Monday, November 30, 2009

Quilting Makes a Difference Exhibit at Road to California

There will be something new and fun at Road to California this year -- an exhibit entitled "Quilting Makes a Difference". I was asked to be part of this and don't know how many other people are participating. Each of the quilters was sent a 36" square pieced top along with fabric for backing and binding. We are to quilt it any way we want, bind it and send it in by December 1st (OOPS!) to the Road to California office.

The whole idea is to see how different the quilts look depending on how each of us has interpreted the top and designed and executed the quilting.

I'll walk you through my process, starting with getting it ready for quilting....

My backing should be at least 2" bigger all the way around than the top, so if the top is approximately 36" square, my backing should be about 40"x40". I use 2" binder clips (you can get these at Staples or any office supply store) to clamp down two sides of the quilt and, since it is too small to clamp all the way around, I use 2" painters tape to "stick down" the other two sides.

I've found that painters tape doesn't fray the fabric edges as much as masking tape does.

Here's a close-up of one corner -- I place the painters tape parallel to the edge so I get a bigger sticking surface.

Leaving the binder clips and tape underneath, I lay the batting on top and smooth it out. I also want the batting to be 2" bigger all the way around than the quilt top. When I'm figuring out how much backing fabric and batting I need, it's easiest to just add 4" each to the width and length....

....then all I need to do is center the quilt top. Allowing that extra width and length for the backing and the batting makes it easy, eliminating the exacting placement that would be necessary if everything were the same size.

This is the stencil that I have decided to use; it is by Barbara Chainey for StenSource Int'l, Inc., number BC1030, 14" Feather Block. It doesn't fit the star shape so I will need to do some adjusting and re-drawing to make it work.

Marking in air-soluble marker makes a nice purple line that goes away by itself without washing. The good news is it goes away by itself, but that is also the bad news -- once you mark it, you have to be prepared to sew it right away!

These are my current favorite pins -- they're called Basting Brights and you get blue, purple, red and green in the same package. They're colorful and easy to see; small enough to not leave holes in the quilt fabric, but large enough to manipulate easily.

This is the thread I have decided to use for the star quilting -- it's a Sulky rayon, color #1185, Golden Yellow. Now that I have the center marked, I'm ready to take it to the machine. I'll do the feather quilting in the star first, using my free motion foot, then put my walking foot on to do the straight stitching in the ditch to outline the star.

Haven't decided yet, but then maybe there should be some straight stitching in the blue and more feathers in the border. I'll keep you posted!

A Lot To Be Thankful For!

What a great weekend! Thanksgiving in Manhattan Beach with family, a quiet Friday, the Debutante Ball on Saturday (pictures to follow, of course!) and a belated birthday dinner for me with Dan's father and step-mom on Sunday. Now to catch up with real life...a quilt for a Road to California display, one for my friend Susan and two for Alex -- guess I'd better get to the machine!

But first the Deb Ball pictures!

Destiny taking her place on the stage -- this year's theme was "Camelot"...

Perfect curtsey! All of the girls did so well with that -- I would have fallen on my nose!

Destiny and her dad, Phil, walking down the red carpet for her presentation...

My friend Tami and me -- Tami's daughter Stevie was presented last year and then Tami joined the Alpha Charter Guild. ACG puts on the debutante activities as a fundraiser for the Antelope Valley Hospital.

Tami and I have been friends for almost 20 years; we walked every day for 4 years before we both moved across town and too far apart for an every morning thing. In 2002, we walked the 60-mile Avon 3-day to raise funds for breast cancer research.

There were two father-daughter dances; one was the ceremonial waltz that Destiny danced with Phil and the second was a plain old slow dance that she danced part with Phil and part with Dan. Being her godfather has some pretty good perks!

The three of us after dinner...The next time we'll see her is when we're on our way to LAX for our Australia/New Zealand trip on the 17th. We'll be gone three whole weeks!

Which is probably a good time to tell you that the Batts in the Attic offices will be closed from December 17 until January 11. I will prepare some posts ahead so that the blog will keep going, but no orders will be shipped until after we get back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Retreat Picture

I still have some Session 2 pictures to post; haven't gotten back to matching up names to some of the pictures. But since Patti Hempen e-mailed this photo of her with Alex and me at the first session, thought it might be fun to post this one first....

Met up yesterday morning with Destiny at Barnes & Noble -- we bought two guidebooks, one to Sydney and the other to New Zealand. Then we went through the shore excursions guide to pick out day trips when the ship is in various ports. We were trying to get a good mix of flora, fauna, museums, wineries, etc.

If anyone has good ideas for things we absolutely shouldn't miss, please let me know. We will be in Sydney for a couple of days, Melbourne for one, and then the rest of the cruise is all in New Zealand....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

AAQ Retreats -- Livermore CA (Session 2, Final Morning)

Got all these pictures loaded a few days ago and sort of ran out of time to show them -- this was the last morning when a lot of things were finished:

Cute snowman -- still needs buttons for eyes and a few other embellishments.....

Denise was pretty darn busy -- got the borders on the blue/green one and the center of another bright one put together.

Could have sworn that I had a picture of this when Patricia had it totally up on the board, but couldn't find it, so this will have to do. It's Alex's "Fishing with Pop-Pop" in autumn colors.

Joy took off with the small version that Lynn Bloch made first session. Like the dotty border...

That wide black and white border will look great when all of the appliqued Christmas lights go on.....

Mary's also working on an autumn "Fishing with Pop-Pop"; she's laying out the fish below....

The background for Robin's blocks are dark blue -- really pretty for a forest at night!

So another year of retreats is done! Since they will be held in October next year, only 11 months to wait!

The Seasonal Pillowcase Saga

When my goddaughter, Destiny, left home for college a few months ago, I decided that I would make her seasonal pillowcases so that she would at least have something fun to look at should she get homesick. I needn't have worried so much about homesickness, because not only did she take to college like it was absolutely the most wonderful thing in the world, but her mom picks her up and takes her to lunch at least once a month!

So I made her a purple, green and orange haunted house one for Halloween and here's the November turkey day version:

So she's home for a few days, but pretty busy. She and I are doing a Barnes & Noble run and lunch tomorrow -- hope to find some good resources to help us decide which land excursions we should take on our Australia/New Zealand trip next month. There are so many choices and we want to get a well-balanced experience in our three weeks there.

Then on Sunday she has a waltz lesson with her dad in preparation for the Debutante Ball next Saturday night. Of course, we're all going to that -- she's growing up so fast, I'll need the waterproof mascara for sure!

Friday, November 20, 2009

AAQ Retreats -- Livermore CA (Session 2, Day 3)

The Hilton Garden Inn people always tell us how much they enjoy having us in the hotel every year. They especially love "show & tell" and always OOOO and AAAAHH over the quilts when we show them.

This year, we each got plates of cookies in our hotel room with this little note!

On Tuesday, I got to teach my segment, which was on binding. I did a regular double fold binding and a scalloped bias binding; also showed how to do a prairie point finish.

Alex was acting as camera man -- she has worked really hard at learning this and she is good at it! In the picture above, she's making sure that what I'm doing at the machine is projecting on the white board.

Me teaching -- Alex texting??? Hey, the picture's on the whiteboard....

This is Marilyn with her "Stupendous Poppies" that she started in a workshop with Donna Greenwald in Chico CA. Had to take a closeup to get the beading and embellishment details.

Holly had finished her trees, so started on a drunkard's path project. She had made a pile of blocks and was rearranging them in less traditional sets.

Sue finished her quilt on the left and then bordered the compass below....

Barbara added sashings and cornerstones to the blocks she had had up on the design board earlier.

Denise was working very hard at the retreat: Here are just two of the quilts she was working on! I think she finished four....

I took more pictures on Wednesday morning, so that will be my next retreat post!

AAQ Retreats -- Livermore CA (Session 2, Day 2)

This post is a re-do of "the one that got away". On Tuesday night, I had loaded all of the photos, started on the text and evidently hit something on my keyboard that blew the whole thing away! My husband thinks maybe I got kicked off the Hilton network for some reason or another, but LOST is LOST! So here we go, second time around:

Alex teaching her isoceles triangle (tree) technique to the second group of retreaters.

When we get to the Hilton, we both set up our stores. Alex brings out books, patterns and fabric; I have my DVDs.

Of course, you don't have to be at the retreat to buy our "stuff": You can go to Alex's website or mine to find all of these great quilt-y things! Alex and Ricky Tims also just came out with a brand new magazine called "Quilt Life". The first issue should hit the charter subscriber's mailboxes (that would be me!) in February...

Wandering around the room and doing a progress check, I see that Holly has finished the pieced part of her tree quilt and is auditioning border fabrics. Holly started this in Session 1; she is our "class photographer" and takes the group pictures that are framed and given to each person at our closing dinner. So she sews through both sessions.

There are two ladies who sit together, both named Marilyn; I think they were on the same color wavelength this time...

Blocks and blocks of Christmas colored log cabins going up on the design wall...

And a sampler quilt -- some of the blocks have very well-done hand embroidery....

These were fun fabric choices for the trees....

And a nine-patch in the back corner of the room. She's making it to fit a king; that's a lot of blocks!

And Marie had to pose with all of the blocks she had made so far! She was having machine "issues" and was not happy at this point in the session....

Be back with another progress report soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

AAQ Retreats, Livermore CA (Session 2, Day 1)

We said our goodbyes to all the first session people yesterday morning and then Alex and I went out to lunch, did a little shopping (although I didn't find what I was really looking for -- those yummy pumpkin candles from WoodWick) and came back to the Hilton to greet our second session retreaters. We had 14 new people in this group, so went around to meet them, see what they were working on and what fabric, patterns and gadgets they had brought.

People are setting up, starting on their projects and, at this point, the design boards are pretty empty. That all changes pretty quickly, though.....

We have three sisters from New England here this year; two of them have been here for a few years now, while the third just started quilting with us last year. These are her blocks above. We know she caught the quilting bug, though -- she just bought a long arm!

One of the sisters had the blocks on the left done before lunch, but in the afternoon as I was looking at all the design boards again, the pinwheels appeared as the third sister started making a baby quilt.

Carol is the oldest of our second set of three sisters here in session two. Carol lives in Chicago and her sisters live in South Carolina and Georgia. Carol also brought a friend who lives in Michigan. Between the four of them there was a lot going on in that corner of the room....

One quilt pretty much pieced, the pinwheels are a very effective use of striped fabric....below, a lot more pinwheels and the border fabric.

The rest of the corner -- there's a log cabin starting and a lot of pink blocks up on the wall. Had to take a closer look at all that pink!

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