Monday, August 24, 2015

More Hoffman Challenge Quilts

Today I have more Hoffman Challenge quilts.  If you didn't see the ones I posted last week, just scroll down to my last post.

More elephants.  I love this parade.

A colorful, pretty sampler.

Isn't this horse a beauty?

More of the popular elephant theme.

Whimsical and fun.

This was very unusual design with color that really caught my eye.

Lovely appliqué and nice quilting.

Great dancing gypsy.  I loved the use of the challenge fabric in this one.

The intricate design caught my fancy on this one.

An interesting "modern" quilt.  It was sad to see the obvious fold lines, and they were a distraction on many of the quilts.  I can only assume that they were packed too tightly for their trip to Loveland.  However, it was a great show.  It is fun to see how all different quilters use the same fabric.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Visiting the Hoffman Challenge

The complete Hoffman Challenge is shown at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival and of course I never miss it.  I went through and took photos of the quilts that struck my fancy -- no other rhyme or reason.  I decided not to include the winners, but there were many and I found myself taking a picture and then realizing that quilt was a winner so I decided to just have fun and click away.  I didn't get all the winners, but you can see those quilts and and challenge fabric on the Hoffman Challenge site.  Click on the 2015 fabric to enlarge it.  Click "Winners" to the right of the fabric swatch/thumbnail to see the winning entries from all categories.  I apologize that I don't have the names of the contestants or the titles of their entries.  There was a big crowd and I couldn't be too fussy without interfering with other peoples' enjoyment.  Just have fun looking at the quilts.

There were a lot of elephants this year.  The fabric lent itself to eastern motifs.


I loved this.  I am pretty sure the face was painted,  It was not thread painted.  She won "Best First Time Entry."

In spite of the dark fabric, this was bright and cheery.

This was a spiral quilt.  The judges seem partial to them with all the intricate sewing.

Another well-done whimsical piece.

These camel were fun with the facial detail.

Another elephant idea with an interesting backdrop.

This artist added lots of color to her design.  It really stood out among the others.

A few of the dolls.  They were in a dark spot where it was hard to get a decent photo.

Next week I'll post some more of the entries.

Sew a happy seam tis week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


My house is still in disarray.  My sewing room is crowded with stuff that doesn't belong there.  I am quilting black on black, which is frustrating because it is hard to see.  I need the magnifying thing that fits over my head and that is a nuisance.  I took a break and sewed a different spot with red on top and black in the bobbin (backing is black, top is orangy).  When I looked at the back it was clear that my tension was off so I ripped it out.  That's my day so far, and we all have those days sometimes.  Life is just that way.  OK, I'm done venting!

I was reading a very uplifting article in American Quilter by Thomas Merton, "Transformation: Art from Within."  He tells about how several churches got together to provide opportunities for prisoners in a local correctional institution to do creative activities.  These activities also had a spiritual side beyond individual beliefs, time for discussion and much more.  Can you imagine having to log out every piece of equipment used for a project, and then log it back in when the session is over?  I will never look at my sewing tools the same:  seam ripper, stylus, scissors, pins.  The inmates respond positively to the chance to do something creative, and I am sure some of them never imagined they could create anything.  The goal is to help them transform themselves as well.

The article mentioned two particular women from rival gangs who ended up sitting together because all other seats were taken and they had no choice.  These women learned about each other and found common ground, which broke down engrained barriers.  In many ways creating something of beauty was freeing for them as it is for us.  The art that the inmates have created will be on display at the San Jose (CA) Museum of Quilts and Textiles from September 12 through November 2015.

This is what keeps me sewing, drawing, painting and taking photos.  It is so uplifting to create something.  It doesn't matter if you use a pattern and sew together traditional blocks or if you start from scratch and design your own.  We each have our own talents and inclinations so listen to your inner voice and enjoy your creativity.  It truly is a source of freedom and accomplishment, even on a bad day.

Wild Gaillardia aka Indian Blanket - work of the Supreme Creator
BTW after my session with the seam ripper I put red thread in the bottom, tightened the tension and sewed up some nice looking quilting.  Was that cheating to put red thread in the bottom just so any glitches won't show?  Of course not.  I am looking to make my quilt and my quilting look the best it can with the skills I have.  Besides, that fire-red stitching looks great on the black backing (especially with the adjusted tension!).

TIP:  They say you shouldn't go to bed angry.  When training a dog you always want to finish a session with something she does right.  Try to rectify at least some of a sewing mistake before you quit.  You'll be more enthusiastic about returning to a project if you are ready to move on.

Creativity is allowing  yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.  (Scott Adams)

Sew some happy seams this week.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Just Had to Do It

There has been so much going on here.  More jam, peach this time, more varnishing, more gardening.  The latest blow to my time is that we have one more room to panel in the house and that is our bedroom.  My "office" is a tiny nook in one corner and I had to completely dismantle it as part of the renovation.  This meant that DH had to move his stuff out of his office so I could set up my computer there.  He uses a laptop and doesn't need the desk temporarily.  You can't even imagine the mess the house is in.  My sewing room was commandeered for some displaced items, the rest are all over the living room, and I gave up sewing for a week.  At least my piano is clear so I can play a little to relieve the tension.

Well friends, that can only last so long before my sewing gene refuses to settle.  I just had to do it.  I went into the black hole (usually called a sewing room), straightened things out by finding a better arrangement for uninvited items, and sat down to sew.  Oh the joy.  I started out with orange pebbles under my fires and then proceeded with black pebbles and McTavishing, continuing to fill the background, which still has a lot of fullness.  It is working well capturing and taming that excess fabric so my time went really fast.  I feel refreshed.
Pebbles under the fire.
I did orange pebbles under the fire, thinking of hot coals.  They show up more in this photo than on the actual quilt, but there is still an orange coloration that is different from the black quilting in the rest of the background.  It grounds the fire, or so I tell myself.  Anyhow I like it.  None of the black thread quilting has been done in this photo.

TIP:  When you are busy take time sew even if it is for a short time.  If you truly love it you will come away refreshed and ready to take on the world, knowing you have accomplished something.

Sew a happy seam this week.