Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'd like to thank the Academy...

There were no speeches at the Harvest Quilter's 27th annual guild show yesterday, but I did get a blue ribbon for Portrait of My Mother as a Young Woman. I got completely choked up about the whole thing, too. I am hoping this is the start of something good in my "quilting career," and I'm really trying not to get a swelled head about it. I'm going to have to do at least one more portrait quilt, to see if I can do as good a rendering on someone else before offering to make any for strangers for money. Bisa Butler, the woman who taught the class on her style of applique quilting came to the show and complimented me on it, too.

But it sure feels good to have a real blue ribbon to hang on the wall next to (or covering) my "participant" ribbon from the Quilt Guild of NJ show last year.

Here is my award-winning quilt :

Other quilts that won prizes or that I simply thought were awesome:

This quilt won Best in Show, and Best LargeQuilt - 25th Anniversary Quilt by Karen Hochman. This took 6 years to complete, and I believe it's all hand made. My photo does not do this quilt justice.

This quilt won a prize in the Art Quilt category, but I don't remember which prize it won (not first, because that's below). Trees by Paula Pearl. all the trees are painted with thread on hand-dyed fabric.

The first prize in the Art Quilts category was Tumbling Blocks by Lori Suchomel. The most interesting thing on this quilt, to me is the "floating" binding. The pieces of the binding hang off the edge of the quilt and are attached in the front and back. And the 3-D applique work on this one is just great. Another "I wish I had thought of that" moment, for sure!

There were over 100 quilts and fabric art items for view at the show, as well as some vendors with interesting stuff, some great "church lady" food (food vending provided by a local church group), some door prizes, and raffle baskets bursting with fabric, books and notions, and the awesome raffle quilt (which I didn't get a picture of for some reason) - I didn't win any raffles, by the way. The raffle money is going to a charity - I'm not sure which one at the moment.

I spent most of the day ensconced in the "Things Mom and Dad Made" - which displayed all sorts of artistic creations from guild members' parents, grandparents and other ancestors. There were quilts, embroidery, stained glass, some sculpture, clothing, and knitted items. I worked on a sweater I started over a year ago, which has been sitting in a bag for the past year, and made some actual progress on it.

I was also surprised by some old friends who just showed up out of the blue, and the other friends who came out to see the quilts and support the guild.

I was also able to finally take some better photos of my quilts, and I'll leave you this week with the "good" picture of Sunrise: Winter Solstice, and Yellow Submarine.

'Till next week - keep on quilting!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vintage Doll Project: Step 2 - Back to the Drawing Board

As you may recall in this post, I was attempting to re-create a doll from my childhood. I got the fabric samples back from Spoonflower, and they looked just like I designed them. I tried 2 different fabric weights: their quilting cotton and their upholstery-grade cotton. I constructed a prototype doll from the quilting-weight cotton (even though my daughter and I both thought the heavier fabric would make a better doll). And I discovered that I need to redesign my pattern.

Yes, I think the doll is cute, but it's not right. I really want this to be closer to my original doll. And it's not there yet, See?

The head's the wrong shape, and the body, arms and legs are much smaller. I also discovered after I placed my fabric order, that the doll's legs and body are not cut in one piece: the body is separate from the legs and each are stuffed and then the legs are sewn to the body. (Also, the feet are from different fabric, but I'm OK not having to sew that together).

The face on the original doll is not the original face, but my daughter thinks there should be whites on the eyes, and perhaps some eyelashes.

I may be forced to disassemble the original doll to get the proportions exactly accurate, but I am really reluctant to do that (maybe you, my readers, can help me decide!).

Do you think that I should take my old doll apart to get an exact pattern? She is getting threadbare, and the fabric is starting to deteriorate and rip in a couple of spots. She is after all, something like 47 years old.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunrise: Winter Solstice

I finished the binding, hanging sleeve and quilt label yesterday. It turned out slightly larger than I expected it to, and I'm going to have an interesting time finding a permanent hanging spot for this after it's returned from the show.

Here are some inadequate photos of the finished piece. I will have better pictures at the show, where I can (hopefully)  back up far enough to get the entire thing in the camera frame.

This first picture has the entire top of the quilt resting on the railing, so you can't see it at all...

The second photo shows the entire quilt, bu the stairway is chopping off the lower-right corner.

I had a lot of trouble with the quilt backing on this one. There are so many folds and puckers, I don't even want to photograph it. This quilt is not "ribbon worthy" I'm really sorry to say. There are too many mistakes and problems with both the construction and the quilting. I won't enter it in an adjudicated show, but I am showing it on March 27th at the Harvest Quilter's Guild Show, and I may be showing it again next year at the Garden State Quilter's Guild Show, unless I have some newer and better pieces to display.

I am quite happy with the design work, and most of the quilting that I did. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement in various techniques.

I learned a lot, the hard way, about foundation piecing and Y-seams versus y-seams. If I attempt another medallion like this one in the future (and that's highly likely, since I want to do a Sunrise: Summer Solstice quilt as well, which may segue into a series of wall hangings for the Solar Holidays), I will use the techniques I read about in the Piecing Workshop book (referenced in a post last month).

Now I have to piece that Quilts For Kids quilt, and make a doll, and write the "cards" to display with the pieces I am putting in the show in a couple of weeks.

All in all, I am happy with what I did with the dozen star blocks I received at the Harvest Quilter's Guild holiday party this past December.

A couple more things to note: I used up all the blue star fabric that I had in the outer border and binding (I have about 36" of bias strips left of it), I only have batting scraps left (this quilt has pieced batting in it), and I am going to need to head out to the Fabric Warehouse soon for backing fabrics, as I am running low on large yardage pieces for that as well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's all in the thread

I'm now quilting "Sunrise: Winter Solstice" and it's the first time I've used the new threads I purchased online from Connecting Threads a few months ago. These are their "Essential" brand threads, and on-sale (and in the thread collections) they came to about $1.50 per 1200 yard spool. I bought one of each of these color collections, plus 2 of the gray scale packs in that purchase. They are 50-weight and 100% Egyptian cotton, and my sewing machine loves these. I haven't had a snag or break in 2 evenings of quilting.

In the photos, the medallion is stitched in the ditch with an Alex Anderson red thread (same weight and cotton), but that 500-yard spool of thread cost me close to 8 dollars at a quilt show. I have the inner medallion, the first area of white and the gold/yellow quilted so far. I was going to start on the blue and white section, but tried something with a navy thread on the white, and spent 90 minutes picking it out of the quilt. So I decided to leave it for the rest of the night. I've been fretting over what to do around the medallion, and I think the gold thread worked out really well. I'll just need to think about what to do for the rest of the quilt in stages as well.

I have to get it done soon as I planned to have it in the Harvest Quilter's guild show this month.