New Modern Quilting Group

Moving to the coast last May was an opportunity of a lifetime. When we got the chance, we jumped at it without giving it much thought. It has been awesome, but there are drawbacks to moving. I’d lived in Bakersfield most of my adult life, and I was very involved in the local quilting community. I met with friends on a weekly basis to sew and socialize. I was involved in the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild for over 10 years, and I helped establish the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild. I also ran my longarm quilting business from home, so I had people coming and going all the time. 

Moving to the coast has been wonderful in many ways. The cooler temperatures and consistant climate have helped keep my RA in check. The air is breathable, as opposed to chewable, so I don’t suffer from allergies like I did in the Central Valley. I am surrounded by new sights, colors, sounds, and smells, so it could be very artistically inspiring. I say “could be”, because I’ve struggled with the “inspiring” department. The bottom line is, I’m lonely. Terribly so. It’s hard to be inspired when there’s nobody to share it with. Sure, I can share things with my husband, but it’s not like sharing things with your artsy quilty friends. I try to sew, but it’s kinda sad to sit here by myself and sew day after day. Gathering together to sew is fun, inspiring, and provides the need for fellowship. I need someone to bounce ideas off of. I need to be able to encourage and share, as well as feeling encouraged and taught, by others. To say the least, I’m feeling a bit isolated. 

I’ve gotten acquainted with two lovely sisters who own a wonderfully modern fabric shop in San Luis Obispo called Picking Daisies. I discovered the shop online, and with a name like that, I had to check it out! The sisters started their business by making a selling cloth napkins. Upon opening a store, they began to carry fabric and started teaching classes on napkin making. They now sell handmade napkins, buntings, aprons, and a few other wonderful goodies. In addition, they stock the shop with beautiful modern fabrics and some modern quilting books. The quality of their products is outstanding, and their service is even better! They are both fun, warm, friendly, and very open to the suggestions and requests of their customers. What could be better than that? 

Now comes the big announcement! Picking Daisies is hosting a meet ‘n greet for anyone in the Central Coast area interested in forming a friendship group for the purpose of learning about and exploring modern quilting. The meeting is tonight at 6:30 at Picking Daisies, 570 Higuera Street, Suite 120, located in The Old Creamery building. Parking is available on the street, in the little parking lot within The Creamery, and behind the building off of Nipomo Street. 

Now, must get off the computer and do a little preparing for the meeting! Woo hoooooo!!!

 

 
 

Curve it Up QAL Block 2

In a previous post, I showed block #1 from the Curve it Up Quilt Along, using the Quick Curve Ruler by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful. I am really enjoying getting the hang of using the ruler and sewing curved seams! I’m using a fabric bundle called Velocity, along with Kona Charcoal. Check out the Flickr group to see how different everyone’s blocks look, according to the fabrics they are using! I find it very inspiring!

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QuiltCon Entry Finished and Submitted!

Always Last Minute Lucy (as my friend, Jamie, nicknamed me), I finished my entry for QuiltCon and got it submitted about 30 minutes ago. Heck, I had 4 hours to spare, so I’m early! 😉 QuiltCon is the first convention for the Modern Quilt Guild, held in Austin, TX, in February of 2013. That’s right around the corner! EEE GADS! I’ll be going with some friends from the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild, and it’ll be fun to experience it firsthand! 

My entry is called, Is There a Court Jester in the House?. I love this Tula Pink pattern called Crown Jewels. I had a particular fabric line in mind for this quilt, but when I walked into Strawberry Patches, I spied the Penelope 4 line by Lakehouse, and it was an “aha moment” for me. These are not fabrics that I’d usually choose for a project, because I usually go bold. However, I thought they’d look great against a dark gray background! The gray is Moda Bella Graphite, purchased at Bolts to Binding and  Pink Chalk Fabrics. The hats remind me of court jester hats, so that’s how I came up with the name. I was going to do a lot of straight line quilting, but I just kept thinking that the quilting needed to be quirky and springy, as in springs. After drawing lots of designs on the steamy shower doors….I’d bet that lots of quilters do this…..I came up with the feathered springs. I used thread that blended into the background fabric so that you see lots of texture. The backing was another “first time” for me, in that I’ve never done back art on one of my quilts. I get all intimidated, and I’m not very patient. Once I’m ready to load a quilt, I want to get on with things! When I was talking about piecing an extra block into the backing, my friend, Pam, said, “Why don’t you make a huge crown?” I thought it was a brilliant idea, then immediately got frozen up with how to do it. That’s when I usually just go the easy route. I gave myself a rather brutal butt chewing, and proceeded to make myself a paper piecing pattern from freezer paper. It was a bugger to get the first piece started, as I didn’t want to use a lot of glue to hold the initial piece in place. That’s where the freezer paper came in handy! The wax on the paper held the pieces in place, as long as I didn’t move the thing around a lot. It took me all day at our BMQG sew-in to get the crown pieced, but it was so worth the effort!

Several things about making this quilt provided personal challenges for me. I’ve never custom quilted a quilt using a layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Hobbs Wool before. That may sound simple, but as a longarm quilter, it presents certain challenges. I’ve also never custom quilted a piece that had so much negative space. That can be daunting! As I’ve already talked about, making the backing was a new adventure for me. Then there was the turmoil of trying to decide on quilting designs. Usually, something “speaks” to me pretty quickly. This one did, but I kept thinking that I needed to do something else on it. I finally went with what my initial instincts were, and I love it! Finally, entering the quilt into QuiltCon was also quite daunting for me. I’ve only been involved in Modern Quilting for two years, and I’m still not sure I have the hang of it! As with everything, the meaning of “modern quilting” is evolving. Believe it or not, I’m easily intimidated….by a small, critical voice in my head. ALL THE DANGED TIME! I only fake confidence!

Last, but not least, I’ve really been struggling with pain lately. Monday and Tuesday were really bad, to the point that I couldn’t get comfortable, regardless of what I did. It probably had a lot to do with doing way too much over the Thanksgiving holiday, then tackling this project at the very last danged minute!  I had to get my IV meds on Wednesday, along with an extra steroid shot for the joint inflammation, which also happened to be the day of the week that I give myself a shot of Methotrexate. I think it was the combination of fatigue and all of the meds on the same day that made me sicker than a dog on Thursday. It resulted in a total meltdown on Thursday night, with me sitting here by myself, tears rolling down my face. Things don’t get to me very often, because I intentionally try to maintain a positive attitude. However, dealing with these diseases can really get me down sometimes. I couldn’t help but think about how much my life has changed in the past few years. My body has changed, and I think my personality has changed. I miss the way I used to be. Okay, ‘nuf of that. All of this is the final reason I was determined to finish this quilt! I was not going to let all of this keep me from completing something that was personally important to me! Now that my entry is complete, I feel like doing a victory lap or something! Of course, I can’t run, so I’ll do it in my own little head! 😉  So I say to all of the obstacles I’ve overcome with this project…BOOYA!!!! I am still the boss of me! Well, sometimes. WUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! 

Quiltcon Submission #2 (943x1024)

Quilt Front

Quiltcon Submission Front Close Up (1024x768)

Close up of the front

Quiltcon Submission Close Up of the Back (1280x960)

This is the crown I pieced in the back. It’s about 20″ wide by 30″ high

Checking In

When I started this blog, I seriously intended to post on a regular basis and to carve out time to explore new, creative things. Great intentions, not enough time! Since I blog for the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild, it seems that I’m all blogged out at the end of the day! I do have a lot of things on my mind that I’d like to share and start writing about, so I’ll just have to put that on my calendar. If I make lists, I tend to get more done. Blogging for myself is going to go on that list! 

For today, I’m finishing up my entry for Quiltcon and hoping to have lunch with a friend. Then I’m taking the weekend off! I’ve had a terribly rough couple of weeks with my RA, so I need some down time to give my body a chance to rest. May you all have a wonderfully, blessed day!

It’s Never Too Late to Dream

I’m so excited! Modern Quilts Unlimited is a new magazine that is due to be in my mailbox any day. It is the premier issue, and I had the pleasure of writing an article about our Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild. I have dreamed of having an article or story published, since I was a little girl. I used to write a lot of short stories, and I’d fantasize about seeing them in a magazine. As I grew older, got busy, married, raised my boys, established a business or two, those childhood dreams disappeared into the past. From time to time I’d think about submitting something to a magazine, but the traffic jam in my brain always kept me from giving it a try. Then one day I got a call from Vicki Anderson, telling me that she wanted to feature our modern quilt guild in the premier issue of her new magazine. She told me a bit about what she wanted to know, and I told her I’d call her the next day with some details. You know, answer a few questions, and that would be it. I sat down and started to jot down a few notes, then kept writing. By the time I phoned her, I asked if she just wanted me to type up what I’d written and e-mail it to her, thinking she’d edit it as needed. She thought that was a good idea, and we began to chat about other things she was putting in the magazine and her vision for it. I got terribly excited about the whole thing! By the end of the conversation, she asked if I could write enough to fill an entire page. I said, “Sure!”, but my mind was thinking, “Oh crap!” You see, I can get terribly OCD about things, added to my artist ADHD, and it usually all ends up a train wreck in my brain. That’s where I get frozen, then just proceed to do something that I’m comfortable with instead of moving into unknown territory. Since I’d committed, and I really enjoy the subject matter, I spent most of the next day writing the article. I sent it to her, thinking it was a good article, but assuming that it would be edited, chopped up, whatever. I have no idea how magazines do these things, and I know it depends on space.

The digital issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited hit the online community yesterday. I got to see the article, and I was totally gobsmacked! It was kept as I’d written it, and my name is at the top of the page as the writer! Those of you who’ve experienced this probably think I’m an idiot, but it’s a big danged deal to me! It occurred to me that I’d just realized one of my long-put-away childhood dreams!  I’d kind of decided, after being kicked around by life a lot in the last few years, that it was a bit late to be dreaming. As Oprah would say, this is an “aha” moment for me. It’s a bit overwhelming, but in such an awesome way! Thank you, Vicki, for giving me the opportunity to push myself and remember that it’s never too late to dream!

I got to poke around at the rest of the magazine a bit, and I’m so impressed with the quality and content! I can’t wait to get my hard copy! Vicki Anderson and crew have done an outstanding job! If you don’t already have a subscription, you can subscribe at http://mqumag.com/subscriptions/  You can’t get the premier issue by subscribing now, but it will be available at Barnes and Noble and some quilt shops on November 1st.

Even Seasoned Quilters Need Practice

I first started longarm machine quilting 8 years ago. I think it’s pretty normal for a quilter to develop a particular style, and people will start to recognize a specific quilter’s work when they see it. My thing tends to be garden/leafy/swirly thingies. Anything with curls, leaves, flowers, critters, etc. A couple of weeks ago, a friend gifted me with the book Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters . (thanks, Nic!) I’ve been studying her quilting ideas and finding that my excitement for quilting has been coming back. Today, I loaded a practice quilt sandwich, which I very rarely do. I’ve been going through the book and practicing the designs, then adding a little something of my own. I’m really enjoying learning some new ways of quilting! I have to remember that all of us need new ideas and a little practice time now and then! I highly recommend this book for anyone needing a little boost for new

 

quilting ideas!

Quilt for Collin

Collin is my youngest son. He is just about to start his last year of college, and I’ve been promising him a new quilt since the beginning of his freshman year. He has a quilt that I made him when he was about 12 years old and only about 5’3″ tall. It fit him perfectly, at the time. He’s now about 6′ 2″! This quilt was not actually meant for him when I made it, but after I’d completed the top, he claimed it. Good thing he did, or it would probably have never been finished!

I’d never made anything completely out of solids, and I was fairly new to the Modern Quilt Guild movement when I started this one. I was like a dog with a bone, I tell ya! I was terribly excited to get it sewn together at one of our guild sew ins! As per the instructions, the quilt was uneven at the bottom and needed to be trimmed. My husband has helped me to square up many backings over the past 8 years, so he knows what he’s doing when he’s supposed to hold the corners together. He also has the attention span of a gnat! Armed with a fresh blade in my rotary cutter, I sliced off the uneven parts on the quilt top. When he handed me the end of the top that he was holding, I saw that he hadn’t lined up the corners! After feeling like I was going to toss my cookies, cussing a blue streak, and breaking down in tears, the quilt went into the closet. And there is stayed. On one of his trips home, Collin was poking around in my “quilt tops to be quilted” closet. He asked if he could have this poor, unevenly trimmed, neglected quilt. I showed him how awfully crooked it was, but he didn’t care. What he cared about was the fact that it was long!  After many more months of nagging, I finally decided to see what could be done to salvage this project. Measure, mark, measure, mark and measure and mark again! I finally got the nerve to trim it again, and ended up losing about 6″! Not quite long enough now, I decided to add borders to it. Adding borders to quilts doesn’t seem to be the “thing to do” in modern quilting, but I tend to favor borders. For me, it’s like framing a picture. Besides, it added 10″ to this quilt! I finally got it quilted and the binding attached. My personal goal was to start the binding on the first night of the Olympics, and to finish it on the last night of the Olympics. Slow and steady, after all, wins the race! I put the last stitch in the binding, just as the closing ceremonies were ending last night. I’m pleased to say that when I hung the quilt on the fence this morning, I got a little chill! I’m so happy with it! I know where it looks crooked, but it’s not nearly as noticeable now that it’s quilted. It will be even less so, once it’s washed. I need to remember that! Had Collin not nagged the dickens outta me, it would probably still be in the closet, never to be finished. I would have robbed myself of the joy I felt this morning.

The quilt pattern is called City Scapes by Cherry House Quilts. The quilting pattern is called Geometric Path by Kirstin Hoftyzer, distributed through Digi-Tech. The thread is Superior Threads Omni, with Superior Threads So Fine in the bobbin. The batting is Hobbs 80/20.

Small Projects and Instant (Almost) Gratification

I’ve been busy with a lot of small projects lately, and I find the “instant gratification” aspect small projects, quite pleasing!

One of the things I wanted to do this year, was to participate in some online swaps. I knew that online swaps were a big part of the popularity of the Modern Quilt Guild. These online hosted swaps allow people from all over the world to participate! It’s like having a very large friendship group! So far, I’ve been in three swaps: Pillow Talk Swap, Pretty Little Pouch Swap, and the Denyse Schmidt Doll Quilt Swap. Here’s what I created for each swap:

The Pillow Talk Swap

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Pretty Little Pouch Swap

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Denyse Schmidt Doll Swap

I’ve enjoyed these small challenges and will do more of them as I have time. If you want to know more about how to get involved in an online swap, Megan wrote a great article about swapping on her blog, Fashioned by Meg.

Last weekend, I decided to play with a pattern I picked up at Strawberry Patches. It’s a very whimsical pattern by Tula Pink, and I thought I knew what fabrics I wanted to use with it. That was, until I went into Strawberry Patches and started looking at fabrics with a different perspective. I decided to use the new French influenced fabrics in the Penelope line. I was going to use a light-colored solid for the background, but decided to go a more dramatic route and used a charcoal colored Bella Solid that I found at Bolts to Binding. One crown down, 14 to go!

   

When Plan A Isn’t Working….

I don’t know about everyone else, but Plan A almost never works out for me. When beginning a project, I usually have a Plan A, B, C, D, and sometimes I get even further than that in the design process!

There was a time when, if Plan A didn’t work, the project went back into a bad, drawer, or shelf somewhere, never to be worked on again. Then I got involved with the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild and started researching what modern quilting was all about. The terms, refashion, repurpose, and reuse, are all very big in modern quilting. The more I learned about MQ, the more I started giving myself permission to screw up and NOT throw that project into the closet! I keep telling myself that mistakes are simply new design opportunities, right? Works for me!

Recently, I got interested into participating in a couple of online swaps. The first swap was called the Pretty Little Pouch Swap. I had never made a purse or pouch of any sort, and I hadn’t inserted a zipper into anything since high school! Needless to say, I was a little bit intimidated! So, on to Plan A for the PLP swap! I dug through my precious Kaffe Fassett fabrics and came up with Plan A. I was loving it until I posted a progress picture on the Flickr group for the swap. There were very few positive comments about it, because not everybody is a Kaffe fan. Okay, so where was my Plan B? Most likely, playing in the hall closet with all of the Plan A’s! After hours and hours of trying to come up with a Plan B, I got an idea. I could envision the general layout in my head, but had no idea how to execute it. Little by little, I let Plan B come to fruition. I loved the end result, and I learned that sometimes ideas need time to marinate. This was one of them.

Plan A Pretty Little Pouch Swap

Plan B Pretty Little Pouch Swap

I’ve decided to finish the first one and give it as a gift. The colors are brighter in person, and I know that the recipient of the pouch likes Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I also participated in an online pillow swap called the Pillow Talk Swap. I didn’t start with a Plan A. I bought the fabrics, then let several ideas marinate for a while. This was the end product, inspired by Victoria at Bumble Beans.

The next swap deadline is right around the corner. In this one, we are making and swapping doll quilts. They are to be made out of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and measure no bigger than 16″ x 16″.  Plan A was absolutely fabulous, in my head! Once it was on the design wall, it stink, stank, stunk!!!

  

After my friend, Pam, posted a picture of a paper-pieced braided star block she’d made, I had my Plan B!

This was such fun to make! I need to add a 2″ border and quilt it, then it’ll be off to my swap partner! If you want to make this block, you’ll find the paper piecing template and tutorial at http://www.add-crafter.com/2012/04/basketweave-braid-star-block/

I can’t leave you without a picture I took this morning, after this danged cat woke me up so that I could open the shutters and window in my sewing room. This is his favorite place to sit in the morning.