Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bed Quilts go to Chambliss Shelter

We did it! Nine bed-sized quilts were delivered to the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter today!
From left: Nancy Allen (Choo Choo Quilters), Cindy Hancock, Assistant Director of Volunteer Services (Chambliss), Christy Finley, Administrative Assistant (Chambliss), Veronica Hofman-Ortega (Choo Choo Quilters) and Ginny Minninger (Choo Choo Quilters).
The request for twin-size bed quilts for teenage residents came to the Choo Choo Quilters quilt guild this summer. The guild has been a long-time supporter to this Chattanooga community organization through the guild's Cuddle Quilt program, an outreach program in which lap-size children's quilts are made and donated by guild members.
A twin size bed quilt made with a crazy 9-patch pattern.
"When we became aware of the older residents, guild members embraced the challenge, dipped into their fabric stashes, and stepped up to meet the need," said Ginny Minninger, who championed this special request for bed quilts for the teenagers.

Nine twin size quilts, approximately 65" x 90" in size, were delivered today for immediate distribution to the teenage residents. The Assistant Director of Volunteer Services said that the quilts are so appreciated and are very much in need. With the prediction of very cold weather in the forecast, this delivery was most timely.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Blank Canvas" Challenge

The results of the Choo Choo Quilters 2010 Guild Challenge were unveiled at the November guild meeting. Eight guild members stepped up to meet the Challenge by creating quilts with only fabrics that started out solid. Color and embellishment could be added to the cloth in a variety of ways—dyeing, painting, coloring, printing, beading and stitching, to name a few. The minimum size was 16" to a maximum of 45" for each side. Congratulations to all the participants and winners!
"Fall Leaves" 1st Place award
"Purple and Green, #837" 2nd Place award
"Untitled" 3rd Place award

 "Mosey Meadow"
"Hand-dyed Table Runner"
"Picasso's Puzzle"
"Hubble M-51 Spiral Galaxy"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guild Challenge to be revealed November 15

At the November 15 guild meeting, the Choo Choo Quilters will reveal their 2010 Guild Challenge quilts. No doubt, several members will be finishing the binding up to the last minute, but we always have great participation in this time-honored activity.

Last year's exhibit was creative and fun and this year's is expected to be this and more. Starting with a blank canvas (any solid colored fabric(s)), any technique could be used to create a Challenge quilt. Size, embellishment and other specifications can be found here.

Satisfy your curiosity and year-long anticipation and see what guild members came up with to meet the challenge. You won't want to miss this meeting!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Twin bed quilts needed for Chambliss Center

The Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter is in need of twin bed size quilts for longer-term teenage residents and is seeking support from the quilting community. The Center is asking for quilts made with fabrics and colors appropriate for teenage boys. The Choo Choo Quilters are championing this effort and would like to drop off completed quilts in November before the cold winds blow through Chattanooga. (Twin size quilts are approximately 65" x 90".)

For anyone who has a twin-size quilt completed, please bring it to the next guild meeting, November 15. If you have a quilt in progress or quilt blocks that can be assembled into tops and quilts, please contact Ginny via e-mail at for assistance.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, these teenagers are brought to the Chambliss Center to distance and protect them from unfortunate circumstances. They arrive at the Center with very little, and "... having a quilt of their own would mean so much to each boy," said the Center's Director.

Quilters have big hearts. Please help the Choo Choo Quilters with this endeavor!

Here's food for thought if you have not yet committed to helping. It comes from a feature in the October 2010 issue of "American Patchwork and Quilting" magazine.

Interior designer Terry Grahl was asked to volunteer her services to furnish a local women's shelter. Hesitantly, she got involved and was overwhelmed by the need and greatly impacted by the response of residents/guests at the shelter. "I hear women say that knowing a person took the time to make them something reinforces that they do matter and that someone does care about them," Terry says. "A lot of these women and girls haven't had that in their lives."

Upon completion of the project, Terry closed her interior decorating business and started Enchanted Makeovers, a nonprofit organization that makes over shelters and sponsors uplifting events for at-risk women and children. "Our mission is to transform shelters into places that really inspire and ignite spirit," said Terry. At the very least, hand-made pillowcases are given along with a card and token gift. "When you go to bed at night, you lay your head down on a pillowcase and that's when you start dreaming," Terry said. While the pillowcases provide comfort and hope during the residents' stays, they also may function as suitcases when the residents leave.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Guild Challenge countdown

Don't forget the Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge that is due at the November 15 guild meeting. There are 16 days left to complete it... and that includes Monday, if you will still be attaching the binding on your way to the meeting. Check the Challenge requirements by clicking the "2010 Guild Challenge" tab at the top. Good luck!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October Program: Special Guest Martha Steele

We are excited that Martha Steele from Sew Bee It will share her quilting experience with us during  our October program.  She will demonstrate some techniques or tools or a current project, and  will bring a few examples of projects on display at Sew Bee It.  Expect to see some examples of books or up-coming classes or clubs at the quilt shop.   As a special treat for those who don't get to Ringgold too often, she will also bring a few items from Sew Bee It available for purchase at the meeting - fat quarters, a few books, etc.  So bring a little cash or your check book in case you see something you have to have!

Cuddle Quilt Workshop Worked!

The cuddle quilt workshop, which was held Saturday September 18th for about 3 hours, resulted in the near-completion of 13 cuddle quilts.  Thirteen is alot for three hours and only 6 people, but we had alot of help from our  "kit maker" Veronica.  Deciding to finally raid the stash she had been saving for cuddle quilts, Veronica put together 13 kits, both tops and backing, and  Cristy provided the batting.  All we little quilt workers had to do was pick up a kit and sew the top, then cut the batting and backing, quilt it, and bind it.  None of the 13 quilts were completely finished by the end of 3 hours, but they were all pretty close.  When these are completed, we should be in the range of about 35 completed quilts and much closer to our goal of 51!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quilt Artist, Rachel Clark, coming to Tennessee

"Utterly Blue" by Rachel Clark
Contemporary quilter and folk artist, Rachel Clark, is coming to Tennessee this fall. Rachel will be the featured presenter at the Tennessee Presents Textiles wearable art show and sale, scheduled for November 13, 2010 in Vonore, Tennessee.

Rachel Clark is a contemporary fabric artist, a teacher, lecturer and pattern designer who has been creating wearable art since 1990. Her work has been featured in many one-woman shows, in galleries, in Threads magazine, on HGTV's Simply Quilts and on The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. She has been a five-time invited artist at the Houston International Quilt Festival fashion show, beginning with the Fairfield Show and then the Bernina Fashion Show.

Tennessee Presents Textiles, now in its seventh year, is a unique runway style show featuring the work of some of the southeast's finest fiber artists. The theme of this year's show is "The Power of the Pocket" with a special Challenge exhibit by the same name. The fashion runway show highlights one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces elegantly presented by professional models, giving viewers an up-close look at handmade jackets, accessories, bags, belts and a variety of other sensational creations.

Tickets for this full-day event are now on sale through the Monroe Area Council for the Arts. (Advance purchase is required.) The day's program will consist of a lecture and trunk show by Rachel Clark, lunch, and an afternoon runway show and sale. It will be held at Tellico West Conference Center at Grand Vista Hotel and Suites in Vonore, TN.

Plan a day of fashion, food, shopping and fun—just in time for the upcoming holiday gift-giving season. Tennessee Presents Textiles—it's art and entertainment wrapped up in one unique experience!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Cut to Order" Cuddle Quilts: an Assembly Party

The Choo Choo Quilters September meeting will be on Saturday, September 18. This will be an "All Hands" cuddle quilt assembly party from 10 am - 1 pm to support the guild's Great Cuddle Quilt Quest. The assembly party will be held at Senior Neighbors, 250 E. 10th Street, downtown Chattanooga.
What will be provided?
  "Cut to Order" EZ quilt top kits (the pieces are already cut!) ready for sewing
    completed cuddle quilt tops ready for basting
    backing fabrics
    irons and ironing surface
    rotary cutting mat and rulers

Please bring the following:
    your sewing machine with neutral color thread
    extension cord
    scissors, straight pins and any sewing supplies you find helpful
    rotary cutter
    safety pins or curved basting pins for basting quilts

If you have any 12" quilt blocks, completed cuddle quilt tops, or backing fabrics you would like to contribute, please bring these along and we'll add them to the party mix. Completed cuddle quilts can also be turned in.

The Choo Choo Quilters are nearing the halfway mark toward the Goal of 51 Cuddle Quilts by January 2011. Join us for a few hours of "social sewing" as we move closer to the finish line. We can do it with everyone's help!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Call for Quilts

Remember the 2009 Choo Choo "A Page from my Journal" Guild Challenge? It was a collection of small format quilts that portrayed a special person, place, or event in a quiltmaker's life through the use of fabric, stitches and trims. Here are two of the quilts from the Challenge.
On October 30, there is another opportunity to share these and other quilts—and their stories—in a quilt show called "Every Quilt Has a Story," sponsored by the Hixson Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Stars. Any quilt of any size will be accepted into the show. This is a non-juried and non-judged exhibit. There is no quilt entry fee to display your quilts.

Let's share our quilts and their stories!
Guild members who would like to include their 2009 Challenge quilt in a group display should send an e-mail to:

Guild members and anyone else with other quilts they would like to have in the show should see the quilt show information below.

Quilt Show information:
   "Every Quilt Has a Story"
    Saturday, Oct. 30   10 am - 6 pm

    Hixson Masonic Lodge

    5307 Old Hixson Pike
 (near Hixson United Methodist Church)

    Hixson, Tennessee
    Admission to see the show: $5
Entries must have a label with the maker's/owner's name, address and phone number, and include a 4" x 6" index card telling the story of the quilt. Quilt drop-off is at the Hixson Masonic Lodge, Friday, October 28, from 10 am - 7 pm.  The quilts will be protected and monitored. Insurance coverage falls under the maker/owner homeowner's policy. Quilts will be returned after 6 pm. October 30. For questions, contact show organizer: Jody Burch at 842-9325 or (please include "Quilt Show" in the subject line of the e-mail).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tessellating Pinwheels

Quilters just love cool gizmos and we can't get enough of them! They make easy work of complicated or intricate processes. At the August Choo Choo Quilters meeting, guild members enjoyed a program and demonstration on using the Li'l Twister template for making a tessellating pinwheel table runner.
The book that accompanies the template, Let's Twist, by Marsha Bergren, offers several ideas and projects for using the template.

For the table runner, a package of charm squares is sewn into two strips with a contrasting border fabric. The Li'l Twister template is positioned on the seam lines for cutting. After cutting each patch, it is important to keep track of its placement in the overall layout.

Members brought pre-sewn charm squares and had an opportunity to work with the template.

As each patch is cut and positioned in the layout, the pinwheels begin to appear. Contrast between the pinwheel fabrics and the border fabrics is an important aspect to the success of the tessellations.

Show and Tell
A jumbo Carpenters Wheel quilt

A sweatshirt jacket... ready for the perfect buttons.

And... wait for it...
Ta daaaah! The famous (or infamous) Blue Feathered Star quilt is finished at last! So, what will she talk about now???

Cross Stitch Store was Actually a Quilt Store!

We have been going to Hilton Head Island every year since we Honeymooned there 21 years ago.  A couple of weeks ago on our trip, we decided to try out a fancy donut shop which advertised wonderful-looking homemade donuts.  Upon arriving at the shop, however, there were at least 20 people sitting on the steps in front of the store, some eating and many not.  It turned out that you had to stand in a very long line, pick out your donut from the case, pay for it, and then wait for a while until a waitress delivered it to you.  (It reminded me of the soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld.)  Needless to say, that was too much aggravation for a donut on vacation.

If I hadn't walked up to the donut store, I would have missed the wonderful shop next door.  It was called Cross Stitch Junction, and beside the name in almost imperceivably small letters were the words "and Quilts too!"  Of course I went in, and was so excited to find the walls stacked 3-bolts-high of gorgeous fabrics, as well as perhaps 50 quilts and quilt tops displayed in a fairly small space.  I bought a pattern called Sweet Pea Manor, and just a teeny tiny itty bitty little bit of fabric, as well as a book on bargello quilts using novelty fabrics.  So if any of you vacation on Hilton Head Island, check out which is located in the Sea Pines Plaza near the Harris Teeter grocery store, beside the Pink Flamingo donut shop.  If you get a donut, let me know how it tastes!   --Deb

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Let's Twist Again!

Using a special template and instructions from the Let's Twist... pinwheels... fun, fast and easy! book by Marsha Bergren, Ginny will show us how to make a snappy 16 1/2" x 43" table runner at the August Choo Choo Quilters meeting. Choose Fall colors or match your own decor. The steps are simple but the outcome is impressive!
Come prepared with:
  • Charm Pack of 22 five-inch squares or assorted scrap squares that vary in color or shade so there will be contrast enough to show off the pinwheel pattern.
  • 1/2 yard of contrasting border/background fabric
  • Scissors, rotary cutter, cutting board
  • An iron and one sewing machine will be available for your use.  Feel free to bring another if you can.
Center Layout:
Lay out squares in 2 rows with 11 squares each. Arrange colors so they complement one another in each direction.
Sew the first row of 11 squares in a strip. Sew the second row of 11 in a strip. Place the two rows together lengthwise, matching seams and sew. Press seams flat in one direction.
You will have a unit of 5" squares, 11 across by 2 down.

Three 3" x 42" (width of fabric) strips of the border/background fabric.
Sew these 3" strips to the center layout (from above), attaching to the long sides first, then the short sides. Press seams toward the border. (The finished unit should be the 22 five-inch square center with a contrasting 3" border strip all around it.)

Your unit is now ready to Do The Twist!

It will be worth the effort to come prepared with these steps completed. The special tessellation template will be available for you to use. It will also be possible to order the book and template at the meeting, if desired.

Also remember to bring in your August Applique Heart Cuddle Quilt blocks and the July Greek Cross Cuddle Quilt blocks, and any completed quilts and quilt tops.

Hearts & Crosses for Cuddle Quilts

What's black and white and red and pink, too? Our blocks for the Choo Choo Quilters Great Cuddle Quilt Quest! 

The August block pattern is an Applique Heart. The color scheme is red, white and pink. Here are the directions for making this block.
Applique Heart pattern. Color scheme: red/white/pink

At the August Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting, Monday, August 16, we'll be collecting quilt blocks with the Greek Cross (July pattern) and also the Applique Heart (August pattern). Blocks are 12" finished size (12.5" unfinished—raw edge to raw edge). These are the last two patterns that will be issued prior to the September Cuddle Quilt workshop.

If you have quilt tops or finished quilts, please bring them to the August meeting so we can tally the quilts and the points. We're making great progress on the Great Cuddle Quilt Quest. Thanks to everyone for your dedication and contributions!
Greek Cross pattern. Color scheme: black/white

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Patchwork sweatshirts

Planning ahead for cooler temperatures, the Choo Choo Quilters worked on patchwork sweatshirt jackets at a July guild workshop. This is a fun project for using scraps, charm squares, or favorite fabrics such as hand-dyed and sun printed fabrics. Or, think about using a small batik panel as a focal point!

The sweatshirts were cut open at the side seams so the jacket was flat while working. Choosing fabrics and cutting strips and various shapes was the next step in preparing for the puzzle-piece layout.

The fabric pieces were laid out in various designs on the sweatshirts. Fabric pieces could be laid out so the color of the sweatshirt was exposed (like mortar between bricks in a wall) or they could be butted together for an all-over fabric collage.

Here are a few layout options of fabric and color placement. The fabric pieces were temporarily secured in place with pins and fabric glue sticks prior to machine stitching.

To customize your sweatshirt jacket, add inside or outside pockets. Embellish with decorative stitching patterns, variegated threads or attach buttons and beads. When complete, you'll be ready for the crisp autumn weather with your own, one-of-a-kind, patchwork fashion statement.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Patchwork sweatshirt jacket

The Choo Choo Quilters will be making patchwork jackets from sweatshirts and fabric strips this month. The program will be held on Saturday, July 24, 2010 starting at 9:30 a.m. Valleybrook Presbyterian Church in Hixson.

Bring a sweatshirt that is one size larger than you normally wear and the following supplies.
  • Approximately 2 yards of fabrics to coordinate with the color of your sweatshirt (batiks were used in sample) 
  • Cut fabric into strips approximately  2" to 4" wide (for sample, strips in several widths were cut into different shapes: triangles, squares, rectangles, etc.)
  • several fabric glue sticks 

  • scissors 

  • rotary cuter 

  • small cutting board 

  • sewing machine with walking foot 

  • thread to coordinate with fabrics

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stenciling and Screening on Fabric

The June meeting of the Choo Choo Quilters featured a program on two surface design techniques: stenciling with oil paint sticks and silk screening.

Designs were drawn on freezer paper and then cut out to create the stencil. After ironing the freezer paper stencil onto the square of fabric, a stencil brush was used to lightly fill in the areas with color from the paintstick. More than one color could be used to blend the colors on the fabric.

Here is an example of how this surface design method could be used to make a quilt. Hand-dyed fabrics were used for the blocks as well as the sashing and outside pieced borders.

A close-up of two stenciled quilt blocks is shown here.
Another technique that was demonstrated was silk screening. Fabric paint was mixed with shaving cream to silkscreen designs onto the fabric.

The Show and Tell part of the evening included a cute baby quilt, a vintage quilt top made from an Anne Orr "French Wreath" pattern and a colorful bed quilt.