Finished Tops!

After much deliberation about layout, I got my Modern Sampler quilt put together last week and sent it off to be quilted.  Here’s the final top:

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler top is ready for quilting!

Then, for good measure, I put together the batik blocks from a swap I was in several years ago and sent that top off to be quilted, as well.

batik quilt blocks

Group batik blocks, put together and ready for quilting

Yes, the sashing DOES vary a bit, because the blocks do.  That’s the way it goes with a block swap.  I love the variety of the blocks and, of course, the batik fabrics.

I’m sending this to Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge, which helps keep me motivated.  What are you up to?

Winner! Online Quilt Retreat

I won a year-long online quilt retreat!  What the heck is that?

Lora Douglas of Dragonfly Quiltworks

Lora Douglas of Dragonfly Quiltworks

Here’s Lora Douglas, one of the teachers from the retreat, to explain.

This year-long on-line, quilt retreat is sponsored by “Adventure Art Retreats”, which was started by Ilysa Ginsburg and Kira Slye. They launched “Polymer Clay Adventure” as an online experience in 2015 and got about 1000 subscribers! They’re adding a quilt adventure for 2016.

There are 12 projects, one each month of the retreat. There will be classes for quilts, placemats, totes, hexies, fabric dyeing, laminating fabric and polymer clay buttons

Roxie bags made by Lara for her Quilt Adventure class

Roxie bags made by Lora for her Quilt Adventure class

.I designed the Roxie Bag as one of the monthly projects for the retreat, and I’ll be teaching it by online video. When I couldn’t find a pattern using flex frame hardware that was easy to make and looked great, I designed my own. It is perfect as a cross-body bag for carrying a cell phone and other small items.

“Quilted Adventure” is the online equivalent of a traditional quilt retreat where you meet other quilters while learning new things.  “Retreaters” can take a new class each month; participate in live-stream events with our host, Vanessa Vargas Wilson of The Crafty Gemini; receive monthly clues for a mystery quilt; and take part in swaps. There will be a newsletter to keep participants informed of upcoming events. The instructors will be available to answer questions throughout the retreat. It’s going to be fun!

Another Roxie bag--how many samples did she make???

Another Roxie bag–how many samples did she make???

I’m gathering my supplies, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing some of my projects here as I participate in the retreat.  For now, If you want to know more about Lora or the Quilt Adventure online retreat, here’s the link for her site. There’s a button there to click for finding out more about the retreat.  (Or, if you just want to buy a Roxie bag after seeing it here, her site has a link to her Etsy shop as well. I won’t tell if you want to buy it instead of making it yourself 😉

Retreat!

There was a BIG finish at our last retreat:

traditional quilt

Quilt of 3392 Pieces!!!

Here is Jerri’s quilt of 3392 pieces, made from a pattern in one of Bonnie Hunter’s books. Jerri made this for a Little Sisters of the Poor fundraiser, and it certainly should raise a lot of funds!  It is beautiful.  And she had the sense not to count the number of pieces until she was FINISHED with the project!  Even so, it took almost a year to complete.  I am VERY impressed that there is not even ONE block is turned wrong!.

This is a HUGE quilt!

This is a HUGE quilt!

And here is the latest stack of donation quilts from our group.Donation quilts

So far everyone is keeping up with the commitment to make a donation quilt each month, and one over-achiever is several months ahead of the rest of us!!!  As you probably can see in the photo, another over-achiever quilts hers by hand!  I am always amazed by my very accomplished friends!

modern quilt

As soon as Jerri finished the BIG quilt, she started this beauty!

Our latest block swab is monochromatic slabs.  Each of us chose a color we wanted, and as soon as we swapped one group member turned her blocks into a donation quilt.  Talk about quick work!

slabs

Donation quilt from green slabs

When I got the slabs, I immediately started cutting them up and adding accent strips of blue.  So far I really like the result.  More on this later.

Slabs, accent strips

Slabs with accent strips.

So, what’s new with you?

 

 

Slabs in 4 Colors

One of my quilt groups is swapping slabs, those blocks made up of scraps all in a single color range.  (The name was given to this block style by Cheryl Arkison, who blogs at Dining Room Empire, if you want to check her out.)  We all have MORE than enough scraps in all possible colors, so each of us requested slabs of a specific color.

It turns out these are addictive!  Usually we make only 2 blocks for each recipient, but I got a little carried away….and this is only half the blocks I’ve made so far.

Improvised quilt blocks

Just a few of the slabs 

Aren’t they pretty?  And such fun!  So fair warning to my quilt group friends:  I HAVE the scraps and I know what to do with them!  You will be getting lots of blocks this time!  Which should give the option of taking a break to those of you who have weddings to plan, etc.

If you think I’m kidding about making extra, just look at the scrap bin. Something must be done!Scrap-Basket

What are you doing with your scraps these days?

Leaders and Enders–Have You Heard?

One of the best things about the blogosphere is that I get tips all the time from other quilters.

I recently learned from Melissa at Happy Quilting how I can be piecing two projects at once!  What could be better?

I’ve always used scraps for starting and ending a series of chain piecing because that gives me all the pieces at once, still without having to cut off thread tails.

The scraps used to start and end sections of chain piecing end up looking like this--pretty ratty!

The scraps used to start and end sections of chain piecing end up looking like this–pretty ratty!

Here’s an explanation of chain piecing in case you aren’t familiar with it.

To piece a second top as “leaders and enders” instead of using scraps to chain piece, I figured it had to be a SIMPLE top or I’d end up confusing things for sure!  So when one of my quilt groups decided to exchange improvised blocks (sometimes called slabs if they’re all one color), it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make the slabs while working on something else.

Improvisational piecing

This is a pile of scraps..

I’m piecing slabs from scraps and they’re improvisational, so there ARE no mistakes, only opportunities for further improvisation!  Woo-hoo!

Improvised quilt block

And this is a block improvised from scraps and cut to size!

SO, while piecing the tops I wanted to consider for the Quilt Alliance challenge…

I also pieced several improvisational slabs for friends.

Improvised blocks

Blocks improvised from scraps

Win-win!  And most importantly, it was FUN 🙂

March News x 3

First, here’s the stack of quilts my group made for Ronald McDonald House:Donation Quilts

Second, here are some other projects along the way:

Improvisational Quilt Blocks

Gwen Marston Style Improvisational Blocks (made by me)

Group-block-2

One of the blocks from our group block swap (24 inches square!)

Jerri's start on a BIG Bonnie Hunter quilt

Jerri’s start on a BIG Bonnie Hunter quilt

improvised blocks

Improvised “slabs” for our next group block swap!

Finally, the March finish (as in, I am DONE with this one!)

Storm at Sea

Paper Piecing Gone WAY Wrong!

I bought this paper-piecing pattern for Storm at Sea in 2006 and cut the pieces over a (long) period of time with the intention of making it of scraps from other quilts.  What I FAILED to do was to make a sample block before cutting the whole thing!!!

I wanted to paper piece this design so the points would be perfect.  Instead, carefully piecing along the lines on the paper produced what you see above.  The pattern and paper went into the trash, and the thousands of pieces I cut will be re-purposed!

I almost always make a test block, and now I expect it will be always-always instead of almost-always 😉

The year so far…

Oops!  It’s the end of June already, so half way through 2014!  Therefore, here are pictures of a few of the things I’ve done so far:

scrap quilt

Quilt Alliance Challenge 2014

Dotty-Stripes-Detail

Detail of a quilt I submitted to an IQF contest

Next is the June “finish”.  I’ve been sending a finish every month to Aunt Marti at 52quilts because I need the motivation of her challenge to get some of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) cleaned up!  As you can see, this is pieced but not quilted; Aunt Marti let’s YOU decide what qualifies as “finished”!  And after 2 years staring at these HSTs (half square triangles), I think putting them together into a top for a donation quilt qualifies as “finished”!  So if you need motivation to finish some of your UFOs, click the link above and head over to her blog 🙂

pieced quilt top

Donation quilt top is the finish for June!

improvisationally pieced quilt

In Fairyland, entered in the Vermont Quilt Festival

improv pieced quilt

Improv 9 Patch for Ronald McDonald House

As always, 20% of the projects took 80% of the time!  So it’s good to have the little pouches and swap blocks to be done relatively quickly!  What have you been up to?

Get a Quilt Group!

Joining, or forming, a group of quilters is a great way to make friends, learn skills, enjoy mutual support, and have fun.  

This little wreath was made as part of a guild program several years ago

This little wreath was made as part of a guild program several years ago

I’ve moved often, and have found that joining a quilt group is one of the best ways to find interesting friends in a new place.  It’s also a great way to find friends even if you never move!  I’ve met a lot of interesting women (and a few men) who never would have crossed my path if I hadn’t joined with other quilters.

A friend and I taught ourselves to quilt from Lesley Linsley’s original Weekend Quilt book, but there was so much more to learn when I met other quilters!  Quilting friends have taught me new techniques and gone with me to classes where we got new ideas.  Quilt guild programs and “show and tell” have been invaluable in expanding my skills and ideas.

The rest of these pictures are from a current block exchange with one of my groups

The rest of these pictures are from a current block exchange with one of my groups

I belong to multiple quilt groups, and I have supportive friends in each of them.  One of my best friends formed a very small group (4 members).  We do a retreat together twice a year where we make quilts and talk about our lives.  Much is accomplished in several ways!  I don’t know about the others, but I consider the mutual support of these women one of the things that keeps me sane.

If you’ve been hesitant to join a quilting group, now is the time to “just do it”!  A quilt shop can direct you to local groups and you’ll learn about others from

Needle-turn applique by my friend Jerri!

Needle-turn applique by my friend Jerri!

there.  You can find the nearest Modern Quilt Guild by looking on the national Modern Quilt Guild webs

Design from a Craftsy BOM (Block of the Month) class

Design from a Craftsy BOM (Block of the Month) class

ite.  Have fun!P1000621

Design from a Craftsy BOM class

Design from a Craftsy BOM class

P1000611

Another swap block by a friend

P1000613