Saturday, October 30, 2010

BIQR 2010 What is black and white, and red all over?

My T-shirt Quilt!

I have seen many black, white and red quilts that have really caught my eye and then one day I got the brilliant idea to convert my old t-shirts, which were primarily all black, white and red, into one of these quilts. Then going through the Collaborative Quiltmaking books I figured the parts department was the best way to construct blocks around these shirts, and I got 2 of these made about..oh... 6 months ago and then the mean time I started collecting black, white and red fabrics and throwing them in a bag with the t-shirts.

Then while thinking about getting ready for BIQR, I resurrected the idea and decided to bring them with me to the retreat to work on.

At the retreat many of us talked about the influence of African-american quilts and the quilts of Gee's Bend on liberated quiltmaking. This reminded me that I neatly cut all my shirts into perfect squares and maybe I needed to shake this up with a reminder that these were once t-shirts. So I decided to leave the neckline in my Wonder Woman shirt. I also recreated a 'w' using the zig-zag border technique (that's one of my favourite borders!). I also introduced a new colour: yellow....

wow. I think I went a little crazy with that block and I didn't know what to do after that. So Christine and I went shopping. :) I found this really nice black and white floral Bethany Reynolds Stack-n-whack fabric. I added it to my Love Fights t-shirt block,

and my Ruby Gloom t-shirt block,

and my Trailer Park Boys t-shirt block.

I added some sawtooth to my Supergirl t-shirt block,

and went a little 'broken dishes' with my Emily the Strange: Split Purrsonality t-shirt.

In total, I ended up with 9 blocks. I put the Wonder Woman in the middle. I needed to go shopping again! I need some black!

but still, 9 blocks makes a square lap quilt...maybe I should put a red inner border and more black on the outside? but it still will be square. I had to sleep on it. Each night at the retreat before I went to sleep I would flip through one of Gwen's books, absorbing the ideas.
And there it was on 158 page in the original Liberated Quiltmaking book, Red Square! Red squares all floating on a white background, but mine will be a black background and I will just have a row at the top and one at the bottom!

For an added touch, I particularly liked my Emily t-shirts because they even had nice tags, I saved those and added them to the quilt top.

The one below says, "Join the Posse:"

The sides of the shirts always had these cat eyes tags, which I really liked.

Ah. Now it is done. All I have to do is quilt as desired :P

Saturday, October 23, 2010

BIQR 2010: Gwen Marston, Teacher!

Every retreat starts early Wednesday morning with Gwen's Trunk Show. Not only do we get to see her quilts "live and in person,"

but we get to hear in her words the stories behind the quilts...and how it relates to this year's theme.

When she is done she leaves the quilts out on display for the whole retreat so anyone can use them for reference and just to take a closer look at all those wonderful quilts!
Gwen's teaching style is relaxed, engaging and fun! She gears her lessons to the individual, but invites all to participate. If someone needs instruction in a particular method, she makes an announcement and all are welcome to join in.
Later in the week, she gave tiny demos of next year's retreat topic Small Studies.
These small studies focus on abstract quilts pieced using liberated techniques.

Gwen makes all her students feel welcome and makes sure the new ones don't feel out of place. She usually tries to join them for dinner on the first night and give them the scoop on all the best places to eat in Elk Rapids. Mary, who came with her mom Donna, told me how before they arrived, they stopped at the local grocery store in Elk Rapids and there was Gwen shopping! How excited she was to spot her favourite quilter at the grocery store, but too shy to say anything, she didn't know that later that night they would be dining with her!

Of course, Gwen is always ready to take photos with her students and friends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

BIQR 2010: Addiction, The Characters part 2

Hello, my name is Carol and I am a fabricaholic. It's true poor Carol, she is addicted to buying fabric! At each retreat she is on a new Fabric Reduction Program...last year it was the oriental fabrics, this year the 30's prints! Clutched in her hands are the last crumbs of her 30's prints and the last small wallhanging she made from it hanging beside her! Way to go!

Above one more 30's print top! Below, well... she is still working on those oriental fabrics....maybe next year.

They say it can start with just 2....

but for Allyn it leads to 5 and 6, and eventually 9 martinis!

It didn't help when Penny fed her addiction with this saucy little tumbler!

Poor Allyn after so many martinis, soon she was seeing spots, I mean, squares!

Where's Christine???
Can it get any worse than this? Digging and rummaging for scraps? While on her cel phone, no less!
Are you still on that phone? multi-tasking, I guess!

Some people are chain smokers, but Sue, well she was a chain piecer!

I don't think I've ever seen anyone chain piece 4 rows at a time!
Below you see one of the rare photos of Elisa. I never actually saw her sew...but she must have because, there they are, all her liberated blocks. Elisa, I think she is addicted to work...some people go on retreats to get away from work, but not Elisa. She tried, but being the editor of Quilters World magazine, well that job keeps you busy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

BIQR 2010: The Characters

First there are the 4 Carol's! (left to right) Carol from Rochester Hills, MI, Carol from Houghton Lake, MI. These are a couple of Gwen's people...veterans of retreats from the past. If Gwen is not available these ladies know what's going on. Then there is newbie, Carol from California and me simply known as Canadian Carol.

California Carol came with Martha to the retreat. Martha was liberating her 30's prints with polka dots.

We had quite a few newbies actually! Joni and Penny were from Kentucky. Joni is a natural at liberating quilting and the parts department. Her quilts were full of brilliant colours and designs.

Penny worked with solids...

Kathy's work was inspired by her cottage on an island in Maine. She came with these blocks already made, but looking for input. Each block is a pieced representation of each of the cottages that are on that island. She wants them to all hang individually not as one quilt.

One of the pieces she worked on at the retreat were liberated buoys based on those that the lobster fishermen use. Each fisherman's buoy is painted differently to identify them.

Cats were Sally's inspiration. She decided she was going to use up her cat fabric.

There is a little bit of Canadian Carol in this quilt! I donated the Emily the Strange cat eyes tag!

Sara from Grand Rapids also has a quilting blog and you can check it out here. She and I are both participants in Tonya's Liberated Amish Quilt Challenge. She brought her Triangles project, adding "Amish Lib." and "MMX Sara" to finish it up.

Another one of her projects is this cut up crumb piece, gorgeous in its boldness! There was apparently quite the discussion about what colour borders to put on it! But Red won out! Striking!

Watch out though! Sara can sew you under the table, she is quite the industrious lady, starting early in the morning!

When in doubt make a sampler! Liberated quiltmaking is so limitless that is often hard to know where to start. So trying a little bit of everything and putting it all together is fun! Bev made this gem:

Next Post: Addiction, The Characters part 2