Friday, September 27, 2013

What I Did Yesterday

I taught Free Motion Quilting! Twelve enthusiastic quilters attended a 9 am to 4 pm workshop (with an hour-long break for lunch) in Spanish Springs, in The Villages, FL. We had a large, well-lit, open room in which to work.

We really appreciated and used the generous table space.

I especially liked the tilted-mirror table on which I could show everything that the group needed to see, including a picture of all of us. Hi friends! How handy is that?!

I always take along sewing machine cleaning supplies when I teach a workshop like this. 
1) a bristle brush, for removing lint in crevasses
2) a soft brush, for picking up lint
3) a square of an old t-shirt for wiping off everything, including covering my fingernail to wipe out grooves in the bobbin case base
4) canned air, for blowing out lint deeper in the machine
5) Tri-Flow, a three-in-one solvent, oil and lubricant.

Personally, I use these items to clean and oil my machine every time I have to wind a new bobbin. Years ago, a trusted Bernina tech told me to do the "every bobbin" thing, so I do it.

In room full of sewing machines, inevitably there's a particularly noisy machine, or one with tension problems. That's my opportunity to give a brief lesson about how to routinely care for your sewing machine. 

This is Joyce's old Singer. We all giggled and remarked about the lint she collected. Good-naturedly, she endured our ribbing, and then told us that bobbin area hasn't been cleaned out for 30 years! 

I did what I could to remove the obvious lint, but we concluded that her machine needs to be serviced. I take my machines in once a year. When was the last time you had your machine serviced?

After a long day of "work" (ha!) teaching quilting, I treated myself to a stop at our new local quilt shop - Simply Sew Boutique. I was tickled that owner Cathy listened to my request for Art Gallery Fabrics (designer Pat Bravo lives here in Florida). I found bolts of the new Angela Walters "Legacy" collection, and these are the favorites that I came home with. I love the colors in all of them, but that curved text brackets print on top spoke to the writer in me.

Could that teal color be a hint of things to come? Carolyn Friedlander (also a Floridian) has teal-colored prints in her new "Botanics" collection. Maybe teal will be the 2014 Pantone color. Linda

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm Behinder

Do you know the saying? "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." I think that's my modus operandi these past few weeks. I'm functioning in a hurry and seem to be losing ground.

I'm not completely sure how I managed to say, "Yes. Yes. Yes and yes" to everything that's on my schedule, but I must have. Funny how that works. You think, "Oh, that such-and-such commitment is weeks away. I've got this-and-that going on, but I'll be able to handle such-and-such too." And then, wham! This-and-that goes on while such-and-such comes up. And there I am scratching my head, wondering, "How could I ever have thought I could do such-and-such too?!"
Not that one.

This one.
This is me.
So I've been tripping from project to project, each meant to teach this, or show that, or give a program about. For First Time Quiltmaking. For a Free Motion Quilting Workshop. For a Hexie Magic program. For a Salvage Those Selvages Workshop. For a special guest program. For a charity project. For a baby gift.

I made another small zipper bag, this time using 1-1/2" squares I keep in a basket beside my sewing machine. Whenever I need a pair of leaders or enders (see Bonnie Hunter's explanation) I sew these 1-1/2" squares together.

I make 16-patch blocks and have 80-plus, or so, of them. A little piece of paper in the bottom of the basket tells me I started sewing them together October 24, 2011.

I nabbed a few patches to make the outside of my zipper bag.

With fusible fleece inside, and swirly quilting, the bag holds its shape well.

Three bags so far, and I have ideas for a few more, for Christmas gifts.

My design wall has seen lots of hexagons lately. This Coral Seas quilt top was made with 6" hexagons using the Hex 'n More ruler. It needs quilting. Then at next week's First Time Quiltmaking class I will use it to demonstrate how to sew binding to a quilt.
45" X 46"
Also using the Hex 'n More ruler, this is 2" hexagons and 1" triangles that will become one side of a two-sided pillow for our sofa. Yep, I know I'm taking the orange color thing to the extreme, but why not? It suits our Florida home.

Austin's visit last weekend included a trip to Fantastic Sam's. I loves me a man with short hair! These weekend visits find us appreciating, but too-quickly counting down the days to the end of the month, when our little Florida family moves. 

Soon the pitter-patter of little feet will no longer resound in our house, and aren't these cute feet? These are Austin's first sandals. We were concerned that he wouldn't like the thong. But any discomfort was immediately overshadowed by the alligators on the inside sole, and one on each strap. Who doesn't like wearing alligator sandals?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Third of Four 3Q Quilt Finishes

In December 2010, I rather rashly decided to participate in Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt - Roll Roll Cotton Boll. Initially I did so because I wanted to reduce my quantity of traditional fabrics. At that point in my quilting life, I was still sewing with traditional colors, while becoming more aware of modern fabrics. At the forefront of my thinking was to use up any dark-colored prints to make room for bright and cheery modern which I have grown to adore, exclusively!

Since this past February, Roll Roll Cotton Boll has been a pin-basted sandwich, waiting to be quilted.  Today, our niece is getting married in Kansas. Ahh. Talk about motivation - the need for a wedding present!

After many hours of quilting, it's finished, gift-wrapped, and ready to be opened by the bride and groom.

I did not mark any quilting designs, rather, they were all free-hand quilted. I quilted on my Pfaff Grand Quilter.

The backing fabric is a wide-back of sateen purchased from BackSideFabrics. It has a sheen that enhances quilting stitches and is nice to work with.

Or, the quilt may feel so nice because of the wonderful-to-work-with Quilter's Dream Poly batting.

I'll be using that batt again.

My outdoor shot wasn't as revealing nor dramatic as I'd hope. By himself, my son could manage to hold up only one-fourth of the quilt.

At 85" X 98", this is a good-sized cuddle-up quilt for newlyweds. The groom is 6' 7"!

So that's my third of four expected finishes for Leanne's (SheCanQuilt) Third Quarter Finish-A-Long ending October 7. My last Finish-A-Long finish will take longer to accomplish - the Bloggers' BOM quilt - since borders, quilting and binding on a 78" X 78" quilt are needed.

In news I received yesterday via a phone call... a woman from QuiltFest of Jacksonville (FL), told me that "Bloom" won honorable mention. I'm happy about the ribbon, as she also said that "competition was stiff." Though, I couldn't help but notice that if I'd even placed third, I would have won money! My quilt entry fees were $72. Ha! I'll have a $72 ribbon! Still, I am very pleased, and hopeful that Bloom will show well at the Machine Quilter's Expo in Portland, Oregon, October 9-12.

QuiltFest of Jacksonville is September 26-28. At noon on Saturday is a "Meet the Ribbon Winners" event. I will be there! 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Last week I begin teaching again. Another First Time Quiltmaking series of five lessons, with 22 students at the first lesson. We look like a bona fide class in this high school science room, don't we? I'm not quite sure what being in a science lab environment says about quilting. Is it a science? I think not, as I will allay any unease students might feel about sitting in front of a sewing machine, and attempting a first quilt. Because they're usually eager to learn, I can generally count on a positive response from everyone.

Once I was able to stay at home for more than an hour or so, I tackled my obligation blocks for September. This is the 12-1/2" (unfinished) Chevron Echo block offered by the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild. Instructions were a bit unclear, with even inaccurate numbers, so there was a little unsewing to get it right. I like the block, but it's definitely one I will not make again.

Second, I sewed two 10-1/2" blocks for Anne of SpringLeafStudios who is our September queen in our MidCentury Modern Bee. Those blocks can't be shown because our queen bee will likely use them to create a quilt that will become a pattern.

Most recently, I've been testing instructions for making this small bag. Step-by-step directions were provided to me in German, and translated by a Swiss friend in my Bradenton Quilters group. Later this fall, when my long-time friend Edith, comes to visit me from Switzerland, Edith will teach Bradenton Quilters how to sew this cute bag.

While at our first Central Florida MQG Sew-In, I sewed the green hexagon bag. 

It was made with fabric I created using one-inch English paper-pieced hexagons.

I made the selvage bag yesterday, and it's my favorite. 

We were ready for church, when I took this picture of our handsomely hair-gunked Austin.
He and his parents (and grandson #4 who is expected January 12), are moving from Florida to Texas in about two weeks. I've gotten terribly accustomed to their regular weekend visits to our house. They'll be missed so much I can't let my mind even hover on the thought or I cry. Austin has been the only nearby grandson we've had to dote on.

Austin often tells us that he wants to go to "Bapa's house." And once here, he likes to ride on the "go-go" - our golf cart. Riding the golf cart through one of the many tunnels in the area, and making the horn go "beep-beep," brings on fits of squeals and giggles.

Don't ask me how I'm going to manage with our children and grandchildren far away. Maybe consolation comes through therapeutic sewing. Linda

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hexa-go-go, and Quilts-go-go

While I was off to Kansas City my traveling project was English paper-pieced hexagons. It took me several years of seeing others make them before I finally succumbed. Well, and I might have had a little push because I'm giving a "Hexie Magic" program at our next, October 14, Central Florida MQG meeting! My introduction to sewing hexagons started with the Happy Hexagon baby quilt I recently completed, I'll practice on another hexagon baby quilt in the near furture, and currently, I'm making English paper pieced (EPP) hexagons. I've EPP before... just never hexagons.

I located an online template for one-inch papers at
On card stock-weight paper, I printed five pages of 15 hexagons per page, and cut them out individually with scissors.

After doing further online searching and reading, it's suggested that to save time cutting out fabric for hexagons, it's easier, and just as effective, to cut fabric squares. For 1" papers, my fabric squares are 2-1/2" X 2-1/2". Here's a chart for figuring what size square is needed for a specific size hexagon.

I hand-stitched with Mettler basting thread, preparing enough hexies to sew into a zipper bag and a 16" pillow - about 135 hexies.

This is the progress I made during travel time - the fabric that will become a zipper bag.

In the quilt-news department, two of my quilts have been selected to appear in upcoming shows! I'm pretty excited about these.

"Buckles and Belts," my original design made for the MQG Madrona Road Challenge last January is one of 112 quilts that will be shown in the "Modern Quilt Challenge" at the AQS show in Des Moines, Iowa. Oddly enough, my quilt was also chosen for use in AQS publicity!

You'd better believe that I'm wishing I still lived in West Des Moines! I'd definitely be attending the show!

Because quilt show times overlap, I had to pull "Buckles and Belts" out of the September 26-28 QuiltFest of Jacksonville (FL), but five of my other quilts, including "Bloom," will be shown there.
"Bloom," was selected to appear in the "Quilts of the Modern Persuasion" display of 19 quilts at the MQX (Machine Quilter's Expo) in Portland, Oregon, October 10-12.
Quilts of the Modern Persuasion is a Special Exhibit at MQX Quilt Festival in Portland. These are the entrants that have been accepted into the exhibit.
Laurene Farley
Nancy Fleury
Molly Hanson
Linda Hungerford
Becky Johnson (2)
Becky Knopp
Amanda Leins (2)
Donna Morales-Oemig
Kelly Orr
T. Pino (2)
Kristi Ryan
Shannon Schlosser
Mary Torrey (2)
Angela Walters
Candace West
It's pretty exciting. Though I'm spending a small fortune on shipping! Still, I'm very grateful that others think my quilts are show-worthy.

Whoa! And in big area news... a modern quilt shop opened last week! Maybe that's not such a big deal to those of you who have a quilt shop nearby, but it's definitely good news around here. With more than 800 quilters in Quilting Guild of The Villages, and our 30-plus member Central Florida MQG it's so nice to have supplies handy. Simply Sew Boutique is located 18 miles from me, in Summerfield, Florida. Even 18 miles is convenient when compared to mail order, which I have done almost exclusively since moving here 15 months ago. I'm predicting our CFMQG quilters will have a great relationship with the shop and it's friendly owners, Kathy and Kelsey.

I haven't shared a picture of Hogan our nearly ten (next month) year-old beagle-chow for a long time. He's doing really well since having his left eye removed last February, due to having glaucoma. You'd never know his vision is limited based on the way he snaps at - and catches! - flying insects in his mouth! When I saw him in this unusual paw-crossed prayer pose - who knows why - I had to take a picture. He's mellow. Cuddly. And easy to love.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Fortnight with Family

"Whew!" is how much of the past two weeks has been. I flew to Kansas City where I spent two whole weeks at our daughter's house. It was great being with family, shopping, and sharing a play day with blog-friend Carla. We had so much fun visiting three quilt shops - 20 or so pieces of fabric found their way back to Florida with me - and chatting our way through lunch that we forgot to take a picture of us together. Thanks for the fun day, Carla!

If you saw the train engineer's cap I made a couple weeks ago, you were probably one of the people who commented that they'd like to see the cap on the engineer. Here's Austin, our Tampa grandson, trying it on. He didn't much care for it, and cooperated only briefly, pulling it off again right after I took the picture. 
age 3-1/2
Since he didn't like it much, I thought I'd try it on our two Kansas City grandsons. 
Tay, age 4 this month
Aesa, age 2-3/4
Though they kept the cap on their heads a little longer than Austin did, they didn't care for it either. I'm glad I didn't make three caps!

Did you notice Aesa's face in the picture? That scrunched up look that's meant to be a grin? Both of them did that whenever I said, "Nana's going to take a picture."  
Even when distracted by something else...

... when I said "picture,' there was that "grin!"

And again. What cuteness.

On the days when I could spend one-on-one time with each little boy, we visited Legoland. That means I went twice!
We also went to a kid's museum, my nephew's pet store, and lunched out.
In between times, we played outdoors.

While their parents spent three nights in Chicago together, I stayed with the three kids. Mom and Dad, a busy working couple with a lively family, appreciated their alone time. While they were away, I took the boys on their first movie theater experience - Despicable Me 2 (Very cute and funny; I recommend it.) - along with Celina and my dad.

My "reward" for taking care of the kids - as though a nana ever needs a reward - was to be treated to a mani-pedi, my first in many years. My fingernails got the lacquer/gel treatment, so I hope to be showing off those for a few weeks. I could get used to the pampering of a pedicure though!

Thanks for baring with me through grandie-boasting. I will share quilt-y stuff next time. Promise! Linda


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