Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Meeting of Quilters by the Sea Guild

There was a huge group at the meeting this month and the parking lot was filled and extra chairs had to be brought in.  I think this was because there had been a recent retreat as well as a class with Augusta Cole.  There were a LOT of quilts to share, many of them from the class and they were so nice.  This is one of them!

This was another one with a different color pallette.

This top was done by our president Ann and I loved the color choices!!  It seems she had cheated and had the half square triangles all done before the class but it is really scrappy which is my favorite way of working!

Yet another and beautifully done and I think totally finished as well!!

One of Pat Mattison's student came up to show her this wonderful kitty quilt that she had finished as a result of one of Pat's classes.  I featured Pat in a previous blog post with her wonderful collage applique work.  

This group does a lot of Quilts of Valor and this was one example -- there were several shown but thought this one was stunning -- again with scraps.

This quilt was beautiful and done as a fund raiser for one of the local organizations.  Even though this quilt guild is half the size of my one at home, they are very very actively involved in a number of community activities.

I loved this lovely piece which still needs to be quilted.

Of course I loved the scrappy kitty quilt.

This is the back of a quilt one of the local long arm professionals who belongs to the guild did.  She showed two quilts that she did for clients but I didn't feel comfortable putting them on my blog as the women were not present.  Isn't this a beautiful back and beautiful quilting though?

This was a lovely Grandmother's Flower Garden from the 30's which had been professionally machine quilted and was beautifully done.  It made me change my mind about machine quilting vintage quilts!!

This was a lovely scrappy bowtie quilt done for a grandson.  

Each month they do a Block of the Month and there was quite a showing this month. Someone will have a very nice quilt when this is done!!

I should add that I was the program this month and did a trunk show with some of the quilt and wall hangings I have down here.  Of course I am missing a number of my showier quilts but they will probably have me do another show next year so I will bring them down.  I also showed them some of my hand dyed and marbled fabric.  I finished up with the Colin Firth story which had them all laughing a lot (as it always does).  It was great fun and I didn't bore them as I had feared.  I can get a little too enthusiastic sometimes!

I am making progress on the quilt here as the weather is nasty out again although it has been beautiful for a few days.  My biggest problem now is that I don't have enough of the purple and maybe the blue to do all the way around so will have to come up with a creative solution.  I have another shade of purple so that will probably work and I think I can squeeze out some blocks from a piece of marbled fabric that is close to the blue.  All part of the fun!!  It looks like the corner blocks may be red!!
 Had to add on a bird note as I am seeing more Bluebirds down where the Waxwings are still hanging out although not as many as before.  The male Bluebirds are just beautiful!

I swore off Yellow Rumped Warbler pictures but couldn't resist adding this one with the great tree texture and blue skies!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Decisions but Fun!

After looking at the pictures yesterday, I decided I didn't like the kelly green (on the left in the picture) and replaced it here with a dark green.  I think I will have to make the inside triangles brighter though so they show up better.

It occurred to me that it might be interesting to switch around the centers of the stars but the darker green stars really fade into the background doing that.  Hmmm...

So back to just having the stars all the same color but with three dark and three lighter.  Still feel a need to do something with the darker centers but maybe adding the next row will help... 

Problem is now that my design wall is only 48 inches x 48 inches and so I decide to do it a quarter at a time and remove the hexagons.

I do kind of like the looks of this though.  The backgrounds are hand dyes that I brought down with me.

Adding the blue row may just help with the dark green problem as it draws  your eyes out again.   I also found one of my marbled pieces that I may intersperse with the blues as it matches really well.   This is the "quarter view".  I am hoping I have enough to make this a queen sized quilt.  The last row will be black stars and I may just throw in some reds or yellows on the outside.  It is becoming fun to work on.

Tomorrow, however, I have committed to doing a trunk show for my new guild down here in NC. Unfortunately a lot of the quilts I would normally show are in NY which is too bad.  I do have 5 or 6 wall hangings and maybe 12 quilts.  Hopefully with a little talking, it will be entertaining enough.  I am basically titling it "Never Say Never" and talk about my quilt journey.  I did start out only doing applique and Baltimore Album and only took a piecing class because I wanted to call myself a quilter!!  Never intended to be a dyer either!!  Certainly never thought I would be doing miniature quilt blocks either!!  I will try anything though and then pick and choose what I like.  It has served me well!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Moving Right Along...

Going with the star idea seems to be best so am trying things out after cutting up the second half of the fabric so that I would have a total of 37 stars.  That puts me a bit short on hexagons but will see how it goes as it doesn't need to be a square quilt.  

I decided to go with chartreuse as the second color and that stays for now.  I may change my mind....

Kelly Green is the third color but it may become the second color with a darker blue as the third color.  Otherwise, the darker blue will be the fourth color.  Nothing is put together yet in this picture -- all sitting as triangles and diamonds on the design wall so that the spacing isn't quite right.

I decided I would sew in the triangle to make the star hexagon.  The outer triangles are not sewn in yet.  

The temp has dropped outside with an east wind bringing in a breeze off the ocean, so may go downstairs, turn on five seasons of Murdoch Murders (great Canadian show -- I got hooked watching it for free on Prime and liked it so well, I bought dvds of all the seasons -- the Prime version didn't have Closed Captioning which I needed for this show).  So I am now watching them again and getting all the subtleties of the dialogue!

After looking at it some more and actually piecing a couple of more stars (the chartreuse ones), I decided not to do two rows of the green but to intersperse the greens.  The next row I think will be blues and blacks.  I don't have a lot of the blue that matches so may have to actually purchase some fabric (shocking as I don't do that very much down here) that is a better match.  Haven't decided whether any red will creep in somewhere or not -- might just!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Start of a New Quilt -- Decisions, Decisions....

In keeping with the bird theme, I found this fabric at Joann's (a fabric chain) and thought it would be great for a one block wonder or some type of the Serendipity quilts I had been making.  The repeat was a large one -- probably 24 to 27 inches.

Here is the beginning of the arrangement -- surrounding the dark blocks with the lighter ones.

I had decided that I would probably do a "one block" quilt as I thought it was too bright with the addition of the fabrics I had picked out for the Serendipty arrangement.  However, even switching these blocks around, it was much too busy for a one block quilt as you can see here so I gave up on that idea.  So now to try to alternate arrangements...

This was my first though.  I would fill in the missing blocks with some solid hexagons.  No, don't like that one...

Then I thought I would take the easy way out and put solid color triangles in the empty spaces.  At least you can begin to see the blocks here which are all pretty interesting (you can tell I love radial symmetry).

After some thought and a look back at some older quilts, I decided that I would expand on this arrangement for the blocks.  This was a small "stack and whack" I made for the 2004 (I think that was the year) Hoffman Challenge.  I have never seen this particular arrangement before but it is all hexagons, some plain hexagons and some with stars in the middle and then I used different color backgrounds.  I think it displays the blocks well and adds a little interest.  So now I have to figure out how big to make the diamond shapes and background triangles.   The hexagon blocks in this quilt are only about 2 1/2 to 3 inches across so the blocks in this new quilt will be at least double that.  I am hoping that it will be big enough for a queen sized bed when finished.  I ended up hand quilting the above piece as it was not easy to figure out how to machine quilt it!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Back to Some Quilting (Okay, There will be Birds too - Okay a Lot of Birds)

I can never get enough of the live oaks down at Ft. Fisher.  Here they had a grey/blue sky behind them and I liked the shadows.

With all the nasty weather we have had here in North Carolina, I finally spent some time finishing up this wall hanging.  One of the things stopping me was the question -- how am I going to baste this as I don't have any of my clamps nor a proper table down here.  Necessity is the mother of invention despite what Dr. Leslie White (my cultural anthropology professor in college) said. The quilt is about 25 inches wide by 48 inches long.  My design wall is 48 x 48 inches.  

So I pinned the backing tightly to the design wall, covered it with the batting and then with the quilt top with straight pins at the side.  The problem was then how to NOT catch the flannel on the design wall when using the pins to secure the three parts together..  So I ended up staggering straight pins across the quilt and then slipping a 6 inch x 24 inch ruler behind the quilt balanced on the straight pins.  It was easy to pin baste after that.  I just moved the ruler down with appropriate pins and pin basted the whole thing easily!!  Wouldn't work for big quilts but was perfect for this smaller quilt.  I don't like to use the spray inside which would be the other option.

I finished machine quilting the piece today so now just have to face it.  It looks a little boring to me so at some point I may add some stuff on top.  We shall see.  

A closeup of the quilting.  Most of the time I just followed the lines with straight quilting but in all the sandy looking pieces, I did the pebble quilting which is time consuming and probably doesn't show enough to justify it but I like to use it to give some texture to a kind of boring piece.  This is the third in my "strata" series.  I do love curves A LOT!

I should let everyone know that I live in Southeastern NC which was heavily hit by the recent ice storms, all except for the tiny little area where I live.  I am between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean and was saved from all the mess because of it.  We had a little coating of ice on the palm tree but no problem at all.  Half the county where I live was without power but we had power, cable and internet!  It is amazing how different the weather is within a ten mile area.

I have been seeing a lot of these plovers -- the Kildeers.  On a sunny day, they are all over.

No day is complete without seeing the Cedar Waxwings with their beautiful colors!!

I think they have eaten all the berries on the island!

A fellow birder told me about seeing a Waxwing with a different color on the tip of his tale and here is one with orange instead of the yellow.

There were probably 150 sitting on the power lines when I headed down to Ft. Fisher the other morning!  This is only a small portion of one set of lines!!

This fellow was looking for a seat!

I got a glimpse of one of my favorites -- the Pileated Woodpecker.

A beautiful male Bluebird was sharing the line with all the Cedar Waxwings.  He is so brilliant, he fades into his bright sunny sky  background!!

This is the closest I have gotten to a male Hooded Merganser.  I was using the car as my "blind" and it was drizzly and raining so shot out the window and he didn't see me!!  He has his crest up here.

The Royal Terns were staying put on the dock.

A pair of Forster's Terns were also occupying the dock.  You usually see them just diving for fish and moving quickly through the air.

I believe these are Red Knots which I hadn't identified before.  I know they are common down here though.

I saw this bird among the Dunlins again and thought it was the Black-bellied Plover.  I was right as can be seen in the picture below -- here he is flying off showing his black armpits.  In the summer, he will have a black belly as well.

It was a very drizzly miserable day but glad I finally identified him for sure!!  He is another fairly common bird but one that I hadn't seen before here.  

I finally managed to get a decent picture of the American Avocet which is the bird on the far right with the upturned beak.  Behind him is an Oystercatcher and a Royal Tern on the far left.

The wind gusts were probably close to 30 mph and it was hard to even hold the camera still to get a picture.  There were several windsurfers and I think they finally scared all the birds off the wall!!  Besides the Oystercatchers, the Avocet and the Royal Terns, there were a lot of Dunlins and a couple of Red Knots on the wall this morning.  It was so windy, they were all awake just trying to stand I imagine!