New Year Creativity

There’s something about the start of a new year that always brings me a sense of excitement! A fresh start, 365 days of possibilities, new adventures, unexplored ideas, and the list goes on! This is what I worked on and finished in the first two days of this year.

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This ruffled scarf was a lot of fun to knit, and I loved the yarn! It had a chenille edge, so it gave the finished scarf a little more weight. I bought the yarn at Michael’s, and I used a YouTube video tutorial for the kntting technique. I’ve been knitting for a few years, but not consistenly and nothing more than knitting and purling. One of my 2014 goals is to learn more about knitting, and do it more often. We have a great yarn shop in San Luis Obispo called Nordic Mart. The owner is part of our Central Coast Modern Quilting Friendship Group, and she is absolutely lovely! She has assured me that she can teach me how to knit like a pro!

I also got in a bit of sewing on New Year’s day. It was mug rug madness around here!

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Suzanne at Notes from the Patch, did a tutorial on how to use a Bernina circular attachment to make these cute mug rugs. I called her shop and ordered one. I immediately became obsessed with busting my stash and sewing up a bunch of these for gifts! If you don’t know what a mug rug is, it’s like having a personal little placemat for your cuppa whatever you’re drinking, with room for a cookie or two.

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I need to get a shower and head down to my sewing room. I’ll be cutting my fabrics for the Alison Glass Feathers Quilt Along. I have three fabric bundles pulled, and I still haven’t decided which one to use! I never make the same quilt twice, but I may have to break that pattern with this quilt along! I’ll get some pictures of the bundles and post them a bit later today.

Possibilities!

Over the past two weekends, Open Studios was held throughout San Luis Obispo County. Over 200 artists had their studios open to the public, and many of the artists worked on projects and/or demonstrated their craft. I got to spend a day with some fun new friends, going through studios in Los Osos and Morro Bay. So much inspiration, fun, and of course, laughter! I came home just buzzing with ideas! This is something that is done each year, and I highly recommend it! How lucky I am to live in a community that is so rich in artistic inspiration!

On Saturday, Scott and I went north to visit my niece’s family. We got to see her son play football on Saturday, then celebrated his birthday that evening. Almost all of the kids and parents from his football team came to the party. I had the best time with the young women, most of whom are young enough to be my kids! We laughed, I danced a little, we teased, shared stories, and by the end of the evening, they were all calling me Aunty Lynn. It was awesome! 

Yesterday, we drove on up to Santa Clara to attend the Pacific International Quilt Show. I’ve been two or three other times, and the show gets better each time. I love this show, because it focuses more on art quilts, quilts with unusual embellishments, quilts made from unconventional materials, and always has a special exhibit of quilts from around the world. Scott had never been to this show before, so it was fun to see him see it for the first time! He was constantly saying, “Lynn, come here!” I loved it! We were both buzzing with ideas and inspiration for new designs and fiber adventures! 

Okay, I’m just a little bit excited about the central coast’s first Modern Quilting Friendship Group sew-in tonight! We have 20 confirmed, and who knows how many will pop in! The ladies at Picking Daisies have been so great about accomodating us! I can’t wait to see what this enthusiastic group comes up with! 

For the first time in a very long time, I feel creative, inspired, and joyful, right down to my very toes! It’s been a rough few years, and I’m so grateful for a renewed spirit and so many new possibilities! If I didn’t have a lot to do to get ready for tonight, I think I’d be covered in fabric, ink, dye, beads and baubles by the end of the day! There’s always tomorrow!

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!!!

 

 
 

Creatively Busy

Since I have some free time on my hands these days, I’m working on a few things of my own. I used to do a lot of projects using old windows. About 13 years ago, a glass guy I know asked if I wanted a bunch of windows. A bunch, like 40! I took them, and I did make and sell a few things I created with them. I’ve done a lot of purging since then, but I keep hanging on to these darn windows! I’ve had a project in mind for quite a while, so now I’m putting that project into motion. It has something to do with what’s on my machine today. The fabrics are a mix of Hometown and Reunion by Sweetwater . 

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I also have a bit of Madrona Road by Violet Craft fun happening on my design wall! The Moda Bella solids really worked well with the prints!

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All of the tumbler blocks were cut using the Go! Studio Fabric Cutter. Sure made quick time of getting a gazillion blocks cut! I’m not sure what or who I’m making the quilt for, but I have a couple of ideas!

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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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!

Quick Curve Ruler QAL – Block One

I’ve tried to sew curves, and never quite get them right. No matter how hard I try, there’s always a lump, a bump, a crease, or a crinkle! Still, it’s something I’ve wanted to master, and along came the opportunity.

The thing that drew me to Jenny Pedigo’s blog, Sew Kind of Wonderful, was her longarm machine quilting. She does fantastic work, and I’ve been looking for new filler ideas. Those curved block quilts were appealing to me, and I’d looked at her Quick Curve Ruler more than a few times. However, I’d tried curved piecing, and it didn’t turn out so well. My friends, Nicci and Pam, were both joining Jenny’s “Curve it Up” with the QCR, QAL, (Quick Curve Ruler Quilt Along). I caved and ordered the ruler. Just so that I’d have reinforcements to keep me motivated in my frustration, I shared Jenny’s blog with my friend, Carie. As we both explored Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Flickr group, we got more and more excited about learning how to use the Quick Curve Ruler! More excited than either of us has been about anything in a long time! So, I pulled my fabrics and made my first block last night. I did mis-cut, twice, which is very normal for me. After I got the cutting right, the rest of it was a piece of cake! I watched Jenny’s YouTube videos on using her ruler and on curved piecing, and it helped me immensely! I’m tickled to pieces with my finished block, and I can’t wait to see the next block we’re going to do! I’m using Kona Charcoal for my background, and prints from the VeloCity line by Jessica Hogarth for P&B Textiles. 

If you want to jump in on the fun, it’s not too late! It’s easy to catch up, and Jenny is super quick on getting the ruler to you! 

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.