Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blog Buddies Make it Big...

I definitely have quilt show fever as I look forward to attending the AQS - Grand Rapids, Michigan show this week.  I had 2 quilts accepted, so I am excited to see them hanging with so many fabulous quilts.

There are times, recently, when I am convinced that I lost the last nine or so months of my life.  I wasn't posting on my blog or staying caught up with my favorite blogs that I follow, much less doing enough personal sewing  This thought came home to roost a few days ago when I was thumbing through a recent issue of the AQS quilt magazine.  I stumbled on the pictures of winners from the AQS shows in Lancaster and Paducah, and THERE WAS BARB VEDDER and her beautiful quilt!  How did I miss this??  (Barb's blog is Fun With Barb, and you will find it here - the pictures are shown here by her permission.)

She won first place in the "Wall Hanging - Hand Quilted" category.  There she was, in the magazine, her thumbnail picture right next to a picture of her quilt.  Isn't it cool to find someone you "know" in a quilt magazine...especially when it is someone who does high calibre work all the time?    (her "Mother's Garden" quilt also took a blue ribbon at the Vermont Quilt Festival this year...).

Click here to read about the genesis of this beautiful work.

I keep finding pictures of quilts made by Kathie Holland in magazines and calenders...her blog is called Inspired by Antique Quilts.  The Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting 2010 Calendar is just one example (where her quilt made the cover AND she was "Miss October.")  Then there are several more of my favorite bloggers with recent books - wow!  Can I pick 'em, or what?  They all keep me so inspired and charge my creative battery on the days when I drag myself to my computer.

Karen, of Quilt...Etc. blog just emailed me to let me know that my "All Around the Town" quilt got an honorable mention ribbon at the AQS - Grand Rapids Show (Wall Quilt, Hand Quilted)!  Yahoo!  I was already excited beyond belief about going to the show I wonder if I will sleep!  

Click here to see the YouTube video of the winners!

If you are feeling out of sorts and a little uncreative, I hope you find some inspiration soon...sometimes it is found in the darned-est places (I'm sure darned-est isn't a word, but I bet you get the idea).

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Isn't August the Unofficial Sunflower Month??

Now that it is not so stinking hot in Michigan, I can think about appropriate signs and symbols of the end of summer.  (Instead of stuff like sweat, red faces, brown grass, wilting trees, successful rain dances, etc.  Note to self: must research my part-Cherokee Indian heritage for rain dances that WORK...).

During all our summer car trips this year, I loved passing fields of sunflowers...with all their beautiful, sunny yellow "heads" all looking in the same direction...usually toward the sun (wouldn't it be weird if while you were passing, admiring them, they all turned toward YOU??).

Anyway, I've been putting a sunflower, and a couple of sunflower buds, together, petal by petal.  I could not pick just 3 golden fabric colors (large petals, tiny center petals, and center).  Narrowing down fabric choices is my LEAST favorite quilting activity.  So I sorted through my leftover snippets for possibilities.

Welcome to my insane, miniature applique world!

Now that all the petal fabric decisions are done, the petals are prepped with freezer paper patterns ironed on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabrics.  Then I glue the scant little edges to the back with the Elmer's Disappearing Glue Stick.  Now I can start constructing a sunflower (insert diabolical, evil overlord laugh...).

I use one of my pattern weights to keep the flower center anchored while I pry up the edges and insert the tiny inner petals under the edge, one by one, each with a tiny dot of glue, all the while making sure that I am following my pattern.  Then after the "dot-dot-not-a-lot" touches of glue (Roxanne's Glue Baste) set a bit, I add the outer petals in the same way.

Ta-da!  Now, as Janet of the Quiltsalott blog would say, time to do a little applique stitching "off block."  (I LOVE that description!  Thanks for sharing it!)  

Using YLI silk thread, I applique the sunflower center to the glue basted petals, and stitch the tiny petals to the longer petals.  Now when I place the whole sunflower head on the background, I only have to stitch around the outside of the long petals.  

I like doing this for 2 reasons: 

1)  once layered motifs are basted to the cumbersome backgrounds, I find it much more clumsy to do all the inner stitching along with securing the edges

2)  now if I want to trim some of the background fabric from behind the appliqued motif, in preparation for doing hand quilting, I don't have to worry about keeping my applique stitches in the middle of my motif from penetrating the background fabric as well as the more immediate layers

Now on to the little sunflower buds...yes, the petals are tiny, and I am insane.  I could have simplified the sunflowers and buds quite a bit, but where is the fun (or insanity) in that?

Just like when building the whole sunflower head, I glue baste the tiny petals to the stem head first, then follow with the longer petals. 

I lay out and glue the little pieces to each other right on my pattern.  A tiny bit of glue may bleed through, but if the motif is actually stuck to the pattern, I've used too much glue baste ("dot-dot-not-a-lot"). 

Then I applique these little units "off block" before placing the all the motifs on the block background.

My block prep work this week also had me thinking about fall (my FAVORITE season) as I prepped and appliqued the following little motifs "off block."

I love to make these tiny, fat pumpkin babies!  They range from about an inch tall to a little over 3 inches tall (I forgot to stick Thomas Jefferson in the pictures, for reference...).

And as a Michigander, of course I had to make a basket of tiny apples (the swirly one on top is about the diameter of a pencil eraser).  When this basket is on the background, I will embroider handles on the sides.  I will also add twirly vines to the pumpkins.

I almost have my copyright issues taken care of so I can stop giving you tiny sneak peeks and finally show you whole blocks!

I hope you have some time to sew today...I am glad to almost be back to normal, whatever that is.  School started for my HS sophmore last week, and driver's ed started the week before that. It hasn't rained in WEEKS, and of course, her first time behind the wheel of a car, it rained.  There she goes, tooling around the AAA parking lot.  There's a terrified instructor next to her and two pale teenaged boys in the backseat, who have already had their turns driving for the day.

Riley was the last of the three of them to drive in this first session, so she parked the car at the end of the lesson.  I hope "hitting the thing behind you" isn't part of the parking lesson (notice the orange cone behind the car...).

I am getting a lot of hand applique done, hanging around waiting in the AAA parking lot.  This is a required course in the state of Michigan.  In addition, she and I have been spending time in a local empty parking lot learning how to drive a stick shift...I can just feel the strands of hair turning gray...

Of course, she prefers the slick, new, automatic transmission car at AAA, but both of our family cars have stick shifts...DOH!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tired of the quilt show yet? - Part 3

Hope you are still hungry for eye candy...I'm warming up for next week's AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I'm also having a design wall dilema...but first, the candy!

I really liked this setting (above) makes me think about either the Farmer's Wife or Nearly Insane quilt (both on my bucket list)...hmmm...

I LOVE snowman quilts, and this show had so many nice ones.  It is kind of fun to think about snow and snowmen after this summer of extreme heat...

Scrappy and unpredictable...great combination...

All I can say is WOW!

As I'm addicted to Halloween, I NEVER tire of seeing one of these quilts...

I fell in love with this quilt when I saw it hanging at The Marshall House Quilt Shop in Marshall, much so that I bought the pattern!  If you are ever near Marshall, that is a GREAT shop.  The building used to be a funeral parlor, so it is very charming, and they have the best of everything! 

(I have such a sick sense of humor...I think they should have an antique coffin full of fat quarters somewhere.)

It is always fun to run across an applique quilt that depicts stories from the bible and see how the pattern maker interprets the story.  These quilt blocks were featured in a magazine in the early 1960's.

I stood in front of this one for the longest time...(don't you love how tiny David looks next to Goliath?) 

You can't help but smile looking at the next one!  So colorful and beautifully done!

I love that this next quilt was made by a nice guy for his wife.

Yikes!  How TINY!!  I am strangely attracted to these tiny wonders...

This one is so SWEET!

This next quilt was one entered in the challenge category...I don't remember all the parameters, but I remember they all had to use Ohio Star blocks somewhere.  I love Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting, so this one really spoke to me.

All you hand applique enthusiasts will recognize Karen Kay Buckley by name.  She was the featured teacher for the week of the show.  The following 2 quilts of hers were exquisite!  It was hard to get pictures due to the crowds getting up close and personal with the quilts to see details.  I only got one shot of the first one (and didn't get the label).

Also, I am having design wall woes...NOT ENOUGH ROOM!  There is only one good place for a design wall in the quilt cave.  It is at the bottom of the steps, and it barely holds a double sized quilt top (and to make matters worse, it is crappy, old, pink blanket left from the college years).

As I have been working on these Blackbird Design applique baskets for a while, I have been pinning up the finished blocks and the baskets ready to be appliqued to backgrounds to motivate me further (and so I can do a quick check as I cut out and prep more - I don't want to repeat any of the reproduction basket fabrics).

Well, that is all well and good, but I rotate what?

If I had a million dollars (and more room), wouldn't it be cool to have a really large design wall with MANY sliding panels on little wheels, on multiple "tracks" (like closet doors)?  That way I could have several large projects laid out and have a choice of which 2 surfaces would be visible at any given time.

Sigh...I guess I will just keep layering archeologist would have fun with my blanket...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)