Starting a New Series

I am finally starting the “what they said” series. I had chosen about 20 phrases that people uttered when they encountered Jesus. The different reactions people had were quite outstanding, and I don’t think I have ever seen them addressed. So I feel very firmly that this is something I am meant to do. But the HOW was not exactly established. I knew I wanted them to be somewhat simple, so that the words would take the pre-eminent place in the work. As the time approached, I got out all the little squares that I had pieced at my Lake Tahoe retreat (that retreat turned out to be a VERY GOOD THING!) and decided that I would use them in this series. I thought a LOT about whether or not I wanted the quilts to be the same size. I usually don’t work that way. Then I saw how Melody Johnson mounts her small works on a cradled wood panel, and I thought that might be another way to add interest to this series. I haven’t decided for sure whether I will mount these quilts like that, but it helped me to make the decision to make them all the same size, and to choose a size that will fit on wood panels that are available. Almost all of them will be 15″ X 15″.

Then, finally, it was time to start. I didn’t plan this, and I have never done this, but since they were so simple, I put together multiple sandwiches. I am using my favorite Kona Snow as the background color on all of these. Fortunately, I had a bolt of it in the closet :)

DSCN2742

One of the reasons that I continued making sandwiches was because I knew how to piece these simple tops. But, as usual, I got a little stuck at the quilting. I finally followed my BF’s advice, and did a little quilt-sketching. That broke the barrier. Yesterday, I sat down and put the words on the first quilt with my blue pen and started embroidering. I have my starting sketch all ready to go so I can quilt it as soon as I finish the words.

IMG_1136

I am happy.

Another Psalm Quilt Finished

DSCN2736

This quilt is a good lesson in “just continue on.” I actually had decided I didn’t like this quilt, in the stage where I just had the circles pinned in place. I was going to put it in the thrift store pile, but I do find it hard to do that, so I just threw it in the closet. A few months later, I was looking for something to do some handwork on, and I brought it back out. Well, maybe just for fun…

DSCN2738

The more I stitched on it, the more I liked it. And then it ended up being the one that I completely stitched over the whole surface! In my defense, one of the reasons I disliked it was because I didn’t do such a good job making the quilt sandwich. This was one of the projects I worked on in my little self-retreat up in Lake Tahoe last fall, and I only had my Featherweight with me. Anyway, I decided to let that go and just stitch away. I’m glad I did.

DSCN2741

The Psalm that I chose for it is one of the passages that Wendy and I loved when we started working with the kids in the village in Haiti.

DSCN2737

DSCN2740

DSCN2739

Endless Stitching

Whose smart idea was it to do kantha stitching over the ENTIRE BACKGROUND of my latest quilt? Its not a very big quilt, but it seems like I will NEVER finish. Its all straight-line stitching, of course, and I am only stitching through the top and the batting, so it is fairly easy stitching. But it is a LOT. Its not nearly as fun and interesting as the circles :)

Here’s a couple of views of it resting on the ottoman in front of me. Note to self: when it is resting there, its not being stitched…

DSCN2703

DSCN2704

And here is another little quilt that I did for some dear friends. The wife asked if I would be willing to make a small quilt for their 60th anniversary! Of course I would. I admire both of them. Both are strong and intelligent people, who have worked at having a good committed marriage, something I admire very much. My friend showed me a plate with the colors that they liked, and that is where the simple color scheme came from. I used more than the usual amount of lazy daisy/leaf type stitches, as that was reminiscent of the pattern on the plate.

DSCN2680

DSCN2685

Background Experiments

A few posts back, I showed you the pile of 3″ squares and the snowball quilt I was working on.

 

Here’s the finished snowball quilt. I put a simple wide black border on it, influenced by the great Amish quilts I saw at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. By the way, if you are ever in the area, I can’t recommend this museum highly enough. They have great exhibits, and it is so lovely to see quilts displayed in such a beautiful way.

DSCN2687

Well, it seems my figuring was a bit off, because I finished that snowball quilt top, and still had a huge pile of 3″ squares. When auditioning backgrounds for the snowball quilt, I came across a piece of dyed golden beige fabric. It was really pretty with the jewel tones of the squares, so I put it aside, thinking that I might experiment with it after the snowball top was done. I only had 1/2 yard of the golden beige fabric, so this one was smaller.

DSCN2683

I had fun making these squares–you can see here, I simply zigzagged one of my many 2″ squares in the middle of the 3″ square. And the other ones I cross-cut 4X, inserting free-hand cut strips of the background color. Then I had to square up the finished piece to the original size.

DSCN2666

And THEN, I still had a big pile of the 3″ squares leftover. And I think I was looking at some of the modern quilts at QuiltCon (BTW, its going to be in California next year!!!) and I saw a black and white quilt, and that gave me the idea to play around with my black and white fabrics. This quilt was quite fun. I simply cut 3 1/2 inch and 6 1/2 inch strips, and improvised as I went along.

DSCN2677

After I cut those strips with a rotary cutter, I did all the rest of the cutting with my scissors. This method worked out pretty accurately. After I sewed a strip on, I simply carefully folded the strip back on itself, matching the bottom edge of the seam, and making sure the unsewn edge of the strip matched the side of the sewn edge. I held it carefully in place and cut along the fold.

DSCN2671

DSCN2673

DSCN2676

My goal this week was to get all three of these made into quilt sandwiches. I am hoping by doing this that I won’t continue to add to my pile of unfinished quilt tops. And also, I am ready to move on to some serious projects, so I wanted to clear out the studio.

Mission accomplished–this picture represents the final sandwich being completed! You can see I still have a little bit of cleaning up to do :)

DSCN2689

Join Me for a Quilt Show Marathon?

Gather some handwork, and get the popcorn ready! Its time for a Quilt Show marathon! This weekend you can watch every single show on The Quilt Show for free! I have had a busy week, and have gotten some major tasks accomplished. I decided to reward myself with a marathon of Quilt Shows tomorrow. I’ve even planned out my menu for the day so I can have extra popcorn and still stay within my normal calorie allotment!

In case you look at the long list of shows, and are overwhelmed by all the choices, I thought I’d share a few that I thought were extra special, and a few that I am planning to check out myself.

 

  • Show 106–Denise Labadie, on Ireland. This show is from their very first season, and I do remember being very impressed by Denise’s work. I am looking forward to checking it out again.
  • Show 408–Alex Anderson on Neutral Quilts. I have a large collection of neutrals, and I would like to make a neutral quilt. This might give me a jumping off point.
  • Shows 112, and 513–The incomparable Libby Lehman. If you can only watch one, watch 513, where she is awarded the Quilt Legend award.
  • Show 508–Paula Nadelstern at The American Folk Art Museum.
  • Shows 313 and 601–Jinny Beyer on Handpiecing, and also being awarded the Quilt Legend award.
  • Show 711–Rosalie Dace, and there are also segments with Jennifer Chiavarini (the author) and Michael Cummings, which I enjoyed very much.
  • Show 1102–Luke Haynes, an extraordinary quilt artist.
  • Show 1308–Caryl Bryer-Fallert-Gentry. Say no more, right?
  • Show 1301–Jean Wells–I love the direction her work has taken, and this show features that.
  • Show 1501–Jane Dunnewald. She is an excellent teacher.
  • And Show 1512–Debby Schnabel. Just in case you haven’t seen it yet :)  I also really love the segment on this show with Laurie Hill Gibb, who took a trip around the country in a camper, something I have wanted to do since I was a kid!

Once you are signed in to The Quilt Show, just go to the page with the Show List. From there it is easy to look through the choices of quilt artists, and click on the series, and then the specific show you want to watch.

And just because I haven’t shared any pictures for a while, I will show you an idea for using a smaller quilt as a bed quilt. Most of the quilts I make are not large enough to be considered bed quilts. But I enjoy using them on my bed. I found a bed-sized white quilt at Home Goods, well made and quite reasonably priced, and I use it on the bed, with the smaller quilt as a “topper.” I really like using my quilts this way.

DSCN2667

Have a super terrific, quilt-filled weekend!

 

International Quilting Weekend!

Did you all know there was such a thing as International Quilting Weekend? Well, there is, and The Quilt Show is doing it up big! I am simply going to copy the letter that they have sent me. Its a great opportunity for those of you who 1) don’t want to join, or 2) are thinking of joining and want to see what its all about. I am a huge fan of the show, and have watched every single episode from the very beginning up to present day. There are lots of ideas and inspiration, and plenty of instruction too. They try to cover a wide range of quilting interests, from the traditional to modern, hand-quilting to long arm quilting, and art quilts as well as precision work. There’s simply something for everyone! You can start by clicking here. You won’t believe some of the great prizes they are offering!

Dear Quilting Friend:

Big news here! In honor of International Quilting Weekend, March 20-22, 2015, The Quilt Show, the web TV show hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, will open all of its shows from the first nine series– shows 100-1513 –for the entire weekend. This means that, for three special days, everyone will have the chance to view over 200 shows, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, for FREE.

This year’s sponsors are contributing over $5000 in prizes, including the Grand Prize, a BERNINA 550 QE.  Other prizes you have a chance to win are:

•         Innova – Have your quilt professionally quilted ($500 value)

•         Superior Threads – five $100 gift certificates

•         RJR Fabrics – a Delicious Selection of RJR Fabrics

•         AccuQuilt – GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter

•         Missouri Star Quilt Company – $500 in Quilter’s Cash plus signed copies of Volume 1 of Block Magazine and Man Sewing Swag

 

As you may already know, I appeared as the featured artist on TQS in show 1512. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see this show the first time around, now you’ll have the chance to see it—and so many other terrific shows—at no cost in this unprecedented three-day offer.

I hope that you’ll share this information with all of your quilting friends. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy three days of learning and fun without leaving your home…all for free.

Enjoy the shows, and thanks for helping to spread the word!

I have been busy working away in the studio, having great fun experimenting with different backgrounds for all those 3 inch colored squares I cut out. In between I do a little more quilting on that big nine-patch quilt. I’ll be back soon with some fun pictures. In the meantime, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a few of the shows for free! I think I might have a Quilt Show marathon this weekend to celebrate :)

 

 

In The Studio and On My Lap

Here’s the latest work being done in the studio–

I made the giant nine patch quilt top into a sandwich. First I made a pieced back for it. I’ll have to show you that after the quilting is finished.

DSCN2598

And I started working on the little snowball quilt idea I had. You can see that most of the blocks are 3 inch finished blocks. Then I made six, nine, twelve, and fifteen inch blocks to insert into the quilt. I thought of a lot of different ways to do this, but I ended up using the original little sketch I had drawn in my journal. I love having my little journal with me!

DSCN2599

I still have a lot of the 3 1/2 inch squares that I pre-cut for this quilt. I have another little idea in the works for them.

In the evenings, I usually move into the living room and have some handwork in progress.

DSCN2596

I’m working on another of  The Psalms quilts. Here you can see I machine stitched in the ditch to stabilize the background. But then I decided to do kantha style stitching over the entire background.

IMG_1024

Well, you know all about my circle love :)

IMG_1026

IMG_1028

And I finished the rug made from fabric strips. These rugs are so cushy to stand on. I really like having them in the kitchen, and they wash very easily too.

DSCN2586

After being washed:

DSCN2600

Its just right in front of the stove. And the little girls like to lay on them when they are waiting for me to make their meals!

In The Studio

Sometimes I go into the studio expecting one thing to happen, and the muse leads in a completely different direction. Yesterday I went in planning to work on my little snowball blocks. Just some boring, repetitive work (I like that sometimes.) But my featherweight sewing machine was set up on the desk. I remembered that I had set it up thinking that I might want to sew the snowball blocks with it. I decided that I wanted to use my big machine for that, but I hadn’t put the featherweight away. That made me think of my little squares.

Once a month I get together with my sewing group. And for the last couple of years, I have spent that day putting together nine patch blocks, using one particular Loni Rossi fabric as a focus fabric for them. Here’s that focus fabric. I am just in love with it, and wish I could get more. It was actually on sale, and I bought one yard. Then a friend was going back to that store, and I asked her to get me more. They only had a yard and a half left. So I used about 2 yards just making the little nine patches.

DSCN2574

 

So yesterday I started looking through my collection of nine patch blocks, and the sixteen patch blocks (18″ blocks) that I had constructed from them. Sigh. I only had nine of those dang blocks. This was going to take another two years at this rate. I went into the closet to see if I had some more of the big sixteen patch blocks stashed somewhere in there. I didn’t find any, but I did find the bin of all the blocks I had constructed from my two inch blocks over the years. There were some little 16 patch blocks and some little 25 patch blocks. Some of them were hand-pieced, and some of them had some vague pattern work going on on them. Others were just completely scrappy. I was beginning to warm to the idea of using all these blocks that might never find a home otherwise. My original inspiration was an antique quilt, and isn’t that what it seemed like was often done–midway through a quilt, the color might change a bit, as they ran out of one fabric and made do with what they had on hand.

Hmmmm. What if I were to use all these blocks to supplement my nine patch blocks. I wonder if there would be enough to make a quilt top. So I started fooling around with them on the design wall. I counted the nine patches I still had, and there were enough to make three more of the big sixteen patch blocks. That way I could put a grid of 3X4 big blocks in the center of the quilt. I still had some of the Lonni Rossi focus fabric left. If I outlined these blocks with the focus fabric, maybe that would make sense of the quilt. I laid out the small 16 patch blocks and the 25 patch blocks around the quilt, and I had enough to make a complete top!

DSCN2571

And that is what happened in the studio yesterday. Finished size is about 68″ X 88″. And in case you’re going to ask (several friends have already asked) there are about 2,867 little blocks in this quilt.

DSCN2572

Of course, I still have a full box of little two inch squares…

Never Ending Nine Patch

**I wrote this last August, and just discovered that I never hit “publish.” Its the prequel to tomorrow’s post, so I needed to publish it today :) **

Do you remember my love for my box of little two inch squares? That box always stays full. If it starts to get a little low on two inch squares, I just cut a few strips of favorite fabrics and fill it back up. If I come to the end of a project, and there are just a few scraps of fabric left, I cut that into two inch squares.

Once a month I meet with my sewing ladies. For the past couple of years I’ve just taken my box of two inch squares and made nine patches out of them. Eventually I planned to make an entire bed sized quilt out of these nine patch blocks.

This is how I do it: I just lay out 5 blocks of one color and 4 blocks of another, and construct each block one at a time.

DSCN1725

By the end of sewing day, I usually have a pile of 10-15 blocks.

DSCN1728

Eventually I started sewing the nine patch blocks into sixteen patch blocks (which made an 18″ square block.)

DSCN1726

Here I am auditioning them on the design wall. You can see I have one focus fabric, a lovely Lonni Rossi print, that I am using as a focus fabric.

DSCN1729

Sigh. I still need a LOT of those nine patch blocks.