Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Project Linus StarBaby Quilt

On Saturday morning I will be joining the other local blanketeers to sew labels onto quilts donated to Project Linus at The Quilt Cottage in Mamoraneck, NY. So since I am still in the design phase of my medallion quilt, last night I decided to make a quilt to take with me and donate. Nothing fancy or special, but I hope a child somewhere gets a little bit of comfort from it.

I used an alphabet panel I had brought a few years ago and
added black & bright print fabrics from my stash. Including ones with stars to match the stars on the panel. I remember when I first brought the fabric I was going to make the Laurel Birch 'Animal Fantasy' quilt, so I made a smaller modified version, in which I included some Laurel Birch fabric.

I made the top last night and quilted it tonight. Making quilts for Project Linus always puts a smile on my face.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OK... I think I have made all my decisions

Ok, thanks to all the input from Teri, Jeanne and Mary Anne... and of course my DH.

I have decided on scrolls instead of feathers, although I changed the ones I had experimented with. I realized two things. First, I was shying away from the scrolls, because they meant more tedious applique, but then that is what makes the quilt more interesting. Second, the experimental scroll was too thin and too short to fill the space. So I enlarged them and changed the direction of the points, so that it flows better in the shape.

The scroll samples made out of the white paper are the final shapes and sizes. I will use the blue/shrimp batik for the smaller applique and the gold/shrimp batik for the larger outer applique. I have also decided on the thread and the stitch.

So now with all my decisions made. Now I have to cut out all the shapes to prepare the applique.

Whew.... now to the real work.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Well one decision made...

So I decided tonight while watching the World Series... wait a minute... it was a busy night. 5pm Mass, dinner, "The Secret Life of Bees" movie (definitely worth going to see), home to watch the World Series (thanks to the rain delay), but ended up quilting my Alzheimer's Art Quilt.... more on that in a sec.

Anyway, while listening to the Phillies vs Rays game, I played with the applique fabrics for my medallion quilt. I was so happy to see that if I used blue thread, the shrimp/blue fabric does indeed stand out enough to use on the shrimp fabric. I am happy, because it is the shrimp/blue batik that first caught my eye, and caused me to buy the other Moda Marbles fabric to complement it. It would have been a shame if I couldn't use it.

But which applique to use on the blue fabric is still a mystery. I am leaning to the feather for the symplicity. My DH likes the scroll, since it is more 'airy'.... ughh decisions.

All comments, suggestions are welcome. We can make this a blogger design conversation.

Please help!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decisions, decisions....

Ok, I am back to my medallion quilt that I started at retreat. I decided at the time that I had to put the top together before I choose the applique designs and fabric, because I needed to see what the pieces looked like relative to the space and colors. Not sure that is the right way to go about it, but it seems to work for me. I also decided that I wanted to leave space to work on my quilting, getting comfortable with small/dense free motion around a motif, so that the motif almost looks raised. Not quite ready for trupunto, but getting there.

Well, I love my medallion center applique design. I created it using the old paper doll method.

I think I am going to leave the gold round without applique so that I can practice that quilting. I would love to have areas that look like applique swirls, but are just outline quilted, with dense free motion quilting around them.

For the bright shrimp color round I have played with two different applique patterns, one made out of the same fabric as the center applique. And another as you see below.

I like these feathers best, but I am not sure of the fabric. So I will have to let it sit for awhile to decide.

The next decision is how to treat the blue round. I am still auditioning the applique shape, and then I will have to audition the fabric. I am using plan paper for the evening to decide which I like best. I'll go back at it tomorrow night and hopefully one will jump out at me then. For now, I like the feather on the left, better than the scroll on the right...

I do like them both.... so how is a girl to decide ?? decisions, decisions !! Well, I guess it will have to sit for a little bit. I am sure it will come to me.

See ya later!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Binding on the road!

Well I am home from Orlando, Florida for work and visiting RPI and my son, for Family Weekend. I have been itching to quilt again, but at least I was able to put the binding and finishing touches on two quilts!

I finished Carnivale! while flying back and forth to Florida.
I didn't do a traditional binding, as I didn't think this quilt called for real binding. Instead I faced it, like you would do while making clothing. I attached a narrow binding like normal, then trim/graded the seam allowance and batting, leaving just one layer of the fabric. I then topstitched the binding and turned it toward the back. When garment sewing they teach you that topstitching helps the facing/binding lay flat.

If you remember, I wasn't sure the color choices would work. But even after many discussions on color theory and why the flying geese wouldn't look as if they were on top of the ribbons, I decided to make it my way.

Well I think it worked. I have another variation that I will try with more somber colors as a background, but that will have to wait until I finish the current projects on the cutting table.

Next as Bob, Raven, my mom, my sister Irene and her husband and I all drove up to Troy, NY for RPI Family Weekend to vist Robert and watch some football, I took Hugs with me. I got all the handwork done, and am ready to take it with me to Vegas next week, to give it to my friend. I hope she likes it.....
Ok, next to a christmas present for my sister-inlaw.. a small family tree showing four generations and a medallion quilt I have been itching to make since the Northern Stars Quilt Show last May.

But before I leave... here is a picture of Robert in the game this Sunday.
Robert is #68 in white/red. He is fighting off #77 in green... all 340 lbs! Unfortunately, the JV team lost to HVCC. On Saturday, the Varsity team beat Susquahanna, making them 5-0 on the season.

We had a good time albeit a little chilly... but that is football in upstate NY. OK... that's it.

Until next time.

Cheers! Renee

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I am itching to quilt!

OK, I have been on the road all week, no where near my machine, and won't be able to quilt until mid-next week... ughh!

Thanks to Mary Ann and Teri for keeping me inspired by showing their beautiful Silver Challenge quilts for Village Square Quilters! Both are absolutely beautiful!

At least on the plane rides I have been able to work on binding Carnivale! I will post the final picture when I get home next week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finally it is off the rack!

Have you ever had an inspiration for a quilt, made the top and then just couldn't find the right back material, the right thread, or the quilt design just didn't seem to work, so the quilt top just hung around your quilting space?

Well, that is "Hugs". I have a friend at work, who whenever I see her (which is usually once a year, since she lives in California), that just screams Blue and White quilt to me. I often just want to walk up to her and wrap a blue and white quilt around her shoulders. She is just the most wonderful person, so for years I have been thinking about making her a quilt.... why when she lives in warm and sunny San Jose, I don't know.... but I have. So finally this year, I decided to do it. We will see each other at the end of the month at a business conference, so I even have the opportunity to give it to her in person. Great, this summer I finally put the top together.

I wanted it to be simple, because she is a simple, yet eloquent type of person. I wanted the quilting to be an integral part of the design, because she is many faceted and I felt it was a way of adding dimension to the simple design. So great, I made the top... now what, it just sat there. I couldn't find a simple blue and white back, that was either in the right shade of blue, or not over powering.

Finally almost 5 months later, I found a simple blue and white poker-dot and began quilting it.

I think the simple poker dot is just right, and if you look closely, the thread adds a touch of purple (the blue has a hint of purple) and a touch of lime green, just to punch it up a bit.

I like the dimension the quilting adds. This is the first time I am using the Bamboo batting made by Fairfield. I won it at retreat two weeks ago :-) It is supposed to be light and natural, so I figured it would be good for use in the California climate, and it is naturally anti-bactorial as well.

You can see the slight rounding of the top by the stitching...

I am about a third of the way done (it is 58"w x 78"l). Have to get the quilting done this week, as I will be on the road next week. This will give me a week at home to bind it before heading to Vegas for the convention.

I can do it, just need to focus! I will just have to keep the large medallion quilt I started at retreat and the rhapsody I have been dying to get started on hold for a bit!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Favorite Quilt Shops

This post has been updated:
3/18/09: added Arizona. Commented on the closing of The Country Quilter, in Somers, NY.

So you all know that I travel alot. Well I decided to share my list of some of my favorite shops. If they made my list, then I have been there and have returned at least once or would return if I was back in the area. See the links to the left.

Here is the list, by state, to make it easier to find one if you are heading there..

Quilt Shop & Gallery
Sedona... I loved the way this shop was laid out. A section for batiks, a section for southwesterns, one for holiday fabric, one for books, etc... they even carried quilting puzzles. It was like anyone could walk into the store and go right to what they were looking for. I also liked it because they catered to quilters who like brights as well as contemporary quilting, less so to the traditional quilter.... which meant it fit my style well. BUT they also carried traditional fabric, patterns and books, just less of it, so no one was left out. The shop has a separate building which host a gallery of quilts for sale by local quilters. I thought this was a real nice touch! The staff was really friendly... didn't bother you as you walked around, but was there to help if you needed it.
Quiltz, Phoenix.... Nice large shop, with one of the largest classrooms I have ever seen. Even my husband commented on the classroom size! The shop had a nice layout, with many batiks, brights, florals and children's fabrics. Patterns, quilts and gift ideas were displayed in each section that related nicely to the fabric in the area. They carry a large selection of books, which are always 20% off! The staff was really good at helping me to find exactly what I was looking for.

Rosie’s Calico Cupboard, San Diego... This shop has something for everyone. Loads of fabric…. always check the website for coupons and check out their sale room. I always come home with a ton of fabric, although it has been a year or so since I have been there. For a long time this was probably one of my favorite quilt shops. It still remains on my top 10 list.
The Cotton Patch, The shop is owned by Carolie Hensley - Co-Founder of C&T Publishing. Lots of variety and they have a frequent buyers program.
The Quilters Nest
Eddie’s Quilting Bee, In Sunnyvale, not far from San Jose. I try to make a stop by everytime I am in the area. The staff is really great.
The Granary, Sunnyvale

New York:
The Country Quilter, Somers, NY... this is what I call my 'local quilt shop'. I take all of my quilting classes here. You have read my posts about them before.. I go on their retreats, the owner Claire is a wonderful person, her daughter Jane, is a fabulous art quilter. Visit whenever you are in the area! On my top 10 list! Unfortunately, the owner of this shop is retiring after almost 20 years in the business, and the shop will be closed as of 3/31/09. We all wish Claire the best in the next stage of her life as she relaxes in the Adirondeck mountains.
Quilt Cottage, Mamaronect, NY... this is one of the newest shops in the area. The owner Nancy, is fabulous. she has been in the fabric business for years before she opened up the shop. Besides quilting fabric, notions and patterns, she also carries a large selection of yarn. On my top 10 list!
The City Quilter, New York, NY... featured in Quilt Shop Sampler and APQS Magazine. Recently relocated to a larger space. Great shop and wonderful class selection even though I find it hard to get there for classes.
Woodstock Quilt Supply, Woodstock... owned by two men! Real distinct persona, fabulous fabrics, not your average quilt shop. I like reading their newsletters... they have good sales as well.

Fabric Boutique, Las Vegas, NV... large selection of fabric. They carry just about the entire selection of Moda Marbles. Every month, a different color is 'featured' and any fabric with that color in it (even a dot!) is 20% off. They have a large classroom and traveling quilters are welcome to call ahead to see if the room is available for drop in quilting. No charge, and leave your mats, and scissors at home. They really make it comfy for conventioners who have down time, or wifes traveling with husbands who don't quite like spending as much time in the casinos as their husbands do. One of my top 10 list!
Nancy’s Quilt Shop, Las Vegas, NV.... batik heaven, even batik like flannel fabric. They have the largest selection of flannel that I have ever seen.
The Christmas Goose Quilt Shop, Las Vegas, NV

Great American Quilt Factory, this is owned by the owners of Possibilities, the publishing company.... wonderful shop, full of brights which is me all over. The shop is organized by project, with samples lining the walls, and fabrics and kits under the sample. On my top 10 list!

South Carolina:
People, Places & Quilts, Summerville & Charlston. On my top 10 list... both locations. Diane the owner is usually in the Charlston shop which is right in downtown Old Charlston. Loved the staff!
Island Thread Quilt Shop, Pawley Island
Pieces and Places
Sew Many Common Threads
Cross Stitch Junction and Quilts Too!, One of my top 10! Lot's of batiks and brights, and lots of blenders to go inbetween!
Quilting in The Carolinas,
Quilters Cottage, Hwy 17, Murrells Inlet, SC. No website
Sea Side Stitching, Hwy 17, Surfside Beach, SC No website

Mardens Surplus, Sandford store only. This is an Army Surplus Store, which carry's manufacters left overs and buys-out stores stocks when they close. All carry fabric, but Sandford is the best for quilting fabric. These are not seconds... they are just surplus... prices are between $3-$4 a yd, including batiks!
Knights, York. Great shop, more for the traditional quilter than bright/batik person like me, but they always seem to have something I can use :-)
Mariners Compass Quilt Shop

Fabric Corner, Arlington and Falmouth... I have only been to the Arlington store, which is almost all batiks and blenders. Great store, was just there last week. Will definitely be going back and might make it onto my top 10 list... too soon to tell, but I will keep you posted.
Cambridge Quilt Shop, Cambridge... nice shop... not too large, but a nice selection of fabric.

New Hampshire:
Portsmouth Fabric Shop, Portsmouth... right on the boarder between New Hampshire and Maine. Great batik shop. I have only been there once, but it was packed to the rafters. Would probably make my top 10 if I could get back there often.
Quilt Beginnings, Dublin/Columbus area... there were many shops in the area, unfortunately I don't remember them all !

Virginia :
Quilt Patch, Virginia Beach area.

OK, let's it for now... hope you get to visit some of them!