Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's a Challenge

Tomorrow marks my 9th anniversary at Cotton Fields Quilt Shop.  We are celebrating with a huge, three day sale.  Another tradition that we have is the annual quilt challenge.

This year, we're having the "Strips and Strings" challenge.  Participants were provided with 1/2 yard of the Timeless Treasures print pictured here, and a fat quarter of a light green solid.  Instructions stated:

"Make a string quilt from YOUR original design/no commercial patterns!  Strips can be wide or narrow, crooked or straight.  String pieced units can be combined with other quilt patterns."

Sale shoppers will be able to cast their votes for their favorite quilts.  Here are the creative quilts that have been turned in.

Aren't they great?!  All so different and creative.  I'll fill in the names and announce the winners next week.

I didn't enter my own challenge, but I did use the challenge fabric to make myself "A Little Somethin' Jacket" (pattern available, of course).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Special Friends

Shortly after my husband passed away in January, some special friends presented me with an assortment of miniature quilt blocks.  They were stacked in a pretty wooden box and I enjoyed just taking them out to look at or to show to others.  I decided this week that it was TIME to put them together.

You know how it is, I had to get AROUND TO IT.  Well, I have one:


There were 10 little blocks, an awkward number to work with.  I decided to make a block with our name - "Sew Bee It" is the name of the group, a sub-group of the Tar River Piecemakers Quilters Guild (Rocky Mount, NC).  I cut a freezer paper stencil with a single edge razor blade.  The color was applied with a stencil brush - acrylic paint with fabric medium added.  Then I made a pieced block of my own (the tulip in the basket).

I had already decided how to set the blocks together.  NONE OF THEM were the same size!  I had used this same scheme when I put my improv log cabin blocks together a couple of weeks ago.  Over-sized strips are added to two sides of each block, they are pressed well, then cut to a uniform size.  I love how it all turned out.  Now, one more little project to quilt.

I hope that some of those special friends are looking in today and will see the progress I am making with their blocks.  Thanks to:  Dawn, Mandy, Terri (2), Gayle, Wendy, Angela, Kathy, Martha and Sandy.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finished and Upside-Down

I put the finishing touches on the latest free-form quilt top.  That mainly consisted of adding a few strips in strategic locations to facilitate squaring it up after quilting.
Then I looked at it from all sides.  I thought that it was a little "bottom heavy", so, I turned it upside-down and I think that I like it this way.

My morning at the store began with wetting and shaping the latest delivery from French Connections (Pittsboro, NC).  They import the most wonderful baskets from Africa (supporting Rural Women Co-operatives).  All of the baskets pictured here are from Ghana.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Design Wall Progress

I had a chance to work on the new free-form quilt for quite a while on Saturday.

Notice that the bright yellow box with an X was remodeled, and didn't end up in the upper left-hand corner. In the last picture, I have started to sew the elements together.  The yellow H is not going to make it to the final cut ....


This color scheme came about because I found a solid, very, very bright yellow/orange.  I called it "screaming yellow".  I thought it would look great with olives and aquas and I gathered some together.  Then Katherine contributed quite a few more.

I went on vacation for a week.  When I was ready to start, I cut up a bunch of strips from Katherine's fabric and added the back and yellow as accents.  It was only AFTER the Saturday sewing session that I found the other group of my own fabrics, including my inspiration piece!  I forgot it!!  I was even thinking as I worked that a yellow fabric with just a hint more orange in it would really spark things up.  I'm going to finish this piece as is.  Then I'll start another.

Someone noted that it had been quite a while since I posted any pictures of "the girls".  Here's what two disgruntled cats looked like when they got back from the vet's this AM (rabies boosters).  I am feeding them a cat food formula that is supposed to be lower calories, but they had both gained;  each weighed in at over 15 pounds.

Baby and Cassie

Friday, July 19, 2013

Play Time at LAST!

Hey, I'm back from a little vacation.....

It took a few days to get the shop in order, including processing all sorts of cool fabric.  I'm hand quilting a second spider web wall hanging because I "accidentally" sold the first sample.

Tonight's the night!  I finally had a chance to open up the sewing machine and PLAY!

Yes, it's another "Rayna Inspired" project.  Here's what's on the design wall.
More soon.....

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Harder than it looks

It is harder than it looks to sew strips crooked on purpose, after a lifetime of pinning and quarter inch seams!  I worked on the second free-form quilt ALL DAY today.  Here is a glimpse of the progress on the design wall.

These are the first pieces that I had done.  I am experimenting with placement and finding out how much more I need to sew to "fill in the holes".

Now, I've made a few new elements and moved some others.  I don't like those four little "box shapes lined up in a row at the bottom ,though.

Here it is, with more strip sets added.  I've started to sew some of the sections together.

Here is the completed top.  I turned it upside down and liked it better!  Next comes quilting, but I have a trip and some other obligations coming up, so it may be a week or two before I can show off the finished product.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Modern Log Cabin?

About a month ago, I made some "Improv Log Cabin" blocks, started in a workshop taught my my friend, Katherine.

I wanted to think about how to set these fun, crooked blocks together in a non-traditional way.  I also took a trip out of town and took the Rayna Gillman workshop.  Thinking, thinking, thinking ...

I DID come up with an idea, actually an idea that I plan to use when I put together some small blocks that were gifts (this is a great setting to use when blocks aren't all exactly the same size).  I added wide strips of white to two sides of each block, then trimmed them to a uniform size (8.5 inches).

My original plan was to orient the dark and lights in each block in the same direction, then I played around with the layout.  Here is how it ended up.

Look at all that white!  Does it qualify as a "MODERN QUILT"?  Should I give it a border?  I'll think about it for a while.  No hurry. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More strips and strings

Still excited about what I did in the Rayna Gillman class, I have started another free-form quilt.  It is in it's beginning stages, but you can get an idea of the colors and the direction it might take.
I've also been binding one quilt and putting the finishing touches on the improv log cabin blocks from several weeks ago, so I'll have more show and tell soon.

By the way, I found the lost checks.  They weren't as lost as I thought.