Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thought Process... again - and then there's Syracuse

If you've been here awhile you might remember this quilt, Thought Process

It is a fun quilt, and has received two ribbons - 2nd Place Mixed Technique Small at Minnesota Quilters (2014) as well as a Faculty Award at MQX New England (2014).  What you might not know is the horror story learning experience that came with this quilt.  If you don't remember and want to read all about it, click here.

So, even though this quilt had placed at a previous show, I still was not happy with it - well, as happy as I should be. It wasn't truly finished in my mind. So what do I do?.... yep, you guessed it, grab more paint! I mean, seriously, what could possibly happen that hasn't already happened?!!


I used SoSoft Glitter paint in all the feathered areas of the border. I also added it to some center areas that still seemed dingy. Here comes the scary waiting part.  It looked thick and milky and only some areas seemed to be drying. Oh no, did I ruin this quilt again... no! After a few days all the paint dried and turned into glitter translucence!

This quilt was now truly finished. I was happy, this was the image in my brain and finally, finally it was done (almost a year later) - and yes I'll still watermark it with last years date, because that was when the quilt was truly born (it just had a little work done).

Okay, what you don't know is all that painting happened back in beginning of March - I'm only just now sharing it with you. I entered this quilt into AQS Quiltweek Syracuse into the Whimsical category. I wasn't even sure it would be accepted. Well, it was!  Woohoo!! While I was away teaching at MQS I received this email:

Pure awesomeness!  The best part of all this - I will be teaching at AQS Quiltweek Syracuse! I just love when I'm able to be at a show where one of my quilts is hanging - pure icing!! Oh, if you might be anywhere near Syracuse at the end of July, maybe you want to check out my classes and say hi! Just click on the Quiltweek photo for a link to my classes:
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MQS 2015

What an awesome experience!  I just returned home from four days of teaching at MQS in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  This is going to be quick and I'm probably going to leave out some really important stuff, but here goes:

I'll start with my view as I left Florida -- I know it's a weird angle, but the plane was doing one of those strange sideways u-turns.

And the approach to Cedar Rapids - a much different view

My Build-A-Stitch class -- these ladies were great!

And then the awards ceremony - here's me, Eva, and Jodi waiting...

OMG! Lucy won an Honorable Mention in the Pictorial Category - I was thrilled!

And props to Jodi, as she won First Place in the totally modern category!! Here's a pic of her quilt:
Grandpas Model Twenty #1 - Jodi Robinson
I had an almost packed house in my hands-on class - another great group of ladies!

Here's a pic of Lucy with her ribbon, and no, I have no idea why I'm standing like that... probably about to start talking, although I'm looking ever so slightly mischievous...

The Audacious Auction - almost full house!

There were some really amazing pieces.  Here's a pic of Jokers Jest while still hanging for viewing - along with my poor attempt to be Vanna White...

The awesome part of the auction - Claudia Pfeil purchased my piece!! 

And of course, Gina and I smiling for a selfie before the auction. She did a fantastic job as Mistress of Ceremonies. Even slipping in a couple of jokes!

And then there was this group of ladies. They were working hard in my Breaking Down the Block class!

My second class that day was Big Border Breakdowns -- can you see the creative concentration?

And I have to send a shout-out to the hotel employee that was filling the water in my classroom. They asked if there was anything else they could bring me, and being the Doubletree, I immediately said cookies.  When look what they brought -- a dozen cookies for the class! Now tell me that isn't top rate awesomeness!

I can't forget! Here's the quilt I chose for my Teacher Ribbon - it was Between the Lines by Vicki Ruebel -- such an awesome quilt!

Now an attempt to return to normal life... more soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jokers Jest

Jokers Jest is finally finished! Right now it is snuggly packed in my suitcase waiting to fly to MQS with me. Let me rewind just a a bit.
Jokers Jest - 35" x 35"
Back in January Gina Perkes asked me if I would be willing to donate a piece to the Machine Quilters Showcase (MQS) Audacious Auction as she was this years Mistress of Ceremonies. My answer, of course!  I didn't quite know what I would be donating -- possibly something old, possibly something new, but I definitely knew I wanted to participate.

So fast forward to last month.  I was sitting on the patio sipping on my coffee and doodled my piece.

I had a plan. I then put the mirrors up and saw the full view:

Ehhh... it was a plan, I saw a couple of things I didn't like so I erased, doodled a bit more and viola:

I'm usually great at naming quilts, but this one had me a little stumped. My hubby kept saying it looked like a joker card and said I should doodle some more to make it more joker-ish. I posted on Facebook and someone mentioned jester. And then, it hit me... Jokers Jest.

Now for the fabrics. Back at Houston I purchased this amazing yardage bundle from Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics - it was the North Shore bundle. Isn't it beautiful?!! I decided it would be perfect for this project.

And on to tracing all the pieces -- it's just like making a big puzzle:



I finally decided on these six colors from the bundle:

Now to take all those foundation pieces and turn them into fabric beauties: 



What was I thinking?!! Look at the skinny point on that heart shape:

All went well, even better than I thought!

And there they are - all the pieces to the puzzle (well, except for the little circles):

Starting to look like a quilt!

Did I mention the circles?

I also decided to add a few elements on the taupy beige border. It was looking a little plain to me.

And then I spent a full Sunday doing invisible machine applique:

And more... 

Oh, and even more...


 It was time for the quilting. I used two layers of Quilters Dream wool (my absolute favorite) and started stitching away on the Gammill:

If you look closely you might just see something: 

And then on to blocking. Here comes a bit of a story. I always block my show quilts, always. I wasn't about to treat this piece any differently. I dipped it in the tub, soaked the foundation pieces soft, and pinned it flat, like always.

Well... I also posted the picture above on Facebook (like always). I received a message from Karla/Cherrywood telling me that perhaps I might want to throw the quilt in the dryer and not block the quilt. She explained that sometimes the fabrics, while drying slowly (as in blocking), had wicking occur.  What? I had never heard of wicking. So, I walked over to my quilt and, OMG!  This is wicking:

What to do?!! Karla suggested I put the entire quilt in some Synthrapol.  Okay good, go find the bottle... hmm... where did I put it? Can't find it anywhere.  I call my friend, Nancy, yep she's got some, but it was entirely too late for me to drive over. Could it wait until morning? Not sure, so I decided to take the quilt and soak it again (as it is still fairly wet) in some cold water. I swished and scrunched and swished some more and the wicking areas went back to normal - yay!!! Into the dryer it went. Not my top choice, but still okay. So after it was dry I then proceeded to steam it flat.

It looks okay, not as flat and smooth as when I block a quilt, but still good:

And then the binding and label - and yes, I'll share the label:

I totally can't wait until Thursday night - that is the auction. I can't wait to see all the other amazing pieces as well, from what Gina has been posting online it is going to be awesome! Oh, I can't forget, if you are unable to attend and would like to set up phone bidding, contact Gina to set up the arrangements at ginaperkesdesigns@gmail.com !!


Monday, April 13, 2015

MQX 2015

OMG, what an amazing experience. This was my first year teaching at MQX and I am so glad I got out of my own way, dealt with all my stupid (yes, stupid) insecurities, conquered my nerves, and did it. Janet-Lee and Mary had been pestering me (in the best, nicest way) to get off my nervous tushy and teach. Thank goodness they were persistent, because even with all my anxieties, it was one of the most fantastic experiences ever!

I'll start off by saying I did not take nearly enough photos. I know this is hard to believe because I always take way too many!

One of the first photos - sunrise, shortly after takeoff

Why yes, that is IS snow down there!

I am kicking myself. After I arrived on Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to help Cathy Wiggins set up her exhibit. Guess what? Yep, didn't take a single picture! It was quite the experience though, and I'm really glad Cathy didn't mind me sniffing all her leather quilts - the leather aroma is fabulous.

And, as if being one of Gammill's Quilting Artists wasn't reward enough... here is a rare sight, Jearld and Mike (two of Gammill's best technicians) helping to load fabric for one of my sold-out hands-on classes. This is not part of their normal job detail as techs -- it just goes to show how much Gammill really is family!

My first packed-full hands-on class.

And guess what... SNOW!!  I know all of you wonderful peeps from up north have had more than enough, but for me, this was a real treat!


Here's a quick front and back view of Joey's quilt, It's a Jungle. The backing is one of Sondra Millard/She's Got Mojo ice dyes.

And thanks to some students I actually have a couple pics while I was teaching!
photo courtesy of Terry Burris

photo courtesy of Colleen Nunes
A peek at downtown Manchester:

One of the awesome honors that every teacher at MQX gets is the ability to award their Teacher Ribbon.  I did manage to wander around on preview night to find my favorite. I chose Inspiration by Lousie Brogan.  Her story touched my heart, as quilting was also a source of healing for me a few years ago.

Here are two more fabulous Gammill Girls, as well as peeps I like to call friends - Jodi Robinson and Gina Perkes.  And don't be shocked, I'm letting my greys grow out, we'll have to see how it goes. I've got my fingers crossed that it's gonna be really cool as they are only at my hairline around my face - what do they call them, wisdom highlights - we're gonna have to see!

Here's a pic snapped during my photo shoot with Bonnie McCaffery -- she makes you feel totally at ease.  I can not wait to get my head shots back!
photo courtesy of Gina Perkes
And a really cool candid shot Bonnie snapped during the shoot. I absolutely LOVE this pic!
photo by Bonnie McCaffery
A totally awesome wall mural of Manchester in the convention center

 Another sold-out hands-on class

And finally, one of my favorite creativity classes - Spontaneous Art Quilt.  I have to share that when I was explaining what we would be doing in class I had a bunch of open-mouthed stares.  But, ten minutes into the class there was a giant mess of fabrics and findings everywhere and the students were having a ball creating away - a few finished project pics follow.

I especially have to share this lovely lady - this is Mary, she is 17 and this was her first time ever using a longarm.  Mary Shilke (MQX) scholarshipped her into the class - totally awesome, kudos to both Marys as we must share our art with the younger generation -- they are the future of this industry!

Here are just some of the finished projects:






Like I said, it was a fantastic experience - a giant thank you to both Janet-Lee and Mary, as well as each and every one of my students.  I can only hope to be asked back again next year!