10/24/14

Blossoms, Cats, and Birds

We've had a lovely fall here at the Three Cats Ranch. Nevertheless, fall always gives way to what Mike calls the "fat lady" who sits down over Portland for the entire winter. It's been raining for days. There are days of rain ahead in the forecast. It looks like it's here to stay. With so much of the country in drought, we've learned to appreciate our rain more than ever. It keeps everything green, but it can depress as well. Sue and I had a good long walk this morning after first meeting at the South Store Cafe for oatmeal. We got very lucky and had a rain-free walk, but it started up again this afternoon.

All that rain made it sort of refreshing to work on the Wind in the Whiskers quilt today with its dogwood blossoms, its bluebirds, and its kitty lazing on a branch.


Today was the day I needed to piece together the template for the right side of the block. It took me about eight tries and lots of trimming to get it all pieced together. But now it's done, and I can continue on with the applique pieces.

I had a few of the flowers done when I last wrote to complain about this pattern.


Yesterday, I finished the rest of the flowers.


Only the centers are fused down, while the petals still retain their backing with each one lettered for identification. These McKenna Ryan patterns demand organization to keep everything straight.

Once I had the flowers finished, I was ready to piece together the cat sleeping on the branch. 


Interestingly, I was only provided two colors for the cat while the cat in the image above, clearly has three colors. Also, the applique templates provide no indication which pieces are to be done in which color unless one refers to the tiny image on the pattern cover. We got it figured out and punted with the fabric. I had some fabric left over from the dogwood petals, and I just used that. I think my cat is a fair approximation of the one in the picture. Its face will be embroidered on when I do the quilting.

Finally, I pieced the little birds together. Some of those pieces are so tiny that they are hard to maneuver, even with tweezers. The one on the upper right will be partially hidden behind a branch, and so it looks less complete than the other two. If you look at the image at the top of this post, you can see it in the lower right corner of the completed block.


And with that, I had pretty much used up my quota of patience for one day. Time to do something a little less fiddly.

We have a wet weekend ahead with nothing on the calendar. I'm hoping to make quite a bit of progress on this piece.

What's up at your end for the weekend?

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Happy Campers

Amy's Creative Side

It's here! The Blogger's Quilt Festival for Fall, 2014. Thanks to Amy's Creative Side for posting this semi-annual event.

Today I'm showing off my quilt "Happy Campers".


This quilt was inspired by the art work of Portland artist Rachel Austin, who graciously gave me permission to use her original art work to make this quilt. She does the cutest stuff. You can see more of Rachel's work here in her Etsy shop. I saw Rachel's multi-media prints hanging in a restaurant some time ago, and eventually got around to making the quilt blocks I wanted to make.

These are Rachel's original pictures as I saw them:


And these are the quilt blocks I made from them. 


There is enough going on in this quilt that I didn't want to add any more design with the quilting. I used invisible thread and just stitched around the edges of the applique and the embroidered lines.


Then I stitched around the blocks.



I stitched around the lines in the fabric, outlining the trailers, doors, and awnings to give them more dimension without adding more design (if that makes sense). It's a little hard to see in these next images, but I'm hoping you can get the idea. 


You might be able to see it better in this next image.


I made this quilt to hang over an ugly plumbing access panel in our 5th wheel trailer, and it certainly brightens up the room.



This is my 8th time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I started blogging in July of 2010 and started participating in the quilt festival as soon as I discovered it. Unless I miss my guess, that would have been in the Spring of 2011. You can see my previous entries into the Blogger's Quilt Festival right here:


For this Fall, 2014 Festival, I entered two quilts. You can see my other quilt, "We Are the World" right here.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. Now head on back to the festival and give my fellow participants some quilty love.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats:

Finished quilt measures: 30 x 30 inches
Special techniques used: Applique, Free Motion Machine Embroidery, and Free Motion Quilted
Quilted by: Me! On my domestic sewing machine.
Best Categories: Small Quilt, Applique, Home Machine Quilted, Original Design

Blogger's Quilt Festival: We are the World

Amy's Creative Side

It's here! The Blogger's Quilt Festival for Fall, 2014. Thanks to Amy's Creative Side for posting this semi-annual event.

Today I'm showing off a quilt that is special to me. I call this quilt "We are the World", and it was created for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2013. This is my adaptation of the "Little Red Dresses" pattern by Barbara Weiland Talbert. 


For this quilt, I tried something completely new for the quilting. I found a pantograph that was perfect on Urban Elementz called "Paper Dolls", but with this being quilted on my domestic machine, it wasn't really possible to do traditional edge-to-edge quilting. I had in mind to quilt each block individually. Here's how I did it.

The design was too large to really fit comfortably inside my 12-inch blocks. So....I copied parts of the pantograph on my copy machine, reducing them by 50%. Then I taped it together in sections to create a 16 x 16 quilt block.


There were a few little gaps that were easy enough to fill in. I made it plenty large thinking I'd choose a 12 x 12 section and just draw some lines.


Then I traced the pattern with a marker.


Then I pinned the pattern to my block, and away I went. And it worked out!



Here's how it looks from the back. It's hard to see in this image with the white on white. I messed with the brightness and contrast a little to help you see it.




The fabric for the border and sashing are busy enough that I figured simple stippling was enough there. 


Anything else wasn't going to show much. And I put a heart with a flourish in each of the cornerstones.


Here's how it looks from the back.



After toying with several ideas, I decided to use this rainbow fabric for a flange and then bind it with the polka dot. I like the way this turned out.


While I started this quilt for the 2013 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, it ended up as a gift for the granddaughter of our good friend, Chuck. Her name is Frankie. She's a cutie, isn't she?


In October, 2013, Frankie was diagnosed with a devastating neurological disorder known as Rett Syndrome. It took quite some time to obtain an accurate diagnosis, and it will be a rocky road ahead for Frankie and her family. I was just finishing sewing together the blocks for We are the World when I learned of Frankie's diagnosis. I knew immediately that this quilt was intended for her all along. People come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities, and I firmly believe that the world needs all of us. You can read more about Frankie's story right here. And with October being Rett Syndrome Awareness Month,




I couldn't resist showing off Frankie's quilt right here at the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I hope you like Frankie's quilt!

This is my 8th time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I started blogging in July of 2010 and started participating in the quilt festival as soon as I discovered it. Unless I miss my guess, that would have been in the Spring of 2011. You can see my previous entries into the Blogger's Quilt Festival right here:


For this Fall, 2014 Festival, I have another entry. You can see my other quilt, "Happy Campers" right here.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. Now head on back to the festival and give my fellow participants some quilty love.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats:

Finished quilt measures: 75 x 60 inches
Special techniques used: Pantograph on a domestic machine, traditional and paper-piecing, binding with a flange
Quilted by: Me! On my domestic sewing machine.
Best Categories: Large Quilt, Home machine quilted, ROYGBIV, Scrappy Quilt

10/22/14

A Finish and a Start

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, our friend Chuck gifted us with some chanterelle mushrooms, and so he is our dinner guest tonight. I spent the morning baking this Apple-Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake. Yum. I love a good upside-down cake, and this one is delicious.


Then I cleaned the place up a little and did a few little food-related things ahead. Early this afternoon I was able to make my way into the sewing room. The first thing I did was to actually finish the 8th door for the Doors of Ireland quilt. When I posted my picture last time, I realized I'd forgotten to top-stitch the crack between the two doors in the bottom right...and I'd left off any way for anyone to open the door. The original photo had a latch, but I didn't have anything in the right color. I opted for two pink door knobs, and now this one is really, really, really finished...except for the quilting, which will give it more detail. That will have to wait, however, because there are still more doors to make.


Then I got started on the third section of the Wind in the Whiskers quilt. This is the "Tiny Tim" section. As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, I'm going to spend a little time griping about this pattern. If you want to avoid my griping, just scroll on down a little ways.


So here's my gripe: This is a McKenna Ryan pattern. I love this pattern. I love all of her patterns. (Get ready for the "but".) BUT, they are expensive and complicated...especially expensive. Now, I'm happy to pay the price for this because she's done a fantastic job making a very detailed and realistic pattern, and I could never do this on my own. Still, when I pay as much for a pattern as I did for this one, I expect that at least a modicum of thought will go into the printing of said pattern.

So this one is long and narrow, and the template for the appliques necessarily (I guess) has to be broken into two pieces. You can see where the left side ends with the dotted line on the right side of the sheet in the image below.


No problem, I say to myself. I'll just tape the two pieces together. Only, here's the rub: the second part of the template is printed on the back of the same sheet. And I happen to find this beyond irritating! 


So, if I'm to have a whole template to work with, I'm required to copy the second part of the template and piece it together myself...and of course, it won't fit on one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I'll have to piece the second side first, and then piece it to the first side, if that makes sense. And what the "F" is she doing printing on both sides of the sheet anyway? This is applique! It requires the use of a light source so that one can trace the pieces onto fusible or fabric. 


Only...she's printed on both sides of the applique templates as well.


So pardon me, but at the price I'm paying for these patterns, do you think I could get printing on just one side of the sheet, McKenna Ryan????? Okay, I'm done ranting now. It's safe to read on.

As I said earlier, these patterns are complicated. The first one I did nearly had me running for the door. I've figured out to do just one thing at a time without looking ahead. It's easier on the heart that way.


So I've cut the background...always a scary part since this is a kit, and I only have one chance to get it right. 


So far, so good. Now I'm working on making the dogwood blossoms, which is actually step 3 on the pattern. There are 24 flowers. I have them all traced, and now I'm cutting them out and fusing the centers to the petals.


And that's as far as I got before I needed to stop for the day. I have the rest traced, but they still need to be cut out. Seven down, 17 to go.


And now it's time for me to get going on my dinner. I'll continue on with this tomorrow. These are fun patterns, even if they are complicated...and irritating. They can be a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle or reading a really good book. I get completely engrossed in them, and time passes very quickly.

It's a wet and windy day here today. How are things in your neck of the woods?

10/21/14

Next!

Oh boy! I'm down to the last item on the October to-do list! There's definitely something to be said for having a short list. I have some other things on my to-do list for today, and so I don't know whether I'll get started on this or not. Next up is Block 3 for the Wind in the Whiskers quilt. This one is called "Tiny Tim".


It has only a few fabrics, which will make the process less complicated. I'm still griping about how the patterns are printed, however. I'll say more about that later. It requires a picture I haven't yet taken.

But before I can get started on that, I'm going to force myself to the pool today, and then I need to go to the grocery store. Our friend, Chuck, gifted us with some wild chanterelle mushrooms (wild is the only way to get them), and let me tell you...chanterelle mushrooms are a treasure, to be sure. In exchange for hunting down the mushrooms, I'm cooking him a dinner of Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto tomorrow night. 


It's one of the very best dishes that comes from my kitchen. I showed you how to make it a while back. You can find my post right here. So, all of that to say, that I need to get all the rest of the ingredients in addition to filling up Mother Hubbard's cupboards with other foods. I've been away from the grocery store for far too long, it seems. 

But before I do all of that, I wanted to show you a few (actually, more than a few) pictures from last night's guild meeting.

First, our guild raffle quilt was revealed. There were several names suggested, and the membership voted to name our quilt "Orange You Beautiful". It still needs binding. It was designed by member Mona, and quilted by member AnnMarie. The blocks were distributed and created by many of our other members. 


After our break for snacks (because we were voracious at this point in the meeting), we were treated to a trunk show of the quilts of Patti Hyder. Patty will be doing a two-day workshop for our guild in January.


She is a local quilter, designer, and instructor. You may recall when I wrote about her while reviewing this local quilt shop (sadly, closed now). She became a quilter, designer, and instructor while raising her three children. She explained that she found it difficult to follow a pattern, and that caused her to begin designing her own patterns. This next quilt was her first pattern.


She showed us a number of quilts made from specialty rulers that were popular at one time. I believe she said this next quilt was from a "wedge" ruler.


You'll notice in these pictures that Patti is a master at scrounging scraps and trash and using all that she has available in her stash to make multiple original designs. She also showed us a number of quilts with irregular edges. This next one was finished, but she decided it needed a little more oomph,


And so she attached it to what is essentially a whole other quilt underneath.


Here's another example.


She is a great fan of letting the fabric speak to her, telling her what to do or when to use it and in what quilt. I don't know about you, but I've had no luck whatsoever getting my fabric to talk to me. Even when I go all Jack Bauer on it, it still keeps mum.


Obviously, I must be doing something wrong.

Amazingly, Patti told us that this next quilt...


is from the same pattern as this quilt!


She was pointing out that depending on the fabrics, you can make a design element do whatever you want. She is also a master at cutting apart blocks in a different way and sewing them back together to create something truly unique and interesting.


She discussed how she has adapted her teaching methods to create the look of paper-piecing for those who hate paper-piecing.


And a technique for doing curves without tears.


She encourages letting the fabric do all the work in her designs. I was especially intrigued by those squiggly lines on the right side of the quilt below.


They're made from ribbons of fabric.


Many of her quilts featured ethnic and cultural prints. Recall this quilt mentioned above 



where I mentioned her use of scraps. Here, you see the same fabric on the front


and the back of this quilt.


I loved her use of bright colors and the way she can piece things together to create such unusual elements.



She does a good amount of painting and hand-dying to create her quilts.



Here are some of her Asian-inspired designs. 


This picture really doesn't do justice to this one. There was bead work on the cascades of flowers that made it sparkle and shimmer in the light.


Here are some more of her Asian quilts.


Patti was fond of saying, "this was just an experiment," or "I made this in a day." This next one, for instance, had some of us in the back of the room giggling. It's a reverse applique...made in one afternoon. One afternoon! As if!


I was intrigued by her use of paint. In several of her quilts, she spiced up the backgrounds by dipping the edge of a credit card in paint, and then stitching over the lines. Very pretty. 


This is her Northwest Sunset. So pretty.


This is an example of a technique she'll be teaching in her workshop. 


She told us several times that she sometimes bought fabric because nobody wanted it and she felt sorry for it. These giraffes are made from one of those fabrics. Aren't they adorable?


Here are those same giraffes with a different fabric.


Her elephants were inspired by a button.


Here are some more elephants, and some of them have three dimensional ears that can be lifted to reveal the quilt underneath.



Here's another of her quilts for people who don't like paper-piecing. When she finished with this one, she felt it needed something more, and so she created the quilt behind the quilt.




Here's some more fabric she purchased because she felt sorry for it. Patti's vision is truly amazing.


I just liked this quilt. It reminds me of Hawaiian surfers, even though there are no surfers present.



Patti told us that these coyotes were singing to her in the night, and she actually got out of bed to make this quilt. She calls it "A Little Night Music".


This one is stained glass applique, and I believe this pattern is for sale on her website.


She told us she attended a class once. She thought the class was to be about animals, when it turned out to be about portraits. Her classmates brought pictures of children and grandchildren, and she was there prepared for animal quilts. She said she hunted through some pictures she had along and came up with this ostrich from an ostrich farm she'd visited. This quilt is the result. 


I found myself enticed by her use of gradient fabrics and trees. This one was especially appealing.


Look carefully at it, and you can see that the background fabric is just cut into strips and turned upside down or right side up, depending on how you look at it. A simple design, but so effective.

Finally, here is a good example of her hand-dyed fabrics.



So, it was an impressive trunk show. So many designs, so many different quilts, all from this one very talented woman.

And with that, I've pretty much used up my morning. I'm determined to get to the pool, and so that's it from me today. I hope you enjoyed this show.