Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back home in New Zealand

I am back home after our long trip to the USA. It was a shock to my system to arrive to such chilly weather after the intense heat we experienced on the east coast before we left. But, cold weather is quilting weather.

Someone asked me once for tips on quilting a bed-sized quilt (not that I'm an expert). One of my tips is to save this job for cold weather because it can be quite physical and you inevitably get wrapped up in your quilt. So, the cold weather prompted me to do some quilting. My quilting corner is also in my bedroom which is the warmest and sunniest spot in the house.

Butterfly hearts: I started this over a year ago and then set it aside while I tried to figure out how to move to the next step. Yesterday I machine quilted slightly random parallel lines across the whole quilt. Next, I am appliquing hearts cut from many (many) butterfly fabrics that I have collected. I decided to do raw edge applique. I tried out 2 using chunky running stitches with 2 strands of embroidery floss. I like the look (front and back) but am worried that it won't be durable enough. Now I wonder if I should machine sew them on and then do the running stiches on top of the machine stiches. Any advice?

Plaid Block Lotto winnings: I went to my local fabric shop looking for something to use on the border. I was committed to only selecting fabric from the clearance rack, so my choices were limited. I came home with this grey/red/coral/black large scale plaid and a matching bright red-coral print. I think I will do a narrow strip of the bright print and then a border with the plaid. I've only used half of the blocks so far, so I should be able to do a second quilt with the remaining blocks. I am considering donating at least one, maybe both.

Blue snowflakes: I finished one block and started a second, this time blue on white. My needle-turn applique is improving and the silk thread my mother recommended is really good.

Auckland Modern Quilt Guild (AMQG) raffle quilt: We have 56 wonky stars in bright colors on white. The original plan was to make the backgrounds white and light grey but nobody used grey except for me. I admit to having quite a few in my stash, but looking around the shops lately, there's not many on offer. There's a lot of white in these blocks, and I feel like they need some neutralising. We have a few working sessions scheduled to piece the front and back. The quilting is still TBD.

I have a few ideas in the pipeline but have promised myself that I cannot start anything else until I get through these ongoing projects.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday already?

Not too many posts from me lately - I've been travelling around the USA for the past 3 months and am heading home to New Zealand tomorrow. I was hoping to have a 'quilty-er' visit, but for some reason DH and DD are not so interested in quilty activities.

My mother is a quilter, so I brought along projects to work on, thinking I would do some needle-turn applique while on the road and some piecing while at my parents place. While packing up my bags today I realized how little I've done in the 3 months. We have had a wonderful trip, so I shouldn't sound disappointed.

Cotton Robin round robin: I worked on 3 other quilts and mine came home while I was in the US. It's amazing how many great ideas I saw on all of the quilts in the round robin.

Block Lotto April: I won in April - what a fantastic surprise. I ended up with 48 blocks; 24 of them I've pieced together. I'm still trying to decide on a border. The other 24 Ill put together into another single-sized quilt using a different setting.

Block Lotto May: I made 5 of these free-form stars.

Block Lotto June: I managed 3 of these modified schoolhouse blocks. I used the paper-pieced patter which I thought would be easier than the normal piecing method - the number of pieces to cut did not appeal to me.

Block Lotto July: Nine silly string blocks went together super fast.

Besides some quilting, I did manage to visit a few quilt shops. I was surprised that they did not seem so much better or bigger than the ones I have access to at home - maybe I'm luckier than I think. The prices are much better in the US, but the current exchange rate really helps because my NZ dollars are worth much more than on previous visits.

I caught a few quilt exhibits:

  • National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY: A great variety of quilts on display. I especially enjoyed the basket challange that included modern interpretations of the basket motif and antique quilts as well.
  • Abby Alrich Rokefeller Folk Museum in Williamsburg, VA: Beautiful collection of red & green Baltimore album quilts from the 19th century and early 20th century.
  • Quilters Unlimited annual show in Chantilly, VA: A large show with a diverse display of quilts and vendors.