Monday, July 18, 2016

Free-motion quilting during the rain storms

Intro to Free-motion Quilting class
using your home sewing machine.
There are no complaints about the pop-up rainstorms that passed through Chattanooga on Saturday. Goodness knows, our crunchy, yellowing lawns and parched gardens need watering! If you don't have to be out driving—or walking—in those kinds of downpours, the best place to be is in the classroom of a quilt shop, learning how to free-motion quilt!

That's exactly where I was... all day Saturday... at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop... in Chattanooga... along with a fun group of quilters who wanted to use their home sewing machines, thread and their creative energy to turn two-dimensional quilt tops into three-dimensional finished quilts that can be shared and enjoyed. 

Yes, my Into to Free-motion Quilting class is a full day. Why? Because we cover more than just the mechanics of moving the quilt sandwich under the needle with the feed dogs dropped. And this Saturday's group of excited, inquisitive students were full of questions, wonder and "ah-ha" moments throughout the day with lively discussions about stitching in the ditch and other quilting terms, thread weights, needle sizes, needle types, batting fiber content, and other topics related to having success with free-motion quilting. 
Students practicing free-motion designs on paper.
After a slide presentation about quilting terminology, we worked on drawing exercises.
Drawing quilting designs on paper.
Practice quilt sandwiches are then prepared and the stitching begins.
Free-motion quilting.
You know you are in the right place when one of the students throws her hands in the air and exclaims, "I'm having fun!"
Surrounded by the colors and textures of quilted inspiration
in the classroom of the quilt shop.
There were several questions in this class about handling a larger, bed-size quilt under the arm of a domestic sewing machine. In class, I talk about setting up your sewing space to help with this, and also demonstrate maneuvering a large quilt under the needle with a bed-size quilt that I bring for class Show and Tell. Remember, quilters: Be patient and eat that elephant one bite at a time. If you want to practice FMQ and get some experience under your belt before tackling a bigger quilt, make some Kitty (or Doggie) Cuddle Quilts for a local shelter or clinic. Ideas for making these little quilts are here and here.
Black kitty, Roderick, approves a Kitty Cuddle Quilt at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga.
It was great to be back in the classroom again teaching Free-motion Quilting this past weekend. While Mother Nature was nourishing our lawns, flowers and vegetables, my students and I were inside the quilt shop, surrounded by colorful fabrics, inspiring quilts and were feeding our creative souls and minds by learning a new skill—free motion quilting—using the our home sewing machines. 

Thanks for a great class, ladies!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Juggler accepted into AQS Chattanooga

My quilt, The Juggler, was accepted into the AQS Chattanooga quilt show. What an honor!
Detail of "The Juggler" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
Encouraged by a guild program given by the Choo Choo Quilters earlier this year called, "How to Get Over your Bad Self and Enter a Quilt Show," and a successful showing at our 2015 Guild Challenge, I thought I'd try to see if The Juggler could make the cut. I am so very pleased that the AQS jury found it worthy of being displayed this September in Chattanooga along side the work of other talented and accomplished quilters.
"The Juggler"
The process behind the making of The Juggler can be found in two blog posts here and the quilting process is here. And, believe it or not, it started with a Halloween panel [the Guild Challenge was called "Beyond the Panel"] from StudioE Fabrics.
Original fabric panel from a Halloween line by StudioE Fabrics.
Remnants of the mummies and pumpkins from the original fabric panel can be seen in this close-up.
Left: Mummies from the panel. Right: mummies and pumpkins compiled into the quilt.
If you are in the Chattanooga area September 14-17, stop in and see all the wonderful quilts that will be on display at AQS QuiltWeek Chattanooga—including The Juggler. Look at the art of quiltmaking in a whole new way.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Relax with Glorious Holiday Hexagons on World UFO Day

I guess there's a day for everything because today, July 2, is World UFO Day. If you're a quilter, however, UFO stands for "Unfinished Object." In other words, a project that was started but hasn't yet been completed—for whatever reason. Oh, and there's no shame in having unfinished projects... just sayin'.
Glorious Hexagon: #2 Carol block
made with Woodland Christmas by Gina Linn for Blank Quilting.
This is also the July 4th holiday weekend. And with all the holiday fabric lines out in the quilt shops, this long weekend is a good time to snatch up a half yard of snowmen, reindeer and pumpkins, some fat quarters of a snowflake or candy corn print, and some coordinating blenders and enjoy slow stitching of Glorious Hexagons.

I purchased either third or half yard cuts of Winter BlissJoy Love Piece and Woodland Christmas at Machine Quilting by Iva in Sevierville, TN in May.
Grab a half yard of a holiday print and some coordinating blenders.
It's never too early to get a start on holiday projects or gifts, right?
Snowmen hexagons with Woodland Christmas by Gina Linn for Blank Quilting
and Winter Bliss by Sharla Fults for StudioE Fabrics.
Because of the size of the snowmen and the repeat of Winter Bliss (shown below), I was able to get several matching sets (six of each shape) out of that piece of fabric. Enough for four large hexagons, with the possibility of 1 or 2 more.
Various fussy cut snowmen pieces from Winter Bliss.
The spring green Splash and red Starlet blenders are in keeping with the fall and winter holiday colors.
Cheeky Pumpkins (StudioE) with Splash.
Winter Bliss (StudioE) with Starlet (Blank Quilting).
Winter Bliss (StudioE) with Splash (Blank Quilting).
Here is the red colorway of Woodland Christmas.
Woodland Christmas (red colorway) by Gina Linn for Blank Quilting.
So as you celebrate UFO Day, Independence Day, or Christmas in July, take along a bag of hexie bits to the park, the pool, the lake or a barbecue... or sit on the couch in front of the TV. Just relax and enjoy the long weekend with Glorious Hexagons hand stitching.
Three holiday hexagons.
Start some new UFOs. You can't have too many!
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