Sunday, March 27, 2011

FVTC Sewing Expo 2011 Review

Gorgeous Wooden buttons from Garner Creek Workshop. Brian Carney is the wood worker. These are destined as closures on new journals. This is the only thing I purchased at The 10th Fox Valley Technical College's Sewing Expo.

On Friday, March 25, I took an excellent day-long workshop lead by Chris Lynn Kirsch. It was called Beyond Meandering, and offered a number of free-motion filler designs. The picture shows just a small part of the quilt sandwich I filled up at the workshop. I've got some new favorites -- like the waves / punk waves (aka suns) and octopus flowers. Some designs I didn't think I would like, but they turned out to be easy and fun : squares and triangles. Some designs were old favorites of mine (stars, loop-di-loops). These are the ones I can do in my sleep, and needed to bust out of my comfort zone. This class moved me ahead in that respect. Chris Lynn Kirsh's motto is to have fun with it. If you choose a design you like to sew, you'll have fun and it will come out in the finished product. Not everything we make needs to be prize-winning. When I took my first free-motion quilting class a few years ago with Renee Shedivy, I felt like the whole universe opened up to me. I am so glad I took that step forward. It has been a whole new world--and not one that many quilters forge into.

I really appreciated having the time in class 1) to see new free-motion fillers and 2) to have the time to stitch them out and practice them. I love what Leah Day is doing with 365 Days of Free-motion Filler Designs, but I have to admit, I don't take the time to practice them. Maybe I should change that--now that I have a couple of quilt sandwiches ready to go! There's lots of inspiration out there ...

In the afternoon, we could bring quilt-tops and the class brainstormed possibilities for quilting these "blank slates." I brought in Black Jack and Red Spice and got some great ideas for what to do with them. I guess I"ll have to make an appointment for some time on the Tin Lizzie at It's Sew Rite!

Tip of the Year : Chris Lynn Kirsch recommended using Press'n Seal (I think you can find it with the plastic wrap in the grocery store) and kid's washable markers (Crayola) for auditioning quilting designs and marking quilts. She says you can see through it, and you can sew through it, too. It pulls right off like Golden Threads Quilt paper. I'll have to try try that ...

Chris also recommended a classic book on quilting by Lee Cleland, called Quilting Makes the Quilt. In this amazing book packed with pictures, the author makes the same quilt several times, just so we can see the differences in quilting--and what a difference the quilting makes! I borrowed a copy from my local public library, and have been studying it. This book is now on my Wish List to purchase. It's out of print, and available copies are expensive now.

On Saturday at the Sewing Expo, we go to 5 1-hour workshops interspersed with walking the vendor booths, the quilt show, and lunch .... It's a full, exhausting, and inspirational day. I attended 2 lectures by Weeks Ringle (I took a class with her last year and greatly enjoyed what an interesting person she is beyond quilting ...). Her first lecture was about auditioning fabric. Her basic message was not to be afraid to mix and match colors, scales, styles, fabric lines. A second lecture was about "Quilting with Contrast."

The last class of the day was called "Eat, Pray, Love to Sew" about the benefits of having a hobby, and friendships and taking care of ourselves by eating right and exercising. At one point, the speaker (a nurse) asked if anyone had entered the competition, and how different it feels to make a quilt for someone special vs. for a show. I entered 2 quilts into the Quilt Show (Cinnamon & Sugar and Millifiore). I have to admit that this show had grown over the years--and so has the competition. I won first place there in 2006 for The Oliver Quilt. I never enter a show expecting to win--It's always a surprise to be honored and recognized for my work. The pieces I entered in the show this year were made with someone in mind, not the show. Hence, there's a different focus and intensity. I'm happy with my work, even if the judges didn't seem to notice it. You have to put things into perspective --- Only a handful of people win the prizes, and there are a lot of talented people out there! It's such a great opportunity to see some amazing work ... ;-)

Sketchobook Challenge : Doodle

This is a Zentangle-like Doodle that I started in February.

It's 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 in. It's a lot bigger than the usual Zentangle, which is probably why it takes me so long to finish one of these. I always seem to get to a point where I just lose steam and can't quite finish it--hence the white spaces that are left.

Sketchbook Challenge : Red Mittens

I have to admit, I'm one of those people who loves Winter.
Here are my cozy warm red mittens, which I won't put away until May in Wisconsin.

Pencil, watercolor, Neocolor II, black pen, white crayon (resist).

Everyday Inspiration : Leaf

Just a simple wet leaf on the pavement is enough to make me stop and take a breath. It's enough time to appreciate beauty. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weathered Progression

I was inspired by people doing erosion bundles. Walking across the parking lot into work one day, I saw this jumble of yarn on the sidewalk. I was still there when I walked out that evening.

The next morning, I decided to pick it up, take it home, and watch it change and weather over time in my own driveway ... This is what it looked like when I brought it home : a sorry looking wretch.

I never expected it to get all fluffy like this.

After this one, I lost track of it :

Monday, March 07, 2011

Spice Red Quilt Top is Complete

The Spice Red Quilt Top is all together now ... It may be a while before I actually get it finished with binding and label.

The pattern : Annie's Wicked Easy Quilt Patten. This puppy goes together fast and it covers a lot of area with 16-inch finished blocks. Annie seems to have removed the pattern from her website, however, it's similar to (but different from) the Turning Twenty or Yellow Brick Road or Sweet Sixteen quilt patterns. [Please don't ask me for Annie's pattern. If Annie took it down, she must have a reason she no longer wants to make it available, and I will abide by her wishes. She now has a different Wickedly Easy Quilt pattern. The one I'm using is a different vintage.] It IS a fat-quarter friendly pattern.

The batiks I used are the Red Spice set from Hancock's of Paducah.