Tuesday, June 30, 2009

African Crazy


My orange crazy has been transformed to an African crazy. I have decided on the motifs, and have made plans. I haven't sewn all the blocks, but I have already started on the embellishments. So far my African prince has things that are supposed to look like an African sun, spears, wheat sheaves, and decorative designs. Plans are on the way for huts, a lion, giraffe, elephant, maybe a zebra. Also water and pots, maybe a princess and children, an outline of the continent and a crane. Yes I know there are big buildings in Africa, but somehow they don't say "Africa" when you see them.

This picture is for Paula. These are the embellishments I bought at the convention. How much of my purchase have I used on my quilt? Well, none of it.

Yet. I've been using floss that I've owned more than 10 years. Maybe using it will spur me to finish the cross stitch bird afghan before I run out of all 100 colors.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crazy Quilts - NQA

These are more pictures from the NQA convention. I was in a crazy quilt mood that weekend. Note my very loose definition of crazy quilt. I don't like to compartmentalize things.


This one was from the little quilt auction. I like how all those flanges add dimensionality and look like logs.



This one was a regular part of the show. There are lots and lots of buttons on this one, making my mother regret getting rid of all the shirts.















This one is from a booth from a crazy quilt guild. They are going to sell all the quilts in the booth later this year. If you want details, let me know right away, and I will find it for you.




This one is also from the crazy quilt booth.













More of the quilts in the crazy quilt booth. It was jammed packed floor to ceiling of all sorts of beautiful quilts.









This one was part of the show, maybe in the red and white special exhibit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NQA Show - Community Pride

Remember the number of pictures I told you I took at the NQA show? Well, those were just the first day's pictures. I took more the following two days. Only about 68 or so. I think in total I have enough pictures to last me a couple of years of blog posts. Don't worry, I won't show them all to you, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites. This one took pictures of old buildings and structures to make this quilt. There is embroidery as well with the plants.

This shows Ohio as the birthplace of presidents. There is a lot of information crammed into this little quilt, besides the names of presidents, there are names of companies that started in Ohio, buckeyes, cardinals which is the state bird, the state flower, football references, the state flag, etc.

Based on a Piecemakers calendar, this is anoother quilt with lots of things crammed into a little space without looking too crowded. Different seasons too.

This one is made by a guild. I normally don't like house blocks, they seem too boring to me, but with the tree and the little quilts, I think that this one was quite successful.
Each block had a little quilt to go with it - some were whole cloth, some were pieced. Each is beautiful.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NQA Show

I went to the National Quilt Association annual show in Columbus. If you are a member, you can buy a pass for all three days for the same price as a one day admission. I bought a three day pass, thinking I could pace myself and spend some time everyday instead of wearing myself out in one day.

I charged up my camera battery and went prepared on Thursday. I was there before it opened, which gave me time to buy the ticket. I looked at quilts - took pictures of them - well most of them anyway. I wanted to get around to seeing everything, so I didn't take too much time at any one quilt, figuring I could look at the pictures later. I wound up taking 452 pictures! I won't show them all to you, because you probably don't have the bandwidth and don't want to see them all. The theme was red and white. The new quilting trend this year - it isn't new, but what was noticeable to me, was the shininess of a lot of quilts. People used shiny thread to quilt, and glued crystals on their quilt. They also had lots of small quilts - not just at the small quilt auction, but throughout the show.

I also went to see the vendors, lots and lots of them. I bought some more African fabric. I bought some last year as well. I really need to get around to using them! I also bought some fat quarters that were $1 each, even though I really don't need more fabric. My plan was to buy things I couldn't get easily. I also bought some crazy quilting do-dads. I wanted lots of other things but I resisted the temptation.

I had lunch at the food court. It was crowded, and I decided to sit with someone. I like to do that when I am alone - find someone to sit with. I think it is great to meet new people that way. Turns out, the person I sat with, Betty New, has a quilt at the show. She is a seventh grade teacher, and since I am in the education field as well, we had plenty to talk about.


On Friday morning, there was a thunderstorm, and we lost our electricity, so I couldn't unload my pictures. I did try to recharge my battery in between power outages. Turns out my memory card had plenty of room, and the battery lasted just fine as well. I went back to the show with my mother and my sister. They took more time to look at the individual quilts, and spent lots of time at individual vendor booths. This was a group project. Different quilters from different guilds were given the same blue fabric, and the specs on the width of the river on the left and the right. What an awesome project!

My sister chose some fabric for a quilt my mother is going to make her. I think this makes her third or fourth set of fabric for the same quilt. She wants a dahlia quilt, or a lone star. Remember, the only quilts my mother has made so far are trip around the world quilts, made out of individual squares.

Saturday morning, I trekked off alone. I had signed up to take a lecture on photographing quilts. Jennifer McCann was doing a demonstration going on about bindings, so I stayed to look. After talking about bindings, she started talking about mitering corners for borders. I have a quilt that needs miters, and maybe I should try again to see how I do. I figure if I can do a couple of miters a year, I might be able to get the quilt finished in my lifetime.

I looked around some more - looked at the details on the quilts I passed by earlier. I really recommend taking pictures of all the quilts you like - not just so you can see them again at a later time. There were several quilts whose details weren't obvious until I took their photo. The rainbow on this quilt wasn't nearly as obvious in real life as it is in the photo. Each of the blocks in this quilt are different, and all are made up of four patches made up of half square triangles.

I also went back and bought those things that I had resisted earlier - more crazy quilting do-dads, and a bungle packet of hand painted fabric. I didn't have lunch with anyone because I didn't think I had as much time, but I ate too quickly, and had time to spare before my lecture. There was a pride parade going on outside so I took some pictures of that before heading back in to the lecture. The lecture covered basic information, and since I've read photography books, I didn't learn anything new. I went back to the show and took a final look around before that long walk back to the car.

I wasn't there from open to close every day, but I spent a lot of time at the show. I really enjoyed it. Everyday was a new day, and different things interested me on different days. It was crowded, but going three days, I got a chance to see different things. Saturday afternoon, there wasn't a crowd at the quilts, because they were at the vendors.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's Next?

I finished the pictured block before I finished the mini quilt. I was merrily going along making the blocks for the Wildflower Sampler, when all of a sudden the designer springs a paper pieced block on me. I haven't learned how to paper piece, and even though someday I may want to do that, I know I've done these triangles without having to paper piece. And I want to decide when I learn. So there. I had a printout from a magazine about what size to cut triangles, etc., so I did that. I may have made a mistake somewhere because this block doesn't look like everything fits well. I may have to remake it.

I then made the mini quilt and finished it, as I told you last time. This weekend, I got to decide what I was going to do next. This is a very hard decision, let me tell you. There are many choices of quilts that are in progress that could use more of my attention. I finally had to tell myself to stop wasting time deciding. I could simply pick up anything to work on - there is no wrong decision here. I decided to go back to work on another block of Wildflower Garden. Since I am out of kits, I decided to start with Block One, instead of working randomly. That would help me keep track of which blocks I need to work on. Oh yeah, and limit the decision making trauma on this and future blocks.

Guess what, Block One also has paper piecing. I guess the designer wasn't trying to trick me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finally a Finish!

I did some emergency gardening this weekend - I know I am way past the frost free date, but I had to pull out the weeds before the backyard became a real jungle, and needed to plant something to replace the weeds. This put me behind in my quilt making.

I am so dedicated to my blog that I took the day off work yesterday just to show you a finished quilt. That and a few other excuses I concocted: construction detour, having to dress up, long drive, rather work extra hours today, etc.

As you recall, the quilt is made up of trash - the center is a pinwheel block that was made with the pinwheels going the wrong way from the still unfinished Lilibeth Garden's quilt. The purple are leftover hsts from the finished Purple Parfait quilt. I didn't even measure them to make sure they were all the same size. I did put back into the bag any that didn't fit well with each other. The bag looks just as full now as it did when I started - I'm telling you, they are multiplying. The other fabrics in the quilt practically jumped on my lap wanting to be used for this quilt.

By telling you how easy everything was last time, I think I jinxed the quilt. Adding the border fabric made the backing slightly too small for the quilt. I decided I would rather trim the border to make it fit instead of trying to piece the backing. The batting is a polyester which is slippery and puffy. I had thought about doing some straight line quilting, but thought a free motion design would be hide any nonmatching points. Or at least not call attention to them. But every time I tried the free motion quilting, the machine would not make any stitches! After three times, I decided that straight lines was the way to go. Even though it would make it very obvious that I cannot sew straight lines.

My mother saw the quilt before it was bound and wondered if I was making a pillow case. I told her I was making a wall quilt, like the one on the wall, pointing to the pear one I received from the Four Season swap. She said it needed a dark purple border between the green and the lighter purples, like the one on the wall. I'm not sure she was saying that because she thought it needed something darker or because she thought a wall quilt was supposed to be bigger. I wasn't about to undo my quilting to add the dark, but I thought adding a dark wasn't a bad idea, so I added it to the binding. Just to prove to people that I can't sew straight lines, in case they didn't get it from the quilting.

I am happy with it. It isn't too bad for things that were destined to become garbage.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mini Quilt Monday

When Michele asked us to post about our scrap quilts, I formed big plans. Too big, in fact. You see, I decided to make a scrap quilt, so I could show how frugal I could be by using leftover half square triangles ("HTS") from another quilt. It was a new concept to me when I made that original quilt - a way to save all that fabric that would otherwise be thrown away. Several women in that class threw theirs away, but I kept mine. Lots of quilters now use leftover HSTs, but it was a new concept at the time. Then I saw several blogs celebrating Mini Quilt Monday by making a mini quilt every Monday. If I made a mini quilt using my HSTS, I could finally have a finish this year. And since the HSTs are technically orphan blocks, I could join Finn's Orphan Train all at the same time. And if I could get it done by the end of the month, I could use it as a Spring to Finish entry. I haven't joined any of these groups, and haven't made any promises, but it sure would be nice to be able to sort of join all these fun events that are happening in blog world.

One little quilt with such big lofty ambitions!

I took my little blocks and pressed them. All of them. That little tiny lunch bag holds lots and lots and lots of HSTs. They might even have been multiplying while I was pressing them. It took the whole quilting time that day just pressing these little babies. It was clear that I wouldn't have a "Look what I made today" post. Not for this quilt, even though technically the blocks are already made.

There was another stray block in the bag - it is from LiliBeth's Garden. The pinwheels were going the wrong way. So I added it.

I decided to cut some more scraps for the rail fence quilt, and found another fabric that wanted to be in the quilt, so I added it. Then when I went to look for backing fabric, I laid the little quilt on top of the fabric to make sure it was the right size, and decided it would look good as a border as well.

This quilt has been a lot of fun to make. No agonizing decisions. The right pieces just seem to fall into my lap at the right time. Even the batting scrap is just the right size for this quilt.

No, there isn't a finished quilt picture to show you yet. The deadlines have all past for almost all of these events, and I am the last one on the racetrack. I may not have kept up with anyone else in the race, but I will make it to the finish line eventually!