Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winner, Winner

I didn't think I'd have much to share in a blog post until Tuesday afternoon's call from Lora. She phoned to tell me that the American Quilter's Society (AQS) quilt show coordinator from Paducah, Kentucky had let her know that our quilt, "Ad Libbing" placed third in the Large Quilt - Home Machine Quilted category of the show in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Talk about being blown over by a feather! It was the last thing I expected.

Ad Libbing has appeared in seven quilt shows - six of them national shows:

  • Jacksonville (Florida) QuiltFest - 1st place
  • QuiltCon (Austin, Texas)
  • Machine Quilter's Expo (Manchester, New Hampshire)
  • Machine Quilter's Showcase (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • National Quilter's Association (Little Rock, Arkansas)
  • International Quilt Festival (Houston, Texas)
  • American Quilter's Society, (Daytona Beach) - 3rd place
It didn't place at any national show except this week's, February 24-27 AQS in Daytona Beach! Quilt show judges were Linda Poole, Sue Patten, and Nancy Mahoney.

Though the quilt looked like it could stand to have some wrinkles steamed out, the quilting really showed up in the great lighting of the Ocean Center hall.

I loved standing nearby when viewers were looking at it and talking about it. Of course I wasn't eavesdropping!

Being curious about the quilts that placed ahead of us in our category, I took these photos. Here's the second place winner.  The quilt is titled "Why Not?" and was made by Angela Petrocelli of Prescott Valley, Arizona.

It's comprised of hundreds of tiny foundation paper-pieced blocks.

Believe it or not, this is the first quilt Angela has ever made! I'm in awe.

The blue ribbon winner is "Blue Plate Special" by Susan Stewart of Pittsburg, Kansas.

The precision of these tiny feathers leads me to believe this is a digitally stitched embroidery design produced by a home sewing machine.

The details are pretty remarkable.

Lora and I will split our $750 prize money... which should just about cover the expenses we've incurred entering, and shipping the quilt to and from all these shows! 

We had certainly wondering whether it was worth it to enter so many times, and agreed several months ago that we would end "AL's" tour with this AQS show. And then this happened.

Ya just never know. Linda

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Unsewing and Other Stuff

No matter how many years of experience one has at sewing and quilting, there inevitably comes a time when unsewing is necessary. Why do I know this?

My observant blog-reader quilter-friend - Beth - caught my Picket Fence layout mistake when she viewed my last post. Just compare the first design wall photo (left), and my latest design wall photo (right).

It's the left picture that's correct, with the lightest value diamonds positioned with strips standing vertically - not horizontally as on the right.

Of course, by the time I realized my error, I'd sewn 14 columns of diamonds to one another. Oh well. The unsewing is done now. Onward!

Last week I received a UPS delivery - a wonderful gift box from MassDrop! This is how they show their thanks for referring customers to MassDrop. I received this bundle after 25 people placed an order. Thank you to those of you who have registered through me... and ordered!

I received: an Omnigrid folding mat/ironing board; an Omnigrid zippered project case (for carrying quilt blocks and supplies); a 45mm purple Splash Olfa rotary cutter; a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's True Colors; a pair of Ginger 3-1/2" stork scissors; and a bobbin "Bob" of Bottom Line 60-weight thread. Pretty wonderful, isn't it?!

I used my new project case to take 11 quilt blocks and notions with me to the "Off the Grid" workshop I attended last Sunday with Lee Heinrich/Freshly Pieced. (See our Central Florida MQG post about Lee's visit.)

In 2014, I participated in the Bay Area Modern Block of the Month - BAMBOM. These 12-1/2" blocks have been laying around since then, and were perfect for trying out different modern layouts according to Lee's suggestions. My first attempt was a grid-like asymmetrical layout. It was nice, but didn't speak to me.

The second layout is much more appealing. But it first entails more sewing. The top and bottom blocks, on the left, will become half blocks so the design appears to float off the quilt. And, I'll give the string star a special treatment with a narrow orange flange, and a Kona Bahama Blue frame.  Negative space on the left side of the quilt will be Kona Ash, and sashing and negative space on the right will be Kona White. It's great having a plan!

Monday saw me at the catheterization lab for my seventh angiogram due to PAD (peripheral artery disease). This is the fourth time Dr. Q. has been in my left leg, in the femoral artery. He used a "cutter balloon" to clean out an 80 percent plaque blockage at the top of my eight inch-long stent, and a 20 percent blockage at the bottom of the same stent. He also peeped inside my right leg which is now 70-80 percent blocked. He let me know at my Wednesday follow-up visit that my right leg also needs to be ballooned in the next few weeks. Sigh. As well, I learned that my recent heart arrhythmia, which was "performing" Monday while I was on monitors, is likely related to stress! Dr. Q. has upped my dosage of Tambocor to take care of that too. I'm very blessed with excellent medical care.

So I've been recovering, hanging around the house. Time has been put to good use. I: caught up on the "Open the Bible" study I've been doing independently; unsewed those diamonds; worked on two Keynote (MacBook) presentations I'll give in March; and begun to prepare for teaching machine appliqué to 20 quilters who will make the "Candy Pop" quilt in Beyond First Time Quiltmaking classes beginning February 27. The quilt pattern is in Christa Watson's book, "Modern Quilting With Style."

Guess I have a few things on my plate.

By the way, my younger sis's birthday is today, but she told me she's celebrating National Drink Wine Day! I think I'll join her. Linda

Friday, February 12, 2016

Those String-Pieced Diamonds

With a few finishes behind me in 2016, and feelin' ready to tackle something else, I decided to resurrect a five year old project: Picket Fence. The last time I worked on it was January, 2012, when I went with Hope Quilter friends (my Iowa church quilting group) on a retreat to Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp. I miss every one of these special friends, but not having to dress like that for months!

Picket Fence is one of the patterns in Elsie Campbell's book "String Quilts." I began making string 60-degree diamonds to use up fabric scraps. Then, my friend Carla made some too, and ended up giving me hers! This is Picket Fence then.

Since I decided to make the quilt larger, to fit our king-sized bed, I calculated that I needed 336 diamonds for a 96" X 115" quilt. In June 2014, when I was "queen" of the Mid-Century Modern Bee, I asked those quilters to make diamonds for me too!

I made hundreds of these diamonds myself and have been thrilled to use up lots of old fabrics, especially those traditional prints that I wouldn't think of using in a modern quilt. 

Here's Picket Fence a couple days ago. I fit as many diamonds on my design wall as possible - 14 columns of 16 diamonds each.

Because my web method of quilt top construction doesn't work with the angles of each "block," I'm sewing columns together first. The aqua step stool is how I reach the ceiling to pin each sewn column onto the design wall.

Since the quilt is 21 columns across, as soon as I get these pieced, I'll put up and arrange the next section. The last piecing step will be to sew all those columns together.

Given my upcoming activities, finishing this top will take a few weeks. This weekend I'm participating in Central Florida MQG/Quilting Guild of The Villages activities with Lee Heinrich (FreshlyPieced) - Saturday morning presentation and trunk show, dinner Saturday night, and taking her "Off the Grid" workshop all day Sunday. Monday is my left leg catheterization, and one of the follow-up restrictions that I can't use my sewing machine for several days...

But the design is looking so good, I won't stop now.

Since Picket Fence is an ideal scrap fabric user-upper, this post is linked to Leanne's (SheCanQuilt) blog for February's Scraptastic Tuesday. Linda

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Small World

A blog post about this quilt finish is about three weeks overdue. Though I completed the quilt in January, the weather has prevented me from photographing it as I wanted. We've had rain, cold (in the 40s which is cold for Florida), and strong winds. The weather of late, is the kind that makes it much nicer to be indoors in a sunny room.

This is "My Small World - The Villages." It measures 33" X 52" and is the sort of quilt that makes one pause to look at the details.

That's one reason why it now hangs in the entryway of our house. If nothing else, it's sure to be a conversation-starter when we have guests.

Everyone who makes My Small World, a design by Australian quilter Jen Kingwell, interprets it as they choose. I've seen a lovely variety of finishes with these being favorites: Di's "I Spy"; and Cindy's "A Day at Disneyland." You need only to look at the Instagram hashtag #mysmallworld or #mysmallworldqal (quilt-a-long) and a beautiful range of interpretations can be seen.

My Small World includes regular piecing, as well as hand appliqué, English paper-piecing (there's a "hill" of hexagons), and foundation paper-piecing.

Most of the approximately 550 neutral sky squares finish at 1" X 1". I really enjoyed that I didn't need to buy a single piece of fabric to make this quilt. I even had a backing fabric in my stash. (What does that say about my stash?!)

Specific to My Small World, I wanted to use colors (brights), prints (palms, oranges, fish, sand, beach chairs, flamingos), and designs that reflect Florida and The Villages. In place of embroideries for the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Sydney Opera House, I embroidered the local Sumter Landing lighthouse, a palm, and a golf cart. Hence my reason for photographing the quilt on our golf cart.

"The Sunshine State" and "Flip Flops," are among some of the words in the quilt. You will also find a "blah" and "Delight yourself in the Lord."

I like this photo because of the shadow I made on the quilt. You can see I use a point-and-shoot camera.

To put the quilt together, I used Quilter's Dream Poly batting, and quilted two designs - a cloud-like free-hand formation for the sky, and cross-hatch in the lower "land" areas - simple quilting that doesn't distract from the busyness of the prints.

When this quilt popped up on Instagram last June, I jumped into the quilt-along. Though it's taken me six months to finish it, and many quilters have finished theirs ahead of me, other quilters are still working on theirs.

Now the original Quiltmania magazine pattern (with its many mistakes!) is out-of-print, and has been turned into a regular pattern... just in case you'd like to make Your Small World in fabric. Linda

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What's Happenin'

When I'm teaching, the time really gets away from me. On Monday I taught week four of five lessons with 21 first time quilt makers. They learned how to bind a quilt.

On Saturday I led an all day free motion quilting workshop. Fifteen students learned about batting, threads, quilting needles, and straight line and free motion quilting.

As for my own quilting activities...

I've been quilting these fat quarter-sized samples of what can be done with backing fabric that has a distinctive pattern. Quilters who use such a print will need to make the quilt sandwich upside down (quilt top face down on the table, batting, then backing), but how nice to just follow the fabric pattern to get an all over design on the front.

This backing is bubbles, and makes a pretty design on the quilt front.

Love this "Drawn" fabric by Angela Walters for Robert Kaufman. She calls her wide-back fabric designs "training wheels" for quilters. This one quilts lovely feathers. I showed these samples to Saturday's class, suggesting such fabrics as an option for practicing FMQ.

After running out of beige and green solid fabrics in December, I ordered more and was able to return to this Mini Trees quilt, a free project from SewKindofWonderful using their new mini quick curve ruler.  It was a fast project to sew together. 

Now my 36" X 47" top is pin-basted and ready to quilt. Note the green batting? That's Quilter's Dream select loft batting made from recycled plastic bottles. A 46" X 60" batt was only $8.95, so I thought I'd give it a try. 

Our Hogan is doing great! He visited the vet last week and after Dan and I told her about his dry cough, his nearly incessant paw-licking, and showed her a couple pink-looking spots on his tummy, we agreed that he should be on steroids again. Once he started them, within two days he stopped coughing and licking.

He's acting like he feels good, though being 12-1/2 years old, he sleeps a lot. The sarcoma is still there though, in the muscles on his right front chest. It will inevitably return as a small, then larger, visible lump. We're hoping that's months away. In the meantime we're treating him like a king. For the first time, he ate green beans (from the farmer's market, and steamed) and loved them. He also likes popcorn fresh from the popper (unsalted), braunschweiger, and peanut butter, and I've been baking "cookies" for him that he practically salivates over. We know we've created "a monster," but we consider him a much-loved and deserving one.

In January, using a Blog2Print coupon, I prepared and had printed my 2014 and 2015 blog posts: FlourishingPalms Volumes 6 and 7. I'm pleased with how they turned out.

Though these books are fairly expensive, I'm glad I can save the thousands of words I've written, and hundreds of pictures I've taken over the past seven years.

Three upcoming medical appointments are on my mind, and make me grateful that I unintentionally scheduled a teaching break from February 9-29. During that period, I'll have two tests and a procedure. While I've been feeling anxious, I've been trying to focus on the "light." The Holy Spirit led me to this verse from Psalm 112:4:
Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous woman. 


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin