Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"That Last Border"

Finally this little number is done. It was a Round Robin. I started the middle, gave it to the next person, and didn't see it until the fifth quilter had a go at it.

I was pleased but not entirely. That last border, while a good idea by itself, overwhelmed the middle. Actually, after the first set o
f stripes, I think I'd have gone with something else; it has too many narrow stripes which distract from the middle (a Cynthia England design).

However, I love that scrappy border, and I did like the idea of last border and wanted to keep it, so I moved it around to the back! Then I added some free-motion quilting and a few beads. I might do something more to the iris and the butterfly, but right now, I'm saying, "Finished is better than Perfect" - a quote I learned while making "Dear Jane" but that's another post.

Thanks to Laurie, Edith, Marilyn and Rae for their work on this one. "That Last Border."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

So little time...

We all say it... so little time, so many _____ . Fill in the blank. For me, it is 'ideas.'

Yesterday I made the "mistake" of looking through a box labeled "Inspiration" and before long had quilts happening in my head. Too bad they didn't happen as easily in the physical realm of weeds to pull, floors to sweep, company to cook for, holes to mend, and on and on.

My first quilt inspiration came from the cover of a magazine, McCall's I think but that was long before I knew to record my 'source.' A woman had made a golf quilt for her husband. It was a wall hanging, but I wanted to make that quilt. I figured it would work if the blocks were six inches instead of her four, and if I added a couple of borders. I spent hours on CorelDraw designing it and at the same time buying fabrics that seemed to fit this design. I phoned all over the city and found what I am sure was the last yardage of the golfing print that inspired the original. After hours and hours, I started to cut out the pieces. This was before I knew anything about quilting.

Finally, I laid all the pieces on the floor and stood back. I was so amazed that I started crying, and at that point was totally hooked.

At that point I also realized I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Instead of taking classes (I may not have realized there were such things), I made a half dozen or so baby quilts as practice for this one. Then I sewed it together, sandwiched it on the floor of my dining room, and quilted it on my Bernina 1630, freestyle. It has been on our bed ever since, and while the photo is a partial, the colors and general idea is here.

My husband, the golfer, understands the title, "Just a Tad Over Par." In golf, par is average, and being over par is not as good as being under. All tad aside, I still feel pleasure at this 'first quilt sort of' every time I look at it. The points match and the "quilt as desired" turned out pretty well for such a beginner.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beads & Butterflies

The Round Robin quilt is bound, but it needs beads, so no photo yet. Instead, this is another beaded wall hanging. It is not the first one that I put beads on, but it has the most.

I called it "Butterfly Trails" because of the whimsical quilting, freely scribbled and my favorite way to quilt. I'll never do formal feathers! I used metallic threads and just enjoyed myself.

This quilt is 42" square and was a sampler, of all things,
for a class on applique. It turned out better than I planned, and is the one that I get the most requests to "put it in your will with my name on it." The close-up shows some of the beading.

Yesterday I watched the latest video at The Quilt Show. It featured Jean Wells, and I am anxious to try the method she demonstrated on this program. If you haven't signed up, give it a whirl. I think it is worth every penny!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Round Robin nearly finished

A few years ago we had a "Celebrate Creativity" function at our church. People brought everything they were making, from scrapbooks to furniture. Nora and I brought our quilts.

To our surprise, five people asked us to teach them how, and Fellowship Peacemakers was born. We've had as many as 15 in classes over a few years, and both Nora and I have learned much.

In the spring we asked if anyone was interested in a Round Robin. Five people were, so we began. Each person made a center of some kind. Mine was a paper-pieced block from a pattern by Cynthia England that appeared in a Quilter's Newsletter magazine. We passed our middles, concealed in a box, to the next person, and didn't see them for five months.

When mine came back, the four other quilters added some very interesting borders. The last one was imaginative, but over the top with contrasting fabrics and a unique design. When I looked at the quilt, all I could see was this dazzling border.

So with a bit of reqret I removed the last border, but I could not toss it, so sewed the strips together and used it on the back. When I turn this little quilt over, I can see the effort put into that border and remember the fun we had working on quilts for one another.

Yesterday I finished quilting it. As soon as the binding is on, I'll post a photo.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"No Star Shines Alone"

Today I'm going to make a list of UFO's (unfinished objects) and projects that I've got pattern and fabric but haven't started yet. The thought frightens me. I keep letting my wandering mind govern what I'm doing, which translates into, "Oh that looks nice! I think I'll make another quilt!" and another UFO is soon added to the pile.

Do I finish anything? Oh yes! A few weeks ago I took a class at Earthly Goods. It was called "Kool Kaleidoscopes" and taught by one of my favorite teachers, Kim Dalmer. Kim had gone stateside and took this class from Ricky Tims who gave her permission to teach it and sell his pattern.

What fun! No one in the class had a clue what their quilt would look like until it was pieced and put up on the wall, just like looking through a real kaleidoscope. I enjoyed it so much that this quilt had to be finished. I brought my partly done triangles home, put them together, made the background, sandwiched it, and then quilted the dickens out of it. I added a binding and label and completed the entire project in less than a month. It is about 50" square and hanging on my studio wall. I called it "No Star Shines Alone" because of the great encouragement flying around in that class. Each of us designed an amazing quilt as we were cheered on by Kim and the other quilters.

Now if I could just put the same focus into the rest of my ideas, and that pile of UFO's. . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why this blog?

Quilters are told to journal their progress. We are supposed to note when we start a project, our thoughts about the joys and struggles of being creative, keep track of what fabrics when and where, celebrate with words the date each quilt is finished, and note where it goes, if it wins any prizes, and who owns it. Of course we are supposed to take pictures, pictures in progress, pictures when it is finished.

I'm fortunate if I get the start and end date, maybe the size of the thing, and where it goes. I've been writing this information in a journal, but why not here? Some people might like to see what I'm doing, hopefully encouraging their own creativity.

I'll start with right now. Maybe I'll add some quilts from my past, but just use this space as a quilt journal, and hopefully chat with others who like cutting fabric into pieces and sewing them back together.

The image in this post is "Hollyhocks" from a pattern in Ruth McDowell's book, "Piecing Flowers." It is made from batik fabrics, and is 20" square. I like it because it "glows" and works nicely on a dark wall in my home. It is not for sale, at the moment!