have to say...I just loved taking this class! The "Felting Flat, Wet Felt Workshop" given by LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) member Judy Goodwin was such fun. We were taught how to make a piece of hand-made felt. The size of my piece is approximately 11" X 12 1/2". All the pieces were very different. There wasn't a great selection of colors, but the point of the class was to learn how to make the felt--not specific design. I really love the process of making the felt--the "something from nothing" concept; I love the feel of the fiber.
After all the pieces were finished, each class participant showed their piece. Suggestions were made as to the possible uses for the pieces. Several participants thought mine reminded them of a horse hide. (It reminded Robin of a squished "yipper dog." She suggested I call the piece "Yip No More!" It reminds me of "road kill" or an animal pelt of some kind. While I was working on it and the wool roving pieces were all wet, it looked like the stuff you would find in your shower drain!) I'm thinking of doing some hand embellishments on the piece--maybe similar to cave paintings of horses or African masks or... Now that I have the piece, I'm not sure what to do with it, but it will be fun experimenting. This is my second "art" piece of the year. I "vowed" to make 12 fiber art pieces by the end of the year. We'll see how it turns out. Hopefully, it looks better than squished yipper dogs and road kill!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm a Bad, Bad Blogger!

Okay...my intentions were good...I took my camera to Quilters Day Out (Tri-State Quilt Day); however, I did not take one single picture! This is the problem with me dragging a camera everywhere I go; I just don't know what to take pictures of. I will try to do better when I attend the Chicago Quilt Show and the Paducah Quilt Show in April. As for Quilters Day Out...it was a really nice day--good show, nice quilts, great speakers, vendors, good location, nice mix of contemporary and traditional quilting (contemporary speaker showing her quilts; mostly traditional show and tell by local guilds)--all in all, a very nice day.

I'm excited about attending a wool felting class tomorrow. I know nothing about it and am anxious to learn something new. I'm hoping I can use it in some of the art quilt projects I have rambling around in my brain.

I mentioned that I would post a picture of the quilting designs I drew up for the latest UFO I'm working on...here they are. I repeated the larger of the two designs in all four corners of the quilt--two were reversed. I used the smaller motif several times. I used the "deli-wrap method" of transferring my designs to the quilt. (See my
Transferring Your Quilting Design to Your Quilt blog entry from January 2009.) That method worked very well for these quilting designs. I also machine quilted smaller "roses" in some of the smaller blocks of the quilt; I did those without predrawing them. I will be hand stitching the binding on the UFO Monday and will post a pic when I get one taken. Stay tuned......

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getting Ready to Machine Quilt

I'm getting ready to begin the machine quilting on yet another UFO (one that is in the UFO Challenge--See UFO Number 9 (which is my 4th of July-Red/White/Blue Quilt). You can see a picture of it in my January UFO Chosen, December, 2008, blog entry. I just couldn't decide what quilting designs to use but have finally settled on some I like. I had to alter them a bit to fit my space, but I think I'll like it. I layered and basted the wall hanging/table topper last week. I just got my machine set up and my quilting design "punched" into my deli-wrap paper using an unthreaded needle--see my Transferring Your Quilting Design to Your Quilt blog entry from January 28, 2009. Hopefully, I'll get some of it done this afternoon. I'll post a picture of the quilting design later this week.

I taught a beginning paper piecing class for members of my quilt guild this past Saturday. I used an original pattern that I had drawn up using EQ6 for the class. The students did exceptionally well. In a three-hour class, everyone got some blocks completed. One participant got all four blocks finished. It is so much fun to see students learning something new. I had forgotten how much I miss teaching.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Update On "Stars for a New Day"--The Quilt Show Block of the Month Quilt

I have been diligently working on my block of the month quilt. I have added the "floater" border and the pinwheel border to the quilt. I am really liking it so far. It sure is a lot of piecing, though.

I also pieced more sawtooth stars for the final outer border. I have finished 35 stars (4" finished size)--only 37 more to go!!!!!!

Transferring a Quilting Design Using Tulle

Sometimes I use tulle to transfer a quilting design to fabric. First, I make a copy of the quilting pattern I want to use. You need a copy; because you will inadvertently draw on your quilt pattern when you are tracing it onto your tulle, and you don’t want to “ruin” your original pattern.

I use a white, “soft” tulle with relatively small holes. Roughly cut the tulle a bit bigger than the block onto which you are transferring the quilting design. Place the tulle over the copy of your quilting pattern. (I usually tape the pattern down so it doesn’t shift while I’m tracing it. I also tape down the tulle.) Now, trace the quilting pattern onto the tulle using a Fine-Point Sharpie marker. When you lift the tulle off the quilting pattern, you will see the design on your tulle.
Next, place the tulle over your quilt block. Pin it in place. Trace the quilting design through the tulle onto your block using a chalk pencil—actually, I like to use my Allary Chalk Cartridge holder. Check my review of this product from February 2009—“
New Review--Marking Tools (Bohin Mechanical Pencil and Allary Chalk Cartridge Set)”. (I think Bohin makes one almost like this too). I tried using my Bohin Mechanical Pencil to mark through the tulle, but the chalk “lead” kept breaking. The Allary Chalk Cartridge makes a thicker line that doesn’t stay on as long as the line made with the Bohin Mechanical Pencil, but it is much easier to use to mark through the tulle.
Once the quilting design as been transferred, I draw over the chalk design with my Bohin Mechanical Pencil. I find that the design will stay on the fabric longer that way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back From The Retreat-More Done & Another UFO

The quilting retreat was a big success! It was held at a southern Indiana state park called Spring Mill in Mitchell, Indiana. What a gorgeous setting for a retreat. We had a huge room with floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of the room. The windows overlooked a small lake in a woods (thus the name of the room--the Lake View Room). Over twenty women worked on a variety of quilted items including machine quilting and piecing table runners and wall hangings, piecing full-sized quilts (one retreat participant completed three good-sized quilt tops), piecing a quilted shawl, hand-quilting quilts, making yo-yos, piecing miniatures, paper piecing blocks, working on rag quilts, and sewing on binding. Another retreat participant finished quilting an entire full-size T-shirt quilt--her first attempt at machine quilting! The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was so nice that on Saturday afternoon I sat outside and hand sewed the binding on one of my table runners. What a treat!
...now, an update on what I did at the retreat. I pieced the top for my Wave Runner wall hanging (above). It was fun to do, and I think it looks way more difficult than it was. I pieced several sawtooth stars, half-square triangles, and pinwheels for my "Stars for a New Day" quilt top, I quilted all three Christmas tree table runners (I posted a close-up photo of one of the trees; click on it to see a real close up.), I machine stitched the binding on all the table runners, and I got the hand sewing part of the binding done on one of the table runners.

(I also spent time visiting with quilting friends I don't get to see nearly often enough, going to a quilt shop in Salem (Craft Town), and eating--(Spring Mill has a nice buffet with a very tasty walnut pie.)) I have to finish the handwork on the other two table runners for the UFO Challenge this month. I'm anxious to get some sewing done here at home, but I haven't even finished unpacking from the retreat yet.

Check back--I'll be posting the instructions and pictures for transferring a quilting design to a quilt block using tulle later this week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Heading To A Show and Retreat

I'm getting ready to go to the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington. I have had "quilt show withdrawal" lately. I'm SO ready! It is a nice little show with good vendors. We always enjoy eating lunch downtown at the Malibu Grill--great little place. If you are heading to the show, check it out. You might try the lime chicken fettucini; that is my favorite!

Our quilt guild retreat is this weekend too. We are heading to Spring Mill for three days of sewing. I am trying to get my projects planned and packed. I have found that to be a difficult task. There are SO many things to choose from! I am taking the cut-out pieces for approximately 50 sawtooth stars that finish to 4" and the cut-out pieces for 144 half-square triangles that finish 2" (for the 2009 Block of the Month Quilt from The Quilt Show--Stars for a New Day) that will need to be sewn into pinwheels.

I'm also taking my three table runners I have to finish for the UFO Challenge--I have to quilt and bind those.
I have a spring wall hanging to work on called A Tisket ...A Tasket... from a company called Lasting Piece. I bought this pattern at the Paducah AQS Show a couple of years ago. I would have bought more last year, but either they weren't there or I didn't find them among all the vendors.
I also plan on working on a wall hanging called Wave Runner (the designer did send me a corrected version of the pattern). I'm thinking I have enough to keep me busy! I'll post what I got finished when I get back. I'm hoping it is a lot!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Work, Work, Work (but somebody's got to do it)!

I have been working on several quilting projects the past couple of days. I am always working on the UFOs that will be coming due in our UFO Challenge. (If you don't know what that is, check back in the archived blogs.) I finished two of those pieces--the Friendship Star Christmas Table Runner and the Blue and Yellow Lori Smith Basket Quilt. I'll be posting pictures of them as they come up in the challenge. Just an update--the new UFO assignment has been chosen. Mine is to finish three Christmas Tree Table Runners (like the one I have pictured below). I had already worked on them some, so the tops are all sewn together. Yesterday, I cut the backings and battings for all three and got them all pin basted. I finished the straight machine quilting on two of them. Now, I have to do the free motion quilting and make the bindings.
I have also been working on my quilt guild program (Glorious Gadgets)--gathering gadgets, reviewing pricing for those, and checking on places where those may be purchased. I also have done some work on a paper-piecing class I may be teaching for the guild using a pattern I created using EQ6. I have a whole new respect for pattern writers!

I'm working on gathering things together to work on at the Spring Mill Quilting Retreat this coming weekend. I'm having a hard time narrowing down my choices of projects (there are just SO many to choose from). I want to work on my The Quilt Show 2009 Block of the Month Quilt--Stars for a New Day. I just printed March's assignment for that quilt; I have to make one hundred and forty-four 2-inch half-square triangles and sew them into pinwheels! I also have to make eight more sawtooth stars. Actually, I have 17 sawtooth stars done (so I'm finished with this month's assignment for those). I have the pieces cut for the remaining 55 sawtooth stars required for this quilt. I would like to get some of those sewn at the retreat. I also wanted to work on a quilt called Wave Runner. I have gathered most of the materials (thanks to the donation of some black and white fabrics from some great friends that are really into stash reduction these days). However, in reading through the pattern, I think there is a mistake in some of the measurements. I really don't want to cut into the fabric until I know for sure. I have emailed the pattern designer with my question but have not heard back as of yet. I'll be sure to post pics from the retreat (if I remember my camera).