Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spiderweb Blocks as Background. . .

A few months ago in one of my quilt groups, I pieced a few spiderweb blocks.  I have always been enamored with these blocks and found a tutorial from Jaybird Quilts (I love her stuff!).  Once I made two of the blocks I thought to myself, "What are you going to do with these?"  The tutorial is for potholders but I wanted to do something more but I certainly wasn't making a WHOLE quilt.  So, being an art quilter, I thought, "Make a few more blocks and make a small wallhanging." 

And here is where it is to date.  But being the quilter that I am, I can't stop here.  Oh, noooo.  I am going to applique red to it.  They are going to be red words and it will become my statement quilt titled "Shades of Red."  Keep watching.  I'm really enjoying the word part.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Quilting as Therapy. . .

2013 was a year of major life changes due to loves lost.  Quilting, it turns out, is a great therapeutic tool!  I have found that going to my fabric stash and creating a quilt, letting my emotions run with my imagination, has allowed my emotions to transform from debilitating to joy.
Here is a case in point:  During Christmas, I lost my dear companion, Meowi.  As he was only five years old and I have had other major losses this year, his loss has been almost unbearable.  I was, however, in the process of creating this quilt. 
Once he passed, something came to mind.  Seven years ago when my husband passed away, I created this quilt to lift my spirits. 
Notice anything similar - Laurel Burch fabric, predominant color orange.  Mind you, I didn't make the new quilt after Meowi passed, but had begun it prior to him being ill. 
The new quilt's title is "In Meowi's Memory."  I am going to quilt four different facial portraits from his photos in the blank light orange squares.  I received his inked paw print in a sympathy card from the animal hospital where he was put down and I will incorporate that into the quilted worded border and on the label.  As my mind creates all of these ideas, I realize that I am working through the loss by thinking of Meowi: how he participated in my life, what his personality characteristics were like, how his loss will affect our family.  And I cry at the loss, but I smile at the memories.  And this is therapy.

As the quilting happens, I will keep you updated.

Happy 2014.  I pray it will be a joyous one for all.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quilting the Quilt - Simply. . .

My posting has been sporadic, I know.  Being a quilt shop owner has become what I've always heard:  once you own a shop you no longer quilt.  It's proving to be true and I have not been getting any personal creative time.  I have, however, begun quilting for customers again.  So I thought I would share my longarm machine quilting endeavors.
This is Maureen's table topper.  The linear complexity of the quilt lends itself to stitch-in-the-ditch.  I did, however, want to create some movement. 
So I took a liberal view to following the line with this.
As a quilter, my style is to enhance the quilt top's pattern and fabric.  This simple quilting design adds to the quilt yet maintains the quilt's pieced style (and is easier than stitch-in-the-ditch:).  The next time you quilt, consider the quilt's piecing design.  What, if anything, do you want to call attention to.  Then select the simplest stitching design that will enhance it.  Quilting does not have to be complicated to produce good results.  

Enjoy, don't fret about, your next quilting project.  Start simply and with practice, practice, practice you WILL find the ideas and skill will come.

Until next time,

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sewing On Air Art Quilting Technique. . .

On Wednesday, we held our monthly art quilt workshop.  This month's technique was "Sewing On Air" by Nancy Green as featured in the October/November 2012 issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine."
Following along with the instructions, this is my quilt base.  I fused fabric to fabric using Mistyfuse, and layering front and back right sides together with fusible batting.  I then used the no binding technique I described here.  Once layered and with the fabric turned inside out, the piece was quilted.
The circles were left unquilted as my sewing on air will be done within one of the circles.
The center of the circle was cut out.
The circle is then heavily zigzag stitched.  Heavily means going around the circle four times with a free-motion zigzag stitch (my favorite :). 
The fun begins as the needle is placed to the back of the circle and straight-stitched across its diameter at a medium speed.  Once across, the fabric was turned 180 degrees and gone across again.  I did this three times, always with free-motion stitching.  The three lines of sewing were then zigzagged over with my machine set at 2.5 width.  And, whalaa, there is a strong cord-like thread line running through my circle.
This was an easy technique, much more so than I realized it would be.  If you would like to try this technique, let me give you a few hints that were learned in the workshop.  First, the magazine technique does not require a stabilizer for the stitching.  However, I used fusible web,  fusible batting, lots of quilting, and heavy stitching around the perimeter of the circle which all acted as a stabilizer for the stitching across the diameter of the hole.  I also noticed that the smaller size of my hole seemed to matter in being able to keep its shape compared to larger holes done by others.

If you do give this a try, please let me know of any tips or hints you find to be helpful.

Until next time,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cat Bites are Dangerous!

I know.  This is a quilt site.  Why am I talking about cat bites?  My experience of this weekend makes me want to share and warn others.  Here's my story.
This is my cat, Gracie, and this weekend she bit me.  Now I've had cats most of my life but have never been bitten (I mean hard) by one.  Gracie's form of communication is biting rather than scratching and I'm respectful of what she tells me.  But this time, as we were playing, she switched gears and attacked me ferociously.  Her teeth went deep into my hand.  I was taken by surprise and it hurt more than I can say.  I rinsed the punctures with cold water and put antibiotic gel on it and thought that was the end of it.  Boy, was I wrong.

By the next day, my hand was swelling, and red.  The pain increased as the day went on.  I decided to do some internet surfing on the subject and was surprised by what I found.  Did you know cat bites are infectious 80% of the time?  And that if the infection progresses, it damages the tissue around the bite and you may have to have surgery?  Needless to say I was shocked!!!  
This is a photo of my hand 24 hours AFTER I began taking antibiotics.  The swelling has gone down, the redness has decreased, and the pain is minimal.  I didn't take a photo at its worst but you can still see swelling.  That little red dot on the lower portion of my hand is the little puncture mark that started this mess.  I'm afraid to think of what may have happened if I hadn't done a little research and moved into action right away.  So take this post as informative and a warning.  If a cat bites you, don't take it lightly.  Find out the steps necessary to keep you healthy.

Until next time,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bringing You Up to Speed. . .

 Since last I wrote, I've been busy, busy, busy with many happenings and changes.  In my attempt to bring you up to speed,  I will begin where I last left off:  on my way to Texas.

My trip to Texas began with a speaking and teaching gig in Beaumont at the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild.  It was my first opportunity to speak and teach on a national level and I was excited.  The guild members were welcoming and friendly.  Two classes were taught.  Here are student photos of my Henhouse Whimsies Rooster.
The next day I taught my Shapes II abstract quilt and its technique.
The most exciting thing to happen was my seeing this surprising creature on a sightseeing journey.
I then headed to Houston to attend Quilt Market.  It was my first market and fun being a buyer for my new quilt shop.  The one advantage to attending Market is the opportunity to view the International Quilt Show without the crowds that would be coming in the next week.  Many beautiful and inspirational quilts were viewed and photos taken.  I include only one quilt here, one that I felt was quite innovative, made with pipe cleaners.
I head home with a full moon in the sky, a perfect ending to a perfect journey.
I will continue to catch you up on happenings in my life in my next blog so stay tuned.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Handmade Gifts are So Special. . .

I know I'm a quilter and this is a quilting blog but I just had to share this non-quilting gift.
My quilting friend (who also paints) gifted me this whimsically adorable wall hanging for my upcoming birthday.  Being a quilter, I'm so appreciative of  handmade gifts.  Knowing that my friend is a painter and that she is sharing this gift of hers with me makes this present all the more special.
The ribbons and hanger make it all the more heartwarming.  Thank you, Friend.

Until next time,