Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Finished Object and a Work in Progress

Finally someone has made a non-slip ruler! Creative Grids makes these amazing tools. I can actually cut a straight line--that is if I line up the ruler correctly... If I could, I would replace all of my rulers with Creative Grids. I purchased a 4" x 12" as it was I size I did not have--even though I did not need it, I thought it would make my quilting life a little easier. I made the purchase at Purl Soho in New York, but every store on the shop hop carries them. If you have a problem with rulers that slip while using a rotary cutter this is your answer. I've tried coating my ruler with non-slip vinyl, I've tried suction handles--nothing worked as well as the Creative Grids.

A new quilt...

A beetle landed on it and would not leave. That is the spot on the middle upper third.

This will be a gift for a new baby. I was torn about quilting the patchwork area and decided to quilt horizontally. This time the quilting went a little easier. I used my old sewing machine set up on the dining room table and marked each line before sewing. You know me, still couldn't sew them perfectly straight, and the horizontal lines are far from straight, I had a lot of problems with the bulk in the sewing machine arm area not allowing me to keep the quilt smooth. I'll be working on smaller pieces for the next couple of projects.

The next project is an "art quilt" for the wall. It will be about 20 x 22 inches. I was determined to not waste a large piece of batting that I could use for a quilt so I butted two pieces of batting together and used a zig-zag stitch. I don't know if I would trust this to a quilt that would be used as a blanket and washed and machine dried, but I thought it would be fine to hang on the wall.

Think I used enough pins?

I am using a very close, very "organic" mattress blanket stitch. I am half way finished, but I was anxious to start my next project.

I was inspired by Ann Bauer's quilted purses. They are really gorgeous and I hope that mine turns out having been inspired, and does not look like a knock-off. I also intend to make another with collage. Pictures soon.

Also, finished the first Almondine sock and started the second.

I hope your weekend was as good as mine!

Baci e abbracci...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New York and Timeless Treasures Fabrics

I don’t think I mentioned that my friend and I were chosen to be part of a focus group in the Timeless Treasures Fabric studio/offices in New York yesterday. When I found out we were both chosen I jumped for joy and did the happy dance in my office. It was a great day beginning at 4:30 a.m. when I woke to take the 6:31 a.m. suburban train to 30th Street Station to pick up the 7:30 a.m. Megabus to New York. I arrived home at 10:00 p.m.

The day started with the focus group where my friend and I were one of 8 consumers who quilt. I was probably the least experienced and maybe the youngest in the group. I was also the only one interested in improvisational quilting and reading quilting blogs on a regular basis. None of them really recognized any of the blogs I read. 

The TT Fabric people had some good questions, but I feel they could have better steered the group as one person was particularly domineering and went off on tangents of personal experiences that the TT Fabric people may have found helpful, but I thought took the group off course and did not allow other people to participate. It reminded me of the guild meetings I used to attend where people just went on and on without consideration for others’ time or desire to contribute.

The TT Fabric people were very nice and treated us well beginning with a tour of their offices, (I must say I got a little depressed when I saw the design studio with all of the reference books on the shelves and the designers sitting in front of their computers. I wish I had been more together in my youth and went for a textile design major rather than fashion design) then the question session, gifts and lunch. We each received a $25 gift certificate from the fabric store that we got the application to participate from—Pennington for my friend and I—and a 16-fat quarter bundle of very nice blender fabrics (perfect for me). TT Fabric has the most beautiful batiks. They also have a wide range of novelties that are perfect for theme quilts.

After TT Fabrics we went to Purl, which is literally around the corner. I spent the most money there on solid Kona fat quarter bundles to round off my stash, 1 yard cuts that were discounted, a package of 100 John James hand sewing needles, snaps (conventional and magnetic), and a 4.5 x 12.5” ruler. Cha-ching at $144.00

Next stop was the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. It would have been a nice place to hang out, if time had allowed. I found a few things in the store that I could only find on line, but did not want to pay shipping for: highlighter tape, screw-in eyes for stuffed animals, and the Ablet Row Counter (an abacus row counter styled as a bracelet). Also, I saw sock yarn in a pretty yellow and la lovely orange. I purchased one ball of each which will make two different pairs of socks. Cha-ching at $52.00

I think the best place, which surprised me, was The City Quilter. I expected some hole in the wall kind of place, but it was huge and had beautiful fabric and notions at reasonable prices! If you walk in one door, you walk in through a quilt gallery where there was an exhibition of Beth Carney's work. Loved it! Free-form improvisational art quilts. I loved her choices of colors, it was a real treat for the eyes. The City Quilter also has a great selection of Japanese fabrics, which I purchased and the Q-Snap quilt frame in the 11 x11” size, which I also purchased. (I decided to return the 14 x 14” Dritz model to Joann Fabrics as well as the cheap jelly roll of gray scale colored fabric. Cha-ching at $50.00

While we were there, a couple spent thousands of dollars on fabric. I asked the cashier what they were doing and she did not know. They came in with swatches so maybe matching quilts to some furniture? Who knows, but it was pretty wild to see them carry 8 bags of fabric out of the store. They bought fabrics by the bolt.

The depressing part is I am going on a shop hop over the weekend and should not spend one cent, eight shops without spending privileges. I will still have lots of fun!

Looking forward to spending time in my studio.

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Labels

Like many of you, I spend a lot of money on my creative life. A lot of money. I have oodles of yarn and fabric and the BEST tools, most of which are must haves and then they sit unused for a long time. The next time someone in your life comments on all of the fabric/yarn or tools that you have spent money on and don't seem to use just smile to yourself because at some time you are going to need that tool at 9:00 at night and will have it right at your finger tips.

Last night after a crazy week (Monday night I had my Monday back pain and could not sew, Tuesday night I was recovering from a nasty fall in which I tore my stockings, and skinned my knees and palm) I decided to make a bib for a baby shower at work (to include with a store bought gift). I found a nice little tutorial at Sew She Sews's. I think what is nice about this tutorial is that you trace the pattern onto the wrong side of the front bib and sew the front, backing and batting together on the line you just traced. Then you cut it out and turn it right side out. It is much easier to sew the curvy line this way. The only thing that I could have done without was notching the complete edge (inner and outer), but I know it reduces the bulk.

Oh! Back to the tools and stash of fabric... I have this great pair of 5" Fisker Softtouch scissors that have super sharp tips--great for the notch cutting. And the main fabric was probably purchased four years ago when I first started quilting with some newer strips added.

People who don't create don't understand the way we stock pile stuff so that we have choices when it is time to make something. My mom says, "you don't use what you have, why are you buying more?" That drives me nuts! I love being able to look through my fabric collection. Since I do not have the space to see it all, I am often surprised when I dig around looking for something and find something else that is really cool that I forgot I had.

Anyway, here it is with my new label!!! The labels are by gutenTAGs and I love them! On the back of the label is my blog address.

Decided against the velcro and went with the snap.

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Quilt Along

I was just reading the newest entry by Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color and thought it looked like a lot of fun! I love using my scraps, especially my strings so this may just be my first quilt along to join! I even purchased what seems to be a great deal by Pink Chalk Fabrics--1 lb. or 3-3 1/2 yards of solid colored scraps for $12.95 plus $6 S&H. (The link is in the blog post about the quilt along.)

The button for the quilt along is at the bottom of the right handed side bar...

Baci e abbracci