Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Project Linus Quilt-a-thon

Well, this was a productive day!! I took the day off (as I do every year) to go 'play' with 'Linus'... Project Linus, that is.
Our church, St Mary's Episcopal, sponsors a Quilt-a-thon every year and our quilts have gone to various charities. We usually go from 9am-2pm or 3pm and bring a lunch. Various groups work on quilts on their own and donate them on 'our day' to add to the pile. This photo is what we had done by 11am.
Some ladies only crochet and we were lucky enough to get 29 crocheted blankets that we bagged. We didn't want to 'hang' them and stretch them out.
This year we had 14 women 'sign in' although I think there were a couple who forgot to sign in that came to help.
Some cut batting and backings, some ladies tied them, some of us sewed them envelope style (remember, we're doing production mode along with doing the job well), and some pieced some tops to add to the donation pile.
Don't I look busy at my machine?
My quilting group at the church, Peace by Piece Quilters
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/560673651AYbwPF collected our 'orphan blocks' that we made into 2 tops for our donation. I made them into halfstring quilts and added borders to make them big enough for baby sized quilts.
This one I did at our 'bust' of a workshop (see the post from yesterday). It's different, but I like it!
I've been involved with this project for only the past 4 years or so, but I plan to be there as long as these two ladies keep it going. This photo is of the organizers.
Thank you, Jean and Jane!!
I have become the 'official hanger' (I think because no one else is NUTS enough to climb the ladder!) and hung as many as I could. The total....? including the afghans, 107. !! It's not a record, but we always consider it a success if it tops 100! Here's just a few of them....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Workshop a BUST!

Tonight I went to a workshop to teach heartstring blocks to my local quilting chapter's members,hoping to get a few blocks for charity quilts (they cost of taking the workshop was donating one of the blocks we learn how to make). Thankfully, we had good weather this time. I was at the last meeting that didn't happen (although didn't get the cancellation message until I sat for 30 mins in the parking lot- my fault, I had my cell phone off and went right from work to dr.'s appt then to mtg) and while I was disappointed that it got cancelled, I understood why(snow/ice storm coming). Unfortunately, we had to switch it to another night that may or may not be good for our members, but I did try to coordinate another workshop at a different venue. I'm not sure why no one (that's right, no one) showed up,but Janet G. ...but, we had a blast!! She got her 24 heartstring blocks trimmed and put together, and I got some 'split' strings put together for a (Project Linus Quilt-a-thon) baby quilt,... with borders done, at least to a top stage. Anyway, I'm very disappointed, and not sure why NO ONE was there. I did get an email from one person who was nice enough to let me know she couldn't make it, but had a block for me. Thank you. I hope to get it from her at our guild's Sharing dayin March. I started to think it's the change of venue, because I've had two other charity workshops at my church in the next town and had 4 people at one of them and 3 at another, however, I remember our former chapter president organizing a few charity workshops at our normal mtg place and no one seemed to show up at those either. Don't we have over 45-50 members? I don't get it. I'm not sure, but it's very discouraging when you'd like to teach something different and new in quilting (isn't that what our guild's purpose is??) and no one is receptive at all. We have had a few workshops at our normal mtg place that people stayed to do, however, I felt that we only got the project half-way done and everyone was packing up to leave! What ,... to finish this at home??? Well, another UFO in the pile... I don't understand it. All I know is, I think I'm better off joining our quilting guild in June as an Independent and go to chapter meetings that are doing more of the type of projects that I want to work on, ... those that benefit someone. I've developed a few nice friendships there, so in that regard, I'm Blessed. (Can you be Blessed and disgusted at the same time?... WELL, I am!) Tomorrow I take the day off from work and go to our church from 9am-2pm and make quilts for Project Linus. (I'll take a picture of the baby quilt I finished at this workshop, along with all the other quilts that get done. (this is my project on the design wall, but it came up very different when finished).Every year they do over 100)!! Can't wait!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Geisha Quilt is Accepted!!

I just had to share the news that our geisha quilt has been accepted into the MQX show!!!!! I am so excited for us. Machine Quilters Exposition, LLC (MQX) is an annual machine quilting show and conference founded by machine quilters, Janet-Lee Santeusanio and Mary Schilke.
This quilt was a challenge to all the chapters in our local quild. Our quilt had to be worked on by 7 or more members, and we started with a 'geisha girl ' panel. Thirteen chapters each worked on their own panels for this challenge in our guild (Greater Hartford Quilt Guild http://ghqg.org/).
I, personally, worked on the quilt. This is sooo foreign for me to participate in something like this, never feeling as if I'm 'worthy a quilter' to work with the 'professionals'. I put the section at the top (from the Chinese lanterns/purple squares up to the top border. I also added the red border down the side, but it was taken off to make it fit the required dimensions by the last quilter who worked on it. Here are some of the other entries which were shown at our Annual Gathering in October 2007.
Sorry this is out of focus...and this one, above right, was sooo cool. It was like a stuffed statue.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Progress on the Fish quilt

I had a great discussion with my DIL Diana regarding a baby shower (when, who was giving it) for my step-daughter, Amber and realized that I needed to put some time into the baby quilt I'm making for her. (See I always tend to do this thing called 'wait until the last possible moment to move on a project'-- was still sewing my prom dress the night before the prom, was still sewing my bridesmaid dresses the night before I got married, etc)
Well, I'm getting better with age.... Here I have some pictures of Amber's quilt in progress.
The fabrics,
the fish fabrics cut into '4-patch' blocks, making fins,
cutting the 4-patch apart and inserting the 'fins'
...Well, I've decided to short-cut it, by sewing the 'fins' to the complete block with an eighth inch seam, instead of cutting it into quarters, first.
Then I fold it in half and sew my 1/4" seam
Cut the thick fold just to cut the bulk,
then fold it the other way and sew my 1/4" seam, unfold and Voila!
Okay, it is a bit thick with the 'fold' there, so I may slip my tiny scissors in to split the fold in half. Now it will look as if I never folded and sewed, rather cut and sewed. It looks like the fish are 'hiding' under their fins.
I have them all tagged (row and block numbers), so when I get the seams all split, I'll start putting the rows together. I have lots of leftover 'fins', so I'll eventually put them as prairie points in the border. Stashbusters has taught me a thing or two!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Great quilt on Stashbusters home page

Hope no one objects that I post this picture on my blog, but I LOVE it!! http://tinyurl.com/yo4vtz

Workshop cancelled

I had planned to teach a workshop on Heartstring quilt blocks at my local guild, but the 'chance' of snow/ice made them cancel it. Of course, I was on my way from work to a dr. appt. , then grab a fast food burger (Yuck), eat it in the parking lot of our chapter mtg, and be ready to teach at 5:30pm when the Pres. got there. I'd loaded my car in the morning before work, so I was ready!! After sitting in my car for 30 mins, reading, eating, etc.... I checked the clock in my car. 5:33pm!! and the parking lot is empty!! Where is everyone??? I called the Pres and she said I'd get the message when I got home. It was cancelled. ... oh...darn. It's put off for a week. When I DO get to do the workshop, I'll post some pictures.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back to sewing!!

The last two days have been a little scary, since I installed a 'passport' on my computer to 'back up everything', however, I stopped it at a halfway point and started deleting things off it. And I don't understand it fully. I couldn't start up my computer this morning with the passport plugged in, so I guess I have to have my DSS come an take a look at it.
That means I needed to go sew for a while (de-stress). I'm working on hearstring blocks that the Peace by Piece quilters (my church group)
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/560673651AYbwPF have been making for a while,... the ones that turned into orphan blocks, because they were cut short, or were odd ones and we didn't send them to http://www.heartstringsquiltproject.org/ as single blocks. I've been saving them in a box not sure how to make them 'blend' in to the same quilt. So I browsed the heartstring site and Bonnie Hunter's http://www.quiltville.com/ and decided to make half string blocks
and 'quarter string' blocks with some purple fabric I had in my stash (I know, it looks blue, but it IS deep purple).Since the blocks were mostly trimmed to 9.5", I cut as many 9.5" purple squares as I could get out of the fabric (Stashbusters would be proud!), then found a lighter shade of purple in the same design-can you tell I like purple?- and ended up with a few odd 9" ends left. I just kept making them and making them untiI realized maybe I should leave some in stages, since I'm teaching my LQ Chapter how to make heartstring blocks on Tues. I also took two of the blocks and made 'quarter heartstring blocks to show them some variety. I ended using the 9" blocks, since I trimmed everybody down to 8.5" blocks.
After I got them done, I played on the design wall..... I think this has a pattern to it (?)...
I wasn't sure what to do with the quarter strings, thinking I only had this left,
then I realized I had two other blocks -my 'in stages' examples (which will make 4 half blocks when cut) so I may add them to this quilt. Once the examples are together I can trim them at the bottom to make hem match the smaller size of the corners.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Early morning Exercise

My original plan was to get up and sneak some minutes of sewing in, go vote in the primary, then off to work.... but noooo-oooo-ooo. So, instead, this was my morning workout... Woke up - suddenly-- at 4:45am (now I don't have to go to work until 8:30, mind you) to the lovely sound of wood chips falling to the floor (...cats definitely need a scratching post - or death) as Tigger sharpened his claws one more time on the corner of our wall upstairs (right outside our bedroom). One HEALTHY jump out of bed (gets the blood started), scoop up a sweater (fell on the floor , off from my bed, during the night)- counts as a bend from the waist, doesn't it?--, sprint down the stairs as quietly as possible, sweater in hand (doesn't that count as weight lifting?),-- realize I can't REALLY get the cat, as he's raced down into the cellar (cellar door is open, as their kitty litter box is down there)-- okay, time out to take pulse (and 'tinkle'), --after coming out, I see 'said' kitty walking to his food dish ("Don't you WISH!!"), -- do a very wimpy throw of sweater at cat in dark kitchen (of course he scampers back to the cellar!)... and I procede to end 'said' exercise routine in leiu of my pillow. However, you realize I am fully awake, now, blood pumping... so end up out of bed at 5:30am after tossing and turning...and this time, I feed the one who was good, Squeak, and just tossed a few crumblets into the food dish of the culprit ("Dream on, kitty..."). Okay, so I'll feed him eventually, before I leave for work... see? After all, I don't want to come home to a pile of sawdust! Exercise over.(Whew!) ... and to think, I used to like my kitties! (Wonder how many lives they have left?....)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Continuous Log Cabin Tutorial-my version

Okay, I hope this explains what I've come to know as a continuous Log Cabin block. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please. I started scrappy with 1 1/2" strips of various lengths, my darks being blue/green/purple and the lights being any lights that would go with those shades, and then I sewed them end to end, using a diagonal seam. I began with sewing my darks to a 2 1/2" red center square (chain stitched). After cutting them apart, I chain sewed them like I would a mile-a-minute quilt block, not paying much attention to where the seam fell into (unless I cut it off through the middle). Did you notice the 'upside down seam'??? I guess I needed to pay attention to the right side of the fabric-- teach me to start with a long strip and use fabrics that look the same from both sides... (hence the 'ripping out' photo).

Now it's right...

Once I've chain stitched the blocks, doing the same row at one time, I iron the strip I just sewed away from the blocks and cut them apart I do this for each row...

I only made four blocks for this tutorial, but I'll probably keep adding until I get to the size block I want and the number of blocks I need (does this look like another UFO???). Here are a few of the variations of patterns.