Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Help for children affected by the wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

We have gotten the following message from Michelle Currey, the owner of Sew Notions in Jasper, TN.  She and Bill Klingensmith at Bernina Quilt and Sew are collecting Christmas stockings and small gifts to distribute to some of the children who have been affected by the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg wildfires.  If you would like to help, here's the details:

Good morning everyone. This is Michelle Currey from Sew Notions in Jasper, TN.  We are working on a project for the kids in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other areas. If you could help with this we would be so very thankful. If you want to bring something you can drop it off at Bernina Sew and Quilt Studio on 153 and Shallowford or at my shop in Jasper. All donations will be picked up on December 15th. And shipped out on the 19th. Please find it within your means to help. My goal is 20 stockings and 20 gift cards to either Lowes,  Home Depot or Ace Hardware. Thank you.

Hi ya all. I am sure that you have heard about the Wildfires here in Gatlinburg and surrounding cities, Pigeon Forge being one of them. 
There are loads of kids here who will have no Christmas unless we help.
I would like to ask you to make a Christmas Stocking and if you can afford it, to put a few little goodies in it and send it to me. 
The organizations here have their hands full and I will in conjunction with the coordinators here, distribute these to kids mainly in the motels and temporary housing around here. If the stockings are empty, there is one group who will fill them and distribute them as well. We are not fussy, just need to get these kids something for Christmas. 
Any amount you can afford to make and send would be a blessing to these kids. 
The schools are asking for school supplies, hand sanitizer , crayons, markers, ink pens, pocket tissues, erasers, chap stick, pencil boxes, etc. But any thing that would suit a kindergarten on up to 8th grade. Please keep the gifts in the same age group should you be able to stuff the stocking. 
Thanks and I hope this is OK to post here. 
Be sure to enter a note with your name and address or your fb page so that we can send you a thank you.
My name is
Kitten Rice (The Old Time Quilt Bee)
1013 Mill Creek Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mystery Quilt Challenge quilts revealed

After months and months of making a million flying geese units and a gazillion half-square triangles, the solutions to the 2016 Mystery Quilt Challenge were revealed at the November Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting.
2016 Choo Choo Mystery Challenge exhibit.
Congratulations to (from left) Becky Trotter, Kim Huston and Janice Wheeler who received top honors by Viewer's Choice, and to all the participants on a great job surviving solving the Mystery!
2016 Challenge winners (from left) are Becky Trotter, third place;
Kim Huston, first place; and Janice Wheeler, second place.
The Mystery Challenge was designed for guild members to learn and practice various methods for creating basic patchwork units—half-square triangles and flying geese. Once made, the trillions of basic units were arranged into larger units and blocks with the final layout revealed mid-summer. Challenge participants had the option of following this layout or venturing out on their own... adding additional borders, cornerstones, sashing strips or otherwise reworking the layout to suit their vision.

As seen in the photo above, assembling a trillion or more patchwork bits will yield a throw or bed size quilt. High praise goes to those who both pieced and quilted these larger size Challenge quilts! Here are the final results.
Pam's no-left-overs Challenge quilt. 
Pam incorporated all the left-over bits into the outside border of her quilt. No scraps remain from her Challenge.
Detail of Pam's quilt. She quilted it with straight line quilting.
Vista made several Challenge pieces when she discovered she couldn't deplete the pile of patchwork bits with just two reversible table runners.
Vista's Challenge pieces.
Vista's pieces were reversible. She used both free-motion and
straight line quilting to complement the patchwork.
Joanna departed from the original layout and opted for a medallion style quilt. This red and green color palette is perfect for the holidays.
Joanna's Challenge quilt. Quilted by another.
Dawn added stripped borders and corner blocks to her blue and purple Challenge quilt. Notice how the blocks in the center column merge into the outside border. Clever job with this piecing.
Dawn's Challenge quilt. Quilted by another.
Kim's Challenge quilt is an anniversary gift for a lucky couple. Kim inserted plain sashing strips between the blocks to create a 4-block layout. Smaller patchwork pieces were incorporated around the outside and in the corners.
Kim's Challenge quilt took 1st Place. Quilted by another.
Listening to Janice's recap of her Challenge journey, you could tell she enjoyed making this quilt. The darker border nicely frames the center patchwork.
Janice's Challenge Quilt took 2nd Place. Quilted by another.
Here is the back of Janice's quilt. Two for the price of one! She even collected the cut-off bits from making flying geese and pieced them into little bitty half-square triangles.
The back of Janice's Challenge quilt.
Becky added multiple borders to this blue and yellow quilt. She purchased enough fabric to make coordinating pillow shams. This beautiful 3-piece ensemble is going to be a gift.
Becky's Challenge quilt took 3rd Place. Quilted by another.
Sissy incorporated bits of vintage lace from her grandmother's placemats. When marking the quilt for quilting, Sissy discovered she could not see the marks on the front, so she found a solution and marked and quilted the quilt from the back. Way to go! This is what a Challenge is all about.
Sissy's Challenge Quilt. She quilted it from the back.
Bits of vintage lace are incorporated into the cream colored squares in the centers of the blocks.
Detail of Sissy's Challenge quilt with vintage lace in the patchwork.
Nancy persevered through a few instruction anomalies to complete her Challenge quilt. She said she loves batiks and enjoyed working on a Mystery project.
Nancy's Challenge quilt.
The straight line quilting in Nancy's quilt does not detract from the lovely batiks.
Martha chose a yellow and grey color palette for her Challenge quilt.
Martha's Challenge quilt.
Her quilting in-the-ditch highlights the patchwork.
Detail of Martha's quilt.
Garie hand quilted her red and yellow Challenge quilt!
Garie's Challenge quilt was hand quilted.
The shape of Tennessee is appliqu├ęd next to the label on the back of the quilt.
Detail of Garie's Challenge quilt.
She did piecing on the back as well.
Back of Garie's Challenge quilt.
Using those million patchwork pieces, Theresa created her own layout. Don't you like the black fabric accents?
Theresa's Challenge quilt.
Upon a closer look, the black fabric has white pin dots. This fabric is also used in the piped binding (shown below). Nice detail!
Detail of Theresa's quilt showing ditch quilting and a piped binding.
Dawn used a variety of fun prints in her quilt. Once pieced, she decided to frame the blocks and set them off with the addition of narrow sashing strips in a red solid. Very striking!
Dawn's Challenge quilt.
Dawn quilted the quilt in-the-ditch and added a scrappy pieced binding. What a fun detail!
Detail of Dawn's quilt.
Thanks to Cristy for coordinating this year's Challenge. Congratulations to all the participants and thanks for a great show.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Let's go to the Movies

Bring your hand work, a binding you need to sew on, your paper pieced project that needs the paper removed, or a mindless knitting project and wear your fuzzy bunny slippers to the October Choo Choo guild meeting. We're going to have a movie night!

The big, box-office draw (for quilters, anyway) called "Stitched" will be playing on the big screen for our viewing pleasure.

This fun-filled documentary follows three quilters—Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain and Randall Cook—as they create their entries for the Houston International Quilt Show, the nation's largest quilt show. It highlights the bonds of friendship among quilters and the enormity of the quilting world.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Paper piecing and the afterglow of QuiltWeek

Sherry discusses paper piecing.
The Choo Choo Quilters mustered enough energy after the AQS QuiltWeek in Chattanooga to attend the September guild meeting the following Monday. The guild had great volunteer participation at the quilt show this year—as in the past two years—and we'll miss having the show in Chattanooga next year. It was a fun run while it lasted.

The program for the September meeting was about paper piecing. Sherry lead the program and there was a hands-on demonstration for those who wanted to make a sample block.


Show and Tell
Members shared projects from classes they took at the quilt show.
Janice (left) and Becky took a class and made blocks that look 3-D.

Fusible applique with beautiful hand-dyed fabrics.
 More Show and Tell from guild members.
Baby quilt with a cute dragon.

Hearts and batiks. A beautiful combo.

Becky made this large bed quilt. Blue and orange school colors.

A patriotic quilt by Delores for her husband.
It was difficult keeping this one a secret.
Joanna made this T-shirt quilt with a motorcycle theme.
And cuddle quilts for our community service project are beginning to come in.
Cuddle Quilts are beginning to come in from the August CQ workshop.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cuddle Quilt block tutorial using precut strips

For those who couldn't make it to this year's Cuddle Quilt workshop, this is a tutorial on how to make the quilt blocks. These blocks use pre-cut (2.5") strips.



Be aware that once the strip sets are cut and opened, all the edges of the blocks are on the bias. Careful pressing and spray starch will help keep their shape.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Paper Piecing on display!

Our September Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting will focus on paper piecing, presented by Team Two. Please bring the following supplies to the meeting:
::   Hand sewing needles
::   Thread
::   Scissors
::   Fabric scraps in green, brown, and white or ecru

We will be making a small paper pieced tree for the program.

We will also be basking in the glow from the AQS Quilt Show in Chattanooga the week before, so we'll have a time for Show and Tell, with special emphasis on classes you took, things you bought at the show and fun stories of your adventures at the show.  

We'll see you on Monday, September 19Valleybrook Presbyterian Church starting at 6:30 pm!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cuddle Quilt workshop 2016

Thanks to our fabulous Cuddle Quilt Coordinator, JoAnn, and the CQ committee, the annual Choo Choo Quilters Cuddle Quilt workshop this Saturday was fun and productive.
JoAnn (left) and Martha cutting strips sets at the August Cuddle Quilt Saturday.
In addition to working on Cuddle Quilts, those attending also discussed and pondered the great mysteries of the world: the Single Sock Syndrome, why "bra" is singular and panties are a "pair," and the invention of the "Needle Trip Meter" to notify quilters when to change the needle in their sewing machines.

Saturday's activities started with kits for the "Summer on the Beach" strip quilt. The majority of the strips were cut from the Choo Choo Quilters CQ stash of donated fabrics. However, a few packages of strips were needed to have enough for the kits. The additional pre-cuts were purchased at local area quilt shops: Chattanooga Quilts, Hyderhangout and Pins and Needles Quilt ShopNote: the Choo Choo Quilters shop local! 
Step-outs for the quilt top.
JoAnn had examples of various steps in the process and gave demonstrations throughout the day. Everyone sewed, sewed, sewed... chain-piecing strips together.
Janice (left) and Teresa sewing strips.
 Look at those piles of strips behind the sewing machines!
Cristy chain piecing.
Then to the irons to press the seams...
Ironing the pairs of long strips.
After hours... and hours... and hours of sewing strips, the cutting went quickly. Using the diagonal line on the ruler, the blocks were quite easy to cut from the strip tubes. Each strip set yielded 6 blocks.
Martha cutting strip sets into blocks.
The fun part was seeing all the colorful blocks emerge and arranging them into a quilt top.
Veronica laying out the blocks.
This is one example quilt layout using batik fabrics.
Batik blocks in a diamond pattern.
Then we decided to swap a few blocks and introduce polka dots, checks and prints to the mix.
Blocks from different strip sets makes a fun, scrappy quilt.
When cut, these blocks are approximately 8.5" or 8.25" square (about 8" finished). The quilts can be rectangular or square, in any design. To make a child size lap quilt at 40" x 48", use a 5 x 6 layout. Alternate plain blocks might also be an interesting setting.

Quilters should bring any unused or leftover blocks to the next guild meeting so they can be combined to make additional quilts.

We missed those guild members that could not attend the CQ workshop. We didn't solve all the mysteries of the universe, but we enjoyed fabulous door prizes, food and beverages, and we got a huge pile of quilt blocks made!

Be sure to visit the Choo Choo Quilters Facebook page for more photos.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cuddle Quilt Workshop

Cross of Christ Lutheran Church
3204 Hixson Pike - close to the S Curve in Riverview

Saturday, August 27, 2016       9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Come for a few hours or the entire time!

Summer On The Beach pattern
We're going to be making small, kid-friendly quilts to donate to the Chambliss Center for Children, which provides 24 hour daycare and early childhood education, emergency foster care and residential care for children who have been removed from their homes.

We will have a demo of a quilt pattern called "Summer on the Beach."  This uses fabric strips and tube quilting for a fast and easy quilt that is very cute.  You will receive a printed pattern with step by step instructions.  

We will also have pre-cut strips, batting and backing fabrics available, along with other fabrics if you want to make another pattern.  You can work on piecing any pattern, layering and spray basting your quilt, or even machine quilting during the workshop.  You will learn something new and have fun in the process!

Supplies you'll need:
  • Sewing machine, bobbins, thread, needles
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter, mats, rulers
  • Iron and ironing boards (we can easily share these)
  • Extension cords
  • Any fabric you wish to contribute
  • Snacks to share

We'll have:
  • Tables, cutting tables, chairs
  • Drinks, coffee, some snacks
  • And a door prize for one lucky quilter!
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Beauty of Collective Wisdom this Monday, August 15

Our August 15 guild meeting will be a fun and social event with all members of the guild.  We will not have a formal program this month, but instead will have several ways to tap the collective wisdom of our members.  
  1. Bring your Stumpers - those unfinished projects that need a kickstart.  You can get help with a technique that is giving you trouble, or ask for inspiration and suggestions for your next move on the project.  We've all have those moments, so let the guild members help you over the hump.
  2. First and Worst Quilt Show.  We were all once beginners.  Let's have a fun showing of our first and/or worst quilts.  Cristy will bring her 10th grade world history project, and discuss the underreported story of Sunbonnet Sue in the Renaissance.
  3. Sit and Sew - bring your handwork projects to work on during the meeting, and we'll have an opportunity to just chat and get to know fellow quilters.  
And don't forget our Cuddle Quilt workshop scheduled for Saturday, August 27.  We will meet at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church at 3204 Hixson Pike.  We get started around 9:00 and stay till about 3:00 to work on our charity quilts for Chambliss Center for Children. Joann Lotan has a special quick quilt pattern called Summer at the Beach to demonstrate, along with precut strips, batting and backing fabrics.  It's a great time for all of us, so plan to attend!

I hope to see everyone Monday August 15 AND Saturday August 27!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Curvy Theme for June!

We had a fine meeting in June, with Becky Troxler and Team 5 showing us the finer points of making an Apple Core Quilt.  Here are some of the highlights:
Dawn's quilt from the Diana Hire class last year at the AQS Show.

Her first quilt - very impressive!


Pam shows her love for chocolate, even with her quilts.

Sherry's future grandchild is going to love this quilt!

Becky was inspired by Sherry's program last month.

Teresa used Kaffe Fassett prints for this quilt.

And she displays this curved pieced quilt in her kitchen.

Vista shows her curved improvisational quilt.

And Vista has been making simple blocks from her stash.
And an old family apple core with some great old fabrics.
At last !  The final clue for our Mystery Quilt!