Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Thing of (New York) Beauty

This is the first of three New York Beauty variations that I get to quilt this season. This is the smallest, at only 34 inches square. Really! The base of some of the NY Beauty spikes is only ¼ inch wide!!! This customer creates her own designs, right down to drafting her own paper foundations. It has always been a joy to finish her quilts, as her piecing is incredibly accurate.

This picture shows the top two-thirds of the quilt. There are some teeny, tiny areas to quilt into, so I decided to place larger, filled feather wreaths over the spikes. The background fills are very dense.

I used Military Gold Glide thread. The sparkle is already in the fabrics. Just enough sheen from the Glide thread.

The New York Beauty block is so named because it looks like you are gazing right down from over the top of Lady Liberty's head, with the spikes of her crown splayed out in all directions.

Here are my 3 ½ inch long stork scissors for scale reference. Whew! This was intense to do. I'm pretty glad this one is finished!

"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take that step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen...there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly."   Anon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Quilt Camp

Recently I spent three wonderful days at Quilt Camp. I get to do this every March. Three days of friendship, laughter, sewing, laughter, eating, laughter, wine drinking, laughter. And, did I mention laughter?!

If you have never experienced the intensity of a full time, multiple day and evening quilt retreat, then you are really missing something. As a longarm quilter, I rarely get a chance to work on my own projects. I sewed an entire Four Patch Posey quilt this year, in just three days. But, that is not really why I attend. I attend Quilt Camp for the fun of it.

First of all, I really enjoy the friendship of other quilters. What creative people! Our guild is made up of quilters of varying experience levels. But, never mind that, they are all really fabulous, creative people. I was so impressed by the colors and the patterns and the variety of pieces being worked on.

I would post pictures for you, but you know what they say. “What happens at Quilt Camp stays at Quilt Camp!”

I was asked to give a short demo at Quilt Camp on how to add borders to a quilt so that they do not “flare and wave” when loaded onto a longarm frame. Now, I've been a quilter for 30 years, and I really don't remember when in that time I learned that you cannot just sew a strip of fabric onto a quilt, lop off the extra fabric, and expect to get a square and flat result. Yes, I have quilted my share of customer quilts with borders that wave at you like they are in the Fourth of July Parade!

Then someone asked if they had to measure and do math? No! Not with my technique, which works every time to make a quilt square and flat. But, I was amazed at how many people there said they had never heard a method other than the “sew it on and lop it off” method.

So, here is my easy way to a square quilt. Lay out the quilt top and then lay the top and bottom borders across the middle of the quilt. Smooth the strips over the quilt and cut them to match the edge of the quilt. Move them to the top and bottom edges and pin them, starting at the ends of the strips and easing the fullness as you go. Really, there is nothing more to it than that. Sew them on, and go on to the next set of strips for the left and right borders. Works every time.

Now here is a look at the piece I just finished today; a Fish and Flies quilt. Quilted the center with wavy lines to look like a stream, interspersed with pebbles to look like the stream bottom. Fun border patterns as well. Have a great day!

Use what talents you possess. The forest would be very quiet if no birds sang there but those that sang the very best.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I am a Patchwork Quilt

I am a patchwork quilt.
Many varied pieces from my life
strewn across the floor
solitary scraps each singing a tiny tune
laying around waiting.
Waiting for someone to
sew them all together
knit them into a whole
compose the song.
Choose the best pattern
the layout of colors
the flow of the vibe
the rhythm of my life.

I am a patchwork quilt.
My stitches pull and strain
to keep my life on track
to keep joy intact.
Threads that try to hold
pieces that want to fly
in swirling circles
in troubling breezes.

I am a patchwork quilt.
My patches are my quilter friends
the best pieces of a life
that doesn't deserve them
but they are still here
patient, glowing,
singing, inspiring.