Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corners

I have so many quilts started, that I don't even know how many. I find it useful to have quilts in various stages of completion. Reasons for this may range from, I needed something for a demonstration, to I needed something at a stage where I could bring it to a friend's to work on, to I had to start it to see how a certain idea would work. Even so, there is usually one quilt I am concentrating on; one I am putting the most effort into finishing. Right now that is my kaleidoscope quilt. It is the quilt I wrote my first blog post about. Just to remind you what it will look like, this is the EQ drawing I am working from.


At a recent retreat I got about a third of the blocks sewn together.



This is six rows of blocks. I have ten more rows to sew together. Unfortunately, I have not had much time for sewing lately, but when I can sneak a bit in, I am sewing the corners onto the remaining blocks.



Today, I managed to get 4 rows of blocks pressed while I was on the phone.

I am using my solid quilt blocks for leaders and enders.

 

Right now, progress seems mighty slow, but I am crawling in the right direction. Things seem to take forever at this stage; then all at once you have a finished quilt!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sewing Groups

     I have been a member of a friendship group that I got started from my quilt guild, for so many years now, I'm not sure how many years we have been together-15 maybe. We call ourselves "The Sew Sisters". We meet roughly every 2 weeks. We take turns hosting it, and whoever hosts, cooks dinner. We have a great time together.
     I think I mentioned before that I don't much like to haul my machine around; so I always try to have some kind of hand work to bring. So I machine stitched the binding onto the quilt I got back from my long arm quilter; so I would be able to do the hand stitching at our meeting. 



     More about this particular quilt later.

     Let me first tell you about the wonderful person that long arm quilts all of my quilts, Regina Carter. It gives me such peace of mind to have someone who quilts my quilts so expertly. And, she is such a help with choosing patterns, and thread colors, and the like. She always knows how to make your quilt the best it can be. Regina is also a really good friend and a member of The Sew Sisters; and she has recently taught me how to better join the beginning and end of my binding; and a better way to attach my sleeve so my quilts will hang better.   She just started her own blog this month; so we are learning this blogging thing together. See my blog list for a link to Regina's blog.

     This evening I also got to meet with another stitching group that just started in Porterdale, where I live. This group is brand new; and we had our second meeting tonight. The nice thing about this group is that it encompasses many kinds of needlework, which will give us the opportunity to learn from each other. Tonight we had quilting, crocheting, and needlepoint happening, along with some fun camaraderie and conversation. We meet at a lovely, local coffee shop called Porterdale Perk and Cafe; so no one has to cook, and it looks like we are deciding to meet once a week. I am grateful for this since it will force me to get some sewing done even when other parts of my life are hectic, and of course, I so enjoy the company. Thanks to Joy for letting us use her space for our gatherings. It is so pleasant to just go there and let someone else make delicious food for you, and just sit, and eat, and sew, and chat! 

     So the last couple of evenings, I have been enjoying and appreciating my sewing and stitching buddies.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter Sky

     I have been busy, working on a weaving deadline this weekend, so i haven't been doing much sewing. I was taking a break to cook dinner when this is what I saw out my backdoor, and the sky looked so interesting; I just had to grab my camera.



     I love how the bare trees look against the light and dark clouds. It makes me want to use this image some way. I wish I could take up painting,(like I have time for that!).
     I did make a couple of quilts several years back that were in large part inspired by the way cloudy skies look in fall and winter; and ever since then I have just been fascinated by an active sky.
     
     This one is called Pineapple Storm. It was originally inspired by seeing a bright yellow maple tree against a stormy autumn sky, but then I decided to add other autumn tree colors.


















     This one is called Southern Winter, and I got this color way from looking out my car window at the hay fields and pastures during the winter season.

Friday, February 17, 2012

     It's been a busy week.

     I've been working on a rug order.

     I have started a stitching club in my small town. It was great! We had 6 participants(myself included), and we all had such a nice time that we are going to do it again next week.Yeah! There was quilting(again, that was me-I worked on hand stitching a binding), knitting, crocheting, and even some needlepoint!

     Thursday, I spent the day with The Heart of Georgia Quilt Guild in Macon, Georgia. In the morning I did a trunk show for them; and in the afternoon I taught a class. They are such a fun group and I had a lovely time there. The class I taught was the technique for my Indian Summer quilt.


They are busily getting ready for a quilt show that is rapidly approaching. It will be held March 16-17, 9am-5pm; at Vineville United Methodist Church. The address is 2045 Vineville Ave., Macon, Georgia. If you live near Macon Georgia, I highly recommend this show. These ladies do really beautiful work.

     That's all I have to report for now.  Hopefully, soon I can spend some quality time with my sewing machine!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Retreat Results

      First, I sewed the corners on some of my kaleidoscope blocks. Then I sewed a group of them together, about 1/3 I guess. So, that is all in one piece now. I wanted to do more, but then I got antsy, and went on to something else.



      The reason that I got antsy is that I approach retreats differently than so many of my friends. They use the time to finish up UFOs. A worthy pursuit to be sure. But, when I'm at retreat I love to treat myself to starting something new.

     Several years ago someone gave me this piece of fabric for my birthday. I have held onto it, waiting for the right idea to strike. It is a really large print, and if I cut it up I would loose what is special about it. So. I cut the yard into fat quarters; and went around each piece with 3 borders.

It's not like me to have such large pieces in my quilts, but I have been wanting to experiment with using the prints of some of these elaborate designer fabrics for my design element. I have 4 of these, so the next question was how to lay them out and what to do around them.

I think I will lay them out like this.

 This is a painting by Gustave Klimt. I have always thought it would be fun to make a quilt based on it because it kind of reminds my of a quilt. I thought I could use some of these patchwork looking elements in the spaces around my blocks.




























This is the drawing I came up with. I will put the square in a square block around my big blocks. I will put rows of equilateral triangles in opposing corners, and 1 1/2" strips in the other corners.  I will put 2 1/2" strips down the length of the quilt on either side. The different strip sizes remind me of the different size rectangles in the painting. I hope this makes sense. I think I will be able to communicate it better as I progress with it. It is still very much in my head.

     In the center, I just wanted a big piece of swirly fabric. Some of the ladies were taking a rode trip to a local quilt shop; and I asked Mary to keep an eye out for a likely candidate.










      She came back with this, which I thought was just perfect!

     Since I was planning all along to work on this quilt, I had brought a pile of fabrics that I thought would go well with it. I cut strips from them, for the corner elements.

 
     I cut 4" strips to make the square in a square pieces, and equilateral triangles from. The 1 1/2" strips are for the smaller rectangles; and the 2 1/2" strips are for the larger rectangles. Eleanor gave me those orange print pieces on the top. She won it in the fabric swap that we had. What a pal! She said she picked it because she thought it would go good with my quilt. I agree.  




     I made these strip pieced units for a class I am teach soon. I am doing a trunk show and class for the Heart of Georgia Guild from Macon. The class is Indian Summer which I showed you a couple of blog posts ago. I am trying to show other motifs that could be done using the same technique. When I first got this idea; I was going to do it in Batiks. I have a better selection if batiks; but I have been using batiks a lot lately. They are just so easy to work with. So I am trying to do something different here, but I'm not sure my motifs are showing up as well as I want them to. They are supposed to look like stair stepped triangles.I think I will have to make some more, I am not ready to give up on the idea yet. If nothing else, I think it will be rich looking.


     I also worked on my solid quilt a bit, but I just mostly used it as leaders and enders, so I haven't taken a picture of it yet, since I didn't progress much. 


     The time goes by so fast when your at retreat. You never get done everything you think you will. Or, maybe that's true for sewing at home too. There's just not enough time to sew all these quilts I have in my head!

Retreat Results-Part 3

Lets try to finish up he retreat photos.






This is Page. It is always fun to see what she is working on. This is a beautiful Christmas Cactus.


















I have always loved log cabin. It is fun to see it in the Kaffe fabrics. Angie is working on this. The light centered block will eventually go all the way around a group of dark centered blocks.








This one belongs to Jean. Isn't it striking?!














     Pam was working on this drunkard's path variation.

     Chelsie made this. She is our newest quilter, and we are so proud of her! It was great having her with us.

     You would think that I have included every project there; but not even close. I had hoped to include at least one project from everyone there, but now I realize I didn't even do that. I apologize to anyone I missed, and for anything I got wrong. It was just so wonderful to see and spend time with everyone. And especially it was such a lovely luxury to have all that time to sew

     Next I will show what I worked on; but I will open up a new post for that since i don't want any repeats of the aggravation of the other night.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Retreat Resuls-Part 2

     On to another section of the room.

     This fabulous quilt was appliqued by Shelia, on the left; and quilted by Donna, on the right.

     .


















     This is Hilda with a beautiful applique to make us think of the wildflowers of the woods and springtime.


















     I never would have thought that I would start to get confused about which quilt was made by who; but it is beginning to happen. I think Betty did this, or was it Miss Rose? That group from Macon has so many incredible appliquers in it, that I get confused! Sorry ladies.



     Donna made this cool french braid. Looks like she's getting ready for Valentine's Day.





















     Mani has lots more to go on this quilt; but she's off to a great start. They were really making a statement from where I was sitting.


     This was made by Miss Carol. I just love her fabric choices. way to make great use of those large floral prints! You could see them so much better in person. Too bad I'm not a better photographer. This photo really doesn't do it justice.




















                                                                
This  glowing gradation was pieced by our fearless leader Mary. It's a kaleidoscope-can you believe it?


      Mary is also working on these Japanese ladies. I can't wait to see what see is going to do with those!

      I guess that's all for this installment. Would you believe it? There is more. We had a big room full of ladies, and most of us were there for 4 days, so a lot of projects were worked on. I just love retreats. Not only do you get to visit with wonderful friends; but you get a bunch of work done, and you get inspired on top of that! Believe it or not; I got some work done too. We'll get to that next time. See you soon!













Friday, February 10, 2012

Retreat Results

     Sorry it has taken so long to post the pictures I took on retreat. I had a weaving deadline this week and I had to do that first. Then a weird thing happened. Last night I was composing a blog post with the pictures from the retreat. I was 3/4 of the way through it, when all of a sudden the whole thing disappeared! I must have accidentally hit something I shouldn't have. Maybe I had too many pictures in the post or something. I was quite frustrated as you can imagine. It was late, so I just went to bed. If anyone knows how I can prevent this from happening again I would love to hear about it, because I sure don't want to go through that again. It's no great secret that I am pretty inexperienced with this blogging thing. This time I will break up the stuff from retreat into several posts, in case that was the problem.

      On to happier thoughts. Boy! Did we ever have a great time at retreat! Thanks so much to Mary for all of the hard work she put into arranging it. 

     I shared a corner of the room with Eleanor, Mary Beth, Sonja, and Beth.

     This is Sonja, with her beautiful quilt. I can't show you what else she was working on because it's for a challenge, and we don't want others to see it yet.








Eleanor pieced this gorgeous baby quilt; and did her first ever free motion quilting on it. Brave girl! It can out great, and now, she knows how to do a new thing.


She also finished this lovely skirt for her daughter, Emily.




















     And, as if that weren't enough, she made these fabulous napkins for Mary Beth! She sure made the most of her time at retreat! There are 6 napkins in all. Sorry they aren't focused better, but aren't they fabulous?


     Mary Beth made napkins too, She is going to be ready for some fine dining! Mary Beth also made a skirt for her daughter, but I never got a picture of it.













And, she made a set of pillow cases.



Beth worked on this lovely lap quilt. She designs patterns also, and has a quilt coming out in a magazine soon; I think it's in McCall's. I will add her website next time I see her, or maybe she can send it to me in an email, or comment or something.



 Well, That's all for that quadrant of the room. I don't want to take a chance on overloading this post again like last night. I hope you have enjoyed seeing these beauties. I will post more from retreat tomorrow.










Wednesday, February 1, 2012

T'was the Night Before Retreat

      I haven't had time to write lately. I am leaving for a quilting retreat tomorrow(woohoo!); and I have been scrambling to get my projects ready.

     I finally sewed all of my kaleidoscope blocks together. I had to put them back up on the design wall, so I could arrange the corner pieces.
      
     It is hard to see them, since they are lighter than the rest, but they were very light in my original drawing. This will be a bit dicey. I had to space the blocks a little apart so there would be room for the corner pieces. If I didn't, they covered up much of the block. Either way, it will be hard to see what the finished quilt is really going to look like. All I can do at this point is follow the drawing, and take it on faith that it is going to work out. I plan to sew a couple of rows together at retreat, and make a judgement from that. I had to go block by block and pin the corners on to save the arrangement. Since the markers will tell me where each block goes on the quilt, and also which way each block should be turned; I can sew this together without the design wall. Although I will have to hang it from time to time to see if I really like how it's turning out since the quilt looks so different on the design wall with the extra space in between.

The above is a picture of one block with the corners pinned on. Now I can just sew the corners.

     I also plan to continue working on my solid quilt from last blog post. I will try to put a couple of ellipses on my ellipse quilt. 


 




I might even start a new project or two. I am sure I will have plenty new things to show you when I get back. Right now it's time for bed since I know I stay up late at retreat!
I can't wait!