Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Follow the Quest!

So where did that name "Quilting Quest" come from? I don't know, something mundane probably, but it immediately makes me think of King Arthur! I participated in my first quest last week. Had to get to 10 different far flung shops in 5 days. I actually only had 4, due to other commitments. I do other things besides quilting - imagine that! Plus one of the days was Sunday and a few of the shops were closed. That kind of bothered me; if you're going to go through the trouble of participating as a shop you should be open for the whole event. It's hard enough to figure out how to get to the shops during the regular working hours, dealing with rush hour traffic - around here almost every hour of every day! - , and planning a route so you're not criss-crossing too badly. The Quest is free, IF you don't count the cost of gas. And I don't know about you, but it's really, really hard not to walk into a shop with all that yummy fabric and not buy something! Yes, I know that's the point. I found the backing fabric for THE WEDDING QUILT. It's like that in my head now - all caps. Not shouting, imagine a deep, important sounding voice. The piecing is done for the top and I've started basting the quilt sandwich together. I should be able to start the actual quilting before Thanksgiving! Whoo - hoo! It's only 2 years in; my daughter may get it before her 10th anniversary. You never know though, I am hand quilting.

For this quest Jinny Beyer designed a quilt pattern. The only way to get the pattern was to go to all the shops. Each one had one part of it. It is amazing to see how the same design can change due to fabric choices! The quilts went from looking modern with bright jewel colors (Jinny's) to beautiful country colors, very fall-like. Stupid me didn't bring her camera so I can't show you pictures. But you can go to the following link and see them there.  www.quiltersquest.com I did complete the quest, no grail, but now I have a new pattern and maybe I'll win some great prizes!

I even got my hubby to go with me to four shops on Saturday. Can you say Road Trip? He had ulterior motives - visiting gun and ammo shops. Nothing like a little quilting and shooting! Actually, I'm planning on doing that - the quilting not the shooting! My husband sometimes participates in Cowboy Action Shooting matches. It's just what it sounds like. People dress up as cowboys or cowgirls, and shoot in different scenarios. Like pretending they are in a saloon. There's always a story and they shoot at targets. Great fun to watch, the shooting and the people. Not to worry, they are all about safety too. They even have a mounted shooting  group. They shoot blanks at balloons (otherwise it wouldn't be safe for spectators) while on horseback. Accuracy and going through the course fast are important. Hmmm . . .  it's kind of like cross-country horseback on steroids! Some go all out on their costumes. Anyway, next year I'm planning on bringing my quilting. I can sit with a hoop, quilt, and watch the proceedings. If I put on a prairie dress, I'll even be part of the fun! Even a shootout can sa(y) quilts!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Time Flies

I was recently reminded by a dear friend that I have been absolutely remiss in posting to my blog. My response was completely defensive - because she was right! I don't feel like I'm much of a writer, but she pointed out to me that that wasn't necessarily the only reason people read blogs. I'm very grateful to her. So let me try to catch up on what I've been doing.

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I kind of miss my kids being around. All the hectic fun of costumes and decorations. I didn't do much in the way of decorations. I thought about doing it a lot though. The entire thought of getting a ladder out to get into the attic to get to the decorations - well you get the idea. However, I did see a really cute pattern for fabric pumpkins. With the cost of pumpkins climbing - Is there anything out there that is getting cheaper?! - the idea of an everlasting decoration was appealing. It also is not plastic! I just cannot get into the plastic decorated jack-o-lanterns. Some are cute, yes, and they will last forever for sure. Can't you just imagine what some poor archeologist in the future will find? They won't have to be content with little shards of things that look like rock. With all the plastic they'll see the whole thing. Yikes! Anyway, I did make 2 of the little pumpkins.

They are super easy to make. Sew up a rectangular bag, my large one was 10" by 21". Sew a basting thread around the opening. Fill the bottom with beans or pellets (there's that plastic again!), about a 1 1/2 cups for the large. Add a tablespoon or so of cloves - you want it to smell nice don't you? Then fill it the rest of the way with fiber fill (Is that plastic again? I'm not sure.) Pull up the basting threads to close the top leaving a small hole. Tie securely. Insert a cinnamon stick in the hole and using a glue gun, glue it in place. Using embroidery floss wrap in quadrants to make it look like a pumpkin. Wrap these tightly, you want it to pull in. Add some artificial leaves and glue them down. With your hands shape it a bit, pushing in the bottom to round it out. Viola! You have a pumpkin. 

I've also been working a bit on some quilts. The latest on finished is for a friend - one day I will keep one of my quilts - for her 60th birthday. Of course, I didn't get it done on time for her party, but this way her birthday lasts much longer. I'm personally a strong believer in birthday weeks not just one measly day.
My friend adores Scottie dogs so this was perfect. I had actually purchased the pattern years ago when I first started quilting. It was supposed to be for a beginning quilter. Thank the Lord I didn't try it then. I never would have continued quilting! Having been at this for awhile now, I was able to put it together despite some rather complicated instructions. It came with templates that I completely ignored. I took the template sizes and translated it into strip piecing with my rotary cutter. Much faster and much easier. I was also able to make the half-square triangles by putting squares together and then cutting them in half diagonally, so I didn't have to worry about bias edges. I have a hard enough time getting sizes correct without having to worry about a stretchy bias.

Time for me to go back to sewing. Sometimes it's not what I see, but what someone says that makes me sa(y) quilts!