Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Celebrating Memorial Day making my Quilts of Valor blocks

I got in a little sewing time over the Memorial Day weekend and was able to piece my Quilts of Valor (QOV) 10th anniversary blocks that my guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, are helping to make. With the fabric pieces pre-cut, the assembly line piecing goes quickly. Nine blocks are complete!
Quilts of Valor 10th anniversary quilt block.
8.5" unfinished size.
The QOV project is a wonderful way for all quilters to honor our American service men and women. If anyone would like to contribute a block or two to this project, visit the Quilts of Valor web site, and find an Under Our Wings Quilt Shop at which you can drop them off. There are several great quilt shops in Tennessee that are participating. Quilt blocks made with the 10th Anniversary block design can be submitted through November 2013. The Choo Choo Quilters will be accepting completed quilt blocks at the June 17 guild meeting

Free block and quilt patterns and other information is on the QOV web site. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quilts of Valor 10th Anniversary quilt block

My wonderful friends in the Choo Choo Quilters Guild (my local quilt guild) have offered to help me make quilt blocks for the Quilts of Valor project. We'll be using the 10th anniversary block pattern (shown here) with the assembly instructions below. 

The Choo Choo Quilters will collect completed blocks at the June 17 guild meeting so they can be sent to Dennis Taylor, Region 8 Tennessee Coordinator, who will be attending the Leadership Conference in Nebraska in July. 
Quilts of Valor 10th anniversary quilt block
8.5" square (unfinished size), 8" square (finished size)
Fabrics: Red, white or cream, blue
Cutting: four 2.5" squares BLUE, two 3" squares ALTERNATE BLUE, two 3" squares WHITE, four 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles RED.

Assembly: Use scant 1/4" seam allowance. Place white and blue 3" squares together right sides facing. Draw a diagonal line from corner to comer on the back of the two white squares. Stitch 1/4" seam on either side of the line. Cut the squares on the diagonal line and press open. Repeat for second set of squares. Square up to 2.5". (You have made two 2.5" half square triangles.)

Refer to the photo for color and unit placement. Sew the half square triangle units to the blue squares. Sew this unit to the red rectangle. Make 4 of these units. Assemble four units as shown in photo. The unfinished block (raw edge to raw edge) should be 8.5" square.

  • All blocks MUST be red, white or cream, and blue. You may mix these colors in any position. 
  • Sign each block with your first name and state.
  • Do not trim the blocks.
  • Unfinished blocks (raw edge to raw edge) should be no smaller than 8.5" square. Adjust your seam allowances as necessary.

If you'd like to contribute a block or more, e-mail me and I will send you my address or Dennis' address. Blocks can also be made through November 2013 in honor of the 10th Anniversary and given to a local Quilts of Valor Group Leader or an Official Under Our Wings quilt shopA downloadable PDF pattern of the 10th Anniversary block is available on the QOV web site here if you'd like to share it with your guild and quilting friendsThanks for your assistance!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What's inside Brown Bag #2...

The second rotation of the Brown Bag Challenge was from mid-April to mid-May. As each month passes, the "surprise inside" each bag will get more interesting. I'll get to see how the quilters in the previous rotations are inspired by the bag's contents, how they interpret the guidelines, and what they have contributed to the project. Here is what I found in Brown Bag #2... packages of charm (5 inch) squares, several solids and blocks from the previous contributor.
What's inside the Brown Bag? 
The first contributor drew a sketch for a block design and added an article for inspiration. The floral inspired prints, the cheery colors of the solids, and the guidelines of the owner to "add, subtract, multiply or divide" inspired me to revisit the inset strips piecing techniques we discussed in our Choo Choo Quilters Inspirational Quilting program on innovative piecing.
Innovative piecing—my contribution to this Brown Bag.
I am really enjoying this round robin guild project.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quilt Week 2013 in Paducah

Even though the AQS quilt show in Paducah was about a month ago, I did want to reflect on this fabulous show and provide some tempting morsels to entice you with what's in store when it comes to Chattanooga in 2014.
Ricky Tims (center) and Alex Anderson rally the crowd for the photo shoot
of the cover of The Quilt Life October, 2013 issue.
My quilting friends and I arrived on Thursday in time for the photo opp with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson in front of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. Ricky and Alex asked participants to each bring a quilt for the photo. I brought my latest Fabrications Skidoodle strip quilt for the occasion. With probably 100 - 200 quilters sprawled across the lawn, however, we'll all look like a bunch of colorful specs in the photo. Watch for us on the cover of the October 2013 issue.
Cristy (front) and I with our quilts on the lawn in front of the
National Quilt Museum awaiting the photo shoot.
The historic landmark sign for the Quilt Museum.
The pieces in the museum's exhibits are phenomenal. If you've not been, it's worth the trip whether you are a quilter or not. This is an art museum!
(addition: Here is an article on the museum from the National Business Times, a non-quilting publication.)
Cristy in front of the National Quilt Museum. Yes, we are here!
Strip Queen, Eleanor Burns, was meeting and greeting visitors and signing books. She had 5 different locations around town that were selling her fabrics, patterns, books and notions.
Eleanor Burns at QuiltWeek in Paducah.
One of the amazing exhibits and demonstrations at the show was the Tentmakers from Cairo. These appliquéd masterpieces were used to decorate the interiors of the tents of Egyptian nomads.

Two of the artisans were demonstrating their technique in the vendor area. Surprisingly, they were using large shears to cut the fabrics and a tapestry needle that looked to be 2 - 3 inches long. They appliquéd chunks of solid fabrics at lightning speed with hand-drawn chalked lines as a guide (no templates, pre-cut shaped pieces, basting or any kind of prep work for these guys!). The wall pieces in the exhibit were being auctioned.
The appliqué work of the tent makers.
The two artisans demonstrating their process were very friendly and enjoyed the attention and interest of the show attendees. Here is a YouTube video interview with one of the tentmakers.
The tent makers at work. The fabrics beside them is what they 
One of the other exhibits in town was the antique Signature Quilts exhibit at the Rotary Club.
Signatures were done in ink on quilt blocks.
Signatures were embroidered once a colorfast thread was devised.
Redwork signature quilts served as fundraisers for various causes.
Sue Reich, the curator of the exhibit, did a walking tour of the quilts that were on display. Sue has written a book, Quiltings, Froliks and Bees: 100 Years of Signature Quilts, that documents the exhibit with detailed photos and information. 
Sue Reich, curator, author and quilt historian at the
Rotary Club exhibit on antique Signature Quilts.
Although photography is allowed at many of the exhibits at the AQS show, the photos you take are strictly for your personal enjoyment. The show program specifically prohibits any digital dissemination of pictures you might take, therefore, I cannot share photos of the Paducah show quilts here. (Please respect this request if you have been to the show.) If you are a subscriber to American Quilter magazine, however, there are articles about and photos of the winning pieces that you can enjoy.

Finally, no visit to Paducah is complete without a visit to Hancock's of Paducah quilt and fabric store. We stopped in twice!
Hancock's of Paducah sign.
Quilters flock to Hancock's of Paducah during QuiltWeek.
Hope to see you in Chattanooga in September 2014!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Free-motion Quilting Classes
using your home sewing machine

Yes, you can do it! 
I'm here to tell you ...  you can machine quilt ... on your home sewing machine!
Intro to Free-Motion Quilting class.
How to quilt using your home sewing machine.
I'm teaching my Intro to Free-Motion Quilting class at several locations in the near future. This is one of my favorite classes to teach because free-motion quilting is creative, it's liberating and it's so much fun. My teaching schedule includes:

Free-motion quilted feather.
If you've always wanted to learn to free-motion quilt your quilt tops, tote bags, table runners and other items using your home sewing machine, this is the workshop for you! Tell your quilting friends and join me for a fun day with your sewing machine. Contact these shops directly to sign up.

some classes are almost full.

As part of the class, I'll have a Show and Tell of some of my quilts, so you can get more ideas for patterns and designs.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Study in free-motion fillers and feathers

After Quasar 45, Crimson Inspired, and the Inspiration Teal and White strip quilt, I'm still infatuated  with Blank Quilting's Fabrications pre-cuts. The Skidoodle colorway is a joyful exuberance of color and... well... "doodles"!
Strip quilt made with Skidoodles collection of pre-cut Fabrications.
You can't help but smile at the swirly squiggles, speckled doodles, wobbly stripes and bright, bold crayon-box color palette. I added an accent of jet black solid to the mix and started stripping.
"A Feather Runs Through It" Skidoodle strip quilt.
48" x 48"
The outside border is created with the odd bits after cutting the blocks from a strip strata. Don't you love the little black triangles running the perimeter like a picket fence? 

The quilting on this piece was an exploration of free-motion fillers and feathers. With the bright pure hues of these fabrics, I was hoping the composition would hold up through all the thread color changes and a diversity of quilting patterns—and it did! Even the jumbo feather that swoops from the upper left to the lower right corners did not disrupt the rhythm.
A free-form feather sweeps through the quilt's center.
I experimented with a variety of free-motion filler patterns.
Pebbles and leafy feathers.
Circles and grids.
The backing fabric is Candy Dots 108" in lilac. With this single piece of wide backing, there is no seam interrupting the surface area and any mismatching of the fabric print is avoided (not to mention it's quicker and less work!).
View of free-motion quilting from the back of the quilt.
Back detail.
Back detail.
And here are the Stats:
6 bobbins of Bottom Line (Superior Threads), 17.75 hours of free-motion quilting with 40 wt. variegated cotton (YLI), 50 wt. cotton solid and variegated (Wonderfil) and 50 wt. cotton MasterPiece (Superior). Tuscany polyester batting (Hobbs) and a finished size of 48.5" x 48.5".

Check with YLS (your local [quilt] shop) for Fabrications pre-cut strip collections. Here is a link to the shop locator on the Blank web site. I hope you pick up a package or two and try some free-motion doodling on your own Skidoodles quilt.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ATCs: The best things in life are...

"The best things in life are..." booklet.
Welcome to May! I hope Mother Nature is bestowing temperate weather and a burst of color in your area today. These things—good weather and beautiful landscapes and seascapes—are indeed some of the best things in life.

With those thoughts in mind, here are the ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) from the April FiberAntics ATC swap. The theme for April was "The best things in life are...".

This ATC opens into a center spread with a 3D paper heart.
"The best things in life are..."
"The best things in life are Friends."
"The best things in life have 4 legs and fur."
"The best things in life are... serendipity! (pleasant surprises)"
left: "Beauty"        right: "Peace of Mind"
"Beauty in Nature"
What's on your Top 10 Best Things list?
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