French Quilt Show 2018

I have to share some photos from my weekend.  I was able to attend the European Patchwork Meeting in France again this year!  This time I went with two ladies from my quilt guild and we spent three days and saw EVERYTHING and had a blast!

The show stretches across 4 picturesque Alsatian towns and something like 20 venues.  My feet were tired but my eyes were so happy!

So this area of Alsace is one of the places where the Amish in America came from and they still take pride in having those ties.  This year, they again had several Amish and Mennonite quilts on display.  They were beautiful.

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Danny Amazonas was one of the quilt artists at the show this year and his bright work was stunning.  I loved it.

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Dorte Jensen’s portraits in fabric were also amazing.

We saw an exhibition of African quilts by the Kenya Quilt Guild and the quilts of the Salama Mamas.  These ladies continue the tradition of quilting by using what you have and they’ve created their own techniques.

The quilts of Japanese artist Shizuko Kuroha were some of my favorites.  I loved the subdued colors and textures of the fabrics she uses and the tiny, intricate blocks that make up the design of the quilts.

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Check out the tiny blocks that make up this quilt when you look closer.  All of her quilts are like that.

The quilt show was accented by the storybook towns of the Alsace region and the delicious Alsatian food which has a German quality to it.

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We stayed over the mountain on the Alsatian wine road and had dinner here in Ribeauville one evening.  The vineyards, the flowers, the towns – everything was beautiful!

There’s a company based in this area called Beauville that makes table linens and they had an exhibit about how many of their table linens have been inspired by the animal kingdom.  They were selling scrap bags of bits of their linens.

I couldn’t pass up a scrap bag!

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These scraps are a little thick but I can definitely use them in a scrap quilt.  And when I do, I’ll remember this amazing trip!

 

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40 Shades of Grey Finished!

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So I received the last package for my block of the month.  It was the fabric for the setting triangles and the pieces in between all the blocks.

I really did not like the fabrics they sent for this (as I suspected).  One didn’t even have stripes!  So… I pulled out the fabric that I had ordered for this possibility.  The pattern called for 2 different striped fabrics (although from the picture, I couldn’t tell the difference).

I just used the one fabric.

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Let me just say also that the directions on this section were not good.  The directions for the setting triangles was helpful but the different pieces to fill in between the blocks – not so much.  I was wondering if this quilt pattern had been tested.

The cutting out is important because you need to know which way the stripes go.  Some blocks said and others didn’t.  I couldn’t figure out where some of the pieces went on the quilt – in fact, one I tossed since there was no place to put it.  And I had to cut another that wasn’t on the pattern.

The whole assembly was – interesting.

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First I laid out the pieces where they looked like they belonged.

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Then I added the setting triangles and the filler blocks.

Next, I started in the top left corner and sewed the blocks together in rows. Actually, I started there and then just went around the quilt and added blocks together where they went together and then I was left with blocks or sections that had inset seams.

This took me all day.

Then there was lots of trimming – as you can see, most of the setting triangles are bigger than needed.

After that, I added the 2 borders.

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I really love this bright, fun quilt!  My next step is to find some backing and get it ready to hand quilt over the winter.

I’m planning to use the “big stitch” method again although I’m not sure exactly what design I’ll use.  I’m looking forward to having a project to cozy up with in front of a fire and my favorite movies during the cold winter months and this bright one will be a joy to work on.

Some 1930’s Blocks

It’s always amazing to me what I can accomplish when I don’t want to do something else!  I finished the last flying geese blocks of the “On Ringo Lake” mystery quilt last week and I felt like I couldn’t look at anything from that quilt for a while.

About the same time, I had to get something off the shelf where my Farmer’s Wife quilt was and knocked it off so I had to pull it out and re-fold it and I forgot how much I love that quilt!  I had pulled my 1930’s Farmer’s Wife blocks out of the bin while I was digging around and this got me to thinking – maybe I should finish these blocks.

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I didn’t realize I had 17 blocks finished and there are 99 in the book.  So… I started working on them again and putting my flying geese blocks (from “On Ringo Lake” quilt) in between like leaders and enders.  Now I have 26 1930’s Farmer’s Wife blocks finished!

I forgot how quick and addictive they are.  My only problem is having enough 1930’s fabric on hand.  (I’ve ordered more.)

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This book is a little different from the last one because there are many different directions for the blocks on the disk.  They give rotary cutting directions for some parts of some blocks – some blocks you can cut out completely with just a ruler and rotary cutter.  There are paper piecing patterns for almost every block.  I tried one block that way.

Most blocks still seem to work best by using the templates.  I use the templates and my ruler on top of them & my smallest rotary cutter (which is not shown here in the picture.)  I have to do a lot of moving around the cutting board.  It’s a little awkward but it works for me.

Some blocks are easy.

Some are a little harder.

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This is the one I paper-pieced.  There were lots of little pieces.

So the thing about this quilt that I didn’t like was the finished layout.  The blocks are set on point but with a zig-zag type of sashing in between and then 4 of the blocks are cut in half and half of the block is at the top of the quilt and the other half is at the bottom of the quilt.

I just really hate when quilt blocks are cut in half but that’s just me.

I’ve been working on sketching an alternate layout for this quilt.  Unfortunately, I think there’s only so many ways to make a quilt with blocks on point so it will probably look a IMG_1824lot like the original Farmer’s Wife quilt.  I think I’ll use white sashing strips since these quilt blocks are very light in color.  I’m wondering how it would look if I use different colored center blocks between the sashing and then maybe I’ll use that 1930’s green for the setting triangles.

Depending on how many rows I use, I may only need 84 blocks or if I make it more of a square quilt, I could use 98 which would be almost all the blocks from the book.  I may do that if it’s too hard to choose which ones not to make.

 

I’m sure the layout of this quilt will evolve depending on how things work out.  I really love adding to the blocks on my design wall and then being able to look at them and move them around.

On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Update

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My “On Ringo Lake” Mystery quilt is coming along.  You might remember that Bonnie Hunter introduced this mystery quilt last November and finished it up in January.  I didn’t have time to do it then but I printed out the steps and I finally got started on it this summer.

Of course it’s no mystery now but that’s OK.

There are 9 steps for this quilt and I have 4 done already!

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OK, they’re not consecutive steps but I’ll get there.  I’ve got steps 1, 2, 4 and 6 done AND everything else is cut out!  I’m really loving the fabric colors and how they go together.

These Bonnie Hunter mysteries are not for the faint of heart though.  200 of these blocks and 240 of these blocks and 218 of those blocks.  There’s a lot of cutting and chain piecing and a just a tiny bit of monotony.  There’s a lot of counting too, which I’m not the best at.  I keep coming up with extras of this piece but not enough of that piece – ugh.

This is the farthest I’ve ever gotten on one of her mystery quilts so that’s something.

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I have to mention also that we’re into our second week of 90+ degree F/32+ degree C  weather here in Germany and with no air conditioning, my sewing room is very toasty.  I have the fan right in front of my sewing machine but I’m still sweating!

Chain piecing hundreds of these blocks is a bit of an endurance sport right now – and don’t even get me started on the ironing.  I can’t even remember what it feels like to need a quilt but someday, when I finish this one and go to use it, I’m sure I’ll remember this heat wave.

Anyway, I’m really happy with my progress so far.  Now it’s back to work and I’m sure you can imagine how great I look with the fan(s) blowing my hair around like a super model in a shampoo commercial!  It’s great.

Clamshell Garden

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I’ve just finished the final blocks for the 40 Shades of Grey BOM quilt I’ve been working on for almost the last year.  This one has spanned the past 2 months since they only sent half of the fabrics last month and the rest of the fabrics this month.

These four blocks are called “Clamshell Garden” and they’ll be spread out throughout the quilt.

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I don’t mind telling you that I’m glad to be finished with these circles!  And the clam shells too!

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These circles and clam shells had to be worked mostly by hand.  The circles are all over this quilt and my “Perfect Circles” templates are looking a little worn out.  I used basically the same technique for the clam shells although the pattern called for gluing the fabric around the template.  I just used a running stitch by hand and then ironed the fold.  The last step was to use my thicker grey thread and make a backstitch over the circles and clam shells to applique them to the block.  I found this worked really well and didn’t goop up my template so I could use it over and over again.

Like I said, these are the final blocks and I’m just waiting for the striped fabric to come in the mail so I can put the entire quilt top together.  The striped fabric will be the setting triangles and will fill in a few areas between the blocks.

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All my blocks stacked and ready to go!

I was looking ahead in the pattern book to see if I could put some blocks together now but I realized that nothing in this quilt looks like it goes together very easily.

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The directions say to start at the upper left corner and sew the blocks together in rows.  Uh… it looks like this will work in some places but not in other places.  The blocks don’t always line up.  And the one clam shell garden actually makes a corner so that will be interesting.  There’s one note in the directions that says “because of the varying sizes, some of the seams will need to be partially stitched when putting the blocks together and finished after the next block has been attached.”

OK I’m not looking forward to that part.

For now though, I’m enjoying my Clamshell Garden.

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So check back to see how this goes next month – or a few months as this could take some time!

 

Skyline Pillow

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I picked up the pattern to make this fun skyline project last spring while I was in the States.  I found out my daughter was leaving the St. Louis area to move to the west coast and I thought this would make a nice gift for her new apartment.

This pattern is from Shannon Brinkley and came with 6 skylines in the pattern.  I was a little unsure about the fusible products to use and the exact method so I ended up also paying for and taking her online class for $45.  You can find the class and lots of inspiring photos on her website at www.shannon-brinkley.com .

In the class, Shannon walks you through the entire process and there are different methods you can use based on your desire/time and what the end project will be used for.

The pillow I made came out a little bigger than I really wanted and I’m not entirely sure how to make it smaller.  I suppose you could take it to a copy shop with large copiers and reduce the size of the pattern.  Of course, that would make it just a little harder to cut around the little bits.

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Here’s how I made this pillow.  First I took scraps and bits of fabric that I wanted on my skyline (My daughter has oranges, greys and blues in her decor) and ironed it onto some MistyFuse.  MistyFuse is a very lightweight double-sided fusible interfacing.  It’s like working with a spider web!  I don’t have one of those ironing pads so I had to use lots of parchment paper on both sides so there was no sticking to my iron or the table.  Then I had to cut the big fabric pieces into smaller chunks.

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The next step was to trace the pattern onto some different interfacing.  I just used some lightweight fusible Pellon I had and traced on the non-bumpy side.

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Then I laid my fabrics out and tried to cover all the spots.  This takes a little playing around with before gently ironing so that the fabrics are fused to the interfacing.  I had to keep the parchment on the back side of the large interfacing so I could later iron it to my large backing fabric.

Then you carefully cut out the whole shape.  This is the most challenging part of the project!

The next step is to top stitch all the pieces with clear thread or quilt it over it.  The pattern calls for doing this before putting the piece on the backing.  And I think that’s what I did – I did this last month so I can’t quite remember!

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Ok, then here’s where you have different options to secure your project and also where I may have gone off the program due to confusion… or laziness.  I top-stitched all the pieces, then ironed onto my backing.  Shannon recommends adding stabilizer and zig-zag stitching around the whole skyline to secure it to the backing.  That sounded like too much work so I just used the clear thread and top-stitched the whole thing without stabilizer.

Then I added a piece of batting to the back and quilted the whole thing very tightly with vertical lines.

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So that was my interpretation and I hope everything stays down.  There may be a little fraying on the edges with wear & wash but maybe that will just add to the charm?

Then I trimmed everything up, added a pillow back and sewed it all together.  I mailed it  to my daughter and she just had to stuff it and sew it closed.

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This was a fun project and I think it makes a nice gift.  I noticed that Shannon has lots of World skylines on her website so I may have to make another one of these projects for myself as a souvenir of my travels.

Log Cabin finish

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I finished my “Libby’s Log Cabin” quilt top this past week!

I debated about a border but finally decided against adding one.  I thought a plain  border would be too… well, plain.  And anything else would be hard to match the quilt fabrics.  This size will be a nice winter throw I think.

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Now I just need to choose a backing fabric and get it quilted.  I’ll share when I get it’s all finished!

 

On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt

I finally got started with my “On Ringo Lake” Mystery Quilt this past week!  (Now that it’s no longer a mystery.)

Bonnie Hunter offers a fabulous mystery quilt every year on her Quiltville website.  She usually posts the first part the day after Thanksgiving – which I have to say, is not a good time for me.  Then the quilt clues usually show up once a week until around the first week of January when she reveals what the quilt should look like.

The quilts really are beautiful – and detailed.  I started one a few years ago and then got overwhelmed by ALL the pieces to cut.  But when I see the quilts people have made from her mysteries, I want to make them too but guess what…?  The patterns are gone!!  She only leaves the clues on her website for about a month and then they’re gone.

This year I made a point to print out the clues as Bonnie posted them.  I could tell from the color reveal (she posts paint sample cards) that I had none of the fabric colors she was using.  I started to buy a few fat quarters here and there and put them away with the clues that I had printed out.

Last week I was cleaning my sewing room and found the bag of fabric and the folder of clues and decided it was time to get started on this quilt before Bonnie comes out with yet another mystery quilt.

I think this Part 1 was easy this year.  Maybe she didn’t want to overwhelm anybody!

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Part 1 is to make 50  9-patch blocks.  And the pattern called for using strip sets to do it so it wasn’t too hard.

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So I have the first step done and I even got the fabric cut out for Part 2.

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200 Coral rectangles and 400 little background squares.  It took just a little time.  At this point I realized that I didn’t buy enough fabric so I used up almost all my coral fabric.  Before I get to Part 3, I need to find some more.

My goal is to have this quilt top done before Bonnie comes out with her 2018 mystery quilt the end of November.

Toy Sewing Project

I bought this stuffed animal kit when it was on sale at the AQS store because it looked so cute!  I thought it would be a fun project and a nice gift.

It’s called “Puppy Dog Pete”  and it’s an original design of Pauline McArthur of the Funky Friends Factory.

I don’t usually do much of this kind of sewing but the pattern was easy to follow and had helpful photos and illustrations.

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First, I cut out all the pieces.

And followed the instructions for sewing the pieces together in the correct order.

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When I got to the step of adding the button eyes and sewing on the nose; I felt a little like Geppetto.  My little dog was coming to life!

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Adding the head to the body was the hardest step.  It was just some awkward sewing but not too bad.

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Then he got stuffed and sewn up tight.

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How cute is this puppy?  I cut the pieces one day and sewed him the next day.  It really is an easy project.

Now he’s on his way to a new home.

Maybe you would like to make your own Puppy Dog Pete?  There are many projects similar to this one; both patterns and kits on the Funky Friends Factory website.

 

 

Log Cabin blocks

Sometimes I just can’t believe how time flies while I’m busy puttering with this project or that.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to share what I’m working on but the weather has been nice and we’ve had guests and I just haven’t gotten to it.

I have been working on some things though.  One is a small project that I gave up on since it just did not come together like I wanted it to and then there’s this log cabin quilt.

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This is the quilt kit that my husband gave me for Christmas and it looked like a fun and easy project that I wouldn’t have to think too hard about.

It’s called “Libby’s Log Cabin” by Marianne Fons and it’s made up of these reproduction reds, browns and creams that give it a very “country” look.

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The center of the Log Cabin blocks are these red & cream Variable Star blocks that are put together with a very clever method that allows you to make them really quickly.

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The pattern calls for cutting large and small squares.  The small red squares are lined up on the largest cream square, a line is drawn down the center and then everything is sewn 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line. (The seam lines are drawn here.)

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After sewing, cut down the middle & press the small triangles open.  Now you have 2 weird triangles.

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Then you add another red square to the bottom of each of the weird triangles and sew 1/4″ from the center of those and then cut down the middle again.

And guess what?  Now you have 4 flying geese blocks!

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Clever, right?  So these turn into the points of the Variable Star.

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Then the block gets built similar to a Log cabin block.

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The quilt consists of 20 of these big blocks so I’m about halfway through.

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Hopefully I can get this finished in the next few weeks.  The pattern doesn’t call for a border for this quilt and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  The finished size is 60″ X 75″ so it says it’s just a throw or a lap sized quilt.  Of course it’s a kit so it doesn’t include any extra fabric but it might be easy to add a cream colored border that would match the rest of the fabrics.  I have enough of the dark red for binding although if I make the quilt bigger I might not have enough.

Before I get ahead of myself, I think I should finish all the blocks first and put them together!  I’ll think about adding a border while I do that.