Sunday, May 28, 2017

New Fabrics For Future Gifts

So here was the scene Saturday morning, two quilters both on a mission...acquire fabric.  So out the door we went, our destination several local quilt shops.  On my list were two quilts that will end up being gifts.  The first is a baby quilt using Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's latest pattern, Ducks in a Row for a co-worker and his wife who are expecting their first baby.

The second quilt will be from Angela Walter and Tula Pink's book Quilt with Tula and Angela and it's called Sugar Skull Quilt.  The recipient of this quilt is a little more complicated?  Let me explain.  I'm very much into trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. Okay that may seem a bit weird.  But when I get a gut feeling about something, even though it may not make sense to me, I try my best to follow it and most usually, it never steers me wrong.  I have an Instagram friend who I find very inspiring.  They are a true artist in my eyes.  Every medium they pick up be it, pencil, paint, clay or ink, they create beautiful works of art.  I have actually met the person once, many many years ago, but I really do not know them.  They are a local talent in the area I live and for a while now, I've had the gut feeling I need to make them a quilt.  I have no idea why, but I need to do it.

When I saw the Sugar Skull quilt in the book a few weeks ago, I instantly knew it was what I am suppose to make and the color palette will be red, black and white.  So classic and sexy.

So let's get back to shopping...shall we?  Our first stop was a shop in our home town called Helen's Hen House.

I picked up 1/2 yard cuts of the above fabrics to kick off the Sugar Skull quilt, two white/black prints and two reds.  I'm not sure what the first print is, but the second floral black and white print is a Focus II print by Paint Brush Studio.  The first red print is Ivy Lane for Quilting Treasures and the second is a red print by Blank Quilting.

After David picked up a few fabrics, we hit the road again and headed to a quilt shop to the north of our town called Sew Chic.    I found myself searching for more Sugar Skull fabrics and didn't walk away disappointed.

My first find was a beautiful red batik fabric with wiggly lines that reminded me of stippling.  Next up was a red and black print, Cotton Screen Print Style by Benartex Fabrics.  And last but not least, was that cute little black and white flower print, Happy! by Me & My Sister for Moda Fabrics.

 It was while at this store and seeing a charm pack of grunge fabric it hit me...I MUST have black Grunde for the background fabric!!!!!!  Though Sew Chic has quite a few bolts of Moda Grunge, black was not one of the colors.  When we were back in the car I called yet another shop about 20 minutes away to see if they had it...they did!!

Northern bound we continued.  Our destination was Country Roads Quilt Shop, another one of our favorite shops.  I bee lined it for the bolts of Grunge to stake my claim on that beautiful bolt of black and stumbled onto a gorgeous hot pink...HELLO!  So I carried it around with me as well.  While looking through the white on whites I found a darling heart print, Whispers Muslin Mates by Studio for Moda Fabrics and decided that combined with the pink Grunge a darling little duck quilt could come to life.

Of course I got some yardage of the black Grunge as well.

While I was drooling over my fabrics, Dave was drooling over some fabrics of his own.  The internal struggle (that we all know very well) of "should I, shouldn't I?" began playing out in his head.

Our daughter set on the floor in the defeat of having two quilting parents and probably took to social media to see if anyone could save her from boredom.  I floated and fluttered among the reds and whites searching for more fabrics. 

From top left to right: 1) Frosty Forest by Cherry Cuidry for Benartex, 2) a beautiful red print that the selvage let me down, 3) another rich red batik, 4) Moda Marble Swirls in red, and 5) a red and white print with a chopped up selvage.

From the bottom left to right: 1) Hazel by Cluck Cluck Sew for Windham Fabric, 2) Moda Grunge in White, 3) a wonderful white batik, and 4) a white on white with circular patterns on it.

So here are all my fabrics for the Sugar Skull Quilt.

I can't WAIT to start whacking up fabrics and put them back together again.  More importantly, I can't wait to get them in quilt form and gift them to their new owners but for now, I hear a few small quilt tops calling my name for quilting.  Hopefully, I will be able to share them with you by the end of the week.  Until then, I'm gonna drool over my fabrics I bit longer and then start quilting.  

Make sure you hop over to Dave the Quilt Engineer to hear all about his fabric purchases and what he has been up to during his quilting absence.

Today I'm linking up with Sunday Stash.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Crazy Quilt Along Lady

Mark you calendars!  Even with all the craziness of the quilt show and Strawberry Festival, I managed to stay completely caught up on all the QAL's and BOM's.  Above are all the Aurifil Designer Blocks of the Month to date.  This month's block was called Faux Weave and was by super talented and fun guy Matthew Boudreaux, better known to most of us as Mister Domestic (read Pat Sloan's interview with Matthew here).

The color of the month was red--hot, hot, hot!  This block was much fun to put together and contained some very thin strip sets.  My "weave" had some wobbles and bobbles, but if I tried weaving in real life, I feel pretty sure I'd have the same result, so score!

After all the hotness of Faux Weave, I decided to chill a bit and work on Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Have A Jolly Little Christmas Quilt.  The block was called All Wrapped Up.

All wrapped up in adorable cuteness!  The next block, Holly & Berries, is due to be released this weekend.  Hopefully, the long weekend will allow me time to stitch it up.

Then I moved on to the Medallion Quilt BOM by Cindy at Stitchin At Home.  Broken Dishes is the third of the twelve 12" blocks.  

Squares in squares always make me nervous, but with Cindy's instructions, I breezed right on through and ended up with blocks the size they where suppose to be.

And last but not least, the beast in my living room, Pat Sloan's 182 Solstice Challenge Quilt.  As of the second I'm typing this, I am caught up completely on this monster huge quilt (for a quilt along quilt anyway).  This is not the best picture, but I had to get another picture of the quilt "all together."

After making the big block in the lower right hand corner, Weather Vane, I pieced the entire bottom row together.  I also pieced the last checker board section and attached it to the Day into Night block.  The only thing left to do is wait for the last three 12" blocks to be released over the next three weeks, then this top will be finished.  How in the world did I manage to stay on top of this one?

Well this concludes today's installment of the Crazy Quilt Along Lady.  Join us next week to find out will she stay ahead of the Solstice Monster or will it wrangle her completely to the ground?  Will the Jolly Christmas Quilt snowball and roll right over top of her leaving her flat and cold?  Will she piece together all of her Freefall Blocks or pile them together and run through them?

Or will she just start 20 more projects and laugh madly?? 

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Wednesday Wait Loss.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Another Festival Come and Gone

Another festival in the books and man, oh, man am I exhausted.  My little legs did more running this weekend, sadly than they have done all year.  This is a view of our guild's quilt show from the floor of the craft show.  Each year the local college allows craft vendors to set up in the floor of the gym and the guild to host a quilt show in the area above.  I don't have an official count of how many quilts where entered, but I'm guessing it was in the 75-80 range.

This is the view of the show as you come through the front doors.  I only got to pop into the show twice this weekend, but both times I'm happy to report there was a flow of people walking around checking out all the beautiful quilts.  All the way in the very back, tables are set up with items for sale donated by guild members.

David bought himself a little red hen pincushion and a "fill a bag" of fabric and we each took chances on a pretty cool quilter's basket of goodies being raffled off.  

The charity raffle quilt, Irish Pinwheels, was on display for the first time.  The guild will sell chances on this quilt at various events until December, at which time the winner will be drawn. 

So how did I do in the show?  I always stress about figuring out what to enter.  The maximum number of items a person can enter is five, so I entered five things. David entered three as well, but I will let him tell you about his experience.  

First was Star Thistle, a block I pattern tested for Jayne at Twiggy and Opal, landed in the house hold items category as a table topper.  I had hoped to enter it in the miniature category, but technically, it did not fit in the definition of miniature, as a scaled down version of a larger quilt.  In the hustle and bustle of talking to people, I completely missed getting a picture of this one hanging with all of it's friends.

Next is My Pet Hamster, pattern by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, in the Medium Wall-hanging Category.

These adorable little balls of fluff earned an honorable mention ribbon.  Don't you just want to reach out and pinch their cheeks??

Autumn Blooms (an adaptation of the Watermelon Taffy Block) a quilt I created for the Autumn Abundance blog hop competed in the Large Wall-hanging Category.  It received a 2nd place ribbon.

Next is a quilt we haven't talked about on the blog yet, but I promise we will be soon.  I entered it into the baby quilts category and it also took a 2nd place ribbon.

And last but not least, is Zentangle, my free motion whole cloth entered into the Amateur/Non Longarm Category.  I was very happy to discover it too had placed 2nd in it's category.

So three 2nd place finishes and an honorable mention, not to shabby if I say so myself.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I feel weird entering my work into judged shows.  There is a vulnerability in sharing something so personal and opening it up to criticism.  Kinda like wearing a bathing suit in public.  But the more you share your work the easier it gets, I guess.  And it is always great to read the judges comments to try to learn things that you can improve on. 

So after three days, the show had to come down and life return back to normal.

Thankfully, our guild is made up of many hard working people that make the show run very smoothly.  From getting quilts registered, ready for judging, watching over the show and take down/clean up, they make it look easy.  Without the volunteers, the show wouldn't be possible.

I think we were able to get everything down and ready to be returned to their owners within about an hour.  I think that's pretty impressive.

After the show was over, in talking with David, I made a few observations about the quilts we entered.  Of the eight total quilts (between the two of us) four of them where original designs by both David and I.  The other four quilts, the patterns were designed by talented quilters, we get to call friends and communicate with on a semi regular basis (Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, Sandra at mmm!quilts, Jayne at Twiggy and Opal and Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs) how cool is that???  I think that is pretty darn cool.  Also all of the quilts where pieced and quilted with Aurifil thread, but if you have been to my blog before, that's probably not a big surprise.

I think I will pose a challenge to my fellow guild members, that everyone enter at least one item in the show next year.  A quilt show can't be a show if it doesn't have quilts.  As quilters and artists we should be proud of the work we do and build each other up.  There is much beauty, even in imperfection.  My quilts are far from perfect, but that doesn't mean I love them less or that they do not bring me happiness.  Love those stitches, even the wonky ones and the piecing lines, even if they are only straight-ish.  Be proud of the work you do, because you did it.

That's my weekend wrap up.  Hopefully, I will be able to pop back in on Wednesday and talk about the QAL's.  It seems like I just started some of them and they are already wrapping up.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Counting Down to Summer Solstice

After another weekend of sleeping, I finally am feeling like myself again and that means, prepping for the Strawberry Festival and tackling the Summer Solstice quilt again.  When I picked this project back up, I was behind quite a few blocks so I needed to regroup.  I had sections B and C completed and decided to tackle section A.  I still needed to make three blocks, so I picked my fabrics, cut all the block pieces and the black and gray/white fabrics I'm using for the checker board fillers.

For me this is the quickest way to work on the blocks.  Chain piecing  everything as I go and using the checker board pieces as leader/enders...score!  The On The Go and Precious Fabric blocks went together super quick.  The Board Game block took a bit more's not pictured below.

It was after completing these blocks, my body decided to crash again and I went into hibernation, but I woke up a new woman, ready to go again.  It was at this point I realized that I had made enough checker board pieces to complete section E and only needed to complete three more blocks to complete section's almost like I have a whole quilt!

So on to piecing Hugs & Kisses, Honey Bee and Tile Time blocks.

I ended up completing two out of the three blocks as of tonight.  Unfortunately it is time for it to got back to sleep for a few days.  The rest of my week will be consumed by all of the small town festival events.

But I couldn't really stop just there...I HAD to see what this quilt is looking like.  So out came the portable design wall and up went the blocks.

This thing is HUGE!  I kind of wonder if I should have planned my fabric choices a little better, but you know, all those prints make me smile.  One of the points of this quilt is to finally give a home to all of the fabrics in my stash that I have dearly loved, but been to afraid to chop up.  All fabrics deserve a good home.

So the fabrics for the next two Solstice blocks are waiting for me, along with the fabrics for Mister Domestic, Mathew Boudreaux's, block Faux Weave.  Until I can get these pretties all cut up, I will leave you with festival pictures.

I snapped this picture on Tuesday before we began prepping the quilts for judging....the quilt show before the quilts.

I also volunteered to create three different boards with pictures taken through out last year, that will hopefully explain to those that attend the show what a quilt guild is and some of the things that we do.

The first board shows three different charity projects that the guild has taken on.

The second board shows group projects that we have participated in; including two classes and Cheryl Brickey's, Meadow Mist Designs, Meadow Mystery Quilt.

The last board talks about what a guild is, what we do, and how to join.  Our hope is that by seeing what we are about, maybe we can see an increase in our membership.  I've ran into several people that have expressed and interest in joining but where afraid they didn't have enough experience or didn't exactly know what the guild does.  Hopefully, by seeing all the fun we have together others will find encouragement to join us in all our fun.

Does your guild have any special things that they do in order to try to encourage membership growth?  I would love to hear about it if they do.  Until next time, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  May good weather find you and lots of free sewing time.  I will be getting fat on funnel cake and of course strawberry short cake.

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social, Wednesday Weight Loss, and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Identity Crisis

It's almost that time of year again in my tiny neck of the woods.  Festivities will start kicking off this weekend for our annual Strawberry Festival; a week long love fest of fun, all about those bright red juicy berries.  So, things might be a bit quiet over here while I'm helping with the festival quilt show (as much as I can) and playing band mom to my teenager since the festival hosts three parades.

I try to keep things real over here, because life is real and it definitely isn't perfect.  It's been a crazy kind of week with not a lot of quilting going on.  Thanks to a much needed FaceTime gab session with Sandra (mmm!quilts) last night, this is really the first time I've felt like talking/typing in a few days.  My energy was completely zapped this weekend by a sneak attack kidney infection.  Once I figured out what was wrong and was able to get medication, I'm finally becoming myself again.  I was probably quite the b witch this weekend.  I know, hard to image right?  Just ask poor Dave.

But I am emerging from the fog and with the quilt show excepting entries starting on Monday, I am having a bit of an identity crisis and trying to figure out where I fit in.  What type of quilter am I?  Unfortunately, the categories do not include things like witty, funny, and best butt.   For the past year I have been quilting on a HQ Sweet Sixteen instead of my domestic sewing machine.  However it is still the same style of quilting, move the quilt not the machine.  Longarmer or not...that is the question.

As a whole it is a smaller quilt show with 17 categorizes; two different applique, hand pieced and quilted, machine pieced hand quilted, amateur machine quilted (not longarm), large longarm, medium longarm, mixed techniqes, embroidered, baby/child quilts, large wall hanging, medium wall hanging, miniature quilt, wearables, home decor, antique and comforters.  I would say that 70-80% of the quilts fall into the large/medium longarm categories and are not quilted by the piecer.

So, am I a longarm quilter?  My first response answer is "no."  Why?  Well in my area (and I am generalizing here) most (not all) quilters that offer quilting services quilt on Statler Stitcher Gammills and offer edge to edge designs.  Some however, do offer custom quilting options, still computerized not free hand.  At the end of the day, I cannot compete with these quilts (not that I'm trying to).  I'm just being the best Tish I can be.  But to just a general public person who knows nothing about quilting these quilts, there is no explanation as to why my stitches are even-ish and lines straight-ish as compared to the computers perfect stitches and precise lines.

But is it fair for me to enter quilts quilted on my Sweet Sixteen into the "not longarm" category?  Technically, I am playing with a 16" throat space...seems long to me.  So what to do? I think I have found a few quilts that can fit in categories and still remain in the boundaries of the category.

1) Machine Quilted-not longarm

Zentangle is one of the last quilts I quilted on my domestic sewing machine, so it only seems right to enter it into the category.  I'm proud of all the work I poured into this one and hope show viewers will enjoy all the fun textures living in the stitches.

2) Medium/Large wall hangings

What I can enter into these categories will be determined when I measure the perimeter of the quilts.

3)Miniature Quilts--defined as scaled down version of larger quilt.  

Mini Flag Quilt

I even think My Pet Hamster could go in this category.  They have been lenient in the past in what they have allowed in this category, so I think any of these quilts could fit in.

4) Baby/Childs Quilt

Bottom line--a quilt show isn't a show if it doesn't have quilts.  Period.  End of story.  I think having any of these pieces in the show will represent "Tish" as a quilter.  I hope that people can get to know me as an artist by seeing my different types of work.  Tish loves prints, and color and most of all texture.  She is not perfect and honestly doesn't want to be.  I hope at least 3 people secretly reach out and touch my quilting without the white gloves because they just want to know what it feels like.  That thought makes me smile more than anything.

Also, I'm excited because Dave the Quilt Engineer will be entering a few pieces for the first time!!!  I'm so PROUD of him!

So maybe next year, I will lobby for the addition of a midarm category?  Or maybe they can add witty, funny and greatest butt?  Probably not the last three, but I do think the midarmers deserve a place to play together and have fun.  I do know of a few others in the area with this type of machine.

Okay, this was a strange post for me.  Maybe it's the meds?  I'm pretty sure I'm not drunk.  I'd love to hear your thoughts if you are still with me on quilt categories.  Now it's time to nap again, so that I can quilt something later or I'm going to burst!

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

QAL's-Haulk Mode

I'm still plugging away over here, working on QAL's and getting that pattern ready to release.  After my crazy productive week the week before, last week I kind of hit a brick wall.  I didn't really do anything-at-all.  It happens.

David has been gone since last Friday for work again, and I knew I needed to buckle down and be productive over my quiet weekend (well as quiet as it gets with a teenage daughter in the house).  On Friday it was like my batteries recharged.  I hit the coin box and found that flashy star on Super Mario Brothers that warped me into moving at super quick speeds.  I turned on quilting Haulk Mode (no I didn't turn green).

Saturday, I popped into a local quilt store, Helen's Hen House, to pick up a few FQ's to add to my Solstice challenge quilt.  That's where I picked up those yummy pieces above...I think I'm going to need more.  What was suppose to be a quick trip ended up being a 1 1/2 hour event.  The place was hopping and I ran into quilting friends and made a new quilting friend.  But the quilt store magic had to end...I had things to do!  So back home I went.

I was able to quickly finish the straight line quilting on my pattern quilt, which leaves me with one more to quilt.

I was able to get that quilt basted and cut binding strips for four quilts.

Next up, was the Freefall 1/2 blocks.  Sandra at mmm!quilts had emailed me the instructions for the next set of blocks so that I could test them before she released them on Monday.  Making that a major priority, I knocked those out pretty quickly.

Here are all the blocks playing on my design wall.

I needed a carrot chocolate bar on a stick, dangling in front of me as a reward.  I decided to do a fabric pull for the three blocks I need to make to finish section A of Pat Sloan's 182 Solstice Challenge.  I will only allow myself to work on this project once everything is completed.

Now on to the blocks I completed.  I had three blocks to catch up on;  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts had released the Santa block for the Jolly Christmas Quilt and he had yet to visit my design wall, April's Aurifil block needed to be completed, and Pat Sloan released The Children's Library May block two days early.  I cut the pieces for all three blocks and slowly (and carefully) worked on them all together.

Santa finished up first.  Isn't he just the jolliest? 

I even pieced one of the five rows together.

The Children's Library Block for May was Green Eggs and Ham.  I dug into my stash of green and went to work.  This block goes together log cabin style and for some reason, I always end up with a wonky block.  My 1.5" piece blocks got a little bit off, but I didn't sweat it and improvised.  As long as I ended up with a 12.5" block that looked dag gone close, I was happy.  I think Dr. Seuss would agree, whimsical is better than perfect?

And here they are all together.

Last but definitely not least, was the Aurifil BOM by Sue Marsh New Direction.  I put this block off for half of a month because the templates and triangles scared the crap out of me.  Something I've never really worked with.  I cut very carefully and took my time sewing.

I have to say the block turned out much better than I expected.  Once put together, I did lose a few points on the arrow, but hey some times in life, the arrows that point us aren't quite as sharp as they should be.  This is just one of those times. (It's not done losing points either...shhhh)

And here are the start of my rainbow blocks, ranging from blue to red purple.

So this is what my list looked like at the end of Sunday.

Not bad if I do say so myself.  I also finished making a pressing board to use for bigger pieces of fabric, but I think I'll save that for another post.  This one is about eye candy.  

So for now, my Haulk muscles have retracted and I've returned to little ol' Tish N Wonderland.  I still need to keep the forward momentum going, but for now I think I deserve a nap.

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