Happy Holiday!

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In my last post I mentioned I’ve been busy. ūüôā Besides doing a lot of guild work, I’ve also taken four classes so far this year. Two of the classes were for quilting. I took a paper piecing class through a local quilt shop, Cotton Creek Mill. One of the owners, Tara, gave a one-on-one lesson that taught me enough I could paper-piece the triangle border on a red and white quilt. The other class was a workshop offered by my guild by a visiting presenter. I made two blocks using her pattern and am using one of them¬†as part of a fidget quilt for a dementia patient. (Mine is not as pretty as the one in the linked post.)

The other two classes were through the community college continuing education group. One was a linoleum block printing class and one was block printing on textiles. Besides learning some techniques, this was the most fun thing I did in those classes:

Jim and I will be hiking on Saturday and spending Sunday with family. I hope you have a great weekend, too!

Kim’s Bright Garden

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and I’ve missed reading a lot of your posts, too. But here I am, finally with a day unscheduled and more flexible. In some ways I feel like I’m finally coming up for air. Whew!

Today I’ll start with Kim’s Bright Garden, a quilt finished on March 31 and opened Monday by Kim, aka Son’s¬†girlfriend.

I started this project late last year after imagining a border built from variable stars on point. The imagined border had a pale yellow background for the blocks, with blue or lavender setting triangles. The star centers would be pieced, and centers and points would be from chalky pastels. The feeling would be floral, though without actual flowers or floral fabric. However, after I made 16 star centers and cut much of the rest,¬†I felt unfocused and uncertain. As it turns out, it’s often wiser to begin a medallion quilt with a medallion or central motif.¬†The center creates context and direction for what comes after.

After that rough start, I refocused by choosing a center block design and fabrics. I chose first borders and middle borders. After extensive puzzling, I designed and made the final borders. In March I quilted it and bound it. The binding is the same saturated yellow as in the center block.

Kim’s Bright Garden. 71″ x 71″. Finished March 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Son has been traveling a lot for work. We finally had a chance to visit with Son and Kim Monday evening. After he unsealed the box, he handed it to her to open. She was very touched and pleased, to say the least. It was a good gift, made with love and received with generosity. ūüôā

For Guild
Part of my busyness lately has been projects for guild. In the last few months I quilted 10 projects, two of which I did early this year. Each has required more prep work than I anticipated, so I’m putting more of these on hold for now.

Besides that I’m on the program committee, the guild’s group that sets up speakers and presentations for upcoming meetings. Currently we’re working on the 2018-19 year. It’s a big responsibility, as programs is where the majority of the annual budget goes, and we want to make sure members get their money’s worth. I’m newish on the committee and still learning the ropes. Fortunately, it’s a good group and I’m learning a lot.

We have a quilt show in early June, and I’m working on a couple of parts of the planning. The big contribution I hope to make is with a Powerpoint slideshow outlining the value of a quilt. Our show is held on the same weekend as the local (big, regional, juried) art fair, and many people attending won’t have quilting backgrounds. If my slideshow can explain what makes a quilt special, by the process and the value of time and materials, it might add to attendees’ appreciation of the quilts they see. And it might increase the bids they are willing to make on our silent auction offerings.

Besides the efforts for the benefit of the show, I’ve also worked on two quilts to enter. (It is non-judged, simply an exhibit to share the beauty of our work with others.) We’re having a special “red and white” exhibit and I’ve made two quilt tops for entry. Both still need to be quilted, bound, and labeled before our show.

More to come in the next few days, as I get back in the swing of writing some. Good to be here again! If you’re still reading, thanks so much!

More Delectable Mountains

As you might remember, I carried on quite a debate with myself about making a red and white Delectable Mountains quilt. After a mildly disappointing experience with the pink and brown one (and finish photos still to come,) I decided to move on. Next up was the red and white Ohio medallion from the early 1800s. And after that I quilted the happy quilt you saw in “Unstitched.” (I’m sewing the binding down now, so you’ll get a finish photo of it soon, too.)

But I couldn’t shake the idea of making Delectable Mountains again. This time I wanted to use red and white, to enter in my guild’s special exhibit at our upcoming show. And I wanted to try it using the “modern” technique for making blocks, rather than the “traditional” method.

Though I purchased a reproduction red print earlier this year, I decided to update the quilt not just with method but also with fabrics. In my stash were a few pieces of red with similar background color and a more upbeat vibe. One has long been a favorite. It’s a Hawaiian-style print I bought at a guild auction a few years ago. There were several yards, and I’ve used it in various ways over the years. Another was a quilt shop purchase and used in other favorite quilts.

I did have one glitch as I began this project. I made the first set of Delectable Mountains blocks using Kona solid “Snow.” I started making the corner blocks from Kona solid “White,” pieces of which were in my stash from a long-ago project. I thought they were the same color, but they’re not, and that became all too obvious when the blocks were side by side. I rebuilt the corner blocks and tossed all the scraps of “White” in a pile away from my working pile. It was a little discouraging, but I bounced back. ūüôā

I’m planning to add one more round of Delectable Mountains blocks, and then use the last bits of the Hawaiian print to cobble together an outer border. Depending on the width I can eke out of the print, it will finish at about 80″ square.

Unstitched

Yesterday I began quilting a gift for someone special. You¬†may have seen the top before in this post. It’s been patiently waiting while I¬†ventured through¬†the¬†Delectable Mountains, completed (except binding) a project with my small group, and survived Fire and Ice.

Sometimes I have trouble getting the right thread tension, so I checked now and then and it looked very good.

I got done with the first pass of quilting. It’s an area about 16″ x 74″, or something like that. It looked good, went easily. I¬†was happy. I rolled the quilt to¬†advance it on the frame. ¬†And I noticed … there was¬†a big pleatey area all down the right side of the pass. The backing fabric hadn’t been pulled smooth and taut enough when I pin-basted the edge, so I stitched in pleats.¬†

I climbed under the frame to identify and mark the pleated areas¬†with pins through from underneath. From the top, I found the quilting line that led through the pleats. I free-motion quilt, so the line can range a bit, wandering backwards and forwards, left to right. The quilting line covered a larger area than the pleats did,¬†about 16″ x 12″. I made a fence with pins around it, to define where I needed to unstitch.

An area that took less than five minutes to quilt took more than an hour to unstitch.

Once I finished and removed the pins, I clamped the back fabric to pull it smooth. I sprayed the area lightly with water, on both the top and back of the quilt. With drying, the holes from stitching close up, and the fabric on the back dried taut, not saggy.

Today after going to the gym and errands, I’ll get back to the quilting. Wish me luck!

Ohio Red and White Medallion, Fire and Ice

It’s been rather a slog, but I’ve finally finished the top of this quilt.

Fire and Ice. Unquilted top. Approx 68″ x 68″. Based on IQSC Object Number 1997.007.0797 from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, a quilt from 1800-1820. March 2017

In general, construction was pretty simple. The delays came in decision-making, especially for the corner blocks. After originally considering making each corner different and including my initials and the year, I decided to make them the same. My first impulse there was to use Ohio Stars. I thought this would work well for style, and it would be a reference to the IQSCM’s belief that the original quilt may have been made in Ohio. I made a test block with an Ohio Star and wasn’t happy with it. I liked the way the star points repeated the hourglass construction of the first big border. However, somehow it just looked like too many small pieces.

After trying a few other designs in EQ7, I chose the modified variable star to center my blocks. It actually uses the same shapes as the Ohio Star but in different proportions. As I said to Jim, I can’t define why I like it better, but I do.

I’ve asked a talented, professional longarm quilter to quilt for me. This piece deserves better quilting than I can do¬†myself.

In the meantime, I have plenty of other things to work on!