Sunday, February 28, 2010

A finish!

I finished this quilt today! Well, I finished the quilting! I will do the binding one evening after work. I actually did this top (a disappearing 9-patch) before Christmas, but just wasn't feeling the love. I think it is a bright fun quilt and I enjoyed the little loopy-loops I quilted. I took advantage of this quiet weekend and have another top pinned, ready to quilt. That I will start quilting tomorrow night. It is nice to have a completion.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Studio (AKA the sweatshop)

I am sharing my studio today for 2 reasons: 1. It is as clean as it gets since the house is being shown and 2. Since the house is being shown I need something to do that keeps me out of there! 

Come on in! This is the view from the hall. I love days like this when the sunlight streams in.

As you step in, you see my minimal sheving where I keep my stash of books, magazines and fabrics.

We took up the carpet and had all the wood floors redone about 4 years ago. I love the floors!

My ironing board sits under 2 of my inspiration/cork boards. I really like being able to leave the iron out. the beautiful Japanese fabric was a gift from a Japanese friend. 

 From the ironing board you see my Viking every at the ready, and on the wall, my fabric rack that my son built for me. the floor lamp I bought at IKEA, it is small and can swing around to where I need it. The table my machine sits on also doubles as my cutting table. It is a Rubbermaid utility table. I have been research different cutting table solutions, as this is really too low for me to cut at. It is my wish to really trick out my studio when we are able to move. I want a tall cutting table!

The stash. These are 2 small bookshelves I got at Target many years ago. We once used them in our living room and when that changed, I could get rid of them. At first they were sufficient, but now I need a better storage solution. I really do not think my stash is too large. My Mom has much more in hers, well, yeah, she has been at this quilting much longer than me! LOL!

Now you see my Design Wall. I bought white flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth material (available in 54" width) and tacked it to the wall. The flannel side is out. Enough to cover this wall (about 8 foot wide) was less than $10 and I can easily and cheaply replace it when it gets too linty. 

Last year I bought these bouncy rubber floor tiles from a big box home-improvement store. I like them to ease strain when I am standing and to cushion when I am pinning and cutting on the floor. These cam 4 to a pack for about $18 and I bought 2 packs. 

Thats my little haven. It is a small, 10' x 10' room, but I enjoy the space. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Postman Brings More!

My last shipment of web-ordered goodies arrived today, this from Pink Chalk Fabrics:
 On the left, a FQ bundle of the new "Poppy" by Laura Gunn in Spice. This is more beautiful in person than it was on screen! And on the right, a FQ bundle of "Fashionista Lorenza" in Aubergine by Alexander Henry Fabrics. Again, even better than it looked on line!

Why am I procuring? Last year I set out to use up my stash and scraps. I did a very good job, almost too good. I would get inspired to create and had very little to work with. That is so frustrating! I am left to creating quilts in my head! So, at Christmas, I began adding as I found fabrics I really loved. And I have changed my habit of only buying 1 FQ, now I try to by a bundle of the entire collection if available. And I no longer just buy a 1/2 yd, I buy at least a yard, or 4 yards if I think it is possible to use as a backing! Now, I have my next few quilts lined up, just waiting for time! I have 3 flimsies ready to quilt and bought the backing for 2 of them today at Mary Jo's. Glad I already have batting, as Mary Jo's was out. I have 2 WIPs, no make that 3. My king Christmas quilt needs to be assembled. Time to sew, thats what I need!

I had lined up to buy may backing fabric today, then layer and baste and begin quilting this weekend. But, I received the call from my real estate agent that our house is being shown again tomorrow. 3 times this week! We are hoping that one of these will generate an offer. My hubby and I are so tired of living apart.

Monday, February 22, 2010

a little web shopping love!

Time for some stash building! I placed orders last week and have been so delighted with the deliveries!
Check 'em out:

The lovely Kona solids came from the Fabric Shack. They actually called me to pick out subs for colors they were out of! We spoke on the phone for about 20 minutes while I asked about a color, and they checked the inventory. Delightful customer service and excellent prices! I am quite enamored with solid pops of color right now. And those modern prints on the right? The Grey, Citron and Black fat quarter bundle by Micheal Miller from the Fat Quarter Shop. Again, thrilled with the customer service, selection and quality! I love coming home to some presents in the mail. Now, off to sew....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back in the studio

This has been such a busy month. I had much to do. Then my Dad was ill, and all my priorities changed. He is home (came home Thursday) and his cardiac rehab is underway. He faces the brain surgery to remove the pituitary tumor in 6-8 weeks, but he is strong and determined and surrounded by a host of family and friends to assist in any way. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for my Dad in this rehab and in the face of the tumor. Please also pray for my Mom, who is his primary caregiver, chauffeur, best friend, life partner etc! She is exhausted from all the stress! I spent Friday night with them since I had a free-motion class on Saturday morning at Sewingly Yours. We had a relaxed dinner and I got my Mom to help me with paper piecing. She tutored me well and I have a pattern to attack in the near future!

My free-motion class was packed! I had 13 great students! The morning flew by. Wannitta has started a blog for the shop. Please check it out here and become a fan on Facebook!

And finally, on Saturday night, I got to spend a nice quiet evening with my hubby! We ate a fantastic dinner that he prepared, (roasted pork loin with root vegetables), watched the Olympics and chilled.

And today, back in the studio to release some pent-up creativity! 2, yes 2 new WIPS:

I am calling this "peekabu"

A close up of the cool batik and Kona cotton:


And a new hand-dyed I am calling "portal":


It has been a beautiful warm day. We have spent time outside with the dogs. I have been cutting and piecing and am quite relaxed. I am so grateful!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

a very long week

This has been a long week. Dad came through his bypass surgery, but developed a dementia they call "ICU Psychosis" along with pneumonia. His heart was good, but he was battling the pneumonia and was not coherent. It was unreal and painful to witness. He was put back on the ventilator Saturday morning. Mom kept insisting that his pituitary tumor had to have something to do with this. The endocrinologist agreed and added some additional hormones to Dad's pharmaceutical cocktail. We have lived this week in a fog and in constant prayer. And angels have been sitting on the shoulders of the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. Today, he started to come around. He wrote a note to Mom asking what day it is and what had happened. We have wept tears of joy!! They will begin to wean him off the respirator again in the morning. I sure have missed him!

I have rested most of the day and finally got back in my studio to quilt this:

It measures 20.5" x 25".

The method comes form the book "Square Dance-Fancy Quilts from Plain Squares" by Martha Thompson. I borrowed the book from Mom and decided to do this small wall hanging as an additional sample for my Free-motion quilting class this Saturday. I quilted it in a shell pattern. It was nice to quilt in a peaceful, thankful, meditative state.
I am going to work in the morning and will spend tomorrow night with Mom. Blog posting will resume as Dad improves. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Update on Dad

Dad went for a cardiac catheterization yesterday. His heart is unique in its placement and the orientation of the vessels (no, not deformed, just unique, special, one-of-a kind) and they could not find a catheter shaped to fit so he underwent bypass surgery this morning. He is receiving exemplary care. We could not ask for better nurses, doctors or respiratory therapists. He is in the ICU tonight and was breathing on his own when we left. This has been a tense and emotional day. The nurses and doctors have said he is progressing normally. I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We hope he is up in a chair tomorrow. Finding these blockages has been miraculous. His brain tumor has literally saved his life. He had one at 70% blocked and another at 95%. And no symptoms of a heart issue. Truly a miracle in our eyes. And re-furbished heart, just in time for Valentine's Day!

This is Dad and his little Schnoodle, Nikki. Everyone has a father, but I have a "Daddy!" The best in the world.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Finish!

I call this "Baby Birds". It is 40" square and I used the "Cheep Talk" FQ set from Connecting Threads. I quilted it in Natural YLI thread in a curly loop.


I pieced the back in the coordinating solids. I haven't washed it yet, but will before I give it to the Mother-to-be.


Cheery, happy colors. Oh I am looking forward to SPRING!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Finish!

Good thing about being snowed in, I can sew and quilt without distraction! Finished this wall quilt, Amish 1. It is 31" square, most of the fabrics are Kona cottons, with the wide border being a hand dye.

I need some samples for my free-motion class on the 20th, and this was a quickie, but something I have wanted to do for a while. I quilted it in Black YLI thread.

This was hard to photograph. The red is so vivid it kept flaring making it hard to see the stitching. This will be hanging in my Dining Room.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quiltsy Team Bra Quilt

The Quiltsy Team on Etsy has created a fantastic "Bra" themed quilt. This one of a kind quilt is for sale now, with the proceeds of this sale will be donated to a major charity that raises money specifically for breast cancer research. No, I did not contribute, but I am spreading the word. This is a great piece of art for a worth cause. Link here.

If its Friday, it must be snow (again)

Once again, we are in the grip of a Winter Storm. I believe all these snows are part of a conspiracy between the Government and the Retail Establishment (along with the dairies and bakeries) to get the public to spend money. It is working. Again, the forecast called for a Significant Winter Storm Event with Significant Ice Accumulation, and again I find myself in the Grocery Store on Thursday night buying the last loaf of bread. As I have mentioned, my hubby and I are currently living in 2 locations due to his job change (over a year ago) and the fact our house hasn't sold (I know, right?). -sidebar- heck, the house hasn't even been shown since October, OCT-freaking-TOBER!- So I am alone during the week, he comes home on Friday. In a normal winter weather situation, we would go out to a local BBQ place for dinner on Friday night, then he would go on Saturday morning for a few groceries. Well, Ole Man Winter didn't like that scenario, so in addition to my 1 hour commute (each way), now I am fighting the masses in the local Food Lion on Thursday! Oh, I am tired of this! Anyway, the weather studs nailed it again and I woke up to this:
I left the pic dark, this is what it really looked like, all blue and white. A blanket of white. Currently 4 inches of fresh snow, with sleet falling on top. Oh, well, can't do a thing about the weather, glad I have some stuff to sew. And all this snow has given great opportunity for pretty pictures. I noticed this in the parking lot at work yesterday:
Nice how the little droplets catch the light. And since I am snowed in, I will be working from home, in my PJs! 

I did stitch this up last night:
I have another free-motion class to teach on Feb 20 and all my samples are currently on exhibit, so I need something to show my students! I have always loved the graphic simplicity of Amish quilts, and I had got my Kona Sampler from Pink Chalk, so I got busy! I will layer it and stitch it tonight and tomorrow. Okay, have a good Friday wherever you are! Piece On!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Quilter Crushes

Seems to me there is a lot of new talent and inspiration in our Quilting World of late. Or maybe its just that I am really tuned into it! Since I am not much farther along on my king-sized Christmas quilt to have new pics to post, today I am gushing over some of my fave Quilters!

First up, Raymond K. Houston of Nacho Grandma's Quilts. I found Raymond while looking for "quilter men" in order to inspire my Dad to join us. Well, Raymond's intriguing tile designs captivated not just me, but my Mom as well! And to top it off, not only is he talented and inspiring, he is incredibly nice as well! Check out his site, his blog and his book. Guy knows his stuff!

Next, Leah Day of Day Style Designs and 365 Freemotion Quilting Filler Designs. She is posting almost daily, freemotion designs as well as making a DVD, managing her online store and being a mom! Don't know how she does it and still comes up with new stitches. She has taught me a lot and the improvements in my own free motion stitching shows that!

Winding up with Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! She has such a clear, fresh sense of color and I could just gaze at her Paintbox quilts for hours! She takes marvelous photos and writes clear tutorial on her projects.

Check out these peeps at their links. Makes me proud to be part of the Quilting Tribe! (Nope, I am not being compensated, I just am giving a shout-out to 3 awesome and inspiring artists/designers!)

*In other news: my Dad will be having a cardiac catheterization on Monday, Feb 8. Our hope and prayer is that this goes well so the brain surgery can be quickly rescheduled as the tumor is still there and growing. Thank you so much for keeping Dad in your thoughts and prayers. I believe this little detour is a blessing, since he has had no symptoms of any heart problems before.

Piece On!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snow day Sunday

We got another taste of winter that started Friday night and lasted into Saturday night. We woke up Sunday to a beautiful clear blue sky. This was a spectacular winter day! Jacob shoveled the drive and in the afternoon we piled the hounds into the car and set out to the park so they could have a romp.
This particular park has moles, and Pepper loves to try to find them!

Al always says "Pure Joy!" when we watch Sarge run. He does love it. He has come a long way since we got him in May.

Murray doesn't run with the 2 young ones, but he enjoys the park in his own way.
Jacob and I had fun dyeing on Saturday. This is one of his shirts.

Quilt-wise I have started my king-sized Christmas quilt. It has a lot of cutting for the small pieces, but it will go together quickly!

I love the "Figgy Pudding" collection.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A little stash building!

I may not live near a local quilt shop, but I can still do a little stash building via the fantastic internet quilt shops!

A halloween quilt is on my "want" list, so I have been scouting for a sale layer cake. I found the "Chic or Treat" at Cotton Patch Quilting. I also grabbed 2 charm packs of  "American Jane Pindot" since the price was so reasonable and these pre-cuts can fit in many quilt ideas! Love both of these.

I have also been wanting a Kona Cotton swatchcard just for the "pretty" factor. Nothing like gazing at all these lovely colors to spark ideas and sweet daydreams. So I visited Pink Chalk Fabrics and ordered one! And I decided to treat myself to a Kona Cotton FQ sample pack as well.

Just look at all the pretty fabrics! Makes me go yum! Nice to have these bright colors to balance out our gray days. 2 great experiences with 2 great internet shops!