Sunday, February 22, 2009

What I SHOULD have been doing yesterday!!!

Actually the title is not entirely correct.....I spent yesterday organizing my stash (see last post), when I should have been doing tax returns!!

However, at the end of the day, I spent about 30 minutes doing something that I have wanted to do for about a year. I took three of my needle felting pieces that I made over a year ago and framed them and got them ready to put into our Guild Show Boutique.

Until now I have HATED framing pieces because I didn't feel that they had a professional appearance, especially on the back ...but that has now changed.

I did some research and found a tool that allows you to put the brads in the back of the frame to hold the piece in properly. The tool is a Picture Frame Fitting Tool and is made by Logan products.

It works great and I think that it makes my pieces look a lot better.

Now for the are the three that I framed this evening and I am happy with how they look...that is a first!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reorganization (again)

A few weeks ago I was doing my round of the blogs and seeing what various people had posted about. One blogger (sorry I dont remember who) talked about a new way to fold her fabrics and referenced a You-Tube Video that showed this new system. Check it out here......

The idea was to fold the fabric in half from selvage to selvage and then roll it over a 6-1/2 inch ruler. When you get it rolled, you pull out the ruler and fold the piece in half.

Anyway, back to my story...... I am very happy with the way that my color groupings of fabrics work....they are folded and stored in plastic boxes. It is very easy for me to pull out the box and look for the color that I need. However, I knew that there were several boxes of fabrics that didn't easily fall into a color category and I felt like I was missing those fabrics because I would forget to look in those particular boxes.

SO, I took all of my larger pieces (2yards and larger) and all of those "too many colors to categorize" fabrics and folded them in the above manner. The only difference that I made was that I used an 8 inch ruler as my guide. It made the pieces a little bit wider, but not as fat.

Here is the finished result. I really enjoyed handling the fabrics and now have a few new quilts in mind to use some of those pieces.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back to Felting

This Sunday afternoon, I had an hour or so to spare and decided to spend some quality time with my new felting machine. I have only used it on one other occasion and ended up with two bookmarks made from my practice piece.

Today, I took some felted wool that my friend Anita had given to me and took two types of yarn and felted squiggles all over the wool. It helped to give me a better feel for the machine and how it works. It feels very different from a sewing machine and will take some getting used to!!!!

I ended up with this piece......

and since I cant stand to waste anything, I cut it into two bookmarks......
It proved to be a VERY fun use of an extra hour on a Sunday afternoon.....maybe even better than a nap!!

Lessons Learned at a Photography Day

Yesterday was spent photographing the quilts that have been turned in for the Cotton Patch Quilters biennial show which is being held on March 6, 7 and 8. If you are in the Athens, Georgia area, stop by for a look. Click here for more information.

We photographed 90 quilts on Thursday night and finished up the last 150 was a FULL day. As you can see from the photo, it was a hive of activity, with the larger quilts being hung on a frame and the smaller ones being photographed on a design wall with either a black or beige background. In this photo, Francyne W is the photographer, Denise S. is holding the number for documentation and Anita H. is getting the board set up for photographing small quilts needing a lighter background.

I was very pleased with how my queen size quilt the way, I have named it "Mother - Daughter Flower Garden". It didn't ruffle at the bottom and laid extremely straight. I think that part of this is due to the care that I took in squaring the quilt (something I normally dont do), but I also think that part of the reason is that it hasn't been folded up on a basically came out of the washer and dryer and was put into the storage bag.

As I watched the various quilts during the day, I have come up with a few ideas of how to get your quilts ready to enter into a show.

First of all, get them off of the shelves and laid out flat for at least a week before submitting them. If necessary, give them a light pressing to get rid of the creases formed by folding for long periods of time.

Secondly, when you turn the quilt in, roll it over something so that it doesn't get re-wrinkled. The best ideas that I saw were to use a cylinder mailing box or a "noodle" (the things that you float on in the pool) that has been cut to the approximate size of the quilt. Be sure to tie it with a small strip of fabric to keep it from falling off of the tube.

Several quilts arrived rolled, but without the tube, and I know that as they were handled several times during the day, they ended up being folded instead of rolled. If you have the rolling tube, then each person handling the quilt knows exactly how to re-package your quilt.

Also, Francyne gave us the advice to roll your quilt with the front side facing OUTWARD. This helps the quilt to lean backwards and will help it to hang better.

I now cant wait for the next show so that I can try out some of my new found ideas!!!

Have a great day!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another UFO Finished

Well, I have finished another of my 18 Unfinished Projects.....although I got a bit of help this time from the Charity Bee of Cotton Patch Quilters.

Our guild makes quilts each year that are given to the American Cancer Society "Relay for Life" program and they raffle the quilts to raise money. We were in need of a FAST quilt that could be given to the Clark County Relay and were all kicking around various ideas. Then, I remembered this UFO.......

It was made from remnants of another quilt that the guild made a few years ago. I knew that it needed to be much bigger than the current size, so I got onto Electric Quilt and started playing with different ways to add borders to it to increase the size.

When I had decided to add borders that needed strip sets, I sent out a plea to our charity group and they showed up with Black and White fabrics, and one friend (Pat K) brought a finished set for us to use. They cut the strips and helped to get the strip sets pieced and then I brought it home and put it together. Ellen N. graciously quilted it on her Long Arm Machine. Here is the final result.......

We are excited to see how much they can make on this offering Even though it is a bit smaller that our usual gifts, we are hoping that the "Red and Black" (ie...Georgia Bulldog) colors will help it to be a big seller.

Only 15 UFO's to go!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Fun Day Was Had By All

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of teaching a One Day Machine Quilting Class at the Misty Mountain Quilters Guild retreat in Helen, Georgia. I had 15 WONDERFUL students who worked hard and improved greatly by the end of the day. My favorite part of this workshop is when the students bring their un-quilted tops and we talk about how they might quilt them. They stretched my imagination some this time, but as usual, the group came up with excellent ideas. I have asked them to email photos when their quilt is finished....hope they will remember to do it.

The guild has almost 200 members, with 74 being present at the 3 day retreat. As I always expect with quilters, they were warm, hospitable and HAPPY ladies. Thank you for making the day so enjoyable for me!!!

The retreat held a Name Tag Contest with each retreat goer being given a month that they had to represent in their name tag. There were some very imaginative tags, including a 3 dimensional Hot Dog on one for July and a kite shape for March.

Well done ladies!!!

On another note, I had a chance to sew with a Bernina Stitch Regulator and LOVED how it worked. Now I have to start saving my pennies to buy one in 10 or so years!!!

Bye for now.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Machine Quilting - more tips for marking

Today was the day to finish the machine quilting on the collaborate quilt with my Mom.

The next step in quilting was to add some quilting to the inside of the octagonal blocks. I had originally thought I would do some meandering around the flowers, but, with the charity groups encouragement, I decided that it would look better with straight lines echoing the outside shape.

The only problem with these lines is that they would need to be free-motion quilted, and straight lines are notoriously hard to do. SO, I started outwith much trepidation and fear that I would soon be un-quilting large sections.

I decided to use a new "favorite" product to mark the quilting lines. The product is a white marking pen put out by Clover. The pen draws a fine white line on dark fabrics which can be removed simply by ironing the fabric.

The only drawback to the pen is that the line appears as the ink dries.... a few seconds after you draw it. You just have to be patient!!!

Here is the block with the quilting lines drawn on.

A quick hit with the iron removes the lines.

And the block is finished!!!! (In order to see the actual quilting lines, you will need to click on the block to see a larger photo)

I will post the final quilting steps later in the week.....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Teaching Day -- Part 2

Today, Mary T came over to finish up her quilt top. As we laid out the blocks, we were both disappointed with how they looked.....there was simply not enough contrast between the background fabric and the accent fabrics. Here is what we saw......

After a bit of playing around with the blocks, we came up with the idea of putting a small (1 inch) sashing between the blocks, and that made all of the difference!!!

Here is Mary, hard at work!!!!

She left today with just one border left to do and then she will come back on Monday for instructions in how to hand quilt....should be a short lesson since I only know about 10 minutes worth of tips!!!

More Crumbs

I have also found a great blog tutorial for making crumb quilts. She not only makes use of her odd size bits, but also her scrap strips. Check it out here.

Using up scraps seems to be the theme of my life right now, as a friend loaned me the book, "Slice 'Em and Dice 'Em Quilts" by Nancy Brennan Daniel.

Her quilts all start out with 9-patches that are then sub-cut into different shapes. It is a great book and will have to become a permanent part of my library.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Crumb Quilts

There has been a wonderful discussion on the British Quilt List about "Crumb Quilts" that use all of your little bitty bits and pieces (those that I normally throw away).....I know, I am really bad!!!!

Anyway, I got to thinking about them and googled to look for Crumb Quilt patterns. In doing so, I came across a wonderful website with a bunch of free patterns for scrap quilts. I cant wait to try some of these. Click here if you want to have a look.
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