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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rambling River, Part 9

I've been working with a group of quilters on both sides of the Missouri and the Mississippi River.  Seven of us are on the west side of Missouri and the Missouri River, and the other 8 quilters are around the Mississippi River near and around the St. Louis area.

Back in March, we were all given a fat quarter of a piece of fabric that was all the same, and it was designated for the "river".  The idea was modeled after The Ever Changing River Exhibit (with their permission), that hung at the NQA in June of last year.  So with our guidelines in hand, the journey began.
  • Create an 18" X 22" finished piece using the fabric provided
  • Based on your specific directions, the river MUST come out on the right and left edges EXACTLY the width directed. (Mine comes in at 4" and leaves on the right side at 5")
  • It can meander anywhere else, including the bottom, but must come out the sides because they are meeting up with other sides that will be hanging next to it.
  • When hung, the pieces will show a Rambling River but probably will not have a straight edge on top or bottom.  Sides must be straight so they will go easily up next to the piece on either side.
  • Pieced must be completed (3 layers), but any technique with fabric is allowed.
  • Edges should be faced (not bound) so the river and all the design come to the edge of the piece.
I've been steadily working on mine, and I even took it to Michigan with me.  Yesterday, after taking off what I actually started with as my inspiration, I worked about 13 hours on it.  Today was the last part of surface design, and the facing.  

It's completed now, and ready to go to the meet-up with the rest of the river pieces on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to meet the other quilters from the east side because I have a "guest" trunk show to do at a local quilt show.  They promise me I'll have pictures, though, so that will be good. They will hang for the first time together at the Lee's Summit Quilters' Guild Show on November 5 and 6, 2010.  For directions you can check our blog.  Hope to see you there!

Here's my process of getting there from beginning to end:
Just the beginning that actually changed a lot over time
(I accidentally burned the avocado bag, so that HAD to change!)
Partial work shared  in June.  Mine is the fourth from the left (not completed).
After seeing this picture, I didn't like the look of my fields at all, so it went back to the drawing board.
Adding clover to the field requires professional help, right?
13 hours before completion, I still didn't like the top half that I started with.
Taking off the big green hill did wonders!  It's never to late to change!
17.5" X 22" edge to edge, completed
The sky is seed embroidery stitches by hand on hand dyed fabric with variegated blue thread.  The sun is Thai silk beaded with various sizes and color of beads.  The fields are batik couched with yarn, scorched avocado bag, silk tie and flannel.  The river is filled with 3 colors of rayon threads that are hand couched.  The tree is made of "ort" roving and threads.  The field is full of rosette embroidery stitched clover.  The coyote has some fur outlines in taupe beading thread, and the houses and the furthest trees are machine broderie perse.  I've done both machine applique and hand applique, hand quilting and machine quilting.  I've given some close-ups, but you can also double click on any picture for an extreme detail close up of any of them, too.
Close up of coyote, river, clover
Close up of the sun, the village and the river
A beautiful way to the end the day at Quiltgranny's house

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Day/Week in Michigan

On our drive to Suttons Bay, we saw a little gallery that had many kinetic wind sculptures in the yard, and these interesting sculptures. So of course, we had to stop and investigate!
I want the big bug on the roof!
And how about a giraffe family in your corn?
This is my totally favorite of Gwen's quilts, EVER! Not only do I want it, I want to make one too! Those liberated stars are 3"!!!! Have I LOST my mind?
Gwen thinks I have!
Tiny, tiny stars!
Look at that hand quilting!
And it just wouldn't be a good retreat without a refreshing swim in Elk Rapids. Now, remember the temperature this day wasn't over 60 degrees, and this is a spring fed lake. We were in the water about 20 minutes, but 18 minutes of it was just ME in getting in. The other 2 minutes was me flying out! LOL!
Me, Margaret and Marge - Wendy was in, but is taking the picture!
So without further ado, here are some favorites from the class.  I don't have all the names mentioned with the quilts, so forgive me for that.  There were a couple of new people, and I don't have my class roster handy to put them in the right places.  I'll try to get that corrected over the next couple of days, though.
Gwen's Liberated Baskets
Carol R.'s liberated sand pails 
Carol B.'s liberated "jacks"
Carol B.'s Liberated flying geese
Cassie's (?) Liberated all over 
Love the graphics of this one (Lois?)
Jenny's liberated baskets
Eleanor's liberated French fabric samples
Now, that I am back, I've been pretty busy with some last minute obligations.  I had a lunch/tea with my 1966 High School girlfriends today, a stitch day with my Amazing Quilt Babes yesterday, and I have been working on The Rambling River project frantically trying to finish all that I want to do to it before the due date this week.  Then this next Saturday I have a trunk show to do about an hour away, and a tea for Breast Cancer that I always make a quilt for their auction each year - and yes, that's going to be picked up from the quilter tomorrow.  Does that make you as tired as me?  It does for my furry friends!
Mayo the Wonder Dog and Clyde the cat are finally buddies
See you in a couple of days or so with more pictures of what's making me tired, but smiling!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Catching up

Yes, I know, I know! I've been back from Michigan almost an entire week and I haven't posted anything yet. I am going to rectify that for sure today (and probably later today too).  The week in Elk Rapids, Michigan was wonderful, as usual, with all my friends, and I made some new ones, too. My local friend Carol and I arrived on Sunday and met up with Wendy from California. We toodled around, got our groceries, kicked back and relaxed on Sunday night. On Monday, we decided to drive around the Leelanau peninsula which included the Sleeping Bear Dunes, a lighthouse stop, as well as our favorite place for cherry pie.
We started at Traverse City, then drove north to the point
That's me, just halfway up the interior side of the dune.
Wendy, Carol, and Sharon at the base of the dunes.
A beautiful drive about 7 miles further to the northernmost point of the peninsula brought us to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse at Northport.  A beautiful and rugged part of the peninsula, but we were the only ones there.  It was so peaceful and relaxing, we could have just curled up and stayed the rest of the day!

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse has been guiding ships and sailors since it was built in 1852.

At the lighthouse
View of Lake Michigan from the lighthouse path
At the end of the driving loop was Suttons Bay, a lovely little town with white picket fences and a most wonderful garden and florist shop.  I just couldn't figure out how to pay for the glass flowers or stow the owls in my suitcase or they would be located in Missouri right now!
Suttons Bay Florist shop lawn
Hoot, hoot!
Tuesday was the first day of the retreat, with people arriving, and we still had time to play around until late afternoon.  We did a little more shopping and antiquing here and there.  Of course, no trip to this part of the country isn't complete for me unless I go to Charlevoix.  I just love this little town, and the quilt shop there is just lovely!  Hearts to Holly always remembers us from year to year, and they have a marvelous selection of stuff that is very tempting!
Carol and I at the bay in Charlevoix.  Such a beautiful place!
So, back to the lodge, and here's the view from our window we had while sewing.  I'd post another picture of the view from our window, but it's much the same - the trees were just in a different place!
View of Elk Lake from our window every day.
Each year, Gwen brings a quilt and has it in the frame.  This year, there was a hand quilting demonstration as Nancy, Dawn, Marge and Unis quilted in the afternoon one day.  I think it was more a Tom Sawyer move on Gwen's part!
Quilting Bee at the retreat
I'll post photos of what the gals worked on this year for the Liberated Quiltmaking II theme.  I just took  Hubby's shirts (along with some thrift store finds) and this is what I accomplished.  I am going to really like this, but it's slow going for sure.  Inspired by Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville and the process was streamlined by Gwen Marston.
Just Shirts
 That's it for this installment.  More pictures and tall tales to follow soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back in action!

Suffice it to say there's been a lot going on in my life since my last post.

We've decided to put the house on the market, which meant tons of boxing and storing and cleaning and such.  You know how it is when a realtor sees your house through different eyes.  All that fabric hanging out of tubs just isn't as delightful to them as your quilting friends LOL!  We really like this house, and we've only lived here 2 years - BUT Hubby has finally come to terms with not being able to care for the garden and the 3 acres as he has in the past.  My allergies have gotten worse over the years, and I'm not able to be outside anymore either - and with the corn and soy fields on all sides, there's always something in the air.  These last 2 weeks have been filled with haying and my eyes are glued shut each morning.  So enough said about that.  As soon as the house sells, we will be moving to a maintenance free, 55+ community.  More on that as news develops.

Fresh from Bonnie's visit, my guild friends have been abuzz with her techniques and ideas.  This past week found us on a little outing together and of course we had to stop at some thrift shops.  We found some great light shirts (XXL!) for a few bucks.  BUT, the last stop was even better, and I picked up some light shirts for my current project for only 50 cents a piece.  And to show you what great friends we are, we didn't fight over them at all.  We just asked for a pair of scissors, and cut sleeves off, and exchanged sleeves.  We sure got some funny looks, I gotta tell you!
Roberta, Donna, Peggy, Jan peeking from the back
Diane is hiding on the other side of the rack from the camera!
The real reason for our outing was to go to Fabri-Quilt Warehouse (again).  You'd be so proud of me!  I only brought home a fat quarter pack of animals, and 3 huge bags of donated quilted scraps to be used for the Pink Slipper Project.  The other girls brought home much, much more, though.  I won't tell on them though - I'll just let you wonder.

Paul also offered to take us upstairs on a tour of the quilting room.  At one time, this company used to quilt all the fabric for the Vera Bradley line of bags.  But not now.  These quilting machines were pretty darned impressive!  They were quilting coat linings (like Carhardt), freezer wear (coats to wear in commercial freezers) and lots of other general pre-quilting fabrics.  
Thread on the quilting machine
Some of the machines are computerized, others are not.  What you see on the rack just above the batting are the bobbins, which must be filled before the machine runs out as it's quilting.  I don't think I could do this job!
Trimming the edges off
This man is running a machine that cuts the excess edges off the finished quilted roll.  Talk about having your work heavy on your shoulders!  Man oh, man!  Pretty impressive here, too.
Putting fabric on the bolt
Here is some fabric being put onto the paper bolts.  I love machines that are designed for specific purposes.  I could have watched this rolling off, up, across and down all day!

I've also been consumed with getting the guild challenge completed and turned in before I leave for my Michigan retreat.  I can't show you the pictures until November (when the quilt show is), but I CAN show you some of the fabric and embellishments.  The challenge was to use stripes, have purple in it somewhere, and have embellishments somewhere.  My piece is 30" square and is called Stripendipity.  Stay tuned for the completed pictures in November.
In addition to that, I've gotten the last of Hubby's shirts ready for the retreat.  I just got the bargain shirts laundered, and I need to get them cut down.  I am working on Bonnie's Virginia Bound quilt at Gwen's retreat instead of liberated quilting.  Well, I guess this is liberated quilting in a way, just not as wonky, wild and wonderful as Gwen's.  I still have my project from the first liberated class I took with Gwen, and even though I love the process, I just don't want an entire quilt of liberation.  (I just re-read what I wrote, and it sure sounds funny LOL!)  Instead, I am making a king size quilt from Hubby's old shirts.
Michigan Strings
I promise I won't be as long with posting again.  I know you understand.  I'll be gone now until Sunday, September 19th, so don't expect a new post until the 20th.  I am going to MICHIGAN!!!!!  I'll be with  30 of my best annual friends at White Birch Lodge in Elk Rapids, MI with Gwen for our retreat!

See you soon!