Friday, November 24, 2017

Medallion Challenge quilts take center stage

Monday, November 20, came much too quickly for some of the 2017 Choo Choo Challenge participants. Names will not be mentioned, but let it be noted that more than one quilter arrived a little breathless for the reveal, her entry still warm from the light on her sewing machine. Nonetheless, every entry was stunning! Chosen by secret ballot, here are the 2017 Choo Choo Challenge winners with their Medallion quilts.
2017 Choo Choo Challenge winners (from left): Garie McClelland—1st Place;
Cristy Clark—4th Place; Dawn Johnson—2nd Place; Sherry Baldwin—3rd Place.
Guidelines for the 2017 Challenge were straightforward: (1) begin with a 20" center or medallion, and (2) add at least 3 pieced borders. The resulting quilted pieces were anything but straightforward as each participant was led in a unique direction to produce her own inspired creation.

Explaining the process
We got an insight into each participant's processes as they explained the techniques and tools used to create the pieced borders and the "Make it Work" approaches they took to "fit" pieced borders into the design of their tops.

Sherry (3rd Place winner) used a printed round medallion she got in Montana as her starting point. For the outside border, Sherry used a specialty ruler to create the patchwork blocks.
Sherry Baldwin won 3rd Place with her 2017 Medallion Challenge quilt.
The center was from a printed panel. The circular motif was echoed in the quilting.
The light fabric on the back shows off Sherry's machine quilting.
The quilt back shows the quilting designs.
Ginny had to dig deep to find inspiration for her Challenge quilt. She channeled Mary Ellen Hopkins and pulled it off with this lovely quilt made with green, turquoise and a variety of light neutral batiks.
Ginny Minninger with her 2017 Challenge quilt
titled, "When Life takes a U-Turn, You Turn."
Ginny chose to add a dimensional, free-hanging strip of flying geese to balance the geese in her borders. A specialty ruler was used to make no-waste flying geese units. Her quilt was machine quilted with both free-motion and straight line designs.
Detail of Ginny's quilt.
Dawn (2nd Place winner) used a block from a previous guild Challenge—the 2013 Brown Bag Challenge—for the medallion in her quilt.
Dawn Johnson won 2nd Place with her 2017 Challenge quilt.
She machine quilted her piece with free-motion and straight line designs.
Detail for each of the pieced borders.
In the spirit of a year of "Making Do," Dawn added other fabrics when she ran out of one to complete her patchwork borders. Leftover blocks and scraps make up the backing.
Pieced back of fabric scraps and leftover blocks.
With no pre-planned layout, Martha indicated her quilt designed itself with the addition of each border. To make the quilt rectangular (rather than square), she added the second border on the top and bottom only.
Martha Griffin with her Medallion Challenge quilt.
The the triangles in the second border are echoed with a smaller version in the third border. Martha machine quilted her quilt said she learned a lot from making it.
A zigzag inner border and a third border with small triangles.
Theresa decided on a blue and orange color palette for her Challenge quilt and added green for an accent color. She said she used a specialty ruler to create the blocks in the outside border.
Theresa Kitchell and her 2017 Challenge quilt.
Theresa embraced several "make do" opportunities during her quiltmaking process—using scraps from one border to use in another, using the trimmings from blocks, and adding strips and bits of background fabric to make borders fit. Her quilt is machine quilted and she is considering filling in more of the background areas with additional quilting.
Detail of the borders on Theresa's quilt.
The theme and name of Garie's (1st Place winner) quilt was "All About Reindeer." With insufficient amounts of certain fabrics, Garie also found ways of "making do" with the design of the pieced borders.
Garie McClelland won 1st Place with her "All About Reindeer" quilt.
Garie hand quilted her quilt. She also gets extra points for having all the reindeer in the black fabric facing the same direction!
Fused appliqué reindeer was outlined with a buttonhole stitch.
The red, white, green and black color scheme was well suited for the theme of this quilt.
Pieced borders in Garie's reindeer quilt.
A star block was pieced into the backing.
A pieced backing.
Cristy (4th Place winner) took an asymmetrical approach with some of the borders on her Challenge quilt. A bundle of shot cotton yarn-dyed fabrics was the impetus for her quilt, which she also used throughout the year to illustrate possibilities for piecing borders.
Cristy Clark won 4th Place with her 2017 Challenge quilt.
Cristy had a "make do or make it work" moment (and a $36 express shipping charge) when she ran out of the decorative thread just 2 motifs shy of finishing the quilting.
Detail of the free-motion quilting with variegated thread.
 A strip of leftover pieces from her fat quarter bundle found its way into the quilt backing.
Pieced backing.
Vista chose a fabric variety of small prints with a color palette that coordinated with her medallion of vintage hankies. 
Vista with her hankie Medallion Challenge quilt.
Gaining confidence from our workshop with Mary Kerr, Vista was able to "cut into" the vintage textiles for the center of her quilt. Using perle cotton, she did some hand seed stitching (quilting) in the open areas of the hankies. The free-motion quilting was a nice counterpoint to the vintage hankies and complemented the patchwork design.
Detail of vintage hankie center.
Another group of blocks from the 2013 Brown Bag Challenge resurfaced to comprise Kim's Medallion quilt. It was fun to see these blocks again—especially in a finished quilt!
Kim Huston and her 2017 Medallion Challenge quilt.
Two of the pieced borders surrounded the center block and the outer border completed the pieced trio. The blue triangles add a brightness and sparkle to the warm brown and gold color scheme. Extra layers of batting produced a trapunto effect in the center block.
Detail of pieced borders and one of the quilt blocks.
Kim's quilt was machine quilted by a long-arm quilter. The dense quilting can be seen on the back of the quilt.
Back of the quilt shows the dense quilting.
The guild is grateful to Cristy Clark for coordinating the 2017 Challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and participants! It was another stunning Guild Challenge reveal.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New record! 45 spray basted Cuddle Quilts in 1 day

Yep, we did it! 
We broke our previous Cuddle Quilt record of 27 from 2011 with an astounding 45 spray basted quilt tops at a Cuddle Quilt workshop! Are the Choo Choo Quilters amazing or what?!?
Group spray baste session—a real team effort!
The Choo Choo Quilters hit the ground running on Saturday, August 19 for the annual Cuddle Quilt workshop. Cuddle Quilt coordinators extraordinaire, Sherry and Ginny, were organized and well-prepared and we thank them for their amazing job! The day started with an assortment of packaged, pre-cut quilt kits...
An assortment of pre-cut quilt kits were available at the workshop. 
a variety of backing fabrics, binding strips, extra scraps...
Backing fabrics, scraps and blocks for quilt top assembly.
piles of "Making Do" blocks...
Scrappy "Make Do" patchwork blocks.
assembled quilt tops and pre-cut batting ready for the spray basting session...
Pieced quilt tops and pre-cut batting await basting.
and sustenance for the day.
Guild members bring dishes to share for the workshop.
Layout of the kit quilts began.
Marti (left) and Nancy at the cutting station.
It was nice to have past Choo Choo members, Marti and Cheryel, at the workshop. We appreciate their contribution.
Laying out the blocks from the kit.
A lovely floral surrounded with colorful small print blocks.
Blocks from previous workshops resurfaced and were assembled into quilt tops.
Cristy (left) counts out blocks for 3 quilts. Martha (right) begins chain piecing.
 New quilt tops emerged.
Linda works on one of the kits.
Marti (left) and Teresa show their completed quilt tops.
Garie shows a Snuggle Up top (left) and a Wonky Star quilt top.
Group spray basting session—always a winner!
The highlight and probably the most productive aspect of the workshop is the group spray basting session. We've got this down to a science, folks—like a fine-tuned, production basting machine! 
Ginny (left), Kaye (center) and Garie roll out batting for quilt basting.
Ginny headed up the spray basting process this year and indoctrinated several of the newer guild members to the procedure.
Measuring the batting and trimming to the right size for the quilt.
Ginny and Linda (right) smooth out the basted top.
Spray basted cuddle quilt top.
Various members helped with the spray basting efforts and cranked out 45 basted cuddle quilt tops! Guild members took the basted quilt sandwiches home for quilting and binding.
The spray basted quilt top pile grew and grew.
Here are two examples of quilt tops made with "Making Do" patchwork.
Two tops made from fabric samples and scraps from the February "Making Do" program.
Two completed quilts and three crocheted throws were donated at the beginning of the day. Five cuddle quilts were free-motion quilted by Veronica during the workshop. We're well on our way to making a great donation to the Chambliss Center for Children in February.
Veronica free-motion quilted 5 cuddle quilts during the workshop.
So, if all the quilts from this Cuddle Quilt workshop are completed and returned, the total from this workshop will be 47. 

NOTE: In 2010, the Choo Choo Quilters initiated and participated in the Great Cuddle Quilt Quest that resulted in 73 quilts donated to the Chambliss Center for Children
Can the Choo Choo Quilters surpass this record, too??

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 21 - Solar Eclipse AND Martha Steele

Sure, next Monday, August 21, will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States in the past 38 years, but it will also mark the return of Martha Steele to the Choo Choo Guild!  Martha has been quilting for years, worked at the beloved Sew Bee It, and teaches quilting classes at multiple places all over the Chattanooga/North Georgia area.  She will be showing us some of her favorite projects using multiple innovative techniques.  She will also be demonstrating a method of quilt-as-you-go that she has found useful for all kinds of quilts.  

Members will not need to bring anything for the meeting except your show and tell.  You can just come relax and take a break from the hot muggy summer weather.

As a special treat, we also will be meeting Martha for dinner before the quilt meeting. Everyone is welcome to come to Choo Choo Barbeque Restaurant just north of Valleybrook Presbyterian on Hixson Pike.  We will be meeting her at 5:00, and if you are interested in joining with us, please RSVP to Ginny Minninger. (On the other hand, should you find yourself able to go at the last minute, come on anyway!)

Our Cuddle Quilt Workshop is this Saturday August 19

Come join us all at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church at 3204 Hixson Pike from 9:00 to 2:00. We'll be making quilt tops, spray basting completed tops with batting and backing, and enjoying a day with friends.  All this will benefit the Chambliss Center for Children, our local foster care and extended child care facility who has been helping local children for 140 years!  So bring your sewing machine, cutting supplies, completed tops, and we'll provide fabric, batting and backing for your cuddle quilts.   

We hope to see you both Saturday for the Cuddle Quilt Workshop and Monday for the Choo Choo Quilters Meeting!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ins and Outs of T-Shirt Quilts

Our program this coming Monday, June 19, will be presented by Joanna Lienti and the Team Blue.  Joanna will share her learned wisdom about making t-shirt quilts.  Someone you know would love to have a quilt made of their favorite racing t-shirts, high school t-shirts, or travel t-shirts, and you will know the tricks about stabilizing the shirts, arranging the blocks, and quilting difference types of fabrics.

We will also be handing out our final border design for the Challenge quilt.  If you haven't started, it's not too late to join in the fun.  The finished projects are not due until November 20, which is YEARS away!

So come join us this Monday, June 19, 6:30 at Valleybrook Presbyterian Church.   See you there!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Using Vintage Fabric in Modern-Style Quilts

Need ideas for using old or vintage fabrics in new quilts? 
After hearing Mary Kerr's "Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist" lecture last month, or seeing the wonderful pieces resulting from Mary's "A Wonky Star" workshop that our guild members presented at Show and Tell, have you finally decided to take the plunge and cut into your coveted vintage/old fabrics?

But, do you feel the only way to show off those vintage textiles or do justice to them is to use a traditional quilt block or pattern? Well, have no fear, the Quilt Police are on vacation and we'll show you how to take advantage of their absence!

At the next Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting, our hope is to help you see fabric in different ways. You don't need to use "modern prints" or "modern colors" to make a modern quilt. If anyone wants to bring some "old" or vintage fabrics to the meeting, we can play around with building a palette for a modern pattern.

Join us on Monday, May 15 at 6:30 pm. Let's get those old fabrics out of the closet and elevate them by making something new.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Techniques for enhancing your quilts

Beads, synthetic fibers and other embellishments
can enhance the surface of a quilt.
Our next meeting will be this coming Monday, April 17, at Valleybrook Presbyterian Church at 6:30. Team Yellow will be presenting the program on "Enhancing Your Quilts."

You have admired those quilt enhanced with beads, embroidery, paint, crystals, photography, buttons, charms and such. We want to explore those embellishments to add that extra sparkle to our quilts. Please bring your quilts for a guild-wide trunk show and discussion of all the options for enhancing your quilts.

We'll also have another border pattern to add to your Medallion Challenge Quilt. And if you attended the "Wonky Star" workshop with Mary Kerr, bring your project for Show and Tell. We'd love to see what you did in class.

We hope to see everyone on Monday!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mary Kerr presents "Improv with a Vintage Twist" workshop and lecture, April 7

Have you signed up for our "A Wonky Star: Improv with a Vintage Twist" workshop with author, award-winning quilter, curator, and quilt appraiser, Mary KerrWe have a few openings in the workshop and are now opening it up to everyone. 
Mary Kerr, award-winning quilter and author will present a workshop
and lecture on April 7, 2017.
About the workshop
This half-day workshop—held on Friday, April 7 from 9 am. to 1 pm.—will be packed with tips for working with vintage fragments and ways to showcase these treasured pieces in new quilts. Following Mary’s unique approach, workshop attendees will use vintage textiles to create a wonky star with plenty of space to incorporate favorite quilting designs. This workshop is about embracing the magic of combining the love of vintage with a 21st century aesthetic. Attendees will also enjoy quilts from Mary’s latest book and exhibit, Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist

The cost of the workshop is $40 for guild members or $55 for non-members. Guild members should contact Choo Choo Guild treasurer, Sherry Baldwin for payment. Non-guild members can e-mail Cristy at: clarkadams at aol dot com or Veronica at: veronicaquilts at gmail dot com for payment information.

Come to Mary's "Twisted" lecture
Following the quilting workshop, the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild will be sponsoring Mary's "Twisted" lecture at 7 pm. Advanced tickets are $15 or $20 at the door. Follow the Paypal link at this post for lecture tickets.

Where it's happening
The location for the workshop and lecture is Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 E. Brainerd Road, Chattanooga. Note: the lecture will be held in the Youth Center at the church.

Don't miss out! If you love vintage quilts, have vintage quilt blocks or vintage textile fragments in your collection, this workshop and lecture will surely inspire you!