Sunday, October 25, 2009

Final Day of Camp

Sunday morning was a misty one, but that only added to the beauty of the trees across the lake! The night before, I'd left this finished block of my niece's quilt lying on my sewing table. Taking a fresh look at it Sunday morning, I was pleased. I think it will turn out just as I had it pictured in my head! That is a good thing! :) (Unfortunately I haven't done anymore on it in the few weeks since Camp! Too many other projects to work on!)

After breakfast I packed up my sewing machine and cleaned up my sewing area. I spent the morning working on the embroidery project I'd taken along (Christmas ornaments). I also walked around to visit with others and see the progress they'd made on their projects. And I took a tour of the wastebaskets to see what others had thrown away. Amid the banana peels and apple cores (euuuuw!) I found a whole collection of clean, dry 1/2 square triangle pairs. Those will be fun to work with! I didn't find much else, though. Either others have started saving their scraps or my table-mate got there before I did! I learned that she collects and saves even more than I do! She's got a big box full of teeny-tiny cut-off points and is dreaming of someday doing a "snippets" project!!!! Not for me. I'll gladly let her have THAT stuff!

There were to be several hours of sewing yet after our noon turkey dinner, followed by show and tell. But I knew that I had a long drive ahead of me, and I wanted to stop at a quilt shop on my way home (that closed at 3pm). So I reluctantly packed up and told everyone good-bye. Another wonderful Camp weekend had come to an end. I can't wait to do it all again the end of April!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Second Day of Camp

This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning! Sooooo beautiful! I couldn't resist taking pictures.

After breakfast I was all set to put together those quilt blocks. There were 9 of them, with sashing in between--piece of cake!!! I had my layout all set and they went together beautifully. As I was showing off my project, I realized that I had sewn them together completely backwards! What to do? They didn't look right the way they were, so I began to un-sew!

By the time I got them unsewn, laid out the correct way(again), and then carefully sewn together(correctly, this time) it was mid-afternoon. (Yes, it took that long. Had to do some visiting with others to see what they were up to, had to have lunch, had to press the blocks again, etc.) This project wasn't supposed to be so stressful! The completed top is pictured below. It is my scrappy interpretation of Birds in Air. It needs some applique yet, but I hope to finish that now that I'm home.
Since it was a sunny day, I decided to go for a walk to work off some of the stress. I'm glad I had packed my winter jacket because it was windy and chilly. The walk around the camp grounds turned out to be very refreshing--just the thing I needed.

Now I was ready to tackle another project. This time the shop model. It only needed some blanket stitching on it and a bit of applique, so it didn't take me long to complete that.

Later in the evening I started on my niece's quilt. I stitched some Thangles blocks--enough to piece at least one block of her quilt. I knew in my head what I wanted it to look like, but would it look that way in real life? (I also had a chance to teach the friend next to me about Thangles, and how easy they are to use!) One block was completed before bed...I left it out to look at it the next morning with a more critical eye.

Except for the un-sewing, I was happy with what I'd accomplished that day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to Camp

Last weekend I went to Quilt Camp--a quilting retreat at a campground. I have been going to Spring Camp for years, but this is the first time I have gone to Fall Camp. I knew that it would be an unstructured weekend, with nothing to do but sew, sew, sew, from 4pm Friday to 4pm on Sunday.
I had hopes of getting LOTS accomplished. So I packed a UFO (a small quilt top for my daughter that was all cut out and ready to sew), the fabrics for my niece's quilt, the parts for a pattern I've been wanting to make for quite some time, a hand-applique project, an embroidery project and a shop model that I am making of one of my patterns. I wanted to have a variety to choose from. Whatever mood I was in would determine what I would work on!
I arrived ~4:30. Most of the women were already there with their sewing machines buzzing. It looked like they'd been there all afternoon! I was told that no, they just got there at 4. Obviously they were on a mission, too!
Once I got settled in, I chose to work on the UFO. By the time I was ready to call it a night, I had all my blocks finished, ready to put together. That would be tomorrow's project.
Quilt Camp is meals to plan and prepare, no dishes to wash, no phone calls to interrupt your work. Many great quilters around you, lots of different projects being worked on, lots of inspiration. As an added bonus, camp is set on a lake and the trees surrounding the lake were in brilliant color last weekend! What more could a quilter ask for???

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In the Works

A couple of weeks ago I got out the pieces for that little old quilt. Time to finally put it back together! The nine-patch blocks went together fairly easily. Some pieces had originally been cut on the bias, but they were small enough that they didn't distort when put together into the 9-patch blocks. After pressing the blocks, I laid them out on point.

The alternate blocks in the original quilt were indigo fabric. This fabric felt very thin to me (very much like cheese cloth!), but I decided to use it anyway. I cut the squares of indigo down to fit the 9-patch blocks, cutting both alternate squares and side set-in triangles.

The quilt top pieced together fairly quickly--all the pieces seemed to fit. The outside triangles were a bit oversized--on purpose so that I could square things up when all pieced together.

Time to cut the borders to fit. These, too, were the same thin indigo fabric. I measured the quilt top through the center and cut the borders to this length. But when I pinned them onto the edge of the quilt top, I had an extra inch at each end!!! Back to measuring again, and sure enough, the quilt top measures much bigger through the centers than it does along the edges. Being put on point, the alternate squares end up on the bias. Because of the thinness of the indigo fabric, they are very stretchy.

I've vowed that this project is not going to get put away again. This time it is going to be finished! I plan to omit the borders and use the border fabric for binding. And I have a new admiration for the quilters of that time period who had to work with these fabrics! We are so lucky to have quality fabrics to use in our quilts!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finally, a start!

At least 15 years ago, in an antique shop in Ligonier, IN, a little quilt top spoke to me. Judging by the indigo blues, deep reds, and other fabrics in the top, I could tell it was old (circa 1900). It was also tattered and a bit faded in places. But I thought it had potential and the price was right. I bought it with the intention of re-working it, just to play with the fabrics.
The little scrappy 9-patch on point quilt top sat in a corner of my sewing room until last year. It was time to do something with it. I took it along on an "up-north" quilting retreat as a "no-brainer" project. One afternoon I started taking it apart. Because it was hand-pieced (and a lot of the seams had already pulled apart), it wasn't too bad a job. One of my friends sat down to help and we quickly had it all in pieces.
The next step was to sort. Which pieces were too badly damaged to save and which ones were salvageable? Many of the pieces went in the trash (yes, I admit I did throw them away). The rest were pressed. This gave me another chance to examine them to see if they were worth putting back into the quilt.
I measured the squares from the 9-patches. I knew that I wanted to trim them down to have fresh edges to piece together. Once a good size was determined, and the squares trimmed, I then had to count them to see how many 9-patches I could make from what I had. The original quilt had 20 9-patch blocks, but I decided to only use 16 in my new project. I needed a few more little squares, so I cut some from my collection of old and reproduction fabrics.
Everything was cut, ready to go, and I had a plan. But it all got put away. Guess some other project was more important at the time. That happens to me a lot!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Color

I just got back from a walk. On the days I don't go to Curves, I'm trying to get in at least 30 minutes of walking. On a day like today, it is easy! The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue and the air is cool and crisp.

I LOVE Fall! And I'm sure it is because of the gorgeous colors! On my way to church for Bible study this morning I couldn't help but notice that almost every color imaginable is out there for us to see right now, and around here, the colors are only going to get better! Just look at the bushes, trees and flowers! Amid the green, you'll see red, orange, yellow, gold, purple, blue-purple, pink, white, you-name-it.* An unknown bush, out in the middle of nowhere on church property, is brilliant today--green leaves, but fuchsia stems and berry sprays. Awesome! (My picture does not do it justice!)
God must love scrap quilts too! :)

*The quilt I'm making for the niece who graduated from college in May has this color scheme. I'm using the block "Country Roads". The main fabric is green, the background is light blue and scrap squares of the colors of nature run through the block. I'll show you a block soon...(I'm just in the "cutting out" stage.)