Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Free Motion Quilt Challenge with Sarah Vedeler

This month's Free Motion Quilt Challenge (from SewCalGal) concentrates on one quilting motif, spirals. Sarah Vedeler presents very good guidelines for adding spirals to any quilting projects.  The best way to practice spirals is in rows.  The tutorial includes sheets of spirals to print off and practice tracing with a pencil to start building muscle memory.

  Next is sectioning off a fat quarter practice quilt sandwich with my trusty Hera marker into two inch and one inch grids.

This is actually my 2nd practice sandwich, I have just kept this by my machine and tried to practiced a row of two inch and one inch spirals whenever I sit down to sew.  I am currently doing some machine applique work on the Ladies of the Sea (pattern by Sue Garmen) and every time I change thread colors, I just pop on the quilting foot and do a row of spirals for practice.

 I like to throw spirals at random into my background filler quiting or also in small corner stones and this tutorial has definitely improved my spirals.  I have found a little sing song going thru my head as I practice: "leave yourself an escape route"  "leave yourself an escape route".

I am all caught up with the Sally Post Floral Sampler (from Sentimental Stitches)  love how this quilt is coming together.

As well as the Sally Post  is coming, the red and green applique is just not turning out as I had hoped.  I bought three yards of this beautiful new Jo Morton fabric

 thinking I would like it as sashing.  My usual formula of sticking with the same fabric lines for success has let me down.

 I used mostly Jo Mortons for the applique blocks, but I am just not liking this fabric as a sashing for the quilt.  I was thinking a setting sort of like this one

 on the back of Elly Sienkiewicz book Beloved Baltimore Album Quilts.  The sashing in this quilt is a very "busy" fabric.  I think maybe my blocks are too simple for this fabric, so I tried just a solid red:
Hmmm, still not really there, maybe no white corner stones:
Closer, but still not what I thought it would be.  I have totally enjoyed working on these red and green blocks, and I have 21 of them completed, but for now they have been packed away in a tote and put on the bottom shelf...
So, this is what I have been up to lately.  Hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving weekend.  I have one parting shot, this is the fabric I found in my stash for the back of my spiral practice quilt sandwich

Ha Ha, in what life did I think I needed THAT fabric. I could do a whole post on ugly fabrics in my stash.

Happy Stitching All,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Last Crystal On

For the last few weeks my focus has been on Let Heaven and Nature Sing by McKenna Ryan.  This afternoon I put the last crystals on. The label is finished and it is ready to go to it's new home.  I made this for my friend Jan, who loves batik fabrics and McKenna Ryan quilts. 

 There was a lot of embellishing on this quilt and it worked very well to use my mini iron on the Swarovski crystals - after I did a practice one on the label.  Members of my applique group wanted to see it before I let it go, but we do not meet again for a couple weeks, so I took lots of close up pictures.  Here it is girls...Let the Holidays begin :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My applique class with Elly Sienkiewicz

I have just returned home from my trip to Houston and the International Quilt Festival.  I took a wonderful  applique class with Elly Sienkiewicz.  This was a two day class called Peahen in a Crescent Wreath.  The focus of the class was to learn some advanced techniques for off block construction of applique elements.  We worked on the peahen and one of the flowers on a gridded interfacing type material that Elly called gossamer. 

We worked on embellishing our rather plain peahen (you know the female bird is always the duller less colorful of a pair of birds).  Elly had lots of her beautiful album blocks in plastic sleeves

 that she would pass around the class room for us to get embroidery and embellishing ideas.  The rose was a padded technique where we would layer quilt batting under each section of the rose using just one fabric and quilting the different petals of the rose to give it dimension. When the peahen and rose are completed I will then trim the gossamer to 1/8 inch around the applique and because it is so thin, it will easily be tucked under the applique as I sew it onto the background.  We also worked on adding inking to our blocks.  Elly has beautiful lettering skills and she wrote on each of our blocks. 

 This little bandoleer on my block is only about one and a half inches long and she wrote my name in the banner of the design and then dated it and wrote her name and the words "scripts it" which means she did the lettering.    She also wrote beautiful comments in our books if we had brought any of her books for signatures.

  She is the most gracious person, it was just a joy to listen and learn from her.  She has so much knowledge about Baltimore album quilts and the women of 1850s Baltimore, Maryland.  I could have just listened to her for days. 

The rest of the quilt show was also wonderful, always so much inspiration and new ideas and products.  This post is getting rather long so I will share just this picture of  this quilt featuring wind turbines.

 I think the wind turbines are so graceful turning in the wind and I love to watch them if we drive by a wind turbine field.    I come from a Dutch heritage and I love windmills,

 I though it was clever that this quilter added an image of an old fashioned type of windmill in her quilt-gold half square tirangle in the upper right corner of this photo.   I am sorry to say that I did not get the name of this quilter.

I picked up a great new book by Jeanne Sullivan called Simply Successful Applique. This is a technique book more than a pattern book, but there is a DVD and patterns included.  

She has a great technique for preparation of her applique pieces that I am going to have to try and good illustrations of each step of her process.  There is good  review of all the basic steps of applique from the starting and ending knots, to the applique stitch, to properly cutting your applique background fabric.

The rest of our trip to Texas was spent with family.  A few days at a beach house in Galveston with the cutest grand child  in the world.

We did some flounder fishing, spent lots of hammock time and played in the sand.   We are back home now and the short sleeved and warm weather  cloths have been unpacked and sadly hung in the back of the closet. 

I am appliqueing with new passion and am anxious to start a Baltimore Album quilt. I will have to figure out a way to include the peahen block with it's very special signature.

Happy Stitching All,