Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to work on next

Now that my guild's quilt show has ended, I feel like I have a ton of time!  Not really, but it sure does feel that way.  Besides desperately needing to clean my house, I'm trying to decide what to work on next.  

I worked on this year's Buck a Block yesterday and finished the two blocks.  We only receive the center portion each month and that makes two blocks but I decided to go ahead and put the rest of it together so I can finish it all at once and not have to go back and make the star points.  I wasn't going to even participate but saw one of the store's color combinations and fell in love instantly.  It's call surf and sand.  It's hard to see the friendship star in the middle but it's there!  The other block is the opposite with the background fabric as the friendship star.  I started sewing on my sashing, too.  I think this is going to be one of my favorites.

I also need to finish last year's block of the month.  Many times I like challenging myself to come up with a different layout or use my own fabric selections to finish the quilt rather than buy a finishing kit - unless the fabric is very specific and would be hard to find on my own.    

The pattern above is called The Queen and Her Court by Wing and a Prayer Designs. It truly is lovely.  I thought the directions were easy to follow.  I decided to go with a plain background vs the pieced background and decided I wanted purple flowers rather than pink since there was already a lot of pink in the blocks.  I wouldn't mind having some custom quilting done in the corners to make up for the lack of design there.  Whether or not I tackle it myself when I'm more confident or decide to quilt this one by hand is something I'll think about later.  Right now I just want to complete the top!  Below is the center block.  Once I finish adding on the purple outer border, I'll be able to lay out the top, sew it together and start appliqueing the vines and flowers.

I also started working on my next class sample.  I had originally thought of having this pattern as my next Midnight Madness class this summer but as I'm working on it I have a feeling I'll get a lot of complaints on this one.  I already used one pattern that turned out to be too intricate for another Midnight Madness class.  It has affectionately become known as "Psycho Quilt".  No lie, I'll never live this class down. 

The pattern, Milky Way by Cozy Quilt Designs, is lovely but the complaint was it had too many small pieces.  Oh well, can't win them all, but I'm sure you can appreciate my apprehension!

As you can see, I've already finished two of the blocks.  Love the pattern, all the blocks are assembled the same so that works in my favor.  So far I'm OK with the fabrics I picked out, but I have to decide if people will want to deal with this particular technique or if they're happier with a pattern that wouldn't make them think as much.  

I like to keep my Midnight Madness as a night that's all about food and fun and oh yeah, and we got to sew too!  I usually wear my slippers and if it's not too cold, I'll even wear my jammies!  This class is fun!  I've actually had people ask me if we could have wrist bands (you know, like they used to have back in the 80's & 90's for concert tickets?) so they can be sure to get in the class. It really doesn't matter what the pattern is, they just want in.  The store provides dinner and I always bake.  This semester's class sold out in 20 minutes. Personally, I like to think it's for my baking and the class just happens to be a bonus.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quilt Show

Whew!  It's been a while, I know, but I've been tied up mostly with my guild's quilt show and making class samples.  

The quilt show was very successful, we had almost 1550 people attend!  I think we had a few things work in our favor...  we had wonderful weather, partly sunny and temps in the 40's.  Nice enough to go out but not too nice to work in the yard.  This was our second year in this facility, always a plus and we hosted the Last Supper Quilt.

Unfortunately, my picture is a little shaky and I was losing the battery so I couldn't take as many pictures as I would have liked.  The Last Supper Quilt is traveling the country.  It was made by Dr. Locke, a retired dentist from Texas.  So far he and his wife have traveled to 32 different states displaying this wonderful quilt.  It is over 15' wide x over 5' tall.  Can you believe this is only his second quilt???  I can't!  It took him 2 1/2 years to complete (I have some that have taken me more than that and not nearly as big or impressive), consists of 51,816 1/2" squares (yes, 1/2" squares, that's not a typo) and 350 different fabrics.

Although I couldn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, I did manage to take a few of my favorites.
Again, a little shaky.  When I take the flash off my camera, I think it takes longer to snap the picture.  But keeping the flash on darkened the picture.  Plus, it was pretty crowded so there really wasn't much time to stand there and get it right - especially with the battery running out quickly!  And, I'll admit it, a photographer, I'm not!  Any way, this is Aunt Millie's garden by my friend, Maureen.  Maureen has a wonderful way of putting quirky fabrics together and making it work.  Honestly, I never would have thought of using red and the various fabrics that she used, as I'm a little more conservative, but I love what Maureen does.  I think her quilts are absolutely stunning!

Love this quilt, have the book, need to make it!!!  Need I say more?

I love scrap quilts (OK, I love all quilts).  I love how this person put so many fabrics together.  I need to make one of these too!

This was an online swap.  I know this because I participated in the same swap.  I just haven't done anything with my blocks yet.  I like this setting but I think I'll make more blocks to make mine a little longer.

I had to snap this one quickly and couldn't get a full picture as the row was too crowded.  Love it!

This was a free block of the month by Bunny Hill

My local quilt shop hosted this as a mystery.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to make mine this size or make it as a queen size.  Yup, still thinking about it.

Another local quilt store hosted his as a block of the month.  I still have to finish mine.  Yes, it's on the chair of shame.

I'm not a big fan of 30's fabric but thought the quilting on this quilt was outstanding.  Unfortunately, my camera did not pick up the detail.  

The pattern itself, though, is lovely.  I could definitely see this with batiks and a black background!

Honestly, the picture does not do it justice.  All hand appliqued and hand quilted.  Trust me, it's impressive!  Made by my friend Janet over at Janet Ann Creations

This was right about where my camera started to die out on me.

I hope you enjoyed the few pictures I was able to capture!  As much as I love being a part of the show and seeing it all come together, it's so nice being able to think of other things.  I can start working in the dining room again and can start putting my house back in order.  Well, not that it's ever really been in order with the kids and the dogs but you know what I mean!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The "S" Mentality

I'm happy to feel the warm weather coming in, but it would be nice if the mud didn't accompany it.  My floors are always a mess with the dogs dragging in mud.  That takes away from my quilting time, after all!

Speaking of quilting, I've been up to my eyeballs in it.  I'm almost to the point of being burnt out.  My guild's quilt show is in a couple of weeks.  I still have two more labels to sew on (finished making one last night just have to sew it on).  On top of that, I'm trying to assemble raffle baskets as the person in charge finally told the show board that she really didn't get anything done in the past two years.  AND I'm trying to finish my class samples.  Luckily, I only have the borders left, but we all know how much I love borders!  Although I have to say after putting on sleeves and labels, I'm liking borders much better!

Raffle baskets for the guild's show
More raffle baskets for the show, not yet wrapped.  I'd love to have my living room back! I have more items piled to the side that haven't found their way to a basket yet.

I still have the newsletter to write for the guild but can't get into my email account where all the newsletter submissions from the various board members are kept.  Calgon, take me away!  I have to keep reminding myself that the "S" on my chest is not for Super, it's for Stupid... because I can't say no!!!

I think a lot of us quilters have the same problem.  We always want to help, we always want to be there for other people but we forget that we can't possibly do it all.  I'm always telling another friend of mine with the same "S" mentality to stop telling everyone yes.  That "S" can stand for Selfish sometimes and it's not being selfish to say no once in a while.  You can only do so much. 
So... why do I not follow this same advice?  I'll tell you why, it's because I'm Stupid and Stubborn.  

It's like going to the doctor - if someone else is not feeling well or has hurt themselves, I'm the first one to insist they see the doctor.  When the tables are turned, it's a different story - "I'm fine" is always the answer I give when it's someone else insisting I see a doctor.  I know you can all relate to this because we all do it, every last one of us!

I've already instructed my dear friends to jump on me, put their hands over my mouth, knock me over the head, or unvolunteer me for reasons of Stupidity the next time I try to raise my hand or utter the dreaded words "I'll do it!" at the next meeting, whatever it may be.  It's OK to be less Super and more Selfish once in a while.  We can't be Super all the time because then you just become Sleepy and Silly.  Silly is OK but Sleepy (especially when you're driving on 495 back from the Cape) is not OK.

To end on a happy quilty note, I went to my Block of the Month meeting at one of my local quilt stores in the morning.  Afterwards, I went to Hyannis with my husband to Heartbeat Quilts.  If you've never been, it is one of the largest quilt stores in the area.  I don't know the history behind the building but it looks like it used to be a bank because there's a drive-thru window attached.  It's not in use but can you imagine having a drive-thru window at your favorite quilt store?  Can I have 5 FQ's to go please?  Flavor doesn't matter, I just need a fabric fix!

Anyway, the store goes on forever.  It's room after room of fabric.  If you're into Jenny Beyer (is it Jinny or Jenny?), this is the store for you, I think they have all of her fabrics.  They have a fairly nice variety of batiks (my favorite), large variety on their color walls, etc.  But, I have to say, I can very easily walk in there and look around and walk out. I've never found the store to be overly inspiring like I do my local stores, Quilter's Stash and Emma's Quilt Cupboard.  Maybe I just connect with these stores more (I'm friendly with both owners, all of the staff and work at one but participate in the BOM program of the other).  Although each of these stores is very different, one tends to run more contemporary where the other more traditional.  It's very rare that I enter either store without coming out having bought something.  

I love the Cape and like to support the stores down there, too.  However, if I didn't have the gift certificates, I would not have made the trip down there but I'm glad I did.  I bought two books and some fabric to make more ribbons for the show so it was a successful trip.  I also got to spend time alone with my husband, a very rare treat.  We stopped for lunch at the British Beer Company on Main Street in Hyannis.  A great time was had by all.  

Hopefully, after the show is over, I'll stop trying to be so Super and Stupid and can Slow down and Sew for fun again.  And having Slowed down, I can enjoy visiting my blogs and writing my own again Some day.  Next Saturday is the judging session so I should have more then, hopefully, I'll have more before then but in the act of trying to be Super, I doubt it.