Churning Green

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I love quilting books and patterns to the point that it’s almost sick.  Like seriously, the obsession with everything about this industry is real.  I just can never have enough quilts or pictures of quilts or plans of quilts or thoughts of quilts or ideas of quilts.  It’s a bit concerning, really.

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And people like these two like to feed my obsession.  Meet Liz Evans and Elizabeth Evans, and if you are double taking over their names, you should be.  They are sisters-in-law, and cohorts in quilting.  Together they have written The Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting, and it’s a good thing they did.

I never get tired of a beginning quilting book, even after all these years.  Sure, I’m pretty familiar with most of the basic techniques, but I still love them for a few reasons.  This book is a good example of what I mean.

First, the fabrics and photos are updated.  Doesn’t seem like that’s a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I love that it helps to invite new quilters into “our world.”  Crisp, clear and modern constantly mean something different, and it helps to keep our creative blood flowing.

Second, the techniques do get updated.  A book written 50 years ago wouldn’t have included any information about rotary cutters because, hello, they weren’t invented for quilting yet.

Third, the projects themselves get updated.  I love that in this book they have a great mix of quilts and other projects- everything from a bunting to a bib, from a pouch to a pillow.  Love it!

So, here’s what I made.  It didn’t take me long to make the top, but it did take a while to quilt it.  I love the simplicity of this project as a background for some massive quilting, so that’s what I did.

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Churning Green

I had copious amounts of this fabric in my stash, and it was exactly what I wanted.  If you come to the studio/my husband’s shop, you will see it hanging in the bathroom.  This color combination appeals to me, as it reminds me of a lot that we’ve been seeing from prominent fabric designers over the last few years.  The main print is an older piece by Laura Gunn, and I’ve been hoarding it for a while.

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I started quilting it the day our youngest went off to college.  I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of chatter, and I for sure needed chocolate.  Juan and I worked quietly and diligently, and for the most part, all went well.  However, I did run into some technical issues that eliminates this quilt from being shown anywhere but the bathroom.  Let’s just say I learned a lot, and am grateful for it, but am really sad because this started out as a great quilt and could have done well.  I may have to try again.

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I artfully staged this pic so that the biggest offense is not that visible, but I will tell you that a bit of it is peaking out at the top right corner.  Maybe I will write a post sometime about using a Statler, and some of the things I’ve learned since bringing Juan home a year ago.  It’s been an amazing process.

The irony?  This book was written as a beginning quilting book, and while I may be all “I know how to do that already,” I still ended up getting a lesson in the end.

Pride goeth before a fall.  (Prov 16:18)

Simple Knit Dress Workshop with Chrissy Weeks

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You chose your dress or tunic pattern (some options listed below). And we will make them together. First we will make a sample and adjust your pattern for fit. Then we will make your dress out of your “for real” fabric.

Supplies: Bring your machine and basic sewing supplies. Thread to match your project, polyester is best for apparel. You can sew on a regular machine and / or serger. We will have a couple sergers available for class use, but limited thread color options. Please make sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric. Keep in mind when buying your fabric that natural fiber knit shrinks up to 40% be sure to buy extra if using a cotton or silk knit. Sample fabric needs to be similar weight and stretch to your “for real” fabric. Good quality fabric is easier to sew and will give you a nicer finished garment.

Pattern Suggestions:
Colette Patterns,  https://www.colettepatterns.com  (Monetta, Myrtle)

McCalls Patterns (M7382, M7432, M7407)

Sew Caroline,  http://www.shopsewcaroline.com/ (Out and About Dress)

Any dress pattern similar to these simple shapes is appropriate as long as it is a pattern intended for knits!

Best places to buy knits:
Stores:
Gail K, in-town and Norcross,   http://www.gailkfabricsinc.com/
Fine Fabric, Jimmy Carter Access Road 6218 Dawson Blvd Norcross, (678) 894-2067
Joann’s (has surprisingly decent knits)

On-Line:
Fabric.com
http://www.girlcharlee.com

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 9am- 4pm.  Nonmembers- $36, Members- 6 hours.  Click here to register.

Jus a lil lovins…

There are few things more productive and powerful than a crew of creators with a passionate mission. So many of us have seen it, on either side of the line. 

Recently a friend of ours, Nisha Bouri, had an unusual, and quite honestly scary, illness. Thankfully she is doing better now, and is on the mend.  

When word began to spread amongst a dozen or so of us in the quilting community, it didn’t take long for several to step forward to organize an effort to show her we love her in the best way we know how.  

Image creds- Kim Martucci, weatherkim


Full disclosure here, I have very strong, very negative feelings about group sewing projects in general, so I was quick to offer Juan’s quilting services rather than making an actual block. And in the end, I’m so grateful that the rest of the makers trusted us with their offering of kindness and love. 


The quilt top was just stunning, and Juan and I both brooded over it for days before jumping in. We debated about an all-over pattern to kind of unify the message of the quilt, but in the end knew that Nisha would love it best if each block, and in turn each quilter, was given their day in the sun.




Seen enough?  I don’t think so. 

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters


One more… The best one of all…

Photo creds- Amy Webb, amylouwhosews

“We’ll eat you up, we love you so!”*


I recently did a book review on Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander, which you can read by clicking here. At the same time that this title came across my desk, I also needed to make a baby quilt for a gift. And of course, being the efficient over achiever that I am, I also saw an opportunity to try a little something that Juan and I have been thinking about for a while. Three birds with one stone. Although I don’t really like killing birds, but you get the idea.

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From the book Happy Quilts!

I love children’s literature, and I love to give books as baby gifts. When I saw Alex’s pattern, “Wild Thing,” I was inspired, and wondered if I could do a small quilt inspired by both her pattern and the book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


I had wanted to try quilting a background and adding raw edge applique after the fact, and the phrase “his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around” kept sticking in my head, so I thought I’d start there. I loaded the background on sideways into Juan’s arms and began searching for vine patterns. I found a few, and used a verigated thread that had green and brown in it (King Tut Bulrushes #910 by Superior Threads).


I took the quilt out of Juan’s hands and using fusible web, attached the applique pieces to the top. I used a Sizzix Big Shot Pro to cut out the moon, and hand copied three of the monsters from Alex’s “Wild Thing” pattern. I used colors that reminded me of the child’s book, and a very busy backing to hide any flaws in my little experiment.


Then I loaded the quilt back onto Juan so that I could use his programmed circles to stitch over the circle appliqués. Then I took the quilt away from Juan, again, and used a domestic machine (Ruthie) to blanket stitch around all of the raw edges.


I had some fine corduroy left from another project that was just perfect for the binding, although not the easiest stuff to stitch down by hand!  I use a thimble on my middle finger and a set of needle pullers on my index and thumb to help with the thickness.


I also made a stuffie from Alex’s book to go with the quilt, and he traveled around with me for a few days. Truthfully, he was difficult to let go of.


But in the end, I did let go, and I hope this sweet baby and his parents enjoy it!  Still, I might have to make my own stuffie.  Wild thing, you know.

*Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Sputnik!


A couple of months ago I acquired a few new toys from Sizzix and have been having a good time getting to know them. Last month we used the eclips2 to cut contact paper for glass etching as part of the Stuff Your Stocking event.

This month we have two quilt workshops coming up in the studio that use the Big Shot Pro die cut machine.  One of them is Sputnik, a raw edge applique quilt featuring circles cut using the Big Shot Pro.  Click here to see the free pattern from Sizzix, but note that we will only be using the circle die. Bring your fabrics ready to roll, but uncut.  We will fuse, cut and stitch during the workshop.

Juan and I have been talking about some things we want to experiment with, and I thought this quilt provided an opportunity. I wanted to see how Juan would do if I quilted the applique without stitching it down first. So, I put everything in place, then loaded it into Juan’s arms.


I wasn’t really sure how it would work because we have had some trouble with quilting through applique with fusible web. After talking to a few friends and getting a tip or two, we got rolling.


Not too bad. And this quilt was fun because almost all of the fabric, including the backing, was scrap.  The only new piece was the background, which is Kona Silver, and one of my favorites. It came together quickly, and I’m thinking of doing another one to have on hand as a baby gift. Or maybe several for charitable purposes. We shall see.

The other quilt we’ll be using the Big Shot Pro for is the Wave quilt by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I’m planning on making mine this week, but here’s a preview from the free Sizzix pattern-


And how about this American flag version using the same die?  I’m thinking they both are pretty much fantastic.

Happy Quilts!  10 Fun, Kid-Themed Quilts and Coordinating Soft Toys

What better way to start a road trip than a book review?  Unless you get car sick when reading or sewing, in which case it’s a terrible way to start a long weekend. But I’m not car sick, and I digress. As usual.

Meet Antonie Alexander of theredbootquiltcompany.com. Isn’t she adorable?!?  Of course she is. How do I know she’s adorable?  Have I visited her in Brisbane?  Had a stirring quilt convo over vegemite sandwich?

Nope. But, I have met her through her creations in her book “Happy Quilts,” and I can promise you, she really is adorable.


Ignore my thumb and the car door. Instead, let’s talk about the Bedtime Superheroes quilt. Hello. Sixteen super heroes.  Boys. Girls. Perfection. And that softie.  Our college-bound daughter is obsessed.


Admittedly, I’m a bit of a softie newbie, so the superhero made me a bit nervous, but as you can see Toni included patterns for multiple levels of experience. This bear is super cute, and I can see doing several of these for gifts.

Oh, and I’m still on the way to Florida.


Toni’s book includes all of the templates on a disk, which is so much easier to deal with than a large printout or trying to photocopy from the book itself. I found the templates and directions to be well written and designed, so they were easy to follow.


Wild Things is my favorite quilt in this book, and I had to try my hand at the stuffie. Juliette conceded that it was pretty dang cute, and while she isn’t giving up on a collection of stuffed superheroes, she was delighted over a monster to take to college.


And so, let me introduce Sawyer. Ummm, yeah, not sure I wanna let either one of them go to college. Just sayin.


But that’s still a couple of weeks away. For now we’ll just enjoy a family cookout and gathering in Orlando, and maybe plot another project from “Happy Quilts.”

An editorial based on an editorial…

A very interesting and controversial editorial about the Modern Quilt Guild just came to my attention, and I started to share it on The Green Apricot Facebook page, but it occurred to me that it might be post-worthy. The blog article I’m referring to is “You can’t break up if there wasn’t a relationship in the first place” by Mandy Leins, and you should click this link to read it before continuing to read my post. 

 I currently belong to three guilds, including WAMQG, but I have no misgivings about the foibles and failings of quilt guilds at large, both traditional and modern. Leadership is often more of a dictatorship, and the membership is often lazy and demanding. Politics run rampant, feelings get hurt, bylaws are completely ignored or conveniently and quietly rewritten, and money is spent and decisions are made without bringing a motion to the floor for voting. 

But… Friendships are formed. Newbies and experienced ones are supported. Programs help with progress. Challenges bring both laughter and tears. And few things are as powerful as a group of quilters armed with sewing supplies and a charitable mission. 

So, join a guild. Or don’t. Quit your guild. Or don’t. But how about make a decision with your eyes open, and confident that you are being true to yourself by spending time doing things that matter to you with people, good or bad, that you can care for?  

I am not an MQG insider, and I did not know some of the details mentioned in this post. While in a lot of ways I think this is sad, I have to say I felt a bit relieved to read it because it put a voice to a number of concerns that have been crawling under my skin, but haven’t made themselves manifest. I’m a bit cautious these days when it comes to guilds, and frankly, any organized groups of people who try to define or pigeon-hole its members to the point of elitism, but I still find value in them. I also think that in the grand scheme of things, MQG is still very young, and it will be interesting to see how it forms and changes over time. And how exactly people who lie outside of its boundaries respond. 

It’s kind of exciting to witness it all.