Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More from Paducah 2014--Basket Quilts

I always find the AQS show in Paducah to be a more traditional show than most, but I felt that was particularly true this year. There were several recurring "themes/techniques." There were several basket quilts. I took these pictures of two of my favorites; then, I realized (as I was putting these pics together for this post) that they were made by the same person, V'Lou Oliveira.

The name of the above quilt is called "String Baskets." The black really makes the baskets pop. I think using all different blacks (rather than one black throughout) makes this quilt much more interesting. Why use one fabric when you can use "hundreds!"

The quilt above is called "Easter Baskets." I love the lively color scheme and the wonky basket shapes. This quilt definitely makes me smile.

Stay tuned for more Paducah quilts and comments.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Block of the Month Quilts


I showed you my first block and explained the reason behind my doing this block of the month quilt here. I recently got my second and third blocks finished. Here they are.


I have shown you some of these blocks for this block of the month in a previous post. This is the last block I had to finish to get caught up--just in time since May is just around the corner!

If you are at all interested in jumping into doing these blocks of the month, you can find the links in the previous posts referenced above. They are really fun, free, easy, and scrap busting!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Rotary

I hadn't been to the quilt show at the Paducah Rotary Club for quite awhile. They usually have The Hoffman Challenge and an antique quilt show going on (along with several vendors) during the same days as the big AQS show in Paducah. I figured it was time I checked it out again this year.

I must say, I'm ALWAYS amazed when I see the antique quilts. How those tiny pieces ever came together to make those wonderous pieces of textile bliss I will NEVER know. To think that they were made without the use of acrylic rulers and rotary cutters is even more amazing. I remember my grandmother cutting out quilt pieces using scissors and templates cut from brown paper bags. In my mind's eye, I can still see her holding the paper template against the little piece of fabric (with just her fingers--no pins) and cutting the piece out with her scissors. Amazingly enough, the vast majority of her quilts ended up flat!

I didn't take lots of pictures at the rotary; but since I'm currently enamored with hexagons, I DID take a picture of my favorite antique quilt at the show. (Evidently, I'm not the only one enamored with hexies. The winning "1st Place, Bed Quilts - 1st Entry in a Paducah Contest" sponsored by Statler Stitcher at the AQS show is a quilt with hexagons. "Perseverance," contains 10,509 half-inch hexagons! Here is the antique hexie quilt I found at the rotary show. It was labeled, "Mosaic Quilt...made approximately 95 years ago with a very deep scrap bag of fabrics covering a 20-year period." As it is with many quilts of this time period--the 1920s, the quiltmaker is unknown. It is hand pieced and hand quilted and measures 62" X 80". There are over 8,000 hexagons in this quilt (back when there were NO pre-made templates).

This is the full-on view of the quilt. Sorry this is a bit blurry. I had to get into a vendor's booth and QUICKLY shoot the picture between shoppers. The next two are a bit better.

There are a WHOLE lot of little hexagons in this quilt!

I have some pictures from the "main" show to share with you later this week. Check back.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paducah 2014

Let me start off this post with a little rationalizing--I didn't get to come to the Paducah quilt show two years ago, and I was here for only a day and a half last year (before the show started) and had to leave early because my Dad got really sick. I bought VERY little last year (definitely not enough to write about). Now...

Does this look like a vendor's booth at a quilt show? Well, it looked like that to me when I laid it all out tonight! This is my "haul" from Paducah--so far.

I set out to get white and off-white tone-on-tone fabric for the scrap quilts I've been making. (I'm trying to use up my stash of dark fabrics I won't use in my art work.) I also will be using the whites for the background on a quilt for my granddaughter. My criteria for that fabric was that I had to actually like the fabric and I had to be able to get it at a bargain price. Well...if you look at the back left of the "stuff," you'll see I succeeded with that objective. I also wanted to get various shades of black and gray fabrics for the new art piece I'm working on. I did that--front right. I also picked up some fabric I couldn't resist (like the fabric to the left of the black.) I also had fabric for my granddaughter's quilt on my "Things to Get While at Paducah" list. I didn't want that to be too baby looking, so I got some Kaffe fat quarters and a jelly roll. I didn't pay more that $6 per yard for any fabrics (except the Kaffe stuff), and at least half of it was $4 a yard! Now how can a good quilter pass that up? I scored 53 1/2 yards of fabric plus one jelly roll!!!!!! OK, stop know you would have done the same thing!

As you can see, that isn't all I got. I added a king-sized batt (on my list), two snow-dyed ponchos (next to the batting), two new black Frixion pens, some RetroClean (hopefully, that will work to clean some really old quilts and tops I'll share with you later and also on my list of things to get while in Paducah), one pack of Sulky Petites thread, a Cherrywood hand-dyed t-shirt, 16 books (all half or more off the original price), pigma pens, Zentangles tiles, and blending stumps. All in all a MAJOR haul. I LOVE everything I got and will put it ALL to good use.

What's pretty funny is that the actual show hasn't even started yet! I'm hitting the show and all the show vendors tomorrow. I'll let you know how I do. If you aren't sure whether to make the trek to Paducah, come on down. There are some GREAT bargains to be had. I just LOVE shopping for quilty things...don't you?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fifty Shades of Gray--Post 2

If you are wondering what this blog post is all about, see "Working on a New Art Quilt--Fifty Shades of Gray."

My first step was to convert the photo to a drawing (sketch). I used an app on my iPad called "Photo Sketch."

Next, I darkened the lines of the photo so I could get a better copy and, also, to define the lines on which I'd need to sew.
My next step is to take this sketch to Staples and have it enlarged. I'll let you know how that goes.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Working on a New Art Quilt--Fifty Shades of Gray

I mentioned, in one of my latest blog posts, that I am going to be starting a new art piece and that I'm going to be documenting my progress along the way. Well, here goes...

I've had a picture in my "Inspiration" file for quite some time. I took the picture while I was with my husband on one of his business trips. I was in the hotel looking out over the city. (I can't even remember which city it was--they all run together after awhile.) Anyway, this is the picture.

It came to mind because SAQA currently has a call for entry for an exhibit called "Concrete and Grassland." This is the part of the "show concept" that made me think of this photograph--"This call for entry asks artists to submit works that explore either the soft lines of nature or the hard lines of urban structures..." I'm thinking this photo fits the "hard lines" part; the lines are what drew me to the photograph to begin with. I don't know if I'll try to get into the exhibit or if I'll get it finished in time, but it has given me an incentive to get to work on a new piece. Now, I just have to figure out how to put my rendition of this photograph into fabric.

Look for my Fifty Shades of Gray (so named because I'm thinking of making this first piece in lots of shades of gray) blog posts to follow my progress (or lack thereof).


Friday, April 11, 2014

New Kicks

When I was in Missouri awhile back, I bought some new Sketchers "Go Walk" shoes. I bought the lightest color (closest to white cloth) they have, but I just CAN'T wear PLAIN sneakers. I finally got them finished. What do you think?


I think I can wear them now. (I need a "smiley" emoticon.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

While the Cat's (Husband's) Away, the Mice (Quilter) Will Play

For those of you who read the last post, I DID reconstruct the block that had been sewn incorrectly. It wasn't fun, and it took awhile, but I'm happy with the top now (at least I thought I was). Every time I looked at it before the correction, my eye went directly to that block. THEN, one of my readers sent me an email and asked me if the block above it was correct...

Nate has been on a cruise for a few days, and I sewed from morning till night every day while he was gone! I had sewing/quilting "stuff" ALL OVER the house. Do you ever do this? You might ask, "Why aren't you sewing in your studio?" Well, I don't have a DVR in my studio (I might have to remedy that!), and I needed to catch up with some shows I had taped.




You can see my new Sketcher Go Walk shoes in this picture. I'm in the process of Zentangling on them. As a side note--I'm having my stitching group here today (and my husband is coming home tomorrow), so the house is all cleaned up. I even cleaned my studio and worked down there last night.

I finished my large queen-size quilt top and made blocks for the Country Threads block of the month quilt. I only have one more month to go to be caught up with that. Here are my Country Threads blocks.

The blocks are all different sizes. If you are interested in this Block of the Month project, head on over to Country Threads where you will find the instructions for the blocks. I've enjoyed working on some traditional blocks for a change. It is a good diversion AND uses up a lot of my fabric that I won't be using in my art quilts.
For my fiber art friends who read my blog (if there are any left), I am starting a new piece and finishing another. I've decided to document the work on this new project on my blog. We'll see how that goes.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Does This Ever Happen To You?

As I was completing my traditional LARGE queen-size quilt top, I noticed something that didn't look quite right. There was a block in the last row that didn't look quite right. I thought, "How can that be?" I remembered that I had taken a picture of all the blocks I had put out on my studio floor. I had really checked them out to make sure they were laid out correctly. When I went back to really scrutinize the picture this is what I found.

I had labeled each block with the row number and position of the block in the row (something I usually do not do). It had gone together SO smoothly. How could this have happened? When I studied the error, I realized the block placement was correct; the block construction was the error. Luckily, the block wasn't in the center of the quilt; but, nonetheless, it would be a pain in the butt to take out. What do you think? Did I leave it this way and call it my "humility block" or did I take it out, take the block apart, remake the block, reposition it, and resew it into the row?


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Look Ma--No Pins!

I'm still working on my traditional quilt. I just thought I'd share this picture with you.

Now, those of you in the "Quilt Police" will probably find fault in the matching of the seams, but for the vast majority of my friends (and definitely for me) the matches look pretty good. This quilt has a "ton" of seams to match. If I had pinned every one of them, I would have been working on this quilt for months and months. It is NOT an heirloom quilt; it is a scrap quilt. I expect it to be used and loved. That being said, I still expect the workmanship to be good. I did not use a single pin in the construction of this quilt.

"How did you do that?" you might ask. I find that careful pressing (seams pressed in opposite directions) allows for the seams to "snuggle" up to one another. If they are having a "snuggling problem," I use my trusty porcupine quill to push/hold them together. That porcupine quill is indispensable. I have found them at random booths at the Paducah quilt show, and I have purchased them from St. Theresa's Textile Trove. I imagine Becky still has some; contact her here if you are interested. While you are on her website, check out all the other great stuff she has.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Working on a Traditional Quilt

I worked on some traditional quilt blocks during our guild quilt retreat in February. I really thought I got a lot done, but I didn't realize until I got home that I needed EIGHTY-ONE blocks for the size quilt I needed. I think I finished twenty some blocks at the retreat. Well, I have been worked on those remaining blocks this week while my husband was in Vegas.

I was a bit worried about a place large enough to lay out the blocks but found a spot in my studio. I laid the blocks out and...wouldn't you know...I was short ONE block!

I decided I'd not only make that missing block, but I'd make enough for another row, so the quilt would be rectangular instead of square. So, now I'm on my way to making TEN more blocks. If you are interested in this pattern (which is a great scrap buster), it is a Kaye England Signature Scraps Pattern called Bordered Nine-Patch. You can find it here--Bordered Nine-Patch.

I haven't done a lot of traditional piecing lately, but working on these blocks has been somewhat theraputic. It almost feels like meditation when I work on traditional blocks (and most of my family tends to like my traditional pieces as gifts better than my art pieces). Making traditional blocks is easy work for me--unlike working on my art pieces. I know the art part comes easy for some artists; but that doesn't come easy to me. It is WORK. I find working on my art to be invigorating, challenging/hard, rewarding, scary, meaningful, exciting, and so much more. When I need a break (time to "rest" or when I just need to make a gift); thought, I find myself turning to traditional quilting. When I need a "hit" of creativity, I work on my art.