Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fiesta BOM – Block 7

Tomorrow being the 1st of August means that the 8th block in the BOM series by Fatcatpatterns will be released for download so I had hurry up and finish the 7th block.  It took me so long to catch up once I’ve fallen behind that I didn’t want to end up there again.

I didn't want to use my blog as a story about my family but today, when looking through my Dear Jane journal, I realized how nice it was to relate certain incidents to a certain block I did.  Now for the sake of those interested, my mom, 82 came to live with us a while ago and she suffers from Dimentia – basically the start of Alzheimer’s with the difference that she still knows all of us and remembers all the things from years gone by but struggles in remembering recent things.

So here I was spending most of the day in my sewing room with mom having to pass me every time she goes to the toilet (which can be every 10 minutes seeing that she can’t remember she’s been there!!).  When I put my block up the design wall to take a photo she came by once again, looked at me and said:  “I haven’t seen you once today.”  No use in arguing with mom for my daughter will often chip in and say “Just accept the fact that she’s your mother and you are wrong!”  I hope she will remember this when I grow old.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stack 'n Whack quilt

Two quilt groups asked me to show them how to do this quick stack ‘n whack or also known as slash ‘n stack quilt.  Now my only example left my house with my son when he moved out, so I had to make another one rather fast.  The quilt itself went quick but totally loving free motion quilting I just had to do a different pattern in every block and that took a while but I’m done in time.

 While I quilt hubby entertains himself on my PC playing every possible Facebook game and here the big love of his life is demanding some attention.

Quilt completed:  July 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blocks in free motion – My end result

After the last meeting with me handing out patterns to fit every shape in the blocks many of the group realized that what I said right in the beginning was true and they now felt comfortable to work on their own.  The group meetings did continue but the group became smaller and as much as I hoped to get one more photo with all of us and our quilts it seems as if it is not going to happen.  Everyone has moved on and got busy with other things.

So in this post I can unfortunately just show my own end result all the while still hoping that I will get photos of the other quilts once completed.  This is my end result and I think with this quilt Emma How has given a totally new take on a whole-cloth quilt.  Why would you just stick to one colour matching the fabric when you can use all the colours you wish to?

A couple more of my individual blocks

I used Guterman Sulky 100% cotton thread on top and in the bottom to do all the stitching making the quilt reversible.  The variegated thread colour code is 4106.

Thanks again Emma for allowing us to do this quilt.  I, for one, had a wonderful time and love my end result.

Completed:  June 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blocks in free motion – Fourth meeting 19 May 2011

For this meeting I turned ‘teacher’ and had some homework all printed out.  So we started off by watching videos on all the patterns that needed to be quilted at home in certain block areas and everyone had to draw the pattern on a piece of paper to make recollection easier.

I tried my best to have my quilt done for this meeting but it unfortunately did not happen and this was how far I got.

Once everyone knew what they had to do for homework, this time using different coloured threads, we continued stitching with colour one and managed to quilt 4 different areas before we had to call it a night.
I took some photos of the work in progress.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blocks in free motion – Third meeting 5 May 2011

We all had a short break with the Easter Holidays and then it was time to continue with our project for the third time.

I worked ahead slightly fearing that I may run into an unexpected problem and have to contact Emma How  for help but my fears were unfounded and I got this far.

With all the foundations about free motion quilting laid the fun seemed to have started.  The ladies were much more relaxed, realized it was simply a matter of memorizing a different pattern and then getting down to stitching it. 

To save us from the frustration of changing thread color constantly and winding new bobbins we started using only one color thread at first, spreading this color over several blocks in different areas of the quilt before changing to the next color.  On this meeting we all however still worked with our first color but accomplished quite a lot in only 3 hours.

Here are some of my individual blocks at that stage - I had more than one color seeing that I worked ahead.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blocks in free motion – Our first stitching day 14 April 2011

Our second get together was moved a week forward due to the Easter Holidays, so we got to start faster.  With everyone’s fabric sandwiched and marked it was time to get some valuable tips from people like Leah Day  and Patsy Thompson via the internet.  These photos show how we all seriously listened trying to pick up hints and tips.

After a couple of practise sessions we were ready to start on our quilt stitching our first pattern on our centre block and I am always surprised to see how people who prior to joining a free motion group and “could not quilt” suddenly act NIKE and ‘just do it’.

We took a group photo as we would like to show ourselves to Emma How who gave us permission to make a quilt similar to her idea but trust me to file anything so well that no-one can ever find it again, so I am saddened to say I don't have the group photo anymore.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Block in free motion – Where the idea came from

After giving a free-motion demonstration HERE  I've been asked by a couple of ladies to organize a workshop to teach them this technique.  Now, without taking away anything from national teacher, Ronel Linde (she was the first person to teach me to do this), Leah Day, Patsy Thomspon, Diane Gaudinsky who all answered every single e-mail sent by me, I still firmly believe that no-one can actually teach you to do free motion quilting.  I've always stated that the best favor Ronel Linde could do to me was to make me sit on my butt for 2 days solid and stitch and stitch and stitch.  When Ronel mentioned that it would roughly take 300 hours before mastering this technique, I then thought I would never get there.

Now just before this event I came across the most beautiful (to me that is) free motion quilt by Emma How  and I just knew that for this workshop I wanted all of us to do this quilt.  So fearing all the copyright laws I did the right thing and contacted Emma asking permission to use her idea.  Now with all the hoo-ha about copyright I should add that I've NEVER had a bad response from anyone I’ve ever contacted asking if I may use their video on YouTube, a quilt design, a picture or whatever which brings me to the conclusion that most quilters are actually very kind people.  Needless to say Emma too gave permission to use her basic idea.  Now this was the quilt I first saw, that lead to this workshop.

Should you wish to read more about this and get a better picture of the quilt by Emma, simply click HERE.

So after mentioning to these ladies that what I am about to ‘teach’ them might just as well be accomplished by themselves at home but I also acknowledge the fact that it is simply so much nicer doing something like this in a group, where you can see that others struggle with the same things you do, get hints and tips from the quilting greats via the internet and measure your progress to those of the rest of your group.

So a new workshop started with no less than 12 of us doing this.  I however didn’t want to copy Emma to the T, so I made my own pattern using EQ7 and once done we were ready to start this journey.

Friday, July 08, 2011

National Quilt Festival: Doing courses, exploring and SHOPPING

On Saturday our whole day was taken up by doing courses.  Karin loved her course and I’d rather not talk about my course – not anything about the technique as such but heck if I never do a course with someone with an attitude like the teacher I had, it would be too soon.  If I’ve taken away one thing from this class it would be “how not to teach”.

The evening friend Celdri – even though not a serious quilter, she was the first to introduce me to quilting after having been an exchange student in the USA and telling me about the quilts she saw at her host family, came to fetch me for a night out in town.  It was so good to see her once ‘little ones’ who now have outgrown me, again.
 Only the next day we were free to seriously look at the quilts and go shopping.  The exhibition hall was done to perfection with ample space for people to move around without ever feeling squeezed and the quilts on display were out of this world.
 I’d like to show some quilts in the category I entered my peacock and I’m sure once you see these you would understand that I don’t even feel bad for not having won anything.  First, quilts I LOVED but none of these won anything.

Friend Karin's quilt

Other quilts in the same category:

Look how my poor peacock simply disappear when seen with all the other colorful quilts!

And finally the 3 winning quilts, with the yellow ribbon in third place.  “Eish!” by Macky Cilliers

In second place with the Red Ribbon,  “Showtime! Disneyworld – April 2010” by Elma van Heerden

The grand winner in the Showtime category was “Spotlight” by Adrienne Brown

And you have to agree with me, the winning quilt deserved the prize no matter what.

Then we went major shopping and I think if I tell you that my suitcase was 15kg overweight you’d get the picture – that cow at the airport made me unpack my bag just there on the floor – just to take the 15kg (Accuquilt dies) as hand luggage.  As if my laptop bag, handbag & camera bag was not sufficient!  I actually got stuck in the isle of the airplane with one snotty man saying to me “did you not read that you were only allowed ONE bag as hand luggage?”  Luckily the total strange lady behind me responded with “o shut up and help her”. 

You might wonder why friend Karin did not help me.  She got in the plane before me but absolutely steaming with anger.  She too was overweight, no wait  - her luggage was overweight, and when she took her sewing case as hand luggage they confiscated her Fiskars scissors.  Not a chirpy flight back and the hostess didn’t do much to change our mood (she did not offer the second bottle of wine as with the flight to Cape Town).  Just take a look at our luggage on the stoep of the guest house as we waited for the shuttle service.  This photo did NOT include all our hand luggage!!

The vendor hall was a beehive of activity and we talked to and met so many new friends.

 My favorite vendor turned out to be Mandy from The Quilting Bug who gave me 10% discount when I didn't have enough cash with me – I should add that this was day 3 of 3 consecutive days shopping at her stall.  Thanks Mandy!!

Mandy on the left with Doortjie Gersbach on the right
And to end my posts on the Stellenbosch 16th National Quilt Festival I should add that no festival will be complete without the goodie bag and this did not disappoint at all.

Loved the Stellenbosch Festival, great to be back home and already making plans for our festival in 2013.  Check it out on - become a follower and add them as a friend on Facebook.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

National Quilt Festival: First night out to the Prize Giving Dinner

Not having a car and after we had to walk more than 2 blocks to get to the entrance of the school where the main activities of the festival was held, we were grateful to hear that the Prize Giving Dinner would be at the boys school right across the street from our guest house.  All dressed we started walking just again to find out that the only open gate would also be about 2 blocks away.

All was forgiven when we stepped inside the hall to be greeted by these.  In the foyer the coffee table for after dinner drinks.

 The Festival Theme was ‘Alive with Color’ and this could be seen in the decorations up on the walls.

 Before entering these lovely ladies gave my kind of ‘handouts’ and they didn't even mind when I left the room and came back in again and took yet another freebie.
 Upon entering the dining area we were greeted to soft background music by this trio.

The tables were perfectly laid to perfection with quilts up against the side walls.  Here the one and only Karin can be seen seated at our table.

The rest of the dining and food area were equally colorful and smart.

We had a couple and their young son from Denmark sharing our table – not to mention multiple prize-winner, Annelize van Niekerk , from Hopetown and her friend Herle.  I got to meet both of them at our local mini Festival a couple of years ago and it was good to see them again.  Back to the couple from Denmark, he must be some unique human being, bringing his wife all the way over here to attend our festival and getting their student son to come along.  He however showed me a rather funny label on the wine bottle and asked if it was traditionally printed on our bottles as the slogan ‘don’t drink and drive’ was internationally known but not what we had on this bottle!!
Don't drink and walk on the road, you may be killed.
This was foreign to us as well and there and then Karin and I tried to hitch a ride from fellow quilter, Christelle Myburgh, but after she apparently had a couple of glasses, she ever so quietly forgot all about us and we had to walk back home again.

O yes and on any formal dinner if you want to seek out the best party goers, do sneak outside and find the hidden spot where the smokers gather.  Lots of stories and usually heaps of giggles.

As the evening came to an end we had a quick photo reunion when we discovered that most of our friends we met at the Yzerfontein PFAFF sew-away, were at the dinner as well.  Take note of the lady on the back right hand side of this photo, Adrienne Brown, whose quilt won the first prize in the same challenge I entered my peacock quilt.

Back at the guest house we tried to dilute the wine with a last cup of coffee in Karin’s room and inspected the contents of our lovely goodie bags.

I just realized that I've done 3 posts just covering day one and to us it was only half a day as we only landed late afternoon.  No wonder we were so dead tired with this much we had to experience and take in.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

National Quilt Festival: My trip and accommodation in Stellenbosch

You know the saying ‘life happens while you’re making other plans’?  It happened over here yesterday.  Adamant to get my house work up to date, wanting to sort my blog photos and continue doing my daily chores, the trip switch on our electrical box decided it is about time to die on us.  Sat without electricity in the plugs (lights worked) from about 11am until 4pm when the electrician finally could come to fix the problem.  Almost froze to death without heating unable to do anything plug related which is most everything!!  So suddenly all my positive plans were moved from morning to late afternoon and evening.  But now on to my trip and stay in Stellenbosch.

Needless to say my best half went along.  No not my husband, he is only the better half but going on any quilting related trip without dear friend Karin is like going without your rotary cutter – in fact I’d rather leave the latter at home.

Much to the disgust of the men in our lives, we (actually Karin) made them take a photo of us before departing from the airport in Bloemfontein.  Here we are still all chirpy and excited, looking forward to our time.

After taking the photo they couldn’t get away from us fast enough, just to be greeted out loudly by Karin as they were about to leave the airport building’s doors.  They did not find us funny with Karin’s husband actually wanting to know when Karin would find a new friend.  I used to like this guy but it seems our relationship is ruined now – darn!!  Unfortunately no photo of the two of them.

Wonderful flight and after 2 bottles of wine in a one-and-a-half hour flight we arrived on Cape Town airport even more chirpy than what we were on departure.  Best surprise ever on the other side when my ‘non-quilting’ best half, Celdri, were there to meet us.  One of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and in no specific area……….. amazing in all areas (okay, leave out cooking and kitchens).

Got our luggage, waited for our Shuttle and after an hour had to phone to find out what happened to the guy.  There we were reading all the banners for our names and our driver decided he’ll just sit and wait in his car as if we knew him, the company or the fact that he’ll be waiting outside.  Not too pleased; that I can assure you.

Our guesthouse however did not disappoint and we were taken to two separate (in fact on the opposite sides of the house) very spacious rooms.  Karin obviously bribed the hosts as she got a room with double glass doors going out to the garden with a nice bench just as she goes outdoors.  Mine, on the other hand, was a room with the entrance inside the house, down a couple of steps (it felt like they were taking me to the dungeon) and I had to walk through the house to get outside.  I think they’ll ask the next guest how much they sleep at night before putting anyone else in there ever again.  If you treat me that way you’ll have to deal with me unlocking the front door at 2am, 4 am and again when I wake up at 6 am.  The staff arriving at 06:30 in the morning were rather shocked the first day to find the front door wide open upon their arrival but soon got used to the ‘sleepless’ person.  These photos show my room.  Until I went shopping I didn’t know why anyone would need this much space in one single room.

After unpacking Karin and I met halfway on the front porch (the name of our planned reality show but more about that later) before we had to get dressed for the prize giving dinner later the evening.  Look when we sit I am taller than Karin!