Monday, June 29, 2015

KCRQF "Fill Harmonics" with Sue Heinz

Hi all -

Another wonderful class at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival was "Fill Harmonics" with Sue Heinz. I had heard good things about her books a while ago so had purchased the set of 3 books and was very impressed. So I was very excited when I saw that she was teaching a class in Kansas City. And, I must say, I was not disappointed!

Sue is a very energetic and funny lady! And it didn't hurt that she brought cookies and chocolate for us, which really helped us get through this class that ran from 5:00 to 8:00. Seriously, though, Sue is an excellent teacher and has a lot to share.

In this class we were learning about different fills. We started with pebbles and pebble variations, moved through swirls and ended up with grid-based fills. All of the fills were great and Sue did a wonderful job of breaking things down to the required marking and the most efficient path to follow to make the designs. She also advanced from straight grids to circular grids. It was all wonderful!

Here are some of her samples to whet your appetite:

Aren't her designs beautiful?


KCRQF "Twirly Whirly Feathers" with Kimmy Brunner

Hi all -

The lecture I took at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival was "Twirly Whirly Feathers" with Kimmy Brunner. This lecture would have been really good for someone who is just learning to quilt feathers, but it was a bit basic for me. I think I probably didn't read the lecture description carefully and thought this lecture would be teaching a specific type of feather that twists and turns. But it's always good to go back over the basics and see how another quilter approaches feathers.

Kimmy had lots of beautiful samples of her quilting for us to look at:

I love the creative ways she divides her quilting space and how well she combines dense quilting and open space! These are the things that I'm still working on. I can appreciate them when I see them, but it's difficult for me to visualize these on a blank quilt.

For her lecture, Kimmy had slides on her computer that she projected onto a screen for us:

She used a red "pen" on her computer to show us how the lines were made so we could understand the quilting sequence:

And her slides included a lot of good example on actual quilts:

Overall, Kimmy is an excellent, very well organized teacher and I'll definitely take more classes from her in the future whenever I get a chance.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

KCRQF "Twilling" with Of One Mind

Hi all -

The second class I took at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival was "Twilling" with a group of ladies who call themselves "Of One Mind". Their names are Christina, Kaye and Eula and they each are either a part owner or an employee of the quilt shop in Eudora, KS. I signed up for the class not even knowing what twilling was, so it was a complete learning experience for me. It turns out that twilling is an embroidery stitch that is a series of knots along a line of stitching. It's a really pretty stitch that I think will be nice around appliques or as an embellishment for quilts.

This was another class where we didn't have to bring much.The only thing we really needed to bring was a pair of scissors. They also asked us to bring pens, but they ended up supplying them in the class. We then purchased a $30 kit in the class. There was just one pattern, but it was offered in three different colorways:

I chose the blue one in the middle for my kit.

To start the class, they had us gather in two circles so they could teach us the stitch. Here's the other circle:

And here is the teacher in our group, Christine, working with one of the other students:

 The ladies were all really nice and helpful. We learned on a practice piece that was just a little heart;

I need to get some more red pearl cotton so that I can finish mine. Here's a close-up so you can see what the stitch looks like:

Pretty cool stitch, huh? Can't you just see that going around an applique shape?

Then we started on our kits. This stitch is done without a hoop so that you don't crush the knots when you move the hoop around. So, we started by ironing a fusible stabilizer on the back of the background fabric. The stabilizer they provided was Pellon SF101P. This stabilizer just feels like a cotton fabric with a fusible on the back, and I found it perfect for stitching and will definitely be using it in the future. With the fabric stabilized, we used a lightbox to transfer the pattern to the background fabric. I used a Fixion pen, which is why the stabilizer had to be applied first, but you can also use a thin permanent pen since the stitching will cover up the marks. Then we began stitching away. We were using DMC size 5 pearl cotton with a size 22 Chenille needle. I got a lot done in class and then used this project as a carry-along and was able to finish the stitching last night. Here is my piece:

The pattern itself isn't my style, but I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The kit included the border fabrics so I can finish this up when I get a chance and am thinking I will use the practice piece heart as the label for this one.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

KCRQF "Fine Finishes" with Deb Hillen

Hi all -

Today I thought I'd start sharing pictures and information about the classes I took at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. There were a lot of great classes available and I really enjoyed the ones I took.

The first class I took was "Fine Finishes" with Deb Hillen. In this class we learned about different embellishments and how to attach them to our quilts. Deb teaches Fashion Design at Johnson County Community College. She had a lot of great quilts to show us with a lot of different fun embellishments. Here is Deb teaching the class:

And here are a few of her samples:

I really love that flower!

For this class, we just had to bring some scissors and she provided all of the other supplies. It was nice to not have to dig up everything that we needed for the class. If I remember right, the kit fee was $35 and this is what we got:

I don't know if you can see everything in the picture, but we got a piece of fleece for putting the beads on while working and a little plastic plate with a magnet in the middle that could also be used while working. We got needles, beading thread, pins, a piece of felted wool that can be used as a little pin cushion and two different types of needle threaders. There were beads of different types and sizes, sequins, charms and different threads. She also made little mini-quilts for each of us out of her hand-dyes to use for our practice pieces:

Pretty cool, huh? She talked about a bunch of different embellishments and had us practice a few techniques. Here is a nice, straight line of beads:

Here you can see how we attached a cabochon to a quilt using towers of beads and a technique for creating a heavy line of beads over some rattail. The heavy line of beads is a technique she used in a quilt for making a beaded flower stem and you completely cover the rattail with the beads so you end up not seeing any of the cord:

I really enjoyed the class and think I'll find the cabochon attaching technique especially useful.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival

Hi all -

I just got back from Kansas City today. I was there to visit with family, of course, and to attend the new Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. I had a spectacular time! I had lots of time to spend with my family, especially my sister, Linda, who put my dog and me up for the trip. I'm one of those lucky people who really has a special family and I appreciate each and every one of them.

I also got to spend a lot of time at the KCRQF which was held at the Overland Park Convention Center, just a couple of miles from my sister's house. I was so glad to see another quilt show at the convention center since it's a perfect excuse to visit. I wasn't sure what to expect from the quilt show since this was the first year and it was put on by the local guilds, but I was blown away by the whole thing. As usual, I took as many classes as I could, which ended up being five classes and a lecture:

"Fine Finishes" with Deb Hillen
"Modern Crazy Piecing" with Jacquie Gering
"Twilling" with a group of ladies who call themselves "Of One Mind"
"Fill Harmonics" with Sue Heinz
"Twirly Whirly Feathers" with Kim Brunner
"Organic Embellishments" with Sherry Whetstone

All of the classes were wonderful and I'll describe them in more detail in later posts.

The show itself was also great. There were two shows: the judged show and the guild show. Both had some pretty spectacular quilts that provided a lot of inspiration. I'll include some pictures in a later post. I don't have an actual count, but I would guess there were something like 100 quilts in the judged show and another 200 in the guild show. There were also a lot of great vendors there. There were local vendors along with some of my favorites from around the country like SewBatik and Fabric Fanatics.

And the turnout was overwhelming. On Friday, there were so many people at the show that they ran out of parking and I ended up just hanging out in the lobby after a quick look between classes because I just couldn't handle the crowds. Saturday also had a great turn-out, and then it was quieter on Sunday, so I was able to slow down and enjoy the quilts then (although I was also pretty tired by then!).

Another perk for me was that I got to meet up with Janet Stone for lunch one day. She is one of my favorite quilters and is also a really sweet, wonderful lady. We had a great time chatting over Chinese food! She had two quilts in the show, and both won well-deserved ribbons.

Well, that's a quick overview of the show. I'll give you more details and some photos as I have time. Right now, I'm pretty tired from my week away from home and my 9-hour drive this morning, so I'm going to relax for a while and then go sleep in my own bed. Hopefully, my back will feel better tomorrow!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Favorite Book Challenge, Part 1

Hi all -

Some of my online friends from TQS are having an informal challenge where we make a quilt inspired by our favorite book. I've been thinking about this for a while and have had a plan in my head for a while, but am just now getting to the actual construction. At first, this was a difficult challenge for me because I read every day and have a long list of "favorite" books. How do I pick just one? But then it came to me -- "Matthew Looney's Voyage to the Earth."

This was my favorite book when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and, for some unknown reason, it has really stuck with me. I mean, this is something like 45 years ago and I still remembered the story and illustrations. So, I looked online, found a copy of the book and ordered it. I had to make sure that my memory was accurate after all of these years. And, yes, I still had most of the details in my head.

This is the story of Matthew Looney, who lives on the moon. The moon people don't believe there is life on the Earth and there is even an organization that wants to blow up the Earth because it is an eyesore. Matthew's uncle, a famous space explorer, puts together an expedition to explore the Earth and Matthew is chosen to act as cabinboy. They decide to land in Antarctica because it's unlikely that they would find life in the blue/green areas where there is all that water. Water is obviously corrosive and dangerous because it causes things to break down and erode (remember that they don't have water on the moon). Matthew smuggles his pet murtle (moon turtle) on the trip and his murtle gets loose on Earth and goes for a little swim. This leads us to the image from this book that has been in my head for 45 years. Here is the illustration from the book:

Matthew has been looking for his murtle and sees his tracks leading into the water. And here is a drawing of his murtle:

And now you have the background for my quilt design. The picture I've had in my head is Matthew's drawing of the murtle tracks heading towards the water, but I've always pictured the murtle in the picture, too. So, my quilt will have icy land on the water's edge with the murtle walking towards the water and his tracks, including the tail track, following behind. In my mind the water was always in the upper right-hand corner.

So, that's the basic design. Now, how do I put this in fabric? I need to start with the background. I've been wanting to do a quilt where the inner portion has wavy edges and I think that'll work well for this quilt so I drew the frame on freezer paper and cut it out:

I don't really know where this idea came from, but I decided to do a combination of the techniques of Noriko Endo, Susan Carlson and Wendy Butler Berns. I would cut up little pieces of batik fabrics and iron them onto the fusible side of a piece of Decor-Bond (a heavy-weight fusible interfacing), gluing in places where the exposed fusible area is too small to hold the fabric. I would then cover it with tulle to hold the pieces in place while I stitch over them. I started by tracing the frame onto the Decor-Bond, including adding the shoreline (sorry the pencil lines are hard to see):

I chopped up some fabric. I picked out some whites, grays and creams for the icy land and blues for the water:

I tried to make soft edges on the pieces, but they ended up being pretty pointy. Oh, well. Then I started laying the pieces on the Decor-Bond:

And periodically ironed them to hold them in place:

I found that I had to step away for a while after each ironing to let things cool off really well before pulling up the teflon sheet or I ended up with glue on the sheet. Here's what it looked like with all of the fabric pieces attached:

Then I put white tulle on the top, stitched over the land areas and trimmed the tulle away over the water. I stitched it with curvy lines approximately parallel to the shoreline to try to represent the drifting snow. Sorry you can't see it well in the picture:

For the water, I used a blue tulle and I used the water background fill that I used in my fish scene, but instead of doing it straight, I kind of followed the shoreline again. I was hoping this would represent waves, but I'm not sure if I succeeded in that. I also put some folds in the blue tulle to make some darker areas like waves. I saw this in a quilt in a magazine and really liked it. Here's what the water looks like:

And the whole thing at this point:

I'm not sure if I like it yet or if it's going to turn out, but I'm happy that I'm pushing my boundaries and trying to dig some creativity out of the analytic brain of mine. I have ideas about how I'm going to do all of the rest of it, but I'll save that for the next post. We're having thunder and lightning right now so I need to publish this before I lose my internet....