Friday, November 22, 2013

Wrapping up a year of stripping

After kicking off our 21st year as a guild with a program on lasagna strip quilts, and our annual Cuddle Quilt workshop that featured 2.5" pre-cut strips, the Choo Choo Quilters wrapped up the year with a quick demonstration of yet another strippy possibility.
Beverly shows the block layout for her  Jelly Roll Jam quilt.
We also enjoyed a diverse Show and Tell from our talented and very prolific guild members.
Becky's 3-dimensional turkey wall hanging is perfect for the season. 
Kim showed this festive little holiday dress with an embroidered ribbon sash.
This is one of a series of art quilts that Delores has created. 
The blocks for this album quilt were a surprise gift to Joanna.
She hand quilted this quilt and the backing and batting are both wool.
Veronica shared a quilt that she free-motion quilted for a local quilt shop. 
Vista created tree ornaments by repurposing men's neckties.
A wonderful memento. 

The following photos from past Show and Tells illustrate the inspiring array of quilterly eye candy the Choo Choo Quilters share and enjoy at monthly guild meetings. From antique and vintage finds, treasured heirlooms and rescue quilts, to modern, contemporary and art quilts, the quilts and projects shared during Show and Tell showcase a variety of hand and machine techniques in styles from traditional to trendy—and everything in between!
This antique log cabin quilt top dates from 1903.
Left: Guild members examine the hand workmanship and variety of fabrics.
Right: the back of each of the log cabin blocks is dated.
A label that was sewn to the back, documents the quilt:
"Mary J. Stagner, 426 W. Gorham St. 1903"
"729 different pieces"
Another vintage "Trip Around the World" quilt.
Take note of the zig-zag border.
Dawn (left) shows her version of the quilted basket.
Dawn (right) rescued this colorful little quilt from a yard sale.

Juanita (left) shows us her quilted table runner.
This tree skirt was made by Ginny (right) for a niece.
This modern style quilt top was made by Janet (left) in a Denyse Schmidt workshop.
The blocks were free-form cut with a rotary cutter—but without a ruler!
Veronica used free-form strip piecing techniques to create this quilt.
It is free-motion quilted.
The Choo Choo Quilt Guild is a friendly, low-key guild that tosses traditional meeting protocol to the wind (sorry, Mr. Roberts and your book of Rules). Our membership is comprised of beginning quilters as well as those with more experience—all willing to contribute, share, support and assist each other. Member teams take turns welcoming visitors and presenting monthly meeting programs—so that no individual member is overwhelmed (or overburdened) with all the guild responsibilities (we like it that way!)—and everyone has an opportunity to share some aspect of the quiltmaking experience with the group. Visit our Blog Archive to see what we've be doing for the past 4 years and stop in at a future meeting for a visit. Until then...

Happy Holidays from the Choo Choo Quilters! 
See you in 2014.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Brown Bag Extravaganza

What an exciting Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting we had in October. The anticipation for the 2013 Guild Challenge finale was high, refreshments were tasty and plentiful, and what came out of 11 modest brown bags was glorious! Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Brown Bag 1: Becky's bag started with a patriotic panel. Challenge participants created a top that Becky intends to be a Quilt of Valor.
Becky's patriotic quilt top.
The last participant even included a label.
The label for the patriotic quilt.
Brown Bag 2: Solids and batiks were the basis of Vista's brown bag Challenge. She requested quilt blocks in the flavor of Gee's Bend using free-form and string piecing techniques. She has quite a few interesting patchwork pieces to start her composition.
Vista's improvisationally pieced blocks with a Gee's Bend flavor.
Brown Bag 3: Orphan star blocks in red, white and blue were inside Juanita's brown bag. The scrappy piano key border unifies the composition and the alternate snow ball blocks are a blank canvas just waiting to show off hand or machine quilting.
Juanita's star blocks found their way into this red-white-and-blue quilt top.
Brown Bag 4: Betty was gifted a stack of vintage (circa 1950s) shoe fly blocks. They were magnificently transformed into this bed size quilt top. Some of the vintage blocks were cut and reassembled into new blocks [see the inner and outer borders] to give this top a fresh, contemporary look. We'll see if this quilt actually goes to a grandson or if Betty decides to keep it for herself.
Betty's vintage-turned-modern quilt top.
Brown Bag 5: A blue and white quilt block was the inspiration piece in Dawn's brown bag. Look at the beautiful additions she received. The graceful florals and small-scale prints are a sweet combination and there are so many layout possibilities for these blue and white lovelies.
Dawn's pretty blue and white blocks.
Brown Bag 6: The sky fabric and a pattern inspiration was provided by Ginny in her brown bag. These colorful hot air balloons are the result and look ready to take flight. The variety of block sizes will require a little creative assembly but the end result will a happy and fun quilt.
Colorful hot air balloons floated out of Ginny's brown bag.
Brown Bag 7: Kim chose earthly, fall colors for her garden and nature-themed brown bag quilt. The variety of fabrics—batiks, wools, felt, and satin—will make this a beautiful, as well as tactile, quilt.
Kim's bag bloomed with a variety of flowers.
Brown Bag 8: Veronica's Monet-inspired brown bag included a fabric panel of paintings by Claude Monet and other painterly fabrics with an Impressionist style. Contributors used improvisational, free-form piecing to make blocks with asymmetrical layouts. Bits of the panel can be seen peeking out from some of the blocks.
Veronica's brown bag in the style of the Impressionists.
Brown Bag 9: Trying to remember what she did with the stabilizer she bought for a string quilt, Cristy was surprised to see this fully assembled top emerge from her brown bag. The black fabrics in the centers of these string-pieced blocks provide a striking contrast to the variety of prints and colors that came from Cristy's and the other participants' fabric stashes. A great de-stashing project.
Cristy's string quilt.
Brown Bag 10: Two packages of charm squares and a handful of solids in Janet's brown bag prompted these blocks. The slivers of the dark brown fabric unify these blocks yet the playfulness and lightness of the prints and sherbet-colored solids still take center stage. These and the additional blocks (not shown here) included in the bag will give Janet unlimited layout possibilities.
A charm square collection and coordinating solids were in Janet's bag.
Brown Bag 11: Delores included asian-inspired fabrics in her brown bag along with a panel with oriental ladies, "that are actually sewing," she said. Several of the blocks made by the contributors are paper pieced. Delores plans to make a small wall hanging with her brown bag blocks.
Asian inspired quilt blocks for Delores.
The 2013 Brown Bag Challenge was a huge success! The participants are very pleased with what they found "inside the Brown Bag."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brown Bag Challenge revealed
at October meeting

The Choo Choo Quilters will have their 2013 Brown Bag Challenge Reveal at the October 21 guild meeting!
Brown Bag Challenge Reveal
at the October guild meeting.
Eleven guild members started this Challenge project in March of this year. By now, each of the 11 bags has circulated through at least 5 guild members who have added to, embellished, sliced, diced, or contributed to the contents in some way. The bags will be returned to the original owner on Monday evening. Excitement awaits as we see what each bag's "nucleus" has grown into. 

Those participating in the Challenge are encouraged to make the last contribution a spectacular one! We want the original owner to be surprised and pleased to find "what's inside the bag." Be sure to sign your name in the contributor's section of the accompanying Brown Bag Journal and write a passage in its pages.

Stacy Slockbower from Pins and Needles Quilt Shop in Hixson, TN, has graciously offered to sponsor the Choo Choo Quilters Brown Bag Challenge and will be joining us at the meeting with goodies for the participants. She will also share an overview of her shop's upcoming quilting activities. 

Refreshments will be provided by Team Dawn and everyone is encouraged to bring something for Show and Tell. Get ready for the Big Reveal on Monday, October 21, at 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fabric Baskets: perfect for holiday giving

The mystery project at the Choo Choo Quilters September meeting was a fabric basket. Three fabrics in quarter yard cuts (or 3 fat quarters) is all that is needed for this quick project. And, it's perfect for holiday gifts, hostess gifts, table centerpieces or other occasions. This one was filled with fat quarters, chocolate and other muchies that any quilter would enjoy.
Mystery project: a Fabric Basket.
If you have an orphan quilt block, it could be quickly made into a basket and filled with home-made cookies, jellies or other edibles. This example snuggled nicely around a plastic tupperware container, but with larger or smaller quilt blocks, these baskets can be adjusted to fit other containers if desired.
Fabric basket made from one quilt block. 
More Cuddle Quilts were turned in at the guild meeting. And judging from the evening's Show and Tell, guild members have been quite busy making and finishing personal quilts as well as community service projects. Here are highlights.
Dawn's first quilt is a big one. She incorporated the label into an extra quilt block.
A family find! Dawn uncovered this unique appliquéd quilt top that was
tucked away among her father's things. She plans to get it framed.
Left: Rhonda's I-spy cuddle quilt.
Right: Delores used lime green center squares to give a lot of punch to this barn raising setting.
Beverly's raffle quilt was made from Bear Paw blocks.
Kim showed her finished red, white and blue Little Twister quilt.
Veronica did the quilting and used feathers and small swirls in the border.
Janet's quilt is based on the Fibonacci sequence. 
Janet made the front of this bed-sized quilt based on the Fibonacci sequence. Searching for motifs for the free-motion quilting, she put on her headset and listened to her favorite tunes from her iPod. The song lyrics, along with abbreviations of the 50 states, numbers and various doodles found their way into the quilting. "Baby, we were born to run..."
Free-motion quilting... song lyrics. Why not??

At next month's guild meeting, we'll have the big Brown Bag Reveal of this year's Guild Challenge. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Mystery with a Quarter Yard

The program for the September Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting, September 16, will be presented by Team Pam, and a mystery is involved.  Everyone is to bring:

A quarter yard each (fat quarter or regular quarter yard) of a light, a medium, and a dark fabric.

The fabrics will all be mixed with everyone else's fabrics, and we'll have a blind drawing.  Then you'll have your fabric for a project that will be fast, easy AND functional!

Also, bring your Brown Bag Quilts for our last rotation, and any show and tell so we can all admire your work!

See you Monday night at 6:30!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

A fine day making Cuddle Quilts

A hard-working band of quilters gathered on Saturday for our Cuddle Quilt Workshop, and we had a most productive day.  Sherry had done an excellent job of setting up the space with tables for sewing, cutting tables, basting tables and also had a large selection of pre-cut fabric strips to use for the cuddle quilts.  She also had a big supply of backing fabrics, and plenty of batting for everything we produced that day.

A few photos of the day's activities:

Some of the 17 quilts basted and ready for quilting - all done in one day!
A great set-up for our cutting.


Ginny with her completed Magnetized top

The mystery pattern for the day - Magnetized!


Front and back of a quilted, bound and washed quilt by Veronica.  Notice the lovely quilting!

Spray basting - a real time saver!
And the pat-down...

We had plenty of strips, backing fabric and batting - all ready to go!
Thanks to Sherry for all her pre-planning and organizing our workshop - it was a great day with friends and working together for a good cause.  The finished quilts will be donated to the Chambliss Center for Children.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cuddle Quilt Workshop, August 17

Our annual Cuddle Quilt Workshop is fast approaching! Next Saturday, August 17, the Choo Choo Quilters will meet at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 3204 Hixson Pike, from 9 am to 2 pm. to work on cuddle quilts for the Chambliss Center for Children.
Pre-cut eighteen 2.5" strips for the CQ workshop.
Do you have your eighteen 2.5" strips cut? There's a little cutting pre-work to be done so you can put the pedal to the floor to make the Cuddle Quilt Mystery quilt. Our masterful CQ Leader, Sherry, has got it all planned so everyone can get a quilt top made, layered and spray basted on Saturday. "Brunch treats" will be served to fuel your creative sewing juices.

The guild will provide batting and have some backing fabric available. Feel free to donate backing fabric if you have extra. Bring an iron and ironing pad to use beside your sewing machine, if you have one. Several boards and irons will be provided if you don't. Fill a few extra bobbins ahead of time. A station will be set up to spray baste the quilts. (Read about how we spray basted 27 quilts here.)

Here is the Mystery Quilt pre-work instructions:
  1. From 18 different fabrics, and cutting from selvedge to selvedge, cut one strip 2 1/2" wide from each fabric.  This will result in a 36" x 36" quilt.  If you want to make a longer quilt, you'll need 24 different fabrics to make a 36" x 50" quilt. A jelly roll can save you some time if you have one to donate to the cause.
  2. Separate your strips into light and dark, 9 strips in each category. Medium hues can go either way, so just separate out the obvious lights and darks, and then just divide the remaining medium hues into one or the other. You'll just need to have 9 strips in each category.
  3. Pair up a set of one light and one dark. Use the darkest darks to pair with the mediums that ended up in the "light" pile, and the lightest lights to go with the medium hues that ended up in the "dark" pile to have a nice contrast for each pair.
  4. With each set of 2 contrasting strips, snip off the selvedges and cut each strip set into 4 pieces: (3) 11" pieces and (1) 6 1/2" piece. After you have cut them, keep each set of contrasting strips together. Continue until all strip sets are cut.
It promises to be a great workshop. Come and join us next Saturday and invite a friend!

And we'll also have our regular August Meeting on Monday, August 19!

You will have two opportunities to get together with the Choo Choo Quilters in August.  The Cuddle Quilt workshop is this coming Saturday, August 17, and then a mere 2 days later we will have our regular guild meeting on Monday August 19.

Team Janet will be leading our program, and they have asked a special guest to come.  Maddie Kertay, the owner of a new quilt shop Spool, will be showing us her quilts and discussing her plans for the new store, which is opening in September.  Come and see all about this new quilting resource in town on McCallie Avenue.

In addition, everyone participating in the Brown Bag Challenge should bring their bags in and we'll redistribute them for another round.  We'll have show and tell, some information about the AQS Show coming to Chattanooga in 2014, and a recap of our day making cuddle quilts.

I hope to see all of you there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cuddle Quilt Workshop: Ready for a mystery?

Our July guild meeting was a good chance to browse through items at our White Elephant Sale, visit with other quilters and eat cookies.
July guild meeting and White Elephant Sale.
A nice selection of fabrics from the sale.
We also enjoyed the show and tell - including this beautiful quilt found at a thrift store for $5.00!
Found at a thrift store for $5!
This is a soon-to-be completed bag for a gift.
We had our Brown Bag Quilt exchange, and we're past the half-way point on that project.  We'll return the brown bags to their owners in just a few months.  

Cuddle Quilt Workshop
We also heard about the Cuddle Quilt Workshop in August.  The details for that are:

Date:  Saturday, August 17
Place:  Cross of Christ Lutheran Church
           3204 Hixson Pike - next to Stuart Heights Baptist Church
           Park in the back for the easiest entry - no stairs!
Time:  9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Come join in the day devoted to piecing, layering and quilting cuddle quilts for the Chambliss Children's Home. We bring our sewing machines and basic sewing supplies, with a couple of irons and ironing boards, cutting boards and rotary cutters and rulers supplied. You are welcome to work on whatever you would like, and Sherry always comes up with some group projects we can all work on.  For this workshop, she's prepared a Mystery Quilt.  Here's what you need to bring to participate in the mystery quilt:

Pre-work for the Mystery Quilt:
  1. From 18 different fabrics, and cutting from selvedge to selvedge, cut one strip 2 1/2" wide from each fabric.  This will result in a 36" x 36" quilt.  If you want to make a longer quilt, you'll need 24 different fabrics to make a 36" x 50" quilt.  A jelly roll can save you some time if you have one to donate to the cause.
  2. Separate your strips into light and dark, 9 strips to each category.  Medium hues can go either way, so just separate out the obvious lights and darks, and then just divide the remaining medium hues into one or the other.  You'll just need to have 9 strips in each category.
  3. Pair up a set of one light and one dark. Use the darkest darks to pair with the mediums that ended up in the "light" pile, and the lightest lights to go with the medium hues that ended up in the "dark" pile to have a nice contrast for each pair.
  4. With each set of 2 contrasting strips, snip off the selvedges and cut each strip set into 4 pieces - (3) 11" pieces and (1) 6 1/2" piece.  After you have cut them, keep each set of contrasting strips together. Continue until all strip sets are cut.
Sherry will reveal what we are to do with these pieces at the workshop!

And finally, the next Choo Choo guild meeting is on August 19, with the program provided by Team Janet.  I'll send an update before that meeting with details.