Sunday, June 28, 2009

Group Project

Whenever we go on a retreat, there is always a "group project". Participation is optional. This time the project was a scrap quilt, which one of the gals found in an issue of Traditional Quiltworks from about 10 years ago. We all decided to participate. We thought it would be fun to whittle down our stashes a bit and trade scraps with each other.
The magazine article was about one scrappy quilt block and all the designs that could be made from it. There were no exact instructions for the quilt we liked, just a photograph. This provided a bit of a challenge, right from the beginning. From the article, we knew what size units to cut. (Scrappy: 2 1/2" squares and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, plus 2 1/2" squares background.) What we didn't know, was how many to cut. We hadn't taken the time to really analyze the picture. Some of us started cutting, making individual bags to trade with each person. Some of us cut the units, but separated them only by size into small shopping bags. Others cut lots of units and put them into a box. A week before the retreat, we each received a copy of the instructions. That made it a bit easier to plan--by that time we'd all cut many more scrap pieces than we would need, anyway!
Once we hit the cottage and got our machines set up, we swapped scrap pieces and were off and running on our project. The first thing we did was to make the basic scrappy blocks. That was the easy part. Assembling them presented another challenge! The blocks were set on point for the design, and having only the picture to refer to made this project a great study in how each of us thinks!
I started from the bottom corner and worked my way up, covering up the row I just pieced with a strip of paper so I wouldn't get confused. As my rows were pieced, I laid them out on the floor. Someone else found it easier to start from the top and work down. Another was folding the picture to help her know which row she was on. One friend didn't refer to the paper at all...she laid her blocks out following my rows on the floor. Still another was trying to find the pattern to it all and work from that (I never did find a pattern to the design...).
As you can see from the above picture, sooner or later we all finished the main quilt top! And each one is beautiful and unique. Now that we're home, we're working on the borders, trying to incorporate all the leftover scrappy pieces we cut. This will be Show and Tell the next time we get together, and it will be great fun to see what each has come up with!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lots Accomplished

After our shopping stop, we headed for the cottage. Once we arrived, it didn't take us long to get set up to sew. We set up tables on the sunporch so that we could look at the lake as we worked. Talk about relaxing!
All six of us came prepared. We had boxes and bags stuffed with more projects than we would ever get to in 4 days, but we had high hopes. Some projects were brought along just so we could get help with them--"What should I do next?" or "Which color would look best here?" or " What should I do with this collection of blocks?". We love to brainstorm together and work out ideas.
We all brought sewing machines and on one day all six were running! The wiring in the cottage got a real test, and it passed. No blown fuses!
We were definitely six gals on a mission last week and it was fun to see all that we had accomplished in such a short time. Amazing what projects can be finished when 0ne isn't interrupted by everyday life! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Shop Stop

I went on a quilting retreat last week. Several of my quilting buddies have lake cottages and once or twice a year we get away to one of them for a week or so of intense sewing and good fellowship. This time, six of us were able to go.
We meet at one house, load up the cars and get on the road! We usually quilt shop hop on the way (we know ALL the shops along the route!), but this time, we got a late start. We decided to stop at only one shop--Elaine's Quilty in Hadley, MI. This shop is a favorite because of its friendly staff, great selection and good prices (especially on wide quilt backing fabric and rotary cutter blades). And if you take in their coupon from the Country Register, you get a free fat quarter!
While others searched for the fabrics they "needed", I found some cute little quilting stencils (that will be great for applique or embroidery), a couple of great reproduction fat quarters (to add to my stash) and a nice neutral quilt backing fabric (two yards is always good to have on hand). I also discovered the scrap box and found a few small treasures there.
We all left the shop with smiles on our faces, already planning the projects we'd make with what we just bought. I'm sure that the sum of all our purchases put a smile on the shopkeeper's face, too! :)
Got to keep them in business, right?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shopping At Home

I didn't have to go very far for the fabrics I used in all my latest projects. I merely went to my sewing room and started pulling fabrics from my boxes and bins. I found all I needed for the Sunbonnet blocks in my collection of fat quarters and scraps, and I had plenty of muslin for the background (since I buy that by the bolt!). Someday I want to make an 1800's style red and green quilt so I have plenty of those fabrics in my stash, too. It didn't take much of them for the challenge project.
Do you realize we scrap quilters are saving energy because of our fabric stashes? (No, I don't mean the extra insulation it gives our homes...) Instead of driving from quilt shop to quilt shop to find the fabrics we need for our projects, we simply shop at home by shopping our stash! Anytime, and even in our PJ's! We're gladly doing our part, aren't we? :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


For several of the projects I have been working on, the deadline was "JUNE". This is June, and guess what? I am meeting the deadlines! For someone who has trouble completing projects, this is major! I've decided that deadlines are a good thing, and that maybe I should set deadlines for every project???

Last Friday I sent off 18 Sunbonnet Sue quilt blocks for the on-line Michigan block exchange I joined several months ago. Tomorrow I will deliver my finished project for the challenge we had going in our little quilt circle. (My challenge project is pictured) And next week I'll send off the major project I've been working on that also had a June deadline. What a sense of accomplishment! It's just a good thing that the deadlines were all LATE June--the extra weeks were definitely necessary! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A YOU-nique Scrap Quilt

"When life gives you scraps, make a quilt." I ran across this saying the other day and for some reason I can't get it out of my head. Obviously, it is the quilter's version of "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", meaning that when life brings you hardships, try to turn them into something positive.
But the saying makes it seem like scraps are a bad thing! I, for one, don't agree with that! As you know, I LOVE scraps!
To my way of thinking, the "scraps" that come along in life are what make us who we are. The family we are born into, the people we meet, the places we travel to, the experiences we have, the everyday things we see and do--all of these things influence and shape us. Each and every one of us is a unique scrap quilt! How about that???

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colors Out My Window

I finished planting the flowers in my yard today. I love to look out my kitchen window and see all the colors in the backyard. It brightens my day!
The backyard flowers are many different shades of pink with some white and purple mixed in. Red and white flowers are in the front yard. My perennial bed is the only place where you'll find any "oddballs"--I have an orange tickseed plant.
I wonder why I'm so fussy with my flower color choices when my favorite quilts are the multicolored scrappies?????
What colors do you see out your windows?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quilt Planting

Not much scrap quilting got done this weekend. I was busy planting!
On Saturday, I helped my husband put in a vegetable garden--our first in many years. (There is extra land at church and our pastor offered it to congregation members who would like to garden. )
We have been planning for several months, buying seeds and vegetable plants. My husband plotted the garden out on paper. I wonder if he realizes that he actually planned a quilt?
We have 4-patches: four hills each of cukes, squash and a couple kinds of melons. These are separated by sashings: rows of beans and peppers. Two rows of sunflowers are across one end. And two rows of tomato plants run down the very center.
I'll have to remember his plan. Hmm...a new design in the works???