Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fun with Gwen Marston

Warning: This is a very photo-heavy post!

My Small Study #1
8.5 X 10.25 inches unfinished

My 3-day class with Gwen Marston was so much fun!  We were learning how Gwen made her Small Studies quilts and how to make our own as well.  These are the Small Studies in Gwen's book "37 Sketches".  We only had 10 students in the class, so we got lots of attention from Gwen.  We had long discussions, got to see lots of her newer quilts, and learned how to make the "parts" she uses to make her Small Studies.  

My first piece, above, uses one of the wonderful hand-dyed pieces I got from Kelly.  Those pieces are just the right size to use in a small study - I even have a little bit left of that yellow/orange.

Below are examples of some of the parts we learned.  (None of these examples are mine.)

inserted squares
a great example of utilizing a striped fabric well

curved inserts

inserted strips

we learned triangles of all kinds

more inserted squares

log cabins, of course!

strips with & without inserts

more strips

It was a good thing the class was 3 days, as it took most of a day just making the parts.  Gwen says hers take about 17 hours each - just the top!  After we all made a bunch of parts, the real learning started - how to design a quilt and put them all together!

Here are everyone's pieces that were up on the design wall near the end of the third day.  (I'm sorry but I didn't get the names attached to the pieces.  If you know who should be credited, please let me know so I can give credit due.)  Many people managed to make 2 or even 3 pieces in the 3 days.  All of these little "studies" are approximately the size of a piece of printer paper, some are a little smaller and some a little larger.

Aren't these all fantastic?!  What a fun, creative group of women we had in this class!

And now, I'll show you what I was trying out for my second piece.  I was really struggling with this one - I was rushing, trying to get done before the end of the class, as I wanted Gwen's input on what I was doing.   I managed to get two pieces done in 3 days.  (these little parts take a long time to construct.)

first attempt
I was trying for a kind of Amish vibe here - I wanted to do simple.  Not too successfully.  So I decided I needed more parts.  Back to the sewing machine!

2nd try - not there yet!
I made some log cabins, some inserted squares and someone gave me a 4-patch to try out.  Gwen told us that trying out some other parts, even if the colors are wrong, will give you a good idea of something more you could do.  We also laid our partial pieces on top of her little quilts for more ideas.  It really worked well.

now I'm up on the design wall, taking suggestions from anyone
I made still more parts!  Getting closer, but not quite "it" yet.  

My Small Study #2
8.5 X 9.5 inches unfinished

After moving some things around and some trimming, it's finally done!  

I would say this was a very successful class.  We all made good pieces, had a wonderful time and I learned a lot. I was exhausted at the end, but it was a good, happy exhaustion.  Candy said she had a great time too.  

I'm already working on #3!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Today is brought to you by the color . . .

15 by 23 inches

I have finished the top for my challenge quilt.  This year the challenge was to pick a color (we drew crayons from a paper bag) and then make a quilt using that color as the dominant color and using the color opposite on the color wheel as a secondary color.  I drew orange.  At first I was a little disappointed, as I've never liked orange much (aside from Autumn and Halloween).  But lately I'm liking the new oranges more.  And I thought it's not much of a challenge if you go with safe colors.  So, even though I had the option to re-draw a crayon, I decided to go for the orange challenge.  I also had  to use some of the opposite color on the color wheel, which in this case is pure blue.  We could use black or white too.

This design came to me one morning as I was waking up.  I had the idea of a paint chip card.  I used Lazy Gal Tonya's Unruly Letters.  I don't know if this is "challenging" enough or not, but I'm happy with it.  Simple is good.  *grin*

I have waaayyyy over-bought fabric for this!  Each one of those rectangles represent at least 1/2 yard of fabric I purchased for this. Plus I bought about 1 1/2 yards of the solid orange.  Not to mention 1 yard of the blue.  Yikes.  I think I see another orange quilt in my future.  hee hee!  I'm considering a zigzag or chevron quilt.  It's kind of calling to me.

So, I have one month to finish the quilting and binding on this one.  Think I'll make it?  It's never a sure bet.

Yes, I'm all packed up!  Tomorrow starts my 3 day class with Gwen Marston at Quiltworks NW in Bellevue.  Whoo hoo!!   I'm taking the Small Studies class, and it's all about design.  It sounds a little scary but I know it will be loads of fun too.  And my friend Candy is stepping out of her comfort zone and will be taking the class as well.  This is gonna be so much fun!  I'll be exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it is soooo worth it!  I can hardly wait until tomorrow.

Monday, June 03, 2013

At Long Last . . .

I have something to show you!  Yay!  I've actually spent some time in the quilt studio and have gotten some things done.  My friend Candy came over and helped me get the quilt studio picked up and organized again, so I had room to sew.   I'm finally feeling more inspired, and have been sewing.  Now the room isn't as picked up as it was.  That's the way it goes, isn't it?

Apparently, I still cannot take a picture straight.

Here are all my blocks, so far, for the Country Threads On-Line Sampler.  I am all caught up now.  Yay!  I actually have June's blocks done at the beginning of the month . . . . amazing.

The blocks for March
March had 3 blocks, 2 at 12 inches and one 6 inches.

April's blocks
All of the blocks, so far, have had a 12 inch block and a 6 inch block.  April's block was the easiest so far.

May's blocks

June's blocks
By the time I finished May's blocks and the 12 inch block for June, I was pretty tired of pinwheels!   (Seven of 'em, if you're counting)  That 6 inch block was supposed to have pinwheels where the 4-patches are.  No way was I making 5 pinwheels that finish at 2 inches!  I really like this little block with the 4-patches.  Keep it simple.  The 6 incher looks washed out next to the indigo in the big block, doesn't it?  I'll have to do a few more in those muted colors to balance it out.

There are going to be a ton of half square triangles in this quilt, and I'm afraid that they're being saved for the last step.  Not looking forward to that !  I'd rather do a few every month instead.  I have been saving whatever HST's I have left over from the flying geese units.  Maybe that will help!

One of the ladies in my guild really liked this panel.  So much so that she bought a whole bolt of it!  She passed them out at the last guild meeting, and we're supposed to make it big enough for a Quilt of Valor and it needs to be done in time for the quilt show in October.  I'm still thinking on what I want to do.

A couple of weeks ago, I was the lucky winner of the giveaway over at Pinkadot Quilts blog.  I won some of Kelly's hand-dyed fabric scraps and this darling pincushion!  Don't these make your mouth water?  Ooooo, not sure what I'm doing with them, but I'm enjoying petting them for now.  Maybe I'll take them to play with in my class with Gwen Marsten in a couple of weeks.

Here is Shade getting in the way helping me in the quilt studio yesterday.  He stubbornly insisted on sitting on the very end of the ironing board.  He really didn't fit very well, but he was gonna do it!  Silly kitty.

Yesterday I saw this squirrel laying on the fence outside of my kitchen window.  He lay there long enough for me to get the camera and take about a dozen pictures of him.  This is the best one.  He had been lying kind of behind that sprig of lilac so that he was obscured, but eventually he turned around and I could get a good shot of him.  After a bit, he grew tired of the paparazzi imitation I was doing and got up and left.  I wondered if maybe he was sick.  I don't think I've ever seen a squirrel lazing about like that!

We're supposed to finally have some warm weather this week.  It's about time!  But I think I'll still be sewing.  I've got more in the works and I have the time to sew this week.  Happiness is a busy quilt studio.

I hope you have a creative week!