Monday, January 16, 2012

Memories - Nanny's Quilt

Today on Facebook Brewer asked the question "Have you ever sewn something with meaning? Or something inspirational?".

Having recently lost my mother, quilts with meaning and memories of those quilts are close in my mind. One special quilt I did was for my maternal grandmother in the late 1990's. It was made from my grandfathers shirts after he passed away. He was a business man and even in retirement, wore a button-down dress shirt every day. This is a picture of my grandmother with the quilt I made along with her beloved African Violets. She was so proud of both.
It wasn't until I started making this quilt that I realized just colorful his shirts were.The solid colors in this quilt are my grandfathers shirts, blues, yellows and pinks (yes, even my grandfathers generation work pink!). The florals are Liberty of London, a wonderful cotton fabric I puchased in Australia when I lived there in the mid 1990's.
Here is a very old picture of me with long hair and big glasses, piecing the quilt on one of my favorite sewing machines, my Bernina 1230. Today I own the quilt, now passed on to me by my mother. I miss them both!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A New Year

It's been almost a year since my last blog update... family issues got in the way of my hobbies and when I had to focus on priorities, this was low on that list. But a new year starts and it's time to pick up where I left off.

First thing.... this fall my internet and cable provider, Cox Communications, decided to shutdown all the customer websites and worse yet, file storage. So access to all my PDF files disappeared. But all was not lost... Dropbox is a new service on the web and it's even easier to use than the Cox FTP service. So.... I will be updating all my tutorials so the links to the Adobe PDF files will once again work!

New tutorials and free patterns will be online soon. I am now selling a few of my digitized embroidery patterns as well. A wonderful friend Marjorie Busby has an online store who it selling them for me. Check out our designs at BTW, we both post free designs, patterns and project ideas on our blogs. Stay in touch with us on Facebook as well!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Accuquilt EQ7 Quilt Design Challenge Winner

Cactus Flower
Well, here it is... the winning quilt design for the Accuquilt EQ7 Quilt Design Challenge. I've never won a design contest and it's really a thrill for me. The entire quilt may be cut using the Accuquilt Go! Cutter, even the borders! Cactus Flower finishes to 45"x60".

I wanted to design a quilt representative of the southwest, my home for the past 25 years. Several years ago I designed an Arizona block-of-the-month for my local Bernina shop (planned for my blog later this year), so I played with the blocks from that quilt. The main block of Cactus Flower is a color variation of the 54-40 or Fight block which I call Hiking Trail. In the quilt this block has the appearance of a cactus bloom, but the block actually represents purple mountains majesty, green valleys, and beautiful rose-colored sunsets.

The second block in the quilt is a color variation of Jacobs Ladder I call London Bridge Sunset. This block represents London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona, at sunset when the water and sky turn rosy pink and purple. Together these two blocks make a totally different look of cactus blooms amongst the saguaros.

Accuquilt will publish the pattern for this quilt and a table runner (below) but so far neither have been posted. Per the contest rules, I had to provide the pattern for the winning quilt but they hold the copyright. OK by me.... I love winning and I received the entire 2010 fall release of new dies in exchange. I hope they publish the pattern soon!!!
Cactus Flower Table Runner in Fabric
I also provided to Accuquilt the pattern for a table runner using these same two blocks. Many of my quilts I design in Electric Quilt never make it to fabric, and the same is true for this winning quilt. The table runner finishes to about 19-1/2" x 45" and was a great weekend project in lui of the full quilt. I guess this is where it works that you work with colors you like???? The one in fabric is almost the same color as the one in EQ. And I didn't even look at my stash until after I won the contest!!!

Now for the tutorial..... the hardest part making Cactus Flower is the triangle units in the Hiking Trail block. They are not your normal triangles!  Accuquilt made it easy and designed the 3" finished Triangle-in-a-Square die to cut these units for a 9" finished block. In my video I show how to use the die and also how to sew this unit. Easy-peasy once you know the tricks!

CORRECTION TO THE VIDEO - I will be making a new video soon but.... when it comes time to sew the points to the center triangle, use the quarter inch mark on your machine or foot. DO NOT use the cut points as a guide as noted in the video. For most templates that cut this block, the video is correct. The Accuquilt dies are an exception in that you DON'T use those points.
Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to have you leave a comment. If you entered the EQ contest, please feel free to let us know!!! To recap our blog hop...

Tuesday - Marjorie shows how to use EQ7 with Accuquilt dies.
Wednesday - Kim of Chatterbox Quilts shows her entry and talks about the process of designing an entry for her first challenge.
Thursday - this blog
Friday - Back to SewCalGal for a surprise giveaway from Accuquilt!.
PS: A list of the dies used to make the quilt:

Block #1 Hiking Trail Block:
  • Triangles in Square-3" Finished (55027)
  • Square-2" #55022
Block #2 London Bridge Sunset Block:
  • Half Square-3" Finished Triangle (55009)
  • Square-2" #55022
Inner Border : Strip Cutter-1 1/2" (55024)
Outer Border: Strip Cutter-4 1/2" (55054)
Binding: Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (55017)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Contests,blog hops & new quilting fiction

Monday a big annoucement by sewcalgal and a new blog hop. Not a lot of bloggers but we have a very special event to share with you. Great giveaways! I will update my blog when the details are out. Stay tuned!

My Daughters Twisted Bargello

I have entered a bargello quilt in Quilt Blogger's Weekly Themed Quilt Contest. There are a several spectacular quilts, and while you're there, please, please, please vote for my quilt, My Daughters Twisted Bargello!!!

For those who love quilt-related fiction books, new author Melinda Evaul has just released book #1 of a fiction series about the struggles and joys of life in rural America. The novels are based on fictional charaters of the town Love Valley, NC. She has a wonderful giveaway for quilters on her Melinda Evaul Blog too...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome 2011 - it's a Go! Rag Quilt kinda year!

I have not posted in a while.... customer Christmas quilts started coming in faster than I could turn them around and that became my focus. To top it off, I had a sore throat I'd been fighting off and on since my breast cancer treatment, then it seemed to just go from bad to worse this fall. The doctor kept telling me I needed my tonsils out and I tried ignoring her but.... December 15th out they came. I can honestly say the pain after the tonsillectomy was nothing compared to the pain before! Lots of ice water, ice packs, ice popsicles (lactose intolerant so no ice cream) and a dear, dear husband who took excellent care of me. I recovered nicely but it has taken over three weeks to really get back to normal. I’m still healing, but I feel better than I’ve felt in months. All in all, it was a good thing to do and I should not have waited so long.

The New Year is now here and there are new tutorials coming… one this week! My Go! Cutter has been busy…. a large tub of flannel has found a new home as 8-1/2” rag quilt blocks. My mom loves making these, but can no longer cut the fringe. I picked up the rag quilt die for my Go! and went to town cutting. The blocks for a nice size lap is cut, boxed, and ready for the mailman to carry off to Kansas to my mom's house! Oh, and this is the second quilt I cut. The first was cut and sent off before surgery.

Most of the Go! dies are easy to use, no brainers in fact, but the rag die can be daunting. All those blades which if you’re not careful can cut knuckles faster than you can shake a stick, and they cut mine! Lots of stray threads, lots of blades, more stray threads, lots of heavy use on the mat... did I mention lots of blades??? I just had to make a video to pass along what I learned about using this die, and more importantly, how to clean it! Out came my Bloggie, and now comes my videos. Hope ya'all enjoy them!

Accuquilt Go! Cutter Rag Die Tips on Using - this video shows the basic how-to's of using the rag die, including hints on how to clean it but...

Accuquilt Go! Cutter Rag Die Worn Mats and Cleaning Dies - this video demonstrates what happens when the mat wears out and quits working, then goes into detail on how/when to clean this die without getting into the blades and without taking three hours to do it (hint, you don't need the pick!).

I have more videos in the works now that I have my voice back… and a special award winning announcement coming the last week of January. I will be participating in Sewcalgal's Accuquilt EQ7 Challenge Blog Hop. Stay tuned for more on this!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Hot Time in the Old Town

I am sharing a quilt I made some years ago to display in the Bloggers Quilt Festival sponsored by blogger Amy's Creative Side. The photos I have are not that great, but were state of the art in 2004! The name of this quilt is Hot Time in the Old Towne. I made it while attending a retreat in Old Town Scottsdale (Arizona) hosted by Lynn Kough and Anita Shackleford, two very talented and sharing quilters. We didn't have a project per se, instead Lynn inspired us with basket blocks and Anita inspired us with aplique flowers.

I ended up designing my own blocks and applique flower designs, which was the point of the retreat. The baskets are based on a traditional block, the flower is based on a free-hand quilting pattern of my own design.

In the corners of this quilt I quilted flower designs like the applique flowers in the quilt. I used a YLI yellow and orange variegated for the flowers, gold thread in the centers, and a dark, almost black gray for the backgroud. At the time, I quilted this flower in over half the quilts I quilted, for myself and customers alike! I have since increased the design selection but even today these are still my favorite flower designs to put on quilts.

There were several important lessons learned with this quilt.... 

I pieced most of the basket blocks at retreat, and as retreat projects can sometimes go, was not my best work. This quilt hung at the Arizona Quilters Guild quilt show the next year, and won Honorable Mention in the very competitive wall hanging category. Had the piecing been a bit more on point, it may have done better. This quilt also hung at the National Quilt Show and in a local show in the midwest. It won Best Use of Color by the Emporia Regional Quilt Guild and first place at the local country fair in Kansas.

There are some fantastic quilts and their stories showing in this festival. Don't miss it!!!
Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Go! Be Dazzled

It's been a busy week for me.... my big accomplishment is to finish and quilt a Go! Be Dazzled quilt for a customer. It's embroidery machine applique, but the embroidery is spectacular! The embroidery and quilt designs are by Sarah Vedeler Designs, the appliques are cut by the Accuquilt Go! Cutter. The cover quilt for her design pack will be hanging at the Houston International Quilt Festival in a couple weeks, so my customer and I finished this quilt so Sarah would have a fantastic quilt to show with her patterns. If you see this at Houston Market or at the Festival, check it out, and tell Sarah hello!

A closer look... a close-up of the filler I used in the black, free-flowing feathers in the four corners. This was done on a Gammil Classic, an older model but is stitch regulated. I do mostly fee-hand work.

In the outer border I quilted swaying feathers. I did create a template to mark the sway, but the feathers are free-hand. I frequently do registration marks like this so I can have some consistency in my free-hand designs.
All the applique patches for this quilt can be cut on the Accuquilt Go! Cutter. Sarah's pattern details the dies required for this project, but you can see that some of these elements look familar... feathers, circles, hearts, stars, funky flowers, round flowers... hmmm....

Update: Here's a photo of the three of us involved with this quilt! Left to right, Judy Steenblik, quiltmaker,  Judy Danz (well, me), machine quilter, and Sara Vedeler, quilt designer and embroidery digitizer. Check out the Accuquilt booth at Houston next week. You can see this quilt in real life there!