Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quilters Accountability Report 10/27/10

As noted in my last post, I am joining back up with Bari at her My Crazy Quilting Life blog and everyone who participates in her weekly Wednesday Quilters Accountability check in.   I have nine projects I've committed to for Finn's Year-End UFO Finish Challenge (and a few more that I'd personally like to see put to bed before the end of this year) so once again I think I need the pressure of a reporting deadline to stay on track.

Case in point: despite planning to work on my aunt's doll quilt yesterday and today, I got zip, nada done (can you say "too much surfing?").  Fortunately all it took was Bari's blog to come up in the Google Reader to remind me of the tasks at hand that I am neglecting.  And since I have a meeting to go to with DS1 tonight and Parent Teacher Conferences Friday afternoon, I'm still not too sure how much I'll get done this week.  But I'll have a go at a list anyway (sorry, no work, no pictures!).

This Week's Goals:

  1. Complete the applique on the Amish Doll Quilt.  If accomplished start (and finish?) the quilting.
  2. If doll quilt gets done before next Friday, post to Amy's Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival.
  3. Complete the remaining six blocks for the Sage Sampler.  Decide on the layout and whether it needs/there is room for sashing.
  4. Cut out the Christmas Tree skirt.
  5. Complete assignments for the Quilt Whisperer class.
Well that should do it.  Now let's see what gets done!  Check out what everyone else got done this week and has in their pipeline for next week back at Bari's.  See you next week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Handwork Updates

In my last post, I was working on a lot of hand work projects for two classes I took at Quilt University.  As of last Monday, all the class projects and one additional block had been finished. 

On the left is the Hand Quilting piece from Nancy Chong's Hand Quilting Class, on the right were the two class blocks from her Hand Applique class.  The little center block is part of a sampler project I've wanted to do for a while (more on that later).  For now, the large applique blocks are orphans. 
Update:  The Pink Hawaiian Applique block was used to make a journal cover in 2013 and can be seen in this post.
But now that my eyes have been opened to the pleasures of doing hand work, I've been looking at a lot of potential applique projects and the ideas are piling up.  So far, I've got preliminary plans for the wreath block to become the center of a medallion quilt but both could also eventually wind up in samplers.  On Friday, the Hand Quilting piece became this (rather large) bed pillow cover:

I'll be washing it with the laundry tomorrow to take out all the stencil markings and I've still got to make a pillow insert by serging some squares of muslin together and stuffing it with batting scraps.  I was glad to find a good outer ruffle fabric -- it will go with a number of the quilts I've already made for my bed and another one I hope to finish by year's end.  I love the double ruffle but next time I make one I will make two single (hemmed) layers rather than folding each layer together to create the finished edges.  Those four layers of fabric were a devil to ruffle (too thick to do on the serger) although they do form a nice firm edge around the pillow.

The little green and white Hawaiian applique block will be added to other blocks as part of a "framed sampler" project that I started waaayyy back in 2004 (I think?).  

 I had always wanted to try to make a paper-cut style applique block for this piece but at the time I was only doing machine applique and was not sure I could get it done.  When I realized this style of applique was also covered in the Hand Applique class, I was elated to think I might get this one done and made sure to pick a design and baste and stitch it up along with the larger class project.  The blocks for this sampler will finish at 3" (I've still got to trim the background of the applique block down) and will be pieced, paper-pieced and (now) hand appliqued.  The very wonky Nosegay block on the lower left may or may not stay -- I like the fabrics but the piecing is pretty bad.  On the paper in the lower right corner is a list of the other potential blocks I want to make for this such as Churn Dash, Card Trick and Goose Chase/Dutchman's Puzzle.  I would love to get this one finally finished before the end of the year and cross it off the WISP list.
Update:  That didn't happen until 2013 and you can see the finished sampler in this post.

As noted in the previous post, all this hand work focus was also supposed to help get me back to this project:

This was a doll quilt I started in 2007 for my aunt who collects dolls and will be the second one I've made for her.  The center strips were leftovers from the Amish "Trip Around the World" quilt I made back in 2006 which I talked about in my "Bucket List" post.  The applique design is from the "Pineapple Welcome" quilt in the "The Scrap Savers Solution Book" book by Connie Kaufman, reduced in size by 50%.  Unfortunately, I had completed most of the previous hand work projects while listening to the NY Yankees play in the American League championships (even though I am officially a life-long NY Mets fan) but now that they have been eliminated, I've got to find something else to listen to while stitching.  Fortunately, there are always my favorites -- podcasts.  This afternoon I will listen to Pat Sloan's show and I know that Sandy at Quilting For The Rest of Us has a new episode I also need to catch up on so that should keep me busy.  

Both this and the sampler project are part of the nine (!) project commitment I've made for Finn's "Year End Challenge" this year (button on the side bar).  I didn't do so great last year but I hope my "Spring Finish" productivity will be repeated for this one. And if I can get it finished by the end of the week, I am hoping that this will be my "Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival" entry (button also on the side bar) since I missed posting in the last one.

That's all for now but hopefully more to come later this week.  Happy Quilting!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Design Wall Monday 10/4/10

Subtitle:  Never Say Never!

I started quilting eight years ago because I learned that quilting did not necessarily mean handwork -- you could make a quilt, pieced or appliqued, start to finish, by machine.  That intrigued me because I come from a clothing sewing background and I tell you, the day I learned that you could hem skirts and pants by machine was the greatest day of my sewing life!  I hated hand work that much.

However, lately I have been on a handwork jag!  My current projects are this:

and this:

and this: 

How did I get from there to here?  It's not to say that I didn't admire people who quilt or applique by hand -- their work is beautiful -- I just never thought I'd get anything done if I did it that way.  But over time, I found blogs and got to regularly follow the work of impresarios like Janet of Quiltsalott and Cathy of Cabbage Quilts, Lori of Humble Quilts and Kathie at Inspired By Antique Quilts, Karen hand piecing and appliqueing many of her Dear Jane blocks at A Quilters Journey Back In Time and lately I've been following the exploits of Ann Champion on her blog and others at Glorious Applique as they work on the latest Kim McLean Roseville Album masterwork (and I've always admired her work too!).

And I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe I could do it too!  One of my first quilts was a doll quilt for an aunt of mine that collects dolls.  It had machine appliqued hearts on it and was machine quilted with the exception of the border that I had to quilt by hand because I couldn't do what I wanted at the time on the machine (as Jeff Foxworthy says, there's your sign!!!!).  I've always wanted to make my aunt another one and two years ago thought a doll quilt might be the way to try some hand work on a small scale.  Those of you that visited my blog in the early days might remember my first header picture:

The doll quilt is on the hoop
...and until this summer that project has sat because after the center piecing was done there was supposed to be hand applique motifs in the borders and then hand quilting for the finishing.  But after I tried a little of the hand applique and wasn't happy with it, I moved back to machine work.  Fast forward to this year and getting a lot of projects done for Jacqui's Spring Finish, I wanted to keep that momentum and tackle some overdue UFOS.  Then I saw that Quilt University (from which I have taken a class before and always wanted to take another) was offering a Hand Applique class taught by Nancy Chong and it was starting just before I was due to go down south for a week.  Perfect I thought, I can take the class assignment with me and work on it during the drive down.

NOT!!  I did not have time before I left to download the class notes and when we came back I was busy with family stuff and couldn't quickly decide on fabrics to use for the class project.  Then I bought a new sewing machine and of course I focused on trying it out.  So I just printed out all the class notes, followed the class discussion and vowed to get back to it once things slowed down.  That happened in September when my sons went back to school  and after the class had closed.  But then right behind it, they offered a Hand Quilting class also taught by Nancy.  Since I also needed that skill for the doll quilt project, I immediately (impulsively?!) decided to sign up for it too, figuring that I could work on the Applique class projects while doing the prep work for the Hand Quilting class project and maybe, just maybe when the smoke cleared and all the class projects were finished, I could start back on the doll quilt project that inspired it all and maybe get that long over due gift off to its intended recipient before year's end.

So far, so good.  As you saw in the first pictures, the first applique class project, the wreath block, is done (including some embroidery finishing -- another craft I have not done in over thirty years!), the Hawaiian applique block is basted and about a quarter done.  The smaller green one (which is also basted) is for a framed sampler UFO started six years ago and for which I always wanted a Hawaiian style block.  The Hand Quilting class project, a feathered wreath with grid quilting in the center and background, is about half done and I am making good progress on it.  I expect all of them to be done by the end of the week so that for the rest of the month I can work on the doll quilt and complete it.

Why the rush?  Well, I've still got one basted quilt from last year, a crumb quilt top awaiting borders, layering and quilting, the three tops I made this summer on the new machine and a Christmas tree skirt on deck for piecing, all of which I'd like to quilt up in November and put my new machine through its paces again. So wish me luck on all things hand and machine and in your quilting journey, never say never!