Quilting Bucket List

Lone Starburst photo made available by Angela of Cut to Pieces 

I was excited to hear about the Guild's Challenge Yourself Challenge for March using Mona Luna's Meadow Collection (thanks again to Jennifer Moore for the fabric and Lisa Taglia for hooking us up). The simple rule of using this lovely fabric to try a new technique or project on my quilting bucket list has my mind reeling. I thought a quick blog post on the matter might 1) help me focus, and 2) generate some discussion on what others are thinking (or have tried).

1) Lone Star-- Having spent the better part of 7 years living in Houston, I admire this large and in charge star pattern which leaves no room or no need for anything else on the quilt. It seems like a great pattern to feature modern fabrics and color combinations. I've only tried piecing diagonals once and I gave up pretty quickly because I couldn't get my seams to match up just right and didn't have the time to learn for that particular project. There are some good tutorials out there, which have me thinking it might be worth trying for the challenge. The Hopeful Homemaker has a great tutorial for a small-ish strip-pieced star that could be a good size to start with. Craftsy has a free pattern for the Lone Starburst, a paper pieced variation of the Lone Star. The pattern notes the level of difficulty as "beginner", so this might be a good option for anyone who wants to try paper piecing and avoid the challenge of matching seams on a 45 degree angle for a true lone star.

A cathedral window pillow I made for the Make Mine Modern
swap a few years ago and would like to try again.
2) Cathedral Window--I missed the block lotto we did for this a few months back, but have always thought this traditional pattern looks particularly modern.  I did make a CW pillow a few years ago for a Flickr swap (with a lot of help from a friend) and loved how it turned out. I've always wanted to give it another try, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I think the Mona Luna fabrics would look great with this pattern.

Single Girl photo made available
by Cheryl Jaeger
3) Single Girl--Love, love, love this Denyse Schmidt pattern, but have never tried curved piecing. It seems exactly like the type of thing I should be trying for the challenge. The Single Girl Quilt Along Flickr page has instructions and discussion threads that make this seem doable (though possibly tedious).

4) Paper/Foundation Piecing-- Our own MissEnota's work and blog post on Foundation Piecing inspired me to try this for my state fair quilt on a stick. I could see getting addicted to this with the many patterns available and the intricate designs that are possible using this technique. Kristin's blog post is really thorough and has links to resources and inspiring examples if anyone else is thinking of giving it a go. Specifically Kristin's cow is on my bucket list--maybe not quite right for these fabrics but I definitely have to make it someday.

5) Isosceles Triangles--I won a triangle template from a two-bit-bag drawing and haven't had a chance to try it yet (I also have no idea to use it, but it sounded like others in the MMQG do). Rebel Amish by Adrianne of Little Bluebell is one of my all-time favorite quilts. Its Amish minimalism is another kind of quilt on my list (if that is a kind of quilt), but I was really trying to keep this list to 5 so will leave it at that!

What are you all thinking for the challenge? What have you been itching to try? Do any of you have experience with these techniques? Tips, horror stories, wisdom to share?

I'm trying to get an early start because I'm challenging myself to actually make one of our MMQG deadlines, which is challenge enough for me!

Holiday scrap ornaments

Post by Rebecca LaPlante

Throughout the year I work on a variety of project in an even wider variety of colors. I have one of those fabric bucket/pincushions that hangs off my table and all the tiny bits go into it. One day, just before Christmas last year, I was dumping out the little bucket and thought how sad that all the color was going in the trash and at what point does a scrap become no longer useful. Later that day I was at Joann's looking for glitter that looks like snow, and next to the glitter were the empty glass ornaments that you can use to create your own decorations. A light bulb went off over my head, yes in the shape of a Christmas bulb, and I thought what a perfect way to use the unusable tidbits.

You can get the empty bulbs in acrylic or glass (I recommend the acrylic if you want your kids to help). I use tweezers and toothpicks, or the wooden shish kebob skewers, to poke the fabric into the ornaments and to adjust if the scrap isn't showing the way I like. This project is ideal for me to work on while watching television as I don't have the patience to just sit and watch most programs. I had done a set of twelve last year while watching a West Wing marathon with my husband.

Some answers to questions I have thought of:

No, I don't sort throughout the year, I just toss everything into a cardboard shoebox and when I want to work on the project I pull out the shoebox.

When I sit to work on them I have a pair of scissors to cut any scraps that might be to big (it is best if the scraps are confetti-ish so that they fit in the ornament).

I do sort as I fill the ornaments (as seen in the pictures) but I also do coordinating colors if I don't have enough of one color to fill an ornament.

I do have one rule that I follow so that the box of scraps doesn't become multiple boxes of microscopic scraps - if it doesn't fit in the original shoebox that I started doing this project with then I don't keep the scraps. I have learned the hard way that I have to say no at some point!

Really, I'm not crazy, this is a fun tid-bit project!

November Block Lotto

Next month's block lotto is quick, easy, and cute!

Leila of Sewn by Leila wrote up this easy-peasy tutorial for what she calls "Orange Windows."

copyright Sewn by Leila, used with permission
Or colors will be "quenched citrus" tones for the orange slices. Below is a beginning suggestion, but please feel free to branch out to a deeper orange, sunshine yellow, or even intense magenta, wherever your imagination and stash take you!

quenched citrus
For the background, please use blues in any shade ranging from mid to light tones.

Remember, you are allowed to enter up to three blocks. These are so pretty and quick, you may just max out your entries! I know I'll be tempted.

Saturday Series: Holiday gifts -- zip pouches

Zip pouches aren't quilting per se, but you can patchwork-piece the outer fabric, embellish with english paper piecing, or just use leftover fabric from quilts. I've made zip pouches for stocking-stuffers, and as packaging/wrapping for smaller gifts like lipgloss sets or pencil sets. As an added bonus, they're quick to whip up and easy to personalize.

There are a lot of fantastic tutorials out there. My favorites are:
Simple zippered pouch from our own Punkin Patterns
Open-wide zippered pouch from Noodlehead
Dumplings from Michelle Patterns
Patchwork pencil case from Little Big Girl Studio
Zippered box pouch from Pretty Modern Life

My husband’s family does a large handmade gift exchange every year - 15 people participate. We each choose a handmade project, make 15 of them, and swap. This year, I've decided to make 15 of the dumplings from Michelle Patterns. 

When I’m making one or two zip pouches I don’t worry about efficiency - I just follow the pattern from start to finish twice. But with 15 to make, I’ve been thinking about the quickest way to get them all done. Here’s my strategy:

  1. I’ve already made this pattern three times. If the pattern was new to me, I would make a prototype.
  2. Select outer and lining fabrics from my stash that coordinate with the 15 assorted zippers I bought. Iron all fabric.
  3. Cut all the pieces. I use one template for fabric and a smaller template for interfacing, so I don’t have to trim down the interfacing after I cut it.
  4. Iron the interfacing to all fabric pieces
  5. Clip all the zippers.
  6. Pin all zippers to outer fabric.
  7. Baste all zippers.
  8. Group pouches by thread color. For each thread color:
    1. Sew the lining and outer fabric to the zippers with a zipper foot.
    2. Clip all seams.
    3. Turn all pouches right side out and press.
    4. Switch to a heavier needle, top-stitch all pouches.
    5. Switch to regular foot, sew the corners.
  9. Cover the raw edges with binding. I’ll probably do this by hand.
With this strategy I won't have to switch the iron temp or change thread colors often, and I'll have a minimum of presser foot and needle changes. Hopefully this means less mistakes, fewer melted zippers, and an overall quicker process. So far, so good. Here's my progress up through step 7 -all basted and ready to sew!


October Meeting Minutes & Sunday Morning Quilts Trunk Show Recap

We had standing room only for our October meeting! Amanda Jean Nyberg from the blog, Crazy Mom Quilts, was our guest speaker and did a trunk show from her book,  Sunday Morning Quilts, that she co-wrote with Cheryl Arkison.  She obviously has a large following -- so many guests came to hear her speak that we ran out of chairs for the meeting.  Amanda Jean Nyberg trunk show We also had a number of new members sign up as well.  Thank you to all of our guests and new members, we hope you enjoyed our meeting and plan on visiting us again soon!

Amanda Jean gave a fun, informative presentation, graciously answered a variety of questions and signed copies of her book.  Thank you again Amanda Jean! 

Our Show and Tell portion of the meeting included both members and guests which was so much fun and we all learned lots of new things from many of our guests:

Rita W'sRita W's<Rita W'sRozina'sBack of Rozina'sDavid'sKristin S's Quilt of ValorBack of Kristin S's Quilt of ValorCameron H'sCaitlin B'sKristin S's
Back of Caitlin B'sCaitlin B'sOct102013_7211Oct102013_7212Oct102013_7213Chris C's Block Lotto table runnerChris C'sBack of Chris C'sNikol's Madrona Road challengeBack of Nikol'sKristin L's Kristin L'sVanessa L's pillowsBack of Lisa T'sLisa T's
Back of Lisa T'sLisa T's Diamond AffairJen M's pillowTracy W's Diamond AffairBack of Tracy W'sElise P's Black and White challengeBack of Elise P'sOct102013_7231Oct102013_7232Oct102013_7235Oct102013_7234Back of Flaun'sFlaun's

The Low Volume Quilt As You Go Block Lotto winner was Rozina--Congrats!

Upcoming Dates for MplsMQG: We briefly discussed our November retreat and upcoming challenges; someone asked if we would have a recap of this information in the minutes, so here goes:

  1. Next Social Hours: October 29th, 6-9 p.m. at Common Roots. Come and go as you like, eat and drink if you wish, bring some handwork to do or not!
  2. November Retreat: Registration and payment ($135) is due by our next meeting, Thursday, November 14th. Retreat dates are November 22-24, 2013 at Camp Wapo in Amery, WI.
  3. January 2014 --- MPLS Modern Quilt Guild Banner Blocks due. Please make one or more 6 1/2" unfinished (6" finished) block using whites and brights, pattern of your choice.  These block will be used to make a MplsMQG banner.  
  4. February 2014 -- NYCMQG Swap: The theme is love with more information coming soon.
  5. March 2014 -- Monaluna Meadows Challenge due.  See Lisa's blog post for more information on this challenge and the very generous fabric gift from Jennifer Moore, creator of Monaluna fabrics. 
Hope to see everyone next month, Thursday November 14th at the Textile Center.  Our meeting starts at 7pm with social hour starting at 6:30 and again after the meeting.

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