Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Row by Row Experience

I had a hankering to do something different. I saw the Facebook page for the Row by Row Experience and liked the theme Home Sweet Home.   I realized I would have to do some applique, but thought. "Why not give it a try?' Why indeed. So I set out a plan for the Contadino Row by Row, Home Sweet Home quilt.

My goal is to have blocks that represent the various parts of the county my family calls/called home. My daughter lives in South Carolina and she graciously traveled to local quilt shops to get patterns and license plates for her home.

Both of my parents are deceased so it is importance to have a row that honors each of them. My mother grew up in Florida and loved to go shelling at Sanibel Island. I was able to purchase a 2015 pattern from Sanibel Island, Florida.  This years pattern is not available for purchase until November 1st. I was happy to get last years. It an adorable palm tree with turtles, called Tipsy Turtles, from Three Crafty Ladies, Sanibel, Fl.  My next stop will be a trip to the Quilt Box in Dry Ridge, KY.  Dad was born in Perry, Kentucky and went to school in the Dry Ridge area. There is a lot of Bowman and Sechrest history in that area, so a pattern from Dry Ridge will represent dad's side of the family.

For our immediate family I have a pattern from The Quilt Cabin in Goshen, Ohio that represents Clermont County, Ohio, where we live. And it has lots of cats, which we love! Finally we are traveling to the Lake Erie region this week, so I plan to get a pattern from there, as it's our home sweet home away from home.

 Here are the 3 South Carolina patterns I've completed to date. I need to sew the applique down on some. They have been fused. The patterns below are: Sign- Bernina - We're in Stitches and  Home Sweet  Home Away from Home (Viking Sew'n Quilt), in Greenville, SC. The last is from Sew it Goes Quilt Shop in Pendleton, SC.


Two patterns from Greenville, SC
Adorable pieced cats from Sew It Goes Quilt Shop in Pendleton, SC.

The next two I need to do are heavy with applique. They are adorable, but lots and lots of fused applique. There is one problem. I suck at applique. Some of the patterns are recommending the satin stitch, which is not on my machine. I don't have invisible thread, and I am horrid at cutting small pieces. Yeah, that's more than one problem. I have ordered invisible thread from Superior Threads and will try using that and a straight stitch to secure the letters. Thank goodness for pieced pieces like the cats.

I will be looking for more patterns that are pieced. The pattern from the Quilter's Workshop in Loveland is pieced (yeah) and I will get that pattern when I quilt my next quilt. I have signed up for a class on fusible applique at Craftsy. This will be a long term project. Hopefully I will learn to be adequate. I doubt I will learn to love it. 

For me the Row by Row Experience is about family and sentiment. I'm in no hurry. I am not committed to getting 8 rows from 8 shops.  Each row needs to have some sentimental value to be included. I am considering making some of my own pieced blocks, maybe even some paper pieced barns and a church to round out my home sweet home collection of rows. As my wise granddaughter advised. Don't worry about it grandma. Just do it. After all we are having fun. That's what it's all about, right? Wise girl, enjoy the process.

Speaking of enjoying the process we where able to get together for a few hours this weekend and she completed a few more rows on her tumbler quilt. The quilt inspector was more of a hindrance than a help.

"What's going on Smokey. I need to sew" said Jana.

"But I like sitting here!"
"There is nothing you can do to get me to leave these tumblers."  

While Jana worked on her tumblers I spent some time making star patches for the Bonnie Hunter pattern Cathedral Stars. This is a work in progress, and going a little slow. At first I felt the colors where too scrappy. As I lay the blocks out and see the pattern emerge I am feeling better about this quilt. I really like those red and purple ladder blocks. They add some spice to the quilt.

Cathedral Stars work in progress.

Finally, Jana wanted to update our photo. She has a new hair cut, so we took another selfie that has the new and updated Jana. I just love that girl, she is the best granddaughter.

Jana and Grandma July 2016

Coming events: Ohio Star Quilt Guild, Port Clinton, Ohio quilt show. And more Cathedral Stars.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Is it horrid or fun and funky?

I have a friend who has made over a dozen Yellow Brick Road quilts. She loves that pattern. I can't even imagine doing the same pattern over and over.  I like to try new things. However, sometimes I will redo a pattern. With that said,  I surprised myself when I finished my fourth version of Happy Trails by Connie Feller.

I believe I ordered this pattern many years ago from Keepsake Quilting. I liked that it had a finished block of 12 x 12, and that you could feature a large print fabric. The first quilt I made, was a Christmas quilt.  I had this interesting fabric of Santa in his sled, and wanted a quilt with him flying through the sky. Most of the blocks feature a snow village, but three featured Santa in his sled.

Santa flying through a snow filled sky.

Christmas Trails
 I think this quilt worked because of feature fabric, which was the neutral snow village. Nothing really shouts out and even the Santa and his sled compliment the base fabric.

The second quilt I made with Happy Trails was an autumn quilt from batiks.  The surrounding blocks picked up the colors from the sunflower fabric. This seems to be the trick to making the best quilts with this pattern. The pattern it's self does not dominate the quilt. The fabrics are the star.

Autumn Trails.
I recently finished two new quilts using this pattern. The first will be a Christmas gift from my youngest (an adult). He is interested in space, the cosmos and planets, etc. I wanted a quilt that looked like the night sky. I found several fabrics on E-Quilter that fit the theme. I think that I achieved my goal and can't wait to quilt it.

Quilt detail.
In this quilt the fabric is the star, but one fabric does not necessarily overwhelm the others. They blend together to create the overall look of an evening sky.

That takes us to the final quilt. Is it horrid? Is it funky and fun?  This quilt featured a piece of fabric I've had for many year. It features a farm and barn and that resembles my mother's home and barn on SR 138 in Highland County, Ohio.  I've considered this fabric for several quilts, but could never find the pattern that showed off the fabric. I didn't want to cut up the house or the barn.

I finally took the plunge and cut the fabric. I was able to fancy cut the houses and barn. However I was not really satisfied with the way this quilt came together. Once cut, there was not much else that could be done, so I put the quilt together. The jury is still out on this one. I did not add the last border, so it is a lap size. This is probably the least favorite quilt I have made.

The trail to grandma's house.

It remains to be seen if the quilting can save this quilt. It's a lot too busy for me. I will quilt it and keep it, only because the house and barn so closely resembles my mother's home. There are many good memories evoked by that fabric. Part of me thinks this is the most horrid quilt I have ever made. Another part thinks it kind of fun.

You know the saying about not crying over spilled milk. I think it's the same for cut fabric. I'll let this quilt sit for a while. I may go back and add the outside border. Who knows, it may become a favorite. One of the kids may adopt it, because they also have some great memories of the farm, barn and apple trees. Perhaps it's not so horrid after all.

Is there another Happy Trails in my future? It's hard to predict. I think it's time to put this pattern aside and move on. I still have to finish Cathedral Stars and have not even started last fall's Mystery with Bonnie Hunter. And my oh my, the 2016 Row by Row Experience has started. Time to try something new.

Coming events: Will the stars aline with Cathedral Stars or will the 2016 Row by Row Experience win out?