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 :-).