Monday, March 30, 2015

Sewing Little Shorts

With summer coming, several novelty prints sitting in the fabric cupboard, and an upcoming visit to grandchildren, it was time to get sewing shorts for four very special little boys. 

Using my DanaMadeIt Kid Short pattern - it's turning out to be a good investment for all the times I've used it - I assembly-lined sewed, mostly using my serger.

Then, instead of adding one of my scratchy FlourishingPalms labels to identify which is the back, for easy dressing, I used a loop of bias tape. In the case of brothers who will have shorts made with the same "Big Hero 6" print, I coded the loop colors. Their mom started color-coding them when they were too little to talk. Tay has always been blue; Aesa has always been green.

Brothers Austin and LJ are getting the pirate (skull and crossbones) print and University of Texas camo print. Theirs are sizes 8 and 18 months.

Tay and Aesa, who are just 13 months apart in age, get sizes 6 and 4. It was a pleasant sewing weekend.

A bit of interesting information... the golf cart we just traded-in didn't have an odometer, so we could only estimate, based on the frequency of needing to fill it with gas, how many miles we drove it each week. The new golf cart has an odometer. In just six days we put 126 miles on it! Linda

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mostly Quilting

Last week I taught FMQ to ten students, and then wrapped up Beyond First Time Quiltmaking on Monday. Now, I've turned my attention to my own projects.

All my safety pins are in two quilts, so to baste Metro Waves, I used 505 Basting Spray. Using an adhesive spray to baste a large quilt isn't my favorite way to ensure the quilt back stays smooth. But in a pinch it works. I still like to safety pin the perimeter of a spray-basted quilt sandwich, and I didn't even have enough extra safety pins to do that! The quilt isn't entirely smooth, however that could also be because batting is Quilter's Dream "Puff." The quilt is puffy, so the quilting shows up well, and the quilt is light weight, but I'm not sure I'll use Puff again. I find it easier to domestic machine quilt a low loft poly or cotton batting.

I intentionally quilted Metro Waves using several of my Fine Line Rulers by Accents in Design. It's been a long time since I used them, and this quilt seemed appropriate for a variety of quilting designs.

I'm able to use these rulers because I have the Pfaff ruler foot - the one with the 1/4"-thick "heel" - to rest the ruler against. 

Mostly, I straight-line quilted the prints, and free motion quilted the white spaces.

Here's how I used the arch ruler along the edge of the quilt.


Here's how I just winged-it to quilt bubbles.

I was happy to recently learn from Amy at FreeMotionQuiltingAdventures blog that Bernina has finally come out with a ruler foot too! It's #97 (the one on the right) and is expected to be available in April.

So, Metro Waves is completely quilted, and when the binding is added, I'll post pictures. It's been a long time since I've headed out in the golf cart to scope out a pretty place to photograph a newly-finished quilt.

And speaking of the golf cart... we traded in our old one, a 2009 refurbished Yamaha that we bought in 2012 when we first moved to The Villages.
golf cart purchased in 2012
Though we don't golf, we do use our cart to go most places: grocery store, pharmacy, bank, activities at rec centers, church, and to friends' homes. We decided it was time to invest in a more comfortable ride for the 100-plus miles we put on the golf cart each week!

Our new 2015 Yamaha has better suspension, a sound-deadening wrap around the engine so it's less noisy, a different clearer-view wind shield (See the missing black bar across the middle?), LED headlamps, speedometer/odometer/clock read-out, and seat belts, among other features. Oh! And this one has our names on the front - a sure sign that we're "true Villagers" now, according to our daughter-in-law.

In the next week, we're also tricking out the cart with under mounted liquid lights to turn on at night. They glow in 15 different colors! Why not have some fun with the golf cart too?!

Paducah, 2014
Some of you know I've been planning to go to Paducah in April, to work for American Quilter magazine, interviewing and writing about quilt show winners as I did last year.

Now, I'm not going.

In early February I was heart-broken to learn that my editor friend, Michele, lost her job with the magazine. When the new editor neglected to return my calls or get back to me about my pending plans to fly to Paducah in April, I decided last weekend to change my flight (to Kansas City) and cancel my rental car. On Tuesday I finally received an email from AQS about coming to work at the show. Too late, I told her. I'm sorry to not be going, as in addition to interviewing quilt show winners, I had planned to meet up with several friends from the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild.

Michele was a treat to work for, and recently sent me this t-shirt that I admired at AQS.

Just gotta share a couple more picture from Instagram. After Lora put different binding on "Ad Libbing," she hired a professional photographer to take pictures of it.

Fabulous, huh?

The quilt is in New Hampshire now, for MQX. We have our fingers crossed! Linda

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Design Wall, Lately

Now that most of the excitement and chat about QuiltCon has died down (it was the topic of our March 9 Central Florida MQG meeting), I've been focusing on quilty obligations - teaching, preparing to teach, organizing a Mod Quilt Retreat, and prepping for quilt shows - and time in my sewing room... the latter of which has been very limited due to the aforementioned obligations!

Still, at least two UFOs will be off my "On the Horizon" list (a tab, above) in 2015. I pulled out the the finished quilt center of this Blogger's BOM, begun in 2011, and added the pieced border blocks, most of which were pieced for me by quilters in the Mid-Century Modern Bee. I had to do some fiddly sewing to make the corners work out.
Strawberry Fizz and Lime Pop - 79" X 79" 
And then, for the back, I joined a few trial-and-rejected pieces,

siggy blocks from those previously mentioned bee friends, 

an extra block, and my own homemade label. 

The strip I cobbled together was inserted horizontally in the fat back, about one-third from the bottom.

Now is the inevitable question: How will I quilt it?

On the teaching front, it's hopping! Last week I taught "No Tails Binding" (see my tutorial for this binding method on this blog) to quilters in Quilting Guild of The Villages. As is inevitable when teaching, we all learned a couple things related to this method:

1) it's not a good idea to try, for the first time, sewing with black fabric, either in the little quilt or as binding; and,
2) when machine sewing binding points, it's easier to see with an open-toed sewing machine foot.

I'm so pleased that the quilters caught on. Now, mostly by word-of-mouth, I have four more of these classes of 20 students, scheduled into May!
Quilting Guild of The Villages quilters at Sterling Heights Rec Center
I'm happy to share that "Ad Libbing" has been juried into MQX (Machine Quilter's Expo) in Manchester, New Hampshire, April 8-11. And, it's been entered into two more shows.

After chatting with two certified quilt judges while at QuiltCon (they were not judging QuiltCon), Lora went to the trouble of removing the previously-sewn length-of-grain binding, and replaced it with bias binding. We met last Friday so I could have Ad Libbing to prep and ship. Lint and fuzz has been removed, the label covered (solid orange fabric), paperwork and a check for returning it home, and packaging are all done.

Monday afternoon was the second of three Beyond First Time Quiltmaking classes - everyone's making a Quick Curve Ruler quilt, and it's fun to see the prints and colors.

Tuesday I'm leading an all-day Free Motion quilting workshop.

All this quilty stuff is great, but I need to keep up my strength! How about an energy ball? These are Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites by Spoonful of Flavor.

They're full of healthy stuff - almonds, cashews, dates - though when I didn't have enough dates, I improvised by adding diced raisins. If you're looking for a non-chocolate sort of pick-me-up, they're pretty good.

Also, this week I become eligible for social security. I've gotta look for the silver lining when I get that old. A monthly check suits just fine! Linda 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Quilt Alliance Video

Go Tell it at the Quilt Show! is a project of the Quilt Alliance, a nonprofit organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our quilt heritage.

Go Tell it at the Quilt Show! was at QuiltCon, and Lora and I had appointments to record the story of "Ad Libbing." That video has been made public, and I'm tickled to share it with you!

Thanks for watching! Linda

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Texas Fam and Friends

We usually visit Austin a couple times a year to see our son, DIL, and two grandsons, so with QuiltCon in Austin, the whole trip was especially nice because we could visit and stay with family. What I didn't expect that it was difficult to divide my time between family and QuiltCon! Guilt when away from family, and wondering what I was missing out on when I wasn't at QuiltCon!

One of the most fun times with family was giving Austin his Star Wars quilt. He and his mom both loved it.

The glow-in-the-dark feature of the fabrics "worked" really well!

Austin is a lot like his dad as a kid, spending hours playing with Legos. Austin has a nice set-up in his bedroom that little brother LJ can't get to.

Austin, playing while waiting for a table at Salt Lick

You might not believe me when I tell you that LJ, at nearly 14 months, is very opinionated! 

LJ, and our sweet DIL, Lyn
On Saturday (I didn't attend QuiltCon that day), we drove to Blanco, Texas, for an arranged meeting at a restaurant with long-time Iowa friends we hadn't seen for at least 15 years. Greg and Patti moved permanently to Texas last year where they are enjoying retirement near their two sons and families. 
Greg, Patti, me, Dan - Now
Greg (left) and Dan were close friends who attended and graduated in 1970 from Mason City High School (Iowa) high school. 

Greg and Patti, in about 1972 - Mason City, Iowa - Then
I came to know Greg and Patti through Dan, and we were in their 1973 wedding. Patti and I were both pregnant with our firsts at Christmas, 1975. Blaming our conditions on our spouses, we pointed accusing fingers at them. 

Oh, my bouncing hair!

This year, their Jason and our Jill will be 39 years old! 

All in all, this was a very exiting trip to Texas. What with QuiltCon, spending time with family, meeting up with old friends, topped by a first time meet-up with Karen in Pensacola as we were on our way home, that one week was packed with fun! And completely heart-warming. Linda

Friday, February 27, 2015

QuiltCon: Post Three

These last three days of reviewing QuiltCon have been good for me... thinking about the whole experience, and particularly about the quilt judging. Many of you have commented about it too, reflecting my thoughts: Why does it seem that straight line quilting was rewarded, and others overlooked? What were the judges looking for?

I can speculate all I want, and still won't ever hear the answers. But it's possible that the judges had a strategy. Perhaps they meant to:
  1. Reward quilts that adhere to the modern quilt aesthetic, focusing on simple and minimal quilt design elements, and those included simple and minimal quilting patterns. These quilt characteristics are in keeping with the definition of a modern quilt.
  2. Encourage new quilters to stretch themselves. A new quilter who has straight-line quilted her own a quilt (rather than send it out to be long arm quilted by someone else) has put herself into her creation. Then, entering that quilt in a show is another way to try something they've not done before.
None of the three judges were certified quilting judges. They were: 1) Carolyn Friedlander, a fabric and pattern designer, and teacher; 2) Janine Vangool, publisher, editor and designer of Uppercase magazine; and 3) Stevie Graves, a quilter since 1975 who is the Road to California quilt show judging coordinator, and president of the International Quilting Association.

It was disappointing to see few quilts with interest quilting. I'm not the only one who noticed. I've read many comments about it on Instagram, and KathleenQuilts posted about it from her longarm quilter perspective.

Suffice it to say, the judging criterion (and judges' comments) for QuiltCon were definitely not those of a typical national quilt show.

And, in other randomness...

In the minimalist design category was this beauty called "Modern Mojo 2" by Linda Thielfoldt, of Troy, Michigan. She's a DAM girl! Ha, ha. A member of the Detroit Area MQG.

Linda did a super quilting job of this one. I couldn't help but admire the detail.

Fabulous, isn't it? No surprise... when I Googled Linda's name, her longarm quilting business came up. A study of that quilting, and I just knew it was longarm quilted. Still, it's similar to the "elaborate" quilting I strive for, though I have never quilted as densely as this.

Another Instagram point of discussion has been about the predominance of quilts using solids. Again, quilts with solids, or mostly solids, received the awards. Makes one wonder how it is that so many print fabrics are being sold, and presumably used in quilts, and those quilts weren't juried into QuiltCon. An exception is our "Ad Libbing" quilt with it's print improv blocks.

On Sunday afternoon, another mostly solids and low volume quilt was awarded $1000 as the People's Choice winner. "Quilt for our Bed" was made by Laura Hartrich. The back of the quilt is as graphic as the front.

Throughout the four days of QuiltCon, ongoing demonstrations were offered at one of two locations in the hall. In this demo by Latifah Saafir (she's one of the two founders of the MQG), she first demonstrated how to piece both small and large curves to make half circles, and then how to sew a complete circle! You know... a circle inside a circle. It was interesting to see how easy she made it look. Good information here, and all of it free!

A few interesting stats that were presented during the Sunday afternoon MQG general meeting:
  • membership grew 600 percent from 2013 to 2014 
  • 8161 members worldwide as of December 31, 2014 
  • 95 percent of all pre-structure MQG chapters have now affiliated with national
  • 139 local chapters (Our Central Florida MQG chapter became official in late January, 2015.)
  • 2785 individual members
  • membership represents 50 states; 32 countries; and 6 continents
On Saturday and Sunday of the show, my Riley Blake Challenge quilt, "Dandelion Clock" was displayed in the MassDrop booth. For bringing my quilt in, and picking it up, MassDrop thanked me with a bundle of a dozen Birch fabric (organic) fat quarters. Nice! 

I couldn't leave Austin without getting barbecue one time. The fam went to dinner at Salt Lick in Driftwood, and after a two hour wait (no kidding!) for a table I got my one pound of pulled pork. I'd like to brag and say I ate it all, but I couldn't manage it. But at least three-fourths disappeared!

Have you ever seen such a thing as this? It's called a Pub Crawler, and is powered by people sitting on bar stools pedaling while they drink! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it - traffic was heavy in downtown Austin too!

And speaking of pedaling... these were just outside the convention center doors. Demand for quick (or not-so-quick) bicycle transportation must be such that someone decided it was worthwhile to offer them for rent. 

Over two days, we drove back home in cool temps and rain most of the way. An overnight in Pensacola was the perfect opportunity for one more meet up with long-time blog friend, Karen of NanaGirlQuilts. She's a domestic machine quilter too, and we've been following each other for several years, thanks to an introduction by Lollyquiltz. Karen and I have FaceTimed on several occasions, consulting about our quilts, but meeting in person over dinner at Cheddar's was the best. We shared quilty talk - happily, she's gradually inching her way toward more modern quiltmaking - and other mutual interests that make for lively conversation. Quilty friends already know I have no problem "keeping it lively!"

So to wrap-up, QuiltCon was a fabulous show that I would recommend to all quilters. I know and appreciate that a lot of people worked hard to make it happen, and that without the dozens of volunteers, it wouldn't have been such a nice show. While parts of it weren't what I expected or hoped for, I'm still grateful that I had the chance to attend and participate.

QuiltCon 2016 is in Pasadena, California; and, QuiltCon 2017 is in Savannah, Georgia. I'm aiming to attend in Savannah. Let's plan to meet-up! Linda


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