Friday, October 29, 2010

Look where you're going

I have been very busy quilting this week.  I really love doing free motion quilting.  I find it terribly relaxing.  I finished up the Matchbox quilt and immediately moved on to a quilt that has been waiting patiently in the wings for (I'm so embarrassed to admit this) gulp....almost three years.  I am embarrassed because when G and I first started dating, he was so amazed that I quilted and at the things I created.  One day when I was out picking out fabric for a new project, he said he would like to give it a try in order to understand my passion a little better.  So, he picked a pattern and the fabric and came home and went to work.  I gave him a little guidance and instruction in rotary cutting and piecing, matching points, etc.  Within two days he had a completed quilt top!
Pretty amazing, huh?  (He's a pretty amazing guy and I'm lucky he picked me to be married to!)  I think he did an outstanding job.  He was not quite ready to tackle the quilting on this big boy, so I kept telling him I would be happy to do it.  He got busy and designed the pattern of quilting he would like on it and bought a stencil for the blocks.  He even bought me the John Flynn Frame and loaded up a cheater panel and quilted that himself!  So, this week I finally started quilting it for him.  I did not use the Flynn Frame he bought, it intimidates me.  I have been doing free motion on my home machine for many years.  And it is always hard to learn something new.  I usually do plain old stippling, drop the feed dogs and meander away.  So, when I tried to follow the stencil that G bought, I could not follow those chalk lines to save my life!  I kept going all over the place.  Everything was all wobbly.

Well, what I finally realized was that it's just like driving!  You know how when you are driving, if you start looking at something by the side of the road your car just starts going right toward what you are looking at?  Well, that was the secret!  I just started looking a little bit ahead at the line where I wanted the needle to stitch on and voila!  stayed right on the line every time!  Brilliant!

This one looks much better, I think.  

As I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Houston.  Tomorrow is Quilt Market.  I have never been before (never qualified to get in before this year, you have to be a retailer or in the industry) and I'm a bit nervous about what to expect.  But, my business partner Lisa is going with me and it always feels better to go with someone you know!  Hopefully, we will find lots of great fabric for the shop and some great ideas for kits and projects as well.  I'll take lots of pictures and post our progress.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Have I mentioned that I love my new machine?  Well, she's not quite so new anymore but I love her more every day.  And especially every time I free motion quilt (or straight line quilt, or piece a quilt......).  The stitch regulator that came with my machine does such a beautiful job of keeping the stitch even on the front and the back.  I heart it so much!  And I really love doing free motion quilting.  I find it so soothing and rhythmic.  And I love to watch the layers of pieced fabric, batting and backing slowly become a quilt.  So, here is the project I'm currently working on (which is one of my favorite ones so far)

I'm so excited to see this one complete.  I'm hoping it can become a class at the Bernina store where I teach.   I'm going to submit it for consideration, anyway.  It's made from a pattern by Abbey Lane Quilts called Matchbox.  The majority of the fabrics in this quilt are from "Breath of Avignon" by American Jane Patterns by Sandy Klop.  It is such a happy quilt, I think.  I tried a new product for this quilt called Heat Press Batting Together (odd name, I think) It is a fine mesh fusible product that is about two inches wide.  What you do is lay your batting scraps together, butted right up to one another but not overlapping at all.  Then, you press this product over the seam.  It's super thin and light weight and once I had the quilt layered up, you couldn't even tell that I had used four different pieces of batting.  Pretty cool!  In order to make sure I had the seams completely smooth, I laid the whole thing out on the floor.  Then, I didn't want to try and pick those pieces up and move them to the ironing board so I plugged the iron into a long extension cord and crawled around on the floor ironing the seams!  Oh well, whatever works, right?

G was out of town for this past week and when he was packing last Sunday night, this is where Max ended up:
He sort of looks like he's saying "Um, you're not leaving without.....Me!"  I kind of felt the same way.  But, he's back home so I'm happy.  When he has a trip planned I always think "yeah, I can sew, sew, sew" but then I miss him so bad!  Then again, I really appreciate him all the more when he gets back home.  All is well in my world tonight.  Tomorrow I'm headed to a craft fair with a friend and then a baby shower for one of my business partners in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bee Blocks and Busy-ness

Oh my....I mailed my September block for the New Kid on the Block bee. Yep, it was really late.  Yep, I'm not happy about that.  I am trying to do way too many things right now and it's stressful, but I am having a blast!  This block was a lot of fun.  My assignment was to make a block that was 5" by 48".  Yes, you read that right....5 x 48.  We each got a color (YEAH!  I got orange!) with instructions to do whatever we wanted within the size boundaries.  She is going to put them all together with charcoal sashing strips.  I cannot wait to see her finished quilt.  You can see the progress on the Flickr group.  I used EQ7 to work on my ideas.  I started with this
which became this
and finally, the block looks like this,
I finished a quilt top last weekend and even have it layered up and ready to baste.  I love this quilt so far.  I am so excited to get this one quilted and show you the completed project.  I really thought I would have it finished by now, I was so excited to start on it after I got it basted.  Here are the strip sets for the sashing.
I have super busy this week listing items in the Etsy shop for Urban Spools.  Well, at least at night after I get home from my full time job.  I really, really want this to find a way to do what I really love full time.  I keep thinking about how short life really is and I don't want to spend my days watching the clock so I can go home and do what I really love.  I try very hard to focus on the fact that it's not a bad job, it's a pretty nice work environment and the people are very nice.  I think I am closer now than I ever have to been.  I believe when you have a passion, you should follow it.  It took me many years of my life to really discover my passion.  I think there are probably a lot of people that don't know what their passion is.  I feel blessed to have discovered mine.  So, I'm going to sign off and go get busy doing what I love!  Are you doing what you love?

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Hint of Fall + An Announcement

I love, love, love this time of year!   We have cool mornings and bearable afternoons, and there is that promise of cooler days ahead.  And turning leaves and family getting together for holidays.  It's a great time of year.  I had a booth at the Urban Street Bazaar along with Lisa.   The weather was lovely (perfect, really)  I was a little sad because it was the last one:(.  But, in it's place is something equally as exciting!  More about that later....

(photos courtesy of Vintage Modern Quilts)  Not only did we have a lot of fun, we sold quite of bit of our wares.  I sold a quilt!  And Lisa sold 4!  Isn't that the cutest chair in the entryway of the booth?  Lisa upcycled that.  And it was the official launch of a new business venture for me.  I have two wonderful partners: Lisa and Amanda.  Together, we have formed Urban Spools!!!!  I know!  Can you believe it??  This has been a dream of mine for over a decade.  I met these two great women this past spring when we all got together to form the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild.  It has been such an amazing journey and everything has fallen into place so quickly that it's hard for me to believe.  Right now, we are starting small with an online store for fabric.  What makes us different than all of the other online fabric stores you ask?  Well, we are specializing in fabric with a modern twist for one thing.  We will also have a strong focus on custom pre-cuts and we will be carrying quilt kits as well.  Check out our cool logo banner that my fantastic husband got for us as a "business warming" gift!

Lisa designed our logo and I LOVE IT!  It's so cute!!!  The three of us are having so much fun with this.  It's been challenging at times since we all have full time jobs and Amanda is expecting a new addition to her family next month, but it sure is an exciting adventure.  We have more announcements coming in the very near future, so stay tuned.

And, I have been finding time to sew.  There will be quilts coming up to discuss very soon as well.  And....last but not least, we still need to name my new Bernina......ideas, anyone?  I have a name I have been bouncing around in my head, but I want to see what you all have to say first...