Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beehive Time

We had our monthly meeting last night.  Kat was our Queen Bee this month.  She chose the snowball pattern.  However, since her family loves science, the top three snowballs were to be scrappy in teals and the bottom balls - scrappy in grays.  Her plan is to intertwine the blocks, 16", to represent the DNA molecule.  Here are some of the blocks she received.

 Becky is explaining something important to Kelly.
 Greta shows us her block.
Kat, being the queen wears her tiara from her wedding, relishing her blocks.

Kelly was Queen last month.  She not only had her quilt top assembled, she had it quilted as well.

I was Queen several months ago.  I had an inspiration delay as I changed the pattern a bit.  All in all, it turned out very cool.  

 I played with decorative stitching around each block.  I also utilized another QAYG method.
 To add interest the blue flanges were added in various lengths and in varying places on the blocks.
 My fellow beehive quilters make the most adorable signature labels.
Here's the  back:  a mixture of the circles, bright green and dark blue with matching sashing connecting the blocks.  Thank you everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's been a while, but have been busy....

The last week or more we have had beautiful weather in West Michigan.  It's hard to settle down and sew when the temps are in the mid 70's, dry and clear skies.  The Fallsburg Art Festival, sponsored by the Lowell Arts Council was held a week ago.  While the morning started cool, it was perfect for walking among the art booths.

The quilt shown is the raffle quilt for the art council.
 The stitching was just gorgeous.

The New York Beauties circled the entire quilt.  

While many beautiful works or art were shown at the festival I found this artist, Bechler Pottery,who specialized in ceramics and tiles.   The first two shown below are my favorites.  I would love the top ceramic greet my guests by hanging outside in my covered  front porch area.  I identify with this person....he said that his best customers are counselors....not high school kind but mental health types.  Oh my!

More of his work, created in Traverse City can be found here.

I can be inspired by his work.....
Follow this link for some beautiful modern Japanese Quilts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No Put on with Jenny Doan

I've tagged along with friends who have a membership in a guild group to hear a guru (gura?) on quilting or other hobbies.  It's always interesting to watch people and who have achieve a certain level of fame and how the person handles it.  I had the privilege to meet and have dinner with such a leader in a quilting movement.  I left the dinner thinking what a diva she is....granted she's done far more than I ever would do,but what an ego!  While her designs and products are leaders in the craft, she neglected to put on her game face.  Well, Jenny Doan, the face of Missosuri Star Quilt Company is quite the opposite.  You just want to hug her and bring her home to dinner, meet the family and pet the dogs.  The "game face" is an important belief of Jenny's.  They have several young people employed at a their now mega enterprise.  She teaches them no matter what is happening in your personal life, put on a game face not only for our customers, but just do it anyway.  What a great philosophy and life lesson for all of us!

The  Lighthouse Quilt Guild in Grand Haven, MI sponsored Ms. Doan's visit to West Michigan....they hit a grand slam as far as I'm concerned.  While I opted to not take classes either of the two days offered, I'd seriously reconsider classes again if Ms Doan were to visit anywhere nearby.  She started her presentation to the nearly filled auditorium of Lakeside Middle School (quite large for a middle school) at 6:30 after about 10 minutes of giving away gifts.  Jeny's formal presentation stopped at 9 pm.  Then she took questions from the audience for at least another 15 minutes.  If that wasn't enough she promised to stay on stage to answer questions personally and sign books "until the last person leaves".

Oh my goodness!  What a story of a company forming and GROWING from the ashes of the Great Recession to being named the Best Small Business in America.  She referred to the company, started by her children, to keep mom and dad out of their basements - since they had been literally wiped out in 2008!  Six of her seven children own and operate the Missouri Star Quilt Company.....all from a simple comment from her techie son:  Hey Mom, you should do a tutorial on quilting for You Tube" seven years ago.  Apparently, You Tube is about 8 years old! Below, I've referenced a couple articles explaining the company's story

Jenny Doan's You Tube tutorials are absolutely the best!  From the tutorials came The Block, their quarterly magazine (sans subscription cards flying out and advertisements), then came the connection that any quilt can be made form pre-cuts, to having five quilt stores in western Missouri with five more opening soon and five more in design!

After relaying much of this amazing story she and Ron-a Vana, her husband, demonstrated her quilts, all from pre-cuts and how their templates are incorporated.  For those of you considering a either a road trip west or even to Kansas City (a world series will be playing soon at the Kaufman), their home is about 45 minutes north.

A hearty thank you goes to Around the Block Quilt store in Portland, MI for bringing MSQ books, templates and other goodies to the presentation.  Neighbor Judy and I arrived at the school around 5 p.m. and the cash register was already cha-chinging.  Those ladies definitely had lighter boxes to take back to Portland.

Oh, in case you're wondering about more take away info from the presentation:
            a) trust the fabric combinations in the pre-cuts, don't pull out fabrics you may not like
            b) all of MSQ templates, unlike other company templates, are designed especially for pre-cuts.
            c) check their website for the combos on pre-cuts and how many make the various size quilts....

Jenny's presentation was just too packed with information to relate all of just had to be there.....

Oh, and after all the laughter - she knows quilting and quilters and of course family dynamics, she had us almost in tears at the end.  When her first video went out she thought her audience would be working women.  Little did she know the impact she had on persons confined to their home for medical or mental health issues.  She turned that compliment she received unto us...and all at the good we inadvertently do.  She says there is no better and far reaching hobby or career than doesn't do that, now does it....she told us.  Our quilts and the pillowcases touch hearts far and wide.  She too, was almost in tears!

Wall Street Journal article:  Wall Street Journal article
White House Visit:  Visit to White House

Monday, September 14, 2015

We were first!

Some times in life you have to make your own good karma.  Last week when I receive an email from my friend Caroll about going to the Stitched Studio side walk sale on Monday morning I was shocked!  Of course I'd help her maneuver on the east side of the river to East Paris, south of Cascade!  Well. lo and behold we were first.....!  Oh what fun we had.  Some of SS fabric was 70%, yes 70% off.  Well, those fabrics we bought a yard of more!  The remaining and most of the fabrics were 50% off, but what a selection.  We saw our new friend, Polly, who is one of our Beehive Block of the Month friends.  Soon we had a crowd and how Michele and Kat kept track of who had which fabric was amazing.  The sale goes until tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept 15....oops....quarterly tax day.  Do you think Uncle would mind if my payment came in old fabric?

 I have been drooling over these Moda solids with texture.  The decision on which to purchase and how to use them pushed me away as I never had a plan.  Still don't have a plan but they are so gorgeous.  We were all amazed that they had been in the store at it's grand opening!

 These three fabrics are begging to be made into a satchel similar what I had made in 2014.  Caroll keeps telling me a woman can never have too many bags.
 Last year Stitched Studio had a Marushka doll fabric that was going to be my flight bag for Russia.  While the trip was great, the bag never happened.  The above fabric make a great lining, even though it's not a Russian theme, but playful like the dolls.
Michele indicated that this remnant, a good filler fabric, is organic.

The staff had just finished the quilt top for the appliqué block of the month, very, very modern.  Check out their website for other cool BOM's and the new fabrics that helped out by emptying the shelves.  Carolyn Friedlander's block of the month is here.  The screen shot below is only one of the cool blocks to be completed.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Swirling Lone Stars and One Block Wonders

You all must click on this link shown.  Vicky S teaches at The Attic Window.  This link will explain why I become over committed on my swirling lone star quilt. ( I couldn't copy the pictures from Caroll's blog).

Vicky does amazing work.  Did you see the peacock and her holding her swirling star?!

Anyway, I was unable to attend the full sessions of Happy Scrappers, where she taught several of us the technique needed.  While I kind of knew I was in over my head, I opted to push myself.

 The above came after several pains taking decisions and a required preparation time.
 The strips all resulted from choosing eight different fabrics offering good contrast.  While I could have purchased better fabric, I had accumulated all this fabric from several fabric hunting adventures while visiting the Bahamas several times over the last 28 years or so.
 These pictures resulted when I cleaned up the stash for this project.  The partial strips are leftovers from the main points.  For some reason, I made two sets of main points.  Since I mis-cut something, one of the points actually saved me a lot of work.  The colors are put together in strips, numbered 1-8.        Vicky provided all the templates and instructions all of which were explained on wonderfully clear story boards.  See my mock ups below.  The colors had to contrast but also flow....

 The New York Beauties paper piecing was also internal to the pattern taught.
 A knife from subway was found in the fabric box....many salads from Subway provided sustenance.
 Well, after making the strips, after all the mock ups, sewing them together, all seams open, the star must be measured ACCURATELY.  One little slip up can grow sooooooo big.  Above is the measuring tool created to properly measure and place the completed NYB.
oops!  found a pattern piece that was missing from its envelope!  yeah!

I'm satisfied with my my project  but more satisfied that it's off my list.  It will make a nice summer time table cloth for either my kitchen bistro table or the patio table outside.

Heard a great reason for not feeling guilty about have too much fabric:  Stamp collectors collect stamps, but never use them!  Think of all those coin collectors!  Bye for now.....

Happy End of Summer and beginning of fall......

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Man Sewing is a hoot!

Have you seen these videos?  Oh my gosh, they're good and interesting - I don't really care to watch videos on my computer - but Ron Appel is interesting, funny and most importantly clear and informative.  Enjoy!

Man Sewing

I do not need to say anything more.....

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Interesting Meeting

As meetings go, the discussion on "What is modern quilting" went well.  While defining a concept that defies defining seems unnecessary to me, many members appreciated the time for discussing the concept.  My first love and first major in college was history, thus for me,modern can be assigned to any time period.  Having been an accountant for my 25+ career years, I rather enjoy not having rules, which modern anything embraces!  in the end, quilters will create what they like no matter the popular experts decree.

Moving on, enjoy the pictures from the meeting

 Kelly shows us her quilt top done in "circular" fashion.(above)  Many of the fabrics are souvenirs from a recent trip to Hawaii.  Below, our guild's secretary reveals her block exchange.  Her criteria were to incorporate solids in grays and yellows.  Of course everyone but one quilter heard the rules....except for Becky????  The lone ranger block worked great though, it's the upper right with a yellow print.

Ambitious Marcia had her blocks from a previous month's exchange completed.  It looks great!  Notice  how she worked in the leftover HST's in the middle to break the monotony.  Marcia doesn't sit idle for very long, she stitched a binding onto another quilt during our meeting.  I'd enjoy attending the symphony more if I could sew while listening!
 Jan shows us the most exquisite quilts each month.  Needless to say when she showed the completed quilt, below, no controversy arose whether this example was modern.  While circular motifs are integral to the quilting most of her quilting detail was done by walking foot!  Some members commented that only certain types of quilting designs could be considered modern.  The leafy motifs could be considered more traditional.  What do you think?
 Another modern example from Jan.  Color usage entered the "What is Modern" discussion.  Jan showed us this quilt of more traditional colors done modern.....

 The close-up above shows an example of stitches Ginger used on her small wall hanging.  Making use of the decorative stitches sewing machines have, even a basic zig zag, can elevate the quilting to a more interesting view.  Interestingly, Ginger paper pieced the stars for this example using fabrics purchased from Bill Kerr's site....modern fabrics?  Of course, opinions were expressed for both sides of yes and no!
 Kathy showed us her new quilt top.  Kathy really likes doing modern with irregular shapes worked into the top.
 Lindsey showed us her example of modern, too.  She loves to make pillow covers with exposed zippers.  Her pillow covers mimic the Marushka dolls of Russia, take one off and another appears, several times.

 I showed my swirling lone star table cloth.  This project was more involved than I should have committed myself.   A later blog will explain.  I was SO GLAD to move this project off the to-do list.
The fabric is from the Bahamas collected from several trips from many years....over 25!  I needed 8 colors, so I started cutting old dresses and shirts I had made.....

If you're looking for a fun road trip, consider Three Rivers, Michigan!  Why?  The blogger of 13 Spools has some of her quilts on display at the Carnegie Art Museum there.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Field Trip Cancelled :(

Due to lack of interest in learning new techniques vis a vis the Row By Row of the Attic Window I must cancel our special field trip.  Perhaps another time, as Chris has so much sewing and quilting knowledge to share. 

On another note if you're interested getting 60+ free 12 1/2" blocks start with the Quilting Girl blog.  A four day blog hop is underway, today is day 2.  Each day for four days 15 bloggers will present not only their design but the free instructions for making the block.  Quilt instructions may also be presented.  Paper piecing, appliqué and various cut and sew blocks are offered, some a bit more traditional and many more modern.  Enjoy!

Here are a couple screen shots from yesterday's presenters: 

While waiting for the Doc to come in and inject my knee with chicken cartilage, this magazine photo struct me as very modern and great mix of colors:

Also, while out and about Big Lots had these containers displayed, great way to sort scraps......

Besides the green and blue, white and pink colored baskets were available.  The handles are so convenient for lugging to and fro sewing sessions....