Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cleaning Up the Sewing Room!

I thought that the mandala pictured in the last blog would make  a good pillow and I think it did!!  Down in NC, I watch a show called Sew Creative on Thursdays.  I rarely take any ideas from it but have taken two and this was one -- a pseudo-piping technique.  

It was quite easy and took about 15 minutes to make the pillow!  First you ironed on fusible fleece to the back side of the front of the pillow (the mandala).  Next, you cut two pieces of fabric the width of the pillow and about nine inches longer than half the length (this was a 22 inch pillow so you would have to alter this for different sizes).  Fold back each of these pieces about four inches so that there is about  a five inch overlap.  Right sides together pin to the back of the pillow front.  Sew about 3/8 inch seam but increasing gradually to 1 1/4 inches at the corners.  Sew all the way around.  Turn inside out and then topstitch about 1/2 inch around the whole pillow.  Voila!!  The double layer of fleece in the seam makes a nice finish.  I was very very pleased with the final pillow.

I am sorry that I did not take pictures of the starting point of this piece.  It was a group of five or six pieces of random neutrals, some all lights, some mixed dark and light and some mostly dark with a little light mixed in.  Not one was pretty in and of itself.  It was an exercise in  a class with Cynthia Corbin many years ago.  I should add that she is one of my favorite teachers of all time.  I learned more about being free in her class than any other.

I whacked those above pieces apart any which way and started laying them on my design wall (again I should have taken pictures as I went along but was working fast).  Eventually a line started forming as I moved the pieces around.  I had cut them every which way and regretted that later  I discarded a lot of the all light colored pieces.  This is getting towards the end when I needed to fill in the  lower right side.


Finally, everything is pieced and trimmed.  I decided it looked like a stream or a river passing over rocky ground.

I liked it better turned on its side as it looked more tranquil to me  I added pieces of another neutral (I had long since gotten rid of the fabrics used in the body of the piece but the added pieces were from the same family).  I needed to contain the one light piece that was on the border.  Now to do the quilting.  It is about 31 inches by 19 inches.

This time I remembered to take a picture of at least one of the before pieces before starting to cut it up!!  I didn't take a picture of the second piece however.  These were two pieces from an exercise in a class taught by Emily Richardson -- another really good teacher.  

The other piece was very similar but in black and white.  It was an exercise in just cutting up pieces of fabric and fusing them to a base.  This was the monochromatic one (obviously).

I haven't sewn these together yet but have been trying out different orientations of the pieces to see which I like best.  

This is where it sits right now.  I may rearrange some more as I like the black kind of looking like it behind the reddish pieces.  

The fun I had at the Round Robin competition is the impetus for finally tearing into some of these long stored pieces that I hadn't known how to use.  They will at least get finished and as I have said before -- I am a compulsive finisher!!  (Also, can't stand wasting anything which is probably my New England heritage!!)  

Finally some abstract pieces -- three in a row even -- which has been a long time goal of mine.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Finishing up Some Projects

I decided to try to finish up my piece from the Round Robin competition at the quilt show.  This was the piece as it stood at the end of the show.  It is maybe 20 x 27 inches.


I whacked it apart some more to break up the green a bit as I found it to be a bit overwhelming.  I then did a "pillowcase" backing and did some quilting in the ditch to stabilize it and help me decide what to do next.

I found I really liked the piece!


I decided finally to just do parallel line quilting across the whole quilt about 3/8 in apart.  I didn't do this over the appliqued leaves.  I outlined those leaves and free hand quilted some veins so that it would show  up a bit more.  I had done this kind of quilting on another abstract piece I did a few years ago and found it kind of pulled everything together.  Just have to put a sleeve on now!



It was so nice to machine quilt on a smaller piece after spending 2 to 3 weeks quilting the monster below!


I didn't have a wall big enough to show this whole quilt and this picture was taken with my phone so not too great.  I finally finished the quilting and it is good enough to put on a bed but won't see a quilt show in its future!!  If I had it to do over, I would leave out the blocks that are set up on their corners.  They weren't great blocks to begin with and they pull your eye into a crowded (to me) center.  Oh well, lots more blocks.  I had even dyed the background for this one -- a pale yellow as white was too stark.


You can see the quilting a bit here.  I did like flower petals as that is what it looked like to me.  I like the colors but the quilt is not my favorite.   I followed the lines of the dyeing in most of the side blocks and they did look pretty good -- definitely an improvement over no quilting.  The quilt is 85 x 85 inches so will fit nicely on a queen sized bed!  I believe it is Mandala 4.


I left most of my dyed blocks in NC except for the ones that I gave to Julia for selling  I did pull this one out of the bunch as I just liked it.  Now have to decide whether it will be a pillow or a smallish wall hanging.  I am leaning to pillow.  It is 23 x 23 inches and just nicely balanced with pretty colors.

And just to make life interesting, at 6:30 in the morning they started tearing up our lawn and the street in front of our house.  We can still get out the driveway but in a few days, they will be tearing up all along the property line and we won't be able to get out our driveway or down the street.  Hope it is not for too  long.  And how do we get our mail and paper?  I feel more sorry for our next door neighbor who has these gorgeous gardens that are going to be ripped up.  I think he has already started moving some things.  Arghhh...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Yearly Visit to Sterling Nature Center

 Because of the weather and the quilt show, I got  a late start on my yearly visit to the Sterling Nature Center.  It has been an extremely wet spring here in western Upstate NY and I wasn't sure what I would find as the Nature Center is on Lake Ontario which has been flooding badly and eroding many of its banks.  

It was pretty much the same as usual although not as much action in the Great Blue Heron rookery as the juveniles were pretty big and a couple were even in the water.  

I did see this quite large Northern Leopard Frog on my way to the rookery and couldn't resist taking his picture.

There were the omnipresent Tree Swallows feeding their young in many of the nests along the way.

My first butterfly of the season -- a Pearl Crescent.  It was a beautiful day for a change.

Also saw my first dragonfly and a new one for me -- a Common Whitetail.  I saw several of these.  See those black patches on his wings.

I always seem to see a bird I haven't seen before here each year.  I had about given up but at the end of the trail, I spotted a bird in the tree and took a snapshot not knowing what it was.  Imagine my surprise when I saw it was a Cedar Waxwing.  I have only seen these once before and down in Kure (the year I saw hundreds of them).  I had never seen one up north before.  Too bad he wouldn't turn around.

And then I spotted this very yellow bird way up in  tree!  Aha -- it was a Yellow Warbler, another new  bird up here for me.  Last year or the year before I had seen a Yellow-throated Warbler but never a Yellow!  Quite  a treat even though I couldn't get too close or get a front view!

There are always chipmunks hopping around.  This one kindly posed though!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GVQC Quilt Show Activities -- Round Robin Competition and Fashion Show

On Saturday of the quilt show, we had a Round Robin competition in which I participated as part of Liz Scott's team.  

It started with each of four team members coming with a 12 inch block and a pile of fabrics that ostensibly went with it.  We were also given a mystery fabric from the sponsor (Ivy Thimble Quilts in Victor, NY) which had to be included in the finished quilts.  We then passed the block and the pile of fabrics to the team member on our right.  She would add or change the block and then pass on to the next team member to the right.  This was done three times and we had 40 minutes to add or change the block.  The final blocks were judged as a group of four.

This was Caris Burton's beginning block.

This was my beginning block -- a mandala of course!!

This was Liz Scott's beginning block.  She is just a bit obsessed with Halloween and her accompanying fabrics reflected that!!

This is Julie Grant-Smith's beginning block.

The following collages show the progression of the blocks as we went along.  This of course was the beginning.  My first block to work on was the owl block.

You can see that I immediately cut up the owl and added some black and then the checkerboard using black and the mystery fabric.  I also added some green to square the block up.

The second block I worked on was the bottom right where I cut up the block, added the turquoise strips and thenbroke up the turqouise strips and rearranged things and then added quite a bit on the borders to make it a square again.

These were the final blocks.  I worked on the one in the upper right which I again rearranged and then added curved borders to square it up.  It really should be turned in the picture.  We ended up in second place which was great with nice gift certificates from our sponsor!  I was really a tremendous amount of fun.

These were the blocks done by the team that took first place.


This was the third place winner.

The remaining teams are pictured below.  One team had a handicap as it had two mannequins as participants!!




On Sunday, we had both a morning and afternoon fashion show made up of garments made by club members.  Many learned how to do jackets from Priscilla Kibbee who was an audience member even though she has moved out of the area.  She had several garments in the show as well.  The garments were of all varieties -- quilted, felted, embroidered and knitted. 

This is Jan Detar modelling one of Caris Burton's felted long vests.


 Janet Root had several of her beautiful quilted jackets in the show.  She modeled them the best and so I could get good pictures.  I was back quite a ways and had trouble getting pictures of many of the nice garments.


Here is Donna Patrick modelling one of her beautiful felted vests.


Here is Donna in one of her felted jackets.


 Another of Janet Root's beautiful jackets.

 Yet another of her jackets from the back and front.  She has most of these for sale if there are any left.



Terry Noonan had several beautiful jackets but this was the only one of which  I got even  a half decent shot .


 These last two were by Tina Somerset who teaches some wonderful classes at Patricia's unfortunately all in the winter so I haven't been able to take advantage of them!



 These are panoramic views of the show.  It is certainly one of the biggest (if not the biggest) non-professionally run shows in the country.  We had 600 quilts, 60 vendors (with some as far away as Texas and California) and 8 or 9 busloads from around the area.  We have the show every two years and the next scheduled show in May 31 - June 2 in 2019.  It is in Rochester, NY at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  We even had one quilt that was entered from Holland as people outside the club can enter quilts for a small fee.  I better get to work on those next quilts and maybe a jacket or two for the fashion show!!



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

GVQC -- My Quilts from the Show


Just for record keeping, I thought I would dedicate a blog to the quilts I had in the show.  I had the most quilts of anyone!  This one is called disappearing hexagons.  I will be doing some more quilting on this one as it was barely finished in time for the show.


This was the Petal Quilt.


This was Ode to Albers and looked pretty good in the show.  Of course, it is all my hand dyed fabrics.  Most of the quilts had my hand dyes in them


These are my two mandala quilts that were in the show. 





City Lights.


Birds of a Feather.


These last three were all taken from photos I made in Kure Beach and digitally reproduced on fabric by Julie Brandon and Red Dog Enterprises. 

This is a Great Egret.



This is a Little Green Heron. 
This is a Tri-color Heron.


This was orginally supposed to be in the show but I withdrew it because I couldn't get it to hand straight.  More quilting is called for but it did have a place in the Sew Artistic booth where I sold my mandalas.

All the quilts but the photo quilts had my hand dyes as it turns out!