Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Seven Days of New Year's: Day 4, 5 and 6

I continued work on projects in the days between the Day-After-Christmas and New Year's Day.  Although I still have some more blocks to make for my "Make It Scrappy" quilt, I needed to change things up a bit.  I have some workshops coming up and needed to get some hand work done for them so figured now was a good time.  One of the things I want to do more of next year (so weird to say that when it is only a few hours away!) is to do more "Slow Stitching" through hand work.  So that is what has been on the agenda for the last three days.

Three weeks ago, I, my community garden President and another garden member did a workshop with a troop of Girl Scouts.  We had them decorate fabric squares that are going into a banner quilt for their troop.  This is an idea I got from Val's Quilting Studio and an article on Storey.com by Amy Petronis Plumley.

The other two ladies live in the same building and are also officers of their Building Association.  Their Association regularly sponsors community art workshops (which during the summer months are often held in our community garden) so brought their experience to work with the girls.  They had them draw, paint and stitch their ideas onto muslin fabric squares I had prepped with freezer paper backing.  One group of girls had an idea to add a picture to the crazy quilt style block they designed so the garden member is printing up the image they chose on fabric and we will help them sew it in and finish the additional embellishment they want to add to the block.

My contribution was to bring my Accuquilt Go! cutter and provide dies that they could use to cut felt we had brought to add decorative shapes that they would stitch down onto their blocks.

The Hearts were very popular!

The troop has two leaders, one of whom is also the Community Relations Director for our co-op's management.  She has made a quilt in the past so she and I discussed what the layout of the quilt would be. The quilt uses 10" blocks in a 4 x 3 setting and we plan to sash and border it.  For that part, we'll use Girl Scout fabric purchased from Joann's.

I know, some of that is 4-H fabric.  When the garden President and I went to buy the fabric, all of it was sitting together.  It was only when I brought it to the workshop did the troop leader immediately recognize it as 4-H.  Well, the goals of the two organizations --- to encourage and develop self respect, skills and youth leaders ---- are similar.  At the least, we can use the 4-H fabric for the back.  The troop leader also wanted to incorporate this year's Girl Scout leadership mottos.  So I formatted them in a wordprocessing program and we purchased printer fabric sheets to create those panels.  I suggested that since I had letter dies, we might add another 3-D element to the panels to spell out "G.I.R.L" on each panel.

I had set my task for Sunday to be to print the panels and stitch the letters down with some variegated Perle cotton thread I had purchased to add to the project stash. However, after getting the fabric printouts done, I realized the garden President had taken all the thread we brought to the event home with her.  I had to wait until Monday to connect with her to get it and then sewed them down today.

I'm glad to get these done since we are returning to work with the Troop this coming Friday to finish up their blocks and the layout.  As of now, the plan is for the adults to put the quilt together once the girls finish the blocks and then have a reveal ceremony in the coming months.

Edited To Add:  You can see the finished quilt here.

The other workshop related work:  for this same Building Association, I've been hired to give a quilting workshop.  They had secured a grant to do craft workshops with the theme of "recycling" and they have already held a few in the Summer and Fall.  Of course, quilting fit right in with that theme!  However, the limitation was that their Association room doesn't have the capacity (in space or electrical outlets) to accomodate a bunch of sewing machines so it would have to be a workshop using a hand work technique.  I suggested to them that we do an English Paper Piecing class since it is both a historically and currently popular technique in the quilting world.   While I was familiar with the technique, admittedly, I had only made one EPP rosette prior to now.

So I've spent the last few months gathering a lot of information and books about the subject and familiarizing myself with all the popular ways to prep them.  I gave a "hands-on" demo of the various techniques to the Association's Class Committee back in October.  They all got a big kick out of prepping the hexagons and fabric I provided and were excited about the design possibilities.   We had planned on holding the workshop in November but they had a scheduling snafu so it was moved up to January.

In the mean time, I've tried to find and make a few easy projects of varying complexity that the workshop participants can choose to make once they have tried the various techniques to prepare the shapes.  I had these two ready for the session planned for November:

The Hexie Hot Pad only requires participants to make one rosette.  If they get their fill of trying the technique from that, it will be simple (I hope) to show them how to applique it to a circle of fabric and then layer the circle with batting and stitch it closed.  The EPP Organizer is my variation on a Pot Holder Organizer project I found on the web. This one will be a more advanced project for those who really get into prepping and joining hexies.  I figure if they like it a lot, they will love the opportunity to make a pouch that will allow them to carry their stitching supplies for future projects.

However now that I had more time to prepare, I decided on adding at least one more mid-level project.  I'm trying to keep the projects relatively simple since many of the people who have expressed interest in the workshop have not quilted and some have not even sewn before.  I also wanted the projects to have practical use in the hopes that will encourage participants to want to finish whichever project they choose to do.

I had an idea about making what I thought would be a simple Key Chain Chapstick holder.  When I couldn't move forward on the Girl Scout letters Sunday, I worked on cutting fabric for that EPP project.

However, as I laid them out, I realized my original plan wasn't going to be as simple to execute as I thought.  So I had to trash that idea (although not the hexies!) and come up with something else.  That killed the momentum for that day.

As I said, I went to see our garden's President on Monday and wound up staying way longer than planned.  She is a crafter too so we started "talking craft" between reviewing and packing up the items she will be bringing for the return session on Friday.  When I finally got back home, I did manage to pick another EPP project:  I decided on a Hexie Pincushion project that had been part of a hexie project blog hop.  Like the Hot Pad project, it only requires prepping one rosette plus an extra center hexie.  I managed to get the fabric cut before calling it a night.

I got them all prepped today before needing to run out to pick up some things.  While out, I had hoped to find the crushed walnuts suggested for stuffing the pincushion.  The tutorial noted that either Craft or Pet Stores carry them --- in the latter they are used as Reptile bedding.  However, the nearest craft store to me was a Michael's and they didn't have any.  There was a pet store next door but they also didn't stock it.  I went to a second mall only to discover the pet store there had closed!  When did that happen?!?  I called a third one that was in driving distance but they don't carry it either.

So for now, I've completed the pincushion up to the part where I'll remove the papers and then fill the pincushion.  I had planned to shop on line for my new sewing chair tomorrow so I will order the walnut shells while I'm at it.  That's it for me for tonight.  We're headed out in a little while to go see a late night showing of  "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker".  A great way to welcome in the New Year!

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