Tuesday, September 19, 2017

DVQ Quilt Show: Entries, Winnings, Favorites

What I Entered:
This past weekend was the quilt show for the Diablo Valley Quilters, located in the Diablo Valley of the Greater Bay Area of San Francisco. This is a second guild I belong to although it is a bit further for me to travel. The show displayed  ~200 quilts.  I had entered three quilts and a pillow. The show entry deadline motivated me to finish off the binding and label on Out of the Blue (8/16/17), my quilt from Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

This quilt is actually going to get deployed for use in my family room instead of being folded up on storage. I liked the result from a kit much more than I initially thought I would, hence part of the reason for the title Out of the Blue beyond just that of the color.

My second entry, Storybook Charm (7/5/17), was bound several weeks before the show, but I needed to scurry to add labels and a hanging sleeve.

The third quilt was a Monkey Quilt and the pillow was a Bunny Pillow. Yes, indeed, these are very creative titles, I must admit. They belong to my youngest son Alex and I borrowed them back from him for the show. He was amused to spot them there when his dad brought him to the show to see them displayed. The monkey panel quilt (5/26/14) had been a birthday present.

The bunny panel pillow (12/15/16) was a Christmas present I'd made for him.

Here is a closeup to show how I quilted the rolling hillsides.

Alex is waiting for his ride home with dad. I stayed behind to help with show take down. I must say that is a lot of work, but the team of volunteers cruise along like a well oiled machine.

What I Won:
Raffle baskets were awarded at the end of the show and I won one! I think I only dropped one ticket in basket number #16 but one is all it takes. I was doubly surprised because a friend I had come with the day before also won a basket. I can add my winnings to those I was also lucky enough to score at the Amador Valley Quilters Show in April. Yes, that is right. I won a basket at each of those shows. With the AVQ show I won a basket titled Christmas in April (5/2/17).  This DVQ basket was titled Elm Creek Extravaganza and, indeed, an extravaganza it was! 

What a haul! I initially cringed because my husband and I are trying to declutter our stuff - especially years of quilting and model train accumulations – and this prize was high volume.  But I must have secretly longed for this collection because, after all, I did drop a ticket in as a contender. Basket #16 was laden with everything you can imagine that was Elm Creek themed, with lots of fabric and notions as well. I must have taken the person who donated the prize years of dedication to have amassed such a complete collection. I feel lucky to have inherited it all in one fell swoop. Even my husband, as he helped me lug the pounds of books and fabric all out to the car, echoed that it would be a shame to break up such a beautiful set. (See why we have such a problem paring things down?)

I was not familiar with Amelia fabrics nor Jo Morton but I was soon to be educated.

The basket was perched on a set of fifteen hard bound Elm Creek Mystery novels.

There were five smaller hard bound books within the basket.

A companion book (on the right) was included as a roadmap through all the novels along with character and plot summaries and a timeline. Wow! There was also a spiral bound pattern book of 140 block patterns,

Four other pattern books were included for the quilts cited in the novels.

I lined the smaller books up within the basket to show off the lovely Longaberger basket complete with custom fitted lining.

The assortment of notions were all useful and some very timely. My current seam ripper is getting dull (Perhaps from overuse?... Nah!) and my needle threader is getting finicky from repetitious depression of its internal spring, so these are both welcome. I have never used a stand for the needle threader so I am curious about that gadget. That Jinny Beyer PERFECT PIECER looks like a real time saver with the the different angles available.

And finally I got to see the fabric. It will be a great complement to my stash. I bet those Jo Morton prints (on the left) will lend themselves to great FMQ work along the scallop lines. There is three yards of each piece. You know how you always tend to buy the same type of fabric over and over? My stash is very lopsidedly brights. The other day I had to go out and buy a fat quarter just to do a tree trunk. I rarely buy soft browns so these fill a big void. The stack has 34 fat quarters! Yoo-hoo! That is one of the big plusses about bargain kits or basket wins - they tend to hit your weak spots and stretch your creativity. I am all set for a fall theme quilt or placemats. Let's not get extreme. I am not all set. I am sure I will need to buy something to fill in here or there ...

What I Especially Liked:
There were just under 200 quilts in the show, in six loosely organized entry categories: Best Use of Color, Innovative, Modern, Traditional, Seasonal, and Nature. There was also a category for the Challenge quilts "Painted Ladies" which ran the gambit from San Francisco Row houses, to butterflies, to impressionistic portraits of women's faces. 200 is too many to show them all, but here were some of my personal favorites. End caps of the rows had clever round tables decked out with reminders for each of the categories.

In the BEST USE OF COLOR I loved the appliquéd flowers quilt titled Flower Garden. The owl wallhanging is titled Oliver. His background is all fabric selvages.

In the INNOVATIVE category table had a whole slew of adjectives to mean innovative.

I was bemused by this clever map of the transit system of Gotham City where Batman lives.

I liked the way the city blocks are quilted in a grid and the water ways  are quilted in waves.

In the MODERN category I absolutely loved the bed size quilts titled Friendly Forest and Jack.

It is very humbling to realize that Friendly Forest was made by one of our junior  guild members, thirteen years old!

The quilt titled simply Jack could equally be categorized as traditional but the print fabrics are from the Aborginal culture, giving a very unique feel to the results. It is named for the nephew who requested it. He picked out the fabrics from his aunt's stash and after being a bit skeptical about his selections she realized he had good taste!

The NATURE end cap featured pine cones, leaves, and feathers but also shells and a pewter scarab beetle, in colors one would expect from nature. 

But my favorite quilt in this category was a black and white baby quilt. I was fascinated by the detailing in each of the woodland creatures, a bear, a fox, a bunny and a large featured owl.

All in all, it was a fun two days – tiring, but a lot of fun. I do not think I will put away my winnings just yet. I am leaving them out displayed on the dining room table to admire for a bit longer. Now it's time to have more fun linking up with Let's Bee Social #195.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Change of Plans

I was feeling lazy, grubby, and uninspired (and my hair was pretty bedraggled, in need of a shampoo). I was going to punt going to my second Saturday of the Month Amador Valley Quilters guild September meeting. Spending a week dutifully adding binding, labels, and hanging sleeves can lead to a decline in enthusiasm. See my previous post. But I had four block-of-the-month blocks I needed to turn in and about a 3" stack of magazines I wanted to drop off at the exchange table. In keeping with my goals and struggles to declutter and pare down, I did want to get these items out of my sewing room. I confessed to my husband I was going to sneak in late, surreptitiously drop off the items, miss most of the business part of the meeting, and be prepared to duck out early if I was not smitten with the speaker. To accomplish this I would try to blend into the audience unnoticed.

Then my friend texted me, cheerily asking if I would like to ride with her. She reminded me that there was a social and a fabric sale an hour before the start of the meeting. Dang! I'd forgotten. I was generally trying to have less volume in the house but it is always fun to just look. And a social might be a nice opportunity to sit and chat. I said yes. Then I scurried to jump in the shower, wash my hair, and change to some less grungy clothes. I did not look as good as Rapunzel from Tangled but ... whatever.

At the social I had a good time, ate a few too many sweets, and talked so much my mouth was a bit dry. And I did buy a few items. Fortunately the sale was run as a mystery, lots of brown bags labeled with extremely discounted prices and just a hint at what was inside such as "paisley and friends" or "pansies". I figured I had enough mystery bags in my sewing room, contents unknown or temporarily forgotten, so I did not need to add to them, no matter how little they cost. 

I did however buy a sealed box for $2 enticingly labeled with "feel me" and I thought I could add that to my stash for future burp cloths. 

After purchasing it, I peeked inside. It contained two fat quarters of a black "cabin in the woods" themed flannel, two fat quarters of a red flannel, and 1½ yards of a neutral beige flannel. All were appropriate for burp cloths. I could snazz up the beige flannel by pairing it with some brighter, busier print ½ yard pieces from my stash or I could match it with the red and black options already enclosed. But there were 2½ yards of flannel there for $2 - enough for five burp cloths ... enough for eight burp cloths once I pair it with brights I already have in my stash. Not bad! There was also an odd shaped section of floral blue/peach flannel yardage which was double width and ~½ yard long. That may just find itself re-gifted on a giveaway table at my other guild. No picture of the floral flannel. I may want to remain anonymous with that one.  

I also picked up two patterns that were labeled as free, but I was a big spender and donated $1 for them. I have a penchant for United States flag patterns. I liked the way those Ohio Stars were camouflaged in among the red and white flying geese stripes. They also cleverly help fool the eye into thinking it knows which direction those flying geese are really flying! The other pattern gave me an idea on how to use border prints. This opened my mind up. A border print or broad stripe does not have to run parallel to the borders. Cutting it across the stripe can give a pleasing twist, also. Another perk is that no one needs to turn his head sideways to view the critters or text in the borders, something that bugged me a bit. The central blocks were intricate enough to be interesting, too.

Once in the meeting I retrieved a packet of 20 blocks that I had won from a previous month's block of the month. Here are four laid out to show the secondary pattern that forms with the bright batiks and white on white background.

During the meeting, the drawing for September's block of the month was held and the winner was announced ... lucky me, again. I now have 16 adorable striped pumpkin blocks. I definitely went home with more than I came with!

After the meeting, I was invited to join my friend and three other guild members for an early dinner. I accepted. My quick and dirty plan to zip out for about an hour turned into a lovely afternoon from noon to after 5:00 pm. I was glad I went. I end with a quote from Mark Twain.

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do
 than by the ones you did do.

Updating this post to link to Let's Bee Social #194.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Distraction and the Mundane

I try to post weekly to DL2Q but sometimes life intervenes. Last week, I was unexpectedly away from my San Francisco Bay Area home for five days when my son in southern California needed an emergency appendectomy. His wife and daughter were visiting her family in Ohio. I was closer. My last minute airfares would be cheaper. There'd be no complications of child care for a 3½ year old and a 1½ year old. And although I would not wish the pain and unexpected surgery on him, I enjoyed the rare one-on-one time with my son. I was quite willing to be a mom again. I have no regrets whatsoever about the time lost; I rather viewed it as time gained. But, my quilting progress did take a hit. To keep my presence in the blogging world, though, I will report on the trivial tasks I did complete.

Not much creativity or artistic expression was happening here this week upon my return. I am entering three quilts in my guild's quilt show September 16th-17th. I judiciously chose to enter only quilts I had completed. I am so glad now I did not pressure myself to enter a fourth that still needed to be backed, quilted, and bound.  Yet "completed" is a relative term. All three needed quilt sleeves, two of the three needed labels, one needed to be bound, one needed to be washed and fluffed. I am reminded that all these mundane tasks usually take much more time than I estimate.

First up is my youngest son's Monkey Quilt, posted May 26, 2014, needed a sleeve. I like my sleeves to somewhat match or at least coordinate with the backing. This quilt was finished over three years ago but of course I still had the scraps. In the sewing equivalent of dumpster diving I was on a mission to find those scraps and see if I had enough that could be used for the sleeve. I had to go through only three plastic bins. Fortunately, I had been in the phase where I put all the scraps from a project in a zip-loc bag. I'd read a tip somewhere that doing so was useful because the colors already went together since they'd been used together in a project. Most scrap organization recommendations advise sorting by color, which I do not do.

I found strips long enough but not wide enough for a sleeve. I chose the lollipop fabric found in some of the rectangles of the border and the red dots used in the binding, each of a different width. Of course I wanted the sleeve to look like it belonged on the back of the quilt. Lengthwise piecing to the rescue. Then I had to decide how much of each fabric I wanted to show. I know this is just a sleeve folks but hey it counts. Decisions like these to take time and futzing. I came up with placing the red dotted fabric away from the matching binding. I think I would have preferred to show a narrower width of red dots, but I was limited by the my available width of the lollipop fabric. 

I found a couple arcs of the orange peel quilting lines that I had missed originally. Apparently the quilt had been without those for months, even with multiple uses. Once noticed, though, I needed to change to orange thread on my Pfaff and add them. However, a label was already on this Monkey Quilt.

Next up for sleeving was my Storybook Charm quilt, displayed in my July 5, 2017 post. I noted and inwardly groaned that I had not made my grosgrain labels for the corners. I dutifully made those labels. The inward groan was because I had to un-sew portions of the binding to slip the corners of the labels underneath and then re-sew. It was after doing this that I re-read my blog post. It stated that my intention had been to skip the labels and just write name and date information on the binding. Oh, well. Now it has grosgrain labels.

I did not have quite enough of the backing fabric for a full width sleeve. I pieced it in the center and sewed down the seam allowances so they would not catch when threading through the support pole for hanging. 

I used only a ¼" central seam and let the sleeve fall a ¼" short from reaching the binding on each end. I thought that was preferable to another seam for just another ½" of width.

Finally I had to label and bind my Out of the Blue quilt before adding a sleeve. Here are the corner labels, neatly tucked under the sporty striped binding.

I had a long strip of the backing leftover to use for the sleeve. It ran lengthwise though, so I could not line up the grid of flowers. In 20/20 hindsight, it is a square quilt, so had I rotated the quilt 90°, making one side the top, I could have aligned them. I was not about to remove labels and do that. Even I could acknowledge it was only a sleeve.

Here are my three quilt entries for the show: Monkey Quilt, Storybook Charm, and Out of the Blue. They are quite an eclectic mix. I am sure there will be an even greater variety at Let's Bee Social #193 so I will link up there.