Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival 2017 - Classes

Hi all -

In this post, I'll describe the classes that I took at the KCRQF.

Batik Wheels with Deb Karasik

The first class was Batik Wheels with Deb Karasik on Thursday from 8-3. This was a piecing class for a New York Beauty class that I took for fun. Here is the class project:


It wasn't hanging very well, so here is a picture of the pattern so you can see it better and in some other colors:


I enjoyed this class. I have some experience with New York Beauty quilts so I'm confident in making them on my own, but Deb had some good tips and tricks that I liked. I liked the way that Deb taught.


She described each step in making the blocks and gave her tips along the way, but she stressed that these are the things that work for her and we have to find the things that work for us. She gave good demonstrations and gave us plenty of time to work on our own. I also liked the room setup:


The machines were set up in two rows, with two machines per table. There was enough room to do what we needed to do and the convention center power was designed well enough that we could use our own irons without blowing the breakers. At Houston, you can't have more than 2-3 irons for each class, so this was a nice change! I didn't want to do any color planning ahead of time, so I'm doing a scrappy version of the quilt. Here's what I got done in class:


I look forward to continuing to work on this quilt and may end up making it larger than the pattern.

Charming Logs with Barb Eichmeier

On Thursday evening (4-7pm), I had signed up for Charming Logs with Barb Eichmeier. This is the class that I gave to my sister so I don't have much information on it, but I wanted to mention what I thought was rude behavior with this class. This class was in the same room as my earlier class, so my sister met me there and we set her up at the machine that I had been using, then went to see some of the show in the short break between classes. I left a bunch of stuff, including my cutting mat, ironing surface, iron and power strip. In order to have the iron there, I had had to unplug the sewing machine, plug the power strip into its plug, then plug the sewing machine into my power strip. Anyway, when my sister got back to the class, 5 minutes before class was supposed to start, not only had someone taken her spot so she had to unplug and move all of her stuff, but the teacher had also started class early even though not everyone was there. I wanted to mention that here because I thought it was completely rude and inconsiderate. It's not difficult to figure out why there is stuff at one of the machines and there were enough machines for everyone, so there was no need for someone else to sit in her spot except that they really wanted that spot and didn't care that someone else was there first. And for the teacher to start early, there's really no excuse for that in my mind. And it will make me think twice before signing up for one of Barb Eichmeier's classes in the future.

I want to make sure to add that my sister said that she did enjoy the class once she got resettled. So the class itself might have been good.

BIG Easy Hand Quilting with Cynthia Schrader

Friday morning (8-11am) was BIG Easy Hand Quilting with Cynthia Schrader.



This class was about big stitch quilting. I had a class in this with Gyleen Fitzgerald in Houston a couple of years ago, but I wanted to get another take on starting and stopping so I took this class. It was a good thing that we didn't need much room in this class because we were completely crowded into a tiny room. Cynthia started off with a trunk show of her quilts. There were some nice quilts, but I got a little frustrated with this because she spent 1.5 hours of our 3 hour class on the trunk show. A couple of examples are useful. That many quilts are a waste of our time. And it didn't help that she made a little comment that if we were interested in buying any of her quilts, we should catch her after class. But she did have a couple of good examples of how big stitch quilting can be used in quilts:


After the trunk show, Cynthia spent another 30 minutes teaching us to wind a skein of perl cotton into a ball. Sorry to be snitty, but I was getting a bit frustrated at this point. But after that we finally got down to actually stitching. I did like the way she did starts and stops, so that made the class worthwhile. This is all that I had time to get done in class, but it does include several starts and stops for practice:


Advanced Sit-Down Quilting on a Sweet 16: Combining Techniques to Create Ornate Motifs with Liz Granberg

My next class was the one that I was looking forward to the most. It's very rare to find an "advanced" quilting class anywhere, so I was excited to see what I could learn. But I got a bad feeling when I got into the classroom and there were only 12 Sweet 16 machines for a class of 18. Maybe I'm spoiled, but I personally think that making people share sewing machines in a sewing class is cheating the students out of their class time. I appreciate the loan of the machines for the class and understand how expensive that is, but I also think that if there is a possibility of sharing machines that it should be mentioned in the class description before you sign up and pay for the class because it makes a difference in the quality of the class. But this was not mentioned in the description. And this was the class where you could bring your own projects to work on. So I don't understand how you can share machines when you are each using different thread for your projects. So I was pretty unhappy to start with.

This class started off with a 1.5 hour presentation. That could have been good, but this presentation was a beginning quilting presentation and this was supposed to be an "advanced" quilting class! The presentation covered needles and how they are numbered, threads and how they are numbered, marking tools and the difference between air erase markers and water soluable markers, etc, etc, etc. All good information, but in my opinion advanced quilters should already know all of this. What I really wanted to hear about was how she combined techniques (stencils and rulers were mentioned in the description) to make ornate motifs. After she finished the presentation, she had us stand and stretch. While stretching, she joined a conversation with a group of students who were trying to understand the difference between cross-wound and stacked thread and why the thread needs to come off of the spool in different directions for the two. So I stood and waited for what was going to come next. While I was standing there, she walked by and asked if I was still stretching and I said "Yes, because I'm not sure what we're supposed to be doing now," but she just continued walking by. Then there was mention that she was going to show us how to pin baste our quilts. At that point, I just picked up all of my stuff and left. This obviously was not an advanced class and I wasn't going to get anything out of it. That was probably rude of me and was something that I'd never done before, but I was probably going to lose it if I stayed in that class.

Border & Backgrounds with Angela Walters

On Saturday morning (8-11am) I had a class with Angela Walters. This was another class that I was really looking forward to; and I wasn't disappointed.



This was also in the Sweet 16 room, but, luckily, there were only 12 people in the class so there was no sharing of machines. I'm not sure if that was expected since they had put two copies of the handouts at each of the machines, but that's how it turned out so that was nice.

Before class started, Angela put a bunch of sample quilts on tables around the room. What a perfect alternative to wasting class time with a trunk show! This class was about border/background motifs, so Angela would demonstrate how to stitch the motif using a whiteboard:


She discussed how to stitch the motif, how to turn corners, variations on the motif and how to use the motif as a background fill. She would show examples of how the motif was used in a quilt and would show a stitched out sample.


Then she would sit down at someone's machine and demonstrate the stitching. Here's the one she stitched at my machine:


Then we would take some time to practice the stitching ourselves while she walked around the room helping anyone who had questions. Here are my samples from the class:


I thought it was a wonderful class! We learned exactly what the description said we would learn and it was presented in a clear and understandable way. Angela was pleasant and funny and made the class a lot of fun!

Free Motion and Rulers on a Sit Down Sweet 16 with Kelly Cline

My final class was Saturday afternoon (12-3pm) with Kelly Cline.



This was also in the Sweet 16 room and we all had to share machines. As I'm sure you've guessed, I wasn't happy about having to share machines, but Kelly at least conducted the class so that sharing the machines worked out. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from this class since the description just said: "Each student will learn a variety of free motion designs and begin ruler work using a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 machine." My guess was that it was going to be pretty basic, but I thought I'd try it anyway since it mentioned ruler work. I was right about this being a basic class. But Kelly conducted it well. She would demonstrate a design on the whiteboard then we would practice it. She would remind us to switch to make sure everyone got time to practice the designs (of course, we also had to waste half of the time just sitting there while our partners stitched). The designs were extremely basic, so it was a wasted class for me but it matched the class description so it didn't bother me. Here are the designs we practiced in class:


After practicing the different motifs, Kelly gave a demonstration on how to use rulers and then we all got to practice that. The part at the bottom of my sample was me playing with the ruler that we got in our class materials:


I found that this ruler was a good size for my hand, but it slips a lot so I'm going to put something on the bottom to see if that helps. I heard online about using no-slip bathroom tape on the back to help with slipping, so I got some of that to try. I'll let you know in a later post how well that works. Kelly had a class sample that she had quilted up showing how to use the different quilting motifs in a flower:


Our class packets included a flower that we could play with ourselves:


I'll probably quilt this up at some point, just for fun.

Well, that's all of the classes that I took. I hope you enjoyed reading about them!

Nancy

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival 2017 - Quilts

Hi all -

I just got back from Kansas City where I visited with family and attended the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. It was a good trip. I always enjoy seeing my family and it's an extra treat to also have a quilt show to attend. Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I set myself up for a stressful show by signing up for too many classes and then I had to delay my drive out there until the day before the show started because one of my cats had gotten an injury behind his ear. (It healed up great, by the way!) My stress is evident by my pictures (or lack thereof) of the show quilts. I had signed up for classes all day, every day of the show. But my sister procrastinated and didn't get signed up for any classes so I gave her my Thursday evening class so I could take that time to see the show. Of course, even though I got my camera out in the morning, I forgot to bring it that day so I got to look at all of the quilts, but didn't get the pictures that I usually get. So I ran back up to the show in between classes on later days and took a few pictures, but forgot to take pictures of the placards so that I would know the names of the quilts and who made them. So here is what I have to share of the quilts and I apologize to the quilt makers for not properly giving them credit!

I'll start off with the Best of Show winner:


A lot of you will recognize this as one of the incredible quilts by Janet Stone. I believe that this one is called A-E-I-O-Ewes. I'm sorry if I got that wrong! I first saw this quilt in Houston a couple of years ago when it won a 1st place award. The colors in this quilt are so cool!!

Next I'll share a quilt by my friend Sharon Engel:


I apologize that I don't remember the name of this quilt. But here are some close-ups of her incredible applique:


She does such beautiful work!!

I don't know the makers of the rest of the quilts I'm going to share. The first is a feathered star that really appealed to me:


Feathered stars are definitely on my some-day list! Then there were a couple of applique quilts that had really interesting quilting:


I really love bright appliques on a white background with innovative background quilting! This last quilt, if I remember right, was in the guild section of the show rather than the contest section:


I love the way they followed the color wheel with their fabric choices! And it also had some pretty nice background quilting:


I wish I had more to share, but that's all I got to this time. There really were a lot of wonderful quilts in this show!

My next post will talk about the classes that I took. There were some good ones and some not-so-good ones.

Nancy

Monday, June 12, 2017

Executive Carryall Bag

Hi all -

My trip to Kansas City got postponed for a couple of days for pet health issues. One of my cats got an abscess behind his ear and I need to give him a couple more days to heal before I can leave and one of my sister's dogs had surgery so she needs a couple of days to heal, too, before Lance gets there. So I spent the weekend making a new computer bag. I made my old computer bag probably about 10 years ago using the Professional Bag pattern and I love it, but the main zipper has started splitting so I need a new one.

I love the Professional Bag pattern and will probably make another one, but I decided to play with the Executive Carryall pattern from ByAnnie this time. Her patterns are all designed to use her Soft and Stable, a foam-based material, instead of batting for the main body of the bag. I love the feel of this material for some bags and thought it would be perfect to help pad a computer. And I've made several of Annie's bags and tend to like how they go together.

I knew up front that I would be making some changes to the pattern as I went along. I wanted to put a mesh pocket, which is an update that she made to her new version of this pattern. I just have the old version of this pattern, but I did pick up a new version of the pattern for one of her smaller sizes that had the instructions for the mesh pocket so I could see how she did it. I also wasn't sure I wanted to use the Soft and Stable for all of the pockets where she used it since she tends to go a bit overboard with this material and it can unnecessarily take up a bunch of space inside your bag. So I kept those thoughts in mind as I started working on the bag.

The first step was to make a but sandwich and do some quilting. This would later be cut into the pieces used to make the bag. I looked through my Soft and Stable and didn't have a piece big enough to use so I decided to try piecing it together. I really didn't think this would work because the Soft and Stable gets compressed by stitching, but felt it was worth a try. I butted two pieces together and used a wide zigzag stitch to sew them together. The area of the stitching was compressed, as expected, but you really can't see it in the quilted piece:


You can feel it if you know what you're looking for, but you can't see it very well so it's going to work fine for the bag.

I decided to use a quilting design that I've been wanting to try for years but haven't gotten around to it called 3's and E's. Here is a video showing how to do the quilting. I used this video to figure out the movement and then did the quilting:


I think the texture from this pattern is beautiful! Here's how it looks on the lining side:


And a close-up where you can see my imperfections:


But I still love it!

I decided to go ahead and make the outside pockets with the Soft and Stable so they would add more padding for the computer. The inside pocket that was supposed to be made with the Soft and Stable was replaced with a mesh pocket, so that saved some space and weight on the inside of the bag. The pattern has a strap on the back of the bag for attaching the bag to a rolling suitcase, but I don't think I'll need that so I didn't put that on. It also has a sleeve for a hard piece of something to put on the bottom of the bag for support, but I didn't think I would need that, either, so I skipped that, too. Otherwise, I just followed the pattern.

I also wanted to mention a little bit about zippers in this post. For my last couple of bags I've been using the zipper-by-the-yard zippers where you get a long length of zipper tape and a bunch of pulls. The ones I've been using are more heavy-duty than the general purpose zippers that I get at Joann's, so I only use them for bags that I think can support the heavier zipper. Anyway, I've found I love working with these zippers. You can cut the zipper tape to whatever size you need, so you aren't wasting the extra zipper tape. They are also a lot easier to use in the sewing. What I do is carry along the entire length of the tape when sewing a section. I'll sew my piece on the end of the zipper tape. I do all of the sewing without adding the zipper pulls. This gives me a length of zipper tape that is closed all along the length so it is easy to sew. Once everything is sewn and I get to the point where I have to cut the ends, I put on the zipper pulls, sew the sides to keep the pulls from coming off and cut the ends. At this point, both ends of the zipper tape that is attached to my piece are still closed until I slide the zipper pull over and back again to open things up, so sewing is still easy. And I can easily add the zipper pulls going whichever direction I want or can have two zipper pulls where appropriate. I didn't think to take pictures of this this time, but I'll try to remember with my next bag so you can see what I mean. If you make a lot of bags, I highly recommend the zipper-by-the yard. I've been getting mine from byannie.com, but I'm sure there are other suppliers out there, too.

Here's how my bag turned out:


I think it's going to work out well for me!

Nancy

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Preparing for KCRQF

Hi all -

Lately I've been preparing my class supplies for the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival next week. As usual, I signed up for a bunch of classes, more than I should have. I made a mistake and signed up for classes all day Thursday through Saturday, assuming I would look at the show on Sunday. Last time, Sunday was a great day to look at the quilts and see the vendors because there were very few people there. Well, I guess they noticed how dead it was on Sunday, too, because this year the show ends on Saturday. Oops! And they have a no-refund policy for their classes so I'm just going to enjoy the classes and see as much of the show as I can in between. That'll be fine. It's not like I don't look at quilts every day!

In pulling together my supplies, I saw that one of the quilting classes lists bringing either sample sandwiches or a couple of small projects like table runners or wallhangings to use in class. I love that idea! I have so many sample sandwiches from classes just sitting that I don't know where to keep them or what to do with them. It'll be nice to work on a final project rather than adding to my samples pile. So I decided to make a couple of table runners that I can use later as gifts.

The first table runner I made was based on one made by Vicki on Machine Quilters' Resource (http://mqresource.com/forum/index.php?/topic/32505-modern-table-runner/). I really loved the design so decided to make one like it. Here's what I came up with:


Then I searched around on the Web for free table runner patterns and found a few that I liked. The first one I made is from the Squares and Strips Table Runner pattern from allpeoplequilt.com:


I used a package of 2.5" strips that I had purchased at a quilt show several years ago and a solid that I have in my stash. I really love how this turned out, but it's huge -- 26.5"x74.5". I'm going to bring it along to class just in case it works for whatever we do, but if I don't use it in class it might end up becoming part of the backing of a quilt.

The other table runner I made is from the Kaffe Kite Runner pattern from Rowan fabrics. I decided to use Kaffe fabric for mine, too, but changed the colors:


I really love how this one turned out and look forward to finding some interesting quilting designs for it. I hope I can use this one in class! I'm not exactly sure what we'll be learning. The class is called "Advanced Sit-Down Quilting on a Sweet 16: Combining Techniques to Create Ornate Motifs" and it sounds like we will be using stencils and/or rulers. Should be fun!

One other thing I made recently was a little project bag for a quilting friend's 70th birthday:


This is from the Peek-A-Boo Bag pattern by Terri Stoats. I made one of these bags for myself several years ago and I really love it. And it's quick and easy to make. I'll have to make a couple more of these!

Nancy

Monday, May 22, 2017

Infinity Strap Tote

Hi all -

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long. A couple of non-quilting things got in the way of my quilting motivation. The first event was a biggie for me: a couple of days after my last blog post we got a notice from the sheriff that a violent sexual predator was being released from prison and was moving into the house right next door to me. As you can imagine, that was pretty stressful and had me scrambling to get things like pepper spray and alarms for my doors. The neighborhood ended up pushing back and he ended up being released to the homeless shelter in Boulder instead. That has left me a little torn because I'm extremely relieved that he's not moving in next door, but I also don't believe in "not in my back yard" and know that sending him to a homeless shelter makes him even more likely to reoffend and just puts other people in danger. But still, I feel very relieved.

More recently, we just had a record-breaking snow storm. Over this past Thursday and Friday, we had 42.6" of snow in my neighborhood. That's one of the biggest snows we've had in my neighborhood since I moved in 17 years ago, and by far the biggest snow in May. To give you an idea, here is a picture of the fence right outside my front door:


Incredible, huh? Lance was a little intimidated by it all:


I shoveled a path down the driveway to the road on Thursday so I would be able to take the trash out on Friday morning. I had to shovel it again on Friday since we had had an additional foot of snow overnight.


I finished up the shoveling on Saturday. It was a beautiful clear day with bright blue skies.


The sky was actually an even deeper blue than it appears in the picture. You can see where my inspiration for my Colorado Skies quilt came from! I'm all dug out now, although it's currently snowing pretty heavily again. The forecast is just for 1-2 inches overnight. I hope they're right! You would have thought this would be a good time to get some sewing done, but we had long power outages all through the storm and the recovery so I couldn't make much progress.

But I was able to get one thing done, and so I'm writing again. A couple of weeks ago, I made an applique roll for storing hand applique projects. After seeing my project, a friend had seen a pattern that Nancy Zieman had that used an "infinity strap." The infinity strap is a strap that is a single loop that can slide through some casings so that you can pull them out on the bottom of the bag to hold something like my applique roll. She thought I should make one and I thought it was pretty cool, so I decided to design my own bag with an infinity strap.

This was the first time that I designed my own bag without a pattern so there were several missteps along the way, but it turned out nice. I started with the outside of the bag. I love having zippered and open pockets on the outside, so I put one of each on each side.


The zippered pocket on front is fully lined and there is an open pocket behind it. The strips on the sides are channels for holding the strap on the bag.

On one side of the lining, I put in an open pocket with 3 sections:


And I put a zippered pocket on the other side:


If I had thought of it, I would have put an open pocket below the zippered pocket, but I didn't think of that until now.

I decided to put in a recessed zipper so the bag top could be closed.


I'm not sure if I like this because it pulls on the lining in a funny way, but we'll see how I feel about it when it has some stuff in it. Here you can see the inside pockets:


After the bag body was finished, I had to add the strap. I prepared one long piece of strap, without doing the edge stitching on the ends. I then pulled the strap through the casings I'd prepared on the outside of the bag, being careful to keep the strap from twisting. To get the strap through the casings easily, I hand sewed one end to a BBQ skewer and used that as a needle:


I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this! It worked really well. Once the strap was through all of the casings, I carefully sewed the two ends together, the say way that I sew together the ends of a binding when adding it to a quilt. Then I just had to finish up the edge stitching on the strap and it was done.

Here is a picture of the bag:


and another picture with the applique roll slipped into the bottom:


I think it turned out pretty cool!

And just so that I have a record of my other creation, I also finished another one of the cell phone bags that I had made for my sister. This one is for my other sister, who had seen the picture of my first one on Facebook and wanted one for herself.


I really like this little bag and will make another one for myself one of these days.

Nancy