Monthly Archives: April 2010

Stuck on Repeat

This song has been playing continuously in my head since this morning when I stepped outside and found, well, one wing on my back steps. Thanks Kittys!

http://www.youtube.com/v/bF3pBjPwgtg&hl=en_US&fs=1

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Quilting 101

Last Saturday was my first quilting class and it went exactly as I had expected. I ended up already knowing 90% of what was being taught. All was not a complete loss though, I at least learned how to make edge binding, which I’m sure I could have found a tutorial online, but oh well. 
The class ran from 9-12. There were 4 other students, all middle aged overweight hens toting VERY expensive machines that they did not have a clue how to turn on let alone operate. Do you see where this is going? Then there’s me dressed in patchwork with my Janome in hand. You should have seen the hairy eyeballs thrown at me! So the instructer begins explaining the 9 patch square and strip piecing. We begin working on our projects, which must have been exhausting since we, meaning they, had to break an hour into the class to chow on chocolate covered bacon. Yes, you heard me right. Chocolate. Covered. Bacon. And we actually have the audacity to wonder why 90 million Americans are obease…but I digress.
By 10:00 I was ready to dive into quilting my layers, this is where shit starts to hit the fan. One would assume that if someone is an instructor for a quilting class they would teach you the proper way to be doing things. Yeah, was I ever wrong on that assumption! The lady told me to sew a basting stitch down the center of my piece lenghwise, then again crosswise. Then, starting from the top, I was to quilt down each row, rotate my piece so the horizontal was now vertical and continue quilting. I had a funny feeling about doing it this way but then again, she was the instructor, not me. Well my instincts were right. Even though my layers were basted together they started to shift and scrunch forming a horizontal crease right above my anchoring stitch. Awesome. When I brought this to the attention of the instructor she simply replied, “Yeah, that can sometimes happen. Guess I should have taught you to start in the middle and work your way out to prevent that from happening.” Gee, Ya Think!

Below is a picture I took of my *almost* finished wall hanging. I had run out of time during the class and was unable to add my binding which was fine with me since I planned on ripping out the stitching due to the enormous crease through the center. I was also unhappy with my choice of cream thread. I had brought along a spool of green but decided to stick with the cream because I assumed, there I go again, we would be taught free motion quilting, once again I was wrong. We were told to simply quilt straight lines…where is the fun or skill in that??

Despite my lack if enthusiasm for the top I was very pleased with the neatness of my back stitching.
After much deliberation I decided to quilt my layers using a zig-zag stitch. Even though my squares lined up to a T, I thought it looked sloppy when my quilting was not perfectly hidden in the seam. Hence my excitement for free motion quilting, plus it’s just way cooler.
Wanting to avoid another fabric scrunching incident I decided to use safety pins to keep each layer securely in place.
I was happy with how the zig-zag stitching seemed to not only add a decorative touch but also break up the largeness of the printed blocks.
Another concern I had was how drastic the solid fabrics contrasted with the printed blocks. Even though the brown and green coordinated with the print they seemed to over power the piece. By using the printed fabric for my binding I feel I was able to create a better harmony among my color choices. And just look at that mitered corner! Not bad for my first time! I used the *stitch in a ditch* technique to attach my binding which I nailed the first time…Thank God! Because I was not about to stitch it by hand!
The back of my finished piece.
Initially this was to be a wall hanging but since it is so small I decided to use it as an accent piece on my table in the living room. Turns out it matches the furniture perfectly!

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Decisions Decisions

Anyone who knows me is aware that at times that I can be a bit indecisive. This my dear readers is where YOU factor in. While surfing the fabulous marketplace that is etsy, I’ve decided to treat myself a new messenger bag. Nothing fancy, just a simple design that is durable and roomy enough to tote around my laptop. Yes, I know I can make one but that is simply not the point. Besides, I have yet to dabble in screen printing, so there! (like how I justified my purchase?)

Below are the bags I am painstakingly deciding upon.

1. the panda…OK is he cute or what!!
2. Reminiscent of E.A.Poe’s The Raven.
3. um, hello, I grow my own food!
4. The owl…again with the cuteness factor.
5. Barren trees, I love thee.

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Inspiration Move Me Brightly (Part 3)

Here is the third and final picture post from my trip to the AQS Lancaster show last March. I hope that by sharing these images I was able to spark a bit of creativity in your mind. Seeing them in person definitely lit a fire for my muse, so much so that I am now off to my first quilting class! I’ll be sure to share my project with you once I return!

I LOVED this one!
This one was intense in person! Not only did the blocks pop off the quilt but it was HUGE!
The butterflies on the quilt pictured below were actually 3D appliques. It was as if they were about to flutter right off the quilt.

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Broken Bells

If you are not yet familiar with this dynamic duo I suggest you get on it, like NOW! They are playing the Electric Factory in Philly, June 6, and the Friday before in Boston. I do believe this merritts a roadtrip. Plus I get to hang with my favorite Boston boys!

Happy Friday!

http://www.youtube.com/v/gWBG1j_flrg&hl=en_US&fs=1&border=1

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Inspiration Move Me Brightly (Part 2)

As promised, here is round two of more mind blowing quilting skillz!
I’ve seen this Black Hole Quilt on one of the crafting blogs I follow. It is even more incrediable in person!!
Ahhh, sweet farm memories…I miss the heifers!
I would love to recreate this enchanted forrest!
I have one more picture post to share with you all! 

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Inspiration Move Me Brightly (Part 1)

Last month Kristi, aka Peaches, and I went to the AQS quilt show held at the new Lancaster Convention Center. I am talking 3 floors of mind blowing quilts, fabrics, and all kinds of sewing/quilting gadgets. There were demonstrations galore! Talk about lighting a fire under my imagination! WOW!

Originally I was not going to bring my camera since the website clearly stated no photography without permission from the quilters. I’m glad I decided otherwise! Just check out these intense pieces. (due to the nature of my shutter bug-ism I will be sharing the images in several posts…there are just way too many to be viewed at one time!) You can click on each picture for the full size file view.

Kristi and I tried to find duplicate squares in this one, we couldn’t!
We were unable to tell if the quilt pictured below was all applique, a printed image or a mix of both (we decided on a mix)…you can only get so close to the quilts before being dragged off, beaten and cained! Security was tight and those little old ladies do not mess around!!! 
Below is a detailed view of the flowers over the arch, which were constructed from various floral prints.
The quilt below was created by a woman in SC. It’s titled “Rumspringa Memories – A Central Struggle”. How appropriate to be in Lancaster!
Of course no Log Cabin quilt is complete without Honest Abe’s face!

The entire time at the show I had people coming up to me complimenting me on my patchwork skirt and asking me questions, to which I would happily reply “Thank you, I made it blah blah blah” Then I would hand them one of my business cards. Constant networking and PR, people. It never stops! At one point Kristi turned to me stating “I can’t take you anywhere.” I replied, “Nope, not really. This goes on all the time.”

After Kristi and I parted ways I stopped to fill my tank and the following conversation took place.

Kid at the counter “Ma’am, I don’t mean to freak you out but…”

My Internal Dialogue – crap here we go

Kid “…you live in Rheems don’t you?”

Me “Kind of but not really, I’m just before Rheems.”

Internal dialogue – OK stalker, who are you and how do you know where I live?

Kid “Yeah, my dad and I saw you today in your yard. You appeared to be floating in your skirt.

So much for moving to the middle of nowhere and trying to blend in.

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Wordless Wednesday 2

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Hippie Bling

A few month back I was approached by a mama on myspace asking if I ever consider trades. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It really depends on several variables including: the artist’s work, my monetary situation, amount of inventory, up coming shows and if they are trading something I really need or want. Jess told me she absolutely loved my Orange Ya Glad Spring’s Comin’ patchwork skirt. Her boyfriend, Landon, creates wire wraps and she would love to work out a trade.

Being someone who loves jewelry, especially one of a kind pieces I was instantly intrigued and headed over to Landon’s shop. Oh My God! Does this guy ever do some wicked wire wraps!!! I’ve had a long standing love for tanzanite and when I discovered he had a pendent with that stone in it I knew my choice was made. This is the wrap I selected and I couldn’t be happier! In addition to the tanzanite there is also amethyst and quartz stones.

Even the back of the pendent is beautifully wrapped. I’ve been wearing it on a white gold chain until I can create a permanent necklace for the piece.

If you are in the market for a beautiful wire wrapped piece of jewelry I definitely suggest you stop by and check out his work. Even if you’re not looking to purchase something you should still take a look at his pieces. The pictures do not do his wraps justice, they are truly stunning!

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I Had a Dream

Once upon a time I fantasized about the day where I would no longer need to venture out shopping for fabric. That one day, I would be able to walk into my studio and select coordinating fabrics to create with. Folks, that day has come. Actually, I’m pretty sure I reached that goal about 4 years ago! It never dawned on me just how much fabric I really had until the day came where I needed to move it!
That is not alcohol you are looking at. It is 292 lbs of fabric neatly packed into 26 boxes. That is how much fabric I have! And do you know how I know that? Because I packed and weighed each box myself. 
 
My first obstacle to tackle once I moved was setting up my studio. Forget the kitchen and cooking, forget my bedroom and sleeping. My studio needed to be set up. Priorities people, priorities!
Jimi was instrumental in assisting with that task! You never know when gale force winds will whip through your house and blow everything around. He had the exhausting job of keeping everything pinned to the floor! He is such a big help!
 
Believe it or not I’ve actually made a bit of a dent in my *stash*. A lot of the fabrics I have been holding onto were destined to be made into clothing for moi. I just wasn’t sure what form they would take until recently. Last weekend I sat down with my vintage patterns and started drafting and designing. I have a few pieces in the works and the muslins have been started. Once I create the finished garments I will be sure to share them with you. There seems to be a shift in my creativity taking place. Change in the air and I couldn’t be happier!

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