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My Blog Has Moved!

May 6, 2012

My blog has a new look and a new address. Please go to http://chrisquilts.net/blog/ to check it out.

Thanks,

Chris

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Quilting Fun in Paducah

April 30, 2012

Wendy and I have just returned from a wonderful time at the AQS show in Paducah, KY.

The quilts were amazing, the vendors exciting, and the weather beautiful with no floods in sight. I have a few thoughts, a great tip, and a good laugh I’d like to share.

We used to stay at the Executive Inn, but that is gone now and, after last year’s show Wendy and I decided we wanted to find a way to stay downtown once again (instead of at the Baymont by the Interstate). I did a bit of checking and we ended up at the 1857’s Bed &Breakfast on the second floor of a downtown building. It was delightful! Here’s our front door.

Our suite included a living room (which we turned into a quilt studio), 

kitchen, sitting room and 2 bedrooms. All across the brick street from the Yeiser Art Gallery. What a blessing! We certainly had some fun nights of sewing here.

Hanging the show as part of the Prairie Heritage Quilters from Sun Prairie, WI, is always a joy. After the quilts were up we had the rest of the week to be inspired, shop, eat, take classes and………I was blessed with the opportunity to teach too!!! My first teaching assignment was to do a demonstration at the All Star Review on Tuesday afternoon. In the past the teachers each had a table and repeated their demo numerous times as the students moved from table to table. This year they had the teachers do their demo on a stage just once for everyone. This was especially nice for the teachers as we each got to see what the other was showing. The crowd seemed to really enjoy all the learning and after my time I was interviewed by a reporter from the Paducah Sun. It was so exciting to get the paper – complete with picture – ta da!

I hope you got as good a chuckle from it as I did. The camera that is filming my hands is not in the best of spots, but at least you can see Wendy’s face as she gracefully holds up a quilt :-).

So what was one of our favorite tips??? In a class Wendy took with Libby Lehman she learned that it is a good idea to begin attaching your binding at the top of a wallhanging because the bottom edge is usually closer to the viewer (or judge) and will be the area seen first. I’d never thought about it like that. Makes sense.

To see a You Tube video of the winning quilts go tohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31nuxmYKxQM&feature=youtu.be

The Quilt Show set up video is quite interesting also (with a cameo appearance by Wendy).

The AQS show in Paducah is my favorite show every year and if you haven’t been there I highly recommend putting it on your calendar for next year!

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My View Quilt

April 22, 2012

Greetings from Paducah! Wendy and I arrived this evening and we’ll be helping to  hang the show tomorrow. God is good :-)!

I decided I needed to do a bit of follow up on my window view challenge. I haven’t received any pictures of quilts from those who sent me view pictures, but I did get my snowman quilt done. We haven’t had a flake of snow since 3 days after this picture was taken.

So, I decided I’d better share it now before summer is upon us.

I decided to try a number of new techniques. To begin with I chose a vintage damask napkin for the background with the idea of creating the scene as a wholecloth on it.

Step 1 – I reversed the image on the computer and then enlarged it on the computer using the instructions in my May 23rd post.

Step 2 – I ironed Decorbond ™ stabilizer to the back of the napkin and pinned the enlarged picture to the center of the stabilizer.

Step 3 – On the paper pattern side I free motion stitched around all the trees, the snowman and the snow drifts using bobbin thread to match each area.

Step 4 – I turned to the napkin side and colored in the trees and shadows with watercolor pencils. Then I took a damp q-tip and blended the colors.

Step 5 – I thread painted everything from the napkin side (this is how the paper side looked after the thread painting).

Step 6 – I removed all the paper and layered the napkin with batting and backing.

Step 7 – I quilted around the main objects and the border (frame of the picture) and then bound the edges.

Step 8 – I couched yarn over the picture frame and inside the binding

and Voila! A fun experiment and a unique quilt!

Stay tuned – next week I’ll bring you the inside scoop on Paducah!

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Compass Capers

April 15, 2012

I’d like to send a big thank-you to everyone who commented on last week’s blog post with opinions on classes. I was very pleased with all the suggestions and will really take them into consideration when planning new projects!

Now for my exciting news:

Compass Capers – Create Your Own Unique Mariner’s Compass Quilt is now in print and available on my website!!!

Thanks to all who sent suggestions for the book name or voted for their favorite in the previous post. This title was the winner that made the front cover with a good majority of the votes:

Compass Capers - Create Your Own Unique Mariner's Compass Quilt

The runner up book name was one of my husband’s suggestions and it made the back cover:

Compass Capers book, back cover

Inside you’ll find instructions for drafting compasses any shape or any size. It’s not difficult because it’s done with paper folding techniques and there are pictures every step of the way. Then learn to paper piece your creation with clear step by step instructions and loads of pictures once again.

There are also photographs of many of the Mariner’s Compass quilts I’ve created over the years.

Most Mariner’s Compass books limit the pattern options. Compass Capers is different. By letting you decide on the shape and size of your blocks, the pattern options are endless. Your imagination is your only limitation!

To order your own autographed copy go to http://www.chrisquilts.net/books/ !

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What’s Your Opinion?

April 8, 2012

In teaching at WCTC, I’m always interested in which classes are popular and why. I enjoy all aspects of quilting and especially like to teach new twists on traditional patterns.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a class includes “log cabin”, in just about any form, it will fill quickly. I guess we all love that traditional standard.

I tend to prefer teaching technique classes rather than specific projects, but I’m really interested in your feedback. What are you looking for in a class:

Traditional patterns?

Variations on traditional?

New techniques?

Scrappy?

Sampler blocks?

Piecing?

Appliqué?

Fiber Art and exploring creativity?

Modern Quilts?

Embellishing?

Machine Quilting?

Do you like to be challenged to try something new?

Is there a pattern or technique you’ve wanted to learn in a class, but haven’t found it available?

I really appreciate your opinions and feedback.

Now for a little housekeeping:

My website is under construction and should be up and running again very soon. If you tried visiting it for information on our Sew We Go to Italy adventure, I have all the details on a page on this blog. Click here to read all about it!

The deadline for our window view challenge is coming soon (April 15th). I need to get myself motivated back into it and thought some of you might need a reminder too :-)!

And, just in case you were hoping for a new picture of Grandma and Sommer, here it is:

Thanks in advance for your quilt class opinions!

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Quilt Floating 2

April 1, 2012

Last week’s post explained what quilt floating is and the supplies required. This week’s post is about putting it all together so quilting the quilt can be as much fun as making the top! (for those who missed last week’s post, just scroll down to read all about it)

There are 2 different ways to construct the frame, depending upon your machine/table set up. Both are described here.

Side MountIf your table/cabinet is less than 6’ wide and more than 1½’ deep you’ll want to place the clamps on the sides. To do this clamp the Slide Clamps to the table/cabinet on each side about 1½’ behind the sewing machine.

Attach the aluminum slat to the holes in the clamps with bolts and wing nuts.

***

Back Mount: If your table/cabinet is more than 60” wide and less than 2 feet deep, you’ll want to place the clamps along the back. To do this clamp the Slide Clamps to the table/cabinet along the back – about   3 1/2’ apart.

Then slide the metal rod through the holes in the clamps (this is shown 2 pictures down).

Attach one chain to each Spring Clamp by opening an end link, inserting it through the hole in the clamp and closing the link.

Place the end of one chain over the top bar and Bull Nose clip the chain to itself so the Spring Clamp is at a good height (this can be easily adjusted depending on the size of the project). Repeat for the other chain/clamp.

Place the quilt under the sewing machine needle in the area you want to begin quilting.  Be sure that you have the bulk of the quilt behind the machine.

Grab a bunch of the quilt even with the right side of the machine and about 3’ back on the quilt, raise it up and grab it with the right clamp.

Repeat behind the left side of the machine with the left clamp and you’re ready to begin quilting. As you progress across your quilt simply unclamp and reclamp as seems necessary.

I hope many of you will find this helpful and will let me know how it works for you. Please feel free to share this information and/or forward my blog to your quilting friends!

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Quilt Floating

March 25, 2012

Free Motion machine quilting a large quilt on a home sewing machine can be a bit daunting. A few years ago I developed a system that makes free motioning a bit easier. I’ve been sharing it with my classes, but decided now to share it on my blog so that more quilters might benefit. I call the process Quilt Floating and it’s my way of suspending the weight of the quilt instead of fighting it!

There’s quite a bit of information to share, so I’d like to do it in 2 installments. This week I’ll be sharing the concept, supplies and basic information. Next week’s post will include the specific set up instructions for all who are interested.

Here’s a picture to give you an idea of what Quilt Floating looks like:

Before we get to the actual frame, there’s a few tips I’d like to share. If your sewing machine is in a cabinet – great. It is also helpful to have some support to the left of the machine. If you don’t have any, placing an adjustable ironing board there is a good solution.

If you don’t have a cabinet you will want to find a way to avoid “sewing on a mountain”, ie: with the machine perched on top of a table or desk. Even table extenders don’t solve this problem with a large quilt because pins and folds of quilt get caught on the edges. My best suggestion is to place a card table in an “L” against your kitchen table or a banquet table. Then set the machine on a tv tray in the inside corner with enough magazines to make the bed of the machine flush with the tables.

Now you’re ready to float the quilt. All of the supplies can be purchased at your local hardware store *.

2 Lengths of Chain (approximately 18” long – links should be 1 ½” long)

2 Bull Nose Clips (3/4”)  These can be found with office supplies. They are inexpensive and will clip and unclip the chain together very easily (not in the picture).

2 Slide Clamps (36” long)  Both the old fashioned “C” clamps that screw to tighten or the deluxe new ones that pump tight will work. Choose the best quality clamps you can afford. I took my husband shopping and thus I own the Cadillac of clamps, but at least I waited until they were on sale. They are very easy to use! It’s important to have a hole in the bar at the non-clamp end for a rod or bolt to go through.

2 Spring Clamps (6” long) These are plastic, fairly inexpensive and have holes in the handle ends. They squeeze to open.

1 Top bar 6’ long or long enough to fit the width of your table/cabinet. You’ll want the “Quilt Float” positioned about 1 ½ feet behind the sewing machine. Depending upon your space, you’ll need to choose a “top bar” option:

1. If your table/cabinet is less than 6’ wide and more than 1½’ deep you’ll want to place the clamps on the sides. For this arrangement you’ll need: 2 bolts and 2 wing nuts that will fit through the holes at the ends of the Slide Clamps and a 6’ piece of aluminum slat with holes at even intervals along the length.

2. If your table/cabinet is more than 60” wide and less than 2 feet deep, you’ll want to place the clamps along the back. For this arrangement you’ll need to buy a ¼” diameter Steel Rod (4’ long)

 *If you quilt in a basement with exposed rafters you will only need the chains,  bull nose clips, spring clamps and a couple of nails!

Next week we’ll put it all together!

Window View Challenge Deadline Extension!

On another note – I’m having a lot of fun playing with new techniques on my “Window View” challenge. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to have an extra week or 2 to “get ‘er done” and so I’m changing the deadline from April 1st to  April 15th. I’d appreciate getting a picture of your finished project by then for posting on that week’s blog.

If you haven’t checked out the pictures of the current views, please click here. If you were thinking of participating, but needed more time, send me a picture of your view and jump on in!

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Welcome Sommer!

March 18, 2012

Last week’s “snowman in the window” picture is but a chilly memory, considering we’ve had temperatures in the 70’s here for over a week. That is not just odd – it’s unbelievable for March in Wisconsin. Many are speculating as to the reason, but I have my own theory – my granddaughter was born this past Monday and her name is Sommer Elizabeth. So Sommer is here  :-)

6 lbs 15 oz and 21″ long, with lots of dark hair ……. we’re all thrilled! Thanks for letting me share our joy.

So what does the view from my window look like today?

Quite a change, but I am still excited about making a small quilt from the picture with the snowman. I’m thinking of thread painting the entire scene on a vintage white damask napkin. I’ve never thread painted an entire scene and I think it will be quite challenging. I think this challenge should be  about trying something new.

A number of you responded to the challenge, and  so far 3 have sent me pictures which have been posted to the Window View Challenge page on this blog. Click here to see them.

I’m looking forward to  receiving more pictures and there is still time to get in on the fun. The quilts can be any size, from  a post card on up.  The prize will be an autographed copy of my new book: Compass Capers (which should be available for purchase through my website very, very soon). So send me a picture of your view at clkquilt@gmail.com, and join in on the challenging fun!

 

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Are You In?

March 11, 2012

The weather in Wisconsin has been unique this year. A week ago Friday we had a very wet snowstorm that left 8″ of beauty all over the woods. After clearing the driveway Mike invited me out to build a snowman. It was dusk and the scene was lovely!

By Sunday the temps were heading up into the 60’s and I discovered snowmen can’t do backbends.

Sunday:

Monday:

Tuesday:

So what does this have to do with quilting? Well, this was the view I enjoyed through the window above my sewing machine while quilting on Saturday.

I had an overwhelming urge to create a quilt about it. Then I got to thinking that many of you probably have inspiring views from windows in your home too. This led to the idea of holding my first blog challenge! I hope many of you are up for this. It’s quite simple.

1. Email a picture of your view to me at: clkquilt@gmail.com by next Sunday, March 18th.

2. I’ll post them to a “Challenging Views” page on this blog for all to see.

3. Then make a quilt inspired by your view, any size, any shape, any technique (small is good). You could repliqué the picture, but there are many other ways to be inspired by it: create a traditional pieced pattern using the colors of your picture, pick any item in the photo as a theme for your quilt or ……..any other direction you care to go.

4. Send me a picture of your finished small quilt by April 1, 2012 to be posted on the blog (that’s the deadline – its not a lot of time, but the project is small – and you’d just put it off until the week before anyways :-).

5. The following week’s blog we’ll have a viewers choice vote and the winner will get a wonderful prize!

Here’s a sample to get you started thinking. This is much more involved than our simple challenge, but it is the only other time a window view has been my inspiration.

When we lived in Sun Prairie my husband and kids built me a wonderful “aviary” post with bird houses and feeders hanging from it.

It stood outside my kitchen window and I delighted in watching the birds each morning. When we had to move I couldn’t take the post with me, so I made this quilt which was inspired by it.

Perhaps you’ll think of this as a chance to try a new technique or just play with fabric. I can’t wait to see what you come up with :-)!

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Friendship, Travel and Autograph Quilts

March 4, 2012

Quilting friends are the greatest and traveling with quilting friends is an absolute joy! When Wendy and I lead our Sew We Go adventures we always have a “pre-trip” project and a “take along” project. The pre-trip projects for the past 5 tours have included autograph blocks that we exchange while traveling. They’re a wonderful way to preserve memories just like the Album Quilts our grandmothers used to make.

Each trip we choose a block and all those who desire to participate make enough blocks to exchange, as well as enough extra blocks to complete the chosen pattern.

Our Danube Cruise block was paper pieced in shades of blue and green to evoke memories of gentle waves. 

This type of piecing guarantees all the blocks will fit together .

On our Holland Cruise we had everyone make “flying geese” that could be put together into a Dutchman’s Puzzle block.

I also had my geese fly between the other portions of my quilt.

While floating through the south of France we exchanged Indian Hatchet blocks (that’s the block’s name, I didn’t make it up).

I chose to make my blocks into a tote bag.

The Irish Chain pattern was an obvious choice for our trip to Ireland. There are 2 blocks in this quilt: each quilter made checkerboard blocks and background blocks out of batiks and we signed and exchanged only the background blocks.

This is such a lovely pattern!

Wendy and I are so excited about our next Sew We Go adventure. We’ll be traveling through Italy this coming October and here’s a preview of the design for our Tuscan Sun friendship quilt. We’ll sign the middle rails in the rail fence blocks:

Rome, Sienna, Florence, the Vatican!

Art, Sights, Food, Wine!

It promises to be a wonderful trip and there are still a few spaces available. Click here for all the information!

Do you have any special autograph quilts? Please send pictures to my email, clkquilt@gmail.com, and I’ll post them in a future blog!