Saturday, November 30, 2013

On The Design Wall Now

Hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving!  We had a house full.  Our number for holidays is always somewhere around 20 with 22 being the minimum.  Sometimes our grand kids bring friends and sometimes our children's in-laws come so it varies from holiday to holiday, but it is always a lot of fun!

Not much went on in the studio most of the week, but I had pulled out a really old UFO after the Vines and Stars came down off the design wall.  I cannot stand for it to be empty!  The UFO began a very long time ago when several of us decided to make a charm quilt.  A charm quilt, if you are not familiar with the term is a quilt that contains only 1 template piece, but repeated in 1,000 different fabrics.  Jo, Joan, Lorinda and Bonnie, remember those days?

We exchanged 10 fabrics each month in a designated color.  The rule was, for instance on red, it could be any variation of red from pink to burgundy and light or dark. We each had all of the templates and drew around them on the fabric, cut them with 1/4" seam allowances and gave them to each other according to the color of the month.  I made a move during that time, so mine were mailed each month.  All 10 pieces would go for a standard 1st class postage stamp.  Obviously, since I am still working on it, mine never got completed.

Here is what it looks like with 976 fabrics.  I do not guarantee that there are no duplicates, but that is still a LOT of different fabrics.  I am still hand piecing the rest of the missing pyramids.

The contrast is a little weak on the bottom row, so pieces will be moved around.  Each of the larger triangles is made up of 16 smaller triangles.  I have not decided how I will handle the half blocks on the two side edges.  If I piece them, I will need another template that is half of the original triangle or pyramid shape.
I have also decided to participate in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt Celtic Solstice.  I have never done a mystery before, because I really like designing my own quilt and, if you know me well, you know I have a tendency to want to be in control of the design.  Not knowing in advance where I'm going with something is a bit unsettling to me.  Okay, I admit it, I'm a control freak!  There, I said it!  You may all laugh now, because you probably already figured that out.
The first clue was given yesterday on Bonnie Hunter's blog.  It will be a challenge to actually follow the rules, but at least I'm going to give it a try. 
Here are a few of the clue one pieces made using the Tri-Recs ruler set.
You can read more about the mystery on Bonnie's blog.  It is not too late to join in on the fun.  I do like the scrappy look of Bonnie's quilts, but usually decide on my own patterns rather than use a predesigned quilt pattern.  The few times I've tried to follow a pattern, I end up changing it so that in the end it does not look like the original.  It's more fun to put a personal touch on anything, don't you think?
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Stay tuned for more on the progress of the pyramids and the mystery quilt.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Vines and Stars Quilt Top Finished - Finally!

At long last, the borders have been added and this top is done!  Great feeling!  As I told you, this quilt began as a demonstration piece for classes I was teaching on how to applique' vines and leaves.  There are a few tricks to making those sharp points on the leaves and having a vine stay even as it curves.  I used it as a demo at the AQS Show in Nashville way back in 2005 for the first time.  While it's been fun, I'm glad to have the top finished! 

Sorry about the telescoping of the photo.  The quilt is too large for the design wall.  It is 94" x 99". It will shrink some with the quilting, though.
Do you remember that I nearly ran out of the black background used for the applique strips and the 8-pointed stars? I told you about it here.  Well, I found what I think is the perfect solution for the borders.
The blacks actually match better in person than they look like in the photos.  Can you see the musical notes?  Originally I found a black with a treble clef, but it seemed too close to the other black and really didn't "pop" as a border even with the colorful striped inner border.
But this print seemed to bring it all together.
It works for me.  What do you think?
Sorry for the odd angles on the photos.  I was sitting on the loft rail and not feeling all that secure!  It is a rare rainy day in the desert, so the light wasn't very cooperative either.  I won't complain about the rain, though, we certainly can use the moisture even if it isn't an ideal day for taking photos.
Hope you have enjoyed the story of the vines and stars quilt.  Have an awesome day!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Sew Day and What I've Been Doing

My sister called a couple of weeks ago or maybe more to ask where I've been.  She says she keeps up with what I'm doing mostly through my blog.  Yes, that means I'm not a very good correspondent and I rarely call anyone.  It's not that I don't want to, but we live across the country from each other and there is that whole time difference.  Arizona doesn't participate in Daylight Savings Time, so half the year there is a two hour difference and half the year it's only 1 hour.  By the time I decide I should call in the evening, it's too late where she lives.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Seriously, I've just been busy with this that and the other.  Here are a few of the things I've done in the past few weeks.

First I was invited to a sew day at Evelyn's.  Evelyn had just returned to Arizona from Wisconsin where she spends part of the year.  She is not exactly a Winter Visitor as she has a home here, but it is just a lot cooler in the Summer in Wisconsin and she has a home there, too!  She and several others get together occasionally to sew and this time, they asked me to join them.  Though I was only able to stay part of the day, it was a great time and I got a lot done, too!

This is Evelyn busily stitching away.  Evelyn does mostly art quilts.  She is collaborating with a Wisconsin quilter and they enter quilts in shows together.  Her house is chock full of quilts on the walls and draped over furniture.  There is a LOT to see at Evelyn's house!
This is Judi.  She makes the most incredible miniatures you would ever want to see!  She was hand piecing the most amazing mariner's compass block.  And it was for Sue!  Judi's work is accuracy with a capital A! Tiny pieces with sharp points to die for!
Tari was piecing blocks. Her lamp is in the way, so we cannot see them.  I cannot remember what block she was working on. She kept her nose to the machine and worked away all day!
Sue was busy squaring up her applique blocks.  Sue also is a long arm quilter and probably produces more quilts or quilt tops in a year than anyone you know.
Here is a close up of one of the blocks Sue was working on.  There are pieced blocks in the quilt as well.  It is a lovely soft palette and will be beautiful when completed.
Also present was C.J.  She is Sue's cousin and arrived later in the morning.  Her name isn't really C.J., it is Judy.  Since there was already a Judi in the group and since this Judy is Sue's cousin, the group refers to her as C.J. which is short for Cousin Judy as it's less confusing that way.
And what was I working on that day?  Sewing the blocks together for this quilt.
Since that day, I have set the strips together and shortened the vine strips as the star block strips were not quite as long.  Remember I did the vine strips when I was teaching vine and leaf applique so the quilt had not been designed at that point.  I just randomly selected a length for the vine strips.
The first border has just been cut and placed on the design wall.  It is not stitched yet.  I really like the multicolored striped on the black for this inner border.  Stay tuned for what the outer border will be.  I also have a tutorial almost ready on how to hand piece eight pointed starts that will be coming soon as well.
In addition to doing that, I unstitched in excess of 1,200 inches of quilting in the border of another quilt.  I was just not happy with the way it looked so it had to go.  Here is what replaced it.
It is finally bound and ready to go.  As it is 100" by 100", it took a bit of time to do all of that picking out stitches and re-quilting! I cannot show you the rest of the quilt as it will appear in a magazine.  I'm still working on the directions for it.
So that sort of brings you up to date.  I will try not to take such a long leave from my blog again.  I really missed you and hearing from you.  You make my day when you leave a comment so please let me know what you have been doing or what you think about what I've been doing.
Until Next Time,