Friday, March 21, 2008

Busy Times

I haven't posted in two weeks, but I have been busy working on quilting projects.

After working on my first Convergence quilt with the FABs on March 8th, I decided to make a second Convergence quilt the following day. This is my Sunflower Convergence.

I love the formula of using a large floral print fat quarter and three contrasting fabrics drawn from the colours of the print fabric to make this quilt pattern. I use up what extra floral fabric I have left from the fat quarter on the border and then pull one of the solid fabrics from the center to finish off the border. This is the second Convergence using this method of fabric selection and I just love how it turned out!

I ended up quilting this piece 2 1/2 times. I had it half quilted and I didn't like the thread so I picked it out, then I fully quilted it and didn't like the quilting design so I picked it out, then I quilted it for the last time which is the design you see now with the "sun's ray's" coming from the upper right hand corner.

Friday, March 14th was my Mother's birthday. This is the Spring/Easter table center that I finished for her using the Spiral quilt pattern I have shown before.

And this is the Birthday Girl posing with her cake.

Saturday, March 15th was National Quilting Day. Did you know that the third Saturday in March is officially designated as National Quilting Day? Quilters love a celebration - especially when fabric is involved - so over the years, observance of National Quilting Day has unofficially been expanded to the whole month of March! To read more about National Quilting Day, follow this link:

I celebrated National Quilting Day by working on my We Care quilt --started during our guild workshop on March 1st. (see earlier post)

This is me with my We Care quilt. My daughter took the picture just before I left for my guild's monthly meeting on Wednesday night. Look who decided to get in on the picture taking -- peeking out from behind the quilt!

I loved the fabric on the back of this quilt--dragonflies!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

FABs Converged on Fabulous Fabric Projects

For the second Saturday in a row, I had the privilege of quilting with friends when the FABs converged on another FABulous FABric project. This time the friends were not located in the same place as I was--they were in three different locations in the U.S.

The chosen project was Ricky Tim's Convergence quilt. We have been chatting on line for a while now about this project. Some of us were counting the days, some were counting the sleeps. Some were so excited that they had to hide their pattern so they wouldn't work ahead of the scheduled day and time.

We decided to start working at 7:00 am Saturday morning. The most preparation you were allowed to do was to cut your four 16" squares of fabric. LindaJ was first to start as she is two hours ahead of the rest of us time zone wise. Pam decided to keep LindaJ company and started with LindaJ at 7:00 Linda's time. I knew I wouldn't be able to start quilting at 5:00 in the morning with the two of them (I am two time zones behind LindaJ) so I decided to adopt the Mountain time zone and started at 7:00 am Mountain time (6:00 am here). Cher started closer to 7:00 Pacific time--she was probably the smartest one of the bunch because she made sure she was well rested before taking out her rotary cutter or turning on her sewing machine!

These are the fabrics that I chose for my Convergence quilt.

This is a picture early in the process. You can see the various widths that the strips are cut. Yes, the narrowest strip is cut 1" wide--a pain but effective in the final quilt.

This is a picture after the strips are re-arranged, just before sewing them together into pairs.

These are all the strips sew together again. At this point, you turn your project 1/4 of a turn and repeat the cutting into strips, rearranging the strips, and then sewing them together again.

This is the finished top--with borders added. I have since quilted my piece and I am planning to block before binding as suggested by Ricky in his book.
This was a great day. This was a pattern/technique that I have wanted to try for a long time. I enjoyed working along with my friends and figuring out the pattern together. Having friends pulling along with you helps keep the project out of the UFO pile. Thanks to the Internet, computers, digital cameras, and IM it is possible to quilt with friends in different parts of the world!
Oh, Pam, I don't think any of these projects turned out like POCs so your mailbox is safe!
We had so much fun that we are already planning the next quilting day.

Quilting With Friends

On March 1st, A total of 29 quilters came together to make donation quilts for our guild's We Care program.

We quilted from 9:30 to 3:30. The We Care Committee was extremely organized--as always. When we arrived, tables and chairs were already set up for us. Once we picked our spot, we proceeded to the front of the room where there was a table with our names already printed out on tags. We picked up our name tag and our hostess checked us in on her list. We were able to choose one of two quilt patterns ahead of time and then the committee put together the corresponding number of kits.

I have to show you what the kits looked like. A zip lock back contained everything but the batting and label to make the quilt. Pre-cut batting and labels were available for each of us at the end of the day. Double click on the picture below to see the detailed labels that were on the pre-cut pieces in the kits. This was quilting for dummies--how could you go wrong--the borders, fabric A, fabric B, etc were all labeled with small pieces of paper pinned to the strips. The large dragon fly fabric was my backing.
There were two "model" quilts on display to help us visualize what our finished quilts would look like--this was the first one.

This was the second quilt.

Everyone was busy all day. This hall is a favorite location for our guild workshops as there is lots of light and lots of room.

We broke for lunch, but many ate their lunch and got right back to work. Everyone was enjoying themselves so much, they didn't want to stop.

By the end of the day, most of the quilters finished their quilts to the flimsy stage and then received assistance from the committee in sandwiching their quilts. It makes it easier to finish the quilting process at home if your quilt is already sandwiched and prepared for quilting when you leave for the day.
This quilter had to leave early so she didn't have a chance to get her borders on yet.

These are some of the other finished flimsies. The fabric combinations put together by the committee were wonderful.

What a great way to spend a Saturday--quilting with friends!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Confession is Good for the Soul....

Confession is good for the soul.....and great incentive to finish projects! Or, I should say, the thought of having to go on line and confess that once again I was stalled on the borders for a quilt pushed me to the finish line (or at least the flimsy stage) last Friday night.

I expected to hear from LindaJ at some point on the weekend and I was sure she would want to know how I was making out on my Bargello Bowl quilt since she had finished hers on retreat the previous weekend. I had the fabrics picked out for the border, I just had not gone that extra step and attached them. Once I got going, it didn't take that long, what was the hurdle? I am not sure what was keeping me from attaching those borders, but I do know that I was not going to face confessing that I had not yet finished this project, so I soldiered on and this is the final result--my completed Bargello Bowl flimsy!

This finish was just in time as the FABs are scheduled to tackle a project together--Ricky Tim's Convergence. We are scheduled to start at 7:00 am Saturday morning. We have agreed that we can go as far as cutting out our 4 - 16" squares of fabric and that is all! No starting ahead of time--even if it means hiding the pattern so we aren't tempted!

Who knew that confession and temptation had anything to do with quilting?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Cure for Quilter's Block

I belong to a small group of on-line friends that have been discussing our next quilting project. We are all planning to make Ricky Tims' Convergence quilt.

I had been to a quilt show once where someone made a Convergence quilt using a Michael Miller chicken/rooster print. I thought this would be the opportunity to make that quilt myself, after all, I do own a meter of that wonderful print!

While I was at the quilt shop yesterday looking for coordinate prints, another quilter asked me what I had planned for the gorgeous chicken fabric. I told her I was making a Convergence quilt. She had never heard of the pattern so I explained how you use four prints and cut them into strips and sew them back together. (Obviously simplified instructions.) She was horrified and couldn't believe that I would consider cutting up these beautiful chickens. At that moment, I realized that I couldn't go through with cutting this gorgeous fabric up--I couldn't see these chickens "in jail" behind bars of contrasting fabric!

I went ahead and purchased two coordinates but I vowed to find a different way to display my beloved chickens. (The red fabric was already in my stash.)

When I got home, I remembered that I had previously purchased a copy of Judy Sisneros' book, 9-Patch Pizzazz. This is a more appropriate use of my chicken fabric as this book makes excellent use of large scale prints by leaving them intact, in large chunks--6 1/2", 12 1/2", 18 1/2", etc. As long as each side is divisible by 6 and add 1/2" you can make use of the square or rectangle in this pattern.
Now that I have a pattern to use the chickens appropriately, I turned my attention back to selecting fabrics from my stash for my Convergence quilt. This is the first combination I put together. I have decided that the fabrics may be too "matchy" and there isn't enough contrast between all pieces so I discarded this selection and went back to searching.

Then I came across a bright floral FQ in my stash. I started to pull fabrics from the floral and came up with this combination. Unless I come up with another combination before we start cutting into our fabrics, this is what I am going with for my Convergence quilt!

Thanks to the FABs and on-line discussions about this new project, I am officially curred of Quilter's least for now!

Quilter's Block

Last weekend I was experiencing Quilter's Block.

Quilter's block is a lot like writer's block--a temporary loss of ability to begin or continue quilting, usually due to a lack of inspiration or creativity.

Last weekend I managed to complete two very small projects:

1. I put the binding on my tulip Spiral table center. I think it goes quite well with the quilt I currently have hanging in the dining room.

2. I made a very small table center for St. Patrick's Day. This table center is made with the same Spiral pattern as the tulip table center above, just smaller--only one round. This is a picture of the table center at my Mother's house with her shamrock plant, all ready for March 17th.

So this was the best that I could do last weekend--binding a table topper and making a small table center with the fast turn method (no binding).