Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Announcement?

I am nearly ready to reveal the top-secret project I've been working on in recent months.  If you've been guessing unsuccessfully, I want to give you a clue.

Hello Kitty and I had an adventure recently:


Please submit wild guesses in the comments.

(If you are one of the few who knows, please refrain for 24 more hours)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Withdrawal

I am at OSQE in Cleveland this week.  My students are fantastic and I'm having a great time.  I have one small problem though:


My hotel internet service was non-existent.  it is my firm belief that if I spend four days in a hotel without internet service, that hotel should be on a beautiful beach on a remote island.  Alas, I am in Cleveland within spitting distance of the airport.

I called the hotel's computer people every day and each day convinced them that "It's not me, it's YOU."  Each day they agreed (eventually) and said that they were working on it.

While I was in internet withdrawal, I couldn't indulge in my beloved Netflix.  I found Raiders of the Lost Ark in my laptop's disc player and watched it 3-4 times this week.  I watched that movie when it was in the theater and probably once or twice right after the DVD was released.  This intense re-watching was like watching it for the first, second, third and fourth times.  I love watching older movies and noticing new things.

Did you know that:

Indiana Jones' guide at the beginning of the movie was Alfred Molina?   I looked it up (on my phone!) and saw that I was correct.  It was his first movie role.

As I am praying to find some stray wifi to upload this post, I am realizing that I am addicted to the internet.  I'm also addicted to oxygen and water, so I'm not saying it like it's a bad thing.  I am addicted none the less.

While I'm waiting for them to fix the internet (they said they'd get to it on Monday -- are you kidding me?), I'm consoling myself with the beautiful weather:


Yes, more snow.

Take me away, Harrison Ford!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites -- gifties

I don't know how I got so lucky.  I love my job and work with amazing people.  I met up with a bunch of them at Quilt Week in Lancaster, PA last week.  These lovely ladies sent me home with suitcase that was heavier than when I arrived.

The fantastic Miss Julie thought I'd like to try out this machine quilting hoop:


Thanks, Julie!

A friend Vicki knows that I like Hello Kitty and mustaches.  She actually found them together:


Candy!

My friend Susan thought I needed this sweet Hello Kitty clip:


She was right.

And a dear friend's family owns an olive grove. This is chocolate olive oil soap made from her very own olives:


I feel loved!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On The Road Again

Hello Kitty and I are on the road again:


We drove to OSQE in Cleveland, OH.  I will spend the rest of my week here:


Will I see you there?  Will the snow at my house finally be melted by the time I get back to New York?  Or, please no, will more snow fall while I'm away?

Check my calendar for a full list of my events.  I hope to meet up with you soon!  Preferably somewhere warm.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Chance to See

All good things must come to an end, like these videos.  It's time to remove them from my YouTube channel

These free-motion videos will go away soon.  Watch them now before it is too late.  Subscribe to my channel so you don't miss any new videos:







Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEW QUILT VIDEOS!!!! Globetrotting, block 6: St Louis

I am happily working on my Pat Sloan Globetrotting block of the month I'm currently quilting St. Louis.

Here's the block:


Here's the tentative plan:


I decided to start with the straight-line quilting.  In this block, the straight lines are the stitch-in-the-ditch around the orange square and "V"s stitched in periwinkle and cream squares.  I didn't quilt the straight lines in the large light green triangles, because I am not convinced that is how I will end up quilting them.  Oh, the indecision!

This first video shows the stitch-in-the-ditch and the "V" in the periwinkle squares:


The next video shows the "V" in the cream squares.



I filmed it as a separate video because it can be tricky quilting points at the edge of a quilt or quilt block.  I tape the edges of the block with quarter-inch tape so I don't accidentally quilt into the seam allowance or under the binding.  You could use any marking tool, but after years of trying different methods, this is the one I like best.


Stay tuned for another video next Tuesday!  Subscribe to my blog so you don't miss any tutorials.
____

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (in review)
Globetrotting Block 4 San Juan (in review)
Globetrotting Block 5 London (in review)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- Utility

Not all of my sewing projects are pretty.  Some are simply useful.

Mom loves getting handmade gifts from me.  I'm a mom; I get it, so I oblige.

I grabbed my bucket of strings and pieced up a few potholders since Mom's last ones were getting pretty shabby:


I layered them with old towels (from my wedding shower nearly 30 years ago) and quilted them using my walking foot on my home sewing machine.  I bound them up with some leftover quilt bindings.

Happy cooking, Mom,  Love ya!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

National Quilting Day -- What Did You Do?

Yesterday was National Quilting Day.   I usually teach on National Quilting Day, but this year I was at home.  I was able to spend all day in my sewing room putting thread to fabric.  It was Wonderful!

I continued my Harry Potter movie marathon and quilted through:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
While He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was regaining his power, I grabbed the leftovers from this quilt.  I simply adore Joanna Figueroa's Day in the Country Line, and all her other fabric lines, too!  I measured carefully and determined that I had just enough fabric left to make another Squared Away quilt.

Six movies later:


Is it wrong to say that I love this pattern?  I've designed many quilts (and I love them all equally!) but this one is really one of my favorites.


I have 30 blocks and hope to join them all together while Harry Potter defeats Lord Voldemort.  Oops!  I hope I didn't spoil the ending for anyone!

How did you spend National Quilting Day?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

I am working at home this week.  Some folks think that means I have a week off but that is the furthest thing from the truth.

I am finishing up some pattern tests, making a few pattern samples, working on new pattern designs, and doing a lot of paperwork for past and future travel.  I have a fire going in the fireplace and I love these cozy days in my sewing room.

To accompany all of the work, Spring threw us a late snowstorm.  I hate snow.  I really, really do.  To help me enjoy the work while ignoring the snow, I drafted my dear friend Harry Potter for help.  I've read all of the books (more than once) and this week I'm hosting a sewing room Harry Potter movie marathon.  A friend joined me yesterday, but today I am once again on my own.

Have you read the Harry Potter books?

Have you seen the Harry Potter movies?

Does this quilt block look like Gryffindor?


This block will make its debut in a future Cutie quilt, tentatively named "Vintage."

Next up:


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites -- QUILTERS!

I have belonged to my local quilt guild for about 20 years.  These delightful ladies are dear to me.  This week's speaker was the fantastic Linda Hahn.  She gave a great trunk show/lecture on Wednesday night and had scheduled an all-day workshop on Thursday.  I knew about the workshop but never signed up.  I have a lot of work to do on the rare days I am at home and I didn't want to start a new project.  Also, Thursday was my wedding anniversary.  I told all of this to my guild ladies, but did they care?  NO!  They beat me until I agreed to sign up for the workshop -- 11 hours later.

I ran home from my guild meeting and had to gather all of my supplies, pre-cut fabrics, and grab a few hours of sleep.  ZOOM!

I pulled some easy-match fabrics from my stash:


Doesn't everyone have a full bolt of Hello Kitty fabric?  No?  Odd.

I felt that I should keep up with my chosen theme, so I packed my little-used teeny-tiny sewing machine and my spill proof sippy cup:


I think I may have frightened a few other quilters, but I was in Hello Kitty heaven ALL DAY LONG!

We were piecing quilts from Linda's first book, New York Beauty: Simplified.



I finished 4 blocks of 36 and I LOVE THEM!  I can't wait to finish this quilt because it is for ME!  Mine, all mine!

I love Linda:


If you ever get a chance to take a class with Linda, jump on it.  Don't wait for your guild ladies to beat you.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Between Quilt Shows

I spent last week at Quilt Week in Lancaster, PA.  Other than starting the week with a bad cold, I had so much fun!

The fabulous Lisa Sipes was teaching in the Handi Quilter classroom for the week:


I ran into the amazingly talented Janet Atkins and got her to pose in front of her first-place winning hand-quilted quilt:


This woman is an Ah-Ma-Zing quilter and I'm thrilled that she won!

Teri Lucas thought Janet was something special, too:


I met up with so many wonderful friends and students at the show, but it was crazy-busy and I barely got to say "Hi!"

I was, however, interviewed by a reporter.  I can't find the link in the online paper, but this showed up on YouTube:



I was still rocking the deep voice in that interview and WOW! I talk fast!

By the end of the show, I was feeling well and healthy (take THAT, stupid cold!) and wanted to be well and healthy at home.  I packed to leave:


and am now in the middle of a whole week at home!  Wheee!  Fabric is flying here in my studio and I can't wait to show you what I'm doing.

Soon I will leave for OSQE in Cleveland, OH.  Will I see you there?

Check my calendar for a full list of my classes.  I hope to meet up with you soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In Memory

I am privileged to work with a great pattern company, Quilt Basket Cutie Patterns, and am thrilled to show you my latest pattern:


I will be even more thrilled when I get a nice sunny day to take glamour shots of my quilts!  Oh Spring, where art thou?

This latest pattern is called Jack's Star.  I designed it as a memory quilt for my dad, Jack, who passed late last year.  I have boxes of his plaid shirts and will make memory quilts in this pattern for his grandchildren, but I am not yet ready to cut into them.  While I am waiting to make the memory quilts, I chose to work with Tula Pink's Bumble fabrics.  This pattern and that fabric are such a sweet combination!  And since I love to machine quilt, this pattern allows tons of space for fun quilting!

Have you seen my other patterns?

Squared Away


Going My Way?


Stepping Stones


Any Cutie pattern works with any Cutie pack of fabric.  You can mix and match to make the quilt yours!

Which will you choose?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Globetrotting: St. Louis

I am happily working on my Pat Sloan Globetrotting block of the month and this month is the block named St. Louis.

Before I quilt the block, I like to have the quilting (mostly) planned.  Here's the block:


When I started this series, I decided that I would quilt all of the blocks using four quilting designs:
  • straight lines
  • curved lines
  • swirls
  • ribbon candy
I covered my block with Quilter's Preview Paper and drew quilting designs on the paper with a Sharpie.  Note:  I did NOT draw on my quilt block.  You can breathe now.

When I looked at this block, I figured out a few places to put a few of these designs right away.  I want to quilt curved lines in the center square, straight line "V"s in the purple and white squares, and ribbon candy in the channel formed by those "V"s:


The rest of the block, however, wasn't obvious to me.  I just stared, hoping that inspiration would strike.

How about swirls in the cream triangles, pumpkin seeds in the dark green/cream half-square triangles, and straight lines in the large green triangles?


I'm not convinced that the straight lines in the light green triangles are the right choice.  What if I divided the triangles into sections and then filled the sections with ribbon candy?


Now that I see them drawn out, I definitely like choice A better than choice B, but I'm still not convinced.  I may not know what I'll choose until I actually quilt it, but at least I can start quilting the rest of the block.
____

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (in review)
Globetrotting Block 4 San Juan (in review)
Globetrotting Block 5 London (in review)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- Starring Frank!

I have been trying to get to the bottom of things lately, and by things I mean the piles in my sewing room.  I pulled out an old quilt in process.  A very, very old quilt.

I started it for my daughter years and years ago.  I showed it to her now and received the "no thanks" answer.  Her loss!  I'm keeping this one!

Finally, at long last:


The pattern was a free online pattern from Judy Laquidara, but I think she's taken it down in the intervening years.

I love the fabrics in this quilt.  The print is based on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the green is a Pepper Cory fabric, the dark blue is a Quiltmaker's Gift fabric, and the white is a P&B.  I have no idea what the light blue is, but it's beautiful, too.

I was tickled to have enough fabric left to make matching pillowcases for my bed.  This quilt is snuggly and warm and has brightened this long, long cold winter in New York!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Getting it Together -- Going Home

I'm ready to travel home today.  I'm traveling with a co-worker and am not sure what time we're supposed to leave, so I figured it was best to be prepared:


Once I get home today, I'll unpack, start laundry, and get organized for my at-home work week.

Soon I'll be home.  I love home!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Code Name: Clueless

I often listen to audio books whilst I'm quilting, and last week I finished "Rose Under Fire" by Elizabeth Wein. This is her second (latest) book in her Code Name: Verity young adult series.  I enjoyed the first book and downloaded the second book without reading the description.

Big rookie mistake!

I don't read books about German concentration camps and I don't watch movies about them, either.   "Schindler's List"?  Nope.  "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"?  Yes, but it nearly killed me.  I would have known to avoid "Rose Under Fire" had I simply read the blurb!

I started the book unaware that it would take me to Ravensbruck and when I figured it out I was too invested in Rose to close the book.

One of the reader's voices was annoying, but I can't imagine how difficult it is to read an American accent, a British accent, a Scottish accent, a Russian accent, a Polish accent and many German accents, too.

This is a good series, but if you, too, can't read concentration camp books, consider yourself warned.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

I am having a BLAST at Quilt Week in Lancaster, PA.  I really, really, really love working in the Handi Quilter booth.  I love being happy with my co-workers and the quilters.  My life is pretty perfect.

I am cleaning out my purse to get ready for the day.  It is a very small purse and holds just the essentials, but I thought I would show you my favorite essentials for a quilt show:


1.  iPhone charging cord.  No explanation necessary.

2.  Keroppi Apple Sours container.  Contains no candy, but does contain daily meds.  (The candy was yum, BTW)

3.  Hand-sanitizer.  My cold is almost gone, but not totally.  I will share almost anything with quilters, but I really don't want to share my cold.  Also, I don't want anyone else's germs.

4.  Tylenol.  If you don't know what that's for, you haven't stood on a concrete floor for hours and hours and hours.  My dogs are barking and my knees and back are making some noise, too.  I've worked at enough quilt shows to know that Tylenol is a quilt show MUST HAVE.

5.  Lip Gloss.  Have you ever talked all. day. long?  How about day after day after day?  My lips get ridiculously dry and EOS is my current fave.  Honeysuckle honeydew, specifically.

6.  Two pens.  The blue one is my absolute favorite Swarovski crystal pen that I received as a Christmas present.  It is a REALLY NICE PEN.  Very high quality.  The nicest pen I have ever owned.  But, it keeps trying to get lost.  Super-hubby has managed to find it many, many times long after I was sure it was gone for good.  I was sharing my pen love with a student at Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA last week turned and she turned me on to these bling-y pens:



Pro:  They are a rainbow of sparkly loveliness
Con:  They are not as nice as my super-nice pen
Pro:  They have a stylus for touch screens.  I need those because touch screens hate me.
Con:  Everyone who sees it wants to steal it.
Pro:  IT IS MINE!

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Harsh Reality of Travel

I travel a lot for work.  A Lot.  No, really, I mean A LOT.  Flight days are hard, especially during this last winter.  I'm usually grateful when I land and think "Phew, the hard part is over!" This is not always true.

I get run down from a lot of travel and sadly I'm exposed to a bunch of traveling germs while I'm not my best.  Those two facts collided last week and I caught the plague.  I tried to match the number of empty tissue boxes with the number of empty Talenti containers:


We all agree that Talenti has medicinal qualities, right?

As I tried to ease my suffering, I packed my tissues, cold medicine, bleach wipes, and hand sanitizer and headed to AQS Quilt Week in Lancaster, PA.

As soon as the quilters walked in this morning, I felt better:


I saw some friends and some awesome quilts.

This is my friend Lisa Calle and her awesome award-winning quilt:


By the end of the day, I realized that this quilt show had nearly cured my cold.  I'm still rocking the deep voice and bumping elbows instead of shaking hands, but I feel human again.

Behold:  the restorative powers of a quilt show!

After this quilt show, I will teach at OSQE in Cleveland, Ohio.


Also, there is still time to nominate/vote for your favorite machine quilting teacher here.

Check my calendar to see if we can meet up some time this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Cleaning

I haven't seen snow falling from the sky for a few days!  That is my first hint that we may actually have a spring this year.

I'm doing some spring cleaning on my YouTube channel and these videos are going to go away:












This would be an excellent time to watch them.  Soon, very soon, they will be gone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vacation Time -- Surf's Up!

I live in New York and we've had a ridiculously long, snowy, cold winter.  I love thinking about warm vacations.  This month's block from Pat Sloan's Vacation Time block of the month was a perfect anti-dote to winter!

Surf's Up:


This block matches my Down by the Boardwalk block and my Toes in the Sand block nicely!  I can't wait to see how they all look together.

Now how shall I pass the time until April's block?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- Aurifil Chunky Churn Dash Pillow

I am so excited about this week's finished quilt!  I am making the Aurifil Mini Quilts each month and I love February's even more than January's!

This month's mini quilt was designed by Figtree & Co.  I am a huge fan of her work and this pattern just grabbed me!  I knew I had to use the happiest fabrics that I could find:


Those happy fabrics turned into happy blocks:


Which I happily quilted:


And quilted some more:


Finally, I finished the quilt as a pillow*:


And then there were two:


Why oh why isn't the March mini quilt pattern available yet?  Good thing I'm going to a quilt show tomorrow; it will distract me from my mini-quilt withdrawal.

*(I adapted this pattern to make the flanged pillow)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Getting it Together -- In The Middle

I am a quilter, which means I have a stash of fabric.  It also means that I have a stash of thread.  What you might not know is that I have a stash of batting/wadding, too.  The batting/wadding stash causes me a bit more grief than the other stashes.  I can decoratively display my thread on racks and I can fold fabric neatly and stack it in bins, but batting?  It takes up so much space!!

Every time I get scraps of batting I toss them in an Ikea bag, separated by type:


Shown:  one bag of wool batting/wadding and one bag of cotton batting/wadding.  Sorry for the horrible photo; it is winter here and everything is dark and shadowy.  I can't wait for spring for many reasons, but good photographs are on that list!

Once these leftover bits of batting/wadding fill a bag, it is time to join those bits together and make a large enough piece to use in a quilt.  Looking at that photo, I'm ready to create a wool Franken-batt so the bag no longer overflows!

I join my wool batting/wadding together with either a needle and thread or iron-on batting tape.  I join my cotton batting/wadding together with either a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine or iron-on batting tape.  

What do you do with your batting/wadding?  Any fun hints to share?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Cutting Edge

I've mentioned that I don't watch TV and it's true, but I don't sit and stare at my walls, either.  I read a lot, watch (ok, binge) Netflix, and get information and entertainment in various formats.

Are you a fan of TED?  I downloaded the app on my phone and can listen to/watch a TED talk in the morning while I'm doing my makeup.  I've learned some interesting things about stuff I would never have learned about this way.

If you haven't ever watched a TED talk, try it.  Start with this one.  It's one of my favorites.  (Hint: It' Shawn Achor)

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday Favorites

This week, I was really feeling the love.  Some weeks are less wonderful than others for me, and this one was tough.  These lovely folks didn't know it, but they all sent smiles my way to brighten my days.

I taught at Sewing & Stitchery Expo last week and they have amazing volunteers.  One of the volunteers running my classroom knit (knitted?) me a scarf!


Thank you, Monika!  I love it!

One of my friends gave me a super-blinged Hello Kitty necklace:


See the bling?


Thank you, Charlotte!  She makes me smile every time I see her!

One of my students sent me some goodies from her Hawaiian vacation:


Hello Kitty fabrics and candy.  I'm feeling the love, Deb!

And a local friend left a gift for me at the library, knowing I'd show up there eventually:


She was sure to tell me that this wasn't a hint about my bad manners.  Cindy, thank you ever so much!

I'm not sure what I did to deserve such wonderful people in my life, but I'm feeling the love, y'all.  It definitely added some sparkle to this week!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Quilt Shows Rock My World!

While I was flying home from a quilt show in Washington on Monday, I received notification from another quilt show that I had been nominated for Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year for 2014.  Can I just say WOW?  There are so many amazing machine quilting teachers who have influenced the current generation of quilters and I am honored to be in their company.


Apparently there is a nomination/voting thing going on there, so if you haven't yet nominated/voted for your choice for Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year, you can do so HERE.

And that quilt show I mentioned last week?  It was fantastic!  I taught eight sold-out classes at Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  I am not sure that I've ever had a better bunch of students.  We had so much fun and they quilted their hearts out.  You can see how much fun Jamie had when she discovered that quilting was her super-power:


Australasian Quilting Convention is the next show with a classroom waiting for me. I am teaching four days of sold-out classes there.  If you ever get a chance to attend that show, it is ah-ma-zing.  They have massages for the students, morning and afternoon tea with real tea cups and saucers and waitstaff.  This will be my third year teaching there and I'm getting excited already!

For the full calendar of where I'll be teaching, check my online calendar.

I hope to meet you soon!