Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kits + food = Cuddle Quilt productivity

We had a productive Cuddle Quilt workshop today. With pre-cut fabric squares, block kits, a buffet of bakery goods, fruit and coffee, and 2 cans of basting spray, a small group of Choo Choo Quilters made [lots of] hay while the 90-degree sun was shining. Seven guild members took home a total of 27 quilts that were basted (or close to it) and ready for quilting.
Tops ready for basting, backing fabrics piled high and pre-cut squares.
Here are block packets and quilt layouts from a group exercise we did at the "Value in Color" guild program.
Quilt kits with layouts for assembly.
A smorgasbord of fruit, baked goods, juice and coffee were on hand to keep us sustained. (Yummy!)

We teamed up in pairs to baste the quilts. Working from both sides of the table was very effective.
And, we had two cans of basting spray and got 20+ cuddle quilts basted. Talk about a production line... the spray makes that process go really fast!

I had not tried the basting spray until today. I'm in the process of quilting one of the cuddle quilts that was spray basted.  I'll post a review when complete. Has anyone else used basting spray? What do you think about it? Leave a comment.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ATCs: Below the surface

Below the surface... it can be literal or metaphorical. What would your interpretation be?

Here are the Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) portraying the theme,  "Below the surface." There are big ideas packed into these small (2.5" x 3.5") format cards. They sometimes catch me off guard, they make me think, they tickle my funny bone, and they make me smile with thoughts of simple pleasures and far-away places.

The theme for the September ATC Swap is: "Only so much will fit." Do you want to trade? Contact me at by August 26 to sign up.

"Funny Bones"
"Paris Metro"
"Below the Surface"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quilts for Kids, community service workshop

My quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, supports the community by making Cuddle Quilts for the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter in Chattanooga. This Saturday, August 27 is our annual Cuddle Quilt workshop which will be held at Senior Neighbors downtown from 9:30 am. to about 2 pm.
Cuddle Quilt made using an innovative piecing technique.
Stop by and do some simple sewing and piecing and enjoy the company of other quilters! Doing something for others is also very heart warming. The Choo Choo guild members have been making blocks through the year that will be assembled into tops, and the guild provides the batting. If you'd like to bring a sewing machine, contribute fabric for quilt backs, or help us quilt or tie, come on out—everyone is welcome.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fun with Beads!

I had a group of eager beaders in my "Beading on Quilts and Wearables" class this morning. What a fun time! After a discussion of beads, sizes, needles and threads, we worked on the scattered stitch, backstitching, couching and various dangles. 
It was a nice change of pace to not have to bring sewing machines to the classroom and we were rewarded with laughs and giggles about whether our "stacked beads" were perky and upright or resembled a deflated version of Pisa's leaning tower. (You had to be there. This is the G-rated version of this conversation.)

My Tag-along Bag is in
"Creative Quilting with Beads."
The basis of this class was from the project I designed for "Creative Quilting with Beads," published by Lark Books. Check or other similar sources to get a copy of this book.

A bead shop in this area is Eager Beader in Cleveland, TN, or an on-line source with extensive offerings is Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. Craft or hobby shops also have a selection of craft beads and beading supplies.

The students are off to a great start with embellishing with beads. Below are some class samples made by students in today's workshop. Thank you to Linda, Sheila, Ginger, Frances, Cynthia, Nancy and Charlotte for an enjoyable morning! Hope you had fun, too.
Here is a detail from a little quilt on which I combined stenciling, beading, hand embroidery and hand quilting. The possibilities for beaded embellishments are endless.
Beading, stencilling, hand embroidery and hand quilting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Embellishing and Quilting Classes

Add sparkle, texture and another dimension to your quilts, wearables and accessories with Beads! I'll be teaching a beginning Beading on Quilts and Wearables class this Saturday, August 20 at Chattanooga Sewing,  899-3664.
Beading and free-motion threadwork on silk dupioni.
Many of the techiques I'll demonstrate in class are from my project that was published in "Creative Quilting with Beads" by Lark Books.

T-shirt Treasures and Paper Piecing classes are scheduled for next week. 
T-shirt Treasures quilt class.

Learn how to recycle your treasured T-shirts by making them into a quilt in this 2-session class that meets Mondays, August 22 and August 29.

Piece by Numbers (below) is the Paper Piecing class that wil meet on Wednesday, August 24. Make this table topper to adorn your table for the upcoming holidays. In class, we'll discuss how you can make it heat resistant for serving those hot covered dishes at holiday mealtime.
Paper Pieced Twisty Star table topper
19" x 19"
Quilts make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, graduations or to change your decor from one season to the next.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Successful Threadwork presentation

Ahhh, the technology gods kept any gremlins at bay during my Threadwork presentation at my quilt guild [Choo Choo Quilters] last night. An attentive audience of guild members and visitors went with me on a look back into Threadwork history starting with the Industrial Revolution's Victorian crazy quilt era, through the turn-of-the-century redwork, the resurgence of needle arts and crafts of the mid-20th century to more current award-winning quilts of Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain, Libby Lehman and other threadwork masters and fiber artists like Tom Lundberg, Ellen Anne Eddy and Kaffe Fassett.
Left: Vintage crazy quilt        Right: Threadpainting by machine with rayon threads
With my new iPad, I was able to share lots of photos as examples—which greatly enriched the program. We discussed influences and design sources for the threadwork trends—one of which was an exhibit of Japanese ceramics at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. I also discovered many interesting tidbits while walking down the research path. Did you know that some of the products first displayed to the public at the 1876 Centennial Expo were: Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, the Remington Typographic Machine (known to us as the typewriter), Heinz ketchup, Hires root beer, and (wait for this one...) kudzu?? Ya never know what you will find en route to researching a quilting topic.

The "Continuing Education" project from this program is to use a photo as inspiration to create a series of 3 pieces using any threadwork technique(s)—hand and/or machine. Many of the quiltmakers and needle artists whose work we viewed in my program work in a series. One of my favorites, a terrific teacher and prolific quilter as well, is Carol Taylor. Check out her work here. Working in a series is a vehicle for developing and mastering a concept, theme, tool or technique. The evolution and discoveries from working in a series can be very beneficial.

In our textbook, "Fearless Design for Every Quilter," Lorraine Torrence says this about working in a series: "Quantity generates quality." Very much along the lines of, "Practice makes perfect," wouldn't you say?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Threadwork"—program at Choo Choo guild

Threadwork program at the
Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting.
In addition to "collecting" fabric, I love collecting threads... at quilt shows, sewing centers, quilt shops and on line. With my vast experience collecting threads, and a bit of experience using them, I'll be presenting the program on "Threadwork" at the next Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting, Monday, August 15. The presentation also includes using photos as inspiration and working in a series.

This presentation is part of the guild's year-long Inspirational Quilting program which has covered a gamut of topics on design concepts, color and, most recently, innovative piecing. Topics planned for the remainder of the year include surface embellishment, borders and bindings.

I've been making notes for this program for the last two months and had it pretty well outlined and finalized. Then, about a week ago, I got a new iPad as an early birthday gift. As a corollary to Sydney J. Harris' columns on "things I found while looking up other things," this week I worked off the premise, "there's nothing like a real project to facilitate the learning curve for operating a new device."

So, if the technology gods show favor on us at Monday's guild meeting, my Threadwork presentation will be on screen. Wish us luck!

Great threadwork references:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beading on Quilts and Wearables August class

Detail: Tag-Along Bag from
Creative Quilting with Beads, Lark Books
Want to add sparkle and texture to a quilt, jacket or handbag? I'll be teaching "Beading on Quilts and Wearables" on Saturday, August 20 at Chattanooga Sewing Machine Center.

These techniques can be seen in my Tag-Along Bag project that was published in Creative Quilting with Beads, by Lark Books.

There are only a couple spaces left in the class, so call Chattanooga Sewing at 899-3664 to reserve a place. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Pansy Quilt finally has a name

After many great suggestions and a long discussion with her two grandchildren, my MIL decided on the name for her Pansy quilt: "Pansies in the Grass with Diamonds." The label is complete and is now attached. Yay!
Thank you to Cheryl for the suggestion.  And, Happy Birthday, Ma!
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