Monday, February 23, 2015

QuiltCon 2015 and Class with Weeks Ringle

QuiltCon 2015 was an amazing event, and we had an incredible time. I'm excited to be able to share it with you. 

I took an all day workshop about working with, and choosing eclectic fabrics with Weeks Ringle. No one wanted to sew. (Not kidding). We had the opportunity, but in the afternoon, everyone just wanted to continue auditioning fabrics with Weeks. Why? The class agreed we could all sew at home, but not spend all this time on fabric play and experimentation. I can't speak for everyone, but I certainly learned I need to pay more attention to that part of the quilt process on a regular basis.



Weeks is an enthusiastic teacher who really wanted us finish the day with a solid understanding about why a group of fabric choices work together, or not. 

We discussed hues, values, saturation, the scale of prints and other factors that go into selecting fabrics that will make a quilt fun, yet elegant. To begin the process we decided on a constraint, not a focus fabric. (A constraint could be working with fabrics that have a similar sized print in them). Then we built a large stack of fabrics that we thought would work together with it, and edited out the fabrics that didn't work. 




See the center of this photo above with the solids; Cream, Khaki, Teal, Brown and Black. They look drab at first glance. If you were to look at them on a bolt in a store, they probably wouldn't be the ones you'd gravitate too. However, when used as the background to all the beautiful colors and patterns you see in the finished quilt in this photo, it works perfectly.

We looked at more quilts made by Weeks and Bill Kerr, her husband, and talked about how each one told a story. And of course, how the background fabric, pulls it all together and in this example,makes the braids the stars of the show.



A braided quilt has been on my "to make" list for years. This one is nothing short of spectacular. It is about to come out in issue 10 of their magazine, Modern Quilts Illustrated. 




These squares in the photo above, may seem busy, but the white space leaves places for the eye to rest. Notice how the squares are in the same value range?




This quilt (above) works so well because the end of each triangle's edge lies next to another fabric that creates contrast. The inner triangles create contrast too employing this same technique. I am suddenly noticing in quilts and art this concept, which is something completely new to me.





With the above grouping (which in this case is on the carpet), the fabrics play well together, except the white one at the end. The prints don't overshadow each other and the colors are mainly analogous,orange and yellow, and complimentary, blue orange. 

Below is a good example. The constraint was to use all blue fabrics. The orange and yellow would have worked nicely as the sashing, but....



this fabric choice looked even better. (Sorry about the blurriness in the back of the photo).


In the end, this was the better choice.
This workshop taught me so much. I am still playing around with swatches and now see fabric options in a different way.

Thanks to Weeks Ringle for a fabulous day.


Happy Quilting!! Generally I e-mail my responses and answers directly to those who leave a comment in the comment box. If it's a question about what I learned at this workshop, I will also leave a reply so all readers will benefit. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

And So It Is The Night Before QuiltCon 2015

We got up at 4:00 AM and made it to the airport in good time. Landed in Austin where it is a heavenly 65 F. No coats or sweaters. So we are very happy. When we left it was 7 F.




When we woke up, Biscuit was firmly planted on one of the suitcases and did not want us to go away. He is so sweet. And it was hard to say good-bye to Biscuit and Emma.

Between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM, QuiltCon registrants could go to the Austin Conference Center and pic up their badges. I also looked to see where all my classes were located. Tomorrow I need to be at there at 8:30 AM, so I didn't want to be trying to figure all that out.




This is my final class schedule. I was wait listed on Weeks Ringle's Class; Eclectic Modern: Expanding Your Fabric Repertoire with Weeks Ringle, tomorrow from 9:00 AM to 5:00 AM. I am really looking forward to this class.

And I received this incredibly cool gift bag.




And this is only about half of what was inside. But there were two items in there that I loved.




I love having extra colored pencils at my disposal, and these are small enough to carry in a handbag. They came with a sketchbook too, courtesy of the Modern Quilt Guild. Thank you.

And this adorable watch from Bernina. How cute is that? The hands are made of little scissor, and the band is a hard, plastic measuring tape. How cool is that? I will be wearing that for sure.

My husband and I took a tour around downtown Austin and found these great guitars everywhere that is their public art program.




There are so colorful and fun to admire. I will be taking lots of photos of them when we come upon them.

On another note, I am responding to those who comment below, by e-mail. Many seem to prefer that, as opposed to responding in the comment box.

I am off to bed. It's been a long day since we left New York at 4:00 AM. Can't wait to share more. In the meantime, enjoy the week, and stay warm and safe for those of you who are in the snow, cold and ice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

QuiltCon 2015

I am getting ready for QuiltCon 2015. I am still packing and my husband hasn't even started to pack!! We are getting up at 4:00 AM - and I am not, absolutely not, an early riser type.







Every time we go away Biscuit and Emma sit on our stuff. It's pretty sweet. We always miss them. Our wonderful neighbor and cat sitter, Aunt Michelle comes over twice a day to feed them. and give them lots of attention. (Thanks Michelle).

I have two workshops at this Conference; one with Bill Kerr and the other with Weeks Ringle. I am so excited!! I also am attending quite a few lectures and the Moda Party.

I have lots more to post, but that will have to wait until we arrive in Austin tomorrow afternoon. I will be posting as much as I can on here and on facebook. I better get to bed NOW!!

Happy Quilting, stay warm, (coming from freezing Hudson Valley, NY), stay safe and have a great week and weekend!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bulling and Quilting

The title of today's post, for me, describe polar opposites. 

I have a policy of not going off the topic of quilting and sewing related issues, with a very few exceptions. This is one of those occasions.

Obviously I am not going to write about quilting today. At the request of a close friend, she asked me to share this story. 

Her fourth grader is being bullied. She knows how strongly I am against bullying and for "no tolerance" policies in schools and youth related centers. A few days ago I spent a few hours with her daughter, and shared with her my story about when I was bullied in fourth grade, which really seemed to help. 

If this story helps any of my reader's children or young relatives, I will be happy. I know I will have passed along a legacy that I never passed along to my own kids, because my husband and I don't have any together. But I shared this story with my step-children when they were young. So I am happy to do this mitzvoh, (good deed), and just hope it helps - even one child.

Here we go....

The summer between fourth and fifth grade my parents sent me to sleep-a-way camp in Maine. I was not really ready for this yet, and at the time was not mature enough for this experience. But my parents said this is the time to start. (I don't blame them for missing, that I wasn't ready. I'm just grateful they realized what a mess this was and were so sorry I had such an awful experience when I came home.) A little bit I still wish they had taken me home at visiting day, half way through the summer, but if they had the ending of the story would have been vastly different, and I wouldn't have grown in the way I did. So there is an amazing silver lining here.

Two girls, the names of which I will never forget, isolated me. They did cruel things to me.They took my hairbrush and certain other necessary items girls need at that age. They played mean tricks on me and called me awful names, made fun of me - it was completely humiliating and I felt ashamed. (Normal feelings for the one being bullied. But it is the bullies who should feel ashamed). 

My bunk counselors didn't report it to the Camp Director, which was a big part of their responsibility. My parents urged me to finish the summer, and they didn't say anything to the Camp Director halfway through the summer either.

About a week before the end of the summer, an older camper passed by our bunk and heard the horribleness of what was going on. God Bless her for going the the Director and telling her what she overheard and witnessed.

After I returned home, the Director called my parents and spoke with me. She was very apologetic and invited me back for next summer, and promised things would be different. (I didn't go). I received a letter of apology from the bully leader. My parents felt terrible about what I endured. I was lucky and am so grateful the bullies got caught. The second part of this story, I am even more grateful for.

About three years later, at the local pool in our town we met a family with two really nice daughters who went to a different sleep away camp. They shared with me incredible stories that seemed like a dream to what I experienced.
They assured me that bullying was not tolerated at this camp. And it was not a competitive camp, where kids were encouraged to compete harshly against each other. Friendly competition, and competing with yourself to do your best was encouraged.

The arts were encouraged, swimming, water sports, (my strengths), and tennis, (my weakness). But the Directors never pushed campers to do something they were uncomfortable with. In fact one-third of our day, we could choose the activity we wanted to do, which was called Plunge; it was two free period each day.

I spent a lot of time growing my swimming and water skiing skills, and was the first camper to pass Lifesaving. I also spent a lot of time water skiing and creating art, in the arts and crafts studio.

During my first week at camp, I met another girl, Judy who was my age. She is one of my best friends. This was Judy's second year at this camp. But before that she went to a camp where she was bullied, mercilessly too. 

She asked me the name of the camp I went to, and it was the same camp, and the same two girls! The chances of something like that happening is about the same as winning a lotto. There are so many sleep-a-way camps in the northeast. We could not stop laughing.

Today we still laugh about it, and have never forgotten the names of those two bullies. We often joke about looking them up on facebook, and letting them know that we thrived in life despite their cruelty.

So the moral of the story is - many things. For us it is - What goes around, comes around. These girls will always have a bad reputation. They touched our lives in a negative way, and all those who witnessed their nasty behavior and did, or didn't speak up. People remember this stuff as they grow-up go to college, and even beyond. And yes, they talk. They always have, and they always will. 

If you are a bully, people will remember you. If you are bullied, stay strong about who you are, and remember, their reputation will follow them forever.

Have a great weekend. Happy Quilting.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stretching Into Modern Quilting - 100 Modern Quilt Blocks - Tula Pink's City Sampler - Book Review

I began quilting a little over 20 years ago when modern quilting did not exist as a new part of the quilting world. The patterns I chose to make were ones that appealed to me and my husband. I am not a super traditional quilter, and I don't chose fussy embellishments because we have pets, and our quilts go into the washer and dryer.

When I discovered modern quilting a few years ago, I read blogs, looked at many books and magazines. I poured over google images and pinterest pages.
My style is still always evolving and changing, and I'm sure I will always create traditional and modern quilts. 

I recently came across an outstanding book, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks, by Tula Pink. For me this is a book is perfect tool, that is helping my eye transition to create modern quilt tops, and inspired my creativity in general. (My observation is that the more books and magazines I read about quilting, my creative thinking tends to grow and widen).





This book is divided into two parts; "100 blocks," and "The Quilts." 

The 100 blocks section are divided into patterns of 15 crosses, 20 rectangles, 20 triangles, 15 blocks made from stripes, 15 squares and 15 Haiku blocks. Tula encourages readers to use the pages of the book as their own. Each design is shown finished on the right side of the page. The left side shows how the pieces of the blocks would fit together using a piece of graph paper. It includes the numbers of different fabrics needed to make the block and how many pieces the reader will need to complete the block. Very easy to follow, clear and clever.

There is a place for the reader to name the block. The right side provides an area for the reader to add notes and footnotes on the page, which I personally love. I do that in all my quilting books. But I really appreciate, (actually I love it), that the author/designer left me room to do that and in the introduction encourages the reader to do that. 



Graph paper side for notes.





Love this illustration of how many different fabrics needed to make this block, and how many total pieces.




In part two of this book, Tula covers three methods for choosing colors that eventually translate to three quilts that are made using these blocks with different themes; a Trellis Quilt, a Gridlock quilt, (which is scrappy and uses all 100 blocks), and a Skyline quilt, which uses neutral colors. 

This section also discusses sewing tools, finishing techniques and quilting. There is great information for a beginner and intermediate quilter. I like when an author does this, because she or he is sharing their personal opinion of what works for them.




The photos of the blocks and quilts are the stars of the show. And what makes this book spot on, is that the text is perfectly spare and clear. Along with this, the layout and flow I found myself thinking creatively in a different way.

I have not yet had a chance to make a few blocks based on the directions. But I am looking forward to doing that in a future post in the next month or so. Look for a few blocks from these beautiful pages. It's hard to choose which ones to make!!

This book is smart and Tula inspires the reader to be creative, inventive and make these blocks the reader's own. For someone who has been doing much of the same type of quilting for 20 years, and is trying to stretch their aesthetic, that is a great book.





Saturday, January 24, 2015

1930's Quilt Layout

So another snowy day in the northeast - nothing new there. It's January!

What did surprise me was how long it took me to arrange this. About six hours, including cutting the triangular and corner pieces.


Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1930's Quilt - Moving Along

Last year I made blocks of this pattern with 1930's reproduction fabrics for a king sized quilt. I used different fabrics, and for whatever reason when I laid them out, I was unhappy with the way it looked. I know it is supposed to be scrappy, but the values of the fabrics somehow didn't work for me.

So once I got over the disappointment, I decided to buy some Moda 1930's reproduction fabrics that I thought would work better. I pulled out some of the ones I like from the first batch, and waited a few months until the disappointment passed.

Last week I got a bad throat infection and was flattened until Sunday when I finally got some energy back. And then there was a bad ice storm in the Northeast. It was too dangerous to go outside for anything.

I pulled out the squares and the strips I cut for the new blocks and sewed and sewed....




These are the finished blocks I chose to keep. The other half are almost finished with the white border - 72 blocks in all.

Then I will will arrange them and sew them together. This will be a double-sized quilt now, instead of king-sized. 

Being snow bound on Sunday kept me glued to my sewing machine, and I was so motivated to finish the bulk of this.

Fortunately, I had Biscuit to keep me laughing and cheer me on.




He checked on my progress and then wanted to get into the sewing.




He is a really quilting cat.

Hopefully by Saturday, I will have all the blocks sewn together, and will have just the binding left.

I will be linking up with WIP Wednesday with Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts and WIP Link up with Ft. Worth Fabric Studio.

Happy Quilting!! If you are in a wintry part of the world - stay warm and dry.


 
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