Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Road to California - Day 4

On the fourth day, I took a 'Fabric-scapes' class from Martha Nordstrand , from whom I had taken a class using her applique technique 3 years ago at Road..I still have that piece (several lovely California poppies) up on my design wall..waiting for the perfect place to put it...

Her technique is to cut templates from full sheets of label paper that get adhered to the right side of the fabric, then you turn the piece over, coat the edges with glue and use tiny screwdrivers to turn over the edge..she does absolutely lovely pieces and in fact, won the first place ribbon in the large applique quilt category at Road this year - here is her quilt...

Being currently fascinated with landscapes and landscape quilts, I wanted to see how she approached them. First we picked a picture to use - and reduced it to just the major elements...then auditioned fabrics and cut chunks of those fabrics, glued the edges and built up the picture against a piece of stiff clear plastic..for tricky details, we used the label paper, but mostly you just cut a piece that roughly matched the shape from the picture and worked from there...

I picked a Tuscan landscape to work with..I changed my mind about the back fabric and the sky a couple of times...until I got this - its just in the 'glue basted' stage..have not done any of the appliqueing yet...
After dinner (we opted for really fast for this last night and ate at In-N-Out - a local burger joint that makes delicious cheeseburgers), I took a class on Cathedral Stars by Shelley Swanland. I was seriously hoping to finish this quilt during the three hour class, but realize I was seriously deluded and out of my quiting mind! I got done with the top by the end of the class...but I was not happy with how the sashing came out..had to take it home and have several conversations with Jack (the Ripper) but finally, it came together ok - not perfect, but acceptable...I quilted it Sunday and thought about adding one of the piped bindings like I had seen in the Roundabout..rummaged around in my Granny's stash..found a package of unopened piping and started sewing it on...well..much to my dismay, the fabric had dry-rotted! There was black fabric dust EVERYWHERE..on the floor, on my clothes, under my fingernails, all over my machine....after that debacle I decided that the quilt was just going to get an ordinary binding!

I got the binding sewn on the front and took the quilt with me to the Dr's office to do the hand stitching on the bask while I sooner had I taken the needle out to do the very first stitch than the nurse called me back! That happened a couple more times - I had to have my mammies grammied and it happened in their waiting room too, and at the pharmacy!..I guess taking handwork is a way to ward off having to wait for long..and if you do really have to wait, you have something to do...

The flowers are formed during the quilting and then afterwards I added the beads and some embroidery thread stamens..overall, its pretty darned cute! And I love the colors of the kit I got!

Road To California - Day 3

The third day was spent learning more machine quilting with Lois Smith. We experimented with free form designs, spent lots of time learning to control the speed of quilting and generally just having fun quilting. At the end of the class, we created a small triangle zipper bag out of one of the samples.

After dinner at El Pollo Loco (I had my favorite - three chicken wings!), we went to whats called 'Roundabout'..this is a facinating event...a bunch of the teachers and vendors put on 10 minute demos and every 10 minutes a bell rings, and you run to another demo..this goes on for a couple of are given a packet of info at the start of the show and list of the demos so you can decide which ones to attend..We saw soooo much..and had lots of fun..One of the demos, I was very facinated with - Silk ribbon embroidery by machine...Susan Schrempf was demo-ing her beautiful method..and I just HAD to buy the book, and the tools!
We also saw demos for
- the StarBuilder that is a set of rubbing pads for the Shiva Paintstiks - makes gorgeous star designs.
-how to make dogtooth borders
-how to make some really interesting quilts with nickle pieces and fusible grid
-some beautiful ribbon postcards
-how to do 'applique on the edge' - an interesting applique technique using bobbin work to outline the pieces
-the Great Glue Stick Caper - applique using glue sticks and small screwdrivers (more about this technique in Day 4 as the teacher is the same as my full day class) - but my friend had never seen the demo...
-how to do a piped binding
-printed kaleidescope cards using a pretty cool piece of software that makes the kaliedescopes for you that you can then print out on photo fabric sheets
-using the multi-angle Wedge ruler...

Road to California - Day 2

The second day I spent learning machine quilting. The class was taught by Lois Smith - here is a bit about Lois on the Backroads to Road to California blog. We warmed up a bit with a small practice piece then started making a set of three panels on white sateen using the purple air erase markers to define where to sew..after we finished the three pieces, we put them together using a 'quilt as you go technique'...the class sample had a border, but I decided just to make mine have a facing and use it as a table runner.

Here is the class sample:

And here are the three panels that I got finished...I have since put the facing on it so its not a UFO anymore!And the purple marker is almost can still see faint lines...

After dinner at Olive Garden (I went wild and ordered a delicious steak..half of which I took home to DH!), one of my friends and I went to a needlefelting class and made this cute strawberry pincushion. This class was taught by 'Bird Brain Designs' - a bunch of delightfully funny ladies - and was one of the most fun classes I have attended! I really enjoyed much so, that I now have the foam block, three single needles, a 4 needle tool, lots of wool roving and a cute tote bag from the Bird Brain ladies! I just need to make a cotton cover for the foam block to keep the roving from getting stuck in the foam..and I am all set to experiment with making balls, and critters and whatnot out of wool...I might have to buy me a sheep if I really get into this!

Road to California - Day 1

The first class I attended at Road to California this year was on Needleturn Applique...Teacher was Cathy Van Bruggen and the pattern she was teaching from is called 'Sweet Magnolias' - a design with a mockingbird and several magnolia blossoms. I think I finally 'get' needleturn! It was a good class..I got finished with constructing my birdie except for the embroidery for his eye, beak and maybe some feathers, and the branch he will sit on.

This is the class sample that the teacher did:

Here is what I got done:

The bird is all from one fabric - we cut out template pieces from freezer paper, then I picked out the areas on the fabric that were the right value for each poor piece of fabric now looks like swiss cheese! But since its all one fabric, the color goes together marvelously..greys are usually hard to match. The bird is built on a piece of interfacing as a unit - this is a great technique - once you get all your units ready, you can line them up with the pattern (or adjust if you want or need to) and no problems with a piece being just a smidge too short to match up.

After the class, my friends and I went out to eat at Red Lobster..I had stuffed mushrooms and asparagus..yummy! (and only ONE cheese biscuit! I had never tasted was very good!)

Then we attended the preview show for class participants. It was marvelous seeing the spectacular quilts - check out the winners! One pretty cool thing that they did this year was have a wonderful harpist playing during the show...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Before the Stroke of Midnight...

This was the third quilt for the Finish 3 Quilts by 12/31/2008 Challenge - I made it with 22 minutes to spare!

In March of 2007, we started a HUGE project at work..with brutal hours..I worked sometimes 70-80 hours per week, week after laptop was my constant companion! (I even had to bring it to the Arizona Retreat last year! I was running the daily jobs at our Christmas party last year and during our milestone celebration dinners)...I would roll out of bed, head for our project trailer, work til no one else was still there except my boss, head for home and sometimes even get back on the computer after I got home...It got so bad that I was even DREAMING about the work we were doing and the people on the project...could not even escape the project in my slumber!

One night...I remembered what my Mamma had told me when I was a small girl and having bad dreams...If you are dreaming about something you don't want to dream about, wake yourself up, turn over in bed and think about something did..and there was a cow! In a field! With the sun shining and a fluffy white cloud and trees and butterflies and flowers!

This quilt was started shortly after we implemented the project (on time and under budget!) in May 2008....and finished just before the stroke of midnight 12/31/20008!

It's quilted on wool batting which is why its so poofy! It's 22x26 inches - hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand quilted - even the binding was put on by hand!...I named it 'She's Out Standing In Her Field'...