Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday WIP

Kinda late in the day, but this IS what I worked on today!!!

I made a smaller sample of the ribbon embroidery with just a couple of the stitches. The craft club at work wants to do the ribbon embroidery but they only have 45 minutes during a lunch to do the craft so they asked for a much simplified version. I will probably do something really similar for the demo at the retreat, only I will be doing colonial knots and the french knot rose as well as the spiderweb rose, lazy daisy and stem stitching.

Heading out tomorrow am for the retreat...see y'all later!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ribbon Embroidery Sample


Here's what the silk ribbon embroidery class is going to work on. This can be turned into a needle-case or a cell phone caddy.
In a few minutes I will have all the kits made up - I kinda goofed on the number...I have 7 ladies that want a kit, I made 8 sets of ribbons, used 1 to make the sample...so I am going to have to use the stuff I have left over from the vest for doing the demo of the stitches...oh well...best laid plans of mice and men and all that!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What I 'Cooked Up' Tonight

This is what I 'cooked up' in my microwave tonight:

Silk ribbons, dyed with Tsukineko ink, and partially heat set by drying in the microwave . To finish the dye process, I need to iron them to set the ink and make it permanent.
I am giving a little demo on silk ribbon embroidery at the Arizona Retreat and some of the ladies wanted to play along, so I am making up little kits with ribbons and needles.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Progress

I am home today with a horribly sore throat and have taken numerous mad dashes down the hall...ICK!!! Someone must have breathed on me at the show that had germs...sigh...one of the hazards of going out into a venue with thousands of people.

But..beading is one of those activities that does not take much energy or moving around, so I worked on the Kaleidoscope...and the beading is done! Now I just have to figure out what to put as the border for my wall hanging...I am toying with the notion of it being one of my Circles for the 12x12x4 Challenge - since its definitely a Circle!!! I have some lovely fabric with gold veins on it that may work great. I really like how this turned out!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Road Show and WIPS

More from the Road to California Quilt Show:

Saturday-

My class on Saturday was 'Garden of Eden' with Laura Wasilowski. Her style is similar to Melody's in that it uses fused hand-dyes, but the result is a little different. She is funny too like Melody - I wish I could have gone to the "Chicago School of Fusing' Luncheon...the ladies that went said it was very very funny!

I also attended a lecture by Gabrielle Swain on Creativity...I enjoyed listening to her very much! One of my girlfriends took Gabrielle's Leaf class and was quite inspired...I loved seeing the drawings of her design unfolding. Gabrielle was also one of the judges for the Quilt show.

Later Saturday night I attended Alex Anderson's trunk show...she is a hoot and a half to listen to. She's the kind of person I really wish I lived next door to - seems down to earth, sweet and really intelligent.

Sunday-

This is as far as I got on my Beaded Kaleidoscope in Nancy Eha's class. I was one of the faster beaders! I kept getting done with the rounds before she called time, so she would come by and show me how to do the next round...One thing almost tragic happened...in the process of setting up my bag the night before, somehow the prepared square to stitch on got misplaced...I was almost in a panic when the lady next to me said "I made two... one a little smaller than she asked for, but I brought it with me anyway and you can have it if you want" - Was I ever relieved!!!! A true 'Quilting Angel'. I gave her a nice fat quarter in exchange!

This is what the project sample looks like:

And here is Princess Suze wearing her 'tiara' in class...


Tuesday night:
Here is the progress on the beading. I have a minor problem - some of the embellishment beads are missing from the kit...so I may have to improvise if I cannot get them sent to me. Shoulda checked the kit more carefully before I left the classroom!




In other news:
This is picture of some of the 'Ugly Fabric Challenge' quilts for the Arizona Retreat I am going to next week. Mine is the smallish placemat sized quilt on the end...it was made ENTIRELY of the 1/2 yard of challenge fabric - including the back. Its name is 'Arizona Fever' for a couple of reasons...first, I had a pretty high fever when I put it together...and...I am in a fever to go to the retreat! All the quilts shown in the picture have the challenge fabric in them! They are hanging in Sally's Fabrics, an LQS in Phoenix, Arizona...the patrons are voting on their favorites...if you are in the area, stop by and have a look!

Look at what we had to start from! The ladies at Sally's picked the fabric for this year. Next year we are going to do a challenge, but not an 'Ugly Fabric' challenge!



Oh...and if you check out Melody's post for Tuesday Jan 23 - there is a picture of my class doing the Bodacious Bloomers...I am kinda hidden behind the lady in the pinky-salmon sweater who has her back to the camera - but that is ME there in the green sweater, auditioning fabric!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Report from the Road - The Road To California, That Is!

Wednesday -
Went to help hang quilts at the Road to California Quilt Show. The preshow for the class participants usually starts at 7pm...At 4 there still were hundreds of quilts left to hang.
I was assigned to the $100,000 Quilt Challenge area - yes, I DID get to see (and touch) those magnificent quilts - up close and personal! Some incredible work...The crazy quilts are my personal favorites, but all of them are terrific. I can only dream of being that good!

It's usually sweaty business hanging quilts but this year since its been soooo cold here, we barely got warm. It took a couple of hours to hang the $100,000 Quilt Challenge display then they asked if we could hang some quilts out in this Quonset Hut tent that they put out at the south of the convention center - since it has been REALLY cold for So Cal and there is still a chance of rain, they moved all the eating areas inside which meant the second half of the Vendor Fair and some of the quilt collections had to move to the tent. Wednesday the heat was not on in the tent. We boogied into the tent, slapped the quilts onto poles, hung those puppies and boogied right back out o'there! Of course, we had a secondary reason for boogieing back out (besides frostbite!) - while they were taping the poles (that stabilizes them and keeps the patrons from fondling the quilts) one of the ladies helping leaned a weeee bit too hard on a pole...the Domino Effect worked quite nicely. We then had another 100 quilts to rehang - every available warm volunteer body was pressed into service to get the displays back up on the walls. This was a mere 10 minutes before the show was due to open...the natives were getting a little restless but we finally got the show open - just a little late!

The About.Com Quilting Forum has at least 3 members with quilts in the show. On Wednesday night we knew one of them had won one of the BIG prizes - the Judge's Special Merit Award -
November Fields by Gail: **

Here is that lovely ribbon! **

Here are the other forum member's quilts:
Kaleidoscope Twist by Birgit: **

Trinity by Birgit: **

And
Grace by Teri: - This was not a particularly good picture so I said I would go back and get a better one... **


Thursday -

I went back to take another picture of Teri's quilt and lo and behold...see the difference!!! There is a Blue First Place Ribbon on it now! **

This was the result of the first class that I took - Melody Johnson's Bodacious Bloomers class. I loved this class. She is a fun teacher! I used my new cordless iron and that was SOOO great to have no cord in the way. This entire piece is done by fusing - what looks like seams is fused too. Melody was so cute about that - she put two pieces of fabric on the ironing surface and told us to watch very, very carefully - she kind of tapped the iron onto the fabric then back off and said "That's a seam!" Mine is already fused to the Hobbs Heirloom batting - just needs a bit of quilting and the backing...and then its done!:


This is the beaded cell phone caddy from the second class that I took - its really magnificent in person! The ribbon gleams. I have to finish the fringe and the neck chain. I wore my 'tiara' and IT WORKS!!!! The teacher even joked about 'One not caring what one looks like as long as it works'....


Friday -
Today I took a class from Karen McTavish. She is a hoot! I had to go to the Vendor Fair and buy some Bottom Line thread so I can try out her technique. I actually drew a fairly close to McTavishing drawing (she recommends practicing on paper first). The class was a demo of her technique - they brought in a APQS Liberty Longarm and had a videographer focused on her quilting so we could all see on the overhead projection. I was surprised at how often she backtracks - way more than I thought...

More later...I have classes tomorrow and Sunday - right now I am taking a little time off to catch some more z's!

**pictures taken at Road to California Quilt Show

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And a Tiara for Me TOO!




Got home today to find a box on the lawn with my very own 'tiara' ... I am planning on wearing it at the beading class instead of hauling the Ott light into the classroom - not as heavy, and best of all - NO EXTENSION CORD!!!! Teehee! I have to remember to wear it like Dorothy does, under the hair...

Monday, January 15, 2007

How NOT to Quilt a Quilt...

Or the saga of the 'Train-wreck Quilt'...

Started out with a 'good idea' or at least I THOUGHT it was a 'good idea'...

The Apple Quilt - the mystery quilt from last year's Arizona Quilting Retreat - was unfinished. They are doing a 'reveal' of the quilts from last year at this year's retreat in a couple of weeks. So..I thought I would 'finish it up' so I could show a finished quilt at the retreat since I was one of only a couple of us that actually finished sewing the top during last year's retreat. ..They already all saw it as a top!

When I came home from the retreat, my DM thought it looked kinda like a tablecloth..which I agreed with, once she said it. So I thought I would use a really thin batting so it 'could' be used as a tablecloth, should I so desire to do so sometime in the future. Also, a thin batting would make a nice couch quilt since we usually don't get really cold here (Unfortunately, the present weather system belies that though...it was 27 Saturday morning when I got up and with wind chill since its breezy, that translated to 20 degrees!!! This is So Cal, fergoodnessske!)

I settled on using the heavyweight flannel that WalMart sells for diapers. It has a nice hand, washes well, is definately thinner than Warm and White and is fair-to-middlin' cheap to boot. Hunted some down (first Wally World did not have any).

Washed, dried, cut the chunk in half and stitched it back together to make a piece large enough for the batting. Pieced the backing for the quilt out of the leftover apple fabric. And here is where I started to go wrong. I decided to 'birth' the quilt-mostly because I could not find any red fabric that matched the red in the quilt to bind it with and the other fabrics were just not right or I didn't have enough of them.

Sigh...'birthing' a quilt this big is disastrous! This is THE biggest quilt I have tackled so far. I did a couple of rows of top stitching after turning the quilt. That part went ok. Starting the interior quilting was nothing but an exercise in frustration. The backing and the flannel stayed in place since they were mostly un-pieced...but the top...it stretched, it buckled, it twisted...it went every which way but the right way. Next mistake was thinking it would 'quilt out' ...HAH...that made things worse. (and never make decisions like this when you are tired and its late and its dark out...) By light of morning I got out the seam ripper and tried to repair the damage.

Thinking that a little steam and some spray sizing would help, I hoisted the thing onto the ironing board and pinned it every couple of inches after steaming it within an inch of its very existence...by the time I was done with the pins (almost every pin I own, mind you)...it looked - well - ok, not splendid but ok. This thing has a mind of its own though. Started stitching..still buckling - even with the walking foot...so...I did the only thing you can do at this point and tried to get the buckles at the intersections...and went back over them the other direction to firmly plaster them into place. Not the prettiest solution...but..it is DONE...

I washed and dried it..and though its a 'train-wreak'...if I didn't tell you..you might not notice. I will see if anyone ever does! I love how a quilt gets to looking 'quilty' after its first washing!

And its pretty cozy after all...I have it on my lap to clip the miscellaneous thread ends...

I realize now that what I SHOULD have done is stitch the top to the flannel starting in the middle like you are supposed to, then done the birthing and left the back loose or maybe a few extra stitching lines...

Live, learn and do better on the next one...
Here are the Quilt Inspectors giving the quilt a good going over. The tan one is Dustie (she's shy...I could not get her to face the camera), the grey one is Misty and the tiger colored one is Tiger!

----------On another subject--------------
The wind is blowing quite heavily here (30mph) - and its chilly still. I put the trash can out for trash pickup this morning...got back home and no trash can...either someone stole it or more likely it was last seen rolling away for parts unknown. We will have to call the trash company in the morning for a new one...they have numbers on them and someday it will turn up - the last time it took a couple of weeks for them to find the absconded-with trash can, but find it they did.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A-Maze-ing Revealed

This is my first reveal for the 12x12x4 Challenge:

I added 'The A-Maze-ing Miss Bee' to the quilt to make it into a kind of 'interactive' quilt. The bee can be stuck to the quilt anywhere as she is made of felt which sticks to the flannel. Because the sticking is not foolproof (!), I made sure she would not get lost by using the perl cotton to attach her to the back of the quilt thru the flower.

Materials are cotton flannel for the background - the back is covered in the same flannel, black bias tape for the maze walls, felt and fleece for the bee and flower with perl cotton embroidery.

The back also has the information about the quilt printed on muslin and fused.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Making Lemonade

Last year I started knitting this scarf on my Knifty Knitter...was going along just fine - more than halfway to where I wanted...then it wasn't winter anymore so I stopped working on it. Needed the Knifty Knitter loom for something else and thought.."well, just slip it off and when you are done with the other project, slip it back on and finish"..
You know that old saying about best laid plans? Well, one of my darling kitty-cats found the project and was dragging it around the house with much glee - DH rescued the poor thing from the taloned monster. But..the damage was done! I could NOT figure out how to get it back onto the Knifty Knitter loom the right direction and several rows had been pulled out..It languished in another stack until this morning when I had a flash of inspiration about what to DO WITH IT!

A few tassels, a couple of buttons and some beads, and voila! I have a scarf-collar! Beauty of using the button fastener is I can make a new one anytime I want to match any outfit I want to pair this with!

Friday, January 05, 2007

My First Quilt

I posted most of this over on the About Quilting forum but then decided it really belongs here - so here it is, in an expanded version:

I started quilting very late in 2002 - the first weekend in either November or December, I believe it was. My first quilt was done using Jodi Barrows' Square in a Square ruler. My girlfriends and I had gone to a craft show where it was being demoed...
The class was called 'Perfect Points' and my friend Julia (who is also my office partner) wanted to go see that demo. She had been trying to get me to learn to quilt..but I had been really resistant up to that point.."Why would anyone cut up perfectly good fabric into little pieces, just to sew it back together again" was my whine every time she mentioned quilting. The lady doing the demo had the RIGHT answer - "Why, it's to make it more beautiful!"...and shockingly, that made absolute sense to me...She showed how to sew strips to the sides of a square, lay down the ruler in the right places, and whack off anything that stuck out...seemed easy enough to me.. I muttered under my breath "I think I could do that", my 3 girlfriends HEARD me and as one, turned towards me with looks on their faces like I had grown another head!
They all bought the book and the ruler at the show - me, I was a little more reserved and said I would like to try it first before buying (it still being a shock to my system that I even was considering quilting,after all)...so my girlfriend who has a very nice big quilt studio invited us over to learn to use the ruler.
I am anal enough that I wanted to make something I could use, if I was going to invest the time to do it..so I decided to make a lap quilt. I used the pattern that came with the ruler as my starting point - it was blue squares with red points and red squares with blue points...but that seemed odd to me, so I decided I wanted solid colored stars.
I had in my possessions, thanks to the generosity of my parents, a brand new sewing machine, a rotary cutter, a huge mat and the proper ruler... amazingly - I originally planned on using them for garment sewing...but just had not gotten to that, what with the kids having to be toted here and there and working full time and cats and dogs...yanno...all that stuff...

So..off to my girlfriend's house I go, new sewing machine in hand, and three 2-yard pieces of fabric from WalMart - I certainly wasn't going to spend a lot of money on fabric if I didn't know if I even LIKED quilting - that I had DH pick out. He picked a raspberry, a dark blue and a golden tan with little gold stars on it - went together very nicely!

My friends showed me how to use the rotary cutter (mine was still in its package!) and how to line up fabric and how to chain piece and how to figure out where my 1/4 mark was on the machine. I busily sewed and sewed and pressed and whacked off the pieces that stuck out - we were there for 4-5 hours...and had almost all of the blocks made by the time we left...just had a couple more to do...

Went home, started putting rows together and had the top finished by the next evening. Decided to use fleece for the back and had it quilted by the next weekend...AND...there has been no stopping me since...

We shall however, never discuss quilt number 2, which remains tucked away in my quilting room...and which if I need a dose of humility, I drag out to see if I can fix..I haven't gotten rid of it because my sister says she LIKES it...so someday, if I ever figure out what to do with it, it may find its way to her house.

My cats love to sleep on my lap under my Stars quilt. It's seen a lot of use since it was created and still looks great - even if it is just $2 a yard fabric from WalMart!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Health and Wealth"


Last year I heard a bunch of whining about not putting the tangerine and the penny in the stockings from my dearest daughter...I wrote about it last January here.

This year, a week or so before the big event, DD calls up to confirm she is going to be attending and casually mentions to me "Don't forget the Health and Wealth"...me being a bit dense at that point, did not catch the meaning...She explained..."You know...the shiny coin and the orange fruit" - enlightenment dawned.

So...I put the tangerine in the toe and added not just the shiny penny, but a nickle, a dime, and a quarter too...and some mini Reese's peanut butter cups for good measure.

She was happy with her "Health and Wealth".

I did forget the new toothbrush and pack of gum though...so I am not quite on the Good Santa Mom list...Next year I need to review my posts BEFORE Christmas so I get it right...or maybe I should just leave myself a note in the stockings when I pack them up this weekend!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Works in Progress

I finished off my maze quiltlet for the 12x12x4 challenge. I am not posting any more pictures of it here until later in the month for the reveal..so stay tuned! But I did make this beaded hanger for displaying my littler quilts...its a 12" dowel with quilt tacks in the ends to fasten the picture wire around, a length of picture hanger wire strung with wooden beads and 4 cafe curtain clips...



The vest looks like a 'real' vest now:




I bought two kinds of buttons - the kind you can cover with fabric and some really cute flower buttons. In the interest of getting this done, I think I will start with the flower buttons....but...here is my current dilemma: this is just a wee bit snuggish if I actually lop one side over and would make regular button holes. So I am thinking about other possibilities. Sophie is drawing me a picture of a kind she saw at a Sewing Expo...I could use embroidery thread and make loops in the seam allowance..I could make tabs (kinda clunky though)... or some sort of heavy cording with an orientalish frog on the opposite side...or?? Open for suggestions...

I bought and washed the fabric for the mystery table runner that we are doing at the retreat. Have to make a pile of HSTs...I picked Valentine's fabric because I don't have any quilted items for putting out for that holiday.

I also got some very thin fleece for the batting for the Apple Quilt (which was last year's retreat mystery quilt. I got that pieced together and layed out...There is a picture of the Apple Quilt over here. I need to piece together the backing fabric (which is the center part of that I cut the borders off of) and get it pinned. This one is going to be a 'tablecloth'...I am birthing it since I have failed in my efforts to find a suitable red to bind it with anyways...then since the batting is fleece, I will do just minimal quilting - wrangling that thing thru my home machine may be dang near impossible. I do think this may be the biggest quilt I have attempted to quilt.

It may not be possible to keep this momentum going now that I am back to work, but I am going to try! Road to California is in a couple of weeks and Retreat is a couple of weeks after that...so I am definitely going to be BUSY!

Monday, January 01, 2007

And Now...for the First Meme of 2007:

The A-B-Cs of My Quilting Style
Debra tagged all of us!

A- Artist? Melody Johnson (and I get to take a class from her in a couple weeks, yippie!)
B- Best Blogging Buddies? Gee..ya'll are my buds!
C- Crazy or Sane Quilting? Crazy is fascinating!
D- Dyeing or Stamping? I've done more dyeing than stamping, though one of my WISPs needs stamping.
E- Essential Item? for quilting would have to be materials to quilt.
F- Favorite Fabrics? Batiks and Brights.
G- Great Quilt Design? Wholecloth.
H- Hand or Machine Quilt? Depends on the project. I like both.
I- Indispensable Notion? yup...it's the Gingher's.
J- Janome or Bernina? Don't rightly know...my machines are all Singers.
K- Kits or Original Designs? Not sure if I would ever DO a kit, though some of them look nice. I like my own designs better.
L- Life in the Studio is? Where I would rather be.
M- Most Projects Made in One Year? Do quilty gifts count? If so, this year - 37 quilty gifts, 6 journal pages, three ugly fabric challenges and a mystery quilt...I am sure there is stuff I forgot too...
N- Number of Gadgets? not a clue...too many to count.
O- OH, I wish I hadn’t. . . . .? no idea...
P- Pet Peeves about Quilting? Having to work gets in the way of quilting time.
Q- Quilt Show? Road to California!
R- Reason to Rip Out? Depends on ultimate purpose of item..and if its bad enough to warrant ripping...some stuff just doesn't go together right without at least one rip out!
S- Sewing or Knitting? I wouldn't mind doing more knitting...I just haven't quite got the hang of it. Crochet, I get...so I do that more...but sewing is better than either of those.
T- Tag, You're It! Consider yourself tagged.
U- UFOs? Only one that will probably NEVER get done...have at least 12 WISPs at last count...hoping to get two of them squared away in the next day or so.
V- Vexing Quilt Pattern? Haven't met one yet.
W- Wishlist Item? Longarm machine or treadle.
X- Xtra Fabric you will never use? You never know about spare pieces of fabric...could be just the thing you need...
Y- Your Biggest Goof? Moi? Goof? Shirley, you are kidding...
Z- Zip! And it’s finished? The piecing for my Penrose Posey went pretty quick-like...it however languishes on the WISP stack... and gets petted every once in a while.