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Monday, July 27, 2009

Grapes Pillow Happy Dance

Okay, so it hasn't yet been pillow-ified, but the Grapes Pillow cross stitch is finished!!!

Did I mention that I started a new project? Lesa Steele Designs' Butterfly Song - I've had this kitted up for a while [probably years now], and just HAD to start and work on it. Here's the first couple of bands:

I'm using TG SNC Kaleidoscope instead of Halloween Confetti, and I like the coloring much better.

Does anyone have any idea whatever happened to Lesa Steele? She used to have a web site, and it's no longer there, and I haven't seen anything by her in a while... just curious. I have a few of her patterns, and love them!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Knoxville AQS Quilt Expo Report

After many years of holding the Summer show in Nashville (in August), this year (and the following two, at least, per contract) they held the show in July in Knoxville. A friend and I drove up Tuesday night and went to the show Wednesday and Thursday. We had a blast! And I do believe that Knoxville, at least this year, is pulling out all the stops to ensure that they keep the show in their city - Nashville, watch out, because we may not get it back.

It started with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the opening day, with the mayor making a short speech and cutting the ribbon. The Knoxville News-Sentinel had a full-page ad that surrounded the paper, and there were free copies of the paper outside the Convention Center. I don't know if there were free copies elsewhere, but this was a really nice extra.

We started on one side of the show, viewing the exhibits there, before making our way to some of the vendors. I had opted for three 1-hour lectures the first day, so we didn't make it all the way through the show, maybe about half-way. We took our time, touched nearly everything, had lunch, went to lectures with Helen Squire, Becky Goldsmith, and Pepper Cory, and then spent the evening playing with our purchases and planning our next day.

Thursday actually went much more quickly because we had no classes or lectures scheduled. We started out on the other side of the show, admiring the other exhibits, especially the one of Julia Needham's (a Knoxville native) quilts. The workmanship on the handmade quilts was exquisite. Even the first quilt from 1977 was gorgeous, and every seam and stitch was perfect. Most of her color choices, though you could tell the fabrics were from a particular time period, were timeless. Each quilt took her from 9 months to over a year to complete. If you get a chance to see an exhibit of her quilts (I'm not sure if they'll be exhibited in the Museum in Paducah, but hope they will be, because I'd love to see them again), I highly recommend it. One of the saddest things though, in my opinion, was something I read about her quilts - she never believed that the quilts should be used. These were traditional bed-size quilts, not art quilts, yet she never used or allowed them to be used. When she wasn't exhibiting, she folded them and stored them away. While this means that we can admire them now in their pristine condition at a quilt show, I feel a little sad that she and her family never got to enjoy snuggling under them. For me, snuggling under a quilt is one of the most comforting things one can do. And I feel fortunate that my family, and everyone for whom I've made quilts, actually loves and uses them. I am no master quilter, but I wouldn't want to be if it meant that I felt that no one could snuggle under one of my quilts.

Back to the quilt show - we finished the exhibits, then spent more time perusing the vendors. I found the paper pieces I needed for a little Sugar Cube Pincushion pattern from the Moda Bake Shop. I saw the Bohin white chalk pencil demonstrated, and with my budding interest in applique, decided to buy one to try (but not just for applique). I picked up 3 charm packs and a neat baby quilt pattern. A few needles to try, some thread, a 5x tabletop magnifier (for my tiny cross stitch which, even with my glasses, is getting harder to see), and 2 Hobbs batting sampler packs. I think I'll cut one of the packs in half, machine quilt one half and hand quilt the other half so I'll have a sampler of how they quilt with notes about how I liked quilting with them. There are various cottons, wool, silk, and polyester, so I'm eager to make a new quilting reference. :)

Thursday night after arriving home, I started on the little Sugar Cube Pincushion I've been itching to try. I finished it up yesterday, stuffing it with fiberfill and some crushed walnut shells (another quilt show acquisition) for a little more weight. Here is the result:

So much to do, so little time... I'm off to the sewing room to play!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Final 2 blocks in the Quilter's Palette

The Carolina Lily and the Stars and Cards blocks were the final two blocks in the Quilter's Palette quilt, and I've finished both of them, yay!

Carolina Lily

Stars and Cards

I'm really looking forward figuring out just where each block will go and assembling the quilt top. But first, I must piece the quarter-wedges into the sunburst pieces. I've figured out which fabric I'm going to use, I just haven't got the templates cut out yet.

But before I get into that, I'll be heading to the Knoxville AQS Quilt Expo with my girlfriend! I am SO looking forward to my mini-vacation. And after we get back, I'll still have a little time to play with fabrics, so it's going to be a great rest of the week (plus, I think we get to see the new Harry Potter movie this weekend too)!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2 more blocks in the Quilter's Palette quilt

I've just finished up the second of this week's two blocks in my online class quilt, the Quilter's Palette by Annie Smith, the Best of All block, and the Roman Holiday block. Roman Holiday was more paper piecing, so I'm beginning to get the hang of it. The hardest part now is making sure to get all the little bitty pieces of paper out of the block once it's finished. I also happened to watch a recent episode of Fons & Porter that had to do with paper piecing, and that helped reinforce some of the concepts.

Best of All block

Roman Holiday block

I have 7 blocks left to quilt on Noel's Gone Fishing before I can start putting the blocks together. Oh, and I also pieced July's SSS block of the month! This one's called Jack in the Box.

At the quilt guild meeting, I got Tori's quilt back from the quilter, so things are slowly coming together. Now I just need to bind it and that will be another project finally finished. Maybe in the next couple of weeks, because this next week will be busy with class and the Knoxville AQS Quilt Expo. There's a whole lotta quilting going on!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Finally caught up on Quilter's Palette class

Here are the last 4 blocks I've done (and yes, I finally finished the other 7 sunburst wedges this weekend, yay!). I felt a little like I was falling behind, but thanks to the holiday weekend, I am all caught up.

Carnival Ride

Butterfly (part 1)

Spring Flowers


There are only 4 blocks left plus the quarter circles to add to the sunburst wedges, then the class will be done. This has been such fun! Of course, when I finish the class, I'll have to get back to the other quilting projects I've been ignoring for the past couple of months. :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Sun Sets... with seagulls and shells

My button order came in this week, so I've attached them now. Here's an updated picture!

Quilter's Palette - paper piecing

Fortunately while my primary sewing machine has been in for service, I've been working on some paper piecing, which just requires you to sew on the lines, no worry about quarter-inch seams (because my backup machine doesn't have anything closely resembling a quarter-inch foot).

I have to make 8 of these sunburst wedges (they'll get quarter-circles of a different fabric added late to finish them), so I've set up an assembly line to finish piecing the remaining 7, which are all about 2/3 complete.

I've also stitched the 4 pieces for the Thistle Flower block, which are all paper-pieced. Paper piecing does allow you to get these super-fine points, but it creates a lot of waste. I've also had trouble with getting the pieces with the correct sides together, and had to pick out way more times than you'd think, once the technique is learned. That's why I set up the assembly line for the wedges. I hate piecing something then having to unpick it. Especially the tiny stitches required for paper piecing, and having to be SO careful not to tear the paper out at the same time.

I do love the colors.

Not too much longer and I'll have the rest of my wedges pieced. And I was able to pick up my primary machine today! The timing was off and had to be reset. Looking forward to getting my baby set back up in the sewing room and getting to the next set of blocks!