Thursday, July 10, 2014

Putting the Curve in Crosshatching

During my lectures and workshops, I've had several people ask me how I accomplished curved crosshatching.  You can't imagine how very simple it really is.  Get ya an arched template and curve away.  Right?  Right!  So, to show you how easy peasy it is, I'm posting pictures of Linda's gorgeous Borders quilt where I did a curved crosshatch in the cream border, and showing you step-by-step how I did this.

Linda LaBrot's beautiful Borders Quilt.  Pattern is from Winnie Fleming's Borders Class
I first wanted to create arches throughout the cream border.  Using my favorite purple disappearing ink marker, I used an arch template to mark the double lines to create even arches through the border. 

I sewed these lines creating the arches.  You could easily make this step straight lines as well.  I like using double lines because it defines the arches.

Now it was time to mark the curved crosshatched lines.  Using that fabulous disappearing marker again and the same arch template, I marked the lines following the curve across the arch.  Then turned the arch template over and marked the other way.  Since the arched template I was using does not have any marked lines, I used a piece of painters tape on the template to mark the width of the crosshatches.  

Time to sew...Using the same arch template, I quilted the lines.  I retraced the original arches and the stitch in the ditch at the bottom so I would not have so many starts and stops within such a small space.  

And so I put the curve into crosshatching.  It really is Easy Peasy!

And for your enjoyment, the rest of Linda's stunning Border Quilt.  I had a hard time letting this one go back to her.  I wanted to keep it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crosshatching Across Blocks

I love the look of crosshatching behind applique and I really love the look when it flows well throughout the quilt.  I was able to accomplish this on the perfect specimen last week.  Bethany pieced and appliqued a gorgeous Texas themed quilt where crosshatching went perfectly behind the appliques.  The crosshatching needed to flow across the quilt as if there were no sashing at all.  I loaded the quilt onto my big girl "Betty" and a bit of a "stand and stare" later, I figured out how to make that crosshatching flow.  Since I was pretty darn proud of myself for coming up with  the math to make this happen, I thought I'd show you all how I did it.  I'm sure there was a simpler way to do this, but just ask my husband and sons.....math is not my strong suit (and I'm a quilter, right?).   

The crosshatching flows across the quilt with disregard of the sashings
My first thought was that I needed the crosshatching to go from corner to corner on all of the blocks.  so I marked an X making that flow.  This guaranteed that the flow would follow all the way across all blocks.  I used the purple disappearing ink marker to mark on this quilt.

After making the X on two squares next to each other, I measured the size of the on point box I had just created between the two.   This box measured to be 9.25".   

I halved the 9.25" measurement I just got which ended up being 4.625 which in my mind is pretty darn close to 4.5 so that is the measurement I kept.  Then I halved 4.5 in order to get the distance between every line, 2.25"  

In the end, I would mark the X from corner to corner in each block and then measure and mark 2.25" flowing throughout the block.  I made sure that I was lining up with the previous block as well to get that flow I wanted.  No crooked lines allowed in crosshatching.  

The results were great.  I changed my thread color to match each background and this gave me an invisible thread look.  I love how this turned out.
The crosshatching flows across all blocks as if the sashing is not there.

Sashing and border quilting done in black.
My method to the quilting was as follows:

- Mark one block at a time with the purple disappearing marker. In Houston, the humidity really helps take those marks away pretty quick. I always mark what I can finish within the next 15 minutes (or they will have disappeared and I have to fun).  

- I stitched around the applique first, starting at a crosshatched line that would end up at a corner of the block. Once I ended going around the applique, I stitched up to a corner (using a straight ruler template). 

- I then stitched around the block using my straight ruler template for the stitch in the ditch.

- After returning back to the corner I started at for the SID, I would then stitch all the crosshatching lines using the straight ruler template.  Yes, I would stitch back over the SID and around the applique stitches to get to my next crosshatch line.  I do this so I will not have so many start/stops in the block. Thread buildup was not a problem as the spaces were not that big and I found ways to only go over the stitching once.  If this were a competition quilt, I would have made a start/stop at each end of line and then bury all my thread tails.  (Not one of my favorite things to do). 

Viola.....crosshatched blocks flowing across the quilt top.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Crazy Girl Trip to MQX New England

15 states twice, 4,000 miles of driving round trip, 60 hours in the car, over 200 beautiful machine quilted quilts, my beautiful mother, and my beautiful Aunt Lynn. Yes, it was the Crazy Girl Trip to MQX New England.

It all started when my mother, Janet Watson, pieced this beautiful quilt (pattern by Winnie Fleming)

and I quilted it.

Mom and I have entered Houston's International Quilt Show and the thrill of being juried into that show....seeing your work hanging for all to see, it's an amazing feeling.  So, when we decided we wanted to start entering some of our quilts into other national shows, I looked around for a machine quilting show to start us off at.  MQX was one of the first ones to show up on my google page. It was at the right time, so application for entry was sent and we waited patiently to see if our quilt was going to be accepted. Another great feeling....getting the congratulations email that our quilt made jury for MQX  New England.

Here is the description from the MQX website about the show.

"MQX Quilt FestivalsTM is an annual quilting show and conference founded by machine quilters, Janet-Lee Santeusanio and Mary Schilke. MQX embraces all quilters, regardless of the size or model of machine used to complete the quilting process. Although the shows have a slant toward machine quilting, MQX is a show that will be appreciated whether you machine quilt or not. What started out in 2000 as a get-together for longarm quilters in New England rapidly grew into the largest machine quilting show in the United States. Well known for its friendliness, attention to detail and dedication to their vendors, students and teachers, Despite humble beginnings, MQX Quilt Festivals' two venues are highly anticipated gatherings for anyone who loves quilts."

Now, Manchester, New Hampshire is a pretty far jump from good ol' Humble, Texas so we did not intend on going to the show.  But then stepped in my wonderful Aunt Lynn (Mom's sister).  She is a quilter along with me and Mom and without her, we would have never entered into Houston's quilt show last year.  She is our biggest cheerleader.  She has pushed Mom and I to do things that we didn't think we were good enough to do and it's given us the confidence to move forward.  The idea of driving on to New Hampshire, taking a week, stopping in to visit my uncle (their brother) in Alabama was Lynn's idea and she is the one who made the trip possible.  I can't thank her enough for giving us that opportunity.  The Crazy Girl Trip to MQX New England was born.

We left early, early on Saturday morning.
Smiles all around on our start to a 2,000 mile car ride at 6:00 am on a Saturday.  We're CRAZY.
Our first day goal was to travel to Uncle Chuck and Aunt Andra's house in Huntsville, Alabama.  We wanted to spend Sunday with them before making the trip up north.  

Three states down.  We decided we would try to find songs with the states mentioned in them.  Thank goodness I took my car sick pills since I was the official googler and song reciter.  It's hard to come up with that sort of thing without google.  As Uncle Chuck will say....Google is your friend.  It really was our friend on this trip because we looked up a ton of stuff.  One of us would mention something then there we were on Google trying to find it out or confirm what we were talking about.  

First day down and arrival at Chuck and Andra's saw them and a yummy pot of chili waiting for us.  Wow, their house was beautiful. They just had it built a year of so ago and it really looked as if it jumped right out of a magazine.  Unfortunately, I was in too much awe of how beautiful it was in ever room that I didn't take any pictures.  Silly me. 

On our day with Chuck and Andra, we were able to see where Andra works, the National Children's Advocacy Center.  She trains professionals how to interview abused children.  They are housed in a historical building that has been beautifully restored.  Andra said that Elvis once played on stage in this building and some of the stage where he would have stood on is displayed in the hallway.

NCAC Hunstville, AL

Andra showing us her stance during her training sessions
Elvis might have walked on these very boards

Chuck and Andra in front of the Elvis wall.

After our tour of the Armory Building, we made our way over to the Big Spring which was the reason Huntsville was founded in this area.  

Janet and Chuck at The Big Spring

It was such a lovey early spring day and we decided to head over to the botanical gardens.  Though there wasn't a ton of plants bloomed out yet, we still got a peek at what was to come.  The dogwoods were in bloom.  Mom's favorite blooming tree.  She loved it.

It was a fabulous day with Chuck and Andra ending with a delicious chicken pot pie made by Andra.  I really enjoyed getting to know where they lived.

It was an extra early start on Monday for our two day drive from Alabama to New Hampshire.  With lots of car games played and lots of scenery in between.  The radio didn't come on once while we made our way up North.  We made it a challenge to get the state signs of every state we went through on our way up.  It was funny because there were several states we had no idea we would be traveling through. We hit a little five minute drive through Georgia. West Virginia snuck up on us and I wasn't ready to get the state sign, Maryland was also a surprise.  What a way to chalk up some states.

While we were traveling through Virginia, Lynn spotted a sign that advertised a quilt shop on it.  We were amazed since usually those signs only showed places to eat, get gas, or sleep.  We backtracked to the shop but found that it was closed on Mondays (boo).  The fun thing about making that backtrack is that Mom spotted a barn with a quilt block on it.  Again....amazed.  So back tracking showed both Lynn and Mom trying to get a picture of the quilt barn.  Lynn was the most successful.  We laughed and laughed at the wall of trees that Mom got pictures of.  

From then on we were on the look out for more barns with quilt blocks on them and learned that they are called quilt barns.  There are a lot, but we were usually driving by quickly and didn't get the chance to get any pictures.  Mom was the best at spotting them, as well as the best at playing the alphabet game.  She has the eyesight of a hawk.

Tuesday arrives and sees us back on the road.  Our plans were to stop in Rye, New York to see a house built in 1667 and owned by our direct ancestor Timothy Knapp.  He was my 8th great grandfather, Lynn and Mom's 7th great grandfather. The Knapp house is part of Historical Rye and is a sort of museum that also contains archives.  When we arrived, we explained to the curator of the place that we were direct descendants of Timothy Knapp and were interested in looking at the house.  She was chock full of information and after the brief tour of the two original rooms, she started pulling archive books for us.  Mom and Lynn were in genealogy heaven looking through these books finding the names of our ancestors.  

Onward to New Hampshire! We passed through New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  We experienced the George Washington Bridge and it was CRAZY!  

Our first day at MQX New England.  We checked in and was offered to take a class on an embroidery machine to pass the afternoon away.  We had a good time in class and made a cute little needle saver.  

Finally on Thursday, the day the show opened to the public, we were able to see our quilt hanging at the show.  Wow, it was such a thrill.  It was an honor to be among all those beautiful quilts. Mom and I were ecstatic just having it there.  We entered our quilt into the Custom Our Daily Bed category.  This category meant that it wasn't embellished to the hilt and would more than likely be used as a bed quilt.  There were 22 quilts in the category.    

 The winners in our category...

First - Spotlight on the Stars pieced by Daniel Perkins, quilted by Carol Perkins

First - Spotlight on the Stars pieced by Daniel Perkins, quilted by Carol Perkins

Second - Byrne's Spiral pieced by Beth Nufer, quilted by Clem Buzick

Second - Byrne's Spiral pieced by Beth Nufer, quilted by Clem Buzick
Third - Starlight pieced by Kathie Beltz, quilted by Mara Novak

Third - Starlight pieced by Kathie Beltz, quilted by Mara Novak
One of the best times I had was standing off to the side and watching others look at our quilt.  It made me proud to have them inspect it like they did.

I inspected some quilts too.  It's amazing how close we were able to get to the quilts.  As a quilter, this was so appreciated.  I want to get up and see those stitches.  

The other thing I loved about this show was that we were able to see the backs of some of the winning quilts.  Wow....this is a back of a quilt.
The back of a quilt named A Splendid Display pieced and quilted by Cindy Seitz-Krug

Happy mother and daughter
Best of Show went to Renae Haddadin and Karen Kay Buckley's Magnificent Mosiacs.  It was spectacular.

The show was a success and a wonderful learning experience.  Mom and I took a walking tour class of the winning quilts.  We learned so many tips about how to win awards and how to enter into shows.  It was fantastic.  We inspected each and every quilt as much as we good that day.  Some of the quilts twice.  I got a ton of pictures and went away from the experience with incentive to make my quilting better. 

It was time to head back home and back to Texas we went. We were able to stop on the way back in New Jersey to see several of the homes my Granddad Chamberlin grew up in.  It was so great seeing these houses and hearing Mom and Lynn talk about the trips they made there from Texas throughout their lives.  I couldn't have asked for better tour guides showing me all the things my Yankee Granddad loved as a kid.  

One of the home Granddad Chamberlin grew up in.  

The drive back home saw all the same states, a bit quieter three crazy girls, lots of rain and another stop over at Chuck and Andras with some bird watching for Mom and excellent meals shared with our Alabama family.  

Whew...what a trip.  This is what we posted on facebook at the end of our trip.   "15 states twice, 4,000 miles round trip, 60 car hours, 1667 ancestry house, visit of Dad/Granddad's home town, two great days with Chuck and Andra, tons of pictures on the iPhone, six soar knees, three soar backs, lots of rain, three one to two hour traffic jams, many games of the name game, alphabet game and dead man in an envelope game, way too many fast food joints, excellent dinners at Chuck and Andra's stop for weary travelers, an alligator with a boat in it's mouth, rolling cooler, fat tv, folding chairs, rolling horse, tons of cows, quilts galore, two quilt classes, lots of quilt barns, tons of laughs, and one nuthatch......all of it was PRICELESS".   Three crazy girls on a road trip.