Monday, February 12, 2018

"From Field to Fabric" presentation

Ever wonder about the manufacturing process behind the lovely quilting cotton fabrics we find at our local quilt shops?
"From Field to Fabric" presentation by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
At the February guild meeting, our resident fabric representative, Veronica Hofman-Ortega [follow her on her blog at], will give a presentation, "From Field to Fabric," which tells the story of how the cotton growing in the fields gets transformed into those colorful bolts of fabrics we fondle and drool over at our local quilt shops. Can you tell the difference between "quilt shop quality" fabrics and the other grades you may see at the big box stores? Veronica will touch on the points to look for and why there is a difference. 

Also at this meeting, the who/what/where/why of the 2018 Choo Choo Guild Challenge will be presented. Come join us on Monday, February 19 at 6:30 pm.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cool tools solve construction conundrums

Got some cool tools?
Each year at the Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge Reveal, participants present and tell the story behind their Challenge quilts. Quite often, these discussions reveal creative ways in which the Challenge participants navigate and overcome construction conundrums that pop up along the way. Sometimes, we have to get quite inventive to meet those Challenge guidelines!

The 2017 Medallion Challenge was no different and seemed to have prompted the use of several tools, templates and rulers that helped participants make and fit pieced borders around a center motif. Let's all learn from each other's experiences, shall we?

Show and Share
For the January guild meeting, we'll have a Show and Share session. Please bring a favorite tool or a go-to gadget that motivates you or helps with the quiltmaking process—or something that's just too cool and too fun for words! For participants in last year's Challenge, bring a tool or share the technique that helped get your quilt across the finish line. If you please, a short demo is also appreciated.

A few other reminders:
  • Dues of $20 for 2018 are now due.
  • Photos will be taken at the January meeting for the membership directory (another reason you want your dues paid up).
  • Program teams for 2018: Time will be allotted for planning and discussion with your teammates. Come with ideas!
  • Last Call for completed Cuddle Quilts! We'll distribute them to Chambliss Center for Children in early February.

See you on January 15 at 6:30 pm.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Year with the Choo Choo Quilters

Nancy presented a program on creating and using "scrap rolls"
at the November guild meeting.
2017 was a wonderful "Make Do" and "Make it Work" year for the Choo Choo Quilters.

From getting creative with fabric swatches and scrap rolls, re-creating with vintage textiles and orphaned quilt blocks, attending a workshop and lecture with nationally-known author and award-winning quilter, Mary Kerr, to learning how to calculate the math for making patchwork borders "fit" through participation in the Medallion Guild Challenge, the Choo Choo Quilters guild members pumped out exciting new quilt projects... in addition to the numerous cuddle quilts for the guild's community service project.

Not only did we "make do," we made—and learned—a lot! And, here are the highlights from another fun, creative and inspiring year at our guild. Sit back, scroll down, and take a look—there are lots of pictures!

A Year of upcycling, repurposing and "Making Do"
The 2017 year started with the kick-off of the theme of "Back to the Future." The concept for this year-long theme was to generate ideas for using, re-purposing or elevating UFOs (unfinished objects), rescued or vintage quilt bits, or whatever half-finished projects were languishing in closets and fabric stashes.
Ideas for using fabric bits and leftovers to make blocks.
Knock-knock jokes introduced the February program on "Making Do"—quilt block ideas for using scraps. Fabric swatches from fabric company outdated sample cards were donated and distributed among guild members. The scraps resurfaced in scrappy, improv quilt blocks that made their way into quilts during the annual Cuddle Quilt workshop.
Guild members collected fabric swatches to make blocks for Cuddle Quilts.
Early in the year, the Medallion Guild Challenge was presented. Instructions were given for a large, center, medallion block.
Ideas for making a medallion quilt with multiple pieced borders.
Throughout the first half of the year, Cristy presented designs and instructions for pieced borders that could be used to surround the center medallion. The Challenge reveal was at the November meeting.
Cristy presents border options.
Want to add dimension and embellishments to your quilts? Delores, Ginny and Martha presented ideas and a plethora of examples for enhancing the surface of quilts.
Delores (left) and Ginny discuss embellishment possibilities.
Delores is the Queen of embellishment.
Martha with her Noah's Ark quilt.
Other guild program topics included T-shirt quilts, tips for making quilts look modern, and using blocks of different sizes. Visit the Choo Choo Quilters Facebook page for other photos.

Let the good times roll
In October, Nancy presented the "scrap rolls" concept and her team provided several samples to stimulate our creative juices.
How long can you make a scrap roll???
A fast and easy strip quilt made with scrap rolls. 
Project ideas for scrap rolls.

Workshop and Lecture with Mary Kerr
In April, the Choo Choo Quilters teamed up with another local quilt guild and brought in Mary Kerr for "A Wonky Star" workshop and a lecture that featured quilts from Mary's book, "Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist." Several of the participants finished their quilt tops in the workshop!
Dawn (left), Mary Kerr and Kim with their Wonky Star tops.
Dawn and Kim used pieces from the same vintage quilt top.
Cristy's Wonky Star
Ginny made multiple sizes of her Wonky Star blocks.
Veronica's stack of vintage Churn Dash blocks turned into this top.
Garie's Wonky Star
Ginny (left) and Vista discuss possibilities.
There were several interesting antique and vintage quilt tops that people brought to the workshop. It was fun to see the popular block patterns and fabrics from days gone by.
The goblet block.
Lots of vintage prints! 
Little red "bow ties" or "butterflies" flit among the vintage shirting fabrics.
A nine-patch fabric bonanza!
Mary's lecture and trunk show was very motivating and inspiring. Seeing the quilts from the Twisted book and exhibit up close and in person was a treat that can't be experienced through photos.
Mary Kerr lecture and trunk show.
2017 annual Cuddle Quilt workshop
The all-day Saturday workshop for working on cuddle quilts was again very productive—especially the group basting session. We set a new record with 45 basted quilts! (Thank you, Sherry Reed, for contributing workshop photos.)
The basting crew (from left): Ginny, Veronica and Kaye.
Garie (left) and Cristy.
Martha (left) and Nancy.
Veronica free-motion quilted 5 quilts during the workshop.
Linda (left) and Theresa.

Choo Choo Show and Tell
The guild was again treated to beautiful quilts made by members, visitors, and others this year. Sometimes the "others" are anonymous quilters whose quilts, tops or blocks were rescued by or gifted to guild members. We enjoy seeing them all.
Sherry's (right) disappearing nine-patch.
A lovely panel was incorporated into this quilt.
Members brought Show and Tell examples for the "Make Do" program.
Garie's (left) vintage quilt.
Ginny's (right) stash-buster quilt.
Betty's quilt made from men's shirts.
Delores showed a vintage scrappy 9-patch.
Antique applique quilt. The red flower fabric has disintegrated. 
Antique hexagon, Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top. Look at the fussy piecing!
Three guests also delighted the guild this year with trunk shows and stories about their journeys in quilting. We enjoyed having Martha Steel, Jean Larson and Stacy Slockbower at our guild meetings.

Nothing outshines or surpasses a Choo Choo Quilter!
And, not to be upstaged by the August 21, 2017 celestial event—a total solar eclipse (the last time a total solar eclipse was seen in the contiguous US was in 1979)—Ginny, one of our "Star" Choo Choo quilters, commemorated the event by making a Solar Eclipse quilt!
Ginny's solar eclipse quilt.
Thanks for a fun-filled 2017. The Choo Choo Quilters are looking forward to 2018.

Happy New Year from the Choo Choo Quilters!