Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MQX - Machine Quilters Exposition April 13/14

Disclosure:  Some of the links, indicated by an *, are affiliate links, 
meaning I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I was so excited to get to MQX after many years of not attending any major shows. I always try to get to the local ones, and this is an hour away,  but raising a young man can take up your time.  It seems that the local ones either collided with an event or were on the heels of something else so I didn't go.  I so enjoyed this year's show.  The quilts are phenomenal.  I will show you one that I loved.
I loved the composition of this quilt and the quilting on it.  One of the hardest things in attending this show is not letting yourself get discouraged by the talent of others.  I sometimes walk away feeling so inadequate in my quilting.  I have to remind myself that this is the best of the best and my goal was to learn some things while I was there.

One thing I struggle with is  a way to remind myself of quilting designs.  I have thought of drawing them but that does not always work.  I am now thinking of a smart photo album on my computer.  I love some of the details in this pictures  and wanted to remember easy ways of filling some space - divide and conquer is a good thing to call these samples.

The above pictures were to remind me of things that I admire but will probably never do.  I love the detail, but I doubt I am ever doing to do any of these techniques.  The picture on the right was the back of a quilt.  The thread colors make it a whole cloth quilt - I love that!  Maybe a smaller, less complicated version is in the works for me, but I would definitely have to remember to use a white backing, something I rarely do.
I took a workshop with Candace West, Digital Design Wall in EQ8*.  It was a terrific class and gave me the confidence to do more of what I need in the design package.  I love software programs that work, and this one does.  It is fairly complicated, but also easy.  The instructor was calm and efficient in a class with more students than she expected and some students had an older version of EQ - a little tricky.  I knew a fair amount but learned quite a bit and I also have some videos/files from the class (the handout on a flash drive) that will allow me to review and learn more!
I didn't buy a longarm or midarm (what I really want) but I did get a few things.  [*indicates affiliate link - for those who want to share in the fun and/or help support my blog] I chose Aurifil black for my giveaway since I have a huge cone of Aurifil white.  I purchased a thread card as it is really helpful to have one when you want to know what it available.  The "8 packs" of fabric are fat eighths for a QAL with Sandra at mmm!quilts, beginning April 28.

 Before machine quilting became hugely popular and accepted, many of my quilting projects used template stencils.  These stencils are used with the Pounce *, and recently I was thinking of a few ideas and loved these for some projects I am working on.  The pink/purple containers are a fine mist spray bottle*.  Mine don't work very well and the one for my starch drives me nuts.  I'll let you know what I think.  I also bought an Ultimate Chalk Pencil* and Sharpener,  I love marking tools.
This ruler is for trimming the half square triangle,  the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer*.  A Carpenter Star project I did recently would have been much faster with both of these tools.  I like ruler as you trim before pressing and the side slots allow you to trim the nasty dog ears off.  The other is the Clearly Perfect Angles*.  I had a tool like this before, but this one can be repositioned and is slightly tacky - I look forward to reporting more on these.  
And last, but not least for purchases are these 3 items.  The fabric is for a pattern I have, which calls for a cheater stripe and I hope this will work.  The pattern didn't make the trip so I don't if its right.  However, his is my favorite color combination right now, so what could be wrong if it doesn't?  The last is a ruler for my Westalee set, that now adds a Rope Border to my repetoire.  

The other great thing about shows is meeting old and new friends.  The above quilt is one of the Island Batik Ambassadors, Suzy Webster, for the Dot Challenge.  It was fun to see it and even more fun was meeting another ambassador, Jennifer Strausser.  So much fun to meet her and talk about our experiences. We first became acquainted in the 2017 NewQuiltBlogger group and now are ambassadors together.  I look forward to meeting more of my ambassador or quilt blogger friends at other shows in the future.

Well, now to use some of these tools!

Linking up with:  Wednesday Wait Loss (gain this week - ha ha!)
                              Main Crush Monday
                             Lets bee social
Disclosure:  Some of the links, indicated by an *, are affiliate links, 
meaning I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Quarterly Goals - 2018 FAL Q2

Goal #1: Island Batik Vintage Made New
Top is done, needs to be sandwiched, quilted, bound
(Fabric was given to me by Island Batik)

Goal#2:  IAQ/Island Batik 2 for one project
I can't say much more but it will need to be sandwiched and quilted.
(Fabric was given to me by Island Batik)

 Goal #3:  Grandmother's Flower Garden
It is an antique I rescued and the quilting is done.  It just needs binding but the 
edges need to be trimmed too.

 Goal #4:  Applique Rose of Sharon
Finish applique, sandwich, quilt, bind

Goal#5 Typewriter Quilt
 Quilt, make binding, label

I think these will keep me out of trouble!

Linking up:
She Can Quilt:  FAL Q2 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Where in the world have I been????

I have had a busy few weeks.  I am still having a busy week but wanted to catch you up on a few quilting things that I have been doing.
 First, I took a class from Paula Nadelstern, quilter, author and fabric designer.  Her quilts are an exquisite series of kaleidoscopes and are drop dead gorgeous.  The above is a sample of a piece of one of her quilts.  There is a knockout one coming - it is in Paducah now - but we were privileged to get a glimpse of it.  The picture above is a tiny piece of another one of her quilts.
Here is my star - quite a fun class classed Sun Star.  Paula is an excellent teacher and she really knows how to pace the class, keep it interesting, and make hard tasks seem easy easy.  I am anxious to make another to compliment it this block.  My friend used the same fabric as I did  and they are totally different! 
I auditioned some of my Island Batiks so that I could work on April's challenge while away on Spring Fling, our annual quilt guild getaway.  These fabrics are given to me by Island Batik to use in quilt challenges throughout the year.  For the retreat, we go to a lovely spot on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire,  a little over 2 hours north of Boston.  We sew and eat and laugh and have a great time for 4 days and 3 nights.  The endless winter meant there was lots of ice still on the lake and snow that fell Friday!  
The above quilts went to new homes.
I have been playing with a few designs - some easier than others!  
I worked on a new technique for my April Challenge.
I worked on a pattern for our  QAL!  Details will be realeased on May 1st so keep an eye out.   It is designed by a group that met nearly a year ago in the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers and are now known as Partners in Design.  You can find us here.
I signed up to host a few things in May...more on that later.
Unfortunately, I fell behind in my #365daysofArt but I will be back! One can only do so much.
So, you can see there are a lot of things in the works.
Linking up to:
Janda Bend - Pieceful Sunday
Powered by Quilting - Friday Foto Fun
Inquiring Quilter - Wednesday Wait Loss

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

First Quarter Goals - #2018FALQ1

So I did it - I finished all my first quarter goals! If you aren't familiar with this group, please jump over to Beth at She Can Quilt.  Everything you to need to know is right there.  My list was three quilts to get done....and I did...HAPPY DANCE.💃  I'm grateful to the three sites that keep me honest and am pleased to see my quarterly report completed.  

The first finish was in January and was My Funky Pine Trees.  Here is the blog where I listed as a goal and here is the completed blog entry.  I'll leave you with before and after pictures - just to keep it all honest.

Funky Pine Trees before finish
Funky Pine Trees, completed

Next up was the baby quilt, Fancy Forrest.  It is now named "Fancy Forerest Deux" and has been given to a coworker who is expecting her first son in May. I am doing a happy dance for both quilt and baby!  Here is its before entry and the finish entry.

Finished "Fancy Forrest Deux"
Before Fancy Forrest

And last, but not least is the loon.  My father always recited something from Pogo about the the loon - which I remember the line as "and only the loon is lorne".  I love the finish product and it will hang somewhere in our Maine Cottage.  Here is the  before blog and the after blog!

Before finish - some work done on it
Finished Quilt

And at the time I knew I would be doing some Batik Ambassador pieces but not much more - three of those were completed too!  Its been a good run for the beginning of the year.

Linking up to 2018FALQ1!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March UFO Done - OMG Finish and APQResolution

This quilt has spend a couple of years on my UFO lists but, happily, I can report that it is finished.  This quilt was for my OneMonthlyGoal and my APQResolution2018 lists and my #2018FALQ1.  I bought the pattern years ago (probably 10) but who's counting.  It took me a long time to find the fabrics for the loon and I think they are nearly perfect!  And then, I just hesitated or procrastinated or was too afraid to start the technique on my own.
The pattern is from Joan Shay whose technique is called Petal Play Appli-bond©.  This pattern is  called Loon and Water Lilies.   More about her technique and patterns are available at her website.  
You use HeatnBond©Ultra Hold and use this between two layers of one fabric.  The HeatnBond allows you to attach the pieces and they can hold there shape(like the petals) or hang loose(like the feathers) or twist the like reeds.  For instance, the petals are bonded once, then you press for a few seconds and curl them!  They hold their curl.   Joan also sells something called AppliBond needles which are able to go through the HeatNBond and fabric - they seem to have a three-pointed needle (I am imaging that leather needles are like this).  I do love that I had this bright pink in a number of shades and blended them with the flowers.  The feathers, however are my favorite part.

So, this completes my OMG and my APQ Resolution for March.  YIPPEE!

Linking up to:  Elm Street Quilts/One Monthly Goal

Quilt stats:
"Loon on a Lake"  22x33
Pattern:  Loon and Water Lilies by Joan Shay

Next months project will be up soon.   I expect it may be finishing a piece I am working on today in Paula Nadelstern's class.  It is a great class - take it if you ever get the chance.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Island Batik: Try A Technique

Island Batik Ambassadors were asked this month to try a technique.  It didn't have to be a particular size or use a particular line - so the sky was the limit (the fabrics were provided by Island Batik).   I have been quilting a long time, and worked in a quilt store, so I have tried a lot of techniques.  What to do???
In April, while I was still working at Cambridge Quilts, Linda Warren stopped by with her ruler and some patterns.  While I couldn't make a decision for the store to buy it, I liked it enough to by one for me.  The ruler is not very large - pieces will finish either 2" or 4".  The pattern I chose would make a 12" block.  There wasn't a lot of fabric, so I had to be careful
 So, here it is - my new technique is using the ruler called "The Learning Curve".  This ruler is quite fun.  You can get wonderful circles and create wavy borders.  You can find her patterns and her ruler at Linda Warren Designs and also follow her on facebook.
The first order of business was this test block.  I loved the technique and so I chose my fabrics. One thing about me is I never do the easiest pattern first - always the hardest. I did watch one of her videos, too, just to be sure that I knew what I was doing.
Island Batik sent quite a few fabrics, but it is always hard to decide which group to jump in and use.  I figured since we have been in the winter of our discontent with 3 Nor'easters in March, I would do my Nor'easter quilt!   I would use Alpine Ice!  Here is one of the pictures that helped me figure out what I wanted to use.  The middle fabric with snowflakes was a little bluer/brighter than the others so I pulled it. out.  Funny that the background looks much whiter in that picture.

Linda's business card had the setting I used with a kind of gradation of color across it.  I loved the one on her business card but was afraid it would be too busy.  I made one section and loved it!  I tried to group the fabrics to make it work, but mostly, it think it helped the prints be in a little more control.  The other batiks I had were just not going to work, so I decided to go ahead.

It is a good idea to press seams open and use a stiletto.  I never liked pressing seams open, a hard habit to break.  I find myself doing it more and more.  The stiletto really helped control the curved piecing  and no pins were damaged in this exercise. 😉
 There was a lot of trimming.  Her technique has a good way of giving you plenty of help to get those curves nicely done.   Mostly what I liked is that it all really worked well - no puckering - no redoing of seams.  I pressed to the dark batiks and that allowed the pieces to nest well when I got to joining the blocks.  I highly recommend this ruler.  It is a simple easy solution to get some great curves in your blocks!
I chain piece when I can, because why not!

Here is the final quilt!
You can see the quilting on the back, pretty simple as it is a small piece.   I used Hobbs Thermore batting for this quilt (generously provided by them) and I loved the way it behaved.  It is thin but has a bit of loft.  Quite nice! Notice there are triangles I used for hanging smaller pieces.
In case you were wondering what a whole quilt might look like here's an example. I used a program called Layout on my Iphone to do this.   Note, there is a double row that acts differently and interrupts the interlocking circles,  but you get the idea.  If you want to see others, you can go to Linda's facebook page from here.

And a final look!

"The Winter Of My Discontent - 2018"  20.5" x 20.5"
Island Batik fabrics from the Alpine Lace Line
Hobbs Thermore Batting
Machine pieced and quilted