Pumpkin Patch Quilt

I spent Monday quilting with my 3 friends. We had fun, taking breaks every now and then to floow the eclipse with a pinhole in a piece of paper (should have watched the NASA channel). We were finally able to see it when Gloria went home and brought her husband's welding mask. By that time it was ending. (The news reported the welder mask isn't safe, but we used my dad's when we were kids and I didn't look but a moment.)

Back to quilting! I saw a banner online with a patchwork pumpkin and the word FALL below it. I thought I would make a few of those for my daughters. The night before I bagged up my scraps of orange fabrics, a large piece of green, one of dark brown and a background of grey with dots for the background.

The first one was so much fun to sew that I continued making more.

I am still working on them today and my pumpkin patch is growing. I will stop when I have no more background fabric left or when my box of orange scraps is depleted. I am not sure of the arrangement yet, maybe a small lap quilt (sorry girls).The largest block on the bottom right is 18" tall and 16" wide.

I have other projects to work on for upcoming events, but I think I needed this project to just relax me. Have you ever put a project aside so you could do some other one? Are you working on a fall themed quilt project?

Have fun creating.

Here are the links to last week's AQS class posts I wrote:

Bobbin Work with Phyllis Cullen HERE
Applique with Susan Cleveland HERE
Sheila Frampton-Cooper HERE


Improv Blocks Class

Sheila Frampton-Cooper introduced us to her techniques for creating improvisational blocks in the AQS class I took this past week. Her completed works (you can find HERE on her website) were marvelous and the samples for class were amazing.

It was a 3-hour class and we worked steadily on our blocks after Sheila demonstrated. I could tell everyone was working intently because there was very little talking and the sewing machines were humming.

We were shown how she sews curves and learned that gentle curves were best for beginners. Sharper curves can pucker when sewn. Sheila uses only a very fine spritz of water to press. She said heavier water application stretches the fabrics out of shape when presssed.

I am a literal quilter. I make quilts that show the object(s) in the theme. I want to see the object in every piece I make. Abstract and improv are difficult for me. As I discussed my first block with Sheila, I told her I saw a sunset. She advised against focusing on what the block will be, just cut, slice and construct. As I made more blocks and put them on the design wall, I would intuitively see how the quilted piece will come together.

I learned about a neutral color to rest the eye and allow the blocks to work together. She suggested using a color such as white, taupe, light grey, or black.

Sheila uses solid colors.I chose to bring some batik I had on the shelf. These are the blocks-in-progress that I made. No arguing, I have more work to do on these blocks! I must say I did like the freedom of creating.

I thought improv blocks like these might make some nice journal covers for Christmas gifts. Adding lots of embroidery threads for sheen, sparkle and color would be fun.

Two other classes I attended were
Bobbin Work with Phyllis Cullen HERE
and Applique with Susan Cleveland HERE.

Thanks for visiting.

AQS Quilt Week Classes

Hello. If you read my blog the other day, you saw the posting about my class with Phyllis Cullen on Machine Bobbin Work while I attended the AQS Quilt Week event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can read it HERE.

Today I will tell you about the great class I took from Susan Cleveland. I have been wanting to take a class from her for a few years now and was elated that she was scheduled to teach.


We could pick one of the two patterns she had available for us--Daisy or Joy.
I chose JOY. 

Susan recommended using Decor Bond (#809) by Pellon for these projects that become small hangings. She had drawn the image for us, in reverse, on the non-shiny side of the Decor Bond to save us some time (which was very nice of her). The Decor Bond is used in a manner similar to fusibles, but only one side has fusible.

We used a blanket stitch with decorative threads. I used a Wonderfil 12 wt. rayon thread that I got last year. Susan uses Razzle threads by Wonderfil. I bought a pack of them at the show after seeing how great they looked. Razzle comes in such a variety of colors!

I got the heart sewn down as the class was coming to an end. (I really wanted to continue sewing but they close and lock the room for lunch.) Susan said we should finish what we were doing because at home our machines might not get the same look of this blanket stitch. Using our own machines on all the other pieces would look planned. So I stopped with the heart and will take the thread ends to the back at home.
(The J and Y are showing the Decor Bond on the reverse of the letters.)

I look forward to finishing very soon. This is an easily do-able piece and I look forward to making some of her other patterns. Have nay of you made one of Susan's patterns? I want to try her piping on a small quilt, it looks fun and I hope easy. 


Classes at the Quilt Show

This past week I was fortunate to have attended the American Quilters Society "Quilt Week" in Grand Rapids, MI. Since 2013, AQS has brought this show to DeVos Center which is about 45 miles from my home. The show will be here in 2018, but I don't know if that will be the last year or not.

I have saved funds through the year so I could take classes. I was not disappointed in my choice of instructors! I have taken classes in the past and have added some new skill or technique to my repertoire.

Wow! What a wealth of quilting knowledge to be had. When I take a class I do not go with expectations of learning everything these quilters can do. But if I go away with one new idea, or accomplishment that I can try at home, I am very happy. I am extremely pleased if I take away more than one thing. And I never expect to complete a project in the class, there is just not enough time!

This year I attended these half day classes:

Machine Lace and Bobbin Work with Phyllis Cullen

Bodacious Big Thread Applique with Susan Cleveland

Introduction to Paints, Inks, and Foil with Kathy McNeil

Fearless Feather Fun with Linda Thielfoldt


Improv Blocks with Sheila Frampton Cooper

We used heavy, decorative threads or yarns in the bobbin. These are the threads and crochet yarns I brought.

The sewing machine dealer set the bobbin tensions for us. Phyllis suggested some ways to adjust our bobbin tensions at home--the one I would choose is to get another bobbin just for adjusting and leave my regular bobbin as it is for sewing. We used the bobbin winder spool, but held the threads with our hand and wound slowly!

We worked from the back side of the piece, layering the fabric, right side down on the table, then a layer of batting, and on top of those layers, a piece of embroidery stabilizer (with the drawing reversed on it).

An embroidery hoop held it all taut and we moved it as we sewed. This is what I got done in the class-- part of the body and the wings shown below.

Phyllis did say that the top thread color should match the heavier threads in the bobbin so they blend. It is sometimes impossible to get the top thread to pull tight enough to bury itself in the heavier threads. You can see that on my wings where the white thread shows over the black yarn.

As this week progresses, I will post more about the classes I took during the week. Tell us if you have taken classes while attending a show, such as the AQS and what you took away from it.

Happy Quilting!


Word Quilts

This week's Tuesday Archives at Val's Quilting Studio has the theme of WORDS.

I have made quilts with WORDS on them. Below I have highlighted some of the quilts I have blogged about. The link to the blog post is above the photo if you would like have more details about a quilt.

Thank you for visiting.

This is a pattern that I designed. This quilt is 54" x 66".

This quilt I made as a guild challenge and it was one accepted into the 
2016 AQS Show in Grand Rapids. 
I have looked back at my blog and can't believe I didn't blog about this first time experience for me!

The online group I belong to, Four-in-Art, has a challenge theme every 3 months during the year. 
In 2014, I used words as the basis of my quilted piece for the theme of Urban Structures. 

Another Four-in-Art Challenge was in Literature. I made this small 12" square quilt based on the book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. 

Another pattern I designed was sold through Cut Loose Press. 
I designed it so that one or more words could be appliqued on it. 
And the circles could use a variety of fabrics, appliques or embroideries. 


Wool Applique Trunk Show

Connie Spalding from Fife Lake, Michigan was the speaker at our Quilt Guild meeting last evening. She does wool applique and it is lovely. She began in 2007 when she decided she didn't like using cotton fabrics and needle turn applique. She belongs to a number of Facebook groups that work in wool and she takes classes in different places--one time on a cruise! I took a photos of some of her pieces, which you will see just a little way down the page. 

I have never been drawn to wool applique, but she had some good points to consider. The first was that wool is stitched down with a variety of fun and pretty embroidery stitches. No need for needle turn applique or raw edge stitching with a sewing machine. Wool doesn't ravel like cotton. While some quilting is portable, wool is easy to take with you (again with no turning seams to applique). 

I might try a few of the free patterns she shared with us. 
One is a candle mat with pumpkins around the edge

and the other is a hedgehog pincushion (shown here with her other pincushions).

I do have a few pieces of wool I picked up a few years ago thinking I would make a square pincushion.

I hope you enjoy the photos. 

A block of the month in process

This is a sewing pillow. Scissors are stored in the heart, 
the bird's wing lifts for needles and thread storage.

 The different shades in these hand dyed wools made all the flowers and leaves so appealing.
This tablemat was made in the style of a crazy quilt and it is no larger than 24" across!

A quilt in the process of being finished.

A fun and colorful star

A felted donut card sent by a friend.

This was a block of the WEEK quilt!

What a fun nature quilt.

Connie made this wool quilt using a pattern designed for cotton applique.

A spectacular bed-size quilt with 1000s of cotton half square triangles
and wool flower appliques!

Have you used wool in your quilting? Do you have any tips for a beginner?


EQ7 Helps with Kitchen Design

My husband and I have a small cabin on an island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We were there a few weeks ago for a late summer get-away and with plans to see how we could re-design the kitchen/dining/entry area. We want this to be use this as well as our children and their spouses, and future grandchildren. Having been built in 1985, as a fisherman's place, it is in need of some re-dos.
This is the width of our little piece of the island.
I took my laptop with intentions of designing some quilt tops. In the past, my husband and I have worked with graph paper on all our building-type projects. But as I began taping sheets together for the correct scale, I remembered reading how Beaquilter used her EQ7 program to help design the family's outside deck. I got the laptop out and opened the EQ7 program.

It is the kitchen area we want to re-do. It just doesn't work to our efficiency.We took measurements of the wall and room height. I set up a Custom Layout on the Quilt Worktable. The grid lines didn't help because we were working with 3" increments. So I clicked on View>Rulers.

I drew blocks in Blocks> Easy Draw that represented the cabinets, windows, refrigerator, stove and counter tops that we wanted. After much moving around (easy when using this program), this is what we came up with:

We won't be starting on this for another year or so, but it gives us an idea of what we can look for in cabinets, a 30" stove to replace the 27" one that is over 40 years old. We'd like a newer refrigerator and sink. We are not sure about the wall covering/finishing. We'd like something that is moisture-proof as the cabin can get damp on the island. But we are both happy with the clean lines that EQ7 helped us draw and the ease of use. It sure beat erasing or using more graph paper!

Have you ever used EQ for a non-quilting project?


Four-in-Art Reveal!

I am happy to reveal, today, my finished challenge piece for the Four-in-Art group. For those of you who read my last blog, any good vibes you sent helped. Thank you.

Before I show the completed project, let me tell you what our challenge was for this quarter.

Each year we choose a theme on which our quilt creations will focus. Then each quarter there is a sub-theme chosen by one of the members. This year the main theme was Light/Illumination. Elizabeth chose "Stained Glass Shadows" as this quarter's sub-theme.

She said that the opposite of light can be shadow and not always total darkness. Transparency, overlay, jewel tones, pattern were some of the ways this concept could be executed.

With that introduction, here is my piece called, "Stained Glass Shadows."

It took me time getting started. I had the stained glass window idea in my mind two months ago and used Electric Quilt to draw the paper piecing pattern. I knew I wanted to use the batiks I had in my stash for the light and shadow pieces. I had a variety of grays, so that represented the stone or concrete of the window and the floor with the shadows.

I like how it turned out. One thing I wish I had done was to have included the bottom portion of the piece in EQ so all the seams and lines would have lined up better. The quilting would have been easier (a few lines are crooked).

As to the quilting, I used straight lines because I wanted to use the multi-colored Guttermann metallic to put a bit of sparkle in the quilt. I know from experience that some metallics break when free motion quilting curves. In the shadows of a room, the quilting makes the triangles look much more like they are filtered light coming from the stained glass window.

I may add more quilting to follow the diagonal lines of the triangles at a later date. But I am happy to have finished on time.

Be sure to check out the other members of the Four-in-Art group and see what they revealed today. 

Nancy (That's me, you are here!)

Comments are always welcome and I respond to those that have a way from me to email them.
Make your day creative!