Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Preparations

I have been once again asked to teach at Quilt U this upcoming year. A priviledge I look forward to each time I'm asked and I polled the group to see what they would like to see in a project. Build-as-you-go type of thing where they can decide what they want to make and how big they want to make it, or a take-and-make type of thing.

The group voted on a BAYG scenario and here are the two blocks they can create in the class.

Disappearing Pinwheel


I used some of the most terrible fabric from my stash and these turned out pretty nice.

I was slogging in jello yesterday. I think Friday's escapades to Chicago and getting over the flu put me over the top. I wasn't working very fast and once the people we were expecting showed up, I was actually glad to be done with my sewing for the day.

First thing this morning we headed to Meijer and by the time we returned home it was lunchtime. Now that the basketball game is on, I can play while Jim does what he loves to do; watch the Spartans.

I'll finish the quilt on DW and get the charity quilt loaded. I know I don't usually long-arm on Sunday, but since I'm getting started so late, small project Sunday is probably not going to happen this week.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

International Quilt Festival

Chicago was a blast! I met so many people and talked with so many reps, and the quilts...OMG! Most of the first half of my arrival was spent googling and admiring the many quilts on display at this event. This little "craft" has certainly turned out some amazing artists and I can only hope the growth continues as time passes.

Words do not exist to summarize what I experienced yesterday and I just have to say, if you're really into quilts and the quilting process, attendance at one of these larger events is a certain must on your bucket list.

I came away with too many ideas to remember and I only hope I live long enough to even tackle a few of my "to do's" just from this show alone.

I look forward to attending the Grand Rapids AQS show later this summer to get even more inspiration and ideas as well as another dose of an artistic jolt.

Today brings me back to my little corner of the quilting world and I look forward to spending a quiet morning and afternoon to bask in my findings, purchases, and creativity. I have people coming later this afternoon and will have to cut off my day at that time, but I can enjoy the sunshine coming through the window as spring continues to just spread its wings.

Thursday I completed block number two in my Arcadia Avenue adventure. Here are both of them side by side. This block did not have as many pieces as the first; only 156. I like the colors mom assisted me in choosing and feel like this is going to be a beautiful piece at completion.

Fly Away and Peacock Feathers from Arcadia Avenue
The little Sugar Block 2013 BOM is coming along nicely too. I didn't get it finished Thursday, but here is one of the blocks and some of my creative quilting.

Creative quilting
Which reminds me...I played with a number of long-arms and sit-down quilting machines yesterday in the vendor section of the show. I found my favorite machine (which, unfortunately was WAY out of my price range but was bar none, totally above the rest of the long-arms). The new Bernina long-arming machine is definitely the Mercedes of machines. But it's price tag is $10K more then DW was.   And, surprisingly, the Viking sit-down was my preference in that category. Handi Quilter (which is what DW is) came in third and second respectively for my selection, and right behind the Bernina long-arm I was pretty impressed with the A-1 machine. Very smooth, user friendly, but it's frame was a bit tinky; DW has it beat in that category.

Where I'm going with this is that it's fun to try out new things and to compare apples with apples. And, part of my long-arm selection was other factors such as service and availability. HQ has a rep only 45 minutes away and I can take care of all the other considerations basically right at my back door. The other machines (I learned yesterday) did not have representation anywhere near close enough and so I should be happy I choose correctly when investing in a high ticket item such as this.

I can't wait to fire up my machines and play with what I already have here at home. I am so thankful I got to see others play with them yesterday and I'm proud and very happy I have what I do right here for my creativity and enjoyment. Life is good and with more knowledge and experience, will just continue to get better and better.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Paper Piecing

I love to paper piece. I love how active I am when I'm doing it (I only do a few blocks at a time so I have to jump up between each fabric addition and run over to the iron, and then run back over to the cutting table); it's kind of like an olympic event for me when working on one. I need that activity since I was so lax during our hard winter this year.

Here's the first block of twelve.

Fly Away
For our guild member who likes to keep track of how many pieces are in each of our quilts, this block alone has 216.

After long-arming for a while yesterday, I continued on with block number two. All the sections are built and I'll put that together today depending on whether I feel like removing all those darn papers or not.

Luckily yesterday, mom called and why I was on the phone with her removed the Fly Away papers to kill some time while talking. If somebody else calls today, we'll put block two together. If not, it'll be here waiting for me.

Let's talk about tomorrow. International Quilt Festival in Chicago, IL! I'm there baby! Taking the bus tomorrow morning and will be at festival all day long. Bus leaves at 6:00 am from Holt, therefore, I will not be blogging tomorrow at all! I only recognize one 6:00 per day and a.m. is not it. It's going to be a tiring day but I'm so excited to be able to go I just don't care how exhausted I'll be.

I think we're doing something fun at guild tonight but no announcements were made at the last meeting (apparently ONE was made during my absence in Cali but nothing has been mentioned since then). Hope I don't need to bring anything special?!?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Busy Day

Yesterday started off with some long-arming. I completed the first row out of four on the Sugar Block BOM 2013.

I had some nice sun coming into the studio and thought I better take advantage of it. I switched to my "mystery" project to work out some finer details needed with sufficient lighting. I'm at a stand still with it until I obtain one last finishing element which I hope to get this coming weekend.

After lunch I worked on Arcadia Avenue some more and now have the first twelve sections completed, which will make up the first block (there are twelve sections, and there are twelve blocks total). This quilt will certainly take some time to create!

It was a little after 6:00 when I finished that but didn't feel like putting the sections together yet. All the papers need to be taken out prior to joining them and I just wasn't into doing that last night. I moved along to the charity top I started at the quilt show.

By 7:30 I had that all put together and now need backing and batting, so I'm done with that until those are obtained from our guild.

I noticed the charity top came with pillow case pieces. I hadn't made a pillow case in a while and had to pull up a video to remind me in what order everything went prior to making it. It was getting really dark out when I finally completed it and it was time to call it a day.

I'll long arm some more today. Perhaps Arcadia Avenue will be worked on and the quilt I took off (the Reproduction Baby Hearts) quilt needs to have the binding attached. I'm hand binding and I sewed the front on Monday. It's now sitting in the family room waiting for me to finish. I was going to take it to guild to work on tomorrow, but I think we have a little class Barb S. is giving so that probably won't be an option.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oops!

I have two markings on the top leader on DW. One of the markings was there from when DW was a demo model at the shop where he was purchased. I'm not sure why it was there, but sometimes I mistake the mark for my centerline when pinning the tops during loading. This is one of those times.

What's wrong with this pic?

Somethin' ain't right!
The top extends beyond the backing and this is a problem. Thankfully it's easily correctable by merely unpinning the top and starting all over again.

Now we got it right. 
Here's the newest DW line of clothing. This is a BOM from 2013 for the Sugar Block Club by Amy Gibson. This quilt was constructed out of pieces and parts left over from another project and it was at the way bottom of the pile of tops I dug through yesterday. A lot of pressing was needed to get those wrinkles out before loading.

As far as that leader mark goes, I have corrected the problem and now I only have one mark to worry about, so in the future this mistake should no longer occur.

After long arming for a while I moved on to another project I've been working on called Arcadia Avenue. Somebody from Quiltville posted a pic of her three blocks completed so far and it was instant love. I had to have the pattern and found one on sale at Connecting Threads. Gotta love those bargain finds! I have cut all the fabric out for each block (which is what I've been doing to fill in the quick bursts of quilt time I've had in the last week) and started sewing yesterday.

The quilt is totally paper pieced hexagons with a modern flair to them. I'm using all solids in every colorway to include the lights, mediums, and darks throughout the blocks. It's supposed to be a BOM but I'll just work on mine as my moods strike.


Monday, March 23, 2015

ASQ Quilt Show

Here are a few pics from our quilt show this past weekend. We had about 90 quilts in the show, 171 or so visitors, and a successful weekend for all.

Can you find mine? A Tribute to Joan (who passed away this year)

Betty's Ginny Beyer quilt

Mary Jeans AQS Challenge piece (L for Laundry)

Our 2014 Auction quilt at the church bazaar. Ruth Hodge bought it to keep in the guild.

April's Double Wedding Ring designed by Judy Neimeyer

AQS Challenge Quilts from 2014

Three of my quilts

Many of my smaller pieces and other art pieces from other members...and Katie's head

Barb Smith's beautiful piece

Margaret's MIMQ and my Crumb Cake (and part of Sparty)

Bill and Betsy's beautiful appliqué piece and my Craftsy BOM 2012 QAYG

Just a cool shot

Picnic Challenge pieces from this last summer...and Ethel working hard
Back to normalcy for a few more days. Need to regroup and find out where everything was left off before heading to Chicago on Friday. More details on that later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Feeling Kinda Sick

I think we brought back a bug from who knows where. Getting enough to drink yesterday seemed to be an unreachable goal. My throat seemed to be getting scratchy and I ache all over. Despite this, I could not pull myself out of the studio. It just seemed too good being here to let a little sickness get me down.

Under the Bigtop came off DW and here it is.

Under the Bigtop
I looked over the little wallet pattern I purchased in Brighton and decided that could be done on small project Sunday.

Seemingly getting worse as my time in here progressed, I resorted to doing something I couldn't mess up too bad. This is DW's new attire for a few days. I had just basted down the edges and decided on thread color when Jim returned home from work.
Baby Repro Hearts
While this is just a baby quilt, I have class tomorrow (which I didn't know about until I was loading this top last night) in Portland. Today was spent getting fabrics for my next project and playing around with mom in Hastings.

Thursday I'll work on this top for a bit and then must start pulling down the quilts for the show since most of them are hanging here in the house. I'm sure I'll need to throw them in the dryer for a dusting and then will need to get them organized for delivery.

Friday I have to be at the library most of the day to help sort and hang, and to set up for sew-in Saturday and Sunday. Still don't know what I'm doing during sew-in but want to make it simple. Maybe I should pick up a charity project on Thursday night at guild to work on?!? I have the project I was working on two months ago, but it's kind of complicated and I'm not sure it's the right one to take while socializing with show attendees.

Blogging will be minimal again for this time period because of what's on my plate. Not much in here will be happening so we'll take another five or so day hiatus until I have more to report.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hello Studio!

I've missed being in here!!!!!!!

We arrived back from Cali around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. The other kids had come out on Friday night and so Lily had everybody awake by 8:30 a.m. Too tired to do much of anything after the kids left, spent the remainder of Saturday laying around, doing laundry, unpacking, and reading, reading, reading.

Sunday we needed to attend a quilt show in Hastings, visit my mom, and then get some much needed groceries. We arrived back home around 9:30 at night; too late to work in here again.

This morning greeted us in a beautiful early spring way so cleaning up the yard and the garden was a first priority. Just before lunch I called it quits for outdoor work. More was done then planned and until we are free of frost we are pretty much caught up with the yard for now.

Our guild quilt show is this coming weekend, as is our sew-in weekend (we do them together because show attendees seem to like watching us work while they look at our pieces), so I need to prepare for that at some point.

While out and about around the country about all that was completed were hexagons. 98 more to add to the collection. Oh, and my Dale "homework" of building new blocks out of old traditional blocks. Jim actually helped and made a few of his own, so we have a good start.

More hexagons from our travels
Jim and I mistakenly stumbled upon a quilt shop in Brighton called Creative Quilt Kits Quilt Shop. Lots of precuts, kits, and patterns. Fabric was plentiful as well and the staff was very friendly. The shop is open and airy; not at all cluttered, and their prices were pretty decent. I picked up a few things to do and will be returning there soon.

I think today I need to get my head wrapped around where I left off over a week and a half ago.

1)Under the Bigtop is still waiting to be finished on DW, although not much is left since I actually did a little bit Friday before we took off.
2)My "mystery" piece is also unfinished (quite a bit yet to do on that)
3)I signed up for (another) Angela Walters class on Craftsy to play around with.
4)I picked up a wallet pattern and fabric from Creative Quilts
5)Also found my stabilizer I was looking for to make a sample for Quilt U (if a make it/take it gets voted on).
6)Quilt show
7)Sew-in project and tomorrow I'm going to Hastings with mom to pick up my batiks for my next Judy Neimeyer piece.

So much to do...good thing it's only 2. :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pebbling

The mystery project I've been working on requires a LOT of filler quilting. Since DW was otherwise occupied, I decided to do the filler on Mike.

The filler I chose was pebbling since I love to do pebbles. After sitting in my chair for four hours, decided I probably need to a) get a new, more ergonomical chair, or b) don't sit in the chair for two hour stints without getting up and moving around.

Even with my identification of bunched up muscles after the first two hours, getting up and stretching didn't seem to help much after hour number three, three fifteen, three thirty, etc. Maybe just doing the filler in smaller segments might be an option??? But hey, when you're on a roll, ya wanna keep at it.

I spent the rest of the day/evening on DW because I could stand, move around, bend, and all sorts of other less constricting formats to accomplish long-arming.

Cleaning the house is a drag. I'd rather be in here. This entire morning I've spent cleaning the house to prepare for our departure tomorrow and have just now gotten in my sunny work space...it's nearly 11:00. Ugh!

No pics today (sorry, I don't want to reveal my mystery thing) and since we leave tomorrow, this may be my last blog for about a week (insert sad face). TTFN and until next week...happy quilting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mud

I felt like I was slogging in mud yesterday. I accomplished as much as I did on Monday, but it just didn't feel like it. Probably because the winter snow/sleet/rain storm outside was making me feel so groggy.

The Bargello for Charity came off the frame,  binding was added, and now only needs a label. Actually, all of the charity quilts need labels but I'm not going to worry about that for the time being.

Charity Bargello
Next up was Under the Bigtop. I've been dying to get this quilt on the frame for a while, and could probably get it ready to put into the quilt show, but (unfortunately) I have enough entries already. Most of the quilt is being free motion quilted, but the large circles are being done with DW's computer. There were two particular motifs I wanted to use and for me yet, circles are a tough lot to free motion.

Under the Bigtop
I love to have embellishments in quilts. If you look at the pic above, you can see there is rick rack around each of the large circles. It adds a certain something to the piece, but I gotta tell ya, working around embellishments while trying to long arm is kind of a pain. Note to self, NEVER embellish, if at all possible, until you have the quilt quilted.

I forgot to mention earlier this week about our shopping trip last Saturday. We spent some time at Gall Sewing to pick up my table for Mike (which we've been waiting for and should have actually came with him when he was purchased). Jim also surprised me with a table for DW. Now I can get some quilting templates and start doing some ruler work! No more winging the ditch quilting and when I really need a straight line, I'll be able to do it! I love my husband!!!

Back to my day: I have a class I'm taking and won't get into any details. It's something I've been trying to pursue for over two years now and just haven't had the right avenue to venture down. I've researched and watched, looked and discussed, and still hadn't come up with the right way to go. This is another attempt at another direction and it's where the remainder of my yesterday went.

Today I'll continue Under the Bigtop, work on my "mystery" project, and probably start getting ready to head to Cali on Friday. All other projects are either finished or on hold until we return so the studio is clean and ready for my return. And, the little kid has a project he needs to work on when we're gone and needs a clean space too.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Amazing

I love my husband! He's my life and I put him above everything else. But, it's nice when he's doing his thing (driving his big truck) and I do mine. Yesterday, after he left for work, not only did I get everything done I listed yesterday, but even more was accomplished.

Both row by rows are completed. I don't think the girls check out my blog, so I can probably put them out here safely.

Row by Row for MJ and JM
After the rows were completed, I needed to do some guild homework. Dale wanted us to pick a traditional block and re-color/rearrange it to make a new block x 3. Thankfully, I have a software program which allows me to do this rather quickly and was able to knock it out easily enough.

I had some more paperwork to do too. I had to log in Jen's journal and get her fabrics all packed back into her tote. I needed to decide which of my quilts would be entered into our guild quilt show in a few weeks, and that was probably the hardest of all my tasks yesterday.

All charity quilts thus far need to be entered. All challenge quilts from last year needed to be included also. I wanted to include some smaller "art" pieces and since I have done so many this year, included a handful of those, which basically left me with about four of my own to throw in there. 16 total entries for me this year. I certainly could have added many, many more but this isn't about me.

After I checked in with my man to see how his day was going, I still had some steam and headed to DW. I'm playing with a new motif called the meandering feather. I hope you can pick it out from this crappy photo.
Meandering Feather in the Bargello Charity Quilt
This is yet another charity quilt so change my numbers above to 17.

I'll get this bargello off this morning and bound up and then rummage around in the spare room for the next one to load. I have no clue what I'll turn up, which is sort of like Christmas and unwrapping presents.

How can it be sleeting outside when the temps are at 25? It'll be a miracle if we don't lose electricity. I think Old Man Winter is fighting back hard but hopefully he'll let me play in here for a while.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Little Birdie

Since making this little guy, I have the song "Little Birdie" sitting in my head from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (or maybe it's the Charlie Brown Christmas?) movie.
Little Birdie
He's a prototype for a mystery row for a mystery person in our guild. I can't say anymore but this was about the extent of my quilting yesterday.

I was also on the phone with our guild president regarding our submissions for the AQS Challenge. We discussed a number of things and I have to make a phone call later this morning to clarify one of the rules we are confused about.

Today brings us another brisk, sunny day and I have a lot to do before leaving Friday afternoon. The mystery row has to be made, Jens row has to be designed and then made. I have finally settled on something for her, and as much as I would like to make it more intricate (she's kind of like that), it just isn't going to happen with the time/colors/parameters given.

I have to contact AQS and then make some local phone calls to exchange the information I received from them, and then maybe, if time permits, I can do some long arming. Think I can do all of this today?

Oh, and I have to get my challenge quilt ready to deliver on Thursday night with needed information AQS will have to have for submission.

That's just the quilting end of things. I love being busy! Yeah!