Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quilt Block Dash - Serene in Pink

Purple Moose Designs is participating in the Quilt Block Dash “Serene in Pink” which runs from April 1-10. Quilt Block Dash is an online hide and seek game just for quilters. You dash to the participating shops and find the Quilt Block Dash creative image. With each found image you will reveal part of the instructions for a quilt block. If you visit all 14 shops and find all the images, you will have all the instructions and patterns needed to complete a quilt top. Your name will then be entered for a chance to win fabulous prizes (FREE FABRIC!!). Visit www.quiltblockdash.com to register – hurry, it starts tomorrow!

And just to tease you - I have seen the quilt that you will be getting the instructions for and it's beautiful! Quilt Block Dash is a lot of fun, I hope you'll join in.

Terri Sontra
Purple Moose Designs

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It worked!

I am so excited to report that my experimental workshop to test out my Round Robin in a Day concept was a success! I had 10 vicitims join me for the day at Bunkhouse Quilt Shop and we had such a fun day of creating, designing, eating, laughing, and listening to me swear at and threaten my sewing machine at every turn (more on that later).

Everyone arrived at the class with a 8.5" block that was to be used for the center of the round robin. Most people had pieced a block in various levels of difficulty, but a few had opted to just cut an 8.5" block out of a pretty fabric. Either way worked perfectly.

My concept had been that I would pull a technique or element to be incorporated into each round out of a hat just prior to that round. My concept also included the idea of each round taking 1.5 hours. Both concepts were tweaked a bit as the day went on, but at least we started out that way. Best laid plans and all that.

The first technique pulled from the hat was "flying geese". Imagine my shock when my group of intermediate level and up quilters contained people who had no idea what a flying goose was. Thankfully a participant or two had brought along some books on borders, and we were able to show what a flying goose was. The entire border didn't have to be flying off to Canada in a gaggle, but there had to be a goose somewhere in there. The second round had to contain a triangle, and the third we opted to do as quilter's choice.

I got a rather interesting perspective on this class as I was not only leading it, but participating as well. I can definitely report that the timed requirement was as stressful for me as it was for everyone else, but unfortunately that can't be helped in a class like this. It was definitely a unique experience to see one of my classes from a student's point of view. I'm happy to say I think held my own against many other more famous teachers that I have had. If your shop or guild might be looking for a fresh new workshop idea, I'd be glad to help out!

Thank you to Joanna Martinez who took these photos and allowed me to steal them from her own blog. You might want to check it out for her perspective on the class as well! http://appliquetoday.blogspot.com/ Thanks also to Wanda Makela, owner of Bunkhouse Quilt Shop, for always encouraging me and allowing me to hold this class in her shop, and for arranging such a yummy lunch.

Because I was more than ready to throw my sewing machine across the room the entire time I was leading this workshop, I came home and finally began shopping for a new one. "It is about time", I know you are all thinking. "How long has she been complaining about the one she had? It seems like forever." It has actually been approximately 17 months and 20 days, about one week less than I have owned the thing. But it is all in the past now, as I am the proud mommy of a brand new Janome 6125 QC, which after 2 weeks is still on my nice list. It's a new record! My guild retreat/coming out party for my machine is next weekend, and I figure if I make it through then without incident, I will be able to fully open my heart to it and love it forever. Right now I am understandably relectant to fall completely in love with it after my last machine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome Spring!

What do hardy snow people do on the first Saturday night of SPRING to welcome in the new season? Why, have a cook-out of course! No problem that there's still enough snow on the ground to be measured in feet and that the fire pit is buried somewhere under all that snow - we will not be deterred!
Our family does a cook-out a little different than most. We cook over an open fire. Naturally, we have the usual cook-out fare but we also do fresh bread, stir-fry, cobblers and....well, the list is limitless. I take great pleasure in trying to figure out how to cook foods that would normally require a stove or oven and do it on the open fire.

We built our pit last year from granite that was reclaimed from a building that collapsed the previous winter from the snow. The building was part of a summer camp and had a massive fireplace. I also have some of the white bricks from the interior firebox of that fireplace. I plan to make an oven for our fire pit out of them this year. Then I will be able to do some serious baking!

This spring kick-off-cook-out had a simple menu, gourmet hot dogs, fire-pit potatoes and stir fry veggies with peach cobbler and s'mores for dessert.

Thanks to my hubby who spent 3 afternoons chipping away the hard snow to find the fire pit and thanks to our friends who joined us. Everyone had a fun time (even though only 1 was smiling in the photo!) and no one went hungry (as usual). Can't wait until the next fire pit!
p.s. That's me in the black sweater in the back fixing up some more s'mores for the kids - not facing the camera, as usual!
Terri Sontra
Purple Moose Designs

Monday, March 2, 2009

But look at this one! And a free pattern for you!

Here is my miniature version of the antique quilt pictured in my posting below. It was a fun project to work on during my snow day. Because I wanted to rotary cut it, rather than using templates, I fudged the dimensions a bit to simplify measuring and cutting. So- the patches are not true golden rectangles, but they are close.

To make this little quilt, which measures approx. 17 1/2" x 19 1/2", you will need two fat quarters (a fat quarter measures approx. 18" x 22") plus one 1/8 yard piece of fabric. Non-directional prints work best. You will also need a 20" x 22" piece of low loft quilt batting and a 20 x 22" piece of backing fabric.

Label one of your fat quarters Fabric A, the other one Fabric B. Your 1/8 yard piece will be Fabric C. In the quilt above, A is the medium fabric, B is the light one, and C is the dark fabric.

Cut 4 strips 1 3/4" x 22" from Fabric A for outer borders
Cut 27 pieces 2" x 3" each from A and B
Cut 10 pieces 2" x 1 3/4" from A only
Cut 2 strips 3/4"  x width of fabric (approx. 40-44") from C for narrow inner border
Cut 2 strips 1 1/8" x width of fabric (approx. 40-44") from C for binding

Referring to photo above, join 2" x 3" A and B rectangles into pairs. Join 3 pairs into a strip. Add a 2" x 1 3/4" rectangle to each strip. Press seams toward the darker fabric.  Stitch rows together so alternate rows begin with the smaller A rectangle. Press all seams in one direction.

To add inner borders, measure the length of your quilt top vertically down the center. Cut two 3/4" C pieces to that measurement. Stitch one to each side, press seams out.
Measure the width of your top across the center, Cut two 3/4" C pieces to that measurement. Stitch to top and bottom of quilt, press seams out.
Measure, cut, and stitch outer border pieces from A fabric in this manner.

Layer and baste your quilt top, batting, and backing. Quilt as desired (I free motion machine quilted a simple loop and leaf design- click on picture to enlarge). Bind. Quilt can be displayed either horizontally or vertically.

Happy quilting,
Barbara Chojnacki
Six Gables Designs

Not all antique quilts are pretty

This sad quilt, dating from the late 1800's, is my most recent addition to my quilt collection. The main portion is machine pieced from two very similar double pink prints and a nearly identical double purple that has faded to a muddy grey. Apparently it was not large enough, as at some point a haphazardly stitched hand-pieced border was added (obviously NOT designed to complement the rest of the quilt, but click on the picture and see if you locate the antique bit of cheater cloth on the border). Okay, I'll admit it, the quilt is homely, but it was so cheap!
What IS interesting about this quilt is the proportion of the rectangles. Have you ever heard of the "golden ratio"? This is a mathematical ratio, 1:1.618. I first came across this applied to quilting in Jinny Beyer's  highly recommended book, Quiltmaking by Hand. She includes a lovely pattern, inspired by an antique quilt, in which the rectangular pieces are "golden rectangles", rectangles with the proportion of length to width of the golden ratio.
Looking more closely at my quilt, I realized the rectangular patches were not the typical 1:2 rectangles. I got out my tape measure and calculator and lo and behold, my quilt was also made of golden rectangles! Naturally I had to make one of my very own. Stay tuned!

Happy quilting,
Barbara Chojnacki
Six Gables Designs

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Moose Challenge is ON!!

What fun it has been to hear from quilters all over the country who offered phenomenal suggestions for the possible design elements for the 2009 Moose Challenge!

All of the ideas were put into a hat and the following design elements were pulled out....
Colors: fushia and green
Shape: circle
Thing: a key
Quilt block: Shoo-Fly

So now the fun begins! Design and make a quilt, no larger than 24" x 24", incorporating the above design elements by July 31st, 2009. There are no other "rules" ....just let your creative juices flow! Any kind of technique or embellishment is allowed. Once your quilt is finished, please send a photo to me (Kristi) at chickensoupdesigns@yahoo.com. I'll post the photos so that we can have our blog readers vote for their favorite quilt in August. The viewer's choice winner will receive a goodie bag of quilter's treasures!
ANYONE can participate, even if you didn't send in design suggestions earlier. Tell your friends, and start digging through your stash for that fushia fabric!
I can't wait to see your masterpieces!

Happy stitching!
Kristi Parker
Chicken Soup Designs