Sunday, March 19, 2017

the quilt show

This weekend, my guild had our annual quilt show.  It was a success.  We don't have official numbers yet, but it's at least near to the record-breaker two years ago.  I was in charge of advertising, so I'm getting lots of pats on the back, but I enabled members - all of them - to have flyers to e-mail, post online and post in person, so we all deserve the credit!

We have tables set up for members to sew and answer questions during the show (which I participated in), but first let's take a walk around the show!

The photos sorted themselves by how I renamed them, so no particular order here - some I took better photos of because they were super awesome, some were equally awesome, but I was running out of battery!

Dutch Treat by Betty.  This took her about a year and is all hand reverse appliqued.  She's giving it away.  I think she's nuts to have made it, but even more so to give it away!  Each block is maybe 6".

Bill's Log Cabins.  It probably has another name, but these pieces are tiny.  I think those larger log cabins measure 6", but to Bill, that's ginormous.  There's a tiny house hidden in there - can you find it?  Bill does amazing, though tiny, work.  Always.

This amazing applique (machine) from Carol S. is something totally unexpected from her.  Usually she works with more muted, girly colors.  The bright, bold colors match her personality and she says it's going on her bed after the show.

This is Cathy S's tiger quilt  She's crazy.  It has about 5000 squares in there.  But it's amazing.  And you can't see the quilting, but it enhances the design.  But it's one you have to stand back from or you lose the idea.  She said quilting it was a nightmare because you're so close you lose where you are in the quilt and therefore what motif you should be quilting!  I think those squares finished 1" each.  There's a zebra later on...

Christine's wedding ring-ish quilt.  She started cutting this one out at our show a year ago.  We call her our Energizer Bunny.  She comes to sewing retreats and sits quietly in the corner and sews like crazy.  She's paying attention to what's going on - we see her giggle a little every so often - but she's focused.  She's also our current president and she's doing a great job!

Colette's 365 quilt.  Last year an Australian designer had a quilt that had a block every day.  Colette not only kept up, but had this quilt finished in time for our late-February deadline for quilt entries.  She's about as opposite as you can get from Christine in personality (she and I are the "naughty corner" regularly at meetings), but she gets a lot done, too!  A L.O.T.!

My elephants.  Without shadows.  :)

My Christmas Pickle.  I had this hanging and then realized I hadn't sprayed out the blue lines I'd marked for quilting guidelines!  Before guests arrived Saturday, I hit it with the spray bottle!

Every other year our guild makes a quilt for the Friends of the Library to raffle.  This is our quilt for this two-year period.  It was made from fabrics found in the stash of a member who passed away a few years ago by her daughter, who now lives in another state.  We kicked off ticket sales this weekend and that was a huge success!

On to the wider angle shots.  That elephant at the end was made by the second man to join our guild, Larry.  He's the hubby of Energizer Bunny Christine and I think he keeps up with her.  She's referred to him as her "Quilt Fairy," as he took to her longarm quickly and has quilted many of her tops for her!  He's a great, new, addition to our guild.

Another long shot.

These five Pepperdish quilts (a Judy Neimeyer pattern) were completed by members who took a class a few years ago from a certified instructor.  The large one on the center was done by Christine - she got the center done and decided she wanted it larger.  It's going to be a gift for a friend.  Lucky friend!

Another long shot...

Photo one of the Paint Chip Challenge entrants.  That one on top right won Viewer's Choice within our guild for the challenge entries.

Photo two of Paint Chip Challenge entries.  They're not all here, but you can see the variety of ideas we all had!

And yet another long shot.  You'd think this room was much larger than it is!  I was sitting at a table so that this was pretty much my view all weekend!

Another long shot - with the zebra.  Sadly, he's a little cut off the table and I didn't realize it until I got home and downloaded my photos.  The show has been down for a few hours now, so not much chance to get another any time soon.  That zebra was done by Colette (of the 365 quilt fame) and though her pieces are a bit larger than the tiger, it's equally amazing to see from a distance!

And the last longer shot.  We giggled at the garden quilt next to the pickle quilt.  Carol R's garden grows the cucumbers and I pickled them!  The last quilt on the left is a quilt made from blocks given to a previous president.  She wanted traditional Christmas colors and ended up with enough to make a double-sided quilt.  Unfortunately, I only captured one side, but you can see the variety she received (and the various ways folks interpreted traditional!).  She loves it!

What did I do while I was there?  Besides chat with friends and guests and giggle a lot?

First, I quilted the three remaining dolly quilts.  A few members had neglected to bring anything to work on and they offered to sew bindings, so I hurried up and got them ready!  I don't have photos yet, but two are completely done and a third is about halfway done.  I think many of the ladies who brought nothing didn't intend to stay long, but found us having so much fun, they decided to stay a while and I was glad for the help.

Then, on Wednesday night, I had figured out the layout for my Candy Bracelets blocks, numbered the rows and carefully picked them up.  It was fairly easy to just sew them together at that point - it didn't take much space (and I had little, as I was sharing a set of three tables with about 7 people!) - so by the time I went home Saturday evening, I had a top - minus borders!

I have to decide how to border it (go with the pattern, or change it up) and I'm not sure where this quilt will end up, but it made a small dent in another of those sets of pre-cuts I bought without a plan.  I really like it!

Since I finished this Saturday just before I left, I had little left for Sunday and came home and cut out 13 red cats to work on Sunday.  Other than a few mishaps with my "filing" system (each set of cats parts was layed out between pages in a book and folks kept picking it up because apparently my table was a touch-and-see table at the show?), I got all 13 cats sewn...

The two on the bottom right need a little surgery.  One has a too-small piece, one has a too-large piece.  I didn't have anything extra with me, but by the time I finished these, I had about 15 minutes to clean up before the show was over, so it worked out okay.  I probably would have gotten them done sooner, but Colette's hubby was there and NOT helping the overall silliness at our table...I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe and was crying at least a few times, but it was great fun.  I just hope we didn't scare too many visitors!

Tear-down was crazy and hectic as always.  By the time it was over I was ready to be DONE, so thankfully it was done!  Much of the stuff is already stored in my garage and attic for next year, quilts have gone home with their owners and even the floor was thoroughly vacuumed by our infamous Bill!  You probably wouldn't know there were nearly 70 quilts hanging in that little room in our little library all weekend unless someone told you and that's just fine with me...probably the folks at the library as well - they don't want to clean up our messes!

I have tomorrow off work also - a recovery day - so I can get the things taken care of that I usually fit into the weekend.  I will probably fix the cats so that monthly job is done and then sit down and seriously figure out how to quilt my APQ swap quilt.  The next two weekends have at least one birthday event each weekend, and this month is flying by, but I'm determined to meet my UFO Challenge goals, too!

Happy quilting,

Sunday, March 12, 2017

the projects from Thursday...

After I posted on Thursday, I was still getting the go-ahead to stay home, so after I ate lunch, I went back to the sewing room for more play time!

First I made a block for a gal in our guild who moved away last fall.  We'd been given a square of background fabric and instructions and were to provide the other fabrics in colors of our choice.  (I should have taken a photo...silly Katie!)  It was due in June of last year.  I knew I had it way back then, but time got away from me.  And since then, I've kinda known I had it, but it was kinda buried, too.  Buried enough that I could kinda ignore it.

Thursday afternoon, it wasn't so buried any more.  (So much for my efforts at finishing things...look where it gets me!)  So I decided I'd make the block and send it off to the gal and surprise her.  It's in the mailbox now, so don't anyone tell her yet, okay?  I hope it's not too late to make it into the quilt - the others in my guild thought probably not and got a good giggle at my late finish.

I also quilted the first of the three dolly quilts I made in February.  Today I sat down and finished hand-sewing down the binding.

The quilting and binding part may take longer to finish than what I have each month and I'm okay with that.  The top construction is really what I'm aiming for each month.  I may pay for that come October, but since there are three others spray basted with bindings ready to go, it's just a matter of deciding to quilt them.  They don't take long, as I quilt them simply.

Saturday was the one-day quilt retreat/fundraiser.  What a blast!

First, I may or may not have sewn those other 6 blocks for the block exchange that I may or may not have cut out earlier in the week.  And I may or may not have had to rip out just one seam to get them constructed to my satisfaction.  That may or may not have taken a good portion of the day.  There may or may not be photos, but if I share photos, that proves they exist AND spoils the surprise.

Next, I pulled out the Candy Bracelets blocks.  All I had left was to sew the last set of lost-square triangles onto the corners of about half of the blocks.  In my prep on Thursday, I'd cut the squares, so other than drawing the diagonal line as a sewing guide, I was ready to roll.  But it seems every time I get rolling on this project, something comes up.  I was hoping Saturday wouldn't prove another false start.

It didn't!  I finished sewing on all the corners about the time everyone was packing up to go.  I decided it was a good stopping place for me, too.  I couldn't be happier!

Tonight while watching some Netflix, I trimmed all of the lost corners and now they're ready to press.  (Emma kept looking in the bucket of trimmings like it was something she needed to be a part of...that cat...)

You can see in the photo there is one block that has been pressed open.  The finished blocks look like this:

...and they alternate directions.  Once they're sewn together that white on either side will be skinnier and it should be the same width all the way around the center "O" shape.  At least I sure hope so!

Next up is to lay these all out and decide where each should go.  I think this might be a good project to work on (sewing rows and then into a top) at my guild's quilt show next weekend.  In addition to quilts hanging, we have a few workstations where we sew.  It generates a lot of conversation from visitors, but I need something that doesn't require lots of cutting or pressing, as things that are hot, sharp and/or require cords should probably be limited!  (I wanted to take my red rainbow scrap challenge cats, but it's probably better I don't!)

I'm a little frustrated with myself on this project, though.  In trimming those lost corners, I realized I used the same green twice.  It's in the stack twice.  I looked at all the fabrics.  I washed them.  I pressed them.  I refolded them.  I cut the block pieces for them.  I sewed the blocks.  I pressed the blocks.  I cut the lost corner pieces.  I sewed the lost corner pieces.  Never during that process did I realize I'd used the same green twice.  It doesn't really matter, and there were quite a few fabrics between each of them in the stack to distract me, but I feel quite foolish for not noticing!

Tomorrow is back to work for me.  I went in Friday after sunup and managed to get my equipment hooked up to the outlets that had power (we had partial power and it was strange which outlets and lights worked and which didn' seemed there was no rhyme or reason, but I had quite a few functional outlets in my area (though no lights - I took the clamp light from my bed to work with me!) so that was nice) and figured out we just had to plug the phone and internet stuff into a functional outlet to get that working.  I plugged in some space heaters and started the one test that really needed to be run.  It takes 35 minutes.  At 33 minutes the power went completely out!  Thankfully, my computer and the machine that was reading the test are both plugged into a 5-minute battery backup, so it finished.  I had to do some quick thinking to get the results to save on the desktop (because no internet again, so no network!), but I consider myself very lucky.  Otherwise, we'd have been calling customers on personal cell phones and apologizing and offering free testing!

The power came back on around noon - the complete shutdown was due to repairs taking place nearby, which meant full power was coming!  About this time, we'd done about all we could with no power and had decided to go to lunch as a group.  Despite the power returning, we went anyways.  It was a nice time to bond as a group and gave the building time to warm up.  It was a late evening taking care of a lot of odds and ends when we returned, but unless something went wrong after I left, Monday should be closer to normal for our troubles.

The next two work weeks will be shorter for me - I have Friday this week off to help set up the quilt show and the following Monday to recover (it's Saturday and Sunday).  It sounds great, but I know I'll be busy both days.  I'll try to remember my camera so you can enjoy the quilt show with me, but I promise nothing!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

wind storm = quilt day

Last night around 7pm, my boss texted me - no power at work.  We'd had two days of 50+ mile an hour winds (yesterday was worse), but by that time, the storm had calmed some and I thought we were in the clear.


We have power at home - total power, not just generator-provided - but only a few outlets working at work.  (No idea how THAT happens!)  And no internet, no phones - basically enough to make you frustrated that you can't actually do your job fully.

So I'm not required to be there, though I've offered.

What's a quilter to do with a WHOLE, unplanned free day?

First, because I'm going to a one-day quilt retreat on Saturday and cutting and pressing space will be limited, I've been working on cutting fabrics for a few projects.  Earlier this week, I cut squares for my Candy Bracelets quilt.

Emma "helped" - you can kinda see what I was doing in the corner there, but otherwise I didn't take photos.  I was too busy defending my cutting table and trying not to amputate her tail!

So today, after laying in bed doing math while trying to fall back asleep after my alarm went off at 4:30 and I confirmed that we still did not have power at work and there was no reason to go in, I realized this would not keep me busy the whole day.  (Well, duh!)

I cut two more Arcardia Avenue blocks:

These take a chunk of time, but are good at retreats, as they are fairly assembly-line friendly.  (And that fabric on the right looks way pinker than it is in real life!)

When pulling reds for this month's rainbow scrap challenge, I found a strip set of red and white leftover from a quilt.  And then, as my cutting table gets cleaned off (little by little projects that have been stashed there are being finished!), I found hiding another strip set of pink and white.  Same size strips - how lucky is that???  With a few more pieces, I was able to piece this dolly quilt:

I'm excited to have another little quilt made from found bits in my stash (like the green triangles last month), but now I have FOUR dolly quilt tops!  Uh oh!

Well, let's baste those!  The boss has been texting and has confirmed that there is partial power, but not enough to run tests, and help with other (non-Katie) tasks is coming, so I'm still off the hook.  (But still offering!)

I dug through my stash to find suitable backs (I love those trimmings from larger quilt backs!) and binding fabrics.  In addition to spray basting the quilts (no photos, sorry!), I made binding for all four!

How's that for productive?

Also this week, I may or may not have cut six more blocks for the block exchange box I have this month.  I found out it will take 64 of those units I showed.  If we all make her just one?  Pathetic.  Before I decided to cut, I found out the box-owner will not be at the retreat Saturday, so if I cut those, I'll have another project to work on Saturday.

And I chopped up and resewed the back fabrics for the APQ swap quilt.

Last night, after I heard there was no power, I thought maybe I'd try to quilt this today.  I don't have an idea of how, but if I got out the batting to relax, I'd be on the way.  And then I forgot to get the batting out.  Oh well - it looks like I didn't exactly waste my day and this wasn't slated to be done yet anyways.

And it's only 11:30!

Right now I'm making lunch (the delicacy known as frozen pizza...) and after lunch I'll probably go back to the sewing room.  I may quilt the dolly quilts.  Or I may make a block for a guild member who moved away in, oh, September of last year...they handed out a piece of backing fabric and a pattern to anyone interested in making her a going-away block.  That got buried on the cutting table too, and resurfaced just a few weeks ago.  I hope she hasn't put the quilt together?

In non-quilty news, our property did get a little damage from the high winds...

We live in an old (100+ years) farm house.  We have a rickety old garage.  It had an even shakier carport on the side of it.  Last night, the east edge (far left corner in the photo) tin roof was flapping some and part of the support directly under that part had snapped off.  We were a little worried, but I figured it would be okay and we went out to dinner.  It's been there THIS long, right?  We returned home from dinner a few hours later and found this:

Thankfully, this is all the damage.  We still have power (though we cut power to the garage just in case it followed the carport down overnight), none of our vehicles were damaged and even our huge trees (not really seen here) didn't shed too many branches.  We fared a LOT better than so many and we're so thankful.  I'm sure we'll have a grand time with the insurance company, but we have insurance.

Now it's time to go eat my pizza, give Emma some snacks (so she doesn't try to help me eat my pizza in the fashion of putting her face between me and the pizza) and see what else I can accomplish.  Unless the boss texts and says she wants my help.  (Working with no power is kinda like camping, right?  Fun for a little while...)

Happy quilting,

Saturday, March 4, 2017

red and #5

Another month has begun, so another month of challenge assignments has me scrambling and scratching my head, but also excited!

The UFO number for the month is #5 - that's my APQ Blog Buddies Swap Quilt!

I've added a skinny black border and then a wider, funky floral print border a while ago.  (Sorry, too dark at this point for additional photos.)  Probably not long after I took this photo.  But into the Closet of Shame it went at that point.  I was one of the first to get this together as a top from my swap-mates, but a few of them have put me to shame with having finished their tops entirely since then.

It's about time this one got quilted and finished and I can show it off, so onto the list it went.  It's another that I cringed a little when I saw its number come up, but I want it done, so now I just have to figure out HOW!

Today the hubby and I trekked to see my parents.  They'd purchased a new dining room table and chairs and we have a truck...  While the boys loaded the new set and set it up in the house and hauled the old set to Goodwill, my mom and I stayed well out of the way - fabric shopping!

I chose these fabrics for the back of my swap quilt:

The quilt measures 80"x80", so I needed about 6.25 yards for the back to be big enough to make it easy to longarm.  The stamps fabric - end of the bolt - was only 5 yards.  That's okay for MOST of the quilt, but I knew I needed a bit more.  And you all know by now I have a dot problem, so when I found the peach that matched AND had dots...well, that was the end of the looking.  (Despite my mom's efforts to keep making suggestions!)

There were so many fabrics to choose from, but I love this one because it reminds me of travel and these blocks travelled from all over the world to my mailbox to make this quilt, so I think it's perfect!

But I also found this:

I bought the end of this bolt, too, about 7 yards, assuming it will be enough for my science geek quilt.  While the front is lime green and orange and grey - and this is a bit darker - I couldn't pass it up!  So I'll be ready when that number is called - all the fabrics have already been through the wash!  (I think I've set a record for number of loads of laundry washed here this weekend - I think after these two I'm up to seven!)

And then there's the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color - RED!

I don't love red, but it's a staple color, so I have a fair amount.  I first pulled my stash pile of reds.  And then I decided that the VERY messy box of strips that were too wide to toss out, but too narrow to leave in the stash NEEDED to be sorted.  It was a mash-up of flannel scraps, leftover block parts and strips.  What was I thinking?

So I sat down on my newly vacuumed floor (thankyouverymuch to myself for cleaning the house Friday night while the hubby went to see a silly movie with our nephew!) and sorted those strips:

None of the piles are huge (though pink seems to be towering over the others?), but they're sorted.  Not pressed and tidy, but sorted.  (And I decided that the flannel strips - not large enough to back a dolly quilt - should be tossed.  GASP!  Yep, I threw away fabric!)

These were all mashed into a single shoebox.  I decided they needed to be in their own shoe boxes until their color comes up.  Off to gather all the shoe boxes I'd been hoarding for a few years...

Don't judge me.  These are truly a collection from a few years of collecting.  And they're not ALL from MY shoes.  But what I do buy, I often actually wear out due to my job!

The reds were set aside with the red stash for the rainbow scrap challenge pull.  The purple and turquoise were added to the other leftover scraps from the last two months' rainbow scrap challenge leftovers and the remaining ones were assigned boxes:

SO much better!

And the final destination of the leftover strips will look like this:

This is after I've made string blocks and cats.  And decided which pieces are just too small and purged.  (I donate scraps of cotton fabrics to Charitable Union through my guild and they sell them - we're not sure where they go, but some have theorized paper-making?)  These will hang out and be the start of new string blocks since I'm trying to not use the same fabric twice in those blocks.

And where's the red you ask?

I have a few places where fabrics are stashed - a few places where bags of scraps that were given to me hang out, in addition to my storage closet.  But I'm trying with this challenge to gather them all as each color is announced and put them all in once place.  So this challenge is helping me clean my sewing room, too!

Now I'm ready to sew some cats.  And maybe another of those dreaded curved blocks (in red) for the block challenge.  She said she needs 64 of those units that I made...four of those units makes a block.  I don't think she's going to have enough for a quilt even if we all make four - there's only about 10 of us participating, but I guess I can maybe make one or two more...maybe...

Next Saturday I have a one-day quilt retreat, so I think this coming week will be more about preparing for that (deciding what I want to take!) than sewing, but we'll see.  This month has a lot going on each weekend...the following weekend is my quilt guild's annual quilt show and the weekend after that we celebrate a nephew turning 3.  But I'll get some quilting in and try to blog about it, too!  I gotta make those challenge deadlines!

Happy quilting,