Friday, May 17, 2013

QOV Mystery Top

At a retreat in April, I made this top for Quilts of Valor.  It was a mystery pattern and I'd saved and printed all the steps.

I tried to get my frame to duck out of the photo, but it just wanted to photo bomb instead.  What can you do?

I'm eager to get this one loaded on the frame, but still playing with a quilting design.  I think I'll end up marking this one a bit more than I'd normally do, but I'd like eagles to surround the 4 stars in the center and I'm not ready to free motion them.

I like the diamond shape in the white and want the overall texture to emphasize that shape.  The very-very-low-tech method of planning a quilting motif involves a blank piece of paper, multiple folds to show each block, a quick sketch of the star blocks with light colored pencils.  Then a ziplock bag to cover the paper and act as a transparency.  Then markers drawn over the ziplock.  If I need to start the design again, I simply replace the ziplock bag with a fresh one.

Don't laugh too hard.  I'll be able to purchase more fabrics with the money I save by avoiding the purchase of a high-tech quilting motif system. 

Usually, I snap a photo and print it out with faded colors, and draw on the photo.  If I need to start again, I can print another copy.  I'll call this preferred method, my medium-tech solution.  However, it's the end of the school year and all the teachers are demanding one more project to grade.  Our teens are frantically using Google to gather research facts.  Thus, I'll rarely get to use our computer for another week. 

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Learning a new trick

Our guild is making an opportunity quilt.  It's a combination of log cabin blocks and applique.  We made block kits and invited our members to help us make the blocks.  Now, several are using needle turn applique to add the birds and a nest.

Although the first attempt left me with lumpy eggs, I had patient help and a sheet of heat resistant mylar to smooth everything around the edges.  I'm happy with how it's turning out now.

My bird's wing still has a needle in it.  There's a little embroidery in progress.  I'll add a little more to the tail and then pass these blocks on to be added to the quilt.

I can't wait to see it altogether.  It's a pretty pattern with the jewel toned batiks.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wish You Were Here

I joined a mug rug swap with the theme, Wish You Were Here.
(A mug rug is a mini quilt, which you can use to hold a coffee cup and a treat.  The size isn't set in stone, but generally it's larger than a coaster and smaller than a place mat.) 

The goal for this swap is to make a mug rug which shows something about where you live.  I got to swap with a quilter in California.  She made this reversible mug rug for me.

I hope to walk along that sidewalk with the stars one day.

A stroll along that bridge as the sun sets ... can't you just smell the ocean breeze and hear the birds?
Isn't it cute?

I decided to hang it in my studio, rather than drip coffee spills on it.

So I needed to come up with something which represents my area.  Rockets, cotton fields, camelia (our state flower), dogwood trees (we had a 100 yr old one at our botanical garden, which was stunning), and our mountains on the east side of town.

I'll refrain from a history lesson, but the Space & Rocket Museum here will give you a large dose of history if you're so inclined.   We pass cotton fields ... on the way to school, to work, to WalMart.  It's a part of our history and our current culture.  I love it when the cotton is harvested and brought to the gin.  Little fluffs which look like snow little the sides of the roads.

I made 2 of these - one to swap and one to keep.  So glad I did!  These photos are of the one I kept.  The lighting washed out the other when I tried to snap a couple of photos before sending it off.

I love our Saturn V Rocket!  It's a landmark my two young drivers use to navigate.

I think the colors look better in this one. 

At a recent retreat, we had a short demonstration using colored pencils on whole cloth quilts.   This was my attempt to try that technique.  I really like the effect, but wish the colors were more vibrant.  The book recommends using a double layer of batting and quilting first.  Then coloring the design with the pencils.  It's like drawing on a cloud.  Too much fluff and not enough support to really make those colors visible.  The reason for the double batting is to make sure the pencils didn't show on the back side of the quilt.   I sealed it with a fabric medium once the design was complete.

Back side of quilt - no colored pencils showed through

I used my domestic sewing machine to quilt these two, since it was so small.  Most of the time was spent swapping out thread colors.

This was a fun technique to try.  So glad I saw the demo and purchased the book by Irena Bluhm, Quilts of a Different Color.

 Enjoy your day ... for this is a day that the LORD has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad.
- SeeingStars

Monday, May 6, 2013

For A PreSchool Class

A friend learned of the Sharpie and alcohol technique and told her son.  He ran with the idea and had a class of preschoolers draw their masterpieces.  After spraying them with alcohol to bleed the colors, my friend joined them together with sashing.  Then I had the privilege of quilting these masterpieces.

To make sure I didn't turn a dinosaur into a flower, I stuck with abstract free motion quilting.  Most of the time, I just followed the colored shapes.  Since this class learned basic shapes, I used the sashing to show off circles, triangles, rectangles and squares.  It was a fun design to do.

My friend made a beautiful backing too.  Her son plans to present the quilt to the teacher during the end-of-the-year party.  I think the children will be thrilled to see their artwork in this quilt.

Enjoy your day!  These happy colors and fun designs made mine even better.
- SeeingStars

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Seeing Stars Dreamcatcher

At our retreat last week, the team at Magnolia Park Retreat surprised each of us with our own dreamcatchers.  They remembered silly things from two years ago to make some of them.  We all enjoyed full belly laughs as each was unveiled.

A special thank you goes to Sam, who was inspired by my online name to make mine.  It's hanging in my studio and fits very nicely between two window frames.  Now I'll be seeing stars as I sew.

Magnolia Park is near Birmingham, Alabama.  If you're interested in a sewing or crafty retreat place, you'll enjoy their hospitality, great food and fun, and a comfortable setting.  Their large work area accommodates about 24 tables and several cutting and pressing stations too.  They also have a smaller work area to hold a few more if needed.  You can find them here at their website.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars