Sunday, March 22, 2015

Playing with Strings with Gwen

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to take another class with Gwen Marston.  I actually took two classes, but this post is on the Strings class.  The other class will be another post.

I've made lots of string quilts, but I've never done Gwen's method of strings - sewn without using a foundation.  Of course, Gwen started us out by talking about her method and doing a demo for us.

Here are some of the quilts Gwen brought to show us.

This one is all in solids and Gwen quilted it (by hand, of course) in black thread.

The blocks in this quilt started with a base square.  

Same with this quilt.

A cute little dolly quilt!

In this photo, Gwen is showing us how to cut up strings sewn into a strata.

Laying out the blocks.

And then sewing the blocks together.

So, we all got to work and sewed furiously.  I went around the room and took photos of everyone's work as the class was coming to a close.  I thought everyone's blocks looked great, no matter which method the student used.

Made using men's old ties.

One student brought a log cabin top she had made, and was making string blocks to go in the border.

And these are her border blocks.

I loved these blocks!   Both the colors and the design.  This person told me she was using a jelly roll!  I'd never thought of that.

Rectangular blocks.

These blocks were made by sewing a strata together first.  You'll see more of these blocks in the next post.

Also made by sewing a strata first.

And these are my first blocks (on the top right).  (The others were another student's first attempts)  Incredibly, and in spite of a huge stockpile of strings, I wasn't actually using strings.  I brought yardage and cut strips to use.  That was a first for me! 

And, miracle of miracles, I managed to get my quilt top finished this last week!

I think this quilt has kind of an African and/or "jungle" vibe to it, which was unintentional.  It's made with all batiks, but no actual African fabric.  I was making this little quilt to go on the wall in my guest bath downstairs.  There's only a toilet and a sink in there, so I'm not worried about the water.  (I don't know that I'd put a quilt in a bathroom where someone is taking a shower on a regular basis.  In this Pacific NW environment, it would probably grow mold before too long.)  This bathroom is decorated in a fairly sophisticated style (it was that way when we moved in), with beige striped wall paper and some fancy mirrors over the sink and I wanted it to fit with that.  And that room is kind of on the dim side (no natural light), so I didn't want anything too dark.  I think I actually succeeded in having it fit in the room both size-wise and style-wise, and it looks good in it's appointed place.  I'll get some photos when it's done and hanging in there.

It's been quite a while since I made a wall quilt a particular size (25 x 30 inches) for a specific place.  Kind of fun to challenge myself that way.  So, it feels good to feel successful!  Also, I knew that, being on the small side, I could get it finished in a reasonable amount of time. So, now to get it quilted.  Hopefully that won't take too long either.

My sister is coming to visit this week.  As a matter of fact, she'll be arriving in a couple of hours.  This will be her vacation and she wants us to sew together.  The Potter is OK with us taking over the living room!  What a great guy, huh?  I think we'll have fun!

I hope you have a creative week!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Some Bits of This and Bits of That

I've been sewing!  I'm starting to feel caught up on a few projects I'm working on, but I'm still behind in others.

I've been working on the Traveling Round Robin.

my block for the Traveling Round Robin

I've completed my block.

B's blocks
And I've completed B's block as well.  Here it is with her first block.  So now I'm ready to pass these on and get the next ones.  B tells me she has 2 to pass to me.  I get them Friday and have 2 weeks to get them done.

Last Friday I went and sewed with friends.  I'm keeping the black & white blocks project (see it here - you'll need to scroll down a ways) with my traveling machine and I worked on those. 

I'm 1/3rd of the way on making the blocks.  I have 8 of each and I need 24 of each.  I'm liking them so far.  I'll only be working on those with my traveling machine (my Brother) because I get a different 1/4 inch seam allowance on that machine as compared to my Bernina.  Why is that??  Both machines have a 1/4 inch foot, but no matter what I do, the seam allowances are always different.  So I've decided the easy answer is to just not switch machines in the middle of a project.

What with being sick, going to Florida and then just being busy, last week was the first chance I had to lay out all the Big O blocks I won from the Block Lotto in December.  As you can see, Dunkel was holding down the pesky blocks for me.  This is not my plan for how I will be setting the blocks.  You'll just have to wait and see!  (insert evil laugh here)

I have a 'secret' project that needs to be done this month and it's only in units at this point.  I really need to get busy on that!

This was very strange labeling on a package of ground beef that I bought the other day.  Maybe because we're so close to Canada here?  The meat came from Oregon.  Any one else seen this on their meat packages??

We've had such a mild February that plants are thinking it is truly Spring.  The crocus and the daffodils are blooming.  Most of the fruit trees are in bloom too.  And the grass is growing too, much to DH's dismay.  This is my new trillium I just planted last fall.  I've never had a trillium before, and I'm looking forward to seeing it bloom.  It's supposed to be a purple trillium.

And don't hate us, East Coast people, but this is my camellia plant.  There were three blossoms on Saturday!  And more flowers about to pop open.  Crazy.  This plant/tree usually blooms in the April/May time period.  

I have a suspicion that Mother Nature isn't done with winter yet, in spite of the warmer, sunshiny weather we've been having. It was down in the 20's (F) last night.  I'm afraid we just might get a big snow storm one of these days.  It's not impossible in March or even April here.  But I have to say that I'm really enjoying all the lovely sunshine we've been having.  It is a welcome little miracle in the middle of our usually gloomy grey rainy winter.

Stay warm!  And I hope you get the time to be creative this week!