Thursday, April 27, 2017

UFO, Inspiration, Design, and Retreats

 What a lovely spring it's been - perfect for walking and little road trips and a weekend getaway.   It's been a good time to finish a couple of small projects.  The red cork Hey Mercedes is something I started at the Fall Retreat in Racine.  I love this purse style, but it's not the best application of this terrific cork fabric.  Luckily, I lined it in a similar color to the cork.  I am working up my courage to do some top stitching.  And then this purse will be complete.

I quilted this cork fabric to the Soft and Stable interfacing. 
This gusset is such an important design element.  I am hoping with use that these pieces will fit together a bit better. Perhaps I could have done a better job of trimming and clipping.  Next time...
  This is another Sarah Lawson pattern, a Tudor bag. I've been wanting to make this bag for a while. The top picture shows the difference between the Sloan bag (my favorite for weekends) and the Tudor, which is perfect as a tote.  I took out some of the design elements because this fabric has such a great features.  There's an outer zip pocket, two inner pockets, and an inner sleeve to hold a water bottle.  There's a twin to this bag (it was my prototype) and now belongs my friend Jenny.  Same fabric, but different lining and handles.

My handymen were here, covering my design wall with gridded flannel fabric.  This fabric was something guildster Dani M was working with at the last retreat.  She graciously went shopping for me.  And it's only taken 6 months to get it on the wall.  I love it.  

At last Sunday's guild meeting one member showed these wonderful little boxes.  I was so taken by these that I totally forgot who brought them.  But I found the pattern and bought it - this will be on deck for the retreat.  I hope to make three and have zippers and infacing for Melissa and Eileen.

Here's a UFO that is so old..."How old is it?"  Well, it's so old that I was working on it at a retreat sitting across from Mary P, she who was our Chicago MQG president 2010-2011 and has been living in Texas for the past 4 years.   At last Sunday's meeting I was sitting with Melissa, and she had a couple of ideas for what to do with scraps, and one of them was for this pattern.  It uses cross-cut blocks.  And this made me go home and get out these blocks.  I have perhaps 60 of them and fabric for me.  When I was working on this, I had in mind Rossie H's Double Plus Good quilt.  But then I became disenchanted with what I was making.  Perhaps my crosses weren't wonky enough, and I think my insert strips were too wide. 
So I am trying to make the inserts narrower. This weekend might be the right time to redeem these blocks and make something functional.    The above tutorial from The Quilter's Table involves making blocks, sewing them together, and then cross-cutting them.  So, I'm thinking...
The other possibility for retreat sewing is taking a jelly roll of fabulous metallics  - Modern Backgrounds "Luster" by Zen Chic.  Two strips make 2 blocks.  With an outer border these blocks are 10" x 16".  Sometimes to make the best of sewing time at a retreat, a simple repetitive task is just the answer.  Also, to be absolutely honest, I just like touching these fabrics.  The picture below has the strips in pairs.  I just need to cut and pack them.

Going to the Siena Center in Racine is a privilege.  I'm taking with me a quilt to donate - Sister Claire will know what to do with it.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Convo between a Quilter (me) and NonQuilter (Carol)

NonQuilter:  Would you be willing to contribute one of your pieces to my yearly Silent Auction for the Morgan Park Youth Ministry?
Quilter:  Sure.  A wall hanging? A tote? A Purse?
NonQuilter:  Could I commission a wall hanging? 
Quilter:  Sure. 
NonQuilter:  I would like something with a house in the middle.
Quilter:  Hmm, three houses with a house in the middle?
NonQuilter:  No, just a house.
Quilter:  What kind of house.
NonQuilter:  You know, a house...
Quilter:  Ranch?  Georgian? Victorian? Bungalow? Queen Anne?  What material - stucco? brick? frame?  What color?  Give me a clue.
NonQuilter:  uh...BLUE ! 
Quilter:  Ok, blue.  Navy? Light? Royal? Marine? Teal? 
NonQuilter:  Wait... ***sends a photo***
Quilter:  Ahhhhh...I get it.  So what size?
NonQuilter:  I don't know.
Quilter:  I live in a world of quarter-inch seams.  Get a ruler and give me a clue. 
NonQuilter:  I don't have a ruler.
Quilter:  What kind of crazy talk is this?
NonQuilter:  Well, I don't.  But the size of the wall hanging you gave me last year would be right.

Luckily, I remembered - vaguely - what I gave Caire last year.  And then more of the story unfolded.  This house is the actual home of the Catholic Youth Ministry of Morgan Park.  There is no link to post, but this group does have a Facebook page!  Happy to contribute to this organization.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

This, That, and the Other...

Future Project No 1 - a Sloan or a Tudor.  Bought straps at Crimson Tate and the zipper in Morocco.  Art Gallery Fabric by Leah Duncan. 

Future Project #2 - Quilties Holly and Sarah S went to QuiltCon in Savannah and shopped for me.  These two fabrics are some of the things they came come with.  Straps again from Crimson Tate and zipper - yes, Morocco. 

Future Project #3 - This fabric is what the quilties shopped for at QuiltCon in Sacramento last year.  At Crimson Tate I found this great strapping for the handles and a great zipper.

Putting away scraps is always an issue.  And sometimes I get distracted.  These two zippers found their way out of the zipper box and attached themselves to some of my favorite leftovers.   My buddy Cathy and granddaughter Nikki have these.  

Below is a pencil case and a modification (the taller one) by Anna Graham of Noodlehead.  This pattern is a free tutorial from her.  If you've been wanting to try a zippered pouch or pencil case, her tutorials are excellent - great directions and pictures.  Do you have zipper fear?  She'll help you get over it!
 Pencil Cases by Noodlehead. 

This is the backing for this quilt - I'm determined to get this finished.  Today.  Before I play.

Things I want to play with - part 1

Things I want to play with - Part 2

Things I want to play with - Part 3.  These fabrics are all from Quilty Mimi, and I think they might be a quilt for my college roommate Dodie's son Paul and his wife Susie.  She has said black and white, but I think the Asianness of these fabrics appeal to her.  To be figured out...
Every year I give my buddy Carol something for the Silent Auction which funds the Morgan Park Youth Center.  This year she is requesting a wall hanging of this house, which is the actual youth center.  So before any playing with purses and after finishing getting the one quilt together, I will work on this!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A New Home for an Old and Dear Quilt

When I was an emerging quilter in the 1980's, my sister and her husband had a big home in Freeport, Illinois.  She had a huge amount of home dec and upholstery fabrics left over from various projects, which I took to create this wall hanging.  These are log cabin blocks and show my penchant for non-traditional design - it's no surprise that I have found such a perfect home in the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.  This piece hung in an open staircase happily the entire time the Thompsons were in Freeport.  Their move to St. Joe 15 years ago and a different house meant that this piece was really not the right thing to hang.  So, it's been folded up.  Paula recently returned it to me, and I have puzzled what to do with it.   

And that's where my buddy Carol comes in.  I met Carol in grad school at Chicago State in the 1970's, and we taught at Hyde Park HS together for 8 years.  We retired at the same time.  While I quilted full-time, Carol went back to school for another degree - this one in Pastoral Counseling/Care.  Commitment to the church and social justice ministries is the focus of her life.  I gave her this wall hanging of Paula's and asked if she might find an appropriate home.  And did she ever.  This piece now hangs in the Agatha O'Brien Room at Mercy Circle, Mother McAuley High School, at 99th and Pulaski in Chicago.  Agatha O'Brien came from Ireland to Chicago when she was 24 and lived until she was 32.  In those 8 years she established Mercy Hospital, the parochial school system, and an orphanage. in 1846 she established the first group of the Sisters of Mercy. 

I'm thankful to Carol for finding such a perfect spot and for saying Sister Agatha and I would have liked each other.