I am a little sick of the Half Hexie Star project, so I switched to Big Stitching the BAMQG IRR. It never ceases to amaze me how much progress I make when I actually work on a project. It has been awhile since I worked on it and it is a nice break from EPP.
I had to get back in the Big Stitch groove, which was difficult. I finally figured out that I couldn’t do it when I was stitching in a seam allowance, because of all the layers. That means I am doing some stab stitching in addition to the Big Stitch.
One of the challenges I have is what quilting designs to use. Right now I am just echo quilting. I don’t know if I want to do more, if curves will work with Big Stitch or if there are other designs I should use. I haven’t handquilted a lot. When I have done it I have mostly used echo quilting to highlight the block designs. Occasionally, I have used stencils. I’ll have to look at some books and see if I can get inspired.
I spent the day last Saturday in a BAM class with Jen Carlton Bailly. I don’t really need to learn about curves. I have done them in the Sampler class and I have just finished the MetroScape top, which had about a million curves. Still, I wanted to be in a class with JCB and I love the vibe of BAM, so the more time I can spend with those ladies the better.
Jen is friendly and energetic as well as a good and patient teacher. She seemed to be everywhere in the class. She was also cheerful and smiling the whole time. I found her to be approachable and not standoff-ish.
The crux of JCB’s class was the template set she sells. She uses these to create a variety of different looks with curves. Of course, I bought the whole set and I am glad I did. The variety of different things one can accomplish with this set is fantastic. By looking at the patterns JCB sells and the quilts she has made, you can see the definition of a series.
At the time I bought the template set (when I signed up for the class), she was giving a discount to class participants, so I also bought the Turbine quilt pattern. In the class, I started in on this pattern, which is not difficult, once you have mastered JCB’s method for creating circles.
She tries to alleviate fears with her patterns and techniques while making interesting designs. I am not afraid of curves, though they can be frustrating at times. I am also not afraid of cutting into a block I have already made.
I made two of the turbine blocks with my own twist. I decided, after making the two, that I will make one more and create a tablerunner instead of making a quilt. I like the pattern and like the technique, but don’t want to spend the time on something like that. I am more interested in the designs that look like more of a ring.
This sort of design has been on my mind since I saw Sue Arnold’s version done in Pointillist Palette fabrics about 1,000 years ago. This is really interesting to me and if I do a quilt, it will be using more of the templates to cut out more of the blocks.
Gerre decided to work on the Lantern pattern, which uses the same technique, but different placement of the fabrics and different orientation of the blocks.
I can see making something small using this pattern as well. The opportunity for scrapiness is fantastic. A pillow cover, perhaps.
All in all it was a good day. I was pleased to meet JCB, pleased to be sewing and be with my BAM pals.
The other day, I went to visit my friend and sew. DH was out until the evening and it was a good day to go and hang with a friend. One thing we do together is eat cornbread. My family doesn’t like it and Gerre loves it. Every chance we get she and I enjoy it together. We also took a nice walk around her neighborhood, which is filled with lovely Victorians.
We didn’t skimp on the sewing, however.
I followed up on Jan’s idea from the retreat of a textured cube. Jan works at a local museum as an Exhibits Coordinator, so she is always doing interesting things with fabric for the museum. This time she had found some 6 inch squares at FabMo. For the kinesthetic aspects of an upcoming exhibit she decided to make fabric cubes. I thought the YM would like something like this for stress relief. I took Jan up on her kind offer of squares and and made this cube on Gerre’s second machine. Since the squares were already cut, it was pretty quick to put together
I also started working on some fabric bags. Before I went to Portland I had about 30 small gifts to wrap. I didn’t have small bags so I was forced to use paper, which, for me, is a special kind of hell. I decided that I would make a bunch of small bags. In this case, some gifts arrived too late for Christmas and I decided to use the In Color Order drawstring bag pattern.
I spent most of the time we had together making the drawstrings. You’d think I would have gotten them right, but I think they are too long for the size of the bag. We’ll have to see. The bags will look nice, but this endeavor is turning out to be more complicated than I want so I will go back to my regular gift bag tutorial once I finish these.
All in all, it was a great day. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but we had some nice conversation and the most important thing to me is that Gerre is getting back to sewing.
I also received a gift at the guild Winter Extravaganza. I was so pleased to get a gift from Mary! She went above and beyond by making me a very cool portfolio, a little basket and a pincushion.
As soon as I opened the package, my mind started whirling about how I would use all of them.
I have already put the little basket to use as I worked on the back for the MetroScape quilt back. It is now designated for selvedges, though I have already filled it up.
I am thinking that the portfolio will be put to good use for English Paper Piecing fabrics and papers. I use my first Sew Together bag for needles, pins, thread, scissors, etc, but I don’t really have a good place for the papers and the fabrics I have prepared. This might do the trick.
I laughed when I saw the pincushion. As you may remember, I have made this style of pincushion for others in the guild. I never made one for myself, so Mary did it for me!
Cyndi is a member of my local guild whose work I really like. She has a similar color sense to me.
I saw her starting this quilt a few months ago and was excited by the color scheme. The finished piece turned out better than I could have imagined. It really looks like a quilt that could be used and cuddled on the couch. It is a pattern called ‘A’s Strips’ by Amy Cowan and Opal Cocke of Here2There Designs. Amy also produces the Creative Mom podcast.
At last year’s Retreat, we got a nice donation of top quality fabric from MassDrop. Some of the fabric was difficult to use because of the designs,but people powered through and made donation quilts. Cyndi recently finished another one using a great design.
Along with the Octagon 9 Patch, the BAMaQG Color Round Robin came back from my quilter. I really like the quilting. There are different motifs in most of the non-background areas. I have to sew down the binding and then send it off to its new owner.
I don’t dislike this quilt, however it is not a favorite. I do really like the quilting that Colleen did.
The bits in each of the areas with printed fabric look great.
Gerre brought her blocks to the meeting last month and laid them out. I talked about this process earlier in the week (better late than never!). During that process, I realized that my shard was not among the ones she brought. I looked up all the Color My Quilt posts and don’t think I ever made her a piece. I was really sad about that, so I got busy.
This one isn’t as long as I thought it would be and is more buttoned up than the other shards, but I hope she will be able to use it.
Marty tried to torture me this month with her request.
I couldn’t believe it, but it was true. Fortunately, I didn’t have go to the indignity of beige or baby poop brown. I had a chocolate fabric with the most fabulous lime, turquoise and orange dots. Haha!
The shard is a little bit of an odd shape, but that is ok. Marty will just have to deal. I hope she likes it.
I had made some fabric using browns sometime ago. I can’t remember for what reason, so I just decided to toss that into the pile for Marty as well. Despite my best intentions, I am not going to make a journal cover from browns. I might have been thinking of making another Henry, but that can wait. I want to make a white one first.
Last month, Gerre brought her shards to we could all look at them. Gerre has left her handbag at home, so didn’t have her phone and couldn’t take photos. I volunteered and texted her photos as I took them. There are a lot of photos!
Being the opinionated ladies that we are, we all had opinions about placement. It was kind of fun to work with other people moving shards around. I think Gerre was kind of excited, too, as it gave her ideas about placement.
I had issues with the plum (see upper part of first photo, left). I thought the plum should be dispersed throughout the quilt.
We also tried to move the white around so it wasn’t all clustered in one place (see bottom two rows).
There was advice about putting the pieces together into chunks and cutting pieces up. I think it got people excited about layout.
Mary C, a great member of the group, brought a quilt she had made with embroidered tea towels. I have tea towels, pillowcases and a few other things from the matriarchal side of the family. I talked about the parakeet dresser scarf (or similar) in a previous post.
Mary said that she used a jelly roll of 1930s fabrics. I really like the fabrics she chose and think they are a little different than the Aunt Grace style of 1930s fabrics.
This is the first quilt that I have really liked that uses tea towels. She backed the embroideries with ShapeFlex after trimming them. We advised her to just quilt around the embroidery designs and not over them.
Some time ago, I wrote about the shard I made for Joelle. Last Saturday I went to the guild meeting and Joelle brought her finished quilt to the meeting.
This is a fantastic piece. I love the way Joelle pieced the shards together. Also, the colors go really well together.
My shard is on the top towards the left next to the circle piece. Joelle said she cut the shards up in a lot of cases. You really have to do it to make the quilt fit together. I think mine survived intact. It is so exciting to see the quilts finished. I hope Joelle enters the quilt into a show.