I saw this beautiful fabric on the The Fabric Shopper recently, called Poppy by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller - my mother loves Poppies, so I decided to buy some of it and make her a quilt.
I saw the post on Wednesday, contacted Fabric Flair that same day to figure out a custom order - Christie was great and stuffed 8 yards of fabric into a regular envelope to Canada for me, yay for saving on shipping! On Thursday, I paid the order and it went out Friday - the next Wednesday it was in my mailbox, wohoo! I wish all my online orders would go that smoothly!
I don't know what pattern to use yet, but the fabric is here and there'll be some focal piece with the poppy print on it as I don't want to chop that all up ;) I also don't remember if I ever gave my mother this blog address, so hopefully she doesn't read about it now :)
Whatever it'll be, it's going to be fantastic (can you tell I'm excited about this fabric??)! And I even have Shout colour catchers now, so no more surprises in the wash, though I doubt that these fabrics would run, I love Michael Miller fabrics...
Holy cow, I'm giddy - I've been like this all day. That giddiness also made me spent a fortune on a fused-glass bowl, but it was just so so beautiful.... here's a photo of it:
Sometimes a gal just has to treat herself, and the fabric is technically for my mother :)
Last night was our last quilt guild meeting for 2010 and I wanted to share a picture of a very cool quilt that one of the ladies made!
It's a charm quilt, so every fabric only occurs once in the quilt, and it's English paper pieced. The maker said that there are over 1500 pieces in this quilt, hard to imagine, but I've been surprised in the past, so I believe her :) It took her 4 years (picking it up and putting it away in between) to make. She cut a 1 foot wide strip for the border and appliqued the top to it. Quite something, eh?
We guild members also received instructions for the President's Quilt we make. The guild president serves for 2 years, then she (no men in our guild) gets a quilt made from blocks donated by the members (everyone's supposed to make one block). The president gets to pick the block, colours, size, etc.
This year's president chose the Hen & Chicks block, looks like this:
Her colour choices are Civil War Era and we were shown some examples of hues.
Picking the right colours was the hardest bit, but I got to work last night after the meeting and my block is almost done...
While sorting fabrics, I started picking out prints that I had bought or received individually and that didn't seem to go with anything else. I did some searching and found that I actually could mix and match quite a few prints together, and they all had something burgundy/wine red in common.
For some reason I keep thinking Warm and Fuzzy when I look at these blocks, so that'll be that name for now...
So I'm in the process of making log-cabin style blocks with a large central focus fabric and 3 layers of logs around it - none of the blocks are at that stage yet. I have a similar stack of fabrics in green and will make the same blocks in green to see if they go together, alternating the blocks or something like that. If not, I'll think of something else. This is a No-Plan-Quilt :)
Next, I was busy busy busy sewing drunkard's path blocks. I asked for some tips re: getting both ends of the curves lined up, and Crispy sent me some tips too.
However, I must have done something wrong when cutting out the pattern, or else, something is off. I pin at the start, middle and end, and I always end up perfectly in the middle, no extra fabric on the convex or concave side, but at the end of the curve, I *always* have 1/8 to 1/4" left over. I find that because I can't hold on to anything there, I can't make the ends meet. Oh well. I've resigned and will trim the blocks to size later...
I've got almost all my pieces sewn together. Some of the colours and pairs aren't my favourites, but they'll probably go well with the completed quilt in the end. I don't actually know how many blocks I'll have or what kind of layout I'll choose, yet.
The third and last project I did at retreat was actually the first one of the day. I had purchased these fabrics online quite a while ago after seeing them on someone else's blog. It was time to cut into them. I decided to make a miniature filmstrip, figured out my measurements to make it turn out about 30x40", my usual baby quilt size, cut all the pieces and took them to the retreat.
I didn't bring the pattern though, so when I started this project as my "instant gratification project to start the retreat weekend", I promptly cut a strip that wasn't supposed to be cut - I was lucky and it still fit. I ended up having a whole bunch of headaches with this quilt though, so it didn't end up being quite as quick or satisfying as I'd hoped. Plus, I'm really not happy with the 1" inner sashing - it's too narrow for my taste. Maybe it'll grow on me.
I'm calling this one "Chicks and Elephants"
I had cut out pieces and sashing for a second quilt, identical except using off-white sashing. I decided against that and am turning it into a different layout now.
On the last morning of the retreat, at breakfast, the quilt guild members were discussing charity projects for this year. We will make a quilt or two for the animal shelter (to be raffled off by them, not used as bedding for the cat cages!!!), and we decided to make it scrappy and have at least one animal print in a 12.5" block. We were also asked to bring some example blocks for the other members to the next guild meeting (next week).
Because I was still on a motivation/adrenaline/quilting rush from the weekend, I promptly started on some elaborate blocks when I got home. What the quilt executive didn't realize, I think, is that some people (like me), use their scraps until only tiny pieces are left. So my blocks are quite seam-heavy. We'll see how that goes over :)
Here's what I made, anyway:
The bottom four blocks are done log cabin style, in the broadest sense of the word. I'd almost lean towards calling the style "add-pieces-to-the-edges-wherever-you-can". I sorted my scraps according to colour, though that wasn't a prerequisite.
The last block I wanted to make a bit faster and use some narrower pieces, so I found all kinds of strips that are almost to narrow to be used for my taste (a few 1" ones in there), and I guess it's pretty obvious how I made the block :)
Well, I haven't done much quilting since that Sunday - no I lie, but the quilting I did do I'd rather forget. What a headache I had Tuesday working on the Disaster Quilt, one of my QUIPs in the right side bar - more of that later. Suffice it to say, I should have expected that debacle with a quilt called disaster quilt. It's living up to its name!!
Either way, all the sorted fabrics are still on my floor, I just covered them up to protect from sun (ahahahaha, what sun????) and dust (yup, lots of THAT around!).
People have learned not to come by my place unannounced, as they would have to dig a path through my quilting projects to get to the couch ;)
We have had soooo much rain here, yikes... the weekend weather forecast for the retreat was "Rain". The weather man actually paused after that and said: "That's it, there's nothing else. Just rain and more rain. There isn't even the chance of anything else." Must be tough to fill up a 30 s allotted time spot with one word ;)
However, on Thursday, all that rain combined with one teensy break in the cloud layer created a rainbow in front of the the drabbest, greyest sky I've seen in a while :) it felt slightly miraculous to see this:
Okay, rain is the perfect weather for a quilt retreat of course - you wouldn't want to miss a beautiful day - well, actually, if the choice is quilt retreat vs. a nice day outside, I'd probably still pick the retreat :)
To make a short story long, I recently went through a phase of not being interested in quilting - shocking, I know. I discovered, however, that sorting through one's fabric stash can wake the quilting interest like nothing else (other than maybe seeing an inspiring quilt or a quilting retreat).
So in the midst of all my sorting, I picked several fabrics that I wanted to make quilts from and started cutting pieces for the quilt retreat (not in either of the two pictures next to this statement).
I'll start with some pictures from the retreat, held in a beautiful Victorian B&B, then I'll show you my progress from the retreat.
Let's start with the two retreat organizers getting ready for strip poker. I love that game! Especially when you find out that we all had to bring ten 3" strips for this game. But it's just so funny to think that the older ladies (the two organizers are the youngest of the bunch besides me) are getting ready for strip poker! The young lady reading the magazine is my friend, who doesn't live here and isn't in my quilt guild, but started working on a quilt last year and came to (almost) finish the project and visit with me.
Here she is working on her gorgeous quilt. It was her first own work and it turned out beautifully!
I helped her with the design and getting started, but she plowed on by herself quite a bit, which led to interesting techniques, like attaching the binding to the top of the quilt before the sandwiching, cutting the corners or the binding (but luckily leaving enough overhang that we could make it continuous again and do mitered corners), and pin basting with about 10x fewer pins that I would use :) I think that having the binding on before sandwiching might actually be a benefit because it gives something to hold on to and keep the fabric taut when stippling close to the edge... just means you have to sew around the whole quilt twice...
A former quilting teacher of mine was playing around with free-motion filler designs by Leah Day on this quilt (and I think I got her onto that blog, so I take some pride in showing this quilt, too :) Each blue square has a different filler design in it. This lady is an excellent free-motion quilter already, so this was just a way to try new patterns rather than practicing her skills.
One of the organizers was working on this beautiful batik quilt. The temperature rises a couple of degrees from just looking at it, don't you think?
The guild's president brought back a quilt she was working on last year at the retreat. She added a border and some more quilting since then... Rumour has it that the son this quilt was made for didn't want it - he liked another one better. His loss, I say ;)
My friend also brought a quilt that was hand-pieced (very meticulously!) by her great-great-aunt. We figure it was pieced before 1950. It's made of old shirting materials amongst others, and it's a bit scrappy. As in, one section has one type of blue, then she seemed to have run out of the material and switched to another blue print. My friend is hand-quilting this one, after she found it in a cardboard box in her parents' basement.
Here we all are with our projects!
I think, I'll leave you in suspense for a couple of days as I don't have much else to report this week, so I may as well save the detailed view of what I'm holding up (I'm on the bottom right :) for Friday!