Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stash Report Week #30 and Quilt Odyssey Shopping...

July 23-29, 2010

I usually do my stash report on Thursday (because that was the first day of the year), but I've been too busy (sleeping and such) to get to it before now.  I'm still recovering from my trip and seem to be in a perpetual state of exhaustion.  On the positive side, my pets are loving all the naps they're getting with me!  Every time I wake up, there's a different kitty sleeping on my chest, stomach and legs.  I think they rotate while I'm asleep...

I didn't buy much fabric at Quilt Odyssey and most of what I did purchase is earmarked for specific projects.  I bought half yards of both a blueberry and strawberry fabric to make pincushions.  I volunteered to make 20 of them to give to the charter members of our guild.  They're made using your embroidery machine.  The patterns are from ZippyDesignZ and they are adorable!

Quilt Odyssey fabric purchases

And I bought 1.5 yards of 2 different blue fabrics.  I'll use one for the sashing and binding on a quilt I'm working on and the other will be for the backing.  And the 2 charm packs add another 1.5 yards to my total.  (These charm packs and a pattern are the only things I bought just because.)

On our way up to the quilt show, we stopped at Tamah's favorite quilt store from her old stomping grounds.   The shop is called Material Girls Quilt Boutique in La Plata, Maryland.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend you stop by.  They have everything there.  I ended up getting the new Nancy Halvorsen 'Tidings' book and the exact fabric to complete several of the projects.  (I have to make them for a Christmas project for a group I'm in.)  They're willing to cut fabric as small as 1/8th of a yard too.  I purchased a total of 2.5 yards of fabric (and a couple of tea towels).

Nancy Halvorsen towels, fabric and book

And that was really all of my 'fabric' purchases for the week - a total of 8 yards.  But the wonderful thing about the vendors at most quilt shows is that you can find so much more than fabric!  And I did.  I bought wool and wool balls for one project and some silk ribbon for another.  I even found this beautifully painted box.

More purchases from Quilt Odyssey

There are a number of projects for this 'Twelve of Us' group I'm in that I don't have supplies for (and can't find locally).  The vendors at this show really helped me fill in some of the gaps.  They were also willing to give me advice on techniques (that I've never tried).  It was such a big help and I'm feeling much better about tackling them.

To continue with the stash report part, I didn't finish anything last week, so my usage total is 0!  (But I'm almost done with a couple of things and I hope to count them next week.)

Purchased-this-week: 8 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 178.25 yards
Used-to-date: 285.25 yards
Net used: 107 yards

Until later...

"God loves you, so don't let anything worry you or frighten you." 
Daniel 10:19

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quilt Odyssey - The Quilt Show!

Well now that I'm done sharing what I learned in my quilt classes, I should probably share my pictures of the quilt show.  (I was actually scheduled to take another class with Sharon Schamber all day Saturday, but felt too rough to make it - my fibro was giving me fits!)

I have to say I enjoyed the quilt show, but then again, I've never been to one I didn't like.  It was smaller than both Paducah and the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, but larger than the quilt symposiums we have locally each year.  There was a big emphasis on machine quilting here.  I see that more and more in these shows.  And when it's done well, it's simply gorgeous!  But those type of quilts are ones you'd hang on your wall but never on your bed.

Best of Show 'Filigree' by Marilyn Badger

Marilyn Badger won Best of Show in Hershey for a quilt from a pattern by Judy Neimeyer called Thistle Pods.  (There are a couple of Judy's patterns I would love to make too.)  Marilyn used 15,000 yards of metallic thread on this quilt.  Unfortunately it didn't show up very well in the pictures...

Closeup of 'Filigree'

You'll have to forgive me that I forgot to get the name of each quilt and it's maker.  I just took pictures of the ones I really liked.  You'll also need to ignore the plastic tape in some of the pictures.  They use it to block off the quilts and it's difficult to get a full picture without it.

This dog quilt just made me smile.  I don't think it won any awards, but I know I'd love to have it in my house!

Dog quilt

I love the 'Woodland Creatures' quilt and was glad to see it made up.  I actually have all the patterns and fabric for this one and it's on my to-do list.  Well truthfully, I forgot I had it, but now that I'm reminded, it's definitely on my list!

Woodland Creatures

I took lots of closeups of this one.  Look at the possum and it's babies...

Closeup of bottom of quilt

The quilt has squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, flowers...

Another closeup

Can you see the dragonfly and even a ladybug on the leaf?  I'm not sure how much extra this quilter added to the patterns, but I think she did a fantastic job!

Squirrel, mice, dragonfly, ladybug...

There was a beautiful crazy quilt there that caught my attention.  I have to do my first CQ piece in a couple of months so I have it on my brain...

Crazy Quilt

Check out the center of it...

Closeup of center

Look at all the dimension in those flowers!  This quilt probably took her longer than any other quilt in the entire show.

I was really drawn to the applique quilts as that's what I most enjoy making.

Rose quilt

I also looked closely at the quilting on the applique quilts to get some ideas for some future projects.

Rose quilt closeup

This next one won the blue ribbon for 'Appliqued Quilts'...

Wings and Feathers

It's another one that used a lot of metallic thread in the quilting, but I think it showed up better in the pictures.  They also used a lot of crystals on it.

Closeup of metallic quilting

Would this be considered a stained-glass quilt do you think?  They paid a lot of attention to detail.

Another closeup

I like the use of piecing and applique in the this sunflower quilt...

Wedding Rings for Mavis & CJ

I loved both the quilting and the applique on this next one.  Look at all those tiny berries and how she uses gradated fabrics for shading...

And here's another filled with nature...

nature quilt

The quilting in the center of this quilt was in my mind, the best in the entire show.  It really gave movement to the birds and butterflies.  I love the bumble bees in it too!

closeup of center

And this final picture is only a small portion of the quilt.  For some reason I can't find the other pictures of it.  In any case, the thread painting on this seal is phenomenal!  It looks just like fur to me.

Thread painting on seal

Of course there were a lot more quilts at the show and most of the ones I've shared didn't win any ribbons.  I had a great time looking at each quilt and came back with lots of great ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for my projects.  Now I just need to start feeling better and I can start working on them...

Until later...

"A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches" 
Proverbs 15:16 (MSG).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quilt Odyssey - Sharon Schamber...

My second class at Quilt Odyssey was 'Planning Your Quilting' with Sharon Schamber.  It was a 3 hour class on Friday night.  I think everyone in it was already tired after a full day of classes, shopping and the quilt show; however, the convention center was great about keeping the classrooms filled with Hershey chocolate!

Unless you've just gotten into quilting, I expect you've heard of Sharon Schamber.  If not, check out her free video classes.  She is an award winning quilter who is particularly skilled at machine quilting.  Here are a couple pictures of the quilt she brought as a visual aid.

Sharon Schamber's Spirit of Mother Earth

 Just to let you know, this quilt is 100" x 100".  She says she makes most of her quilts that size.

Closeup of Spirit of Mother Earth

All of the gold on top of the black fabric is her quilting.  I only had a chance to take these couple of pictures, but she has a gallery with tons more here.

But on to my class...  I was very excited about taking a class with Sharon.  She came to our guild several months ago but I had a nasty case of the flu and missed it.  However, a number of guild members who attended her lecture and classes filled me in a bit on her personality.  She is a colorful character and she's the first to admit it.  She believes she is psychic, has synesthesia and can see auras around people.

But whether you believe in that or not, I think everyone can agree that she's a very talented quilter.  (She even won the $100,000 Quilting Challenge in 2007.)  The 3 hour class covered the basics of planning and drafting your quilting designs - particularly feathers.

Sharon in class

She's also a big believer in the Fibonacci sequence in quilting (and life).  If you don't remember this from your math days, starting with 0 and 1, you add 2 previous numbers to get the next number in the sequence.  So 0+1 = 1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5, etc.  So the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and so on.  She concentrates on 3 and 5 as the most important numbers when you're doing feathers.

Sample feathers drawn by Sharon

I promise the class really wasn't as dry as I'm making it sound.  Between the demo, her pointing our people's auras and the practice time, the whole class was a hoot.  I had a ton of stories to tell my friends after class.

More samples drawn by Sharon

She also made a good point about the ratio of quilting to piecing/applique/feathers.  I had never heard it put this way, but she suggests that one third of your quilting should be background fillers - like stippling.  The other two thirds needs to be some combination of piecing, applique or feathers.  This variety helps to hold your interest when looking at a quilt.  And after perusing the quilt show, I see what she means.  I'm going to have to pay attention to this when I quilt my next quilt.

Another tip she gave is that feathers need to be clockwise in a traditional quilt.  If your quilt is a mix of traditional and something else, your feathers should be either clockwise or mirrored.  And if you're doing an art quilt - well, pretty much anything goes. 

In class, we focused on drawing our own feathers.  First on a horizontal spine...

My practice feathers

And then we drew them in triangles and a heart...

More practice feathers

The class was also supposed to cover how to transfer your designs to your quilt top.  However, we spent so much time on the drafting portion, she had to zip through that at the end.

But she did give me a tip that I'm really eager to try.  You know the water-soluble blue marking pens?  I've used them a number of times in the past for marking my quilt tops.  You draw your design on your quilt top, quilt it and then wet it to erase the lines.  But I've always cautioned anyone using them not to iron over the marks or they become permanent.  That's always been my experience as well as everyone I've heard use them.

Clover water-soluble marking pen 
(picture copied from their web-site)

Sharon said that if you use the Clover brand (and only this brand) and pre-starch your fabric, that even if you iron over it, it will still come out.  I'm definitely going to have to test this and see if it works.  She also uses starch instead of water to take it out.

I have another marking pen that I also want to test out and when I do, I'll let you know how they both hold up.

Until later...

Lord, please help us to remember that we are always one step away from stupid. 
By Pastor Richard Mills

Quilt Odyssey - Annette Kennedy...

Well I've returned home from my trip to Quilt Odyssey 2010 in Hershey, Pa.  I had a wonderful time with some great friends - Tamah and Susan.  I took a couple of classes and a lot of pictures that I'll share over the next several days.

The first class I took on Friday was called 'Fused Applique Quilt from a Photo' with Annette Kennedy.  Although I hadn't heard of her prior to signing up for the class, I would definitely recommend her as a teacher.  In fact, I'd love to take one of her fabric painting classes in the future.

Woodland Berries by Annette Kennedy

She had lots of great examples on display and I loved when she showed the various steps she goes through in making a quilt.  Like the above quilt, 'Woodland Berries', she shows you the photo she started with, the bare bones pattern and the finished quilt.  Look at all the detail on these berries...

Woodland Berries closeup

The example in the class description that sold me on taking her class was this one of an agave cactus...

Agave Cactus by Annette Kennedy

The quilt on the left has all the fabrics fused down.  And on the right, she has added painting and quilting to the finished piece. Both the painting and quilting really add so much depth to each piece.

In one of the other classes she gave, she teaches you how to actually paint on fabric.  In that class you started with a bare bones fused Calla Lily and turned it into a work of art...

Calla Lilies before painting and after

My class didn't involve painting, but instead focused on turning your photograph into a pattern and how to use that pattern to make a quilt.  This is the picture I started with...

David in box

And this is my pattern...

Pattern for quilt

I now need to take my pattern to the copy store and get it enlarged and reversed.  I'm guessing I'll make the quilt around 30" wide.  My travel-mates and I have agreed on a Christmas due date for the projects we started in classes.  That way we don't lose our enthusiasm for them and actually finish them up!

And on our way up to Pennsylvania, I took this photo of a sunflower at a rest stop.  After taking Annette's class, I think it would make a great quilt! (Without the lamp post of course)

Next time, I'll share what I learned in my class with Sharon Schamber...

Until later...

Your hands shaped me and made me. 
Job 10:8 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Step 1 - Admitting you have a problem...

(Warning - long post...)

I'm beginning to think I might have a small case of OCD.  I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me before 'cause I can see that's it's not just a recent thing.  When I have an idea, I can't seem to work on a small scale.  I jump in with both feet and come up with some grand plans.

For example, when I decided to make dog (pet) bandannas, I didn't start off making a couple.  No, I had to make a huge production of it.  (And my quilt bee was generous enough to help me finish them up.)  Last year I donated 654 of them to be used as a fundraiser for animal rescue.

 David modeling a pet bandana

When I decided to make stuffed animals and kimonos for Care Wear, again I had to go big.  I made 120 kimonos for preemie babies and finished them up to the last step - adding velcro.  And I made around 250 small bears and bunnies - each one with a hand-embroidered face.  Although I completed a large number of them, I ran out of steam when it came down to the end.  Thank you SO much to all the ladies from the HGTV Quilting Forum who stepped up to finish the ones I didn't and donate them to their local hospitals! 

Care Wear bear

And then there were the pillowcases I made for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge this year.  My quilt bee got together at my house back in February and we made 63 pillowcases to donate.  And over the next month or so, I made another 40+ to donate as well.

Pillowcases for charity

And these aren't the only examples.  Several years ago, I volunteered to make ~65 angel gowns in a couple of months for my church's theater department.  My mom ended up helping me there at the end when I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  (And I still have 10 more sitting in my to-do pile that they didn't need at the time.)

Angel gowns

So why didn't I notice this compulsion before?  I don't know.  It seems so obvious now.  I get an idea, take it too far and generally need some kind of help in the end to finish everything.  But there must be a reason God is convicting me of this now.

Oh, and I never mentioned what caused my light bulb moment.  I found another 192 completed or almost completed dog bandannas in a box.  I have now finished these up by myself and will donate them to Janet's daughter to use to raise money for animal rescue.

83 xsmall bandannas

93 small bandannas

11 medium and 5 large bandannas

Although all of the examples I gave were sewing related, I can see how it reaches further into my every day life.  However, they say admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.  So today, I'm admitting I have a problem.  Now on to step 2... 

Until later...

I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me.  I'm ready for anything and I'm equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me.  That is, I am self sufficient in Christ's sufficiency. 
Philippians 4:13 (Amp)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stash Report Week #29...

July 16-22, 2010

I'm setting this post up in advance as I should be on my way to Pennsylvania for a quilt show right now.  I'm pretty sure this trip will result in another hit to my stash report next week.  I can only guess how much...

Last week I was still waiting for some fabric I ordered to come in.  Well, it's here now, washed, pressed and added to my stash.  I bought 3 yards each of 3 different tone on tone fabrics.

9 yards of neutral fabric

From the top down they are Nancy Halvorsen Good Tidings, Basic Grey Fruitcake Sugar Cookie and Basic Grey Fruitcake Pine Branch.  I don't have a project in mind for these but I'm was running low on neutral backgrounds so these will fill that gap.  (By the way, I managed to pick these up for almost 60% off - woohoo!)

I also purchased 2 charm packs of Park Avenue by 3 Sisters and a Moda scrap bag.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much fabric was in the scrap bag.  I got 30 strips of Sandy Gervais' Awesome line.  I was able to cut each one down to 2.5" for a mini jelly roll.

'Awesome' scrap bag

These are some great autumny prints and I think I'll use them to make a wall hanging for this fall.  Between the scrap bag and charm packs, I estimate there's 3.5 yards of fabric.

And my final purchase was 2.5 yards of Kona cotton for the classes I'm taking at the quilt show.  So every bit of that will come off next week.

And as for what I've used this week, it's a big fat nothing!  I've worked on a bunch of things, but haven't finished them yet.

Purchased-this-week: 15 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 170.25 yards
Used-to-date: 285.25 yards
Net used: 115 yards

And I think I'll end with this snapshot I got of Moses the other day.  Her coloring is so dark, it's really hard to get clear photos of her.  But I caught her laying claim to the scratching pad that all 4 cats share...

Moses on scratching pad

Until later...

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time for a road trip...

By this time tomorrow, I'll be on my way to Hershey, PA - home of this year's Quilt Odyssey.  I'll be driving up there with some good friends for 4 days and 3 nights of quilting fun. 

However, I'm not one of those people who can take off at the drop of a hat.  I'm a list kind of person - a list of things to do before I leave, a grocery list for Mr. Quilting Bug, a list of things to pack, etc.  I'm taking several classes at the show and need my machine for one of them.  That necessitates another list, so I don't forget all the stuff that goes along with it (like power cords, foot pedals and everything else).

I did manage to get the quilt Purple Mountains blocked this week.  I used a 4'x8' sheet of 1" foam insulation board that Mr. Quilting Bug picked up for me at Home Depot and a bazillion pins.

Blocking Purple Mountains

I pinned it at least every inch along each side.  It is now dry and hanging in the entry way to our house.

Sam has her own pillow in the center of our sofa.  She likes to lay there while Mr. Quilting Bug and I hang out on either side of her.

She mainly just naps while we're there.  (Can you see the additional cat tail hanging down in the picture?)

The top down view of her isn't very flattering.  She's on a diet and so far has gained .2 lbs.  I don't how that happened - I feel like I'm starving her...

She's a good cat and probably our most sociable one.  She generally wants to be wherever I am.

She also likes to share my pillow at night.  I find it very comforting to listen to her purr/snore in my ear.

Until later...

The day you resign as General Manager of the Universe, you're going to find that it doesn't fall apart. You can relax in faith, trusting that God is able to run things without your help. 
By Rick Warren