Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Wren and the Goose

Ok, so her wren looks better than mine.  The embroidery on the leaves doesn't really show up very well.  The batik has some really strong (to strong for this piece) colors.  Live and learn...  I'll get another pattern in a couple weeks and try again.

These are blocks for a pieced pattern called Goose in the Pond.  We are doing a swap at the GS guild.  I made 13 blocks for a 12 block quilt, I will keep one, get 12 back from my friends, and we make an extra quilt top to raffle off.  Except of course, I made seventeen 15.5" blocks so I can make the quilt larger.  I will do 4 across and 4 down.  The blocks were supposed to be high contrast batik fabrics.   Fortunately, the finished quilt will have sashing and more little 9 patches at the intersections.  It will not be this busy.  I put them together on the design board to take this photo and they made my eyes cross....  the good news is that if I actually try, not everything has to be wonky, I actually can piece more or less accurately.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Classes in Des Moines

As I still can't get my photos off my camera due to a battery issue, I can't show photos.  But I can tell you that we had a blast.  I went with two quilting friends from work and we ate, drank a little, quilted a lot, took classes and saw incredible  inspiration.  In fact, we had such a good time, that at dinner the last day, we made hotel reservations for the Grand Rapids AQS show for next year.

I had 2 classes, the first a hand applique class with Sandra Leichner.  She was a very good teacher, was very sharing with her techniques and has wonderful patterns with lots of traditional songbirds and flowers in natural settings.  This series of patterns is called the Naturalist's Notebook, so of course, I have to do them.  (She did decline to put a crow in the songbird quilt though, I love crows!)  The class was the wren pattern with some leaves and branches.  It is a lovely applique and her embroidery stitches really bring it to life.  The wren is part of a mystery quilt of sorts, she has laid out the quilt pattern, but the individual blocks are being released as she completes them.  Check it out here...
As you can see, the wren is by far the easiest of the patterns, but I am going to try out the goldfinch next.  I have done quite a bit of applique now, but not difficult appliqué, layering with very small pieces, so we'll see how it goes.  I am very pleased with how the wren has turned out, so I think this will be possible and I do love to hand appliqué...   I'll post a photo of my wren tomorrow.

My second class was a long arm quilting class with Pam Clarke.  She was also a very good instructor.  I learned many things, but the most important thing I learned was that I just need to START!  It turns out that I could do every stitch that we covered in class, several of them I was fairly proficient with, and even pretty good at a couple.  But I still see blank space when I look at a quilt loaded on the longarm, not stitches.  Pam said that I should look at the book of stitches and just start quilting instead of fussing that it wouldn't be good enough...  I am only quilting my quilts anyway at this stage, and since having a crisis of confidence would be out of character for me, I don't think I should start now.  So on to longarm quilting.