Museum Quilt Guild Retreat 2016

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A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend 4 days on a quilting retreat at Asbury Camp and Retreat Center with my quilt guild.

The first project I worked on was this bag using the One Piece Bag pattern from Fig Tree & Company. It was actually not a difficult pattern to follow, but as usual, I made it more difficult…

I chose a fabric with a directional print to make the bag. If I followed the pattern as it was written, the material on the back of the bag would be upside down. So I made some adjustments by guesstimating where to cut the fabric and sew it back together to have the print on the fabric right side up on both the front and the back of the bag.

IMG_3945I also added a pocket inside so I wouldn’t have to dig into the bottom of the bag for small items.

The directions called for a piece of foam core to give the bag some stabilty and structure by providing a stiff bag bottom. I decided to recycle a hard piece of cardboard from huge box of candy that I won at Christmas. I left the glove in picture on the right side to show just how huge the box was. Of course, there was more packing material than chocolate. The box was probably 3 inches tall and yet there was only 1 layer of chocolates. It was only a 2 lb. 4 oz. box of candy. It truly is a shame that companies feel the need to use so much packaging material for marketing purposes. Most of it will end up in landfills. We can try to reduce the waste by choosing to buy things with less packaging, or we can find a way to re-use the packaging materials.

The directions suggested wrapping the core with batting then making a cover for it. I used a fusible batting and fused it to the fabric, instead, before sewing it into a sleeve for the cardboard.

I did make a couple of mistakes on this project. The worst/ funniest one happend when I put the magnetic snap closure on the bag. I initially put both halves of the clasp on the flap, instead of one half on the flap and the other half on the bag. It was an easy fix to take it out. I was going to cover the 2 small slits in the fabric with a button or some other embellishment, but I decided that it was barely noticeable, so I’m just leaving it as is.

Things that make me smile:

  • Seeing my boyfriend’s daughter on stage. Jim’s oldest daughter was in her high school’s performance of Shrek last weekend. She was fantastic! (As was the rest of the cast, but I do admit a little bias.)
  • 4 days of quilt camp!
  • Re-purposing. Not only do you keep something out of a landfill, but you also save money! No need to buy a piece of foam when you have something else you can use.

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie

 

Union Station, Lockport, NY

Museum Quilt Guilt – Architectural Challenge Revealed

Union Station Lockport, NY

Union Station
Lockport, NY

It has been a busy few months, but I’m back in the blogging world. Rather than try to get you caught up with a play by play on everything I’ve done in the last 3 months, I’ll start with the most recent project. It is once again the season for the  The Museum Quilt Guild’s annual challenge. This year’s challenge theme was “Architecture”. My entry was an applique of the old Union Station in Lockport, NY.

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There are a couple of things I would like to share about my process on this project.

The first is to not settle for fabric that isn’t quite the right color. I wanted to make the inside of the archway a darker shade that the part of the archway that’s seen from the front. So I auditioned some fabrics.

The first fabric I tried was too dark. I couldn’t find any that were the shade I was looking for, so I took the fabric that I used for the front of the arch and colored it with a pencil, nothing fancy, just a regular pencil. I then rinsed it and smudged it as much as I could to get rid of the lines.

I don’t recommend this technique for use on regular quilts that will get washed. And certainly not for baby quilts, but it turned out to be just what I was looking for for this project.

 

 

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This photo shows a lesson in perspective. I think I achieved the look of a curve in the architecture of the round turret on the top part. The bottom, however, is another story.

The problem is that when I stitched the mortar lines between the white stones on the bottom I should have stitched at a slight angle coming down from left to right and then straight across from right to left, meeting in the center between the 2 windows. I debated ripping the stitches out, but the time crunch I was working with did not allow for it. Ultimately, I look at it as a lesson well learned for next time. It’s not perfect, but it’s not bad and more importantly, it’s finished.

 

 

All the entries are on display at the Richmond Library in Batavia, NY through the month of February. I encourage you to check them out in person. Pictures, truly, do not do justice to these works of art.

Things that make me smile:

  • Re-arranging my desks at work! It’s amazing how much better my days go since I’ve re-organized my workspace.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’ve never had a really good memory, but I still recall going to see the original Star Wars at the drive-in in the 1970’s. I’m not even sure that I stayed awake for the whole movie. I just remember my brother and I getting to wear pajamas to the movies as we watched it from the back of the old green station wagon. I think they did a great job with the latest movie.

And last but not least……

  • My friend, co-worker, and fellow quilter Kathi has retired. I am so happy for her! Not only has she been a pleasure to work with over the last 15+ years, she is the one who introduced the Museum Quilt Guild to me. I had been taking quilting classes and teaching myself what I could when Kathi invited me to check out her guild. I am so grateful to her. The friendship and comraderie. The classes and challenges.The inspiration of other quilters’ work. Those are the priceless benefits of being in a guild. I’m sure that I would still be quilting even if I had never met Kathi, but I’m equally sure that I am a better and happier quilter because I did.

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie

 

 

Giant Hexie Table Topper

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Giant Hexie Table Topper by Melanie Watson

I just finished a project made with hexies that measure 7″ across. I found the fabric in the scrap fabric “pool” at our guild’s quilt show. If I remember correctly, anyone at the show could pay $1 and fill a small bag with scraps. These pre-cut hexies were in the pool along with the cardboard templates that went with them. There are a bunch more that I think I will make into another round table topper and perhaps a long skinny runner, as well.

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What drew me to the hexies in the pool was the multi-color swirl fabric that I used as the center hexie. I challenged myself to learn a new quilting motif for this project. Inspired by these colorful swirls, I searched the internet for a continuous line design that was similar.

 

I came20151004_213458 across a beautiful design by Angela Walters called “Swirl Hook”. Angela has a great tutorial video on You-Tube that you can find by clicking the above link.

 

swirl hook quilt design

When I’m learning a new design by video, I watch the video a couple times through, then I try doodling it. I keep doodling it until the design comes naturally. Since it doesn’t require a lot of thought once you get the gist of it, you can doodle it while watching t.v., talking on the phone, and even waiting in a doctor’s office. You don’t need a large piece of paper, either. I’ll doodle on junk mail envelopes, or any scrap of paper I have.

When I go to the machine, I try the design on a scrap of fabric with some batting in it. I don’t expect it to be perfect the first time I use it in a quilt, but I do want it to be familiar. If I waited or perfection, I’d never get a quilt done! Even after I stitch a design across a whole quilt, I keep doodling the design as practice while I’m on the phone or watching t.v.

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Tonight, I’m basting a community service quilt that I hope to have time to quilt before the next guild meeting. Check back in a week to see how it turns out,

Things that make me smile:

  • Learning a new quilting design
  • Sappy seasonal movies on Hallmark Channel
  • Spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash! I think it is an under-appreciated squash that many people have not had or don’t know how to serve. I like to bake the squash the same way that you cook other squash (face down on a baking sheet) then I make a chunky “sauce” that I cook in a skillet on the stovetop. Some people put regular spaghetti sauce on it.

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie

How much quilting is too much?

Have you ever entered a quilt to a quilt show and gotten a comment back from a judge or two stating that it needed more quilting?

A few months ago,my mom and I took a landscape class offered at the quilt guild that I belong to. I thought I’d share a couple “in progress” photos. Most of the applique is done, as well as most of the quilting. I’m trying to learn and practice quiltiing different designs.

Originally I had the idea of quilting whispy clouds and “breezes”. When I finished quilting the sky, I showed my mom and asked what she thought. She liked it, but suggested that I do more quilting in the sky because that’s what the judges like. At first, I said that I was quilting it for me and this was how I envisioned it. I didn’t want it to have heavy dense quilting. Then, I thougth about it, and decided to add more stitching. The whole point in taking a class is to learn new things and step outside my comfort zone.

Lighthouse landscape more quilting

I have to say, this is the first time I’ve quilted something, taken a photo, then added more quilting. It’s interesting to compare the two ideas.

I got the inspiration by googling “sky quilting designs” and coming across an image of Angela Walters’s “Busy City Quilt”. Although I’m not entirely thrilled with the quilting I did here, I’m pleased that I tried something different.

What do you think? Do you like the “less quiling” version or the “more quilting version? I’d love to hear which version you prefer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. There’s no right or wrong. That’s the beauty of quilting!

I still have to add some fence posts and a little more quilting on this project. I’ll post another picture when it is finally done and let you know which version I prefer.  I’ll post a photo of my mom’s finished lighthouse too.

Things that make me smile:

  • Great food and dancing with Jim at the River Grill along the water. This was the last weekend they were open until next spring. The fish tacos were excellent!
  • A beautiful sunny day picking apples in Niagara County at Baker Farm Market.
  • All the homemade applesauce, apple pie, apple cake, etc. made from the fresh apples!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie

Mom’s Yo-Yo Coverlet

Moms Yo-Yo Coverlet

Moms Yo-Yo Coverlet

In February, I posted a few pictures of the yo-yo’s that my mom had been making. She’s finally gotten enough of them sewn together to cover her bed! She said she might add more yo-yo’s to make it bigger, but she was anxious to get it on the bed in timer for it to be her summer coverlet.

Yo-Yo Close-up

Yo-Yo Close-up

 

There’s definitely over 1,000 yo-yo’s, possibly close to 1,500! She tried to use as many different fabrics as possible.

Hand Embroidered bird by Maria Giunta

Hand Embroidered bird

 

The delightful birds on the pillowcases were hand embroidered by a mysterious member of my very good friend Mary-Louise’s family. I say mysterious, because I thought it was her mother, but she thought it might have been her sister, Jo-Ann. Mary-Louise gave them to me recently and the yellow color happened to go perfectly with the yellow walls of my mom’s bedroom. And since her bedroom also serves as our sewing room, I get to see them whenever I am sewing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things that make me smile:

  • Doing puzzles with my mom.
  • Jim’s home made apple pie..
  • Finally getting flying geese quilt blocks made right! (more on this later)

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie