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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Editorial:Continuing Education

 Recently I participated in a Sewists survey that targeted Baby Lock owners but the questions and direction could easily be applied to any person who uses a sewing machine. One segment interested me in particular because it clearly illustrates how sewing education has evolved over the last 5 years or so. I have made quite a few of the famous Jelly Roll quilts, these two are from that learning video.

Educating quilters and Sewists in general is BIG business. From the classes one receives from a top notch Sewing Machine Dealer to the U Tube videos sponsored by manufacturers and distributors of sewing notions the market is readily available for those who wish to learn the craft.
I first saw this string quilt design on a U-Tube video.
  Many professional quilters travel the country and sometimes beyond to teach their quilting method. As much as I like quilting I would grow weary of the travel very quickly. Teachers like Bonnie Hunter, Karen Kay Buckley and Elanor Burns must really rack up the frequent flyer miles. Last Summer I had the opportunity to attend a lecture/demonstration by one of the new rock stars in the quilting world, Jenny Doan. Her presentation and enthusiasm would have made the most cynical person want to learn to quilt. In a few weeks I am attending a two day workshop by Anita Goode Designs sponsored by the dealer where I purchased my new Babylock Unity machine. In order to learn the vcrsatility of the embroidery unit I need classes.
This quilt was the result of a Guild class learning to use the Accu-Quilt cutter dies and machine applique. Loved that class. It was the first class where I used my new Babylock Rachel. What a great little machine. Perfect for classes, portable, lightweight but sturdy while sewing. And if you read here regularly you know how I gave in to the thrill of the Accuquilt Go!

The Three Rivers Quilt Guild offers monthly classes as well. There is one in particular that interests me upcoming in June. Karen Kay Buckley will be teaching that one.  We have a great deal of talent within the Guild and several members share their knowledge and teach classes though out the year.

Beginner or Advanced quilters have many online opportunities as well. Whatever your interest just Google a key word for access to videos that will illustrate your inquiry. From free motion quilting to applique it is all there, free. Many of the videos will be introducing specialty tools, rulers, books. Your choice to purchase does not limit your viewing or learning. As a result of a video by Lynne Hagmeier I made this quilt and purchased the book where it was featured. The method of layering uses is one that I first viewed on a video. I would likely not have made a quilt like this if I had not seen it demonstrated.  

Loose Change
Summary Statement: 
  • Education is the key to satisfaction. No matter what the subject or the discipline, learning everything you can to enhance your experience will enrich your sewing life. 
  • Take advantage of all the online community has to offer. Videos, photo tutorials and blog reading will provide you with inspiration and motivation. 
  • Support your local Sewing Machine dealers and Quilt Shop owners. They have a wealth of knowledge to impart. Via classes, challenges and shop hops you will meet the most amazing people, people who share your passion. At any given time you may find someone who can help you make a pattern or color decision or you could be the one to share your knowledge and help a fellow Sewist. 
  • And for Heaven's sake, have fun! There really are NO quilt police. Those who pretend to be just that are missing the point. 
***As usual, no compensation is received or implied from Sewing Machine sellers or manufacturing entity, Quilt Teachers or their books or products for sale and certainly not from any blog or UTube video producer. I choose to remain un-sponsored. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Frozen in Place

The Handi-quilter was a good investment. These quilted circles are free-hand with the stitch regulator. I am getting better. This is the 4th quilt I have used this pattern. I want to make bigger circles on the next one I think. I also have a new quilting aide to show you.
This one needs layered, going to use the slats or board basting method again. Maybe a little spray adhesive as well. These batik fabrics have a sheen and are slipping around a bit. Photo's to follow.
Gift quilts, the best kind.
(Photo credit: Jonathan Nimerfroh  - Instagram: @jdnphotography)
(Photo credit: Jonathan Nimerfroh – Instagram: @jdnphotography) Nearly frozen wave.

Just had to share this one with you. A wave, frozen in place (almost) like a giant slushee. Sort of like me sometimes and certainly with the current weather pattern.

  • I have two scrap quilts in progress, they both need to have their rows attached. I took pics this morning. Can't find the camera. 
  • I was distracted you see, first I had to scoot the dog off the quilts since I laid them out on the living room floor and second I had several hundred pounds of fish waiting to be breaded. Can't do it all. 
  • I'll find it, then post the pics. Long day.   
  • Bringing the motor home here tomorrow. Wish as luck, snow squalls are expected up north. Yikes!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Quilt Designs, Old and New

I have never seen a photo of Martha Stewart's Bedford farm that was not enchanting. You know what I mean? In any season the bucolic surroundings are so well designed that Nature enhances itself with each change of temperature, each layer of snow, angle of the sun.

Have you noticed how traditional quilting patterns and designs are being reinterpreted by the Modern movement? Some ingenious design and bright colored fabric gives these new quilts a pop that redefines the traditional pattern.

For example: A new way to make Flying Geese avoids the bias edge issue for the adventurous quilter. Constructed in columns, this one could have distinctly different aesthetic depending on the color choice.
Just click on the this link to read the post, see the photo tutorial and enjoy. Nancy Zieman mixes up the Flying Geese.
  • A creative re-working of a traditional design gives any quilter the opportunity to stretch her 'proverbial' wings with her projects. I think these flying geese are very interesting in that sense. 
  • Jenny Doan does the same thing with her designs. She studies the traditional and modifies the pattern to suit a pre-cut fabric.
  • Old Friends are sort of like this. Traditional with a modern interpretation. These long standing friendships are comfortable and secure, these friends are like book marks in our lives. Time passes, lives change, evolve, implode and yet the friendships endure. We are all showing signs of wear and tear, of age and events. Oldest of the group, I have a slightly different perspective on some things but most importantly the younger members provide Me with the vision of how we will continue to grow and thrive. Good times.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lady Rose gets Married

The wild child of Downton Abbey has grown up this season and isn't she a sweet heart? A bright note, Lady Rose wears the clothes so well doesn't she? I have mentioned in prior posts that the costumes this season are outstanding. Design, color and fabrication are stunning. Here are a few behind the scene shots that illustrate what I mean.
Understated and elegant this champagne colored gown would look as good on the Oscar red carpet today as it would have in 1924. 
I would hope the costumes would go on tour and possibly come to my area. I would be first in line. While garment making takes a back seat for me and certainly this type of garment, just admiring the piece would be a great inspiration for anyone to return to sewing. Have you ever?
This icy gray/blue suit is a classic. That walking pleat/gusset is showing on runways now. I like the little peek-a-boo at the hem. I cannot tell what it is or if it is just the very drapey fabric folding back on itself.
The trim and lace of this collar and the top of the dress are so feminine and balanced. Not too much but just enough to frame her pretty little face. A single strand of pearls, classic, my favorite. Not a hat person myself but this one suits the times.  The fabric looks like a fine wool or a wool crepe to me.    

  • The Mr and I were remarking the other day about the dress of our childhood. When in public, on plane, train, dinner out, church, etc. you were expected to be 'dressed' and everyone was. No matter the income level or circumstance you were 'dressed.' No lounge clothes, no large expanses of exposed skin. What happened. Has our society truly been reduced to the lowest denominator?
  • Jennifer L. Scott, author and lifestyle blogger, posted an interesting video this week-end. Refuse to be Dumbed Down. She is absolutely correct in her conclusions. If we permit this current culture to over run our better senses all civility will be lost. 
  • A persons dress does indeed reflect their personality and their vision of self. Another blogger, Myrna Giesbrecht  has been exploring this notion for a long time. Since the first of the year she has shared a personal journey of dressing to suit your personality and your lifestyle. While her exploration is almost obsessive she offers many good points that one could explore independently if you shared that passion.
  • I don't. I tried to care a lot more. I tried to want to express my personality in clothing but I end up in a uniform of sorts. I has to be basic, flexible, comfortable and right now, above all, warm.
  • If you are interested in wardrobe design and versatility there is none better than Janice Riggs of  The Vivienne Files here.  Taking some basic elements, usually a scarf or a signature piece, Janice builds entire wardrobes that guide the reader in her quest for looking better.
  • And isn't what this is all about?  Being well groomed and dressed appropriately is all that we ask. Just look at Lady Rose. 
  •  An example from Janice today. A simple combination, colors are well matched but not 'matchy.' Comfortable and chic. Another winner Janice!                   

Monday, February 23, 2015

Now What? and Pear II

Now, I won't be surprised if you look at the above pic of Pear II and think so what's new about this? More than you think. I have made a habit of doing my cross-stitch projects while watching television. This one has been a Downton Abbey ditty. Last week I had the flower and the stems etc. done and when the show was over and I took it off the hoop well the whole thing was 'off!' The count was off and everything was therefore 'off.' I took it all out, picked out every little stitch and said some stern words to myself in the process. It seems I cannot do two things at once. Well at least if even the slightest precision is required! After I managed to get the headache under control I finished the rip out and got everything ready for AFTER Downton Abbey. This is my new start. Seems like I better get a move on, February ends this week. How did that happen?

  • My headache cure has been developed over time. Advice from a dear friend, now gone, gave me the best instruction. No major medication involved, just one extra strength Tylenol. Then I peel a strong onion, with my hands under warm running water. Warm the hands and cool the head with an ice bag. A bit of sleep with a a touch of darkness then like magic it ebbs away. The onion will be a tosser mind you after you weep and drip all over it and multiple tissues are required but a small price to pay I think.    
  • As mentioned, I cannot do two things at once any more. Maybe I never could but I just figured it out. Scary thought.
  • Back to the Downton experience, now what? It seems we are wrapping the whole thing up soon. The next season is the last. I suspect if you don't get killed off, married away or sent to prison you may make it to the finale. For heaven's sake they killed off the DOG! Was that necessary? I don't think so. 
  • I don't think Anna will look good in prison stripes. So pale, so frail.
  • Cousin Violet has the best lines. Crackers, every one! 
  • Good old Thomas seems to have a benevolent streak. I don't really trust it but it was a nice departure.
  • I am loving the clothes this season. I have always been drawn to the twenties. No place for Ta-Ta's in those dresses ladies. 
  •  Went out for early dinner today and by show time I needed a nibble. The little tray with what appears to be eyeballs staring at you was the repast. Recipe at  Kitchen Chronicles.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Runners, not the Jogging Type, The Fabric Type

OK, so here's the deal. I am working on one stinker of a headache. Even the flash from the camera is like ice picks in my eyes. It has been coming for two days. The light sensitivity, the sounds of people talking, the queasiness. Yeah, it is going to be a doosie. It has been about a year since I had a migraine visit. On that note I shut off the infernal machine and called it quits. My runners, inspired by these photo's from All People Quilt are not done.  Should be but they are not. (I gather photo's of projects for inspiration and store them in my photo files, not Pinterest.)  So I thought I would do a quick share. If you work with pre-cuts or your own cut strips you most likely have left-overs. This one is perfect to use those up. I hate wasting fabric. This simple sew-the-strips-together item can be adjusted to your personal stash. I normally use very thin batting on these because I set dishes on them.

Have any left over log cabin blocks? Hook them up, trim them out and bingo, table runner.
I think I might have this fabric somewhere.
  • I do have circles! The abandoned circle quilt project netted some different sized circles. Now my wee brain in re-considering the plan. 
  • I suspect you are tired of my weather reports but I have to say, this is getting old. Everyone around me is jumpy with cabin fever, it is starting to rub off. A dear friend who NEVER rants is ranting and wailing about nothing. It's not good I tell you not good. And we are in much better shape than many. I feel guilty.
  • I was watching an Oscar segment where one diligent man was dusting the wooden fretwork around a stage platform. Really? Come here, I'll show you some dust!
  • Well, off to investigate a thumping noise, the Mr. just passed me with a ladder!  How is going to climb that thing with a cane? I told you....cabin fever!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Quilters Acronyms

Fifty Shades of White, now playing in Western Pa.
Happy Friday Sewists! This week has absolutely flown by. It is miserably cold, I am already weary of breading fish and it is only the first week of Lent and I am shocked by some of the animosity I have recently read on some of my favorite Facebook quilt groups. Mean girls have nothing on these ladies. When your passion becomes your business things change, this I know from experience. But the mean words are just not necessary. This is the second quilting group (Facebook) that I have quit in as many weeks. I am very discouraged by this trend. I think the anonymity of the computer seems to bring out the worst in those who feel free to bash at will. I will not waste another minute of my life trying to understand the dysfunction that causes that.

On a lighter note, I found the above little list of Acronyms the other day and wanted to share with you. Some of them really tickled my funny bone.

  • A field trip to my local IKEA revealed some nice changes. The store has been remodeled and rearranged. Lots of new textiles to admire. A fresh and modern take on everything from polka dots to texture.
  • The kitchen torture at IKEA continues to be a secret pleasure. Who has a kitchen that big? I think I actually have enough kitchen ephemera and tools that I could easily fill every cupboard and every drawer!
  • Looking at the list of acronyms I had to chuckle at 'The WOMBAT.'  I know about that one from two projects. When I think about them I still feel bad. 
  • For two days and nights we have listened to shrill beeps from a malfunction in our security system. Two days of no sleep. YIKES! Finally fixed.  
  • In the Sewtopia news of good, bad and ugly a day of very good news, Mr. Sewtopia is healing well. Those gigantic titanium screws in his back are stable.  
  • Have a lovely week-end that strengthens the soul and the spirit. That can only be a good thing. And to my Snowbird friends, be VERY thankful.