Monday, February 22, 2016

Wool appliqué and a visit from Scott Fortunoff, President of Blank Quilting and StudioE Fabrics

Scott Fortunoff, President of Blank Quilting Corp.
and StudioE Fabrics, dropped in at the February
Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting.
At the February meeting—which happened to fall on Presidents Day this year—the Choo Choo Quilters were treated to a visit and a Q&A session with the President of Blank Quilting and StudioE Fabrics, Mr. Scott Fortunoff. As visitors to guild meetings go, this probably rates right up there with our visit from Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mabley in 2011. The Choo Choo Quilters are rubbing elbows with the upper echelon of the quilting world, aren't we??

Despite the cold, rainy weather, we had a packed room of guild members, friends and visitors who not only heard a wonderful program about wool appliqué Bed Rugs but also heard about the ins and outs of quilting fabric print production, designing fabric collections and other interesting tidbits about the global fabric manufacturing industry.

A little Choo Choo History
For all the visitors, our special guest for the evening, and all the new members who recently joined the Choo Choo quilt guild, Ginny, one of the guild's founding members gave an overview of the guild, our self-directed Team concept, our Community Service project and a short history about how the guild was started.

About 24 years ago, the Choo Choo Quilters was created as a spin-off to the Chattanooga Quilters guild—a day guild. For quilters with full-time day jobs, there was a need for a guild that met in the evening. The Choo Choo Quilters still maintains three of the founding members—Ginny, Vista and Cristy. The Choo Choo name comes from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a Glenn Miller recording made famous in the early 1940s.

Snug as a bug under a wool Bed Rug
Garie presented an excellent program about wool appliqué bed rugs. She does everything by hand—the appliqué, joining the blocks and the quilting/stitching. In the example bed quilt she showed, the colors of the felted wool were very rich and bold and were set off against a black background. Although she did purchase a pattern, she chose to find other inspiration sources for the appliqué designs on her blocks.
Garie discusses wool bed rugs. This is her beautiful example.
Garie does a buttonhole stitch to secure the raw edge appliqué pieces. The blocks and sashing are joined by overlapping the pieces (there are no seam allowances).
Left: buttonhole appluqué. Right: two wool pieces are joined with hand stitching.
Here are close-ups of the blocks and other wool quilting projects for more inspiration. Felted wool and this raw-edge technique offers a variety of possibilities for projects.
Hand appliquéd blocks showing blanket stitching and hand quilting.
Wool appliqué projects.
Chatting with the President
Our second presentation of the evening was by Scott Fortunoff, the president of Blank Quilting and StudioE Fabrics, manufacturers of cotton quilting fabrics. One of our guild members, Veronica, is a fabric rep for these companies and she invited Scott to visit the guild. So there you go... ask and you shall receive. 
Scott gives an overview of the company's structure. 
Scott began with an overview of the Jaftex company which is comprised of several fabric companies: Blank Quilting, StudioE Fabrics and Henry Glass (providing quilting fabrics to the quilt shop market), and AE Nathan and Fabric Editions (selling to mostly chain stores). After giving an overview of the company's structure, he showed fabric yardage with images commemorating the 85th anniversary of the company. Ya know, you can do that sort of thing when your family owns a fabric company.
Scott points out images commemorating 85 years of the company's history.
Guild members asked questions about fabric printing, comparing quilt shop fabrics with fabrics found in chain stores, how designs and colors are selected, and trends in the industry. Scott encouraged guild members to check out all the websites for free patterns. "The patterns are one of the ways our companies support the quilt shops," he said, "and to offer inspiration to quilters using our fabrics." 

In addition to his Show and Tell, Scott brought red, white and blue fat quarters (in honor of Presidents Day) from the companies' fabric lines for the meeting attendees.

Show and Tell
The evening abounded in items for Show and Tell. Here are projects made by our talented guild members.
Garie's star quilt quilted by hand.
Becky's apple core quilt. She made the blocks are big enough to "handle the curves."
Ginny's birthday block quilt.

Betty's latest, inspired by the top from our guild's
2013 Brown Bag Challenge project.
Betty has quilted it by hand.
Disappearing 9-patch by Becky.
Theresa's owl quilt (left) and Janice's "grow with me" quilt.
Delores (left) showed a stunning black and white quilt and the only remaining
memory of a plant she once had. Pam's first T-shirt quilt (right).
The companion pillow to a quilt Sherry made for her husband, and
a light-up Christmas tree made from pre-cut fabric strips.
A pinwheel quilt with a twisted ribbon border made by Nancy.
Vista showed a wall hanging that hung in the Chattanooga Aquarium exhibit (left),
and surface design blocks made from a Blank Quilting fabric line called Rock Candy.
Guild members also showed Quilts of Valor quilts and cuddle quilts.
Red, white and blue QOV quilt.
Thank You
Thanks to Veronica, Garie and their team for coordinating the programs this month, and to our visitor and guest presenter, Scott Fortunoff.

"Pardon me, boys..." who will be joining us at the next Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting? You just never know.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

45 Cuddle Quilts delivered to Chambliss Center

This year, the Choo Choo Quilters donated 45 cuddle quilts to the Chambliss Center for Children. Virginia Ruston, the new Volunteer Director, was present to receive the quilts from our Cuddle Quilt Program Coordinator, JoAnn Lotan.
Virginia Ruston, Volunteer Director at the Chambliss Center for Children,
lets the children choose their favorite quilt.
The Choo Choo Quilters have made and donated lap and twin size quilts to the Center since the beginning of the guild, 24 years ago. "It was fun to see which quilt the kids would pick out," says JoAnn.

Thanks to all the Choo Choo Quilters for your time, effort and support to this project and to JoAnn and Sherry for coordinating the program last year.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bed Rugs and the President's ear

Did we get your attention with that headline? Good. 
The February guild meeting of the Choo Choo Quilters is February 15Presidents' Day. So, Veronica invited the president. 

And he is coming.    To.    Our.    GUILD.    MEETING.   Do you believe that???
February meeting: Bed rugs and a demonstration on making quilts with felted wool.
Well, you should! Because it's happening [barring bad weather and any air travel complications].

The agenda for the February meeting will be jam-packed. Here's an overview: 
  • a program about "Bed Rugs: felted wool quilts," with a demonstration, 
  • the second installment of the 2016 Guild Challenge Mystery project, and 
  • a short presentation by a special guest, the President of Blank Quilting Corp. and StudioE Fabrics, Scott Fortunoff. Scott will give a short talk followed by time for Q&A. 

What to bring to the meeting?
  • Show and Tell for the President: Quilts, wall pieces, bags, wearables made with quilting cottons, 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional projects, contemporary or traditional, hand or machine, big, small and anything in between.
  • If you've made projects with any fabrics from Blank Quilting or StudioE Fabrics, Scott will be especially thrilled to see them. 
  • And, your burning questions or curiosities about quilting fabrics, fabric manufacturing or the fabric industry and any ideas and thoughts about what you as a quilter, sewer, long-armer or "fabric collector" would like from the fabric companies that support our local quilt shops.

Don't be shy. Scott will love seeing all the quilts and projects, and no question is off limits. You'll have his ear!