Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Whoa! Remember these Pins??

We received this funny email and photo from Paula Lidyoff in response to our Pins Post from a few weeks ago.   FUNNY!!!

Considering your recent post about sewing over pins, I thought you'd appreciate this picture from one of my quilting buddies.  Can you believe it?  True - she using those huge pins we all USED TO use.  I have been using the kind you like for a long time - Alex taught me how at Asilomar when I took her 'stars' class.  Once you get used to using those wonderful fine pins, everything else feels like an enormous railroad spike.  Not every quilt shop carries them, so when I see them, I'll oftentimes just get a fresh pack.  After all, they do bend, etc. a little more often than the railroad spikes (hahaha).  Anyway, get a good laugh with this.

Her caption read: 
"Just stitched through the head of a yellow pin! Omg. Needle didn't break .... but I need a pair of pliers to disconnect things. Another first! Haha."

Thanks for the laugh Paula!!!
Who remembers these pins!!?!?!  Do you still use them???

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Key West Today!

It's an absolutely beautiful day here in Florida. I elected to spend the day on the msOosterdamm and get some hand stitching done on the Valentine's presents quilt binding.

It's been fun sitting here sewing and chatting with people who walk by. Everyone has a quilt story! Either they have a relative who quilts, remembers their grandmother quilting or perhaps has made a quilt or few themselves. One gentleman even told me all about the quilt he won in a donation raffle!
Love listening to the tales and enjoying the scenery. It's about 2pm now, we have a cocktail party at 4:30, dinner at 5:30 and party in our pj's at 8 where everyone gets to be a cut up -- we'll all be rotary cutting our fabrics for the classes ahead. 

Tough gig, huh?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's a First -- Teaching on a Cruise Ship!

Last spring, I was teaching at Appletree Quilting Center in Columbia MO; it's easily the fourth or fifth time I have taught for Millie and Wendy there. I love teaching for them -- the customers are fun, the employees are friendly and knowledgeable and everywhere you look there are quilts, most available as kits, classes or both.

Leafing through the newsletter to see all the new classes, I saw the above full page announcing the quilting cruise! I love to cruise, I love to quilt, I WANNA GO! So Millie said, "OK, we can put you to work!"
I'm doing two needle and thread lectures, two Rulers on a Domestic Machine lecture/demos and an Embellishment by Machine class. This will be so way fun and I'll get to go to two countries and a part of Mexico I've never visited.
Even so, it's kind of hard to leave California behind right now. Late winter/early spring is usually the best time of year in my little corner of SoCal. We've had some much needed rain and I've been able to get some spectacular sunrise pics on my esrly morning walks around the neighborhood:




These were all taken a block from my house at 6:30am Tuesday morning -- God's reward for getting my butt out of bed at 5:00!
But here I am on a plane again to enjoy teaching my craft while searching out new scenery! My fabulous assistant Monica, who posts to my Facebook page and/or blog while I run around the country, says "Take lots of pictures!" I'll do my best on that; sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing that I forget, but I will try to keep you posted!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Country Traditions -- A Movie In the Making

There are a lot of Christmas trees and decorations throughout the store and it's what? Mid February?



Turns out that there's a movie crew in town shooting a film that will be sold to possibly the Hallmark Channel. People were talking about it all weekend and Leslie and her husband Kevin even got to be extras!

There was also some V-Day charm mixed in:

Liked this pattern a lot and bought it. Easy peasy from jelly roll strips. I just wandered around the store with my shopping bag....a box is following me home so I'll have to show you later what I bought!

One of the rulers I worked with yesterday is called Circles on Quilts and I like to use it to demonstrate a way to make a Baptist Fan pattern on quilts. During my shopping exploration yesterday morning, I found a couple of quilts done in that manner:

The first is a pattern by Zen Chic that I already own and is on my list to make one of these days.


The second is called "Quilters Guide to the Galaxy" and was designed, pieced and quilted by Scott, one of the very talented store employees. It's 108" square -- what they call Scott-size around here. Warning: If he comes to teach at your guild, he's going to arrive on your doorstep with 4 huge suitcases full of quilts for your viewing pleasure!
Leslie and/or Scott design almost all of the block of the month programs at Country Traditions. They have three going on this spring and I got pictures of two of them:

The first commemorates the state of Nebraska and is a combination of piecing and appliqué.

I really loved the second, although the pole in front of it sort of takes away some of the visual impact!
There is so much going on here! If you happen to be in the Omaha area, it's definitely worth making an effort to visit this store! Country Traditions, 330 North Main Street, Fremont NE; 402-721-7752. You can also subscribe to all their online happenings on their WEBSITE.

And I promise I will share the goodies I bought as soon as the box arrives!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Country Traditions -- Part 2

The penthouse is VERY roomy -- everybody got their own table! As we know, quilter's possessions tend to fill whatever space is allotted, so they were happy happy to spread out and get comfortable. Not to mention lots of lighting. 

There are Block of the Month quilts hanging all over the store, most of them designed by Country Traditions. A lot of them use the GO die cutting system. It was interesting to discuss the design parameters when using a cutting system. For instance, the quilt that I posted yesterday and said was my favorite (it is) had large setting triangles that couldn't be cut on the machine, so Leslie made a design adaptation to piece those triangles. That decision elevated those setting triangles from plain to detailed and probably contributed a lot to why I like this quilt so much. So much that I think I'll post the pic again....

The stars in the triangles made the cutting achievable on the GO and just made this a stunning quilt!

Yesterday I was teaching Ruler Play on a Domestic Machine and I took some random pics in the classroom:

I really liked how she took the basic design in the upper left hand corner and added more of the same design element to come up with the one at the right. Prettier -- looks lacy!

These pink and red pics are both sides of the same piece -- love how it showed up even on this very printy fabric.

Very cool -- double border around the basic design -- love how people just take the basics and run with them! Putting the pics here in the blog reminds me to go home and practice some of the students' variations!

This was a very fun day! Looking forward to today when we continue on with our exploration of the various rulers available. We'll do feathers, circles and other "fancy" things! Here's a pic from the Westalee trunk show that showcases the Spin-E-Fex feathers:

That's one of the rulers I'm demonstrating today -- love the different sizes together!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Country Traditions -- Fremont NE

It's no secret that for the past few years most of the southwestern region of our country has been enduring an extended drought. If I was fortunate enough to see rain, snow or a thunderstorm, it was because I had traveled to it. People were kind of puzzled that I got so excited when there was a possibility of weather that didn't involve sunshine. So when I was invited to teach at Country Traditions in February? I could see SNOW!!! I am SO THERE!

Or not. As we landed in Omaha, there was no snow, it's 70 and sunny. Meanwhile, a storm is moving into Southern California tonight and hanging out for the weekend, putting me in the unusual position of traveling away from weather rather than toward it.

I knew of Country Traditions from the Quilt Sampler magazine; the shop has been in three different issues and I think it was on the cover once. The photos are nowhere near the real deal. It's three stories! With 8,000 bolts of fabric and quilts everywhere all the way up to what look like about 14 foot ceilings.

This was a charming display in the front of the store.

Fabrics, quilts on the high walls and the Brother sewing machine section of the store. Country Traditions also carries Pfaff machines.

Love how the brickwork sets off the quilts!

Color everywhere you look!

My personal favorite quilt! The store owner, Leslie, long arm quilted this one -- it's gorgeous!

My workshops, Ruler Play on a Domestic Machine and Ruler Play 2, are on the third floor, affectionately called the "penthouse". I took the above picture looking down from the penthouse to the second floor where Country Traditions can host retreats for 50 quilters! They have retreats every month and several classes going on every week.
I did a lecture and trunk show tonight and one of the ladies was trying to figure out how she was going to attend all three events she was signed up for over the next two days. I think that calls for superior time management skills.
I decided I also appreciated the Nebraskan sense of humor. This was displayed in the parking lot of a business a few blocks from the store:

Can't wait until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Best Pins for Piecing?

I sew over pins. There, I've said it! I know it freaks some people out and I have to be really careful when I teach my Borders & Bindings class to remember to take the pins out in my demonstrations so that my students don't wreck the beautiful machines that the stores have brought in for them to sew on. Because there is a technique to sewing over pins and they have to be the right pins.

For a long time, I used the finest flower head pins I could find, then I started using the blue and white headed fine pins (I think they are from Clover) and was happy with them. Then last year at Thanksgiving, I was sewing in Salt Lake City with my friends Rhonda Lopez and Josephine Keasler. Josephine is one of the very best piecers I know and she recommended the fine patchwork pins from Clover. She told me that she uses them all the time and tells all of her students that these are the very best!

We were sewing together for a couple of days, so she brought me two boxes on our second sewing day. I tried them and loved them! Here's a comparison between what I was using and these:

The pin on the left is the one I used to use and the one on the right is the fine patchwork pin. A bit shorter and quite a bit finer. My new quilting love! Thank you, Josephine!

So what is your favorite straight pin when you are piecing? And do you sew over pins?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ready to Pin Baste!

Got the top put all together yesterday:

Then I went to Bolts in the Bathtub, my local quilt shop in Lancaster CA, to find backing and binding fabric:

Love fabric with words in it and the candy fabric will make great binding -- unless I change my mind and use one of the pinks or the red that I used for the bows.
I was down to my last 4" strip of that beautiful red fabric that was part of one of Alex Anderson's earliest fabric collections. I sent her a majorly sad face message and she sent me some out of her stash! (Thank you again, Alex -- I owe you bigtime!). So I'm not sure I want to waste that precious fabric on binding!
Going through my fabrics for this project, I found a few leftover layer cake pieces, so incorporated them into the back:

I've cut 91" of Wsrm & White batting, So now to go get it pinned up!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Laying Out the Presents Quilt

Something I read somewhere a few years ago forever changed how I lay out my quilts. I still lay the blocks out, play with them, rearrange and turn them about until I like what I see:

Then I do the additional step of taking a picture using my phone's black and white filter so that the quilt is rendered in grey scale. This enables me to tell how the color values are relating to each other. Too many darks clustered together? Too many lights?

It seemed like there were a lot of light and medium blocks with just a few darks hanging out in groups. This surprised me as I felt that there were a lot more dark fabrics than lights until I took the B/W pic. So I rearranged some blocks and took another B/W:

This is how it looked in color:

I still want to mess around a little more before I sew them together. I really like the way the red bows stand out and there are four different pink prints for the other bows. The white block backgrounds were from an assorted white on white print jelly roll using a strip for each block. Of course I have to obsess over none of the bow prints or background prints being next to each other, but the black & white pics will help me make my final decision.

Have you ever used this technique? What other cool things do you do before you start sewing the blocks into rows?

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