February 2, 2016

January Meeting, 2016

Welcome to 2016! After having informally kicked off the year with a few of our members at our Winter Quilting Retreat, we had our first official meeting of 2016 with a much bigger group in the Studio space of the Workroom in Toronto. It was good to see the familiar faces and a few new ones as well. As soon as we got the business and announcements out of the way, we got right down to show and tell because there was so much great work to see.  
 Samara kicked things off with her finished "High School Yearbook, Class of 89" quilt. Its so great to see the finished version of this, as she's been working through the stages of it and sharing her progress along the way. 
 The back is just as awesome as the front, featuring the black and white "grad" photos. 
 There are lots of great little details, like buttons and braces. Its a really amazing piece. 
 But that wasn't the end of the portraiture. Samarra also had this "Photo Booth" quilt to show. 
 The colours! The dots! The earrings! It all makes me so happy. 
 And the awesomeness just kept coming. This is a series of "sketches" that she is working on, what she refers to as "portrait experimentation". 
 These really are blowing my mind. 
 Such great concepts. 
 And so much whimsy. 
 And speaking of whimsy, Jeannie had this lovely doll to show us. She has resolved to finish up the some of the many UFO's (unfinished objects) that are lurking around her sewing room, and decided to start with this doll that she began to make at a class with Cheryl Smith that was held at SewSisters. She calls her, quite fittingly, "Fini".
 Elaine was joining us for the first time this meeting, and had this very fun, pillow-cube to share. She was putting in the last stitches to close it up, as she plans to display it in the Northcott Cottons booth at the upcoming QuiltCon (booth #616 if you want to check it out in person)
 Gunnel brought in these beautiful, heavily textured little pieces to show us. Both of them are made with photo transfer techniques, and other dying and embroidery. The one above is called "Split Rock"….
 …and this one is called "Leslie Spit", and both were inspired by her bike rides around the city. 
 Interestingly enough, this beautiful fabric is not even intentional. When I asked Gunnel what this was she said "oh, that's just the cloth I put underneath things when I'm printing!" She'd just used it to wrap up the other two pieces she was bringing in to show! I think its a really good sign when even your accidents are beautiful. 
 And speaking of happy accidents, I had nothing to show this month until Rebecca said "oh, does anyone know who this quilt belongs to? It was left behind in the shop." What a surprise to find it was mine! That one on the left there was a quilt yours truly (Andrea) designed and made for a Riley Blake Challenge. And then Catherine C. laughed because she had brought the quilt she'd made for the challenge along to, and was just in the process of binding it. We both missed the deadline by months and months, but what does it matter? I'm always in it just for the fun of making. Anyhow, we thought they looked very nice together, and I'm happy to be re-united with my long lost quilt!
 Catherine I. brought in this amazing Pick-up Sticks quilt which she's been working very hard on in order to have it done in time for her brother and sister-in-laws 25th wedding anniversary. So it was quite a surprise to her when, having mentioned this to her brother he informed her that it was only their 23rd anniversary this year. So she's finished early! This way she has two years to sew on the binding. 
 This quilt was also her first attempt at long arm quilting. It was completely free-handed, which is to say that she did not mark it beforehand. She said it was a really great experiences and she will definitely long-arm a quilt again. 
Karen brought in her sandwiched, and soon to be quilted, quilt made with a technique she calls "Tubing". She'll be teaching a class about how to make it at the Stoney Creek Quilt Guild on March first. It has such a fun and riotous group of patterns, due to the fact that she used 20 different fat quarters to make it.  
Another lovely pick-up sticks quilt, but this one was made by Lisa. It is being donated to the Interpersonal Violence Unit at the Guelph General Hospital where it will be donated to a survivor of sexual assault. 
Lisa is also expecting a Grandbaby in the middle of March, and so has made this adorable "Doggone Cute" quilt, designed by Lorna MacMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts
Honestly, how cute is that? 
Christine brought in this gorgeous Basket Weave quilt from the book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. We were impressed to learn that it is only the 2nd quilt she has ever finished! And that lovely shade of blue (in case you were wondering as we all were) is Kona Peacock. 
Lynda brought this striking little mini quilt to show us. It was made as an entry for the EZ Quilting Triangle Challenge. This is not the greatest picture, but it will have to do, as all the other ones are blurry (sorry). But what is good about this picture is that one of our new members, Elena was showing us how to more effectively photograph black, or dark coloured quilts. She was illustrating the use of a secondary light source to create relief shadows, allowing for the quilting to read better in a photograph. One needn't have the light this close necessarily, as she was just giving us the idea, but its a good tip for playing around with lights when you take pictures of your quilted works, especially for entering in competitions of challenges. 
Doris, who always has lots so show, had a really cool tote-bag which she had made with fabric that she dyed herself. 
And another little challenge entry quilt, also mostly in black. 
One nice thing about making mini quilts is that they back can be as interesting as the front. 
And also, she had this lovely, light wool scarf that she'd hand-dyed. Doris really knows how to take full advantage of a workshop!
We all know that quilting is not an "overnight" craft, and Deborah proved that point with this gorgeous quilt that she made for her daughter. She's been working on it for two-and-a-half years, and capped that off with a 6 hour first attempt at long arming. 
Its made with a Tula Pink pattern called "Dream Weaver" and, as far as I'm concerned, was totally worth the effort. 
Rebecca is as usual, the queen of the neutrals, with this gracefully simple baby quilt, which she had entitled, "Subtle-T". 
And after show and tell was done, Catherine led a workshop about improving accuracy in your piecing. 
She covered a lot of interesting points, from cutting to pressing to using a scant quarter inch for seams. It was very informative and I'm hoping will definitely improve my work. 

Thanks all for coming out to make it a fun, full, informative meeting. See you next month!

January 31, 2016

Quilt Canada 2016 Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge

This is for our exhibit at CQA Quilt Canada in June. Attendees to the show will vote to determine the winner. Prize will be announced soon.

14" x 14" quilt using ONLY TWO OR THREE of the following Kona Cotton Solids:

School Bus

NO other fabrics may be used on visible portions. It is fine to use anything for the backing, facing or sleeve.

You may use any colour of thread for quilting and piecing, but you may not embellish your work with anything else or change the fabrics in any way. That means no sequins, buttons, glitter, paint, ink, dyes, bleach, etc.

Your quilt must have a faced binding. Here is a great tutorial if you are new to the technique. Don't sweat it, it's easy!

Your quilt must have a 2" sleeve. Here is a tutorial for attaching sleeves, but keep in mind that this tutorial is for a large sleeve. You can start with a piece of fabric that is 4 1/2" wide instead of 8 1/2" as called for in the instructions.

Other than those requirements, you are free to do as you wish, but please try to keep in mind that it should be "modern."

Entries will be due June 1, 2016. Our regular May meeting on May 29 is cancelled due to the thread workshop we are holding, but if you are attending that event you may hand in your entry then.

Just to be crystal clear... You may use either two or three of the listed fabrics. You may NOT add any other fabrics (nope, not even white!).

Have fun creating!

Not Really Presidents' Challenge 2016

The only requirement for this year's challenge is that your entry is a quilted self-portrait. It can be any size, any shape, alternative materials, whatever you want! It doesn't even have to be literal, so you can be all artsy and quilt what you're feeling.

These quilts are due at our June 26, 2016 guild meeting where we will all vote upon a winner. The winner will receive a fabulous (yet to be determined) prize and bragging rights!

January 17, 2016

Winter Retreat 2016

Just back from an amazing weekend up North for our second Quilting Retreat on Georgian Bay. 
Once again we were hosted by our member Adrienne Van Halem, at the home of her lovely and generous parents Murray and Bayla.
We had a big sunny room full of tables and art (paintings by Murray Van Halem) in which to sew and sew and talk and sew. 
There was some really beautiful and creative work happening in that room. 
And when we needed to lay some blocks out to see if it was working, we had lots of room for that too. And lots of other sets of eyes to see it anything "jumped out" and needed to be rearranged. 
Oh, and did I mention there was food? I meant to take waaaaaay more pictures of food, but every time we sat down to eat, I just ended up, well, eating and forget to snap a few shots of the lovely meals that our members prepared. I only managed to get this picture of dessert on Saturday night. Julie made HOME MADE marshmallows, which were divine. Pillowy and fresh and just sweet enough without being too sweet. And I made some little brownies with added cinnamon and cayenne...
…the two of which were perfect for stacking.
 One of the best things about a Quilting Retreat in a private home (as opposed to a convention centre or resort) is that you don't even have to get dressed before you get started sewing. 
 You can't beat rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and getting right down to piecing.
Or hand sewing. 
 By the end of the weekend, we even had some finished tops, and projects that went from WIP's to checked off the list. 
 And the overcast and snowy day even managed to provide us with a softly beautiful Georgian Bay sunset. 
And here's the whole crew, together for a group photo before we packed our machines up and headed for home. What a great weekend. Can't wait for the next one!

January 15, 2016

Christmas Party!

December is an odd month. There is so much going on and its just so darned busy that most people don't have time to make anything, except Christmas gifts perhaps. So here at the TMQG we don't have a regular meeting. But we do have a party!
I must say, there were a lot of Christmas/Holiday parties in my December but this one was definitely the most fun. Everyone brought lovely treats and baked goods and there was even a bit of sherry. But the best part, of course, was the people. 
We had a White Elephant swap, wherein everyone brought a home made gift, and then drew numbers and chose a gift to unwrap or STEAL! Lots of fun competition and laughs and even though there were some favourites that got stolen and passed around, I'm pretty sure everyone went home with something they loved. I know I did!
We played games as well. Can't have a party without proper games! We each made a patchwork "bingo card". Which was fun in and of itself. And then we played bingo for prizes. 
We also had a nice chance to look at the charity quilt we made as a group during out last quilt retreat. 
I love the way the rhythm of it. 

I really have to take my hat off to Rebecca, who basically invented this last game. 
I don't know what she calls it, but I'm going to call it The Half-Square-Triangle Composition Competition. 
We were set up to compete in pairs, and were given a picture of a finished block made of HST's and then had to see who could construct the block from little HST chips the fastest. 

It was insanely fun, and even though I'm not normally a person who enjoys competition, I really got into it! The best part was watching our normally calm and genial members get intense, and even do a little smack talking as they got ready to compete. (Laura had me almost on the floor with laughter with her ability to "bring it" verbally)

In the end it came down to Rebecca and Sammara.
Samara anxiously awaiting the judgement of the official...
…and was declared the WINNAH!
I'm telling you, it was some good times. I hope to play this again!
It was a lovely change of pace from our usual meeting. Can't wait to see everybody again in the New Year!