End of the Year Wrap-up

I don’t usually do this, a year end post, but for some reason I wanted to wrap up some of my latest projects. Unlike many people, I did not get loads and loads of things done this year. I spent a lot of time fretting and eating and drinking and read lots of books. But I’ve had a creative spurt this Fall.

This was one of my favorite projects – candy cane towels! I’d seen the pattern on Pinterest and then I discovered it was on Ravelry. I made an appointment with my local weaving store, Lofty Fiber, to have a refresher class on warping the loom. Dawne is a great teacher and it was so much fun to be with weavers and talk the talk. And I am very pleased with the results! The hand of the towels is very nice and absorbent. I may have to weave some more.

And look at all the beautiful fibers on the wall. It is so nice to have a B&M weaving store. Colors never look the same on a monitor and there is nothing like fondling fibers ! I have lots of ideas for next year.

Another weaving project that I completed was hand towels from Handwoven magazine. I started them in the Spring and it was a long warp. After washing, the fabric has a wonderful, sort of spongy texture. They will make good handtowels!

In November and December I had the great pleasure of teaching some workshops at Tryon Arts & Crafts Center in North Carolina. They are celebrating their 60th year of offering wonderful, traditional crafts classes to the area. I wish I’d found them sooner as they are a perfect fit for the type of classes that I like to offer. One workshop was how to piece hexagon or Grandmother’s Flower garden squares. The second was a lot of fun – making potholders on the wonderful Harrisville Design looms. I really enjoy making them – it’s all about color after all, and I was pleased that they did too.

When I asked if they would keep their potholders or give them away, they all replied that they were keeping them!

And I am about ready to sew binding on the dogwood quilt, that I started in May! It is a Melinda Bula pattern, and she kindly did extensive videos about how to make it.

I had all sorts of problems with the quilting – thread breaking, erratic tension, skips… In desperation, I went to Walker Quilt Company, a HandiQuilter dealer in North Carolina for some lessons. Although some of it was operator error, Andrea discovered that the bobbin was defective! I have been wondering ever since, how long it has been that way. Quilting has been wonderful ever since that visit.

So that’s that! I am sure we are all delighted to see an end to 2020.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Wedding Ring Problems

I always have multiple projects going in all the fiber crafts that I like to do. In the quilting arena, I do machine sewing or quilting during the day. At night, I sew on my latest hexie project (trying to finish the Halloween themed quilt) or I do English Paper Piecing. During the last few months, I must admit to buying a lot of paper pieces for a variety of EPP designs. And none of them have been easy patterns to do…

I’ve been gluing and sewing double wedding ring arcs for weeks and fiddling with layouts. Here is my latest. I have been fiddling with how to keep the colored arcs (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple) separated and to have them form patterns. I will probably be doing a 9 x 9 layout and decided that using a white/floral ring in the middle might help with spacing the 6 colors. See where I’m headed?

The big issue that I have been mulling over is how to piece the very nasty middles together! Do you see how thin the points are? Many of the pieces in the bag are bent because of this. I did try one and it was impossible to glue to the point and it was so bulky! I thought that doing EPP would be easier, but now I wonder if foundation piecing might have been a better choice…

I have Googled like crazy and asked the young women at Paper Pieces, where I bought the papers, but no one has been much help. I have now decided to machine appliqué the rings to the background; only to encounter another decision –

In the top photo, I sewed a straight stitch about as close as I could manage on the arc. Can you see how the tiny edge is going to do nothing but catch and crease? The bottom photo shows a blanket stitch, and although that will take much more time to do, it will encase the edge nicely. I do intend to use this quilt so I want it to be sturdy.

And yet another decision; here is the back of the square. What do I do with that? And is using another tiny print white fabric the best background or should I audition some bright colors? I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at what other quilters have chosen.

This quilt is still in a state of flux. If you have any suggestions or comments, I would appreciate the help!

I’m Crazy…about EPP!*

In January I started cleaning my office and studio and weeded through the accumulation of supplies (fabric, more fabric, WIP’s, etc….) and I still am not quite as organized as I would like to be. I told myself that I wasn’t going to start any new projects until I finished cleaning, but then I did work on a few {small} English Paper Piecing Projects.

I bought this pattern from PaperPieces – I love heart patterns and this one was irresistible. I made three versions of Chrysanthemum Hearts .The first one was pink for Valentine’s Day…

…and the other two were made using my hand dyed cottons. I’m not sure if they will be quilts since they don’t really relate, but I sure enjoyed making them!

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Then I had to play with another pattern from PaperPieces, a Double Wedding Ring. I have always wanted to make one of these quilts, but they are tricky. My plan is to make some of the rings using  red/yellow/orange and the other rings using blue/green/purple hand dyed fabrics. This is just the start of the 10″ size.

And there’s more…. This quilt pattern called Wheel of Fortune or Whirligigs has been on my must make list for years. With the curves and small border triangles, it is quite the nasty pattern. I have collected templates and foundation pieces from many sources and finally decided that EPP was the way to go! This pattern is for a 16″ ring.

And here is the last one, I think! The Brimfield Awakening quilt ladies have been all over social media for awhile and I have been noticing their patterns. I started collecting Liberty of London fabrics when we lived in Tokyo and quilts using them always catch my eye. I liked the patterns but was able to resist them until I saw Brimfield Meadows! It is now on my design wall and on the must make list!

So – I’m crazy for a variety of reasons, but I have plenty to do. What about you – do you have a must make list as well ??? What is on yours?

{BTW – the links are for your convenience. I don’t make any money from them!}

 

 

*Sorry about this – I’ve done it again! I said that I was leaving this blog and starting another. Turns out that as wonderful as GoDaddy is at hosting websites and e-mails, I did not like their blogging platform. They don’t have statistics like WordPress nor do they make it easy for folks to comment. Not that a lot of you do, but I never even knew if someone liked a post.

So here I am for the foreseeable future!

 

A Thousand Tiny Stitches…

… and the development of a quilt class!

Although I have been quiet here for a long while, I’ve been busy. I finally decided that I’d like to offer some quilting classes at the art center where I volunteer. Developing new classes of any sort takes a lot of time, energy and thought, but even more so when the samples are hand sewn. I finally got myself in gear and have offered several workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts  and much to my delight, most have had enough students to run! I wasn’t at all sure – at the moment, most of the classes are of the fine art variety and who knew if anyone would be interested in “sewing”. My assumption is that “my audience” does not have machines and are beginners, so the classes have been hand sewing ones. And I’ve been correct so far. These quilts can be called geometric, charm or one patch designs and are frankly easier to sew by hand. I do hope to lure some “seasoned” quilters.

When I think up a class idea, I start to madly sew. Proposals must be submitted long before the workshop is advertised and I’ve gotten skilled at making enough squares so that it looks like I have an entire quilt in the photographs that I submit!

Here are the offerings so far:

Hexagons!

If you follow me, you know I’m crazy about hexagons. There’s not much new to show you, but I did do some piecing with half hexagons to add to the design choices. They are so wonderfully dimensional and modern looking for those who think that hexies look like a pattern their grandmother made.

60 Degree Diamonds!

Some years ago, I offered a class using these diamonds and it did not run. They can be made into the vintage pattern called Baby Blocks or Tumbling Blocks, but although I admire those quilts, I didn’t enjoy piecing them for a quilt. I have used them for pillows and squares in a sampler type quilt.

Thank heavens for Pinterest; I found this version with Baby Blocks rotating around a plain (dark) star. It’s an interesting pattern because you see both the stars and the blocks. I tend to like things to coordinate or have a rule and for some reason these are random enough that I have just been piecing blocks and sewing them to the stars.

As I was stitching away one day, I remembered that the pattern called Seven Sisters uses 60 degree diamonds, and I started researching those patterns online. Bingo! I had found a pattern I love stitching! Here is one square so you can see why it’s called Seven Sisters. I do have a rule for each square. I choose a multi-colored batik fabric and that is the star in the middle. Then I choose some of my hand dyed fabrics to make the remaining six stars. Repetition is not my strong suit and using different colors in each star piece keeps me amused.

And here is the quilt top so far. Can you see the underlying pattern – ha! – it’s a hexagon! My design dilemma with this quilt will be how to end it. The initial plan was to piece seven sisters of seven sisters, but I don’t think I want the quilt to be a hexagon. Stay tuned on that…

… and for more stitching to come!

Quilt Block Exchanges & CompuServe

I have been thinking about quilt block exchanges, which used to be a very popular activity for quilters. My friend Louann reminded me of the Christmas one I ran in Evergreen Colorado and ever since I have been looking for it! It’s somewhere but I don’t know where.

Flash back to 1990’s. I was weaving and spinning and dyeing. When my DH Peter informed me that we were moving to Singapore, I realized that big floor looms were not going to be reasonable items to move around the world. So oh gee, I started to learn how to quilt. I was so lucky that  Karen Buckley lived nearby and I took a lot of classes with her. And bought a lot of books. And began a subscription to the now defunct Quilters Newsletter Magazine. And collected all the supplies I felt I needed and in 1993 we moved to a small apartment on the 21st floor.

Before we left for Asia, Peter showed me the CompuServe Forums on our computer. I was not much interested or impressed. It took quite awhile to upload and I didn’t see the need for the content. Flash back to Singapore! There I was all alone and I realized that CompuServe was just the ticket! I joined the quilting group and it was wonderful. We were from all over – the U.S., expats like me in various countries and “real” foreign quilters. Paying for dial-up was very expensive for us and in China we had to apply for a license to even have a computer. It was such a treat to take my morning coffee to the computer after Peter left for work and download the forums. During the day I would read and reply to them and upload them at night. Most parts of Asia are 12 hours ahead of the U.S. so it worked out well.

The quilting group was full of organizer types and someone came up with the idea of a block exchange. The first one I participated in was Christmas blocks. There were two groups – one which made 12.5″ blocks and the one I chose, which made 6.5″ blocks. (And it was so much fun, that I did it for two years.) Though the rules can vary, generally each person makes a certain number of blocks, sends them to the organizer who divides them all up and returns them to each participant. So for instance, I made 12 blocks (plus one for me which I kept), sent them to the organizer nad she sent back 12 new blocks. It’s sort of like a birthday gift. I must say that the blocks varied in quality and if you were buddies with the organizer, you could persuade her to send you the “good ones”! After receiving the squares and choosing the ones I wanted, it was great fun to try to put them together to make a nice design.

The next exchange I participated in was called “Near and Far”. Each person was supposed to make a block (12.5″) that represented where they lived and had to include some green and white fabric. This is one of my favorite quilts as it reminds me of all the fun ladies I “knew” for a time. And even without knowing the people involved, I am sure you can tell where they lived at that moment in time. We did it two years in a row.

For the first year I made Singapore Island maps.The fish are stamped and the island is pieced and then hand appliqued.

The next year we lived in Shanghai and I appliqued a flower that looked like some cut paper pictures that I’d bought.

In Tokyo, I organized a quilt block exchange and it did not go well. When we lived there, somehow a group of Japanese quilters tracked me down. We got together often so that I could teach them what I knew. They thought the quilt block exchange was a fun idea and were eager to participate. Somehow, despite having a good Japanese friend who very carefully translated, the ladies did not understand. This was a Japanese American exchange, with the theme being flowers and I co-opted some of my American quilting friends. Each American quilter dutifully made and sent me 6 squares.  From the Japanese ladies I collected one, or two or three squares…. What a mess! The Japanese ladies were still confused but pleased to have a few squares and the American quilters were annoyed to have a few squares. I still have done nothing with the few I kept and mine is not among them. I made a lot of my design to compensate for the lack of Japanese ones and I can’t find any. There are some real beauties in this bunch.

Peter and I were talking about CompuServe recently, and he reminded me that CompuServe was not “the Internet”! I’d forgotten that detail. It was such a wonderful spot for me and the women I “met” online were so helpful and supportive. Here is an interesting article to remind you of how great CompuServe was.

Have any of you done quilt block exchanges? Or were you pioneers on CompuServe? Any interest in a quilt block exchange?

Nick is Home for Christmas!

Nick has spent the last year at Island Quilters located on Hilton Head Island. He evidently traveled with Owner Beth to several quilt shows and talks, though he hasn’t said much about that. I must thank Beth for giving me the pattern and many of the supplies. Fusing is not my favorite thing to do, but he was fun to make.

After lots of measuring and engineering, Peter got Nick hung in the great room! It is so fun to come into the room and see his funny self. I’m not sure the reason, but this is the first time we have ever hung a quilt over the fireplace. Next year I have several quilts that can rotate in this area.

Let the celebrations begin!

Hand Piecing Workshops!

Although I’ve been quiet on a daily dose, I’ve been working! It’s been a year full of deadlines for classes and workshops. All things that I wanted to do, but it’s kept me very, very busy.

I finally got myself in gear and offered two Summer workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts, where I volunteer. Much to my delight, I got enough students to run the class! I wasn’t at all sure – at present, most of the classes are of the fine art variety and who knew if anyone would be interested in making quilts.

The first workshop I offered was Hand Pieced Quilts – Grandmother’s Flower Garden. This will be no surprise to any of you who have been followers for a while – I love to sew hexies! I had a lot of samples and ideas and it was perhaps a bit much for the five women who hadn’t had much exposure to the world of quilting.

Olivia was a very enthusiastic sewer. She told us that she sewed a lot and enjoyed making dolls to sell. I am confident that she will get a throw made with the speed that she sews.

Sarah designed a very striking flower, didn’t she? It is fun to see how people put together fabrics.

The second workshop was Hand Pieced Quilts: 60 degree diamonds (or tumbling blocks or baby blocks). I have offered this before and wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Though I like baby blocks, I’ve never enjoyed sewing them.

As I prepared for the class, I perused Pinterest and was reminded that a setting for 60 degree diamonds is called the Seven Sisters pattern. I noodled around with that and discovered that I really liked this version! (Perhaps because it makes a giant hexagon….)

Here is a starry, blocky setting for the diamonds. I like this variation as well.

Just about everything needed is included in my workshops. When working with new sewers, I don’t want them to have to run around and buy a lot of supplies. The quilt patterns I am offering are traditionally scrap quilts and goodness knows that I have a lot of fabrics! It’s been fun sharing my stash and seeing others incorporate the fabric in their own work.

I am very fond of holiday themed quilts so I was delighted to see that Shawn brought a Halloween selection to make baby blocks.

It’s been interesting to offer quilt classes to novices. In the past, I have taught in quilt stores and generally my students have had some sort of experience or exposure to quilting. Most of my students at the Art Center were very, very new! In the Grandmother’s Flower Garden class, I presented way too much material and I am learning to scale back what I initially present and see where the students want to go.

Next up; workshops that I hope to offer this Winter. ;-D

My Design Wall is Full!

Here is what my design wall looks like today! There is a lot going on…

The right hand side has to do with my two upcoming workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. The first, covering hexies and Grandmother’s Flower Garden is on Saturday. Six pointed stars is in July. Click here to get more info.

At the top right, you can see a quilt emerging, made up of (hand pieced) half hexagons. There are many ways to sew them together, but this is by far my favorite. It’s such a strong graphic design. The two plain colored areas in each block are my hand dyed fabrics and I have them strewn all over the floor as I pick them out.

The black stars in the middle are six pointed stars hand pieced in a Seven Sister sort of design. Below them is a pattern, first published in Godey’s Ladies Book in the mid 1800’s, called bricks. It is also a 60 degree diamond, but the “sides” of the brick shape are elongated.

The left hand side of the board is devoted to a deconstructed lone star. Using Moda precut fabrics, I have cut out stacks of 2.5″ x 5.5″ fabrics to sew on a Quiltsmart base. I hope to be giving a talk about how to make this amazing design at Island Quilters this Fall. Lots more coming about this project!

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A Hand Quilt Along Goodbye…

… from me… My big handwork time of year is over and now the outdoors is calling to me. Time to weed and plant and dye and make the outside beautiful. I do intend to finish quilting that quilt, and when I do, I will let you know!

I do have some hand quilting for you to admire. My friend Louann (The Finisher!) has completed this lovely Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt that she began piecing some years ago. She started it when a friend taught us how to do English Paper Piecing, and she’s been hand quilting it on and off. Isn’t it lovely?

 

Happy Stitching ladies!

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebConnieDeborah,  Susan, JessiscaSherryNanetteSassyEdith, and Sharon


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The Twin Bed Quilt

It has been some time since I did any machine quilting and the pile of tops hasn’t decreased. Yesterday I cleaned and oiled my Sweet 16, and Pfaff machine and added some “tattoo” decals from Urban Elementz for fun. I spend a lot of time in my studio on these machines and the tattoos tickle me!

Then I went to the unfinished quilt top cupboard and pulled out a twin bed quilt top. The (kids’) guest room quilt has been on the to do list for some time, to replace this Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt which really wasn’t meant as a bed quilt. Perhaps you can tell that I think of it this as a girl’s room…

Balsam Road Beauties

This top was finished some time ago, though I don’t think I posted about it being completed. It was in 2014, I am ashamed to say! I called the pattern structure, framed log cabin, though I will need to come up with a better name when it’s done. And now I am ready to quilt it. I consider it “cheating” to put a top on a bed before it’s been quilted, but it’s the easiest way to photograph it.

Framed Log Cabin

The inspiration for this quilt design was this cute floral print that I bought on a trip to Paducah. It was one of those times when I saw the fabric and I loved it so much, I had to stand there and think of a quilt to make with it. (Do you ever do that?) A log cabin with these small flowers at the centers was what I came up with.

Estrella by Vallori Wells

And look at the coordinating fabric for the back! I’m not sure which side I will like better.

The quilt measures about 66″ x 89″and though large, is manageable. How to quilt a top is always my dilemma… As I pin the layers together today, I’m mulling over ideas…

 

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