Sunday, January 28, 2018

Landscape Collage class accomplished

     With over 23 people in attendance on a dark, damp January evening, we did our landscape collage workshop. It took about an hour to set up- the projector and supplies and all. I had to stop them at 9- we started at 7- and they were shocked at how fast it went. Some people were not happy because it did not look like the photograph. It is not supposed to- you already have a photo. The camera and projector worked well and everyone could see us work in detail from their seats. My finished one is here- but I am going to add more details and thread work to it yet.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Guild Mystery Reveal

     Over a year ago, my program co-chair and I came up with a mystery quilt for our guild. Elizabeth drafted it out herself and we fine tuned it and wrote the clues. We could not find a mystery quilt that appealed to us and would make use of the whole lesson we did for the guild on half square triangles (HSTs). So, with a lot of effort, the clues were made and passed out. I made all the blocks first ironed to freezer paper and put them up on the design wall so we knew we did not have any mistakes.
     The big reveal is the first Monday in February. I finished quilting and binding it today. Since maybe one person in the guild reads my blog, I am showing it today here. All our snow melted, so it was kind of muddy and not as picturesque, but it was sunny. It is an original pattern and I chose to do it all scrappy. Again, I have to say, I don't like it. The effect I was after in the lights and darks did not show up. The contrast between the inside triangles of the stars and the points was not enough for me. I don't know what else I could have used- I could not go any darker or lighter without issues. I better make something I love pretty soon. 
     I do like the quilting. I used MagnaSoft bobbins from Fil-tec. This solved all my tension woes in the bobbin area. I have to solve the irregular tension issue with regular bobbins. The top was Glide. The backing was a big hunk given to me for comfort quilts, which this will be. It is 68" x 78".

Inside photo
On the fence

Outside light, a little bright out 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Coming up- landscape collage

     My friend Elizabeth and I are program co-chairs for our guild for 2 more years (year one down). We have ended up doing most of the monthly presentations. We meet once a week to plan. This coming Monday will be Landscape Collage using Fabric Modge Podge, a photo, tracing paper, and lots of cutting. I have made many of my cards this way. I got the idea from the book "Crafted Applique" by Lara Buccella. The Modge Podge is squeeged across the back of fabric- we used old credit cards instead of a foam brush because the brush leaves little too thick deposit. We did mounds of fabric for the class.
     We have a Sony Handicam and projector for the presentation. I think we have everything ready for the hands on workshop. Here is progress of my sample. I did mine on heavy interfacing, but the class will do it on matboard for ease of transporting home. 
Tracing paper taped to side of work to check fabric placement

I forgot to take a completed photo, will get it later.

Friday, January 19, 2018

All those Little Boxes- in the Snow

     I had finished quilting Little Boxes, but it wasn't until today that I sewed the binding on. The free pattern was from jelly roll fabrics. I have to say, I do not like the quilt. I think the white is overbearing the boxes and it is boring because the fabrics repeat since they are subcut from wof strip sets. I made this because it was easy and I gave my mother long strips to sew in pairs. She likes to be busy and she sews straight seams with no matching. It is the second one I have made. My husband thinks it is the best thing I ever made and he wished it were bigger. Hard to believe. It will be a comfort quilt. 
     I am consciously trying to give the reader more interesting photos and am following the photo hints I found from The sun and snow made the quilt look more pizazzy than it is because the snow neutralized the white. I did not shoot a picture of the whole back as it is all one seamed fabric. Enjoy!
Inside, some backing 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Migration has landed

     When Alycia posted a Mystery Quilt a while back, I decided to make it. I needed to do a veteran quilt. I try to do four a year. The top was finished rather quickly and it sat that way for too long. Finally, I quilted it and bound it.  She named it Migration and the pattern is for sale at Craftsy. She will be doing another mystery quilt real soon, so check her out if you would like to jump on board.
    I changed it up a bit and made the blue stars at the strip junctions. Pieced on a Singer 301 with PremoSoft thread. Quilted on a Nolting NV with Glide on the top and Omni in the bobbin.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

All signs point to...

     QUILT! This was a super present I received from my son-in-law for Christmas. It has special meaning because he fished the board out of the water on our Adirondack canoe trip this past August and made something beautiful and meaningful. Kind of what I do with scrap fabric. Trying to find an extra special place to hang this.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Painful, Plodding Planning

     When it comes to planning my work and setting goals for the new year, I find it very painful. I don't think in a linear manner because I forget what went before. I need to see the whole picture, the aerial shot- global thinking, to grasp the particulars. If you don't understand this, that is ok, it is my problem. I have to mind map every big task in order to understand what is involved- whether it was my master's thesis or planning a quilt program to teach.
      I am good at making lists, so I made all sorts all year: what quilts are in progress, logging each one in, what quilts need backings, what need piecing, what needs quilting, what new ones I would like to do, etc. The problem is when I see all the lists, I have no idea where to go from there. I sat down with all my lists and mapped it out to see where I was. Then I made another map what I would like to accomplish this year. 
     I asked my husband, a professional urban planner, to look at all the papers and give me his plan how to handle the tasks. I asked him to look over the lists telling him I want to finish quilts and want to stretch myself in new things. Of course, the excellent linear thinker he is, said finish all the quilting and do all the backings before you do or look at anything else- not what I want to hear or do. I need to creatively stretch- along with finishing- or it will just become mechanical. I just wanted help planning that. Sigh.
Log in Quilts chart
Progress of Quilts list
Lists of quilts in categories
All categories together in mind map. New ones to start and have patterns for are purple underlined.

Areas I want to work in this year
     I probed why I have so many quilts that need backing. I think it is (1) they either require so much fabric to buy (4-6 yds. each) or (2) it takes lots of time piecing the backs with tons of figuring (math) and makes a huge mess pulling fabric. Most of my quilts are comfort/giveaway quilts and I try to keep the costs reasonable and quality high. I recently bought a huge roll of batting wholesale financing it with machine cleaning/restoring for people as I do it on a donation basis for the comfort quilts. No machines have showed up since. I know I need to drag out the big pieces I do have and figure out backs. Could take days. Find some reasonable backing fabric. Ok.
     Quilting backlog. Why? I think because I continue to have so many bobbin tension issues on the longram that I get discouraged. I still think the bobbins are warped, but the dealer says they can't all be warped. I quilt free motion with copious varieties of designs, so more time for each quilt.
      So I think that is why I have this big bottleneck with backings and quilting. I did finish over 22 quilts this year. 
      I will put these sheets up on my wall and ponder them more trying to come up with a reasonable plan to finish yet move ahead. Any global thinkers out there? Or do I have you recoiling from my honest muddle?


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thirty blocks up, thirty blocks down

     I was able to finish all 30 blocks for the California Thomas fire quilts for Carole. Although I downloaded the pattern block, there is no pattern for how the quilt goes together. When I looked at the black and white pattern, I thought half of the blocks were to be light and half dark so that is how I pulled my fabrics. However, when I tried to find quilts online already assembled,  the values and colors were sort of scrambled. Oh well, all my blocks go together. 
     I tried a couple of layouts on my design wall to see if I would want to make one of these quilts for a comfort quilt and came up with a couple of possibilities. I like the big diamond blocks, but it is asymmetrical and cut off. The blocks are 12 1/2" unfinished. Now, I have to pack this all up for Carole and see if I can find a backing to go with it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sometimes you have to dig in

     In catching up reading blog posts, I read Carole's and was struck by her request for blocks to make quilts for those affected by the California wildfires. The pattern looked simple and I have lots of precut 5" squares from scraps, so I considered and thought, I would go for it and make 30 so she could make a whole quilt. She is providing the quilting, batting, and backing (I will see if I can scare some up big enough). How incredibly brave and generous she is. It whacked me on the head and said just go ahead and sew on. 
     I used the Accuquilt to cut the HSTs, which made things more accurate and quick. I dug through all the 5" squares and found enough, cutting a few more neutrals from scraps. Soon, it was all cut out. I layout the block on cardboard pieces, and then sew the nine patch web style. Lastly, I sew the two long seams for the rows. I usually leader-ender the next block so I am continually piecing the blocks. I had two done to start, but have only 10 to go.
Box of parts