Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quilt Fest Chicago - Part 2

More photos of the International Quilt Festival that came to Chicago last week.

In addition to vendor booths, the International Quilt Fest also had an exhibit of wonderful quilts. Some of  the  photos  did not come out as good as I hoped they would.  Here are a few of my favorites -
Milady by Sheri Hohman
Flower Quartet by Yasuko Sugaya, Japan
Hand pieced, hand embroidered, hand appliqued and hand quilted.
Crosses by Ikuko Yeno, Japan
Sorry that these also came out a little blurry but I wanted to include them anyway.
The Candy Shop by Miyuki Hamaba, Japan
These next few are photos of a  quilted yurt  created by Linzi Upton of Scotland. So cool!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Quilt Fest Chicago

This past weekend I was so excited to attend the International Quilt Festival, which returned to Chicago after a several-year absence. There was so much to see! If you've never had the chance to attend a large show like this, here's what you're missing.
It's huge. Aisle after aisle of quilts and vendors as far as the eye can see.
 Lots of  award-winning quilts on display -
Intensity by Vicki Hodge
Sunburst by Connie Watkins
Some of my favorite booths were there -
Country Threads
I fell in love with this quilt and was able to find that sweet border/setting fabric at another shop. I have so many nine-patch blocks already made and have been waiting to find a good setting print. Now I have the perfect fabric to go with them.
Lori Smith -   From My Heart to Your Hands
JJ Stitches
I did not go overboard and buy everything in sight or things I didn't really need or knew I wouldn't use.

Just a little bit of fabric . . . .
I was pleased to find some small pieces of hand-dyed wool scraps  . . . 
. . .  and a cute kit

I haven't done anything in wool yet and I am anxious to try it but don't really need yards so this nice, colorful assortment of small pieces will do just fine for a few applique designs I have in mind.
Lots of antique quilt vendors.
Very few doll quilts. None I liked. This one is kind of unusual.
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Come back for Part 2 later this week when I'll show you more photos of some of the beautiful quilts on display.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bitten by a Bug

Help. I've been bitten by a bug. The English Paper Piecing bug. It bit me right in the middle of vacuuming, can you imagine? I felt faint and had to stop, sit down, take a load off my feet and make something from all of these lovely fabric scraps I ordered a few weeks ago. Has this ever happened to you?

Sometime last year I bought these paper diamond shapes at a quilt show and recently found them when I was looking for something else. Distracted again : )  And now I simply can't remember what I was looking for in the first place. Oh well. No matter. I have new plans!

If you haven't tried it, English paper piecing (EPP) is not difficult. It takes a little while to get the hang of it and then it goes pretty fast. They say it's a perfect project to take with you when you're on the run or  - maybe like me, not running but sitting still. I have been keeping it on a table near the sofa so I can pick it up when relaxing in the evenings.
I bought this book by Vicki Bellino around the same time I bought the paper pieces. I was determined to make some cute Star Flowers.
And, look - I did!
Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them. I will probably applique them to a background. The design will come later. Right now I am collecting these diamond stars same as I did my hexagons.

To get started, trace the template on the wrong side of your fabric scrap. Cut diamond shapes 1/4 inch larger than the papers all around. I like to cut a generous 1/4 inch.

Here's a great video on English Paper Piecing  that explains it better than I can.

I prefer to punch a hole in the center of the paper shape and stick a  pin through it to keep the fabric from shifting. This way it's also easy to pull the paper out with the rounded end of a seam ripper when you're finished making the individual stars.

 FYI - I did not go through the paper as the video shows - just basted around the sides of the fabric. Worked for me and it was much easier. I make my hexagons this way too. And - no need to remove the basting stitches when you're done

I also like to use plastic coated paper clips to keep the fabric in place on the paper pieces while I baste.

The papers I used were small enough that one large basting stitch on the straight edges and two or three anchoring stitches in the corners were enough to hold in place. As I mentioned, I did not feel the need to stitch through the papers but you may prefer to do it that way. Try whatever works.
Whip stitch the diamonds together. Sew three together and then another set of three and sew the two units together with a straight stitching line across rather than trying to set the diamonds in one at a time.
Don't snip the tails off, let them "wag." I will tuck them under when I applique the stars to the background.

Be careful, this can easily become an obsession. The other day it was so nice outside I sat in the backyard and stitched while watching the dogs romp (I should have been doing the laundry). I think I have found the perfect summer project.