Friday, April 25, 2014

Final Thoughts on Jubilee Tribute

Over the last two years that I've spent working on Jubilee Tribute, there have been many changes in my life. During the last few months as I spent hours each day hand quilting, I have had time to reflect and I started a list.  This is a post to help me remember the journey I've been on.  It all  started with this picture -
from this book.
Then deciding to use this book from my Mom for the border treatment.
Hours were spent trying to create templates for all the little pieces.
I had to learn reverse applique (huge learning curve for this part!!)
Trying to pick fabrics and audition backgrounds.  Finding reds and the perfect pink.
Trying to find the right green and the right cheddar.
With all 16 coxcomb flowers finally done I was ready to start making a block.  Figuring the math out for this part took a while.  I paper pieced the center and hand appliqued this whole thing down.
And then there were 4!  This was a happy day.  The background fabric was perfect and there was some highlight to the center - it looked exactly the way I had hoped it would.
Next came the vines and leaves.  This is always my favorite part - just organically letting the vines go where they want. And there were LOTS of little berries.
And then the day came that the center was done- every flower, every leaf, every berry.  I still had not decided how to handle the center part that would join the vines.
Now it was finally time to start the border.  Trying to decide on the number of petals and the size and shape of the petals took way too long for me.  I got really frustrated during this part.
But then the day came that there were 4 of these!  After they were all done, I realized they did not look right. So after a few more days of pondering, each scallop went from having 9 petals to having 11.  It's a good thing making the petals was fun.
I couldn't wait to lay out the borders and try to get an idea of what it would look like.  It was at this point, I realized that I needed something in between each scallop.  This took quite a while to figure out, and I got really frustrated during this part too.
Especially when I realized that it needed another reverse applique coxcomb and that I would have to draft more templates!  But as I saw it on my design wall the first time, I knew it was perfect.  Something still seemed lacking, so I added berries to finish the space between the scallops.  There were times that I felt it would never be done.
But seeing the glimpse of what it would look like was enough to help me push through. And then, I drafted yet another template for the coxcomb circle and had to do more reverse applique for the very center.  This time red on pink instead of pink on red.
But the day finally came when the quilt was done and it was ready to baste.
  And on May 15, 2013 I started the hand quilting.
After I had outlined all the flowers, vines, leaves and berries, it was time to start the cross hatching.  I started by marking and quilting an overall 6" grid.  Then I did an overall 3" grid.  Then I went to a 1 1/2" grid.
Each step gave me a better glimpse of what it would look like.  So total, I quilted an overall grid pattern over the entire quilt 5 times!
Finally it was time to start the 1/2" grid.  It was at this point that I had hours and hours to reflect on many things.  People have asked me  how long it took.  I didn't keep track because I didn't want to know.  A labor of love should not be measured.
But the day came that the last stitch of the binding was done and the quilt was hanging at our quilt show.
So in closing, here is a list of some of the things that have happened in my life since I started Jubilee Tribute (not in any particular order):
-I have been 3 different ages
-I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary
-I had a new grandchild - #4
-I got a job and went back to work
-My son lost his job, but has started a new venture
-I agreed to be the Quilt Show Chair for our guild
-I led 1 retreat, 2 workshops, was a guest speaker 6 times and presented 3 programs for my guild
-I was the Grand Prize Winner in the NYC MGQ DWR Challenge
-I designed and help construct "Vintage Blooms" as well as produce a pattern
-I read the Bible through
-I watched the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics
-I was asked to judge my first quilt show
-I got the Shingles
-I've been hot and cold, frustrated and satisfied, sad and happy, calm and upset
-I read at least 63 books (didn't keep track of all)
-I made and finished 14 baby quilts, 2 large t-shirt quilts, 14 regular sized quilts, 25 mug rugs, 8 wallhangings and of course "Organic Pink Pickles"
-I pieced 5 quilt tops including 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mysteries - Easy Street and Celtic Solstice 
-I finished and quilted Orca Bay
Plus there were many miscellaneous random UFO's in various stages of done-ness.

It's really interesting to try and catalog your life over a two year span. For a lot of 2012 I was without a job and got to spend happy hours each day creating.
I will probably never spend 2 years of my life on a quilt again, I've done it.  But it was totally worth it and when I look at Jubilee Tribute, it brings such joy.
In the end, that's really the secret of quilting - the joy.
Happy stitching,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quilt Show Goodies

I didn't have a lot of time to shop the vendors at the show, but I did come home with this beautiful amethyst basket.
 It supports the Heifer Project and I love that buying this basket helps someone halfway around the world.  It was made in Ghana, Africa of Elephant Grass with goat hide handles. It supplies milk to needy families.  This is my third basket from the Heifer Project, but I especially loved this color and shape. (And doesn't Jubilee Tribute look pretty on the chair?)
And then on Saturday my number was picked during our Chinese Auction and I won this cute basket of some fat quarters, thread, note pad and book.  It's always so much fun to win something :).
Still trying to recover.  I'll be back to normal soon.
Happy stitching,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vintage Blooms Has a New Home

Well, my "baby" has a new home.  This is our opportunity quilt that was raffled off at our Quilt Show.  Yesterday at 4 PM, out of over 6,000 tickets, we picked one lucky winner.  She lives about an hour from Pensacola and had been at the show Saturday morning.  What a lucky girl!
After we had taken the quilt down and were closing things out, I realized that in three days, I had not had a single picture taken in front of the quilt. Grrrrrr.  But a friend overheard me and sent me this picture today.
I have a vague recollection of someone taking it.  But these are some of my sweet co-workers.  In fact, the woman in the blue striped shirt is the one who machine quilted Vintage Blooms.  She did such an amazing job.  I hope the new owner will love this special quilt as much as I have.  
More to come soon, I'm still trying to re-enter real life LOL!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Jubilee is Wearing Blue

Our Quilt Show opened today and we had over 700 people! Can I say as Show Chair I am completely exhausted.  But I wanted to share my good news about my Jubilee quilt. As you can see, it won a blue ribbon.
At 4:45, I realized I hadn't taken a single picture. So I grabbed a friend and she took these pictures.
The quilt looks great but I think I look pretty tired - but oh, so happy.  I'm going to share some thoughts about my Jubilee journey soon, but right now I am just so happy to share these pictures and enjoy the thrill of seeing my quilt hang in the show.  By joining The Jubilee Quilt Project, I was committed to making a quilt for me, by me to celebrate me.  I think this is my most favorite quilt of all the ones I have ever made.  
I am beyond thrilled. 
Tired, but thrilled.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trying Something New - QAYG

The other day I had a few spare moments and it was time to play.  I had seen this technique on Maureen's blog and was very intrigued.  I decided to use my blue scraps and some "boy" I Spy fabrics and try it. (See the kitties?)
Why is it that the minute you touch your basket of scraps, it explodes!  And I mean big time!  After looking for blues to use, I couldn't even begin to get the top back on.  I'm going to have to do something about that someday (maybe after the Quilt Show :)).
So after I found some blues and cut my 2 1/2" strips, what looked like a very simple technique was not so simple (or at least to me).  It's a quilt as you go project and I do like that part.
I made the panels smaller (6" versus 8") as I knew it would be a child's quilt, but at this point it looks a little too long for the width. It's also going to shrink a little when all the rows are sewn together.  So would you call this a chevron or a herringbone quilt? Just wondering...
Here is one panel not trimmed off yet - you can see the basic technique.   I got this far and then kind of got sidetracked (imagine that LOL) and haven't done any since this point.  I'll finish this up soon and we'll see how it turns out.
Here is the back side, the strips are sewn right to the strip of batting.
So when I got sidetracked, I decided to start a new quilt  (of course!)- one that has been on my bucket list for a while.  It starts with these simple one row log cabin blocks set on point.  I'm using all stash and so far I'm loving the colors and the way they look together.
6 down, 62 to go (for this part).  It's going to be a pretty big project, so you will definitely be seeing more of this.

We had take-in this morning for the quilts for the show.  The judging will start Monday morning!  Yikes, it's really going to happen.
Have a great weekend, I may get to play a little this afternoon :).  Trying to stay un-stressed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Down in the River to Pray

Did you guess this one???  I'm not sure who did the palm trees, but I do know who did the elephant. And mine was neither of those :). The rules of this challenge were - pick a word, pick a color, pick a technique (all out of a bag).  Then, the word had to be in the title of a song, and the song had to be the theme of the quilt.
This is what I wrote to describe my quilt.
I'm not super comfortable with art quilts, and that's what made this a good challenge.  I'd had this piece of fabric for a while and I knew it had the look I wanted for the sky.  Trying to find fabric to represent mountains, water, ground, etc. is always a challenge and I didn't want to have to buy a lot, so I was hoping it was in my stash.  Several different batiks did the job for the mountains.
Next came the trees, shoreline, water.  I was really liking it at this point.
I checked with a friend of mine who's an art teacher to make sure I had the perspective right.
Here you see the bench and the rust colored foreground.  Once I realized I had the title of the song wrong and elminated the bench, I knew that something else was wrong, I just couldn't figure out what.
The next few pictures show the angst I was having with the foreground.  What I finally decided was that the rust was all wrong.  So I went for the grass/pebble look.
Here I was tring to create a shadow under the tree.
When I finally realzied the rust was wrong, I began to just pile on possible choices.  I liked all the other parts of this quilt and it frustrated me that I couldn't get this part right, especially when it was right in the front.
This is when you walk away and just do something else.  Fortunately, I had some time left before the challenge was due so I waited for this quilt to talk to me.  Unfortunately, it didn't talk very loud.
I just pushed on until I had to make a choice.  After days of fiddling with the fabric, I knew I was getting close - or close enough for me.  I still didn't think it looked great, but I was at the point where I needed to just fuse this thing down, quilt it and be done!
It was finally time to quilt - yay!! I didn't feel like it needed a lot of quilting.  I went with just impressionistic quilting - I'm still not sure if I like the quilting or not.  
My technique was embroidery - not my strong suit.  So I decided to just do some birds flying by.
So here it is.  I think my favorite part is the water and the cat.  I love that it seems the cat is patiently waiting for his owner to finish so they can go home.
As always, I learned a lot.  Acutally, what I realized is that I'm really more comfortable with applique or pieced quilts.  I'll keep trying things outside my box, but hopefully I'll feel more equipped next time.
Happy stitching,