Monday, March 30, 2015

Quilt Fest Chicago - Red & White

The International Quilt Festival was here in Chicago this past weekend and I got a chance to attend last Friday. I was so excited to see the Ruby Jubilee exhibit. My favorite part -  the miniature red & white quilts, of course. (My apologies, though - I am never able to take good photos at this place. The lights are just way too bright. My camera is pretty inadequate and I don't really take the time to fool with the settings the way I should. I'm always too excited to see the quilts, never mind the camera. So, none of these pictures really do any of the quilts justice.) 

For my Janiac friends - "Dear Karla" made by Karla Zadnik and Janet Armstrong. There were four (!) Dear Jane quilts on display at the show but I was only allowed to take photos of this one. 

The Ruby Jubilee exhibit, celebrating 40 years of Quilt Festival and honoring the red and white tradition, made its debut last year at Quilt Festival in Houston. I was happy to see that it came to Chicago this year.

Here's an excerpt about the exhibit that was in the Houston Chronicle last fall -

"Quilts in the jubilee exhibit were inspired by Infinite Variety, a seminal 2011 red-and-white-quilt show in New York, said Karey Bresenhan, president of Quilts Inc., which hosts the event. Quilters have used ruby to show love, blood and victory for centuries. White, denoting innocence, was often used as relief to the bold red. The New York show, which honored longtime quilt collector Joanna S. Rose's 80th birthday, featured her 651 red-and-white quilts and inspired quilters across the country. 'This is our 40th anniversary, and rubies celebrate 40 years of marriage, so we called it Ruby Jubilee,' Bresenhan said, adding that the exhibit includes 125 red-and-white quilts from 1974, the festival's first year."  

Amazing . . . . but wait until you see these little marvels - 

These small red and white quilts were EXQUISITE!

My heart was going pitter, patter, as you can imagine.

 I will look through my photos and see if I have any of the rest of the show that are decent enough to show you later this week.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Celebrate Worldwide Quilting Day

Happy Quilting Day! We're quilters and we get our own day, how about that? Whatever you do to celebrate today, have fun.

I'm inviting you to sew along with me today. You know I love making small projects and sometimes it's just the thing to get your creativity going. I've been working on some star blocks this week for a different project and decided to use 2 of the blocks for a couple of mug rugs. Aren't they cute? A mug quilt is something I'll always use and it's always nice to have a few extra lying around just in case. What fun to serve someone a cup of tea with a cute mug rug and see them smile and say "Oh, how sweet!"  Here's how to make this one yourself.

I have to say I got a LIFT from making these.

Ready? First, you'll need some good scraps. Choose some of your favorites and put them aside for cutting. You know how partial I am to blue but if you're not, use another color for your theme. Or, just make it all scrappy. If you prefer light prints, then make it with a light color instead of the black background. I hope some of you do this and show me. I'll be waiting for pictures.

Scrappy Star Mug Rug


For the background of the star (I used black prints), cut 
           4 squares that measure 1 1/2"  x  1 1/2"
           4 rectangles that measure 1 1/2"  x  2 1/2"

For the star points (colorful assorted prints), cut
           8 squares that measure 1 1/2"   x   1 1/2"

For the star center (purple), cut
           1 square, 2 1/2"   x   2 1/2"

For the side borders (blue), cut
           2 strips, 1 3/4"   x  4 1/2"

For the backing, cut 
            1 piece of fabric, 6 1/2"  x  8 1/2"

For the binding (brown), cut
             1 fabric strip, 1 1/4" wide

Piece of thin cotton batting, 6 1/2"  x  8 1/2"

Make the Block 

1.  Draw a diagonal line across the back of each 1 1/2"  x  1 1/2" scrap square you've picked for the star points.

2.  Place one 1 1/2"   x  1 1/2" scrap square on top of one end of a BLACK print 1 1/2"  x  2 1/2" rectangle, right sides facing. Sew on the line and trim to a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the triangle toward the corner.

Place another 1 1/2"  x  1 1/2" scrap square on the other end of the rectangle, right sides together, and again stitch on the drawn line. Be sure that the diagonal line is oriented in the opposite direction from the first piece. Trim to a 1/4" seam allowance and then press the triangle toward the corner. Make four of these flying geese units.

3.  Sew a black 1 1/2"  x  1 1/2" square to each end of two of the flying geese units and press the seams toward the squares. Sew the remaining two flying geese units to each side of the 2 1/2"  x  2 1/2" center square, and press the seams toward the square. (Here's a sample I just stitched up using a red center square.) Sew all of the units together as shown below.

4. Trim your star block to 4 1/2"  x  4 1/2". Sew a blue fabric strip to each side of the block. Press.  

5.  Layer the quilt top, batting and backing, and baste or pin the layers together.

6.  Quilt as desired. I quilted an X through the block and a square in the center. Then, I divided each border into 4 segments with a washable white marking pen and quilted an X in each segment for a diamond motif. 

7.  Add 1 1/4" binding using your favorite binding method. 

These were so much fun I had to make two. Have fun! When you're all done, sit back, put your feet up and have a cup of tea or coffee and say "Ahhh, I love being a quilter." 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!

It's been pretty gray here in Chicago this week.
The sun is out right now but I hear some of you are blanketed in snow or will be soon. I think we're supposed to get a little this weekend too. I love the snow, but only in winter, not in spring.  We had a good amount this winter and that made me happy but now I'm ready for the change of seasons (and flowers!). Bring on spring already . . . .

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Tomorrow, March 21, is National Quilting Day. I've been working on making some small blocks for a new quilt and tomorrow I'm having a little Sew Along. (It's a surprise.) Just a little one because I know you're all very busy. Everyone should make time to do a little quilting tomorrow. Many of you will be out shopping for fabric, taking a class or celebrating your heads off. And that's all fine and dandy but be sure you don't get too busy to make something. If you need an idea for making something small and cute, come back Saturday morning for my tutorial to make a little mug mat and sew along with me.
Gather up some of your favorite 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" scraps and strips . . . . C'mon, it'll be fun.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quilt Show Quilts

I had a great time in Michigan last weekend. Thanks to the Thornapple River Rippers Quilting Guild and everyone else who came out to see me. The guild certainly treated me like a queen - 

Lovely accommodations. I liked the fact that the windows actually opened. I'm a fresh-air junkie when I travel.

Not your typical hotel room. The suite had a beautifully decorated kitchen and dining area.

Can't remember the last time I stayed at a hotel with a terrace, sitting room and fireplace. Oh yeah, never.

But enough gushing about the room - on to the show. There were so many beautiful quilts made by members of the guild. Here are a few I thought you'd enjoy seeing -  

Gathering Garden by Rebecca Lydy (from a design by Kim Dielh)

Civil War Sampler made by Sheila Purdy (designed by Bettina Havig)

Made by Rebecca Lydy (designed by Lori Smith)

Stars in the Garden, made by Sally Poll (designed by Vicki Olsen and Jill Shaulis)

Made by Bev Jones (from a design by Edyta Sitar)

Made by Sally Poll

Teeny, tiny  pineapples made by Sally Poll

More pineapples, made by Robin Foster

Picnic Time, made by Rebecca Lydy

Pretty in Plaid, made by Rebecca Lydy (from a Piece O Cake design)

Made by Jane Webb (Edyta Sitar design)

Made by Bev Jones

Made by Brenda Bremer

Vintage quilt made by a 10 year old girl from Hastings, Michigan in 1933.

Antique bars quilt. I think I have to make this one. 

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Happy St Patrick's Day!

Did you know that every year in Chicago on St Patrick's Day they dye the Chicago River green?