Monday, September 30, 2013

Let the Journey Begin ... Yearlong Round Robin

About 2 weeks ago my mom asked me if I wanted to participate in a Round Robin with her. I was hesitant, but had always wanted to do one, but working on a project with my mom is hard enough because we have different tastes and likes, I don't know how it would be to do it with 5 other people (counting mom), 4 of whom I've never met! Yikes! To say I have control issues is an understatement.
So what is a Round Robin? Some of my readers may not know.

 It's a quilt that is made by a group of quilters and it's a variation of doing friendship blocks.  To start, everyone makes a block for the center.  There can be all kinds of rules for size, color , theme, etc.  The blocks are passed to someone else in the group.  They add the first border.  Then the next quilter adds the second.  This usually continues until there are three borders that have been sewn by three different quilters.  The quilter who made the center block then gets the quilt top back to keep and finish.

On top of that, my mom loves to get all excited and talk you into doing stuff but never really giving you all the info. She asked if I wanted to do it while she was at the first meeting and of course i only had minutes to decide. When I saw her a few days later I found out that it was a large group of quilters, with each "team" having 6 members, but 3 on her dropped out for health or family issues.

She gave me a "book" which was merely a stack of paper to fill out. The first page was rules! (Oh, no! Rules!) The second was a page called "Floater Border Formula". (Oh, now there is math involved.) Then there was a page that was "Guidelines for My Quilt". (Oh, I like that one. I can give directions, now we'll all be happy!) Next was the log sheet for "My Medallion" where you write a description about your center piece. Then it was followed by 5 pages where each quilter adds their notes as they make a border.

Fun right!?!

A day or two after Mom gave me the book and I went through it and decided what to do, she tells me that you have to make a garment bag, which is where your quilt will be kept as it progresses and a small suitcase for your fabrics and such. Uhhh ... what if I need my suitcase in the next year? Ha! I got to borrow one of Mom's. (Yeah, we can still go to Disney - which is ALWAYS being considered.)

So now I have to make a center block, fill out paperwork, do some math and make a garment bag ... Easy peasy!

I finally corned Mom yesterday to get the dates for the meetings because if not, she'll tell me days before if not the day of! I have to plan better than that, I had a toddler to consider and a husband in law school.

Well, I got the dates and learned that the last meeting is a weekend retreat and there are lots of activities and the reveals and stuff. Wow! This is serious business. I did not know all of that went into the planning. Each team also has a name theme. We are Clueless ... because many of us are new to the Round Robin activity and some new to quilting as well.

We also have to "host" a meeting. So out team has to decorate, have gifts and foods. Mom isn't worried, she's just going to let me think of something fun. UGH! Good thing I love Sherlock Holmes! Looks like we might have a mystery themed meeting, because other than that, I'm ... clueless!

So, I'm going to go get fabrics and find what I need this weekend. Come back to see the progress.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Halloween Memories Remembered as We Prepare for Upcoming "Scare-Season"

Ah, finally Fall in Texas, although the weather has not gotten the memo. Its been in the upper 80s and lower 90s here. UGH! But that hasn't stopped me from preparing for the Fall ... or looking back at the fun from last Fall. This is a wreath I made last year and I absolutely LOVE it. It was so easy! Burlap on a wreath from and hot glue some flowers! I event love the smell of the burlap ... kinda reminds me of hay and pumpkin patches.

Last year Halloween was fun. My little one's school had Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot and I went all out with the gypsy costume. I wish I could find a photo of the decorated back of my Tahoe. Kids, teachers and staff loved it! Now I have to top it! Yikes!!

My husband was stationed overseas for the year, but sent this Texans jersey for my little one. He loved it and as you can tell, it will fit for a few years!

Well my costume for this year is still hush-hush, but as Halloween gets closer I'll start revealing stuff! Hope your Halloween planning is quite the "treat"!
Until our next cup of tea ...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trying New Things, Extending My Comfort Zone

So 2013 has been a year of new projects for me in the area of quilting. Until this year, I hadn't done anything beyond creating simple quilts with large blocks. I wasn't really interested in anything too crazy, though I have two that I have been working on (off and on) for a few years now. I guess I have always kept a busy schedule, juggling full-time job, various deployments, working on my masters and volunteering. Other projects, such as cross stitching and embroidery, even scrapbooking, allowed me the ease to pick up and set down projects with little preparation.

But this year, I thought juggling a full time job and part-time job, life with a toddler, managing the house and a husband in law school was the perfect time to go bigger! Maybe I just needed something to fill the time that the hubby is studying and the little one is in bed. 

So far this year, I have done my first "mystery quilt" though not finished, I am about 70% done with the top. (I really should get on that. Maybe this weekend.)

I also made a small blanket and a floor blanket for my son's godmother, who is expected to deliver any day now.

About 2 weeks ago my mom asked if I wanted to participate in a Round Robin she is doing. They just had their first meeting and 4 of the 6 people on her team dropped out! So I joined and will go to my first meeting in November! So as I collect my fabric and decide what I want my medallion to be, I am very excited. Once I get everything set, I'll post photos and stuff as well as post about my progress throughout (though not sure about posting photos until quilts are revealed.)

Have you ever done a Round Robin quilt? What was it like? What was your reaction when your quilt was revealed?

Until our next cup of tea,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quilter vs Crafter: The Great Divide?

Earlier today I was working on some social media stuff for the marketing aspect of my parents' company and I wrote something to the effect of "As the seasons change, so do our crafting projects" instead of "quilting projects".  When I read it aloud (as I often do to make sure my thoughts weren't faster than my hands), my mom was very adamant, almost offended that I didn't use quilters.
"Is it because you don't consider yourself a quilters, but a crafter?" she asked me, adding that while many of our products could be used in other craft areas, they were created for quilters.
I don't consider myself a quilter. I do a variety of crafts, and its not even my primary one. I have always been into needlework, cross stitching more specifically, though embroidery and monochromatic projects like redwork are ones that I do when I have the time to concentrate. (Life with a toddler has put a damper on that.)
Last year I attended a "needleworks" group at the local library and thought that embroidery and cross stitching would be among the things I'd see, but it was almost exclusively yarn work - knitting and crocheting. But the group welcomed me as if it was exclusively cross stitching.
Mom told me that if quilters saw "crafters" on the blog post or whatever I was working on, then they would automatically move on, not looking any further. I thought that odd. I mean I have a hard enough time trying to get my parents to see that "quilters" are no longer blue-haired ladies who sit around  telling stories of their grandchildren and sharing recipes. Quilters and crafters in general are going back to a younger and younger generation. I think with the onset of Pinterest and such, it is no longer seen as an "old lady's activity" (except to my husband, but that is a different post.)
So what do you think? Are you a quilter? Do you think that as a quilter, the label of "crafter" is offensive? Are quilters a "one craft" hobbyist or artist? Hmm ... I just don't know what the right answer is ...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sample Sunday

Sunday was a busy one, as usual - clean house, grocery shopping, laundry, prep for school and work this week ... Well, you get the idea.  Well, I also needed to get some samples made for my mom who has some big shows coming up. So off to the fabric store then the craft room I went. I took my Lil guy with me to the fabric store and that was ... An adventure. Here's a look at some of the projects I started ...

In case you didn't know, fall and winter are my favorite crafting times. So many fun projects!! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Itsy Bitsy Spider

I have finished another UFO (unfinished object) on my project "to do list". This was a quick and easy project. I actually thought I'd finished it last year but wasn't really happy with the web only being in the right corner, so I duplicated and modified where needed on the left side. I like it and so does the husband.  Halloween is his favorite holiday. Now I'm off to do another Halloween project!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Garden of Color ... In Madison, WI

I'm sitting at the airport waiting to head back home and see my Prince Charming and Little Prince, so I thought I'd post about my weekend activities.

I had a great, but VERY busy weekend. On Wednesday, I flew in to Wisconsin to help my mom at the Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, where an estimated 17,000 are quilters and crafts (and some husbands) in attendance and I can tell you, it was fun both as a vendor AND as a attendee (Mom let me go shop a little each day when things slowed down.) There were more than 175 vendors in attendance as well as 126 informational lectures, 24 stage presentations, 30 sit & sew workshops, and 12 hands-on workshops. I wish I could have attended some of those!

On the work front, I was lucky and mom had me working the demo table all weekend, so I got to fuse art quilts all weekend, specifically floral ones, my favorite.

The first one I made was for me! It was called Country Charm, by Happy Stash Quilts, though mine was a little less country and a little more rock-n-roll.

Instead of the country colors on a light colored background,I decided to do mine in jewel-tones with a black background. Mom really like the color combinations so I guess I chose well. Usually I am really hesitant and ask her a lot about color choices or give her a palette and she helps choose the fabrics. So, I'm a little proud I guess. I totally get how nerve-racking it is for newer quilters or those new to fusible to choose colors, and why so many ask for fabric kits. Why mess with a good thing ... But I did and it turned out great.

After finishing mine, mom asked me to make the one for her sample. We make a lot of sample so that we have them on display and she can change them out according to the area that we are going. She also teaches a variety of classes and brings anywhere from 60-100 quilts, so she is always making more. She added a new class recently where she shows different changes to a pattern that can make it unique. You don't always have to follow directions ... Unless you're a child and your mom is giving them!

So I let her use some of the ones I make as a teaching tool, because really, I haven't even got my son's school pictures from last year up, so I'm a little behind on hanging my wall-hangings as well. 

Ok, so I did Mom's Country Charm as well, at least the tops. We have to put them on background fabric when we get home and have more work space. I still need to decide what I want to do for borders on mine ... Hmm ...

Here is a photo of both, side-by-side. Mine is on the right, Mom's in on the left. (Hmm, not such a good view of mine. Oh, well.)

Since I finished two quilt tops on Day 1, on Day 2 I started working on McKenna Ryan's Bella Garden, a sample for my mom. It is a nine-block pattern when put together creates a large "collage art quilt" as I like to call them. I have loved McKenna's work for years, but never did one because I was a bit intimidated and also, it's been years since I demonstrated at a show- like 10 years!
Usually, I did the sales and cashier part of shows since I wasn't too comfortable answering off-the-cuff questions that come with the demo part of it. I know the facts (the marketing side of me), but never really did the quilts, so I could've really talk about technique or experiences. Yesterday, someone called me " an expert on fusible and I turned looking for my mother! I guess I answered her questions sufficiently!

Wow! This post is getting long ... Ok, so back to McKenna's Bella Garden. I did Block 1 {Garden Party} and half of Block 2 {A Vine Buzz} on Day 2 of the show. So easy, so fun ... But mainly so beautiful. The flowers are so much in the realm of what I love, being a girly-girl and all. I like the animals of Bigfork Bay Cotton Company, but the florals win my heart!! Here is Block 1. We have to put it on background fabric, but Mom will do that when they are all put together.

Here is Block 2. I loved putting the grape clusters together and the intertwining tree truck was awesome. I was so happy that McKenna chose to intertwine them rather than piece them, it is so realistic. 

I started fusing Block 3 {Lily's Pad} to fabric, but we didn't get it cut or start fusing together. Maybe I'll get to work on that one later, but either way, I'll try to post photos of all of the ones we worked on when they are finished. 

Happy quilting, (or whatever craft you are doing today!)