Quilting Thanksgiving

Gratitude is always a good practice, so it’s especially nice to have a holiday specifically dedicated to thanksgiving.  Here are 10 reasons I’m thankful for quilting:

  1. Every project is a new learning experience.  Even if it is, sometimes, “another *%@!! learning experience” 🙂

    rotary cutter accident

    A learning experience!

  2. There is no failure. Projects that don’t turn out as planned can be recycled into something.  (It may take a while to figure out what.)

    This one had to be cut up and made into placemats!

    This one had to be cut up and made into placemats!

  3. Friends.  Quilting is a great way to meet interesting people and make new friends.  I love making friends online, too, even though I may never meet them in person.  It’s such fun that people from 3000 miles away follow my blog and I follow theirs.

    A new friend holding up one of my quilts at a recent guild talk

    A new friend holding up one of my quilts at a recent guild talk

  4. Quilting is a great creative outlet, whether or not I choose to be an “artist”.

    Gwen Marston iQuilt class

    Quilt made for a class with Gwen Marston

  5. Gifts.  I’ve made quilts, placemats, table runners, potholders, and bags to give to friends.

    Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

    Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

  6. Opportunity to give to the community.  I make quilts for Ronald McDonald house.

    One of my quilts for Ronald McDonald House

    One of my quilts for Ronald McDonald House

  7. Color!  Who doesn’t love playing with all the beautiful fabrics?

    Yummy fabrics at Studio Stitch, where I sometimes teach

    Yummy fabrics at Studio Stitch, where I sometimes teach

  8. Socializing: it’s great to get together and work on a project with friends.

    An especially quilty friend!

    An especially quilty friend at a sewing group

  9. Being alone: it’s equally great to spend a quiet day alone in my studio

    View from my home

    View from my home

  10. Problem solving: Many projects present problems that need to be solved, and I love the challenge.

    modern quilt

    I enjoyed the challenge of designing and making this quilt

What are you thankful for?

Review: Karen Combs Teaching Tumbling Blocks

Karen Combs‘ Tumbling Blocks class, which I took at AQS-Chattanooga in September, was one of the best quilt classes I’ve ever taken. Of course, “tumbling blocks” is a traditional design, but I always like a challenge.

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks, made in class with Karen Combs

Karen is so well organized and clear that I had 4 blocks made by the end of class and had started on the background! Her method for the Y-seams was so well explained that there is no need to even consider the “cheater” tumbling blocks made with half square triangles.

One of the “secrets” to making this block easy is to buy ombre fabric that varies from dark to light in the same color, so you don’t have to hunt down 3 values of the same color individually!  Of particular note, Karen showed us how to use a standard quilting ruler to cut the blocks–NO SPECIAL RULER REQUIRED!  I think this is notable in a field where so many teachers are selling their own rulers, which are then needed for the way they teach a class.Karen Combs class review

Karen’s class sample is a table runner, which probably does show off the blocks a little better than placemats. But I have more table runners than I can use, so placemats it is.

The quilting is done to emphasize the 3-dimensional aspect of the blocks, so I imitated what Karen had done.  The background is quilted with random loops.Quilting Tumbling Blocks

I’m pleased with this project, and I certainly recommend you take Karen’s class if you have the chance!

Tuesday Quilters’ Show

One of my quilt groups (which I seldom attend because it meets during the day and I work full time) is having a little show at the church where they meet, so I stopped by to take some pictures.  Most of these ladies are traditional quilters, and many are quite accomplished.

quilt show

The purple diamonds near the center feature geckos fussy-cut from a batik

One of the women has really gotten going on miniature quilts, so this next bunch are all by Maryann Budahl. They are under 12″ x 12″, and they are NOT as wonky as they seem in the pictures–some were hung too high for me to photograph them well.

miniature quilt

Look at that quilting!

You can click on any of these little quilts to see it up close.

Here are a few of the other quilts on display:

miniature quilt

This is a miniature by Susan Roper.

There were several Christmas quilts:

Christmas quiltChristmas table runnerSeveral full size quilts were draped rather than hung, so I couldn’t get a complete picture of them.

traditional quilt

traditional pieced quiltAnd here are some medium-sized quilts:

star quilt

Christmas sampler quilt

A Bird, Several Houses, and More by Maryann Budahl

And finally, a quilt that looked pretty modern to me:modern wall quilt

There is a fair amount of overlap between this group and the Smoky Mountain Quilters (of Franklin, NC) who will be having a show in September, so I look forward to seeing more quilts soon.

 

Projects 2013–Part I

For some time I’ve been meaning to add to my blog with a gallery of projects for each of the past several years.  I’ve been held up in part by the variable quality of my photography over the years, but I’ve decided to just start anyway.  Here are some projects from 2013.

I entered several national contests in 2013, the year I also started this blog.  Here is the quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY challenge and chose as the header for my blog:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

I made this quilt for the Michael Miller challenge in 2013:

Michael Miller Challenge 2013

Packet of Posey Seeds

And I made this little quilt for the Pantone Challenge:

Applique quilt

Radiating Orchid mini-quilt for the Radiant Orchid Challenge

I attended some wonderful classes with Laura Wasilowski in 2013, and made this little art quilt:

applique art quilt

Leaf, made in class with Laura Wasilowski

I did some “crafty” things in 2013, including chambray shirts decorated with orphan blocks and matching T shirts for a special baby and his special Dad:

Here are a set of placemats and two table runners from 2013:quilted placemats

leaf runner

table runner

Table runner made from a strip of leftovers

Also in 2013, I made an apron for a special friend and a caddy for carrying my iron to classes and retreats:

2013 was also a good year to make pillows for friends and to use up orphan blocks:

Well!  That’s it for special projects from 2013.  The actual quilts from 2013 are up next–more to come!

Final Finishes!

I got these two quilts back from the quilter last week, so I put the binding on and have my final 2 finishes for the year!

modern quilt

This binding was made from the remaining black and white chevron fabric

I finally finished the eternal paper piecing for this quilt and I’m having fun arranging the blocks.

modern quilt

The pattern is Lombard Street, by Sassafras Lane Designs

Here are a few of the other projects I’ve done this year.  You can click on any of them for more detail.

And finally, here are a couple of things I had published in Modern Quilts Unlimited:

Can’t wait to start next year’s projects!  Woo!

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 😉

Artsy Table Runner

YP1I’ve been looking at lots of beautiful pictures of art quilts. Also, the monthly challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild of Franklin (NC) was to make something including prairie points.

For years I’ve had Susan K. Cleveland’s Prairie Pointer, intending to make something with prairie points “any day now”. (Raise your hand if you DON’T know how THAT goes!)Susan KThe stars finally aligned, and here is my first crack at a table runner combining all of the above.

As expected, Susan’s Prairie Pointer tool worked beautifully. I’m a big fan of her techniques, and teach some of them in my classes.  The starting squares for the prairie points ranged from 1-1/2″ to 2-1/2″ in size, so they were all pretty small.

Prairie Points

Prairie Points

I like this runner pretty well, but I just KNOW I could do better! So here goes with another idea I’ve meant to try for some time: working in a series. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

What is a Liebster award?

liebsteraward-roses-tag_sewing1Turns out the Liebster award is a tag game for helping readers discover new and under-read blogs.  Wanda over at Wanda’s Life Sampler tagged me.  So thanks to Wanda, and I’ll be passing it on to some other bloggers. You can check them out at the end of this post.

Here are my answers to Wanda’s questions, but I changed some of them! The next folks in the chain might change them, too…

1. What one thing do you believe with your whole being?

It’s important to learn something new every day.  It may be positive or negative, but all knowledge is useful eventually.

Storm at Sea

I learned to make a sample block before cutting out the whole quilt!

2. What have you made lately?

I’m glad you asked that question!  This month’s finish is the top for a “Black and White and Red All Over” quilt for which I’ve been collecting fabrics for some time.

Lemon Pepper quilt pattern

This was made from a pattern called “Lemon Pepper”, but of course mine is more red pepper!

I also sent 5 donation quilts to the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House.  Three were finished this month, 2 previously.  Here are some of them:

3. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or neither?

Presently neither.  Though I do miss having a cat right in the middle of every project and cat hair everywhere 😉cat

4. Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?

Retired from my “day job” and in my quilt studio full time!

5. Favorite dessert?

German Chocolate Cake!!!!

6. What is one thing you wish you were better at?

Always saying the right thing.

7. Describe your Dream Vacation?

The next one!  But I did recently have a great trip with my husband to Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

View from Clingman's Dome

View from Clingman’s Dome

8. Why do you blog?

To promote modern quilting, and North Carolina quilters in particular.  If you’re a North Carolina quilter and I haven’t featured your work yet, please contact me!

9. Your best sewing/quilting advice?

Do what you enjoy.  I used to make all my own clothes, but then I figured out it’s a lot easier to get a quilt to fit a bed than to get a garment to fit my frame!

10. What else is new?

Here’s a picture of Pat with her FINISHED table runner, started in a class I taught recently!

Improv table runner

Pat finished her runner in time to give it as a gift

And here are some bloggers I’m passing the “Liebster Award” on to.  I think you might enjoy them!

My Imperfect Life

The Accidental Hayseed

KnitNKwilt

Narrow Accents!

Modern Quilts Unlimited just published my article on how to add narrow accents to your projects.  It’s a very easy method for sewing crisp, even accent strips from 1/8″ to 3/4″ wide.

Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

Notice the Narrow Accents article featured on the cover, along with the beautiful quilt by Bev Getschel

There are so many uses for narrow accents!  Here are a few of mine:

narrow accents, Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

This is a corner of the piece I made to illustrate the MQU article

These blocks from my modern sampler all include narrow strips:

The samples I made for my improvised table runner class all include narrow strips, as well.  Here is one of them:

modern table runner

Here is one of the samples for my improvised table runner class

modern quilt design

Here’s a Mondrian-style block I made several years ago with narrow inserts

There are options too numerous to mention!  Go get the magazine and make some accent strips, then please send me pictures of your creations.

Your Inner Designer 6: Copy Somebody Good!

Truly original ideas in design are really, really rare  More often good designs are inspired by other good designs, and most designers start by copying other people.  There’s nothing wrong with that–just give credit!

Door with art glass window

Glass window, designer unknown

For example, here’s a door I admire in a friend’s house.  It got me thinking that it would be nice to make her a table runner with a design similar to the glass in the door, especially since the dining table is right by the door.  I may start out by copying the design, but my table runner won’t be an exact copy.  I want it to be obviously inspired by the door, but I probably couldn’t make an exact copy even if I wanted to.  And I’m not going to sell it as my own “original” design without reference to the door, either.

Here’s the first attempt:Craftsman inspired table runnerThat may be obviously inspired by the door, though in fact both are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Craftsman styles of design. If you don’t know much about those styles of design, Google them.  There are many similar designs to be found, so I can make LOTS of designs of this style without copying any of them.  Here’s the second try:Craftsman style table runner

This one has a little more detail.  Another master of this style, popular in the early years of the 20th Century, was Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  William Morris textile and wallpaper designs were the same historical period, and you may have seen Moda’s extensive line of William Morris-inspired fabrics.

One last try:table runner

So go look at some books on the history of design (the history of advertising works too) and make some designs inspired by what you see.  It’s a good starting place when you think you don’t have any ideas, and you’ll eventually come up with something your really like.  Then it’s time to make a quilt!

Here are the first 5 posts in this series:

Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette!

Quilt Design 4: Choosing Your Color Scheme

Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

Your Inner Designer 2: Many Block Arrangements

Find Your Inner Designer, Part 1