Monday, June 30, 2014

Collaborating on the TN Row by Row Experience

Hooty Owl in the Pumpkin Patch
Free-motion quilting by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
This year, Tennessee quilt shops will be participating in the national Row by Row Experience. What is the Row by Row Experience, you ask? It's a nation-wide Quilt Shop Hop (and even some shops in Canada!), where quilters travel to participating quilt shops and receive free "row" patterns that they combine to make a row quilt. They can also win prizes. The Hop kicks off tomorrow, July 1!

In my travels as a fabric rep, I heard about this program over a year ago and thought it would be a fun event. I was excited to hear that the Tennessee shops are participating this year. The 2014 Row by Row theme is "Sew a Season."

One of the Chattanooga quilt shops, Pins and Needles, asked if I would help draft the design of their row pattern. How cool is that?!? Stacy, the shop's owner, chose to illustrate Fall—her favorite season.
Detail: Pins and Needles Quilt Shop row.
The design, drafting and creation of Stacy's vision for her Fall row quilt was a collaborative effort. The "Row Team" consisted of the fabulous pattern designer, Maria Flora, who wrote the pattern from her studio in Arkansas; I drafted the paper pieced barn; a local quilter, Debi, did the appliqué; Stacy did the other piecing and assembly. Then, I was thrilled when Stacy asked if I would free-motion quilt it. So here it is. What an amazing collaboration on an adorable row pattern! It turned out so cute, don't you think? (You should see it in person… and you can... stop by to pick up the pattern!)
Pins and Needles Quilt Shop 2014 Row by Row Experience row.
This row has it all: piecing, appliqué, and the red barn is paper pieced!

If you want to get a jump start on making this row, I'll be teaching "Paper Piecing the Red Barn" on July 1 and again on August 13.
"The Red Barn" Intro to Paper Piecing class: July 1 or August 13.
Stacy has kits available at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop for the row itself, and with a finishing kit (including the two borders, backing and binding!) if you want to make it as a table runner/wall hanging.

So, are you ready to hop???
The Row by Row Experience officially starts Tuesday, July 1. See the Row by Row web site for details, shops and how you can win fabric and prizes. Visit YLS (your local quilt shops) for patterns, kits and extra projects (I hear several shops have great things in store). Then hit the road to collect more.

There are even two Tennessee Row by Row BUS TRIPS planned that will leave out of Chattanooga heading east and north. Contact Pins and Needles for info about the Bus. Get quilting!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ATCs: From the Deck: Royalty cards

Are you ready for the second installment of the 3-tiered Artist Trading Card (ATC) theme, "From the Deck"? Last month, ATC artists tackled the Aces and Jokers. This month, the royalty cards—Kings, Queens and Jacks—are featured. Once again, the ATCs are creative and witty.

So, without further hesitation, strike up the band and take a look at the Kings, Queens and Jacks stepping outside the proverbial confines of the 52.
"Kings and Queens do the Cha-Cha"
by Liz Armstrong
"Queen of the Polyester Pantsuit"
by Marilyn League
"King, Queen, Jack"
by Lisa Howard
"The Queen of Cakes"
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
This next Queen has hosted an annual soirée at her castle for a group of friends for the past 40 years. They all go out to dinner wearing their crowns.
"(My) Face Card—Queen Bonnie sending love…"
by Bonnie Stevens
For all the quilters, here is the Empress Sue with her bejeweled straight pin scepter.
"Sue: Long live the Queen"
by Cathy Dillon
Remember, you should never leave home without your "Royalty Card."
"We all have a Royal Cloak now!"
by Sharon Griffith
This ATC ID tag comes complete with a ribbon tie. Enclosed instructions indicate to use it to identify The Queen's [your] stuff.
"Proof of Identification: you are the queen of your world."
by Karen Downer
And, have you ever wondered what all those picture cards are doing when you're not playing with them?? Alone in the deck… all stacked together amidst the clubs, hearts, diamonds and spades… left to their own devices...

"The Secret Life of Cards" (outside)
by Linda Smith

 Royal canoodling!
"The Secret Life of Cards" (inside)
by Linda Smith
Oh, my!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What we learned in the free-motion class

In my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class at Hyderhangout earlier this month, one of my students shared an epiphany with me. She said she enjoyed the class, appreciated my style of teaching, and that her eye-opening, jaw-dropping moment for free-motion quilting was when she heard the phrase, "Break free..." that accompanied my examples of free-motion quilting designs.

Liberating, powerful, inspiring. 
The light bulb went on!

As with the vast majority of my Free-motion Quilting classes, there are students with various levels of experience—with sewing, quiltmaking and even some that have quilted on a long-arm or mid-arm quilting machine. This class was no different. There were two women that used quilting machines attached to frames, two women that were brand new to piecing and quiltmaking and the others had hand quilting experience, quilted with the walking foot or had dabbled a bit with free-motion. These attendees spanned the gamut.

I always enjoy this kind of diversity in a class because Q&A is usually quite lively and interesting and we all learn new things from each other. Isn't that what class [and life!] is all about?

Here is a recap of the day, starting with warm-up exercises on paper.
Free-motion warm-ups on paper.
Free-motion warm-ups on paper.
On to free-motion quilting on practice sandwiches.
Beginning free-motion quilting.

Susan Hyder, the shop owner, popped in during a break to check on the activities.
We discussed inspiration and ideas for developing quilting motifs and designs through a Show and Tell of pieces of my work.
Here is how designs on paper transform into quilting on the actual quilt.
Great discussions and camaraderie flourished among the class attendees.
Free-motion class students at Hyderhangout quilt shop, Cleveland, TN.

A few other class "take-aways" that students shared included:

  • learning other quilting designs beside the typical puzzle-piece stipple/meander pattern
  • getting "out of the box" of stitch-in-the-ditch
  • going beyond using the walking foot
  • getting more experience using my sewing machine
  • gaining knowledge and experience with all aspects of the quiltmaking process
  • understanding how to adjust thread tension on my machine
  • realizing there are no quilting police!

Successful students in Intro to Free-motion Quilting class.
Thank you to Susan at Hyderhangout for hosting the class and congratulations to all my students—you are well on your way to fabulous free-motion quilting. Break free and soar!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quilting motifs for a guy quilt

It's easy to find motifs for quilting charity quilts, baby quilts or quilts with flowery, fanciful or funky prints. But, when you know the recipient is a guy, what motifs do you use for the quilting?
Quilting on a guy's quilt.
This is a T-shirt quilt that's going to one of the counselors at Camp Sunshine. My guild friend, Cristy, guided and worked with her non-quilter cousin, Jane, to piece the top. Jane is a huge supporter of this Camp and her heart is as big and generous as the time she gives to this cause. (And, she's getting quite proficient with cutting and piecing.)
Camp Sunshine T-shirt quilt.
The designs I chose were geometric—swirls, circles, rainbow-like baptist fans and zig-zags.
Quilting detail.
Quilting detail of the inside border.
Quilting detail, outside border.
Quilting stats:
Unquilted top: 71.5" x 92.5".
Threads: Wonderfil Tutti 50 wt. variegated cotton, #06; Aurifil 50 wt. cotton, #2783 dark blue; and Bottom Line 60 wt. poly #617. 13.5 hours for quilting. 13.5 bobbins.
Finished quilted size: 70" x 90"

The fabric print for the backing was fabulous! Bright, colorful and graphic. Jane obviously has an eye for fun prints and color. You can see the shark's fin quilting motif on the wide inside border. 
Back view of the quilting.
Occasionally, a sprocket would appear among the quilted circles and rainbows.
Back view: sprocket motive.
So, what designs do you use when quilting a guy quilt? Leave me a comment and share your ideas.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Intro to FMQ class this weekend

Intro to Free-Motion Quilting Class
with your home sewing machine!
Want to learn to free-motion quilt on your home sewing machine? I'm teaching this class on Saturday, June 7 in Cleveland, Tennessee, at Hyderhangout Quilt Fabric and More.

This is a beginner class. No prior experience necessary! Topics include machine set-up, threads, batting, machine needles and tips to make you successful with free-motion quilting.

Students will enjoy a trunk show of several of my quilts as we discuss thread choices, color, patterns and inspiration for generating ideas for quilting designs.

Have a burning question about free-motion quilting? Get an answer (or two!) this Saturday in my class. I love to get a FMQ dialog going with students. Together, we all learn more!

Contact Susan at Hyderhangout to reserve a spot before this class is full!

By the way, I'll be bringing my latest award-winning quilt, "Pi E2," with me for the trunk show.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

You won't know unless you try

My quilt, "Pi E2 [Exponentially Embellished]," returned from the 2014 HMQS [Home Machine Quilting Show]. This is what I saw upon opening the box.
"Pi" returns from the Salt Lake HMQS.
The ribbon comes protected in a clear cellophane sleeve. The certificate was in the envelope with a cash award. 
Third Place ribbon and certificate in the Conventional Machine category.
This was my first entry into a Machine Quilting show and it was a real honor winning a ribbon! [Story here.] One of the best parts about this experience was that I got to share the good news with my quilting friends. First, at the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild when my friend, Karen, announced the news to the group. Then, at the Choo Choo Quilters Guild during Show and Tell. Both guilds gave me a round of applause.
Show and Tell at the Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting.
And the moral of this story? 
If you are quilter and don't belong to a quilt guild, find one and join! There is nothing like having your friends—who understand what you do and why you do it!—support you and be happy for you and with you when something amazing like this happens. If you don't think you could ever put your work in a show (for whatever reason) or that your work could ever win something, I would tell you, "you don't know unless you try." Just do it!

This quilt started off as just a sample quilt top to showcase Sisley, a fabric collection by Blank Quilting. It traveled with me for over six months before it ever got quilted. Then it did. The quilt stats are here. And this is height to which it has flown. It will accompany me often to my Intro to Free-Motion Quilting classes to serve as inspiration to my students and fellow quilters.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

ATCs: From the Deck: Aces and Jokers

"Aces and Jokers in the Funny Pages" (back)
by Linda Smith
Are you an Ace or are you a Joker?

The FiberAntics ATC artists might be a combination of both.

The Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) from the May trade featured cards "From the Deck: Aces and Jokers." The "From the Deck" theme will span 3 months from May through July. Subsequent months will feature the face cards (Kings, Queens and Jacks) and in July, the numbered suit cards will be featured.

"Aces and Jokers in the Funny Pages" (front)
by Linda Smith

"Aces and Jokers"
by Liz Armstrong

"Jokers R Wild!"
by Marilyn League

"From the Deck"
A little bit of Spain's Gaudi…
By Karen Downer

"Jokers and Aces"
By Sharon Griffith

"Beware of the Joker"
By Cathy Dillon
"Beware of the Joker" (inside flap)
By Cathy Dillon

"Heath Ledger as The Joker"
By Veronica Hofman-Ortega
"The Joker"
Ha Ha—the joke's on me.
By Bonnie Stevens
Stay tuned for more cards "From the Deck" as ATC artists interpret the face cards next month.
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