Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vintage Friendship Garden

I was at a local quilt show recently and saw this stunning applique' quilt as an Opportunity quilt (aka raffle) offered by the Santa Rosa Quilt guild, which I used to belong to. I spent quite a bit of time admiring the balance, color and workmanship. Not only were the blocks beautifully created, but the machine quilting was handsome and well suited to the quilt. Wow!

When I looked closer I noticed each block had a name hand embroidered in white on white. Many of the names were quilters I had known more than 20 years ago when I was part of that guild. It was fun to 'see' so many friends, some now deceased, together in a quilt. Of course I bought a ticket.

The next week I was at the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild's website to read about upcoming programs. It was then that I discovered the back story on this quilt and found out one of my blocks was in it!

In 1991 I made a needle-turned applique' block as part of our guild's Friendship Block Exchange. The person receiving blocks got to choose the number of blocks, pieced or appliqued and the color scheme. Dorothy's blocks were inspired by Red and Green: An Applique Tradition.

Dorothy Ingham received her blocks and made the center medallion as well as several of the other blocks. Then they hibernated for awhile until one day Dorothy presented them to her guild and asked if they'd like to inherit them. Here's a quote from the website:

Dorothy contact Sharon Fry who presented the blocks at a Board Meeting where they were met with much admiration and enthusiasm, and the blocks came out of hibernation to become an “Opportunity Quilt”. Sharon received written permission from the author of the book, as well as the publisher, to use the block designs for the Opportunity Quilt. Phyllis Gallaway immediately went to work designing the swag borders while Sharon  assembled the blocks. Phyllis and Sharon hunted high and low for border fabrics to coordinate with the blocks made from yesteryear and made the purchases at Broadway Quilts in Sonoma. The quilt shop owner, Gery Rosemurgy, very generously donated the precious paisley for the backing.

Well now that I know this, it makes the quilt all the more fun and precious. I better buy more tickets!

To see other Red and Green quilts inspired by the book, visit this website.

The Next Generation

I talked to the local vac and sew sales and repair tech recently. I wanted to know how someone becomes a sewing machine repair tech. I asked him if he repaired many machines these days. "Oh yes, about 12-15 a week." But he only repairs mechanical machines, "I don't work on computer machines." Then he said, "No one really sews anymore. Young girls don't even know how to thread a needle, let alone..." Well he's limiting himself, I'm in two quilt guilds and most ladies take their machine to the next county to be repaired. The wait time is 2-3 months, the tech is so busy. But that's another story...

I love the look of concentration and determination on this girl's face. Are current quilters teaching the next generation? I taught my sons when they were growing up, I'll teach my grandsons too if they're interested. We're going to need someone to carry the flame.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Postage Stamp Block

And while I'm sewing Rapid Fire Lemoyne stars and Ocean Wave alternate blocks, I have a new leader-ender.

These are cut 1 1/2" and finish at 1". This block will shrink by about an inch and a half when it's sewn together. It still needs another two rows.

I've been cutting leftovers into usable sizes for *years*, I figured I might as well see what I want to do with these squares.

No clear cut plans as yet, just toolin'...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lemoyne Stars

I realized I've never blogged about my 4" Lemoyne Stars. It's been a UFO so long I'm not sure when I started it. It must be over 12 years ago because my sons were still in HS.

I pulled it out the other day to show the mini group ladies and that led to talking about piecing 8 pointed stars without 'Y' seams. I can sew a Y seam if I have to but it's not my favorite thing.

 I call it Fruit Basket

At the next mini group meeting, Wilma showed us a new technique called Rapid Fire Lemoyne Stars. Now I'm sewing stars easily and accurately. Watch the video, it's amazing.
Photo by Susan at Glad Creations Quilts

I'm back in action; another UFO comes out of deep hibernation. Thank you Wilma!

Problem Solved!

I'm caught up on family and charity quilting so I turned back to my pastel Ocean Wave. I have conquered the elusive alternate block. I think it was a combination of changes I made in the construction during all the different times I've worked on it. But now the blocks are FINALLY coming out a consistent 51/2" with adequate seam allowance at the points. YAY! Perseverance paid off.


Pineapple Pin Cushion

I usually find paper piecing miniatures to be way too fussy, but I wanted to try the pineapple block, it looked great in the magazine. If you've never made this one, here's the method.

Block and backing. I filled it with rice and whip stitched the opening closed.

Finished size: 3"

Knit On

I love working on my lace cardigan. It's fun to see the pattern emerge. I'd read other knit blogs that said 'the lace pattern was easy to memorize' and I wondered how that was possible with row after row of stitch changes, but with lots of knitting, I have memorized this pattern.

I'm trying to make the sweater to fit me so when it came to the length I went to Ravelry and checked the Derica Kane project page. Several knitters said the lace grew a lot when they blocked it and that getting gauge in straight stitch, as recommended in the pattern, didn't help. I emailed one of the knitters and asked what she suggested. "Make a swatch in pattern, measure before and after blocking." Of course!

The knitting expanded and the lace really opened up, beautiful. Once I did that I could figure how much length I was going to gain with blocking and adjust the pattern's dimensions accordingly.

Then I knit the sleeve using two circulars instead of dpns. That was new to me and much easier to work with; no ladder stitches at the intersections either. I also liked that I could try it on as I went. I had a brain wave and realized I could steam block it while it was still on the needles, that way I got just the sleeve length I wanted. Woot! I love learning helpful hints and new methods.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Teeny Tiny

I like to use what I have, so when a quilt design gives me bonus triangles, it's a great opportunity for serendipity. Most of the time they're already cut and paired, ready to sew. Here are a few examples.

These blocks gave me these.

So I made the quilt larger with a pieced border.

I still had HST's left over so I made scrappy eight pointed stars.

And made this wall hanging.

The bonus triangles from this Road to Tennessee were used in this Broken Dishes mini.

Another pieced border, but I had a lot left over.

So I got creative on the back!

My quilting friends tease me about working 'so small', but I'm not paper piecing

But look! I've found someone working even smaller.

Now that's really using what she has!

Two Fer

The Block of the Month for May was Memory. It used two squares and a rectangle for each flying geese (goose?) unit. Bonus triangles!

It was easy to make a second smaller block.

I gave it to the winner of the drawing; maybe she can use it as a signature block on the back of the quilt.