Pincushion Project

Who can resist alliteration–just sayin’

traditional pincushion

Does everybody in American have one of these?

One of my quilt groups has a pincushion exchange scheduled for next month, and the last program was a display of many creative pincushions. I wish I had taken pictures! Since this is quite a creative group, I’ll be sure to take some at the exchange.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a pincushion. Note that I don’t say I need a pincushion. That certainly is not the case. I have a number of pincushions, and yes, I use all of them. However, to say I need another would be pushing it!

There are lots of great pincushion ideas on Pinterest, so I just made my own Pincushion board to collect a few. Then I chose one I thought I could make, and here it is:

pincushion

Dresden Pincushion, made from a free pattern at AllPeopleQuilt.com

I also noted that one of the bloggers I follow had gone crazy making pincushions, many of which were just little quilt blocks sewn together and filled. So I made a mini from some 2″ finished blocks I found in the orphan bin.

Then I went a little crazy myself, and took pictures of all my pincushions.  Most of them were gifts from friends or family, which gives them special meaning.

And finally, a fun factoid: I learned in my research that it is best to stuff pincushions with crushed walnut shells to give them a little heft!  And those crushed shells are sold as lizard litter in the pet store!  Who knew?

One last pincushion, a miniature: miniature pincushion

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Tuesday Quilters’ Show

One of my quilt groups (which I seldom attend because it meets during the day and I work full time) is having a little show at the church where they meet, so I stopped by to take some pictures.  Most of these ladies are traditional quilters, and many are quite accomplished.

quilt show

The purple diamonds near the center feature geckos fussy-cut from a batik

One of the women has really gotten going on miniature quilts, so this next bunch are all by Maryann Budahl. They are under 12″ x 12″, and they are NOT as wonky as they seem in the pictures–some were hung too high for me to photograph them well.

miniature quilt

Look at that quilting!

You can click on any of these little quilts to see it up close.

Here are a few of the other quilts on display:

miniature quilt

This is a miniature by Susan Roper.

There were several Christmas quilts:

Christmas quiltChristmas table runnerSeveral full size quilts were draped rather than hung, so I couldn’t get a complete picture of them.

traditional quilt

traditional pieced quiltAnd here are some medium-sized quilts:

star quilt

Christmas sampler quilt

A Bird, Several Houses, and More by Maryann Budahl

And finally, a quilt that looked pretty modern to me:modern wall quilt

There is a fair amount of overlap between this group and the Smoky Mountain Quilters (of Franklin, NC) who will be having a show in September, so I look forward to seeing more quilts soon.

 

Amazon Star

This quilt was finished, even to the binding, late last year. It took several years to do, so I was well over it by that point. It is a Judy Niemeyer pattern (Quiltworx.com) and finished king size. I love her patterns because they are beautiful and the instructions are very well organized. Maybe some day I’ll even make another one.Amazon-star

For now, I have dragged this quilt out and I’m putting a hanging sleeve on it so I can enter it in the show for one of my local guilds, the Smoky Mountain Quilters of Franklin, NC. The quilting was by a friend who’s done my quilting for years–WAY too much to try to quilt a king size on my home machine!

So this is a second “finish” for this quilt, getting it ready to display.  I’m glad I got it out of the closet and ready to show :)  Quilt shows are a motivator sometimes.  And, since I’m counting this as my August Finish, I’m sending it to Aunt Marti as well!

New Design Wall!

I have had several types of design wall over the years, most recently just a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth hanging on the wall. However, a few months ago I read Katie Pedersen’s instructions for her design wall, and decided I wanted THAT one!  She used big sheets of foam insulation covered with a flannel sheet, so fabric sticks to the flannel and pins go into the board easily if needed.

A non-messy part of my husband’s shop is in the same space as my studio, so it made getting him to make the design wall for my birthday really easy!

design wall for quilter

The shop corner of the studio!

I e-mailed my husband Katie’s design wall tutorial, then e-mailed Katie for further help. (She washed her flannel sheet twice, drying it on hot both times.)

My husband had a few ideas to make the whole thing sturdier, so he added a thin sheet of underlayment material behind the insulating foam board.  Then he added a wood frame on the back to stabilize the whole thing.  This shows the back side with tape holding the foam to the underlayment, as well as the wood frame.  We glued the insulating foam and underlayment together, as well.

Back side of quilt wall, showing taped seam where pieces were joined and a wood frame to reinforce the whole thing.

Back side of quilt wall, showing taped seam where pieces were joined and a wood frame to reinforce the whole thing. Tape at the edges wraps around both board and foam to hold them together as well.

Then we wrapped the sheet, taped, and stapled per Katie’s instructions.

Despite all that, every project has its glitches:

We were NOT successful in putting bolts or screws through the whole thing to attach it to the wall.  Finally we decided to hang it with a French cleat, which you can see here if you want to know what that is.  That meant that nothing from the hanging apparatus had to go through the front, so no holes in the flannel!

And finally, here it is:design wallI’ve used it quite a bit already, and it works beautifully!  Thanks for the idea, Katie!

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Cherrywood Toss

This quilt was started about 2 years ago when I bought a scrap pack of Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics. The blocks are entirely from Cherrywood scrap packs plus that cute print with the words on it, which is a Robert Kaufman fabric.

improvisational quiltThe dark sashing is made from black plus little pieces of the darkest almost-black solids I could find. All are Cotton Couture from Michael Miller.

I quilted this on my home machine, using randomly-spaced, gently curving, lines from edge to edge. I used Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin, which I always do. Top thread is a medium grey light weight polyester, Mettler Metrosene.

This is going to the Smoky Mountain Quilters show in September. This year the show is scheduled in conjunction with Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day, which I think is a great idea. Of course I’ll have pictures from that show when it happens.

Linking to Aunt Marti’s UFO Challenge. I did get one finished this month!

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Pattern Review: Sweetpea Pods

Note: As always, I received NO compensation of any type for this review.

One of the many things I enjoy about attending a quilt show is the opportunity to visit the vendors. Since my nearest “local” quilt shop is about an hour away, I often see things online long before I get to examine them in person. Occasionally I do buy online, but there’s no substitute for looking something over personally before buying.

Pattern review Sweetpea PodsAt the Vermont Quilt Festival, I came across this pattern that I had been considering online because it looked so darn cute.  I talked to the vendor about it to be sure it included instructions for doing that tricky thing with the zipper and learned that it did. She also had the extra zipper pulls that are useful for this design, so I bought the pattern and the zipper pulls.

And here we go:Pods3

This pattern has VERY clear instructions.  I read a fair number of patterns (and write my own), and this is one of the best-written patterns I have seen.

The little pods are easy to make, even with taking time to learn the zipper trick.  The zipper trick actually is easy, and instructions for that are very clear as well.  The pattern is set up so that you get two pods out of each set of instructions, so I cut them out with coordinated fabrics–outside fabric for one pouch was the lining for its mate!  What fun!Sweetpea Pods pattern review

This is so fast and fun that I made several of them.  The instructions say to zig-zag finish the inside seams, but I used my serger for that, so it was even faster!

This was a great break from a rather tedious project I’ve been working on.  I’m giving these to our daughter to use as teacher gifts, but I foresee another round of them for Christmas gifts coming right up!Sweetpea Pod pattern review

You can order the pattern at several places online, or go right to the source at the Lazy Girl Designs website.

Vermont Quilt Festival–Favorite Quilts, Part 2

Here are the rest of the quilts that really caught my eye at VQF.

First, a couple of my favorites among the many fine landscape quilts:VQF5VQF3These next ones probably would be classified as art quilts.  As you can see, my camera was askew on the first one, but it also had very irregular edges.  The transparency effects were impressive.VQF6This next one had a nice sense of humor and, as you can see from the ribbons, was well executed also.VQF20The rest of these are what I would call modern, and I especially appreciated their graphic impact.VQF15VQF17VQF14VQF7There were SO MANY more great quilts, so consider attending next year to see the show in person!

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Vermont Quilt Festival–Favorite Quilts Part 1

Here are a few of my favorite quilts from the Vermont Quilt Festival. Please note that a few of these really are not square. Others do have straight sides with 90 degree corners, but the picture is off because I had the camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other😀

First, this is one of the youth quilts, made by a 3-1/2 year old!  Entrants in this category made the quilt top themselves, but may have had help with quilting. Janome is a big sponsor of the VQF, and each youth entrant was given a sewing machine!  This tot had to get help to carry hers from the stage🙂

youth entry VQF

As always at VQF, there was a wonderful exhibit of antique quilts.  This next one was my favorite:Antique quilt, VQFThe Instructors’ Showcase made me wish I’d taken some classes.  This first one is by Augusta Cole, whose scrappy designs I admire and have used from time to time.Vermont Quilt Festival 2016And this one by instructor Katie Pasquini Masopust was very unusual.  I would like to know more about her techniques.VQF instructors 2016There were a number of other special exhibits and I didn’t take pictures of all of them, though they would have been worth it!  This bargello quilt caught my husband’s eye:Bargello quilt at VQF 2016Here are a few more of the fairly traditional ones that I especially liked.  Note that one got a purple ribbon for a very high score on the judging criteria I showed last week.VQF11VQF18VQF16VQF12Finally, here is an absolutely spectacular applique quilt.  Everyone stood in front of it admiringly, so I had to wait my turn to take a picture:VQF4Next week I’ll show you the more modern quilts that caught my eye.

 

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Vermont Quilt Festival, Part I

I love the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) for several reasons: Vermont in June, great exhibits, and the opening reception with champagne and chocolate!!!  (I’m showing a few of the beautiful quilts today, and I’ll have more later.)

However, my very favorite part is that each quilt is judged on its own merits. Every quilt is rated with published criteria and may (or may not) be awarded a ribbon, based on its score.  I love this idea because, as I’ve said elsewhere, the idea of “competitive quilting” doesn’t compute for me. With the VQF system, your primary competition is yourself. Then, if you just have to try to beat other people in a given category, they do have the usual “best machine quilting”, etc.

VQF

This quilt involved extensive work and I think it is very “artistic”. It got a 3rd place for workmanship, but it also got the Best Modern Quilt award.

Here is the way quilts are judged, taken from the VQF website:

Each judge evaluates all entries, scores the quilts using the point system below, and provides a brief written critique. The final score for each entry is the average of the three judges’ scores. Score sheets and critiques are returned to contestants with their quilts.

POINT SYSTEM (100 points total)

  • Visual Impact: 15 points maximum
  • Design: 40 points maximum
  •      20 points: use of pattern and design
  •      10 points: effectiveness of color in overall design
  •       5 points: suitability of materials
  •       5 points: border treatment
  • Workmanship: 45 points maximum
  •      20 points: precision of work, top and back
  •      20 points: quality of quilting and/or needlework
  •      5 points: binding and edges

RIBBON CATEGORIES

  • Exceptional Merit (purple): 98 -100 points
  • First (blue): 95-97 points
  • Second (red): 92-94points
  • Third (yellow): 88-91point
Modern quilt from Vermont Quilt Festival

Here is a modern sampler that I enjoyed. It got a 3rd place ribbon.

Although I didn’t win any of the “big” categories, I did get a (3rd place) ribbon at VQF this year.  As you can see, that amounts to a “B” grade, so I’m pretty happy.  The comments were useful, as well, so I know what to do the same and what to do differently next time.

Round quilt from VQF

This quilt, made from a pattern, got a 3rd place ribbon as well. The circle is on a black background, so the quilt is square.

I certainly wish other shows would adopt a similar system!  I’m sure it is expensive, since VQF has 3 judges for each quilt and they have to make comments and take time to score each one, not just look at it once and move on.  But for me, as a quilter, it makes the VQF show much more worth the effort of entering.  Here’s my quilt:

modern quilt

Happy Squares, designed and made by me.

Does anyone know of other shows with a similar system?  I’d like to consider them when planning next year’s entries!

2014 Projects, Part 2

To continue a review of projects from 2014, the point of this exercise is to get together a gallery page for each year I’ve done this blog.

I made “Drunk in the Garden” both to use this beautiful floral fabric that reminded me of Texas and to practice cutting and piecing gentle curves.

Drunk in the Garden, the original quilt

Drunk in the Garden, the original quilt

Despite the beautiful fabric, the overall design never looked right to me, primarily because the gold fabrics varied too much in value.  I eventually cut this quilt up and made some place mats, which were much more successful.  You can see them here, if you like.

I designed a quilt for the Michael Miller challenge and, though it sank without a trace in the challenge, I liked it.  The design was improvised based on the little scan codes made up of triangles at my local garden center:

Michael Miller challenge quilt

Packet of Posy Seeds

Also in 2014, I designed a quilt and pillow for Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.  Here is the picture from the magazine:

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

And here is the “practice” quilt I made first to work out the details:

modern quilt

Zippy Star I, which sold at the Asheville Quilt Show in September

As if one Michael Miller challenge weren’t enough, I made this quilt for another later in the year:MM-finish1

And finally, I finished this quilt, which I had been working on for years.  Literally.

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern!

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern

And that was it for 2014!  One thing that is obvious from reviewing some of these pictures is that I have improved my photography since 2014.  For which I’m thankful.

Coming up next: a report from the 2016 Vermont Quilt Festival!

 

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