Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nine Patch Plaid 2.1+ (or &*%$@)

When I wrote my post on Friday night, I'd left everyone wondering about a small quilt I'd been working on that I'm calling "Nine Patch Plaid" mostly because it's starts out as a nine patch but changes dramatically into a plaid-looking quilt.   I spent Saturday morning finishing up the little quilt and then photoing it.

When I came in to the house to work on the pictures, I got sidetracked (as I am want to do) and left the camera on the sofa, where I sit comfortably to work with the laptop.

Enter grandchildren, exit camera.  Fifteen of us spent the next 24 hours searching the house for the camera.  After a bit of torture, one child admitted to having played with the camera.  One child refused to answer any questions concerning the camera and another just kept saying, "I didn't touch the camera."  The others escaped to their own houses.

Since the last known place where the camera was seen was the living room, we cleaned putting stray items in their rightful place--the trashcan.  I searched under the sofa cushions, ran my hand in its dangerous bowel region, turned it over to look under the hood, started it up and drove it around.  

All to no avail. 

To no avail, that is, until Rich turned the sofa over one more time and discovered a suspicious lump caught in the bowel regions.  We consider X-rays and MRI but those require appointments and it is Sunday.  So I did the only thing I could: inserting my head, shoulders, and both arms into the places where trash, weapons and small dogs go to hide, I fished out my camera and a piece of paper.  

As luck would have it, the paper was a ten dollar bill, which everyone claimed, but I fought them off.  After all, MY upper body took the plunge into the depths.  

So we're back in business, everyone forgiven, ugly words erased from memory.  Camera back in good graces.

Do you remember why I was looking for the camera?  Ah, yes!  I had taken pics of this little table topper.  

Short version of my process: added a wide white border, appliqued a few flowers and blue birds, quilted with close, tight seams that sweep across the quilt to create movement.  I've seen a couple of Karen McTavish's videos on and a couple of her quilts at the Houston show.  It's rather time consuming and really eats up thread, but it's great on a table runner because all those close stitches really stiffen the quilt, smashing the batting down.

Enjoy the photo gallery, getting it here was a dangerous, difficult endeavor!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nine Patch Plaid

Have you ever gotten some odd quilt idea into your head and wondered how well it would work in real life?  I do.  Pretty often, in fact.
First nine patch
 Most often the odd idea is just that--odd.  Odd enough that the outcome is tossed into the trash along with the idea.
Washed out first nine patch cut evenly into four pieces and turned
Sometimes, though, I hit pay dirt!  This week was one of those times. Which is good because I was using some nice Moda solids.  I wasn't too worried about wasting them, though, because I was cutting the pieces into large enough squares that they could be used for applique if the idea didn't work.

Second nine patch sewn
My idea stemmed from the disappearing nine patch design.  Except that I'd cut the original nine patch and add larger squares to form another nine patch.  
Thinner strips added to the second nine patch
 One cut led to getting really brave and cutting again.  This time I added thinner white strips that give a sashing feel to the top.

close up of quilt corner
Once I got to this, I liked the little quilt so much that I considered stopping.  But by the time I returned to the studio after work on Tuesday, I'd had another idea, but you'll have to wait for the next post.  It's a work in progress that is progressing slowly.  Students, papers to grade, and lesson plans tend to interrupt.  Luckily it's Friday and I have plans to spend the day in the studio, which means I can continue the experimental design.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Winners all around!

I won!  Dusti won, actually.  A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway at The Knotted Chain, an Etsy shop that specializes in hand-stamped personalized jewelry.  When Shellie contacted me to say that I'd won, I immediately thanked her and requested a chain for Dusti.  At thirteen, she loves pretties and what is prettier than this?  Not much, so it's perfect for our darling granddaughter.  

Although it was difficult, I managed to snap a photo of the piece.   It's sterling silver, which means it's very shiny and reflects the camera flash.  Oh yes, included in the little bag is a small piece of cleaning cloth so she can shine it if it should tarnish a bit.

Dusti's necklace has her initials (DM), her birthstone, and a cute little heart.  Each piece is separate on the chain and attached with it's own jump ring.  Talk about impressed!  Shellie has a fine taste for the pieces that work together and her hand stamping is exquisite.

Originally I was going to wait to give it to Dusti but, you know, I took one look at all that loveliness and just couldn't put it off: after all, Christmas is rather far away, and her birthday is even farther.  So, for no special reason, except to say we love you, we gave it to her yesterday.  She says she loves it.

It's been such a long time since my last shop profile, and because Shellie was so sweet about the whole process, I thought I'd do her a favor in return and tell you a bit about  The Knotted Chain and it's owner.  

Here's her interview:
Where/when did you learn to make such beautiful jewelry?
I wanted a mommy necklace after I had my first baby 7 years ago....So I got some supplies and taught myself.

What are some of your favorite designs to make? I really love the pieces that have a heart-warming story behind them. Some times they make me laugh and some make me cry.
Describe your creative process.
Well I have to wait till the boys are out of the house and it is quiet. haha 
Then I just sit down and start putting things together. I like to search for some great sayings on the computer. 

Who has influenced your art the most?  In what way(s) did this person influence you?  I think my kids and my husband. I was the girl that never wanted a family.  I went to art school and was going to move far away from everything.  Then I met my hubby about 10 years ago.  Everything changed.  He has always believed in me. 

What does "handmade" mean to you?  I think it comes from within, you have to feel it in your heart and care for it. 

Mary again: If you haven't visited The Knotted Chain, do so now and pick out a few pretties for someone to whom you would like to say "I love you."  They wil make darling Christmas gifts, bridesmaids gifts, birthday gifts or just "I love you" surprises.  I'll have to wait just a little longer to place my order since I'm not able to wait till the event to give away the prize!  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

LSU is done!

Not literally, of course.  I'm talking about the LSU quilt that has kept me busy for the last few days.   While Richard watched LSU play Auburn, I finished up the purple and gold quilt.  I stepped into the house a few times, and it seems that there were as many shots of the orange Auburn stands as there were of the field.  I'd make some comment about the number of fans, then head back to the studio.  

The game is down to about three minutes left, LSU is up by 2 points, the stands are wild, and the quilt is done!  Yay for me!  In case you didn't watch the game, LSU wins the game by those two points.

I imagine that SKA will be thrilled with her quilt, but that's because I think it came out pretty great.  I had fun figuring out how to quilt all those tiger faces.  Turns out they aren't that difficult.

Of course the large open spaces were easy stippling.  And going around the LSU logo is also easy, although it does take a steady hand.  

There are a few not-so-easy Arkansas razorbacks, though, that required me to stop and figure out the best approach.  They make for a fun shirt but a slow quilting stitch.  That Mississippi State bulldog was also a bit of a challenge.  

The screen print coating on the shirts also tends to burn off the outer coating of the thread, which weakens it, so breakage is a serious problem.  I wanted to use the cotton thread, though, so I guess I rethreaded my needle, oh, 100 times.  That's not much of an exaggeration, either.  In the end, all is good.  

I didn't know what size the customer wanted, so I decided to use all 20 shirts and because they are large in size, I was able to cut them into 15 x 17 inch blocks.  Adding the two inch sashings and the quilt is a nice 68 X 98 and will fit a full size bed.

Happy quilting,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hurry to Pin and Win!

Pretty soon Moda Bakeshop will close the Love It, Pin It, Win It Contest, so if you haven't entered, you'd best go there now and get started.  

Another way to enter is to go to my Pinterest board and repin some of my pins.  I have one board with just Moda contest photos.  

Hover over a photo and click on the repin button.  It will automatically pin to the last board you've pinned on.

It's really easy, but be warned: it's addicting!  Pinning, I mean.  Of course, Moda fabrics are addicting, too, so be careful when you purchase them.  Not that just being careful will help much. But, you know, walk away when you have enough.  

Just don't walk away now, you need to enter the contest.  I mean, who doesn't need free fabrics that are this pretty?

Have a great weekend and happy quilting,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pinterest and Modern Quilts

I've been in Baton Rouge for a few days at the annual La GEAR UP Fall Convention, so there hasn't been much quilting going on.  I did, however, think of quilting at least!  I spent some of my down time in Baton Rouge admiring beautiful quilts and building a MODERN QUILTS Pinterest board.  I did that for fun, of course, but also because I'm pretty much hooked on modern quilts lately.  

It took me all of maybe five minutes to find 20 or so photos of quilts that I really love.  I don't know that I could choose a favorite but I could definitely tell you what I like about each one: clean lines, solid fabrics, and an improvisational feel.

Even the quilts that have blocks and a pattern, have an improvisational sense about them.  I think that make-it-up-as-you-go feeling is one of the things I like most about modern quilts.  Definitely it's one of the things I like while quilting them.

I've made only a few, however.  I haven't had much time for quilting since I discovered modern quilts in the late summer.  I do hope to make a few more, but I suppose that other sewing and quilting will interrupt.  

For example, I'm going to spend the next few days working on an LSU tee shirt quilt commission.  Then I'll repair a vintage baby quilt for a friend.  I haven't decided exactly what to do with that baby quilt but I have some ideas that I'll run by the owner and let her decide.  

Then I'll begin working on a modern quilt that's been in my head for a while and wants out.  In the meantime, feel free to enjoy my modern quilt show on Pinterest.  And if you're like me and love more than one genre of quilts, you can visit my applique board here, as well.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another AAQI Quilt

After making a small quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) over the weekend, I just wasn't crazy about the embellishments.  So I posted a photo of the quilt on the Quilting Board and asked other quilters for their opinions.  Not many responded, but every single one said the same.....lose the beads.  Well, how does one argue with that, especially since I kinda felt that way myself?  

The beads came off and two more fabric scrolls came on.  These two are in orange and I am much happier with the end result.  So this one is ready for shipping.  Well, actually, I was planning is to drop them off when we go to International Quilt Fest in Houston in November.

AAQI usually has a booth at the Festival, so it would be easy to drop them as I pass by the booth, but it's occurred to me that doing so might make keeping track of the quilts a bit more difficult for the volunteers who work the booth and pack up at the end of Festival.  Besides, if I get my act together and send them in a few days, the quilts might be available for sale at the festival.  Now that would be cool!

Had you noticed that I keep referring to the quilts, plural, as in two?  That's because I first reworked that one....
then I picked up some of the fabric that was left over and played a bit.  

Viola!  Another little quilt.

They're just so easy to whip up.  Especially if you whip up extra stuff while putting one together.   

Another reason that I like playing with these little quilts is that I can experiment with different techniques without that nervous feeling that I get when I'm working on a large quilt.  Besides, it's sometimes hard to get a real sense of whether something is working until the quilt is finished.  Large quilts take time to get to the finish.  These babies finish up so quickly that I get some instant gratification and find out quickly whether the experiment works.

Sometimes an experiment is a total bust.  But that's okay on a small quilt because I've only invested a little bit of time and resources.  Toss a mistake in the trash and move on!  

Toss a big quilt?  No Way!  I have to make it work somehow, and I can get pretty frustrated fighting a quilt that does not want to come together.  But a small 9 X 12 quilt is not a huge investment, so I don't feel guilty when it doesn't cooperate with my bright ideas. (Or my bright ideas weren't so sparkly to begin with.)

Of course, running into the studio for a couple of hours to relax after work is much more fun when there's a quick project awaiting my attention.  Okay, I admit it: I'm like some instant gratification on occasion.

I don't even have to tell you how good it feels to know that my little quilts are helping AAQI to raise money for Alzheimer's research. Now that's some gratification!  Talk about a good reason to play, experiment and throw a cute little quilt together. 
Happy Quilting,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

AAQI again

I had a productive day in the studio yesterday.  After a pretty rough day at work on Friday, I could barely wait to get home to some quilty peace.  Friday afternoon I managed to pick up a bit in the studio in the hopes that it would give me some inspiration.  It did not, but that's okay, I managed to find my inspiration in some tiny scraps that I almost tossed not so long ago.  

 Since they were already cut into basically same size rectangles, I stitched them together into two strips.  After sewing them to a light mint green fabric, I discovered the piece was too long and narrow for an AAQI quilt, so I cut that in half and played with it until I was happy and it was almost the right size.  

A few minutes of quilting and in no time at all, I had a cute little quilt.  I wanted a little more surface embellishment, so while adding the binding, I tucked in some bias pieces to form a piping and a couple of yellow loops.  Then I added a few beads and more of the yellow piping to repeat the scrolls that I'd quilted into the sashing.  

I spent more time on the final embellishments than on most of the quilt, but now that it's finished, I'm not so sure I like it.   What do you think?  Removing the scrolls would be very easy....just a few snips of the couching threads, so I may just snip away.  I haven't shown the quilt to anyone yet, so we'll see what everyone thinks.  Feel free to include your voice with a comment.  I'd really like to know what you think.  If they need to come off, then off they will come.  It's that simple!

I also managed to begin working on a tee shirt quilt for an LSU student.  I got the commission through a mutual friend.  I'm hoping to find out a little more about him or her so I can add some personal touches to the quilt.  All the pieces are cut into squares, all that's left is to trim them down to a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  

I also bought and cut black fabric for sashing while we were in Lafayette for a birthday party for one of the grandchildren.  I can take only so many minutes of Chuck E Cheese's, so I found my way to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  While there, I found this darling little polka dot fat quarter piece.  I bought two in the hopes that I can think of a cute project for them.  That shouldn't be too difficult, right?  Just look at the darling piece.  Isn't it pretty and bright?  I think it wants to be a cute little bag, let's see.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Love It, Pin It, Win It!

The good folks at Moda Fabrics are hosting the Love It, Pin It, Win It! contest.

Contest rules are quite easy, go to the Moda Bake Shop website and choose some of your favorite recipes.  Pin the ones you really love on one of your Pinterest boards.  I put my pins in the board titled, "Heart, Quilts."  So you can just repin one of those I pinned from Melissa Corry this morning.  

Later four random winners will be chosen from the pinned photos.  The grand prize is a set of the ingredients (fabrics) to make your favorite recipe.  (Note that fabric will be from what is currently available.)  Other winners will receive a Moda pre-cut.  Not bad for taking two seconds to enter.  

There is one stipulation: Each pin must have the three tags {#modabakeshop #modafabrics #lovepinwin}  That I can't explain.  I have no idea  how to make a tag, but it's easy enough to copy and paste onto the bottom of the pin.  

As I said, I simply repinned many of Melissa Corry's pins and then followed her example for a few that she hadn't pinned.  It really is easy.  Already I have 9 or 10 MBS pins on my board.  Since the contest runs until Sept. 22, there's still time to pin a few more, so have fun with it.

Happy Quilting, Mary