Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:

June 2012 - Posts

NQA Quilt Show 2012

It's already been two weeks since I returned from my annual trip to the National Quilting Association Quilt Show in Columbus, Ohio. I have been attending the show for the past four years. Besides being close enough to drive to, I find the show offers much for the average quilter interested in the National and International scene. NQA has hosted a quilt show since it’s inception in the late 1970’s. It is the only national quilt show that does not award monetary prizes, so entries are not juried into the show. The first 400 quilts are accepted.

I entered a quilt into the judged show for the first time, this year. I know that my machine quilting needs work, but I felt that the pictorial quilt of my granddaughter was one of my better made quilts. So, why not enter it in the show. Here I am standing beside my quilt at the show.

I also entered the SewBatik Challenge for the second year in a row. My Applique Compass is pictured in my previous post.

My friend, Kendra, attended the show with me. We arrived in Columbus on Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel, before attending the Thursday Night Gathering. We enjoyed a delicious meal, while chatting with other quilters. Paula Nadelstern was the guest speaker. She described her two bedroom apartment in The Bronx where she does all her stitching, and the process of designing a kaleidoscope quilt. Friday, we attended a class taught by Bettina Havig, making a Lone Star quilt. Strip piecing and cutting 45 degree strips wasn’t so bad, but matching the diamond points while stitching them together is a bit more difficult. Kendra got all eight of her center point diamonds completed. Overachiever! We also attended two free lectures, one on the Gee’s Bend quilters and the other on designing your own machine quilting designs from templates.

Browsing through the quilts provided a plethora of colorful fabric and designs. I am always amazed at the creations of other quilters. And, of course, we did a fair share of shopping. Books, notions, and vintage items are some of my favorite vendors. My biggest purchase was Aurifil thread. We do not have a LQS that sells the brand, so I stocked up on some much needed colors. I suppose that I could shop online, but I really like to look at the colors. I also purchased a Jennifer Chiaverini book that I missed reading, The Union Quilters, and a CD that has over 150 quilt label designs to print on Transfer Artist Paper (TAP).

I would recommend the NQA show to anyone that enjoys a large quilt show venue. Anyone interested in attending with me next year?


Posted Sat, Jun 30 2012 4:55 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Designing my SewBatik Challenge Quilt

I shipped two quilts off to the National Quilting Association Quilt Show, at the beginning of June, and they arrived home safely, last Thursday. It's always a bit disconcerting when you send a quilt in the mail. You hope that it will find it's way to the destination and back safely.

This is my second year to enter the SewBatik Challenge. I really wasn't sure if I would complete the project on time. I have had so many projects going, with deadlines for completion. Each week, I have had to plan out what needed accomplished to stay on track. The challenge quilt kept getting put on the back burner. Last month, I had to commit to completing the quilt,or not enter it. I decided that I had finished enough of the project that I would be able to get it finished. Then, after I emailed my confirmation, my plans for the quilt began to turn out incorrectly. In the end, I was able to finish everything before it needed to be mailed.

This year's show and challenge theme was the Marinar's Compass. I received a fat quarter of the challenge fabric in January. At that time, I was planning to make a pictorial quilt of a hand holding a compass. However, my decision to paper piece a small compass was more frustrating than challenging, so I changed my design plans. I decided to complete an applique compass, using the reverse applique technique. Not exactly what most of you would choose to complete this block. I drafted my compass onto paper to the actual size and used this pattern for making compass point templates from freezer paper. I pieced the center of the two fabrics that formed the compass points. The points were positioned and basted to the background fabric. I chose to use the challenge fabric as my background. Then, I overlayed the compass design with a black batik fabric that I had also traced the original design onto, as a guide for the reverse applique. I completed this process using a light box. I also drew a circle around the compass twice. The black overlay was basted down, after snipping inside the design. Then, I completed the reverse applique to expose the compass design. No need to turn under the compass edges, except where the smaller points intersected the larger points. I also appliqued the inside circle on both sides of the circle to reveal the blue background fabric, before appliquing the outside circular edge.

I struggled to decide how I would finish the edges to make the quilt the required 20"X20" size. I only had a fat quarter of the blue star fabric. I miscalculated my border width and cut my blue star fabric too wide, making the finished dimensions too large. I also discovered that I had appliqued the compass, so that it needed to be turned on point to look correct. This would require adding corners. My first attempt was to trim the blue batik corners at a 45 degree angle and add the blue star fabric the same width as the original side borders. Then, I planned to re-sew the blue batik corners to the new corner. However, I had an insuffient amount of star fabric to finsh the edges according to my original plan, so that I had to trim my first star strip borders in half. I also had to trim the border strips before cutting the 45 degree corners or I wouldn't have sufficient fabric for the additional strips. This worked, but the result did not compliment the quilt. However, an octagonal shape formed with the star fabric border strips, that introduced an unimagined element to the qult. I decided to remove the blue corners and add more black fabric as the corners, instead. This complimented the central compass design, drawing the viewer's eye out from the center. I also bound the quilt with the black fabric.

Here is the finished quilt, which I named, Applique Compass.

Happy Designing!

Posted Sun, Jun 24 2012 6:45 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

MQN Mystery Quilt - Step 3 Piecing Instructions

Here is the next step in my series of posts on a mystery quilt.

Clue to the pattern:

The woman who penned Mary Had a Little Lamb nursery rhyme was strongly associated with this quilt block pattern.

 Step 3 Piecing Instructions:

It’s been awhile, but all of you should have Step 2 piecing completed. The next step will put together all those HST (half square triangles) that were made in Step 2.

 1)      Remove all the HST from Clue #3 baggie. These should all be pressed to the cool color side. Using only one cool color at a time, place two HST with right sides together, so that the center HST seams are in the same direction.

2)      Pin the seam along the cool color, so that it will form a triangle when stitched and pressed. The two stitched HST will look like a flying geese section.

NOTE: This picture shows chain piecing of HST blocks with the warm color fabric as the center triangle section.

3)      Press seams open. For many, this will appear contrary to usual quilting techniques. However, I am breaking the rules and pressing my seams open to smooth the triangle shape and reduce the bulk in the block. Besides, this is my Mystery Quilt, and I should be able to sew and press the pieces together in any process that I desire. (For those of you that have quilted for many years and cannot bring yourself to press open seams, or those who have longarm quilters that frown upon open seams in a quilt, you may press your seams to one side.)

4)      Repeat the process, for making the flying geese sections, using the other cool color HST from Clue #3 baggie. All finished sections should have a warm color triangle in the center of the flying geese section and matching cool colors in the corners. Place all the HST flying geese sections back into Clue #3 baggie, keeping each cool color together.

5)      Remove the HST from Clue #4 baggie. These HST should all be pressed to the warm color side. Pin the seam along the cool color, so that it will form a triangle when stitched and pressed. Place the first cool color HST flying geese sections back into Clue #4 baggie.

6)   Again, repeat this process with the HST from Clue #5 baggie. These HST should also all be pressed to the warm color side and the pinning and stitching completed along the cool color seam, to form a triangle of the cool color fabric in the center of the flying geese section. Place the second cool color HST flying geese sections back into Clue #5 baggie.

This is what one set of your flying geese sections will look like. The pink fabric is my warm color, while the purple is one of my cool colors.

Here are my other set of cool color flying geese. You should have placed all the geese sections with the warm color (pink center triangles, in my sample here & above) into Baggie #3. The first cool color (purple center triangles, in my sample above) are in Baggie #4, while the second cool color (green center triangles, in my sample below) are in Baggie #5.

Hope everyone is having fun making this quilt. I'll be back with more, soon.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Wed, Jun 20 2012 3:41 PM by Pamela | with no comments