Friday, January 16, 2015

Round Robin # 6 - Spring Table Runner

Now this is how I envisioned our Round Robin would go!  Jane created a lovely basket of flowers as the start of her Round Robin project.  The large flower in the center is a yo-yo! Jane's project book said she wanted a spring table runner.  

Each subsequent person followed her lead by doing an applique with a spring theme.  And each managed to include a little bit of their themselves in their block.  All of them are beautiful hand appliqued pieces!  

When I originally joined this small band of quilters I was in awe of their skilled handy work.  I loved what they were doing but as a brand new quilter I didn't think I'd ever get to their level.  Slowly over the years I've had lots of opportunities to learn from all of them.  I now feel confident enough to tackle simple hand applique work and some day hope to hand quilt something of my own.

Of course Dutchy was the one who introduced me to quilting and taught me all about using the rotary cutter.  Including a lesson we BOTH learned about keeping your hands away from the blade!  Red work is another talent she's shown me.  She has several groups of beautiful red work (and blue work!) blocks she's done that I hope will some day get into several quilts.

For Jane's table runner Dutchy had this cute idea for using hexies as the flowers in her block.  She added a button in the middle of each one.  

Carol's block includes some embroidered stems and buttons to embellish the centers of the flowers.  Carol's hand embroidery is beautiful and this is just a little example of it.  Each month I look forward to seeing her progress on the "State Flowers" she's doing.  She and Jane are both doing the state flower blocks and it's fun to see the different ideas for colors and techniques they are using.

Tami's our expert applique artist.  She's good and she's fast!  She's helped me with becoming brave enough to try my own applique projects.  The first one I did was on the Twiggy quilt I made for a wedding present.  She taught me how to use the English paper piecing method.  It wasn't the first applique method I tried but it's was the first that actually looked good when I was done!

Charlene's block was the same one she used in her own Round Robin project bringing the project together in a unique way.  The bird and egg definitely signify spring.  As a quilting teacher Charlene has provided all of us with tips, tricks, and techniques for piecing all kinds of project through her classes.  Having her as part of our small group gives us a chance to pick her brain once a month!  She's a talented quilter and a genius with scraps! 

Deb R.'s block is her signature bee and bees-keep.  It's something she likes to include in her quilting and we've all come to recognize it.  The name Deborah means "bee" and Deb is certainly the embodiment of a busy bee.  She's great at so many things from refinishing furniture, quilting, and cooking, to Tree House building!  She typicality has half a dozen project in several mediums going at the same time.  Her energy is contagious and her creativity inspiring.

With all these talented, creative people making these beautiful blocks I just knew I had to put them all together so Jane would have a finished table runner.  For my addition I chose to do the sashing and borders.  The colors for all of the blocks were just lovely.  Each one had a bit of golden yellow and some blue.

I found these two great fabrics in my stash.  Although the blue initially seemed dark to me it had that pretty little golden yellow flower that worked beautifully with the golden sashing I picked.

With all the blocks up on my design wall I was able to come up with several layouts.  I really struggled with doing a long narrow table runner or a rectangular one.  I was concerned that if I did them all in a row it might not fit on Jane's table. Even now I question my choice.  This layout seemed to be balanced and light  but maybe a single row was what she really wanted.  Which order would you have put them in?

Here's Jane with her finished Spring Table Runner.  She really liked it and I hope she'll use it.  I gave her the rest of the blue fabric and I told her I would not be hurt if she changed it to the long single row of blocks.  I don't think you can go wrong with such pretty blocks!

Next up will be my Round Robin project, #7 and that last of the series.  I hope you'll come back and check it out!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Round Robin # 5 - The Tree!

Upper left corner of "The Tree"
when I first got it.
Doing a sewing project as a group can be fun and challenging.  And for any quilter, whether experienced or just starting out, a Round Robin can also be a bit scary!  When we began our little adventure I was feeling pretty confident.  I love a challenge and now that I've been quilting for nearly 15 years I figured I could deal with a simple Round Robin.  Little did I know what was in store!

I wasn't at the first gathering where everyone exchanged projects for the first round.  I'd heard rumors from the other members: 'have you seen"'The Tree"?'  'Wait til you see "The Tree"!'  'Oh my goodness, "The Tree" !  . . . 

I was curious but I'm a rule follower so no peeking allowed and besides, I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  I like surprises!  So I didn't actually see "The Tree" until it was my turn to work on it.  When I first took it out of the bag I was not only surprised but fascinated!  The trunk has several layers of fabrics with different textures and the leaves are 3-D.  She used batiks for the backgrounds which simulate the land, the river, and the sky. 

The Tree is what I consider an 'art' quilt.  I've never done an art quilt and honestly working on an art quilt created by someone else sent a shiver of panic down my spine.  As I said, I'm a rule follower but 'art' doesn't have any rules!  

I began the project, as with all the other projects, by hanging it on my design wall and leaving it there for inspiration.  When we started the Round Robin we were each given a little note book that we used to describe why we chose our particular project and what we wanted it to be in the end.  So I took out Deb's book read the back-story.  

The gal that created this art work, Deb R., has been a lover of tree houses since she was a young girl.  In her note book she quoted the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer.  I remembered studying that poem in English class in high school and it was a nice surprise to read it again. It starts out "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree . . .".  

Deb went on to describe her first tree house and her wish to create one in the tree outside her new home.  She had been telling us her tree house plans at our monthly meetings so I had a hint of what she was planning.  She was going to enlist the help of her family and friends but intended to build it on her own as much as possible.  

I was the next to the last person to get The Tree.  Some of the others had put in some very creative additions.   

In the lower left Charlene had added Deb's two dogs.  

Carol added two kayakers on the river in their red kayaks.  

And Tami added an actual miniature quilt hanging on a clothes line with a basket of beaded flowers next to it. There's even a label on the back of the little tiny quilt!

This next picture shows the details of the batik border that Charlene added and the adorable turtle created by Carol.  You can also see some of the details in the tree trunk but you really need to see this one in person to appreciate the textures.

Next, in the far right right bottom corner just past the turtle and the ladder, you can see a big black bear added by Dutchy.  He's had enough of this craziness and is fleeing the scene!  There's also more of that beautiful woodland animals batik border.

As I surveyed the whole quilt it dawned on me that there were no people there to enjoy the tree house.  So for my additions I selected the "Fruit Bottom Ladies".  But I had to wait for the cat to finish his nap before I could cut anything.  

I picked 7 different women - one to represent each of the girls in the group - and added them to the quilt.  Since Deb has told us that this is a tree house for grown-ups I put two ladies sharing adult beverages on the deck.  Notice how the leaves are stitched?  There is fabric on both sides and doubled sided interfacing in between that makes them stand off from the surface.  It's just the coolest 3-D effect!  I couldn't capture it with my camera but it's just so fun.

Three other ladies are out on a limb watching the river and chit chatting away.  The white line over their head is the "phone" line for the two tin cans, one in the tree house, one in the garage, so the ladies can "call" for more refreshments. LOL

But there are two ladies missing.  Wait, I see them, down on the ground.  Hmmmm, could that be Deb trying to talk Tami up the ladder?  It's OK Tami, adult beverages can also be served under the tree house too ;o)

When I finished my additions I sent The Tree on to Jane.  She added a kite and some birds to the sky . . .

along with a cute 3-D tire swing!

I've probably forgotten a couple of items that got added but as you can see there's tons of stuff going on in this fun art quilt.  Each of us stretched beyond our initial apprehensions and came up with some pretty creative additions!

Deb loved the finished project and promised that when it was done it would be hung in the tree house for all visitors to see.

I thought I'd share this picture of the REAL tree house that Deb had posted on social media.  She is one happy woman with a real, grown-up tree house and a beautiful piece of art to hang on it's wall!

Next week is the final installment of the Round Robin and we'll look at Jane's project.