Monthly Block – February Version

This one turned out awesome. I can honestly say that I am thoroughly exhausted, as this quilt top was pretty much constructed between yesterday and today.

OK so for a quick refresher, here is the block I found in a magazine:

"THE" block

“THE” block

And here is last months version of this block made into a quilt top:

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

For this month’s quilt top, I had decided when I was constructing last month’s that I wanted to use this purple dyed fabric with white. Beyond that, I hadn’t made any commitments. About midway through February, I had a chance to do some coloring, to get an idea of what I wanted to do:

drawings

drawings

You can see I drew the blocks together, and then put sashing with darker cornerstones around the outside. I originally planned on putting the blocks together, but thought again that without sashing, it would be too muddled. When I added the sashing and matched the centers to it color-wise, I really liked the look.

So yesterday, realizing how late it was in the month, I got to work. I really didn’t procrastinate, I was working on this for a client for the Dallas Quilt Show:

for quilt show

for quilt show

It took me (literally) 2 full weeks to quilt. If you get out to the show, look for it!

Then I volunteered to make this one for a store model:

store model (stop and go)

store model (stop and go)

It’s hanging at Quilt Country if you’d like to see it in person. I picked up the fabrics Sunday and brought it back, pieced, quilted and bound Thursday morning.

I’ve been quite prolific this month.

Anyway, back to the block…

So I cut my strips and squares and after deciding to use only plain white for the blocks, cut that too. I found this light purple (left) I thought would be great for the centers and sashing, but it seemed sort of bland. So I took what I thought might end up as the border (right) and put that behind some pieces to see how that would look instead. The blocks came alive!!

choosing light purple

choosing light purple

So I cut what I needed from that and somehow got everything assembled today! I used the white as a small inner border and the dyed purple as an outer border and I LOVE how this turned out!

February quilt

February quilt

I also ensured the placement was correct on the blocks, so the arrows REALLY come through! It has a much cleaner look than last months quilt top, perhaps that had too many colors mixed in. At any rate, I am really happy with this result!

arrows

arrows

I will definitely get to work on the next month’s version of this block sooner than I did this month! I will post soon about garden progress and other things. In the meantime, happy quilting my friends!

 

 

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Dallas Quilt Celebration 2013

From my perspective, at least.

I like the Dallas Show, have since the first year I attended. I like that it has a wide variety of quilts on display, from the ridiculously ornate show stoppers (or winners, more precisely) to the simple and simply quilted t-shirt quilts. Antiques, groups, art quilts, and plenty of vendors.

I think there were A LOT more vendors in Houston at the International Quilt Festival, and I also believe there were more vendors at the Dallas show last year. Maybe it was just how they were organized… But in Houston there were also so many people in and around the vendors, that I felt like shopping was nearly impossible.

I knew this year I had a number of people that I quilted for entering their pieces in the show, so I was really excited to go see my work on their work hanging on display. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of quilts that ended up in the show with my name on them.

Some of the quilts I had worked on earlier in the year, before I got married and changed my name. So for anyone else looking at those quilts, they may not have known that Maria Davis and Maria Hall were one and the same quilter. There were 8 quilts in the show that I was priveledged to be a part of:

Tie One On by Darrell Kerr

Elongated Star by Darrell Kerr

A Beatle's Rebus by Linda Newman

this is actually a group quilt from a block contest for the TX Department of Agriculture

this is actually a group quilt from a block contest for the TX Department of Agriculture

Free to Fly by Joan Gearner

Are You Sure He's Ours? by Sharry Evans

i apologize for the blurry pic... She also told me this was going to end up in the Crazy Horse Museum in SD!

i apologize for the blurry pic… She also told me this was going to end up in the Crazy Horse Museum in SD!

there was another quilt of this same pattern in the show. pretty interesting!

there was another quilt of this same pattern in the show. pretty interesting!

Now, this is my favorite part… Joan sent me a card that arrived yesterday. It included a photo of this quilt WITH A RIBBON ON IT! It won Past Show Chair’s Award!!! So here is a pic of that photo :)…

quilt with a ribbon!

Just wish I got a copy of the ribbon to hang on my wall ;). I guess that means I need to CREATE my own AND quilt it for next years show!!

Happy quilting my friends – hope you enjoyed the show as well!

Quilter’s Block

A new block, you ask? Not really. This is more the type of block that stops progress and less the type that builds a quilt. Kinda like writer’s block.

So I put together this top, which is a variation of Jacob’s Ladder, and I was SO pleased with how it turned out. Corners came together correctly, color placement was nice and the overall appearance was just how I had envisioned it would turn out. It measures just at 100″ square.

hanging over the balcony from upstairs, I just love the way this quilt looks when you take a step back. I also love the border, which was the inspiration for the quilt in the first place.

I had it hanging over the banister upstairs for a month or so, which really gave view to anyone who could see in our ginormous back window (the spot where it hung can be seen from the main street that runs along our backyard). I finally decided to quilt it, and thought I should make my first try at entering a show.

I chose poly cotton batting because I didn’t want it to be too warm or flat, since it will ultimately end up on my bed. I cut the wide back and strung it up on my machine. I tacked down the top edge of the quilt and then paused, for about an hour. This is when my Quilter’s Block began.

I knew I wanted to customize the quilting, and my first thought was to make a curly feather in the large border. Before I did so, I stitched in the ditch along the bottom of the border to ensure it stayed straight. Then I sewed the line that would have been the feather backbone, and starting at the upper right corner, began to swirl my feathers out. It got ugly. I stopped for the day.

Next day: back at it. I pulled out the ugly stitches and tried to get back on track. Then my thread kept breaking, like immediately after I began to sew. I changed from variegated thread on top to straight red, but the problem persisted. I had just changed my needle, so that wasn’t it. There she sat for 2 more days.

I woke up feeling guilty and realizing I had to make another attempt. I thought maybe my thread was serger and too thick, so I changed it. But by this time I was just not convinced feathers were the way to go. I mean, the border is all FLOWERS! The entire color arrangement for this quilt was based on the border fabric – it was my inspiration. I turned around to get a bobbin or something and saw a book I have in a cubby that showed a whole cloth quilt on the front cover. It was quilted in such a way as to create flowers where there was nothing but solid fabric. BING!!!

Light bulb finally having gone off, I began to pull out all those stitches. Now if you have ever sewed anything, and had to rip out stitches, you will understand how much fun this isn’t. And I had a long way to go. Another day and a half wasted. But at least now I felt as if I might be moving in the right direction.

SIDE NOTE: I can tell you with no exception, that this is why I get nervous with every customer quilt and do a lot of prep before beginning. I think on it, draw it out, think some more, and when I am positively sure, THEN I begin. I guess because this quilt is mine, I just figured I’d be happy with my results regardless, so I invested less advance work.

I got through outlining three red flowers when I realized that I wasn’t getting the look I wanted. I figured I needed to pull out the stitches and insert another layer of batting. So I pulled out the stitches around one of the flowers and realized, yes, I could take out all those stitches I could barely see (the thread matched the red flowers really well), and try to get batting between the top line and the ditched line at the bottom of the border, but then I would also be adding to the weight of this quilt that I ultimately wanted to use! sigh. I took the rest of the night off.

So the next day I restitched this flower, and did the rest of the red flowers. The next day I stitched the blue flowers. I decided to keep it at that because I favor those colors in this quilt, so I wanted them to stand out more than the browns, yellows or green leaves. Now… what to do in the background of the flowers? I decided to let that marinate for a few days.

When I forced myself back to it, I thought if I stitched something small it would make the flowers stand out more. But I really didn’t want to echo or do a stipple. So I flipped through the pages of the aforementioned book and decided on a densely leafed vine. OK, what thread color. I had been thinking about this already, wavering between green, cream maybe brown, maybe variegated green… Walk away for an hour, come back. Repeat. Repeat. Choose creamy white thread, and on we go.

As I started to stitch, I thought I was pretty pleased with it. That’s when I stitched OVER one of the red flowers. sigh. Pull out stitches, turn machine off. You can see how this is going so far.

Now, I’m almost across the top border, and I think it’s ok. I don’t think it’s show-worthy, but it will definitely be cherished on my bed, unless I come to hate it before I get it done. For all the mental anguish this quilt has cost me, I’m really worried about getting it done and off my machine within the next century. I haven’t even decided what to do within the center yet. Which is why I am writing instead of quilting right now. 🙂 

Here are some photos:

I like it, I just think it looks, fuddled. Is that a real word? I don’t know, and I don’t care.

Can you see my stitch in the ditch?

it’s pretty deep in the ditch…

But it does look REALLY COOL from the backside!

the flowers really stand out!

the light above causes all the colors to show through. once I take the quilt off the machine that won’t be the case

So the moral of the story is that prep work makes the job MUCH easier, and yes, even quilters get artistically blocked. So I guess it’s not just for writer’s anymore.

I hope y’all have better luck than me this month (so far). Happy quilting!

 

Adding a sleeve to your quilt

There are many reasons for which someone may want a sleeve on their quilt. Perhaps they are entering it into a quilt show or contest, or maybe they want to use it as a wall hanging or window covering. Regardless of the reason, attaching a sleeve is the best way to ensure your quilt will not be damaged in the process, and will hang beautifully.

Rather than recreating the wheel here, I have come across a great tutorial video that explains the whole process. It’s a quick lesson, but worthwhile, as sleeve attachment can indeed go awry.  Click HERE to watch – Enjoy!!

MN Quilt Show

I make it a point to attend as many quilt shows as I can find time and excuses to visit, especially when it means I can visit an area outside my local city. In this case, I wanted to visit friends and family in my old stomping grounds, and I was able to coordinate the timing with a quilt show taking place in St. Paul during my stay up there.

My daughters and I met my friend Beth and her mom at the show and spent the entire day shopping the vendors and perusing the show quilts. By the time we left our feet were SO SORE!

The vendors ranged from “Ghana Crazy” handwoven baskets from Ghana (www.ghanacrazy.com),

ghana baskets

 

hand dyed fabric (www.cherrywoodfabrics.com), african panels and fabrics (www.vogies.com), thread, notions, machine vendors and antique quilts. 

antique quilt

 

And we couldn’t pass up the ewe pins at the wool shop (www.ewe-niquecreations.com).

my EWE

 

The show quilts were from various states. Submissions came in from all over the state of Minnesota, as well as Montana, Utah, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona and Colorado, just to name a few states. There were quilts created by children, art quilts, including an exhibit showing 16 quilts with a river flowing continuously through each. There was also a beautiful special exhibit from the Corea Quilters Association. The most unique creation I witnessed was one made of denim fabrics, namely jean parts.

denim quilt

 

There were so m any beautiful and intricate quilts, some with extensive quilting, some simply done. My favorite quilt was “Earth Mother”, submitted by Laurie Ceesay of WI.

earth mother

The quilting shown on the following quilts is amazing and inspiring. There were many hand quilted quilts, that must have taken volumes of hours to complete, but I was more taken with the machine quilted pieces. If you would like more information about the MN quilt show or quilt guild, click here!

 

 

PADUCAH report

me with quiltman!

I figured it was about time to add a post about my trip to Paducah, KY to the great quilt show held there last week.

Quilt Man was kind enough to pose with me for a photo before a class. I feel so special! He rode all over town on his Segway ensuring all quilters were greeted with his cheery smile and stamped with his autograph. I got a fancy looking Q on my hand.

Paducah is an adorable small town, nestled in the southwest corner of Kentucky. I drove from the Dallas area, and it was a mere 9.5 hour drive. OK doesn’t sound ‘mere’, but it was a very easy drive, both ways. I stayed with a local lady that opened her home to visitors for the quilt show. How or why did I do that, you ask? Well, I booked my workshops back in December, and ALL the hotels and B&B’s were already booked full. But the Chamber of Commerce understands that the population doubles every year during this week, and that the hotel accomodations aren’t sufficient. So they have this great program for which you can apply in February, to stay with a local resident for a reduced rate (AND they provide breakfast).

downtown Paducah buildings

So my stay was lovely, even with the thunderstorms and threats of tornado activity (like I’m not used to that from Texas!) I had the opportunity to spend some time in the downtown area, which was quaint and fun to browse.

I am happy to report that if you ever chance to visit Paducah, during the show or not, there were some great little restsaurants from which to choose to dine.

Whaler’s Catch had THE BEST fried okra ever! Mother Duncan’s Pub had wonderful portobella mushroom dishes (great for the vegan :)). Shandie’s had some interesting dishes as well.

NQM

I spent a significant amount of time at the National Quilt Museum, mostly taking classes, but also checking out the museum. It was pretty amazing, not only offering a showcase of older quilts (theme orange this time around, which offered an interesting perspective), but also many modern works of art, that just happen to be quilts! It truly is a gallery of eye candy that would please many palletes.

 
I thought this was an interesting bit as well: 

NQM time capsule

 
 
I’d love to know what’s in there! Guess I’ll have to wait…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
All in all, there were TONS of vendors, TONS of restaurants and scenery to check out, and lots of friendly people available to chat with. I would highly recommend a visit to the town, AND the quilt show. There were many beautiful quilts to see and informative classes to take.
 
Happy quilting!
 
 
 

MISSED PADUCAH? NAAAHHHHHHH…

Paducah KY quilt show was amazing! AMAZING! seriously, it was really great. Dont take my word for it, check this out!

http://www.clearskywebcasting.com/?event_id=25

This is a link to the webcast that is STILL available for you to view! You can choose some of the classes that were offered through this link to view the course as if you were actually there (and at a much reduced rate)!!!

Want to see the winners? Try here: http://www.americanquilter.com/

That will bring you straight to AQS, where you’ll find info about the quilt show and winners.

I attended for 3 days, spending each day in a 9a-5p class, and one 6-8p class. I (barely) had time to see the wall hanging and bed sized and mini winners, some vendors, the huge fabric shop and the lovely downtown area of Paducah while I was there. There was more to see and more to learn, so I already have plans to return in subsequent years.

Paducah Kentucky sounds like it’s barely on the map. But it’s a hidden gem.  http://www.paducah.travel/

Despite the rain, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip. I stayed with a local woman, who opened her home to me (she didn’t have internet, which was limiting, but otherwise the experience was fantastic). She fed me in the morning, and provided me clean towels and sheets on a wonderfully comfortable bed every night. It was cozy and comfortable, as well as convenient. To anyone inquiring, I would recommend a visit to Paducah. And if it’s during the quilt show week, stay with a local!