Monday, February 28, 2011

Knitting on the Bus

On Saturday, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, in Hampton, VA.  What an inspiring collection of quilts from around the country and around the world!  Almost as impressive are the enormous number of vendors, offering sewing machines, fabric (duh), thimbles, baskets, felt, yarn, garments, shoes (?), jewelry and antiques.  I rode the bus with the Greenville Quilters Guild (Greenville, NC), leaving early in the morning and coming home at bed-time.
It was a treat to run into Pepper Cory at the quilt festival.  One special exhibit featured some of her antique quilts along-side the quilts they have inspired her to make.  I also saw a lot of quilters I know from guilds all over eastern North Carolina. 

I have my own store;  I didn't really "need" to buy anything.  Instead, I visited the vendors that are also friends:  Wendy at French Connections, Kathy at Suffolk Shaker Shop, Vickie at Annie's Keepsakes, Virginia and Tommy at Thimbles Plus, Julie and Kay at Auntie Ju's Quilt Shoppe.  I couldn't leave empty handed, so bought things that I can't order for myself, fat quarters of African fabric and a pattern to make a crocheted button necklace ( I tried to copy one years ago, but wasn't entirely successful).
One of the interesting things to see at the festival each year is the large display area presented by a local weavers guild.  I love to watch the spinning wheels!  This year one was spinning yarn and another was spinning flax.  They also had two looms set up and several hand weaving projects to show.  There was another similar set up with a local bead group demonstrating different techniques.  One of my few disappointments with the vendors was the lack of beads (one small booth).

Pat, my seat-mate on the bus, was trying to hand quilt on a lap size quilt.  A bus ride is too bumpy for me to make small stitches and not stab myself!  I took a little knitting along instead.  Doesn't look like much yet, but when the scarf is done, there's a trick in the bind-off that makes lacy columns down the entire length.  Stay tuned..... 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This morning I worked on instructions for a "mystery quilt" we'll be making here at the store.  Of course I can't give anything away about that project until after the classes end!

I also began cutting out another project, but I haven't even started to sew.

Soooooooooooooo  ........I beg your indulgance.  This is Ruby, the grand-puppy.  Her breed is Leonberger and when mature, she will weigh around 100 pounds.  At four months old she has reached 50 pounds.  Big girl!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big Stitch Finished

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a project in progress as I hand stitched with #12 pearl cotton in the big stitch style.  This is what it looked like then.
Today it is finished!  I used it in the shop on Saturday as a sample in the class "Binding 101".  Actually, I will get to use it again on March 19 for a class called "On Point Table Runner".  There's still room in the class - call me!
There aren't enough hours in the day and I could never, ever get the larger store samples finished without the help of professional machine quilter, Lilly Lucier, who lives in Vanceboro, NC.  Today I will send my "Windmills" quilt top along with her for an all-over pantograph quilting pattern.  This is another of my in store quilt patterns that grew out of a class.  Hey, I even have a few kits left if you like my combination!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bunny Continued II

Here's the little bunny quilt top (21" wide, 20" long).  I hope to have time to quilt on it this week.  I'll probably hand-quilt this one.
Lots and lots of other things on the way....................  I am almost finished with one of those TEN YEAR QUILTS!  Seriously, I started a Single Irish Chain bed size quilt over ten years ago and right now I am finishing the quilting on the last side of the border.  Whoo hoo!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bunny Continued

Back to work on the bunny this morning!  Since the word section is a lot wider than the bunny section, I strip-pieced some of crazy patch scraps to fill the extra space.
I'm also auditioning possible borders.  Some of these fabrics are scraps that I am running out of, so the two top candidates were the pink and green on the left.  The green, used in very narrow strips, worked as an accent.  I decided to divide the strip-pieced section into two parts to even things out a bit. 
Because the reverse applique method I used involves working with the batting behind the block, I now have to piece the batting (after I figure out the final border).  I like how the bunny is shaping up.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Bunny Project

It was a lot of fun on Sunday to make my letters for the bunny project.  After the word was finished, I crazy patched scraps of fabric to make my bunny.
I already had the outline drawing that I planned to use, so just needed to make sure that the crazy patched piece was large enough.  I finished the reverse applique this morning.  I wish that there was a bit more contrast, but I think that embellishment will take care of any problem in that department.
Now I'll think about how to fit things together.  I'm almost completely out of the light green print that I used for background, so will have to come up with something else.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Discipline

OK, I know that a lot of other quilters will identify with this.  After working last night and all morning on the "serious" quilt that I showed yesterday..........I totally fell off the wagon!  One of those ideas in my head got more and more insistent until it just popped out!

I think you can see where this is going!  I have been a fan of Tonya Ricucci since I found her mentioned on Bonnie Hunter's website.  I love the wacky, crooked letters and have used them before, once in the shop banner that we take to quilt shows and use as a logo on the website.
Tonya's book Word Play Quilts is new and I recommend it.  What else is in store for the bunny quilt?  I haven't done any reverse applique for a while.  I'll do a crazy patch piece of bright, springy, pastel colors, then reverse applique the bunny outline, something that I learned from Jan Mullen's book Reverse Applique With No Brakez

Some of my quilting buddies were online today, talking about cleaning and sorting stashes, including pre-cutting pieces to be used at a later date.  WHY?  With my luck, I would NEVER need the sizes I had cut!  That would just take away from sewing time!  I'd rather dig through the pile and pull out likely candidates like I did today.  I don't mean that my stash is super messy.  Fabrics are folded and stacked, mainly grouped by size.  The only fabrics I have segregated are the 30's prints and batiks.  Just my 2 cents.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oriental Tiles

I started cutting out this quilt at the end of January.  It's a commercial pattern, designed by Ursula Riegel and I think it will really be pretty made with these fabrics I've chosen.
Lots and lots of pieces!  Three hundred pieces, to be exact.  All stacked up in neat little piles.  I finally got back to this project this week and started the sewing.  Here's what it looked like when I was getting started.
The reason there are so many pieces is that each big piece has four corner triangles.  No one wants to sit and draw that many lines.  There is another way to do it!  I drew a line on a piece of masking tape and lined it up with the needle on the sewing machine.  Each small square is lined up on the corner of a larger piece.  The machine needle is lowered into the exact corner where the sewing begins and as I sew across the square I make sure that the opposite corner travels up the marked line.  Like this:
I still have a ways to go, but I have enough sewn to give a good hint as to where this is going.
Currently I am teaching a beginning quilting class here at the store one day a week, finishing the hand quilting on a bed-size quilt, working on a new pattern design and just itching to work on a couple other ideas rattling around in my head.  There is never time to be bored!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Big Stitch Quilting

Yesterday and today I worked on a table runner that I'm hand quilting with #12 pearl cotton and an embroidery needle.  I've quilted quite a few things this way in the past few years (taught workshop for Kinston, NC quilt guild last year) and really enjoy it for a number of reasons.  One is that it is faster than traditional hand quilting with tiny needle and quilting thread.  Another reason is that it adds a decorative element.  It can look "country" or it can mimic sashiko for a dressier look.
Like the scrappy pink pineapple that I showed in an earlier post, I'll be using this as a sample during my "Binding 101" class on Feb. 19.  Then I'll have a few more FINISHED pieces to show off.  Here's another picture, taken a little closer, so hopefully the stitching will show up:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What if?

When I finished cutting out the pieces of "Crooked on Purpose", I had some nice little batik scraps left over.  I decided to see what I could make by strip piecing them and incorporating them into a new design.  The aqua/turquoise were eliminated but I used everything else (heavy on the green/brown/orange).
I like crooked things, so I sewed strips together the way they were.  If any were too wide, I cut them in half.  I trimmed nice, neat little rectangles.   For my new idea I needed some strong contrast, so I found the dark brown and strong orange, strip pieced and trimmed.
I have some design options to consider:

I'll let you know how it turns out....................


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Shop Hop Quilt

With the shop hop over, I can show off the quilt.  This was our 6th year, the "wood" anniversary, so each owner was challenged to create their own original log cabin quilt.  Mine is titled "Aunt Glady's Permanent Wave", named for my Great Aunt Gladys, who had a cosmetology license for over 60 years!
I used 30's reproduction prints and solid blue and yellow Kona Cotton.  The size is 74" x 86".  Here's a close-up, so you can see the pretty machine quilting done by Lilly Lucier of Vanceboro, NC.
I'll set up my machine tomorrow morning and get back to work.  I have at least 4 projects that need attention.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shop Hop

We are participating in the "Romancing Eastern North Carolina Shop Hop" that begins today and runs through Saturday.  Anyone interested can find COMPLETE details on our website:  Even though the shop hop is a lot of fun, it also means that I have to clean up the classroom and put things away/out of sight, so there won't be too much sewing going on this week.  I DID finish cutting out "Oriental Tiles" and I will post a picture as soon as I have something to show.  Also, I basted a table runner the other night, so I can quilt on that.

We have had an unusual amount of cold weather and snow here in eastern North Carolina this winter.  Since there aren't any "quilting pictures" today, here's one of Baby, one of the shop cats, as she sits at the window on the day after Christmas.  It snowed and snowed and she watched all day.