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Friday, November 17, 2017

Quilt Retreat!

     The quilt retreat was a fabulous experience!  I can't divulge too many details, because "what happens at quilt retreat stays at quilt retreat,"  but suffice to say that I haven't laughed so long and so hard in a long time!
     There were six of us all together in a lovely little lakeside house.  This home has been set up specifically for quilting.  It was cozy and sociable, but not too crowded.  We all had plenty of space for our work, and it was well equipped. 

My workspace during the daytime....
My workspace in the evening!  


     I really didn't know any of the others very well, but before long we were laughing and chatting as if we had known each other for years!   It was also a great learning experience.  Everyone had a little tip or was working on something that was new to me.  I came home a better quilter as a result!
     I had never dedicated so much time in a day to sewing.  We started in the morning, and just kept going.  I was shocked at night to realize the time.  I usually quit around midnight - and I was the first one heading to bed!  I sewed from Friday evening until Monday at noon (with breaks for meals, and  afternoon walks!)
     I took plenty of projects with me, including the blocks and other pieces cut out for two quilt tops of my own, and one charity quilt (that the others at the retreat also had).   I was able to finish up my sampler.
Finished Block of Month Sampler for one of my guilds
   Most of us at the retreat had the charity quilt kit, and ended up working on those.  Glad to have the top finished!
     I also finished the quilt top for the "Falling Star" quilt, made from the 8 log cabin blocks I won for the September Block of the Month.  I  may have gone a bit big on the border.   A 6 inch, rather than the 9 inch border, may have been sufficient.  I am not inclined to remove it!  I am thinking I may try my hand at quilting feathers in the light background on this quilt.  
       I also made great progress on my blocks for the Magnolia Mystery Quilt.  I didn't finish them up at the retreat, but did finish them yesterday.

     Having the design wall (full of threads!) gave me the opportunity to see what layout might be part of the December clues!  I don't know whether this will be the design, but  I am liking the cheeriness of these blocks!  I am happy with my fabric choices.   I'll post more later, but I am jumping into this years Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, and the first clues drop on the day after Thanksgiving! 
  
     I am so happy to have picked up the spider web quilt again.  It has been at least a year since I worked on it. I am making the quilt from scraps of civil war reproduction fabric.  I need four paper pieced triangles to make a 9 inch finished block and need at least 400 finished triangles for a nice big quilt for my husband.  I had 92 already completed before the retreat. 
Four finished triangles 
       The hardest part is sewing the first row of fabrics to the grey center.  That requires more attention than the others, which are just string pieced without regard to any particular width.   I basically ignore all of the other lines on the pattern!
      I was able to finish the middles for 99 additional triangles, and actually finished 35 of those, which just need a final press and trim.  I feel very accomplished with the piecing almost half way done!  I'll keep this on top of my winter project pile! 
A few of the pieces with the first rows completed

A few of the pieces with all the rows done.  Just a little trimming to put them in the "done" pile! 
      For a little project, I tried my hand at a microwave bowl cover, which is all over the internet and you tube.  The fabric looks a bit lumpy - but I didn't pin it before doing the sewing.   It seems to fit the bowls we microwave with and it was certainly fast and easy.  I may try to finish up a few for holiday gift giving!  (shhhhh!)


     One of the quilters brought postage stamp blocks of various sizes that were done by her grandmother years ago.  She was able to fit the pieces together to make a lovely sized quilt top.  I just adored this piece, and have to share it here!  
     I only had one project (the carry all bag) that I didn't touch, so I guess I'll have to go on another retreat!  What a wonderful weekend!  I am so glad that I was invited along!
   

Take care,
Gretchen



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sweet Hexie Pillow - Finished!

   
I managed to finish my little hexie pillow!   
     I had made a little patch of hexies to see if I liked the process and if I could do it in a car.  I needed a car/hand project!  This passed the test, but then what to do with this little piece (which consisted of an entire mini charm pack (42 little squares) 
 I made some more hexies from some Kona red, and went around the piece in an outline.
 Here is the piece all outlined.  I wasn't sure about the red, but I do think it made it pop!
      With the red border, it was possible to cut a 12 1/2 inch square.   I purchased the 12 1/2 inch square ruler when I was making a t-shirt quilt.  I have used it so many times since!
It hurt to cut into those hexies!   

      With getting ready for my quilt retreat, and starting to think about the holidays (yikes!) I decided NOT to quilt this piece.    I had recently shortened some IKEA drapes for my daughter and had some large pieces of white fabric left over.  I backed the piece with a square of the white for stability.

I decided to go for a 14 inch square pillow cover, so added 1 1/2 inch strips to all the sides, and then added some piping I made from more red and some clothesline I had.   I used more of the leftover IKEA drape for the envelope back.


 
 I did not remove the basting stitches.  Was I supposed to?
   I am not sure if the pillow form is actually 14 inches.  It may be 12, since it doesn't seem quite full, but it is fine for now. 
     With a few road trips on the horizon, I cut up batik fat quarters into little 2 1/2 squares. 
 I just layered one piece of fabric on top of another.  Precision is not as important for this as for piecing!
      My basket of hundreds of little squares for hexies! 
 If I have a productive retreat, I'll have lots to share next week!

Take care,
Gretchen