Tuesday, March 31, 2015

International Quilt Show #1

Several months ago I volunteered to visit my daughter, Anna, who lives in Chicago, timing the visit with the quilt show.  You all met Minnie last week.  Well, it worked out just fine that the same weekend of the International Quilt Show would be the same time Minnie would go home.  Anna and I arrived at 10 a.m. to Rosemont, a village north of  Chicago, very close to O'Hare.  The village has done a beautiful job of establishing itself as a convention center mecca, for all size shows.  Nearby is a combination outlet- high end shopping mall as well.  For those persons staying for the show or taking classes the general area seemed very convenient with hotels and walkability.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the show, thus red (ruby) was the color of the large display of quilts greeting visitors.  Anna more than willingly took over my phone for pictures.

So many to like and very hard to choose a favorite.  I really like the squared Dresden of sorts above directly.  The rectangular shape of the blocks resemble dryer sheet size.  These  photos are just a sample of the large quilts hanging from the ceiling to greet attendees.  No matter wherewe stood or were shopping you could see one of these celebratory quilts.  While the vendor booths were a bit squashed, ample space allowed us to view and take pictures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dog gone small projects for relief.......

I leave Friday, March 27th, for Chicago.  Originally I had planned this weekend with my oldest daughter so we could visit the International Quilt Festival.  During my years of quilting I've read about quilt  stores organizing a bus or two going to Rosemont.  Now that Anna lives in Chicago - no hotel costs and no bus!  While Anna enjoys the quilts given her,  she hasn't had an inkling of sewing since she made a zillion banners for her mythology project in 8th grade at City Middle/ High .  Well, as it turns out, it worked out well for Anna and her husband, Justin, to take a winter reprieve to Dominican Republic and their dog, Minnie, have an extended play date at my house with my dog, Bernie and younger daughter, Jeny's, dog -- Meg.  So after a two week visit Minnie and I are leaving for the 3 hour ride to north Chicago.  What we do for our children and their pets.....I have lots to tell on that score!

Minnie Ware

Using up my stash has sort of halted for a bit.  Minnie came with a cloth grocery bag for her toys and a zip lock bag for her food.  Well, my grand dog can't travel that way!
 Minnie has many overnight stays with friends in Chicago.  Also, she LOVES to walk.  So while at the J store I found a pattern that said "Really Easy".  Above is a traveling bowl for either water or food.  I used the nylon so it'd be water proof.  If she gets thirsty while walking in the summer, Anna can share her water.  The bowl is soft and packs in a pocket easily.  If you have ever worked much in nylon - bless you.  Boy, it's a trip in and of itself!  The pink and black are her colors - the pink matches her rain coat (yeah) that Anna purchased.
 The larger bag is for her food while on extended stays.  It's the medium size and it's huge!  It, too, can be folded down and used at a bowl. 
 I made this tote as well.  The material was on Stitched Studio's sale table and thought it was cute - even though not the black and pink. 

I really wanted to play with free motion quilting.  A few months ago I tried and had a horrible experience - large loops on the bottom.  While doing something other than sewing, it came to me that I hadn't lowered the stitch length to zero!  Well,what a difference - see below. 
While my quilting requires many more hours of practice - at least I feel encouraged to try again.

 My dog, Bernie, it's blurry because he doesn't stay still very long....
 Meg, the dog that should have moved out a long time ago........
The three of them at their post of squirrel, baby in stroller and bird watching.

By the way, if you sew on nylon, be sure to use the sharp needles recommended.  The larger of the two needles I tried worked marvelously!  I have kept it on to see how it works with quilting cottons and the thick seems that happen.  So far so good!

I'll bring pictures from the show for my next post.....should be fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How do you like the changes?

My friend Sue came to my house to help me maneuver blogspot to get a better format for the blog.  What do you think?  Obviously, she didn't want her picture snapped but she reluctantly agreed to be on the blog.  We are Civil War quilt friends, now we are starting the Re-constructionists, to use up our scraps.   She just knew which buttons to click and what some of the terms meant!   A hardy thank you to Sue!

This square is the beginning of our first Modern Bee Hive quilt.  Polly, queen for April, gave us this square with instructions to use it with the arrows pointing out.  We have to chose the other fabrics in a block similar to a log cabin - modern of course.  Will show you our work later in April.  I'm next up and have been really looking at fabric and the blocks differently.
If you want to join a modern bee hive call Stitched Studio at 616-570-0369 and ask for you name to be kept for a new hive starting when 12 interested quilters show interest.  

Take care and have fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New books I found.....

 I first saw this book at Stitched Studio.  The projects are small and some of the paper piecing is small as well.  Some of the patterns don't look so stiff and awkward as some paper pieced patterns.  The author also offers a method using freezer paper. 
Don't the colors and flowers just beg for spring!  Again, the projects for small wall hangings or the table top stand fill this book.  I'm hoping it won't take days and weeks to do a block.
A couple years ago I did the Whimsical Garden by this  author/designer.  This book seems to be a great primer for applique.  I've tried several methods, like them all, but it's nice to have a resource.  The patterns don't seem to be as involved for a beginner applique -ist as many patterns are.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

St. Patrick's Day leftovers.....

Today's blog has nothing to do with quilting.  However, the camaraderie of friends, family and dogs, egads, dogs????

Being of mostly Irish descent, I do celebrate St. Patrick's Day in  more traditionally Irish ways- not getting blasted or drunk.  When I was 20 my parents wonderfully allowed me to study Irish Drama in Galway, Ireland for 6 weeks.  All the time I was there I never saw soda bread or corned beef.  We had lots and lots of salmon and lamb.  At that time I was still fed up with the fish on Friday rule, fish had never been a favorite food of mine.  My mother would make salmon patties - yuck!  Fresh fish in the grocery stores just wasn't common place in the fifties as it is today.  Our group from College of St. Thomas from St. Paul, MN was invited to many receptions - all of which showered us with salmon concoctions.  Still didn't learn to like it, but did like the method of acquisition though.  The rivers and waterways were not state controlled or owned then, but owned by the large manors and estates - yes, British owned.  So we would joke about how tasty the poached, poached salmon was.  However I did try the lamb and loved it - not mutton - but lamb.  The cute little things ran all over the countryside and roads.

This past holiday I invited my neighbor and fellow dog owner to a Irish lamb dinner. My daughter, Jeny, joined us as well - she is so used to these dinners.  In her mind the lamb is better than corned beef.  While I was too busy putting it all together:  shopping for the shanks, baking two batches of brown bread etc, I neglected pictures of us all.  However here are some leftovers from a good time. 

Every morning my Irish mother served brown bread - still my favorite.  While most of my diet at home is gluten free - I can't resist this bread!

Neighbor Richard brought dessert from the Silverberry on Plainfield....great this morning with the second cup of coffee!
He also selected wine for the lamb and appetizers.  Here, the wine is  protecting the three shank bones for today's chew by the dogs.  We had four dogs with us.....dogs, dogs, dogs everywhere!  Can you believe that not one of them begged....but they did stay close.

 A trip to Russia with a bunch of fun loving wanna be Irishmen led me to drinking Jameson's.  Still un-opened - ahhh t'is for another day....
Four dogs and three bones - one Minnie, my grand-dog on the right, lapped up left-overs from a plate.  The bones. above were enjoyed by grand-dog Meg (left) and Peaches, the gray dog and Bernie - my dog checking out Minnie's backside.....he left the largest bone.

Later this week I'll cook the corned beef - it's just the best time of year to buy one.  While waiting to return to USA in 1970 I did see corned beef on the menu at Shannon Airport.  That one meal was the only time I've ever been sick from corned beef.  Thirty years later I tried it - and liked it!  Good things take time....I also eat and enjoy salmon, too!

Happy March to you all!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Curve it Up is almost done....

Block 11 - all Drunkard's Path....a glass or two of any wine could have helped!

The only saving grace with these spools is that I don't have any  two spools the same on my racks! 

Here are all my blocks - begging for inspiration.  The suggested finishings involve curves and curves and curves.....far too much work for this learning sample.  One of the layouts had curves in all the lattice and borders.  The other layout,  a bit less.  In my simplify mode of 2015 lattice and lots of borders are out.  Since I need considerable more practice, which I want to do, this quilt will be another QAYG lesson.  I've been watching, listening and bugging Caroll about "her" method" of QAYG.  She does teach it at the Attic Window, I only want parts of the method.  The Quilting Edge blog has tutorial on a modern way.  The joining of blocks or rows is really flat and smooth....now for the quilting inspiration!  The Stitched Studio website lists classes.  JD Shuway has a couple QAYG sessions coming up  for those of you interested.  With all the methods out there, there is one for you.....

Speaking of curves check out Fresh Lemons from November 13, 2014 for Snake Trails.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hive is buzzin'

Kat, Kelly and Becky

Linda and Polly from Hastings!
Annie, Danielle and Greta

Our fearless leader, Lisa, is in the center.  She did the national bee last year.  Kat is also a hive leader.  They will be sending us our our pollen and barbs (ground rules) so we can make our blocks.  Jill is on the left
 Meet the Stitched Studio Modern Bee 2015 - at least I think that's our name!  Our first meeting was this past Monday - what a hoot this group is going to bee (get it?)!  Not shown is Caroll but more on her later.....
Each month, starting April, a new queen been relates to us what block she wants us to make and what colors or fabrics to use and not use.  This homework assignment is harder than thought at first. I'm up second for May, so at our meeting at the end of April, I have to have my honey and pollen ready - egads! 

The book shown above is our inspiration.  Thirteen blocks are provided and we may end up doing 12 of them or maybe just one....if we all select the same block.  We have a variety of expertise and ages- so much fun! 

 Lisa's quilt with quilters from around the country and Canada.  They mailed their blocks to each other.
 Lisa had asked for a signature block from her drones.....so clever.  Instagram was the communication tool.

A few of us had fun learning about Instagram before we left Monday.  I've heard of it and never saw a real purpose for me and it, as I only go on Facebook once every 10 days or so....when the notifications get really annoying!  By late evening I had posted the above bee members on my grlady1950 account.  #StitchedStudioModernBee2015 is one of the hashtags I used.  Check us out!  Lisa and Kat are devising a hashtag that I'll use when ready. 

Bee Hive member Caroll D does the Attic Window blog.  Caroll has a great selection of modern quilting bloggers on her right side bar.  (Since I reformatted, my little list it tucked in the right hand, black tab pull out).  One of her links just prior to Valentine's Day was this blow out heart pattern.  Here she is after finishing hers, of course for her friend 90 year old friend.
Here's a mug rug she surprised me with on Monday night, enroute to our hive meeting.  She was just "practicing her free hand motion" techniques....

She fused the scrap pieces then did daisy patterns over them....My coffee cup  won't see this mug rug, but it'll be out for all to see!  Thank you so much, Caroll!

Hope you can get out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine!  Anybody see the northern lights?  Let me know....

Thursday, March 12, 2015

City Girl or Country Girl?

Several months ago, while checking out at the Attic Window, I noticed a magazine I've never heard about:  MaryJanesFarm.  This magazine has caught my attention to where I purchased a yearly subscription.  Over the years I've subscribed to Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and way back when Good Housekeeping and McCalls.  The Cooking Light issues took over my kitchen and everywhere.  Soon I was buying the annual editions to clear my shelf of the individual issues.  While I've unloaded most of them and all the Bon Appetit, a few annual editions and some issues are still tucked away in my pantry. 2003 Annual Recipes will never be discarded!  Now a new magazine to collect:  MJF!

Mary Janes Farm is a combination of farming for women and those of us that are curious but not necessarily committed to shoveling manure everyday or maybe getting close to it.  It's modern but traditional.  Of the four or five issues I've read, a section on quilting is always present.  The surprise was the gluten free recipes it provides as well.  It's all about being environmentally wise and organic is popular as well.  The April-May issue had come interesting small projects:an origami snack bad and luggage tags.  Lately it seems, that all the quilt stores are offering classes on making bags....why not luggage tags to match.  Unfortunately, they don't offer the pattern on line - but I found this tutorial:Luggage Tag by Soubelles.

If you're interested in sprout wheat - get a copy!  Where else can you learn about gluten free and eating wheat with its sprouts!  

Meanwhile, check out the website - who knows - maybe we have some Glampers reading  ?Mary Janes Farm

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

News from Stitched Studio...

In case any of you have missed the newsletter that is published by Stitched Studio, heads up, it came out during the last week or so.  Some great class offerings for quilters and wanna be quilters are scheduled. Also, I had the pleasure of quickly meeting JD Shuway.  I've heard my quilting friends talk of a JD and sure enough it is the one and same.  JD has two classes at Stitched Studio:  blind, machine applique and quilt as you go-QAYG.  I peaked at the sample that Michelle has on display and it is gorgeous.  It doesn't have the stitching that raw edge has, but has a folded edge using a transparent thread- looks as if it it hand done.  Just getting her opinion on clear thread would be worthwhile.  Horror stories abound  as to which thread to use and which to avoid!

 I've made four quilts using QAYG methods, each quilt gets a bit better and less bulking and less obvious.  It sure does speed things up a bit, especially for hand quilters who get tired of the piles ofquilt tops accruing hours attention. The School of Sewing and Class Schedule is here.

Not shown on the schedule yet is the repeat of the Curve It Up Ruler BOM.  Michelle had such a great response to the BOM just completed, she is offering another go at it in the fall using solids and a different arrangement.
Sorry for the sideways picture....I saw on Click, a BBC America weekend show, that a new app is available fixing this problem with Iphone and IPad photos...it's on my wish list.

For those of you who want a heads up on a QAYG method check this tutorial.  The blogger from terryaskeartquilts made this modern table runner the class instructor.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Mini Meeting!

We had a prospective member at Tuesday's cancelled meeting!  While I was feeling guilty for missing January and February's meeting I was determined with hiking stick in hand that I was going to Tuesday's meeting of  Grand Rapids Modern Quilters!  The roads were good, but I basicially only had to travel across 3 Mile and a short ways on the East Beltline.  Above, Marcia didn't think to check FaceBook prior to leaving work!  She was there when I arrived at 6:30!  She showed Roni and me here complete UFO from a few years back.  I made a bag for oldest daughter back then with these colors and fabrics and I still love them today.  My scraps keep showing up in my scrappy plays.  She practiced here long arm quilting as well.  She did a gorgeous job for just practicing.  Marcia, I hope you return in March!

Roni also showed right at 7.  We were sitting in one of the classroom, personally guided by Nick, when I felt like it was college again waiting for a late professor.  The smart phone quickly revealed a Facebook entry around 5 and an email from Kelly alerting us to the cancellation.  Well, by that time I had closed the Ipad and was making dinner, thinking these are hardy ladies, especially from my perspective January and February had worse roads!  It was great fun meeting Marcia and Roni.  Roni showed us pictures of the fabric she will be using for her first baby quilt.....more to come on this quilt....hopefully  April 7----- during spring break for most school districts!

Today's inspiration involves flying geese with a slash!  A modern take on old birds....

Hope to see you all in April! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Thimble Lady

A quilt design image from The ThimbleLady.

Recently several of us did a purge of our sewing areas.  When this event does happen great things can be refound or moved out and moved on to someone else.  My friend Carrol D did a purge and gave me pounds of old "Patch Work and Quilting" magazines from Australia.  The newest edition dates to around 2005.  The time travel through quilt time was interesting as I began quilting around 2003.

Liuxin Newman
 In a 2001 edition a feature article interviewed  Liuzin Newman.  She was very familiar with sewing from having grown up in China.  Life's journey brought her to Australia where her adventures in quilting began.  She taught herself to hand piece and to quilt by hand.  Soon, as all hand quilters notice, the shoulder strain and callouses on the finger tips began.  She decided there had to be a better way!  She developed a hand quilting technique that relies on the folds of the quilt to push the needle through, not the fingers of the underneath hand.  Along with this technique she also developed a much improved quilting thimble.

 Image result for Liuxin Newman

 I've been able to use the quilters thimble that any quilt store sells.  It's by no means an expensive thimble.  I add the little sticky things for the other finger tips which protects against pokes and needles imbedding in my finger.  Her thimble comes in plastic, but the one style I envy is the silver, I don't desire the sterling silver thimble - plain silver is fine! (Joke). The dimples are very deep and there is no ridge top on it.  Of course the stitch count matters to hand quilters - trying to discover that Amish bloodline.  Along with her other products her surgical steel needle made have trouble getting my TSA inspections - especially in Frankfort.  (I've found Frankfort, Germany more stringent than many American airports.)  Her needle must be 3" long from the picture shown on her website.

Check out her website here.  Her applique work is extraordinary as well.   The pattern at the top is one of hers, of course, but she probably hand quilted it in a couple hours, as she finds her method not only healthier but quicker!   Several learning packages are also offered.  Do any of you know of this method or of a tutor?  Watch the video under the quilting learning package..... Check her out!