Monday, December 27, 2010

Quilted iPad Sleeve anyone?

Hi, yes it has been awhile. December has been such a whirlwind. Amazingly, it has been a great month, just really BUSY!

I do have a question for my friends in blogland ---- has anyone made a quilted case for an iPad? My DH gave me one for Christmas and i want to make a case for it. So i was wondering if plan batting was stiff enough for the sleeve or if I should quilt it using Timtex or something similar. What do you think. Has anyone seen a post with hints or suggestions ???

All suggestions ae welcome!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I took 1st Place in the Storytellers 2010 Challenge!!!

So I am finally getting back to my Storyteller posts. As promised, here is the posts on Storytellers 2010 Challenge.  The subject was African American History over the last 15 years, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Storytellers.  We were asked to pick an event in African American history and make a 12 1/2" block, that was made up of white or white on white fabric, with no more than two other colors.  Each block had to include crystal as it is the symbol for a 15th Anniversary, but we could add any other embellishment.  Those in attendance voted to select the Viewers Choice.  1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons were awarded, along with scholarships to next years retreat.

Out of the 75 quilters only 10 submitted entries...  Lucky me... I won 1st Place....  YEAH!

Here are the winning entries:

My tribute to Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe and "Revelations"..  both celebrating 50 years.  The creation of the Dance Troupe in 1958 and the Premiere of Revelations in 1960.

And here is second (Color in the White House) and third place (Storytellers Anniversary, by Joann Shelton):

....  and here is a smilebox with the other 7 entries:

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Storytellers Show-n-Tell

OK, here is installation number 2 of my pics from the Storytellers Retreat.  Today I am posting pics from Show-N-Tell.  It is always amazing to see the different styles of work, but for me what was unusual for 75 women from all over the US, was the similarity of the fabrics.  They were all beautiful, it was just interesting to see such a consistent theme.

For easier viewing I have made a Smilebox.  I would appreciate your comments as to whether or not you like the Smilebox postings or would prefer if I attached the pics one by one.  Just leave a comment :-).

Ok, here you go:

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What a weekend @ Storytellers!!

I came home on Sunday with such a HIGH.  Nothing better than being surrounded by other quilters, who are all so supportive and nurturing.  There was 75 quilters in attendance with a few husbands sprinkled in, to help with technical aspects of the weekend.  This was my first time at a Storytellers retreat (some have been going for 15 yrs!) and I will definitely be going back next year.

I took more than 70 pictures over the 4 days, so I will break my posts up by subject....  and no I won't post all the pics, but will do another Smilebox for those who want to see more than a few.  I should start with my ribbon for the Challenge ...   I WON 1st PLACE  :-)....  but since that was on the 3rd day, it will have to wait....  I will post all the challenge pictures together.

Ok, first thing Thursday morning was the first segment of Juanita Yeager's 2 1/2 day class, Paint It... Quilt It...Finish It...  I took the first 2 days, paint/quilt it, and am I sooo happy I did!  You can take a look at Juanita's blog here.  She is such a talented fiber artist.  In fact, while we were there she found out that she had won Best Machine Workmanship Award at Mancuso's  show in West Palm Beach over the weekend....  way to go Juanita!

Juanita uses watercolor pigments to create the most stunning floral quilts.  She stepped us through the materials she uses, including how she prepares her fabric and then guided us through a day of painting two different floral designs.  Here is a picture of my first flower, that we drew freehand and then painted:

and here is my second flower which was first traced from Juanita's pattern and then painted....

On the second day, we learned all of Juanita's tips and techniques for machine quilting our flowers.  The class was geared to anyone from a novice to someone like myself who has machine quilted for a while.  I always find it amazing that quilters everywhere seem to have little tips to make quilting easier and Juanita had a few that I had never heard before.  I love her tip on burying threads...  oh my gosh so simple!...  but you have to take her class to learn how (I can't just share her secrets with the world.. hehehehe...)

So here is my first flower after quilting:

All the quilted is done free motion, with no marking.  She had us sign our piece while quilting in thread, like an artist signs their paintings.  Notice the thread painting that provides more depth and contrast above the stem in different color Sulky Rayon threads.

I had such a wonderful time with Juanita and the other ladies in the class.  Here is a short Smilebox with a few pictures of the other quilters work...

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I hope you get to take a class from Juanita one day...  it will be well worth it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Breakthrough thinking...

In 14 days I will be joining 5 of my quilting friends and attending a Storytellers in Cloth Quilt Retreat at the Heritage Conference Center in Southbury, Ct.  Two of my friends went last year, had such a good time and convinced the rest of us to go this year.  I love retreats, so I really wanted to go, but had to find a roommate...  Thanks Aline!

The theme for the weekend is "Remembering Our History" and Carolyn Mazloomi,  a noted quilt maker and historian, will be the quest speaker.  Since this is the 15th Anniversary for Storytellers, this years challenge is to create  a 12.5" block that depicts an event from African American History over the last 15 years.  The block must contain white or white on white fabric, no more than 2 other colors and use crystals (the symbol for 15th Anniversaries) as an embellishment.   Now for those of you who know me, I don't do challenges.  Why....  I am a very literal person, so I have a hard time thinking out of the box and creating a piece that conveys the theme.  See, to me 'theme' doesn't equal pattern or technique.  Tell me to design a mariners compass quilt or to do something with applique or paper piecing and I am in.  But a theme, my brain doesn't work that way.  At least not until now....

But lucky for me I have two relatively new 'inspirations' in my quilting life.  1) a mini group made up of some very talented quilters, who tend to gravitate more to the artsy non-traditional side than the traditional squares and triangles....  and 2) a new quilting buddy (she is also part of the mini group), who is an artist by trade and has helped me to step outside of my box. 

So while I have had the challenge information for months, it wasn't until Mondays' mini group meeting that I had the courage to actually dive in.  I came home and sketched out a new idea and as of tonight I have my block all laid out.  No stitching yet, but this is the great thing...  it is sort of cut, snip, pin, glue as you go...  then when I get a composition I like, I will sew/quilt as I go.   I have it up on my design wall, so that it will stare at me the next day or two, and if it says 'done', I'll start sewing.  I am so excited.  It is as if I have started on a new journey :-)

I am looking forward to continuing on my quilting evolution at The Storytellers weekend as I will be taking classes from two great quilters.   Juanita Yeager's  "Paint it, Quilt it" class where you learn to use watercolor pigments to create a quilt top design, then learn free motion quilting techniques to enhance the design.  This is a recent piece by Juanita...  look at the shading and texture in this flower. Yummmm

And Bisa Butler's "Portrait Quilts" class, learning to translate a picture into a portrait quilt.   Both of these ladies are fabulous quilters. I just can't wait until I turn a photo of my kids into something like this quilt of hers...

This is going to be a truly inspiring 3 1/2 days...  but first I have to finish my challenge piece!

P.S....  I can't post my challenge progress until the retreat is over as many of my friends read my blog and I can't give anything away.  Hey, I do want to win one of the prizes :-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I think I am hooked.. or should I say tickled :-)

Do you ever have the feeling that you have found something that you just have to have?  Or see something that you just want to do or try?  Well that is how I am feeling about feathers right now.  I want to put feathers in everything.

Many quilters use feathers in their quilting.  Friend and quilter Teri Lucas has her curly feathers and boy take a look at how small she makes them! 

Sally Terry has written books on her "Hooked on Feathers"  technique 

Sally Bramald has had some recent posts on her blog Feather on a Wire, that has been jaw dropping.  Talk about eye candy...  OMG!!! 

Sally and Ferret have a way of making feathers look so yummy. 

Nothing else, just feathers.

You can see why I have been adding feathers to everything lately :-).  Now I just want to finish the 3 UFO's I have going, so I can make a whole cloth feather quilt on some of the luscious Radiance fabric (by Robert Kaufman) I brought from Quilted Angel in Petaluma, Ca this spring.  Yummmmm  I even have some qorgeous YLI silk thread to use.

Have I ever done a whole cloth quilt before...NO, but who cares.  I can't wait to start sketching it out :-).

Friday, October 22, 2010

I know I promised, but here it is....

So I did promise I would post pictures of my day trip with hubby to the Pennsylzannia National Quilt Festival. I know it was over a month ago, but hey better late than never, right :-).

What took me so long, was that I had so many wonderful shots I wanted to share with you. So I decided to try my hand at a Smilebox post. They say make someone smile in 5 minutes and it is true, it didn't take much longer than that.

So I hope you enjoy!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Little Drummer Boy

I finally got some decent pics of the quilt I made for my niece, Noelle.  Here she is the day of her shower as she walked in.  No she wasn't surprised, but she sure put on a good show :-) 

As you remember, her hubby asked for a drum themed quilt as he plays the drums.  So of course I tried to oblige and made my own drum applique design and built a quilt around it.  Yes, they knew it was going to be a boy and Yes, they had already picked out a name, so I was fortunate.  It made my designing process a whole lot easier :-).

So here is the quilt....

and here are a few close up shots....

I trapunto'd the drum, to give the little guy something to play with and to give the quilt a little texture.

His name, Lucas Samuel Lipscomb is monogrammed on the quilt...

 Pinwheels with circular quilting...  again trying to show movement with the quilting.

 .... and my drumstick design.

Both Mommy and Daddy to be loved the quilt...and were anxious for the arrival of their little bundle of joy.

WELL......  Baby Lucas just couldn't contain himself.  He arrived just 2 days later....  5 WEEKS early!!

Isn't he a cutie!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Yes, I have been quilting, but why do I have nothing to show for it?

Well, I have delivered 2 of the baby quilts. Both of the showers were great and the Mommy's to be loved the quilts!  Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of the one with the drums.  Mine are all blurry, so I am waiting for my niece's husband to send me one....  he is a fabulous photographer.  The third baby quilt is all done, except for the binding.  She isn't due for another couple of weeks, so I have time to get that done.

So what am I working on...  well I am quilting another quilt for a friend.  My second commission piece....  YEAH!  But OMG am I having tension problems and this is after the Bernina dealer worked on my machine for two hours!  I don't know if it is the thread or needle or what.  Finally, I have used a new needle, new spools of thread for both the blue top thread and white bottom thread AND lowered the top tension and tightened the bottom tension and think it is finally right.

I won't have time to work on it until the weekend, so keep me in your prayers :-) 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Quilt Related, but I have to share

Very rarely do I post about anything that isn't quilting related, but I just had to share with you my very uplifting lunch. 

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Nancy Rosenberg (proprietor of the recently closed Quilt Cottage in Mamaroneck) suggested I become a mentor for an organization call HerHonor Mentoring.  A program started by Nicole Sheindlin and her stepmother, Honorable Judy Sheindlin, aka Judge Judy.  HerHonor Mentoring is a program designed to expose young women from at risk environments, who have managed to make the right decisions in life, to professional women in the fields they plan on pursuing in college.  The mentor/mentee meet for 4 hours a week in a professional setting, allowing the mentee to see what the professional experience is all about.  HerHonor also pays the mentee at the end of the school year for the hours she spent as an apprentice in her mentors workplace, thereby providing money as the girls head off to college.  The programs partners (Merrill Lynch, Bloomingdales, etc...) host workshops for the mentees during the year on topics such as financial planning, dressing for success and business meal etiquette.  Today's luncheon was the kick-off to the year where we were introduced to our mentees and other mentors.

Well, all I can say, is I was blown away.  First, my mentee is a HS Senior of Mexican decent, who is the middle child in a family of 5 girls.  She is ranked #9 in her senior class of over 300 students.  She is a straight "A" student, who while going to school, also works so that she can help her parents as they figure out how to pay for a third daughter entering college in as many years.  She attends a technical HS, where she is majoring in computer circuitry and design, so besides the normal state HS academic requirements, she has an extra 2 periods a day to complete courses in her major.  At the end of last year, she passed the Cisco Networking certification exam, so she is certified in network support.  Oh yeah, all this and she just turned 17.  I can not wait to start meeting with her on a weekly basis!  Yes there is hope for today's youth!!  (Yes Raven and Robert...  my children....  are doing well also, but you must admit, that is what is expected of them.)

Of course, as I tell my children, I told my mentee, use every opportunity as a chance to network.  So that is also what I did today, getting to know the other mentors.  Our careers range from software sales, like myself, to doctors, lawyers, judges, entrepreneurs, marketing, financial planners, councilwomen and on and on.  Yes, we even had a farmer amongst us whose mentee is interested in green agriculture.  What a dynamic group of women!  Of course I traded business cards, but it was just a great feeling to see a group of 40 diverse professional women come together to help the next generation.

Wow, I feel good!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Country Quilter Fall Escape 2010 - Friday Night Fun

Hey everyone, so last weekend was my bi-annual trip to the quilt retreat sponsored by The Country Quilter.  While we were down in numbers this year due to the Jewish holidays and a few quilters who were sick, fun was still had by all those present.

I know, I know, I usually post pics of everyone from the weekend, but this time is different.  Yes, I remembered my camera, but I had forgot to charge the battery.  So my apologies....  no photo album of all the busy quilters and their fabulous work.  Instead, I came home and took a picture of the piece I made Friday night, during my normal Friday Night Fun.  For those of you who haven't seen the results of my Friday night pieces, my goal on Friday night is to make something fun and quick to get the juices flowing for the weekend.  I don't have a pattern, sometimes an idea, and yet other times I just cut fabric and go. 

This weekend, I had a sketch on my sketchpad and inspiration from a piece Ricky Tims had done earlier in the week.  Here is the result of my night of fun:
As you can see, she is dancing away, just enjoying the music in her head.  Hence the name "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy".  Here are a couple more pics.  One of the quilting in the center sparkling lime green background and the other a shot of the back.

It was fun to make. I once again, I did free form feathers in the boarders.  No marking, just let the machine guide me.  Both boarders were cut freehand, no rulers.

From the first pic, you can probably tell that only the bottom is finished.  I am 'facing' this piece, instead of binding it.  The bottom edge is faced, but not the other three sides. 

Still have to finish the facing...  but otherwise it is done.

I will post a pic of the other piece I worked on tomorrow.  It is another baby quilt, totally designed by me, including the appliqued drums.

Hope you enjoy it. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Ok, I have finished one of the three baby quilts.  I must admit, this is a pattern I did before, but once I saw the now 8 yr old with her quilt, I knew it was something that had to be made again :-).  Plus it is a relatively easy pattern from Jane Davila's 'Sew Simple Quilts' series, Book Two.

As it did the first time, I made it in soft cuddly, flannels in soft pastel colors.  The one change from the pattern that I kept in this piece, is the addition of  corner stones in the borders, vs classic solid boarders.
The quilt finishes at 43" x 56", which means that it also didn't take long to quilt.  I used the same YLI variegated thread in soft pastels that I used 8 years ago (same spool and I still have some left :-)) in the top center and a Superior Art Studio pastel pink for the boarders.  I used Superior BottomLine in white in the bobbin.  The quilting was all done free motion.  No marking the top at all, not even the spine of the feathers.

As you can see from this close-up, the thread worked wonderfully.  No need to play with the tension.  My normal .5 top tension worked wonderfully.
My curves were all smooth and the feathers just flowed around the corners with no issue.  I did not have to adjust the tension, as I switched threads between the YLI and Superior.

I hope Baby Bailey likes it.  Delivery date is set for Oct 26th, but I will be giving the quilt to the Mom to be on the 3rd, while in Virginia for my other nieces shower.  I made good progress on her quilt as well last weekend while at Quilt Retreat, but I will post those pics in the next day or so :-).

Friday, September 3, 2010

A first for me....

I had been asked by one of my good friends to machine quilt a piece for her.  This friend is primarily a hand quilter, although she will stitch in the ditch from time to time on a small wallhanging.   She knows that I had been toying with the idea of quilting for others and as life has added a few years, as it tends to do, hand quilting just isn't as enjoyable for her as it used to be.  Especially when the piece measures 92" x 81"...  hey not small by my standards either :-).

Anyway, I finally said yes.  I reminded her that most of my quilting lately has been small tight decorative quilting, not the type of quilting I would do on a bed size quilt...  but that if she let me do what I thought I could do, I would give it a try.  I figured it would be a win/win for us both.  I would see, if I enjoyed quilting for someone else and all the mind games that come with that and she would have her piece done.  I told her I wouldn't charge her, as I didn't know what it would look like in the end.  Fair enough....  right?

Well I quilted it and when I called to let her know it was done and that I would bring it by the next day, she said 'Ok, how much do I owe you?'.  I reminded her of our conversation and she said...  "Oh no, I wanted you to see that you could do this, so don't bring it over unless you have figured out how to charge for your work.'  Well what do you know, I had been duped!  She had been telling me for quite some time, that I should make some money off of my quilting, and now she got me.  So thanks to some quilty friends on Facebook, I put it out there and they help me figure out a fair price, given all the facts above.  First quilt, not perfect, etc....

I delivered it the next day and she was thrilled...  she loved my feathers and said the person it was going to would love it as well :-).  So here it is....  my first commissioned quilting job, if that is what you call it...

Since it is a busy quilt, with lots of pattern in the fabric on the front.  I did a loose swirly all over pattern in the center, using a green cotton Aurifil 50 weight thread on the top and Superior Bottom-Line, almost white thread on the plain white backing. 

The quilting shows much better on the back.

As you can see I did free motion feathers in the boarder.  This is the first time using the 'hump' method and they were real easy.  I just marked the boarders with a curvy line to serve as a guideline for the spine and went from there...  even wrapping the feathers around the corners.  I was so happy when I had gone around both sides that the beginning and end came together so easily....  whew! 

I was pleasantly surprised in the end to see that the feathers did indeed show up on the front, almost as well as the white on white on the back.  I had expected that they would really disappear as the thread color was so close to the fabric color.  My friend really loved the feathers, she said they looked very graceful....  Whoo Hoo!!!

As I left her house, she said she would have more for me soon.  OMG...  am I really going to do this?  Yeah, I think so, but only for friends at this point.  I have not the time or inclination to do it as a real business just yet.  Don't think I am 1) good enough, or 2) ready for the pressure of, will they like it.  At least my friends know what I can and can't do and are able to make an informed decision when they ask me to quilt something for them.

So, as I said, another first for me...

Thanks to my Bernina 830...  I wouldn't have been able to do it without her :-).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There must be something in the water...

This coming fall, I have two nieces and the wife of one of my nephews who are expecting babies.  One in October and two the first week of November.  So I figured I better get started on baby quilts.  The good news all three of these nieces/nephews and their spouses are really into my quilting and have treated previous quilting gifts like gems.  My nephews first born, has not gone a day in 8 years without her quilt by her side.  It goes to school, play dates...  everywhere :-).  Her mom treats it like gold, washing it with fine washables, etc... (that is when she can get it away from her).  One of my nieces husbands is always drooling over the quilts I design myself and has asked for a quilt with a drum based theme, as they know they are having a boy.  So needless to say, I am thrilled to be making them quilts, there will be no 'cheater' panels on these!

Last night I finished drafting the 'drum' quilt.  I choose the fabrics and even created the pattern for the drum applique.  I had thought that was all I was going to do for the night, but when I stopped it was 1 a.m. in the morning and believe it or not, I had 3 drum appliques all fused down, ready for their satin stitching.  No quilting tonight, but after looking over my applique work with my 20 yr old son, he came up with a great idea.  They were going to need to be texturized....  soooo I decided to trapunto them.  Make those drums pop right out off of the quilt top.  The drums are basically 10 inches in size, on a 12 inch square, so they will give the baby plenty of area to touch and feel, especially with the 'flags' on the side, plenty of places for stitching....  I am sure a picture is worth a thousand of my words, so as soon as I do the satin stitch on one and get the trapunto behind it, I will post a pic.

As you can tell I have gotten back into my quilting mood...  after an endless summer running around in the sweltering heat.

Hope to see you guys here in blog-land more once we take my son back to college tomorrow.

Enjoy and sweet dreams :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quilting for charity...

I have 3 baby quilts to make for nieces and nephews, but before I could start, I had to finished 2 charity quilts I committed to do this summer.  One was for my guild to donate to a local nursing home and the other was for a guild member who is traveling to Africa with a quilt tour group this fall.  They are bringing quilts for the babies, so I promised I would donate one for the trip.

Well, I am sure I am like most quilters on 2 accounts.  One, I usually work in similar colors and two, I save all the odd left over pieces from quilts I make.  So I was fortunate enough to look in my scrap basket and find some treasure.  Earlier this year I made two quilts for nieces, both with purple as the main color.  Since both also used turquoise, I was able to pull enough scraps with coordinating colors from the basket to make both tops....  talk about pay-day.

The first was real easy, as I had quite a few left over squares from one of the quilts, where I just didn't like some of the colors or fabrics for the look I was trying to acheive....  but since I took them all out whole, they came together to make the quilt for the African orphanage....
Nice bright colors, where strip sets and squares made a nice 46"x42" baby blanket.  It has almost a scrappy feel but still cohesive :-).  For the quilting, I just did a continuous line design, joining swirls and leaves.  It has been such a long time since I quilted large graceful work, I had a hard time getting into the groove.  My rhythm kept wantingto take me back to my small intricate quilting of late.  But, I managed and am happy I was able to finally free motion quilt with my Superior Rainbows thread.  I just lowered the top tension to .5 and the stitch length to 1.0 and off I went!  No snagging, breaking or spit up on the back, like I had been experiencing with the Rainbow thread.  I guess practice and learning your machine, really does pay off :-).

I then took the left over purple and turquoise strips and half square triangle blocks and put them together with Kona Black for the second top. 

This piece measures 42" square and they mustn't be any larger. as this is safe size for use with a wheelchair.  Otherwise, it can get caught up in the wheels of the wheel chair...
The top came together really quickly.  I did some free motion feathers in the black sashing and 6 other designs in the 'blocks'.   I decided to practice doing quite a bit of my filler patterns on this piece, except making them about 10 times larger. I decided to practice doing quite a bit of my filler patterns on this piece, just making them about 10 times larger. It was interesting seeing which filler worked or was easy to do on a bigger scale, and which ones didn't.  I will let you be the judge, but here is the one I like the best....

I realy enjoy what I call 'leaves on leaves'.  I love the way you can change directions and they look as if they were layered one on top of each other.

I used the same Superior Rainbow thread in this piece.  Again using Bottom Line in the bottom, with a 90/14 Sharp needle. 

All ran smooth as can be.  Just have to do the piping, which I do by hand, usually as I travel up and down the road.  Now I can get started on the 3 baby quilts that are joining the clan this fall :-).

The first will be drum themed.  I just have to design it first :-)...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Progress against to do list...

So I finished the top and back of the quilt for the Pelham Quilter's outgoing President....  Thanks to the 19 other members who contributed squares.  It is funny that the yellow and blues were all so similar in value, that it made it pretty easy to create a cohesive piece.  The greens were different, but since greens remind us all of nature and leafs and such come in so many different shades of green and live together so wonderfully in nature, they still worked well.  I ended up using a very simple setting method, with a basic inner/outer boarder as not to take away from the beautiful blocks.

I was heading out of town, and ran out of time, so my DH delivered it to Mary Anne who will quilt it for us.  Our meeting is the 13th of September, so I wanted to make sure she had enough time to quilt it on her George.

Lorriane has been president for almost 20 years...  yes we are bit unconventional as a guild :-).  I hope this quilt will be a fitting tribute to her years of service.  I will post pics once we present it to Lorraine in September.

I also spent some time quilting a small piece for a friend, Donna Chambers, to take with her on her trip to Africa this September.  She is going with a quilting group and they will stop by a children's orphanage.  She has asked members of the guild to make baby quilts for her take with her.  I should finish this next weekend.  Will post pics of this as well, once finished.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I have broken a golden rule...

When I first decided to blog, I new that I would not do so daily, but felt that if I was going to be a blogger, than I had to do so at least once every 10 days.  Well, it has been almost a month!  Not good.  Seems as the stretches have gotten longer and longer.  Maybe it is because it is the summertime and we have so much going on as a family...  jazz concerts, trips to the local parks and pools, a great family vacation in Cancun, hosting a family re-union for my husband's family.  Yes, I have been busy this month.

I have done some quilting as time and the weather permits...  (It has been one hot July in southern NY.  We had 17+ days over 93, without the heat index and quite a few over 100!)  But back to quilting...  I made two charity quilt tops that will need to be quilted (pics once quilted, promise).  Had a wonderful quilty day with my girlfriend Ashley in my studio.  I have made some progress on the African dancer I started at retreat this spring, adding detail and embellishments on his neck, arms and legs.  He is now ready to be quilted, so I played with different quilting stitches and threads to determine what combination I like best...  right now a flame stitch with matching cotton 50wt thread, so that the quilting doesn't detract from the dancer....  at least that is the thought for now.  And this week, I will be pulling together squares made by members of the Pelham Quilters into a top for a quilt to be presented to our out-going President.

Now the real reason I wanted to post today is I am thinking about making a small wall hanging to Thank the pediatrician that has taken care of my children for the last 23 years.  At the end of the month, my 20 year old son will be going for his last yearly physical before he turns 21 (and is no longer able to see a pediatrician :-)).  My oldest was this doctors first newborn, so on her last visit they sat and chatted and cried for over an hour.  She has seen my kids through Juvenile Arthritis, a screaming, streaking kid who would run at the first sight of a needle, Asthma, ASD (or a hole in my then 16 yr old daughters heart that required surgery), and a  totally broken - not torn - meniscus that will have to be replaced in a yr or so with a transplant from a corpse.  She has done all this with a smile, patience and heart of a saint.  For some things, calling just to check in on them to see if they or I, needed to talk.  So....  any ideas on patterns or shapes I should use would be welcome.  I thought of a Heart, but it seems so literal and I wanted something with more meaning, to show just how special she really is.

All suggestions are welcome....  now back to work :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

830 Update

So I had thought I would get some quilting in today.  And although I did sit down at the machine, I didn't work on my dancer as I had hoped.  No, instead I loaded the latest software update on my Bernina 830.  Almost had a heart attack, as it seemed to take way too long, after the 'successfully installed' with restart, to the 'update complete' message.  But it went on without a hitch, so I was able to play.

One of the things the update was supposed to address was tension problems with a wide range of threads. So I am hoping that it solved some of my problems with all my different threads.  I played with my Superior Metallics, Sew Fine, Tinsel and Rainbows today. 

Guess what?  I tried both free motion quilting and free motion with the BSR.  NO problems...  no faulty 'thread breakage' messages, no thread spit up on the back, no pebbles on top or bottom because the thread is being pulled to the other side..........  ahhhh, NICE!

So I played with a couple of metallics trying to decide on the color to use on my dancer.  I think I am going to go with the gold, although the cooper will allow the dancer to take center stage vs the quilting.  Hmmmm....  maybe the cooper.  The cooper Sew Fine just fades into the background, so maybe the copper mettallic will add just a tad bit of sparkle when the light hits it just right, adding a glowing effect to the dancer.  Maybe the copper mettalic is better.  Decisions, decisions.....  guess I am going to have to sleep on it.

The good thing is I am on vacation this week and don't head out of town for a couple of days, so I still have time to play.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Play-time: Superior Rainbows and BSR

For those of you who are also my friend on Facebook, you can skip this post :-).  I just want to share my latest experiment with my friends in blog-land.

Last week, while my head was spinning on what to work on next, I decided to see if my new found friendship with the BSR on my 830, would wash away all my troubles using one of my favorite threads, Superior Rainbows, on the 830.  And since I was playing I decided to try my hand at actually working on something else I want to try one day, a whole cloth quilt.  So out came a piece of Kona White, my pencil, a compass, a protracter (no this isn't math class, but I can't draw a smooth curve let alone create multiple curves, all lined up around a star...  so I needed just a tad bit of help :-)).  I loosely drew what seemed like a pleasing outline to start with and quickly grabbed a piece of scrap wool batting and one of my many Rainbow cones. 

So...  I was set.  Ready to begin....  I attached the BSR assembly, loaded my thread and off I went.  The center shapes came out okay...  I missed my marks a bit, so things don't line up all the way, but the stitching was smooth.  No skipped stitches, no spit up on the back and NO thread breakage!  I was beginning to think that I got the hang of this thing.  I was even able to do the next round, quilting using my 'leaf on leaf' motif, that I created for my last piece.  Again...  no issues....  I was on a roll!!!

I came back the next night and decided that my shape was to be enclosed in a circle and I would use a close stipple to make my archs pop from the wool batting.  Well wrong I was!  Snags, skipped stitches, spit up...  yes it all came back.  Then I remembered, oh wait, I was supposed to lower my stitch length.  That is what I learned from the Bernina BSR Webinar about a month or so ago...  so I lowered my stitch length to 1.0 and away I went.  Smooth as a baby's bottom.  Half-way through, I decided to call it a night.

I came back the next day, used the same settings as the night before and WHAM, same 'ole, same 'ole.  Well no skipped stitches or thread breakage, but I did have tons of spit up on the back.  I could even feel it happening...  I don't know what changed in the 24 hours I was away from the machine.  My tension and stitch length was the same... I was smart enough to save the settings as a favorite.  So what happened?

Well I don't know.  But later that night, I remembered that the latest software update for the 830 includes a fix for tension issues on a wide variety of threads.  Maybe, just maybe, it will help with my Rainbows issues.  I have tons of this thread, love the color changes, love the sheen, love the look in my quilts, but HATE the way it behaves when mixed with the 830...  BSR or un-aided free motion quilting. 

Since I am in Florida right now on business, I will have to wait to see if the update actually fixed my problems.  But I thought I would at least share the results of my play time... 

So here it is:

Once I get home I will once again try to fix the issue with the Rainbow thread and then try this on one of my Radiance silk/cotton blends, with silk thread.  Yummm, isn't playtime, just wonderful!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Odds and Ends...

Still no name for my UFO, but it will come to me.

While in Atlanta last week, before heading to the airport I made a stop by Intown Quilters.  This is one shop whose website does not do it justice.  Actually, I really debated if I was going to go or not from looking at their site.  Boy, was I presently surprised!  This place was huge, had quite a bit of diversity in fabric, patterns and quite a wide range of tools/notions.  They had an entire section devoted to children"s fabric, quilts and clothes.  Another section of Kaffe Fasset fabrics, another section for orientals, another for batiks, another for african fabrics, etc...   The shop was bright and cheery.  Of course, I did my usual damage...  some black and whites, some african and some thread.  A good end to a good business day!

On Saturday, I had a great time with Ashley.  She drove down and we spent the day quilting and chatting.  What a great day...  good friends and quilting.  Life just doesn't get any better!

Monday, June 14, 2010

My UFO is finished!! but it needs a name :-)

So, I have been busy the last two weeks, and part of that has been quilting.  Yes, the piece I started in October 2008 is finally done.  But I am not lamenting....  Nope...  There is no way, I could have done what I done with this piece back in 2008.  I just wasn't up to the task.

Well here it is....
Yes, I am pretty proud of myself.  I love the colors, the applique, the trapunto, the quilting....  yeah, just about everything about this piece, I like.

It all started at retreat in Oct 2008, when I picked out the fabrics and decided to do a 'medallion' quilt.  While I layed out the background, I had a hard time deciding on what the appliques would look like.  So home it came and over the next 2 months, my DH and I played with different applique shapes.  In the end, I modified one of Ricky Tim's applique shapes from his Rhapsody patterns and came up with two different shapes that I liked and fit the areas just right.  The center applique is totally original and was done via the old paper doll method....  folding a piece of paper in quarters, drawing a design on one of the quadrants and then un-folding it to see what you get.  I played with 3 or 4, until I came up with this.

But it became a UFO, because once I got the appliques on, I couldn't decide how to quilt it.  Then all of a sudden trapunto came to my mind and I pulled it back out.  I figured trapunto would be a great way to fill in some of the wide open spaces.

With the trapunto done, I knew that I needed fairly close quilting to make the trapunto stand out.  So I played with a few different designs and agreed this piece needed different designs in the different sections.  So you can see I used basic meandering in the center.  Then added my circle in a circle pattern in the next section.  In the salmon section around the applique I used a leave on leave pattern.  I think I like this design because it really adapted itself to going around the shapes and around the gold medallion.

Then I ended with a pattern I learned from Mary Anne Ciccotelli, even though I don't know what it is called.  Nice thing about this design, is it can be used as a fairly tight quilting motif, or a big loose motif on a bed or lap quilt.  Very versatile it is :-).

Anyway, you see next I decided to add piping, versus just facing this wall hanging like I have been doing so much of lately.  I just thought it was more suitable to the piece.  A more traditional style deserved a more traditional ending.

This piece is quilted totally with Aurifil Cotton 50 weight thread.  I am liking Aurifil more and more lately.  It did such a wonderful job on this piece!

Now the problem is, it hasn't spoken to me yet, so I don't have a name for it yet.  Will have to let it hang in the studio for awhile, until it tells me what it wants to be called.  That is, unless you have a good suggestion?

Cheers.......  Renee

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Surface Design Workshop with Jane Davila

I am lucky enough to live close enough to Jane Davila, to take workshops in her studio (yeah me!).  So in March I took her Surface Design Workshop which teaches techniques to enhance your quilt top.....  I know this post is a little late, but better later than never is my motto :-). 

Jane used some of her pieces to talk to us about various techniques...  

Then we had the opportunity to play.  There were 4 of us and we had a ball trying out some of the basic techniques.

We played with Shiva Stiks.

This one was made by Donna Chambers....

The next one was done by me...

We used scratch pads and then one or more Shiva Stiks of different colors.

We also played with shaving cream to create our own marble fabric.  That's right shaving cream.  It is a technique that Jane created that allows the inks to be suspended on a medium, in this case, shaving cream and then transferred onto fabric.  We used plain white fabric, but the same technique could be done with any type of fabric.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take out my camera when we were creating our marble fabric.

We also played with water color pencils.  Real cool, just like drawing when you were a kid, but now you can do more than just hang it on the refrigerator :-). 

Once you make your line drawing, all you have to do is go over it with a wet paint brush and before you know it, you have a water color painting on fabric.  Add some batting and backing and some free motion quilting and you have a great little quilted piece.  This is a great way to incorporate your child's artwork amongst your own to make a quilt together!

Donna Chambers kept adding to her basic water color design...she added depth using Ink Pens for highlighting and then gold paint on the mesh from Wonder Under to add texture.   Once painted the 'glue' mesh from Womder Under can be ironed onto your top, creating great texture to your piece, especially if you use some of the wonderful iridescent paints we got to play with.

The day flew by so fast, we ran way over the allotted time.  Jane gave us a tour of her husband, Carlos's studio space and of course we got to purchase some cool stuff :-).  Now to make sure I actually use it...  wait I have used the Fusible Thread and I already have plans for the Fusible Powder....  both provide a great way to add accents to your quilt tops.

If you are ever in the same place where Jane is teaching, make sure to sign-up for one of her classes.  I can guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Next stop: Picket Fence Quilts - Novato, Ca

So after my last meeting on Thursday I made it to Picket Fence Quilts.  I forgot my camera, so unfortunately no pictures of the shop.  But boy or boy.... what a bright and happy feeling you get when you walk in the door.  I felt right at home as soon as I walked in the door.  Bright fabrics hit you right away, and you know how I am about brights.

They had a nice selection of batiks as well as black and whites.  I found a couple of fabrics that I need for a few projects that have been dancing around in my head. 

 Too many ideas...  now just need time to make them a reality :-).  Anyway....

Also brought a new book.  Loved all the project ideas.  I think the Art Deco style works well for Miami, so might have to make Raven another quilt :-).

They had a large room in the back as a classroom and also provided Long Arm quilting services on premise.

I noticed that they carried some Superior Thread and for what they didn't have, they provided the thread cards so that they could order what you needed.  Nice touch!

The owner was working and we chatted a bit about the local quilt shops.  She runs the place with her daughter.  She gave me a listing of shops in the area for future trips which was nice and suggested that if I have time to stop into Rainbow Fabrics, Crafts and Things.  She said as an contemporary quilter, that I would fine it interesting.

Boy was she right!  Rainbow in Fairfax, Ca is such an eclectic shop.  They have a little bit of everything, from cotton fabric to fun fabric, to buttons, to beads, to ribbons, etc... etc...  the 'Things' part of the name is real fitting!  While there, two Moms came in with their young children and it was like watching kids in a candy shop.  I laughed, as they said No about a million times.  It really isn't a quilt shop, but of course I found something I liked.    Isn't this fabric cool!  Tons of movement.

Well, it was definitely worth a stop and look see.

All in all a great trip our west.

Now back at home, I finished quilting my 15 month UFO last night.  WooHoo!  I'll post pics in the next day or two...