Friday, March 27, 2015

Bears in the Suburbs

 This poor quilt sat in the UFO pile for years and years. Six years, to be exact! When I finished the top a year ago, I posted this recap of the project. You can hop over there if you are interested.

I'm in quilting mode, getting a few quilts done for upcoming Habitat for Humanity home dedications. It was easier to get this done after I had an idea of which family it will live with.

I did an overall stipple through the blocks in a medium tan thread. I'm having some trouble with Superior So Fine threads breaking or skipping stitches. This may be due in part to low humidity. Who knew?

I wanted to play a little in the borders, so I treated each one to a different design.

Even though I used a lot of mauve from the 90's, I still like the overall effect. I love the stripe that pulls all the fun colors together. What's not to love about a bear's paw?

Bears in the Suburbs 
 Bears in the Farmhouse Quilt Along by Judy Laguidara
Started February 2009
Top completed January 13, 2014
Quilt completed March 24, 2015
72" X 87"

Monday, March 16, 2015

Great Escape #30

 I'm unpacking from a terrific retreat weekend. I brought waaaay too much stuff! What was I thinking? For Julia and myself, I brought about 9 different projects (only touched 3) and 3 machines (never took out the Bernina).

Here's Julia with our quilting idol, Barbara W. Barber. At last year's retreat, Barbara was telling a story about the "illness" she suffers when she finishes a quilt and doesn't know what to do next. Julia diagnosed her with "Between Quilts Syndrome" and a quilt was born! If you click on the photo you can read the first panel of the comic strip.

Since there's not a really good picture of us together, I thought I'd go with this one that made me laugh.

Julia and I have wanted to make a NY Beauty quilt together for a long time. Last year, my LQS was kitting up block of the month blocks and I couldn't resist. I almost never work from a kit, but I knew we would never make this quilt without one. Julia pieced all the points after a little refresher and some new tips from mom. She sewed the curves on two blocks, and I sewed the other two. Please pretend that the blocks are perfectly square. They have been starched into submission! After we make the rest, we'll trim them up.

Our Saturday workshop was the Sunset pattern by Julie Popa. We did some prep work in advance, so many quilters were able to finish the top during the day. This is mine on the left and Suzy's on the right.

 I used my stash of orange, pink and red. Surprisingly, I did not use a white background. It is a cream with green dots that softens the whole piece.

One of the instructor's friends had pieced all her cut off scraps for the border, which I loved, so I did it too. I was able to get it finished just in time for workshop show & tell before lunch on Sunday.

It's time to start planning for 2016!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday

 I'm packing for a weekend retreat, so my house is turned upside down! I want to bring everything, but that is just silly. How do you decide which projects to bring with you to retreats and sew-in days? To complicate things, this is the retreat that I organize. And. Julia is meeting me there, so I need to bring projects and supplies for her, too. Yup. My car will be FULL!

I did finish a quilt this week- last year's retreat project. I wanted to have it done for show & tell. It looks a little odd, but it makes more sense with Julia's quilt next to it (which is not done yet). Read more about them here.

Holy crap! I just found a 24 year old UFO! I made this wall hanging top with leftovers from the first quilt I made by myself after I took a beginner class in 1990. So this is probably from 1991 or 1992. My points are bad, and the fabric screams 1990's, but it's a good design. Maybe I'll reproduce it this weekend with modern scraps. You know, because I don't have enough projects packed already.

I'm going to pack some more. I'll be surfing the linkup when I need a break.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The One Year Quilt

You've all seen the meme: How long does it take to finish a quilt you're not working on? For this quilt, the answer is one year!  Actual working time? Three or four days. It was a coincidence, really, that I completed it exactly one year after it was started.

At our retreat last year, Julia and I made these jelly roll race tops.

The workshop included instruction on adding piece-lique circles. It was Julia's idea that our circles should make a heart when our quilts are together. Since we wanted to work on this project together, and last summer flew by, we buckled down and applied the circles during Christmas break. OK, I may have leaned on her pretty hard to carve out the time for this.

Not wanting to wait any longer, I quilted mine yesterday. Just before midnight, I took the final stitches on the binding. I'm happy that I'll have it for show & tell this weekend.

My quilting plan revolves around my dislike for marking and burying threads. I quilted organic wavy lines across the rows with my walking foot. When I ran into a circle, I just wrapped around it and continued on.

I did want to do something fun in the circles, which required burying threads. It couldn't be avoided. To make the flower shape, I divided the circle in 8ths with a hera marker. No pen or pencil lines to wash out is almost as good as no marking at all.

For the back, I wanted to use more batiks, but I had previously chopped up my entire batik stash into 9" squares for future Anita's Arrowhead blocks.  I pulled all the colors that coordinated with my top and started piecing. In no time at all, I had a pieced back that really made this a two-sided quilt. I used the same blues and greens from the circles to piece together the binding.

 I'm happy it is done, but it needs its mate! Half of a heart is not very exciting. Maybe I can get Julia to quilt hers this weekend.

 Jelly Roll Heart
Started 3/8/14
Completed 3/8/15
Workshop with Pat Harrison at Great Escape Weekend

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I finished this mini for Julia a couple of weeks ago but couldn't post about it until she saw it. You can read more about its story in that post

There was a lot of random progress this week. Today I made a noodlehead gathered pouch (without the gathers) for our retiring church organist. She'll love the cat fabric!

I started making hourglass blocks for setting my Farmer's Wife blocks. Only 100 more to go! (Sorry- this is a really bad picture, but you get the idea.)

And I did the prep work for a retreat project. I can't wait to get away, if only for the weekend! 

What WIPs are you working on?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Safari Quilt I

 A couple of weeks ago, I took a workshop with Thomas Knauer when he visited Ninigret Quilters. We learned so much about design that will translate to all future quilts. The workshop was called "Quilting with Code" and we were asked to select a word or phrase to translate. I chose SAFARI, the Swahili word for journey. I had envisioned making a mini quilt to commemorate Julia's Journey to Tanazania using the fabrics she brought back.

Here is her mini. It finished at 16" square. It was actually done on February 12, but I couldn't blog about it until she saw it.

 Braille uses a 2 X 3 grid. I blocked it off for you below so you can see the letters. The African prints represent dots, and the solid squares are not dots.

I wanted to quilt a path through the quilt as another reference to the journey. It could be a river, but Julia says it looks just like a cattle path. I quilted lots of pebbles and a few tufts of grass with a variegated gray Aurifil. Grass was the subject of her research project in the Ngorongoro Crater.

I used some linen blend on the front and back for the added texture. It was not the best choice for the binding. It's a little bulky in the corners. Some leftover squares became hanging pockets and the label on the back.

This mini was plan A in my mind, but not the quilt I worked on in class. When I told Thomas the story behind my chosen word, he thought Julia would need to wrap herself in it. So, I set about designing a large lap quilt. The fabric she brought home was a random selection, so it was tricky to bring it together. In this piece, safari is coded across the top and down the left side, then the letters rotate through. 

Top Row: s-a-f-a-r-i
2nd row: a-f-a-r-i-s
3rd row: f-a-r-i-s-a

Neighboring squares are sometimes combined into rectangles, a technique Thomas refers to as enjambment (a poetry term). Again, the African prints are dots, and the solids are not dots. It's a cool piece, but it's not speaking to us. We love the meaning behind it, but we don't love the piece. I even had a quilting plan in mind, with a spiral radiating out from the bright turquoise square (Julia's favorite color). In between the parallel lines of the spiral, I would quilt the places she's been. More could be added as she continues to travel.

When Julia came home and we talked about it more, we decided to use the large coded piece as the back of the next safari project using The Tartan Kiwi patterns. Now that is a plan we both love!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday

 I started a new project and it is going to be awesome! I volunteered to be a pattern tester for Juliet at The Tartan Kiwi. She sent me a copy of her latest design for this handsome lion. Julia and I had fun choosing fabric, and we decided to go scrappy with his mane.

 I started cutting a little after 8am and finished the last seam at about 6pm. It's a big 24" block. This is not a beginner pattern. He's a lot of work, but well worth it! Look at those eyes! When I'm done with this post, I'm going over to The Tartan Kiwi to buy all of her safari animal patterns.

He reminds me of this Tanzanian boy!

In other WIP news...

I finished my Hawaiian applique pillow that has been waiting patiently for 6 months.

When I went looking for the next WIP to work on, I chose this stripey project. Read more about it here.

I also found the fabric for my new pajama bottoms that I bought over a year ago. The pattern has been cut out and they are ready to stitch together. It shouldn't take long, but I'm not good with apparel so I'm stalling. Maybe today?

I thought it was cool that Julia and I were using the same colors this week. I was cutting strips for a retreat project, and she was painting a birthday gift for her boyfriend. Coincidentally, the pattern I'll be working on is called Sunset.

And there was more snow overnight. Because we don't have enough?

Linking up...