Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Machine Foot Workshop

When I upgraded machines, I decided that I was going to learn how to use more than the zig zag stitch for making swimwear and the free motion quilting when making quilts!

Last week, I took a workshop about how particular machine feet can make construction work easier and decorative stitching sing.

Triangle zipper bag--going to be a gift item!
The first day, we learned about programming the knot function on our machines in the setting menu. The review was great and I have it down now. Generally, I don't want the securing stitch on because when I am quilting, I sure don't want a knot at the beginning or the end of a quilting line. I generally take tiny stitches to secure the beginning and end of a stitching line.

We also practiced finding and using the memory pages of our stitches. I had forgotten about where these were! It is valuable because there were times when I was stitching and turned off the machine and later I thought.  . .uh, oh. . .do I remember the settings of that stitch?

Finally, we were able to stitch. We used the 12, 12C, 39C and 20D feet. (I had the 20C foot; but, purchased a 20D.) This little bag started off as a 5x10 rectangle. How fun is that decorative stitching on the zipper? What a great way to use a smallish scrap! I may make a few more because they will make great gift bags to hang on the tree at Christmas. I won't share what I'm putting inside the bags because some of the recipients read this blog!

The 'sample' project
The second day of class, we were to make a small bag which would be perfect for a cell phone and a little tube of lipstick. I understand about technique orientated versus project oriented classes. This was a technique class meaning it was about the process so it wasn't going to be "best" work. There were about twelve people in this section of the class. (The class the first day had 23 participants.)  Three of us had the seven series Bernina 790, 780 and 750. The remainder of the class had the eight series Bernina 830 and 880.

When I take a class, I try to bring all the items on the supply list to the class. The teacher didn't put those items on the list  because he/she wanted us to spend loads of bucks; she put them on the list for a reason. I look at it as an opportunity to try what works for him/her because it might also work for me.

Out of the 11 people in class at least five people didn't have the supplies required for the class. Their comment was, I didn't want to buy it until I tried it! What happened was that the teacher had to split the parts of the project up so the supplies could stretch and everyone could be stitching. It didn't work that way. . .the teacher was split trying to lead two sections of the project at the same time.

Also, when I take a class, I clean my machine--service it if it is necessary; I pack the foot pedal,  the power cord and the throat plates. (Once I forgot the 9mm throat plate--lucky DH brought it to me!) I sew with a variety of threads, I can adjust my tension and although I am primarily a quilter, I can stitch other types of projects. I've read my machine manual and feel confident stitching with my machine.

Imagine my surprise when the 8 series machines, wouldn't stitch the Isacord thread in a double needle or the stitcher could't adjust the tension to a satisfactory stitch. The teacher then was trouble shooting for these individuals and of course, what worked for one didn't necessarily work for another!

Making pin tucks and using a double needle
to decorative stitch between the spaces.
Also, a number of the participants were either new to their machine or to Bernina. They weren't familiar with their machine's screen system. That unfamiliarity slowed the class progress. Also, we all learn differently. Some "talk" while doing the steps, some see the photos in the power point and do it, some read each step and check it off, while others need to be guided through each step. That teacher was put to the max with all of us!

In the end, our class didn't finish the bag. We didn't practice an invisible zipper application. We didn't make corded pin tucks. We didn't make a monogram. She didn't show how to use a foot I asked to see demonstrated. She didn't demonstrate the 16W foot.

Am I unhappy about all the didn't list of items? No. I learned loads. I invited a gal with a similar machine to sit next to me so I could help her with the screen functions. It was hard for me to walk her through the steps instead of just pressing the buttons on her screen! But, in a couple of hours, she was feeling much more confident about the screen functions and started opening windows just to see what was there. Before class, she was too worried that she was going to freeze something if she experimented and then wouldn't be able to stitch! How exciting it was to see her blossom and get excited about the capabilities of her machine! Plus, I now have a new friend!

This was the first time the teacher had taught this foot class. If I were teaching a new class, I think I would have presented less materials and had the class accomplished that, then I would have have done some demonstrations. . .like how to make corded piping or what piping looks with this particular foot as to that particular foot.

The selection of machine feet that I used during the
The piping I made wasn't made with the correct foot. I thought I heard use a 12C when it was use a 12. I got my bag together and was ready to add the lining and then I looked at the piping. . .ugly. . .ugly. . .ugly!!

I did make some great button holes in the elastic strap though. The button holes don't photograph well. . .it is black on black. . .you'll just have to take me at my word! :)

Once I finish the president's blocks, I'll go back and redo that piping.  An update on the president's blocks, I'm about halfway through the 97 sashings.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Long 31 Days

Dave, Bob, Clark and all their supplies for 31 days.
It all fit in the back of that Toyota!
On August 21, my DH, Bob, left our driveway with friends Dave, Clark and Barb to bicycle from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. They drove from our driveway to the Canadian Border. Barb, Clark's wife, drove along the route so that they didn't have to pack their bags with them too! They stayed in a hotel each night. Their three bikes rode on the bike rack that was on the back of the SUV.

Bob rode over 1750 miles preparing for the trip. He rode over 1800 miles on the trip and ascended more than 120,000 feet. He rode for more than 240 hours in 27 days. (It took two days driving to get home and they took two rest days.) I can't imagine sitting for so long on that narrow seat! Ouch!

Bailey showing her 'I'm lonesome for my
snuggle partner' look!
While he was peddling south, Bailey, our English creme golden retriever and I hung out.  She loves to snuggle so we did our share of it. Towards the end of the trip, she didn't mind me using her back as a table for the laptop!

I was concerned about her because she sticks to Bob like glue! Once when he was on a training run for several days, she didn't eat until he returned! This trip, she didn't miss a meal.

Steamed spinach, steak and mushrooms.

Bob does most of the cooking these days. He was concerned that I had forgotten how to prepare more than a peanut butter sandwich. (I still bake, prepare killer soups and sandwiches though!) Before he left, he gave me some lessons on the barbecue and traegar.

I cooked burgers and steaks on the barbecue and smoked chicken twice on the traegar.

I had a lunch with Gail, a dinner with Amanda and a dinner with JoJo. Eating alone is boring so I appreciated the invitations and their meals were delicious! The grands were here Mondays and Wednesdays so I had lots of meals with friends!

To prove that I could fend for myself after all these years, I sent him photos of some of the meals I cooked. In return, he would share a scenic photo of the day. He has some great photos and even better stories about the trip!

Bacon, lettuce and tomato salad--tastes
like a BLT without the bread!
This was the salad that Gail fixed for lunch. I liked it so well that I asked for the recipe. It was a bacon, lettuce and tomato salad. I had it a couple times and found it was good with avocados too!
Evidence I did smoke chicken on the treagar.

I enjoyed cooking on the traegar, it was easier than I had imagined. I decided the chicken tasted almost as good as the master's! I think he liked hearing that his was still the best!

Grocery shopping is a task that I do very little. I had to laugh at myself. One store that I went to had been remodeled since the last time I was there. . .a couple years ago! Finding where items were, remembering to use the coupons that I clipped. . .well, it took me three visits before I had the process down! I did all the cooking, all the shopping, all the cleaning, all the preserving, all the gardening . . .well, if it was a "house" job, I did it for the first 25 years of my married life. The last 11 years, he has stepped in to make life easier and to allow me more time to spend in the studio. He is a gem!

Balloons lined the driveway for his return!
Getting to do more chores than I have done in the last ten years took some getting use to. I found I had less quilting time available. But, most of all, I really missed my buddy! The day he returned home, the neighbor tied welcome home, congratulations and star balloons all down the entire driveway.

Welcome back Papa!
On September 21, when their car pulled into the driveway, the grands squealed with delight. They ran outside to let "papa" know that he had been missed and that they were glad he was back!

Waiting for the football game to begin.

I too was glad to have my buddy home. We decided if he takes another long bicycle trip, Bailey and I are going too!

Now to get back to quilting!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Final Nine

It has taken a long time; but, these are the final nine quilted blocks of the 42 president's blocks that I received at the end of my term. Since I've treated each block like it was a separate quilt, I'm now calling this project, "42 Minis!"
Colleen's hang ten block!
Colleen is our current president. Her brain works at lightening speed. She has taught a lot of Saturday Workshops and is always gracious about sharing her knowledge and techniques with others. I wish I had her energy and stamina! She asked me if I had a dog or a cat so seeing this block with the dog surfing, fit me. In Hawaii, I liked body surfing; but, never tried surfing with a board. 

I stitched around the print elements in the batik and novelty prints. It was interesting to see how that little bit of stitching brought the design to life! 

Julie's cross block.

Julie had the important job of mailing the newsletter to the members who couldn't receive the electronic newsletter. I used a curved ruler to make the background. I repeated the flying geese motif in the vertical bar of the cross. For the horizontal bar, I also stitched flying geese that flew to the center of the block. I liked how it turned out.

Sandie's ocean waves.

Sandie was the president after me. I wouldn't have thought of using ocean waves as a border for a block. Sandie loves the color green and I was glad she included some in this block.  She and I have worked together this year putting together the Featured Artist Show for October. We have grandchildren of similar ages--she has grandsons and I have granddaughters. We have a lot in common!

I quilted some of the half square triangles with curved lines for rolling waves and some with a continuous curve for waves that flip. I quilted around the lines of the center print batik. This photo just doesn't do the block justice!

Cheryl's rescue buoy block!

Cheryl is another past president. There were seven past presidents who contributed blocks to my quilt! Three people made me a block with a rescue buoy in the center. I put these in three of the four corners. I quilted each one differently. Cheryl loves to sail and when I get cruising on a project, I refer to it as sailing along. I couldn't not quilt the word "sail" in the center of the ring buoy.

Kitty's appliquéd cross block!

The first time I met Kitty was at spring retreat in 1998. She was hand quilting a large quilt in a hoop and using cinnamon to mark her lines so that her marking would show on a white background. She has since finished the quilt and all the cinnamon marks came out! She said that quilters often marked light fabrics with cinnamon.

She appliquéd her cross. I used a curved ruler to stitch the lines going half the way in one direction and half the way going the other direction! I thought this background design would be a good tie in to her hand quilting. I know that I have her print going in the wrong direction; but, I decided I would rather have the print upside down rather than her name!

Rosanne's heart block!
Rosanne and Anne chaired the Outreach committee and made blocks that were similar to each other. This year, Rosanne is the publicity chair. All I can say is WOW, she accomplished so much in such a short time and I know she did a lot of learning while she was making flyers and postcards for guild events!

My plan was to quilt the two blocks similarly. . .well, I sort of did. Sometimes, a block just talks to you and says that it wants something a little different!

I quilted loops in between the polka dots!

Shelly's beach umbrellas!
Shelly used this beach umbrella novelty fabric to make her block. She and Colleen worked together during my term. I've lots of strips (2 1/2" wide by 45" long) and charms (5" squares) waiting to be made into quilts. I like that Shelly had a Pinterest board with ideas of what to do with strips and charms.

I quilted around the umbrellas and then stitched some lines in the borders. Other than making a lot of thread changes, the quilting went fast!

Kathy's night fireworks block!
Kathy thought of watching fireworks on the beach for her block. I love the print on the fabric and she used paint and glitter to make this block shimmer! Next to that umbrella is a black lifeguard chair.

She is an avant garde quilter whose life is full working, raising family and squeezing quilting in where she can make it fit!

I quilted fun doodles around some of the larger circles, squiggly lines, curls and cones in the spaces.

Bev's explanation block!
Bev printed the e-mail about the guidelines for the block. Of all the blocks, this was the one that I sweated the most about quilting.  I've never worked with ink jet printed sheets. This was thick and needle holes would show so I knew I had one chance to get it right!

I channeled my previous life as a layout/design editor of an agricultural newspaper when I was in college. I quilted it as if it were a page of newsprint!

This is an extra special block to me because Bev, also a past president, always took the time to meet a new person and connect with them. She was nicknamed Mrs. CCQ because during her term, she visited every small group to find out what people were most interested in doing at the general meetings! The love she shared with her husband was so precious.

Sadly, in July, she passed away. Guild meetings just aren't the same without her physical presence. Although, I know she is with us in spirit!

Bev's was the last block to quilt. I thought you might like to see how many silk threads I used on the top of this quilt. Here are the 21 spools of YLI and Superior silk. I like both brands equally. YLI thread is more available in my area; but, it is sure nice to have the amount of thread on a Superior cone!

I like using silk thread because the thread blends well into the background leaving a hint of texture. Because it has sheen, when the light hits the quilt surface, the thread will glow a bit. People notice my quilting; but, think it is the detail that draws them. I think the sheen effect is part of the drawing effect too. Look back at Rosanne's block to view what I'm writing.

Often, I used a matching 50wt 2 ply Masterpiece cotton thread in the bobbin. Superior makes Masterpiece although now, their Masterpiece is a 3 ply thread. The Masterpiece on the prewound bobbins is still 2 ply.

My personal preference is the 2 ply thread. 2 ply means two threads are twisted together in the end product and 3 ply means three threads are twisted together in the end product. Superior made the change so that longarm quilters would have less thread breakage using this product.

For my usage, the 2 ply is a finer thread and shows less. On my domestic machine, I don't have an issue with the thread breaking. As I use the Masterpiece spools in my stash, I'll be replacing it with Aurifil thread because it is a 60wt (a bit finer than 50wt thread) 3 ply and is a closer match to what I like to use now.

My next step is to begin quilting a continuous curve pattern in the 97 red and white sashings. The last quilting will be the 42 white squares. Then it will be on to the binding, sleeve and label!

October 21 is coming. I hope I finish in time for the show!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Field Trip and Nest Quilts

Mondays and Wednesdays are Gran and Papa days with the granddaughters. We enjoy the "making memories" time. They get to become acquainted with us and their Mom and Dad get a reprieve from paying for childcare for a couple days. Last week, I picked the grands up at 6:15AM from their home. . .sometimes, they are sleeping; but, often they are up. (Usually, DH picks them up; but, he's been away on a trip which I'll share in another post.)

The grands are almost three and almost four and a half. I told them last week that we were going on a field trip last Wednesday. The oldest one said she didn't know what a field trip was only that kindergartners go on them to pumpkin fields! (She is so wise!)

Interestingly, of all the quilts,
"Perspective" was their chosen one!
So we talked about my friend Joanne who made a series of nest quilts. The girls were intrigued with a nest being on a quilt. (Yes, that does conjure up a good picture in your mind doesn't it?) So I shared a couple of Joanne's blogs with them.  They thought that it would be okay to see her quilts.

We drove to Camas, Washington. The exhibit is on the second floor of the  library. Joanne's quilts were paired
with Wilson Cady's paintings. Their show is called: Bird's eye view, nests and landscapes. I was impressed with how well their art work melded together. Joanne even made a quilt that was inspired by one of Wilson's paintings. The show runs through the end of September and is worth the trip to see!

When we arrived, the gallery was empty. I wish that Joanne could have been there to hear their giggles as they discovered another nest, or blue eggs or flowers or sparkly bits! Wilson's artwork didn't get any comments as the grands were all over the 19 nest quilts. They didn't miss one quilt and they walked systematically from one quilt to the next. Each quilt received commentary. Maybe the bird was wearing a hat or sitting on a pumpkin.. . .giggle, giggle, giggle! In about seven minutes, they had seen the show. I asked them to stand under a quilt. . .any quilt so I could snap a photo. "Perspective," was the one that they chose.
The youngest spent equal time on all the available rides;
but she chose to ride the caterpillar one more
time before we left!
Camas is a sweet little town. I've been there to teach water instructor type courses at the outdoor community pool which is in the city park. So when the girls had seen their fill of nests, I said. "Hmmm. Would you like to check out the park??" Of course, they thought that was a terrific idea so we did check out the park.

Our oldest thought the pony was the best
ride in the park! 
It was a beautiful day and we played on almost all of the park equipment. I even went down the slide which they thought was really funny.  Let me tell you, my knees still don't bend well enough to really "slide" yet! The youngest one gave me some fist pumps and the oldest one said, "Good job, Gran!"
We can say "cheese" while we are waiting for our
chicken strips and fries!

Since it was getting close to lunch time, I said, let's go to a restaurant. The youngest cannot eat dairy so eating out is a big challenge. I had researched Dairy Queen and learned there were dairy free options in their kids' meals. It was my first time to take both girls out to lunch. I asked what they wanted and both decided fries and chicken strips with a heavy emphasis on fries! The oldest got a sundae to go. We went home where the youngest could have some coconut based ice cream while the oldest ate her sundae. It all worked great! Kudos to their parents for training them how to sit and eat their meal!

At the end of the day, I asked what was the best part of the day. The oldest said it was the ice cream and the youngest liked the boat in the park. The oldest wanted to know if we could do more field trips!

Spending the day with them, seeing nest quilts, running in the park and lunching out was sure a "gift" for me! I love their openness. They have such a clear idea of what works. It was so much fun to watch their take on each of Joanne's quilts. Perhaps, they will "catch" the quilt pox after all.

As I drove home from dropping them off, I too thought about the day in a quilt related way. How fun is it when you are going to see a show or perhaps participating in a shop hop? If you are joining some friends for the outing, it makes for even more fun. Lunch out with friends is icing on the cake!

Inspiration can come from a show, a shop hop, the lunch or just from the conversation with friends! When was the last time you were inspired and what inspired you? Please leave me a comment!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Half Dozen More President's Blocks

Progress hasn't stalled with those president's blocks. I've a few more finished to share with you!
Val's block--where's the orange?
Val was guild president twice and she has served on the board in a variety of positions. I was honored that she would be secretary while I was president. Her quilting is beautiful. She tucks in little flowers and shapes as she 'feels" like it in her backgrounds. With her block, I wanted to honor her style so I quilted all sorts of fun stuff in the background of her block. I was surprised that there wasn't an orange swim suit since Val believes good quilts have orange in them!

Karan's block--wish you could see the lenses!
This is Karan's block. She was the president just before me and was always available to offer support whenever I asked. She quilts a lot with earth tone fabrics so to receive this block made me smile as she was working in my palette! She quilts items often with lots of lines so I did the same. Karan was the treasurer while I was president. I think the treasurer position is one of the most challenging positions in the guild!

Shirley's bathing beauties block!
Shirley likes to design quilts and she does beautiful appliqué. The background fabric she used in this block was from the back that I donated from the first Airing of the Quilts raffle quilt that I worked on. Her use of a novelty print is unique. I wouldn't have thought of chopping it this way! I quilted around the figures which gives them dimension and went with vertical lines in the background.

It reminds me of my days of swimming lessons. Walking out to the pool, you entered through a wooden gate. Through the slats, you could see people hanging about the water.

Linda's duel cross block with a chain!
Linda is also a past president. She continues to be an integral part of the hanging committee for the quilt show.  She teaches beginning quilting classes and can finish more tops at a three day retreat than I would have ever thought possible! She has made a number of BQ (Big Quilt) patterns over the years.

So I tried to treat this block like she might have quilted it. I kept the background in vertical or horizontal lines; used continuous curves in the white squares if they weren't part of the secondary cross unit and quilted an X in the red squares. The two outer white squares, I quilted with a continuous curve and an X.

The red crosses utilize horizontal lines in the horizontal bar and a flying geese shape in the vertical bar. There were a ton of stops and starts with this quilting pattern; but, I like how it turned out!

Signe's lifeguard chair at the beach block!
Signe's use of dimensional appliqué for the waves added an extra pop to this block. The polka dots for the sky made me think of rain falling, so I quilted diagonal lines there.

When I was a kid, my grandparents often would take the grandkids to the beach. I remember playing in the sand making all sorts of sand castles. I quilted arcs in the sand area to represent the sand dunes that are along the Oregon coastline. Her use of the buoy fabric for a ring buoy is darn cute!

I like the fabrics she used in her lifeguard chair! Although, in my guarding career, I didn't like sitting in the chair as I felt if I had to make a rescue, I'd hurt myself getting down!

Roberta's sand castle block!
This is Roberta's sweet block. She makes many, many, Project Linus quilts so seeing her use of this novelty fabric made me smile! Besides, there I am in my childhood building those sand castles!

I stitched a cross hatch in the background. I stitched around the center motifs and added some quilting so the hearts.

This makes 33 of the 42 blocks completed! By my next update on this project, I'm planning to share the quilting on the final nine blocks. Guess, I'd better stop writing and get quilting!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Blogging and Fueling Inspiration

As I blogged back in June, this year, my plan was to blog twice a week. Once a week I would blog about a project and once a week I would blog about inspiration. When I was blogging once a week, I'd have blog ideas that never were written because I had more than enough material. Blogging twice a week is much more challenging than I would have thought.

First, getting into the routine was tough. Am I publishing on Wednesday and on Sunday or am I publishing somewhere between Wednesday and Friday and between Sunday and Tuesday? In the beginning, it was more the later rather than the former. This month, I'm finding my rhythm and feeling like I'm living my new normal.

This is a clothing store in London with all these machines
in the window. Sadly, the machines are decorative only;
but, it 
is a great photo to demonstrate repetition which can
result in a routine.

One reason for blogging is to share my projects as I make progress. Blogging is a great method to document each project. Another reason for blogging is to delve into what I'm making, how I'm making it and what inspired me to make it. This behind the scenes process is a place I'm not comfortable thinking about or sharing!

My perception is that it would be boring reading; but, with all the projects that I have "in process," I need to figure out what is holding me up to move forward. While I've been stitching the president's blocks, I've been thinking about my Sweetness to the Soul project.

I questioned myself, "When are you getting that Sweetness project back out?"
My answer, "When I finish the president's blocks."

Beginnings of Sweetness to the Soul
Next I asked myself, "What are you going to do so that you get over your stall?"
My answers were:
-- I could ask for help with my design composition
-- I could try to stitch something with the felting foot that arrived to add to the current composition
-- I could piece the background to give it more interest
-- I could add some words to the composition

Hmmm. . .I'm not sure where I'm going to start; but, at least I feel like I have some options.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

More President's Blocks

I've continued my slow pace quilting president's blocks. The featured artist show is now about seven weeks away and I'm still working on this project! I'm so feeling deadline pressure. The possibility this quilt will be hung as a Work In Progress (WIP) is real!

Sandal by Bertie
Bertie stitched this sandal for me. The first time I went to Hawaii was in 1979. My mom, future MIL and SIL also went.  My first purchase was a pair of sandals! This block sure reminded me of those sandals! I quilted bananas in the background because I had no idea my favorite tasting banana would be a small variety found in Hawaii!

I like how she used a button and black embroidery floss to make this block sing! She also used Asian prints and when I was president she and her sisters organized a super fun retreat that was themed Asian Elegance. Thanks, Bertie!

I still have a little project to make with some 2 1/2" squares that came from the retreat. . .I will get to it once I finish some other projects first!!

Heart by Anne

Anne was a co-chair of the outreach committee with Rosanne. Those two ladies were so organized. The summer before their term began, they consulted with the charity/comfort quilt committee and selected, cut and kitted their projects for the year! I enjoyed attending one of their monthly events and wished I could have attended more of them because it was totally fun.

They each made me the same block and I plan to quilt Rosanne's block just like Anne's. Vertically, in between the polka dots, I quilted two straight lines about a 1/4" apart. You can't see it in this photo, but it is there!

Juggler by Virginia

Virginia's block just made me smile! In our life, it seems we are always juggling something!! When I saw all those "balls" it reminded me of activities I use to do and of activities I want to do so I decided to add more balls. Most of the balls are the same size; but, sometimes ideas start out smaller so there are a few different sizes.

Virginia paints, dyes fabrics and probably hasn't met a technique she hasn't tried! Thanks Virginia for sharing your creativity with me!

Can you guess what I used to make the circles? This is what I used, a spaghetti measure. I think this came in the mail as a promotion to buy a cookbook. It is interesting of all the non quilting items that add value to your quilting tool box!

Modern Cross by Sandie

Sandie is another quilter who paints and she paints the most wonderful florals. Her depth of shading really draws the viewer's eye into her work. She is loves having fun and celebrating life. Sadly for me, she and her new husband are moving to a warmer climate; but I am happy for all the new joys she is going to experience. She will be a friend forever!
I quilted a variety of backgrounds behind the block and quilted a little on the block as well. To divide the background, I used the seam lines on the cross.

In the Swim Cross by Kathy
Kathy is an artist with fiber. She uses paint and uncommon materials, wood, copper, wire and more, when she creates her projects. For one DD, this was her favorite block. She liked how Kathy created the waves with fabric. Me too!

I quilted just inside the stitching line on the waves and filled in the background with a simple horizontal line here and there.

"Jantzen" logo like diver by Sandi

Where Sandi found the fabric to broderie perse appliqué this diver, I don't know! I also like how she used that rescue buoy fabric to create interest. I quilted the same horizontal water stipple that I did in Lynn C's block. In this example, you hardly see the silk thread.

I've still more blocks to go. I've been treating each block as a mini quilt and that has made the process fun! I'm thinking that I should name this quilt "42 Minis!"

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Supporting Quilting--Staying Focused

What do you do to support quilting?

I embroidered this leaf in a class at my bernina store,
(Quilting Delights). Later, I made this little quilt that
I donated to the Alzheimer Priority quilt project. 
Do you buy from your LQS?
I do. I also support the shops where I bought my machines. I've taken classes and purchased fabrics at those shops! I do purchase needles, storage containers, books from Joann Craft and Fabric store using coupons. However, I believe that where you put your money is the indicator of what kind of community you will have.

Do you belong to a guild?
I do. Our guild has about 500 members. One would think that with that many members, people would be lined up to take on the various positions. It isn't so! I've been membership chair, Saturday workshop chair, featured artist chair, president-elect and President.

For the first eleven years I was a guild member, I worked full time plus. I didn't have the time availability to chair a committee; but, I did white glove the featured artist show and guild quilt show several days each year. Actually, in the past dozen years of my membership, I've only missed one year that I haven't white gloved at both events! I also taught a full day class at the Saturday workshops. I've sorted fabrics for our charity group, put together quilt kits; sewn items for the charity group and helped youth experience quilting in the outreach group. I've made small items to give away to retreat attendees. I've taken classes and met amazing national teachers!
This is Karan and her Queen of Hearts quilt.
She is a member of the WIPs group and also
a member of the Featured Artist Show where

she will be sharing this quilt!
In the last eight years, I've been a chair or a co-chair of a committee. I believe if you value your guild, you must support it. This year, I'm the Saturday workshop chair and the featured artist chair. It is a little weird being the chair of a committee that you are also one of the featured artists! I couldn't manage it all if there wasn't a co-chair/s to bounce around ideas and to share the workload. If you belong to a guild, how do you support it?

Do you belong to a small group?
I belong to several. First there is WIPs. (Works In Progress) We got together after we determined that three of us lived within a few miles of each other and we had been going to retreats for years not realizing that fact! We have a couple get togethers each month. One meeting is on a Friday at the end of the month where we meet in a member's home. One is on a Monday, where we meet at a member's church. There are 27 members of the group now. For the last five years, I have been the moderator of the yahoo group which means that I send out reminder notices to meetings, post photos in a slide show format of our get togethers and update our membership file which is available on our group site. I've also organized a strip exchange and then a challenge to make a quilt from the strips.
This is "Who Said Clematis" that we made 
one year as our raffle quilt.
Second, I belong to the Airing of the Quilts Milwaukie show committee. There are about a dozen people in this group. I've belonged at least six years and have been in charge of the the featured artist and the demonstrators. I've helped:
make the raffle quilt,
sold raffle quilt tickets,
promote the show,
with quilt acceptance,
with quilt layout,
 hang and take down the show and whatever else was needed.
This is Pinwheel Crumbs inspired by the first
book I led the discussions. The book was 

"The Last Runaway."

Third, there is Thread Tales. This is a group that reads a book, discusses it and then we have a reveal to see what quilts we made that were inspired by the book. I've been involved with this group since in started almost ten years ago.  I have led the group discussion twice which means you pick a group, lead the activities for two months and then organize the reveal. I've shared a number of quilts that I've made through this group. I've led two book discussions and with 25 members (was a high of about 45 members), being in charge doesn't happen often!! What do you do to support your small group?
This is "Into the Depths" inspired by the second book I
led the discussions. The book was "The Shadow of the 


Do you  share your knowledge?
DD stitched this quilt for her nephew from the stash.
I got to play with the "grand" while she stitched! Ah...
I've taught a design class of quilting stitches--a sort of how do I quilt that?--at Saturday Workshops and have consulted often on quilting. I've given mini demonstrations at a small group meeting from time to time. If someone asks for help, I've been know to set a date and help. I've shared what I know about binding techniques when asked and am doing my best to infect the quilting pox on our two granddaughters. Time will tell if I am successful this time!! Remember, I tried to infect our two DDs, but failed. Although, I still hope the virus is latent in their systems and when the activities in their lives slow, the quilt pox will take hold! I blog twice a week!

As I look at my pile of On Going Projects, I realize that in order to keep my focus on the finish in that area, I need to make some changes in how I spend the time in my day.

We only get so many hours in a day! I need a balance between supporting quilting and finishing my quilt projects! So from time to time over the next three months I'll be sharing how I'm tweaking those hours so I'm more productive with my finish goal. Staying "focused" has been a challenge this whole year!

As I finished writing this post, I ran across this quote:
Don't brood. Get on with living and loving. You don't have forever. 
— Leo Buscaglia

I think it applies to quilting too. . .especially the forever part!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Half Way Point on Those President's Blocks!

I'm working away on quilting those president's blocks. I'm still averaging one block a day. . .I hope I can get this project finished to hang at the October Featured Artist Show!
(It will hang; but, finished would be nicer!)

Janice's detail in this block is amazing! The background fabric had a print that made quilting the diagonal cross hatching easy because I just followed the lines. I feel extra special to have one of her blocks. Not only is she an amazing "appliquist" with the awards to prove it; but, she is genuinely nice and so giving of her time to the guild.

I taught all ages and abilities of swim lessons and this block sure touches on that fact! Just a couple weeks ago, I taught six 4-5 year olds that were beginning swimmers and a group of 14 adults ranging from twenty something to a proud 87 year old that were beginnings to advanced all rolled into one!

Here is another cross block. I like that Su used the blue water fabric and made a skinny red cross with a white cross in the background. Again, I free motioned around the motif in the blue fabric. I find that when you can use the print in the fabric as a quilting line there is so much less to mark!!!

Su is the kind of gal that you can call and ask her to help and she'll say, you bet!

Next, I worked on Maxine's turtle. I echo quilted around the turtle like I did the butterfly. The makers of these two blocks are sisters so that was why I wanted the quilting to be "related!" I wish you could seen this appliqué. You have to see the back to see the stitches!

In Hawaii, I loved watching the turtles. It seems like they hardly move in the water; but, they actually do!

Sally made this block. The butterfly stroke inspired her too! The butterflies are a the print on the fabric. She added the embroidery. I added the air currents! Isn't it interesting how two different people would be inspired by the butterfly stroke? You can click the link to check the other butterfly block. Sally has also been part of one of my small groups. I wouldn't have thought of using a print this way to make a block! Thanks Sally for helping me get out of my nice comfortable box!

Next block was Lynn C's. Lynn is known for using unusual fabrics to assemble the most amazing portrait quilts. This diver had such personality! I used a horizontal meander stitch to simulate water and followed the lines on the swimsuit and water to quilt the rest. I stitched around the dots on her swim cap. The water fabric had thread lines printed on it so it was super easy to quilt that part!

Truth be known, I liked diving from the blocks; but, not so much from off a diving board!

Then it was on to quilt this competitive swimmer block that Candy made. I love red and white combinations. Some day, I'm going to make a couple red and white quilts. . .but, not before I finish a number of other projects first!!!

The Olympics were on and I am such a Katey Ledecky fan. I challenged myself to make this swimmer look like she was taking off from the blocks. It was easier than I had thought!

Bonnie, who wrote the book, "Quilted Postcards," made me this block. She added some metallic thread for the hair and a necklace. The beach ball is a wonderful addition to this fussy cut block. Bonnie also purchased a fat quarter of the red and white rescue buoy fabric and she shared it with others making blocks for me. How nice of her to share!

I quilted around the figures, added a few more waves and quilted some lines on the beach ball.

I'm using silk thread. What I like about the silk thread is that it doesn't show much. I also like that if I don't have quite the right color, I can often use a color that of the same value and it works really well. Remember, my goal for quilting these blocks is to keep the signatures visible and for the quilting to enhance the blocks.

I didn't have that light blue color in silk thread; but a grey worked great!

Nancy took some program logos from the Red Cross website and created this appliqué block. She has helped me improve my appliqué with some gentle constructive comments. I am honored to have one of her blocks! I wanted to put some "wind" in the background, so made some curvy shapes.

This block made 21 that I had quilted! It felt FANTASTIC to be at the half way point on the blocks!