Monday, May 21, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Six - FINAL

This is part six of the blogs about making my "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt.

It covers the embroidery and beading.

I picked out embroidery floss that matched the colors of the cats and embroidered the whiskers on the cats.  Where the cat appears to be facing right or left, I lengthened the whiskers on the facing side and shortened them on the back side (of the head of the cat).

Whisker detail

My beads are mostly seed beads and a few crystals that I already had.  I pulled out my drawing of the constellations and added a few of the crystals where I wanted the viewer to be able to identify them.  Then I added beads willy nilly to give the quilt some sparkle.  They are barely noticeable.  Should have done hot fix crystals.

This quilt took quite a bit of time to make and lots of thinking through the process of the LED lights.  That is so good for my brain, and would be for yours too, to try something new.  It keeps the neurons firing and connected so that as I keep aging, I don't loose my capability to think.  (I know that is not even close to any of the technical terms, but you get my drift).

Moon Gazing by Joanne Adams Roth 2017

Step outside your box, push yourself to be a little uncomfortable, try something new, make new friends, see new places, be inspired by art..... it's all good.  Don't you think so too?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Five

This is part five of the blog series about making "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with LED battery operated lights.

OK, so I had the quilt done.  I had the extended sleeve with the swimming noodles done.  The final step was to really figure out how the quilt would hang in the show with the hanging devices used by our quilt guild.

We use lanyards with relatively flat curtain rods to hang the quilts from the top pole.  The only thing that goes through the sleeve is the relatively flat curtain rods.  There is a black curtain that hangs off the top cross piece, so the quilts are not hanging against a hard flat wall.  If I was designing the hanging apparatus for my home, I would use a stiff board through the sleeve and staple the extended sleeve to the back of the board.  This would insure that the quilt itself was sticking out from the wall enough so that the battery packs would not distort the top.  So, the key was to somehow replicate this with the noodle and the sleeve.

Gosh, I love having this type of problem to think through.  It really appeals to my engineering brain (did I ever tell you all that I have a mechanical engineering degree?).  On the other hand, the creative side of my brain does NOT let me sleep when there is a design element that needs to be resolved.  So after several nights of not being able to go to sleep and/or waking up and not being able to turn off my brain, I came up just the perfect idea.

I am going to support the quilt with a hanging sleeve that is in sections.  And I'm going to support the extended sleeve with smaller hanging sleeves that will fit in between the ones that the quilt is handing on. Close to loops actually.  I'm going to position the top noodle so that it hangs on the back of it's hanging loops and holds the top of the quilt out from curtain.  Well, that's the idea anyway.  Here's my sketch of the idea.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Four

This is the 4th part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

After the quilting was complete and the binding was added, I turned my attention to the mounting device for the battery packs.  When they were merely pinned to the back of the quilt, they bulged out and left the quilt looking pretty lumpy.

I showed the quilt to some of my friends, and they agreed with my husband, that I needed to have a separate piece of material hanging from the top of the quilt that would hold the battery packs.  I tossed their ideas around a bit and came up with a solution using swimming noodles and fabric with a couple of casings sewn in it.  The swimming noodle was cut lengthwise down the middle so that I had two pieces that were similar in depth to the battery packs.

I sewed a casing a the top and slid the noodle inside.  Then I pinned it to the back of the quilt and loosely pinned the second half of the noddle closer to the bottom, making sure that they battery packs would end up being right underneath the second noodle, and near the spot where they come out through the back of the quilt.    This is not a false back, which would have disqualified it from bring judged at our show.  It is merely part of the hanging sleeve, with an extended backside.

Here are some pictures showing the finished extended sleeve.  The quilt will hang on the flat side of the noodle, while this extended sleeve will hang off the rounded part of the noodle, leaving that nice gap between the two.  Well, that's how it supposed to work, anyway.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Three

This is the 3rd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I made pouches for the battery packs by quilting some of the blue sky material then sewing it up into a little bag open at the top and with a little strap.  I left extra so that I could stitch these bags onto something that would be on the back of the quilt; perhaps even the back itself.

Then I cut the backing into 2 pieces and hemmed each overlapping edge.  I positioned these to overlap at the point where I wanted the electric wires to come out of the back and into the pouches.  A small slit was made in the batting to get the wires through to the back as well.

 Slow and steady with fingers crossed, while carefully looking at the silver hand stitches,  I quilted the piece, making sure not to sew over the top of the wires.  The battery packs got in the way a little bit, but no enough to make it impossible to quilt the piece.  I'm glad I have a sit down quilting machine so that it enabled me to maneuver the battery packs.

Staying away from the wires

Maneuvering the battery packs

Close up of quilting 

I wanted to be able to turn the lights on and off from the bottom of the quilt and that's why I ran the lights towards the bottom.  They didn't quite reach, though, because there was only 19" from the last light to the battery box.  In hindsight, I should have put the boxes at the top of the quilt, and run the wires upwards instead of downwards.  This would have made the mounting of the boxes much easier.  However, it would have required a ladder to get the lights turned on and off once the quilt was hung at the quilt show.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Two

This is the 2nd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I glue basted the edges of the cats and mouse and did a little bit of highlighting with white paint.  I'm not sure that the white will show in the finished piece, but I felt that it gave the cats a look of moon glow.  Glue has become one of my best friends for applique.  This makes the edge turning so quick and it's easy to machine applique through the dried glue.

I added some batting and then machine appliqued the cats and mouse, and added the moon without the extra layer of batting.

The tricky part of adding the lights was next.   I knew generally where to run the lights for optimum effect.  To make sure that I placed the lights correctly, I traced over the top onto freezer paper.  What if the lights looked like constellations,?  Sounded good.  They were sketched onto the freezer paper.  Then the lights got taped to the freezer paper to hold them in place.  This part really helped to keep the wires flattened so that I could sew them into place.

A layer of tulle was laid on top of the lights and hand sewn to all of the wires.  When it was all sewn, I removed the freezer paper and tape.  Then the whole thing got flipped over onto the back of the quilt top and a second layer of tulle was placed on top of that.  Then I hand stitched the tulle and lighting layer to the back of the top with very fine silver thread.  This was to enable me to see where the lights were while quilting so as not to sew over the top of the electric cable or the lights themselves.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part One

Our quilt guild has picked a theme for next year's show, and it is "Once in a Blue Moon".  I always love to work on quilts for challenges and themes.  It's fun to think of something creative that you may not ever make otherwise.  Is that true for you too?

I started gathering ideas for a quilt with a blue moon and/or with blue fabric by looking on Pinterest and the internet.  Some pretty good ideas percolated.  Then I found (with the help of a friend) some really cool blue and white fabric with phases of the moon on it.  I bought 2 yards for the back of the quilt.   I found some blue velvet on our free table and some blue selvage at a quilt store.

And then I remembered a feeling I had when my husband and I laid on top of a picnic table at a campground and gazed at the stars.    Awesome was how it felt.  The universe is so vast and we're just a tiny spec.  There's so many stars up there!  I don't often lay out flat and look up at the stars... do you?  It only happens once in a blue moon for me.  Especially since I'm afraid of the dark and you can't get me out there very often, or for very long.  Anyway, this became my inspiration for this quilt.

I sketched up a few ideas of a couple looking up at the stars, but frankly, people laying down didn't look all that great; standing up was much more effective.  Then I thought about something more playful and ended up designing a quilt with cats (and one mouse!) looking up at the stars.

Genius ideas sometimes surprise me!  No, I'm not saying I'm a genius.  I'm saying that something genius moves through me from the universe.  Doesn't that happen to you too sometimes?  What if I was able to use battery operated LED lights and really bring this piece to life?  I went to my local craft store and bought 3 strands of blue lights, for a total of 90 tiny LED lights.  The lights don't emit any heat so that should be OK.  These strands are on for 6 hours and off for 18 hours - perfect for a quilt show!  I decided that I would attach the lights on the back of the top fabric only, and devise a slot for the battery pack to stick out of the backing fabric and sit in its own pouch on the lower back of the quilt.  Here is a sketch of my idea:

I drew up 5 cats that were slightly different and one little mouse.  Then I went through my stash and found some fun and bright prints.  I had some hand dyed dark blue fabric in my stash too, but it was only one yard and I needed closer to 1-1/2 yards.  Fabric Depot is so close that when I get an idea of what I want for the background, I can run down to Portland and search for just the right piece.  I found it in the Christmas section.  Dark blue, mottled, with dots of white and gold.  Nice.  I had just the right grunge white fabric for the moon in my stash and also the hand dyed orange fabric for the wall.

Here is a picture of the fabrics pinned to the background and the cats roughly cut out.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Clark County Quilters annual quilt show - April, 2018

Clark County Quilters held their annual quilt show at the Clark County Event Center in April 2018.  I love to work behind the scenes and be at the show while it is running.  It is so fun to see my friends, and drool over all of the wonderful quilts made by talented quilters in our guild.

Here are some of the winners this year:

BEST OF SHOW, "For Everything There is a Season..." by Bonnie Keller

"Blue Mooo-n" by Audrey Prothero

"A Bright Idea" by Lynn Czaban

"Red Tide" by Bonnie Keller

"Letters from Durban" by Audrey Prothero and Wilma Scott

"Out of Africa" by DeAnn Perigo
"My Happy Dance" by Shelly O'Brien

"Star Pluvium" by Mary Kay Price

"Boistfort Valley"by Bonnie Keller

"Sushi III" by Mary Key Price

"Circle Games" by Linda Burrell

"Navajo Weaving" by Jean Seele
"Midnight at the Oasis" by Linda Padilla

"Gemstones" by Ada Levins

"Passion and Whimsy" by Rosanne Hatfield

"Christmas Sampler" by Arden Shelton

"Mamas on a Mission" by Ada Levins

"The Albatross around my Neck" by Deena Morgan

"Baltimore Halloween" by Christy Hoffmann

"Finding the Light II" by Hedda Wright

"Believe in Yourself" by Nancy Tubbs
"Chickens" by Terry Knott

"Rue" by Terry Knott

Friday, April 13, 2018

Quilt Block Contest for Clark County Quilters

We have this terrific way of making our raffle (opportunity) quilts in our guild.  Each year, there are 3 quilts in various stages.   The first stage is the block contest.  The chair picks a theme and the fabric and then gives us a challenge to make a block for the quilt that meets the parameters and uses some of the fabric provided.  During our quilt show, the blocks are exhibited and voted on by the public.  The maker of the block that wins the most votes gets a small award and their block gets made into a pin that we sell to members.  The second year, the quilt top is put together from all of the blocks, it gets quilted and bound and is presented to the guild at the end of the 2nd year.  The third year, it is our raffle quilt and that is also the year the pin that matches the quilt is sold.  At the end of the year it is given to the raffle winner.  All of the proceeds of our opportunity quilt is given to a non profit charity in Clark County.

This year, the block contest was to make a Kaffe Fassett 8" round block and use some pink grunge fabric that was provided to us.  It had to be pieced with no embellishments and only a tiny amount of applique.

Here's the finished block.

And here are all the rest of the blocks that were displayed at the CCQ quilt show in April 2018.

It's so much fun to participate in the guild challenges and to see what every else comes up with.  We always end up with unique and beautiful quilts and I can't wait to see how this one turns out.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sewing something fun and fast

Every year, I invite my 3 youngest granddaughters over to make decorated sugar cookies.  When the two older ones were about 5, I made them both aprons.  This year, the youngest one turned 5, so I decided that she needed one too!

Sewing a child's apron is something fun and fast to do ..... and it uses up some of the cotton fabric in your stash.

Arielle came over for an afternoon and I had her pick out that materials that she liked.  Watching and helping a small child pick out fabric is pretty fun, and it is also interesting to see them take their first step in designing their own original piece.  Personally, I like funky and bright colors, so guess which fabrics I steer them towards?  You guessed it, bright, funky, and usually something lime green!

The pattern I used is from Cabbage Rose and is called, "Little Chore Girl".  Here's the picture of the pattern front.  It makes up into a super cute apron.  The two I made a few years back still fit the older girls who are now 9 and 11.

And here is the finished apron:

And the happy smile on the day she got her very own apron:

I hope you like it and can start the sewing and designing bug for your granddaughters (grandsons too!).

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Large Print Quilts - "BIGS" #1 and #2

The comfort quilts group handed me some large print fabric and said, "This looks like you!".  Of course, this was their way of challenging me to make something to donate back as a charity quilt.  I do like making quilt tops, and sometimes quilts, for the group, and I like the anonymous factor involved with charity.  So, I accepted the challenge.

We spent a lot of time watching the March Madness basketball playoffs.  I love, love, love, watching the college teams and especially the women.  This year I noticed the commentators calling the tall girls "The BIGS".  I thought this was a little derogatory, but then I noticed that they also call the tallest men "The BIGS".  So, OK.  I guess it's not derogatory towards the tall women.  I asked my husband how long they've been referring to the tallest people on the team as "The BIGS".  And he said for a long time.  Jeesh.  Where have I been?  Anyway, I'm going to steal the term and call the Big Prints "The BIGS" too.  They need their own special treatment, I think.  Don't you?

My personal feeling is that when you use large print fabric, you need to keep the pieces as large as you can.  Otherwise, you totally destroy the motifs.  I drew up a couple of designs for this fabric, using 10" squares.  Here are the two quilts that I made with this fun circular fabric.  I'm calling them "BIGS #1" and "BIGS #2".

BIGS #1  67" X 67"

BIGS #2  52" X 64"
I hope you like them.

Monday, April 2, 2018

New Iron - Reliable Velocity 200IR

My iron crapped out.  In a big way!  I turned it on to iron some clothes (yes, I had to break down and iron something besides quilting fabric).  It sputtered and spit and then spewed out a great big gob of rusty steamy water.  Thank goodness it was not on top of the clothing... however, my ironing surface looks pretty bad now.  I think that irons are designed to do this very thing so that you have to keep buying new ones.  Do you agree?

Anyway, I did a little research and found another iron that I hope will work for me.  I am a bit picky about having an iron that doesn't have an automatic shut-off.  Or at least one that can be bypassed.  It is very annoying when you are sewing a bunch of pieces for a quilt and then when you get up to iron, it has turned itself off again.  Argh!

So, the  Reliable Velocity Iron  has a steam and a super steam function, plus the bypass, and the cool thing is that the steam is made inside the iron so it doesn't spit.  AND, you can steam with it vertically!  So if you want to press or steam something on the design wall (or clothing if you really have to), you can do it without the ironing board.  Pretty cool, huh?

Well, here is a picture of it.

I found that the price was the same whether it was ordered over Amazon, or from another source.  So far, I love it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Selling raffle tickets

Clark County Quilters makes an opportunity quilt each year (raffle quilt).  This year, I helped to sell the raffle tickets at the Milwaukee airing of the quilts show in March 2018.

Here is a picture of our quilt and a customer.

Let me tell you how our opportunity quilt gets made and what we do with the proceeds.  It's a 3 year process.  The first year, we have a block contest.  Guild members get a piece of fabric from the coordinators and make blocks according to whatever the rules and theme are for that year.  For the quilt in this picture, we started with a piece of gray fabric and had to make a house block or something that represented "It Takes a Village".   Shameful promotion:  my block won!  The second year, the coordinators sew all the blocks together and have the quilting completed.  Karen Saltzberg did the fabulous custom quilting on this one.  The third year we take the quilt around and sell raffle tickets.

Every year, Clark County Quilters asks other non-profits in Clark County to submit proposals that explain what they would do if we gave them the proceeds.  This year, we selected FISH of Clark County to receive our proceeds.  In previous years, we've earned money for the Vancouver K-9 program, babies in need, and search and rescue.  Each year, it is a different non-profit and we are always excited to present them with a check.

I hope you take a chance at winning a raffle quilt... and maybe even it will be ours!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Modern Quilt Class with Katie Peterson

I've been following Katie Pederson for a little while.  She and I have a mutual friend in Seattle, Krista Withers, who used to belong to Block Party Quilters with me.  Krista first introduced me to Katie in Portland during a book signing at Quilt Market.  She wrote a fabulous book, "Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts" with Jacquie Gering and was signing it at Quilt Market.  I ran into Katie a couple of years after that when she was the featured quilter at the Walla Walla quilt guild show.  I loved her quilts and promptly made one based on a picture that I had taken.  Then, when it came time to recommend someone to come to our guild for a lecture and workshop, I recommended Katie.  So, I was over the moon that I was able to listen to her lecture and then take a class from her this year.

She taught us her class, "Double Trouble".  It is a half square triangle quilt with a  modern twist that she came up with.  I loved her humor, energy, and personal attention that she bestowed on all of us. If you can catch up with her, you should definitely consider taking a class.  You'll love it!

I made most of the blocks during the class, then played around with it a little bit and added a few more blocks.  Here is the finished top which measures 50" x 60".

by Joanne Adams Roth 2018

I hope that you belong to a quilt guild that also brings fabulous speakers and teachers right to your doorstep.