A Blunt Question to Ponder

Today I’m “re-blogging” a post by friend Melanie because I think it’s relevant not just to quilters but to anyone with a hobby–which is most of us.  So click through to her site and see what you think.

Catbird Quilt Studio

Do you have a plan for your stash? Not for while you’re using it, but for when you are not?

I’ve heard the old joke, “She who dies with the mosts stash wins!” But it’s not really true, is it? At some point, all of us will be done quilting, whether that comes because of a loss of interest or ability, or due to death. Be prepared for that day.

Will your family look hopelessly at your shelves, cupboards, closets, bins, and tubs, full of fabric and kits and unquilted tops, wondering what to do with it all? I have read too many stories of people whose stashes were discarded because family members were not interested and had no idea of the value. Sewing machines are expensive. Here again, family members may have no idea of value. Would you like your $1,000 sewing machine sold for $75? It might be able…

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Meet Lee Monroe of May Chappell Patterns

Images for this post are the property of Lee Chappell Monroe, May Chappell and used with permission.

Lee Monroe

Lee Chappell Monroe

Lee is a North Carolina quilter, designer, and teacher who came to my attention through her blog, which is titled May Chappell. Like a lot of other people, I initially thought May Chappell must be her name. Here’s her explanation of where the name of the blog actually came from:

Why May Chappell? There are always loads of questions about why the company is May Chappell and not Lee Chappell Monroe. You can read all about it here. The short version is that it is named for an awesome lady, my great grandmother.
Lee designs quilt patterns and sells them through quilt shops.  She went to quilt market for the first time last year, hoping to give her patterns a wider audience.  In addition to quilts, she designs pouches and “loves all things fabric”.  Like many modern quilt designers, she is trained as a graphic artist.  Here’s one of her quilt patterns:

May Chappell quilt

All Strung Up, a May Chappell design

And here are a few questions Lee was kind enough to answer for me, as well as pictures of more of her patterns:
tote bag pattern

Here’s a tote bag Lee designed to use mini-charm squares

Q:  Where do you think the quilting field is going?

A: This is a toughie. I usually see trends in the questions that I get from my students. I’ve had a lot of students lately that are self taught and they’re interested in learning more about precision. I’m a big believer that there is more than one right way to do things in quilting, but there sure are some wrong ways!
Q: What about your personal quilting future?
A: I have new patterns coming for Spring Market that I’m really excited about. I’m a terrible secret keeper so I usually want to put out the design right as I draw it!
Q: I know you took your patterns to quilt market, but where could I buy them?  I don’t see them on your website [Note: They ARE on her website, at least now.  Silly me 😉 ]

Eye Candy quilt

Eye Candy, one of Lee’s quilt patterns

Designer star quilt

Lee’s Designer Star Quilt. If you go to her website/shop you can see a picture of the whole thing.

A:  I love designing patterns and the printed patterns are available through local quilt shops. Because I also teach quilting at local shops, I’m a huge advocate for supporting local! Quilt shops are a huge resource for the sewing and quilting community. If your shop doesn’t have my patterns, they’re available through the distributors. You can also purchase PDF patterns through my website here. I teach all over North Carolina and I’m starting to expand out across the country. Teaching is my favorite part of my job; I’m passionate about quilting and I love sharing that. You can see my teaching schedule on my website, too.

Q: Show us something pretty you’ve made lately!
A: This is a table runner I made for my brother using my Blue Ridge pattern.
table runner quilt

Table runner by Lee Monroe

This post ran longer than usual, but that’s because I just HAD to explain a little about why Lee Monroe has a blog named May Chappell 🙂

A Toddler Quilt and a “Finish”

One of the things I like about Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge is that I get to decide what constitutes a “finish”.  With that in mind, my January “finish” consisted of sending my Charley Harper quilt off to the longarm quilter.  Lest you think that just means handing it over, I had to select backing and make binding so that when it comes back I’ll be all ready to bind it.  So here it is ready to go:

Turning Twenty Again, Charley Harper fabric

Binding is ready for when the Charley Harper quilt is returned to me

I started making the binding when I finish the quilt top for two reasons:  I already have the fabric right there, so it saves time later.  And I don’t accidentally use that binding fabric for something else before the quilt is ready for it 😉

My other finish this week (and this one is really, really finished) is a toddler quilt.  It is 42″ x 52″ and is backed with Minkee Dot fabric.  It has no batting. (Yeah, I know, that means it’s “not a quilt”.  Right.)  This makes it both soft and light, so a toddler can carry it around with him.  He can use it to make a fort, take a nap, have a picnic, or whatever else.  Here it is, from start to finish:

Toddler Quilt

Toddler Quilt

I think this simple design would be good for a donation quilt, as well.  It was quick and easy to make, and I think it shows the cute fabric to advantage.

2015 UFO Challenge

Last year I participated in Aunt Marti’s UFO (Unfinished Object) challenge over at 52 Quilts and found it helpful. I did NOT succeed in finishing a UFO every month, but there were several months when I wouldn’t have gotten even one done if it weren’t for the challenge.
So this year I’m not only taking the challenge, I’m (gasp!) publishing my list here so it’s public! And I’ll post about the finishes as I do them. Here’s the list, some of it in picture form:  If you hover over the picture you can see its caption.



There are two more to be done, but no pictures yet:

11.  Rework the Under the Sea top

12.  Quilt a practice piece I made for a magazine project.

Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge goes like this:  You gather up 12 of your (many) UFOs and number them. Then, each month Aunt Marti posts the number of the UFO to be done for that month.  (By the way, the project for January is #2).

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. If you want to play along, here’s the link to the “rules” at Aunt Marti’s site.

Hope you have a good week at get at least one UFO finished even if you aren’t doing the challenge!

First Finish

Metro Hoops Quilt

Metro Hoops quilt made by Allison at Cluck, Cluck, Sew

Inspired by the beautiful Metro Hoops quilt Allison showed over at Cluck, Cluck, Sew, I mentioned the Quick Curve Ruler as something I wanted to try in a recent post.  Here’s a picture of her quilt so you can see what inspired me.

My clever son-in-law gave me the ruler for Christmas, and as soon as we got home I tried it out.  As always, I learned a lot. Certainly the Metro Hoops pattern is a nice modern alternative to the traditional wedding ring quilt.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the fudge factor required to make it work.

modern quilt block

My first Metro Hoops block

It made a really cute block, but then my inner perfectionist kicked in 😦   The block required a lot of “easing in” along the seams to make the points match up. *(You can skip to the reason why at the end of this post, if you like.)

Luckily, I almost never cut out a new quilt completely before making a test block.  After making one block for this quilt, I decided 5 hoop blocks was my limit.  The blocks really are quicker and easier to make than they look, so I got the 5 done in a few hours. They are nice big blocks (finish 15″) so I had a good start on a baby quilt.

I drew an approximation of the block with my EQ7 program and came up with this layout:

My EQ7 layout for the Metro Hoops blocks

My EQ7 layout for the Metro Hoops blocks

Another half day to make the alternate blocks, then a day to put it together, make a back, and quilt it–and voila!  The first finish of 2015!Metrol Hoops baby quilt

About the Quick Curve ruler:  the women who designed it have lots of cute quilt patterns on their site, so it’s worth checking out.

*BUT, if I make metro hoops again, I’ll modify the directions to make it more to my liking.  I think the basic issue here is that the single curve provided by this ruler is used for both the concave and convex curves in the quilt.  That means there is no seam allowance to make the curves match nicely.  The project is “saved” by the fact that the curve is less than a quarter circle, so it’s possible to fudge the sewing to make it go together without adding seam allowances.  It does work, but don’t think it’s going to fit the way pieces cut from most curved templates do.  If you decide to do it, be forewarned to relax and get rid of the inner perfectionist!

Quick Curve Ruler quilt

Happy new year!