Sunday, June 29, 2014

The quilt that refused to be finished...

I have been putting off finishing this quilt for far too long.  Not really putting off, just doing other things.  But, on Friday I finally loaded True Colors on the frame for the trapunto stitching.  WooHoo!!

Now, those that have followed me for years know this name.  You've heard it numerous times.  But for those that have just started following, let me keep you up to date:

2/22/12 -- yes, 2012!  Here is an excerpt from that blog post (if you want to read the entire post click on the date):

I had a mexican pinwheel feathered star (Marsha McCloskey pattern) that had been sitting around collecting dust.  So I pulled it out -- this is what it looked like (actually is was extremely wrinkly so I gave it a real quick pressing):

Then I worked on it over the weekend, and now it looks like this (still wrinkly):

So when did I start this quilt?... I can not remember, but according to this post it was already collecting dust in 2012!  OMG... seriously!

And then on 8/9/2012 I decided to add the little dots in the border.  I also decided to use this project to partake in my guilds UFO challenge... hahaha... again, hahaha - history with this quilt has already proven that it can not be finished!

So fast forward almost a year to 6/6/13 - yes, I said a almost a year!  This quilt has already missed multiple deadlines -- one being the World Quilt Show FL entry deadline of September 2012.  And, as I already stated in the last paragraph, it also missed the UFO challenge deadline.  And even with missed both those deadlines,  I still managed to pull it out of the pile and *think* about quilt designs... 

So on 8/13/13 I was doodling out some quilting designs -- one of which I really seem to like as I talked about transferring it to the quilt.  Again... did not happen.  Although I talk about this quilt wanting to be born, I think that was me wanting it to be finished.  But no, this quilt was not ready!

Fast forward to 2/21/14 when I took yet another WIP Inventory (these help me to realize how much needs to be finished).  I also again share how this quilt was named.  Now this is what the quilt looked like then - somewhere along the line I added additional fabric for the border, which was a good idea, all that amazing quilting that was planned really needed a place to land!

And at this point I had to finish this quilt.  I had committed it to a special exhibit at Quilt! Knit! Stitch! Did I finished?  No, it's now the end of June and I'm still talking about it.... well sort of.

So back to THIS post.  Last week I finally pulled this quilt out to mark up for quilting.  I had to, there was absolutely no choice, it was getting quilted period!  Then... out of no where this quilt started talking away.  I had added four more dots to the quilt since the last picture (one on each outer point). When suddenly the quilt (or the voice in my head - I think they are the same sometimes) said NO!  Put a diamond there! So me, being no dummy, listened and this happened: 

It looked fantastic!  Yay little voice!!  Yay me for listening!  So, listening some more, four more diamonds were added to the outer corners (sorry, forgot to snap that pic).  I spent the evening doing some hand applique - 8 diamonds worth!  And I continued marking the quilt for trapunto work  Yes, I have to mark the quilt - the design is too precise and things need to line up.  Also, the feathers I have planned are mirror-imaged.  I don't know about you, but I am not precise enough to mirror image anything to perfection, kinda, but not perfect.

Well guess what happens... I discover that I need 4 more diamonds to make this quilt happy.  So I add them -- they looked like this:

See how the quilting design totally needed a diamond there?!!  Sometimes your quilt isn't finish until AFTER the quilting design is planned out.  

So in the middle of all this amazing quilt design I received an awesome phone call!  My new Gammill Vision 2 was being shipped out!  WooooooHooooooo!  It is scheduled for delivery on Monday!  What awesomeness -- the trapunto part of this quilt would be the very last thing stitched on my Vision.  And the very first thing (well other than a test sample) to be stitched on the new Vision 2 -- that kinda makes this quilt even more special!!  Awesomeness overload!

With all this fun news racing around my mind I was determined to finish marking this quilt and start the trapunto work asap!  So here it is all marked up:

I've already received numerous inquiries on what I used to mark the quilt.  I used a water soluble white pen, available from Blue Line Eraser.  It's not quite as water soluble as a blue one, I tested it on this black batik and it indeed needed a soaking before coming out.  No worries, this quilt will need a good soaking anyway as there is water soluble thread holding all the trapunto together.

So, this is what Friday looked like:

And this is what today looks like:

I can not wait to finish the quilting on this!  It just goes to show you - a quilt will not be finished until it is ready!

Oh, and if you're wondering about yesterday -- it looked like this:

Old dishwasher (no, not OLD, just broken) coming out and new dishwasher going in.  Please, don't mind the messy kitchen!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Week in Review

a week, already?!!  Didn't I just finish the last week in review?  Time is going way too fast anymore!

So here it is, in absolutely no order:

I am delighted to be teaching at the East Coast Gammill/Statler Conference in Richmond, VA in January 2015!  I will be one of only a few hand-guided instructors there.  The event is being run by Threads Run Thru It - pre-registration starts in early July.  You can view the preliminary details here, or contact the shop and sign up for their newsletter so you don't miss anything.  You'll definitely want to save the date and start planning your attendance -- it is going to be super fun and full of educational goodness!  I'm hoping to see many of you as well as meet many more -- who is thinking about attending?

My Wicked Challenge for Cherrywood Fabrics -- it is finished!  Should I share a peek... how about three?  I'm not sharing much as I have a super long share-it-all post already written and waiting until after the entry deadline.  I really want it to be a surprise!!
some green...
 marking the edge at 20"
the label

Hmmm, what else exciting happened this week?  Oh.... I totally thought I lost a quilt!  I woke up crazy early one day, way too early to run the machine (peeps still sleeping) so I decided to organize some of my quilt pics and put them all safe and sound over on Dropbox.  Oh no, the folder for Clouds in My Latte is missing?  Really?!!  So I go into the quilt room to check the label for the exact finish date so I can pull up pics from around that time (I probably didn't separate them and they are in dated folders).  OMG... no quilt.  Go through the entire pile again, no luck.  Clouds in My Latte isn't there!  Sitting on the floor having a panic attack... wander around the house in crazy going nowhere pacing... where is it?  I sit down at the computer and boom, it hits me.  I lent it to Fil-Tec so they could photograph it for their catalog... phew!  Double phew!!  Crisis averted, crazy back to its normal level.  But then, I realize that not only is there no Clouds in My Latte pic folder, there are also no folders for Wonderlust, The Choice, and also Stella Luminosa!  Apparently my crazy was at an all time high in 2011 as I didn't create pic folders for any of the quilts I made.  It's all good now, pics are organized and in their proper folders -- its all on Dropbox -- I am safe, apparently from myself!

On the somewhat calmer side of the week...

I'm planning a wedding quilt, not a super jumbo king-size, a nice usable everyday quilt, probably throw size. It's not due for quite a while, but then again, I'm insane busy so it's probably cutting it close anyway! I'm again attempting the two birds one stone theory. I can make the quilt and we (the cronies) can each piece one during our Friday night sews. The pattern we chose was the Sessoms quilt by Carolyn Friedlander:

It's paper piecing -- it'll go great for a Friday night gab-fest, just sew and chat, not much thinking involved. Now that's my kind of piecing! Nancy chose brights with a white background, Natalie hasn't decided yet, and I chose to part with some of my beautiful aubergine Gees Bend fabric. Technically it is called Concord. I'm using a Bali Pop called Cotton Candy for my stars.  I love how these look together!

So, anyone that knows Gees Bend fabric knows it bleeds.  And it doesn't just bleed... it bleeds forever! But it is beautiful, so we adapt and adjust.  I pre-washed it five times!  Still bleeding.  Here are the color catchers to show my progress:

On the right is after the first wash, on the left after the fifth wash.  I know, things are supposed to go left to right -- blame the lefty in me!

And here is the washed fabric next to the unwashed fabric:

Again, with the washed (5 times) on the left and unwashed on the right (darn lefties)!  I ran out of color catchers- I may try washing it a few more times once I get to the store for some more.

And of course, a client quilt -- it's hard to quilt when you're dodging storms.  Pictures on the client blog.  I'm hopefully finishing up another one today!

So, what amazing and wonderful things are YOU working on?  Tell me all about them!  My main goal in sharing with you is to inspire that creative spark - it's there, I promise!

And to end the post with a little piece of beautiful, our newest hibiscus, called Hawaiian Tiki Torch:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Week in Review

Another week has flow by:

We'll start with the BIG news...
Thought Process won 2nd Place Mixed Technique Small category at the Minnesota Quilters Show.  I have to thank Gail Stepanek for letting me know as well as snapping the picture.

AND... Down the Rabbit Hole won Honorable Mention in the Art category!  Thanks to both Susan Brubaker Knapp and Teri Lucas for snapping pictures (I can't remember who snapped this one - but thanks to both):

Both of those awards were totally thrilling - I truly wasn't expecting much as I know how insane the competition was at this show!  I'm kinda still floating... and smiling, a lot!

I managed to find some time to work on my Journeys Thru Art project -- well, if you count enlarging the photo as working on it, yes, I did that!  Lucy is now 41.5 x 51.5, which doesn't sound very big at all, unless it's a face you're talking about, then it's huge!

And her eyes kinda' freak me out from the side, they look like crazy eyes:

I used the super wonderful to enlarge the photo - if you haven't used the site, check it out, it makes it amazingly easy to enlarge photos.  So Lucy is ready to be created... the question is am I ready?  No, not yet - soon!

I finally managed to finish a client quilt (details on my other blog) and it was pretty difficult as we've had storms almost every day.  Oh, speaking of storms, lightning has struck yet again!

For those that know me... this is the third time, count them 1... 2... 3..., that lightning has hit here. The first time it hit the house (not drastic, but blew up a ballast in the Gammill), the second time it hit our beautiful bottlebrush tree and broken an entire branch off, and now, a palm next to the pool.  And you all wonder why when there is a storm I unplug everything, and I mean everything.  I swear we are on some sort of magnetic field here.

Here is a really cool picture of one of the storms approaching (it's much nicer than the burnt palm tree pic):

And that's about it -- pretty eventful if I say so myself.  Oh, tomorrow morning I get to quilt my Wicked Challenge!  I'm pretty excited about that, although I can't share it until August... please wait patiently, okay?!!

Have a wonderful weekend peeps!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Light It Up... or not!

Sometimes you need bright light, sometimes you need black light, and sometimes you need no light at all.

Let me explain just a bit more.  Fabrics are tricky, when you add similar colored thread quilting on them can become even more tricky.  I use the black light feature on my Gammill a lot.  I also use no light at all, a lot.  One time while demo quilting at a show the following happened (I was quilting on a silver dupioni):

      Someone said "You're quilting with no light on"
      I said "yes, I know"
      Someone said "here, let me turn it on for you""
      I said "no, really, I'm fine"
      Someone proceeded to turn the light on while I was quilting
      I again turned it off

Many people don't realize how awesome it is to have the ability to switch between bright light, black light, and no light. In this post I will share a couple of examples - one with white fabric with silver markings and another with cream fabric with white paint pattern.

Let's begin with the white fabric and silver markings.  I think I've shared these before - possibly on the other blog - but they are important for this post so I'm re-sharing (too much information is never an issue):

Here is bright light (the way most people stitch):

You'll see the thread is extremely difficult to see.  You CAN see it, but you would have blinky-eyes and a headache in no time at all.

But look at the amazing thing that happens if you flip on your black light:

WOW, right?  You are now quilting away.  One thing to remember - if your studio has a million windows and you're trying to quilt during the brightest time of day, the black light won't be as effective.  I happen to stitch late afternoon and evenings, so using my black light is always extremely effective - it glows like crazy.  No worries, your black light will still work in a bright studio, the glow just won't be as extreme as in this photo - although your eyes will still benefit greatly.

The next example is the cream colored fabric with the painted white design.  In this case I quilt using no light other than the rooms ceiling light, here's why:

With the bright light on:

You can see the stitches, but quilting like this would hurt your eyes after a while.

Here is the black light:

What?!!  Not what you were expecting?  Crazy isn't it?  You can't see a thing to quilt.

But, if you shut the light out and only use the room light, an amazing thing happens.  You can see perfectly as you're using the shadows of your stitches:

I could go on and on with different examples of how light plays a big role in your quilting and your ability to see the thread on the fabric.  If you're having issues, play around with your lights -- you might be surprised!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Week in Review

Lots of little things happened this week --

I've been working on my Wicked Challenge (Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics) as much as possible, squeezing it in here and there.  Not many pictures to share as I've been trying my best to keep it a secret.  A girls gotta have some sort of mystery right?  But, here is what I can share:

That's me stitching around the applique pieces.  What you can't see (and this picture doesn't show well), is that instead of just stitching my appliques, I'm also adding trapunto -- I'm stitching the edges down to a high-loft poly batting -- kind of killing two birds with one stone.  I then cut away the excess batt and when I'm ready to quilt it will be pre-trapunto'd.  I really just skipped a step, making it easier in my world.

I am so excited about this challenge!  I can't wait to see all the entries, I'm sure some will be similar just due to the subject matter, but I am sure they are all going to be awesome.  Hopefully I'll be quilting this sometime next week and then binding and blocking and then shipping it off to Cherrywood.  I can't wait until after the due date (August 1) to be able to share it with all of you -- don't worry, I've been taking lots of pictures!

And on the business side I managed to finish a couple of client quilts, you can check them out on my other blog:

I took some amazing pictures for a new quilt - can't share them yet, but hopefully soon.  I've also been messing around with the macro lens feature on the new camera - what fun!  Here's a couple pics of my orchid using the macro lens:

And this weeks latest trip to the garden center resulted in my snapping this picture of an awesome hibiscus.  Strangely the fluorescent lights made the colors so intense, perhaps because it was at dusk and other than those lights it was pretty dark.  For whatever reason it was beautiful.  No, I didn't buy it.

We made our purchases and came home.  I posted a pic of the flower on Instagram and Facebook and people loved it.  I couldn't stop looking at my picture -- it was all I could think about.  So, the next morning I ran back to the garden center and grabbed it.  It is called Spin the Bottle -- cool name for an awesome flower.  It's technical name is: hibiscus rosa-sinensis (for all you horticultural-type peeps). So here's a pic of the tag and the plant -- of course, when I went back to get it they had just watered so the coloring is slightly different -- I'm thinking those fluorescent lights had a big impact on how the colors photographed.  We'll have to wait and see, once it's planted I'll be grabbing a few more pictures of it -- perhaps a quilt as well, we'll have to wait and see...

Oh, almost forgot!  My quilts were shipped off to the Minnesota Quilters Show which is next week (June 12-14, 2014).  If you go to the show, you'll see Down the Rabbit Hole and also Thought Process.  If you see them, snap a picture and share it with me!  If you want to read about the stories behind the quilts, feel free to click on the links.  

The biggest part of my week I spent working on class outlines.  No, not just the description part, that is difficult enough, but an actual outline for me to stay on track and make sure my students truly benefit from the class.  This is crazy-difficult for me, you have no idea.  I wish I could just teach a class called Pick My Brain - just questions, answers, and let me show you. That would work so much better for me.  Ahhhh... I really hate the left-brain stuff, it drains me! So, you're probably wondering about the cause of of this worry -- there is big news coming up about some super-cool teaching events in my future -- I will share it soon, oh and I'm also scheduling more private lessons soon -- info coming up and emailing those that requested!

Not a super exciting week, kinda normal for me.  Hoping your week was fantastic!