Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Paducah AQS Show

My two sisters, a college friend and I drove to Paducah, KY to attend the AQS Quilt Show this last week. I had never had the chance to go before so was absolutely thrilled to be able to attend. We kind of did a hopscotch to gather the 4 of us into one car. One of my sisters also lives in Nebraska so we met in Lincoln, traveled on to Lenexa, KS to our friend's house where we stayed overnight on Tuesday. The next day the three of us then drove to Columbia, MO to pick up my other sister then on to Paducah. We were lucky to get to stay right in Paducah with the mother-in-law of our college friend. The friend is the one with the dark glasses in the photo.
The dogwood trees were just gorgeous. I had never seen dogwoods blooming before so was amazed at how large the blossoms were. The homeowners had spot lights on their trees at night and it was like a fairy land. The azaleas were also in full bloom. Was a real change from Nebraska. By the way our daughter got 2 inches of snow in Nebraska while I was gone and enjoying the beautiful weather in Paducah.

We really enjoyed walking through all the many vendors at the main site of the show plus the other venues. We didn't just walk through though - had to leave a little of our money here and there too.

The quilt show was magnificent! The wining quilts were stunning and the workmanship was so fantastic. I could go on and on about the quilts and keep adding adjectives and it wouldn't describe how great they were. Check out the pictures of the quilts on this website. Just click on "View 2008 Paducah Winners" to see the photos.
This photo was taken from the underside of a white dogwood. You can see how many blossoms each tree had.
When we got home I made postcards for the 4 of us and our hostess as a remembrance of our trip. I did a shadow applique with pink fabric as the background, batting flowers and fabric leaves. I topped it all with pink organza and machine quilted it. I did notice after I was finished with them I should have stitched a little brown at the dips in the petals to make them look more real.
It was a long drive down and back, lots of standing and walking but I would do it again in a minute!

Bed Turning - China Luncheon

The China Luncheon-Bed Turning is now history for another year. The weather cooperated that day and it was beautiful outside. The guild members outdid themselves with their tables. They were all so beautiful.

This is what my table looked like all set up. I made 3 smaller stars that I hung from the branches of a white tree (wired on clear beads to the ends of the branches). The tree is sitting inside shallow bowl stacked on another bowl that is upside down on the table. The larger stars I made as hostess gifts are scattered around the center of the table. I used those flat marbles in my bowl and on the table plus a few sparkly stars and some ribbon woven through and around the larger stars. I used the original fabric I had purchased and scanned for the designs on my stars as napkins. The table was set with the Fostoria Crystal that my mother in law gave us. All in all it was rather pretty. The name of my table was "Catch a Falling Star."

The second photo is the table with my guests sitting around it before the luncheon started.
These next photos are of some other tables. We had various themes from Christmas, Valentines Day, Angels, Circus, to name a few.

This last photo shows the bed on the stage and the members lifting the quilt and showing it to the audience as the narrator tells about it. The quilts that were shown were stacked on top of the bed and lifted off in order, the narration paper unpinned and handed to the reader. The bed was kind of a fake. We used an old iron headboard that my husband made feet for so it would stand up by itself. We then used two long tables as the "bed". It had a dust ruffle taped to the bottom edge and a quilt that would stay on it after the last show quilt was lifted off. Pretty ingenious don't you think? The first year we had the bed turning we decided we didn't want to haul a mattress and box springs so figured out that the tables would substitute nicely.

Happy Quilting - Lynn

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bed Turning - Baby Quilt

This has sure been a busy week but I think I am almost ready for the China Luncheon/Bed turning our guild is having on Saturday. Am still working on getting my centerpiece to look the way I want it though.

My original paper stars were too big to hang in the middle of the table so I made a few smaller ones to hang on a smaller branched tree and will use the big ones scattered around the outside. If I would have used the big ones hanging on the long branches no one would have been able to see and visit across the table. Will take a photo of my table on Saturday after I get it all set up. Now I need to get my chocolate stars made for the nut cups this afternoon if possible.

It is a good thing we have a quilt guild meeting on Thursday night to refresh all our memories so we don't forget something for Saturday. My husband John is going down to help set up the stage and tables on Friday as will a couple of other husbands. That really helps a lot as some of those things get a little heavy.

Both of my daughters will come this weekend for the bed turning and will bring the grandchildren along. John will get to baby sit all 4 while we are at the event which could be a challenge so he will have to watch them close, especially the 2 yr. old. The girls are 6 & 7 and the boys are 2 1/2 and 5. They have a great time playing together and don't get to see each other too often so it is a treat for them to be together.

Love having them come and visit but I will not get to spend as much time with them as I like with setting up and tear down of the bed turning and both girls have to leave early Sunday to go home.

I may need that time on Sunday to get organized for the next week since I will be going to Paducah, KY for the AQS show. Yay, Yay!!! I am really excited about the trip as I have never been to the show before. I am meeting one of my sisters in Lincoln and driving to Kansas City to stay with a friend on Tuesday then the 3 of us will drive to Columbia, Mo to pick up my other sister then on to Paducah. I already have a list of things I want to look for at the merchants booths plus am excited to see all the quilts on display.

Didn't have any new photos to show so pulled this from my archives. This is the baby quilt I made for my youngest grandson. Actually, I started calling it a toddler quilt as I didn't get it finished until August of 07 and he was born in November of 05. It is mock hand applique done on the machine and is hand quilted. I didn't use a pattern but drew the designs myself for this quilt. It was fun to pick out all the bright colors as most of the time I choose dulled down colors for my quilts but my daughter wanted brights for this quilt and I admit it is cheery and was fun to work on.

Back to work finishing up those last minute things plus getting ready to conduct the business meeting tomorrow night. Only one more month and I will no longer be the president of the guild.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Anniversary Party & Miniature Quilt

Today was an especially fun day. My husband and I attended a surprise 25th anniversary party this afternoon for some friends hosted by their two sons. It came off as a good surprise and the boys did a good job getting the food arranged and getting their parents to the party. The parents had no idea so that made it more fun.

Since I have done no quilting today I will post a photo of a miniature quilt I finished after Christmas this year. I call it "Three in a Row." The flower blocks are 1" square and the entire thing is machine pieced and quilted. It doesn't seem quite balanced but after ripping a few times I didn't want to chance it again. I was trying for an asymetrical look but it just isn't quite right.

The little flying geese are only about 1/8" deep and 1/4" wide and the quilt is 5 1/2" x 7 1/2". Oops! You can still see the white markings from the pencil I used to mark the quilting lines - must remember to get that removed!

To make the leaves I foundation pieced the leaf sections then reverse appliqued them to the background. The stems were reverse appliqued as well - this was all done with the mock hand applique method by machine. The quilt was planned and drawn in EQ6 where I do a lot of my designing. I printed the foundation pieced blocks from that program too.

I added a 1/8" folded piece of green fabric inside the binding before I stitched the binding to the quilt - like the spark it gave the outside edge.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Rain and Quilting...They do mix

Yesterday was so wet and rainy most of the day. Had to go out in the afternoon for a while but made a dash from the car to the places I was going to keep from getting wet and managed pretty well. It is on days like this that I really like living on a paved road. It has been only 3 years since we moved here and already I am loosing my skills driving on muddy roads. Another advantage to living where we do is I don't get the car plastered with mud every time it rains. Remember sometimes the how the wheel wells on the car would get so much mud in them that I would hear a scraping noise when I turned corners after it dried some. Washed the car when the roads dried out but sometimes that could be a while. I am so glad we didn't get any snow like they did in western Nebraska yesterday. It is supposed to be spring and I think Mother Nature forgot to flip her calender over the last two months.

I did get more of my leaves prepared to applique on the mystery quilt yesterday but may have to stop doing that for a while. The China Luncheon/Bed Turning our guild is having is next Saturday and I am having trouble getting a center piece figured out for my table.

My original idea was to hang the stars I made from branches stuck in a vase but the more I thought about it I decided that would block people's vision across the table so back to square one. I guess it is back to square two as I do have my large stars all made and am going to use them no matter what as it took me so long to make them!!!

I went to our local antique/flea market store and bought a couple of glass pieces that I am fiddling with now. I stuck one on top of the other and may hang some smaller stars from a branchy thing I found in the basement that I once had hung small Easter ornaments from. Thinking about having the large ones scattered on the table around it. So last night I started making smaller stars using the same patterns as the big ones but about half the size. Am getting faster at making them now so have one done and another ready to cut out. I score all the lines before cutting them out so the folds will be sharper, plus they fold easier. Takes a little time but is well worth it.

Today I will include photos of a lap quilt I made my mother for Christmas. I took a photo of a quilt that intrigued me at the State Fair this year and figured out the divisions and drafted it in EQ6. I used all blue fabrics from my stash to make it and then machine quilted it.

I am really making an effort to learn to machine quilt well as it irritates me that my stitches are sometimes wobbly and not consistent in length. I tend to get tense and forget to move the quilt and get a bunch of stitches in one place. It is getting easier with each thing I finish but you will notice a lot of wobbles in the close up photos.

With rectangle pieces of paper I figured out how to quick piece the blocks and saved the left over triangle squares to use around the border. The back is also pieced since I rarely buy more than fat quarters and used most of the light blue on the front that was a larger piece to start with. Each rectangle is 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" and the finished quilt measures about 45" square.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mystery Quilt

Last fall my quilt guild started a mystery quilt challenge. Each month another step was in the newsletter. The last steps just came in the April newsletter so have the center of my quilt together but have not added the borders yet.

I have decided to add some applique to the center section in the 6 lighter areas of the top. My idea was to have berries and leaves swirling in a circle and overlapping the dark fabrics some.

My first mistake was choosing my applique fabrics. The leaves were too close in value to the dark squares on the quilt and you could not even see them.

Instead of pinning them up and standing back and looking at it from across the room first I went ahead and machine appliqued them down using a tiny hemming stitch and clear thread on top. I then put it on my design wall and was horrified that you couldn't see the leaves. It really bugged me enough I knew I couldn't keep it this way as I couldn't even see the tips of the leaves and it looked like a jumbled mess.

I got out the seam ripper and started removing the leaves trying to be really careful as the stitching is practically invisible and the stitches were very tiny. Wouldn't you know it, I poked the seam ripper through my background fabric and made a tiny hole. Yikes! You know how a seam ripper has the pointed end and the short end with the plastic bump on it. That bump is to help you not do what I did. The problem was I had the pointed end under the applique (where I couldn't see it) instead of the short protected end and that is how I jabbed it through the fabric. Think I will remember to use it correctly from now on! Took quite a bit of time to get the leaves ripped off and all the threads out of the quilt top. I had to use the hemostats and a magnifying lens to see all those tiny stitches. I didn't even think of taking a photo of that first circle of leaves before I removed them but this is the original design.

Of course now I needed to change the configuration of the new leaves to cover the hole. I re-cut green leaves out of lighter and brighter greens and am in the process of appliqueing them down. Not sure I still like it yet but it is much better than the first one. This time I did stand back and look at it first and even dug out my value finders to check to see if I had enough contrast - better but not perfect. If I lived near a quilt shop I probably would have jumped in the car and just picked up something that might have worked better. Living miles away from a quilt shop and living in the middle of farming country I've learned to make do at times if I don't want to take the time or use the gas to make that trip. This was one of those times I guess.

I think I will stitch tendrils from the stems that the berries are on later. Not sure whether to do it before I quilt or make them part of the quilting lines. Am hoping I can make the leaves stand out more with the quilting as they are not as good as I had hoped they would be. They still tend to blend into the background. Oh well...

Back to getting more leaves ready for the next circle. Think I will get the rest all prepared before I do any more applique. I usually use freezer paper and have to open the backs of my applique shapes to remove it before quilting but am trying something new for me. Got the advise of an expert friend and she has used this product called RinseAway. (She has used other brands too) You cut the applique shapes, glue stick it onto the wrong side of the fabric, cut it out and glue stick the seam allowance to the back. This is then laid down on the background fabric and stitched down. You don't have to remove it as it just kind of softens after the quilt is washed.

Maybe I can get my sewing table cleaned up today and have more room to work than the 1 foot section there is now. There is fabric everywhere all jumbled up. I like working in a more ordered state but was so irritated about the first leaves I was anxious to see if I could make it better.

Happy Quilting,


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