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40.2 Binding, Binding … Bound

July 31, 2016

Forgive my lateness in this post. I started writing a month ago and didn’t get any pictures transferred over until the July 31st weekend. I thought I had set this up to publish already, but now I see it’s still a draft. Many things have happened, not many of them actually quilting related however, but there is a huge post waiting to be written about my experiences with my local guild! This post is not it (yet). And now a massive, fun, quilt trip to write about. Any event, here is quilt “news” from me frome early July.

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My quilts are finally “going, going … gone” from their Work in progress status!

Thanks to my days at the retreat center, I finished the birds of the air quilt blocks, sent 40 off for the swap, keeping 8. I will get back 39 of the blocks since one is a “donation” block for Frances who has written a quilting book called “Birds in the Air.” I did get back 39 blocks, one being a donation block for Frances, which she has since received, but there were like 35 or so swappers (I forget how many) and so some of my blocks are done by the same quilter. I may add more blocks to what I have done already. This was easy block and a very fun swap!

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The local quilt show on pushed me to get some finishes beforehand. I had 7 quilts before the quilt retreat at the Creative Place without binding on them, in addition to 2 very mini hot-pad sized quilts. Most were trimmed down prior to the retreat, but a few were not.

I also quilted & stitched down my challenge quilt for the guild show.

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I didn’t mind free motion on the quilt with everyone in the room with me. It was a nice topic of conversation, and several people commented on how they liked how unusual the quilt was. And boy it’s artsy. I personally don’t like the frayed edges on the solids. But I don’t do much raw edge applique. My other attempts at raw edge over needle turn are my Don’t Panic Quilt done in batiks (higher thread count), or a few other quilts where I had satin stitching on the edge. I think it may have been exacerbated by the fact these are “lower thread count” since they’re solids.

Anywhoo, the birds in the air done, and the quilting on the challenge quilt done, means that duh,duh,duh, duhhhhh – binding was left on several, several quilts. Not large ones, thank goodness, but I do bindings a special way, and usually finish by hand. Luckily the focus provided at a quilting retreat leads to just that. I could get the fronts sewed down in the early morning before most people are awake, and then handsew later on, when everything is put away to pack up to leave.

And I just loved seeing all these little lovelies. Together was a blast!

Did I say little?🙂

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This is pre join on one quilt that ended up going for charity quilt.

It has a life and a story that I haven’t told, but even so, it went out to the charity quilts for something colorful for our guild show. It was a hard decision, but I think the right one to let this mini,mini quilt go.

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Did you realize how many of my quilts have the “hidden underneath”/kicker/flange binding on them? A LOT! And I love it since it gives off the extra little something needed to color frame the quilt.

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Like this one in yellow. This block was given as a paper piece practice from my guild for a name tag. I put the block into use by multiplying it (the original block was just one square) last summer I was going through bright scraps, and my only criteria was “make it bright and saturated in color” for chosing color. And small pieces are a plus here.

Sadly enough, I donated this one too. I love this little guy, and hope it brightens up someone’s day just a little bit!

I don’t think I individuallized the other bindings I was working on, but here’s the quilts ‘en mass’.

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Ok out of the 4 quilts you see here, 4 quilts have the kicker/flange on them. Clockwise from the top left, flange in: true deep blue (not turquoise), dark purple, dark coral, and bright pink.

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And this quilt was finished quilting (except for the very corners) a few years ago and just needed corners and binding. The binding was set aside special years ago. This one is a decent sized bigger than my other quilts, but even this is only like 3 feet on each side. I am sure I talked somewhere about my card trick quilt. No flange appropriate for the card trick quilt. But I thought about it. Briefly.

No more individual ones at all. Luckily, I can spread out when most are still asleep. All these yummy quilts to bind. Mmmmm.

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Like a multilayered hero quilt sandwich with all the toppings available, all these stack up quite nicely in a small quilt stack! With only binding showing on most of them!

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I am thinking about it, and a couple of choices I would have changed the “outer binding” to be a little less wild if it wasn’t for the kicker to ground the quilt and the binding together. Like the yellow calms down the crazy purple/orange binding on the bright quilt, and the tie-dye nostalgia print has a dark purple to ground the binding in with the quilt and gives it just the right movement.

Now if only I could be making these quilts bigger on the scale of 1:4 or so then maybe others would take these little quilts seriously.

Or not, they’re fun quilts. I got the quilt made out of “purina” leftover blocks in this stack. Purina, like the logo of red & white checkerboard. For the dog food etc. I can’t ever not call the quilt that now. Quilt on the left below. 

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40.1 Thoughts on The Creative Place in Spring Hill

July 31, 2016

Hey blog readers, this post is a month back, but finally got pictures uploaded. I anticipate being able to post again this week now that computer pictures have been transferred over. A majority of this was written almost a month ago, and if edited correctly, you wouldn’t notice, but please forgive future & past tense switches that do not make sense if I missed an edit.

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After my March – A – Long this year where I decided to focus on free motion quilting, several miniquilts of mine were quilted in time for our local quilt show in early July.

At the end of June, I was asked to attend a local mini retreat, which was perfect timing for the last bits of quilting needing to be done before the local quilt show.

In Spring Hill, Kansas, in a small downtown area (one block), quilter Kelly Ashton has a building she is calling The Creative Place, a retreat center for crafters.

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Kelly has thought of almost everything a crafter/quilter would want, and frankly, I can’t figure out what she is missing.

I did miss meeting Kelly herself. She came the 2nd night when I was sleeping, and as I was driving away at the end of the retreat, I saw her just outside the front door with the last few remaining retreaters. I did however, see her hexagon presentation to our guild last year (or was it the year before?) and was impressed with her thought process and design even then.

Anyway, this place is great. It’s all one level, so it’s inhabiting like 2 “store fronts” of the downtown Spring Hill area.

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The sewing space is huge. We had 16 – 18 people there One was a grandson who was visiting on one of the days, so mom could get some sewing time in (grandma was at the retreat). We could have had more day-trippers up to 25 may not feel that crowded. We weren’t actively using 7 tables for sewing, so they became quilt design “walls” and holding areas for fans.

But, Kelly also has her own movable design wall (out of PVC pipe), which most of us didn’t need, so sat unused behind one of the main cutting areas. Maybe the 2nd design wall was also hers, or maybe that was someone who brought one.

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What also sat unused, but could have had lots of use, depending on the group, was a huge light table. A large handmade table with lights underneath and plexiglass top that several people could utilize all at the same time.

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What sat underneath the light table, was a GO cutter, but no one also worked with that. I believe it was Kelly’s too, and I believe she wouldn’t have minded we use it either, but that was uncertain to those of us who noticed the cutter in our sewing area.

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In the main sewing area, two bathrooms, with cute decorations, a front area next to the windows, several large ironing surfaces with storage available for use underneath, a back area with lots of local food menus / suggestions, a fridge.

In the front there was also a carpeted sitting area, which would be nice for sitting and chatting with handwork for some of the weekend.

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Moving from the front room, to the left is the kitchen/bathroom/shower/area.  Toward the back of the place were two more bathrooms with step-in showers with handicapped railings.

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Just along the hall were numbered hooks for towels, so each overnight guest wouldn’t get them mixed up, and provide a place for them to dry.

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There were cubbies with extra blankets, and open spaces for people to store their things. Nice ikea shelves with lots of room!

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The dining area is in the same “room” as the kitchen with four smallish tables and four chairs around each.

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Kitchen was stocked with lots of plates, bowls, a brita water pitcher, general kitchen items, two coffee pots, electric water kettle, dishwasher, microwave etc. This was the first retreat that I have personally attended, where we didn’t have “set meals” where we got to go sit and eat together. People could come eat whenever they wanted, they did have to provide the food for ourselves, and there is enough places nearby for those who wanted to eat out.

The ladies coordinated suppers together, first night lasagna, second pulled pork, those meals were sit down with each other, but the rest was “on your own”. Totally different atmosphere than what I’ve seen at other retreats, but totally worth it! More sewing time!

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The only minor downside was the sleeping area. It was very well done, but it was one large room with 16 beds. The only way I am calling it a downside is if there is a majorly loud snorer or if light sleepers have a hard time with noises.

Each bed had its own footrest where the bags/shoes/clothes would be kept. Each bed also had a numbered locker with a key on a bracelet so we could store personal/sensitive things. And on the locker were these low level lights so there could be “walking around” lights during the night that were enough to see to move around at night, but not too distracting for people who were sleeping.

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Behind the sleeping area in the other window store-front was another sitting area with a couch, a couple of more chairs. We had it closed due to the heat. We ended up sewing on one of the hottest weekends of the summer (so far). Fans going constantly. Everywhere.

Also for the person sleeping next to the door to the kitchen area, if the light was on in the kitchen got a blast of light. Light was also a small problem for bathroom trips from the dark sleeping area if people were up and moving around the kitchen, it was sorta jarring due to the bright kitchen area lights. This could potentially be fixed with placement of some mobile kitchen lights that could be turned on during the normal sleeping hours, so the bright overheads could be shut off and the kitchen still be usable. Perhaps they were there and I didn’t see them?

So for those very, very small issues, the rest of the place here is amazing! Highly recommend a group to sign up for this retreat center!

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Across the street was a quilt shop, the Quilted Sunflower, who opened up special on Friday night. Saturday afternoon, the group took a couple of hours going to a neighboring town’s quilt shop in Paola. I missed out on the trip into town because I was on a roll and I have been downsizing my stash a little this year. I did go to the Quilted Sunflower in Spring Hill.

And there are several quilt shops within 30-40 minute drive, for people out of the KC area to use.

This place was just so wonderful, I posted in another retreat’s FB page in case they need to move or want to add an extra retreat. Price seemed reasonable, the experience was lovely! Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Personally, I knew 5 of the ladies sewing with the group that was there, the rest were new to me, but some of them familiar – probably seen them at local quilt shows etc! The lady across from me brought a pattern and fabric for these cute strawberry blocks she was making! In strawberry jam jars! I didn’t realize she wasn’t staying on Sunday and so I didn’t get to say good bye.

Anyway, I highly recommend this place to stay. Reasonable price, lots of thoughtful decisions made on Kelly’s part make this place a really special place for quilters and other crafters to stay as a retreat center!🙂

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40.0 Guild Challenge Quilt from Coloring book inspiration

June 19, 2016

Oy!

I took a few months off quilting to reset. Something about taking all my closet out, moving my ironing board and design wall, only having limited time to do outside tasks before blazing hot temps take hold – where we are now! – and family emergencies during another month, offset me from quilting until getting this challenge quilt ready for the June local guild meeting.

I’ve been a guild member since 2009, and this is the first “guild challenge quilt” I have participated in that we have had of this kind.

Ok, so we were given a challenge fabric and told, keep it small (about 2 feet), add one off white solid, add one other solid, and the rest is up to us.

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So I purchased some variations of solid fabrics.

challenge quilt fabrics

I had a thought about recreating either a fabric design, or a notebook cover, or a coloring book I picked up a while ago.

coloring book inspiration

Between this and a frequently added Pintrest board of gradient colors, I decided to try to recreate the front design.

coloring book inspiration colored diagram

I drew a quick sketch, then one morning, I sat down with some rulers and circles, and drew out and then colored a design based off this colored pencil design. And proceeded to color it in.

colored sketch gradient challenge quilt

I drew the design actually on the heat and bond paper that gave me a “real life” feel of the size of each piece I was adding to the quilt design.

This design turned out very “arty” for my taste. I think I teased a portion of this somewhere else.

close up at drawing

I used the gradients of having several different colors of teal as the focus, and the little accent pieces of yellow, orange and pink to pop in and out of the piece.

Setting up the quilting part, I started looking at videos and how best to approach this. I was essentially setting up a large applique quilt, but have decided in many recent times that I feel like I have very little patience for handwork. I needed to do this quilt raw edge.

I remembered a video Leah Day did of a piecing applique quilt from several years ago.

If you don’t swing back to her video, I used the ideas of a few major concepts that later helped me with my quilt.

  1. Leah showed the upward direction on the back of her pieces so she could piece her quilt correctly again. This helped me get the right orientation.
  2. Leah had an outline behind her fabric she was pasting her quilt onto.
  3. Leah had flipped her design right to left to get the correct orientation on the front. This was something I should have remembered on my own, but actually did not.
  4. Leah suggested cutting and placing strips down on the quilt, line at a time. Which was a slow way, but it got me organizing my quilt in such a way, I didn’t get any part mixed up with any other part.

Ok so I flipped the design around and put the new flipped design on another piece of heat n bond paper. I also eliminated the very “darkest” teal. In matching it up in a line with the other pieces, it had the wrong tone. It was darker, but it had a little bit more brown or grey tinted into the fabric color that didn’t “pop” with the rest of the quilt color.

flipped over outline of piece on heat bond paper

Actually eliminating the one fabric made it easier. I had done a proof of concept piece, and as much as I liked the tweezers and setting the pieces down, I actually liked having slightly larger pieces in my finished piece. It makes it more likely to be done when this is all said and done if the pieces are a little larger.

proof of concept piece

The darkest teal in this piece above, I took out.

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Then I had one more challenge that I myself had created for myself. My original design was on heat N bond, which would mean that if I added pieces to my finished quilt and ironed them down, that I would heat n bond my “design” to the table.

Luckily, I had all the small quilts I have been free motion quilting during the month of March. I took a quilt sandwich of similar size, placed that on the table, and then took a piece of freezer paper, traced the outlines onto the freezer paper from my heat n bond design, then heated up the freezer paper “pattern” onto the back of the quilt sandwich as a barrier for the table.

I had traced the outlines of my design several times before really getting started on the fabric part of my quilt.

When everything was ready, I took some close up pictures of my design for reference.

close up of outline piece on heat bond

And once I had the whole quilt photographed, I carefully cut up the patterns out of the heat n bond paper, one strip at a time.

cut up heat bond pieces

It was so nice using solid fabrics for this quilt, I didn’t have to worry about right side and wrong side. I applied each piece of my template to a piece of numbered fabric. I tried to consider the raw edge quality of the quilt, and attempted to make the main line go along the grain of the fabric if possible.

heat bond pieces reassembled back

After applying the pattern to the fabric, I carefully cut the fabric around each piece, giving a little bit of a seam allowance to each side evenly. I was going to have to slightly overlap the pieces with the neighboring pieces. If each of these pieces didn’t match up with my original designed sizes, that was ok, as long as the overlaps made sense with the rest of the quilt.

heat bond pieces layout front

And here was another section cut out and then flipped over.

heat bond pieces long section

heat bond sections pieces long section front

And a different section that was meant to be “interrupted by another piece”. –  Shown from the back.

heat bond sections two sections assembled back

As I completed each section (slowly), I carried them over from my working space to my ironing board.

layout of several sections on ironing board

After cutting out to size all the sections of this quilt, I picked a section to start with, and using the (faint) outline on the freezer paper as a guideline for placement, got my section organized the way I wanted it. Then hit it with a hot iron.

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The adding of each section became more and more fun. As long as I was paying attention to what goes under what piece, this quilt seemed to work out well. You may be able to see the faint outline under the off-white fabric.

I ended up using tweezers to help me place the “right” fabrics on front or on the back. For me, my general guideline was to have the lighter fabrics on the bottom, except in cases where that was an “alternating design”. I also tried to keep yellow on the bottom in places I would also be able to chose that too.

assembling the pieces raw edge and pattern

I originally had a different blue piece for the top corner that matches the “eye” I have on the right side. After doing all these pieces and strips on these smaller sections of lighter blues, I decided I wanted to add a little bit of color to the background. Adding even more of the quilt pieces to the quilt below.

assembling the pieces, more sections on fabric

In addition, I had a bright patterned yellow fabric that I tried to put into the quilt that would fit in the section next to the blue as part of a “sun” piece. Boy was it bright and distracting. I laid the cutout piece next to that section of the quilt, and it was too distracting. It felt like a “sun” part, but it just wasn’t working.

I did find a very light yellow and forgetting to flip the diagram over, I ended up placing the very very light back of that piece on the bottom right corner opposite my blue piece. It’s there, but hard to even notice, it’s so light.

And then I put the “front side” of the really light yellow to make sure I got a feeling of “offwhite” for the challenge portion of the quilt. It was a very lightly mottled tone-on-tone that fully reads as solid.

finished piece all heat and bond only

This is actually where I am with this quilt right now. It needs sewn down currently.

I did get it spray basted to a piece of batting and backing is the blue fabric in the “eye of the bird”. It reminds me of a bird with arms and a ball in his hand that trumpets out the front.

Sorta kinda but not really.

As I sew these pieces down, I will also quilt through the quilt sandwich at the same time. This will save me a step.

I was able to show off what I have finished to the guild on Tuesday, which was the “soft” due date for the quilt. We had quite a few people bring their challenge quilts to the guild meeting. Mine was not finished, but I was able to hold it up for all to see what I was working on, and to my knowledge, none of the pieces fell off in transport to or from the meeting.

This is going into our quilt show held on July 8th & 9th. Assuming I can actually sew it down & bind it in time. I may even use the challenge fabric in the binding!

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39.9 The end of March-A-Long for another year

April 3, 2016

March A Long Sewing

Frequent/expectant blog readers may have noticed a lack of posting anything last week. This was against my initial intentions, putting off the post too long last weekend made the post unable to happen as I was whisked away from the land of internets for a good day and a half last weekend. Seriously, there are still places in the US that are internet unfriendly.

Anyway, I think the gentle rip from my original plans was enough last weekend to knock the wind out of my (quilting) sails.

Any event, I am here now, a week later, discussing the end of March, the end of March-A-Long, the end of 15 minutes sewing every day.

Thanks go out to all who started and didn’t stop, all who marched loudly the whole month long, all who marched silently, all who wrote hashtags, all who did not, all who posted on social media – this blog, the FB page, twitter, instagram etc.

Thanks go out to all who took just a little more moments to think about quilting on a more daily basis than what they were doing before.

Thanks for encouraging each other, thanks for encouraging me, thanks for going along with this silly experiment in daily self-discipline!

As I state in the audio file, I really liked having a different focus for the month than normal that was broad enough to encompass a lot of different types of tasks. By saying I was doing more free motion quilting, I was doing more basting, more image pinning, more video watching, more drawing lines on pictures, more drawing lines on fabric, more changing of my needle, more thread changes, more foot changes than I had done in the last 11 months!

Way to go everyone!

By the way, I recorded this on April 1st outside, many bird noises and then a train noise that I completely didn’t notice too much when recording.

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39.8 March-A-Long end of week 3 – March 20 2016

March 20, 2016

Okay quilters, I hope you enjoyed #internationalquiltingday yesterday (that’s National Quilting day that is inclusive to all nations). Every year, the 3rd week of March on the Saturday there is more attention on this lovely quilting hobby of ours!

This ends our 3rd (out of 5) week of sewing for 15 minutes a day for the month of march. Getting used to sewing and thinking about sewing every day, even a little bit.

This week, we hear from a few people who have tagged their posts with #marchalong or #15minutesofsewing or something similar.

As always, if I forgot to add you, let me know, you could email me or post here or just tag your regular sewing with these hashtags and I’ll try to find them.

I’ve been busy with spray basting, unsewing, resewing, binding attachment, and quilting with heavy thread.

Before the black setting triangles were not added.

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And I hadn’t added the binding on this small quilt.

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And this little thing hadn’t been quilted or trimmed down.

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Close up of the quilting

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And what a cool birthday present!? Great for a very active quilter!

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39.7 March-A-Long 2016 end of second week

March 13, 2016

20160309_183917.jpgSo, it’s the end of week 2 and I personally have been successful at sewing / quilting for at least 15 minutes a day each day this week except for one when I was a little sick.

I have been quilting on a small quilt project, preparing the next quilt, taking apart even another quilt, and getting a lot of projects lined up with batting and/or backing.

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You all seem to have been busy as well!

Good job guys sewing for 15 minutes a day in March. If you haven’t done so, you can start NOW. Keep on keeping on!

 

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39.6 March-A-Long 2016 first week

March 6, 2016

2016-03-01-17.54.47.jpg.jpegI am testing out my Instagram skills this month to try to stay “on top of” pictures for the daily tasks of March-A-Long. March-A-Long is a commitment to sew/quilt/plan for 15 minutes daily during the month of March. As you can see above, this is the pieces of the new block of the month from Ula Lenz Stained Glass Ray of Hope quilt.

A lot of my personal time has been spent on Craftsy. Relearning Free Motion Quilting techniques & designs. I echo quilted the insides of this quilt, but not yet the outsides. Background fabric is too different, so I am going to decide what color works today for this small top.

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If you’ve participated in sewing for 15 minutes a day in March, let me know! Glad to know I’m in such great company already!

Have a great week, and keep on getting those stitches in! Keep experimenting!