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40.5 Ladders and Bubbles metamorphosis

January 31, 2017

As the new year starts, I have found myself gravitated towards a project that I originally conceived of in 2011. A simple paper piecing project with alternating blocks. Hung in strips. 

While the picture below might be the quilt in the middle of its cocoon form, it had very different origins.

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The idea for this quilt started with a sheet I picked up at goodwill, and some scraps of some leftover blue jeans. I had a soft yellow sheet that would have made a good contrast with the thick heavy denim.

I wanted to make a quilt that combined the two types of fabrics. 

I started out seeing a picture or two of denim quilts online that were of a stained glass window type. Ones with wildly varying shades of denim, ones with denim squares and rectangles, surrounded by lots of black fabrics.

A comment I read somewhere in 2011 was that two layers of denim were hard to sew together because the seams were too thick.

In preparation for this quilt, I searched for darker denim, and even scored some light pink denim from somewhere. 

While this project was originally designed with denim in mind, I had a lot of fun in Electric Quilt trying to figure this quilt out. I have 42 different electric quilts in this project file. Most are variations of blues with black sashing/ stained glass, and light pink. The bottom picture below shows the original pretty pale yellow bedsheet.

More and more I thought against using the yellow bedsheet, as the texture would be different in the bedsheet area than the rest of the quilt. I also started to hear about quilts made with sheets.

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I noticed that I started gravitating towards two distinct versions of the quilt – the slanted ladder, and the alternating blocks that used vertical ladders.

I created one of the vertical ladder blocks. It looked good, but the block edges looked thick. And maybe this quilt was going to be heavy and hot. 

I even was able to purchase some non-jean denim of the darker blue type. I could use the dark blue denim as a consistent background fabric for many different values of blue jeans.

One of the designs started to emerge more and more in my electric quilt that seemed to suggest instead of a steady fabric, more of an “I Spy” quilt with lots of different fabrics that could even be showcased in the middle of the block.

So now maybe this quilt would use denim as a background fabric, with non denim fabrics in a more prominent way. But many many of the designs I liked still had a denim on denim seam in between the blocks. It would be hard to get around that without adding sashing. Which in the quilt I liked the most, would ruin the graphical effect.

During one of the sales of an online fabric company, I found some beautiful “denim like / denim colored” fabric on a nice sale, and I purchased enough of this fabric for a consistent background. 

Between the avoidance of the denin on denim seams, and my new denim colored consistent background, I started thinking about replacing all the denim in my quilt for all cotton fabrics. Playing on one idea for the quilt, stringing it together.

I then drew up this quilt in EQ7.

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 This quilt sort of has none of the elements that I started with except for the dark outlines that mimic a stained glass window. No bedsheet, no denim, pink or otherwise. No dark blue consistent background denim either.

So maybe this is the same quilt, maybe it is not? 

It was so different from my original name of my quilt when I started taking pictures of it again, I didn’t even remember what I called it on my files.

For the last few weekends, I have been working on one row at a time.
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My fabrics I actually chose a year ago just prior to the retreat I attended in February 2016, and it was sorta the last project I worked on there as the last day thing to jump start the next project. 

I have since been trading out fabric for better row color match or better quality of fabrics. 

Some of the pictures are even up on my new design wall.

This was before the design wall was hanging up.

Some in progress pictures of each row. Here’s how I start on the ladder pieces. Washable Elmer glue. I also pre-fold the paper before using. 

And the bulbs being glued down below.

The bulbs are large octogon pieces with black on the sides. I had forgotten the order to sew in when I first picked this block back up after a year off. So of course I forgot to sew the sides first. I mean, why look at the order on the back?

I am glad I work in batches. So I didn’t have to seam rip all those seams for all the colored rows.

Actually the paper is still on the backs of these blocks, so when I show them on my design wall, know they are pinned to it.

Above I am previewing the green.

I am pretty sure that I had knocked over the design wall before putting the green row on.

Anyway, now I am putting together these cuties in a tub to with me to the retreat next week to finish up and sew together into a top. Several more rows to go.

I am beginning to think that I may never make a full denim quilt. I did get rid of several fabrics in the last year I hadn’t made any move to use. I believe that the pink denim was removed from my stash.

So I want to thank you for listening to a story of a quilt that either never was, or has changed so much in the interim that is no longer recognized by the owner as exactly the same quilt as it started to become. Metamorphosis in action! 

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40.4 Pictures of my blank wall

December 30, 2016

First off, let me say that yes, my camera has been compromised several months ago. I know that. The white balance is off now and the camera doesn’t get clear pictures anymore with the right amount of light let in. And I just haven’t fixed it.

But I am not going to let that stop me in posting pictures of my (blank) wall(s).

So bear with me.

So this past fall, was a change from one house to another, leaving me with more contained but larger overall space.

And it’s finally getting to the point where my quilts can be put up on the wall, getting to the point where every spare moment doesn’t have to be in relation to the best new thing for the house. Leading me to finally start to feel some enjoyment in my spare time.

Although I can’t say I’ve spent a TON of quilting time, I also can’t say that I find my sewing space actually “complete” either.

Anyway, I realized that you might want to see some pictures of my blank walls.

I really should title this post: My new-found-love-affair-with-3M-Command-products

I finally organized all the extra strips I have been getting with my 3M strips and put all the kinds of things into baggies.

I have used 3M large hooks and those “fancy” dowel rods to hang quilts up on the wall in the past. Below is a picture of a quilt in my previous residence.

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See up on the top of the picture, the rod going through the back, and the large 3M hooks.

This particular hook setup actually stayed on the wall until I physically took it down, but some of the quilts just this past January that I had rearranged on the walls had fallen down by July using the sleeve and rod technique.

And guess what else I don’t like about the technique? Making the sleeve! Maybe for large quilts hung in shows, but I don’t really want to do sleeves again if I can help it. Let’s 3M and binder clip it!

OK. So I have found several different ways to use 3M products.

Strategies for using 3M Command strips in quilting.

1. The fridge clips. These come in a package of 6 clips. Which means for my small quilts, I can use them to hang 3 small quilts. Or if I wanted to hang 2 larger quilts instead, that’s an option.

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Even my somewhat heavy “Don’t Panic” quilt can be held by these clear plastic clips. It takes a tiny bit of snugging up into the binding, but there is a larger top portion on these clips that the binding can jam up inside, and once it’s up there, it really feels held by the clips.

But I didn’t already have a ton of these clips, so using what else I had.

2. Mini clips (+ mini binder clips)

Clear plastic clips and mini binder clips.

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I had purchased these 3M mini clips about a year ago or longer, and the mini binder clips that are all sorts of colors I already had them as well. Lots of them. For which I had no other known purpose.

These mini binder clips also happen to have a nice rubber, color-coded coating on the thin wire portion. The 3M Mini clips are just barely narrow enough to let the mini binder clip slip past. The mini binder clips aren’t terribly noticeable and can color coordinate a little bit with the quilts themselves. And I have seen many different colors and decorations for the binder clips themselves.

How strong is this setup? Well a quilt that’s about a yard on each side seems to be holding up ok so far if i spread it out between 4 small binder clips. This has really only been up for one week though.

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For some reason, I have more luck searching amazon for “Mini Hooks”, and I get a similar looking product that is more prevalent, but I don’t know exactly how they work that says “Decorating Clips”. “Mini Hooks” is what I have tested, but “Decorating Clips” seem to be a horizontal version of the same thing, but I don’t know that the binder clips fit on them for sure.

3. Wire hooks

I also had bought a lot of the wire clips that are a little more unruly, but also are narrower and more forgiving. The wire clips I had set up to hold my main design wall at my old place. I have been using these wires to hold many things other than quilts. Wire hooks hold patterns, rulers, my towels in my kitchen.

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As you can see, some binder clips are also employed in keeping rulers without holes punched out together on my stand.

In the background of the next picture, you can see some FMQ patterns and stencils held in my closet. And also you can see I am starting to store projects in bins instead of 1 gallon ziploc type baggies.

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And above you can see I am using mini hooks for my shape cut and long ruler, and large rotary cutter (had to have some other extenders here). Mini hooks I can find like everywhere, they seem to be easier to locate anywhere these products are being sold. More so than the other clips.

Oh, and large binder clips can be used as well, but they just don’t look quite as cute as the minis.

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Here’s a close up of the mini binder clip, with a comparison regular binder clip to the right. And the size and shape of the mini hooks. And 4 clear plastic tabs that fit with most of what’s shown above.

And it looks like if you don’t have mini binder clips, you can always use those wonder clips. There is a small slit in the back.

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This hasn’t been field tested yet, but initial examination looks promising.

Anyway here’s another use for the 3M products.

4. Medium clear plastic hooks

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This picture is of my blank wall, but you can hopefully be able to see the outline of the clear plastic hooks.

This is for my smaller portable portion of my design wall, my “design board” if you will that I am placing right behind where my sewing machine is, and not far from my iron.

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I made a design board out of a bit of foam board I already had from Hobby Lobby. Last weekend, I used some Aleene’s Original Tacky glue in the gold bottle, and glued down some batting to a portable board. I see this being really useful as a smaller board, or for a transferring board.

Here it is resting on the 3M medium hooks. There are currently only 2 hooks on bottom, and two on the side horizontally to keep the board in place. So far it hasn’t toppled over. Yet.

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I actually hope that this mini board experiment works well so I can duplicate it onto my larger wall that I am waiting to put a full “design wall” up. I have the flannel already, but not the 4′ X 8′ insulation foam. I am planning to use the very large white hooks and place them all around the design wall board. I am really hoping to not have to add any holes on these walls. I have done that too much in the past.

I know I have the option of taping 2 large insulation boards together so I can have a really large 8 X 8 design wall, or maybe even 3 boards. But that is just put off for a while. Hopefully soon! But in the meantime, I can use a nice design floor instead. Lots of options there.

Other non-wall, non-3M hacks?

My wire rack that used to have fabric now also stores quilts in progress.

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On the side are 2 re-purposed DVD racks that have jelly rolls on them.

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My cutting surface is a tabletop (new) on top of 4 shoe rack storage bins huddled in the corner. Now a lot of fabric is sitting in those small shoe rack bins. Luckily I had 3 of these already, this is rather expensive to put together from scratch.

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Currently these are not secured, but there is talk and thought about securing the table on top with two of the 3 M wire hooks facing each other with a rubber band in between. So far, I haven’t cut so much on this mat, and what I HAVE done, I haven’t had a problem with shifting much. I also currently am about out of 3M hooks and strips.

These past few weeks have been fun, made me feel like an engineer a little bit. Trying to problem solve and use ready-purchased items to help me do so.

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40.3 Wha Happened?!!?

December 3, 2016

So, I intended to write up several posts the remainder of this year.

One post I wanted to write about my involvement with our local quilt show, which this year put me in the middle of helping in a very deep way. I was going to go through my thoughts and feelings of pride and exhaustion just getting everything ready in time. I even made a quick little video of the quilts at our local show which I maybe intended to post here.

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One post was intended (or many, actually) with my epic trip to Michigan to the AQS show there with my aunt, and all the quilty things we saw and did there, and on the way there, and how I finally met a few of my online quilting friends I have known over 5 years, and a few brand new friends in the last few years. How it was almost comical how much effort we kept trying to get everyone together all at the same time, and we came “this close” to it, but still cherished the time we spent walking down the hallway, eating in some favorite restaurants, getting to enjoy the Lion King exhibit together, discussing with the white glove members that yes, we were allowed to take pictures of the guild quilts according to the map of the exhibit, how I found the best burger of the trip at La Claire, IA, and the surprise trip stop back through Riverside, Iowa, in addition to seeing two separate Amish communities.

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One post was intended about the fact that I wasn’t quilting, I was gaming instead. Hmm. Maybe one post should have been about the despair I was feeling about feeling so very disconnected from everything quilty for a while on a path of my own choosing simply starting with things not going right in one area of my life, and my escapism to try to deal with that lead me to feel isolated everywhere else in my life. And how when I looked at a different part of my life that was originally working well, things started to crumble in that area too (weight, health, relaxation), and how devastated I was when my “take it easy” vacation lived up to very little of the expectations I had for it, and how that started to make me even more angry and upset.

One post about the epic change that has happened this year and how, in the middle of it all, I drove down to northwest Arkansas and quilted for several days to try to bring me back into the normal swing of things and got lots of quilty support, and then immediately had to go back to grueling, back-breaking work to be able to pull off what was done in time.

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One post about how again I went to an outdoor quilt show and how much I jibber-jabbered with the members of the other guild while I was there in the beautiful outdoor setting.

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One post about how sad and devastated that I was that my primary camera in the last year has cracks on the front glass that makes many pictures look even more terrible than they used to look from the blur, and how I haven’t yet had a spare moment to figure out how to fix it (a 7-8 dollar fix + time). And then more ruminating about how sad it makes me feel that I accidentally cracked the glass on the front of the camera by doing nothing more than something I was trying to make myself happy doing.

One post about the fun times with one of my bestest quilting friends here looking at the art museum that I had never been to before, how I was scared of the big giant room with the large tall pillars just before the courtyard food service. How much I liked looking at other cultures’ art.

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Ya know, the norm.

Things have been topsy turvy lately in the Scientific Quilter household.

But.

At this point, this is a good thing.

No, it’s not good that I fell off the grid.

But, I am at a beginning. At least one for now. A new year at the beginning of December. Just like several years ago when I was going to start tracking my food and lost all the weight I had (before I put it all back and then some this year). I started before the new year. Small stuff at first. Which eventually grew. I think if I had started that previous weight loss journey on Jan 1, I would have failed. But I started it Dec 1 of that previous year.

And that’s (approximately) where I am at now. At a beginning. Caused by the push from some of the pain and frustration of this past fall.

Right now, several possibilities await! Maybe weight loss, but maybe more. Once I figure things out.

You see, I am never good at making decisions. Not easily. I think about them too much. And I have a lot of decisions to make in the next few months. Some of this seems overwhelming, some seems fun and exciting. Ok, a lot of it feels fun and exciting.

I now have a new dedicated space for quilting and sewing and being on my computer. It’s a nice space, way bigger than the tiny 9X9 room I was using before that had 3 large rows of bookshelves in addition to all the paper clutter that eventually forced my sewing machine out to the kitchen, the projects into the living room. Now everything is here. In one space! Well until I get some of my completed quilts out and on the walls, anyway. (yes that’s the main circuit breaker on the wall)

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I get to figure out cutting table solution, quilting table solution, design wall solution. Finding lots of uses for 3M command strips that are more and more versatile. But lemme tell you from some experience from removing them lately (a LOT of them), they hurt when you snap them back at your fingers accidentally.

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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.

challengefabric.jpg

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.

my key after ripping off fabric 5

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.

gradient challenge first piece

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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