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

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

 

 

 

Burlap Heart Update

Burlap Heart UpdatedNever be afraid to rethink a project, even after you finish it. And after you post a photo of it for all the world to see. Since the class samples had a big bow on them, I thought the gold bow would look great. Well… not so much. So, as usual, mom was right. It needed a pop of color. I considered just changing last months post, and deleting the photo with the gold bow, but this blog isn’t by a perfect quilter/ crafter. It’s by a human, who isn’t afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes, it’s a design mistake. Sometimes, it’s a technique or skill that needs improving.

The stems of the flowers are simply stuck through the burlap. There is no glue, so if you’d like to swap them out for another flower, or something else all together, or perhaps nothing at all, you can do it very easily. I’ve donated it to the silent auction at our guild’s next quilt show in October 2016.
To hang the heart, I’ve sewn a piece of ribbon onto the back, attaching it in 4 places. I stitched it down at both sides, but was concerned the ribbon might show if the weight of the burlap pulled it down too much. So I added 2 more tack downs towards the center. This way it can be hung either by 1 spot in the center or by 2 points, on the sides. I thought the weight of the flowers might pull that side down lower, so this should cover all bases.

Things that make me smile:

  • Learning new quilting tips! The program at our last guild meeting was about sharing our favorite tips and tools. Next post, I’ll share a few of my tips for those who aren’t in the Musuem Quilt Guild in Batavia, NY or who just weren’t able to make it to the meeting.
  • My boyfriend’s daughter’s high school jazz choir taking First Place in their division at the Festival of Music in Boston last month. Their concert choir took Second Place in their division. And almost more important, their school’s musicians as a whole won the “Esprit de Corps”. That’s an award given for being the most curteous, paying the most attention to the other musicians, basically good sportsmanship. Their band got at least one award too.
  • Sunny days!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie

Burlap Heart for Silent Auction

A couple weeks ago I went to a Floriani machine embroidery seminar and this burlap heart was one of the In-The-Hoop projects. Each half of the heart is stitched in the hoop separately. Even the button holes were stitched in the hoop by the embroidery machine! After stitching each half heart, another piece of burlap is put in the hoop and the 2 halves are put on top if it. Then a top to bottom line is stiched just outside the buttonholes so the whole thing is in one piece.

All I need to do now is add a hanging loop in the back. I think it is intended to go on a door. I’m going to donate it to the silent auction at our quilt guild’s next quilt show. The show will be in October 2016. It may seem a long way off, but it will be here before we know it!

Things that make me smile:

  • Sweet t.v. shows like When Calls the Heart on Hallmark Channel.
  • Dinner at 800 Maple with Jim. I think this was the first time I tried halibut and I would definitely give it a 2 thumbs up!
  • A night of laughter with friends from grammer school (and one of their daughters) – The four of us went to a Murder Mystery Dinner called Killigan’s Island. Yep, you guessed it… it was based on Gilligan’s Island. In this version, Gilligan and Ginger got married, Mary Ann was murdered by being stabbed in the back, and Mr. Howell was murdered by being thrown overboard and drowned. My friends Caterina and Chloe solved both murders, making our table 1 of 2 tables out of at least 20 to solve the crimes!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

-Melanie