January 31, 2009

Blog, Blog, Blog

I think I almost have this blog thing figured out. I spent the morning experimenting with several different backgrounds from the internet, it is sort of like choosing fabric for a quilt. I finally concluded that the basic blue I started with is the best. It is crisp, clean, simple, and easy to read. Maybe I'll find something else I like in the future, but for now my blog will be blue! And hopefully read ;-)

January 30, 2009

Quilted Things

I love to make quilts, and most of the sewing I have done in the last several years has been quilts. But I used to make "things". When I was very young my Mom taught me how to sew, and I made lots of doll clothes for my beloved Skipper. Remember her? Then for many years I made clothes for myself. I made tree ornaments, pillows and wall hangings. I did needlepoint and counted cross stitch. I made decoupage purses and even a wooden table. Now that I have my Statler Stitcher, I started thinking about what else I could make.

After a bit of experimenting, I figured out how to make these bags! They are just the right size for shopping at the grocery store, and they can be tossed into the washer and dryer.

My prototype bag was made from muslin, and I decided I liked the look! Add some variegated thread and a nice design, and guess what all of my relatives and friends got for Christmas? ;-)

There are thousands of possible quilting designs including geometrics, florals, feathers, holidays, animals, and novelty designs. And there are many beautiful colors of variegated threads too. The possibilities are unlimited!

My next idea is to make a quilted jacket. A few years ago I bought a beautiful jacket from Orvis, it is reversible, quilted, and a very simple design. I am thinking about using it as a pattern. Stay tuned!

January 29, 2009

If You Don't Like The Weather...

Quite a contrast compared to yesterday. It is still very cold, but the sun was reflecting brightly off the ice that covered the driveway! I was going to go to the sale at the local fabric shop today, but the ice kept me at home. I cannot resist a fabric sale, but I am sure there will still be some fabric waiting for me tomorrow ;-) How much fabric do you buy for your stash?

January 27, 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

It is rare to see snow covering the sand. Take a moment to enjoy the tranquility of the calm water because another snow storm is brewing. I love snow, it falls so peacefully in the quiet of the day and night. When I need inspiration I go to the beach and look out over the water. The effect is calming, but at the same time it makes me organize my thoughts and gives me energy!

January 26, 2009

Finely Finished

Finally, a finished quilt! Last September I went to New Hampshire with three friends for a few days of quilting, fabric shopping, and relaxing by the lake. It was a time for reflection, laughter, sharing ideas, eating chocolate, and just plain fun!

The quilt I decided to make is called Summertime Stars, by Fig Tree Quilts. It is made by cutting 30 16" squares, then stacking and slashing them into a star, and shifting the pile so that the fabric around one star becomes the background for another. The challenge for me was sewing the pieces back together because there are no seam allowances, thus nothing lines up. Being a perfectionist, I had a hard time accepting the idea that everything would work out, and a star block would be created from each pile. To my surprise, it worked!

During our few days in New Hampshire I managed to finish most of the star blocks. The fabrics I chose from my stash were various bright rainbow colored prints that I had been collecting. We all had fun speculating on what the quilt would look like! Over the next several weeks I finished the blocks, finalized the quilt layout, sewed on the borders, and then waited, and waited for the neon yellow quilting thread that had to be special ordered.

It was worth the wait, I love the vibrant color of the neon threads! Finely quilted and bound, until now my friends have not seen the finished quilt. Here it is!

The layout alternates lights and darks, but since I could not decide which category yellow fit into I used it as the narrow border.

I chose a design called Flirtatious for the quilting. I thought the flowing curves and simplicity of the design was a nice contrast to the busy fabrics and straight lines of the blocks and stars.

The backing is from the same line of fabric as the borders, Geo by Timeless Treasures. The two sides are black, the center is white.

Now that my "Star Bright" quilt is finished, it is time to decide which UFO is next in line!

January 20, 2009

Knowledge, Ideas, Inspiration

"The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts." --- Oliver Wendall Holmes

I love books. They contain valuable lessons and beautiful photos. The authors share their ideas and talents. Books inspire creativity and make my heart sing. The photo above is my bookshelf full of quilting books. Do you have so many quilting books that you cannot remember which ones you have, and you buy the same one twice? ;-)

January 19, 2009

Furry Friends

My Dad has always loved cats. He has a big gray cat named Wegian, that he adopted from a friend who moved and was not allowed to have a pet. Wegian's fur is the color of gray wool flannel, he is a very elegant cat and he loves to sleep in my Dad's lap. I made Wegian a quilt, about 28"x28". One side is cotton, the other is fleece, with batting quilted between the two layers.

I used a Printed Treasures fabric sheet in my computer printer to make a label. Then I hand stitched it to the back of the quilt, it is fast and easy!

January 17, 2009

Half Way Around The World

I have a good friend who lives on the other side of the world, in Australia. We met a few years ago on a machine quilters forum on the internet. We have a lot in common, and she also has a Statler Stitcher. We instant message each other several times a week, and sometimes we video chat using Skype. She makes beautiful quilts, and she gives me inspiration! I am so fortunate to have several items that she made just for me! One is a mini quilt that she made when I started my business. It's beautiful, and my favorite color too! The other is a small quilted wall hanging with whimsical kitties on it. Maybe some day I will convince my friend to start a blog!

Winter Rainbows

To see a rainbow, one has to have rain and sunshine. In the winter, water droplets freeze into ice particles that do not produce a rainbow, but instead scatter light in other interesting patterns. This morning it was 10 degrees below zero, the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant blue. There was no rainbow outside today, so I decided to create one from my stash! The fabric is Robert Kaufman's Mixmasters, an abstract fabric that features variations of the same color fused together, like light refracting through frozen water.

January 13, 2009

Gammill Statler Stitcher

This is my Gammill Statler Stitcher. It is a computer guided longarm quilting machine. It takes many hours to complete a quilt, and no, I don't just press a button and walk away! Attention to detail is very important to me, and that requires me to take an active part in the entire process!

Awards and Publications

My Red Sox t-shirt quilt won two ribbons at the 2007 Machine Quilter's Expo (MQX) in New Hampshire; First Place - Quilts of the Future, and Rookie of the Year. It is featured in the "Quilter's Newsletter Magazine" special publication, "Quilt It For Keepsakes" in December 2007. It was made in memory of Red Sox Pitchers Smoky Joe Wood and Joe Wood Jr.