Thursday, August 30, 2012

Second post for the day ....

So you've quilted some quilts, they get delivered to their owners and then what?  Have you ever wondered where those beautiful quilts are and how they are doing? 

I'm lucky to have customers who don't mind sending me some pictures of their quilts 'at home' ... or wherever they are.

Anne sent me a picture of her Monkey Baby Quilt.  This is just the cutest quilt in America and I love the pieced backing.  I'm getting to where I really really like a pieced backing!  Those little monkeys are too too cute!

This is Carrie's Blue and Yellow quilt.  I think the story is that this quilt was suppose to go to a family member (I won't mention who...) but Carrie saw the finished products (quilt plus 2 shams) and decided .... nah, this is MINE!  LOL!  I think she said that this quilt is now on the guest bedroom bed.  Yummy!  Isn't that a great picture?

She did a great job piecing these and it was so nice to quilt.  Love those projects that turn out wonderfully!

Again, with the Catch-Up ...

Again, with the catching-up.  Time just gets away from me.  I'm getting ready for a trip North and decided to take Max in for his "Spa" treatment at the factory.  Good timing since we're going up that way anyway.  I figure after 3 years he probably needs to be tuned up a bit.  We have been able to recalibrate the stitches as needed but a good tune-up can only be a good thing.  

So in preparation for that I've been working like mad, getting quilts done.  Some I don't have pictures for ... sigh ...

So here goes ...

First up is Janis and her Lonestar.  Our small church quilting group took on this project individually and we have about 7 of these Lonestars out there ... Janis actually got hers done!  Woo Woo!  Mine, of course, is "almost" finished ... hey, the cobbler's children had no shoes!  (The quilter has no quilted quilts ...)

Her Lonestar turned out beautiful.  I used a circle with star template on the quilting with a soft blue/grey Magna-Glide thread.

Next up is Barbara's Yellow Brick Road.  Barbara took a Beginning Piecing class that I taught at Cottontail Quilts and she finished up her YBR.    Barbara chose only a few different fabrics for her YBR and it turned out great!   The quilting is a feather meander and again, the thread is the Magna-Glide in a soft gold.  


Next is Carrie's HUGE pink and green floral quilt.  I say HUGE because getting a full picture of this quilt is almost impossible.  But here are some pics.

This is one of the matching pillow shams.  On both I used Feather Meander and of course, Magna-Glide thread.  HOWEVER, I played with the thread on this one and ran two threads through the needle ... a pink and a green.  It gives a different feel to the stitching, not quite a variagated feel but a soft pink/green.  I have done this on one of my own quilts (that big bad Kaffe Fassett quilt I did last year) and I just love the texture look of the stitching.  It's fun to play!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Did you think I'd fallen off the ends of the earth?

It's been a while, but I'm here.  It's been a busy time around here.  I had my Spanish daughter here visiting for about a week and a half and when she makes it home once a year, I'm all hers!  We didn't plan any big outings ... she mainly just wanted to be at home, chilling out ... but we managed a few shopping sprees ... wheee!!!  She caught the shoe-bug from me ... we both LOVE shoes!   And off point here, but we both believe that the shoe makers have changed their shoe sizes.  Both of us had to go up 1/2 size in ALL shoes that we purchased.  And I purchased the same brand that I've got in my closet and still had to go up that 1/2 size.  What is this all about?!!  And of course the cutest shoes we bought were ... do you remember the late 80's ... JELLIES!  Yes, I'm telling you!  JELLIES!  Cutest little shoe in America!  Maybe I'll get a picture of them and post here soon ... believe me, cute cute cute cute cute!  

I did manage to get a couple of quilts done while she was here, and here's the pictures of Elisa's Memory Wall-Hanging that she made to celebrate a friends 80th birthday.  The woman is gorgeous and the pictures are absolutely charming.  

She wanted feathers incorporated in the wall-hanging and then I added some hearts to carry out the Heart theme she had going on.  

Because this is a wall-hanging I used two layers of batting ... QD 70/30 blend on the bottom and QD Wool on the top.  It really makes those pictures pop and the quilting is accentuated.  I used cream Magna-Glide thread on the light portion and changed to red Magna-Glide on the red squares ... cream in the bobbin on both.  

Happy 80th birthday!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hand me a fan ... it's done!

Whew ... it's hotter than fried pies down here and I've been feeling the heat ... but I got lucky because I had me a studio full of "fans" ... with a peacock or two thrown in!

It's done it's done it's done!  I'm posting pictures but you need to know that this quilt is 96" x 96" and there is no way I can get a good picture of this big ol' bad boy ... so I'm just posting some shots of the different aspects of this quilt.    This is Robbie's quilt and she told me it's going on her bed.  It's going to be beautiful draped across her bed....

If you click on the peacock picture you might be able to see where I used the light gold thread and outlined or enhanced the flowers, peacock feathers, etc.

The light blue 'sky' area has a floral motif, while the fans with the gold centers has a modified feather in each fan segment.  The smaller peacock squares has a feathered wreath in them.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coming attractions! (Sneak peek ...)

It's been a while, but this is why ... 

Here's a sneak peek at a coming attraction ...

Oooohhhhh   ....

Remember you can click on the picture to get an up-close look ...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Dance! Happy Dance!!

Oh, Happy Dance!  I just got word that Bernina University has announced its new 7-series line!  I have sooooooo been waiting for this word!  

I am an old-time Bernina fanatic.  I have the original 830 - totally mechanical - machine and I love it.  I will never trade this one in.  Several years ago I was ready to buy a Bernina that had embroidery functionality, and for reasons I won't go into, I bought the Babylock Ellegante2 which I also love.  I am not heavy into embroidery but I want that capability when I decide I want to embroider.  

So fast forward 2 years, and I realized that I'm still obsessing over a new Bernina.  I really want a SEWING machine without the embroidery stuff, but I want some new technology, like a touch screen.  And guess what!  (Hands to face!!)  The new 710 appears to be my next machine.  Ok Ok ... I'll calm down.  These new machines are expected in the stores in September so I'll actually wait until then and go drive one and see how we mesh.  

Oh, my ...

Click on the above link and you'll read all about the new line!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday ... and Happy Independence Day!

Belated Happy Independence Day!  I barely noticed as it's so hot here (how hot is it?  Hotter than fried pies!)  that I really stayed underground doing what I love.  We heard lots of fireworks but with all the trees around us we couldn't see a one.  

My sweet MIL turned 91 on the 3rd of July.  Sometime ago I met a customer who does wool work and we struck a barter-bargain.  I asked for a red/white/blue wool braided bowl that I could give to MIL on her birthday.  The bowl came and I took it to our local home decor store and had them work up a floral arrangement to fit the bowl.  Here's the result:

Isn't it pretty?  Happy Birthday, Lois!!

So the quilting world continues on and here are a few of the quilts that I've been working on.

This first one is Pam's baby quilt Spot's Favorite Colors and it turned out so sweet.  I used the panto Water World on it.  

The next two quilts are LARGE quilts and because they are so so so big I was unable to get a good overall picture.

Carrie's Blue and Brown Boy's quilt is huge!  And this picture does not come close to doing it justice.  It is a beautiful batik quilt.  I used the pantograph Fossil on it with a Deep Mint Magna-Glide thread and it came out beautifully.  No feathers or florals for these boys, you know...
Remember to click on the picture for a closer view.

This gorgeous Yellow and Blue sampler quilt went home with Susan.  Again, this one is very large.  I used a Feather Meander on it with a yellow Magna-Glide thread.  I absolutely love this thread!  It doesn't go with every single quilt, but for those that call for it - wow!  

Stay cool out there!  We are experiencing near-100 deg weather.  I just feel blessed that I have air conditioning and work that I enjoy doing INSIDE!   I'm real tempted to try that "fry an egg on the sidewalk" thingie ... 

I've got several projects on my design schedule right now so I'm busy busy busy.   There's a One Block Wonder that needs to be finished, a Snail's Trail that's ALMOST done, and two Lone Star projects.  Plus I've done two of those cutie-patootie Iron Caddy bags.  Christmas is coming, you know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cutest Little Caddy in America!

Look what I did yesterday!  Isn't it the cutest little iron caddy in America?!

I had so much fun putting this together ... and like most worthwhile things, once you do one, you'll want to do another ... and the first one is always the hardest.  So now that I know what I'm doing ... oh my!  Christmas is coming!!  Will one of these be in YOUR Christmas stocking?  LOL! 

I'm just having way too much fun ...

While I was making this, I came to the part about "binding" ... and I'm thinking to myself, Crapola ... I don't want to cut and make binding for this itty-bitty thing ... wait!  I have a box of left over binding.  Maybe there's something in there I can use ... Well, you see that gorgeous pink with white dots binding and the straps?  That was in my left-over binding box!  My craziness for saving bits and pieces is beginning to pay off!  Woo Woo ... now get out there and start your own "Left-over binding" box!  

Oops ... forgot to say ... this pattern is Caddy Pad Jr., by Sisters' Common Thread.  There is a bigger one for regular sized irons.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dancing with the Stars!

Do you see a theme here?  Dancing with the Stars ... Dancing Bear ... Come Dance with Me ... Let's Dance ... 

Seems we be dancing!

So this is Barb's Dancing with the Stars quilt.  I think it's going to be a shop sample for Tiny Stitches.  She wanted something free and easy on the quilting so I used a great pantograph from UrbanElementz called Fossil.  And in person and up close this panto is made for this quilt!  It gave it lots of movement and a fun and quirky look.

Remember, you can click on the pictures to get a better look.

Next is Kathy's baby quilt, Pink and Chocolate Dots.  Isn't it a cutie-patootie?  She used pink Minkee on the back.  I love Minkee and I don't have any problems quilting it. I used Ribbon Romance on this one.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My thread revisted ...

A gentle reader e-mailed me today and ask that I repost my thread picture ... and how timely because Mr. Dancing Bear is gonna build me another unit ... I'm expecting two shipments of thread this next week and I need the room.  Oh, don't ask ... I love thread and I want to try a thicker thread so my fingers went shopping at my two favorite thread vendors ... Superior Thread and Bobbin Central (Magna-Glide threads).  These pics are from late last year and right now they are chocked full of thread cones.  I do need to go straighten them up ...

So maybe in a week or so I'll have another unit installed and full of eye-candy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Tisket ... A Tisket ... a Green and Red and Beige Basket!

Ah ... it's done!  I've been up close and real personal with this quilt for a number of days. Once I got going it went pretty fast.  Knowing what to do where is the key to this art, y'know ... nothing more frustrating than standing in front of a quilt and thinking, "OK, what do I do now?"

But Joanne's Basket quilt was telling me what to do so I just paid attention and did what it said! 

Isn't it pretty?

Thanks Joanne!  I had a great time working on your beautiful quilt!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is your passion? (A Rave ... not a Rant)

I'm going to spend some time today thinking about 'passion' ... and I'm going to direct you to a speech made by Larry Smith (no relation, honest!) that I found on a news site just now ...

These days I read totally for pleasure.  I'm past the time where I had to read in order to regurgitate for an instructor, a test, whatever.  Reading is a pleasure now.  And today I came across this article on FIND YOUR PASSION  and some of what he states really hit a chord within me.  And I read it with pleasure and glee ...

Mr. Smith talks about searching for your passion.  I think I was lucky in that I sort of 'fell' into my passion.  I'm an engineer by schooling and by training, but I've always been somewhat crafty.  I can read a pattern and pretty much put it together; I can read a recipe and conjure up whatever 'it' is ... but I never considered myself artistic because I have difficulty coming up with "IT" in the first place.  I so admire people who can design on a dime.  Just looking at something gives them a vision.  Oh how I wish I could do that! 

Anyway, before kids I was sewing and crocheting, and even did some macrame ... remember the 70's?  And with children, I put most of that away. At some point I found my sewing machine again - I do remember that exact moment - I had been taking care of 3 toddlers all day, and the way I relaxed was to veg out in front of the TV enjoying the mindless flickering images without the wail of a child calling "Mommy!" ... so there I was, rocking in my rocking chair, flipping through the channels late at night and what did I see? Some lady (probably Eleanor Burns...who knows?) was whacking away at some fabric using a pizza-cutter-like device (I swear, I thought it was an actual pizza cutter!).  Since I had been cutting fabric using brown paper patterns traced from a magazine which was incredibly boring and frustrating, I watched transfixed by just how easy she could take fabric, cut it, and then sew it back together.  I was hooked! Kids or no kids, I wanted to really quilt!  Within the week, I had found a real live quilt store, purchased that fancy-schmancy pizza cutter, a green mat, some fabric and a pattern, and I was quilting.  OK, I do have a thing about tools ... I love tools ... I'm the first on my block to have a new ruler, a new pair of scissors, a new template ... I just love those tools!  Anyway, I started using that pizza-cutter and mat and  I haven't stopped and I haven't looked back.  

So that's became my creative outlet.  I pieced when I could.  I took a class here and there.  When I moved to GA, I really started the piecing because by now the kids were in middle school and the need to be sure all the pins were up off the floor was almost non-existent ... I don't think anyone has actually stepped on a pin in my house.  Just saying ...   

The passion became THE PASSION when I purchased my long-arm machine at the Houston International Quilt Show in 2009.  Once I stepped in front of that machine and grabbed the handles, I started grinning from ear to ear and I don't think I've stopped smiling yet.  THIS is my passion!   I love the long-arm quilting like I've never loved anything else.  I can speak quilting 24 hours a day and drive you nuts talking about fabric, threads, patterns, designs ... and slowly but surely it is MAKING me be creative ... I'm using brain cells I thought were long dead ... and with every success (I can do feathers!  OMG!  I can do feathers!) I've patted myself on the back and moved forward, knowing that there is every chance that I'll have another success just around the corner.  Am I cocky?  Nah ... just reveling in the fact that I CAN DO THIS!  I feel myself stretching and achieving and stretching some more ... activities that I haven't felt in a long long time.  And I have such admiration for those 'expert' quilters that are out there.  I know a bit of what you've gone through and how you've achieved your success and my hat is off to each and every one of you.  You have earned your reputations as wonderful quilters! 

At the time I bought my long-arm, I was working in corporate America and the more time I was away from quilting the more miserable I found myself.  In fairness, things in corporate America-world were starting on a downward spiral and I must have sensed that I needed to get the hell away from there.  So I did.  I haven't yet decided whether I took an early retirement or quit.  Who cares anyway?  I had to feed my soul and quilting was the only way to do that.  I have started my own business and me and the business are doing great, thank you.  

I don't know exactly where I was going with this blog when I started, but I'll leave you with a quote from Mr. Smith's article:

"How will you recognize your passion when you encounter it? Usually, it is quite easy. One moment you are reading in hopes of finding a topic of great interest; then you find that you are reading and do not want to stop. Or you find yourself in a regular conversation, and you start talking with excitement about an idea. Or you find yourself in an activity and you lose track of time itself. The rule of passion is simple: the mind cannot stop thinking about that which it loves."

I spend a LOT of time thinking about quilting (how many quilts have YOU done in your head?  yeah, me too...LOL!) and actually quilting.  I'm most comfortable teaching a class than "lunching with the girls" if you know what I mean.  Don't get me wrong ... I love the girls and I love lunch, but for me ... lunching with my quilting buddies is just about heaven!   I'll see you on Tuesday, ladies!  

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Bali Flowers for My Wedding Ring is done!

Whew ... it's been a while.  I've had my head down over this quilt for quite a few days.  I love this working from home bit, by the way ... I would work for a while then come to the computer and check e-mail, news sites, quilting sites, etc.  It makes for a comfortable work day!  

Anyway, this is done.  Barb did the piecing and Mindy did the applique.  Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?!!  These two ladies whip out these beautiful quilts like nobody's business.  

This quilt got really playful on me ... I kept looking at the bright batiks and just couldn't do anything too structured on it, except for the melons and the insides of the rings.  The borders became my playground and I had me some fun!  It's interesting to just let my fingers guide the machine and see what happens.  There are plenty of 'goofs' but I won't tell if you won't tell ... but the goofs just let me know that I was concentrating much too hard.  I think this is my venue ... playful quilting.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Come Dance with Me!

I got this off one of the forums I participate in ...

I'll add it over to the right - LET'S DANCE!

In my next life I'm gonna be a true dancing quilter!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE dance! 

And have you been watching the try-outs for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?  Some true brilliance coming through there.  Can't wait to see who makes it through ...

So enjoy this video.  Hope it puts a smile on your face and a happy leap in your walk!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Mondo Mondo bag!

Sometimes Sunday afternoons are designated 'my sewing time' ... with the long-arm quilting thing going on all the time, I miss just sitting and piecing.  This past Sunday afternoon I decided I needed a 'piecing' fix ... so I sat down and started (and finished!!!) this Mondo bag by Quilt Smart.  Isn't it mondo-magnificent?  And thanks to friend Tina (Hi Tina!) for telling me about the Mondo bag ... do you have yours done yet, Tina?  LOL!  Tina and I share projects all the time and usually I'm the one left behind as she whips up her new project find ... this time I won!!!!  Wheeee ..... 

I attend a small quilting group on Tuesday's and we have decided to attempt the Quilt Smart Lone Star and I wanted to be sure that I understood the basic techniques that Quilt Smart uses with their interfacing so I pulled out the Mondo bag and voila!!!  So super easy!  I actually ... wait for it ... pulled fabric ... here it comes ... FROM MY STASH!  Woo woo!  Don't tell me you haven't gone to your stash with all good intentions and stood there thinking, "Now, that fabric could work, but I think I'm saving that piece for another project ..."  and found yourself at your LQS buying MORE fabric.  Well, this time I just yanked fabric from a particular stack and look what happened.  

Now since this takes 2 1/2" squares, you could actually use charms and get a 2 1/2" square for each of the 4 sides from one charm.  I just don't plan that well in advance.  I fly by the seat of my pants a lot ...  but I will pay attention on the next one!

It may be hard to tell just how Mondo this bag is ... the bottom is about 14" square and I have it stuffed with bunches and bunches of fat quarters plus a big ol' roll of the "bomb" fat quarters - I think that's about 25 fat quarters.  And an envelope of pattern stuff.  So it's a biggie!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Batting Dissertation

Hmmm ... got a big quilt on Max so I won't be talking quilts for a while ... at least not until I get this one off and pictures taken.

So, this morning I got an interesting question via e-mail from Judy (Hi Judy!).  She wanted to know about batttings.  So here's what I told her.

My all-time favorite battings are Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and Quilters Dream (QD) 70/30 Blend.  Both are fabulous battings and I just go eeny-meeny-miny-mo when I cannot decide which one to use.  I have them both on rolls and its very very convenient for me and hopefully for the customer, since I can unroll a clean unwrinkled sheet of batting and charge the customer for only what is used.  It's a win-win, no?  I also have available the QD 100% Cotton in the Deluxe or Supreme level.  I try not to use the Request level of 100% cotton because I find it a bit thin.  It works, but I really like the higher levels of loft.  I have also used the QD Wool, the QD Poly, and the QD Puff.  I like all of them for different quilts.  And for those occasions where a natural or white batting is not what I want, I keep some black batting on hand.  If I see a quilt coming up that needs that black batting and I don't have the correct size, I'll just order ahead of time.  I mean, do I really need to take up another room in the house just for storing batting??  LOL!  

For a wall/display quilt, I like to use two battings.  The blend or cotton on the bottom with a layer of wool or poly or puff on top.  The definition you get with the quilting is fabulous.  The wool is pricey but the effect can be stunning.  

And remember, just because I haven't mentioned a particular batting doesn't mean that there aren't other good battings out there.  There is only one batting I don't want to use ... it tends to come out of the bag way too inconsistent and sometimes you can get gaps of air with the batting (holes) ... but I'll be respectful and not mention names here.  My customers know which one I'm talking about!  And your local quilt stores won't be carrying it ... those other big-box stores might entice you with low prices.  Be very very wary ...

I remember when I handed over quilt tops to my quilter and at first I had my quilt top in one hand and a bag of batting in the other.  Then when I learned that she carried batting, I felt FREE!  No more bags of batting!  She took care of it and now I'm continuing that legacy!  Most of my customers also like that I 'take care of the batting' ... and I like that I get a clean unwrinkled product to work with.

So that's my dissertation for today.  As I told Judy, save your $$$$ for beautiful fabric!  I'll take care of the batting!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Belated Anniversary Trip with Habanero/Quilting Overtones

See PHOTO SELECTION OFF TO THE RIGHT - Airing of the Quilts, Franklin NC

Our anniversary was last month so hubby planned a little get-away for us.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, as things turned out...) he couldn't get the accomodations he wanted until this month.  So on Thursday afternoon we escaped to North Caroline, the Highlands/Franklin area.  We stayed at Fire Mountain ( and boy, was it a great experience!  Up the mountain and in the woods.  Our room had two balconies, one facing east and one facing west.  We were able to watch the sun come up in the morning and go down in the evening.  Breakfasts to die for!  Thanks to Matthew and Edith for being so kind to us!  Happy Mother's Day, Edith!

Friday was awesome, weather-wise.  Cool but bright sunshine.  We headed down the mountain to Highlands and took a 'quick' trip over to Franklin on the scariest road in America!  Woo whee ... sharp turns, blind turns, two lanes ... I'm telling you, I haven't unclinched yet!  LOL!!!  

And I can't NOT mention the restaurant Cyprus in Highlands.  What a gem!  A different cuisine each night and we cancelled one reservation at a different restaurant in order to go back to Cyprus the second night!  First night, for dessert, we had a Lavender Ice Cream Sandwich drizzled with honey that was soooooo good!  I didn't know Lavender could taste so good.  And then the second night I had oysters on the half-shell that came with a teeny bit of Habanero Sorbet.  Nice and cold ... and then ... wait for it ... HOT HOT HOT!  It was wonderful!

Anyway, come to discover that the town of Franklin was having its Airing of the Quilts event that weekend!  Could we have come at a better time?  I don't think so ...  it was absolutely beautiful.  

In Franklin, we visited two of the finest quilt stores I've ever seen.  Deb's Cats n Quilts and A Stitch in Time.  A quilt store on either end of town.  And both are great!  Cats n Quilts is more traditional with a lot of Civil War reproductions and Thimbleberry-type fabrics, with a room of batiks and another of children's and novelty fabrics.  Their downstairs area is relatively new and just fun to wander through.  Big classroom located downstairs.  I found several books and fabric and other goodies in this great store.  Thanks, ladies!

A Stitch in Time has those lovely bright colors that I tend to gravitate to ... Kaffe Fassett, Free Spirit, Valerie Wells, with some beautiful voile!  Found a great piece of Kaffe Fassett that I have big plans for ... ok, it is a weakness I have ... but it is beautiful!

Thanks to all in both stores who made us feel so welcome.  We'll be back, I promise!

Saturday we returned to Franklin for the official Airing of the Quilts.  Below are a few of the pictures we took.  I'll try to figure out how to do an album so you can see all.  Be sure to click on the picture so you can see it up close.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Got this one finished recently and it will be winging its way to New York and owner Judith this afternoon.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to hand-deliver one of these NY quilts??  Love Love Love NY!

When I first saw the top, my immediate reaction was "Oh, let's play!"  This is the perfect quilt to do some custom on and Judith agreed.  

I used a traditional-type thread (SoFine) on this one, both top and bottom.

 I wish I were an accomplished photographer ... but THAT'S not happening.   So just enjoy the beauty of the colors of the quilt and look at how well put together it is.  Good job, Judith!

This is a close-up, sorta, of the medallion.  Those big corners were just jumping up and down, yelling "Feathers!  Feathers!  We want Feathers!"  Can't deny a corner, can you?

A real-close-up of one of the corners.  I broke up that big corner triangle into 3 sections and went from there.  Small green border got a back-and-forth leaf treatment, and the yellow/gold medallion border with the green cornerstones got a rambling feather treatment.  

The backing looks cool from this angle, doesn't it?