August 28, 2015

All the Angles

All the Angles
My Ann Arbor/Chicago MQG Mini Swap quilt, All the Angles, is finished and delivered to our swap mama (the awesome Dorie, who coordinates all the A2MQG swaps and our round robin).

This full shot gives you a better idea of the quilting.  The quilting lines are extended from the second triangle in the middle row.  I used the edge of my walking foot to space the quilting evenly - it works out to about 1/2" apart.  It is quilted with a medium grey thread.

I did something with this mini that I rarely do - I used a contrasting border.  Most often, if I use a border at all, it is the same as the background so the blocks float.  With all the color in this little mini, I thought it needed a bit of containment!

I couldn't make up my mind between the red and orange for the binding, so when I discovered I only had a fat quarter of the red and plenty of the orange, I decided on both.

The rules for the mini swap were that the quilt could not be any bigger than 24" on any one side.  All the Angles measures about 24" on the long sides and about 19" on the shorter sides.  A bit bigger than my original plan, but adding borders will do that.

There were 30 participants from our guild in this swap and it was amazing to see all their quilts last night at our meeting.  There was a huge variety, but all were so wonderful and unique.  I was too absorbed in hearing how people decided what to make to think of taking pictures.  If you are on Instagram, you can check #a2cmgqminiswap to see the ones that have been posted.

August 25, 2015

Finishing up

It's funny that this post should follow my previous one about soft colors :)  This is some of my progress for the Ann Arbor/Chicago MQG mini swap.  My partner likes bright colors and improv - I wrote about beginning the project here.

I made some more blocks during the A2MQG retreat several weeks ago.  For the quilting, I chose one of the triangles and "drew" lines from the edge of each triangle across the other triangles and quilted parallel lines in different directions in each section.

I'm almost finished with the quilting and just have to decide what color to use for the binding. (I'll share the full quilt on Friday). We'll have show and tell at the A2MQG meeting on Wednesday and then the quilts will be sent off to the Chicago MQG.  We'll receive ours back from them at our September meeting.

It is such fun trying to create a quilt that someone else will like, I tend to forget that I'll be getting one in return :)  I can't wait to see it!

August 21, 2015

Color Moods

Do you go through periods of time when you are drawn to certain colors and the moods they evoke?  Lately, every time I go to choose fabrics I end up with a soft, serene palette.  None of my often-used high contrast schemes appeal right now.  I seem to crave gentle and peaceful colors.

The fabrics in the picture are from my newest quilt (to be a pattern later this fall).  I had originally thought I might use a bright white background (one of my favorites) and some clear blues for the contrasting fabrics.  As I got closer to making the actual quilt, I chose a creamier white and these soft aquas.

I wonder if it is a reflection of my busy summer with a graduation, wedding and college departure - or if my brain just wants something a little different than my usual.  It doesn't really matter - as long as I love what I'm working on while I'm doing it, that is what is important.

What is your favorite color mood these days?

August 18, 2015

Partial Seam vs Y Seam

A lot of quilters get confused by the difference between a partial seam and a Y seam.  They aren't the same thing.  Partial seams are pretty easy to do whereas Y seams are just a bit trickier.

A partial seam means you don't sew the whole seam joining one piece to another right away - you just sew part of it.  Then, when you finish the other seams, you go back and finish the part of the seam you left undone.  This is useful when you want to rotate pieces around a center square.

My Turnstile pattern and class include this technique.  It is a lot simpler than it sounds at first :)

A Y seam is used when joining three shapes together such as the diamonds in Tumbling Blocks (diagram), an 8 pointed star or hexagons (to name a few).  To sew a Y seam correctly, you don't sew into the seam allowances, you sew along the quarter inch seam starting  1/4" away from the first edge and sewing to 1/4" away from the other edge.

Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts has great tutorials for both partial seams and Y seams.

Do you use either of these techniques?

August 14, 2015

Lots of quilty fun!

Read Between the Lines
Stephanie Zacharer Ruyle, Denver, Colorado

1st place Modern Wall Quilts
I may have been having way too much quilty fun lately (if there is such a thing)!  

Last Saturday, I had a group of long-time quilty friends at my house for a sewing day.  Between us, we cover lots of different quilting styles, but we always have a great time seeing what everyone has
been working on and catching up while we sew away.

Thelma Bearden, Tullahoma, Tennessee
2nd place Modern Wall Quilts
Monday night, I went to dinner with some MQG friends - some local and some in from out of town.  We had a wonderful evening at a restaurant in downtown Detroit called Selden Standard. The food was amazing - go there if you have a chance!

Tuesday was my biweekly Handwork group. We often call it our therapy session and I always leave these lovely women relaxed and happy.

Thursday saw me and more quilty friends driving to Grand Rapids for the AQS show there.  As always, there were lots of beautiful quilts! As a quilter with a minimalist sense of style, the quilts that win these shows tend to be too much for me - too much color and too much quilting, but I always enjoy and appreciate the incredible talent, skill and workmanship.

I'm not much of a quilt show shopper - I bought a book and two calendars (1 desk and 1 wall).  After the show, we traveled a few miles down the road to visit Stitched Studio.  I love the look of this shop - it is so bright and airy - and, of course, they have wonderful fabric too.  I found some background fabrics I'd been looking for, so I was very pleased about that!  Dinner at a fun restaurant called The Electric Cheetah completed the trip before our drive home.

I'm looking forward now to a few days of my favorite kind of quieter fun - just me and my sewing machine (and a good audiobook).  How about you? I hope you are all finding time for some quilty fun, whether it is with quilty friends or just you and your fabric!
Red Ribbons
Judy Mercer Tescher, Pendleton, Indiana
3rd place, Modern Wall Quilts

(These are all pictures I took with my phone at the AQS Grand Rapids show - sorry they are a bit blurry!)

August 11, 2015

One of my favorite "tools"...

I love to sew by hand!  Hand appliqué is one of my favorite things and I also love to hand sew a binding when I have the chance.

I took my first hand appliqué class from Pat Campbell back in about 2004.  She recommended Richard Hemming needles and I've been using them ever since.  I've tried others but always come back to Richard Hemming.  They stay sharp and just seem to feel right in my hand.  My favorite is size 10 betweens.  I have some 9s that I use sometimes too, but usually any hand sewing I do is with a #10.

Straw needles are another popular needle for hand appliqué.  They are very long and fine.  I tried them in another class I took, but couldn't get used to the length.

The amazing variety of tools available to quilters is wonderful, but the choices can sometimes be confusing and a bit overwhelming.  If you haven't found a hand sewing needle that you like, consider giving the Richard Hemmings a try.  Check your local quilt shop or try Colonial Needle.

(PS Colonial Needle also sells Roxanne thimbles - another of my faves!)

Do you have a favorite needle?

August 7, 2015

A different type of design...

While I don't have any sort of design background (BBA majoring in accounting), I am totally comfortable designing a quilt.  Today, I needed to give some serious thought to a design-type project I've been putting off for ages.

This blog needs some professional help. In addition to the pages I have now, I'd love to have a quilt gallery and a shop on my site for my patterns.  Plus, I really want it to have a simpler, cleaner look.  I don't have anywhere near the computer knowledge to accomplish such a thing, so today I've been exploring hiring someone who does.

It's a bit like a foreign language!  Do I know the difference between a web developer and a web designer and which one do I want/need?  Do I want or need to move my blog from Blogger to another platform like WordPress?  Is "platform" even the right word here?

I've received some good recommendations and the professionals I've been emailing with have been very patient and helpful.  However, I still feel like there are lots of questions I don't even know to ask.  I'm trying not to let this stop me from moving forward and am trying to trust the process to help me recognize and deal with questions as they arise.

I know a lot of people in my situation figure out how to do the work themselves.  I probably could do that (maybe...), but it isn't really something I'm interested in learning and I don't think I'd enjoy it, let alone get the results I want.  I'm a pretty dedicated DIYer but I have my limits!

One thing I know I don't like on websites is when the "intro" photo is so large that I have to scroll down to find the menu or see anything else.  How about you?  Do you have any pet peeves on blogs/websites?  What would you like to see here?