Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Day with Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Victoria and I (I'm the cheesy one on the left)

I have a new friend who organizes big-name quilters for classes. I laughingly call her my quilt class pimp. She rocks. Stephanie has an awesome knack for arranging the best teachers and best classes. That and she just makes us all feel so welcome and loved. I love her for that. As one who knows what goes into event-planning, I know what hard work it is. Stephanie is awesome with a capital A!

When I heard she arranged a day with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, author of the books, 15 Minutes of Play and the soon-to-be released Double Wedding Ring Quilts - Traditions Made Modern, I was like a five year old waiting for a birthday party. Yes, that excited. When I started quilting she was one of the bloggers I followed. I always wanted to meet her. And yes, she's one of my quilt heroes.

Spending the day with her yesterday was a thrill and a half. I was so incredibly geeked out. I love her sense of play, whimsy, and style. And yes, she is sweet, warm, friendly, and funny in person! Just buckets of personality!

And as you know, my focus this past year was learning improvisational techniques. This was the perfect way to cap off my classes this year. Absolutely perfect! If you ever have a chance to hear her speak or are lucky enough to take a class, please do. Her positive energy and enthusiasm is genuine. And she is one awesome teacher.

We tackled several subjects in class.

  • How to create made fabric using bits, pieces, and scraps
  • Using shape and color to your advantage
  • Tackling Y-seams (above photos)
  • And dealing with the dreaded curves (the bane of my existence)

The main takeaway I got was taking a block and working with it in a series. Change an element or two at a time and build that series into a quilt. Her lessons all came together to me when I listened to her talk on the creative process behind the double wedding ring quilt that won best of show at Quilt Con. Seeing that quilt go from concept to finished product and the steps in between, gave me a new understanding of how to interpret tradition and make it modern.

This was a big huge day! And like I said, it was the perfect way to cap off my year of improv! Big huge thanks to Stephanie and Victoria for creating such a wonderful, inspiring day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Madness

Good morning everyone!

I'm looking forward to a week of lots of thing to be thankful for! Yes, it's Thanskgiving week. Today is a quick trip to Costco for groceries and tomorrow is my big huge quilting day! Can I get a yay?

I get to meet Victoria Findlay Wolfe! Tomorrow I take a class and later in the day I'll also be attending her lecture. I can't wait. I have my copy of 15 Minutes of Play ready for her to sign.

I. Can't. Wait.

Thanksgiving will find us staying local. We may pop up to Canada for a day trip. Nothing definite.

What are your plans for the holiday?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winner Winner Turkey Dinner!

(The crowd roars with excitement). Big huge congrats to Carol Kaplan for winning the free downloadable digital design from Patsy's blog hop! Cue the trumpets!


Thanks to all who commented and offered tips. See you at the next hop!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2015 Goals and Focus

I was at my modern small group discussion this morning and someone asked me what I wanted to concentrate on next year. It seems that each year I tend to try to focus or learn something new. Last year was trying to bring play and improv back into my repertoire.

It seemed that once I learned to quilt, I found myself being bound by rules. As a result, I've been less prone to play. I'm getting there. Still not totally "free" with it yet.

Next week I'm taking a class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, who wrote the book 15 Minutes of Play. I'm hoping she piques my desire to play.  I have a general idea of what I want to do with her class materials, so I'm going to be doing some research over the weekend. Thinking about doing an art quilt based on religious icons using her "Made Fabric" principle. I think her class will be a good last class for furthering my improv and play goal.

I need to think long and hard about my focus for 2015. In the back of my head I want to say "using my computer and machine to their fullest." I have some design software (EQ7) and machine embroidery software (My Decorative Quilter -- MDQ). I need to totally learn to use those, plus become more familiar with the awesome features of my machines.

Assuming I have foot surgery in December or January, that means I'll be laid up with my foot elevated. Surgery is a real possibility due to the way it's healing. That means lots of books and handwork. I have one more month of guild work to finish, then I can concentrate on just "being a member".

What do you guys think... Do you think the EQ7, MDQ, along with leveraging my machine features are a good learning focus?  I seem to think so.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Madness

Good morning!

It's Monday! This is a not-so-busy week, so I get to spend some time in the studio. Hubby is out of town part of the week, so I can sew to my heart's content. Yippeeeeeee!!!!!

Yesterday we boarded a ferry to Vashon Island. I just needed to get out of the house. My self-imposed exile is driving me crazy. That, plus hubby wanted to go on a boat ride... The rule of Vashon is that if we are there, I have to go to Island Quilter. This is one of my favorite local shops. Yes, I know I put myself on a no-buy... But hubby is such an enabler. :-)

"Go ahead, buy what you want!"

He's a keeper. And no, I didn't abuse my permission. I kept it well under $100!

I just left with seven yards of fabric. Two each of the purple Kaffe prints and one each of the white prints. The Kaffe prints are to complete my Kaffe-a-palooza project. I need to get a border going. Then I'll buy some more yardage for a backing from a friend who carries the stuff.

I have a goal to finish two tops this week. They just need borders. Then get the backs made and send them off to get quilted. Yes, you heard me correctly. I'm finally succumbing to quilting by check. No, you haven't landed on another blog, nor has it been taken over by someone else. I just want these projects done.

I've been buying white mult-colored prints with a quilt in mind. I'm thinking just a simple half square triangle quilt, but I want it to be fun. I want a good assortment of fun little prints to make it scrappy. These were a good addition to my stash.

Tomorrow is sew day with the ladies at Ben Franklin. This week I'm going. Just taking my english paper piecing project along.  I'm also looking forward to my gyro lunch at our usual spot.

I downloaded a new audio book from the library's overdrive site to listen to while I sew today. That should help pass the time. I foudn that if I did netflix, I become too engrossed and end up watching more than sewing. So book it is.

Well, gotta scoot. I need to think about what to thaw out from the freezer for dinner tonight and then start on my day. I've done enough computer stuff for now.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Patsy Thompson Designs Blog Hop -- Day 5: SewCalGal

Welcome to the Patsy Thompson Designs Blog Hop!. Yesiree, today is day five of the blog hop, featuring the one and only SewCalGal! (They saved the best for last!)

I'm looking forward to seeing what SewCalGal makes with what she chose from Patsy Thompson Designs. SewCalGal has the pulse of today's quilter, offering news and vews of the quilting world.  And I mean worldwide. SewCalGal knows what's hot and what's not...  And Patsy's new digitized designs are HOT!

Patsy has generously offered a giveaway on SewCalGal's blog! The prize is any downloadable digitized pattern or design on Patsy Thompson Designs Website.. Please visit SewCalGal to enter. Woo Hoo!!!!!

I Have A Notion Blog November 10th
Gene Black an Alabama Artist and Quilter November 11th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee November 12
Jean Creates November 13
SewCalGal  November 14

I hope you enjoyed this blog hop as much as I did. There's a lot of creativity going on!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Patsy Thompson Designs Blog Hop -- Day 4: ME!

Welcome to the Patsy Thompson Designs Blog Hop!. Yesiree, today is day four of the blog hop. That's me!

I am a total newbie when it comes to machine embroidery and applique. I've only done a few projects here and there,  so join me for a newbie's perspective on this hop...

Stitched on black fabric with no-show mesh and one layer of cotton batting, 
cut away from the design after completion. 

The design I chose was the Pennsylvania Dutch Flower machine embroidered applique design. Patsy was kind enough to furnish me with some pre-cut Appli-K-Kuts shapes to work with. These photos are from my "test run." This was my first run, right out of the envelope. Being a newbie, I wanted to just test the design to make sure I got it right before I started blogging about it. Guess what! I got it right from the start. That's how good this design is. Yay!

The design contains a placement stitch for the fabric to center the design perfectly on the stabilizer. If you find it difficult to center your design on the block center, you can use Patsy's Pin Anchors and this tutorial to center the design. My machine has an onboard camera to locate the block center, so I used that.  After the placement stitching for centering, the design prompts you to stitch out placement stitches for the individual applique shapes. I just ironed them on quickly and prepared for the remaining steps.

... In the next steps it stitches out beautiful embroidered accents to make the designs pop! Not bad for a test run, eh?! I'm seeing cute mug rugs for my ten guild activities team members using this design and the pre-cuts! That'll be the perfect way to say Thank you. They'll love it!

I really liked the simplicity of this machine embroidery applique design. I took a chance and decided to play with it using my own fabric versus the pre-cut shapes furnished for me. I made an under the machine sewing mat/pocket thingy for this hop and used the applique designs to decorate the pockets! I will say that applique is not my best technique. I'm not very good at it. But doing applique using my embroidery machine's features and a good design set, it's foolproof for this gal!

Here's step by step overview of what I did:

I think my built-in camera is sexy!

I hooped up my fabric plus I used two layers of tear-away stabilizer. This time I wanted to be sure the design was extra sturdy.  I have a built-in camera that scans for the little snowman sticker. So I placed my snowman sticker in the center of my desired embroidery area and let the machine find the sweet spot. (Side story: A funny thing happened. See that fabric? Imagine my machine going bonkers trying to scan all those crosshairs. It got all discombobulated, so I had to cover most of the fabric up, but leave the snowman sticker showing to get it to register correctly! Leave it to me to find a machine program glitch. LOL!)

Not needing to stitch the placement grid for centering the design, I advanced to the next step. I placed a scrap of green fabric on my embroidery surface (with a little help from a glue stick) and pressed the go button. Wheeeeee! Then I got out my applique scissors and trimmed away as much of the excess as I could. Make sure your scissors are extra sharp and pointy. I couldn't find my mini applique scissors, but if you have a pair, I recommend using those. And cut carefully and as close to the stitching line you can get! 

Then I did the same with my yellow scrap for the flower portion, trimming away the excess. Again, be sure to trim as close as you can to those stitches!!!


Here the machine is stitching around the designs with the pretty scallop and rope stitches. I stayed with a single color outline to keep it simple and modern.

Another view of the same process. Here you can see how I lined the three flowers up. 

And this is my finished project. 
Happy flowered pockets for my machine and my studio!

I loved how quickly this design stitched out. It went even faster when I used Appli-K-Kuts pre-cut shapes I received from Patsy. I highly recommend using those. The embroidery steps were logically put in place to enable me to customize the design  -- depending on whether I go simple or fancy. And it stitches right the first time.

The Pennsylvania Dutch Flower design fits most embroidery machines. The design area is approximately 4" square. Best of all, it only requires only one hooping to create the entire design. It is easy to sew in multiples -- just mark and go! I love the details in the flower and leaves. and that scallop stitch around the outside of the leaves is just too darn cute. (Thats my favorite part!) This is a great design for showcasing different color embroidery threads.

Patsy has generously offered a giveaway prize for this fun blog hop stop.  The prize is any one downloadable digitized pattern or design on Patsy Thompson Designs Website. So let's get to the skinny... Comment by sharing your favorite machine embroidery tip and your chosen design to win. I'm a newbie and I need all the machine embroidery tips I can get!

This giveaway closes on Sunday Friday*, November 21, 2014 at Midnight (Pacific time). I must be able to contact you to win. If you are a no-reply or anonymous commenter, you must give me an email address in the comment to qualify. Then I will consult the all-hailed random number generator to pick one winner.

I Have A Notion Blog November 10th
Gene Black an Alabama Artist and Quilter November 11th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee November 12
Jean Creates November 13
SewCalGal  November 14

I hope you are enjoying this blog hop as much as I am. There's a lot of creativity going on! Stay tuned tomorrow. I think they saved the best for last!

* Edit: Oops! Corrected day of the week.