Saturday, August 25, 2012

Presentations & Workshops

Oh, my glorious junior high and highschool days.  I dreaded each and every presentation, debate and I would have rather been sick at home in bed, then get up in front of people and talk.  A lot sure has changed.

                            ALTHOUGH the material has changed a little too... 

I'm not trying to decipher Shakespeare, explain that paragraph of a word problem or give my theories on ancient history.  Rather, what I've enjoyed doing is presiding over our STLMQG meetings and spending a few hours each month "blabbering" on about modern quilting and other quilt related-topics.  Clearly, when I am passionate about something, I jump at the chance to talk about it.

This August, I've been busy doing just that.  A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation on "Modern Quilting" to Thimble & Thread Quilt Guild and this past Tuesday, I gave a similar; but slightly different (due to technical difficulties) presentation to the Ties, Needles & Thread Guild.

Packing up

Table Presentation & Trunk Show

Today's events were a little different, as I hosted a workshop called "Wonk-ified".  It was the first time that I had taught this particular workshop, and it was ALOT of fun.   

Preparing the workshop samples

Fifteen lovely ladies joined me as I walked them through how to make two "wonky" blocks.  The first of which was a "Wonky Star" and the second was a "Wonky Log Cabin" block.  It was an absolute treat for me to see these "much-more experienced quilters then I", learn something completely different and have fun with it. 

Most of the "Wonky Stars" that were finished in class

What I truly enjoyed was watching these women who had previously followed every rule in the "quilting book", let loose and just cut into the fabric without rhyme or reason.  Once they got the hang of it, it was hard for them to stop.  It was a delight to hear them say...

"I didn't know wonky was so much fun",
or my favorite comment "it's O-KAY, it's wonky" followed by a string of giggles whenever someone's piece/block didn't go quite the way they had planned. 

Student trimming up her block

Student "squaring" up her block

Some of the "Wonky Log Cabins" blocks
made in class

Today was a delightful way to spend an afternoon.  Thank You!! to both guilds for inviting me to join in on the fun this month and share a little bit of my creativity with you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fabric, Improv & Volunteers

Lookie what came in the mail this week, a 1/2 yd bundle (aptly named "Half to Have It") of Cynthia Frenette's Modern Quilts collection.  She was hosting a giveaway a week or so ago and I put my name in the hat.  What do you know, I actually won.  Thanks Cynthia, I can't wait to use this.


So, whatcha doing September 1st?  Do you live near St. Louis?
                  Wanna join me at Fabric Nosherie

I'll be teaching an Improv piecing class that Saturday, showing you the methods I use to create Improv blocks, similar to those shown below.

For those who are afraid of Improv piecing or don't exactly know what it is; but are intrigued.  This is the class for you.  Stop into Fabric Nosherie to learn more and hopefully I'll see you on September 1st.


Finally, I'm looking for some help.  You see, I'm working on my next quilt pattern to follow up MAZED and am seeking a handful of Pattern Testers.   

**Updated 8/17/12:  
Thank You to everyone who contacted me about volunteering,
I now have enough Pattern Testers**

What does a Pattern Tester do?
  • Read the quilt pattern thoroughly and provide feedback to make sure it is understandable
  • Make a few blocks following the directions
  • Join in on a Blog Hop (to be scheduled) with other participants
In exchange for your help, you'll receive a complimentary copy of the finished pattern along with a copy to giveaway on your Blog during the Blog Hop.  I'll also toss in a few extra goodies for your time/effort too. 

Does this sound like fun?  Wanna Volunteer? or would you like more information?  Shoot me an email or leave a comment on this post stating so.  The pattern will be ready for testing in the next few weeks.

MAZED - my 1st pattern


Monday, August 13, 2012

Christmas In July Block-A-Thon Reveal

Hi Everyone, I'm super excited to be the first of two stops that you'll make today on the Christmas In July Block-A-Thon that has been sponsored by FreeSpirit Fabrics

Now, back in March, John Adams (Quilt Dad) created the Block layout for the final quilt.  All of the Bloggers participating signed up for the block size they wanted to create against and we got to work.

Fastforward a few months and I had the opportunity to work directly with FreeSpirit Fabric to coordinate the final leg of this event.  First priority was to piece together all of the blocks. 

As you can see above, I took pencil to paper and figured out the sizes of ALL the sashing pieces that would be needed in order to put together the layout that John illustrated all those months ago. 

I cut and sewed, then cut and sewed some more until I had a finished top.  Then a week and a half ago, I mailed the quilt top and back to a Quilter and worked on putting together the quilt tutorial; which you can find on FreeSpirit Fabric's blog.

I'm just as excited as all of you to see what the finished quilt looks like.

I want to Thank ALL of the wonderful bloggers that participated in this event and most importantly FreeSpirit Fabrics for allowing everyone to play along.

July 2th – Heather at Fiberosity
July 5nd – Pat Sloan
July 6th – Melanie at Melanie Dramatic
July 9th – Pam at Pam Kitty Morning
July 11th – Kelsey at Kelsey Creates
July 13th – Katie at Swim Bike Quilt
July 16th – Kim at Persimon Dreams
July 18th – Amanda at Sasikirana
July 20th – Jane at QuiltJane
July 23th – Kristy at St Louis Folk Victorian
July 25th – Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
July 27rd – Lee at Freshly Pieced
July 30th – Jennifer at MJ and Co
August 1st – Mishka at Quilting Gallery
August 3rd – Tiffiny at Free Patchwork Quilt Info
August 6th – Tacha at Fat Quarterly
August 8th – Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations
August 10th – Jocelyn at It’s Sew Emma
August 13th – Final Quilt Reveal!

Now, I'm headed over to FreeSpirit Fabric's blog to see the final quilt, won't you follow me.
I hear there is a pretty cool prize up for grabs.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Inspiration Challenge

Today was the reveal of our STLMQG Inspiration Challenge that the Swap/Challenge Committee created and announced back in May.  At the time, I had alot on my plate (okay, still do); but I knew that I wanted to participate.

What was unique about this challenge is that we were given 4 different "Inspirations" and we all had to choose from only those four options. 

Photo: as seen here
Painting: The Purple Robe by Henri Matisse as seen here

Book: Alice in Wonderland as seen here
Song: Yellow Submarine by The Beatles as seen here

I was tossing back and forth the idea of doing either Alice in Wonderland or the Henri Matisse painting and in the end, the Matisse won out. 

Snapshot of the Baltimore Museum of Art site

I lost track of how long I just starred at the Inspiration trying to figure out what I was going to do.  Yet, when I came across a scrap of what I have since learned is from the Hello Luscious collection by BasicGrey, I went for it.

I then pulled a Black, Grey, Purple and Orange to coordinate...all colors that are of course in the painting.

I decided that I wanted to do something sort of rectangular and so I cut widths of my fabric and started piecing them "log-cabin" style ala Elizabeth Hartman's "Sunspot" quilt from The Practical Guide to Patchwork.  Now, of course I didn't cut out all of my pieces up front, I cut and sewed each block at a time.  Alarms should have gone off; but they didn't.  I discovered 3 1/2 blocks in that I only had enough of the light grey fabric for about 6 of the 9 blocks I would need.  Aaaargh!

I spent a few days hitting up some local fabric shops; but I couldn't find more and didn't want to wait for the postal service to deliver, so I did the next best thing and mixed it with something else. 

I think it actually turned out better then if I would have continued to use just the one background fabric.

Now, of course once the quilt top was done and sandwiched, I then tried to sort out how I was going to quilt it.  For those that have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember me stating that I only know 2 machine stitches (straight-line and organic-line)...I don't do free-motion. 

Yet, they say the best way to learn is to practice.  So I made a few scrap quilt sandwiches and practiced my meandering free-motion stitch.  Once I got in the groove, I ventured over to the quilt; but not before sending a quick "Fingers Crossed" tweet.

I think having the Queen of Machine Quilting, Angela Walters, wishing me Good Luck helped because it wasn't a complete disaster.  I didn't break any needles, didn't sew-over any fingers and the stitches while not exactly precise, weren't crazy long or super small.

I'm pretty excited with how it turned out and think that it captures at least a little of the Matisse painting.  I am glad that I tried something new, what should I free-motion quilt next????

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Catch-Up Time

The STLMQG had a Sew-In Saturday the weekend before last and I had a full 12 hours to get some stuff accomplished.  I'm glad that I packed a few extra "projects" at the last minute because I was "in the zone" and did ALOT.

Let's start with these two bee blocks that I made for the Trust Circle of the do.Good.Stitches beeLiz asked us to make two "scrap jar" blocks using this tutorial.

Up next is a quilt top that I finally finished for a "long-overdue" gift.  Gotta make the back and get quilting.

While I didn't work on this next block at the Sew-In, it's still a recent project.  It's my entry to the QuiltCon Block Challenge.  The rules were to create a modern-style block, using the colors in the QuiltCon logo. 

Last week I found this Knook kit at Jo-Ann's Fabrics.  I had heard about it from someone at work and the concept was interesting..."knit with a crochet hook".  Now, I know how to crochet; but can't seem to grasp the concept of knitting.  I thought maybe this would make the "knitting" concept a little more understandable so I can pick up real needles one day.  Have you heard of this?  or tried it?

Finally, the STLMQG's Inspiration Challenge is due this coming Saturday.  I'm not gonna lie, the looming deadline does miracles for jumpstarting creativity.  I can't show you much because it's sort of a surprise; but what I can show you is my "free-motion" quilting. 

So, I know...what's so special.  Well, it's my first time trying it on a real quilt instead of practice pieces.  I figured since the Inspiration Challenge quilt was a managable size, it would be good "practice". 

There are uneven stitches, several areas of overlapping loops and a few things I wish I could hide; but at least I finally did it.  Practice makes Perfect and hopefully I'll have the guts to do this again.