Monday, December 28, 2015

Allietare, Step 5

I made hedgie pincushions for the ladies in my Tuesday morning breakfast and quilting group. I am pleased with how they turned out and everyone seemed to like theirs, too. It's a free pattern available at

This Singer Featherweight was gifted to me on Christmas by my sister, Chris. She inherited it from her mother-in-law, Lillian. I have named it Lillian in her honor and memory. My brother-in-law has fond memories of his mother sewing costumes on this machine for a local fund-raising event. I oiled and cleaned her but she was in pretty good condition and sewed a beautiful stitch right out of the box. Her serial number is AH651382, which places her manufacture date in June 1948. Singer has taken down the page on their web site with this information. To date this or other machines, ISMACS is your best bet. The web site also features many manuals for vintage machines which they offer as free downloads.

Lastly I have been plugging away on step 5 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt. This week was supposed to be an easy one with no cutting required. We are sewing together pieces previously cut and sewn from earlier steps. I have not been able to get in a full day of sewing since Saturday, when the clue was posted. It seems that it is requiring two attempts to get anything close to correctly sewn once. This despite my efforts to very carefully cut and sew previous steps. There are 36 sewn units shown above. Ten more are laid out on my sewing table and were to be done this morning. It is now nearly 10:30 a.m. and not one stitch has been sewn. Our car has an appointment at the dealer for a recall. It's "supposed" to take only an hour. We will see. There may or may not be time for more sewing today.

To see how everyone else is flying along on this project, click on over to Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 5.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Allietare Clue #4 in Process

So far, I have completed 20 of the 30 sets needed for this step. I am taking my time to get things really accurate. As per Bonnie Hunter's recommendation, I am using the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers and the sets are coming out spot on. If they aren't, it's because the fabric slipped while sewing. I take the time to resew any that aren't just right. It takes me about 15 minutes to sew one set of four if the fabric is already cut. No reason to rush as this week the next clue won't be posted until the day after Christmas.

The neutrals in this photo look pretty washed out. They are mostly white on white or cream with a very light pattern. Really low volume (sorry, Bonnie!). This is on purpose since the constant gray is not real dark and there needs to be good contrast between it and the neutrals.

The colors in this year's mystery are sophisticated and remind me of an elegant Renaissance painting. I am really liking the color palette this year and my choice of fabrics. Another reason for slow sewing - enjoying the process. To see others' choices, click on over to the Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 4.

In between sewing, I have been baking off batches of cookies and wrapping a few presents. I made presents for the other five ladies in my sewing group. Tomorrow at breakfast, they will be gifted, so I may post a photo.

Last night my sister and I took our mother and my sister's mother-in-law for an evening out at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden is all decked out for the holidays in beautiful lights for the seasonal Garden Glow. Here's a taste or two:

This tree has literally several miles (I have forgotten the exact number) of light strings on it. It is a massive heritage tree and you can judge its size when you look at the small lit trees at its base. They are as tall as I am - 5'4".

Trees in the reflecting pool in front of the Climatron - a geodesic dome filled with tropical and subtropical plants.

Henry Shaw's Victorian home all decked out for Christmas with trees in every window. Shaw was a business man who donated his house and land for the Missouri Botanical Garden. The house is open for viewing as well.

More prettiness in lights. There were many, many  more photo opportunities; this is but a small taste of the 1.5 mile walk through the Glow.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cultural Fusion Quilt #3

I finished the third quilt top from Sujata Shah's "Cultural Fusion" book. The pattern is Peppermint Pinwheels. Sujata's quilt was done in red, white, and green, hence the name. I will quilt this one myself. On the prowl now for some suitable thread.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Allietare Clue #3 in the Bag!

I finished 120+ (7 extra) gold and neutral four-patch blocks today. I am following along with Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Winter Mystery, Allietare. These are nice and accurate, too, if I do say so myself. I am being pickier about my piecing this time around. I learned the hard way to do it right and correct inaccuracies as I go along. It will really pay off when the big reveal comes. Things should go together and fit well. To find out what everyone else is doing on this mystery, go to Quiltville's Monday Mystery Link-Up.

I used the June Tailor Shape Cut to cross cut the strips into paired units for piecing. I cut a few of the 2" strips at first using the Shape cut, but found they weren't coming out as uniform and precise as they should have. Switching to a conventional ruler and then sewing the strips with a good 1/4" seam, the strips nested together nicely and lined up really well. Using the Shape Cut to cross cut the lined up strips was fast and accurate. There were very few that had to be adjusted or resewn.

The 36 neutrals pieces I will cut tomorrow. It's our guild's Christmas party and I need to shower and dress for dinner and the meeting.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Allietare Clue #2

I finished the blocks and additional cutting for Bonnie's Mystery Quilt Saturday. I used the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers to make the blocks, after first trying four made with cutting rectangles and squares and flipping the corners. It was no more accurate - and in some cases less so - than using the rulers. Plus there was no fabric or time wasted cutting off all the flipped (and flippin') corners!

There is a mystery involved - one which has not yet been solved. After sewing the 80 blocks and pressing them, I pinned them together in sets of four. Wouldn't you know it, one set has only three blocks! Now where did that fourth one go? I am pretty sure I made all four, since I was cutting and sewing in groups of four.

Update: In putting my sewing room back in some semblance of order, the missing block was found as you can see in the photo above. To see what others are doing, go to Mystery Monday Link-Up.

My sewing room is in an uproar right now. The sewing cabinet is moved out from the wall in order to set a mousetrap behind it. Yesterday afternoon I spied a mouse running down the hall with one of my cats in hot pursuit. The mouse ran into the sewing room and right under and behind the sewing cabinet. Despite setting two of my cats behind the cabinet as well, no dead mouse resulted. Last night, after returning from dinner, two of the cats (there are three) drew my attention with lots of running and eventually growling. I discovered that Charley had a live mouse in his mouth. I picked him up and attempted to put him outside, mouse and all. He dropped the damn mouse onto the floor whereupon it scampered away. He quickly nabbed it again. When next he dropped it, it was dead. Enter the Y chromosome human to dispatch the thing to the outside trash can.

We set up mousetraps in the house just in case there were other vermin loose in the house. They were empty this morning. The strange thing about all this is that the "real" mouser of the three cats, Mickey, slept through the whole uproar on his favorite easy chair. He is the only one of the three that is allowed outside (he was an outside rescue cat that will NOT be contained in the house) and regularly deposits dead things outside the back and front doors. In the past he has brought live snakes, rabbits, and mice into the house. We suspect we were not vigilant enough recently when letting him back in. You have to check and make sure he has nothing in his mouth before opening the door to let him in.

So, maybe I can move my sewing cabinet back in place and get everything plugged back in. I want to sew already.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Allietare Clue #1

I finished clue #1 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt, Allietare, in record time on Saturday. A group of 14 quilters from my guild got together to kick-off the mystery. We had a great time. I was on a roll and when all was said and done, there were 311 HSTs in the bank. The goal was 294; a few extra are always welcome as they seem to get dropped on the floor, etc. Last time I had to stop when assembling Grand Illusion because I had miscounted and was short a block or two here and there. Frustrating when you just want to finish up.

My gray constant is Quilter's Linen by Robert Kaufman in Limestone. It's a little lighter than I thought it would be, so the neutrals in this quilt will be fairly light - a lot of white on white - in order to keep the contrast between the two fabrics.

We were all speculating on Saturday as to what the next clue will be. We are hoping for a bit of color to zing things up a bit. One lady, commenting on the 5.5 yards of neutrals called for in the introduction, wondered if there would be any string pieced blocks in this quilt. I hope so. Love to make them and will break out my treadle for those if they turn out to be included in this mystery.

These are my fabrics, with the gray constant swapped out for the gray fabrics shown. I found some fun fabric online for the backing. There was only enough available to make one third of the backing but the backing has to be pieced in any event.

To see what everyone else is up to, click here Mystery Monday Link-Up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Elf Mode and an Old UFO

I dug out an old UFO last night and have begun to work on one of the three remaining blocks. It's a William Morris sampler, Friends of William Morris. After finishing up the appliqued borders for my guild's 2017 raffle quilt, I  needed something to occupy me in the evenings while winding down and taking in some television. These blocks are all hand appliqued. The border consists of scrolls - one in each of the eight setting triangles as well as smaller complementary ones in the four corners. I have never liked doing anything more than once, so will probably do those with fusible applique. A mish-mash of techniques, I know, but it's the only way that I can see getting it done. Here is a closeup of the most challenging block so far. Those thorns were a literal pain to do.

This project was ordered as a BOM from Stitchin' Heaven, but once it came with the first month's fabrics, my friend and I returned all the materials except the pattern. We did not care at all for the fabrics we were sent. They were really blah and we felt we could do much better. Our LQS had gotten in the entire line of fabrics by Barbara Brackman for Moda based on William Morris' artwork. Not all the fabric is from that line. For example in the above rose block only the background fabric and the green fabric are from that line. The gold and red fabrics are not.

I have ordered BOM projects from Stitchin' Heaven previously and they were all quite nice, so I don't want to bash them. They have a wide array of wonderful BOMs and their customer service is fantastic. When I called about my disappointment in the fabrics I was sent (all high quality - just didn't like them), I was given immediate satisfaction, told to keep the first month's worth and the pattern, and given a complete refund for that month to boot. I really feel that I came out ahead on this as I was told to keep the pattern, which consists of a full-sized sheet for each block.

Word of warning, though,about appliqued BOMs. You need to pin down with the company offering them whether the applique is intended for fusible or hand applique. My preference was for hand applique, but it is apparent that this project was meant to be done with fusible. Many of the points - such as the tiny thorns - are nearly impossible to do by hand applique. I should have modified the pattern before beginning to make them more suitable to that technique. I couldn't tell from the web site prior to ordering which technique was favored by the pattern. I am sure that a phone call would have cleared this matter up had I known more before ordering.

I am making several of these simple table runners for staff at the elementary school where I tutor one day a week. The pattern is a free one from Julie Cefalu at The Crafty Quilter. I have made three so far and started on a fourth today.

They are super easy to make, using just one mini charm pack of 2.5" squares, plus some additional yardage for the alternate squares and borders. Add a bit of jumbo rick-rack and fusible applique and call it done. Of course, you don't have to use a mini charm pack. I just had a bunch of them that have jumped into my shopping bag the past couple of years and decided it was time to use them. The project does not use all the squares in the pack, so I see a few more made with all the leftovers.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keeping Busy

Yes, I know, I haven't posted in several weeks, but that doesn't mean things aren't happening. Problem is, there is nothing finished!

When Bonnie Hunter was here in September, I was able to take her "My Blue Heaven" workshop. During a recent quilt retreat with quilting friends, I finally found a block of time to work on it again. My color way is blue-purple-green-turquoise-neutral rather than the original blue and neutral color palette. This quilt is entirely from stash, and primarily from my scrap drawers. There weren't enough blue strips in the 2.5" drawer for this quilt, hence the expansion to the analogous colors. I will be plugging away on this in between other things that have grabbed my attention. The goal is to get the top pieced before Bonnie's 2015 Mystery Quilt kicks off on November 27. No pressure, though. That takes the fun right out of it. (Yes, I know. The text is a weird color; I cut and pasted from somewhere else and blogspot is not cooperating.)

Several months back one of the guilds I belong to had an evening that involved sharing out of a deceased member's stash. nearly 13 yards of mostly neutral fabrics came home with me. While on retreat last month, I started a new project with the neutrals I acquired that evening. This is as far as I got because mostly these are test blocks to see if I liked the pattern or not. I do, so eventually this will be a full-fledged quilt top. The pattern is "Sliced" from "Modern Neutrals" by Amy Ellis.

Two weeks ago Piece 'n Plenty Quilt Guild in Rolla, MO hosted Donna Lynn Thomas as speaker and workshop teacher. This table runner is from her book "Flip Your Way to Fabulous Quilts" and the specific pattern is "Shimmering Leaves." The plan is to have it quilted in time to grace our family's Thanksgiving table.

A word about the technique used to create the ribboned chevron blocks that allow for the shimmer effect - it is fiddly. Okay, I said it. Not that easy, despite Thomas' excellent tips and teaching technique. It involves a lot of drawing diagonals on the squares and rectangles used, sewing a tiny hair to the right of the lines, flipping, and carefully pressing. Things still go wonky. Did I mention that I loathe drawing lines on the diagonals of fabric? Thomas recommends a tool - Clearly Perfect Angles - to avoid drawing the lines normally required for a flip and sew technique. She sold out of the ones she brought with her, but I ordered one online which arrived the day that leaf #6 was left to do. If you are going to make this pattern or any others from her book, get the tool. Enough said. Things worked out much better with block #6 than with blocks #1 through 5.

Behind the scenes has been a lot of hexie applique. Four 70"+ borders of 1" hexies have been under my (hand) needle as I do my part in bringing our 2017 raffle quilt to completion.

This bundle of fat quarter deliciousness was a door prize from Janie Lou Quilt Shop's grand opening. There are 16 or 17  fat quarters here. I get a different number every time I count and haven't brought myself to open it yet. What fun! Lucky me.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Is Finished!

This won't be going with me on retreat this week. I finished the top. It is a large quilt and I don't have any place to properly photograph it, so here it is on my ironing surface. I left the mistakes in the top, but fixed the blocks that remained so that the border would be correct. In the end it wasn't too much extra work. All ready for Bonnie's 2015 mystery.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Piddling Around

After the debacle with the Bonnie Hunter 2014 Mystery Quilt, I have been procrastinating and just piddling around. The Cultural Fusion Rail Fence quilt that was finished earlier this year, came back from the longarm quilter yesterday. It's now bound and labeled and currently in the washing machine. Tomorrow it will be packed up and mailed to my friend who will use it as a play quilt when the grandbabies visit.

 A closeup of the fun modern panto that Sandi selected. I always give her free rein on quilting my quilts. She has never disappointed me.

At quilt retreat last weekend one of the members had a little table runner project for us to do. I didn't have time as I was on a mission to complete the doomed mystery quilt. But I took the directions with me and she gave me a packet of Christmas charms (the little bitty ones - 2.5") that no one else wanted because they were kind of dark and homespun looking. One of my sisters has a house that is completely furnished with early American antiques. I felt that with a bit brighter fabric for the background and some metallic thread, something nice could be made that would fit with her decor. About that I was correct. The problem, in my opinion, is that this is a raw edge, quilt-as-you-go technique. Yes, it's fast but to my eye it's not all that neatly done.

This raw edge technique is a favorite of Lynn Hagemeier of Kansas Troubles by Moda. She was the guest speaker last year at one of the guilds I belong to. The pictures look nice but up close the technique left a lot to be desired. A friend and I both said we would never make anything using that technique. I am eating my words now. And regretting the decision to use this technique.

You can see a table runner in the photo above that is similar to what we made. Only it looks a lot more even than any of the ones we made, including mine. The squares are laid on top of the background and sewn down around the edges. In the end, I felt there was not enough quilting and I added extra. Maybe that was my undoing. It sure looks rustic.

It was difficult to keep the little squares lined up to see them down. I may attempt this again with some more modern squares for my other sister whose decor is contemporary. Or is this the definition of insanity? You know - repeating the same actions expecting different outcomes?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Uh Oh!

The weekend was a lot of fun with like-minded quilt enthusiasts in attendance. Our guild hosted a weekend quilt retreat and my mission was to get the 2014 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion, pieced. I almost did it. The main "field" is done, with just the borders left to piece and add to the quilt top. This morning as I sat down to tackle this job, I noticed that the 80 blocks left to piece the border from were not all alike. I should have 80 of the blocks on the left above. Instead I have 60 of them and 20 of the type on the right. Oh, dear! What happened here? Basically, it's the old adage, haste makes waste. 20 of the border blocks were pieced into the body of the quilt top. You know what this means! Lots of reverse stitching to replace those 20 blocks with the correct ones.

Although thinking back on things now, I realize that the mistake was made some time ago when the 25 main blocks were pieced together LAST YEAR. As I sat cheerfully sewing along this weekend, the main blocks were already completed. All I had to do was add the green and white checkered sashing pieces to them. Well, fortunately there is another quilt retreat in my future next week. Guess what I'll be doing? As my goal is to get this top finished before the 2015 mystery quilt begins, there is little time for procrastination.

Believe it or not, but there are 20 blocks lurking in this top that do not belong where they are.

Another uh, oh! I see that a number of four patch blocks in the centers of the star are also going every which way. Looks like a total rehab to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Doll Quilt, Neck Ties, and more!

It's been awhile since I posted, but a lot has happened! My daughter was married in mid-September, Bonnie Hunter came to town, and with all that has happened, plus guests from out-of-town, not much time was left for sewing.

This little doll quilt, made from cut-offs from this baby quilt, is ready to be sandwiched and quilted. The larger baby quilt has gone off to Toronto to be hand delivered to its recipient. This doll quilt will follow snail mail as soon as I can get it quilted.

Christine Copenhaver, author of "Necktie Quilts Reinvented", spoke at our guild Friday evening. She displayed the quilts in the book but they have to be seen to be fully appreciated. The lovely silks from discards men's neckties just don't photograph to full advantage. On Saturday we had a half day workshop with Christine and this is the table runner I made from the project packet.

This closeup gives a good detail of the lovely patterns in the ties. And to borrow a phrase from chacuterie, I used everything but the squeak to tease out enough silk from my packet to complete the border.

Someone in the guild gifted me with two bags of neckties, and the results have been so lovely and satisfying, that there are definitely more projects with ties in the my future.

Bonnie Hunter was here the last weekend in September and what a good time we had! Bonnie, Kevin the Quilter, and myself had a fun filled day picnicking in Forest Park, and shopping at the St. Charles Antique Mall. Check out Kevin's extensive post for all the details of that day and the next when Bonnie led us in a workshop of her free pattern, My Blue Heaven. Mine is still in process, but with two quilt retreats coming up this month, there is a better than even chance it will be completed very soon. My colorway differs from the original; there weren't enough blue strips in my scrap drawers to make this quilt, so I branched out to the neighboring colors or turquoise, green, and purple. Here's a sampling of the blocks so far.

A vintage quilt top came home with me from the antique mall. It is a hummingbird or periwinkle star pattern - all hand pieced and in remarkably good condition. Here is a modern version from Red Pepper Quilts. The vintage version was hand pieced and there is no evidence of any type of paper foundation used. I was hoping to learn a little more about its age from our guild member who is an AQS appraiser, but she wasn't at this month's meeting. Here are two closeups of the blocks with a ruler for comparison. These are tiny pieces!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dapper Canon Top Finished

Dapper Canon baby quilt top is finished. Now to sandwich and quilt. This afternoon I am meeting my daughter and two of her friends at the dressmaker's to pick up her wedding dress and learn how to bustle the train. Six days and counting!

Welcome to two new followers - Feathers in My Nest and Sujata!

Friday, September 11, 2015

This, That, and the Other

I am kind of all over the place right now. My daughter's wedding is in a week and while there isn't a lot for me to do, there are a few things that need attention. I will have a house guest and while I have someone to clean the house early next week, she is not allowed into my sewing room. So, the task of getting some order in there is high on the priority list. My husband has a beautiful new suit for the occasion, which he mail ordered. I am very pleased that he got such a wonderful dark grey with chalk pinstripe suit. The downside is that I have to hem the trousers. Not a difficult task, but it needs doing. Sooner rather than later.

Number 1 on today's list is to get another of these lap quilts for veterans pieced for this evening's September guild meeting. They were string pieced on my treadle. The second one, though, is being pieced on my modern machine just for time's sake.We have found that members like a visual on how to work with string pieced blocks. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but there you have it. Again, not a difficult task, but I have to get to it. Also have to print out several sheets of labels for sewing onto the backs of the finished lap quilts.

I finally got around to  piecing a baby quilt for my house guest's granddaughter. The colors are actually quite soft and pale, unlike the photo which I darkened a bit so the colors and patterns in the fabrics were more visible. It is a sweet line of fabric, "Story Time" by Kate & Birdie Paper Co. for Moda. I have made this pattern twice already before which is very unlike me for two reasons. First, I don't usually do the same pattern twice and secondly, I usually don't use all the fabrics from the same fabric line. This pattern goes together very quickly, though, and the fabrics are so sweet. I don't have to think about does this fabric go with that one, etc. The two previously made have been very well received by the mothers, so I am hoping that this one will be a hit as well. It needs to leave when my house guest does, as she will carry it with her when she leaves here to visit her son and family in Ottawa. It will be pieced this weekend and I will guilt it myself as I have the other two. if I don't carried away with anything ridiculous, like quarter inch matchstick quilting, it should go quickly. Famous last words, huh? Oh, yeah, the pattern is "Dapper Canon" from "Simply Retro" by Camille Roskelley.

And, as if I don't have enough to do, I have decided to make a doll quilt from the half square triangle cutoffs from the baby quilt. The "baby" is now over a year old, so a doll or teddy bear quilt seems to be in order. If it gets done, fine. If not, it can't be so expensive to mail such a small item to Canada. (More famous last words?) I love making these little doll quilts. This will be the fourth in a series. Here is number three:

It is made with leftover pieces from the first Rail Fence quilt I made ala Sujata Shah's "Cultural Fusion" book.

Okay, enough procrastination. The lap quilt is calling.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August Hexie Block

Gyleen Fitzgerald, author of "Polygon Affair" among other books, was a guest at our guild in June. I have been following her ever since, primarily on Facebook. She has begun a BOM for those who have signed up with her. This is my block for August. Done in the nick of time. It was not easy. Somehow I lost her butterfly seam approach and got lost in a welter of X, Y, and yes, even Z seams. It's not my best effort. The middle isn't too good and usually I can nail that. I probably should not have tried to make this on a treadle machine. I am not that proficient with it yet. I have been making oodles of string pieced blocks with the treadle and got cocky. It occasioned a goodly amount of reverse sewing before I could go forward again, using a modern machine. Plus the zig zag fabric could have been positioned better. But I hate doing the "f" word thing. You know - fussy cutting. It shows. September's block looks easier. Onward and upward.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fall is in the Air!

The days are getting shorter and the nights are noticeably cooler. Can pumpkins be far behind? I have always loved this time of year and the fabric lines are putting out ever more sophisticated Halloween designs - if Halloween can ever be called "sophisticated." This is a smallish collection of fabrics from  Tidings of Great Joy by Timeless Treasures purchased at eQuilter. I am getting ready to submit another order for more fabrics along this line. What to make...what to make....?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Looking Better

I have added in two more blocks made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I think this is going to help a lot. Between the added texture and the introduction of the turquoise there is much more interest.

The rest of the afternoon I am going to work on my treadle machine and make some string pieced blocks for the guild's QOV project.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Singin' the Blues

I started Peppermint Pinwheels and decided on a monochromatic, subdued color palette. To my eyes it looks rather dead. I am rethinking this idea. Any suggestions? (The upper right block is not yet sewn together, so it looks "off" anyway.)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Off and Running

 Cultural Fusion quilt #3 started! The background - white and black print - is from the Architextures line. The purple dotted fabric will change with each block but remain in the blue/violet/purple spectrum. I have never made three projects from one book. I think I have hit my stride.

Rail Fence #2 is almost finished. Still needs some tweaking. There is one block for sure that I will replace. Two more blocks and then begins the process of deciding on the final setting. The quilt in Sujata's book has 30 blocks in a 5 x 6 setting. I originally thought I would also make that size, but have changed my mind and will settle with a 4 x 5 size. The blocks finish at 16" square, so it's still a fair sized top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rail Fences #1 and #2

Earlier this year, after the book, "Cultural Fusion" by Sujata Shah was published, I made this smaller version of her Rail Fence quilt. Being smack in the middle of finishing things to hang in our guild quilt show, I nonetheless was compelled to break away for long enough to make these twelve blocks.

Fast forward to this month, and our guild hosted Sujata as our August speaker. Wow! She gave us a wonderful evening with a PowerPoint presentation which included many photos of inspiration showing life in her native country of India. Following the slide show, was a trunk show of the quilts that are featured in "Cultural Fusion." It doesn't get much better than that!

But wait! There's more! The next day there was a workshop with Sujata and we all learned how to free form cut blocks for Rail Fence. Here's my progress so far:

I intend to make the full sized quilt this time - 30 blocks! I asked Sujata to pick fabric combos for two blocks, so this quilt will carry a bit of her own "hand". She selected the fabrics for the blocks in the top row, center and second row, right. The layout will also be different, maybe with the blocks radiating out from the center, rather than stair steps as shown here.

These blocks are being cut with a gentler curve than #1.  After hearing Sujata's presentation, I realized that the idea is to show the human hand in the making rather than just to go all wonky and wild. That said, the wonky and wild Rail Fences that have appeared on the web are uber-cool, too. Sujata is a humble person; her warmth and humanity are apparent to all who come into contact with her. If you have the opportunity to hear her speak, or better yet take a workshop with her, do not hesitate. I hope that we see more from this talented designer in the future.

To see more about Sujata, here is a link to her blog, Root Connections , and to the Rail Fence Quilt-Along.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Award Ribbons, Raffle Quilt, and Quilt Love

 One of the guilds that I belong to makes their own ribbons for their biennial quilt show. This is a quilt show year and for the month of October, the show will hang in the local public library. I volunteered to make two this year - one of the first place ribbons and the Viewer's Choice ribbon. Both were paper pieced from silk scraps gleaned from a friend's dress shop.  Blue ribbons are required to have a ruffle and there are prairie points made of folded ribbon inside the ruffle. The green ribbon has a paper-pieced basket filled with embroidered flowers and a little bling in the form of iridescent sequins. These are really fun to do and the sky's the limit; each maker comes up with their own idea for the ribbons.

I have also been plodding away on the background for another guild's 2017 raffle quilt. It consists of hexagons with contrasting edges to give the subtle appearance of a honeycomb. This is beyond tedious even though the directions call for arranging the pieces as half hexies and sewing them together in rows. This is a popular option that is popping up all over the internet. To my way of thinking, it's not easier because when sewing the rows together the places where six pieces come together still have to be precisely lined up. It ain't easy is all I'm saying. It looks particularly hideous right now due to all the blue masking tape pieces which number each individual patch. The tape has been a lifesaver in keeping everything organized.

The background will be overlaid with colorful English paper pieced flowers. The mock up is quite nice looking and no one will ever know of the sweat, tears, and reverse sewing that went into piecing the background.

Last year I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop with Bonnie Hunter in Champagne/Urbana, IL. I blogged about it here and here. Finally I got tired enough of moving those little blocks from here to there and back again to make something out of them. This is the small wall hanging that resulted and which now hangs on the door to my sewing room.

I am looking forward to getting to an endpoint with the beige raffle quilt hexies this weekend. There are several other things calling my name.