Monday, February 17, 2020

Design Wall Monday: This, That and the Other.....

The blog's been fairly quiet because things have been a bit busy lately and not all of it has been related to my own projects.  So to catch up on recent events:

Bonnie Hunter's "Frolic" mystery is now history!  Well at least in terms of it being available for free from her blog.  Since Valentine's Day, she has offered the newly released digital pattern of "Frolic" for purchase at half price until the end of February!  As for me, I had hoped to finish the top for "Old Tobacco Road", the Quiltville mystery that I had been working on while everyone else was Frolic-ing. I did manage to finally get all the center rows stitched together:


Once the center was all pieced together, the debate became whether to just add a border for a quick couch-quilt-finish (which was how I originally envisioned using the finished quilt) or to continue on and add the Flying Geese borders Bonnie used in the pattern (and was one of the things I really liked about the design).  I have everything for both....


...it is just a matter of trimming up the center and laying things out on the design wall to finalize that decision.  However, I couldn't do that for two reasons:  first was that it was (finally) time to teach the English Paper Piecing workshop I had been hired to do:

The projects I chose for the EPP workshop.
My community garden President is also the treasurer of her Building Association and after seeing one of my projects we had been in talks for about two years about having me do a quilt class for one of their craft events.  Last Summer we were finally were able to narrow down on the "what" (had to be a hand work class and centered on the theme of "recycling") so I suggested an English Paper Piecing class.  Mind you, the only EPP I had ever done was this rosette after watching an episode of "Simply Quilts" back in the early 2000s!


So needless to say I had to do a lot of research about current methods and notions to bring myself up to speed.  Then I looked around the web and in books for some simple projects that I thought students would be interested in completing either in or after class.  The projects I settled on for students to choose from were the "Scrapbusting Hexie Hot Pad" by Cintia of My Poppet Makes (uses only 6 Hexies), the "Hexie Pincushion" by Jessica of Life Under Quilts (uses only 8 Hexies) and the "advanced" project and my absolute favorite, a hexie mini quilt version of the "Potholder Organizer" by Marti of Sewlicious Home Decor (for the student who really gets into making hexies!).  I love my sample of that one so much that it is now my permanent hexie project carrier!


My workshop was one of four offered over two community "sewing days".  Since I knew I wouldn't have time to make a whole quilt for the class, I lucked up on finding this beauty on eBay and used it as a backdrop/display in the class and to discuss the popularity of the "Grandmother's Flower Garden" style quilts.


It's all done (hand pieced and quilted!) except for the binding which I want, at some point, to add on.  I'm hoping I already have a fabric in my 30's reproduction stash that will go with it.  Hmmm, gives me an excuse to move up my plans for working on a series of quilts using that stash!  Also once again points to the importance of labels --- I'd love to know who did all this work and why it wasn't completely finished.  But then do you label your quilt before it's bound?  I know I don't!

I had originally agreed to do the workshop (my very first!) last November and I made up the organizer and hot pad samples for it back in the Fall.  However, scheduling snafus regarding the class space forced a change in format from just offering my class to hosting a multi-day, multi-class arrangement.  That actually proved to be fortunate for me because it gave me a chance to find and add an "intermediate" level project to my class plans which was the pincushion.  I got that one ready in December for the re-scheduled workshop which at first was tentatively planned for January but then was ultimately finalized for the first weekend in February.  In the end, it went well and I look forward to either doing this workshop again (along with ideas I have for improving how I teach it) or being able to solidify some ideas I have for other classes I could offer.

In between all of that, their organization got a request to do a workshop with one of our community's Girl Scout troops.  After discussions with one of the troop's leaders, we settled on doing a quilt where the girls would decorate fabric blocks.  Originally the plan was to have the girls just use fabric paint and markers to draw out their designs.  However, it was eventually expanded to adding the opportunity for them to get even more creative using felt appliques, decorative trims and to do a little hand stitching as well.  

Three of us facilitated one session in December and another one in January where the girls worked on their blocks in small groups.  I brought my Accuquilt Go! die cutter and dies so the girls could choose shapes and colors to add to add to their blocks using felt that was provided.  One of the troop leaders had asked if we could also have blocks that would quote this year's "G.I.R.L. Leadership Agenda" so I printed those out on fabric (prepared for printing) adding letter die cuts to take them up a notch.  When we were done we had these:


My garden president and I had shopped for Girl Scout themed fabric and the plan was that we had hoped to have some time either before or during the workshop "Sew Day" sessions to put up the blocks (I brought some gridded flannel for a design wall) and work on the layout.  However, there were lot of attendees and each facilitator also served as assistants for the other workshops so I wound up just bringing the blocks back home to work out the final layout by myself.  And that's what's (still) on the design wall today:


I had to combine elements from a few partial blocks and added things to others to fill them out and now these are all ready to be sewn together.  There are places I expect to have to hand stitch the seams in place to work around some of the embellishments.  Once I have the center done, I'll cut the outer borders (GS Cookie fabric!!) and then have to put together a backing.  When we shopped, we had mistakenly also purchased 4-H themed fabric -- in our defense it was sitting right along with the Girl Scout fabric and the colors coordinated!  In fact, the sashing squares here are fussy cut from one of the 4-H prints since hearts were the most requested die cut by the girls.

Last but not least:  I've picked out the fabrics for this week's BOM blocks so have to also get those made up over the next few days as well.


Ok, all caught up and it looks like it will be another busy week!

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