The first week of the new year began with getting a couple of quilts prepared for QuiltCon East in Savannah and getting them shipped. I am very excited to have two quilts juried into the show this year.
The first one is titled “jubilant” and it is entered in the Small category.
The second quilt is called “Trestle Nestle” and it is entered in the Handwork category.
The shapes for this quilt were inspired by a local trestle on a trail where I enjoy walking and cycling.
Sleeves and labels were attached, and instructions printed.
It always seems to take me longer than I expect to prepare for shipping! The first hurdle is finding a box the correct size. In the past, I have been happy with a box that I was able to purchase at the UPS store, but they didn’t have any in stock this time around. (The recommendation by shows is that you put the quilts in a new box because boxes can become weakened when used.) Since I wasn’t able to locate a new box, I ended up reusing a box, but I reinforced it with a LOT of packing tape.
Then there is the plastic bag to keep your quilt safe from the elements. Recently, I have been using XLarge Ziploc® bags. They are sturdy, reusable and measure 2 ft x 1.7 ft.
It always makes me a little nervous when I drop that package off at the post office. I sent it with a signature required, so I will be tracking it today and making sure it arrived safely!
It won’t be long before I will need to get myself ready to travel to Savannah.
A friend encouraged me to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy of Amy’s Creative Side. I’ve decided to enter one of my favorite quilts, Coral Reef, in the Hand Quilted category. This quilt was completed a couple of years ago, but it will always be a special finish for me. It was made before my blogging days, so this post is an opportunity to share its story.
It began as a pile of half square triangle units created while at a retreat with some local quilty friends. (The nearby Seattle MQG members had recently hosted a bicolor challenge which is what got me thinking about trying a two color quilt.) After much arranging and rearranging on my design floor, I decided on the final layout.
When it was basted, I started machine quilting it, but after a few lines of quilting, I changed my mind and decided it would be more fun to hand quilt. So I dug out all my aqua and orange threads, put it in my hoop and started stitching. It was the perfect canvas for dense hand quilting with a variety of thread types and weights. (It was also a great excuse to buy some new threads!) I took an improvisational approach and made up the designs as I went without marking. It was so.much.fun!
Planning to attend QuiltCon for the first time in 2015, I decided to enter the show, so I worked feverishly to finish it up before the deadline.
It was accepted and I was very excited to have it in the exhibition! What a thrill it was to learn that it had been chosen to receive the Coat’s Award of Quilting Excellence and to see it hanging there at the show. (My husband was even impressed to learn that it was possible to make money with a quilt.)
Coral Reef was exhibited in our local North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival last fall, and is currently traveling to some AQS Quiltweek shows in Grand Rapids, Chattanooga and in the upcoming Des Moines, Iowa event. I’m looking forward to having it back home soon!
This quilt remains one of my favorites, not because it won a ribbon, but because of all the hours that I spent lovingly stitching its layers together. I know many of you have seen this quilt before, but I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about it. I currently am hand quilting away on another quilt, but Coral Reef taught me that I need to pace myself with hand work. Hopefully I will have the new one finished well before any deadlines…we’ll see!
Last night, while watching a wonderful MQG webinar featuring Anna Boenish, I was reminded of the many benefits of English paper piecing.
First of all, it’s portable. I keep my kit ready to go and it’s the project that I throw in my bag when I know I’ll have spare moments waiting for an appointment, riding a ferry, watching a ball game or being a passenger on a road trip.
Secondly, because you only need a few materials and hardly any space, it’s ideal for stitching in any location. Indoors or outdoors, you can literally use this technique anywhere!
Another great benefit is that EPP, like other handwork, lets you be social and visit with friends and family while still making headway on your project.
EPP is also a slow process. Now this could be seen as a benefit or a drawback, but in my opinion, slowing down is often a good thing.
If you have a design that requires precise or intricate work, EPP is definitely a way to accomplish this. It is also well suited to fussy cutting.
I had never really thought about it until I listened to Anna’s talk, but another thing that appeals to me is that you can begin without a plan. In fact, some of my traditional quilts were actually improvisational using this technique.
I often make units and just keep putting them together until they morph into something.
That’s how my current project is evolving. The template pieces for my epp plus quilt were created by Mollie Johanson and she provides a free template and tutorial on her blog Wild Olive. Check out #eppplus on Instagram for photos of folks using this pattern. You might even see pics of me basting in the truck while heading over Snoqualmie Pass.
If you are interested in learning how to English paper piece, just do a search of the topic. There are great resources and tutorials available.
And, if you’re a MQG member, but missed Anna’s webinar, log into the Community section of their website. Under the Resources tab, you’ll find a list of all the past webinars available. Just one of the perks of being a member! You can also find her work, and the unique ways she uses English paper piecing on her website Quilting Queerly or follow her on Instagram @quiltingqueerly.