Monday, January 16, 2017

Quilting Retreat Weekend!

Quilting Retreats are always conducive for me getting things done and this past weekend was no exception.  I left on Friday for the drive back to Grand Forks for a day long quilting retreat the next day.  One of my quilting friends graciously offered me a warm bed for Friday and Saturday night so I could continue coming to these retreats, which are held every 2-3 months at a church in Grand Forks.  These particular retreats are so popular that once you make it on to the list, you want to stay on the list!  I haven't missed a retreat since I was lucky enough to get in to the first one I attended in March 2015 :-).

For this retreat I took along two small quilts to be quilted and two piecing projects.  I got both of the quilting projects done and made good progress on one of the piecing projects.  The other one never saw the light of day :-).

The first quilt I got quilted was this little strippy string quilt that I pieced last year.  I need to write up some instructions for it that I will share whenever I get them done.  No promises on when that will be :-).  It's not a difficult quilt to piece and you can probably figure it out from the picture and this write-up.  The starting point was leftover ATM machine paper (we used to fill ATMs for our BIL), which is 3 inches wide, and my tins of short strings.  I foundation pieced strings on to the ATM paper in segments of various lengths.  I added chunks of 3 inch strips from the strip bins between the string segments in order to break things up a bit.  Finally, I added narrow sashing between the vertical strips to add some stability to all of those small strings.  The strips were cut 1 inch wide.  Even WITH those stabilizing strips, the poor little quilt developed a leaning problem.  I was able to correct most of the lean with a good basting job and the quilting.  For the quilting I just did randomly placed straight lines.  I start with a drawing a longer line from somewhere in the upper left corner that goes somewhere in the neighborhood of the lower right corner.  I've included a couple of close-up pictures of the quilting below.

The other quilt that I got quilted was a small batik postage stamp quilt.  A second one the same size is in process.  They were supposed to be for our night stands, but I'm not sure they work with our bedroom at the new house, so I will finish them both up and decide then.  They were still fun to make and used up a lot of little batik scraps.  The individual squares finish at 1 inch.  One of the closeup pics has a quarter on the quilt to show the size of the squares.

Once the quilts were quilted I moved on to one of my piecing projects.  Long, long ago I participated in a swap of 2" wide strips of Christmas fabric.  I made the quilt we were supposed to make with the strips, which was a nine patch and hour glass.  But I still had so many strips left that I made a bunch more nine patches and they have been sitting in a plastic storage box just waiting to be used.  And waiting.  Enter Bonnie Hunter's Dancing Nine Patch pattern.  It was PERFECT for getting these blocks into a quilt.  And it's free!  Bonnie has tons of free patterns on her Quiltville website so be sure and check them out.  I didn't get all of the blocks pieced at the retreat, but I was able to finish them up yesterday except for the one I put together wrong which was un-sewn and re-sewn today along with the last block that I didn't think I needed yesterday.  So here they are all laid out and ready to sew into a top.  It looks like a square layout is the way to go.  The main border fabric will be the same as the constant used in the quilt center.

Finally, I finished the stitching on the cross stitch project I've been working on while I was hanging out with my friend I stayed with.  I got my initials and the date on the piece this morning and gave it a good pressing.  This piece is Christmas Zipper by Bent Creek.

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