Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Outing and AQS Quilt Show

Last Friday was one of those perfect Fall days so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. My daughter, grand-daughter and I went out to the Deanna Rose Farmstead and roamed around for several hours, just enjoying the company of each other.There is so much to see and do there, most of which revolves around life on a farm so there are lots of animals, tractors and hay. It is days like this that make me so happy that I have a grandchild so I can go and do things like this without looking foolish. As you can see by the pictures below, a good time was had by all!!

Saturday I went on a bus trip to Des Moines, IA for the AQS Quilt Show/Des Moines Area Quilt Show. What a fabulous show - we go every year and I never get to see it all because there are so many quilts and vendors. The quilts are so fabulous that I have to examine each one with my nose almost touching the quilt to see if it is done by hand or machine or to see if it is pieced or painted or to see a particular technique up close to figure out how it was done. That is why it takes me so long - well, and also I have to visit each vendor to see what wares they can tempt me with (which isn't always very difficult, unfortunately).

The first quilts we looked at were done by 50 up and coming Japanese quilt artists and boy, were they something else! I definitely had my nose close to several of those. Not all of them were done using the typical taupe and beige hues, these flamboyant new quilters are using more of the red/orange/yellow hues. But, as one would expect from the Japanese quilters, the technical aspects were perfection and the math that had to be employed was astounding.

I like to get up close to the quilts to see what machine quilting patterns they are using and I wasn't disappointed this time as I found two new patterns that I believe I can use often. One looks like the Cathedral Windows quilt block and the other is a daisy chain. I just need to sit down at my sewing machine to figure out how to quilt them with the best flow from one motif to the other. The daisy chain is relatively easy, I think, and I believe I know how I will do the Cathedral Windows but both will take practice to get them perfected to the point where I am comfortable using them on  a quilt.

Lazy Daisy quilt pattern
Cathedral Windows quilt pattern

A lot of the vendors were selling wool patterns and products so I just had to purchase several little wool projects, well, more than several. Put it this way, I can't leave this earth for many, many years because I now have at least a 50 year back log of projects that I want to make.

I also bought an adorable red work pattern of a small child rising in the morning to put at the head of my granddaughter's bed. I found some hand-dyed floss that is a reddish/pink (red just wouldn't go well in a room with pinks and purples) that will be perfect for this project! I know you are supposed to use RED floss in RED work but I have a very hard time following the rules!The pattern is already traced onto unbleached muslin and ready to start.

Aren't Quilt Shows great? It doesn't get much better than 40 quilters, many of whom are my closest friends, piling on a bus and heading to a place that is filled with beautiful quilts and friendly vendors. Wandering around for hours until your feet won't let you go any more and then getting back on the bus with your head filled with ideas and inspiration. The night after I have been to a quilt show is always a restless one because I am creating so many quilts in my mind that it just won't let me rest. It's great.

Since we are going to be doing some extensive traveling in the near future, I have been stockpiling hand work projects to take along to keep me busy in the car. It is the only way that I can sit in the car for 8 - 10 hours at a time.

Well, off to put a very small dent in my quilting projects. Thanks for tuning in for today!!

A Snap-Shot of our glorious day at Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park, KS.....

My girls on the hay ride - aren't they lovely??
Farmer Kayla

Yum! Chocolate Ice Cream. We are all crazy for ice cream!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge - March

Another post for a long completed FMQ entry.  I did the March challenge in May but since I am the world's worst procrastinator I did not get it posted until now - bad, I know.  Since I have been planning on doing all of the tutorials at some time before the end of the year, it really doesn't matter what order I do them in OR what order I post them in!

The March FMQ tutorial is by Ann Fahl and, boy, it was loaded with information! Ann shares my passion for quilting with variegated threads - I just love them! My favorite way to use them is in combination with some rich, luxurious solids- you just can't beat that combination. She preferred Superior Rainbow and YLI, I haven't used YLI but will give it a try now! I will be reading Ann's book Coloring With Thread in the near future so that I can learn more from a fellow thread-aholic.

Ann uses a titanium coated topstitch needle from Superior Threads - use the appropriate size needle for the thread that is being used. I have been using a universal needle but I am learning that there are better needles to use (Paula Reid uses a denim needle for its sharp point).

I found the section on 'Order of stitching/quilting to be invaluable - it is quite similar to the method that Sandi McMillian presented at my quilt guild in May and her quilts were spectacular with large motifs quilted on her domestic machine. It is too lengthy to include here so I have copied this section and put it into my Machine Quilting notebook for future reference. If you are interested in it, add a comment here with your email address and I will email the information to you.

To move the fabric under the quilting needle, Ann also uses a version "Stuff & Fluff" or whatever you wish to call it. The quilt rests on her chest ready to be pushed under the needle. She then fluffs the quilt off her chest and pushes the free or loose edges toward the needle - thus only moving the immediate area rather than the entire quilt. Also, she pays particular attention to all four corners - always knowing where they are will prevent you from inadvertently folding a section under and quilting it, too. Seems to be a common theme amongst most of the machine quilters who use their domestic machines to quilt larger quilts.

Here are my samples from Ann's tutorial:

It is so heartening to learn that there are so many large quilts being quilted with domestic machines because after all, not all of us have the space and/or money to make use of a long-arm quilting machine. These tutorials at SewCalGal have been invaluable to me for solid and tried & true techniques that have been used over and over again.