Friday, January 31, 2014

Gone Quilting'

This car could only be going to a quilt retreat. Am I the only one who overpacked and brings too many projects?

Quilt Pic of the Day

I chose a contemporary block feather for this fairly traditional star block quilt.

Not too Late

Do you want to jump in on Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month?  It's not too late.  Click here join in.

Here's my first block:

What does yours look like?  How will you quilt it?

Globetrotting: Block 1 Washington DC (video 1)

I'm so excited that I finally started quilting Pat Sloan's Globetrotting quilt!

Some details:

I am using Konfetti thread, a 50-weight cotton from WonderFil.  I am quilting on Hazel, my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen machine, using a size 16 needle.

Now, for the quilting:

I am using a quilt-as-you-go technique which means I am quilting each section of the quilt separately and then joining the pieces together after they are quilted.  This technique allows quilting without maneuvering a large quilt.  It's also a great technique for those who can't wait to get started quilting a year-long project.  Impatient?  Who, me?

I started quilting the center of the star:

In the above photo, I didn't draw on the quilt, I drew on Quilter's Preview Paper as described in a previous post -- see bottom of this post for links.

The first thing to do is to make a starting knot:

Next, I am using some tools from Handi Quilter -- the 4-inch and 6-inch circle from the Handi Quilter Circles and also Handi Grip to help the template grip the fabric while I am quilting.

The quilting was pretty simple:

It's time to finish with an ending knot:

Now this first section of the quilting is done.  Isn't it pretty?

I hope you enjoyed my videos.  They were filmed at home in my dark, dark sewing room at night with a Flip video camera, amateur lighting, iPhone photography for inset shots, and were directed by Hello Kitty:

I have four professionally filmed quilting DVDs .  They used real cameras and lights and a director and a cameraman and a sound guy...  Yeah, they are probably a bit better than this one was.

I'll post the next video in a few days when life allows.  Happy Quilting!


Catch up on the rest of the posts for Globetrotting:
Block 1 Washington DC
basting, design choice
thread choice

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quilt Pic of the Day

I love these Arc Templates for double continuous curve!

Globetrotting: Block 1 Washington DC (thread choice)

Yesterday, I chose the designs for my Washington DC block from Pat Sloan.

I decided to use cotton thread for this project. I often use polyester thread, or silk thread, or rayon thread... I just picked cotton for this one.  I chose Konfetti from WonderFil.  I use this thread in a lot of projects; it comes in a variety of colors and it quilts well (not much breakage and not much lint).

For my light green area, I pulled out a few shades of green/gray/tan:

The top color was too "happy."  The middle color was too dark.  The bottom color wasn't really green but it blended well so I chose it.  Originally I thought this light green fabric was too close in color to the tan, but once it was pieced it showed more contrast.  If it were really too close in color, I would have chosen the darker green and increased the contrast by using a darker thread.

Moving onto my dark green triangles, I pulled out two shades of darker green:

The top color is a shade darker than the fabric.  The bottom color is a shade lighter than the fabric.  I chose the lighter one ... just because.

Next up, the orange triangles.  I pulled out an orange thread and a rose thread:

The orange was too "happy" but the rose worked well.

For the tan, I pulled out some tan, cream, and light yellow threads:

They all worked well, but I chose the middle one.  It seemed to blend the best.

Once I picked all of these threads, I realized that they match so well that it will be difficult to see them when I film the quilting videos.  So, that was a fun exercise, but I put them all away and instead chose a tan thread that shows a bit of contrast with each of my fabrics:

In the 15 years I've been machine quilting, I've learned to embrace Plan B.  For this quilt, Plan B = use a thread that shows in the video and still looks good on the quilt.

Next step: I plan to quilt this on Hazel, my sweet Sweet Sixteen .  Stay tuned!


Catch up on the rest of the posts:
Globetrotting: Block 1 Washington DC
basting, design choice

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quilt Pic of the Day

Working on an old project, giving it new life.

Globetrotting: Block 1 Washington DC (basting, design choice)

I am so excited to start quilting Pat Sloan's Globetrotting quilt.  I am so excited, in fact, that I decided to quilt a block each month instead of waiting until the end of the project.

The first thing I did was layer my quilt.  I spray-basted the backing, batting/wadding, and top together:

I chose to piece my backing from scraps, but a whole piece of fabric works really, really well.  I chose Quilter's Dream Green batting.  If I had used a lot of light fabrics, I would have chosen a different batting; the green shows through thin or very light fabrics and tints them a light green.

Pin basting, thread basting, and other methods work well, but I chose spray basting for this one.  I have instructions on spray basting a quilt here.

Using Quilter's Preview Paper and a Sharpie marker, I starting doodling design ideas:

Please note that I only drew on the Preview Paper and not the quilt top!  This quilt block is larger than the Preview Paper.  Since the block is symmetrical, I decided to only draw the bottom half of the block and copy it to the top when I quilt it.

I picked a design for the center of the quilt:

Then I picked something to fill the star points:

I filled the V-strips with some ribbon candy:

I chose a double continuous-curve for the light green squares:

I chose some Vs for the dark green outer squares:

I liked the Vs so much that I decided to put them in the orange triangles as well:

I decided not to quilt the inner brown border right now.  I will quilt it after I join the sections at the end of the quilt along.

Once I finished the doodling, I have a quilting plan all drawn out and ready to put on the quilt:

Tune in for the next step:  Picking thread colors.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Did You Know?

Did you know that I have a YouTube channel full of free quilting videos?

I videotaped the quilting of a few quilts.

Lucky Charms:

Stop, Drop and Roll:

My to-do list for today includes the item "film more quilting videos."

Do you want to see more?

Another Gifted Quilt -- for Lucia

I have mentioned that we have a broad definition of "family."  

My son's wife's sister's husband's mother and I are often the "outlaws" at family events.  She is a dear woman and she loves seeing the quilts that I give as gifts for these occasions.

I decided to make one for her:

I bought this kit, made about half of the blocks, and packed this project away years and years and years ago.  Recently I decided to pull it out and finish it for this wonderful woman.

The photo is mottled from the shadows through the trees.  The legs belong to my son.  He was drafted as a quilt holder when he was here for a visit.

I am pleased with how it turned out and thrilled that she liked it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

One Day Difference

Yesterday vs today. I like the palm trees better.

Dare I?

Look what arrived while I was away, teaching at Road to California:

Every page made me happier than the page before.  I have a long list of things to do today, but all that I want to do now is start one of these projects.

Dare I start another project when I have so many in process?

I dare!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Travel gods Owed Me

This morning, I left my hotel before 5am in California.  I passed out on my flight to Phoenix.  I dozed a little on my flight to New Jersey.  My luggage arrived.  The lot attendants cleaned the snow from my car and started it for me.  I drove a warm car home in light traffic on snow-less roads.  This trip was the epitomy of uneventful.

Total elapsed time:  13 hours.  I am a happy, happy woman.

My last trip was a little.  more.  exciting.

My dear friend texted me when I landed, reminding me to eat before I left the airport -- just in case I had a major emergency on the way home... again.  She didn't say it had to be healthy or high-class:

I'm gonna have a cup of tea, jump in my jammies, and sleep for a week (or hopefully 8-9 hours).

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 9

This is my last night in California.  I will miss the quilters and the beautiful weather.

I am packed and ready for an early departure:

I did say early:

So long, California!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 8

After another great day at the Road to California quilt show, I am hoping to get a good night's sleep.  I think I found the proper prescription:

Soak my feet in a hot bath with the jacuzzi jets on:

and, naturally, chocolate cake:

 Sweet dreams!

My way to view a quilt show.

During lunch today, I found my quilt hanging in the quilt show:

I guess they were afraid that viewers might follow instructions so they hung it too high for anyone but a pro basketball player to reach.

I told the story behind the quilt:

It involved a Russian visa application...

While I was looking at the quilts, I found one that was quilted by my buddy Teri Lucas:

She is one talented lady and I wish she were here with me.  I fear, though, that this quilt show might not be big enough for the two of us.

I had very little time to visit the show floor, because I spent most of my day listening to one of the most wonderful sounds in the world:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Look at what Linda McGregor Did!

She can't wait to go home to quilt!

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 7

When I posted my first picture of my hotel room's sofa and coffee table, a friend asked how long until the coffee table would remain object-free since all quilters know that flat surfaces attract clutter.  This is my fourth night in this hotel and I'm happy to report that the coffee table is still 100% clear of objects:

Before you burst with pride for me, it's probably only clear because after teaching all day and grabbing a bite to eat, I am too tired to pull out any of the work that I brought with me on this trip.  No hand sewing, no reading, no writing, no classwork.... no nothing.

When I get back to my hotel room in the evening, I jump into my jammies, watch a few minutes of a movie (Netflix or DVD), and promptly fall asleep so that I am ready for another great day with the quilters.  Tonight's movie:


While Matthew Macfadyen is not my favorite Mr. Darcy (cough*Colin Firth*cough), the costumes in this movie make me drool.  

May we all dream of Mr. Darcy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- day 6

What a great day!  I had a full class today for a full day of free-motion quilting.  The students' smiles are the reason why I do what I do.

I had dinner with a bunch of teachers from the show and met many others at the Teacher Reception tonight.

A fun detail from my hotel room:

I have to put my room keycard in the slot to turn on the lights in my room.  When I leave and take the key with me, the power to the lights goes out.

I saw this in a hotel room in Russia, but never in the States.  I love this and want this for my house!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy Place

I have found my Happy Place

Hotel Tour of 2014: Day 5

I flew to California a day early to avoid weather-related travel problems.  How should I spend my extra day in California?

What I hoped to do -- finish more hand sewing:

These were all finished on the airplanes yesterday.

What I did instead:

1.  Put on some sandals to appreciate the warm weather and walk to the convention center to find my classroom.  This went as planned until my shoe broke and I had to limp home:

2.  Appreciate the sunshine, blue sky, and palm trees:

3.  Eat my very first In-N-Out burger:

Will you hate me if I say it was just OK?  Several friends and relatives have asked me to hand-carry a burger home for them, but this first taste didn't inspire that type of desire in me.

4.  Spend the rest of the day (and evening) working:

People see me in class.  They do not see me when I am writing class descriptions, writing class handouts, making travel arrangements, working on show contracts, answering questions for show publicity interviews, and taking care of countless other details that are necessary to get me into the classroom.  That's what I have been doing for the second half of today.  That is what I will be doing tomorrow after the show, and the next night, and the next night.  BUT, there is a Starbucks (chai tea latte with soy) across the street from my hotel, so I'm up for it.

5.  Have dinner with another teacher.  It's always great to meet another teacher, someone I know by reputation and through Facebook, but not in person.

6.  Fall asleep watching Sherlock on  

I spent a great day in California!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Self Image

Sometimes I feel really dumb.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Other times, though, I feel really smart.  Brilliant in fact.  One of those times is today.

I am teaching at Road to California this week -- Wednesday through Saturday.  Conventional wisdom says that if I am teaching on Wednesday, I should fly in on Tuesday.

I have lived my entire life in the northeast United States.  I can also read a calendar.  This combined wisdom made me certain that flying out of New York in January was a risky endeavor.  I decided to fly to California one day early, just in case the weather messed up my plans (like it did earlier this month).  I had a mostly uneventful flight yesterday and am looking forward to working from my hotel room all day today.  I'm going to enjoy every second of today, because this is the weather back home:

If I had left home this morning, I would have driven to the airport in New York traffic in the snow, paced at aiport waiting for them to cancel my flight, and it would have gone on from there.

I.  Am.  Brilliant.